The Public Option makes it past the Senate Milquetoasts!

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public optionI hereby take back about half of the bad things I ever said about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Despite the hemming and hawing of heavily-insurance-funded “moderates” Baucus, Conrad, Pryor, Lincoln, Nelson(s), Specter, Lieberman, and Landrieux, and without any encouragement from a maddeningly passive White House, Reid & Co have wangled a Senate bill that will give us a CHOICE of getting decent affordable coverage through our elected government rather than a profiteering predatory pumpkin such as that shown below.  And guess who deserves the most credit – US!  For speaking out relentlessly against the astroturfing teabaggers and bought-and-paid-for politicians; and also for voting in a critical mass of decent politicians in recent years.

This public option will be the “Opt-Out” variety, an idea that came merely two weeks ago from Delaware’s CIGNA pumpkin conservative Democratic Senator Tom Carper, and whose brilliance I realized after about ten seconds.  Any state that fears the Public Option as an unacceptable government intrusion into their lives can “Opt Out” of it.  I doubt too many states will, and those that do will view the rest of us jealously and bitterly, until they finally either change their political leadership or their politicians discover within themselves a brain and a heart.  Personally I think each state should have to hold a special election to opt out, and not leave it to their grandstanding GOP pols (who are already enjoying their own Public Option in health care.)  I predict a lot of comical posing and backing off, just like we got from Governors Palin, Sanford and Jindal when they ON PRINCIPLE refused Federal Stimulus funds until their own GOP state legislatures nearly ripped their heads off in opposition.  In the long run this will be good for all Americans, and in the short run (if we can show the Public Option starting to work well) very very good for Democrats.

Of course there is more to this journey, the Senate vote, the House vote, the reconciliation, and the final vote; the making sure this thing works, and the making sure it really does blossom over the years into single-payer (whoops did I say that) but with the great political wisdom that comes with being an Orange Juice blogger I think this was the biggest hurdle.  Cautious and canny operators like Reid and Baucus wouldn’t have put this forth without knowing they could get the 60 votes to override the Rethug “filibuster” and the at least 50 votes + Biden they’ll need for the up-down vote.  Find out more about the “Opt-In Public Option” here from someone smarter than me:  http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/10/so_what_is_the_opt-out_compromise.php#more?ref=fpblg

Uh-oh!  Click “read more” for a jaw-dropping update:  WHO IS THE WHITE WHORE???

Update:  What is All This About the “White Whore?”

Answers are what I want, Mr. Las Vegas politician; you obviously didn’t mean to but you have now let the cat out of the bag:  You’ve been “working with the White Whore.”  (Thirteen seconds in.)  So, who is this, Harry?  My first thought is Karen Ignagni, the head lobbyist of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) – I KNOW she was part of the negotiations, and is certainly Caucasian.  But is a lobbyist, paid straightforwardly to lie and dissemble for her employer, properly called a whore?  I think the word is more fitting for a politician who was elected to serve her people and instead looks out for the profits of her biggest campaign contributors – hence, my mind goes to Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, also Caucasian.  But – damn, I guess I am more misogynistic than I thought – men can be whores too, can’t we?  So it’s just possible that the White Whores he was negotiating with may indeed have been Montana’s Baucus or South Dakota’s Conrad, or even Nebraska’s ornery Ben Nelson who actually used to be an insurance salesman.  White whores though they may have been however, if they get out of the way of progress now and let the Public Option pass, let’s let bygones be bygones, what do you say?

And lastly, being a musician, if there was a tipping point in this struggle, I would like to think it was this last week:


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.