Well, in the end, the lone voice of truth could not hold out. Today Kucinich announced, principal be damned, he is caving into the pressure and voting yes on the health insurance industry bailout bill. What is particularly sad is that Kucinich got nothing, not the slightest concession, for his flip-flop. Things have actually gotten worse since March 8th as the public option now looks completely, finally, absolutely, thoroughly off the table. The man who roared like a lion two weeks ago turned out to be something even less than a paper tiger.
But really the ultimate bad guy here isn’t Kucinich, it is the Democratic Party which has once-and-for-all proved its utter bankruptcy. To all of you out there who were inclined to harbor illusions about the Democrats in 2008, welcome to reality. The Democratic Party is a whole owned subsidiary of Corporate America Inc. Can we all now agree please that there is zero hope for this country without the building of a serious left-wing third party alternative?
I am willing to give Kucinich the benefit of the doubt that he was subjected to a political waterboarding over the course of the past two weeks. Maybe he had to endure one of those naked Rahm Emmanuel finger pointing sessions in the Congressional showers a la crazy man Massa (I must admit that is a awful frightening image – though I would love the opportunity squarely kick Rahm in the nutz). The reality is people like Kucinich who do actually seem at least resistant to the health insurance industry dollars that most in their party are happy to fill their bathtubs with, are in a real lose-lose situation. Bare with me here, but I am going to draw a really bizarre and geeky anology to the Star Wars saga (OK, embarrassedly I admit to being a rather reluctant and somewhat closeted fan of the Star Wars film series). Kucinich and many of the not completely prostituted Democrats find themselves in a situation much like the Jedi in Episode 2. If they refuse to use the clone army and engage in offensive warfare, they will be overwhelmed and destroyed by the droid army (i.e. the Republicans will use the defeat of Obama care as a political hammer to bash the Democrats for the rest of Obama’s first term). But if they do turn to the clones and engage the enemy, they are doomed to fall right into the trap skillful set for them by the dark sith lord. In the end the result of succumbing to the darkside will cost the Jedi more than they ever could have imagined.
Ok now that you put up with that truly lame analogy, let me express my deepest fear. For those of you who feel the Democrats have no choice but to vote for this absolutely piece of sh_t health care “reform” bill, because to do otherwise would hand the Republicans a victory, I offer my analysis that you have doomed any serious health care reform for the foreseeable future. In his concession speech on his website Kucinich talks about the idea that… “Each generation has had to take up the question of how to provide for the health of the people of our nation.” Well I truly believe the Democrats in pushing forward this non-reform bill have doomed another generation to the worst health care in the industrialized world (worse than even some systems in the developing world). I have zero faith in this notion that the system will be gradually improved in future legislation. The opposite is more likely. If the Democrats had fought for and rammed through, in a partisan manner, a universal, non-bureaucratic, Medicare like, single payer system, the short-term pain would have paid off in long-term gain. As people started to enjoy the benefits of real health care reform, they would have become increasingly more staunch in their resistance to having it taken away. Look at the experience of every other country with a single payer system. Or look at our own experiences with Social Security and Medicare. Indeed the Republicans somehow successful convinced brainless tea baggers that Obama care needed to be fought because it would somehow endanger Medicare. Instead, after all the blood and guts over this issue since the last election, we have “reform” that will leave millions uninsured, do little to control health care costs, barely impact the pre-existent condition problem, and only add to the bureaucracy of the U.S. health care system, while forcing people to give up their hard earned money to some of the greediest corporations every devised. It will be so easy in the future as the frustrations mount, for Republicans to chip away at any reforms and the whole health care reform movement will be setback for many years to come.
My only hope now is for those single-payer advocates that have focused on a state by state approach. But I am not sure how this health care industry bailout bill impacts those efforts. Do any of you know whether this bill in the end will make state level single-payer systems more difficult to achieve? If it does, its over, time to move to Canada – it’s just so damn cold there. Oh, wait, Rush had the right idea – Costa Rica – socialized medicine and great beaches, I am packing my bags now. But does that mean I now need to live next door to Rush?