The Democrats’ health care fiasco—what the hell are they doing?

Here’s the inimitable Charles Pierce, author of the just-released Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, in his regular screed during “Slacker Friday” at Eric Alterman’s Altercation, on the absolutely mind-boggling manner in which the Democrats are blowing our chances for health care reform ( and under “Democrats” I most definitely include Barack Obama, whose presidency is losing its luster in my eyes at a rapid, rapid pace), and why:

It is on health issues where the gulf separating the inside and out Beltway realities swallows up common sense and, in doing so, causes the most material damage. The Schiavo case was a garish and noisy example, but the idea that a Democratic president and a Democratic congress can’t craft a health-reform package that contains a substantial public option that 75 percent of the people out there want because the Democrats are overly sensitive to intramural political imperatives is the Schiavo case writ unacceptably large. This is a political class responding only to itself, speaking its own language, operating by its own rules while real people get ground up in a system that everyone knows is a rigged game. Hell, at 75 percent, the president has enough “political cover” to put a single-payer option back “on the table.” But he won’t. Some corrupt old white man might yell at him.

That’s right. Approximately three-quarters of us, based on poll after poll after poll, have said we want a public option as part of health care reform and the Congressional Democrats, as weak-kneed and cowardly group as we’ve ever seen on the national stage, will have none of it, cowering in fear of a GOP which, at last count, had an abysmal 25% percent approval rating among the public, a level beneath even that percentage of the racist, uninformed and aged which are the basest among what is consider the Republican base these days.

It makes no sense at all, not morally, not politically, not by any measure of reason or wisdom.

Some days…most days…I just want to scream.


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