Though the Republicans’ united front against the passage of the Health Care Bill in the House Of Representatives ultimately failed anyway, there’s a part of me that wishes the 219-212 vote in favor was a little closer.
Why? Representative Louie Gohmert, from Texas’ 1st Congressional District, stated that the bill “Should not be passed by anyone unless they eat it. If they eat it, then I’m in favor of them passing it.” Did that mean he would vote for the bill if someone ate it?
Hell, I would have done that, just to make him vote for it.
But I think he was suggesting that every Democrat who chose to vote for the bill should eat it first, a feat that would likely require some health care after the fact. Let’s hope it’s covered by that federal health care program Congress has, assuming the diagnosis of pica wasn’t a pre-existing condition.
If the Democrats really wanted to make a statement, they should have stepped up and taken the offer. It may be worth it to eat a 2,700 page document just to underline the ludicrousness of hold-the-line Republican opposition to the bill.
And if all 219 representatives who voted for the bill teamed up to eat it collectively, each representative would have had to eat only 12.3 pages, which I consider to be a modest task with a pitcher of water, and the effort would be sacrifice enough if it got Gohmert to put his vote where his mouth is.
Print it on both sides of the paper, get rid of those margins and bring down the line-spacing, and we could get it down to four pieces of paper per congressman. Easy.
This could lead to something far more interesting. Let’s add a bit of reality show spice to the legislative process, something that might increase C-SPAN’s ratings when there are less monumental pieces of legislation being shoved through the sausage grinder, like recognizing the anniversary of a marine expedition or renaming a post office. Imagine if the production team from Fear Factor was brought in to encourage Democrats to vote for abortion bans by having John Boehner eat a bull penis.
That’s probably a stretch. Most Democrats would still vote down a ban on abortions even if John Boehner ate a bull penis, even though they’d love to see it.
Or what about redistricting? Would Democrats be able to further gerrymander more urban districts if they hiked through them and had to complete a series of tasks a la Die Hard With A Vengeance? Or if during key sections of judicial confirmation hearings could congressmen be voted off for asking the same unanswerable questions over and over again?
Nutty political rhetoric is endemic in democratic institutions. A particularly gutsy “founding father” said “Give me liberty or give me death,” which sounds a lot better than “You should have to eat this to vote on it.” One need only look to Britain for crazier political hyperbole on a regular basis—although they have a habit of pointing and laughing for minutes on end when a politician flubs on the floor.
But the Puritan underpinnings of American political institution traditionally forbid such outbursts, leaving television audiences to do the job for them in the privacy of their homes. That is, if we weren’t busy rooting for the next Michael Jackson on worldwide talent shows whose selection, in fact, may be more honest than the electoral process that put these blustering baboons in office in the first place.