Compiègne 2010

Exhaustion describes the excruciating conclusion to the tragi-comical effort to ‘reform health care.’ All major participants are delegitimized after a year of incompetence, meandering and the darkest political ids unleashed. Poor progressives sat huddled around the ladders in the mud, and at every whistle call scrambled up, charging only to fall without reaching the first coils of barbed wire. ‘Wiser’ minds counseled attrition. A last desperate Kaiserschlach Rightist AgitProp campaign seemed to sweep all aside by early 2010. Arguably, a last minute arrival of inexperienced American doughboys a more competent White House operation turned the optics tide.

The defeated can’t believe the turn of events. Someone betrayed. And so it goes. Already Democrats are crowing joyously about a Senate bill they loathed a month ago. We have, they say, a signed historic armistice piece of legislation. It’s an imperfect peace first step. Out-of-control insurance companies are barely scratched.

Still, a defeat is a defeat – even if the victor is as depleted. How far can an analogy go? One wonders what a Weimar Berlin post-vote South Carolina might look like. General social upheaval is out. There’d be no Reds and Nationalists clashing outside an Applebees, of course. There’s not enough diversity even on the college campuses. Which means dispirited decadence might seek a different outlet – a DeMint hunkered down in a Target office furniture aisle, gulping true American vintages from the cartons, tie askew. Droning on about ‘repeal’ and demanding unanimous consent while a bored teenaged employee restocks No. 2 pencils, pining for closing time.

Wellpoint et al. have reason to sigh with relief. Sure they ‘lost’ in the blathersphere ™. But they and smart observers know the industry took the absolute best shot that a generational reform impulse could throw. And still they stand awash in unjust profits now and for the foreseeable future.

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