Monday, March 22, 2010
Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Sometimes, as old Gertie Stein might have observed were she still alive on planet Earth, a great day is a great day is a great day (roses notwithstanding). Which is to say only that, every once in a while and even if you are not exactly living in Alice's Wonderland, six impossible things can still happen before breakfast:
1. "We rose above the weight of our politics. We proved we are still a people capable of doing big things." [Barack Obama] After a year of dismal Congressional wrangling and intractable Washington gridlock, Democrats broke out of their trance and passed health care reform. Two months ago this bill was deemed as good as dead.
2. The President, flailing badly in the polls, got his groove back.
He took risks, he led, he won--as in, he came, he saw, he conquered. "Regardless of whether the health care bill survives, Obama has demonstrated that he can. And if the reform bill passes, and his numbers rebound, I'm going to take to calling him Barack the Unbreakable." [Charles Blow, a columnist who has been taking Obama to the mat repeatedly in the New York Times]
"All year, his party has been begging him to drop health care and do something about jobs...[but] he stuck to his guns. Speech after speech, phone call after call, sit-down with one frightened or greedy or confused legislator after another, he kept on the case. 'Do not quit. Do not give up,' he told yet another rally on Friday. 'We are going to get this done.'" [Gail Collins, also in the New York Times]
"Whatever you believe about health care reform, it's hard to escape the conclusion that for one party, opposing reform was expedient, and for another, supporting it required the summoning of an uncommon degree of bravery and a resistance to every base political instinct. Obama is uniquely courageous...All the more so if you oppose the legislation. If you think it will break the part of the health care system that works, if you think it will bankrupt the country down the road. You ought to be might frustrated by Obama's courage, blind as you believe it might be. But don't ever, ever call the guy a wimp." [Marc Ambinder, theatlantic.com]
"He still wants to rebuild the American economy from the ground up, re-regulate Wall Street, withdraw from Iraq, win in Afghanistan, get universal health insurance and achieve a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine in his first term. That’s all. And although you can see many small failures on the way, and agonising slowness as well, you can also see he hasn’t dropped his determination to achieve it all." [Andrew Sullivan]
3. America got its soul back.
Despite a year's worth of lies and misinformation, racist hatred and demagoguery, the politics of fear struck out and our better angels won. "I want you to consider the contrast: on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism...that has been the hallmark of the whole campaign against reform....The emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency...Without question, the campaign of fear was effective: health reform went from being highly popular to wide disapproval...But the question was, would it actually be enough to block reform? And the answer is no...This is, of course, a political victory for president Obama, and a triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory for America's soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out. [Paul Krugman]
4. Despite their vicious opposition to the bill, Republicans will still be covered in their time of need.
"So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you'll thank those those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did on Saturday evening...Please, my Republican friends, if you can, take a quiet moment away from your AM radio and cable news network this morning and be happy for your country. We're doing better. And we're doing it for you, too." [Michael Moore in a letter to Republicans on the Huffington Posr]
5. A historic restructuring of the nation's health care system that has eluded Obama's predecessors for more than a century has finally occurred.Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick.
" 'The noise! And the crowds!' said an officer trying to describe Dunkirk without having found his objective correlative." [Ernest Hemingway]
6. And here's the sixth impossible thing: I'm pumped! Happy at last.
With my chauffeur, limosine, and forty trunks, I'm off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz--an old buddy of Virgil's, bootlegger, and folk hero of a nation. It's a good time to get out of town, because Republicans, whose moms never taught them to be good losers, are more PISSY than ever. Having bet the store on throwing everything into killing the bill, thinking that it would result in its defeat, they are not happy campers:
Reax: The Right
Boehner: "We have failed to listen to America."
McConnell: "It marks the beginning of a backlash against Democrats in Washington who lost their way."
McCain: "The American people are very angry. They don't like it and we're going to repeal this.''
Steele: "Today, America witnessed the first vote for the end of representative government."
National Review: "Congress has narrowly passed a bill that simultaneously undermines life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Frum: "Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."
[Mark Halperin, thepage.time.com]
Rush Limbaugh [on AM radio earlier today]: "We have to get rid of these bastards. We need to wipe them out."
Does this scare YOU?