Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Here it is, the Con strategy on health care reform, all nice and out in the open:

Indeed, the conservative effort to “kill” reform was clarified today by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, an architect of obstructing reform in the ’90s, who wrote that Republicans should “go for the kill”:

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats’ plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it’s not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.

My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.

Kristol asserts that “we have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way,” but Dave Weigel notes the disingenuousness of the claim, since “Republicans had, of course, plenty of time for bipartisan health reform from 2001 to 2009, but they punted, because they don’t believe that the country needs fundamental reform that covers everyone.”

Why don’t they believe we need fundamental reform? Why, because the system already provides health care for everyone:

Mitch McConnell came on Meet the Press to spew some more Frank Luntz talking points on health care reform, but when asked whether the United States actually has the “best health care in the world”, McConnell punts and retreats to the Republican mantra of more tax cuts and then adds this little gem when asked if it’s a moral issue that 47 million Americans go without health insurance:

McCONNELL: Well, they don’t go without health care. It’s not the most efficient way to provide it. As we know, the doctors in the hospitals are sworn to provide health care. We all agree it is not the most efficient way to provide health care to find somebody only in the emergency room and then pass those costs on to those who are paying for insurance. So it is important, I think, to reduce the number of uninsured. The question is, what is the best way to do that?

So in other words, Americans have access to health care because they can go get in line at the emergency room, and the hospital cannot turn them away. I’m curious if Sen. McConnell would care to opt out of his government run health care plan and take a vow only to use the emergency room when he needs to see a doctor from now on since he believes it would mean he has access to health care?

Here’s what I think: dumbfuck Senators who make dumbfuck remarks like this should have their health benefits canceled. They obviously don’t want any of that icky gubmint-run socialist health care stuff. And if they’re so positive America has the most wonderfullest health care system in the whole wide world, they can go take their chances in the private market – after having their income reduced to the median income. What could be more awesome?

You can bet McConnell and the rest of the “Waterloo” crowd will hold on to their government-run health care with both fists while trying to defeat Obama’s reform efforts, claiming all the while Americans are doing just fine. Let’s check in with their constituents and see how the status quo’s working out for them:

Meanwhile, as Jim DeMint puts party before country, the people he’s supposed to be representing are suffering.

After 25 years with the same company, Andy Stark lost his job and his health insurance.

While he found other work, it paid 30 percent less and had no benefits.

Then his wife got cancer.

Now the Simpsonville couple is struggling to pay medical bills they expect will total about $140,000.

“This is not the way things should be in America,” Andy Stark said.

The Starks lost their insurance after Andy was laid off, and they couldn’t afford COBRA premiums. That was before the cancer diagnosis. And they’re hardly alone.

In South Carolina, 670 people a week lose their health coverage, according to data from Families USA. In the decade ending in 2008, premiums soared 119 percent, increasing costs to employers and workers and adding to the spiraling cost of health care, according to the nonprofit group.

Jim DeMint’s and the GOP’s answer? Screw them. It’s all about defeating Obama.

Two can play at Waterloo. And this isn’t 1994, my friends. I do believe we can make health care reform the issue that breaks the Cons’ backs. If they want to defeat it for political purposes, well, there’s millions of people who are sick, uninsured, and bankrupted by medical bills. The Cons will own all that suffering.

So will the Blue Dogs:

Look at this man, Rep. Mike Ross, who’s proud of himself for defying President Obama and working to kill health care reform in the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up today.


Rep. Mike Ross sounds just like Senator DeMint when he says stuff like these below and wants to delay the passage of health care reform:

“I think they underestimated the Blue Dogs on this. They are dug in. They’re ‘bowed up.’ They’ve all gotten an earful back home.


“When I’m invited in to meet with the Speaker or the president,” he said, “I go into those meetings thinking that I don’t need to come around to their opinion — they need to come around.”

What about the people in Rep. Mike Ross’s district? Doesn’t he need to come around for the 21.8% of people in his district that are uninsured? That’s 500,000 constituents that he doesn’t care about when he works to weaken the House Tri-Committee bill, and doesn’t accept President Obama’s suggestion to create a MedPac panel to oversee Medicare reimbursement rates.

Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rep. Mike Ross’s district has a 75% market share–that means it has a near monopoly, and people can’t get insurance anywhere else in his district. It’s why they need the choice of a public option to help lower the costs of private insurers and helps keep them honest in that district.

Blue Dogs, mind you, who are standing athwart health care reform because they’re oh-so concerned about its cost. Blue Dogs who didn’t give two shits about costs just a short while ago:

While Cohn is clearly right about the selective concerns from McConnell and congressional Republicans, let’s also not forget that there are a handful of Democrats who have the same problem. Ben Nelson and Max Baucus, for example, both voted for Bush’s tax cuts, funding for both of the Bush-launched wars, and spending on Bush’s Medicare Part D, without so much as a hint about how to pay for them.

Now, Nelson and Baucus are suddenly deeply concerned about whether the country can really afford health care reform, and in Nelson’s case, whether Democrats should even be allowed to vote on their own reform plan in the Senate.

It’s maddening.

Yes, it is. Getting the “fiscal responsibility” lecture from Cons and Blue Dogs who spent like frat boys with their daddy’s credit card so Bush could play warrior chief is infuriating. And this is something else that should hang around their necks until it breaks their backs.

So should Bill Moyers’ lecture. He contrasted Dr. Regina Benjamin, Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, with the fat cats in the insurance industry, and it’s a devastating comparison:

Here’s the difference. To Dr. Regina Benjamin, health care is a service, helping people in need with grace and compassion. To Ed Hanway and his highly paid friends, it’s big business, a commodity to be sold to those who can afford it. And woe to anyone who gets between them and the profits they reap from sick people.

That behavior includes spending nearly a million and a half a day–a day!–to make sure health care reform comes out their way. Over the years they’ve lavished millions on the politicians who are writing and voting on the bills coming out of committee. Now it’s payback time. See for yourself here on our website, where you’ll find a link to campaign contributions and the politicians who right now are deciding who wins and who loses the heath care debate.

The pols who are working for the insurance industry rather than patients and doctors need to have their jobs voted right from under them. Remember them, when Election Day rolls around.

And now, on a lighter note, assclowns.

Michael Steele at the National Press Club:

When stumped with numerous health care policy questions, Steele said, “I don’t do policy,” acknowledging that he’s paying attention to his internal RNC polling to craft his political message. Moments later, Steele said he’s “not concerned” about the politics of health care.

Jonah Goldberg living in the past:

Over at “The Corner,” Jonah Goldberg highlights this 1961 clip from Ronald Reagan, criticizing Medicare. Goldberg said Reagan’s criticism of the landmark health care program is, nearly a half-century later, “still fresh today.”


According to Reagan, Medicare would lead federal officials to dictate where physicians could practice medicine, and open the door to government control over where Americans were allowed to live. In fact, Reagan warned that if Medicare became law, there was a real possibility that the federal government would control where Americans go and what they do for a living.

In a line that may sound familiar to Sarah Palin fans, Reagan added, “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”


Reagan’s misguided diatribe from 48 years ago also serves as a reminder that we hear the same arguments from conservatives, over and over again, every time real reform is on the table. Republicans, Fox News, and Limbaugh, for example, reflexively shout “socialized medicine” whenever the issue comes up — just as the right has done for 75 years.

Time to tune them out and get the job done.

Happy Hour Discurso