…and hasn’t been since the end of August.

Oh, the talking heads and political <sneer>leaders</sneer> are still using the language, jabbering about “public option” and “costs” and “right to health care” and the like. All the substance has gone away, though, and the whole thing has devolved into a simple exercise in power politics.

This would be a real good time to have the concession supplying paper, toner, and replacement fuser units for all the computer printers on Capitol Hill and surrounding bureaucrat-hives. They’ve got a thousand pages of fluff and generalities that has to be re-printed with the latest “bipartisan compromise” <spit> or “radical proposal” <gag> on an hourly or oftener basis by 535 legislative staffs, three or four different offices in the EOB, and God only knows how many lobbyist headquarters. In reality, the reason they don’t know what’s in the bill is that there isn’t anything in the bill, and they’ve given up caring anyway.

For the Democrats, it’s face-saving. Having announced to the entire world that they mean to save the Republic and all the little brown babies, whether rescue is needed or not, they are now obliged to pass something that can be labeled “health care reform” if viewed in a dim enough light by someone sufficiently partisan — and, of course, feed plenty of goodies to their constituents and favored interest groups. For Republicans it’s a matter of preventing any such passage in order to establish their own grip on power, with a backup of including enough pork in anything that does pass to mollify the hungry chirps of their constituents and their favored interest groups.

Out in the hinterlands, there’s still a lot of discussion of the probable benefits and/or disadvantages of this or that measure, all of it done totally in a vacuum. Debating this or that when there’s no way to know whether any of it is in the legislation, or will be in the future, because the legislators neither know nor care is a singularly bootless occupation.

::fx::heavy sigh: We need to endure it, though. At least it’s distracting them from coming up with something worse, which I do assure you is well within their capabilities.