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Call the Ceasefire October 29, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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public option

I promise I’m not being a dickish liberal when I say to the Republicans, it’s time you either show us your health care reform plan, or you concede that you really have no interest in fixing the system.

I’ve long suspected that the only reason the GOP is even paying lip service to the idea of reform is because A) a majority of the American people wants it, and B) they know Obama’s pushing for it, and they can’t reasonably oppose the Dems’ plan without at least pretending to have an alternative.  Unfortunately for the Republicans, it’s getting close to put-up-or-shut-up time.  Now that the House Democrats have unveiled their bill, the onus is on the Republicans to demonstrate that all this resistance they’ve been showing is because they have a far superior plan in their arsenal.

Of course, they don’t.  Der.

Today, Republican tool extraordinaire John Boehner finally admits the GOP doesn’t have a plan:

QUESTION: Is it your plan to have one Republican alternative that you all would get behind and endorse?

BOHNER: We have a number of ideas that we would like to proffer in this process, and we’re not quite sure how the majority intends to proceed. And so until we understand how they intend to proceed, it’s pretty difficult for us to have a solid plan.

So, in other words, the Republicans have no ideas.  None.  Zero.  Because if they had a great plan – a plan that was so much better than the Democratic one they’ve been lambasting for freaking months – surely they would have put it together by now, right?  I mean, can you imagine a better time to unveil their bulletproof plan than the very same day the Democrats unveil theirs?

What a coupe de grace that would be for Boehner!  Nancy Pelosi wheels her rickety old bones up the Capitol steps, delivers her little speech presenting her party’s dopey plan, and then, moments later, Boehner springs into action in a cloud of spray tan and Brylcreem, upstaging her with the Republican plan that fixes everything!  All that talk of Kanye upstaging Taylor Swift would be forgotten in an instant because this – this! – would become the archetype generations would call on when they heard the word upstage.

But did the GOP do this?  Nope.  Not even close.  The preface to that empty-headed little quote just above was a reporter asking Boehner if the Republicans would post their plan online for 72 hours, especially since they had excoriated the Democrats for months about their “secret meetings.”  Here’s the exchange (and please note Boehner’s eloquence and specificity):

QUESTION: Will the Republicans put their alternative online for 72 hours as well?

BOEHNER: Uh, we’ll uh, we’ll have our ideas ready. Don’t worry.

So, to sum up the Republicans’ current position on health care:

  • We hate the Democrats’ plan.
  • All those people who currently can’t afford health care will now have to wait in long lines for health care, and lines are unAmerican!
  • It’s evil incarnate.
  • It will kill grandmothers throughout this great country, robbing them of their ability to enjoy baseball and apple pie.
  • It’s socialism the likes of which we haven’t seen Hitler’s Germany.
  • (Psst!  It will kill your grandmother!)
  • Spending money for health care = bad; spending money to kill brown people = good.
  • We don’t have a bill of our own.
  • But we still hate the Democrats’ plan.

Look, I don’t even think the Democrats’ plan (at least what I’ve read so far) is all that great.  It looks to me like a neutered, ineffectual wisp of a plan that accurately reflects all the bullshit compromises the Dems have made every step of the way.  I don’t for a second begrudge the Republicans their right to oppose the Democrats’ plan.  It would be foolish and naive to expect them to agree with it.

My problem, though, is that you can’t say you support health care reform and then do nothing to back up that statement.  We hear all this blah blah blah about tort reform and cutting overhead and whatever other ideas they have that supposedly help the consumer but which actually help the insurance companies, and I’d probably hate that plan more than the Democrats’, but at least it would be something concrete.  It strikes me that it’s hard to craft a bipartisan plan when one of the parties won’t even bring any ideas to the table.  And, in a way, it’s foolish of the Republicans not to strike when the iron is so clearly hot.  The Democrats now supersede the amoeba in lack of backbone, so for the Republicans not to approach the issue with a solid plan chock full o’ specifics seems to be silliness of the highest order.  The Democrats have proven themselves willing to roll over for just about anything in recent months, so why aren’t these supposedly opportunistic Republicans taking advantage?

The point I’m making here is that substantial health care reform in this country is doomed.  Neither side takes it seriously enough to actually do anything about it.  The Democrats will waste their 60 seats, the Republicans will bitch and whine their way to a significant number of 2010 election wins, and three years from now we’ll be back where we started.  And we’ll have no one to blame for it but ourselves.  A selfish, ignorant populace begets a selfish, ignorant Congress.

The old adage that every country gets the government it deserves has rarely been truer than it is today.

*****

Current listening:

Bruce greetings

Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

Stephanie Dickinson – “A Lynching in Stereoscope” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

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