I'm not writing much about the healthcare issue, because I haven't much to say I haven't already, and I'm trying to be more positive, or at least to write about things that point a way forward. It's harder to do, and hence the fewer posts.
It's looking, once again, like something is going to get done with healthcare. We'll see. The roller coaster ride will continue, and I'm at a point where I've puked myself clean and can look on with some equanimity. So I tuned in toward the end of the summit yesterday, and it met expectations. Obama was very like the way he was when he went to the GOP retreat last month. I caught Durbin's takedown of the the GOP talking point about tort reform and his appeal to the other members if they are so convinced that this plan is socialistic, they should renounce their own government healthcare programs. I missed Paul Ryan's bit, but gather that it was an impressive sales job for silly, politically impossible ideas.
I also listened to McCain's crocodile tears about how using reconciliation would destroy the senate as if GOP obstructionism hadn't already done that, and wondering if it will ever be possible just get rid of the senate altogether. I mean honestly, why do we need it, and does anybody care about except the egomaniacs who are in it and the moneyed interests who see it as their tool? In any event the American people, let's hope, understand that it's ok to abuse reconciliation if the GOP continues to abuse the filibuster. The GOP's use of the latter has made the senate into a joke. If the MSM doesn't get that, I think most Americans do.
At this point I just hope something, anything, gets done, because my bigger concern is the threat of significant Republican gains in November. I'm glad Brown showed he has an independent streak and voted with the Dems on the jobs bill, but his election to Kennedy's seat is still a very disturbing indicator of rank-and-file disgust with Democrats. And a big part of me sympathizes with Massachusetts disgust, but while the Dems are disgusting, they are not dangerous; real dangers loom on the far-right. We have good reason to fear that populist rage will continue to build and that it will channel rightward if the Dems don't find a way either to dissipate it or to channel it leftward.
The Dems are not dangerous; they're just venal and easily manipulated, and as such they're hard to like or to care about. We have to assume that as a group we can't count on them to stand for much except their own careers, and so the question now is not whether we like or admire them but whether they have any utility. We have to look at them the way the corporations look at them--as tools. The main question going forward is who will use them more effectively--corporate interests or people interests. It's pretty clear whose winning that contest now, but what has to happen to change that?