Monday, March 22, 2010

The health care reform bill "socialist"? Ha! Give me a break!

If only it were. Instead, what it is (as I'm sure a few of my friends have already noted elsewhere) looks more like something conservatives would have hatched back in the early 1990s:
David Frum makes a point similar to one I noted twice today (here and here):
The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.
And, as such, he is correct that there was real and serious room for negotiation with Republicans, had they been willing to participate.
The rhetoric we've been treated to (and will continue, unfortunately to be treated to) would make the new soon-to-be law appear to be something concocted by Fidel Castro. Hardly. However, we might use the rhetoric that is spouted by talk show hosts, GOP politicians, and Tea Partiers alike as a testament to the raw manipulation abilities of a few with some serious influence and the sheer lack of knowledge about history and politics by so many of the right's current crop of true believers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Showing their true colors once more

Images via Huffington Post. I started reading initial reports about the anti-health care reform protests late this afternoon. It became pretty clear even early on that there was once more that current of racism that seems to come with the territory whenever one gets a gathering of Tea Partiers and their like-minded bretheren. When I got back on the computer this evening, there were, suffice to say, more developments. Rep. Lewis was being called the N-word, Barney Frank (who is openly gay) was being called a faggot, Emanuel Cleaver had been spat upon by one of the protesters, and then of course there were the numerous signs (like the ones pictured above), some of which carried a very thinly-veiled threat of violence.

Once you start resorting to racist or homophobic epithets or carry around threatening signs, you're not going to be winning too many new converts to your cause. But then again, I seriously doubt that was the point. Rather it was little more than an attempt at raw coercion, that was eerily reminiscent of what went on during the Town Halls last summer. Whatever one's qualms regarding the current health care bill that will shortly be voted on (I have my own, for probably much different reasons than today's protesters), there are ways to get the point across that don't devolve into abuse and threats. If your attempt at a "movement" can't or won't get hip to that reality, you can count me out. With regard to the Tea Party bunch, I quickly saw them for what they were - predominantly middle-aged, relatively well-off, and predominantly male, relatively supportive of the GOP, and who appear to harbor some rather strange conspiracy theorists (e.g., "birthers") among their supporters and leaders. In other words, this is a demographic that perceives its privileged "birthright" as "threatened" and is flailing about to maintain a position that is largely unsustainable and rapidly slipping away.

Note that likening the health care reform bill as a form of "Yankee aggression" is equally moronic, and if one knows anything about the South one knows how loaded such a term that really is.