Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yeah, we noticed too

Last night I attended a health care rally at the State Capitol there were probably 250 supporters there and about twenty counter-protesters who were generally fairly well-behaved. Oh, occasionally they shouted "read the bill" which in addition to be quite ironic considering the concern they never expressed over the Patriot Act was also quite ambitious, reading.

There was one protester who held a 36x24 placard that literally had a paragraph (in all caps) written on it. I'd like to have spell-checked it, but it was lettering was too small to read what the hell he'd written. I don't mean to be overly critical there bunky, but illegible and all-caps is not a good protest strategy, though kudos for the ambition.

But the rally went on, it was a lovely evening, and it didn't last forever, so thank goodness for that.

And all this really leads up to this section in today's NY Times Editorial:

In recent weeks, it has become inescapably clear that Republicans are unlikely to vote for substantial reform this year. Many seem bent on scuttling President Obama’s signature domestic issue no matter the cost. As Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, so infamously put it: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

Superficially seductive calls to scale down the effort until the recession ends or to take time for further deliberations should be ignored. There has been more than enough debate and the recession will almost certainly be over before the major features of reform kick in several years from now. Those who fear that a trillion-dollar reform will add to the nation’s deficit burden should remember that these changes are intended to be deficit-neutral over the next decade.

Deficit-neutral, y'know unlike that ungodly piece of Medicare D prescription piece of shit the GOP shoved through the Congress in 2004.

Mr. Obama should know from sad experience the pitfalls of seeking bipartisan cooperation from a Republican Party that has sloughed off most of its moderates and is dominated by its right wing. His stimulus package was supported by no Republicans in the House and only three Republicans in the Senate, so-called moderates whose support was won by shrinking the package below the size at which it would have done the most good.

Now the same sort of damaging retreat may be happening in the Senate Finance Committee. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate have used their Democratic majorities to approve liberal health reform bills. The only bipartisan negotiations are between a rump group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee who hail from largely rural states with small populations, namely Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. Somehow this small, unrepresentative group has emerged as the focal point for bipartisan health care reform.

The six have been working hard to reach agreement, but the concessions demanded by Republicans will most likely make the reform effort weaker and smaller.

Fuck 'em, pass something that will do some good, something with a public option. Use Ted Kennedy if you want, but mostly just do what's right -- it will benefit you politically anyway.

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