41 Senators Support Public Option Amid Wacky Washington Antics
ByLauren Reichelt. Crossposted from Tikkun Daily. The delightfully wacky HCR (Health Care Reform) circus caravan rolls on. As of March 11, 41 Senators had either signed or issued statements of support for a letter to Harry Reid initiated by Alan Grayson and the PCCC urging passage of the Public Option through reconciliation. For the first time, the Public Option is looking like a very real possibility. Only three Dems have come out absolutely opposed (not including Liebermenace who, perhaps as a ploy to reinvigorate his flagging attentometrics, is playing coy). The Dems can lose up to six fence-nesters and still pass the Public Option. “And how,” you might be tempted to ask, “has Alan (The-GOP-healthcare-plan-is-die-soon) Grayson, an outspoken House Freshman, managed to get 41 Senators to support his letter despite White House efforts to back-burner the entire endeavor?” Simple! The PCCC conducted a series of statewide polls demonstrating tremendous support for “socialized Medicine” among Democratic and Indie voters! Gotta luv that guy! Maybe Rahm should try to twist his arm in the shower. Or at least poke him in the chest. The most amusing healthcare antics this week were performed by the trained Navy Seals in the House. Arf! Arf! Arf! First, Eric Massa (D-NY) suddenly resigned his House seat claiming he’d been forced out by Obama for opposing HCR in favor of Single Payer. Glenn Beck scheduled an hour long live interview with Massa, apparently believing the ex-Rep was going to spill some beans about being intimidated in a shower stall by a naked Rahm Emanuel. Instead, we were treated to 60 minutes of Massa confessing he’d fondled his male staffers and tickled them until they turned blue. (So that’s how we won our House majority!) Beck, who thought he’d gotten the goods on Emanuel, looked uncharacteristically blue himself. Massa then produced a photo, presumably of a bunch of naked Navy personnel tickling one another to celebrate the crossing of the equator. Nobody really knows what they were doing since Beck did not share the photo with his adoring public, although Massa helpfullly informed us it looked like a “Caligula orgy.” Just in case you have actually managed to avoid this particular episode of beckerpecking, the entire hour is available through the Washington Post. I especially love Beck’s opening line, where he picks up a phone, winks, and (in his sexiest voice, eerily reminiscent of the racist ads the GOP ran against Ford in Tennessee), invites Rahm to call him. Just out of curiosity, I checked with my husband, an ex-Navy officer, to see if he tickled his naked subordinates until they couldn’t breathe every time they crossed the equator. He said he had not but he knew a guy who crushed beer cans on his forehead. Massa’s performance seems to have the Navy scrambling to wipe the egg off its face. Stories of his starboard gropings are surfacing like periscopes all over the web. Next, a brawl broke out between Congressman Kucinich and blogger extraordinaire, Markos Moulitsas. Kucinich announced he would vote against HCR even if it meant sending the bill down in flames, and Moulitsas appeared on Countdown calling him names. A flame war broke out between bloggers at Markos’ site, the Daily Kos. (I personally agree with Seneca Doane’s assessment: by staking out his ground Kucinich is now in a position to bargain for inclusion of either the Public Option or a Medicare expansion in the HCR sidecar fixer-upper bill. But what do I know? I’m a perennial optimist. The various forces of health care darkness threatened by dawning reform have joined together for a final bury-their-coffins-in-Transylvania ad campaign. AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) announced an aggressive million-dollar-plus cable TV ad campaign at a recent press conference. Who knows what the aging Harry and Louise will be telling us now, assuming they are not homeless because they’ve lost their insurance and have no coverage for long term care. Finally, a breath of fresh air: Rush Limbaugh promised progressives that if HCR passes and is eventually implemented, he will emigrate to Costa Rica. Perhaps his experience with Hawaii’s government-run health care system, which he deemed “the best in the world,” convinced him that socialized medicine is the way to go. Costa Rica, which enjoys national health care, currently ranks 36, just above #37, the United States. In non-health care news, Democrats suddenly appear to be stampeding toward non-capitulation on multiple fronts. Angered by Dodd’s (D-CT) willingness to defang the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in the name of bipartisanship, making it a division of the Federal Corporate Reserve, Barney Frank has proposed that conference committee negotiations be televised on C-SPAN. Harry Reid ripped into “those characters” on the Supreme Court for their Citizens United v. FEC decision and then announced his newfound but passionate support for filibuster reform. In Washington, huevos are growing on trees while the chickens roost at home.