Watching the Edwards' press conference and the ways in which people have reacted to the sad news has deepened my dedication to all things liberal.
A week ago today was the 8th and last chemotherapy session for Mme Bustard, who has ovarian cancer. In a few weeks she'll have a CT scan, and we're being confident that the doctor will declare her officially in remission.
When we first learned of her cancer, the surgeon thought it imperative to operate, and to do it quickly. He didn't rush to the table in a matter of hours, or even in a few days. But he was not about to wait for weeks or months to go by. Immediately after our meeting with him, his nurse reserved the operating room and a spot in his calendar for the surgery. We then met with a scheduler who was to organize the CT scan, the blood work, and another physical exam as well as the anesthetist. While he was trying to juggle all this on his computer, he received a message that the reservation for the operating room was canceled. Her insurance was not acceptable. We were told to leave the hospital, and come back when we had proper insurance. It turned out that there was a "problem with communication" between the two insurers over who would be stuck with most of the bill. Many hours on the phone, faxing and fighting, exchanging letters between the companies and her employer, the surgery was delayed - but only by a few days. Her insurance is actually considered top notch, and has picked up virtually all of the tab, well over $100,000 and mounting. We're also lucky to live in N.Y, where there are top specialists available. The fact that the lower middle class is without insurance in this country is unconscionable. Fighting cancer is hard enough; there's no excuse for making patients fight to obtain treatment There is no question in my mind that the "luxury" of health insurance adds years to lives.
Watching the news conference reminded me of how much less hypocrisy is demanded of me as a liberal - I don't have to live in that gutter surrounded by human filth which the conservative inhabit. It was just a few weeks ago that Ann Coulter was causing conservatives to double over in laughter when she called Edwards a "faggot." Both McCain and Giuliani used the same word to criticize Coulter's speech. They both called it "inappropriate." Attending the Bat Mitzvah in your bathing trunks is inappropriate; Coulter's modus operandi occupies a whole different level of evil than "inappropriate."
This was the second time in two years that John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth have held a news conference to announce cancer. When Republican icon New Gingrich found that his wife had cancer, he filed for divorce. To be fair, when front runner Rudy Giuliani found out he had cancer, he did hold a news conference. With his mistress at his side, he announced to the City that he had cancer. He used the same news conference to announce to his wife and children that he wanted a divorce.
I'm curious: will Rush and his friend Gerstein at the N.Y Sun still have fun calling Edwards the "Breck Girl?" What if Elizabeth has to undergo chemotherapy that renders her "bald as bowling ball?" (the phrase Mme Bustard has chosen to describe herself)
If it had been Mme Bustard that Rush Limbaugh criticized for returning to work rather "turning to God," his flaccid bloat would have been wondering what smashed it like the rotten pumpkin still oozing on the nation's stoop that he is. Like that putrifying pumpkin, Rush has no clue that Halloween is long gone. The vast majority of Americans have no choice but to return back to work right away - they need the money, and if they even get it, the insurance.
Perhaps worse than Rush are the "main stream media" types who appear independent but are in fact his enablers. After Ben Smith of The Politico reported in error before the news conference that Edwards would be suspending his campaign, Limbaugh suggested that the false story had been planted by Edwards to increase the attention he'd receive. As of this posting, Smith has done nothing to clear the air of this nasty allegation. His mistake in his report created an opportunity for Rush to slime the Edwardses, and he clearly has no plan to stop it. In fact, the "error" raised the visibility of The Politico and Smith much more than it benefited Edwards. Katie Couric persisted in pestering the Edwardses with utterly unfair questions. "Some say it's irresponsible of you to continue the campaign?," "Some say it's a result of your unbridled ambition?," "Some day you eat your young?" Couric, who basically continued working when she had two young children and a husband dying of cancer, asked such questions. Well aware that echoes of her performance will reverberate in the damaged ear canals of wingnuttia for days, Couric went ahead and betrayed herself.
Thank God I'm a liberal. I can see the need for Universal Health Care. I don't have to hesitate to condemn what I think is wrong. Hypocrisy is not a prerequisite for admission to my club. And I don't have to slime anyone to be a member. It's a nice group.