Some of you may remember the TV show, Laugh In, and the skit of the homely looking lady sitting on the park bench with the unsavory character who is flirting with her. Eventually she struck him with her purse. This American Spectator article by Jeffrey Lord reminds me of that skit, but the real life lady does not strike with her purse, instead she revels in the attention she receives. I really want everyone to read the entire article because this story could "get legs" and become a national story.
I really like the way that Jeffrey writes about the key ingredients of this story almost looking like the items in a scavenger hunt. Here is the assortment:
Here's the list of players -- major and minor -- so far.
- The President of the United States.
- The Vice President of the United States.
- Three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals suddenly for sale.
- The CEO of the three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals for sale.
- ObamaCare, otherwise known as "health care reform" or the "Affordable Care Act."
- A Catholic nun.
- Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak.
- A pen.
- Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
- Time magazine.
- The Scranton Times
- The two Scranton-area House members Kanjorski and Carney, both losing in the polls.
- U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., a native and resident of Scranton.
- Congressman Joe Sestak, the Democrats' nominee for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat.
What you find out after you read the entire article is the Catholic nun is the most key player of them all. She is the answer to the following questions:
- Who had enough clout to take on the Catholic Bishops on the President's behalf -- and win?
- Who sent Bart Stupak a letter urging passage of health care reform just a few days before he relented?
- President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare") into law in front of live television cameras and a packed East Room of the White House using 21 different pens to sign his name, the highly prized souvenirs of the historic moment. Who received one of those pens?
- Who was selected as one of Time magazine's "2010 Time 100" most influential people?
- Who was able to have Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy write the Time magazine article?
- Who could cause so much consternation with Mercy Health Partner CEO Kevin Cook in Scranton, Pennsylvania that he felt compelled to issue not one but two re-statements of the rationale behind the sale of the three Mercy hospitals?
So who is this meddlesome Catholic nun?
Sister Carol Keehan is a powerhouse Washington, DC lobbyist -- make that a liberal social justice lobbyist -- with a clear set of political skills and a very, very high-powered set of very elite friends. She is quite decidedly not just the neighborhood nun. Sister Carol is the Washington voice of the Catholic Health Association, once called the Catholic Hospital Association, which means her clout with Catholic hospitals around America -- like the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and its siblings in Nanticoke and Tunkhannock, all run by CEO Cook -- is considerable. Not to mention her clout with the parent company located in Cincinnati -- and not to mention with Congressman Bart Stupak.
But hey, this article by Jeffrey Lord is not just about a Catholic nun playing a huge role in getting Obamacare passed. This is also about liberal career politicians who voted for the Obamacare bill losing their bid to remain in office. Pennsylvania already rid themselves of snarlin Arlen in the US Senate, and on November 2, 2010 they can rid themselves of Joe Sestak, Chris Carney, and Paul Kanjorski.
For Scrantonians and their fellow Pennsylvanians in neighboring communities to suddenly see a Catholic hospital that has been a mainstay for 93 years suddenly slip away has caused considerable upset. And notably, in a town that is heavily Catholic, the realization that three hospitals that did not perform abortions could be sold to owners who would allow the procedure is infuriating.
Cross-posted at The Minority Report