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Napoleon, Health Care Reform, and the Gentleman from Massachusetts

(Or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Filibuster)

Apparently Republicans are sore losers.

Apparently Republicans are sore losers.

First of all, it irks me a little every time a talking head uses the phrase “health care reform”. As Americans, we have the best health care in human history, and almost all of it at even the smallest hospital or doctor’s office. It’s just that for me, and 40-odd million other Americans, actual access to that health care would result in personal bankruptcy. We don’t need health care reform. We need health insurance reform. (Well, and tort reform, but apparently that’s a pipe dream.)

The actions of the health insurance industry over the past few decades amount to profiteering at best, and collusion at worst (not that that matters, since the health insurance industry is immune to antitrust prosecution). So I, and a gazillion other people, voted in favor of a massive, sweeping change in Washington, because a year and a half ago, Democrats sure as hell were talking the talk. By god, there was going to be change. Instead we got this. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an industry that hires six lobbyists per Congressman would get a sweetheart deal. And by and large, it seems like the American people agree. While most of the individual elements of the Senate bill are supported by a majority of voters, the bill itself polls more like 22%. Americans want a reform bill – as long as it isn’t this bill.

So why are Senate Democrats so afraid of a Republican (or wishy-washy independent) filibuster? Why is the election of Scott Brown the death knell for health care legislation? Why, when the bill has been watered down to a massively expensive exercise in legislatorial masturbation, is there even an opposition left? In thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason has nothing to do with health care. Or politics, or economics, or anything really. The reason is that Democrats have no balls. You want to cement your 60-seat majority and keep the House? Then get out there and do what the American people elected you to do.

First of all, let this abominable camel of a bill die in conference. Then draft a new one, with all the trimmings: individual mandate; public option; Medicare and Medicaid expansions; employer plan portability, antitrust; death panels… er, you get the idea. Get it out of committee and onto the floor. Then let the bastards filibuster, for as long as they want. One day, three, ten, a month… no cloture, no suspension, just Republican after Republican passing out at the podium. Then have your damn vote, go home, and stump about how the big bad Republicans ground the government to a halt because they hate poor people. The ads practically write themselves. There are really only two groups who reliably vote Republican: rich white dudes; and rural “values voters”. Most of whom, coincidentally, would probably like to be able to afford a doctor for the first time in their lives.

It’s Napoleon’s Battle Plan:

  1. Show up.
  2. See what happens.

It’s high time Congressional Democrats sack up, show up, and see what happens.

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