Saturday, January 23, 2010

Of Senators And Sharpies

So, you're wondering, why am I writing about Sharpies today, when there's all this important stuff going on. Unfortunately, today my attitude can be summed up in two words: Why bother?

Ever since the MA Senate election, there has been a whole parade of seemingly clueless individuals explaining that what we need to do right now is go ahead and pass the Senate health care "reform" bill. It's like the election and the poll never happened, and one of the Democratic Senators just went to Heaven or something.

Just to make it a really special day, the Supreme Court provided yet another in a long string of decisions that have left us even more defenseless against corporate power in America. Oh, yeah, and guess how the new Justice voted. Glad we went through all that nonsense about her nomination?

Fortunately, Bill Campbell felt like writing today. He touched on quite a few things that have gone wrong lately, and some of the reasons why. It's a sobering read:

[E]ven through all the madness, the American people showed unwavering support for health care reform through most of '09. It wasn't until recent months that people had finally become disgusted with the process. Senator-Elect Brown claims that voters were turned off by the "sausage-making" of legislation.

I disagree. It wasn't the sausage-making at all. I'm a fan of Italian sausage and German bratwurst. If we would've gotten something like that--a perfect piece of spicy pork perfection--we would've been satisfied. Instead, the Dems were trying to cram a tasteless lump of lard in intestinal casings that promised to leave us fat, bloated, broke, and still in need of serious health care.

No, it was the obvious buckling the Dems did in the face of their corporate donors. It was Obama's meeting with the insurance companies, and saying, "Single-payer's off the table," before serious debate had even begun. How Big Pharma left the White House bragging that they were still going to be able to charge us whatever they wanted for their drugs. It was Max Baucus dismissing the public option because way too many private interests contribute to his campaign slush funds.

It was finding out that every delay, every compromise, every setback, every challenge the Dems faced was being thrown up by fellow Dems who were somehow on the health care industry's payroll.

You Think the Health Care "Debate" Was Bad ... Just Wait

It's about a lot more than health care, and well worth the read, but that quote describes much of my frustration. I expected opposition from Republicans. I expected opposition from the interests that are benefiting from the current system. I figured we might not get a bill passed, because there was enough conservative opposition even among Democrats. What I didn't expect, even in the most cynical places in my heart, was that the Democrats would be so universally useless in trying to get health care reform passed. That's part of what's discouraging.

The other part is that neither the Democrats nor the left-wing punditocracy today seems to get it. Read Krugman, Silver, or Yglesias, and you come away thinking that Massachusetts voters must be the most insane people on the planet for not loving the Senate's idea of health care reform. I have news for these people - Massachusetts is the one state in this country that has experience with the sort of system the Senate bill is seeking to create, and they don't like it. That is the message - if that's the best you can do, take your broke shit and go home. We'll find someone who can fix it, or at least not make it worse. Anyone who looks at the history of the race and checks the exit poll should know that. Yet these people continue to believe in unicorns.

So, maybe it's time to write about things like how to avoid losing your software's serial number, because as much as I've written about the subject of health care, and as little attention as has been paid to it and similar things that others have written, I might as well not bother. If I tell people to write the serial number on their CDs, or put them in a really safe place, it's possible someone will listen. It's quite clear that's not happening in any area of the federal government, or the seemingly insensate people who write our nation's opinion columns.

[In case anyone is worrying that I'm going to stop writing, don't. Hell, if it really bothered me that no one paid attention, I never would have started.]

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