Friday, July 28, 2017

1826 Tilt

If the “tilt” sign lit up the pinball machine would go dark. Oh, there were some machines where a skilled pinballer could coax and tease the ball to hit high scoring targets without tripping “tilt.” But most machines and most players had tight limits on how much cheating you could do before losing the game.

It’s an old fashioned way of saying “Game Over.”

For seven years, the US Senate has been playing pinball with your health care, first threatening to overturn Obamacare and then coming up with failed game plan after failed game plan to make that happen.

Much legislation in this country works on the pinball machine principle.  Someone pushes the plunger and the ball comes out of its hole, rolls up the exit ramp and onto the playing field.  It hits this post, then that one. And it works its way down to the flippers where a good player might send it back up the field hitting more targets and winning more points.

Or it drops into the drain.

Did the “Better Care” bill fail in the senate because everyone took one look and asked “who named this thing, anyway, George Orwell?”  No.

Did it fail because the senate came to its senses and said “wait, wait, we don’t really want to take away health insurance from more than 20 million Americans many of whom we haven’t yet been able to keep from voting?”  Of course not.

It failed because three republicans and 48 democrats voted against it. (Amazing, isn’t it, to see 48 democrats agree on anything these days?)

The credit -- and credit it is -- goes to Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Barbara Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona.) They are the three republicans who voted “no” and put this junk legislation into a coma if not into the ground.

Collins and Murkowski were pretty clear in recent days that they wouldn’t support their party’s scam. McCain weaseled around for awhile and finally joined the other two.

Let’s not nominate him for sainthood quite yet.  Although he passes as a moderate and a maverick, when it comes to a vote his party generally can count on his “aye.”

McCain was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.  His triumphant and celebratory return to work was marked by two contradictory acts.

  1. He voted “yes” on a motion to bring the profoundly flawed legislation up for debate.  And
  2. He gave that little speech about how “we” have to relearn how to work with the Democrats instead of trying to “win alone.”

Those two events took place in quick succession. Anyone else see a contradiction there?

Okay, but when push came to shove, McCain joined Collins and Murkowski to shove majority leader McConnell (R-Kentucky) just as he was lifting the game machine to make the ball go his way.

Tilt.  Game over.

It was like Our Hero snatched Periled Pauline from the railroad track where she was tied seconds before the train would have rolled over her.

Or at least it seemed so.

But that’s not what happened.  A man under a death sentence with no appeals left, with no chance of a stay of execution,  realized he no longer was beholden to anyone and did the right thing.



--Poor Mexico can’t catch a break.  The advice to potential tourists always was “don’t drink the water.” Now the warning has been widened to alcoholic beverages that might be contaminated.  Isn’t alcohol a germ killer?

--It looks like more of those Takata weaponized air bags are being recalled.  Defense contractors and arms dealers are missing an important boat here. They could be buying up the things and selling them to the Pentagon.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2017

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