Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 21, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... I don't usually think of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island as an especially aggressive lawmaker, at least rhetorically. I've frequently been very impressed with Whitehouse, and appreciate his first-class intellect, but he's never seemed like a top choice to deliver a real stemwinder on the Senate floor.

But yesterday, Whitehouse didn't hold back, blasting Senate Republicans for their "desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear." He warned the GOP of a "day of judgment" by the electorate, which the senator said leaves Republicans "terrified."

Whitehouse added, "When it turns out there are no death panels, when there is no bureaucrat between you and your doctor, when the ways your health care changes seem like a good deal to you, and a pretty smart idea, when the American public sees the discrepancy between what really is, and what they were told by the Republicans, there will be a reckoning. There will come a day of judgment about who was telling the truth."

I'm almost tempted to ask, "Can I get a witness?"

Jillian Rayfield noted that Whitehouse "began his monologue by quoting 1950s intellectual Richard Hofstadter, warning that a right-wing minority could create 'a political environment in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.'" The senator went on to say, "The malignant and vindictive passions that have descended on the Senate are busily creating just such a political climate."

(It appears that some on the right are throwing a fit about the speech, but their complaints are misguided.)

First, Senate Republicans turn Evan Bayh into a proud Democratic partisan, then Senate Republicans turn the usually-staid Sheldon Whitehouse into a Scripture-citing firebrand.

Works for me.

Steve Benen 4:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Politifact did, after all, name "death panels" its Lie of the Year.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 21, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well the day of the reckoning came Nov 7 2006 and again Nov 7 2008. The way Dems are screwing things up, Nov 7 2010 will the day of reckon not.

Posted by: Dale on December 21, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

The video link isn't working. Try the one below...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAHJt5b5Ex4

Posted by: joejoejoe on December 21, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK
It appears that some on the right are throwing a fit about the speech...

Cry me a river.

Posted by: a different phil on December 21, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! I want to buy that guy a drink. Screw it, I'll buy him the whole bar!! Finally, someone who says what I've been thinking all along. Party time!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon on December 21, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Liberals seem to be under the impression that health care reform will be like a new entititlement, and that Republicans will run against it at their own peril -- as was the case with Social Security reform in 2005. And they may be right, but not until this monstrous bill actually goes into effect some time in 2013. Which means that for the next four years, Republicans will be able to say whatever they want about the health care reforms that were passed but won't come into effect for years. Republicans will be able to come up with another "death panel" every week," - Michael Goldfarb, Weekly Standard.

Posted by: Lets Just Make It UP on December 21, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Per Ezra Klein's rebuttal, Steve, I think this was one of the most apropos comments (not mine) on his site:

This conclusion is the essence of why you and Jane are talking past each other. Jane is comparing the bill to an ideal bill- though it's not clear to me why the simple addition of a public option or Medicare buy-in suddenly makes it that much closer to ideal- while Ezra is comparing it to the status quo. Jane, despite her talk of alliances with the right-wing, isn't saying don't do health care, she's saying start over and make it more ideal. Ezra is saying if you don't pass this, you're not getting the ideal, you're getting nothing for another 20 years. It's a political question, not a policy question.

Posted by: Balakirev on December 21, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

the baselessness of the republican lies do not magically make a bad bill into a good one. Hard right partisans will still be sure that the black helicopters are overhead. Meanwhile the middle will watch as they are forced to buy insurance with exploding premiums while getting nothing in return because they are dropped from coverage (but not paying for coverage!) the moment they get anything the insurance companies don't feel like paying for.

Oh and the left is pissed because after 70 years the dems decided the insurance companies were more important than sick americans.

A trifecta of suck.

Posted by: Tlaloc on December 21, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

A trifecta of suck.

Posted by: Tlaloc on December 21, 2009

***

You might help yourself by getting even a teensy bit of knowledge of the legislation.

Posted by: sue on December 21, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"You might help yourself by getting even a teensy bit of knowledge of the legislation. "

Like what? What exactly is there you think is going to help? Toothless regulations that will at best be enforced just half the time (when dems are in office and even that's a stretch)? A huge hand out to the insurance companies with a cost +15% structure that does nothing to contain costs but provides for unlimited profit margins?

By all means please show me how this bill is not the worst of all worlds, I'd love to hear it 9assuming it isn't just blowing smoke).

Posted by: Tlaloc on December 21, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, 'cause that'll happen. It doesn't matter how many positive changes this bill creates, all people will focus on is the areas in which it fails because that's all the Republicans and the left wingnuts will talk about for the next decade or so.

Posted by: Freddie on December 21, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Don't just talk. Do something effective. Use the nuclear option or other parliamentary procedure to end the filibuster. All it take is 50 votes plus Biden. If there aren't 50 votes for real reform of health care, financial system/banks, joc creation, etc., -- then forget it for the next 8 -12 years.

Posted by: gdb on December 21, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

all well and good except for Whitehouse being wrong. republicans will have the last laugh when Americans see the golden goose obama and the democrats have made for insurance companies out of Americans' hard labor.

obama has managed to lose the center and the base in one fell swoop by being sniveling. Everyone knows that except the blinded-by-the-light obamafans.

Posted by: yup on December 21, 2009 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Get rid of the Senate, and many of our problems will also disappear.

Posted by: rRk1 on December 21, 2009 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

yup and Tlalok: Tits or GTFO.

Posted by: absent observer on December 22, 2009 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

(It appears that some on the right are throwing a fit about the speech

Yeah, they don't like being called what they really are. Goddamned Nazi and Southern Confederate traitors.

I've been recently reading Antony Beevor's "D-Day," where one discovers the nice fact that the Waffen-SS scum mostly didn't make it into captivity, being shot out of hand on capture.

Too bad we can't apply the same standards to the current scum.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 22, 2009 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Steve (and anyone else who's interested):

Check out this sociologist's paper on Authoritarians. http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Free download. Fun read. Telling analysis of the GOP.

Posted by: absent observer on December 22, 2009 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Steve (and anyone else who's interested):

Check out this sociologist's paper on Authoritarians. http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Free download. Fun read. Telling analysis of the GOP.

Posted by: absent observer on December 22, 2009 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Steve (and anyone else who's interested):

Check out this sociologist's paper on Authoritarians. http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

Free download. Fun read. Telling analysis of the GOP.

Posted by: absent observer on December 22, 2009 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Whitehouse makes a great point. Everything that the Republicans have been saying about health care reform has been a LIE. Pure and simple LIE. And when people realize that, it will not be pretty for the Republicans.

The Republicans are no longer a serious political party. They are nothing but obstructionists who will tell any lie they can think of in order to stop the progress that people overwhelmingly voted for in 2008.

Posted by: marvin on December 22, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I just re-watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington and I couldn't believe how much the congressional scenes in that movie reminded me of what is going on now. The sad thing is that in today's climate, Mr Smith would not have won because no one in the Republican senatorial delegation would have ever broken down and admitted they were wrong (which is how the movie ends with Mr Smith's senior colleague admitting that he was at fault).

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