Monday, March 22, 2010
Let's face it, what the health care reform bill vote really boils down to is this: Democrats want to help people, Republicans only care about their personal wealth and keeping their taxes low. There's no other way to explain a 100% partisan vote on the historic legislation that passed in the House Sunday night.
I'll take it even an ugly step further: it's about racism. Bigotry. Anger over welfare, which is precisely how the anti-reformists and tea baggers see the measure. It's all about ignorant middle-class whites frothing at the mouth over the belief that they'll have to pay for someone else's coverage...in particular poor minorities.
It was horrifying to witness these protesting tea bag cretins spitting at and hurling vile racial and anti-gay slurs at Reps. Barney Frank (MA), Andre Carson (IN) and John Lewis (GA) as they entered "the people's House" to cast their votes. Carson reported hearing the N-word fifteen times. How surreal it must've been for Lewis who, forty-five years ago, was beaten and bloodied as he marched for civil rights. And while prominent Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) condemned Sunday's behavior as "reprehensible," it's been precisely their propaganda and incendiary rhetoric that's fueled the "grass roots" vitriol for the past year.
The healthcare debate is a lesson in fear-mongering. Chock full of GOP scare tactics from death panels to government takeovers and socialized medicine. I'm still waiting for one of these shameless distortionists to explain how handing 32-million new customers to private insurance companies constitutes socialized medicine, or a government takeover of anything. In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the health care bill is actually pro-business. Those who stand to gain the most are the insurance companies, the pharmaceuticals, hospitals and doctors. Not exactly what you'd call a Marxist revolution.
In the wake of defeat, Boehner and Company are whining over other objections as well. They say the bill defies public opinion, and that President Obama and Democrats are arrogantly and unilaterally deciding what's best for America. But these are the same pols who cheered and rallied when former president George W. Bush proudly boasted that he governs with his conscience and not according to public opinion polls.
The Boehner crowd also decries the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation, where just 50 votes instead of the filibuster-proof 60 is needed, and how the healthcare bill will pass in the Senate this week. But it's been Republican majorities who've pushed through 16 of the 22 bills that have passed under this process. I guess reconciliation's a bitch when it's not your party doing the bomb-dropping.
There are other arguments as well, such as how the bill will lead to skyrocketing costs and massive debt. But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis made public last week concluded that the measure will actually reduce the deficit by $143-billion over 10 years. But why let facts spoil GOP opinion, right?
Look, we already have Medicare, Medicaid and government-funded health insurance for veterans. We also have government-mandated auto insurance. So there's nothing terribly ground-breaking or radical here. Which is why all the drivel about socialism and radicalism is equal parts despicable and laughable.
The message from Sunday night's vote is quite simple, and it should be aggressively and relentlessly pounded into Americans' heads at every possible turn by Obama and the party as it moves closer to November's election: "The Democratic Party once again is the party that cares about you, your children, your elderly parents, your health, your education and your overall welfare. Which is why it took 219 of us, without one single vote from Republicans, to ensure that you will never ever again have to worry about not having health insurance or being denied coverage. Americans owe Democrats a big Thank You." That's right, a big thank you. Obama and the Democrats must proudly take 100% credit for this historic piece of legislation and run with it all the way to the midterms. Let the GOP run on repealing it, as Boehner threatens. Let's see where that gets 'em.
Representing his sore-losing, crybaby party, Boehner Sunday night lamented, "The American people are angry. This body moves forward against their will. Shame on us." He's right. He and his party should be utterly ashamed of themselves for being a bunch of lying, deceiving, self-serving elitists who don't give a shit about anything but their pocketbooks. That's right John, shame on you.