View from the couch: Oh, the joy of health care 

"One drop of oil," Georges Clemenceau, a Prime Minister of France during WWI, is quoted saying, "is worth one drop of blood of our soldiers." Hence, a drop of oil is worth a drop of blood, which any number of people, including me, reminded readers of back in early 2000s, when the Bush administration denied the Iraq war had anything to do with oil, even though many in the Bush administration, including Indiana's governor, Mitch Daniels, Bush's budget director, claimed that Iraq's oil revenues would pay for the war.

Though that "war" grinds on still, taking lives each day, the domestic war over health care "reform" has been "won" by the Obama administration, and one can say comfortably that a drop of blood is now worth a drop of oil. In other words, blood may be more costly than oil, given oil's up and downs lately. Whereas with the passage of the Senate/House health care reform, we have seen over the past year all the money involved in health care, which now does rival the oil industry for size and reach.

Last week the seventh anniversary of the Iraq war passed by, hardly noticed, though some mentioned its cost in lucre, some $750 billion. When you add in Afghanistan it is over a trillion. I believe that figure the way Republicans claim to disbelieve the CBO "scoring" of the new health bill. The GOP has been saying for months that the health bill will cost over a trillion, etc. But the war cost figure is, certainly, a bit Enron-ized. Yet, one reason the war cost doesn't seem to enrage the populace (especially when it was kept off the general budget during the Bush years) is that it is a jobs bill, a stimulus bill, war being one of America's primary occupations and exports. Of course, the large corporations get the lion's share of it, and it helps keep the widening distance between the rich and the poor and the middle class slipping behind.

But, here at home we have blood for oil, not oil for blood. At the very least, the Republicans have now self-identified as the Party of No. Such total opposition is fairly new; their solidarity and discipline makes them seem particularly Stalin-ized, totalitarian. Some thirty Democrats voted against the health bill. See, they can't be tamed! But the Republicans can be kept under control by John Boehner, the House Minority leader and by Mitch McConnell in the Senate, two funny guys. A real politburo there.

So, as everyone says, it's a victory for President Obama. We can hope he's still in office when most of the health care bill's provisions start to kick in in 2014. Now it's on to jobs jobs jobs, immigration, Iraq, Afghanistan, Wall Street, etc. Oh, joy.

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William O'Rourke

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