Let us begin Happy Hour by handing out awards. Hands-down winner of The Most Deluded Dem in Congress is Max Baucus:
In light of multiple reports pointing to the end of bipartisan outreach to congressional Republicans on health care reform, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) issued a statement today defending his efforts.That's a mighty funny way of defining "steady progress" you've got there, Max. Or were you just flustered by all those YouTubes pointed at you?
"The Finance Committee is on track to reach a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive health care reform that can pass the Senate," Baucus said, adding how "confident" he is that the Gang of Six "will continue our steady progress."
I have to wonder, where is this "steady progress" hiding?
The members of the Gang of Six haven't met at all over the August recess. There were plans for the senators to get together, but Chuck Grassley scrapped them, citing a busy schedule. Grassley, of course, is the same conservative Republican who acknowledged this week that he's likely to vote against his own compromise bill. It came the same time another member of the Gang of Six suggested breaking up the reform bill into pieces, and another member talking about keeping the talks going indefinitely, regardless of deadlines.
The Finance Committee is "on track"? Members are making "steady progress? Huh?
Speaking of YouTube, winner of Smackdown Most Likely to go Viral is Rep. Barney Frank, who told a Teabagger just how it is:
Don't ever ask Barney Frank a question if you don't want to know exactly how he feels about something. From Larry King Live, Frank is asked by a woman waving an Obama as Hitler picture at a town hall meeting why he is supporting his "Nazi policy" on health care. Frank didn't mince any words in responding.
Frank: When you ask me that question I'm going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question. On what planet do you spend most of your time?
You want me to answer the question? Yes. As you stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.
Winner of Most Likely To Regret YouTube Moment: the idiot who spouted Nazi nonsense at the most forthright member of Congress. Video's at the above link. Treat yourself.
She's probably a Faux News fanatic, which brings us to our next award: Most Accomplished Misinformers. Faux News, of course, wins hands-down:
The new NBC News poll found a frustrating amount of public confusion about health care reform. Reality notwithstanding, 55% believe illegal immigrants will get coverage; 54% believe there will be a "government takeover" of the health care system; 50% expect to see taxpayer-financed abortions, and 45% believe reform will "allow government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care to the elderly." None of these claims is true.I think that also explains the 39% of Americans who have no clue who runs Medicare:
As it turns out, Fox News viewers are throwing off the curve.
Here's another way to look at the misinformation: In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.
That's pretty amazing. Americans who get their news from more legitimate sources were also confused, but not nearly to this extent.
As ThinkProgress has noted before, conservatives have frequently obscured the fact that Medicare is a government-run single-payer program. Constituents appearing at health care town halls have even demanded that their members of Congress keep their “government hands off of Medicare.” Now, a new Public Policy Polling poll finds that millions of Americans do not realize that the federal government runs Medicare:
One poll question indicative of how difficult it is to gain public understanding on a complicated issue asked if respondents thought the government should ‘stay out of Medicare,’ something inherently impossible. 39% said yes.
It's depressing to realize just how many of my fellow Americans are so fucking stupid.
Speaking of stupidity, it's time now for our Most Confused About the Constitution award. Michele Bachmann, you're a winner!
Someone needs some remedial civics courses asap.
Speaking on Fox News last night, right-wing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that health care reform is unconstitutional:[snip]
It is not within our power as members of Congress, it’s not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, for us to design and create a national takeover of health care. Nor is it within our ability to be able to delegate that responsibility to the executive.
Bachmann, however, is wrong about both the contents of the health care plan and the requirements of the Constitution. There is nothing in any of the health care bills under consideration which resembles a “national takeover of health care.” Conservatives like to use this language when referring to the public health option. Like other insurers, the public option would collect premiums from people who choose to buy into it, and then spend those premiums to insure these participants.
Had Bachmann bothered to read Article I of the Constitution before going on Fox, she would have learned that Congress has the power to “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises” and to “provide for….the general welfare of the United States.” Rather than itemizing specific subject matters, such as health care, which Congress is allowed to spend money on, the framers chose instead to give Congress a broad mandate to spend money in ways that promote the “general welfare.”
Turning away from awards centered on health care, we'll present our award for Bloody Stupidest Birther to Tom Delay:
Tweety's love for Tom Delay is mythic as we all know so it's funny that he has to try and argue with him against the looney-birther movement.
Matthews: You're a man of the right and proudly so, I wonder whether you're even comfortable with the way it's headed. We've got people that we have people that question whether the president is legitimate or not. Whether he was born in the US or not and they mean it viscerally. It isn't something they just want to check his papers. They don't think he is. Where are you on that one?
We have people on the far right but they say they are birthers. How far do you go these days, Mr. Leader? Are you over with the birthers are you over with them?
Delay was trying not to answer the question and Chris kept coming back to it.[snip]
Delay: Well, I’d like the President to produce his birth certificate.
Matthews: Are you actively seeking that paper?
Chris, will you do me a favor? Will you ask the President to show me his gift certificate — I mean, his — gift certificate — his birth certificate?
Little-known fact about Obama's birth: his mom actually bought him from Babies R Us using a gift certificate she got for Christmas. Our President wasn't born in Hawaii, Kenya, or any of the other posited places - he actually was never born at all!!11!1!
*sits back and waits for Birthers to bite*
We shall now call Gov. Bobby Jindal up to accept his award for Stupendous Stimulus Hypocrite:
The AP reported earlier this month that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) administration is planning to request $300 million dollars from the federal government to develop a high-speed rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The trains, which would run at about 79mph, would be part of a larger Gulf Coast rail plan with top speeds of 110mph. Much of the money, however, comes from the Recovery Act, a stimulus measure Jindal not only opposed, but recently called a failure.Truly, Bobby, your hypocrisy is boundless. We stand in awe.
In opposing the Recovery Act, Jindal offered the Republican party’s official response to President Obama’s nationwide address last February. Jindal specifically smeared high-speed rail projects as “wasteful spending”...
The next time someone asks you why America's so fucked up, hand them a list of the Cons in Congress, turn on Faux News, and remind them that Bobby Jindal is one of the GOP's rising stars. Says it all, really.