Captain Kirk pulls it out of his ass at the last minute! (“Scotty! Give me everything you’ve got!”)
No — really. We’re all familiar with the classic Star Trek setup, right? Gene Roddenberry hooked audiences on this scenario: something has gone wrong and the clock is ticking! We’re working on the problem! Oops — something else has gone wrong and the clock is ticking faster plus the stakes just shifted upward from “local implosion” to “thermonuclear meltdown.” Oh, and the character you love most is in mortal peril.
Well I don’t know if anyone was in mortal peril but a shitload of people’s household budgets are probably going to be in the Rice-a-Roni zone for a while. Does that count?
Unlike Star Trek, this was real life, which goes on after the lights come up. And the drama was orchestrated by a bunch of bozos who have no need to worry about their household budgets, choosing — I glumly predicted it at the outset — to run out the clock till a few minutes to midnight, trying to see how many flinders of concession each side could exact.
Oh I make no secret of my predilections. The American Republican Party has devolved from the party of sleeve-tugging fiscal restraint to the Party Of Whack, a refuge for people who want Old White Guys to have the last word and can’t handle the idea of sex without procreation, actually can’t handle the idea of sex at all for long, forget gay people, anyone in distress did something to deserve it, I’m aboard pull up the ladder. “Do you hate Obamacare more than you love your country?” one exasperated television host asked a GOP Congresswoman.
You know, I think the ACA is more than a little bit of a clusterfuck myself, but it’s a step in the right direction — toward the environment experienced by many of my blog friends, who may gripe about their countries’ health care plans but will never have to fear that illness will bankrupt them. I am down with lobbying aggressively to fix it. Tying the country to the railroad tracks is right out of it.
This was a flirtation with worldwide economic Shit On Toast . By leading with legislation that the American President had stated — for reasons that would be obvious to any nematode or prion even — would be antithetical to him, the House of Representatives essentially moved to take not just their own country but the world economy hostage, over a health-care program they had already unsuccessfully tried to undo forty times. Jeebus: this was not about sending people to the Gulag or seizing their personal information online, what the fuck, we already did that, no, it was about an argument over the best way to pay for health care.
In the process, the entire protocol for paying the bills we had already run up with the approval of Congress got hijacked.
Please, people, remember this when you go in the voting booth. Voting? You remember that right? It happens somewhere in the interstices between reality TV and trips to BJ’s wholesalers.