Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's not reform if nothing changes

We're not rushing to hop on the Obama "bashwagon" (new copyrighted term here at Highpocrisy HQ). We also think Howard Fineman is too much of an insider to provide new and useful insight. But he has a take on the current health care debate, here. Money quote to us: "...there are no moderates left in the GOP. Only conservatives who want to deny Obama success or legitimacy. They'll oppose anything he proposes and call it principle." Fineman does mention that Obama might have been too naive to think he could achieve bi-partisanship on this issue.

We might extend that claim to any of his big-ticket issues. We've said before how hard it is for the powerful to relinquish control and power to another. Especially, THE "other". But part of the problem at least for me, is that I wanted to believe Obama was more progressive. Basketball may have been his sport on the campaign trail, but since he took that oath, he seems to have run to the center faster than Usain Bolt. Or did he? Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow said on Real Time a couple weeks ago that she always thought Obama was a moderate. I didn't want to accept that. But Obama has not pushed for any war crimes investigations yet. He lost control of the debate on his own top priority of health care reform. His economic plans have been too timid for the likes of Paul Krugman. And yet, he's still the President! He's the smartest guy in the room, with a pit bull for a Chief of Staff (sans lipstick). I'm just not getting why Obama can't see what's needed here!?! What is the game plan? If he can't win this one, what can he win? It's still way too early in the game, but I really wish he'd take advice from a source in none other than his own hometown of Chicago, courtesy of Sean Connery's Jim Malone in The Untouchables (poetic license taken):

"You wanna know how to get [health care reform]? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. THAT's the *Chicago* way! And that's how you get [health care reform]..." Given the current climate, this could not be more apt. OK, Mr. President, now what are you prepared to do?

supplemental: J and I make a couple of extra points in comments, but keep reading Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. Obama began the whole reform process without his A game, i.e., the single-payer alternative. Never even made it into the gym. If he were really cocky enough to think he could push through the Plan B "public option" (or worse, take credit for any reform that passed), I could at least respect the effort, but still hate the result. We both sure "hope" he hasn't checked his senses at the door to 1600 Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Go see Bill

But first, read Paul Krugman in yesterday's NYT op-ed. J provides his own take thusly: "Wonder how those people opposed to Obama's health care reform would react to the idea that they are in the same group of people that are part of the 'birthers' movement? Or, how these same people might react to the idea that they have aligned themselves with a cadre of race-baiting wing-nuts? What a country!"

Well, here's an answer or two, courtesy of Rollah and Bill Maher: the health care debate can't just be labeled as Obama's plan. For one thing, there is no alternative. It's either fix what's broken, or we continue to decline as a country that does not care about the health of its citizens. Forget stupid-ass party affiliation also. Republicans are most likely to play the fear card, but congressional Dems have not exactly been on the path of the virtuous. No, the larger problem is as Bill Maher described it on his show last week. "Dummies talking to other dummies." Bill's been on fire this Summer; we strongly encourage you to watch, or read up via the internets: http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/new_rules/index.html

This country continues to be run by corporatists (read, older rich white guys), not the will of the people. They are the ones who are most afraid, of losing control and power. They turn that fear over to their constituents, however they can. [Two asides: (1) read Matt Taibbi's long article on Goldman Sachs in last month's Rolling Stone, that's some scary sh^&; and, (2) re Judge Sotomayor's confirmation: old, rich white guys can never claim reverse racism. They have always been the oppressor, never the victim. Ok, (3) add in Jeremy Scahill's account of Blackwater]

You can see where we're headed. As long as greed and selfishness prevail, this place will continue to tank. And the scariest part? Obama could ram anything he wants down Congress' throat. He's that smart, and they're that lame. But if it's not in him to get mean, get nasty, if he stays true to himself and always plays the nice guy, the bipartisan, touchy-feely, Mr. Kumbaya? Then we're all screwed; our kids, their kids, the planet. If you've never seen the movie, Wall-E, go rent it. That's not 700 years down the road if things don't turn around! That's a short trip down I-5 to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland all in 1 stop.