Two videos, which I will summarize for those of you who can't hear the audio. The first is via Crooks and Liars and the second from Instaputz, although both have appeared elsewhere.

In the first video, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from Kansas, fields a question from a single mother. The question is fairly straightforward. "I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. Why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?" Jenkins responds by laughing at her for a minute before telling her to "go be a grown-up."

In the second video, Michael Steele is speaking at Howard University, an event which was billed as "a dialogue" but was a canned speech by the Chairman. Note that he also bussed in 24 white College Republicans from another school and reserved the front row for them, presumably to give Uncle Mike some moral support. A student stood to interject in the middle of his hour-long speech: ""My mother died of cancer 6 months ago because she could only afford three of her six prescription chemotherapy medications. There are 50 million people in this country who could end up like my mom, suffering or dying because they do not have adequate health care." Steele turned away, shook his finger in her general direction, and said "People are coming to these town meetings and they're like (her)," apparently conflating the student with the foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics (conservatives, one and all) screaming at Congressmen at town hall events coast to coast.

I have a hard time watching these videos and coming to any conclusion other than that the GOP is the single most brilliant group of politicians in the history of mankind. Can you imagine the skill necessary to tell voters who come to you with problems to fuck off when you can't manage to avoid them altogether and still win 45% of the vote in Presidential elections? To be threatening to take back seats in Congress? To have legions of morbidly obese, uninsured, diabetic hillbillies ready to take to the streets with guns to prevent health care reform? This party operates out of a playbook that appears to have been written by Skeletor and they win elections.

Think about these videos. I mean, really think about what is going on here. People attend a public forum and ask reasonable questions – as opposed to, you know, "WHY CAN'T BARACK OBAMA PROVE THAT HE ISN'T A KENYAN MUSLIM??????" – and the elected officials or higher-ups of the second largest political party in the country laugh at them and mock them. And we're sitting here stroking our beards and pondering how many seats they're going to win back in 2010. What kind of masochist is inspired by people who explicitly do not give the slightest shit about the problems of non-plutocrats?

It's clear that the party is stuck in the Rove-ian "Permanent Majority" mindset, abandoning even the pretense of winning over voters outside of their narrow base of support. I'm not sure why they believe that their motley stew of the heavily armed, the home-schooled, and functionally illiterate fundamentalists is a majority of the country. That strategy served them well in 2006 and 2008; it will be interesting to see if it is just as successful in 2010.


  • One of my favorite quotes from the peanut gallery featured in video one:

    "It's not our job to pay for your health care."

    Some wit said this around the 2:10 mark. This is the money bulletin from the Republican Manifesto. It is only the job of the citizen to pay for foreign wars and extravagant public official travel expenses.

  • Aslan Maskhadov says:

    The shocking thing isn't their behavior, it's the fact that Democrats will actually bow to this incompetent party. American democracy: Two parties – for one class!

  • This bizarro aspect of the US electorate has been worrying me since the '60's when it came out snarling justifications for the war crimes in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia. Beatin' up hippies wasn't just a punchline, Watch old videos of the cops ripping in to students and academics for protesting the war. Remember the Kent state 4.
    Before that they used to work out their frustrations on coloured people.

    "To have legions of morbidly obese, uninsured, diabetic hillbillies ready to take to the streets with guns… not to mention the rest of the criminals, psychos and idiots, has always been the threat of the right.

    This ruthless, merciless aspect of American society, perfectly portrayed by Beck, Rush and Coulter (and the people in the videos above) is mankind at it's ugliest.

  • The thing I can't figure out is: why can't we manipulate these inbred hillbillies as effectively as the right wing can? I mean… they're hard-hearted assholes. We're compassionate. Yet they can always seem to come up with a pseudo-populist narrative that swings dumb people to their side and we can't seem to manipulate brazenly ignorant people to vote our way.

    The left seems to be stocking arms against some distant utopian day when everyone will realize that we're all equal and will want to vote in the best interests of either themselves or their neighbors.

    What I see is that people vote their fantasies WAY before their realities. That they care more about what the Church thinks than what they see on their own hometown streets. That they'd rather vote to keep imaginary money they don't have than vote to get real-world help they actually need.

    I mean.. they're DUMB! Why can't we seem to leverage that to our advantage? Fucking make something up. At least we'd be manipulating them for their own good instead of fucking them over to put money in corporate coffers and make the rich richer.

  • 1:16: "…as I'm suggesting, give YOU the money to go buy [insurance] in a reformed marketplace wherein it's affordable; that's my preference, rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can't afford it…"

    So apparently it's okay for the government to provide "handouts" AS LONG AS IT THEN FORCES YOU TO GIVE THEM BACK TO INSURANCE COMPANIES. How motherfucking Libertarian of you! I can't imagine being so rabidly anti-State and pro-Mega-Corporation at the same time. How do these people think the "marketplace" is going to benefit from the permanent legal subsidizing of companies whose "product" enjoys an eternal level of demand by nature, whose raison d'etre is to become perpetually more profitable, and who can only achieve that goal by engineering scarcity?

    There's a pretty hilarious thread here where I feel like the second commenter neatly, if unintentionally summarizes the modern GOP's "just folks"/"rich folks" schizophrenia. As you can see, they've got a <a href=""pretty ethical business climate out there and would never think to blame anyone for their inability to weather the free market without failure to… oh, no, wait, it's somehow the government's fault they don't pay their taxes, too.

  • One more thing – it's pretty also pretty hilarious that 2nd commenter in first link above is evoking these images of Democrats "hiding under their desks" and not reading legislation before voting on it, because uh…

  • American democracy: Two parties – for one class!

    As we hear rumblings of Obama euthanizing the public option in his speech next week, it sure looks that way.

  • Aslan and Cyntax: No disrespect, but I think Gore Vidal put it slightly better than you: a single party with two right wings, Democratic and Republican.

  • The proper response from the uninsured working mother to Rep. Jenkins would have been, "Well, Representative Jenkins, these people pay for YOUR health insurance!"

  • I'm a progressive and a public option supporter and I'm still calling you on grossly mischaracterizing Jenkins' speech. She clearly answered that the tax credit option WOULD pay for health care and her laughter was not in response to the woman's initial question. Please. Rush has that kind of BS covered.

  • Then I'm Johnny Literal too, because I also thought you meant that she really laughed for a minute.

    Ed, you've been awfully mean lately.

Comments are closed.