Monday, March 22, 2010

Dragged Kicking And Screaming Into The Century Of The Fruitbat

My sick sense of humor is a terrible personal flaw. After I read these impressive pieces about the new health-care bill, with the appropriate shivers down my spine and somewhat dewy eyes all I could think about was Terry Pratchett's funny fantasy world where people are always being dragged kicking and screaming into the century of fruitbat, even when that was the last century.

But what other response is appropriate to this?

Interviewed Monday on ABC's ''Good Morning America,'' McCain repeated House Republican assertions that the transformative legislation amounts to a ''government takeover'' of health care.

We didn't even get the public option! The health insurance companies are still exempt from anti-trust regulations! They get to have millions of new low-risk customers in exchange for a few limitations!

Who is it anyway who owns the health care system right now? Not the consumers, that's for sure, and not the non-consumers without any coverage.

And that's why I see McCain and others like him dragged kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat. They belong on Pratchett's Discworld.

So do some of the supporters of the bill. It's not the Greatest Thing Since Zippers And Sliced Bread, and neither is it Maoism or anything like that. It's something fairly middle-of-the-road, with some bad bits and some good bits in it. I hope that the good bits weigh more in the cups of the scale than the bad bits, but that all depends on the practical implementation of the bill and how well and rapidly problems in it are fixed.

The reason for Speaker Pelosi's picture is that she really did an astonishing job on this bill. Whatever one thinks of the contents of the bill, her performance was almost flawless in terms of the politics of persuasion.