A few things up front here: The Senate health care reform bill, as it stands, is not a good bill. The House bill is significantly better in actually achieving, you know, reform of health care. Most Democrats know that. The Senate bill exists in its current form only because of the hope of appeasing conservative Democrats and compromising with Republicans. Everyone in Congress knows that. The Republicans just pretend like they don't. A truly progressive bill is far, far closer to the House than the Senate. Yet many progressives are willing to vote for the Senate version because something has to happen in health care. Are you gonna give up on banning pre-existing conditions? Or dropping coverage? Ask every old time Fuller Brush salesman: You have to get your foot in the door before you can make the final sale.
Also, everyone knew that, ultimately, yesterday's Health Care Summit o' the Good Ship "Bipartisan" was going to fail to do anything. That wasn't the point of the exercise. No, the reason why Democrats and Republicans sat down at the Blair House was so that, at the end of the day, Republicans could not say that they didn't make their case. And if they do (as in complaining about how much President Obama talked), well, there's a few hours of video that prove the opposite.
What Obama did yesterday will either go down as the naive last gasps of hope and change on health care reform or as a stroke of genius, providing cover for Democrats and resuscitating an effort that will progress from the degraded baseline of the current bill. With what seems to be honest-to-Christ momentum towards reconciliation, the Rude Pundit believes the latter. He thinks that Barack Obama calmly, gently, even, fucked the Republicans in the ass yesterday, his well-lubed thrusts just enough to make them comfortable until the very end.
You have heard or will hear from yer awesome CNNMSNBCFox talking heads spewing forth about about Republicans having done well or Democrats having fucked it up. On Morning Starbucks with Joe today, Mark Halperin helpfully offered that the nigger was being uppity when Obama referred to the members of Congress by their first names. Halperin fanned himself frantically and said that Obama was being "disrespectful" and almost "bullying" towards a group of politicians who at various times have accused him of being an evil socialist and trying to destroy the nation by killing old people. Halperin, though, generally has sand in his vagina. Who wants to be the first to show a meeting where Bush did the same thing with no complaints from Mark Halperin?
You may see again and again the clip where Obama and the increasingly creepy John McCain got into it. Or how Obama smacked the fuck out of John Boehner. Or how Obama shut down Eric Kantor. Or how strangely rational Tom Coburn sounded, as the Rude Pundit noted yesterday. But what actually happened yesterday was that Obama kept highlighting how obsessed the Republicans were with process, with whether or not something passes through reconciliation, with the repetition of "start over," although they never really said what starting over would look like. They talked procedure and price. Meanwhile, the Democrats kept bringing it all back to flesh and blood, to stories of people dicked over by insurance companies, people who have no insurance, on and on with endless tales of suffering wrought by the injustice of there being haves and have-nots in this country when it comes to getting dentures or having surgery on a baby. It wasn't showy. It was even really boring at times since both sides stuck to well-worn talking points.
No, it's not a good bill. But it's a bill that will help many, many people. That's the bottom line. It will make insurance companies richer. It will please lobbyists and donors. But it will also help millions of people. That's the fucking trade-off. And the subconsciously subversive part of it is that, in a few years, it will show how ridiculous it is to not have nationalized health care (which is one reason the Rude Pundit thinks that some Republicans oppose it).
Back to the summit: Republicans may not have noticed how well they were being fucked until the end. That's when Obama told them, more or less, "I'm fucking you right now" and thrust his dick in hard. After having offered them every opportunity to say they agree with him on something, Republicans remained recalcitrant. So Obama said, "I've put on the table now some things that I didn't come in here saying I supported, but that I was willing to work with potential Republican sponsors on. I'd like the Republicans to do a little soul searching and find out are there some things that you'd be willing to embrace that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health insurance and dealing seriously with the preexisting condition issue." Of course, Republicans "soul searching" presupposes quite a bit.
That was the tease around the sphincter. It continued, "And the truth of the matter is, is that, politically speaking, there may not be any reason for Republicans to want to do anything. I mean, we can debate what our various constituencies think. I know that -- I don't need a poll to know that most of Republican voters are opposed to this bill and might be opposed to the kind of compromise we could craft. So it would be very hard for you politically to do this." Yeah, it's like they thought they'd get away with just the head.
But then, Obama concluded, "So the question that I'm going to ask myself and I ask of all of you is, is there enough serious effort that in a month's time or a few weeks' time or six weeks' time, we could actually resolve something. And if we can't, then I think we've got to go ahead and make some decisions and then that's what elections are for. We have honest disagreements about the vision for the country and we'll go ahead and test those out over the next several months till November."
That was the final, full-shaft fucking. The President called out the Republicans on their greatest hope, that the failure of health care reform will end the Democratic majority in Congress. Obama told them to bring it. And, most frighteningly for them, he fucked them calmly, like he knows he's right.
Of course, nothing is done until Democrats in Congress actually prove they're not willing to be the bitches of the minority. But, at least for that moment, the President showed who could do the fucking, too.