Of all the voices to weigh in on the healthcare reform debate these past few weeks, this one might be the most unexpected. As you all know, and sadly shake your heads at, disappointed, unable to understand, I’m a pro wrestling fan. One of the most entertaining features of wrestling, sadly lacking in the WWE the last few years, is the heel manager. There have been some great ones. Freddie Blassie, Paul E. Dangerously, Jimmy Hart, and of course Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Another name that must be high on that list is Jim Cornette, the loud-mouthed little guy wielding the tennis racket most famous for managing the great tag team the Midnight Express.
Cornette has been a performer in the wrestling business since the early 80s. He openly admits that before last year he was uninterested in politics, and that his vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 general election was the first of his 47 years. Before that, Cornette’s idea of politics was trying to convince Luger to put over Steamboat. But since the election, Cornette has remained outspoken on non-wrestling matters. Most recently, he published a commentary at his website on the topic of healthcare reform, of all things.
Check out a little of that commentary below, where the man who once wondered aloud on national television who had taken a dump in the Post Toasties of an angry Vince McMahon gets it exactly right:
I can tell you as a self-employed individual, that the cost of health insurance for a couple in their mid-30’s to mid-40’s, with no pre-existing conditions or children, is around $10,000 a year. I can tell you that to have my left knee ACL repaired, as I did in 2006, would have cost me almost $30,000 without insurance, and that was NOT an elective procedure as I could not walk on nor straighten out my left leg at the time. I can tell you as someone who has paid around $1 million in federal and state income taxes, give or take a few hundred thousand, over the last 25 years, that it’s bullshit that one catastrophic illness without insurance could leave me bankrupt. And I can tell you that even though I maintain health insurance and make a good living that it’s bullshit that in the greatest country on the face of the planet that I can truthfully make the previous three statements.
. . . Obama recognized this, and for all the Republican talk about “bankrupting our children and grandchildren”, he’s the ONLY one to recognize a need to do something for the countrys’ long-term good instead of worrying about what the voters care about immediately. This man wants to be remembered in 100 years for having made a difference in the quality of our lives, not whether he gets reelected in four.
So what happens when he puts forth a plan to revamp the single most expensive and important obstacle facing Americans today? The Republican party, bought and paid for by special interest lobbyists and the big pharmaceutical companies, looking out for their future election prospects, their old, rich, white constituency, and their insistence that the United States of America remains the only country in the developed world with a health care system that discriminates against it’s own people at the expense of it’s citizenry and the benefit of it’s richest two percent, does what it does best--engages an obstructionist, fear-mongering campaign against reform. It mobilizes the misguided, the uninformed, and the extremists to gin up controversies where none should exist, and engages in a misinformation campaign to obfuscate and outright misrepresent the intent of said reform under the guise of patriotism and preserving the “American Way”. And all the while, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the sick get sicker, and all Americans lose their chance at a better way for another generation. For all of you who benefit from the Medicare program, get on your computers and Google some information on what the Republicans said about Medicare before Democrat Lyndon Johnson was able to pass it. Look familiar? It should, you’re hearing it today.
And then he gets into the various arguments in more detail. It’s a decently written, well argued piece, and it isn’t just Democratic Party boilerplate — it’s Cornette speaking for Cornette, which is what he’s always done best.
(Cornette once called Sarah Palin a “useless twat,” by the way. How do you not love this guy? I’m asking.)
My only regret about this is that Cornette has worked most of his career as a heel, which means the pistol-polishing rednecks out there losing their shit over the prospect of government-run healthcare aren’t likely to be persuaded. “Hmmph!” they’d probably say if they read the commentary (or had one of their children read it to them). “Figures that asshole Cornette would go for socialized medicine . . . all those times he screwed over the Rock ‘n Roll Express . . .”
Now if Obama could get Magnum T.A. to come out on his side, he might have something. When the man who made Tully Blanchard say “I Quit!” tells you to support the public option, you support the public option.