March 22, 2010

Some Thoughts On The Passage Of The Healthcare Bill

Well, folks: we made it. We hung in there. We have been living in a totalitarian socialist dictatorship nightmare for almost twenty-four hours, now, and they haven't death-panelled us into oblivion yet.



There's already talk, of course, of Republicans trying to block the reconciliation bill, and filing lawsuits against the federal government when the mandated insurance kicks in four years from now, and sweeping to victory in the midterm elections on a wave of populist discontent, after which a repeal vote will be all but inevitable. But I don't buy any of it: blocking the reconciliation bill is numerically pretty impossible unless a Democratic bus crashes somewhere in the next day or two, and filing lawsuits isn't going to have much of an effect, even if they're successful, until years and years from now.

But mostly I don't think that, by November, there will be much of a wave of populist discontent. There's a great Simpsons quote from a few years ago, from the episode where Sideshow Bob runs for mayor of Springfield on the Republican ticket. He says: "Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king."

I think that quote is even more instructive, though, if you turn it on its head: Americans' emotional gut reactions might move them to vote Republican from time to time, but deep down they long for a socially-conscious Democrat to take what they they know is the morally right course. And while I know there are a lot of rabid anti-reform nuts out there (even if there are far fewer, I suspect, than the Republicans would have you believe), I bet that secretly a lot of them are relieved they can worry a little less about their insurance, now — and I bet a lot of them will actually be pretty resistant to a Republican midterm campaign based on the promise of allowing insurance companies to fuck you over again.

So here's hoping. In the meantime, stay away from your doctor; I hear they can only afford to operate with rusty nails, now.

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