Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yesterday, a guy named John Goodman, who is not the man who played Roseanne Barr's husband on TV, but who is president of something called the National Center for Policy Analysis, told the Dallas Morning News that health insurance is not a problem in America. His remarks were reported as part of a story on the fact that there are more uninsured people in Texas than in any other state in this imperfect union. Almost one in four Texans do not have health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Goodman, who is not really a good man, "reasoned" that since everybody who needs medical attention must by law be served at a hospital emergency room, everybody really does, in fact, have guaranteed health care. The problem of uninsured Americans, Goodman says, can easily be fixed when the Census Bureau is instructed not to count them anymore.

John Goodman, who is not married to Roseanne Barr and who never played the part on TV, does in fact play the part of an adviser to John McCain. But not on TV. His work is done in real life. But no matter. The article reports that he helped design the McCain health care policy. A MAN WHO CONSTRUCTED THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE'S HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL BELIEVES RENAMING SHIT REMOVES THE NATION'S PROBLEM WITH THE UNINSURED. You might have noticed that this makes me angry. And the bastard was smug about it: "Voila! Problem solved!" It is as though his name made him good. Or got him credit for acting in a slew of films and a comedy series on TV. Or even made him a man.

Fucking Orwellian! The persistent, deliberate destruction of meaning by right-wing plutocrats is a disgrace. And it has real life consequences for one person in four in Texas. For too long, slope-headed, useless crap like this has passed as policy analysis in our country. It's on a par with "heck of a job, Brownie," "Mission Accomplished," and all the rest of the renaming and repackaging and rearranging provided us by what used to be called conservatives, but now might properly be called hubcaps or staplers or sheetrock. I know! Let's call them peyote! They want us to hallucinate.

It is not just stupid. It is evil. Calling ketchup a vegetable during the Reagan years has come back to bite everybody in the ass.

Meanwhile, America spends more per capita on health care than any nation on earth. But our average life expectancy ranks about 33rd worldwide. How come the market hasn't rectified this disparity? Could it be that the market model isn't appropriate to decisions about life and death? How much is your life worth to you?

Meanwhile, up in Denver some guy with a funny name rocked the house with real-world (and decidedly meaningful) language about the difference between what is and what out to be. And he offered nothing about pretending. Even conservative old Andrew Sullivan was impressed. It is not merely one pissed-off guy down here in Texas who yearns for a meaningful political discourse.

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