Ahoy hoy, mateys. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately, I’ve been swinging my hammer – and not the one between my legs. The new house was a bit of a fixer-upper coming in and I’ve been stimulating the local plumbers, electricians, HVAC techs, foundation repair moles, and Lowe’s. There’s never enough time or money. I need to stop being a sucker and cash in on some Stimubucks and Envirodollars. Might as well, since I’m paying for it anyway. Anyone know which agency would that be under? Commerce? HUD? Energy? EPA? I would like a new dishwasher and frige.
Then my little dog went into heat so I took her to be spayed. No worries there until she destroyed her second lampshade collar and pulled her sutures. I Smokey and the Bandit her halfway across Dallas to my vet before they close so they can staple her back up and get two more lampshades. I shored them up with some staples and aluminum scrap, but a week later I’m buying the last two lampshades they’ve got left.
Titanium E-collars for very active dogs. There’s a shovel-ready project whose time has come since I’ve still got to get her damn eyes done. Maybe kevlar. Or some sort of nanofabric. Hell, I’ll tie the whole thing to reducing petro-chemical consumption, global warming and hormone disruptors. It just reeks of federal subsidies. Hands off that idea, it’s all mine.
Of course I’ve been watching in horrified bemusement as Congress has desperately scurried to throw together something, anything that can be referred to as Health Care Reform. Horrified because with a couple of squishy R’s in the Senate there’s no practical reason why some version of this monstrosity wouldn’t pass and be signed into law. Yet bemused as the leadership triumvirate of Obama, Pelosi and Reid have managed the process about as effectively as…
The following story is true. I was with a buddy watching some sporting event or another and at halftime or intermission or whatever we decide to flip over to the WNBA All-Star Game. Now I’m not a huge basketball fan anyway, and a women’s basketball fan even less, but this is the friggin’ All Star Game, right? The best they’ve got to offer in a defense-free setting.
The kind of 186-179 affair I watched Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas headline back when I was knee-high to a Neo-Conservative.
On cue here comes a three-on-one fastbreak. A couple of nifty passes, a clear path to the basket, and multi-colored ball stuck between the rim and backboard. I struggled to breathe, helpless, shrieking with laughter as successive players were unable jump up and dislodge the ball. A man in coveralls wearily trudged out with a broom and pried it loose.
Here’s where you’re gonna start thinking this is hyperbole.
The other team inbounds the ball, brings it up the court, works it around and down inside where the center put it up off the bottom of the iron and snatches the rebound. Then dribbles it off her foot out of bounds. Other team inbounds it quickly and pushes up the floor. The defense sucks inside and the guard kicks out for a wide open three.
Airball? I wish. The ball was stuck back between the rim and backboard exactly where it had been just thirty seconds before.
That’s what it’s like. We were told this is the best they’ve got. Barack’s temperament and intellect. Nancy’s grandma voice (and 70+ seat edge). Harry’s…60-40 seat edge. The Three Horsemen of the Apothecary come to bestow health reform upon us. The Republicans have only a shadow of a defense against this abomination but there’s Harry repeatedly wedging the ball between the rim and blackboard. A weary Barack dislodges the jammed debate and Harry throws up another clunker.
It would be to laugh if the ball they’re dribbling around weren’t a huge chumk of our economy, freedom, and well being. As polls turn further and further against so-called reform the fight will get uglier and uglier. I don’t remember who won that WNBA game we briefly watched, but there was a winner. Until the two-thousand-plus page monstrosity floated by Reid and Co. is dead and buried there’s still that remote chance a desperation heave at the buzzer could sink us all.
It’s all quite vexing. Bastogne 1944 for Republicans in the Senate (there’s your hyperbole) waiting for the 2010 midterms to relieve them. Playing out the clock. A depressing strategy, but necessary given the manpower disadvantage under which they’re working. Like NC State against Phi Slamma Jamma in ’83 to keep the basketball metaphor (or simile) going.
But more like the Washington Generals paying a shirts-on-skins game.
A great, possibly fictional man, once said “The buck stops here.” Whether through force of temperament or power of intellect Obama has chosen to pass that buck to Congress. Our biggest saving grace if we dodge this bullet anointed reform is the idyllic Czar of the Teleprompter himself. It could have been easy. He could have reached across the aisle and worked out a bi-partisan compromise – at least enough to peel off a couple of R’s. But no, he wanted the big enchilada, Republicans be damned. So he outsourced it to uber-partisans Reid and Pelosi.
If a bill does get passed and he signs it he’ll end up breaking just about campaign promise he made. Raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year? Check. Won’t lose your coverage if you like it? Check? Tax on health benefits? Check. All wrapped up in a time-released package that won’t really explode until four years down the road when the spending mandates kick-in.
Assuming it dies, and God help us it will, the credit must go to Obama himself. As horrible as the sausage making of legislation has been it’s his muddle-headed efforts to sell his vision to a public that generally approves of some theoretical health care reform. Worse yet for Obama, the public has no desire to see his vision of top-down control and mandates imposed through taxes that he doesn’t really consider to be taxes because they’re actually called fees if anyone ever takes the time to actually read all ten million pages.
Let’s win one for the Gypper.