Ah, early November—the season when America waits for things. Fall is crappy and wet, but winter—like a father glaring at you over the back of his hand—has yet to unleash his fury upon us. Baseball season is over, but binge-eating-and-gift-giving season has yet to begin. This time last year, we were waiting for our newly elected President to replace the semi-retarded cowboy who had taken over the White House. Now, we’re waiting for aforesaid President to make good on one of his biggest campaign promises, despite the strenuous opposition of a whole nation of semi-retarded cowboys. And tomorrow night is Fedor vs. Rogers, which, if you don’t know what that is, oh man. The point is, we’ve got a lot to look forward to over the next couple days/months/decades, and the anticipation is killing me.
It didn’t kill this guy, though, thanks to the swift intercession of paramedics from the Office of the Attending Physician. Ironically, the man who collapsed at Michele Bachmann’s “House Call” anti-health care reform rally on Capitol Hill yesterday was saved by government doctors. Apolitical coverage of the event has been hard to come by, in part because the whole thing was a piece of political theatre to begin with and in part because a bunch of other horrible stuff happened yesterday. The New York Times offered some street-level reporting in their Well blog, the tone of which I would describe as barely-restrained anger. The author the article, David Herszenhorn, points out that many in the crowd, “while visibly angry, could not articulate the main problems in the health care system or how they should be solved.” Now that’s the real America, right there: visibly angry, and unable to articulate what the problem is.
The protests did generate this beautiful piece of video, though, sent to me by the ever-vigilant Ben Fowlkes. Medically smug Representative Todd Akin (R-Mo.) led the assembled crowd in a rousing rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance, which he claimed “drives liberals crazy.” He’s right—it seems like you can’t turn on MSNBC or listen to a Democratic speaker without hearing them rail against the goddamn Pledge of Allegiance. Despite clearly reading the Pledge from a card, Akin still managed to screw it up, leaving out the “indivisible” part. Maybe it was because he was discombobulated from yelling “under God!” as loud as he could, or maybe it’s because “indivisible” doesn’t really factor in to the Republican strategy for America just now.
Meanwhile, among people who bear the actual responsibility of governing, the House vote on the health care bill may be delayed until Sunday. The problem centers largely on abortions, which might be covered by certain private plans made available in proposed insurance exchanges, and therefore could indirectly be subsidized by public funds. As many as 40 anti-abortion Democrats have threatened to withdraw their support for the bill, which might be enough to derail Nancy Pelosi’s otherwise invincible majority. Meanwhile, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is upset about a proposed provision that would prevent undocumented immigrants from buying policies offered through the exchange with their own money. If it were up to me, illegal aliens would be allowed to buy health insurance and the federal government would be handing out abortions like candy,* and those are probably two of the many reasons why it is not up to me. Still, I find it enormously depressing that the two actual policy objections raised to the proposed bill—besides hysteria over deficits it doesn’t cause and death panels it doesn’t create—revolve around our insane fixations on abortion and Mexicans. God forbid a teenage girl gets thirty tax dollars to terminate her pregnancy or the dude who cuts my lawn is allowed to buy major medical. I’d leave 50 million Americans uninsured to prevent that.
So we get to wait a little longer before any sort of bill is passed in any branch of government anywhere. In the meantime, don’t get sick, and amuse yourself with this classic video from Combat! blogs past. Even in my state of suspended animation, a smile still bubbles to the surface.