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September 13, 2011 8:00 AM The candidates weren’t the only ones on display

By Steve Benen

The point of presidential candidate debates is to offer the public a chance to scrutinize and evaluate those seeking national office. Occasionally, though, voters get the chance to scrutinize and evaluate those in the audience, which is nearly as interesting.

The candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination are a pretty scary bunch — remember, one of them stands a reasonably good chance of becoming the leader of the free world in about 17 months — and the two-hour display on CNN last night was a depressing reminder of what’s become of the GOP in the 21st century. That said, maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to find the audiences for these debates even more disconcerting.

Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical scenario to Ron Paul, asking about a young man who makes a good living, but decides to forgo health insurance. Then, tragedy strikes and he needs care. Paul stuck to the libertarian line. “But congressman,” the moderator said, “are you saying that society should just let him die?”

And at that point, some in the audience shouted, “Yeah,” and applauded.

Earlier in the debate, Blitzer asked Rick Perry about his attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. “I said that, if you are allowing the Federal Reserve to be used for political purposes, that it would be almost treasonous,” Perry said. “I think that is a very clear statement of fact.”

The audience loved this, too.

What’s more, note that in last week’s debate, the mere observation that Perry has signed off on the executions of 234 people in Texas, more than any other governor in modern times, was enough to generate applause from a different GOP audience.

Taken together, over the last five days, we’ve learned that the way to impress Republican voters, at least the ones who show up for events like these, is to support letting the uninsured die, accusing the Fed of treason for trying to improve the economy, and executing lots of people.

There’s a deep strain of madness running through Republican politics in 2011, and it appears to be getting worse. Those wondering why the GOP presidential field appears weak, insipid, and shallow need look no further than the voters they choose to pander to.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • DMH on September 13, 2011 8:06 AM:

    Not only is it disturbing, but we must not forget that those attending Presidental debates aren't just people off the street but the GOP elite. These are people sufficiently politically connected to be invited to the debate. Imagine what positions the less "sophisticated" Republican support might harbor.

  • c u n d gulag on September 13, 2011 8:06 AM:

    "Those wondering why the GOP presidential field appears weak, insipid, and shallow need look no further than the voters they were choose to pander to."

    And yet, they stand a fairly good chance to win in 2012.

    If I had money, I'd open up a website that sold only two things:
    Brown shirts and Stormtrooper boots.

    I'd make a fortune!

  • Danp on September 13, 2011 8:08 AM:

    For a party that virtually always votes unanimously in Congress, they sure have a lot of debates. I don't think primary voters are looking for new ideas, so much as entertaining hyperbole.

  • Tashal on September 13, 2011 8:09 AM:

    Uninsured. Wolf specifically said the guy was uninsured. The audience was cheering letting an uninsured man die.

    Not "the insured."

    They after all have insurance and would have their bill covered until the insurance company kicks them off for nonpayment of premiums because the guy is in a comma for 6 months. Then the subject in question is uninsured and he should be allowed to die.

  • j on September 13, 2011 8:11 AM:

    What a sad bunch of people, is this what America has become, the democrats must work hard in the next election or we are doomed.

  • steve on September 13, 2011 8:13 AM:

    This is spot on. Too often the media focuses on candidates rather than the electorate they are representing. These shallow, mean-spirited, and ignorant candidates didn't come out of nowhere... they are a direct reflection of the people they are representing.

  • DAY on September 13, 2011 8:16 AM:

    Playing now, on a TeeVee screen near you:

    "Fort Sumpter Now, Redux".

  • MsJoanne on September 13, 2011 8:18 AM:

    Pick up a copy of The Sociopath Next Door, which discusses the vast number of Americans who have no concept of other people, not in a serial killer kind of way (very few Sociopaths actually kill other people) but in an emotional connection to other humans kind of way. They have no consideration for other people because other people simply don't matter. They aren't trying to be assholes, they just are; it's innate.

    And there you have it. This is your GOP and its followers, they are The Sociopaths Next Door.

    And it is absolutely terrifying that these people want to govern to impact other peoples lives.

  • lou on September 13, 2011 8:23 AM:

    cartels come to mind ... Columbian and Mexican cartels

    democracy is most definitely on the descent in the US

  • Live Free or Die on September 13, 2011 8:29 AM:

    These people are psycho. These are the type of people who are only happy when they see people suffer.

  • rrk1 on September 13, 2011 8:31 AM:

    The idea of the Rethugs eating their own is appealing. Certainly the gloves-off tactics of last night's 'debate' violates what had been a sacrosanct Republican commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. Conservative purity requires no deviation from extremism, and it's fun to watch them drive each other into very tight corners.

    Beyond that, the two audience reactions (applauding executions, and wanting an uninsured person to die), whose members are hardly rank-and-file, goes well beyond insanity, anarchy, or even mass psychosis such as the German swoon with fascism. Certainly it is the repudiation of anything even remotely Christian, a faith worn on the sleeve by so many on the right. It is pure and simple nihilism. The destruction of civilization and the assertion of the law of the jungle.

    At least now these lumpen Republicans are telling us what they really think. As if we didn't already know. Aren't these the people who routinely preach about a breakdown of morality, and a lack of values in this country?

    Captcha is having a seizure.

  • martin on September 13, 2011 8:32 AM:

    It's been a long time since I was a healthy 30-year old, can they really get major medical health insurance for $200-$300 a month like Blitzer says?

  • RLinMass on September 13, 2011 8:39 AM:

    Steve, you've discussed the disturbing evidence of Perry's dangerously poor critical thinking skills, and here's an even more basic example.

    Swingin' Dick (can we start calling him Dick just for fun?) Perry doesn't even know what a "fact" is.

    "Blitzer asked Rick Perry about his attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. 'I said that, if you are allowing the Federal Reserve to be used for political purposes, that it would be almost treasonous,' Perry said. 'I think that is a very clear statement of fact.'"

    That thar's a "hypothetical", cowboy. Not a "fact". See that "if"?

    He's got a right wingnut's typical trouble with the differences among policy disagreement, partisanship, deriliction of office, and treason, too.

  • Zorro on September 13, 2011 8:40 AM:

    I, for one, welcome our new barbarian overlords.

    Sigh,
    -Z

  • Live Free or Die on September 13, 2011 8:41 AM:

    Yes, that debate was good. I like how Bachman said, "can I add something?" The she dropped a nuke down Perry's throat. She accused him of taking bribes from a drug company in exchange for campaign contributions.

  • stevio on September 13, 2011 8:42 AM:

    Not only will Perry win, but this country, which has been in steep decline for over a decade,will continue to do so. People elect politicians. Those in the audience are just the tip of the berg. Obama has done little but feed the flames. His "hands-off" manner has alienated a large portion of progressives who feel helpless with his tackless meanderings.

    His speeches are often home runs. Unfortunately he often strikes-out with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

    No one is more depressed with this reality than me. He has fostered a new era where war criminals feel free to flaunt their crimes on mainstream TV (including david Letterman).

    Why would applause and shouts of "let them die" surprise anyone given such an environment? I surly am not.

    Nauseating...

  • Brenna on September 13, 2011 8:46 AM:

    I didn't watch the debate, but I read some blogging. I like how the candidates are beating up on Perry. It sounds like he was thrown for a loop last night.

    Personally, I like how the audience is responding. It shows a clear contrast between dems and republicans. But we don't need Obama mucking it up by cutting the entitlement programs right before the election.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on September 13, 2011 8:50 AM:

    I expect that if one of these lunatics gets elected we will get a Kristallnacht for the poor. Work camps . That will take care of the 'poor" and uninsured.

    Where is this country headed?

  • slappy magoo on September 13, 2011 8:55 AM:

    What I found interesting was the phrasing of Wolf's hypothetical. The man he was describing, was healthy and able to afford insurance but chose not to do so because he didn't think he'd need it. A real grasshopper v. ant scenario, and for those who like to think people who fail to plan therefore plan to fail, I'm saddened but not surprised by the audience thinking the guy should be left to die, hoping that someone on that stage will articulate their bloodlust.

    Now, I'm not saying the audience would feel the same way had Wolf presented a different hypothetical, that of a man who doesn't have a job or who makes so little he can't afford a place to live AND food AND insurance month to month. It's very possible they wouldn't want THAT guy to die, though they wouldn't want the government to be the one to save him, either. I just wonder why Wolf wouldn't choose to present that scenario, as THAT'S a much more common scenario, not just a hypothetical but something that happens every damn day all over the country. Something "Obamacare" addresses, and it's a safety net every GOP candidate wants to dismantle.

    "fun" fact: When I was first eligible for insurance in a job, I was so broke I kept putting it off until I could catch up to my debt. Wound up getting a kidney stone attack. Didn't know that's what it was at the time. Thought I was dying. Went to the ER. Cost me over 1100 dollars. Got insurance as soon as I went back to work.

  • QuestionEverything on September 13, 2011 9:09 AM:

    It's a Perfect Storm of Ignorance.

    It involves the Fox Network that indoctrinates the willfully ignorant with lies, misinformation, fear, simple and easily digestible information, pretty pictures, and manipulated by fear, anger, faux-patriotism of the simple-minded, ignorant group of people who suspect lies but refuse to check their 'facts' because they are indoctrinated to fear information from other sources (liberals could be lying to you even if they can prove what they are saying with facts) even if these sources are credible or non-partisan.

    Those indoctrinated constituents vote for politicians who not only represent these dipshits but lack sane, informed, credible leadership. They do this based on what they are told to do by the Right Wing. They are conditioned not to think for themselves but to look to these people to tell them what their opinions are.


    I saw this recently, first hand, in a recent town hall meeting with my US congressman (a tea party member in a 'red' congressional district) who fed them misinformation and manipulated them to think a certain way. A way of thinking that was only reinforcing what was already there from watching Fox and who knows what other misinformation sources (Rush, Hannity, Drudge, NRO).

    This same congressman is expected to support fear-mongering, manipulation, irresponsible and reckless behavior (see GOP-induced Debt Ceiling 'crisis') because not only does a majority of their constituency expect that un-American behavior but their leadership (Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, et al) expects and reinforces this crazy behavior, manipulation for political purpose, lying and acting with impunity.

    Then you have the linchpin keeping it together, the complicit MSM who is terrified of appearing 'partisan, liberal, or one-sided' which might hurt their so-called 'credibility.' They not only allow the Right Wing to lie, act irresponsibly, and so on but enable it with false equivalency stories/memes.

    No one is holding GOP members accountable for their lies, actions, or otherwise and so they continue to lie and manipulate stupid people who actually want to be stupid. It's crazy. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it first hand.

    How do you un-indoctrinate people who refuse to change or think? I'm not even expecting them to take my point of view, I just want them to get their facts straight and hold their news sources accountable for false information and their political leadership for their actions and for what they say.

    This is America, right?

  • ComradeAnon on September 13, 2011 9:12 AM:

    I must have missed the part of the question where Wolf says the uninsured person was a Mesican. Or maybe he said he said he was black.

  • Marc on September 13, 2011 9:15 AM:

    There are two issues here, the sentiments expressed and the way they were expressed.
    Calling out and shouting at a debate is like watching a wrestling match - and the analogy holds for the spectacle on the stage too I think - and says something about how we view these contests.

    The other issue is the underlying premises that are being discussed. There is a major debate going on in the country about individual vs collective responsibility.

    What is the responsibility of the person who makes a bad choice that may cause us (the community) to expend a large number of resources (including money) to help that person avoid the consequences of that choice?

    To use a local example. Every year in Vermont skiers choose to go off the trails into the woods, where they get lost and can't get back. Search and rescue teams are dispatched to find them. This costs money. Should the individual be responsible for this cost?

    It is true, that the event - getting lost - might be seen as more in the person's control than falling ill - but the choice made is what causes the cost to fall to the community.

    I don't think the sentiment expressed by the audience was outside the realm of current debate.

  • Tim on September 13, 2011 9:16 AM:

    Teabagger/Teapublicans are sickening bloodthirsty monsters.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 13, 2011 9:18 AM:

    I can't believe anybody is surprised by any of this. If you are, you simply haven't been paying attention. I don't associate willingly with people like this, but I know of plenty of people who have these views. They're all "Christians."

    If anyone of you is surprised by any of this, then you simply don't know what a grave situation this country is in. And I think in a very deep way, Democrats as a whole and certainly those responsible for determining campaign strategy are not aware just how deep this danger runs. They see the Tea-hadists and think it ends there. It doesn't. And it's almost certainly a result of allowing Republicans for the last 20+ years tear down government (and anything not involving that sainted rugged individual of Ayn Rand) without any pushback -- hell, Democrats join in the stupidity by buying the idiocy of "free" markets, de-regulation, etc.

    It's not surprising at all. What's surprising is that it is surprising to some.

  • Thrax on September 13, 2011 9:21 AM:

    Slappy is right, and I'm sure how this will be explained away--the audience would have been full of tender concern if the guy in the hypo had been poor. But it doesn't make sense. It's not like a hospital can run a means test before it gives you lifesaving treatment, nor can it decide who has "chosen" to forgo health insurance and who simply couldn't afford it. The idea of anyone making that decision--government or private actors--is chilling.

    It was a dumb question that managed to obscure the real issues: making insurance available to those who need it and can't afford it, and finding ways to convince those who choose to forgo insurance that they should, in fact, purchase it (thereby keeping medical costs down). The ACA addresses those problems; all of the GOP candidates say they want to repeal the ACA, and none has proposed anything meaningful to replace it. That's the issue. Don't expect Blitzer to ask about it.

  • neil b on September 13, 2011 9:23 AM:

    ComradeAnon, the Republican shtick is about despising any at all who aren't part of their just-dominance club, it's not just about racism.

    Marc: It's a valid question, how much to do for people but the stark indulgence in just letting such a person die (instead of e.g. requiring a long-term payback program of some percent of earnings etc) shows pathology. The same thing for rescues: sure, bill them for something, but letting them die is barbaric.

  • KurtRex1453 on September 13, 2011 9:24 AM:

    Let's not forget this scenario has already happened, GOP Gov Jan Brewer let two people die when she cut off organ transplant funds for the poor last Year. here's the CBS news link: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20027668-10391704.html. AND remember she also wanted to cut 280,000 people off Medicaid to pay for corporate tax cuts but may have to settle for 100,000 if the latest reports from Phoenix are correct.

    What is wrong with these people?

  • just bill on September 13, 2011 9:26 AM:

    i just loved this quote from rick perry:

    "You may criticize me about the way I went about it," he said, "but at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life."

    yeah, rick, except for those sleezy convicts, right?


    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/09/12/123923/perry-romney-duel-on-social-security.html#ixzz1Xq3vPLyz

  • T-Rex on September 13, 2011 9:26 AM:

    Soooooo -- mandating insurance and fining those who don't have it is fascist gummint meddling in the free market. Not mandating insurance and imposing a de facto death sentence on those who don't have it -- that's American Freedom. Thanks for clearing that up, GOP.

  • zandru on September 13, 2011 9:30 AM:

    Political Circus

    When the President referred to the political circus in DC, it occurred to me that it's more like the Circus Maximus than Barnum & Bailey. The Republicoid yahoos confirm it.

  • Peter C on September 13, 2011 9:43 AM:

    It is their fear that makes them vicious. They know, deep down, that they are being overtaken by the rest of the world and that their government serves the wealthy of the world more than the entirety of the country and honors Rupert Murdoch more than his reporters. They feel that their only chance is to claw their way up (throwing other bodies behind them) and they can't conceive of helping themselves through helping others. Still, they know that they are not well enough connected to gain the most from aid distributed in a crony-based system, so they hate all aid. They cannot conceive of anything other than a zero-sum-gain world and the Republican are more than happy to play on their fears and feeling that they are getting only the crumbs,even though the Republicans are notorious for their promotion of crony-capitalism.

    I used to think that our one saving grace in this situation was the fact that they hate being lied to. Sadly, the media steadfastly refuses to point out the myriad and blatant lies of the Republican party. Meanwhile, the Republicans have been allowed to create an isolated communications channel designed to feed their fears and foster their hate and to trumpet (unchallenged) their half-truths and sparcely substantiated misinformation. They hear only lies from FOX and at best he-said-she-said equivocation from those who still are held up as respectable journalists.

  • Zorro on September 13, 2011 9:45 AM:

    This is America, right?

    Nope. Anyone who was born since 1980 has grown up in the United States of Jesusland. Well, to quote Rodney Anonymous (Dead Milkmen- look 'em up), I f**cking hate the United States of Jesusland.

    -Z

  • SWENXOF on September 13, 2011 9:45 AM:

    Brenna on September 13, 2011 8:46 AM:

    I didn't watch the debate, but I read some blogging. I like how the candidates are beating up on Perry. It sounds like he was thrown for a loop last night.

    I particularly liked this:

    GOP strategist Mike Murphy wrote on Twitter: "Listening to Perry try to a put a complicated policy sentence together is like watching a chimp play with a locked suitcase."

  • zandru on September 13, 2011 9:47 AM:

    slappy magoo suggests that the audience might not have cheered the death of "a man who doesn't have a job or who makes so little he can't afford a place to live AND food AND insurance month to month."

    I disagree. In my experience, this is the kind of guy they'd believe is MOST deserving of death. He doesn't have a good paying job? Well, he's a lazy slacker. He should have educated himself for an occupation that paid more and had medical insurance. Is he supporting a family? The fool - he should have kept it in his pants. Couldn't afford food? Yeah, the guy's probably obese. Like he even needs more food.

    And on it would go. The victim is always responsible, due to some of his own personal failings. He deserves what he gets. Maybe more. If it were made illegal, the government could punish him, too.

    I agree with everyone else who has noted how this doesn't at all fit with what we think of as "Christian" philosophy.

  • SadOldVet on September 13, 2011 9:48 AM:

    Last night's debate was also an embarassing display of what CNN has become!

    Ted Turner must be prematurely rolling over in his grave over what he created as a real news network and that is now trying to Out-Fox the Faux News Network.

  • blondie on September 13, 2011 10:02 AM:

    Off-topic a little, but reflective of the audience:

    I served on my HOA board for the past six years. This past weekend we had our annual meeting, and our entire board got replaced. Turns out a few of our neighborhood teabaggers mounted a surreptitious campaign to get themselves elected, complete with lies, exaggerations and promises to "cut taxes" (i.e., our annual road fees). They want to sell off our recreation area (which they can't do), abandon our road system for the state to take responsibility for (yeah, right!), and dissolve the HOA (again, which they can't do).

    This is how far and how deep the poison is spreading.

  • Left Wing Conservative on September 13, 2011 10:08 AM:

    I thought Wolf's hypothetical about the uninsured young man with a job was very interesting because that young man is exactly the person who would be forced to have insurance or pay a penalty under the ACA mandate...frankly, I wouldn't be crazy about having to use my tax dollars to pay for his health care either after he refused to insure himself when he could. It was an odd way for Wolf to ask about the uninsured and the audience response could be seen as huge support for the mandate! Go ACA!

  • jjm on September 13, 2011 10:11 AM:

    Now we know what George A. Romero was trying to tell us about!

    Yikes!

    GOP= Ghoul Party

  • Gita on September 13, 2011 10:12 AM:

    I tune in to see Rick Perry's hair.

  • Monala on September 13, 2011 10:35 AM:

    Note that these are the same folks who screamed, "Racism!" because some of the NAACP audience chuckled when Shirley Sherrod shared that she considered not helping a white man who had come to her for help because of his condescending attitde.* So a brief thought of not helping someone (and a follow-up of referring the same someone to a white lawyer for help) is the worst thing imaginable, but letting someone die is OK.

    * Oh yes, and what the NAACP audience cheered for? When she said that she learned that her racism was wrong, that she needed to help people in need no matter what their color.

  • Bbell on September 13, 2011 10:41 AM:

    "There’s a deep strain of madness running through Republican politics in 2011..."

    Deep and widespread. I am not optimistic about this country's future.

  • jimmiraybob on September 13, 2011 10:48 AM:

    Agape in action.

    Don't forget, many....most....all(?) of these people - these base - long for the day when sinners (i.e., liberals, welfare recipients, and apparently people who just make bad choices like not carrying insurance) will start their eternal torment swimming in a lake of molten brimstone.

    They rejoiced when JFK and Bobby were assassinated, they cheered when college students were murdered at Kent State, they revere Old Testament slaughter and genocide, they high-fived when Paul Wellstone's plane went down, they supported Beck and his hatred of 911 victims' families.

    These are not well people. This is Limbaugh's America.

  • Keeping Track on September 13, 2011 10:56 AM:

    The Southern Strategy has become the takeover by the Confederacy. History is not without a sense of irony.

  • Dean on September 13, 2011 10:58 AM:

    Replace 'man' with 'Jew' and it is the highlight of the 1930's.

  • jimmiraybob on September 13, 2011 11:04 AM:

    "There�s a deep strain of madness running through Republican politics in 2011, and it appears to be getting worse."

    There's always been a deep strain of madness running through America, usually buried well below the fold, it's just found a grand old place to gather and picnic and a media that loves them some ratings at the expense of a nation.

    I am remiss in not mentioning that these are the people - the base - that shouted jeers at black children being escorted to school by armed National Guard, they were pleased by the "accidental" death of three civil rights workers, they attended lynchings of blacks as if it were a picnic, and, of course, they were the happy ones when MLK was assassinated. They were offended by decency then and they are offended by decency now.

    This base is not a new breed. For a while America could subdue them.

    They hate the Yankee and the liberal. And this is their time.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 13, 2011 11:29 AM:

    And these people are almost certainly aware that their time is rapidly coming to a close. If they don't clean up in the 2012 elections, trends in demographics are almost certainly going to catch up with them. That's one of the reasons they're so vicious and adamant right now. The time frame for realizing their long, unrequited love affair for killing the New Deal, the Great Society, the EPA, etc., is coming to a close. They have one last chance and then demographics and the certainty that reason and science will catch up and defeat them.

    We have to hold on, and despite anybody's disillusionment caused by mistakes of the Obama team, we have to work our butts off Obama and Democrats elected in 2012. If that happens this scare will be mostly over.

  • Goldilocks on September 13, 2011 12:22 PM:

    Pure Darwinism - which is strange for people who don't get along well with Darwin.

  • President Lindsay on September 13, 2011 12:40 PM:

    The sociopaths aren't just voters but they're a part of the party machinery. How else could you get some psycho to dream up the idea of raffling off a Glock handgun to raise money for the party in Gabby Giffords' district, then get the local party machine to not just entertain the idea but to actually go out and do it, and advertise the fact. (Gabby was shot with a Glock.) The sickness runs deep in the party, and way too deep in the country.

  • The3Bears on September 13, 2011 1:30 PM:

    anybody else choking on the irony that they reject evolution as scientific theory but embrace social darwinism as policy?

  • sad on September 13, 2011 1:50 PM:

    For being the party that professes to be Christian, they sure aren't very christian when they applaud people dying because they don't have health insurance. I just don't get it.

  • sally ledoux on September 13, 2011 1:56 PM:

    captcha got me

  • Daniel Kim on September 13, 2011 1:58 PM:

    So, the victim in the Parable of the Good Samaritan should have decided to stay off the road to Jericho. His decision put him at risk, and his luck ran out. To some degree, a situation can always be described in a way that puts the responsibility on the victim, justifying the decision of passers-by to let the victim suffer the consequences.

    The parable is Jesus' answer to the question "Who is my neighbor?", asked by an 'expert in the law'. The expert wished to establish the limits of his obligation to love his neighbor to inherit eternal life. The parable suggests that the obligation to love and show mercy extends to any who are in need, regardless of their level of relationship. Since Jews were to have no dealings with Samaritans, there could be no familial or national relationship between the victim and his benefactor, so the limit of obligation extends even to those with no relationship at all.

    Jesus, responding to the law experts' answer that the law says to love God and love ones' neighbor, said "Do this and you will live." The implication for Jews and Christians is that to fail to do these things is to not live (eternally).

    It is very sad that such people are so visible to the public as Christians. It dishonors God and Christ to do so, and there will be a reckoning. As for this country; we may be in for a very rough time soon, if people aren't turned around. As Adam Gopnik wrote recently, on an entirely different subject:

    "'Oh, they always say that about the barbarians, but every generation has its barbarians, and every generation assimilates them,' one Roman reassured another when the Vandals were at the gates, and next thing you knew there wasn’t a hot bath or a good book for another thousand years."

    How long before Rick Perry reveals his plan for gaining 'lebensraum' by invading Mexico?

  • Daniel Kim on September 13, 2011 2:13 PM:

    Aaarrhh! I'm sorry. It pains me, but I have to apologize for the crack about Rick Perry and invading Mexico. It just slipped out, and I probably should have just kept it in my head.

  • thezendiaperbjobotts on September 13, 2011 5:08 PM:

    It's their basic premise of government vs our's. WE the People got together and formed this government, then decided to have these programs as a social safety net to protect the general welfare of all. The GOP believe government is some alien being taking over our nation and preventing them from doing whatever the hell they want. Government is bad and they are out to destroy it only to replace it with an arm of complete control by the most powerful and wealthy.

    Obama and the dems are out to uphold the belief that our democracy is beneficial to all and the government is extremely helpful and represents the collective will of the people to protect and ensure the welfare of its members...together. This is the sickest group of self serving selfish short sided sociopaths ever collected under one banner...the GOP. They must not be allowed to gain political office at any level or it will be the end of our Great Democracy.

    All republicans can do is block real solutions just to gain political power which always leads to failure and worse conditions in every area they touch. They have proven they would start a war, destroy an economy, collapse a failing infrastructure and let the sick, disabled and elderly die...just to gain power or win an election. They have become the worst of Americans.

  • thezendiaper on September 13, 2011 5:45 PM:

    The nature of God is Love. The greatest of commandments were to love God and to love our neighbors according to Jesus. The right wingers believe the nature of God is righteousness for they love to judge and condemn and this is their justification. I suppose Jesus is mentioned just to show their hypocrisy but religion has nothing to do with the morality and practicality of ensuring the welfare of this nation's people in this democracy. We do this to remain united and connected to each other.

    This GOP audience and their candidates have all lost their sense of community and come 2012 will be swept from government where their plotting will continue to no avail. The more they are exposed the more they are rejected.

  • Crissa on September 13, 2011 7:01 PM:

    $300 a month is like a quarter of what some 20-something would make every month. That $300 would pay for phone, water, power, and cable (internet) for someone. It's about half of what I've always had to pay for rent.

    It's not a trivial amount. And it wouldn't cover the medicine that the doctor would then prescribe, or the non-covered treatment for pneumonia like I had this spring (and we have better than that; it's rated as costing $750 a month).

    The cost to benefit ratio would be very, very low.

  • toowearyforoutrage on September 14, 2011 2:10 PM:

    Slappy Magoo touched on it and Left Wing Conservative finished it off.

    The bloodlust was tinged with a love of poetic justice. Some dink decides to take chance that Joe Taxpayer saves his life in the Republican public option: the emergency room.

    To Paul and the audience's credit, this public health policy really blows and I can't entirely fault them for despising it so. If people died from lack of health insurance, more would find a way to get it. (Assuming the ban on rescission isn't lifted by the GOP. If they do that, going without is a rational decision.)

    The current system combines the cruelty of a private system with the expense of a public one in the worst possible way. We treat people at public expense when the condition is a lot worse and tougher to treat than it would have been had the uninsured received care quickly.


    I disagree with Thrax, though. Paramedics rifling a victim's body for his wallet and checking for an insurance card is all the means-test they'll need in the Republican utopia of the future.
    As for convincing the uninsured to get a policy, Paul's death sentence would likely work for some of them. It's draconian, but effective. (If not AS effective as the ACA, but whereare we to find self-righteous schdenfreude in saving everybody?)

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