Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 8, 2009

WHAT ARE THEY SO MAD ABOUT?.... Reader B.A. asks a question about the health care debate via email:

I don't understand why the wingnuts are so angry. Conservatives will be better off if reform becomes law, just like liberals and independents. Please explain the rationale for the fury.

Well, I'm not sure I can. It seems like one of those easy, basic questions that should have an obvious answer: what do conservatives want out of the health care debate? "Wingnut, smash" isn't an especially compelling answer.

B.A. is right about the broad benefits for Americans. Some of Rush Limbaugh's listeners are one serious illness away from bankruptcy. Some Michele Bachmann voters can't get coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Some Glenn Beck viewers will see their insurance companies drop them when they need their coverage most. Many of Bill O'Reilly's fans already enjoy the benefits of government-run health care. Some RNC donors may want to start their own business, but can't because they can't afford to pay the monthly premiums. Some of the same people who attended "Tea Parties" in April saw the insurance for themselves and their families disappear after they lost their job.

There's nothing partisan or ideological about this -- everyone is getting screwed by the status quo. We're all paying too much for too little. A huge chunk of the country is uninsured, underinsured, or uninsurable, and the system is blind to how you voted in the last election.

Now, this is not to say that the Democratic proposals are flawless; they're not. But what's striking about the opposition to reform -- at least the loudest opposition to reform -- is that the right has chosen to completely ignore the actual flaws in the plan(s) and focus on imaginary, delusional nonsense.

So why are far-right activists so apoplectic? Why would people who stand to benefit from health care reform literally take to the streets and threaten violence in opposition to legislation that will help them and their families? President Obama supports an approach to health care reform that emphasizes competition and choice, doesn't increase the deficit, and wouldn't raise middle class taxes ... and conservatives are comparing the plan to the Nazi Holocaust?

B.A.'s confusion is understandable. I don't get it, either.

It's probably a mistake to lump all opponents of reform in together; different groups are fighting with different motivations. I tend to see them in five different groups:

* The Greedy: There's a fairly small group of people who profit handsomely from the broken status quo. Regular Americans are getting screwed by the system, but The Greedy are getting rich. Reform puts their profits at risk, so they're fighting back to protect their livelihood.

* The Partisans: If President Obama does what many presidents have failed trying to do, it will likely make him more popular and make his presidency successful. The Partisans care more about Republican gains than the national well being, so they're fighting to prevent a major Democratic victory because it would be a major Democratic victory.

* The Tin-Foil Hats: If reform passes, the government will kill their grandparents, create "death panels," lavish benefits on illegal immigrants, and mandate that ACORN volunteers live in your basement. The Tin-Foil Hats have active imaginations, and believe their own ridiculous conspiracy theories. They'll benefit from reform, but the voices in their head discourage them from believing it.

* The Dupes: Probably the largest group in opposition to reform, The Dupes tend to believe what The Greedy, The Partisans, and The Tin-Foil Hats have told them. When confronted with accurate information, The Dupes suspect the media, Democrats, and their lying eyes aren't to be trusted. After all, Sean Hannity wouldn't lie to them, would he? Like The Tin-Foil hats, The Dupes stand to benefit from reform, but are skeptical because they don't know who's telling the truth and who isn't.

* The Wonks: The smallest of the groups, The Wonks are conservatives who actually care about substantive policy details, have read the proposals, and believe there are better ways to improve the system. The Greedy, The Partisans, The Tin-Foil Hats, and The Dupes tend to ignore The Wonks, which is a shame.

The Wonks notwithstanding, the first four groups combine to make a force to be reckoned with, and the various teams feed off of one another nicely. The Greedy aren't a big enough group to disrupt a town-hall meeting, but if they can feed some ideas to The Tin-Foil Hats, they can get a lot done. The Partisans can't come right out and acknowledge their concerns, but if they can rope in The Dupes, the combined force is considerable.

B.A. emailed, "I don't understand why the wingnuts are so angry." My suspicion is they're angry for different reasons, many of which will fade if/when Democratic policymakers can manage to do the right thing.

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (150)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I bet that a majority of these people who are angry are mad as hell at Obama and do not like/want him to succeed and get all the credit/good name if the enacted reform is popular and a success. So, it is most likely that they do not like the President and not the policy.

Posted by: RP on August 8, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

That's it. If liberals support it, it must be bad. If liberals really support it, it must be terrible.

Plus, these people are stupid.

Posted by: foosion on August 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

They're angry because anger is the basis of their behavioral repertoire-- political, emotional, personal. Their choice is not between angry and rational, it's between angry and angry.

Posted by: MattF on August 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I take them at their word: giving masses of poor, largely uneducated people health care will endear and make then beholden to the Democratic party, making it impossible to get republican majorities in future elections. The changes, moreover, will be impossible to reverse. This image also suggests, to the target audience, a replacement of the stout yeomen of the frontier with urban welfare-beggars who don't show proper respect to middle Americans and middle American values. It's a practical matter, with suggestions of cultural panic below the surface. Also as a tactical matter, if the Democrats try to do it, Republicans/conservatives must oppose it, but that sort of goes without saying in the adversarial political process.

Posted by: sanjoust on August 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

There is another driving factor: the dog whistled religious right. Rachel Maddow and Frank Schaffer discussed it the other day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzvmhNtmUks&feature=player_embedded

"Rachel: Do you think that calling the President a "nazi"...calling the President "Hilter"...is an implicit call for politically motivated violence?

Schaeffer: Yes I do. In fact this rings a big bell with me because my dad who is a right wing evangelical leader wrote a book called "A Christian Manifesto"...and in that book he compared anybody who was pro-abortion to the nazi Germans; and he said that using violence or force to overthrow nazi Germany would have been appropriate for Christians including the assassination of Hitler..."

Posted by: saindenver on August 8, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I can name that tune in three syllables

Ignorance.

There is no more telling a moment than the guy who shouted out in rage at a townhall:
Keep your government hands off my Medicare!

This is the sort of stuff urban legends are made out of...


Posted by: koreyel on August 8, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote this on another post and liked it so much I sent it out to my friends and relatives. I've only gotten one response so far, but then it is Saturday afternoon.

"Where is the coalition of millions of American voters who last year got together and elected Barack Obama president? The very voters who voted for and, in some cases, worked for CHANGE?

Why aren't WE out there? Why aren't WE being heard from? If the congressmen and senators didn't get the message that 53% of American voters wanted CHANGE last November, well, maybe we need to somehow get the message across to them, yet again.

How, I don't know. Peaceful marches, with placards? Sending handwritten letters or faxes to their Washington offices? We've already had one election that should have cued in our politicians that Americans want CHANGE from the status quo that the Republicans have held on to for the past eight years.

All I know is that millions of Americans got together, peacefully, and indicated on November 3rd that we wanted new policies, a new direction, and new, smart leaders. When will these new leaders actually lead us in the direction we want to be led?

Does anybody know of peaceful means to let our elected leaders know that we want affordable healthcare for everybody?"

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on August 8, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

i get it...it's not about healthcare, it's about who won the presidency. It's the same teabaggin' birthers who we love to agree to disagree with.

Posted by: wockeezy1 on August 8, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

It is about the hatred of Barack and the need to "break" him. And that there are so many ungodly stupid people in this country that are so easily manipulated.

Posted by: Go, Sestak on August 8, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

OK, and don't just talk about "the plan" to change things. More stories about unpleasant encounters with insurance agencies are needed. IOW, it isn't good enough to say a new plan is "good", many people are wary (heck, even I'm "wary" about it!) You need to show the old way is "bad." That shouldn't be so hard, but it seems to be. Yeah, the media don't give it what it deserves, but even dittoheads should have heard horror stories about being dropped, PECs, etc. What makes it so hard to them to consider that?

Posted by: Neil B on August 8, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I take them at their word: giving masses of poor, largely uneducated people health care will endear and make then beholden to the Democratic party, making it impossible to get republican majorities in future elections.

That's why I support them. Even though I'm on record as supporting single-payer, truly caring about my patients' well being means Democrats win.

No choice there. Screw my patients. So I'm now for a market-based system.

Posted by: Myke K on August 8, 2009 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

This is what you get while presidenting while black.

Posted by: tsquared on August 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think a certain amount of people have never had a civil discussion about politics. They never saw it happen growing up, they hear the yellers on tv and the radio, and if it comes up in discussion they only know to get the blood pressure up and pound their fists on the table, and this is how they talk with someone who agrees with them.

Weirdest thing is they are not all stupid. I have a very smart cousin, a fiscal libertarian with an MBA who came around to seeing some kind of single payer universal as the answer after crunching the numbers. Any discussion with him about politics ends up with arm waving and talk of carnage and bloodshed.

Posted by: the seal on August 8, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot the authoritarians: those people that are outraged that people will get more healthcare than they deserve. There are a significant number of people who believe that others beneath their station should die in a gutter because they are unworthy of anything better. You can't argue social justice with people who believe there shouldn't be such a thing.

Posted by: ericblair on August 8, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama supports an approach to health care reform that emphasizes competition and choice, doesn't increase the deficit, and wouldn't raise middle class taxes

That's what proponents claim, but opponents to do not believe. Not believing it, they believe instead that they are being lied to by Obama and Congress. That's why they are angry.

The mandatory (that is, the Dr is mandated to offer it, and paid for offering it) end of life counseling every five years looks like an opportunity for the government to bring its power to bear on the elderly to close off their options sooner than they would otherwise. I don't think that's the intent, but Congressional intent gets translated into bureaucratic intent often enough. A supercilious, or superficial, assertion that the power could not be abused will be perceived as a lie.

The bills have lots of provisions like that: opportunities to expand bureaucratic power in ways not intended by Congress. Providing a public plan in competition with the private plans, with all eligible plans subject to regulations, is a way for the federal government to drive all private plans out of business and create a public monopoly (as some supporters of universal health insurance want.) Any superficial claim that it can't ever happen that way will be perceived as a lie.

Since the proponents have not actually read the bills or reconciled the conflicting provisions, it's understandable that the proponents' claims will be received with incredulity.

Tactically and strategically, the opponents could accomplish more by quietly reading the language of the bill in public and asking the congresscritters how they know that such provisions actually improve things without introducing newer and bigger problems. It would become clear that the congresscritters don't know.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 8, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the confused.

"Truthout" printed an article by Frank Shaeffer which appeared originally on AlterNet entitled "Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop On Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls."

I feel that the article does a pretty good job clearing up the confusion. I think Steve did a pretty good job explaining the particulars and I think we all kind of known some or many of the reasons we are witnessing this mess.

For me, I think the anger boils down to two points of genesis - 1) some can't imagine allowing their tax money to help people of the "other" (people of color, immigrants, poor, or however else they may define that term, 2) some can't stand seeing "their" country going to the "others" (same set of examples as before) through elections, legislations, etc.

Foremost to all of this for many of those those enraged - a black President. How much "other" can it get for many of these outraged white conservatives?

What we're seeing is wingnut's fear and sense of entitlement spurred on by the medical establishment's greed and sense of entitlement.

I truly believe that they will lose because, as David Korten says - It is our time and we are who we've been waiting for. The only questions that remain is to what extent will the forces of greed lose this time and when will they be completely overthrown?

Posted by: ej on August 8, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

So why are far-right activists so apoplectic?

He's black. This is all about race.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

The wingnuts are so angry because they're afraid.

Mr Benen, I really appreciate the way you've split health-care opponents into specific sub-groups. That's both helpful and well-thought-out imo.

I would ask the reader BA to try to put himself into the shoes of the average wingnut. When Bush became president in 2001 and the Republicans enjoyed majorities in Congress, there was an exultation from the wingnuts. Finally they held all the cards. The long national nightmare of Clinton was at an end. Finally they would have the chance to prove that their ideology was correct.

What happened instead was that virtually every single thing they attempted to do or to reform or to tinker with, both domestic and foreign, went not just wrong but egregiously wrong. Tax cuts did not stimulate the economy, it damn near killed it whilst simultaneously creating a massive gulf between the very rich and everybody else (there's that "redistribution of wealth" thing, btw; already been done).

But the low-information voters -- the Dupes as Mr Benen calls them -- they've been adversely affected by Republican ideology even as they've been worked up into a perpetual lather by the hate-mongerers on the Right. They've seen their marginal quality of life decline and want to blame someone for it. They've been told it's all the Democrats fault. The Democrats want to destroy America, and so & so on.

They've been told Obama is to blame, despite the fact that anyone that hasn't been asleep for the last decade must have noticed the decline in this country under the Republican rule.

Ironically, Obama is no threat whatsoever to "the American way of life" but, curiously enough, if we don't reform health care & continue with the broken system we now have, "the American way of life" will definitely continue to decline.

After seeing all that Republican power inexplicably not result in a perfect USA, and seeing their own fortunes decline at the same time, they are now facing their worst nightmare: the reins of power are now being held by Democrats in two of the three branches of Federal Government. They're being worked up into a froth about how the Democrats are the most liberal ever since the dawn of time (a patently false accusation but they don't know enough to realize it). They really believe all the pablum they're being fed, and the result is that the fears and disappointments are reaching a critical mass.

Posted by: zhak on August 8, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan has a piece today that covers much the same ground. Written by an anonymous contributor, it reads in part (addressing Sullivan):


For most of your time in America, this insanity has been muted by the success of conservative politics. Since you live in Washington, you probably saw daily the face of the successful conservative political establishment that milked the populist right, and by milking them kept their bitterness at a manageable level. That safety valve was stuffed up by George Bush's failed presidency.

So now, these people are facing their worst fears; actual change. It's a pretty good piece, and I think it captures some of the underlying story well.

Posted by: Elf Sternberg on August 8, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

You know, they used to say that a Democrat was just a Republican who hadn't been mugged yet. Increasingly, I find myself thinking that a Republican is a Democrat who hasn't been bent over by his/her insurance company yet.

Posted by: socratic_me on August 8, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

>I don't get it, either.

The entire right wing spectrum is exploiting
this to show their colors (and recruit). And
a black President in the White House is the
light that attracts all these "moths" to bubble
up to the surface of the right-wing sewer.

FAUX and the AM radio demagogues are the
instruments with which the GOP stirs the
sewer contents in order for these bubbles to
rise.

Posted by: who_saves on August 8, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

mandatory counseling on advance directives.

Counseling on advance directives is a good idea. But you can see that writing the mandate into law may create a problem bigger than the problem that it is meant to solve. Agents of the government will be in the position of telling patients that future treatments are taking from the general welfare.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Rahm Emanuel so apoplectic? People want real reform not kowtowing to the insurance companies. People do have a right to express that opinion and to work toward that end. It's still a free country isn't it?

Posted by: impartial on August 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

So the Tin-Foil Hats are not Dupes? I'm so confused!

Actually, I think this is a good effort, and I get that the greedy are a separate group, but draw strength from the partisans. I'm just not getting the Dupe/TFH dichotomy.

Posted by: Jeff S. on August 8, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wockeezy has it right:It can't be just about "healthcare".

People didn't go into the streets with pitchforks when Bush's Medicare prescription drug bill was passed. And that is/will be as big a financial disaster as ANY healthcare bill the Dems come up with. Money out of your pocket- and your children's- to pay for old people's drugs. And where was the anger?

No, it's about the "Other." The darky in 'their' white house. We saw a hint of those Palin fanatics last Fall, and they are twice as pissed now that Obama won. "I want my country back" a woman wails. (Hell, I felt that way the last eight years!)

There is a documentary on LINK TV/ Free Speech TV- actually a pair of them. One made before the election, the camera travelling across the country, asking people about Obama and the coming election.

And then a repeat of the trip, after he won.

There is a lot of covert -and open- racism out there, and it's not just in the South.

I recently dealt with a commercial refrigeration repairman, who, during a brief service call, mentioned the N- President, Chinks who try to Jew you down, towelheads who have taken over the convenience stores, and the Cuban who laid his wife off.

This, in Eastern Pennsylvania. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 8, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think what you're seeing is actually an event similar to the rise of the KKK in the South during reconstruction: the emergence of a nascent fascist movement. The domination of American politics by white protestants is coming to a rapid close, and America's cultural agility is proving to be too much for those for whom power and superiority are considered birthrights.

The birthers' philosophy is the direct descendant of the KKK's and, yes, even the Aryans' obsession with purity, and shares these same characteristics with the Minutemen movement and, more obviously, the white nationalist movement. With that comes hatred for those who appear to be benefiting from the new leader (presumed to be a usurper, a pretender)--minorities, labor unions, community organizers, and other groups whose view might broadly represent the usurper's ideas and ideals.

These folks have had an uneasy relationship with the conservative mainstream for years, but now they're actually waging an effective battle to BE the conservative mainstream, a battle some might argue they have already won. Supposedly mainstream media personalities repeatedly out-do one another to capture their share of the outraged (and the advertising dollars that come with them), and have successfully built personality cults around themselves, always careful never to criticize one another. Corporations, too, eagerly take advantage of the situation as well, and (with the aid of a propagandist media) have been able to effectively organize what were small pockets of simmering anger into a broad-based coalition constructed almost entirely by appealing to the xenophobe's basest fears.

The brownshirts in Germany used to demonize and assault striking workers. I don't think it's any coincidence that the Tea Party faithful are protesting outside an SEIU office in St. Louis today. They share a lot of the same characteristics.

Note that I think this is more like the early KKK than the full-blown fascism that emerged in Germany in the 1930's. The Internet and television have a way of amplifying what I suspect is actually a rather small movement whose participants appear to be rather universally unappealing (except to each other, I suppose).

But I believe it will get larger and more militant in the near term, before subsiding back into the recesses of the deep South over the next couple of decades.

Posted by: Sickle on August 8, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with econobuzz. It seems perfectly clear from my cheap seats.

They (being us) elected whatever slur for an African-American is current locally, and they need to be severely punished and said African-American needs to be broken and put in his place.

Posted by: Steve on August 8, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

People, people, people! Can you not understand that conservatives actually DO want health care reform but don't want to pay for it by adding to the deficit? Let's work together to find ways to pay for reform, such as tort reform, better competition among insurers, eliminating the tax free status of employer provided insurance. If we have a government option that does not have to compete on a level playing field, we will end up with a poorly managed single payer system. Government does not do these things well and, in your heart, you know I'm right!

Posted by: Vera on August 8, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Let's work together to find ways to pay for reform, such as tort reform

Bzzzzzt! Poster identified as impervious to actual data with this statement. Fail. Abort mission.

Posted by: concern detector on August 8, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

No, Vera, in my heart I know you're wrong. And even if you were right, what we're seeing is explained by your explanations even a tiny bit. We're seeing riotous behavior whose sole aim is the destruction of a debate and ultimately of democracy.

The world is NOT my way or the highway.

Posted by: Steve on August 8, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Re the post at Sully's etc: The Right is engraged because they recently thought they had wrapped up control of this country (and much else.) They had Congress, WH, SCOTUS in reach. The K Street Project. They could steal elections, as likely in Ohio etc. in 2004 (2000 was more of a "job.") Rove was slithering along, and people spoke (either glowingly or with alarm) at "the one-party state" - Republican.

But then Bush and the Republicans flamed out. There is still some bitterness over Hillary. McCain couldn't pull it, and a mix-race guy (more taunting to many Southerners than an African American per se) with a cosmopolitan background and a foreign sounding name (MN, "Hussein" of all things!) is elected President and Democrats take both Chambers. Even Virginia and NC go for Obama. We are in the middle of a massive financial crisis, with all the terrors thereby.

Then after the election, Obama begins to propose reforms, and the economy bumps and starts and misfires.

This must have hit lots of Republicans and sympathizers hard. You can see it in the bitterness of our opponentators.

Posted by: Neil B on August 8, 2009 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

@ Vera: Health care reform done right -- that is, creating a system where the well-being and health of Americans is put ahead of the well-being and wealth of insurance providers -- will not add to the deficit.

I would also ask for some perspective here. The deficit was not at all helped by a war of choice that cost a trillion dollars and accomplished nothing but death and destabilization and destruction.

It's all very well to be concerned about govt spending, but it comes down to recognizing the difference between good govt spending, which will benefit Americans, grow our economy, and improve our lives, and bad govt spending, like wasteful no-bid defense contracts, meaningless wars and massive bailouts without even a real hint of regulatory reform.

Posted by: zhak on August 8, 2009 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

My Senator, Claire McCaskill, cancelled a town-hall meeting next week. I find this truly sad and scary. We can't back town to these dangerous lunatics, but I certainly would hate to see violence erupt and innocent people, who really want to discuss health care, be put in a dangerous position. I hate what is happening across America--especially when, as noted, everyone will benefit from this. It's so hard and frustrating to try to make these people understand and listen to reason. I have to admit, on the one hand, I'm kind of frightened--of this mob mentality, and that we may not get the health care reform we desperately need. On the other hand...President Obama can probably pass just about any healthcare bill he wants with just the Democrats. Time will tell...

Posted by: Mrs.Jones on August 8, 2009 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans do not approach problems looking for a solution that is good. Its is corrected by applying their principles. Thats it. Nothing else. Lowering taxes, more free market, keep the wealthy wealthy, etc. Health care reform cant be implemented with any of their positions. Therefore, its bad.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on August 8, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Two major points

(1) Passing this Bill is really akin to another presidential election. As difficult as it was to get Barack elected, so too, it is difficult to get health care reform done. Realizing this fact is very empowering. Here is why:

We can't sit on our asses or our wallets. Here is where you donate to run the ads that will win the war against right wing ignorance. As soon as I am done posting this I will squeeze the trigger on another $35 donation. We have to do this weekly. Join me...

Also, because this is akin to a presidential election, we need to run ads with CELEBRITIES who support reform. Such ads have the social effect of legitimatizing change. Ignorant people find change scary. Having CELEBS whom people trust support such change helps soothe irrational fears. So then: Where is Ophra and all the others? Celebs need to put their asses on the line again, just like the rest of of us...

(2) Steve you written another brilliant post here. You have found a groove on this issue and risen to the occasion. You've been focused on this like a Hero. Keep up the stellar job.

Posted by: koreyel on August 8, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's the legacy of Reagan, i.e. "Government is the problem".

30+ years of running down government and government service has brought us to this horrible, dangerous situation. We are now reaping the long-term rewards of that idiocy.

Posted by: kvv on August 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

There are three groups of people making up this right-wing "rebellion:"
1. Poorly educated people who are easily manipulated.
2. Selfish motherfuckers who believe that life is a zero-sum game, and that another's gain is their loss.
3. The plutocrats who control them.

I think the second group is actually more odious than the third.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on August 8, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ever since Americans elected Barack Obama our 44th President of the United States, some Americans have embraced the need to destroy America in order to save it. Beginning with Rush's call to failure! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 8, 2009 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Can you not understand that conservatives actually DO want health care reform but don't want to pay for it by adding to the deficit?
-------------------
Try that on the conservatives. They don't believe it any more than you do.

Posted by: Comment Submission Error on August 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

@ zhak Re deficit and government spending: doesn't matter how you spin it, this country is broke!

I do agree that health care reform done right need not add to the deficit; however, the definition of "reform done right" is very much open to debate.

You ask for perspective: does the fact that the deficit was not helped by a war of choice (with which I concur) justify adding more to it for health care reform? The logic does not follow.

Also, an additional note about tort reform for those who consider it irrelevant: the size of medical malpractice awards have done a great deal to add to the cost of our health care.

One final note to Steve: I attended a town hall meeting this morning which was very orderly and respectful but it won't be on the news.

Posted by: Vera on August 8, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

You are too kind. The partisans, tin-foil hats, and the dupes are racists and don't want a black man for President. There are probably racists in the other two groups; but, not as large a percentage in the other three groups.

Posted by: Bonnie on August 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Major Study of Malpractice Insurance Finds No Basis to Limit Liability of Unsafe Health Care Providers:
"If Congress completely eliminated every single medical malpractice lawsuit, including all legitimate cases, as part of health care reform, overall health care costs would hardly change."

Posted by: Comment Submission Error on August 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

CSE, for years Republicans didn't care about deficits. Cheney said, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Now that "Barack Hussein Obama" is in their White House, it matters!

Posted by: N e i l B on August 8, 2009 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's very easy to dismiss the opposition as wacko, ignorant, and ill-informed.

In this case it is quite justified to take the easy road.

Posted by: gregor on August 8, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think there are three reasons that account for the majority of the roudy (rabble?) opposition at the town halls. They are:
1. Ignorance,
2. Irrationality
3. Desire for a Democratic president to fail.
Look at the massive jump in gun sales before and still continuing post election to see the irrationality (Obama will take away my guns). Until they stop believing everything on talk radio and Fox news I can't see anything changing.

Posted by: Yaramah on August 8, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

They're mad because they are afraid of change, and this would be a huge change. There are so many changes going on around them, from economic collapse to a Latina Supreme Court judge, to an African American president, you name it. They just want it all to stop and have us somehow teleport back to the 1950s.

Posted by: Obee on August 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

One final note to Steve: I attended a town hall meeting this morning which was very orderly and respectful but it won't be on the news.

I am very proud of our congressman today. You must have been in Lee's Summit, MO for the Coffee with Cleaver.

Posted by: Casey from KC on August 8, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think that it's really quite simple. Victory for their side is all that matters to them.

Anything that is perceived as being a liberal cause is something that must opposed and destroyed, regardless of its validity. Indeed, the fact that liberals support that cause automatically negates it by default.

I get the feeling with these folks that, if Al Gore or Michael Moore made a public service announcement to the effect that people shouldn't drink Drano, we'd wake up the next day to news of millions of self-inflicted deaths.

Posted by: Richard on August 8, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

They are sublimating their rage about a financial world spinning out of control, coupled with the fact that there is a Negro in the White House.

Posted by: bal on August 8, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

@zhak, re: fear - I think you've got it half-right. I do think these protesters are afraid. But not just of the loss of their political hegememony.

Sullivan posted a vid the other day of a guy with his son in a wheelchair screaming that the boy, who has cerebral palsy, will be denied all care under the new proposals. It makes no sense; it's not true, the proposals would not deny the kid care.

But the dad fears it could be true - or that the family might have to pay more for care than they're paying now, which they could ill afford.

I think we're misunderstanding the now-famous remark of the woman who wanted government to keep its mitts off Medicare. Of course government runs Medicare - but what if Medicare is suddenly less generous, out of a need to cover more people? People like that woman might suddenly be on the hook for more money - and maybe she can't afford it.

The reality of health care reform is that the haves may wind up having to sacrifice something on behalf of the have-nots. These people showing up at the town halls and shrieking - I suspect they are the haves, at least in terms of health care. And I think they're absolutely petrified of losing that, particularly if they're already seeing their standard of living slipping.

Posted by: gsmart on August 8, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Phoebe: Here's a suggestion: write to the Republican National Committee and ask them why they haven't condemned the more extreme and obviously false statements about health care, as well as the disruptive tactics of the people at the "town hells," who seem to think (or pretend to think) that their right to free speech entails the right to drown out anyone else's. They hate to be put on the spot with that sort of question, which is an excellent reason to do it. Here's their web site, which has a "tell us what you think" feature:

http://www.rnc.org/splashpage/index.aspx

Here are their phone and fax numbers.

p/202.863.8500 | f/202.863.8820

Use those numbers for precisely the purpose they were intended, to let the RNC know your feelings. And don't fall for the "press 1 for questions about health care," because that forwards you to the DNC headquarters. How infantile is that?

Posted by: T-Rex on August 8, 2009 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Sure let's make everything free, and the lazy smucks take advantage. I came here when I was six years old and my parents didn't have a dime and we all came away fine. THAT IS WHAT AMERICA WAS BASED ON to fend for YOURSELF. You guys want free healthcare well then go to Canada, or Russia and wait in line for every single service. Guess what nothing in life is free, deal with it. What sense is it to have a plan to help those that can't help themselves, but those who barely make it should keep their existing coverage?!?! haha yeah that makes total sense. How nice is it to live in total denial.

Posted by: karol on August 8, 2009 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that conservatives fear is another FDR. FDR was able to improve things and Democrats held the presidency for 24 years. It was only the crack-up and realignment over civil rights that allowed the GOP to basically break even after Truman. If Democrats succeed with something as large as health care the GOP will be lost as a political force.

Posted by: rk on August 8, 2009 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's all much simpler than that.

There are a lot of people with a deep need to be freaked out, it gives them purpose.

Otherwise, they have nothing to do, and it all makes sense, and they can't argue with it, because they don't know anything but they need to do something, so they're freaked out.

Posted by: cld on August 8, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Their guys messed up so badly that a Black guy named Barack Hussein Obama beat him. They let us get attacked by terrorists, he screwed up the war in Iraq. The rightists/birthers etc. will never admit this, of course, because it's a cardinal sin for them to ever agree to any extent with the hated liberals.

Now the economy, which their guys screwed up completely, shows faint signs of improvement within Obama's first year. If Health Care reform is a success -- especially under the stewardship of a Black man -- it's yet more evidence that what these people have believed about being American for the past several decades has been WRONG.

It's too much for them to take, the humiliation is driving them out of their minds, and those who want to preserve their wealth are willing to exploit it come what may.

Posted by: mercury on August 8, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

@ Vera:

I do agree that health care reform done right need not add to the deficit; however, the definition of "reform done right" is very much open to debate.

My own preference would be to copy France. They have the best health care in the world by most measuring sticks.

We won't possibly be able to do anything that good with our extremely poor crop of elected officials, but as I said, what I want is for us to stop being the ONLY "civilized" country that has a health care system which favors insurance companies over Americans. I do not think that's asking too much.

& btw, I'd easily take Canada's system over ours too. They actually have wonderful coverage up there -- I know this first hand -- and I know health-care reform opponents love to point out that there are long wait times, but, you know, they're the only country with longer wait times than, um, the United States. (Go US!)

You ask for perspective: does the fact that the deficit was not helped by a war of choice (with which I concur) justify adding more to it for health care reform? The logic does not follow.

I'm sorry you find me illogical.

What I am saying is that Republicans imo have lost credibility to complain about potential rises to the deficit given that they are the ones who created the monster deficit that Obama inherited.

Clinton left behind a large surplus, which Bush squandered on wasteful and wrong-headed policy decisions and then turned it into the most massive deficit we've ever had. (& don't forget tax cuts for the rich. I especially liked the way he aided Exxon Mobil and the other oil companies in their time of need when I was paying more than $4 a gallon for gas & budgeting gas one week, groceries the next. It warmed my heart.)

Obama's spending is actually quite parsimonious except in one aspect: in those cases where he is continuing Bush's ghastly lead -- Afghanistan, TARP, etc. I don't have the link, but there was a long & detailed examination of the current budget plan & how the vast majority of it was due to continuation of Bush's policy decisions.

And as I also stated above, there is good govt spending and there is bad govt spending. The health care system is broken, it drags our economy down, and it needs to be fixed, which leads to ...

Also, an additional note about tort reform for those who consider it irrelevant: the size of medical malpractice awards have done a great deal to add to the cost of our health care.

I'd really like some proof of this, because "tort reform" generally equates with "screwing the little guy." You do realize there was "tort reform" during the halcyon Bush years, I assume. And that "reform" has not resulted in any savings for consumers. It has led to a truncation of certain basic civil rights.

Insurance companies are businesses, first and foremost. If you create a way -- "tort reform" -- to save them money, they celebrate higher earnings as a result.

http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=36768

I realize that neither of us has any chance of convincing the other that our respective points of view is the right way to go. I do respect that you have a differing view & the right to it, however. It would be nice if your more divisive and disruptive fellow travelers felt the same way.

Posted by: zhak on August 8, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

I can explain.

The people who are angry are being lied to so that they will act the way they do.

Follow the money.

Everyone else in the industrialized world spends 10-11% of their GDP on health care. We spend 16%.
That 5% difference is making a lot of people and corporations very rich.

5% of GDP in 2008 was about $665 billion dollars.

With that much gravy, sparing $6 billion dollars to fight reform is entirely possible.

That means there is lots of money to buy TV advertising, rent legislators, rent pundits -- generally influence opinion. You can manufacturer a lot of lies with $6 billion dollars.

Posted by: Jim Ramsey on August 8, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

If we have a government option that does not have to compete on a level playing field, we will end up with a poorly managed single payer system. Government does not do these things well and, in your heart, you know I'm right!

No, Vera, in reality you are 100% wrong, and the VA proves it. The VA is the gold standard where efficiency, quality, and continuity of care are concerned.

Posted by: Casey from KC on August 8, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

onservatives will be better off if reform becomes law, just like liberals and independents. Please explain the rationale for the fury.

Easily explained.

Black people will also be better off.

As will brown people.

Such a thing is intolerable!

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on August 8, 2009 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

@vera, you are grossly exaggerating the impact of tort reform on health care costs. Some states have limited lawsuits drastically, and it's made nearly no difference in costs. I believe Texas is one such state.

Conservatives demonize lawsuits and attorneys because they want to weaken attorney's power to donate to liberal politicians. It's strategic. They're also an easy target. Most people don't understand what lawyers do.

Posted by: Frank C. on August 8, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they're mad about getting called wingnuts. Teabaggers can be like that, of course.

Posted by: bob somerby on August 8, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, T-Rex@6.28p, I'll try it. Can't hurt...

By the way, it's "phoebes", not "Phoebe".

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on August 8, 2009 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

They are angry, frustrated and afraid. Their America is not multicultural. Their friends are mostly white, straight (they think) and conservative. They get their news exclusively from the likes of Fox and their local conservative preacher. They hear that Obama is an Hitlerian communist (whatever the hell that is) planning take their guns and kill all the old people and they don’t understand why there isn’t a greater reaction. They work reasonably hard and go to church and resent the fact they can’t understand the new neighbors who speak Spanish. They figure they are good people and they are not doing that well, so anyone that does better than them must be somehow be breaking the rules.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on August 8, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

How about:

The Relativists: People who may be better off after reform than they are now, but who will (or believe that they will) see the difference between where they are and where others are shrink.

Posted by: dan on August 8, 2009 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's the same thing that always trips their crazy trigger: they're afraid illegal immigrants will get health care that they will have to pay for. These illegals will then be healthy enough to vote, somehow, against Republicans and conservatives. When I was working disaster relief I couldn't even get undocumented workers in this country suffering in the midst of catastrophic destruction to accept temporary shelter and a free meal, but that's the wingnut thinking, that they're all just itching to go and flaunt themselves to voting officials. So *we* all have to submit to continued health care rationing and exploitation by corporate interests so wingnuts don't feel threatened by the spector of vote fraud that doesn't exist.

Posted by: Varecia on August 8, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

DAY said: "I recently dealt with a commercial refrigeration repairman, who, during a brief service call, mentioned the N- President, Chinks who try to Jew you down, towelheads who have taken over the convenience stores, and the Cuban who laid his wife off.

"This, in Eastern Pennsylvania. . ."

Obviously, he moved from western PA.


Posted by: converse on August 8, 2009 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

...screaming that the boy, who has cerebral palsy, will be denied all care under the new proposals.
Right, he would get care. And Sarah Palin is pushing this Soylent Green smear in her bitter style - "evil", making a deceitful political football out of her Downs child. I think lots of the disrupters are Palinites.

Yet gsmart has a point too in suggesting that many people have sincere fears about reform. It isn't obvious like the Post-framing email, that we'll all be better off under the likely reform plan/s. Few things can work that way, that well. We should consider real concerns too. It isn't fair for protesters to disrupt meetings and prevent the reform message from being heard. It is also not fair for that to stimulate a backlash and our having presumption that no one has legitimate reasons to fear what's coming.

Posted by: Neil B on August 8, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Karol said in part:

Sure let's make everything free, and the lazy smucks take advantage. (...) You guys want free healthcare well then go to Canada, or Russia and wait in line for every single service. Guess what nothing in life is free, deal with it. What sense is it to have a plan to help those that can't help themselves, but those who barely make it should keep their existing coverage?!?!

A couple of things:

-- The US ranks second from the bottom in wait times for medical care (only Canada has longer wait times).

-- I think there are at least 5 different proposed plans, aren't there? None of them are free.

-- If you are "barely making it" however, then you should benefit a great deal from true reform, should you choose to go with the govt plan.

& finally -- I don't usually get emotional & such -- but let me tell you something. I was raised to believe that I lived in the greatest country the world had ever known. It wasn't perfect, but we were making progress and most of us were trying pretty hard. When I think of those bloated bodies floating in muddy water post-Katrina, I flush with shame that such a thing could happen here. We're the United States, and we should be able to take care of our own. That doesn't mean a free ride. I see a lot of people on the right going on & on about lazy bums and welfare scum and the like. I've known plenty of people who've hit hard times, and not a single one of them didn't jump at the chance to make things better with vocational training and finding work. I'm sure there is waste and malfeasance -- we're human beings and we don't always behave the way we should. But you know what? You want to see really big-time ripping off of the govt, go to work for a company that has defense contracts. They're the real welfare queens.

Posted by: zhak on August 8, 2009 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

LET’S NOT BELIEVE THE DOUBLE-SPEAK FROM THE W.H.

Ignoring economic reality is more than simply idiotic. Unemployment is not dropping, and taxes for the middle class are going up.

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2009/08/obama-middle-class-income-tax-increases.html

…..Keep saving every dime you can for tomorrow.

Posted by: James Raider on August 8, 2009 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

They are angry because they are afraid.
They are afraid because they believe lies.

Posted by: Evergreen2U on August 8, 2009 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Of all the comments in the thread, only cld seems close to nailing it, in my view.

Although the politics contribute to it, it's simply physical addiction to an altered biochemical state brought on by adrenalin and "righteous" (to the beholder) rage. That's what O'Reilly et al. are actually pushing; the rush that comes with getting all lathered up. Sex addicts and shopaholics experience the same kind of adrenalin rush; so do skydivers. The Fox News crew have learned that adrenalized viewers are addicted viewers, and that equals ratings. It also equals confirmed followers, since the followers always have to return for their adrenalin fix of righteous "truth." (I've spent some time in substance-abuse circles so I place a certain amount of credence in the "adrenalin" theory, moreso than in the charm and reasoning power of polemicists like O'Reilly et al.)

Posted by: dougR on August 8, 2009 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

the HC debate is a beard for wing nut racism

Posted by: hasburgh on August 8, 2009 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Overlapping the groups mentioned in the initial post, some proportion of the population is naturally paranoid--living in fear of some shadowy organized group that is out to "take away their freedom" (insert the threat du jour: communists, liberals, fascists, Islamofascists, socialists, robots, various racial and religious groups). Freedom to do what? At its root, I believe, this paranoia arises from a primal drive to transmit ones culture and traditions to ones children. Over the past 40 years, liberal policies have attacked the culture and traditions of the Conservative Tribe either by direct assault (allowing the murder of babies, giving equal rights to women and people of color, restrictions on expressions of Christianity in public buildings) or by cultural contamination (marriage rights for homosexuals, support for immigration, teaching evolution) and by weakening the conservatives (gun control, taxes.) Because of the perceived threat, the conservatives have grown more and more frenzied in their attempts to protect their culture and traditions.

In other words, right-wing outrage over health care reform amounts to a generalized knee-jerk response; any policy proposed by liberals will weaken the nation. Their anger makes no sense to us because we don't share their paranoia that these other changes are going to destroy America (although some liberals celebrate that these changes are going to destroy conservatives.)

So it isn't because Obama is an African American that they oppose Health Care reform; Having an African American president is just an overt symptom of all the other ways in which liberal policies have weakened America. Thus, Health Care reform must be opposed.

Posted by: PTate in MN on August 8, 2009 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

the HC debate is a beard for wing nut racism

Posted by: hasburgh on August 8, 2009 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Just stopped by TBogg's, where he called the town-hall disrupters The Creamed Corn Mafia, complete with a photo. I practically blew my cookies. Just thought I'd share a moment of humor.

Posted by: swissgirl on August 8, 2009 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's politics, plain and simple. If Obama wins the health care battle the democrats will be unstoppable for the foreseeable future. So they have to win the battle. They have been quite honest about it, Bill Kristol, for example.

The big question this year is whether the Republicans will be able to continue to delude those of their base who take their fear mongering seriously, even while admitting what they're really doing to the rest of the world. It passes belief that they've been so successful so far.

It is scary how much these tactics mirror the tactics of Josef Goebbels and Mao Tse Tung. And remarkable that just about every republican congressman and senator is talking about using Taliban and Al Quaeda tactics and being proud of it.

It's looney tunes times for the Republicans and summer for thuggism in Washington D.C.! Don't take this lightly. The Germans did and look what happened to them.

Posted by: frank logan on August 8, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

In the comments above, Vera belongs to the wonk class - ignored by all!

Posted by: Arun on August 8, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

You're all overanalyzing this.

It can be summed up in the following incontravertable mathematical fact: half of all people are of below-average intelligence.

(Ok, half minus one for all you pedants out there.)

The stupid will always be with us. Our efforts should be focused on convincing our elected officials that stupid & noisy isn't what should dictate policy. I suggest emailing your congressman with a koan:

"Dear Congressman X,
How can a responsible person safisfy the desires of an unreasonable person while remaining responsible?

Signed,
A Reasonable Constituent"

The stupid are a fact of life. (And side bar, please feel free to use "the stupid will always be with us" the next time you hear some conservative or Randian spouting off about how "the poor will always be with us.") We have to work around them. But really, how hard does that have to be? We've got the upper hand; we're a lot smarter than they are.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 8, 2009 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

For years now, perhaps decades, we've seen a certain element on the right constantly stoking fear, resentment, and anger in order to gain political advantage. Their goal, it seems to me, has never been to achieve a solution- even a conservative one- to any given issue; rather, they aim to build a cycle of outrage that both intimidates the opposition and energizes the donors and activists of the right. By blocking progress on an issue, they can gain benefits not only from attacking the President's agenda, but can stoke even more outrage over the lack of progress ("Where's the change?")

If you look back across the last few years, I think you can see embryonic attempts at achieving the same sort of anger that we are now seeing at the town halls- the Schiavo furor, the gun panic fostered by the NRA just after the 2008 elections, the birther movement's early stages, the "Tea Parties"- in each case an attempt was made to ratchet up the outrage, and in each case, the fringers learned from their failure, and applied that knowledge to the next attempt. What we are now seeing has been honed and refined over the years, and stoked even further by a certain degree of racism.

So, to answer B.A., the wingnuts are angry as a result of a concerted effort over the years to make them so. The issue of the moment, health care, is just a convenient outlet for their outrage, an issue that managed to resonate with them. Were we to implement universal health care overnight, with all of its advantages, there'd soon be another issue at which that anger would be vented. There is an element helping to direct this rage which would happily destroy our system of political discourse, if by doing so they could ensure their own political dominance. As long as that element exists, they'll be busily stirring their fellow wingnuts up, regardless of the issue.

Posted by: MWH on August 8, 2009 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

" ... the right has chosen to completely ignore the actual flaws in the plan(s) and focus on imaginary, delusional nonsense.

So why are far-right activists so apoplectic?"

That's easy:

Because it's easier to win a fight against "They're going to kill grandpa!" then it is to win a fight against, "By deferring the payment structure into upper income brackets the potential negative effects might be felt in the middle to long term fiscal projections."

It's simple politics:

Make them fight the fight YOU want, don't go fight theirs.

Posted by: TB on August 8, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's not all that hard to comprehend.

There's a black man in the white house.

That's all the reason these racists need.

Posted by: Disputo on August 8, 2009 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fundamentally, there is nothing new here. As Steve alludes, Republicans consist of three kinds of people: the rich, their hirelings, and their dupes, with the third group apparently willing to swallow just about anything the first two groups try to foist off on them.

What is different now, and puzzling, is the heights of pure lunacy their propaganda has reached. I think it's mostly attributable to talk radio and Fox News, with their nonstop, toxic stew of venomous hatred spewed out over the airwaves, day after day, through so many different channels. In the circles I travel, nobody listens to AM radio or watches Fox, but for millions, these programs are their only connection to what's going on in the world. It's as if someone living in the 1960s voluntarily confined themselves to reading nothing but John Birch Society pamphlets.

Posted by: mikeypal on August 8, 2009 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

It is racism. We are observing a national tantrum -- where authoritarian racists get to shout out their fear and loathing for 'other' and the insult of a black president.

The pathetic thing is that most of them are those who will benefit most from a decent health care policy. Of course the Democrats don't seem to be able to offer one of those.

We have finally demonstrated that we cannot govern ourselves.

Posted by: Artemesia on August 8, 2009 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hence the electoral college. If there were no Republican electors, it might save us from the Idiocracy aristocracy.

Fox News and Rush Limbaugh has just energized the base--the over-represented lead-paint engorged anger animals of the white supremacist movement.

Posted by: Sparko on August 8, 2009 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

It seems it impossible to be a smart, honest, and a Republican. What we are seeing is the smart dishonest Republicans stirring up the not so smart Republicans.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on August 8, 2009 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

And strangely enough, not having a viable universal public healthcare program today, in place, in the United States, is just as much a national security threat as global warming is.

In fact, not having a nationwide public healthcare alternative in place will make the impact on American families that much more severe as the effects of global warming start being experienced across America.

Oh, right. The wingnuts mobbing town hall meetings, trying to shout down healthcare reform, probably also believe that global warming is a hoax, even as 99 percent of the world's glaciers and increasing areas of the polar ice packs continue to melt at an accelerated rate. This is proof enough for me that the earth's atmosphere is heating up, no matter what the cause. Heating up is still heating up, which will cause dire consequences both nationally and globally over the coming decades.

Which is why a vigorous public healthcare non-profit system NOW is essential to our nation, and out nation's families, weathering the upcoming global warming storm.

Therefore, the wingnuts mobbing healthcare town hall meetings are actually a national security threat, and a threat to the well-being of their own families surviving, as best as possible, the adverse effects of global warming. Too bad other family members of these wingnuts aren't holding an "intervention" with their Glenn Beck-worshiping relative, because, literally, their lives may depend in upcoming decades on talking some sense into their wingnut relatives NOW.

Posted by: The Oracle on August 8, 2009 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

.
Crazy mad or ha-ha mad?
.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on August 8, 2009 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Vera,

Are you living on the same planet as me?

E

Posted by: elouise on August 8, 2009 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

wingnuts are insane

reality doesn't matter to wingnuts

they vote against their interests all the time

wingnuts would rather denigrate non-wingnuts than do anything productive for themselves or anyone else
.

Posted by: pluege on August 8, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

The extreme right are scared to death to see Obama succeeding and believe it or not the news has been very good lately though you would never be able to tell listening to the media. A few months ago there was a cover on the Washington Monthly warning us of a coming depression. We have moved past that but there will be no headlines giving Obama any credit. The media have decided to make things difficult for him. I wonder why the corporate owned media would do that? What really bothers me is seeing democrats bail and start whining so early. Big job folks, takes time. I am very happy with what Obama has done and is doing.

Posted by: tiredofgreed on August 8, 2009 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why do we need to change the health system as all the immigrants and people that do not have health policys go to the emergancy rooms now. The hospitals have to treat them according to gov mandates now in place. Check with any hospital and ask them what it costs them every year.Check with any candian on how a long await they have to wait to get an operatin as to compared to us.

Posted by: Richard Adema on August 8, 2009 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

.
Excuse me, um, Righttard? If we did go to Canada for healthcare, as rightard policies have forced many Americans to do, wouldn't WE be the "immigrants" sponging off their system?

Just STF about... everything. You're all idiots, you failed for 40 years, now go f**k up another country.

Even you can't f**k this up.
.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on August 8, 2009 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

i think a lot of good explanations have been made above, but I also think we are seeing a sort of "Falling Down" moment. you have little groups of people - the hardcore anti-immigrants who are generally lower income, lower educated, economically vulnerable whites; you have the Dominionists and hard-core antifeminist anti-choicers, the Ron Paul gold standard whackos, the white supremacists and all of them have gotten trounced for several election cycles now. worse yet, it is by the rise of blacks and browns (Obama, Sotomayor) - not to mention gays (Iowa, Vermont, Conn, etc), and by those who they disliked since high school because they were always smarter (Obama v W). the result is a lot of free-floating anger, frustration, insecurity, scapegoating, paranoia and anxiety. To that fuel add the lighter fluid of Fox News, Limbaugh, and RedState who have as a group learned how to best stoke the passions, to keep the fear up and the audience on edge (not to mention misinformed) and full of adrenelin (great theory above, by the way) usually - though there are exceptions in the town hall disruption videos - mixed with testosterone and misplaced machismo. It wouldn't take much of a spark to explosively set off the volatile mix.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 8, 2009 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Brokaw called them the "greatest generation." I prefer the "I got mine, screw you generation" (see, for example, California's Prop 13).
We could probably shut down this anti-democratic, anti-American assault on free speech if we simply demanded of each tea-bagger that they surrender their right to Medicare. Seems only right, it's a commie thing, yes?

Posted by: Michael on August 8, 2009 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm posting this down at this dark end of the comments, but I'm hoping this idea strikes a chord:
Why hasn't anyone countered the "Do you want the DMV running your health care?" argument with a counter argument: "would you prefer that your cable provider/cell phone company/credit card company provide your health care? Because people hate those companies. And they hate the service they get. So why do they think private enterprise is such a wonderful thing?

Posted by: Johannm on August 8, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm posting this down at this dark end of the comments, but I'm hoping this idea strikes a chord:
Why hasn't anyone countered the "Do you want the DMV running your health care?" argument with a counter argument: "would you prefer that your cable provider/cell phone company/credit card company provide your health care? Because people hate those companies. And they hate the service they get. So why do they think private enterprise is such a wonderful thing?

Posted by: Johannm on August 8, 2009 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

"We have finally demonstrated that we cannot govern ourselves."

Oh, now there's a giveaway! Scratch a liberal, find an autocrat.

Posted by: Some Guy on August 8, 2009 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Some Guy

All of your points are flawed. I sell on the internet and I love the Post Office. Use it for 99% of my shipments. They are economical, fast, convenient and reliable and offer all of the same shipping options that Fed Ex does and cheaper. Medicare and Medicaid have problems like all health care options but people depend and love those programs.

Posted by: tiredofgreed on August 8, 2009 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

In 1958, my Drill Instructor at Paris Island used to say: "Ten percent of the people have shit for brains." It ain't gotten any better. Even conservatives like David Frum can't figure out the crazies' goals. See http://www.newmajority.com/what-if-we-win-the-healthcare-fight.

Posted by: E L on August 8, 2009 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Squalid VA care?

Pushed by large employers who are eager to know what they are buying when they purchase health care for their employees, an outfit called the National Committee for Quality Assurance today ranks health-care plans on 17 different performance measures. These include how well the plans manage high blood pressure or how precisely they adhere to standard protocols of evidence-based medicine such as prescribing beta blockers for patients recovering from a heart attack. Winning NCQA's seal of approval is the gold standard in the health-care industry. And who do you suppose this year's winner is: Johns Hopkins? Mayo Clinic? Massachusetts General? Nope. In every single category, the VHA system outperforms the highest rated non-VHA hospitals

Link

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

@ Some Guy:

I notice that nobody on the left side of this argument will admit that the federal government has already demonstrated its incompetence in delivering heath care services. Do the words "veterans administration" ring a bell? How about the squalid BIA clinics that we inflict on the Native Americans?

I don't know anything about the latter, though I'm quite sure funding for Native American anything wasn't a high priority of Republicans, but have you visited a VA hospital recently? It's true they were scandalously bad back in the day, and Bush did his best to gut the funding and screw over wounded vets, but today's VA hospitals are actually extremely good.

From the tone of your posts, I do not think anything anyone can say will modify your stance, but you might read this article from Washington Monthly. It's not new, dates from 2005, but the upward trajectory of VA hospitals has been well-documented.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0501.longman.html

Health care coverage for government employees is uniformly considered excellent, too, btw.

Why in the world should I believe that a government that continually demonstrates its incompetence is suddenly going to do a better job than I can in making life or death decisions about my own treatment?

No one is suggesting that decisions of that kind will be placed in the hands of governmental bureaucrats, you know. At least, there's certainly nothing in any of the draft plans about any such thing.

And unfortunately, despite your love of the free market, insurance companies already control a great deal about how a person gets treated. I hope you can at least admit as much to yourself. An insurance company controls which doctors you can see, which medicines can be prescribed to you and often refuses to cover certain things, especially pre-existing conditions. It's all about the insurance company making money, and it ought to be about the best choices and care for the individual.

Do you honestly think you are making those decisions?

Posted by: zhak on August 9, 2009 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Why do we need to change the health system as all the immigrants and people that do not have health policys go to the emergancy rooms now. The hospitals have to treat them according to gov mandates now in place. Check with any hospital and ask them what it costs them every year.Check with any candian on how a long await they have to wait to get an operatin as to compared to us.

There's a lot of absurdity mired in bad spelling here.

Canadians have the longest wait times of any country, yes. Americans have the second longest wait times despite our incredibly wonderful free market system and the kind and understanding insurance providers.

And .. um .. if we had universal or near-universal health care coverage, then people wouldn't be forced to visit emergency rooms for things that could be better (& more cheaply) handled by a primary care doctor. There is a vast amount of waste going on, and going to the emergency room as a way to see a doctor (as opposed to a real emergency) is a part of it.

Posted by: zhak on August 9, 2009 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

George Bush's solution to disruptive meeting participants was to keep them from entering the hall in the first place. Remember, the Bush front people issued tickets only to the GOP party faithful, looked at bumper stickers in the parking lot & took down license plates, escorted people wearing messages on their tee shirts out the door. Then the handlers got the actual attendees to color coordinate their clothes and pitch the president softball questions. Democrats don't stoop that low.

Maybe what Obama should do is hold so many town hall meetings he forces the lugnuts to miss so much work that they get fired.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 9, 2009 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Also, an additional note about tort reform for those who consider it irrelevant: the size of medical malpractice awards have done a great deal to add to the cost of our health care."

No they haven't. Actually, medical malpractice INSURANCE costs (which have risen precipitately) may have added to the cost of health care, but medical malpractice AWARDS have not--such awards, notwithstanding what you hear on talk radio, have not risen at all over the past several decades.

Any problem with malpractice insurance lies with the insurance companies, which have falsely claimed that their demands for ever-higher premiums are due to the (non-existent) tort-law "crisis."

If we had single-payer, we could also get rid of private malpractice insurance, same as we could get rid of private health insurance.

It's the for-profit insurance industry that creates the problems, rather than solving them.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on August 9, 2009 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Vera said (at 5:53 PM): "Also, an additional note about tort reform for those who consider it irrelevant: the size of medical malpractice awards have done a great deal to add to the cost of our health care."

Actually medical malpractice insurance and awards account for less than 1% of our nation's health care costs. So its size is not relevant. And given the 100,000 or so deaths each year caused by medical errors, malpractice suits are necessary to hold the medical profession accountable.

Posted by: Alan on August 9, 2009 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

In 1958, my Drill Instructor at Paris Island used to say: "Ten percent of the people have shit for brains."

Your Drill Instructor was a cockeyed optimist.

Steve's taxonomy is great. But he underestimates the degree to which the people who are opposing this and putting boots on the ground are--or THINK they are--protesting welfare-style giveaways to the poor, the black, and illegal immigrants. They think they've worked hard, other people out there haven't, and yet Those People will be treated as their equals rather than their inferiors. It's more prominent this time around because the President is black, and the protesters are still huffing fumes from the Jeremiah Wright episode--probably with a chaser of Sonia Sotomayor and Henry Louis Gates.

Also, there are straight-out paranoid maniacs like Sarah Palin. I'd say she read Brave New World and 1984 too many times, but, well, you know.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

The first two groups are the leadership groups. They're not ignorant. They know full well what they want, how to get it, they've calculated the costs and decided they're acceptable. They're only different from one another in the motivating animus:

+ The Greedy: motivated by money and economic power.

+ The Partisans: motivated by status and political power.

The last three groups are the follower groups. They're only different from one another in the degree of ignorance they're displaying.

+ The Wonks: have all the wrong answers.

+ The Tin-foil Hats: asking all the wrong questions.

+ The Dupes: not using any sort of reasoning process at all.

The leaders are aligning against health insurance reform out of disloyalty to the nation. The followers are all aligning against health insurance reform mostly out of tribal considerations. The particular subcategories are an unimportant distinction.

Posted by: s9 on August 9, 2009 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

pluege said (at 10:25 PM):

wingnuts are insane

reality doesn't matter to wingnuts

they vote against their interests all the time"

Actually, conservatives are highly conflicted. One party (Republican) supports their social agenda but screws them economically. The other party (Democrat) is their best bet economically, but it supports gay rights, abortion, racial equality, and other things that they fear and hate.

Talk about cognitive dissonance! I almost feel sorry for the poor things...

Posted by: Alan on August 9, 2009 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Johannm said (at 11:28 PM): Why hasn't anyone countered the "Do you want the DMV running your health care?" argument with a counter argument: "would you prefer that your cable provider/cell phone company/credit card company provide your health care?

I don't think you need to go quite that far. Just mention the following report from June:

"An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period."

Then ask: "Do you want insurance companies running your health care?"

Posted by: Alan on August 9, 2009 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with the modern right is they have convinced themselves of a basic story about how the world works that discredits anything that might serve as a check on their craziness. So conservatives believe that the media is liberal, and that the most important feature for a news source to be considered credible is that it be balanced, so if any news source says that no, there is no plan to kill off all the elderly, well they are clearly taking the liberal stance and not giving any balance, so they are not to be believed.

And there is the general inferiority complex -- that liberals believe they are stupid rednecks and those elitists think they're better than them. There is a certain extent to which this is true, but this should have nothing to do with whether health care reform is a good idea. Now reexamine this very discussion in that light. Those areas where they are the craziest often align with those areas where we view them as the craziest. We really *are* better informed than someone screaming "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" But the way they see it, we think we know better than them and they're just ignorant no-nothings. And that makes them mad. And they're not going to take that sitting down, no, they want to put us in our place. I am unsure if there is any way out of this.

They are the party of Sarah Palin now. It's not that they like her and she happens to be crazy, nor is it that they like her because she is crazy, it's that those liberal elitist media types treat her like she's crazy, and she's a good Christian woman who is under attack and needs to be defended or those liberal elitists win. Boy will they show the liberal elitists if they make her president.

Posted by: Eric L on August 9, 2009 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

On a someone brighter note, the good news is that health care is something people deal with on a regular basis, which presents one promising means of rebutting the craziest claims about health care reform. That is to PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM. Nothing else has a shot of working. The Republicans will be able to claim anything they want about the bullet we all dodged thanks to them; but it will be a lot harder to smear the health care system that actually exists if no seniors are getting euthanized and people are still getting good care.

And by the same token, it is important that Dems not remove things like the public option or the end of life consultation, as this will only serve to validate Republican claims about these provisions, and they will get a lot of mileage out of the idea that a lot of democrats did want to kill seniors and thankfully they stopped it. Only by passing them do we put an end to this nonsense.

Posted by: Eric L on August 9, 2009 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

The hardest thing in the world: creating something. The easiest thing in the world: tearing things down. What garners a bigger audience, building a building or watching one be destroyed?

Republicans are in the catbird seat because it's easy to destroy and they have the prime position of being able to hold the Democrats to a higher moral standard in all cases. Republicans can lie all they want and their base will follow them because their base works on belief. Democrats lose their base when they aren't accurate with the facts.

How are the Republicans to lose? They are faced with no burden of proof, they have a "he said, she said" media that will stenograph both sides -- no matter how absurd Republican claims are and treat all sides as equals, and they have a motivated base who will spout whatever falsehood is put in front of them because their belief system will not tolerate a Democrat, a black man, and the failure of an all-white Republican party as consequences of the last election.

Working in their own disinterest has become the right wing's political best interest. What a perfect storm for Republicans!

I read a comment by a protege who commented that, "we used to think whomever came up with the best facts would rule the day, then, after getting our butts kicked, we realized the facts didn't matter at all." Quit wondering why the facts aren't winning the day -- there are other motivations afoot that are getting very agitated right wingers to shoot themselves in their own feet so vocally in front of the cameras.

Posted by: petorado on August 9, 2009 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

There are plenty of "facts" that aren't in the debate about health care and you can see it here. . Tax cuts did not stimulate the economy, it damn near killed it whilst simultaneously creating a massive gulf between the very rich and everybody else No, the gulf has been widening since the early 80s, see Piketty-Saez data. Bush merely helped continue the trend.
Clinton didn't leave behind a large surplus, he left a projected surplus but in only 2 years, the last 2, was there a surplus and the 2001 FY surplus came when people bailed out of the NASDAQ as it crashed. See OMB historical data.

But, the wingnut response is the natural outgrowth of 15 years of press corps neglect and active mania. Clinton? Whitewater (the NYT) Cocaine ring, murder Foster, Monica, hated Al Gore.
There is no liberal media but between the right's insistence that there is and the press corps own failings, where do the wingnut's get "reliable" information? They don't.

Where is the analysis of health care spending? The fact that the US spends almost twice what other countries spend? Not in the US press corps, that's for sure.

Steve's analysis, like so much of what one gets from the media omits a gigantic blame elephant: him and his cronies.

Posted by: TJM on August 9, 2009 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans don't need William Kristol to tell them that healthcare overhaul will be a further nail in their coffin. A Party that does not care about people, that cannot deliver anything of value to its citizens. The fury derives from knowledge that they are at the precipice, and Obama is shoving hard.

I expect the Teabaggers to come en mass to DC in the Fall to try to intimidate the Congress. The US could be the first country in history to face a popular uprising because it tried to help its sickest and most vulnerable citizens.

Posted by: bob h on August 9, 2009 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

All this racket from the RW tools serves one very valuable purpose for their masters; it drowns out criticism from those who seek true health care reform. It's the old 'Quick! Look over there!' ploy.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on August 9, 2009 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

I think the anger of the people attending the meetings is due in large part to having listened to so much demonization for liberals. They have come to believe that the primary desire of liberals is to destroy America, and are receptive to most vile propaganda. How else can explain that they would think liberals would want to deny health care to people? Realistically, it is conservatives that would want to ration health care to save money. They are the ones that do not want their money spent to care for someone else's parents or child with Down's syndrome.

The anger we have been seeing does not come from a fear that health insurance reform will be too expensive. It comes from a belief that those promoting it must have manevolent intentions. Comparisons of Obama to Adolf Hitler seem reaonable to them.

Posted by: David1234 on August 9, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

"President Obama supports an approach to health care reform that emphasizes competition and choice, doesn't increase the deficit, and wouldn't raise middle class taxes"

Who wouldn't? Does anyone honestly believe that Congress can produce such an animal? The same Congress that has already caved to the drug comznies? (They're running a $100 million plus ad campaign supporting Obmacare.)

A lot of folks thought Obama would be better on the economy than Bush/McCain/Paulson/GoldmanSachs. The focus on health care has obscured the indisputable fact that Obama has catered to the same banksters that caused the economic mess we're in. Time to drop the health care turkey and focus like a laser beam on the economy. IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!!!

Posted by: gypsylea on August 9, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I have no idea what the crazy right thinks about "healthcare reform" but it sounds like the current Democratic plan should be defeated.

If that continues into the Fall, then all power to the crazy right.

You all assume that the current bills are worth defending. Why? Because it has a D tag on it?

D for "Dupe"?

Posted by: quidditas on August 9, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I will give Bill O'Reilly credit where credit is due. In today's Parade Magazine, he writes an article about how young people can be inspired by Barack Obama's struggle. There is no snark.

Bill frustrates me, because he can be reasonable and yet dips into the muck. He's like something bobbing up and down in the ocean.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on August 9, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

It's not hard to understand the outrage - it's very simple: many of the people up in arms simply do not want the government involved in healthcare. Period, end of sentence.

Government sponsored healthcare for everyone brings up fundamental questions of what role our elected government should have in the daily lives of Americans. It is not to say that these people are against healthcare reform per se, they are simply against government run healthcare. There is an important distinction to be made, folks.

Government sponsored healthcare opens up the question of governmental reach and many people who are upset simply do not want government involved in healthcare decisions because they do not view it as government's responsibility to provide healthcare.

If we look at the fringes there will be those who do not want Democrat sponsored healthcare legislation because it will embolden Obama. You will find those who feel it will give the Democrats a platform that can never be revoked and hence increase their base. To a partisan that makes sense. But I think to the majority of people who are complaining about the proposals on the floor the issue boils down simply to a question of governmental reach and involvement. I have no desire to see Obama fail beacuse that means the country fails. I have no ill will toward the man, but I have no love nor desire to see our government assume a massive liability it is incapable of paying for, either.

Posted by: hreardon on August 9, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

It is not to say that these people are against healthcare reform per se, they are simply against government run healthcare.

No, they are against healthcare for poor and dark-complected people. If they "[did] not view it as government's responsibility to provide healthcare," they would be up in arms against Medicare too, and a _huge_ segment of the protesters are on Medicare and hoping to stay that way. When asked, they talk about illegal immigrants (and sometimes euthanasia). They don't use the political-philosophical terms you adduce above.

The number of health care protesters who have come to oppose it by thinking it through your way (wrongly, but at least from a rational basis) is infinitesimal.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

It is definitely confusing - my in-laws railed against government-run anything for the past decade, but a few weeks ago my father-in-law accepted a retirement buyout form his company and will now go on Medicare. Now that *they* get the free Medicare program, they don't want anything to change. Also, they are convinced that Obama's death panels will kill them within five years. Seriously.

Posted by: RC on August 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

What if your middle class, healthy, have good insurance through your company, and aren't worried about losing your job (and even if you do think you can get good coverage because your healthy or you can find another job quickly because your skilled).

A lot of these people are afraid that under the new plan their company will dump them into the public option, which they feel won't be as good as their current coverage.

Furthermore, what if your in a tax bracket that would likely end up paying for it. Sure Obama says he'll only increase taxes on the rich, but a lot of people suspect that isn't enough money, so their taxes are going to go up either today or to pay for deficit spending tommorrow. Is it inconcievable that he ends up taxing a family with a combined income of $80k, or at least make them pay full price for care while everyone else gets subsidies. A lot are afraid of losing their tax deductibility of health insurance benefits (this is a huge concern).

So if your a skilled blue collar union worker or a white collar proffessional with a good income and good coverage this ain't a good plan for you. You may end up with worse care, higher taxes, or higher premiums (if they remove tax deductibility). For this group healthcare reform is seen as a welfare program, a transfer from them to the poor, not a program that will help them.

Posted by: dave on August 9, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

dave said: "A lot of these people are afraid that under the new plan their company will dump them into the public option, which they feel won't be as good as their current coverage."

What these people should really fear is their company dropping health insurance altogether because it's too expensive. (Health insurance premiums are projected to double in the next 10 years, just as they have in the last 10.)

Without employer insurance, a lot of these people - especially the ones with pre-existing medical conditions - will be uninsurable without a good public option.

Posted by: Alan on August 9, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Dont be such a schmuck, there are plenty of us Democrats that are against this bill, Just because I supported Obama in the election over Mcjerk, Doesnt mean I support his health care bill (as it is currently proposed) at all, it is righty being labeled a Nazi health care bill, and needs a serious re-write, anyone who doubts that it needs to be re-written needs to step back, read the proposal, and then read some of the recent writings of Ezekiel Emmanuel (related to Rahm- his brother i think) even a cursory reading will reveal that Mr. Emmanuel has some Serious fascist issues in his philosophical viewpoints. SEE http://www.larouchepac.com/node/11143 for more info.

Posted by: Josef Bendavid on August 9, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dont be such a schmuck, there are plenty of us Democrats that are against this bill, Just because I supported Obama in the election over Mcjerk, Doesnt mean I support his health care bill (as it is currently proposed) at all, it is righty being labeled a Nazi health care bill, and needs a serious re-write, anyone who doubts that it needs to be re-written needs to step back, read the proposal, and then read some of the recent writings of Ezekiel Emmanuel (related to Rahm- his brother i think) even a cursory reading will reveal that Mr. Emmanuel has some Serious fascist issues in his philosophical viewpoints. SEE http://www.larouchepac.com/node/11143 for more info.

Posted by: Josef Bendavid on August 9, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Right, Josef. You voted for Obama but think this is a "Nazi" healthcare bill and you like to call Jews "fascists."

A member of the Creamed Corn Mafia for sure.

Posted by: Susan Johnson on August 9, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

No one seems to want to explain how everybody will get "something for nothing". They all ask: how can you be against it, it's free to you!

Posted by: molecule on August 9, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Most of you don't get it. It's not about party affiliation. Nor is it about the race of the president. I wish the conservatives or Republicans were behind this because it would give me hope that there could be a counterbalance against the liberal debris of the last campaign. Such is not the case.

These are people who are angry that AARP sold them out, that the pharma and insurance companies sold them out by getting tricked into supporting a bad "reform" plan, etc.

When moveon.org, ACORN, and assorted other left organizations bussed people into anti-Bush rallies and at BO rallies, all was okay but now that you've got grassroots protest, you are alarmed? Why deny what's happening here, sheeple! Look beyond your party affiliation!

Posted by: D on August 9, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

These are people who are angry that AARP sold them out, that the pharma and insurance companies sold them out by getting tricked into supporting a bad "reform" plan, etc.

Bullshit. The signs and slogans are all about illegal immigrants, murder, and socialism vs. Frrreedom!

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Joseph, LaRouche is a crank and not a real Democrat.

Posted by: N e i l B on August 9, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Furthermore, what if your in a tax bracket that would likely end up paying for it. Sure Obama says he'll only increase taxes on the rich, but a lot of people suspect that isn't enough money, so their taxes are going to go up either today or to pay for deficit spending tommorrow.

So you're mad because you have to act to stop something that hasn't happened but through some kind of far-fetched scenario _might_ happen, and there's no time to waste holding back the possible future! But, also, climate change, feh; who knows what could happen, so inaction is the best policy there.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I am teeing myself up for slaughter here, but I am a conservative, and after finding this article through one of my blogs and reading the comments, I felt the need to chime in. Like many conservative/Republican blogs, the comments board here seems to be an echo chamber for zealots, and a lot of the same bad behaviors exist here as exist on conservative sites. Incidentally, before I continue, as far as party status, I am neither, finding them both corrupt and fatally flawed. I am one of the many fiscally conservative, socially progressive types that seem to have not natural home in our 2-party system.

Before I give my version of the "conservative" rebuttal to the health care debate, a note on some of the comments here. One, the linking of any opposition to an Obama policy to inherent racism is the cheapest of cheap shots. For "liberals", in particular, who generally champion free expression to then use the racism label to silence opposition is really disappointing. There are certainly bigots who oppose Obama purely based on his race, but my guess it that it is a really small percentage of people. In fact, of the conservatives I know, almost all of them share in the wider celebration that we as a nation have elected an African-American president, but nonetheless harbor very strong reservations about his policy ideas. The comments are full of a bunch of assumptions about the education, compassion, etc. of conservatives, but in an ironic twist on your own cries of "ignorance", you clearly have no idea what your talking about. Conservatives are not the caricatures that you perhaps you wish they were. And no matter how strongly you support Obama's policies, by painting your opponents as straw-men bigots, you are allowing yourself to ignore some of your opponents' potentially sound criticisms. If all you really care about is whether your political team beats the other political team, then please, continue the name-calling, but if you actually have any interest in building a decent set of policies for the future, you should at least take the other side's concerns seriously.

From my perspective as a conservative, I simply think the Obama approach to health care in not workable. I would love for every one in America to have almost-free, world-class healthcare, but that is impossible. The costs are simply too high for our already heavily indebted country to bear. I'm certainly not a fan of the current system and can understand everyone's frustration with the status quo, but the current plan will probably end up being several measures worse than the status quo. I also happen to harbor the conservative's typical distrust of government, and having seen firsthand the extensive fraud and theft that has crippled Medicaid and Medicare, I am further convinced that the Obama plan, is not only unworkable, but would open the gates to levels of corruption rivalled only by the recent bank bailouts. Will the "wingnut" horror stories come true? Of course not, but nonetheless, the Obama health plan will have long-term negative effects on our health care system and will increase the risk of another substantial fiscal crisis.

Personally, I think one, there should be a mandatory national single-payer insurance fund for catastrophic care and, two, the employer link to health care insurance should be severed, and three, all health cares should be tax-dedeutcibel. Those three moves alone would frankly solve many of the problems, but that is even a longer conversation than this has already been.

Anyway, give the conservatives a break. They are no more monsters than you "commie pinko bastards" are. And if the name-calling makes you giggle, go for it, just don't start to believe your own hype.

Posted by: gammaboy on August 9, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Thoughtful commentary like that isn't going to get you blasted from all directions here. Not from me, anyway, but I am a marginal commenter at best, rarely interacting, just making the occasional comment and reading on. For what it's worth, I am about as liberal as they come, and I agree whole heartedly with your three points in the next to last graph.

Posted by: Realist on August 9, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think one, there should be a mandatory national single-payer insurance fund for catastrophic care and, two, the employer link to health care insurance should be severed, and three, all health cares should be tax-dedeutcibel.

Yeah, good luck with that. The people on your side would throw an immense flaming shitfit about Teh Gummint taking over your health care and throwing poor insurance company employees out of work and that woman in Arkansas would still say "Whah do we hayaf to chayunge?" In fact, the whole reason the reform plans are complex is _to avoid_ freaking people out by creating a whole new insurance system for everyone.

I'm sorry to inform you that your opposition to these plans is not of the same kind as the protesters'. Vanishingly few people on the right want to have a genuine policy discussion about the merits of various approaches. They want to talk about Death Panels and how illegal immigrants will get free favors they don't deserve. A lot of them say openly that they think the current system is just peachy.

Re: the debt issue, I don't know why people on the right resist comprehending the notion that sometimes paying a lot of money up front is a good way to save even more money later. The amount of money we spend on childhood vaccinations is large. The amount of money we would have to spend on treating full-blown diseases later is much, much larger. Buying equipment to set up a business that in time makes more money than the equipment cost... this is a commonplace thing in the modern world. Think of creating a system of routine and preventive medical care as an investment in long-term health. It costs money, but down the road it saves more.

Yes, _if it works_, I hear you saying. So let's talk about how to make it work. You should be writing to your representatives urging them to speak forthrightly about how to fix health care in accordance with fiscal prudence and conservative values. A bunch of red-faced oldsters caterwauling about tyranny ain't gonna do it.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Realist,

Thanks for the encouragement. My 9-month old is still asleep, so I have another few minutes to add one more thought that does not seem to have entered much of the conversation.

One of the fundamental problems of the current system is that "consumer" of health care does not know the cost. When I enter a doctor's office, I have absolutely no idea what the cost of my visit will be. I know I will be paying a $10 co-pay, but the total cost is a mystery to me and never revealed. I can't think of any other service in which that I buy which I have no idea of the costs. And as such, the ability to bargain shop or compare prcies does not exist, nor is there any incentive to do so since presumably it would just save the insurance company money, and that is not my problem.

It was not always this way. For most of American history, people paid most of their health care costs out of pocket. It wasn't until WWII led to employer health care that the system changed so dramatically. In areas like Lasix and plastic surgery where most expenses are out-of-pocket, unlike the rest of the health care, prices have dropped, sometimes dramatically. Clearly we need a way to protect from ruin in the case of a medical catastrophe, but the flip side is we need to make people pay for ordinary costs like they do for other consumables. The Obama plan moves in the opposite direction, and I feel that is a recipe for disaster. One iron-clad rules of economics: give people something of value for free and demand is virtually infinite.

Posted by: gammaboy on August 9, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, I would like to introduce a bit of sanity into this maelstrom. The reality is that major public policy proposals are not debated honestly in the U.S. Take Bush's Social Security reform plan (to the extent he had one). Like it or not, Bush was proposing a fairly modest change that would have allowed young people to shift 1/3 or their contributions into a personal investment portfolio in exchange for lower future benefits.

Now type 'Bush Social Security destroy' into Google. How honest or rational was the opposition? Not very. Take a look at Krugman's comments over at http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/26/what-partisanship-means/

Honest? No. Unabashedly partisan? Yes.

Posted by: Peter Schaeffer on August 9, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

actually, i DO FIND "Wingnut, smash" an especially compelling answer. and the racism....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on August 9, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the most outspoken people in these viral Town Hall videos are the elderly and of Medicare age. In addition a recent CNN poll showed it was the elderly that were more so against health care reform than the young and middle aged. Why are the very people with guaranteed health care via government funding against others having that same luxury and security?
I have employee provide health care, but with the tenuous job market and constant layoffs I live in fear of not being able to provide health care for myself and three children. Do these elderly people believe me and my family am not entitled to the same security as they are?
We need a public plan that does not fate you to your employer and their cost cutting whims.

Furthermore we need to tackle the current market incentives that inflate the cost of health care (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=1). We also need panels of medical experts that will focus on cost effectiveness. In the last 13 years, since the last health reform attempts were attempted, health care costs have increased almost 300%. Clearly the market alone is not doing the job.

Posted by: Darryl S on August 9, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the mainstream media is over-hyping this minority opposition to healthcare reform so as to excuse its lack of coverage concerning majority public support of single-payer, universal healthcare coverage. Such MSM coverage skewing stymies the rich democratic debate possible under this very large umbrella of practical options.

Posted by: Freethinker on August 9, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe its just because they are flat out being lied to by the right wing: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/subjects/health/
Or worse, maybe the right wing foot soldiers know its a pack of lies but they want to believe it anyway.

One thing that has shocked me is that I have not seen a single republican leader stand up and correct any of these falsehoods. They are more than willing to let the lies and misguided outrage be their rallying cry. Its a sad day.

Posted by: Darryl S on August 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Darryl S: Why are the very people with guaranteed health care via government funding against others having that same luxury and security?

Because they think they already paid for it, and they worked hard their whole lives and it's their due. But now they think undeserving people like black people and illegal immigrants are going to get it too, and they can't abide that. They think it's line-jumping, and they're finally at the front. If you've even been in a store checkout line around older people, you know how important it is to them to see who's getting served first why it's moving too slow, etc.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 9, 2009 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why do wingnuts vote against their own best interests?

This was answered in a 2004 essay by Mark Ames, called "Spite the Vote":

http://www.nypress.com/article-9576-spite-the-vote.html

Excerpts:

In this country, tens of millions of people choose to watch FoxNews not simply because Americans are credulous idiots or at the behest of some right-wing corporate cabal, but because average Americans respect viciousness. They are attracted to viciousness for a lot of reasons. In part, it reminds them of their bosses, whom they secretly adore. Americans hate themselves for the way they behave in public, always smiling and nodding their heads with accompanying really's and uh-huhs to show that they're listening to the other person, never having the guts to say what they really feel. So they vicariously scream and bully others into submission through right-wing surrogate-brutes. Spending time watching Sean Hannity is enough for your average American white male to feel less cowardly than he really is.
...
Millions of Americans, particularly white males, don't vote for what's in their so-called best interests.
...
They do so out of spite. Put your ear to the ground in this country, and you'll hear the toxic spite churning. It's partly the result of commercial propaganda and sexual desperation - a desperation far more common than is admitted. If you didn't know anything about how America's propaganda worked, you'd think that every citizen here experienced four-dimensional multiple orgasms with beautiful, creative, equally satisfied partners, morning, noon and night.

The wretched truth is that America is an erogenous no man's land. Most white males here (at least the straight ones) have either dismal sex lives or no sex lives at all.
...
Rich, beautiful, coastal types are liberal precisely because their lives are so wonderful. They want to preserve their lives exactly as they are. If I were a rich movie star, I'd vote for peace and poverty relief. War and domestic insurrection are the greatest threats to their already-perfect lives - why mess with it? This rational fear of the peasantry is frequently misinterpreted as rich guilt, but that's not the case. They just want to pay off all the have-nots to keep them from storming their manors and impaling them on stakes.

Republican elites don't set off the spite glands in the same way, and it's not only because of a sinister right-wing propaganda machine. Take a look at a photo of the late billionaire Sam Walton, a dried-out Calvinist in a baseball cap and business suit, and you'll see why. If Republican billionaires enjoy their wealth, they sure as hell hide it well. As far as one can tell, Republican billionaires genuinely like working 18-hour days in offices. Their idea of having fun is a day on the golf green (a game as slow and frustrating as a day in the office) or attending conferences with other sleazy, cheerless Calvinist billionaires. If that's what all their wealth got them, let 'em have it - so says the spite bloc. This explains why the Republican elite - the only true and all-powerful elite in America today - is not considered an "elitist" class in the spleens of the white male have-nots. Elitism as defined today is a synonym for "happy," not "rich" or "powerful." Happiness is the scarcest resource of all, not money. And the happy supply has been cornered by the beautiful, famous and wealthy coastal elite, the ones who never age, and who are just so damned concerned for the have-nots' well-being. In that sense, you can see how the Republicans were able to successfully manipulate the meaning of "elitism" to suit their needs.
...
It's simple mathematics: Bring down the coastal elite and the single 40-something Ohio salesman might actually matter.


Posted by: outa here on August 9, 2009 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

It is not hard to understand the anger if you open your ears wide open. It is not Obama, people were as mad at Bush. $1T in deficit to wall street, and now anther $1T to the health care industry? It is not about who is going to get sick next, it is about who can afford taxes or the deficit. Washington is crazy, and is taking naive liberals for a ride.

Posted by: Bob Goodwin on August 10, 2009 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."

John Stuart Mill

Posted by: Anthony Williams on August 10, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Funny, I believe I've read every comment here and not a single poster, not even Steve Benen, responded to the Bob Somerby post, which in two sentences perfectly illustrates the real problem here-for two decades now liberals have sat around and allowed conservatives and the media to say any damn thing they'd like, 'Al Gore invented the Internet,' unchallenged, and now we are SHOCKED that the 'wingnuts are angry' when they hear about 'death panels' and rationing.

Of course they are 'angry,' I'd be angry too if I believed in these death panels.

Oh, and if you all don't know who Bob Somerby is, perhaps it's time you found out!!

Posted by: Alan K on August 12, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe they're mad about getting called wingnuts. Teabaggers can be like that, of course.

How true! Instead of name-calling, we should follow Bob Somerby's lead and diagnose them as paranoid dupes, ready to buy anything Limbaugh and Beck are selling. After all, the best way to win people over is to have an insufferable blowhard tell them they they are mental deficients.

Incomperable, indeed!

Posted by: dmd76 on August 12, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Let me follow up on Alan K's and dmd76's posts at 8: 36 am and 1:37 pm.

They're ignorant about the topic because our so-called liberal media won't tell them that they're paying more and getting less. And when are we progressives going to tell them, instead of just assuming they're racist and stupid?

The political choice that working class whites have is between the party that kicks their economic asses and keeps quiet about it while giving them a little something for "traditional culture" (has good and bad elements, btw), and the party that doesn't mind their economic asses getting kicked and mocking them all the while.

Then we progressives wonder why the country doesn't see things our way.

Posted by: Scamp Dog on August 12, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Scamp Dog: you make assumptions that I'm not sure are justified. What evidence do you have that the reason this group of voters "doesn't see things our way" is that they haven't heard what we have to say? Most people are quite capable of deciding who and what to believe, and they are exposed to a variety of viewpoints. When an obviously politically involved group (the town hall protesters) chooses to embrace and propagate outright lies ("death panels"), they are either deeply cynical or crazy and should be denounced as such.

If some right-winger told me that I was a liberal only because I hadn't been properly exposed to conservative ideology, I'd laugh in his face. I'm not sure why you think your prescription for progressives would fare any differently.

Posted by: dmd76 on August 12, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that the liberals are just as bad at bashing the conservatives as the conservatives are at bashing liberals. Anyone who doesn't follow the manifesto is an idiot, evildoer, misinformed twit, or racist.

I'm Republican, but I do want to see health care reform. I don't care that Obama is black, and find it interesting that those that mention it are mostly Democrats. There are only a few things that bother me about the current bill.

Some issues, all related: Why are there five or six different health care plans available to federal employees - and why are these not to be removed and replaced by the universal health plan?

Why is there a specific exemption of federal employees from having to use this plan?

How much overhead is there in maintaining all of these federal plans? Why isn't this waste being addressed by the bill?

Liberals accuse all conservatives of being elitist, and wanting to ignore those that can't do for themselves. Maybe those in DC should be proving that they're not the elitists and do for themselves what they expect to do for the rest of us?

I'm getting screwed by the current system, and am not wealthy by a long shot. I want change. I want it to start with the President, House, and Senate.

Posted by: sigh on October 18, 2009 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly