Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Forget insurance -- Sen. Enzi lobbies for more of the same "nosurance"

Curious, but I guess not surprising, that Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi decided to abandon the middle road on health care and side with the screeming meemies of the Right.

As part of Saturday's Republican Party address, Enzi said that he's talked to people all over the state and all of them are against health care reform. That's 530,000-some people, if you include infants and handful of Democrats I hang around with. Every single Wyomingite is as mad as hell and not going to take it anymore -- whatever "it" is.

I'm reminded of Al Capp's comic strip of the sixties and seventies. Capp was a diehard conservative who drew L'il Abner and other strips. He lampooned longhair campus antiwar demonstrators by labeling them with the acronym S.W.I.N.E. or Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything. Because I was a student at the time who hung out with longhair antiwar activists, I got wildly indignant about that. Looking back though, it was funny. We were wildly indignant about Vietnam and Nixon and drug laws and cops and the rising price of pot and standing in line all night for ACC basketball tickets.

Here's a new set of words for Capp's S.W.I.N.E.: Simpletons Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything. It's a gross generalization caling all the birthers and town hall meeting screamers simpletons. But when you look at the non-questions they shout, there's no other conclusion.

One thing about Enzi, though, he held an open town hall meeting, even though it was in his heavily Republican home town of Gillette. Most of his Repub cohorts are holding invitation-only "town hall meetings." That includes John McCain and Mitch McConnell, an old white guy from Arizona and an old right-winger from Kentucky. Not quite brave enough to endure the slings and arrows of the crazies from their own party.

I attended a memorial ceremony this evening at UW for poet and professor Craig Arnold. Craig was a fine writer, teacher, gourmet cook and human being. After he disappeared in April while conducting research for his next book on a remote Japanese volcano, Craig's family sought help with Wyoming's Congressional delegation, including the state's senior senator, Mike Enzi. He lit a fire under the U.S. military, which sent choppers to the scene. Congressional staffers talked to the U.S. and Japanese governments, urging them to act quickly. All the effort was for naught, as Craig's body was never found and he's now presumed dead.

Senators Enzi and Barrasso and Rep. Lummis didn't make it to tonight's memorial. They did send staffers, thought, and Sen. Enzi sent a heartfelt letter of condolence, read aloud by English Dept. Chair Peter Parolin. The letter was all about the importance of poetry and education and family. In the letter, he invoked his wife's name and those of his two daughters who are teachers. He urged compassion, and sent condolences to Craig's family and friends and colleagues gathered in the room at the UW Art Museum.

I thought: this is a beautiful letter from a caring individual. O.K., it was probably written by a staffer but one who did some research to get names and facts and events straight. It was written in Enzi's name, so one has to assume that he has strong feelings for his fellow Wyomingites, including this 41-year-old poet whom he barely knew -- if at all.

The letter had empathy. There, I've said the forbidden "e" word.

So, it's difficult to reconcile the Enzi of the letter and the Enzi who is blocking health insurance reform for his fellow Wyomingites. He has his own ten-point plan but it's just more of the same, ignoring the plight of some 80,000 residents without health care and the many thousands who are underinsured. "Nosurance," is how some wags refer to health care in the U.S.A. No "insurance" about health care plans that cost more than a thousand dollars a month but still have gaping holes that sick people fall through. Nosurance. And Enzi wants more of the same.

Nosurance? No empathy!

The Wyoming Democratic Party held a press conference today about Enzi's health care reform blockade. Here's the press release:

Wyoming Democratic Party Chair Leslie Petersen and former Wyoming Healthcare Commissioner, Barb Rea held a conference call with reporters today to express disappointment in Senator Mike Enzi for abandoning bipartisanship on health insurance reform.

This weekend in the Republican Party’s weekly radio address, Senator Enzi made many misleading statements about the health insurance reform proposals currently being debated in Congress and inaccurately said the proposals “will actually make our nation's finances sicker without saving you money.” Senator Enzi has also said recently that he was not negotiating with Democrats in the Senate to reach a compromise on a health insurance reform but was instead working to gut the bill.

Wyoming residents were proud that their state’s Republican Senator was taking a lead role in negotiating with Democrats on health insurance reform and are disappointed that Senator Enzi has chosen to toe the Republican Party line instead of working for the reform the American people want and need.

Leslie Petersen, Wyoming Democratic Party Chair: “We’re here today to express disappointment in our Senator, Mike Enzi, for abandoning bipartisanship on health insurance reform.... So it was incredibly disappointing when he came out this weekend and he not only said he was going to work to gut the bill but he misled the people of Wyoming on what was in the bill…It isn’t what the American people want, it’s certainly not what people in Wyoming want. We do need reform…We feel like he’s caved in to the Republican leadership…”

Barb Rea, Former Wyoming Healthcare Commissioner: “The one thing that we have all agreed on finally is that the status quo is not sustainable, so to continue to negotiate is really important… it’s really important for the American people and people in Wyoming to understand that reform will build on out current system and will help bring security and stability to those of us that already have insurance and give access to quality affordable care for those that don’t.”

Sen. Enzi Took Credit For Blocking And Delaying Health Care Bill, Rather Than Work On A Compromise. “This time, Enzi responded. ‘If I hadn't been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care,’ he said. ‘Someone has to be at the table asking questions,’ Enzi said, showing a flash of passion. He later quoted a favorite saying: ‘If you're not at the table, you're on the menu.’ ‘It's not where I get them to compromise, it's what I get them to leave out,’ Enzi said.” [AP, 8/25/09]

Sen. Enzi Came Out Against Comprehensive Health Care Reform, Although He Admits Reform Is Needed. “Congress should approach health care reform in steps, instead of trying to put together a comprehensive package said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Health care is so massive that reforms can’t be made with one major bill, which is what the Obama administration and congressional Democrats are pushing, Enzi told members of the Casper Rotary Club on Monday at the Parkway Plaza Hotel. ... ‘We do need to have health care reform,’ Enzi said. ‘We do need to get it right. We need take the time to do it. I think the only way it will happen is we need to break it down into smaller parts than we have now and think it through one at a time.’” [Casper Star-Tribune, 8/17/09]

Sen. Enzi Boasted About Voting Against The Health Care Plan That Passed The Senate HELP Committee. "Enzi, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and member of the Senate Finance Committee, repeated his opposition to a government-run health care plan today while addressing the Casper Rotary Club. Over the weekend, Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius hinted that the Administration may be willing to look beyond a government-run option. 'As I've said from the beginning, a government-run option is not an option. I voted against the Democrat plan in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last month and would do so again,' Enzi said. 'A government-run plan would increase health care costs, lessen service and add to our huge debt. The American people are doing a great job of getting this message across to the Administration and Congress.'" [Sen. Enzi release, 8/17/09]

Sen. Enzi Predicted “Nasty, Nasty Town Meeting” For Democrats Over Health Care. “In an interview, Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, said he was committed to forging a bipartisan consensus on legislation that overhauls the U.S. health-care system. ‘We're past due for doing it, and the American people want it,’ said Mr. Enzi, one of three Republicans negotiating with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.). The Baucus-led talks are the only bipartisan health-bill effort on Capitol Hill. But Sen. Enzi said voters so far didn't seem impressed by what the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill has come up with, and predicted members of the House and Senate are in for ‘some nasty, nasty town meetings’ over the August congressional recess. ‘I don't think they like what they see so far,’ the senator said of voters.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/6/09]

Sen. Enzi, Along With Sen. Grassley, Brief The GOP Leaders Daily And Leader McConnell Said "They're Not Free Agents. They're Reporting To Us." "Grassley and Enzi brief a majority of the Republican Conference almost every Wednesday afternoon - and have for months - and they brief GOP leaders almost daily. While Enzi, Grassley and Snowe say they aren't being urged to resist a deal, neither are they being given carte blanche. GOP aides say they have been reminded they are not negotiating on behalf of the Conference and could find themselves on an "island" if they agree to legislation without first getting it approved. 'They're not free agents. They're reporting to us,' McConnell told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. "' don't think they're going to sign onto a deal that a vast majority of my Conference can't agree to. And we don't, so far, like much of anything we see in this big-government, high-tax, mandate approach that the Democratic majority and the president would like to pass.'" [Roll Call, 8/3/09]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last night (Wednesday) about 40 people showed up for a Public Option/Single Payer rally in Laramie.

I guess Enzi doesn't speak for quite all of Wyoming.

nancy S.