Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jamming Health Care Reform Down Senator McConnell's Throat - Open letter, March 17, 2010

Dear Mitch:

The personal tone of the letters I received last week made me certain we must have made it to first name status now. You did acknowledge receipt of my letters, even if your response still indicates no understanding of the words I have written.

I hope my absence the last few weeks didn’t make you think I have been insensitive to your throat fears. I haven’t written because life (and death) got in the way. My uncle died suddenly while on a golfing vacation. That claimed a few days of my time and threw me off emotionally for longer than I would have expected. And I’ve tried to remain upbeat and optimistic since my daughter’s employer laid her off and she needs my support. As you probably know, thinking about you does little to improve my attitude. And, much as I hate to admit it, I sent denial on a little break and wasted several days fretting over how I might pay for the health care I need. So many doctors and tests and so little money. Sigh. The lottery is out since I don’t buy tickets, marrying a rich man is too much like prostitution, and I’m sure I would never get away with robbing a bank since I don’t own a gun.

Still, I assure you, with all of this going on, there was not a day that I didn’t hear or read something from you that made me want to write. (Insert Willie Nelson’s, “You are always on my mind.”) For example, I wondered why you withheld criticism of Senator Bunning’s most recent displays of almost certain dementia. You are outspoken about your dislike for him here at home so your silence on the national scene struck me as pure partisan politics. I’m sure you have a very good reason and my opinion is unfair, so I’ll shut up about this topic and await your rationalization.

I should probably be grateful that you interrupted my pity party with your statements about how reconciliation dooms the party that uses it. (Do you really think that’s the only reason the Republicans lost everything?) A friend heard that with me and asked, “Who is he trying to kid?” My self-esteem slipped out of the party to flatter me by claiming that honor. If cheering me with a good belly laugh was not the motivation behind your “fear the reconciliation” statements, congratulations for accomplishing more than you intended.

To prove (to myself) that my thinking wasn’t nearly as clouded as it once seemed during my absence from you, I recall the following statement as though you made it this morning: “I’m well known at home and people come up to me all the time to talk about this.” This would have been a great lead if you had followed it with honest information about the numbers of people you’ve heard from on both sides of the issue. Sadly, it ended up being just another self-serving misrepresentation. Call me a softy (or bleeding heart) because I understand. Your game is in jeopardy so you can’t resist whipping out the Rovian cheat sheet. I’m sure that’s why you also blabbed on about plenty of good Republican ideas, none of which you attempted to pass during your turn at “jamming things down throats”.

If you aren’t sitting, please find a seat before reading the next line. Put down your drink, clear your throat, and take a deep breath. I would like to recognize and thank the Republicans who elected Senator John Barrasso. That single act should qualify your party as a major participant in health care reform and shame the AMA. You people improved quality of care by removing from practice one of the most incompetent physicians I’ve seen (that’s saying a lot - ask me about my career sometime if you don’t recognize me). I would be happier if you had found somewhere other than the senate to dump him, but am at least relieved to know he is not treating patients.

About your throat – I might wander off track but I don’t forget where I’m headed – lest you think my heart has stopped bleeding, I heard your fears (repeatedly) about having health care reform jammed down your throat. I empathized, even, since I choked on the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, Justices Roberts and Alito, Medicare Part D . . . you get the picture. True to my optimistic nature, though, I remembered that it is much easier to have something jammed down the throat than up the tighter end, where I had to accommodate the stolen elections in 2000 and 2004. No matter how much of your dishonest rhetoric you believe, you should still be grateful to the Democrats for choosing the less painful orifice in which to do the jamming. The good news, though, is that health care reform won’t be hard to swallow.

(Yes, we do expect you to swallow, with a smile on your face.)

Much love,


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