Chill America. This healthcare reform debate has normal people acting as all the rest of us crazies. Passions are running so high the antis are emptying their arsenals and threatening to huff and puff and blow down the doors to the Supreme Court. The fors act as the sun won’t rise if Congress votes down the legislation.
It’s time to act as good, responsible parents when their child misbehaves. Time Out, Kid!
I searched to find a story that would bring a smile to all our faces. The cupboard was bare. I was tempted to download the hilarious Jon Stewart spoof of Glenn Beck but deemed (no pun intended) that too political.
Plan B was to draw on personal experience of similar situations where I drained all my powers in anticipation of a Christmas morning, watching a highly-touted movie or viewing the San Diego Chargers in their first and only Super Bowl game. Nope. I went 0-3 in all cases where the hype was greater than the show.
No matter which way the vote turns, what we won’t hear is a national collective sigh of relief that it is over.
Dan Rather, the grizzled old veteran of television news, appeared on the Rachael Maddow show Friday night and said he has never seen the American people so divided and Congress so polarized since the Vietnam war.
He recalled the fight for Medicare and Medicaid pushed through Congress in the 1960s was rather sedate, comparatively, because of bipartisan support as a guilt-trip reminder to honor the memory of the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy. The lead opponent in that debate was the American Medical Association.
Other than Vietnam, amateur historians such as myself, might stick this debate as divisive of that which led us into the Civil War.
Allow me to temper that judgment somewhat. The passions essentially are culled from the loudest voices we hear daily from the blogs and politicians and their vociferous camp followers. The healthy employed people with company insurance plans are relatively mute and more concerned with job security.
Some readers took me to task for referring to Sunday’s expected House vote on health reform as “monumental” and “historic,” the same language expressed by President Obama referring to the 1964 vote on civil rights legislation.
It seems William Kristol, the conservative columnist for the Washington Post, chided the president, defining “historic” as broad bipartisan support in which health care bills have none in terms of votes.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 originally passed in the House by 290-130. Cloture was achieved in the Senate by a vote of 71-29, and the Senate then passed its version of the legislation 73-27. The House took up the Senate bill and passed it 289-126. Substantial majorities of both parties supported the legislation at every stage,” Kristol writes with pinpoint accuracy.
Excuse me, Bill. There are at least 100 Republican amendments written into both House and Senate bills and the entire package has an indelible GOP footprint throughout, arriving their during the sausage making process the Republicans demanded.
The fact that no Republican will vote for either is pure politics. I don’t hear a call by Republicans to remove their amendments.
Until that happens, by my definition the bills are bipartisan.
We can parse and spin this debate to death and in 10 years no matter what turns out the name calling and process all will be forgotten.
Meanwhile, cool down. Take a deep breath. Hear the birds chirp. The owls screech. Watch March Madness. Get a life. By tomorrow afternoon, the sun will set in the West.
Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.