Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 15, 2009

GRASSLEY HEARTS BECK.... ThinkProgress traveled to a town-hall event in Iowa yesterday, getting an up-close look at Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and the leading Republican negotiator on health care reform.

One of the senator's constituents noticed that Grassley was carrying a personal copy of Glenn Beck's book, "Common Sense." When the constituent urged the conservative Republican lawmaker to share it with members of Congress, Grassley said:

"Well the reason I brought it is you're supposed to pass it on to other people when you're not reading it."

He later told ThinkProgress that the book, written by Fox News' self-described "rodeo clown," is "something you gotta read a couple times."

Contrast this with what we saw last week, at an event hosted by Rep. Bob Inglis, a very conservative Republican in South Carolina. When the crowd turned ugly, Inglis suggested it'd be a good idea to "turn the TV off" and stop listening to Beck. "Turn that television off when he comes on," the congressman said. "Let me tell you why. You want to know why? He's trading on fear."

Inglis later told a local blogger, "The America that Glenn Beck seems to see is a place where we all should be fearful, thinking that our best days are behind us. It sure does sell soap, but it sure does a disservice to America."

A week later, Chuck Grassley -- an alleged moderate and the man principally responsible for finding a "bipartisan" solution for health care reform -- is promoting Beck's lunacy.

I can only assume that Grassley doesn't want to be part of reform negotiations anymore, and is working on getting himself kicked out of the talks. If he keeps moving further to the right, and Dems eventually decide to cut their losses with this guy, Grassley gets to have it both ways -- he'll tell moderates, "I invested months of time and energy in bipartisan reform negotiations," and he'll tell the right, "I stuck up for conservative principles and Democrats refused to listen."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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My guess is, the only reason Dems continue to "negotiate" with Grassley or Enzi is so they can keep talking to Snowe.

Posted by: penalcolony on August 15, 2009 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many without coverage will fall into this "Death Hole" of no Health Care coverage while we bicker on the details.

We all have paid our taxes, we all could, by being victim of some meltdown in our life or finances, end up being one of these people that find themselves with no last-resort safety net and slipping into that insurance "Death Hole" of no coverage and no care for whatever ails us.

All of us deserve to know that we wont be dying in the streets. Any one of us could find ourselves in a hospice with these empty words echoing into their ears.

Posted by: Dean on August 15, 2009 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

It sure does sell soap

Given the advertiser exodus, apparently not.

Posted by: martin on August 15, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley is a member of the secretive, fanatical C Street Family, a group that calls itself the 'Christian Mafia.' Look for Rachel Maddow's interview with author Jeff Sharlet, as well as Democracy Now's interview. These are dangerous people who believe in chosen rule by divine right, that nothing they do to achieve their ends is off limits. They are the American Taliban.

Posted by: Varecia on August 15, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Next thing he'll do is ride a motorcycle over a shark tank.
I mean, good God. Grassley thinks he can get some cred among the low-hanging fruit by embracing a sideshow freak? Not since George Will tried to cite "Born in the USA" as an tell for American Resurgance has an old man shown how clueless he is. It's a "Fool me once . . . won't get fooled again" senior moment.

I can see the grins on Stewart's and Colbert's faces now: five minutes of Monday's shows are written.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 15, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Hope this link works...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGWu-kBLDu8

Posted by: Varecia on August 15, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is broader than health care. I'm convinced that the reason Democrats have been so widely considered to be weak on national defense is not because of the number of weapon systems we support or cancel (recall in 2004 that Kerry got a worse rep for being opposed to weapons systems than did Cheney who actually canceled them) or the number of wars that we support or oppose (Clinton did better in '92 having opposed Gulf War I than Kerry did in '04 having supported Gulf War II). Rather, Democrats get a reputation for being weak on defense because of the way we negotiate with Republicans. This is a much more frequent and publicly viewed kind of negotiations, so the public gets its impression of the parties from them. And I have to say that if I thought as a nation we would deal with foreign powers the way Democrats deal with Chuck Grassely, I'd be afraid. This is getting embarrassing.

Posted by: MSR on August 15, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley is an interesting breed of Republican. Or so I thought he was.

There were times when he sided with Dems on some issues (can't recall off-hand which) but I got the general feel that he was somewhat even-handed, at least for a Republican.

But his position on health care reform is quite clear. More than any other Republican, he has come to represent the epitome of how a Republican should act when he/she is totally, completely, and without reservation being controlled by a particular interest. He's the puppet, and the strings are held by insurance companies.

Quite a sight.

Posted by: terraformer on August 15, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

terraformer: "He's the puppet, and the strings are held by insurance companies."

That is true, but the C Street 'Family' thinks *much* bigger than that.

Posted by: Varecia on August 15, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley's grandson is a member of the Iowa State Legislature, and he voted for the creation of these "death panels" last year, and Grassley knows this. His efforts to defeat hc reform are transparent. So transparent that he is ignoring polls from his state that indicate over 70% of Iowans want hc reform with a public option. His reaction to the poll results was to emphasize that his decision will be based on information from townhalls, not polls. This is a man who is more than willing to destroy Americans' lives in the interest of maintaining his political and business affiliations. He and his party members in Congress are the "death panel" he is referring to in his townhalls. He is a disgrace to Congress and to the American people who pay his salary and the major portion of his healthcare premiums.

Posted by: majii on August 15, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I can only assume that Grassley doesn't want to be part of reform negotiations anymore, and is working on getting himself kicked out of the talks.

I have no idea why you wrote this. Who is going to kick him out of the talks? Baucus? You're kidding, right?

If anyone were inclined to kick him out of the talks, why on Earth would they agree to remove the end of life issues language from their bill?

What mystifies me most about all this is the way reasonably intelligent people continue to try to apply rational standards of behavior and judgment to our elected officials. Why would anyone do that?

Posted by: oh really on August 15, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley is doing what any incumbent faced with a credible primary challenger does: try to grab the challenger's issues and make them his own. I don't think the far right moron challenging him is "credible" but in the current environment in the GOP, it's certainly possible. This doesn't make Grassley anything admirable, since if he had a backbone and principles he'd get out there and defend them, rather than shuck and jive like this.

It does show what would be possible, however, with some primary challenges for the Blue Dogs.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 15, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

grassley is demonstrating two things: a.) what it means to be a complete and total asshole; b.) why it is that obama is foolish beyond expression to have invested so much effort into "bipartisanship."

for a long time now, joe lieberman has been the senator i'd most like to punch in the nose, but grassley is moving up fast on the outside.

Posted by: howard on August 15, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Please, it's "Grassley," not "Grassely."

I realize this is a "blog" and as such is a repository for quickly-typed missives on emerging issues... but it's also a resource viewed by thousands of people, so why not take the small amount of time to spell-check the titles and content of the updates, as well as review for grammar and style?

[Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out. --Mod]

Posted by: andrew on August 15, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

This Grassley BS has gone on long enough.

Where the hell is Harry Reid on this?

I think the only way this gets better is with a new Senate Majority Leader who knows how to play hardball with these people. Enough is enough.

Posted by: Steve on August 15, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

steve, what makes you think harry reid is in charge.

if obama didn't want a "bipartisan" effort, we wouldn't be wasting our time on a "bipartisan" effort. you want that to end, ask obama to grow up and stop believing in the tooth fairy.

harry reid is just playing the role he's been assigned; he's not the scriptwriter.

Posted by: howard on August 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I keep hoping that Grassley will find himself in Loebsack's shoes come 2010. No one expected that Jim Leach could be beaten right up until the votes were being counted. Grassley has flown under the radar in previous years, but he has emerged this year in all his wingnut glory.

The biggest problem with my hope, however, is that the Dems in Iowa don't seem to be able to find any tough opponents for Grassley, but maybe the Beck-book and "kill grandma" stuff will tip the scales.

.

Posted by: Iowan on August 15, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Grassley gets to have it both ways -- he'll tell moderates, "I invested months of time and energy in bipartisan reform negotiations," and he'll tell the right, "I stuck up for conservative principles and Democrats refused to listen."
Surely, this same argument could be applied to Obama and them Dems, right? They've tried talking, listening, everything Grassley said he wanted, but he refused to negotiate, proving that the Republicans do not want reform only delay and support of the status quo.

Posted by: kitsune on August 15, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

kitsune, sure it works the other way - if obama gives up on his childish desire to believe in bipartisanship with today's gop.

otherwise, it doesn't work at all.

Posted by: howard on August 15, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Reading Beck twice says more than enough about this dick head. Jeebus, can Grassley be sitting on the pot this much? Full of shit, literally and literally.

Posted by: lou on August 15, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK
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