03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011


I'm bored.

I know this is my problem and not yours.

Maybe you are very excited.

Barack is arguing with Fox over whether Fox is really a wing of the Republican Party or a straight news organization. The Republicans are arguing with Norway over who deserves to get the Nobel Peace Prize. Gen. McChrystal is arguing with the Administration (or, more particularly I guess, Joe Biden) over whether we need 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan. The American Medical Association is arguing for the public option. Americans are arguing with Wall Street about obscene bonuses. And Sarah Palin is ...

Still arguing.

So maybe it's just me. A kind of inherent dullness borne of some deep genetic reality that says all this exciting stuff is all so ...


But maybe not.

Oh, I agree, the AMA thing is kind of a hoot. You could look far and wide for the last time the AMA has supported anything remotely akin to national health insurance and come up empty handed. But here they are, endorsing the public option, and proving once and for all that this whole current health care debate really is the insurance companies against everyone else. Too bad the insurance companies may win. Which, of course, would be exciting ...

In that perverse sort of way those who have no business winning still manage to do so against all odds.

I mean, it's pretty hard to find a better opponent than insurance companies. I have never seen one of those favorable/unfavorable polls on them. Probably because you can't get anyone to say something favorable. So you'd think that, in a one-on-one against them on health care -- with the AMA on your side, no less -- the insurance boys would be toast.

But they're not.

Newt Gingrich has promised them that if a health care bill passes, his party will go to the country in 2010 and 2012, win, and then repeal the health care reform not yet passed today. In truth, this sounds more like a wish than a promise. A "been there, done that," so let's do it again boast. A bit of retro from the GOP's glory days of '94, when voters had no knowledge of what the Party of God would actually do if they ran the table and won it all. In a word ...


Then there's Wall Street.

The gloom and doom is over.

Or at least pretty aggressively abated.

Earlier in the year, the TARP money they got from us taxpayers made it possible for them to survive. Now they are reserving record level bonus pools for themselves, which gives new meaning to the words "Thank you." The real fear among reformers is that the Administration in general, and Geithner's Treasury Department in particular, is so larded with the authors of the last two financial bubbles that nothing will change. And as of now, it's hard to argue with that. Health care reform -- a long term driver of the deficit reduction needed to allow fiscal policy to work without crippling later inflation -- is stalled. And the financial sector is still largely deregulated.

It's deja vu all over again, to quote Yogi Berra.

What a yawn.

I should be able to get excited about Barack's Nobel Prize. And I am. But the truth is that I am excited because it sends the right wing around the bend. So, in a reprise of my Catholic youth, excitement is tempered with guilt. I generally buy into the notion that Nobel Prizes should go to those who do something ...

Other than give great speeches.

You know -- negotiate a treaty, end a war, cure AIDS, keep an eye on Russia from your backyard.

Even the President was embarrassed. There he was in the middle of trying to fashion a new war strategy for Afghanistan, refereeing internal disputes over troop levels between his Vice President and the Commander on the ground, wondering how in the world we managed to pick another ally who is not all that good at running his country and oh, by the way, may have stolen the recent election, keeping his eye on the other war he had nothing to do with but is committed to ending, and watching Iran pretend to negotiate on nukes (having stolen a recent election), none of which has led to much of anything yet, and the Norwegians wake us up one day with the news that he has been awarded the Peace Prize.

Maybe it was for next year.

Fox, of course, had a field day. They reported all the right wing chest thumpers feigning sincere outrage that so undeserving a recipient could have been picked. They gave plenty of time to all those who lamented (as they now do on an annual basis) how the whole Peace Prize thing is nothing more than Norway's exercise of political leverage in the service of appeasement and old Europe. They even reported calls from some that Barack refuse the prize or give it back (which, come to think of it, might not be a bad idea -- maybe he and Kissinger could work a "two-fer", albeit for different reasons).

All this, they call "straight news."


Even the lies are ...