Republicans in the House of Representatives have officially scheduled a vote to repeal health care reform for January 12, according to a spokesman for Eric Cantor. Before you get excited, remember that said vote—which will almost certainly pass, given the Republicans’ 242-seat majority—stands not a charwoman’s chance of actually repealing anything. Senate Democrats have vowed to block any such bill in their chamber, and even when they eventually renege on that promise because they heard 17% of Americans would think they were reds if they didn’t, the President will surely exercise his veto. Basically, the repeal vote is a symbol. It’s also officially the GOP’s number-one priority for the 2012 congressional term, which is odd, considering that they presumably know the lay of the land as well as we do. It turns out, though, that the newly Republican-controlled House has laid out a whole agenda of purely theoretical governance.
Now that the Republican Party has taken control of Congress, or at least taken control of the theoretical future Congress the media currently covers, it’s time to decide what to do about theoretical future health care reform. You remember health care reform, right? The enormous legislative project that captivated the nation for the vast majority of 2009, on which the first black President staked his political credibility in order to address the abuses of the world’s 39th-best system? The one that tore us all apart? Yeah, the GOP is going to undo that. They promise to in their Pledge to America, and ever since Republicans Capture Congress edged out Republicans Field a Bunch of Congressional Candidates Everyone Thinks Are Crazy as the nation’s dominant news narrative, they’ve been talking about how to do it. Meanwhile, senior Senate Budget Committee member Judd Gregg (R–NH) has been quietly suggesting that’s not such a hot idea. His arguments—and the strategy they represent—paint an infuriating portrait of a party that might have prevented the last two years of American governance out of spite.
Yesterday we mentioned the warning that Sarah Palin issued, via Twitter, on the eve of the House health care vote: “Shocking new questions re:whether military healthcare plans r protected under Obamacare. How will underpaid troops afford their own purchase?” First of all, never was a medium so suited to an author as Twitter is to Sarah Palin. With its forced mangling of syntax, its elision of subjects and verbs, and the impossibility of backing statements with evidence built into its form, Twitter is to Palin was the aphorism was to Friederich Nietzsche. Second, the “shocking new question” to which Palin was referring was whether the TRICARE health benefits program for members of the military and their dependents would satisfy the insurance mandate that passed as part of Sunday night’s vote. The answer is: yes, obviously. TRICARE is health insurance—really good health care insurance, issued by the federal government as part of a single-payer system that stands as an argument for the public option Palin so vehemently opposes. The House bill specifically states that TRICARE will satisfy the mandate, and the White House issued a statement in August assuring us that TRICARE benefits would not be affected in any way by proposed legislation. The Senate version of the health care bill, however, does not specifically exempt TRICARE recipients from the mandate—just as it does not specifically exempt congressmen—and that’s what Sarah Palin is so terrified about. Won’t you allow her to terrify you?
I’m a regular Joe. I like my beer cold, my television reality-based, and my elected representatives completely opposed to the existence of government. Ever since Sarah Palin rode away on a pegasus*, there’s been a void in my life. Where’s the high-ranking government official to assure me that the government is working against me? Who’s going to protect my precious freedoms from all enemies, imagined and domestic? Why can’t Ron Paul have prettier hair?
Fortunately, we’ve got Michele Bachmann, God’s answer to a prayer that Pat Robertson accidentally said backwards. She’s young-ish, kind of pretty, and she went to law school at Orel Roberts University. She also wants an investigation into anti-Americanism in the US Congress, thinks global warming isn’t a problem because carbon dioxide is already part of the atmosphere, and urges you not to participate in the 2010 census. And she’s from Waterloo!
It’s Friday, the Mormon Day of Atonement and, traditionally, a time for the rest of us to consider man and his relationship to the sublime. There are two ways to look at the subject: either you think some genius woke up one morning, impaled a piece of Wonder Bread on a toy robot and strode purposefully into his yard, or you think that picture is the result of several trials with different foods and different pointy things. Here at Combat! blog, we maintain the illusion of divine inspiration. Really we have to do things the hard way, though, and on Friday we gather all the various internet gems that turned out to lack the fascinating luster of, say, a child’s board game. So sit back, turn on your cell phone camera, jam a piece of melba toast down on whatever body part seems like it will best support it, and wait for the magic to happen.