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Tilting At Windmills

I don’t know why I’m shocked by this, but the GOP is inexplicably trying to double down on health insurance reform by promising to repeal it. They have become Don Quixote.

There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that they’re going to be able to touch this bill for a myriad of different reasons.

First off, they’re going to get hammered if they try to run against this in November. By then, all of those elderly, overweight protesters that demanded that the government “keeps their hands off my medicare” will have evaporated. Why? Because all of those people will have avoided the medicare prescription donut hole that they’ve been grappling with for several years now. Every senior in America will be opposed to any candidate that runs on repealing this bill. Parents of college students are also off the table since their kids will have been on their insurance plan for several months by the time November comes around. If losing all of those votes isn’t bad enough, republicans are going to have some issues with their pharmaceutical and insurance company contributors. Those industries will never allow the huge gift that is this bill to disappear. If you think that United Health Care is going to walk away from 32 million new customers, you’re out of your fucking mind. They’re really going to have to make some appalling deals with these companies that will undoubtedly screw Americans more than the current bill does.

Republicans will be getting it from all sides if they keep going down this road. They lost and they have nothing to gain by revisiting this loss in perpetuity over the next seven months.

And then there’s the ridiculous state attorneys general that are trying to sue, claiming this bill is unconstitutional. They may not be aware of this, but our current president is a former constitutional law professor. I can understand how they may have gotten used to having a dumb president that doesn’t know anything, but that’s not what they’re dealing with anymore. Thirteen states have already filed suits claiming this bill is unconstitutional. See the story here. Let’s examine this list closely.

Florida   $1.02
South Carolina   $1.38
Nebraska   $1.07
Utah   $1.14
Louisiana   $1.45
Alabama   $1.71
Pennsylvania   $1.06
Idaho   $1.28
South Dakota   $1.49
Colorado   $0.79
Michigan   $0.85
Texas   $0.94
Washington   $0.88

Those numbers I have next to each state represents how much money those states get back from the federal government for every dollar they contribute. Only four out of the thirteen are known as “donor states”, meaning that they pay more in federal taxes than they receive. The other nine states receive more federal funding than they contribute. Not coincidentally, the states that receive more federal dollars than they contribute are very poor states that will benefit most from the medicaid expansion in this bill. These attorneys general are willing to screw their own constituents for what they perceive to be political gain. These guys are going to get SLAUGHTERED in the next election if their democratic opponent spells out what they’re doing.

This strategy is a total disaster for the GOP. More importantly, it’s a disaster for the American people since republicans are obviously going to continue to play politics rather than to govern.

PLEASE, GOP stop tilting at windmills and start getting involved in the legislative process! America can’t be ruled by one party!

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Got Hope?

No, I’m not referring to the health insurance reform bill that passed last night. I do have to say, as an aside, that I didn’t appreciate being put in the uncomfortable position of being glued to C-SPAN for 10 hours, rooting for a shitty bill to pass because the alternative is much shittier.

I’m hopeful because of this.

I’m hopeful because David Frum and I don’t have much in common and yet, I find myself agreeing with everything that he said. Not most of what he said, but ALL of what he said. He’s exactly right. Republicans should have participated in the crafting of this legislation. Health insurance reform was a forgone conclusion, given the huge majority that democrats have in the house and senate. In the seven months between now and the midterm elections, republicans will have lost the vote of every senior that WON’T hit the prescription donut hole this year (that would be all of them). They will have lost the vote of every parent of a college student who, thanks to this legislation, will now have that child on their insurance plan. That’s a lot of votes to walk away from.

The republicans lost far more than they gained last night. They cemented the batshit crazy base that weren’t big enough to stop landslide victories for democrats in the last 2 elections. Good for you, Boehner! Your crazy base can now guzzle down the lithium they so badly need without fear of hitting the donut hole, so that they can live to fight another day to keep you in the minority.

Let me take a moment to go off on Boehner. Did you see him last night? He came off as the raving lunatic that he is. He was drunk, angry, and almost incoherent. America doesn’t relate to angry white (okay, burnt sienna) middle aged men anymore. He fundamentally believes that democrats have NO right to be involved in the legislative process. His disdain for democrats is irrational and impossible for most people to relate to. He and Mitch McConnell are both arrogant pieces of shit that have displayed nothing short of contempt for Americans, who voted overwhelmingly for democrats. When they talk about what the American people want, they’re forgetting the fact that they represent the MINORITY of Americans that voted for them. Hey Boehner, there’s a reminder right there in your title; house MINORITY leader! You bow down to Nancy Pelosi because WE THE PEOPLE say that you do. You would do well to remember that.

But getting back to Frum’s point, I wish that republicans had actively participated in the crafting of this bill. Look, if I had my way, we would have a system that allows every American to buy into medicare. Don’t go ape shit republicans, I said BUY IN meaning that I pay for my share of the premium cost of participating in medicare. I’m not so big on welfare programs that aren’t necessary. And as hard as I work to craft opinions that result from careful analysis of the facts, I’m acutely aware that as a human being, I am susceptible to ideologically driven tunnel vision. That’s why I need a rational opposition party to come at me from a different ideological perspective.

What we got last night wasn’t a liberal bill. It was an ideologically devoid bow to corporate America. This was SUCH a cave in to the insurance companies, that it makes a single payer system within the next 15 – 20 years a forgone conclusion. Health care costs will reach 19% – 20% of our GDP before these exchanges kick in four years from now because the insurance companies have four more virtually unregulated years to go to town on your premiums.

The biggest problem that we face in American politics today is that every single politician, regardless of party affiliation is working not for their constituents, but for the corporate interests that finance their campaigns. That being said, we were never going to get a good reform bill. But I would like to have seen republicans participate in the crafting of the final legislation.

We’re basically fucked until we start fighting for publicly funded campaigns. We’re doubly fucked in the interim, with one party completely removing itself from the legislative process. As it stands now, republicans are hoping to get elected by decimating the political process so that democrats seem less appealing than republicans do. I want a party that actively works at being a better choice. Don’t you?

I’m hopeful because one republican is starting to get it. I know that one isn’t much, but I’m a sunny optimist. I hope that one will turn into 20 million.

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