Archive - 2009

December 24th

Health Care Eve

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Memo to virtually everyone involved with the now-finished health care debate: YOU WERE DUMB.

Yesterday, the Senate got its 60 votes. This morning, they're going to pass the Health Care Reform bill. Yes, there are a number of things to work out before it's signed into law in Jan/Feb, but essentially, the shebang is over. So what better way to spend Christmas Eve, when hardly any of you are reading anyway, than to sum up some of the big winners and losers from the whole fucking mess?

Health insurance company stocks are winners, but I do not put as much stock in this as the liberal blogosphere and progressive punditocracy does. Wall Street doesn't know shit about shit, as has been proven time and time again. Maybe they think the legislation helps insurance companies. Maybe they think the legislation doesn't hurt insurance companies as much as it could have. Maybe they think some other asshole is going to think that, and they'd better think it first. Maybe they clicked on "Buy" when they meant to click on "Watch Porn". There's no way of knowing.

Health insurance companies, however, are probably winners. They get mandates, they don't get government competition, and they get to spend a few years gouging all they can before the stricter regulations take effect, while working out new ways to dodge those regulations. See "credit card companies" for an example of how that shit plays out. If you believe, as I do, that it's currently impossible for a health insurance company to make an honest profit, then any solution that ensures the continuing existence of those companies also ensures the continuation of dishonest profits.

Joe Lieberman lost by winning. I don't see any way Connecticut voters can fool themselves into voting for him ever again. Not as a Democrat, not as a Republican, and not as whatever new party he has to make up for himself because he's a moron and let the Connecticut For Lieberman party get hilariously hijacked by his haters. ALLITERATION! Of course, the Democrats won't make his life miserable until then, and he won't be lacking for career options (FOX News, insurance lobby) once he's out, so he sort of wins anyway. Dammit.

Republicans break even. They looked like the biggest dickholes in the universe here, but in the absence of Democrats pointing out that they're the biggest dickholes in the universe, they will not be taken to task for it.And they'll be able to start the whole process all over again for cap and trade or financial reform, whichever comes first.

Congress as a whole lost, because they looked like what they are - a far, far cry from the world's greatest deliberative body. They say you don't want to know how legislation or sausage are made, but that's only if you want to remain ignorant about having a whole bunch of pig rectum shoved down your gullet. I don't know what people will do with the knowledge that their government is full of petty, incompetent assholes, although tradition demands voting to re-elect them.

Democrats, ostensibly in charge of Congress, lost. Except for conservative Democrats, who now realize they can oppose legislation, get their way, and get away with it. They're running the whole damn show and still can't get what they want? That never looks good.

And, of course, the biggest loser in this whole deal is Barack Obama. Or, more accurately, the Barack Obama everyone voted for. I never thought of him as a liberal savior, or even a liberal, but what I -did- think he represented was an end to Clintonian triangulating and pandering to the center. I figured he'd plant his flag two inches to the left of center and hold it there. But that's not what's happening. He's doing just what Clinton did, defining slightly left of center as wherever he's ended up after being dragged to the right. Which is bullshit.

I mean, look at his latest claim, that he didn't campaign on the public option. It's not true. Or, if it is true, it's only true in a sense so technical that it's still finest quality bovine feces. I'm not even bothered by the lie, so much as I'm bothered by the useless, unhelpful lie. Claiming this is what he wanted all along only gives him short-term "I won" credit, which nobody will believe anyway. And it redefines Democrat principles, such as they are, to whatever bargain you end up with.

What's wrong with saying he wanted the public option, but that he compromised to conservative Democrats and Republicans? It counters GOP claims they were "locked out" of negotiations, and more importantly, it keeps a government health care option valid in the public eye. Obama doesn't have to get everything he says he wants, but he's still popular enough that if he keeps saying he wants it, it'll seem like a good idea for later.

This marks the third straight term of a Democratic president who spends all his time making himself look good at the expense of his ostensible ideology. Reagan and the Bushes never moved left, and if they failed to move right, they never implied that the idea of moving right wasn't that important in the first place. Clinton, and even more disappointingly, Obama, refuse to even use the power of the bully pulpit to promote policies slightly to the left of Richard Fucking Nixon.

And that's why, in this whole sorry mess, proper liberals ended up on the bottom, under the giant pile of crap. Again.