Thursday, January 21, 2010
Late night health care musings
The professional practice of politics to me is a putrid affair best left to those gifted examples of humanity who can do something even more fantastic that walk and chew bubble gum at the same time and that is to kiss someone’s ass while stabbing them in the back. Has politics in general and American politics specifically always been such inherently diabolical statement on human nature?
I honestly feel it has except that for most of our history the federal government was never was such a direct influence on our lives as it is today. While I’m no expert on history I have read enough that back in the day the federal government was at best some far away place that was spoken along the same lines as some mythical kingdom full of fantastic and strange people and incredible places. In this long ago and lost time the main concerns of most Americans were of working to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads to a far higher degree than we do in this time of relative plenty. I can imagine the greatest concern most people had about the federal government since its creation until say the early 1930’s was that the mail would be delivered in a timely fashion.
No matter how much many, including myself to a certain extent, might want to go back to a simpler time it just isn’t going to happened. The United States is a far more complex place requiring the government to expand its scope of operation and regulation of many activities or entities that the framers of the Constitution just never could have imagined. The ideas of many Libertarians and conservative Republicans that our complex society could be handled strictly through the free market or through self regulation of these evolving entities is as delusional and wrong as the Communists who thought the almighty state could control everything.
This battle between the forces of free market anarchy and stifling control in the complex times we find ourselves living in has made American politics a far more polarizing affair. Various minions scramble to shape and spin complex issues into convenient sound bites so the masses whose attention span has been whittled away by such highlights of American culture like reality television and journalism that dwells on the latest antics of narcissistic celebrities can be carefully herded into the right direction. Not only lost in this shuffle but blatantly ridiculed by the polarizing forces is the truth about our society, its failings, and the understanding of what it will take to fix the things that need attention.
The point in my extremely long winded and rambling post is that after the debacle of the recent Massachusetts vote to fill the seat long held by Teddy Kennedy a completely different approach to health care reform will have to be taken. In my ever humble opinion the Democratic sausage makers residing the halls of congress have painted themselves into a corner. The loss of the 60 seat majority will allow the Republicans an orgasmic opportunity to filibuster the current complex and greatly deficient bill to death.
Not to sound partisan but fear monger acolytes of various special interest and business groups have twisted and turned the facts about the undeniable need to restructure our health care system. Many who would benefit from a fair reorganization are now willing to live with possible denial of coverage because of preexisting conditions and ever skyrocketing premiums over fears of the devil they don’t know as compared to the devil they do.
Long story short the tidal wave of the 2008 election that elected Barrack Obama president has been spent. And to be honest while he is doing his best the dynamic campaigner seems to have been replaced with an aloof and unemotional “Spock” who leaves far too much to the sausage making denizens on Capitol Hill. Joe Scarborough irritates the Hell out of me at times but on Wednesday morning while glowing in the victory of the Tea Bagger who won the Massachusetts senate seat he did say something I had to agree with despite how much it pissed me off. He said the president’s leadership in the health care debate has been extremely lacking and that previous presidents, he mentioned Johnson, would have long since forced an agreement.
The advantages the Democrats gained with the seats they gained in both 2006 and 2008 has been pissed away like a drunken sailor drinks away his paycheck with him waking up the next morning wondering where it all went. During this time the Republicans have reorganized and frankly ju-jitsu our asses. Whining and self defeating in-fighting by the Democrats will only keep us boxed and our options restricted. So what are we suppose to do now?
A Democratic "rope-a-dope" strategy is needed and I heard Mike Barnicle say something Wednesday morning that needs to be thought about.
While Joe Scarborough was smugly sitting across the table talking trash about the Democrats, some rightly so, Mike said that the Democrats need to drop the current bill and bring one up that only eliminates preexisting conditions and makes health insurance portable. Then defy the Republicans to vote against it.
Yes, it wouldn't have a public option but after this election disaster I say again I don't believe the current bill will pass. And using the senate nuclear option will, in my opinion, only blow up in the Democrats faces.
But back to Barnicle's suggestion, I would also add a segment removing the anti-trust protection from the health insurance companies. I’d like to see Republicans try to explain why the big boys making billions on the back of people while denying coverage and raising premiums need to be protected.
I figure we can continue or current fighting for something that will never pass or we can put the Republicans into a position that will force them to show where their loyalties really lay, the people or big corporations.
That's it I'm done with politics for awhile.