Posts Tagged 'Party of No'

No in spades

Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, has thrown a hissy-fit.  And found a way to apply square root to the art of saying no.

Putting a blanket hold on some seventy Obama nominations that require Senate confirmation, Dickie has added chutzpah to the arsenal of obstructionism that is the lifeblood of his party.  In contrast to the snarling, high blood pressure rantings of Senator McCain who has suddenly found reasons to oppose initiatives that he once supported, Dickie’s calm rationale for holding up the appointments of State Department, Homeland Security and Pentagon candidates boils down to one simple thing…money.

Pork to be specific.  Pork for Alabama.  Now I like Alabama as much as the next guy.  And in spite of John McCain’s current amnesia, the birthplace of the Klan, Rosa Parks, Bull Connor and George Wallace, ‘Bama deserves as much pork as they can wring out of the Federal Treasury.  It’s the American way.  And it’s my duty to make sure that everyone knows about it.

One of Dick’s concerns involves a contract for building refueling air tankers for the Air Force.  Northrup and Boeing are in competition for it.  Everyone knows that Boeing is in Washington state.  Guess where Northrup is.  Guess who’s the beneficiary of Northrup’s largess.  In the interest of full disclosure, Northrup thinks the bid process is biased toward Boeing.  Fifteen hundred jobs are at stake in Mobile and this is Dick’s single-handed attempt at forging a focused jobs bill.  Well, not quite single-handed.  Jeff Sessions, Alabama’s other white knight, also has a firm grip on things. But he’s not being a pig about it.  Jeff’s hold is only on two nominees.

To be sure that he has everyone’s attention, Dick has also reprimanded the administration about holding back money to build an FBI center– in Alabama– to analyze terrorist explosive devices.  If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place, Dick’s spokesman  Jonathan Graffeo said.  Obviously, sniffing out exploding underwear is more important than running the country’s security apparatus.

Multi-tasking is not one of Senator Shelby’s strong points.  After months of meetings with Senator Dodd in an attempt to forge a bi-partisan agreement on Financial Reforms, Dick has decided that he hasn’t the time to deal with it while he also sniffs out suspicious undies.  Bringing some order to the free-wheeling and chaotic bank activities that brought us to the brink of a second Great Depression will be on the back burner while his focus is on Jockey Shorts.

The current sticking point seems to be a proposal for a consumer protection agency.  Senator Shelby said he was not obstructing the legislation.  He said that the plan for a consumer protection agency would interfere with sound banking regulation.  I fully support enhancing both consumer protection and safety and soundness regulation,” Dick said. I will not support a bill that enhances one at the expense of the other, however, in order to strike the appropriate balance they must be integrated with each other, not separated from each other.  What?

So while the good folks in Alabama sit in Buck’s Bar, do shooters and watch Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck moan about the ineptitude of the Obama administration, high taxes and big government, they will also be cheering for their favorite Dick, more pork, and the Party of No.

It will happen

I tore myself away from Fox TV last night in order to watch Obama’s press conference.  Covered by all the other major networks, Fox decided that their viewers had heard it all, had made up their minds, and shouldn’t be confused by the facts.

So for those Fox’ers who missed it, here are the facts…

  • Life expectancy in the U.S. is no better than in industrialized countries with “socialized medicine.”  We rank 50th in the world behind such powerhouses as Liechtenstein, the Faroe Islands, and Bosnia/Herzegovina.  Albania is 51st.
  • 17% of our gross domestic product is spent on health care.  That’s $2.5 trillion.  Other industrialized countries spend about 10% of their GDP on health care. If we could knock just five percentage points off that 17%, we’d save $750 billion a year, or about what we spend on national defense.
  • We have fewer physicians per capita than most other industrialized countries. Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway all spend at least a third less of GDP on health than the U.S. yet have almost four doctors per 1,000 population. We have 2.4.
  • We have fewer hospital beds per capita than the majority of industrialized countries.  Japan has triple the beds per capita and spends half what we do.
  • If we don’t do something to control health costs, the deficit will become more unmanageable than it already is, the Chinese will call in our IOUs, and, if you have a job, you’ll earn less and be working overtime to pay your nice, fat co-payments.
  • There are some people who know all this but don’t give a damn.

The debate over what to do is overshadowed by the desire for power.  The opportunity to send Obama down in flames, leading to a Phoenix-like rise of the Party-of-No is all consuming.  But it ain’t gonna happen.

There are only two honest reasons why the Party-of-No is battling reform.  First, they want to see Obama fail…no good news is great news.   Second, they don’t want to piss off those who will gain the most from no change to the status quo…insurance companies, drug companies, and folks who make lots of money churning the system.

Will reform affect how much care I get?  Yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.  Will reform change my health status or shorten my life?  Based on the experience of other countries, no.  Then again, maybe less time spent getting poked, prodded, and institutionalized is a good thing.

Mark my words.  We will have a health care reform bill.  It may not be pretty to watch the legislative process leading to it.  It may not be everything that we need.  And it may take longer to reach Obama’s desk than I’d like.  But it will happen.  In my lifetime.

You betcha.

EOB


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