Saturday, August 15, 2009

Palin's Imaginary Victory & Grassley's Imaginary Committee

You have to wonder about Senators who hold imaginary committee meetings when everyone else is on recess, and ex-half-term-governors who are for things before they're against them before they're for them again. Someone that dizzy surely needs national health care, or something.

Sarah Palin claims victory for changing the Health Care Reform Bill. No longer having access to the official State of Alaska website, and no longer tweeting (she's probably having a hard time trying to figure out how to tweet without using a no-longer-valid user name - someone should tell her that changing your user name on Twitter is way easy), she now sends out press releases via Facebook. I must admit, whoever her new writer is, the quality of the writing is much improved. Note, I said quality, not content.

In a Facebook post on Friday, August 14, Palin said, [emphasis added]

"I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee's decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200)," ..."It's gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress."

"That provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones," ... "As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time."

She goes on to claim that the only conclusion to this would be a nationalized health care system (which to maintain full disclosure, I am not totally against). The problem with Palin and other right wingers, is that they form one conclusion and refuse to see another. Nationalized healthcare does not inevitably lead to rationing, nor is rationing an evil word. Insurance companies ration care right now. Oh well, that's another post and a debate that should be taking place and would be taking place if the right wing noise machine would allow a civil discourse to occur at democratic town hall meetings.

Back to her post. A few problems.

Congress is out of town. It's a little difficult to remove provisions in a bill when everyone is out of town. And, the letters HR before a bill number means House Resolution whereas the letters SR mean Senate Resolution.

She obviously got a little confused because Senator Charles Grassley (of the Senate Finance Committee) on Thursday announced at a Town Hall that he was responsible for having the provision relating to end of life counseling removed from the health care reform bill so no one had to worry about killing granny.

Chuck is jumping the gun just a trifle, as HR 3200 is not completely through the House, everyone is on recess, he hasn't done diddly, and he's forgotten the how a bill becomes a law process, too. Unless he held that imaginary meeting. He follows me on twitter, I follow him, but I must have missed that tweet.

So, to review. Once a bill passes the House, then it goes to the Senate. Once passed by the Senate, it goes to the President for his signature. (Along the way, there are things called markups...).

In the case of HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 referred to in Sarah Palin's Facebook post, it has meandered its way through markup through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Education and Labor. It is now in markup in the Committees for Oversight and Government Reform, and the Budget Committee, according to Thomas dot gov, and upon the completion of the August recess, will pass the House and move to the Senate where depending on the Blue Dogs, will be completed some time in late September or October.

Sarah Palin, like Senator Chuck Grassley who claimed victory for removal of the same provision, has nothing to do with anything to do with this bill, at this point. Palin never will, and Grassley not until it reaches the Senate.

So why are they each proclaiming victory for something they have nothing to do with? Politics. Grassley will be running for re-election in 2010. He knows that ultimately, he has no chance in stopping health care reform but is looking for sound bites and video clips for his base. He now has them - particularly rabid ones at that as he refers to health care reform "killing granny" - that he can use for the far right-wing of his constituents to "prove" that he fought against health care reform. He had to. The day before, President Obama had singled him out for praise as a voice of reason in the health care debate and he knew that anyone running against him would use that clip against him, so he needed to have some O'Reilly and Beck-type 'creds' to throw back. Never mind reality, or truth. It's just politics.

And Palin? It's the issue of the day. She created the "death panel" label that took the right wing by storm - even if she was against it a few days later until she realized that more people supported her for it than didn't, so she was for it before she was against it before she was for it again. Whew. Busy lady. Anyway.

It doesn't matter what she says or does. Or if it's true or not. Just throw a bunch of words around, terms that she heard someone say that sound important (never mind if she understands them - no one else will either) and post something that's really, really long and looks important (no one will read it anyway, or understand it if they do). It's just politics.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

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