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Monday, December 21, 2009

A Titan Arum By Any Other Name Will Still Smell Like A Corpse

Mission Accomplished!  Major HCR operations have ended and progressives and their allies have prevailed.

*struts around online*

Now all we have are minor operations and lots more death while corporatists get rich.  Smell that victory, netroots!

We gave the Democrats a Congressional majority in 2006.  We built on that majority, including the magical 60 votes they told us were required to get things done in the Senate, and worked our asses off to give them the White House in 2008.  So where's our dividend, or does only Wall Street get that stuff?

I'm sorry, but I will not celebrate the Senate vote taken in the the wee hours this morning.  At this point so many people are desperate to declare a win that they will accept anything so long as they can label it HCR.  You can list a lot of nice reasons to support this bill, from the children's pre-existing conditions provision to the resolution that puppies are cute and precious and ought not be boiled for dinner, but that's not HCR.

Call it Insurance Industry Regulatory Reform.  Call it the Protecting Kids and Middle-aged Americans Act.  Don't call it reform.

Let's not kid ourselves: this is playing the margins, throwing bones to a variety of groups so they'll grudgingly buy into the larger fraud.  Divide and conquer.

I understand sausage making is ugly, and that we now have the ability to pay so much attention to the daily--hourly--negotiations that we leap from outrage to outrage without sometimes seeing the larger context.  Are there no principles, then, we should stand for, no demands we must lay out that we will not back away from?

Thus far our response has been consistently to capitulate.  Single-payer was the dream in March, then that got boiled down to the public option.  Then we threw reproductive rights under the bus.  Then we lost the PO, but hey at least we got mandates to buy private insurance!

At some point you have to draw a line in the sand.  Intentionally or not, this process has appeared to come straight from Mein Kampf:

A shrewd victor will, if possible, always present his demands to the vanquished in installments. And then, with a nation that has lost its character-and this is the case of every one which voluntarily submits-he can be sure that it will not regard one more of these individual oppressions as an adequate reason for taking up arms again. The more extortions are willingly accepted in this way, the more unjustified it strikes people finally to take up the defensive against a new, apparently isolated, though constantly recurring, oppression, especially when, all in all, so much more and greater misfortune has already been borne in patient silence.

We've passively let each of these erosions to real HCR slide because at least we still have X, Y and Z.  Oh sure, there's a flurry of online petitions, phone calls, e-mails and faxes to show how angry we are, but that's not the action we need now--those are starting points and will not sway entrenched interests.

The victor is corporatism, and it has submitted, piecemeal, all the cuts that have left a bleeding corpse of a bill on the floor.  And people who would not have accepted any of this shit from Bush and the GOP during their Reich are quick to defend this bill and even question the intentions of those who oppose it.  Cognitive dissonance is indeed powerful.

I hear tell our only hope lies in reconciliation.  How passive, yet again.  We'll just wait for Congress to do the right thing, which has worked so well up to this point!

I hear tell we should accept whatever emerges because it will allows us to get a PO later on.  But if you call this HCR, how easy will it be to mobilize for HCR when we've already gotten HCR?  Especially when the insurance companies have strengthened their position and it's likely, as is usually the case in mid-terms, that the Dems' majority will weaken?

I hear tell we should support this abomination because we want children to be covered in the meantime.  I just wonder what it would look like if all those concerned with this issue rallied right now for HR676, which provides Medicare for all and moots any such regulation?

This is an economic issue at heart. So threaten the monied interests who are getting a huge Christmas present whilst we dance around for joy because of the coal in our stockings.  I've suggested some things here, and Alternet has some additional ideas.

Now is not the time to play Wait And See.  That's how we got here in the first place.  Tell the corporatists and oligarchs what we need in the only way they'll listen--they've ignored polls and our distant voices on the telephone line and Internet. 

Flex economic muscle collectively now and they'll take our threats seriously.  They'll understand that primary challenges are realistic dangers for them.  They'll understand that even after giving us these table scraps, we're coming back for the whole enchilada.  They'll understand that we are the Ultimate Sovereign, so our efforts to end the Afghanistan War will have more chance of success.

I'm not saying we've lost already, or that we will lose in the end.  I suggest that we must be proactive.  We must make Congress and Obama and the insurance companies react to us for a change.


[Update: I forgot to mention the bribes Vermonters got: googobs more Medicaid money and dollars for community health centers.  Both of those things directly help my family, since our state-provided coverage is funded in part by Medicaid and we go to one of those health centers.  That's not enough to buy my support, despite how it benefits me.]

December 21, 2009 in Why We Fight | Permalink


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Meanwhile good things are happening in the states. I am you know that there is a strong single payer movement in Vermont, so your coverage may be improved some more. Pennsylvania has a real, if slim, chance of passing a state based single payer system. California has passed single payer twice, only to be vetoed twice. So now they are attempting to get a veto proof majority.

I am just worried that somewhere, hidden in all that verbiage in the Federal HCR is a line that prohbits states from enacting their own plans.

Posted by: dcblogger | Dec 21, 2009 3:18:21 PM

d'accord. or whatever in russian is 'hell yes!"

Posted by: roger | Dec 21, 2009 9:23:20 PM

I hear tell we should support this abomination because we want children to be covered in the meantime.

NTodd is right. Making it possible for poor children to get more health care is worthless compared to destroying the private health insurance monster.

Posted by: Betsy Newmark | Dec 22, 2009 2:18:35 AM

dcblogger - Indeed, state-by-state can work, though I'd submit since this is a civil rights/social justice issue, it's more appropriate at the Federal level. And with Kucinich's amendment stripped, I do worry that the Several States will not be free to implement their own true PO or single-payer mechanisms.

Roger - I don't have a Russian keyboard installed on this laptop, but perhaps "da, konechno" is approximate!

Betsy - As a parent, I of course care not a white about children's healthcare, so I very much appreciate your strawman and false dichotomy, not to mention your failure to address my point following the one you parsed. That's the kind of honest debate devoid of vitriolic rhetoric we need to press toward meaningful reform for all Americans.

Posted by: NTodd | Dec 22, 2009 6:13:40 AM

"Happy little sausages"!

Posted by: lambert strether | Dec 26, 2009 11:52:16 AM

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