Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

In a last minute move to scuttle “reform,” the health insurance industry had their whores at PricewaterhouseCoopers issue a spurious “report” on the likely consequences of the so-called Baucus bill, that concoction of the Senate Finance Committee which flacks for insurance profiteers mostly wrote, but in which the lobby didn’t get quite everything its paymasters wanted. This report was not just flawed, as even commentators in the corporate media and spineless Democrats made plain; it was a threat, by the insurance companies, to raise premiums if they don’t get everything they want – specifically, disabling financial sanctions against individuals who refuse to buy their offerings.

At the very least, President Obama might have seized this opportunity to come down really, not just in an “inspirational” way, for his milquetoast “public option.” Needless to say, he did nothing of the sort. Instead, he heaped praise on the Finance Committee for finally passing their awful bill; in other words, for giving away the store (albeit not quite all of it) to those who add nothing to health care, but only take away. That’s not all. The biggest heap of praise went to an asinine Senator from Maine who voted for the bill, Olympia Snowe. Because she is a Republican, Snowe is Obama’s trophy; she is what he has to show from all those months of “bipartisanship.”

What a trophy! Thanks to Obama and Baucus and the rest of them, the nation’s healthcare and therefore the health of its citizens has come to depend on the good graces of a Senator whose words of wisdom yesterday included among other gems, “my vote today is my vote today” and “when history calls, history calls.” No, she wasn’t channeling Gertrude Stein; Snowe is as tone deaf in poetry as in policy. She was threatening to change her mind in the future, depriving Obama of his “bipartisan” victory.

Why? Not, presumably, for reasons of principle, and not even to hold out for more “campaign contributions.” To observe Obama’s fave Senator in action, even just on C-Span, is to discover the answer. Olympia Snowe likes the attention and wants it to keep on coming. She may not know much, but she does know that if she had voted the Greater Evil Party’s line, she’d have immediately become yesterday’s lunch. Perhaps this is par for the course in our upper chamber. But it is manifestly sub-par how eager our President was to oblige.

I must say it again: even for those of us who never expected much of Obama, he continues to disappoint. And, as the months go by, the pace of disappointments quickens; our bipartisan President just keeps getting worse.

No comments: