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Jul 25 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another round of Con and Blue Dog dumbfuckery on health care reform. Sigh.

The big news, of course, is that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman stepped hard on the Blue Dogs’ tails:

A good health care bill has already passed the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. The legislation hasn’t progressed to the floor yet because it has not yet passed the Energy and Commerce Committee. And we’re still waiting on Energy and Commerce because it has seven conservative Blue Dog Dems who aren’t satisfied with the package.

Democratic leaders have spent a whole lot of time this week trying to respond to the Blue Dogs’ concerns, but the negotiations haven’t produced a resolution. This afternoon, there’s talk that the leadership may just skip the Energy and Commerce Committee altogether.

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says there is “no alternative” but to have healthcare legislation bypass his Energy and Commerce Committee if Blue Dog Democrats don’t accept a deal worked out Friday.

[snip]

“I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman told reporters. “I don’t see what other alternative we have, because we’re not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee.”

Paging Sen. Reid – this is what balls look like. Now please go obtain some.

Shortly afterward, Blue Dogs left a closed-door meeting with their panties in a wad after trying to yank the bill sharply right. Good.

Compromise and harmony and all that rot is fantastic – except when it compromises Americans’ best shot at meaningful health care reform. If the Blue Dogs want to play Con (didn’t we used to call them Bush Dogs?), they’re welcome to. They’d just best be prepared to have a rolled-up newspaper taken to their backsides, because they’ve earned it with their own stupidity:

The Washington Post’s Harold Mayerson rips into the Blue Dogs:

Centrist Democrats’ opposition to health reform verges on the incoherent. A caucus (the Blue Dogs) formed ostensibly to promote balanced budgets now disapproves of the proposed taxes that would cover the expenses of the new programs. The congressional centrists say, commendably, that they want to squeeze more economies out of the system, but they oppose giving more power to an agency that would set the payment scales for physicians.

[...] The Republican opposition to President Obama’s push for health-care reform, on the other hand, makes clear political sense. If they can stop Obama on health care, as South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint recently noted, it “will be his Waterloo.” Why Democrats of any ideology want to cripple their own president in his first year in office, and for seeking an objective that has been a stated goal of their party since the Truman administration, is a more mysterious matter.

Is the additional tax burden on small businesses their concern? If so, good news: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found that only the top 4 percent of those businesses would be affected by the surcharge that House Democratic leaders proposed, and that’s based on the original proposal, before Speaker Nancy Pelosi altered it to include just the wealthiest fraction of the top 1 percent of Americans. Would such a tax impede an economic recovery? In downturns this severe, it’s been broad-based consumer spending and public-sector investment that have revived the economy. Private investment doesn’t jump-start a revival of purchasing; it follows it.

They’ve chopped off the legs they were standing on. Time for them to either get with the program or get the fuck out. I know the health care companies that fund them will be disappointed after blowing all that cash for their compliance, but life’s tough. They can cry themselves to sleep in their leftover millions.

But the Blue Dogs’ dumbfuckery is but an appetizer compared to the Cons’ banquet of stupid. These inane fucktards can’t even get their stories straight – first comes Rep. Blunt saying the GOP will not release a health care reform plan of their own, then comes Boehner saying they’re putting the finishing touches on their bill, really, truly, it’ll be here aaannnyy day now! I certainly hope so – it’ll be like Christmas for the Dems.

Next you have Rep. Virginia Foxx, who must be living in a shiny happy place in her own head:

Perhaps the most attention-grabbing moment occurred when Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced that “there are no Americans who don’t have healthcare“:

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives.”

Well, isn’t that great news for the millions upon millions of Americans who don’t have health care? I suppose Virginia’s buying them all insurance and a pony.

Meanwhile, Michael Steele holds the Terry Schiavo case up as the shining example of the horror of government intervention into private medical decisions – forgetting it was the Cons who did the intervening. Peggy Noonan thinks we don’t need health care reform because doctors and hospitals sometimes kindly reduce the bill for struggling patients. And Reps Price and Camp think Americans are all as stupid as their base’s lunatic fringe:

Republican Representatives Tom Price (MD–he’s a doctor, you should listen to him!) and Dave Camp–having no constructive things to do to address Americ
ans’ health care concerns–appear on the Morning Joe show to field concern trolling, er…questions from no less than four “journalists” on health care. And Mike Barnicle gets the closest to actually digging for the truth when Rep. Price drops the name of The Lewin Group and Barnicle asks who funds The Lewin Group. Price deflects it with a mealy-mouthed answer about their foundation, but since he’s a Republican and he’s moving his lips, you gotta know he’s a big fat liar:

The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.

To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is “the nonpartisan Lewin Group.” To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an “independent research firm.” To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is “well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country.”

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

Yup – that sure is nonpartisan. Too bad “nonpartisan” doesn’t mean the same thing as “unbiased,” huh?

Let’s have Howard Fineman wrap it all in a big bow:

Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman was on MSNBC’s “Countdown” last night, and talked a bit about how the congressional minority is approaching the debate over health care reform. He was a little more candid than usual.

He initially talked about the Republican Party now being run by a new “RNC” — “Rush, Newt, [Liz] Cheney” — that is more committed stoking “racial fears and resentments” and talking about “where Barack Obama was born.”

Fineman added, “I talked to people on the Hill all day today. Talked to Republicans as well as Democrats. Republicans claims they have a plan. They don’t. They claim they’re going to have a plan. They won’t. Their whole strategy … is to stand on the sidelines with their arms folded while the Democrats try to work this thing out. That’s their whole strategy.”

He forgot to mention their “scream ZOMG SOCIALIZM!!1!!11!” strategy, but otherwise, I’d say he’s pretty much nailed it.

Like Michael Steele said, why don’t the Dems just do it without the Cons? It makes a fuck of a lot more sense than trying to do it with them.