I've been politics-heavy in this space lately, and where perhaps I'd otherwise have something to say here that doesn't have to do with the news cycle or public policy, I've been frozen at the keyboard, wondering if there's something in the headlines I need to write about, if only just to properly articulate my view so that I know exactly what I think.
Anyway, I'm hoping to change that. From this point on, anything political I put here is going to be a re-post, and I'm going to try and write about other things. I've started a political group blog with my friend GeniusJunky, who was briefly a classmate of mine. We've named it "Calling 'Em Out," and our first order of the day is to fire broadsides at the perpetrators of bullshit in the body politic, no matter whose side they're taking.
I hope this means that I'll feel more able to talk about other things here, because I still have a lot to say.
In any case, here's a repost of the first thing I posted on the new blog
Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) may soon lose the shine on his image. He deserves to, but not for the reasons that are making headlines.
He's apologized since, and curiously the apology was to Linda Robertson rather than whores everywhere who didn't deserve to have their profession associated with her sociopathic behavior. Grayson brands himself as a Congressman With Guts, and in fact has a fundraising website with that title. He certainly has guts when there are campaign dollars in it for him. But what if there aren't?
Take, for instance, this interview with Bill Maher on Real Time a couple of weeks ago.
Oh boy, where to begin.
I don't fault Grayson for his sound bytes. Washington is beset on all sides by unscrupulous people, and pointing them out--in whatever language one chooses-- is a good where it cannot be shown to be an evil. His characterization of the Republican Healthcare Plan is obviously hyperbole, but it fairly accurately captures the let-them-eat-cake attitude that the GOP has been showing on the issue of healthcare reform, and on top of that, "Don't Get Sick" more or less describes the Health Savings Account plan that John McCain proposed during the campaign, which would have been great-- so long as you don't need healthcare.
But when Maher questioned the "Die Quickly"portion of his premise, Grayson sidestepped the very real issue that there's a profit motive for treatments rather than cures and took a shortcut to his latest one-liner. And it was a great line, but you get the idea that of the two of them, it's the professional funnyman that actually wants to talk substantively about healthcare.
Which Grayson did nothing to dispel later in the interview.
A recent study shows that our healthcare system's waste level may be as high as $850 billion, and even though the study was released after this particular interview, it's been long known that over-utilization is the primary factor in healthcare inflation. The fee-for-service model puts a profit motive on waste, compensating doctors for treating patients rather than curing them. And it's a difficult issue to tackle, because the means of correcting it can be easily construed as denying options to doctors and patients, and that spectre has been fraudulently invoked by the GOP and the anti-reform lobby since day one.
And Grayson's response? “One person's unnecessary test is another's lifesaving test.”
Grayson's heated rhetoric on the floor of the House earned him a media spotlight, and with it an opportunity to contribute to the discourse at a time where the final shape of healthcare reform is still to be determined. Instead, he's cashed in on his visibility with for his 2010 campaign.
Bombast and substance are not mutually exclusive. It takes courage to launch broadsides at an opposition unburdened by truth and more than willing to retaliate, but true grit as a politician lies in the willingness to make arguments based on the whole truth and trusting the American people to understand them.
We as citizens deserve better than the likes of Alan Grayson. And we should demand it.