Paglia on Health Care

August 12th, 2009

Obama’s healthcare horror by Camille Paglia is subtitled “Heads should roll — beginning with Nancy Pelosi’s!”

Paglia’s monthly column at Salon.com is always refreshing and thought-provoking.  She’s a committed Democrat, a liberal, and a strong Obama supporter.  But that doesn’t stop her from telling the truth as she sees it without regard to whose ox is being gored.  It always impresses me when people speak intelligently and with conviction in ways that run counter to their biases and partisan preferences.  Camille Paglia is one of these people.

Each of her monthly columns, which are her only internet presence, cover a variety of topics.  Her lead topic today is health care reform and the way it’s being handled by Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  Other topics include a little support for Sarah Palin’s dumb “death panel” remark, criticism of Obama’s knee-jerk reaction to the Gates arrest, and a much-needed explanation of the difference between issues of race and class.  Then she’s on to commentary about music and the arts.

From Paglia’s column today on health care reform: 

Ever since Hillary Clinton’s megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy. …

Both major parties have become a rats’ nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. …

What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the “mob” — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure.

Paglia concludes the column with this little tidbit:

Oh, one last note. Gay trivia: The 17-year-old hustler who in 1975 murdered the gay film director Pier Paolo Pasolini by repeatedly running him over with his own car on an Italian beach was named Giuseppe Pelosi.  Hmm … Hustling must run in the family.

You can read Camille Paglia’s column the second Wednesday of each month at Salon.com.  Give it a try — you’ll quickly get hooked.


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