Basically, the only way I can deal with listening to Republicans bend and squirm and not say much about anything is to make jokes.
Because only humor can save us from the fire of our anger.
Head behind the jump for an amazing quote from Chuck Grassley. (For this morning's liveblog of a bunch of dudes sitting in a square talking, head here.)It would appear that everything is solved and we can all now get free breast implants. EVEN THE GENTLEMEN AMONG YOU.
Ok, I can't leave just yet, Ron Wyden is trying to wrap up: Incremental reform does less and costs more, based on experts both sides can agree on. Ok, now I'm out.
Barry is wrapping it up. He's talking off his clothes and dancing! Just kidding. Looks like we're going into overtime. Crap. I can't do this anymore. Especially with Charlie Rangel and Patty Murray coming up. Screw them. I'm out.
Uh oh, clock's ticking. Those chairs aren't going to put themselves up on the tables. (Actually, some poorly insured janitors will probably have to do it.) Barton keeps calling Boehner "Leader Boehner," like in Communist North Korea.
Barton, who sounds like an old Warner Brothers cartoon beagle: "Premiums will go down if we open up competition." Hasn't everyone said that, all day long?
Joe Barton, from the sovereign nation of Texas, begins with a joke, because he's found that helps him to get laid sometimes: "Never before have so many members of the House and Senate behaved so well for so long in front of so many cameras." Also, small government and markets will solve everything. Not a joke, I guess.
Holy shit. Fifteen thousand people are going to lose their insurance today. And, like, ten are going to die because they don't have any insurance. Damn. I hope I don't lose my insurance today. Ok, Chris, I agree, we need more coverage.
And it's good talking: "Speaking of capital punishment, everyone here agrees we have a right to a lawyer. What about a doctor? Dudes, having uninsured people is costing the rest of us billions and billions of dollars. DUDES!"
Chris Dodd, insurance fink, is currently talking.
Barry: The people just above the Medicaid line are the ones hurting. Let's not add them to Medicaid, let's add them to a larger pool of options. Also, the poors have coverage, it's the almost-poors who need help.
Barry: So nobody has any ideas to increase that pathetic three million number that you guys came up with?
Pete Roskam closes by saying, "Let's Etch-a-Sketch this bill!" Ok buddy.
This is kind of a weak finish from the Republicans, as Roskam is sort of droning on about the Illinois state comptroller and a bunch of numbers and shit. And now he's attacking Medicaid. Curious strategy. Or... not really a strategy? What the hell, he just said that the Republican proposal would insure three million. That's it?
The dude I'm referring to is Pete Roskam from Illinois and he likes to put bills into the microwave and eat them with salt. "Medicaid is a house of cards."
Barry to the Republicans: Do you have any ideas about how to cover the uninsured? And of course some Republican dude brings up the time he worked with Obama on capital punishment. WTF? So, your answer is no.
Waxman to the Prez: We can't do this piecemeal and I don't think these jerks are going to help you. The Prez to the Waxdog: This isn't a campaign speech, Henry. Sorry, shut it.
God, it really is tough to sell actual policy, because it's just so boring. Attacking shit and fanning populist paranoia and anger is a lot more fun and exciting. And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I am now the President of The L Magazine Patriot's Tea Party Party (PartyX2).
Waxman really may be the least attractive person in all of Washington. I still like him though.
Some lady in California says her health insurance costs as much as her mortgage. Man, that sucks.
Waxstache: All of this fits together. Under the Republican proposal the only people who benefit are the healthy. What about the sick? Also, again, you dicks, THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER! People can choose, we like the market, etc.
Sweet. Henry the Mustache Waxman. Rock me, Hank. Rock me gently.
Fuck, Barry is a stammer machine, but follows with a schooling. To Barrasso: "Do you think every member of congress would be better with just catastrophic insurance?" Barrasso: "Yes." Obama: "What about if you were only making $40,000 a year? Not everyone is a premier or a sultan flying in for our great health care." Booyah. Nicely done. More populist barnstorming from Barry, about the poors.
Barrasso is saying here, and I can't believe it, but people with just catastrophic insurance are the best consumers, because they avoid going to the doctor. Really? Also, apparently a bunch of Canadian politicians came to America for care, because it is good here. That is true. Those politicians also make four times as much as I do.
John Barrasso just rambling about how all his constituents think this bill is bad. Because he is a populist. He is from Wyoming. It is not unlikely that his constituents get their political information from, shall we say, agenda-driven sources.
Barry setting up the final showdown by going through his talking points. Admits this last part may be the most contentious. THERE'S GOING TO BE SHOUTING!!! Like in the Korean parliament! "Do we, as a society think it's important to cover everyone? DO WE?"
The Prez: The Knickerbocker Home and Garden Ladies Auxiliary is in here at 4:30pm, so that's all the time we have.
Sweet. Durbin to Republicans: "If you think this is a socialist plot to take over America, why don't you drop out of your government care?" Yeah, dicks.
Fuck. Durbin just told a story about a woman who went in for a mole removal and the oxygen caught fire during surgery, scarring her for life. Durbin asks, "Is it fair if this woman's compensation is limited to $250,000?" No, it's not. Shit.
Dick Durbin, thank god, calls bullshit on the constant fucking harping on tort reform. "One fifth of one percent might be saved through medical malpractice reform." And, according to the CBO, "Also, a bunch of people will die, too," (not their exact words).
The gratuitous and aggressive use of first names all the time is making me crazy. It's like listening to a bunch of really slick car salesmen (high-end ones, at least, but still).
Obama throws an olive branch to Tom Coburn and Richard Burr, would like to work with their ideas on wasted and frivolous spending. Hey, is that, like, bipartisanship?
Obama responds: Americans aren't all that interested in procedure in the Senate, I think Americans want a vote on this issue, plain and simple.
Whoa. He just said the United States Senate is a 60-vote majority. Is it actually?
Chuckles McCain: So, you guys gonna use reconciliation or not? Now it's on.
Chuck Grassley, who is just so fucking old, when trying to make some populist bullshit point bringing up rural, real America, tried to catch himself and include the non-rural part of America, and said this: "Downtown urban America in the poverty parts of the city." Yup, our fate is in his hands. I'm told my colleague Mark is dealing with this in a more in-depth fashion.