Friday, January 21, 2011

Throwing the Tea Party a bone

From Bob Englehart's commentary:
This repeal attempt is pure political theater to mollify the tea party voters who sent so many new conservatives to the House of Representatives. The savvy politicians know the repeal won't go anywhere because it'll be defeated in the Senate, and should it pass there, President Obama will veto it. The GOP doesn't have enough votes to override it, but it'll make them look like tough-guy heroes back home. Politicians must get down on their knees every night and thank God that people are so easy to manipulate.

Yup. I don't understand how we Americans can be so gullible and so easily manipulated by these bozos, but it's apparently a piece of cake. Republicans don't seem to even try very hard to make it plausible.

Have we Americans all become complete morons?

From Chan Lowe's commentary:
So the Republicans have dutifully thrown the Tea Party people their bone. Yes, it was absurd and a waste of time, and while the Republicans won’t talk about it openly, they know just as well as everyone else how foolish it looked to pass legislation that was going nowhere.

Everyone knows it's not going anywhere. Furthermore, it would be terrible if it did. The Democrats' health care reform bill, as conservative as it is, still lowers the deficit while insuring 30 million Americans, keeping insurance companies from dropping you when you get sick, and, you know, actually accomplishing a number of things both parties have historically supported.

It's absolutely insane that the right has succeeded in demonizing the same policies they themselves pushed just a few years ago. And it's especially insane that they have nothing to suggest in return. How did we Americans get to be so stupid that wasting time like this makes political sense to them? (Obviously, it's all about politics, nothing else.)

Yeah, this is all about opposing anything and everything proposed by Barack Obama and the Democrats. It makes absolutely no difference what it is. This is pure politics, unencumbered by any concern about America, about real world consequences.

And frankly, Fox "News" and the rest of the right-wing spin machine has so demonized the Democrats - and Barack Obama in particular - that the loonies in the GOP base would probably consider it treason to go along with anything they proposed.

Obviously, these Muslim Marxist terrorists across the aisle, not real (i.e. white) Americans like you or me, would never propose anything beneficial to our country, right? After all, aren't they trying to bring us down from the inside? Aren't they working for the terrorists? Oh, won't someone think of the children!

But how can any of us - or more than a tiny minority - be dumb enough to actually believe that?

From Tom Toles' commentary:
Well, Tea Partyers! How are your newly elected friends doing with that deficit reduction agenda of yours? What?? Tax cut extensions that make the deficit BIGGER?? Trying to repeal the health-care law, when repeal would make the deficit BIGGER??? But, but, but! They furrow their brows in concern JUST THE SAME WAY YOU DO! That ought to count for something! Just not anything in the actual budget.

But that's assuming these people are rational, that they're evidence-based in their thinking. That's not so. They're faith-based. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that repealing the health care reform bill will add greatly to our nation's deficit, but the Republicans just deny it. Who are the tea-baggers going to believe?

The world's climate scientists warn about global warming, but these people believe Rush Limbaugh instead, because that's what they want to believe. Biologists worldwide patiently try to explain evolution, but what do those egghead scientists know, anyway? Republicans push the right buttons - their fear, their bigotry, their fantasies - and how can rational argument and evidence compete?

Less than two years after the worst presidential administration in U.S. history, a period of unmitigated disaster for our country, when the right-wing conclusively demonstrated that every one of their policies was a complete and utter failure,... these same people are riding high once more. So don't try to tell me their supporters are rational.

The Republicans had eight years to do whatever they wanted - six years when they controlled all three branches of the federal government. And then as now, Republicans found it easy to march in lockstep, while the more fractious Democrats - liberal, moderate, and conservative - couldn't even face in the same direction, not that they were brave enough to actually try.

Republicans got everything they wanted, but what they wanted was tax cuts for the rich. What they wanted was war, fought by someone else and paid for by someone else. Health care reform? Why? Insurance companies were already making loads of money, weren't they? So why mess with that? Lower the deficit? Why? Reagan showed that deficits don't matter (don't matter politically, which is all that counts, right?).

The first thing Republicans did this month when they took back the House of Representatives was to throw out the Democrats "pay-go" rules, which restricted budget-busting measures (one reason why their health care reform bill actually lowers the deficit), so the GOP could start ballooning it up again.

It's exactly the opposite of right-wing rhetoric,... but so what? Do you really think their supporters are rational enough that this will be a problem? Just let Fox "News" spin it, and no problem.

Yeah, the American people support the policy features in the health care reform bill, but again, so what? Most of us will never know what they are. You don't think that Fox "News" explains all that, do you? And if we were detail-minded, evidence-based, rational... we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

No, all too many of us simply believe what we believe. Anesthesia? Unnecessary, I suspect. Republicans will simply distract anyone who might appear to care about the facts. Muslims! Gays! Socialists! Death Panels! Furriners!

OK, I'm not quite as pessimistic as I sound. Yes, I'm pretty disgusted at my countrymen, but there are plenty of good people - smart people, capable people, rational people - here, too. But it's an uphill struggle, it really is.

And it's not as though the Democrats are any great prize, either. I don't know how any bunch of politicians could be so inept at politics. And their spinelessness is legendary. Plus, like any politician in America, their number one concern is raising campaign donations. That's the fault of our political system, but it still tends to make for piss-poor legislation.

But that's the way it is. That's what we have to work with, and we can't give up. I, for one, won't give up. And if you have, well, I think less of you than I do of the Tea Party.

Giving up is not an option.

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