RachelWatch: Health Care Reform Gives the Nation an Ulcer

Today: Rachel broadcasts from D.C. with an electedrepresentativepalooza featuring Barney Frank and Tom Harkin. Plus weird insults from Dick Armey!

Conpromise

Rachel started us off with the story most likely to have you trying to beat yourself senseless with your own laptop just for the sweet relief of not having to know about it for a few minutes.

Yes, of course I’m talking about health care reform, though thanks to the latest compromise it’s hard to tell what’s getting reformed. Maybe it’s a re-do of the actual forms?

In a nutshell, the Democrats have been working so hard to please malevolent grinning scarecrow Senator Joe Lieberman (I – Connecticut, so long as you aren’t hoping to connect that cut with an affordable bandage) that they have traded away everything anyone ever liked about the health care reform bill, and in fact have now agreed to print the bill on non-recycled double-bleached paper made from 1,000-year-old redwoods.

Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, and Pensions Committee, dropped in to frantically make lemonade and evoke Rachel’s listening-but-skeptical face.

Fringe and Purge

Teabaggers were scheduled to swarm the Capitol building Tuesday, registering vigorous objections to health care reform and staging a “die-in.”

The general idea was that if people they don’t know or care about are actually able to get health care, the teabaggers themselves might have to wait longer to see their own doctors.

OK, yes, that might seem monumentally selfish at first glance, but you have to understand that when you’re 78% sure there’s an alien implant chip in your skull, there’s just no time to waste.

Rachel wasn’t able to find evidence of any beautifully dramatized fake deaths, but the teabaggers carried on their tradition of bringing vile and/or crazy signs and Senators on the right continued their tradition of pretending not to see the signs and pandering like their very lives depended on it.

Rachel welcomed former Republican and current Democrat Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and remember back when we all thought he would be the human blockade in the legislative process? Innocent, heady times, those were.

Specter took Senate Republicans to task for their constant filibustering and pointed out that it might be nice to get something done for a change.

Illinoise

Illinois needs jobs, the government has a bunch of Guantanamo Bay detainees to house, and boy damn, are we as a nation good at imprisoning people. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?

Well, yes, unless you’re running for office and can’t think of anything to do but frighten people.

Rachel welcomed Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D) to talk about fearmongering and share a little frustration over the Senate’s progress.

Ms. Information

Rachel reported that Thailand totally busted North Korea trying to smuggle weapons, which is funny except for the part where it keeps you lying awake in a cold world-is-gonna-end sweat for the next few days.

I’m sure that Kim Jong-Il will react gracefully to being thwarted. Well, OK, not with emotional grace, but there will probably be elaborate synchronized dance routines.

Then Rachel moved on to her Meet the Press pal, former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey. While introducing Senator Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma), Armey went into a weird, indignant ramble about Rachel – or actually about some woman named “Maddox.”

It’s odd that Armey couldn’t remember her name, since a piece on TRMS may have directly led to his resignation from DLA Piper. Maybe it’s because he’s so very forgiving?

Armey claimed that this awful Maddox woman “lectured” Coburn on health care and was unqualified to do so.

Did you think for one second that she would let that go without reviewing the tape?

Mr. Armey, do not go after a nerd on accuracy and qualifications. You and your terrible, embarrassing cowboy hat are in for a world of hurt.

Common Sense Rampages Across the Nation’s Capitol

Rachel reported that the Washington, D.C. city council legalized gay marriage on Tuesday. Same-sex couples may be able to start tying knots as early as this spring.

The 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival starts March 27. I’m just saying.

Banks for Nothing

Rachel noted that even though several economic indicators are up — fight amongst yourselves about which ones are actually meaningful — banks still aren’t lending out any money.

Which is kind of irritating, because if you’ll recall, you floated them a whole bunch of money last year so they could do that very thing.

The banks keep saying that yes, they’ve totally been meaning to get around to making some small business loans, it’s just that they needed to finish regrouting their bathroom tiles first, and maybe watch all of I, Claudius.

But making some loans is the next thing on their to-do list.

Well, right after sorting through those back issues of Banking Style to see which ones to recycle and which ones to scrapbook. But definitely the very next thing after that.

Congressman Barney Frank (D – Massachusetts) joined Rachel to chat about big banks, small banks, and financial reform.

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