Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I’ve Waited Long Enough, Thank You

Here's one that is not a joke: the latest talking point from the Republican Party is that we’re moving too fast on healthcare reform.

Unbelievable, I know.

We see it in a lot of places, from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decrying “rush and spend Democrats,” to “centrist” Senators to, hilariously, Michael Steele cribbing from GOP strategist Alex Castellanos.

That just cracks me up. We’ve been talking about this issue since Bill Clinton was president and conservatives scuttled “Hillarycare.” That was back in 1993.

Sixteen years isn’t enough time for you folks? Let me take a wild guess: how about never? Does never work for you? Apparently Republicans are a giant FAIL when it comes to healthcare policy because the poor dears just can't figure this stuff out after a couple of decades. I mean, think about it: they had Congress and the White House for years, and healthcare reform was never important enough to warrant their attention, save a Big Pharma giveaway flawed Medicare prescription drug bill which left a giant donut hole that Obama had to plug. And now they’re telling us to slow down?

I'm starting to question their commitment to the issue. [snark]

Of course, this is just another political message they hope will stick. “Slow down, it’s too important to rush through.” Hilarious. The reality is, we’ve been talking about healthcare reform in every election for the past 15-20 years. Yes, I remember “Hillarycare.” I remember Al Gore urging support for the Patients’ Bill of Rights in his 2000 presidential campaign. I remember it being a big issue for Democratic presidential hopefuls in the 2004 campaign, while the media was trying to tell us we should care about “moral values” (and according to our glorious mainstream media, people forced to choose between healthcare and food is not a moral issue.) I remember John Edwards’ healthcare plan earning kudos from Paul Krugman during the last primary campaign.

Hell, does anyone remember Michael Dukakis’ universal healthcare bill? I think it was called “healthcare for all”:
Mr. Dukakis suffered a public setback in October when the State House of Representatives sent back to committee his proposal to provide health insurance for virtually everyone in the state. It had been billed by Mr. Dukakis and others in the state government as a potential model for the nation.

Anyone want to guess the date on that story? 1987. That was 22 years ago. To hear the Republicans talk, we should wait another 22 years before getting something done with healthcare. Anyone think we can wait 22 years?

How about the Treaty of Detroit, the 1950 agreement between the United Auto Workers and the Big Three car manufacturers:

Walter Reuther, the union’s captain, would have preferred that the government provide pensions and health care to all citizens. He urged the automakers to “go down to Washington and fight with us” for federal benefits.

But the automakers wanted no part of socialized care. They seemed not to notice, as a union expert wrote, that if Washington didn’t provide social insurance it would be “sought from employers across the collective bargaining table.”

Wow. That was nearly 60 years ago.

“Slow down” has to be the most dishonest GOP talking point since Dick Cheney simply stated there was no doubt that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. But fine, if that’s how you folks want to play it, let’s roll with it. If the GOP talking point is 60 years isn’t enough time to figure out a national healthcare policy, then clearly you people are idiots who cannot govern your way out of a paper bag.

I have just one thing to say to you folks: time to get out of the fucking way.