Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thoughts While Shaving: Rosencrantzs Avowed Destruction of the Health Insurance Industry Reflects the Chicago Way Once More TimeReform that Means Something.
The Comedic R & G War Against Dissent.
The twins Rosencrantz (Rahm Emanuel) and Guildenstern (David Axelrod) literally two halves of a single character continued yesterday converting traditional Madisonian political debate into a Chicago-style gangland brawl. Their goal is to root out and destroy. They think theyre winning but in reality like the simulated characters in Tom Stoppards 1966 play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead they havent a clue about the real scenario. Re-read the play and youll find that these comedians are pathetic in that they are so involved in themselves that they fail to understand what was happening around them. Thats the way it is with the contemporary R & G: engrossed in their own careers and how they can puff themselves up after Obama, they are totally out-of-touch with the great issues that have surrounded them. Result: theyre comedians without conscious that they are such.
They started by demonizing Rush Limbaugh a radio talk show host whom they misidentified as a faux racist and Hitler. Then they collaborate by launching a sponsors boycott of Glenn Beck. Theyre following up with refusal by administration officials to appear on Fox News, declaring that it is not a news network. Thats the strategy pursued by the Dynamic Duo of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Yesterday they opened up another front in the war against dissent.
With the strategy set by R & G, congressional Democrats launched at drive in both houses of the Capitol yesterday to strip the insurance industry of its longstanding (since 1945) exemption from federal antitrust laws. The move is seen as retaliation to the defeat the Obama White House received in the Senate to sidetrack legislation averting a 21% cut in Medicare payments for doctors by raising their fees by $247 billion. They carried the bill 53 to 47 but fell 13 votes short of the 60 needed to advance the bill (because of widespread concern that it would hike deficits). The technical defeat was suffered by Democrats but also by the accommodationist AMA (the American Medical Association) which had spent in the mid-seven figures on TV advertising for one of its major priorities. But it was a victory for the insurance industrys trade association when it declared the Senate Finance committees conceptual language would result in sharply higher premiums in health insurance for many millions.
Result: R & G were angered and theyre working assiduously with congressional Democrats to punish the insurers. So Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of Judiciary, R & Gs little lap dog, announced he wold seek a vote on stripping anti-trust protection when the Senate debates health care in the next several weeks. Concurrently, House Judiciary voted 20 to 9 to end the industry exemption with three Republicans supporting the move.
Historians recall that this is the worst anti-business fracas since 1962 when John F. Kennedy pressured U. S. Steel to roll back price increases because of fear of inflation. But pressuring Roger Blough of U. S. Steel to ditch a cost hike was one thing. Kennedy never said he was out to ruin U. S. Steel or the industry because he knew how unpopular that would be. He only said, my father always told me businessmen were sons-of-bitches but I never believed him until now.
In contrast, the R & G battle against the insurance industry vows to proceed to its ultimate destruction just as with Foxs anticipated destruction and sponsors pressured to vacate Glenn Beck. Now the target is the ruination of the insurance industry.
Just as the original Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were comedic in Shakespeares Hamlet and Stoppards play, the cast of Emanuel and Axelrod is ridiculous in real life. Vendettas by the White House can never work. They just demean the perpetrators. Lets face it, Obamas time has come and passed. By 2012 hell be returning to his Hyde Park mansion he bought with the help of Tony Rezko and R & G will be sprung lose to rebuild their incomes and nurture another huckstermaybe this time a physically disabled self-professed gay Hispanic nun from Alabama who will be ripe for their collaborative promotion. I can just hear Katie Couric exclaim when she meets their new client: Wheeeeee!
Reform that Means Something.
A debate among Republican contenders for governor yesterday at the Union League Club elicited a number of so-called ethical reforms. Sorry to say it but most are pallid. The only measures to tame an outlandishly corrupt Illinois political system involves cutting legislative pay, sending them home and scrubbing the nonsensical stuff on campaign caps in favor of complete, instantaneous disclosure on the Internet. Now as Ive said, I am for Kirk Dillard and I certainly wouldnt saddle him with my ideas here but mark my words, some day they will be heeded.
As previously stated here, Illinois should return to biennial sessions which return the lawmakers status to part-time. Their salaries should be cut to a $1,000 stipend per session plus per diem (a 50% jump from New Hampshires). This will ensure that those who seek the office will not be doing so to provide cushy salaries for themselves, many of whom dont have the ability to earn such money from private employment. It also means, frankly, that candidates who seek election will have the benefit of private means. This does not have to be a verdict for the well-heeled but for people who have been sufficiently successful so as to avoid the lowest common denominator of comedic actors who run because they cant make a living elsewhere. The low quality of many legislators is testimony to the vapid populism that has degraded the legislative process.
It takes guts to advocate this and the betting is that the Illinois constituency is so inured to populist rot-gut that it cannot distinguish what high salaries have done to debase the system. But the sooner the debate starts on these reforms, the better. No, you cant count on editorial boards to support these ideas but then who does pay attention to what they think anyhow except those who are employed to write and edit their usual piffle?