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.