Tuesday :: Feb 9, 2010

Summits are for Snow


by paradox

The White House, for reasons that were probably kept murky on purpose, announced on Super Bowl Sunday a mighty great healthcare summit would take place in two weeks so the Republicans could “air their differences” or compare Viagra doses. Or something. How a “summit” was supposed to provide a platform for healthcare debate when houses of Congress were built precisely for that, indeed had functioned with horrible clankiness to produce such a mortifyingly ugly process all last year, well, no one was clear at all, the triumvirate of Drum, Yglesias and Benen O-bots completely silent on the matter.

Eventually Congressional Republicans smelled a rat, rightly so, and began heaving buckets of cold water on the idea last night. They’d already inflicted enormous damage to the healthcare legislation process, a “summit” only gave the President a chance to sneakily corner them with some of their laughable and offensive political principles.

Pass the damn bill! is actually graphic at Kevin Drum’s place, surprising in its intensity for a writer who likes to project calm objectivity. Kevin has his list of accomplishments in the bill and like a lot of these lists it irritates me with its tricks, are mandates forcing people to buy insurance really being sold as Insurers have to take all comers. They can't turn you down for a preexisting condition or cut you off after you get sick or lose your job? That’s a nice little story weave of left-out details, seems to me.

Be that as it may Kevin’s list still has merit, as always leaving me ambivalent about the passage of healthcare “reform” at this time. On one side is the grossly humiliating and mortifying beyond measure the healthcare legislation process has been to the Democratic brand, we idiotically started off compromises with ourselves (assholes called it a childish reach for perfection) by losing single payer, then the public option, only finally to be taxed for our own plans, our Congressional weaknesses brutally scrubbed into our faces.

Throw in a few infuriating Billy Tauzin broken promises and I could see the whole thing drown, it’s been so ugly, but our people badly need the win, as Kevin says, and although no one knows what would happen with failure all agree whatever form it would take would be very bad.

Everyone dies, a ridiculous bit of hyperbole from Ezra Klein on the prospects of healthcare legislation failure, but still, he’s correct the consequences would be ultimately dire for many Democrats, maybe even Obama (I doubt it). We really don’t want to hand the Republicans such a huge political win, that truly would be disastrous for the Republic, so somehow, someday, healthcare should pass.

Two facets of this endless little summit ploy need mention before the healthcare nightmare ends, if it ever does. The first is the baffling Obama obtuseness in refusing to see the urgent need to wrap this the fuck up right away, the Party has already been humiliated and weakened, and besides it’s not a done deal in any sense, every day of delay increases the odds of failure, hence the bellicose pass the damn bill! from the normally placid Kevin Drum. The Obama administration should not be fooling with the clock in any sense, it’s disturbing to see them encourage the nightmare with a summit.

Aside from absent plain political smarts the move bespeaks a smarmy, blithe acceptance of things being just fine, baby, games are good with us with so many out of work. Are children dying from malnutrition and lack of care? Call a summit. Do our people desperately need dignity and trains to take to a job? Go to war ever more boldly in Afghanistan.

Summits are for snow. Presidents are for leadership. Let’s hope the Obama Administration gets with the show as soon as possible on both.

paradox :: 9:24 AM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!