Friday, October 02, 2009

Tea-bagger sturm und drang is spent

Don't look now, folks, but those who advocate real health care reform, with a public option to pin back the ears of greedy health insurance executives, are going to win the health care debate. Earlier in the week, Republicans were positively gleeful that "public option" amendments to the health care reform bill put forth by the Senate Finance Committee failed to garner enough votes to be included. But watch and see who gets the last laugh.

Since that time, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has crafted an amendment that would allow individual states the option of negotiating with insurance companies for lower rates. In effect, this is a "back-door" public option, although Senator Cantwell studiously avoided calling it such. And it did make it out of committee, albeit by a single vote.

Consider also that Senator Tom Harken (D-IA) said on September 29 that he believes there are enough votes in the Senate to pass a public option by a "comfortable" margin. Then, just yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated flatly that a public option will be in the final health care bill.

There are all kinds of procedural hurdles to overcome (including an almost certain Republican attempt to filibuster) and some tough negotiations that must occur, but when the Democrats start talking like this publicly, it is a good indication that something is afoot.

So, what about all that sturm und drang that occurred in August, when the tea-baggers were waving their moronic signs and bleating about "death panels" and "pulling the plug on Grandma?" What about all that shrill wailing about encroaching socialism? Nascent fascism?

Well, there's a Mexican proverb that sums it up nicely: Perro que ladra no muerde. "The dog that barks doesn't bite." Or, put another way, they got nothin'.

When President Obama signs a health care reform bill that includes a public option, all the Glenn Beck tea-baggers and Rush Limbaugh dittoheads and Fox News zombies will once again be reminded that, although they have a Big Voice, there really just aren't that many of them. At least when compared to the overwhelming number of doctor's unions, labor unions, and, indeed, the general public, all of which support some form of "public option" by overwhelming majorities.

You poor clown! You lose again.
The tea-baggers are about to be handed another big defeat. Add it to the ever-growing list that starts with the 2007 mid-term elections, runs through the destruction of Junior Bush's Social Security reform ponzi scheme, the slaughter of the Republicans in last year's general election, and most recently culminated in the passage of the President's stimulus package early in the year.

The Republicans, for their part, are in dire straits. The rhetoric has devolved to the point where any hint of a willingness to work with the President or the Democratic majorities evokes hysterical vitriol. And, having catered to the every whim of their "base," Republicans have alienated anyone who is not a tea-bagger.

They'll continue to scream bloody murder as we move forward. But they can't stop it. Sound and fury, signifying nothing!

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