Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Joe Wilson–Reloaded (hey, maybe he was loaded the first time around :) )

A Joe Wilson clone attempts to talk a policeman out of arresting him for a traffic accident on the grounds that he apologized once already--tell that to the rolling head.

Can't we just put this whole thing behind us?

Despite treating this earlier this week (and breaking my self-imposed schedule change in the process), I’ve decided that Joe Wilson’s outburst requires one more cartoon. The House, voting mostly along party lines, voted yesterday to give Joe a stern “wag of the finger.” Naughty, naughty Joe. For those of you who have been lost at sea for the last week, Joe, whose name, by the way, isn’t really Joe, but Addison Graves Wilson–and with a moniker like that, I’d tell everyone my name was Joe–interrupted President Obama’s healthcare speech with a shout of “You Lie!”–ummm, what was your name again, Joe?–claiming he was so upset by the prospect that, under the still-in-proposal health care plan, illegal aliens might get free treatment in emergency rooms without being deported, that he burst out with his now famous cry, gaining some truly terrifying looks from Nancy Pelosi and over a million bucks in new campaign contributions. I’d believe him more if he’d said that he was confused and thought he was at a town hall meeting, what with all the protest signs other Republican congressmen were carrying. Of course, he should have known he wasn’t, because no one seemed to be packing heat. I have already said (as did Chris Matthews) that perhaps this wasn’t as spontaneous an eruption of emotion as Addison Graves said it was. But let’s set my misgivings on that point aside for the moment. Joe, when he realized he had not gotten a standing ovation, called the White House after the speech and immediately apologized to Rahm Emanuel. When Rahm relayed the apology to President Obama, that sweet darling nitwit accepted it without a single caveat.
Now if I’d been Obama, I’d have said one thing to Joe. “Public insult–Public apology.” I mean, really, even Kanye West knows THAT one. And for those who have been at sea, when young Taylor Swift won an award for best female video at some awards show that I’d never even heard of before, Kanye leaped onto the stage, grabbed the mike from her and dissed her and the entire awards show by claiming that this award had been stolen from BeyoncĂ©, without considering that BeyoncĂ© might be getting the Best Video of the Year honor. To his credit, Kanye not only apologized to Swift, but also apologized publicly on his blog and on Jay Leno’s new ratings bomb show. And POTUS called HIM a jackass. But obviously , only one private apology is necessary to the President of the United States–he doesn’t have the commercial clout of the young country singer. Joe knows full well that any kind of public apology would totally negate whatever political advantage the incident has gained him. Perhaps he’s seen “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” once too many times and John Wayne’s “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness,” has stuck to him tighter than a vending machine condom during an overdose of Viagra. Because we all know, only total rudeness is seen as strength by the kind of person who tries to drown out the speaker at a public gathering. And that’s the kind of person Joe Wilson wanted to impress. And unfortunately for Joe Wilson, that’s the kind of person he’s become.

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The Torch Has Passed, President Obama, Don’t Let It Drop

Kennedy passes the healthcare torch to Obama, who drops it in favor of compromiseIf you weren’t in a coma, or just weren’t paying attention because the Daily Show and Colbert Report were showing re-runs, you will have noticed that Ted Kennedy passed away from the brain cancer that has afflicted him the past year. Our condolences go out to his family and, indeed, to his larger family, the people of the United States of America. Kennedy wasn’t in politics for what he could skim off the top for himself. He wasn’t in it just for the people of Massachusetts, although no one worked harder for his constituency. Ted Kennedy was in politics to do whatever good he could for everyone in this country. Kennedy had a very “Catholic” attitude towards wealth–one that was shared by his two brothers, Jack and Bobby. God does not give you wealth as a sign of his favor, as the Calvinist would believe–rather, God lets the roll of the dice decide who’s wealthy and who’s not. His interest is, what GOOD will you do with your money? This is a lesson that frankly has escaped a lot of very wealthy people in this land–the idea that the wealthy have the obligation to use their riches to help others. They don’t have to impoverish themselves, but they have to leave this world a better place for their having been given the resources to do it with. We were lucky to have one such as Ted Kennedy to work for that end so hard for so long.
But enough theological speculation. Now we turn to the “What would Teddy do” game. Let’s name the health care bill after Teddy! HUZZAH! Now let’s try and pass it…huzzah… Senators on both sides of the aisle are starting to claim that Teddy would do–whoa, I stand in amazement–exactly what THEY would do. John Kerry has touted Kennedy’s willingness to compromise–a strategy that smacks more of Kerry than of Kennedy. Yes, Teddy would compromise–he’d also wheel and deal and he’d know when to hang tough and when to relent. Kennedy was not about compromise–he was about getting the job done.
But does the current state of the health care legislation really get the job done? When you look at it head-on, Obama’s negotiations with insurance companies and Big Pharma has resulted in a lot of empty promises. We’ll lower our profits by $80bn! Lower them from WHAT? What kind of profits did they expect to be making that they could toss that much away and STILL make ungodly profits? Then there’s the waffling on the “public option” which seems to be supported by the White House or considered “not to be a deal breaker” with each change of the wind. Without that public option, there’s no way to keep the insurance companies to their word and continue to ply business as usual. Then there’s Obama’s insistence on a bipartisan solution when the Republican party has declared that they will break him by not passing any reform. You can’t satisfy anyone who’s got their fingers in their ears…and their thumbs someplace else. Especially when they’re being egged on by Fox News and the goon squads who’ve been showing up at the town hall meetings to prevent any serious discussion, a la the brown shirts. Not to mention the revolt of the blue dog Democrats, whose campaign coffers have been heavily contributed to by the insurance companies for the purpose of stymying any real reform.
Heck, even the NYTimes is pushing for a majority vote so health care reform can be passed despite the bad faith and obstructionism of the Republican party. But, someone’s going to have to pull the blue dogs into line. That’s where we’re really going to miss Teddy–for his ability to pull the party together, wheel, deal, and maybe even threaten the recalcitrant to get into line. Obama wasn’t in the Senate long enough to know where the skeletons are buried and Harry Reid doesn’t have the clout. But unless the bluedogs are brought into line, we’ll either have a gutless wonder or nothing at all, which the thugs will claim as a win. The Ted Kennedy Health Care Bill? Let’s make sure it’s a reform that’s worthy to carry his name. And pass it. And that would be a fitting memorial to Teddy.

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