Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Republican Lies and What's Really Going on in Washington

You've now heard it a hundred times. Various tea-party nuts, egged on by their Southern GOP senators, demanding to "just say no!" to Government-run health care. These people are so out of touch with the health care debate that it is hard to take them seriously, and I suspect that they are not being taken very seriously by anyone in Washington. Everyone in Washington knows that "government-run health care" was taken off the table at the outset by President Obama (to the chagrin of many on the left who wanted a single-payer system). This is the ultimate straw man.

All that is on the table now is a system to achieve universal *private* health insurance with an option of a not-for-profit government plan being made available (with subsidies) to those who cannot afford private health insurance. Republicans are trying to use this issue to fire up their rock-hard loony base, and are doing a good job of it, largely because it's not all that hard to dangle red meat in front of rabid dogs and get a reaction. Seriously, it's the equivalent of showing torture photos at the DNC (sadly, those photos don't get the same reaction from these Republicans).

But do they take it seriously in DC? No. The serious work is being done in committees now. In fact, the expectation that some bill will pass explains why there is so much spotlight on the committees. Rahm Emanuel will make sure that something goes through on a reconciliation vote (only 51 votes needed) at least, to claim a victory and deny the Republicans their "Waterloo" moment. In fact, the outlines of the plan are pretty well known, even if not well known to the public because of the Republican lies (and I use the word "lie" without reservation, since that's what's going on - and because the press is an easy target for lies because it lost the ability to call bullshit on anyone during Iran-Contra).

  1. An individual mandate where each person is required to obtain health insurance of one kind or another
  2. Subsidies for people earning less than about 300% of the poverty line
  3. An employer mandate for most businesses over a certain size to provide the insurance
  4. A generous exemption for small businesses from this requirement
  5. An option to avoid having to do business with private insurance companies whether in the form of some "insurance exchange" or a public option that is more or less the ability to buy into medicare
  6. Funding for the subsidies will come from some form of taxation on very high income groups or very expensive private insurance plans
  7. Reform of private insurance to require something like "guaranteed issue" - meaning you have to cover all applicants regardless of medical history and cannot rescind coverage for sick people based on technical defects later found in applications.
My guess is that it is the taxation on the very rich is what really has the Republicans exercised, no matter what they say is really bothering them.

What Democrats need to do, since the foregoing is to complicated to explain to Teabaggers, but since Teabaggers get the handed mike too easily by CNN looking for a story, is the following:
  1. Call "bullshit" and "liar" every time someone uses the phrase "government-run health care" to describe this bill. Do so angrily and provocatively. Make McConnell and Kyl squirm. Call McCain a liar to his face and make him go redfaced. Tell him he has no honor if he keeps spreading lies. Take the gloves off.
  2. Make the moral case in stark terms that every child needs to be able to see a doctor, and that voting "no" on this plan is immoral. There is a great moral imperative behind providing health care to the uninsured. Talk about every family that has become uninsured and can't pay for needed health care. Talk about bankruptcy and the fear of losing your job. Say that we can put an end to this. that we need to. This is a moral issue.
  3. Stop talking so much about how to pay for the plan. Every time some interviewer asks for that, interrupt them and say "The important thing is to make sure everyone gets health insurance. The payment issue is a smokescreen raised by Republicans who are trying to avoid having to take a moral stand on this."
  4. Make sure the everyone knows this is about YOU versus YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY (funding the Republican party).
In other words, let Rahm be Rahm...


Raised By Republicans said...

Great post LTG. I've been seething about these "demonstration in a can" events the Republicans have been setting up around the country. What really has me pissed off though is that the TV news reports these things as if they were spontaneous. "Democrats are getting an earful back home," seems to be a common tag line. It makes it sound like there is a wide spread grass roots movement against reform.

But the reality is that it's all party activists being whipped up and often transported around the country. I heard an interview with Dingle (D-MI) about a disruptive demonstration at one of his "town hall meetings." He had people sign in and out of 100 or so attendees, 32 were from out of his district and guess who was yelling insults at anyone who favored reform.

I heard another Democratic member of Congress say that his standard practice is to set up a series of one on one meetings with constituents rather than "town hall meetings." He had a number of anti-reform people contact him and he offered each of them a one-on-one meeting with the Congressman. Each of them refused and insisted on a town hall meeting instead. Guess why. Because a one-on-one won't get on CNN or the local news. But a bunch of GOP activists yelling and screaming insults will get a good 5 minutes of air time.

Anonymous said...

It is a great post...thanks. The only caveat is, you can reason with ignorance but you can't argue with stupidity...carving out the ignorant from the, sorry to say, stupid, and I apologize for categorizing and name calling, but unless we can separate those two groups, we will continue with this 30%+ of folks in mass hysteria. Then again, if we can shut up the corporate mouth pieces that stir up the emotions of fear and doubt, that might work, but then we would have constitutional issues...This again is a product of Reagan / Bush/ Clinton era of unregulated capitalism...all of this was avoidable, the media and banking issues...all avoidable. WW

The Law Talking Guy said...

I agree, WW, but to be fair, I'm not really urging reasoning: I'm urging shouting and pushing emotional buttons. That's because reason just isn't cutting it anymore.

Pombat said...

Total agreement with your suggestions for what the Dems need to do, especially turning this into an emotional moral argument, along the lines of "we want everyone to have access to healthcare, the Reps want to let your children die".

Some comments about choice would be good too - I'd extend point three to be "the important thing is to make sure everyone gets health insurance, and has a choice about their health insurance", or something like that. That they have the right to the choice which the Dems want to give them seems like a good one to raise.

Oh, and I particularly like the idea of making McCain go all red faced - steam from the ears please :-)

Anonymous said...

LTG...I'm afraid you are correct, what I feared would begin to happen and ultimately, has to happen, is violence...and it will escalate...that's is the end result of screaming and shouting and other emotional outburst...stock your bomb shelter!


Raised By Republicans said...

The violence started with that gunman at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and that murder of that doctor in Kansas. It's only going to get worse.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Violence is a longstanding and troubling part of right-wing politics in America. Abortion clinic bombings and the OKC bombing in 1994 are good recent examples too.

But it is not a modern phenomenon. It is the same phenomenon as the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and Medgar Evers before that.

In fact, right wing political violence is part of a political tradition (if you can call it that) or a pattern of lynchings, political murders, and bombings stretching right back to the Pullman Strikes, the Haymarket affair, to the era of Reconstruction. Recall also the bludgeoning of Massachussets Senator Sumner on the floor of the Senate by South Carolina's representative Preston Brooks while Bleeding Kansas raged in 1856.

There's a terrific book about the reign of terror in the 1865-1880 period called The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox by Stephen Budiansky.. It is incensing to realize how much has been covered up for the past century.

This, incidentally, is why right wing and the NRA remain viscerally connected. The right to bear arms is really the right to threaten or enact violence.

The American left has no such pattern. John Brown, Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers are aberrational. Nonviolent protest has been the norm. Perhaps that is why it has not succeeded so well, I sometimes wonder.

(Note: In responding to this, right wingers point to allegations of union violence. This is not a good comparision. While union violence during strikes occurs, it is wildly over-reported and overdramatized. Intimidation on the picket lines rarely results in more than a fistfight or throwing things. Also, it usually occurs in the context of concomitant management violence. These are not particularly political affairs, but resemble brawls. The last person reported killed in a union-related incident in the United States was in West Virginia in 1983.).