19 June, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Before we get started, a shout out: Happy birthday to Dusty Morgan, my main character! I'll let you know how old she is just as soon as I've decided what year she was actually born in.

Her name means "valliant fighter from the edge of the sea." Which is a good enough segue into what no longer ends at the edge of the sea, as per hypocritical Cons:
I remember a time -- I believe it's known as "2001 through 2008" -- when congressional Republicans believed politics had to end at the water's edge. They also believed that the United States couldn't have individual members of Congress coming up with their own foreign policies -- these responsibilities were in the hands of the president.

Ah, the good old days.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) has spent the last few days advocating in support of a resolution, weighing in on developments in Iran. Pence has said he realizes where President Obama has "drawn the line," but he "respectfully disagrees" with the administration. Pence added that the U.S. can't "stay neutral," so his resolution is necessary to "condemn the violence."

In our reality, Obama has already expressed "deep concerns about the election," and publicly shared his concerns about "violence directed at peaceful protesters," but maybe Pence wasn't paying attention. Maybe he doesn't care. Maybe he wants to intervene in such a way as to undermine U.S. foreign policy, just to see what happens.


Watching this unfold, I am reminded of something Matt Yglesias wrote earlier this year: "The larger issue ... is that Mike Pence is a moron, and any movement that would hold the guy up as a hero is bankrupt.... I would refer you to this post from September about the earth-shattering ignorance and stupidity of Mike Pence.... [I]t's really staggering. In my admittedly brief experience talking to him, his inability to grasp the basic contours of policy question was obvious and overwhelming."

Speaking of earth-shattering stupidity, we've all been total idiots. Here we've been thinking this healthcare reform stuff was going to be all difficult, when really, it's totally simple. Just ask RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who presented the solution while hosting Bill Bennett's radio show:
The way to solve the health care crisis, Steele said in another portion of the show, is “not that complicated”: All we have to do is “figure out who” doesn’t have access to health care, “and give them access!”

STEELE: So if it’s a cost problem, it’s easy: Get the people in a room who have the most and the most direct impact on cost, and do the deal. Do the deal. It’s not that complicated.

If it’s an access question, people don’t have access to health care, then figure out who they are, and give them access! Hello?! Am I missing something here? If my friend Trevor has access to health care, and I don’t, why do I need to overhaul the entire system so I can get access he already has? why don’t you just focus on me and get me access?

Wow, how did we miss it? I mean, it's a brilliant idea - right up there with McCain's "stop the bullshit" approach to Mideast diplomacy. However could the American people have decided that these super-smart men aren't fit to govern? They've got the solutions to all our problems!


Elsewhere on Bill Bennett's show, Steele informed a caller of the perils of public health care:

The context was Steele's response to a call from a physician with a question about preventive care.

"Well you'll get issued, Doc, you're gonna issue, to your patients, a health care card that's gonna be part of a national ID system that, you know, every time I charge something or use that card, it's going to show up on a grid what I've done and what I have failed to do, according to the government plan. So the government will know whether or not I've had my physical at the appropriate time and then probably some health police will come knocking on my door telling me I'm now costing the system money because I haven't, you know, gone and done my preventive care."

Now, in our reality, none of this makes a lick of sense. Steele's dystopian nightmare about "health police" is purely a figment of his bizarre imagination.

I'd advise Mr. Steele to shut his inane mouth before he destroys his last shred of credibility, but I think that perished sometime in April. So, Mr. Steele, by all means: continue the entertainment.

Elsewhere in the idiotsphere, Cons have gotten themselves all excited over the administration's firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. They'd dearly love to believe this is the scandal they've been waiting for, a little something to provide tit-for-tat over the Attorney General firings. But even before they've finished clambering up on their soapboxes for the grandstand to end all grandstands, word arrives that the show's over:

The White House's decision to fire the AmeriCorps inspector general was set in motion by a unanimous request it received from the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which asked the White House to review the IG's performance, according to a board member.

The firing "would not have played itself out" were it not for the fact that the board raised concerns about the IG, Gerald Walpin, after the May 20 board meeting, a board member told TPMmuckraker. The board member added that the White House had no role in encouraging the board to make the review request, calling it "completely board-initiated." The White House had cited the request from the board in its letter to Congress explaining the reason for Walpin's firing.

So much for politically-motivated firings and all that. Not that the Cons are gonna climb down off those soapboxes - facts never stop them from screaming bloody murder - but they'll look utterly ridiculous bleating about this bullshit, and that pleases me.

How do I know they'll keep yawping about non-issues? Because they have yet to show the least little sign of growing up:

If you thought the Party of No had already shown us the outer limits of what whiney-ass victims they could be, think again:

Republicans angry over what they regarded as mistreatment by the majority Democrats retaliated by demanding roll call votes 52 times on one bill, a $64 billion spending bill for law enforcement and science programs next year.

They asked for votes on some two dozen amendments, even noncontroversial ones that passed unanimously. Then they asked for revotes. Then they demanded votes on whether they could vote for a third time. Once they ran out of amendments they came up with a couple more revisions to the bill they could vote on.

I think it's time to retire the Party of No label. The Party of Terrible Two Year-Olds fits ever so much better.

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