Fourth Rail of American Politics Goes Nuclear
At the risk of continuing to make Glenn Beck weep like a schoolgirl or cause Chris Matthews further senseless hemorrhaging, it is important that this space reiterate its apathy when it comes to either the overhaul of the nation’s convoluted sinkhole of a healthcare system or the ignoring of it. As a lifetime freelancer and mainline grifter, my irresponsible stagger through life has provided little in the way of “outside” financial assistance, beyond blood, sweat and swindle. At some point in the early-‘90s the idea of universal health provisions by the federal government was intriguing, and then the president let his ego-mad spouse peddle a hair-brained scheme into congress and the jig was up. Since, the subject has resonated only slightly beyond an abject hatred of all insurance companies and the usual shameless snake oil nonsense that passes for the pharmaceutical cabal.
Chances are, as predicted here for more than a decade, nothing this massive will survive The Process, and if it did, it would barely resemble anything close to an “overhaul” dreamed of in the most government-bloating wet dreams of Nancy Pelosi or the darkest night sweats of Newt Gingrich. Dilution of bills on Capitol Hill is as American as free land grabs and insider trading. It is where good, bold or even ridiculous ideas go to be gutted, pecked at, and drained of its spirit.
Take for instance the ambitious and dreaded Cap & Trade American Clean Energy & Security Act, a fairly motivated if not sketchy attempt to extricate this nation from its insatiable gluttony. However, the thing was so immense and incoherent by the House vote it was easily yanked apart and shredded by the Senate to the point that if it takes any steps toward resembling an actual clean energy edict it would qualify at the Vatican as a Living Miracle. Even the gruesome monstrosity it has now become could hardly be considered a shoo-in for law. At best, it will end up a sad, tired shell of its former mission, accomplishing only a forum for recycled rhetoric beneath the shadowy mist of fantasy.
This brings us to the decades old debate about the United States Healthcare System, which by the most liberal standards of Webster’s definition of System, is laughable.
Most of what is happening now in the realm of Healthcare Reform is simply about politics. The Republicans, whipped and irrelevant for nearly two years now, have found a soapbox in which to rail and for a Democratic majority jacked on the fumes of victory and mandate with a still wildly popular executive, it’s bonkers time. The president, who has broken all records for media appearances, town hall meetings and press conferences, is out front for his first-year push. This, as is political wrangling over the issue, is nothing new. The last president spent his first six months pushing his tax cuts across the country to try and steal the day before a Republican-controlled Congress went to sleep, and thus so is the new one on Healthcare.
Baby Bush banked his presidency on tax cuts, and if not for what was to come in September of that fateful year of our Lord 2001, historians may have been privy to its ultimate results on what was then a significant surplus, but that presidency and its fallout was determined by the events of 9/11, and for he and the Republicans, it turned out expediency was indeed the ticket.
So there is no point wondering why Joe Cool was on the air again holding his near-weekly press briefing to quell fears and squash rumors of Socialism, Bureaucracy and dismembered babies crying in vain for their wounded mothers to provide solace beneath a cold and indifferent government clusterfuck, as it is pointless in defining his de facto deadlines. Unfortunately for him, this was insufficient for Lefties who wished for His Excellency to bring the funk and spine-chilling sermons on Hope Mach II and it damn sure didn’t placate an already feed-frenzied Right, which provides lip service to wanting to “reform” The System while banking on an early burial of the current administration.
And this is a good thing for democracy as we know and love it. The Loyal Opposition hitting and running with TV ads and radio talk show geeks and RNC chairmen shouting Armageddon, while the bleeding hearts of urban plight wax poetic about morality and rising costs and bankrupting the middle class. None of it is close to being true or even having a shot at ultimately affecting anyone. This is tantamount to the same hue and cry when the government votes to spy on its citizens. Honestly, did this curtail your drug deals or sex chats or put your incessant cell phone yammering and texting lunacy on hold? Nope. And neither shall whatever piddling nonsense congress and the president whip up put you on the street bleeding to death while illegal immigrants get free foot massages.
What is fairly amusing however is this half-cocked notion out of the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, which has now gotten into the business of regulating human behavior by trying to ramrod into this sieve of a bill weirdly phrased shit about obesity and smoking. Nice try. Lord knows we’re fat and drugged up beyond recognition, but hell, it’s our choice—it’s the way God wanted it; Free Will. And while it is highly unlikely this or any other government in our lifetime will do anything about the state of providing, regulating or overhauling our dysfunctional Healthcare System from Medicare to Medicaid and beyond, there is absolutely no chance of saving us from ourselves.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus, and Midnight For Cinderella. Archives of Reality Check are available at jamescampion.com.