Friday, March 26, 2010

Mopping Up Health Care

It's hard to blog on public policy right now, as there's a sort of news vacuum caused by the absence of health care (the House passed the slightly revised reconciliation bill a few hours ago). Now the networks are finally explaining what's in the bill, and anyone who watched Diane Sawyer the other night on ABC must be wondering what all the fuss was about-- everything she described sounded so, well, reasonable.

A few final memories: John Boehner saying that although people were angry at the Democrats and felt they weren't being listened to, violence is bad; a youngish protester in front of the Capitol saying that Obama wanted to take his private property, and he was not OK with that (can anyone even tell me what he's referring to?); the spectacle of someone who nearly sank the bill over his opposition to abortion being called a "baby-killer" (oh, sorry, the words "This bill is a..." didn't come through clearly, like the "a" in Neil Armstrong's "One small step for a man...").

Update: Well, it's getting less amusing. Rep. Stupak, the "baby-killer" mentioned above, has become one of the main foci of hatred. What is the world coming to when this guy is a hero? I guess it proves once again that no putatively good deed goes unpunished: If he had not made himself so prominent demanding changes to the abortion language in the House bill, if he had said that the Senate language was good enough for him, as it was for a zillion nuns and Catholic hospitals, people would be paying no more attention to him than to Rep. Himes (who?). Now the crazies feel like jilted lovers. For tape of some the comments made on his voicemail, go here. Interesting to note what is bleepworthy and what isn't at CBS. One of the words that comes out as a long bleep at CBS I heard elsewhere as "mother[bleep]". Also note "ass," in the fully anatomical sense, but "son of a [bleep]."

What is most discouraging about all this is the tepid, blaming-the-victim response of Republicans. I guess the new meta-theme of this blog will be our dysfunctional politics and what can be done about it. More soon. In the meantime, here's an e-mail I sent to Newt Gingrich, which I'm sure will solve the problem:

Dear Mr. Gingrich:
I always thought you had some personal integrity, so I am shocked and disappointed by your recent comments saying the Democrats are partly to blame for the threats and violence against them, and comparing them to remarks against Bush and Cheney. If someone said to you, "I hope you bleed out the ass and die," (as someone did to, of all people, Rep. Stupak), would you say, "Well, I was asking for that"? I don't think you would, nor should you. I think you have betrayed your responsibility as a political leader because you want the votes of the lunatic fringe. It doesn't seem to me hard to say, "We're all Americans, and we need to respect political opinions we disagree with." But evidently it's too hard for you. Shame on you.
  Howard Frant

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