With Northern Iowa’s victory over Kansas on Saturday, President Obama’s March Madness bracket is pretty well busted. However, I’m sure that the healthcare reform thing this weekend will soften the blow.

At such a time, it’s hard not to be awed by the scale and magnitude of this momentous social change. Then again, it’s nice to look back and have a laugh at all the people (Republicans and Democrats) who declared the bill dead. Obama is getting plenty of praise, but so is Nancy Pelosi, who hasn’t been all that well-liked among Democrats because they’ve perceived her as a loser. This should change some people’s minds.

On the other side, Republicans are all on fire to repeal the legislation, but they may have significant problems doing that. As others have pointed out, when Medicare passed in 1965, Ronald Reagan denounced it as a blow to freedom, and by the time he became president, he wouldn’t touch the program. The Republicans will have a time of it campaigning to kick millions of people off Medicaid and charge seniors more for medications.


Bart Stupak is now a villain among Republicans, but that might be a tad unfair. Rush Limbaugh was partly right when he said the whole thing was just theater, but indications are that the White House was already peeling away the Representatives standing with Stupak, so the executive order about abortion was just a way for Stupak himself to join the winning side and save face. We’ll see how well that flies with his constituents in Michigan. (Oddly enough, Michael Moore is one of them.)

Everyone’s still trying to figure out who shouted “Baby killer!” at Stupak. Apparently it was Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer, representing Lubbock and Abilene. Damn, I was hoping it’d be Joe Wilson.

Also, lots of people are quoting the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s line that “Laws are like sausages; you should never watch either of them being made.” I’m punctilious about these things, so I note that Bismarck never said this, it was the American poet John Godfrey Saxe. Strangely enough, Bismarck plays a large role in the history of governmental healthcare reform. He’s probably smiling somewhere right now.