Takoma Park The health care “war of the knife” continues down to the last votes. Yesterday saw Dennis Kucinich, the great progressive voice from Ohio and the stalwart proponent of single-payer, come over and a bunch of 50 nuns stand up for passage despite the recalcitrant opposition of the National Catholic Conference of Bishops. Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO swung by the White House to cut a deal to delay the excise tax on premium health care plans for that part of his members who still have them, though that deal may or may not survive the parliamentary whoopdedoodle and tactical morass.
Dennis Kucinich from Cleveland has been the standard bearer for the left and had recently been threatening to vote against passage for a host of no doubt good reasons. President Obama parachuted in for a speech in his district, and Dennis wisely decided that it was time to hold his nose and live to fight another day, announcing predictably that it was better to have a bad bill than no bill at all. This will not silence critics on the left, nor should it, but it does give all of the votes that had committed not to vote for anything without a “public option” to abandon ship and try to get to port with anything that floats.
The nuns once again are proving that they have character, heart, and no shortage of backbone in standing up to boys in robes. Simple for them, they believed there had to be something for the millions with nothing. There call for passage was not about politics or institutions, but a straight up stand for accountability to their mission of service to the poor and working families in their flock. You have to feel better about this vote with the nuns on your side.
The total deadlock and polarization in Congress must convince the most ideological that there is no near term way to believe that a better bill is a possibility over the next 3 years at least and maybe another 20.
It’s time to count the votes and pass the bill and get to the place where it’s all over but the shouting, since we can all guarantee that the shouting on this issue will be non-stop for years to come.