The Republican party wouldn't be living up to its obstructionist reputation if they didn't offer a rebuttal to Obama's health care speech before Congress tomorrow. But rather than letting Bobby Jindal create another PR disaster, they're trotting out a doctor!
The party has decided to put forth Rep. Charles Boustany, who's a retired heart surgeon, which means he totally knows what he's talking about and promises to offer "commonsense reforms," rather than Obama's wacky ideas, like offering a public option. This doctor angle's part of the GOP's broader medical mission: they're dispatching the party's medical professionals to fight back against Obama's measures. Their decision to have Boustany do it may be good, but also maybe not.
- First, the good: Like Jindal, Boustany hails from Louisiana. And, also like Jindal, his parents are immigrants, although they come from the far off land of Lebanon, not India. There are two great calculations for the GOP, because they still need to prove their political chops in Louisiana and, also, they need to convince people they don't hate all foreigners. Just those filthy Mexicans.
- Another good: his wife's uncle is Louisiana's former Governor, Edwin Washington Edwards, who's a Democrat. With that under his belt, Boustany can claim a deep familiarity with bipartisanship. Okay, that's enough with the good, because the bad's far more entertaining...
- Like so many other Americans, Boustany can't seem to wrap his head around health care reform. It's confusing and convoluted and people keep making up terms, like "death panel." That's the term Sarah Palin and others have floated around while discussing "end-of-life" bureaucracy. The GOP's largely in agreement that these "panels" are bad news bears, and that could spell disaster for Boustany, who has previously joined forces with Democrats to support doctor-guided discussions on impending mortality. And only recently backed off from his past opinions:
He says those discussions are a "good medical practice," and doctors who spend time counseling their patients about their wishes should be reimbursed through the Medicare system, as the legislation allows.
Now, Boustany says proponents may have to "back off" and reconsider the issue "at some point when the temperature had cooled down."
"Frankly, this thing got really out of hand," he says.
Sigh. Well, okay, that's justifiable: people can change their opinions, and it's certainly nothing new when it comes to something some emotional. But then there's Boustany's wacky past.
- Meanwhile, there are rumors that Boustany once found himself duped by a con man into buying a "Lord" title. This little piece of political gossip doesn't reflect well on the lawmaker. If ultimately confirmed, he'll look like a buffoon, which isn't a quality people look for in their politicians, although it is one that seems to arise often. The second obstacle in this situation? The GOP wants to shed its rich man image and become a party of the people. That could prove difficult if they plan on relying on someone who has the wholly elitist, un-American Lordship.
The GOP's most likely well aware of these shortfalls, and clearly doesn't care. The party once had high hopes for Jindal, and look how that turned out. There's no way they're going to out forth another White House hopeful and watch him go down in flames.
Boustany, we hate to break it to you, but you're nothing but a sacrificial political lamb. And no amount of health care will fix that. But at least you're getting your national fifteen minutes!