The Magdalene Sisters (2002)

“The Magdalene Sisters”(2002)

My biggest gripe with Hollywood movies, like “Shawshank Redemption”, “Freedom Writers”, “The Blind Side”, “The Fisher King”, and, most egregiously, “The Dead Poets Society”– and many others– is the way they try to convince their audiences that they are having a deep, authentic experience, by showing you things that seem edgy and profound, but which, in fact, have been carefully packaged and cauterized to remove anything that might be genuinely provocative or compelling.

They habitually simplify life into villains who practically announce their nefariousness, and angels who practically wear halos. You might think this is a benchmark of cheesey action flicks, but “The Blind Side” and “Freedom Writers” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and the rest all do it with just as much cheese. The audience is clued in on who to cheer for and who to hiss at. The villains conveniently stand and listen in humiliation as the hero makes his or her grand speech. Then they crawl away in defeat as virtue triumphs and goodness prevails. When the film is supposedly based on a true story, these straw men are often fictionalizations.

What happens to the audience? Because the film is careful to clue them in as to who is “good” and who is “bad”, the audience feels that they possess the ability to make those judgments in real life, even if the people they know don’t look like Morgan Freeman or George Clooney. (They feel even better if it’s Freeman– I am not a racist!)

In real life, however, the good guy, the misunderstood artist, the person with the disability, don’t have the charisma of George Clooney or Julia Roberts. So we treat them just as badly as they are treated in the film. If only a camera crew were around to record us, we might begin to recognize ourselves. But not in the roles we expect.

I believe it encourages hypocrisy. It encourages people to publicly embrace one set of values and believe they actually believe in them, while glibly practicing another. Hollywood actually trains us to look for certain simplifications and signals that don’t exist in real life. We are convinced that if we saw the right clues, we would make the right choices, but those markings never appear in real people. We believe we would know a Van Gogh if we saw him, but most of us buy our wall decorations from Walmart.

So I recently re-watched “The Magdalene Sisters”, and I was struck at a number of times it refuses to cater to that uplifting feel-good Hollywood spirit. For example, one of the “victims”, named Bernadette,– whom we’re supposed to root for in the Hollywood version– is caring for an older woman who is dying. This older woman was not as cruel to the girls as the nuns were, but she did supervise the girls. Bernadette, listens to the older woman ramble on about how she herself had a child out of wedlock years and years ago, and she didn’t want to go to the hospital, and she wishes someone would stay with her. But Bernadette is impatient to get on to her other jobs. She says she has to go. The older woman begs her to stay and comfort her for a while. Bernadette hisses at her: the nuns don’t care about comfort. They only care about getting the work done. They don’t care about you and I don’t care about you either. “So why don’t you do us all a favor and hurry up and die”.

It’s a stunning moment, shocking, and yet utterly believable, and powerful. But wait– Bernadette is one of the “victims” of the movie– she’s supposed to be admirable and virtuous, so we can give her a rousing cheer when she escapes in the final reel.

But of course, that’s not life. It’s not the reality of life. It’s the rose-tinted picture we are given by Hollywood, and, all too frequently, by the news, but it’s not reality.

So when I read this review of “The Magdalene Sisters” by Steven D. Greydanus, I was puzzled by his distress:  [2022-05-09 update: I believe Mr. Greydanus has revised his review since I first read, possibly in response to my comments which he acknowledged reading.  Fair enough.  So I give you a link to his apologia for rejecting the film.]

the film simply presents its nuns, priests, and parents as cruel, judgmental, and evil — end of story. Its sole interest in them is insofar as they are responsible for the unjust suffering of the girls.

Well, we know that the Magdalene laundries existed, and we know that up to 30,000 girls were imprisoned in them, and we know that many of them treated the girls abusively, like slave labour. There’s not much dispute about that.

So whatever does he mean? Does he believe that the girls’ memories are wrong– that actually, it was all more like “Bells of St. Mary’s”?

I found the portraits of the nuns convincing and very believable. No, the film wasn’t about the nuns, so it didn’t spend a lot of time looking into their background or their personal lives outside of the convent– but, seriously, does Mr. Greydanus believe they might actually have been nice?

In fact, I thought the strength of the movie was that it tried very hard to create a feeling of authenticity by leaving things in the movie that are not easily explained. At one point, Crispina takes her night gown and soaks it in cold water. Then she puts it on and goes back to bed. Why? We don’t know. It isn’t explained to us. The Hollywood audience walks out– I don’t get this movie.

But it struck me as exactly the kind of inexplicable detail a person would relate to somebody in real life. When the real life listener asks “why”, the answer is, “I don’t know”. To leave these things out of the movie, would be to create a false sense of logic and linearity to the plot that we never, ever experience in real life. Real life is full of little puzzles and unpredictable turns of events. In real life, events are often directed by hidden compromises and arrangements that aren’t revealed to us by a narrator.

Astonishingly, Mr. Greydanus then proceeds to compare “The Magdalene Sisters” to “Birth of a Nation”, D. W. Griffiths’ tribute to the KKK. I don’t have enough bandwidth to explain to you why that is unimaginably perverse if you don’t already know. But Mr. Greydanus feels he has to defend Christianity against this film– which is truly absurd. Real Christianity has as little to fear from this film as capitalism has to fear from the sub-prime mortgage scandal. Wait a minute…

At one point in the film, Sister Bridget decides to “treat” the girls to a showing of “The Bells of Saint Mary’s”, the saccharine Bing Cosby/Ingrid Bergman picture about saintly nuns and priests helping disadvantaged youth in Brooklyn. Sister Bridget introduces the film by confessing a “shocking” sin: from the time she was a young girl, she has had a secret love…. films. It tells you something about Greydanus that he sees this as a token, inadequate attempt to “humanize” the nuns. In fact, it is clearly a revelation of just how twisted they have become. Sister Bridget expects the girls to find this “confession” endearing, and we see just how this has more to do with her own deluded self-image than with any genuine attempt to be kind to the girls.

It is a direct comment on those ridiculous lives of the saints stories that are in endless circulation wherein they try to tell you that St. Stuffedwig or whatever was not always incredibly pious and devoted, but could sometimes actually be mischievous and fun-loving. Aaaahhh. So you see, Sister Bridget (a wonderful performance by Geraldine MacEwan) is not really the stuffed shirt she seems to be. Greydanus got it completely wrong, just as he got the entire film wrong.

And that’s when I realized that his criticism that the film was not realistic was actually criticism that the film was not Hollywood enough– it didn’t give you a single evil character who was responsible for the evil that happened to Bernadette and Margaret and Crispina and who could then be vanquished by the forces of goodness in the end. The problem with the film, though Greydanus doesn’t admit it, is that it places blame squarely within the institution of the church. The sisters are cruel to the girls because that’s what they do: they try to bend the recalcitrant back to the will of God through brute force. That’s what the church stood for when it built these institutions, and that’s what the nuns and priests were trained to do by the church. If Greydanus wishes to be an apologist for the faith, he is right about one thing: this film, unlike cartoons like “Dead Poet’s Society”, is a genuine threat.

Sure enough, Greydanus likes the very Hollywood “The Blind Side”, though even he has to acknowledge that Michael Oher is merely a prop for the Tuohys’ amazing virtue, even though he doesn’t admit that the scene of Mrs. Tuohy charging onto the field to encourage Michael to defend his quarterback is a far more ridiculous distortion of reality than anything in “The Magdalene Sisters”.

He also loves “Star Wars”, perhaps one of the most trivial popular films of all time. He even gave “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” an A- ! Perhaps because Darth Vader, as opposed to Sister Bridget, is such a richly developed, nuanced character.

In a separate review of a film called “Amish Grace”, about the willingness of an Amish community to forgive a man who murdered their children, Greydanus is dissatisfied with the depiction of some journalists. His comments are instructive:

A subplot involving a TV news crew investigating the sincerity of Amish forgiveness is the film’s most notable weakness. These outsiders are meant as bridge characters mediating between the audience and the Amish, but their merely journalistic investigative curiosity about the facts of the case is an obvious screenwriting foil. A more effective approach might have been to give the journalists complacent, dismissive assumptions about the Amish, about whom they presumably know little or nothing, and then gradually challenge and overturn those assumptions over the course of the story.

Here we have the naked Christian reviewer: he openly admits that a “true story” should have made up, out of whole cloth, a negative depiction of the media.

Here we have a reviewer actually suggesting that the film would have been improved if the film-makers had only reduced a character to a stereotype. He wants them to cater to that conservative Christian canard about the “liberal” media and it’s alleged bias against true religion and traditional values.

My personal experience is that a lot of journalists have more respect for the Amish, who appear to at least be sincere about their religion, than they do for two-faced bigots like Michael Medved.

Capitalism and Abortion

Why are so many capitalists opposed to abortion? It’s really rather bizarre. They construct this massive edifice of rationality and logic to justify a system that rewards capital and entrepreneurship, and brutally punishes the poor, and then they declare that the unborn are entitled to massive government interventions on their behalf. The government must intrude on the mommy market, insinuate it’s authority, seize control of the very bodies of a class of citizens– fertile women– and dictate the outcome.

A real capitalist would tell you that if it isn’t profitable to have babies, the government shouldn’t interfere. But then, there are few real capitalists. People who claim to believe in small government actively support the government seizing bandwidth and giving it to the telecoms, or seizing new copyrights that never existed before, or taking oil from the ground beneath wildlife refuges, or taking trees from national parks and hauling them out on roads built by taxpayers.

Free market capitalism is mostly a fraud intended to attack government programs that benefit working class citizens at the expense of owners. When government intervention benefits the wealthy, they’re all for it.

The Gold Standard

You would have to be delusional to not notice that the idea of pegging the value of a currency to gold is promoted almost exclusively by political conservatives. They believe that when the government seizes control of the instruments of valuation– interest rates, bonds, exchange rates, currency– that it will tend to serve the interests of it’s citizens rather than it’s property owners. That is, it’s real goal is to stay in power, so it will tend to act in ways that can be perceived, by its citizens, to be in the interest of most citizens.

Sure that’s a characterization— I think Alan Greenspan thinks that only property owners are “real” citizens– but I don’t see it as being unfair. There are a lot of unspoken assumptions at work in this debate, not the least of which is the sense of entitlement the property classes have towards their own wealth. By god, it was never “appropriated”. It was earned.

The Marxists present an eerily coherent analysis of capital and markets as well. In some ways, the two schools of thought acknowledge the same reality– but have different goals. They believe in different entitlements. Property, to a Marxist, has no inherent value: labour does. Property is nothing more than a tool by which the privileged extort real value–labour– from the unprivileged classes.

Jeff Rubin is only concerned– in this column, at least, with preserving the value of property, it’s purchasing power, in the face of economic and social pressures to distribute wealth differently. You have to ask, what is the goal of preserving the value of property? To preserve wealth? Whose wealth? If your goal is an economic system that enables the strong and the privileged to accumulate wealth and power, then Rubin’s ideas make sense. But if your goal is the greatest good for the greatest number of people– it does not. It doesn’t even address that need. It doesn’t even comprehend the idea that such a thing is relevant. It is, by definition, an individualistic system that creates losers.

That is not to say that a system without incentives– pure communism– is a better alternative. But we have a system that works pretty well here in Canada, and it’s not pure capitalism. It’s really a mild form of socialism– health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, etc. The Americans right now have a harsher form of capitalism, but it’s constantly being perverted by powerful corporations who don’t play by the rules of competition, and a government that is shy about playing it’s part to preserve real competition.

What value does gold have? I don’t believe that gold– or diamonds, for that matter– has any inherent value at all. It’s value is, at its core, similar to the value of Enron stock: it is “worth” whatever you are willing to pay for it. But nobody claims to believe that. They all believe that there is something of real value behind that stock. Once investors realized that there was no real value there, Enron stock collapsed. Gold has an advantage over Enron: there is a limited supply of gold, and an unlimited supply of “investors” who believe it is valuable because… there is an unlimited supply of investors.

Our society produces more than enough goods to provide everyone who lives here a perfectly lavish lifestyle. But if you just redistributed wealth without some way of generating more value, society would soon collapse. That’s too bad, but it’s not human nature to work any harder than you have to.

So capitalism does a fairly adequate job of keeping the machine running. It wouldn’t shock me if some day we find a better way to do it.

If interest rates on bonds get too high, the Federal Reserve may just print more money and then buy the government’s own bonds at lower interest rates. People who believe in gold become apoplectic at the very thought of it.

Another You

I don’t even remember how I bumped into the Youtube video of the Seekers performing “I’ll Never Find Another You”. I’m sure I have not heard this song in 40 years– not since I heard it– overheard it, really– in the 1960’s, in the period shortly after it’s original release. It was a cross-over hit, a big one, for a young group from Australia, who stumbled into the songwriter, Dusty Springfield’s brother Tom, while touring as unknowns in England in 1964.


You would think this is a cliché: I’ll never find another you. Of course not. That’s what they all say in the first blush of infatuation. The odd thing is, it’s probably true, in more ways than one. We are all unique individuals, of course. But it is also true that finding someone compatible, whom you love, and who loves you back, and who wants to live with you and have children with you, is not really all that common. Sure most people get married. Most people have bad marriages. Most people get divorced.

If they gave to me a fortune
My treasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love dear,
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you.

The strange thing about those lines– I believe them, when sung by Judith Durham. Perhaps it’s the lack of desperation in her voice– it’s a calm, measured delivery, that reminds me of the characters in the movie “Once”: two people who quietly take the measure of each other, and are too smart to end up making ridiculous boasts. And, after all, didn’t Judith Durham walk away from a fortune when she left the Seekers in 1968 to pursue her first love– jazz? That’s the real “crazy heart”.

The saddest, most affecting lines are these:

It’s a long long journey
So stay here by my side
As we walk through the storms,
you’ll be my guide

This video is from their 1968 farewell concert, and was the last time they performed the song, before the inevitable 25-year reunion. None of them had a notable career, really, outside of the band. If you watch the 25th anniversary performance of this song and then jump back to the 1968 performance, you realize that it was indeed a long, long journey, and life has left its mark on all of them.

I was surprised at how good a singer Judith Durham was. You don’t see the power in her voice coming– she just quietly delivers the lyrics, intelligently, with a good feel for tempo, and then suddenly raises her voice for emphasis, then quietly draws it back in. This is what used to called tasteful. Not as spectacular as Janis Joplin, but if you are not Janis Joplin, you could do a lot worse. She reminds me of Judy Collins that way.

But mostly I just love the glasses on Athol Guy (playing the double bass). And the name.

The Seekers were regarded as somewhat “commercial” in their day. They were “sell-outs”, more interested in popularity than purity, in the same way that Peter, Paul, and Mary were regarded as sell-outs. The odd thing is that PP&M were relatively political– they marched with Martin Luther King Jr.– whereas the Seekers were not.

So what is commercial? Today, it’s light shows, faked performances (lip-synching is everywhere), revealing costumes, choreography. If the Seekers were “sell-outs” in the 1960’s, by today’s standards they seem as pure and unsullied as Odetta.

The suits are nifty. Judith Durham wears an elegant if dull dress. They barely move on stage. I admit I like it. It’s about the music. Not the purest folk music on the planet, and not particularly innovative– just nifty and pure and sweet.

Judith Durham has one of the few really great voices of popular music: exquisitely pure and subtle and effortlessly supple. Some others:

  • Judy Collins
  • Susan Jacks (The Poppy Family)
  • Jennifer Warnes
  • Art Garfunkel
  • Jimmy Morrison
  • Emmy Lou Harris
  • Elvis (yes, he did)
  • Janis Jopli

Kitty Cat: Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenin”

“The Shcherbatskys consult doctors over Kitty’s health which has been failing since she realizes that Vronsky did not love her and that he did not intend to propose marriage to her, and that she refused and hurt Levin, whom she cares for, in vain. A specialist doctor advises that Kitty should go abroad to a health spa to recover. ” From the Wikipedia synopsis of “Anna Karenin” by Leo Tolstoy.

“Anna Karenin” is allegedly the greatest novel of all time. Well, on some lists. “The Brother’s Karamazov” is often at the top of the list, and so is “Ulysses” by Joyce, and Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”, and “In Search of Lost Time” by Proust.

So Kitty needs to go to a spa to recover. That, in essence, is the problem I have with Anna Karenin. The whole book is about extremely privileged people committing stupid acts and then having nervous breakdowns and scooting themselves off to a spa or an estate somewhere to “recover” from their awful, horrible, traumatic experiences. It’s sounds like a Russian “Gone With the Wind”. We all want to be rich and privileged just so we can have such beautiful crises.

In the film “The Last Station”, Sophia, Tolstoy’s wife, is informed that Tolstoy has run away from home. Yes, he did, at 80, fed up with his wife’s nagging him about giving her the copyrights to his books. There are a lot of terrible flaws to this scene that are emblematic of the entire film.

Firstly, Sophia immediately becomes hysterical and tries to throw herself into the pond. But you thought, he just left on a train, right? And she’s been married to him for 30 years, right? It’s simply hard to believe in that reaction. Dramatically, that moment cries out for a few moments of “what do you mean he left on a train? Where to? Why didn’t he tell me?” You would expect some annoyance on her part, rather than this immediate, overwhelming despair.

She really does throw herself into the pond and sort of drowns. It’s a silly scene. It’s not like she picked some lonely time and place where no one was likely to rescue her. Her family and friends haul her out and turn her on her side, but she hasn’t swallowed any water and doesn’t vomit, and then, later, she reacts comically when she is told that Tolstoy was merely concerned about her. You do wish that someone would grab her and shout, “don’t be pathetic!” Send her to a spa.

I started reading Tolstoy again because of a reference by Philip Yancey, and because of the recent movie “The Last Station”, which, by the way, is as melodramatic and overwrought as “Anna Karenin”.

“Vronsky, embarrassed by Karenin’s magnanimity, attempts suicide by shooting himself. He fails in his attempt but wounds himself badly.” Wikipedia Synopsis.

Is this tragic or comic? When I first read this novel back in the 1970’s, I thought it was gloriously, beautifully, astonishingly tragic.

Now, I find it a bit ridiculous.

My personal list of the best novels ever written?

1. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

2. Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

3. Beautiful Losers (Leonard Cohen)

4. The Stranger (Albert Camus)

5. The Pearl (John Steinbeck)

6. The Castle (Franz Kafka)

7. Animal Farm (George Orwell)

8. Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

9. Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut Jr.)

10. Anna Karenin (Leo Tolstoy)

But don’t put too much weight on my list: literature is not American Idol. There is no point to this competition, except perhaps to draw peoples’ attention to great books.

“Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel is also a great book. So is “Life of Pi”.

More uptodate:  Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” and David Foster Wallace “Infinite Jest” and “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”.

Junebug: Accommodations

I forget who it was, but one reviewer (maybe Ebert) of “Junebug” noted that all of the major characters in this film had made some kind of secret accommodation with the rest of the family, and that accommodation was the key to understanding the characters’ motivations, reactions and behaviours.

Most Hollywood movies never reveal these hidden arrangements. A movie like “The Blind Side” presents each character as if they exist only at face value. Leah Ann Tuohy just wants to do good for this poor boy, Michael Oher. Oher shows his gratitude by plowing his opponents, especially when, we are given to understand, he imagines them threatening his saintly benefactor.

In real life, the hidden arrangement here is with the Tuohy family, and Michael Oher, all of whom know better, but accept the distortions of the movie because they flatter, and the movie makers, who distort the reality of Michael Oher’s relationship with the Tuohys because it makes a better story.

Nobody, it seems, cares. A lot of people will tell you openly that they would rather have the good story.

The first time I saw “Junebug”, I found the story somewhat baffling, in a good way. A film can baffle because it lacks inner coherence, and because the writers and directors cheat in order to increase the suspense, or try to make something more shocking than it really is. That is a weakness. But a strong film can baffle because it presents characters and situations that echo real life characters and situations that also baffle us. When Johnny hurls his wrench at his brother near the end of “Junebug”, we are baffled even though the film has prepared us for this scene– it makes perfect sense given the character of Johnny and his uncomfortable, acutely disturbing accommodation with his family. But we’re baffled as to why it comes out in that impulsive gesture, just as we would be in real life. We’re baffled with the characters, not at the characters.

If you look closely at your own family, you wouldn’t be shocked to realize that it also has a lot of secret accommodations.

My own take on the wrench? He resents Johnny for being the loved one, the favorite son; everything he does is blessed, as when his mother tells Johnny “there aint a blessed thing wrong with you” in a kind of strange, creepy scene, that nevertheless makes perfect sense, even though he is the one who wants nothing more than to escape his family.

“Junebug” is the best film I have ever seen about the split in American culture, between the rural conservatives and coastal elites.

No Historians

There are seven members of the conservative bloc on the board, but they are often joined by one of the other three Republicans on crucial votes. There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.

NY Times, March 12, 2010.

This is the Texas Board of Education making decisions about text books for millions of students. This is an important decision: these men are entrusted with a serious responsibility. What should our children study in school? How will their perspectives on life be shaped for years to come? How should their education as citizens be guided?

Well, whatever we do, let’s not get an expert on any of the subject areas were are establishing guidelines for. Heavens no.

I wonder if any citizens of Texas realize how close they have come to the 18th century? The only things missing are signs and wonders. Then I wonder if any of them care about how the state is perceived by outsiders. Well, we know the true believers in this movement certainly don’t care. The question is, does Mr. & Mrs. Mainstream care, as they travel through Europe, and identify themselves, and watch people nod and go, “Oh, you’re from there.” Tell me, have you seen any flying saucers lately? Mr. And Mrs. Mainstream reply, “no. Have you tried to open a business lately. Notice how many restrictions there are? How many permits you need? How long it takes to get approvals from the various bureaucracies?”

And the European says, “and how’s your health care?”



No Health Care for You!

Health Care
When will Americans finally begin to realize that there is not a single component of the health care industry that benefits from preventing illness? Are you listening, America? THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY DOES NOT BENEFIT BY KEEPING YOU WELL. This is the fundamental, inevitable flaw in a for-profit health care system: the system profits by keeping you ill.

So it is in the interests of the health care system that you are obese, that you don’t exercise, that you smoke, that you drink, that you watch television, that you biggie-size your meals, that you don’t know what’s in the food you eat, that there is radiation and asbestos, that there are wars and civil disturbances, accidents and sickness.

Sure, the health care reforms just passed by Congress will help lots of people. But some Republicans– not very many of them, obviously– and many Democrats are also right that real reform has to start with the entire system which currently focuses on treatment rather than prevention.

Just one example: the makers of Crestor, a cholesterol medication, are crowing that a recent study concluded that healthy people who take Crestor every day (at more than $3.50 a pop) are 50% less likely to have a heart attack than healthy people taking a placebo. Wow. Let’s get all the healthy people on this drug! Now!

A well-paid doctor who received money from AstraZeneca, says, would you let your patient walk out of your office without signing up? Hell no! The only problem: well, only a very small number of healthy people have heart attacks. Only about 1 in 500. So a 50% reduction translates into a difference of 1 in a 1000, of which a large majority will survive the heart attack anyway. But the cost of providing 1000 people with Crestor for a year is over $1 million. Good deal? Then add in the fact that some cholesterol drugs have now been implicated in causing type 2 diabetes. They know that at the time they signed everyone up to a drug you will never be able to stop taking once you get started on it.

The alternative: walk more, eat more vegetables and less fatty foods.

Thinking of treating somebody like an object? Don’t do it. It sends a bad message that will not be quickly forgotten.

The drug cartels are battling it out in Mexico for… what? For routes into the U.S. In theory, of course, there are no routes. The U.S. government spends $13 billion a year ensuring that there are no routes. Actually it’s more than that: think of all the people incarcerated for drug offenses, or offenses related to drug use.

The idea that America cannot “afford” the health care bill is ridiculous. To believe it, you have to assume that all or most uncovered medical conditions are not treated. That, of course, is not true. They are often treated in emergency wards, and they may be treated– in a different form– later in life in a chronic care facility, but there will be treatment and it will cost somebody and it will have an impact on the economy.

What universal health care coverage does is apply some rationality to the cost of health care. When you think about it, insurance is a marvelous concept. Since nobody knows who will ever get a disease or serious illness, why not commit, in advance, to pool our resources and treat everyone? When John McCain insists that the Republicans will campaign in November on repealing it– he’s dreaming. Since the Republicans have no alternative, his campaign will consist of “we will take away your health care”. About that for a slogan!

Even the Republicans are probably not that stupid. They will probably have to come up with some kind of weird alternative plan. The problem is, there is no alternative. They will come up with something that sounds like an alternative, but is really a variation of what the Democrats just passed, but with something that looks more “free enterprise” in it.