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Tilting at Windmills

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December 7, 2009

MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY OF THE DAY.... Oh please.

Three Republican senators on Monday condemned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) comments that Republicans who oppose healthcare reform are akin to the opponents of abolition and women's suffrage.

"Folks tend to crack under pressure," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) at a press conference. "It is an indication of desperation."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he was "personally offended" by the remarks that were "beneath the dignity of the Majority Leader...and the Senate."

Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman John Thune (S.D.) called the comments "inflammatory and irresponsible."

I realize that conservative senators are waiting to pounce on just about anything, anxious to derail the debate by any means necessary. If that means pretending to be offended -- Republicans are allegedly the "tough" party, except for their delicate sensibilities -- so be it.

But this faux-outrage is silly. Reid was talking about the historic significance of the health care debate, and placing it in the larger context. Here's what he said:

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Senate Republicans can come up with is: 'Slow down, stop everything and start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right.

"When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, some dug in their heels and said, 'slow down.' When women spoke up for the right to speak up -- when they demanded the vote -- some insisted that they simply stop. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to all citizens, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.

"And more recently, when Chairman Chris Dodd of Connecticut - one of the people who will go down in history as a chief champion of the bill before us today - said that Americans should be able to start and take care of their families without fear of losing their jobs, he heard the sane old excuses. Through seven years of fighting and more than one presidential veto, it was: 'Slow down, stop everything and start over.'

"History is repeating itself before our eyes. There are now those who don't think this is the right time to reform health care. But in reality, for many who feel that way, there will never be a good time to reform health care."

Republicans may not like being on the wrong side of history -- though, at this point, you'd think they'd be used to it -- but that doesn't make the historical context "inflammatory and irresponsible."

Jim Manley, Reid's spokesperson, said in a statement, "It is hard to believe Senate Republicans are making these charges with a straight face.... [F]or those who are counting, Republicans have now held one press conference on manufactured anger and have issued one manual on how to grind the Senate to a halt -- but have held zero press conferences and issued zero plans on how to help Americans afford to live a healthy life."

Steve Benen 3:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Weenies doth protest too much.

Posted by: Former Dan on December 7, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think you mean to say conservatives should be used to being on the wrong side of history. There once was a time when there were Republicans whose loyalty to their country was stronger than their loyalty to the Party.

Posted by: Algerine on December 7, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

coburn is insane;
chambliss is a thug;
thune is the one who intrigues me, he's a lout, there's no doubt...
but is he crazy or vicious?

Posted by: neill on December 7, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The best argument for national healthcare is in the event of a biological "event."

Without national healthcare it's impossible to keep tabs on who's infected or not?

Countries with sane healthcare will survive, while we gag on our own bile and mucous emanating from the halls of Washington.

Health care IS a right. Let's get it right!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

he heard the sane old excuses

I presume this is a typo?

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on December 7, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Unreformed Southern Confederate traitor and draft dodging "patriot" Saxby Chambliss should be careful where he treads in talking about Abolition and Suffrage, since his version of politics - i.e., the standard issue southern bullshit we've put up with since 1776 - fought a war over one of those and threatened a war over the other.

Watching today's Republican Party being run by the very people it was first organized to destroy - the Southern Confederate traitors - is a sad event. But when you consider that the progressive abolitionists and suffragists who were the original organizers of the party were outnumbered by the retreads from the failed Know-Nothing Party and the failed Whigs, it all makes sense.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 7, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm digging Jim Manley's response. It seems they've learned that apologies to lying bullies are ineffective. I just wish it would get more airplay.

Posted by: Rathskeller on December 7, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

You can always tell when you've told the truth about republicans/conservatives in Congress: They either hold a press conference or issue a statement that essentially says, "WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, the truth hurts our wittle feelings!

Suxby Chambliss is one of my senators. Really-only-interested-in-playing-golf Chambliss, and I'm-staying-out-of-the-limelight-so-that-people-won't-know-I'm-just-a-seat-warmer Isakson keep getting re-elected by the same know nothings here. It's sickening.

Posted by: majii on December 7, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"...to help Americans afford to live a healthy life." The ultra-re-pukes don't care if we lead a healthy life; as long as they & theirs do so - screw the rest.

Posted by: sduffys on December 7, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously Saxby, Tom and John never learned a valuable lesson of how to get along and take criticism when they were taught to play in the sandbox with others in kindergarten! What a bunch of over-dressed tantrum throwers! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he was "personally offended" by the remarks [...] -- The Hill

Reid should issue the standard right-whinge-type "apology" -- I'm sorry Sen Coburn feels offended.

All the same, Rid must really be at the end of his tether if, even he, sounds like he's had enough of the "collegiality for collegiality's sake" crap and instead of taking back his words in haste dishes out more in the same vein. I blame it all on Grayson :)

Posted by: exlibra on December 7, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, during the Sunday session, Dick Durban began to read quotes from Republican senators in 1933, when Social Security was being debated.

Same old, same old. Fortunately I came to my senses, and put on a football game.

Posted by: DAY on December 7, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
majii@4:25: You can always tell when you've told the truth about republicans/conservatives in Congress: They either hold a press conference or issue a statement that essentially says, "WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, the truth hurts our wittle feelings!

Suxby Chambliss is one of my senators. Really-only-interested-in-playing-golf Chambliss, and I'm-staying-out-of-the-limelight-so-that-people-won't-know-I'm-just-a-seat-warmer Isakson keep getting re-elected by the same know nothings here. It's sickening.

This is true in a more general sense too:

"It's easier to get forgiveness for being wrong than forgiveness for being right"
Posted by: JTK on December 7, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

HINT: Telephone Surveys not that accurate in close polls.

NOTE: Telephone surveys only survey those with LAND LINES, twenty percent (20%). (According to ABC News May 9, 2009). USA Today citing the same US Goverment data said that generally about 15% of landline ownders do not receive phone calls on them, meaning " 35% of households — more than one in three — are basically reachable only on cells."

Also, older people tene to rely landlines rather than cells. So the data from polls uyou are receiving is from a older set of people.

When people see these polls, they should dig deeper and find out the median age of the people who took the survey.

Posted by: Kurt on December 7, 2009 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Better order up 40 fainting couches for the Senate GOP, and perhaps one more for Joe.

Posted by: Marko on December 7, 2009 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kudos to Reid's spokesman for keeping the focus on health care...

Posted by: Radha on December 7, 2009 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

[Comment deleted by moderator.]

Posted by: SteveAR on December 7, 2009 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kurt, @18:41,

Us older folks are the ones who still use the landlines; true. We are also the folks who can be depended on to hobble up (on our crutches) to the polls on election day, rain or shine. The sporty youngsters? Fair weather voters, most of them. I stood, "shilling for Dems", in front of the polls for several years now and, with the exception of '08 and the "Obama swell", the younger generation just doesn't seem to be too interested. So, for taking the "temperature" of the *voter* opinion, landlines are still reliable enough...

Posted by: exlibra on December 7, 2009 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

SteveAR:

It's impossible for a sentient follower of American politics to have missed the massive realignment of the Republican Party over the course of the 20th century. The Party of Lincoln that once freed the slaves literally traded places---policies, bastions, voters, even officials---with the Southern Democrats who once backed secession and slavery.

Everyone knows this. You know it. I know it. Everyone else commenting on this post knows it.

So stop being an obtuse jackass. I would ask that instead you make a constructive comment in good faith, but I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: mss on December 8, 2009 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

Republican consultant Ron Christie is pushing the latest Republican talking point: That Democrats are making a big mistake by not working more cooperatively with Republicans to achieve a bi-partisan reform bill and instead have decided to "go it alone" and ram something through that is acceptable only to the left.

Who is Christie trying to kid. This is a classic right wing reactionary rhetorical tactic: never support reform but never let yourself be seen as opposing popular reform either. Republicans were never interested in passing anything that to the rest of us even remotely resembled health care reform. But as Christie's talking points suggest, they also didn't want to be called the Party of No and blamed if it fails. So they try to pretend that Republicans are health reform's biggest fans -- really, no seriously, and its really the Democrats who stubbornly refuse to work cooperatively.

But any Democrat who tried to work cooperatively with Republicans on a health reform bill as Christie dishonestly suggests would get exactly zero for their troubles. Or, more likely, they would get a bill that was packaged as health reform but wasn't, just like the Republican's Healthy Forests legislation that let loggers clear-cut the national forests, or the GOP's Clean Skies initiative that let manufacturers pollute at will.

Posted by: Ted Frier on December 8, 2009 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

Two words: Dred Scott

Posted by: RZ on December 8, 2009 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Who is Christie trying to kid.

The so-called "liberal media." And, sadly, it's working.

Posted by: Gregory on December 8, 2009 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

ted: Republican consultant Ron Christie is pushing the latest Republican talking point: That Democrats are making a big mistake by not working more cooperatively with Republicans to achieve a bi-partisan reform bill


gop bi-partisanship circa 2004:

go f*ck yourself

how'd that work out?

Posted by: mr. irony on December 8, 2009 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

In defense of those who thought the 19th Amendment had to wait, World War I was going on at the time. Still, Wikipedia's comments on how it was passed ought to be required reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19th_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Posted by: Steaming Pile on December 8, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think the GOP is more interested in BUY partisan.

Posted by: Chris R on December 8, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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