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Peggy's World!What is troubling our Upper East Side princess of wordsmithery on this fine Friday? Health care! Not the lack of it, of course — Peggy could give a crap about the 40 million Americans with no access to basic health care, the kind of wretched untouchables who never see a doctor outside of an emergency room, with a sick child, swollen with some easily preventable illness had only a pediatrician been something within economic reach. Peggy isn’t impressed by this liberal president already delivering government-backed health care for another 3.5m uninsured kids, either. What she wants, this wealthy Wall Street Journal columnist, is some soaring bullshit rhetoric about health care, on her teevee. Worked for Reagan!

The Scene: Peggy’s apartment, the blinds closed, curtains drawn, well-worn WASP carpet with a few too many cigarette holes, the butler’s table stacked messily with news and fashion magazines, a faint stench of take-out mingling with the clean industrial scent of soap and spray starch, the 3 a.m. repeat of Leonard Lopate rumbling low through the kitchen radio, Peggy in repose on the fainting couch, Chinese dressing gown carelessly open, droplets of warm gin on her pale belly, lipstick traces on the Capri 100 butts crowding the simple silver Tiffany ashtray …. and oh goodness, where has the night gone? Narrow beams of cruel sunlight have found their way through the tasteful barriers, and the Morning Edition announcers are prattling on now, must get one’s self together, find the French Press and why ever can’t the help put it back in the same place twice?

The other day I was watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, came on from Washington to talk about health care. A reporter on the set, Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, asked a few clear and direct questions: What is President Obama’s health care plan, how would it work, what would it look like? I leaned forward. Finally I will understand.

Yes, finally! Six decades of bewildering confusion, about the Socialist Health Care regime, but now the light would shine, as surely as those laser beams of sunshine sliding up her spider-veined ankle …..

Ms. Sebelius began to answer in that dead and deadening governmental language that does not reveal or clarify but instead wraps legitimate queries in clouds of words and sends them on their way. I think I heard “accessing affordable quality health care,” “single payer plan vis-à-vis private multiparty insurers” and “key component of quality improvement.” In any case, she didn’t answer the question, which was a disappointment but not a surprise. No one answers the question anymore.

Gobbledygook is the term, we think. Where is the “shining hospital on a hill” and the “new day for feeling chipper” and the “rising tide lifts all tumors”? Where, indeed, is the poetry?

I shouldn’t pick too hard on Ms. Sebelius specifically. Most people in the administration, and many in government, speak as she speaks, and have for many years. In her case there’s reason to believe it’s a quirk. A New York Times profile recently had her recalling with self-deprecating charm the time her child ran a high fever and she caused a bit of confusion by forgetting to say, “We have to go to the hospital!” and announcing instead, “This unsustainable increase in body temperature requires immediate access to a local quality health-care facility!” I made that up, but it was believable, wasn’t it?

No, that wasn’t believable in the least, you hack. Ugh, let’s continue.


New Class gobbledygook, which is more prevalent than ever ….


We’ll try again next week. How about if you put in a bit more effort, too, Ms. Noonan? Christ.

What’s Elevated, Health-Care Provider? [Wall Street Journal]

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