Wednesday, December 23, 2009

American Idle

Now that we understand that the House will have to give up the few decent features of its own reform bill to the nasty piece of business being passed in the Senate, I have to ask: with what will liberals be rewarded for abdicating their own ideals and principles to the hobby horse of "history" and the fata morgana of future fixes? Now that Republicans have been courted and feted while liberals were threatened and exiled, now that Nelson and Lieberman and Stupak have ringed our noses and led progressives and "reform" around the killing floor, now that Big Medicine and Pharma and the health insurance monopoly have wrung every concession and promise of status quo from the administration we entrusted with our vote, how will the White House and the right-wing cohort in Congress return the favor? Meaningful climate change legislation? FIRE sector reform with teeth? Consumer protection? Agricultural reform? Help for workers? Exit from Iraq? Torture policy reversed?

For me, the previews on these issues have been disheartening, and I won't hold my breath. The Republicans, who now represent the escaped insane of the nation, have built a party platform on dismantling the government and transforming it into a feedlot for the war industry. They have no stake in passing any legislation, for anything. They would love to make abortion (and many of them, contraception) illegal again, but they know they can effect basically the same thing through more and restrictive state-level regulations on clinics, providers, and the procedure itself, and there is no way the current Supreme Court will find any of it crossing the line as delineated by Casey v Planned Parenthood. Other than this, I don't see them caring about much of anything except sitting in front of the manger and starving the cow. And power, of course. They hate government but they won't stand for anyone but them running it, so like spoiled children deprived of a toy on a shopping outing, they will make everyone around them as miserable as themselves. No matter what other changes liberals seek, no matter how beneficial to the nation, we can expect no more than what we have already gotten: a parade of insults upon our character and intellect from the appeasers of our own group, and a big backhand across the face from the White House.

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