15 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Hey, look, kids! More Cons who were for death panels before they were against them:
If our political discourse were in any way sane, the "death panel" nonsense would be a punch line, evidence of ridiculous people making up pathetic lies. The very phrase would be evidence of a bankrupt, comically desperate movement. It would be, to borrow a phrase, the right's "Waterloo."

And yet, conservatives not only take this insanity seriously, they're actually using it as the basis to oppose health care reform. Given this, Monthly alum Amy Sullivan raises an observation that would, in theory, effectively end the conversation.

You would think that if Republicans wanted to totally mischaracterize a health care provision and demagogue it like nobody's business, they would at least pick something that the vast majority of them hadn't already voted for just a few years earlier. Because that's not just shameless, it's stupid.

Yes, that's right. Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

Let's go to the bill text, shall we? "The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning." The only difference between the 2003 provision and the infamous Section 1233 that threatens the very future and moral sanctity of the Republic is that the first applied only to terminally ill patients. Section 1233 would expand funding so that people could voluntarily receive counseling before they become terminally ill.

Chuck Grassley, who yesterday pulled the measure on end-of-life counseling from consideration, voted for the '03 bill. John Boehner, the first GOP leader to raise the specter of "government-encouraged euthanasia," also voted for the '03 bill.

And that's not all!
GOP Rep. John Mica of Florida voted for the 2003 bill — and last week he denounced the current House measure for creating Medicare-funded “death counselors.”
Can we say "hypocrites," boys and girls?

Of course, the Cons think we're idiots for pointing out their rampant hypocrisy:

Here’s the response from Boehner spokesman Michael Steel to our post, which said that the 2003 Medicare prescription drug act, which Boehner and many Republicans backed, provided funding for end of life consultations, albeit for the terminally ill:

“Anyone who understands this issue would find this comparison idiotic. Hospice care is, by definition, for people who are already close to death. The Democrats’ new government takeover of health care legislation would offer this counseling to every senior on Medicare.”

Steel’s point is that the earlier legislation Boehner backed is specifically for those undergoing “hospice consultation services” and are terminally ill, while the more recent legislation funds all end of life consultation. That’s true — and the later bill does contain other various provisions that the earlier one didn’t.

In other words, it's totally different, because it's perfectly okay to bring the terminally ill before death panels. Duh!

Libruls just don't understand those super-subtle Con distinctions:

Isakson’s office tells me he has no comment on Senator Chuck Grassley’s announcement yesterday that the Senate Finance Committee is nixing end of life provisions from its health care bill because they might be “misinterpreted.” Grassley yesterday also strongly denounced the House bill’s end of life provisions for leaving them “open to interpretation.”

I asked Isakson’s office for a response to Grassley’s decision and his claim of possible misinterpretation. An Isakson spokesperson emailed this reply:

“We agree 100 percent with Senator Grassley that the Pelosi House health care bill is indefensible and that the House language on end-of-life counseling could be misinterpreted.”

Careful readers will note that this response doesn’t address Grassley’s jettisoning of the provision from the Senate measure. It just says Isakson disagrees with its form in the “Pelosi” bill, and even endorses the fearmongering to a degree.
Aren't Cons adorable when they try to spin themselves out of trouble with their rabid base? Maybe they're afraid of ending up on Ann Coulter's death list:

The always classy Coultergeist:

In the discussion with Coulter, in the first video below, Hannity brought up an old statement by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to Obama’s Chief of Staff: “Services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”

Hannity showed that statement with the clear suggestion that it somehow indicated the current health care bill will include euthanasia, even though the statement was made in 1996 by someone who is not part of the Obama administration. Hannity went on to conflate the statement with the health care bill by (falsely) describing it as “taking seniors in a room and offering them end-of-life counseling.”

Coulter agreed. She added, “Totally ironically, Zeke Emanuel is on my death list. Hold the applause. I’m going to be on the death panel.”

Hannity, obviously stunned, said, “In other words, you get to pick who dies.”

“Right. I have a list,” Coulter answered. “Should I start with the ‘A’s?”

This may sound like violent, hate-filled rhetoric. But remember, my darlings, it's only liberals who are mean, nasty and violent. When Cons run around talking about death lists and punching liberals in the face, it's not violent rhetoric, it's just... assertive. Manly, even.

And when Cons refuse to read the health care reform bill after they've denigrated Dems for not reading it, they're not being hypocrites at all. They're just doing what Jesus would do:

It's hard to argue with rock solid logic that GOP strategist Karen Hanretty offers up on The Ed Show. In a discussion of whether providing health care to all citizens is a moral imperative, Hanretty informs us that Jesus would probably not like health care reform because he would avoid the 1000 pages of bill Congress has drafted, just as he avoided the Pharisees.

SCHULTZ: Karen, where is the Christian leaders (sic) in this country, the four that I named at the top of this show tonight. They’ve been very silent on the moral obligation to cover every American. This is a big play, what do you think?

HANRETTY: Well, I think it’s interesting. You know, you were saying earlier if Christ came back, if this was the Second Coming, what would He do? And you know, we know when Christ walked the Earth he was very careful not to let the Pharisees entrap him in legalistic disputes. And I think that would be the case with this 1,000 page health care bill. I think that, you know, the Christian community, we have an obligation to care for the poor, and for children, orphans and widows, and that is our commandment. I think a lot of churches do that. I’m not sure there’s something in the Bible that talks about should you have a single health care payer program, you know, what are the details…

So the commandment to take care of others, that goes out the window if you have to trudge through several hundred pages of writing? I'm not sure I like the "Jesus as a slacker" motif, but I have one way to simplify it: "Medicare for all". I think even your slacker Jesus could manage to read three words, Karen.

Don't ask them why Dems aren't allowed to follow in Jesus' footsteps too, though. Not unless you want to see their poor noggins esplode.

You're going to ask anyway, aren't you? Bad libruls! Mean libruls! You're always attacking the poor helpless fucktards who lie, cheat and steal their way to victory because they can't win an honest debate. And then you do nasty things like quote that "reap what you sow" verse at them.

Speaking of reaping what they've sown, looks like Dick Armey's discovered the hard way that there are indeed consequences for douchebaggery:

Well, America. . . Rachel. . . you won't have Dick Armey to kick around anymore. Um, kinda:

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) is resigning from DLA Piper law firm amid a wave of negative attention his grassroots organization, Freedom Works, has drawn for helping to organize protesters at health care town hall meetings with members of Congress.

Armey was apparently "concerned" with all the attention he's getting.

“It is painful and frustrating to see a good, decent, able and effective partnership of honorable men and women and their clients attacked for things in which they are not involved simply because of their association with me."

The Dick, he doth protest too much.

Poor Dick. It's tough to learn about responsibility and consequences this late in life. A good dose of your own medicine never goes down easy, does it?

I hope to see many more such lessons applied. We can start with Joseph "I Know I Told You I'd Vote For Your Interests But I Just Voted Against Them Instead" Cao, who's toying with his constituents yet again:

Yesterday Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), who represents a heavily Democratic district, held a health care town hall meeting with his constituents. The Times-Picayune reports that Cao told constituents that he is “leaning” towards supporting the House health care bill:

In a public forum defined as much by passionate declarations on abortion as by statements about health care policy intricacies, U.S. Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao, R-New Orleans, said Thursday that he “leans” toward supporting the House Democrats’ vision of a medical system overhaul provided it won’t pay for procedures to end pregnancy.

He's already told them he's not voting for the bill - if there's a public health insurance option, it's gonna have abortion in it. Then he'll go sniveling back to his mostly-Democratic constituents, saying "But I really really wanted to vote for the bill! Just like I wanted to vote for the stimulus, and the budget."

Fool me once, shame on you. You didn't fool me twice, and you ain't foolin' me the third time, neither, Cao. Or, should I say - Caoward.

I think Cao's gonna be among the first Cons to discover that constituents are tired of being played for fools.

Speaking of fools, what have the Teabaggers' accomplished with their sound and fury? That would be a big fat nothing:

Today brings a new Research 2000 poll that sheds a bit more light on this: It finds that in the last week, the approval rating of Congressional Dems hasn’t changed at all either way.

This week, 43% approve of Dems, versus 42% last week; 51% disapprove, versus 52% last week. No real movement.

Which suggests that whatever the public’s attitude towards the protesters themselves, the town hall hooliganism may not have done anything in the way of turning the public against Congressional Dems.

And while Independents seem somewhat fascinated by the Teabagger phenomenon for now, I don't imagine that'll survive too many more tantrums. They're fickle, but most of them aren't that stupid.

Finally, a good Happy Hour chuckle to end your day with. Here's Arlen Specter playing the good Dem for the Netroots Nation crowd:

When he was questioned about Chuck Grassley's ""We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma" he adamantly said Grassley was wrong and he said he would speak to him later today. I yelled out "call him now!" and several other audience members also yelled the same thing. I waved my phone and said, "You can use my cell phone!" He said he would call him right away.

I followed him to the back of the arena and a bunch of us surrounded him as he made good on his promise. He tried to reach Grassley, but got no answer.


Well, now Specter and Grassley are involved in a Twitter war:

Well, Grassley never picked up. So Specter tweeted all about it.

And Grassley is not pleased.


I think somebody hit a bit of a raw nerve, there. Good on yer, Arlen!

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