The Gang’s All Here

From Robert Reich at the Wall Street Pit (August 21, 2009):

Last night, the so-called “gang of six” — three Republican and three Democratic senators on the Senate Finance Committee — met by conference call and, according to Senator Max Baucus, the committee’s chair, reaffirmed their commitment “toward a bipartisan health-care reform bill” (read: less coverage and no public insurance option). The Washington Post reports that the senators shared tales from their home states, where some have been besieged by protesters angry about a potential government takeover of the nation’s health care system.

It’s come down to these six senators. The House has reported a bill as has another Senate committee, but all eyes are fixed on Senate Finance — and on these three Dems and three Republicans, in particular. But who, exactly, anointed these six to decide the fate of the nation’s health care?

Original DVD cover

I don’t get it. Of the three Republicans in the gang, the senior senator is Charles Grassley. In recent weeks Grassley has refused to debunk the rumor that the House’s health-care bill will spawn “death panels,” empowered to decide whether the sick and old get to live or die. At an Iowa town meeting last Tuesday Grassley called the President and Speaker Nancy Pelosi “intellectually dishonest” for claiming the opposite. On Thursday Grassley told the Washington Post that Congress should scale back its efforts to overhaul health care in the wake of intense anger at town hall meetings. But — wait — the anger is about distortions such as the “death panels” that Grassley refuses to debunk.


I really don’t get it. We have a Democratic president in the White House. Democrats control sixty votes in the Senate, enough to overcome a filibuster. It is possible to pass health care legislation through the Senate with 51 votes (that’s what George W. Bush did with his tax cut plan). Democrats control the House. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is a tough lady. She has said there will be no health care reform bill without a public option.

So why does the fate of health care rest in Grassley’s hands?

It’s not even as if the gang represents America. The three Dems on the gang are from Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota — states that together account for just over 1 percent of Americans. The three Republicans are from Maine, Wyoming, and Iowa, which together account for 1.6 percent of the American population.


So, I repeat: Why has it come down to these six?

Maybe because they’re so adorable?!

Original image

From The New York Times (August 21, 2009):

While various reports have suggested that chances of a bipartisan agreement on health care legislation are sinking into the sunset, the Gang of Six — those three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee — appear to be plowing ahead.

The senators spoke for about 90 minutes Thursday night on a conference call, after which Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the committee, said the senators “remain committed” to working toward a bipartisan bill.

He called the session “productive” and said the senators were focused on making health care affordable and reducing costs. And they expect to meet again before the Senate returns to Washington on Sept. 8.


A note from aides to Mr. Baucus added: “The bipartisan group spent approximately an hour and half discussing their ongoing efforts to craft health care reform legislation that lowers costs and provides quality, affordable coverage. Specifically, the conversation focused on affordability and reducing costs, and the members instructed their staffs to develop and refine ideas to achieve these goals.”

Joining the call with Mr. Baucus were two other Democrats, Senators Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Kent Conrad of North Dakota; and the three Republicans, Senators Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.


Filed under Barack Obama, Chimpy, Congress, George W. Bush, humor, Iowa, movies, Nancy Pelosi, Olympia Snowe, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, Senate Finance Committee, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

26 responses to “The Gang’s All Here

  1. gang of six my ass – it is baucus and grassley and all the money they take from big pharma and insurance.

    whatever they come up with will suck — you have to hope pelosi has the spine to stand up to it

  2. From my understanding of History..and D’Cap would be the one to ask..since he is the Historian in the gang…lol, but it was FDR who set it up that the Finance Committee who had the final say so on all this I guess it is he whom we have to blame for the process, the men involved..that would have to be the ones who elected them…

    Other than that..I can’t help you…

  3. Jenn/jlms qkw

    interesting article – 2% of the population represented at the table? wtf?

    and as always a fabulous fabulous mockup!! you rock mega!

  4. Friend of the court

    People are getting all wild because they don’t want the Government to run the Doctors but, they never made much of a fuss when the Government gave all the money to the F’ing Banks and other insurance gamblers.

    • people are getting all wild, because they’re lazy and stupid. instead of trying to find out what the truth is, they sit and scratch themselves while watching hannity or listening to rushbo. they have no common sense whatsoever. if they did, they’d realize that the system that’s in place now sucks, and it’s never the insurance company that gets the shit end of the stick. they can smell their hands to figure out who does.

      • Friend of the court

        insurance is big in organized crime, as well.

        • insurance is organized crime. i would love to see all the ceos frogmarched on rico charges.

          • Athena

            Are you channeling me today, Boo? You are so spot on! Paying insurance is like giving them FREE money! I’ve been driving for 20+ years, have never made a claim but wish I had that money now considering the current situation. (sniffle!) 😀

  5. If I had it to replay, and at the Town Hall Meeting a room packed with 1200 people, and another 400 turned away, I would have had a chance to speak & here is what I would have said:
    • A show of hands for the following:

    • Who here has NO health insurance coverage?
    • Who here HAS health insurance coverage?
    • Of those who have coverage, how many continue to pay more for less, or have been denied care?
    • Who here wants the pubic option?
    (I live in a College town in a Blue State)

    It is SICK that the 2 guys- Baucus & Grassley have the most cash flowing in.
    In any other sector– what they are doing would be considered illegal, unethical or both.

    • in any other job, they’d be fired.

      the questions i would ask people is:

      how many of you are stuck in jobs you hate, but you can’t quit, because you’re afraid of losing your health insurance? how about, because if you change jobs, you will have to change doctors?

      how many of you have any real control of what kind of insurance you have? your boss or company pick the type of coverage you have.

      how many of you will be able to afford your deductible and copays if you or someone in your family gets cancer, diabetes, or some other life-threatening disease? how many of you are willing to gamble your home and security on that?

  6. Lovely, all the relevant Senate committees have gotten on board but the Finance committee. Sigh. I’m so disgusted that I’m not going to contribute anything original to the discussion. Instead, I’ll recycle a comment I made on the Big Orange.

    “One difference between liberals and Conservatives is that Liberals protest their government spending their taxes to kill people, while Conservatives protest their government spending their taxes to save people.”

    • you should make that your sigline, neon vincent.

      one of the problems with the senate is that they’re all so lovey-dovey to each other. it’s time for other dems to start embarrassing baucus instead of making excuses for him and telling people how hard he’s working. first, i doubt he’s working at all. his staff does all the work. second, even if he was up until all hours of the night poring over the damned bill, that doesn’t hold a candle to someone who stays up all night poring over medical bills, trying to figure out how to feed her kids and have enough left over to pay for chemo or insulin or other meds.

      • You mean my semi-original quote is worthy of replacing Paul Krugman’s? I’m honored!

        As for Senate collegiality, isn’t that why Diaperboi Vitter is still there?

        • take a bow, neon vincent!

          the senate is like some kind of country club stuck in the 1950’s. everyone knows everyone else’s secrets, but they are too genteel to spill their guts. when someone on the outside finds out, they so surprised to hear about it! sorta like capt renault was so shocked there was gambling going on in rick’s bar in casablanca. 🙄

  7. jeb

    If the Senate Dem’s had a real leader, he/she would take these three into a room and not let them out until they agreed to reflect the will of the people or replace them on the committee. Harry Reid has to grow a pair once in awhile. He could take a page from LBJ. Like him or hate him, he got things that he wanted passed in the Senate as the Majority Leader.

    • i think obama needs to take the blame this time. his people have screwed up the messaging royally. if he had sold it correctly from the very beginning, even people in the red states would want it, and the senators and reps wouldn’t dare vote against it.

      harry reid pisses me off very often, too, but i have to wonder why the dem senators keep voting for him to be leader. it must be one craptastic job, because it never seems that nobody wants to run against him.

      • Athena

        My sentiments exactly. Take it to the PEOPLE first, then let Congress sweat that move! I just hope Pres. Obama understands this when he tackles energy and education et al. God bless America!

        • hello athena,
          welcome to the raisin! 😀

          this should have been handled like an advertising campaign. build the buzz about how good it’s going to be, and the congresscritters would not be able to say no.

  8. I think the Pixies said it best in Monkey Gone To Heaven when Frank Black warbled, “If man is five, if man is five, if man is five, then the Devil is six, the Devil is six, the Devil is six, the Devil is six, the Devil is six…”

    Hence, the Devil is the “gang of six”.

    • i was thinking last night that it’s rather funny how congresscritters love the gang imagery. these are all people who were probably the uncoolest kids ever in high school, and now they want to be members of gangs. 😆

  9. KarenZipdrive

    Committee, schimittee, with such huge majorities in both Houses and the White House, the finance committee with its 50/50 make-up is straight up bullshit.
    I hope now with Teddy Kennedy gone, Obama takes his promise to him to heart and snaps out of this nasty habit of shooting for bipartisanship.
    Let’s hope Kennedy bequeathed his balls to Obama.