Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Kurtz (TPM): Mandate
Too bad we didn't just have a national election where voters got to decide between health care reform or health care status quo. That would have really helped clear things up ...
TPM: WH: Obama Prepared For Disruptions At Today's Town Hall

President Obama is prepared for any disruptions that may happen at today's town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., according to his press secretary, Robert Gibbs.

"I think what the president will do is turn to that person and probably ask them to be civilized and give them an answer to their question," Gibbs said this morning. "I know the president is excited about engaging the public again."

Obama is holding four town hall meetings on health care this week, in the midst of protests, disruptions and physical altercations happening at similar events with legislators across the country.

  • Josh Marshall: Interesting Way to Start the Morning

    We're watching an Arlen Specter town hall at which one protestor after another gets up with a question more unhinged than the last. I confess I hadn't read the part of the bill which would abolish democracy in America.

    The latest question is a demand that all legislation be written in junior high school level English.

    Late Update: Specter finally got a pro-health care reform question, after about a dozen antis. It makes you wonder who managed getting pro-health care folks to turnout for this event.

Ex-Wingnut John Cole says New Coke Sucked, Too

This is kind of funny:

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) generated the kind of buzz other politicians covet when he launched his bid to help rebrand the Republican Party last spring.

Television crews and reporters wedged themselves among the crowd of party faithful to cover the National Council for a New America’s first event at a packed pizza parlor in an Arlington, Va., strip mall. The resulting coverage dominated cable news chatter for the next week. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney were also on board.

But the council has since flamed out – at least publicly.

Since its launch, the National Council hasn’t held a single public event, despite more than 5,000 invitations to take their show out on the road. Congressional ethics rules limit what Cantor can do with the group because he launched it from his leadership office, making it harder to organize events and recruit partners. Despite that caution, the group is still taking heat from outside watchdog groups that argue he is violating the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of those rules.

I’d say the re-branding of the Republican party has been quite successful. In a couple of years, they’ve quite ably from the Republicans John Rogers talked about to a bunch frothing, godbothering, warmongering, birther conspiracy theorists, and in your face hysterical lunatics. Why should Cantor bother with re-branding attempts- Malkin, Beck, Limbaugh, and the teabaggers own the brand and are quite happy with the direction the party is going.

And the best thing about this? Read the wingnut blogs- they are still turning it up to 11 and don’t realize how the rest of the country looks at them. Every now and then they get a whiff of the truth, but a bit of mutual linking to each other to feed the echo chamber and they can convince themselves it is all just media bias and they are the real Merikins. You betcha! Also, too!

via Daily Kos:

Eugene Robinson on the health care debate we should be having:

Red-faced retirees are railing against "government-run" health care and "socialized medicine" -- with Medicare cards tucked in their wallets. They could have just stayed home and harangued themselves. The August heat is punishing, but not enough to induce mass delirium.

We know that there are crazies in the town hall mobs -- paranoid fantasists who imagine they hear the whop-whop-whop of the World Government black helicopters coming closer by the minute. We know that much of the action is being directed from the wings by cynical political operatives, following a script written by Washington lobbyists. But the nut jobs and carpetbaggers are outnumbered by confused and concerned Americans who seem genuinely convinced they're not being told the whole truth about health-care reform.

And they have a point.

John Cole: Grandma Got Run Over By a Death Panel

Props to Ezra Klein for this interview with Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson:

Klein: Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother? What are we talking about here?

Isakson: In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that’s because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia “durable power of attorney,” you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you’re unable to make those decisions.

This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it’s to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It’s just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.

If Democrats were smart (they’re not) they would point out that this is the fitting tribute to Terry Schiavo and name this the Schiavo amendment, because that is really what this does. It provides patients with the information they need to make living wills, so that should they get into a tragic circumstance such that Terri Schiavo found herself, there would not be any questions about what needs to be done.

Of course, though, that runs square into the real problem with the GOP right now- the profit motive for the hucksters. There is a large contingent out there who would love nothing more than another Schiavo. The fundraisers, the weepy editorials about the value of life (stuck in a bed immobile and unconscious and brain dead for 15 years, but sweet, sweet, life), the marches, the public displays of religion, getting to scream murderer at elected officials and yelling “judicial activism,” the direct mail begs for money- all that would be wiped out. And that is the real problem. The people running the current freak show have a profit motive for things to keep the way they are- with the GOP out of power and the ratings through the roof.

  • Josh Marshall: Sarah's People
    Watch scenes from a tea bag event in Anchorage, Alaska outside the office's of Sen. Mike Begich (D-AK) at which participants claim that under the Obama plan "the older citizens will be euthanized." Watch.
John Cole: Lying For Years

ABC news runs down the source of the death panels nonsense:

It seems that it started with some remarks by former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey on “The Fred Thompson Show” radio program July 16.

“This is a vicious assault on elderly people, all to do what’s in society’s best interest, or your family’s best, and cut your life short,” she said.

Her comments had spread online and seniors started asking pointed questions.

And then the Wasilla wingnut chimed in on her facebook page, and here we are today. And back to my point from a previous post- being an outright liar has been very lucrative for McCaughey- she’s been spreading the same lies for decades. And she probably makes a pretty penny doing it.

It is worth noting that we have the always execrable Marty Peretz to thank for McCaughey’s rise in the 90’s during the Clinton health care reform efforts. He is the gift that keeps on giving.

Think Progress: Dingell says town hall mobs remind him of the Ku Klux Klan.

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), currently the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, has been on the receiving end of some rowdy town hall meetings recently. People in attendance have displayed signs comparing President Obama to Hitler and one man even yelled at Dingell, saying “your healthcare plan is going to take healthcare away from my son and kill him!” When Dingell said it wouldn’t, the man repeatedly shouted “liar!” When asked last night on MSNBC about the angry mobs he has encountered, Dingell said they remind him of the days when he voted for civil rights in the 1960s:

DINGELL: Well, the last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the civil rights bill and my opponent voted against it. At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets and other things running around causing trouble.

Watch it:

Another town hall Dingell hosted last night in Michigan was more civil. “This is the first meeting we’ve been at over the last few days where people wanted to hear what I had to say, and I thank you for that,” Dingell said.

C&L: Countdown Special Comment: STOP THE LIES! The Clear & Present Danger Isn't Obama's Agenda; It's GOP Talking Points

(h/t CSpanJunkie at VideoCafe)

Keith Olbermann calls out the dangerous rhetoric and lies of Sarah Palin and her other GOP cohorts--such as Glenn Beck and Sen. John Cornyn--scaring the populace with their outrageous fear mongering over health care reform.

You shouted "fire" in a crowded theater -- a hot one -- and then today tried to roll it back with "no, no, sorry, not fire, I meant flashlights."

Too little, too late, too obvious.

Madam, you are a clear and present danger to the safety and security of this nation.

Whether the 'death panel' is something you dreamed, or something you dreamed-up, whether it is the product of a low intellect and a fevered imagination, or the product of a high intelligence and a sober ability to exploit people, you should be ashamed of yourself for having introduced it into the public discourse, and it should debar you, for all time, from any position of responsibility or trust in the governance of this nation or any of its states or municipalities.

It is exactly this kind of lowest demoninator scare tactics of Palin's and her other GOP buddies that has brought about the aptly albeit bluntly named PleaseCutTheCrap.com.

And while it's semi-nice to see Palin back-pedaling slightly, the fever pitch is such that a concerted joint effort by the White House and the Democrats in Congress is required to push back on this inciting and ugly rhetoric, before it goes too far.

Transcripts at the link.

No comments:

Post a Comment