Since pundits are unlikely to talk about it, I just thought I'd briefly mention what a truly huge thing the Democrats did for the arts yesterday. One of the most expensive aspects of moving from day job to freelance life is having to pay for your own health insurance. One of the scariest things is how bad most of the affordable health insurance out there is.
Thanks to the subsidies and the regulations contained with the HCR package, both of these things will get easier. The status quo will begin to shift in a way that makes it easier for artists to have the time they need and resources they require to create art while remaining healthy.
This is a far far greater act of supporting the arts than anything that Obama will be able to accomplish in terms of increasing NEA funding. Yes, Obama strategically bungled it by letting the Gang of Six go on even though GOP members of the Gang were publicly saying they wanted to kill the bill. Yes, the abortion stuff in the bill is abhorrent. Yes, we sacrificed a public option (this time around), and we insisted on cutting undocumented immigrants out of the bill, which will make health care in America less safe and more expensive. The bill is far from perfect. And it doesn't start working until 2014. But still, for those of us who work in and care about the arts, it just got a little bit easier.
The Democrats regained power basically on a platform of fixing the economic mess, ending the Iraq war, passing health care reform and (sadly) escalating the war in Afghanistan. So far, they've not done a pretty poor job on the first, are doing the second right on schedule, accomplished the third when most people had written them off and are (Sadly) executing the fourth. They've accomplished more in these two years than most administrations do in their entire tenure. From a PR standpoint, the problem is that a lot of that activity was bundled in the Stimulus, so most most people don't realize how much they've already achieved. And they're not done. There's still Cap and Trade, ending Don't Ask Don't Tell and a few other big ticket items to go.
Before I go back to complaining about what fucking sell outs the entire Democratic party is (where is the new WPA, you assholes?!), I'd just like to pause and say this is a pretty extraordinary achievement.