David B.




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September 10, 2009

Absent an Obama Spine, Health Reform is DOA


It is seeming more and more that the health care “reform” America gets, if any at all, will be a pastiche of insurance-company-enriching, lobbyist-appeasing, pimped-out crap.


The propagandists at Fox, the corporatists at the Republican Party and the brainless sheep who disrupt town hall meetings have done their job: They have secured the profits of the insurance and health care conglomerates by laying a suffocating blanket of racism-tinged hatred and fear atop all public discussion of this most essential, most urgent of issues. In so doing, they have likely condemned tens of thousands of their fellow citizens to suffering and death.


“But wait,” you say. “The game’s not over. Obama’s giving a big speech tonight, and . . . and . . . and . . .”


Uh huh. Sure. Maybe that’ll do the trick. Maybe some well-chosen words will be enough to turn the tide for this pivotal, life-saving initiative. Or maybe Santa Claus will bring a universally acceptable, best-of-all-possible-worlds reform package when he makes his rounds this Christmas. Possible, maybe, but not very likely.


Whatever his merits, Obama has shown his Achilles heel in recent days – the same weakness that has doomed countless presidents before him: Obeiscence to public approval ratings. If there was any doubt, the abrupt exit of Van Jones in recent days has laid it to rest. Faced with a downtick in poll numbers, Obama’s instinct is to appease a fickle populace before exercising power in defense of principle. In allowing Jones to be railroaded out of his position by the slathering, pig-ignorant hordes who constitute Glenn Beck’s lynch mob, Obama telegraphed a crystal-clear message to his opposition immediately in advance of what is supposed to be the single most important speech of his presidency to date. The message: I can be manipulated. I can be handled.


That message wasn’t lost on members of the parasite party. Mere minutes before Obama’s speech was due to start, a lead story on MSNBC’s web site offered up the shrew-eyed visage of “moderate” Olympia Snowe grandly pronouncing her steadfast opposition to a public option as part of any health care reform – this after the Obama White House had spent the previous week coddling her, calling her pet names, promising her the world if she would be a good little bipartisan just this once. Her response: To thrust her dagger in at the base of the spine and enthusiastically, publicly twist it.


Ms. Snowe, you see, is a recent graduate of the Glenn Beck School of Obama Management, and she’s learned her lesson well: You can serve up the Obama White House and the Democratic Party whatever vile filth you please, and these saps will still be holding out their hands to you looking for “bipartisanship.” Graduating in the same no-class class: South Carolina’s detestable Rep. Joe Wilson, who had the temerity to shout out “lie” in the midst of Obama’s speech.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew how to give a good speech. He also knew how to put some spine and muscle behind it. With few exceptions, if FDR said it, he was going to make damned sure it got done, no matter how many political beatings he’d have to administer along the way. If the public wasn’t onside at the outset, they would be at the end: For all of its dingbat characteristics, the American public still respects steadfast adherence to principle and still admires a good leader who, when the going gets tough, will continue to lead rather than screw around attempting to establish common cause with morons.


Obama may yet surprise us all – hell, flaws notwithstanding, he still has more smarts than the entirety of the GOP congressional delegation – but if those smarts don’t lead to a spine, and to a willingness to kick some ass when the situation calls for it, health care reform is D.O.A. The nice speech makes for good window dressing. Now let’s see what – if anything – happens behind the scenes.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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