OFF THE GRID

Heath Care and S&M: The Democrats Can’t Complain

Apr 1, 10 | 7:56 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Personally, I don’t know how it can’t feel good, at this point, to be a Democrat, which is one of those abrupt and confounding turnarounds from just a few weeks ago. Then, there was overwhelming certainty of a firestorm next November. Now, there’s a health-care bill and an S&M bill.

Bear with me before I get to S&M. Health care is what the Republicans appear to be staking their future on. They are going to try to continue to fight about something that no one is fighting about anymore. This is more than the party of no, this is the party of peculiar obsession. What the Republicans had going for them while the bill was still being contested was apocalyptic language and the Democrats’ inability to explain a largely inexplicable bill. But with the bill passed, it will be hard to get traction from apocalyptic language when, demonstrably, no apocalypse is occurring. What’s more, the Democrats don’t have to justify their bill anymore; they can now just blandly reassure. People hate justifications—but they love it when you reassure them.

Okay, S&M.

I have to say: One of the things about covering politics for any period of time is the rather constant background noise involving Republicans and their out-of-character sex lives. This is much different from the rumors about the sex lives of Democrats, which are always pretty-guys-and-gals-having-too-much-to-drink conventional stuff. Republican sex lives are, rumor-wise, substantially gay and very often kinky. Quite a few of the most prominent Republicans are featured in these breathtaking rumors. It would not be revealing much to say that there are endless theories about Karl Rove’s sex life.

There is going to be a continuing effort to explain that, contrary to the initial headline, it wasn’t Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, well known for his lavish and possibly out-of-controlling spending, who put in the chit for the S&M club. But the explanation itself brings up, perforce, both Republicans and fetishism as well as Steele. Steele brings up not just his own inexplicable presence at the head of a major political party, but the presence of so many other outsized and polarizing figures within the Republican Party.

Many of the RNC’s top donors haven’t donated in the past year because of Steele, the Daily Caller reports. Similarly, the Family Research Council (itself known for an occasional walk on the sexual wild side) has urged its members, says Politico, not to donate to the RNC. Curiously, Sarah Palin has become, as a lighting rod, a great new fund raising card for the Democrats. While the Republicans have not been able to produce a credible front-runner, they have produced amazing egomaniacs.

But back to health care. Karl Rove, in his Wall Street Journal column today, urges the tea party people to focus on health care. This partly reflects his own dissatisfaction with the RNC and his quest to foster this more authentic and vibrant side of his party, and, as well, an effort to move them away from their more wackadoo impulses. Health care as an issue may have problems, but it beats the birther stuff.

The Democrats really do have it all.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at
VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.
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