Redefining folly, a cell phone at a time

I can believe Jason Chaffetz had no clue to whom he was referring when last week he reasoned that the sick would have to choose between health insurance and a cell phone.

“A cellphone is a lifeline,” said Myla Dutton, executive director of Community Action Provo, a food bank and social-service nonprofit.

Jose Valdivia, 61, said he wouldn’t be able to quickly look up the latest engine modifications when he was repairing sport-utility vehicles at the mechanic’s shop where he works. His wife said they wouldn’t be able to send photos to relatives in Mexico City.

The couple spoke as they waited for an appointment at a free health clinic run by volunteer nurses and doctors two nights a week in Provo. Not surprisingly, smartphones abounded in the waiting room. People texted about dinner, called relatives with updates, held their children’s attention with a game.

Without her phone, Joana Delacruz, 45, said, she wouldn’t be able to see job postings from nursing employers, or check whether she should bring home some food for her 18-year-old son after finishing her 3-11 p.m. shifts managing a McDonald’s in Provo.

As any reader with even a modicum’s experience with grocery shopping realizes, Cheetos and pop are cheaper than fruits and bottled water.

Meanwhile Ezra Klein, hiding behind a rhetorical question of a headline, spends a couple hundred words explaining how GOP intends its repeal-and-replace plan is…a joke! Could they want it to fail?

But I do think Republicans went into this process believing that failure was likely, and so tried to hedge against the consequences by putting hard boundaries around the process. They decided that if they were going to fail at this, they were going to fail fast, over the course of a month or two, not waste a year on the project.

Articles like Klein’s offend me because, apart from raising false hope, they show an instinctual disregard for if not ignorance of how the modern GOP operates: folly attracts them; folly looks courageous to its base. Compare this attitude to the air of geriatric apprehension afflicting the Democratic camp; it’s like they’ve got lead poisoning.

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