There’s a point in every political saga where rumors take over. The reason is simple: no one knows how it’s going to turn out. But like teenagers on a first date, most reporters and politicians are terrified of prolonged silence. So they read tea leaves, consult their horoscopes and offer opinions to one another. True, these are just guesses, but when one is repeated often enough, it becomes a rumor. And then instead of tea leave readings, folks can share rumors, which is so much more satisfying. They have an apparent heft.
Well, this is where we’re at in our current drama. California’s special session on health care reform continues. Staffers from the Governor’s office and their counterparts from the offices of the Legislative leadership continue to negotiate. The unions and their allies are outside demonstrating and anyone whose anyone is threatening/planning/thinking about qualifying an initiative for a 2008 ballot. In fact not having an initiative in the works is nearly as big a social blunder as not having a rumor to share. If you want to be one of the cool kids in the high school quad you better have both close at hand.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, many lawmakers of both parties and lots of political pundits have declared health care reform dead for 2007. At the same time, there’s plenty of legislators and Sacramento observers who claim a deal is right around the corner. If you count early December as right around the proverbial corner.
I stand by my earlier post that the parties are close enough that something will emerge this year, but I have no more basis for this prediction than anyone else. Remember, this is the stage where no one knows how its going to turn out. For the record, I have no initiative — and I was never one of the cool kids.
Chasing down every rumor would be fun, he lied, but why should I be so selfish? So instead I’m inviting you my greatly appreciated readers to report the latest story you’ve heard on the fate of health care reform. Or to start one. Or to simply give your opinion on whether a health care reform bill gets signed into law this year. Feel free to post your hearsay anonymously if you like (WordPress asks for your email but no one sees it but me and I won’t tell — or use a fake one if you prefer). Please list your rumor/opinion/guess as a comment to this post and we’ll see what trends develop. If you’re the first to post something that actually comes true, you’ll win, well, let’s see … you’ll win, ummm, well nothing less than the satisfaction of knowing you got it right. Ain’t that grand?
And to all of you caught up in the fires raging through California this evening, my sympathies and best wishes. Acts of nature certainly put the folly of humans in perspective.