Monday, March 22, 2010


Welcome to probably the high-water mark for Obama era legislation. Amidst the celebration, it is not too early to, in our traditionally pessimistic fashion, start assessing the "compromises" that were "required" to "pass the bill." What will an intelligent breakdown of this bill look like, one that considers both its benefits and its problems?

As I have yet to go carefully through the language of the bill, a few observations on media coverage. This vote is evidence that Team Obama has not lost a step in their masterful manipulation of the media/Republican shit-apparatuses' demonization of the Democrats. A pattern is now in place: doubts are raised whether the Dems can get it up-- and that even if they do, in going against their historic flaccidity, they'll surely suffer. The subsequent "surprise" of the enormous Dem majority actually passing legislation benefits everyone: don't fool yourself, Obama now looks Macho Man Randy Savage strong, cable news gets its artificial mini-drama, and Republican chiffoniers get their big bad n- and f-word baddies to sell to the party faithful.

What is missing is any engagement of the actual contents of health care reform that is not deranged or paranoid and sincerely looks at what is missing from a vision of total coverage. Not to mention a harder question, in some ways impossible to answer: how much closer could this bill have been to total coverage and still passed with the Obama gauntlet behind it? This, it seems to me, is the crucial piece of ideology we're getting today. With the Republican protesters saying such horrible things outside, with those irascible Blue Dogs inside, this is the best we could have gotten. Look how close the vote was! 32 million is a lot of people. Best we could have done. Hmmph.


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