It should be fairly obvious by now that I’m strongly in favor of healthcare reform.
Major healthcare reform.
Including a public option of some kind.
The more I learn about so-called health co-ops the less I like the idea, and the less I think they’ll do anything to help fix the current mess – and, in fact, I’m pretty sure that health co-ops will make things worse. But that’s another post, maybe tomorrow.
Today, let’s talk about the not so loyal opposition.
Let’s talk about the GOP.
It’s one thing to oppose the President and the Democrat dominated Congress out of principle, because you honestly believe you have a better solution, or because you honestly believe that the nation will end up worse off.
It’s another thing to defend the status quo because you’re in the back pocket of the insurance lobby.
And It’s another thing entirely if you’re doing it just because you’re following a bunch of idiots.
Since the election, there’s been a lot of talk inside and outside of the party regarding what, exactly, the GOP needs to do to fix itself.
The answer is simple really.
Pick better leaders.
Yesterday on MSNBC, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was asked about the various healthcare reform bills currently before Congress. Specifically, Steele was asked if he thinks there is a “death panel” provision in the bill. He responded:
“It may or may not be. I don’t know. We don’t know what the bill is.”
We don’t know what the bill is?
We don’t know what the bill is?
The head of the RNC doesn’t know what the bill is?
The head of the RNC doesn’t know the details of what is very likely to be the single most important legislation before Congress since, oh, Social Security? Since Civil Rights? The RNC Chairman, the head of a political organization that represents roughly half of this country and is the primary opposition in a debate that will, one way or the other, have a profound impact on the future of the United States, doesn’t know what the bill is? Doesn’t know something simple and basic like if there are “death panels” in it?
What. The. Fuck?
How is that even possible? How is it possible for his party to debate the Democrats if they don’t even know what the bill is? What the fuck have they been talking about? Didn’t anybody tell them that the text of the bills are online at the Library of Congress? That they’re updated daily? Jesus H. Christ, who put this idiot in charge?
See? This is why shallow fear mongering rabble rousers like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin are such a power in the party. There’s a reason why the GOP appears to be a disorganized mob pouring through the streets with torches and pitchforks.
Nature abhors a vacuum – so does the crowd. They want and need leadership – and if they can’t or don’t get it from their elected leaders, they will get it from whomever is shouting loudest. People will follow whoever sounds like they know what they’re talking about – even if they don’t. And frankly Steele sure as hell doesn’t sound much like he knows what he’s talking about. You’d think that the head of the GOP’s strategy body would be running the reform opposition command center, picking apart every detail of the reform bills. Speaking in military terms, how in the hell do you form an effective strategy if you don’t even understand the battlespace? You’d think that Steele would at least be conversant in something as basic as the thoroughly debunked death panel issue, before conducting a news interview with a major network, wouldn’t you? I’m mean it’s not like it was a surprise. ABC didn’t ambush him. It was an interview specifically about healthcare. Healthcare? Uh, what the hell, Morning Joe? I came here to talk about Britney Spears. Did you see her on David Letterman last night – her body is smoking. Wow!
There is, of course, another possibility.
The one where Steele does indeed know what he’s talking about – It is possible that he knows exactly what is in the various bills before Congress. But instead of saying so, he is deliberately fanning the flames lit by Beck and Palin and the other nuts. Because the conservatives really don’t have an argument against national healthcare reform – they just don’t want to hand Obama a victory. If this is the case, he’s still an idiot – because the end result is exactly the same – it’s called being too clever for your own good.
But I doubt that is the case. Steele isn’t clever. What you see is pretty much what you get, that’s becoming more and more obvious every day.
And that is exactly what’s wrong with the GOP.
Because it lacks strong leadership (hell, at this point I think it lacks even weak leadership, Steele isn’t leading so much as wandering around aimlessly), the not so loyal opposition is now in the hands of the insane clown posse: the Palins, the Becks, the Limbaughs, and the Coulters.
Understand something here, I think that the healthcare bill(s) should be debated. I don’t think any party or any President including this one should get their own way unfettered and unchallenged.
But when I say debated, I mean debated.
That’s not what the GOP is doing.
Instead they’re on TV “debating” ghosts, phantasms from their own nightmares. Arguing against issues that don’t even exist.
Unfortunately for all of us the mob is now aroused and this nonsense is likely to stymie any chance for real reform.
Once again we’ll end up with the insurance companies and the bean counters in charge – instead of the people we actually elected. The RNC and the GOP will pat themselves on the back and declare victory.
But in the end there will be no victors. No winners.
In this debate either we all win…
…or we all lose.
Every last one of us.
With that in mind, Conservatives, I’d think damned carefully about who you’re following.