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Vote for your favorite metaphor for the healthcare bill (with update)

I saw that the Democrats are attempting yet again to reanimate the stinking corpse known as the healthcare bill. Will another jolt of electricity do the trick? Is Obama playing Dr. Frankenstein in the lab? (“That’s Frahnkensteen.”)

Or is this more like Weekend at Bernie’s, a complex kabuki to avoid facing the reality of the bill’s death?

Or perhaps zombies give us the best metaphorical comparison.
I see two key similarities between the Democrats’ healthcare initiative and a zombie.

1. It refuses to die.

2. It apparently eats people’s brains.

Of course, no zombie comparison would be complete without Bob Hope’s famous take:

But then I’m also reminded of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch: “This healthcare bill wouldn’t vrooom if you put 12,000 volts through it.”

So what’s your take? Which of the following metaphors best fits the current state of the healthcare bill?


I really don’t know what to think. The Democrats have apparently concluded that they must pass a healthcare bill at any cost, no matter how high. And I’m not just talking about money.

The risks in pursuing this course are enormous. If current public perception trends continue, Democratic candidates will be in a hole Bill Clinton couldn’t dig out of.

They seem intent on pushing an unpopular healthcare strategy closer and closer to elections, without any assurance that they can get it through. The Blue Dogs could easily abandon them in the House, the Republicans may find various ways to throw sand in the works in the Senate, and even if their bill passes, the Republicans will almost certainly campaign on repealing it. That might provide just the issue they need to get back to majority status.

The Democrats’ entire strategy seems predicated on the idea that if they pass government-dominated healthcare, they will eventually seal their own dominance of the federal government by becoming the arbiters of who gets the goodies. Maybe. But FDR’s New Deal didn’t stop Republican strength in the 1950s, and Johnson’s New Deal didn’t keep Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan from winning big. Just because government-dominated healthcare was the irreversible gate to a welfare state in various European nations doesn’t mean it will do the same thing with we cross-grained Americans, especially when the costs kick in long before the goodies.

Can they actually pass a bill and get it to stick? Looks pretty far-fetched to me. But it’s pretty clear that they’re not prepared to give up.

**** Update Sunday, 21 Feb, 8:30 AM CST ****

Zombie Democrats is the clear favorite at this point, getting just over half the votes, though all four seem to have some support. Weekend at Bernie’s is a respectable second.

In the “Other” category, poll respondents made these suggestions:

From Princess Bride, we have an only-mostly-dead Wesley, which is a pretty good one that I wish I’d thought of.

Night of the Living Dead was also a suggestion. I had actually thought about that one, but left it off since it’s another zombie option. Still, I do sometimes feel like we’re trying to hide from zombie-like politicians who claim to be trying to help us, though they really only want brains power.

There was another suggestion for “Highway of Death”, which I presume refers to the slaughter of the Iraqi occupiers of Kuwait on the highway they used to flee. I don’t really get that one. Maybe if Scott Brown, Chris Christie, and a few other Republicans were cast in the role of A-10 Warthog pilots mowing down helpless Democratic politicians trying to flee the wreckage of their party’s over-reaching, you might be able to make it work. But I doubt this is what the poll respondent had in mind.

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19 Responses to Vote for your favorite metaphor for the healthcare bill (with update)

  • But this move makes a sham and a show out of the big political sitdown over healthcare baracky has called!

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

  • And there would be no reason to pass any of it if anyone believe the Republicans would reverse it.

  • LBJ’s “Great” Society institutionalized the social pathologies that crashed any semblance of a great society. IOW, it was the coup d’gras of FDR’s firing squad. Baracky’s shovel ready project is to bury the US corpse (no pun intended).

  • I think your analysis of the politics is wrong.   Obama needs to go on the offensive if he’s going to turn around the fortunes for Democrats in 2010 and himself in 2012.   The key in off year elections is to motivate your core supporters.  The Democrats who supported Obama in 2008 are not motivated.  He needs to give them victories and results that will energize them for the fall.   If he just tacks center he sedes the game to the GOP, whose stalling tactics are succeeding in making Obama look weak.   He can’t turn that around except by aggressive and potentially risky actions.    My own analysis: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/obama-on-offense/

    • I hope he DOES go on the offensive. It’s be like Napoleon going into Russia.

    • I think your analysis of the politics is wrong. Naturally. You dense righties never get anything right about politics, especially you ex-military Nazi-like basket cases wigged out from the stress, who are certainly no match for someone with godlike powers of political science. You’re wrong about everything: climate change, Iraq, Sarah Palin. You thick righties don’t even seem to see the vulgarity in her full lips and ample bosom. Thank goodness for people like me who see right through her.

      Obama needs to go on the offensive if he’s going to turn around the fortunes for Democrats in 2010 and himself in 2012. Full steam ahead with government run healthcare, cap and trade, card check and all the rest. The key in off year elections is to motivate your core supporters, and more programs and more spending is the only thing that will mollify the leftist base, uh, sorry, I meant mollify pragmatic moderates.

      The Democrats who supported Obama in 2008 are not motivated. And it’s not because they were caught up in a religious fervor in electing him and are disappointed that he turned out not to be much of a leader, so stop saying that! They’re probably depressed by seeing those vulgar Tea Party rednecks on TV all the time.

      Obama definitely needs to shut those people down, and he should definitely ignore all the polls that say voters don’t want federalized healthcare or that other stuff. They really do want all those things, they just need we wise leftists to explain it to them better. Besides, when the programs get passed, those Tea Party rednecks will just give up and go home and grumble to their dogs, you’ll see.

      If Obama just puts them in their place, they won’t be a factor in the next two elections. And then Democrats will win big, and keep on creating magical leftist programs, and we’ll have the earthly leftist utopia we’ve been working so hard for. And then I can come back here to this blog and crow to you for months about how I foresaw it all along, just like I crowed about predicting Obama’s win. And it’s not either true that some of you dense righties thought he would probably win! You were all mesmerized by Palin’s ample bosom and you were certain McCain would win! That’s the way I remember it!

      He needs to give his base victories and results that will energize them for the fall. Yes, we defininely need more of those union guys out this fall so they can intimidate counter the Tea Partiers.

      If he just tacks center he sedes the game to the GOP, whose stalling tactics are succeeding in making Obama look weak. And the fact that Clinton succeeded by tacking to the center, and the fact that there doesn’t even appear to be such as word as “sedes,” is not relevant. I decree it.

      Or maybe I mean “cedes” though I might need an editor to tell me these things. I have a book you know, and it did too have an editor, though my work was so perfect that the editor seemed to not need to do very much work at all. And it’s definitely not true that the editor only made a token effort because he was working for a vanity press that suckers social science academics and he knew no one would really read the book, so you should put that thought out of your mind.

      Obama can’t turn anything around except by aggressive and potentially risky actions. My own analysis is over at my blog, which I am definitely not pimping for, and it’s not just a pile of dreck and leftist platitudes, so stop saying that. It’s serious, thoughtful analysis, I tell you. Everyone in the faculty lounge thinks so, especially the younger ones up for tenure.

    • I think that Obama’s plan is to pass health care reform so that he has a signature accomplishment upon which to hang his hat.  I don’t think he has any illusions about the 2010 races and he doesn’t care, because at this point if he retreats the Democrats will lose big anyway.  There is the possibility that he could turn this to his advantage for 2012, because the actual reforms don’t kick in until 2013 or thereabouts.  So he can run in 2012 on a platform of “I reformed health care” and if the economy has recovered by then, he may well win a second term and regain some congressional seats.  Then when the real “reform” hits us in 2013/4, it’ll be too late.

      • Yes, though I think he’ll also get a jobs bill through, use executive authority to pass a lot of reforms, and set himself up for the benefits of an economic recovery by 2012, and I do think he can energize his base for 2010 — which is more important than trying to win over those in the center who are likely to vote GOP in many close races.   I also think the White House is prudently recognizes that the game is still early.   The GOP has internal divisions, and believes that their positions are far more popular than they really are.  Both sides sometimes have trouble accepting that Americans are pragmatists who are not viscerally against the left or the right, but willing to entertain options.   Obama knows that if he passes reform and the economy improves, things will turn around for him as fast as they turned around for Reagan (who early on was less popular than Obama — was down to 38% approval).

  • The other side of all of this is that Americans on multiple occasions have been told that the health care reform bill is dead, but Obama, Reid and Pelosi keep trying to bring this back.
    Frankly, the American people are getting sick and tired [no pun intended] that this thing just won’t die.  Meanwhile, this uncertainty is keeping real economic growth from moving forward.
    Obama, Reid and Pelosi are pushing in all the chips while holding a hand of “6 hi”.  I mean, this is lose or lose big.  Going another round on this is going to “piss off” lots of folks who want to (excuse the term) “move on”.   When the voters stick their boot up Obama’s ass this November, he’ll have two years to know that his legacy and his party will be dead because they put their political fortunes ahead of those of the American people.

    • Meanwhile, this uncertainty is keeping real economic growth from moving forward.

      Certainly the healthcare industry, which is a sizable chunk of the economy, has been paralyzed for over a year now. I do quite a bit of consulting for healthcare companies, and I’ve heard them tell me the horror stories of budgets frozen because no one knows what the landscape will look like until the legislation is settled.

      Vendors who sell products or services to providers are the hardest hit. The providers keep their revenue stream because people still need healthcare. But even there, much investment is being delayed, and that’s ultimately bad for patients.

       

      • What is additionally interesting in all of this is the ultimate “bait and switch” that the Democrats are trying to push.
        Make no mistake, this isn’t about insuring the uninsured. If another person is insured by this bill, it will not be by design.
        This is about cost containment for the federal government, but if you read the bill there is virtually no cost containment in the there.  The only mechanism there for cost containment are the “death panels” AKA the Medical Advisory Board.    And I don’t mean a personal “death panel” …  I mean a across the board “we don’t fund that procedure any more” death panel, like those of the British NHS.
        And they other half of this nightmare of a bill is that much of it is funded by taxing medical providers .. the drug companies, the medical device manufacturers, the “Cadillac” plans.
        Imagine for a second that Obama proposed an extension of services for the poor, but funded it with new taxes on providers to the poor  ..  the supermarkets, the landlords, and the used car dealers.  How long before it would degenerate into ultimate chaos ?
        Meanwhile, the plan to extend this sort of chaos is embedded in “cap and tax” on the energy front.   All of these will eventually drive these industries to chaos in the name of speeding up their evolution.

      • Budgets are also frozen because of the economic conditions — you know, a deep recession and all that.   Here in rural Maine it’s especially bad because the number of cases where people aren’t paying their bills is skyrocketing.  Insurance companies are radically increasing premiums.   What I hear is that while not everyone agrees the current legislation is best, the whole system is completely unsustainable and that something needs to be done.   One problem is that when you have a for-profit insurance industry as a middle man here, that creates extremely high overheads that add immensely to the cost of care.   The pharmaceutical companies also have had regulations written to benefit them — and Obama hasn’t taken them on adequately.  A lot of people have been feeding at the gravy train of the US health care policy that has allowed costs to skyrocket and many companies to benefit greatly.  We can’t afford that.  If left to the market, things will crash, the wealthy will have health care, the poorer folk will be priced out of insurance coverage, and smaller companies will no longer offer that benefit.
        At that point, the government will have no choice but to take over.   That’s coming if real reform isn’t tried now.

    • Actually, health care reform is still relatively popular amongst Americans, who realize the current system is broke.  If Obama passes it the issue goes away as a bone of contention, and emphasis is placed on the economy.   If that shows improvement, Obama will take credit.   Too late for 2010?  Well, if he energizes the Democratic base he may make the 2010 loses less than many expect (especially with the GOP divided — they all agree to oppose Obama, but can’t agree on how to move ahead), but his real thoughts are of course on 2012 — and he might benefit if he has to work with at least one House of Congress in GOP hands.
      But don’t fool yourself — “the American people” are in a much different spot than the activists on the right or the “tea party” folk.   The people are not so partisan, and in fact tend not to pay a lot of attention to politics.

  • The Democrats have apparently concluded that they must pass a healthcare bill at any cost, no matter how high.

    On the contrary, there is at least one price they find too high to pay.  If the Democrats were to scrap all versions of the 2000+ page monstrosity and draft a clean, pork-free bill that allowed tort reform and purchasing of insurance policies across state lines, they could successfully pass a health care bill.  But their pride is evidently much more important to them than any actual success.

  • I suggest that Obama’s obsession with passage of healthcare reform resembles Major T. J. “King” Kong of Dr. Strangelove.  Just as Maj. Kong is completely focused, even obsessed with delivering his bombs to their targets so too the President is completely fixated on HCR; come what may.  The destructive outcomes may not be all that dissimilar either.

  • When will the government realize that we don’t want them to become involved in health reform. Practically each and every big brother program is a economic wreck, and tax payers are generally left holding the bag. If they are not able to get the job done that they have been elected to do, they will find out in November that people in america are generally tired of most of the disappointments and can replace them.

  • “That is not dead that can eternal lie…in committee…”
    http://www.gppcomic.com/2010/01/22/reform/