24 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

John McCain has become a lumbering right-wing zombie. Instead of mumbling "Braaaiiinnnsss," he's droning debunked conspiracy theories:
How far gone is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)? He isn't even willing to reject the "death panel" nonsense pushed by his former running mate.

As promised, McCain appeared on ABC News' "This Week" and George Stephanopoulos asked whether he could defend Sarah Palin's most infamous and scurrilous attack on health care reform. Would the self-described "maverick" take a stand in support of reality? Take a wild guess.

Asked about the "death panel" lie, McCain said he doesn't endorse the phrase, but argued the government, under reform measures, would "have groups that actually advise people as these decisions are made later in life." When Stephanopoulos noted the phrase of the month -- "That's not in the bill" -- McCain said the language in the legislation "made it a little bit ambiguous." To his credit, Stephanopoulos pressed further.

Poor Steph. It doesn't matter how often you shoot down zombie lies, even with the cannon of "Well, every single independent group that looked at it said it just wasn't true." The zombies just keep marching on.

McCain's still on about fundamentals, too:
Sen. John McCain believes that President Barack Obama must drop his support for a public insurance option before Republicans will consider supporting reform. "I believe that one of the fundamentals for any agreement would be that the president abandon the government option," McCain told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
I myself believe that "one of the fundamentals for any agreement" is Cons ceasing their outrageous idiocy, but that's about as likely as the fundamentals of our economy being strong right when we started the precipitous slide into the Great Recession.

I don't know why the talk shows keep inviting this jackass back on. It's not like he's ever got anything new or mavericky to say. Sometimes it seems like campaigning with Sarah Palin destroyed his brain.

Either that, or the GOP's feeding something to their politicians. This could explain why so many of them are acting like psychotic dumbfucks. A small sampling shows the extent of the problem.

We have Rep. Shimkus apparently hallucinating D.A.R.E. slogans:
Progress Illinois’ Josh Kalven reports that at an Illinois state fair this past week, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) fully embraced the GOP’s “party of no” obstructionist strategy. Shimkus stated that the Republican “chant for now until Election Day” should be “Just Say No!” “We’ve been saying no for a long time,” he noted. “When President Obama was on the ballot, the Republican response was, ‘Just say no!‘”
I hate to break this to you, Congressman, but the President is not a drug. Reflexively saying "NO!" to him didn't win your party the election in November, and it sure as shit doesn't look like it's going to win you any landslides in 2010, either.

Simple minds, simple slogans, I suppose.

Meanwhile, Rep. Herger's happy to pal around with terrorists:

Rep. Wally Herger (R) of California prefers a different tack.

Republican Congressman Wally Herger held a health care town hall meeting Aug. 18 at Simpson University in Redding, where a partisan crowd of over 2,000 people loudly cheered Herger's position that a public option was "unacceptable." [...]

"Our democracy has never been threatened as much as it is today," Herger said to a loud standing ovation.

Asked about cap-and-trade policy, Herger added, "Health care is not the only threat to our democracy."

One of the attendees, who claimed he could trace his ancestors back to the Mayflower, declared to Herger, "I am a proud right-wing terrorist."

The Republican congressman said with a broad smile, "Amen, God bless you. There is a great American."

The Party of Nihilists strikes again.
Remarkably, Faux News does not seem to have spent the day denouncing Wally as a terrorist-loving jihadist. They've got some of the best selective hearing in the world, don't they just?

Speaking of selective hearing, Chuck Grassley needs to get his ears checked:

Today on CBS’s Face the Nation, Grassley struggled to explain why he made that [pull the plug on grandma] statement. Clearly uncomfortable with the question, Grassley stumbled over his words and even blamed President Obama for his word choice. He said that even though he knew the House bill “doesn’t intend to” kill senior citizens, he felt that he had a responsibility to nevertheless play to those fears:

GRASSLEY: I said that because — two reasons. Number one, I was responding to a question at my town meetings. I let my constituents set the agenda. A person that asked me that question was reading from language that they got off of the Internet. It scared my constituents. And the specific language I used was language that the president had used at Portsmouth, and I thought that it was — if he used the language , then if I responded exactly the same way, that I had an opposite concern about not using end-of-life counseling for saving money, then I was answering — [...]


Obama did use the phrase “pull the plug on grandma.” But he used it as an example of the lies his opponents were pushing around to scare the American public. Despite Grassley’s claim, he did not respond in “exactly the same way.” Obama said the right-wing myth was completely baseless; Grassley said that it was definitely something to be feared.
I'd say that such egregious comprehension problems are a sign of senility, but this is a Con we're talking about. Deliberate misunderstanding is something of a specialty with them. And Faux News is sinking it to whole new depths:

While Republicans and political reporters started labeling reconciliation the "nuclear option" this week, Fox News went just a little further yesterday.

Fox News anchor Jamie Colby falsely characterized Senate Democrats passing health care reform legislation with a simple majority through a process known as reconciliation as "potentially changing the rules with the nuclear option."

Yes, if senators follow Senate rules, they're now changing Senate rules.

That's because it's Dems following the rules. In Faux News Fantasyland, that automatically means the rules are being broken.

And all right-wing hysterical fits are automatically credible:
The far-right campaign against health care reform started with the routine, predictable falsehoods anyone could have seen coming a mile away. Bogus claims about covering illegal immigrants, paying for abortion, and "socialized medicine" were obvious.

But the right does not lack for creativity. Concerned that the more traditional lies may not be sufficient, we soon heard about "death panels." When the gullible started believing that, the right made the transition to "health-care racism" and "mandatory home inspections," both of which are imaginary, limited to the minds of right-wing activists and their leaders.

The new one is "death books."

On Wednesday, James Towey, the former head of Bush's faith-based initiative, wrote a WSJ op-ed arguing that the Department of Veterans Affairs is pushing an end-of-life planning document, called "Your Life, Your Choices," that he insisted would give veterans a "hurry-up-and-die message" that is "clear and unconscionable." Towey imagined "a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender." The Wall Street Journal's headline read: "The Death Book for Veterans."

A certain former half-term governor of Alaska found this important, and wouldn't you know it, RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Fox News' Sean Hannity started talking it up late in the week.

Marcus Baram looked into this, and explained why the Republican activists are wrong.

You will be so terribly shocked to learn that Cons were for "death books" before they were against them.

Let us now come full circle by checking in with McCain's bestest buddy, the man Obama fought to save because he was such a good friend to the Dems usually, we couldn't just drum him out of the Democratic caucus because he's a total asshole who threw in his lot with the enemy, right? Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the latest wit and wisdom of Joe Lieberman:

Last week, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), the most conservative member of the so-called bipartisan “Gang of Six” working on the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill, stated that he preferred that Congress deal with reform incrementally. “I think the only way it will happen is we need to break it down into smaller parts than we have now and put it through one at a time,” he said.

Today on CNN, Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, embraced Enzi’s idea. “Great changes in our country often have come in steps. The Civil Rights movement occurred, changes occurred in steps,” he argued. Lieberman added that Congress should address the nearly 50 million uninsured at some point down the road:

LIEBERMAN: Morally, everyone of us would like to cover every American with health insurance but that’s where you spend most of the trillion dollars plus, or a little less that is estimated, the estimate said this health care plan will cost. And I’m afraid we’ve got to think about putting a lot of that off until the economy is out of recession. There’s no reason we have to do it all now.

Later, host John King asked Lieberman if he would vote with the Democrats if the reconciliation process is used to pass health care. “I think it’s a real mistake to try to jam through the total health insurance reform,” Lieberman said, adding, “It’s just not good for the system. Frankly, it won’t be good for the Obama presidency.”
I guess that would be no. Way to repay the man who saved your ass, Joe. I see your true colors shining through, there. GOP crimson, eh?

Assclowns to the right of you, mules to the (supposed) left- the middle gets uncomfortable, don't it, Mr. President?

1 comment:

Woozle said...

"It doesn't matter how often you shoot down zombie lies..."

Indeed, there is now research indicating that in political contexts, some people believe the first thing they are told -- regardless of the source -- and then refuse to budge when shown contradictory information, regardless of the source.

Interestingly, I had a note that George W. Bush exhibited exactly this behavior - "Bush surrounds himself with a handful of trusted advisors; whoever gets to him first carries the day because he is too lazy to change his mind and doesn't like being wrong." - but after some searching, I haven't been able to find the source.

I don't know if it will make any difference, but one possible retort to the zombie "Death Panel" claim might be to point out that under Bush, the EPA not only approximately halved the value of human life (when creating numbers to use in cost-benefit calculations), they also deemed people over 70 to be worth $1.4 million less than those under 70.

(Unfortunately the rff.org link in the above article is 404, RFF's archives only go back to 2006, and archive.org gives an error when I try to search for it. Any other options?)