There are many times I really do not envy our US Representative Gene Taylor. On the coast we know Gene as a straight shooting guy that hangs his hat with the democrats while nationally Gene is known as a conservative southern democrat that represents one of the most conservative congressional districts in this country. It is an amazing feat considering he routinely wins re-election with 75 plus percent of the vote. He does that despite being stuck between the proverbial rock of modern-day progressive ideology and the hard place of being in a district populated by folks with a strong predisposition to vote republican. The voters are attracted to Gene because he is, as Steve would say, a man of the people in that he truly represents the folks in his district over special interests. That stance makes Gene enemies with the special interests in DC and occasionally that manifest itself in weird ways such as in an article published at Politico where a member of the house democratic caucus took a cheap shot at Gene instead of a hard look in the mirror and it is there we begin: (h/t Alan Lange)
Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano kicked things off by telling colleagues that health care reform wasn’t the only reason Democrat Martha Coakley, who beat him in the primary, lost the general election. Capuano said his party failed to explain to voters what the legislation means for average Americans, saying they should never have passed a 2,000-page bill.
“The health care bill is too complicated, and it looks like too many backroom deals,” Capuano said in an interview with POLITICO. “We need to do a much better job explaining what we are trying to do.”
Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor got up after Capuano and said Congress should do a bill a week and have a pep rally, according to people present at the meeting.
Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle told fellow Democrats that people in his district support insurance reform but hate the gamesmanship in this debate, citing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s deal to shield his state from future changes to Medicaid and taxing benefits.
“They hate the devious stuff,” Doyle said. “They hate when we do something slick.”
Now I guess the authors of this piece have seen enough crazy and perverted things out of this nation’s politicians to believe about anything they are told on what happens at these closed door meetings but it just didn’t sound like Gene to me so I did what they could have done and contacted Gene’s office. This is the text of the reply I received from Brian Martin, Gene’s policy director:
I don’t know what the “pep rally” reference is about.
He said he got up after Pelosi and a few others insisted that they would still pass the health care bill. Gene got up and said he was having flashbacks to the aftermath of Katrina when he returned to the Kiln after taking his boat to check out the damage. He told everyone there that all their houses were gone, but they were all in denial.
“What about my house?” “It’s gone.”
“The roof is gone?” “No, it’s all gone. They are all gone.”
“But you can’t see my house. It’s behind Corky’s house.” “Corky’s house is gone and your house is gone. They are all gone.”
He told the Democratic Caucus that they need to accept that the big health care bill is gone. It is over.
Then he recommended taking out the parts that are publicly popular and voting on them as separate bills. He mentioned four things: repeal the insurance antitrust exemption, repeal the “Tauzin deal” that prohibits Medicare from negotiating prices with drug companies, require generic drugs in Medicare unless the doctor certifies that a brand name drug is medically necessary, and require insurance plans to offer parents the option to cover their children up to age 27.
The only thing worse about an ideologue is an ideologue in denial. You see these types have no compunction mindlessly captaining the good ship Lollipop or in the case of democrats and health care reform, The Titanic, but there has been one democrat that has called this thing straight down the pipes since the beginning in our own Gene Taylor. The House Democratic leadership would do well to seek Gene’s sage advice more often and maybe then they would not have pissed away an entire year pretending the Titanic was seaworthy.