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Paul Begala Absolutely Nails It 
13th-Sep-2009 08:58 am
Pastor Niemoller
A Sign of the Times by Paul Begala
(Emphasis mine)
The sign said it all. It was not some last-minute message some meth addict scrawled in crayon on a scrap of cardboard. No, this sign was professionally printed. White block letters on a blue background, the four-word message was in all caps. Someone had to have thought this through. Someone wrote it, edited it, planned it, designed it, ordered it, paid for it. Someone approved it, printed it, distributed it. And then someone thought this was a message he or she wanted to convey to the world. Thank goodness someone had the courage to take a photo of it, and then Huffington Post had the guts to post it on its home page.

The sign made me nauseous, made me embarrassed, made me wonder if at long last there is no decency on the far right. The sign said: BURY OBAMACARE WITH KENNEDY.

Oh, I get it. Sen. Kennedy is dead, and these slugs want health care reform to be dead too. That is so clever.

Fourteen days after Edward Kennedy was laid to rest in the company of his fellow American heroes in Arlington, right-wing hate-mongers decided to use his burial to make a cheap point about their opposition to health care reform.

What would they have done if liberals had printed signs that equated Ronald Reagan's burial with the hoped-for death of George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security? Or Bill Buckley's painful passing with the GOP's loss of the White House in 2008? Or the demise of my right-wing former colleague Bob Novak with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts? You can't imagine that, can you? Because, while we progressives have our moments of frustration and our occasional lack of couth, there is nothing I can think of that compares to the sick, savage sign that the teabaggers were waving in Washington.

The inmates have taken over the asylum. The ever-sunny Reagan is dead. The congenial Buckley is dead. The old-school conservative Novak is dead as well. In their place is the party of Joe the Shouter and Joe the Plumber and Sarah the Death Panel Screecher.

They hate Pres. Obama - even though he has bent over backwards to accommodate Republicans. They hate tax increases - even though the Democrats have cut taxes for 95% of Americans. They hate health care reform - even though Ted Kennedy fought his whole life to get them the same health care millionaires like him already had.

There was not, to my knowledge, a sign that said, "Let's Bury Medicare," even though Medicare is precisely the sort of single-payer, government-run, socialized health insurance the whack-jobs say they hate. Nor did I hear about a sign that said, "Let's Bury Tricare," although the military health system is as socialized as Britain's, its beneficiaries (including, according to Newsweek, Congressclown Joe Wilson of South Carolina) are very happy with their socialized health care. Nary a sign, so far as I know, decried the Bush prescription drug entitlement, even though it ballooned the deficit, enriched the pharmaceutical companies and furthered the supposed slide toward socialism. Nor, I'm told, were there any signs criticizing the $2 trillion Mr. Bush's unjust, unwarranted, unwise war in Iraq will cost our children and grandchildren. Nor ever a single sign about the Bush tax cuts, which helped squander the Clinton surplus. If this were about fiscal policy, the protests would have happened long ago.

These tea parties are, at least for some, more about hate than high-minded debate.
Anyone who needed proof need look no further than the sign captured in the photo on the front page of the Huffington Post.
13th-Sep-2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
I wish I could tell each and every one of the poor people being encouraged to shill for the drug companies that chances are they will get medical services far in excess of any tax increases they will face.
13th-Sep-2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Telling them doesn't matter. They neither believe it nor care. This is not a matter of facts but philosophy. And they are entitled to their wacky, counterproductive views. But let's not let them win!
13th-Sep-2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, basic beliefs - we (Canadians) believe universal health care is a right, and also sensible for the economy and as a matter of public health (like control of epidemics for instance), while a great many Americans believe it's a commodity and irrrelevant to the economy and not necessary for public health.

But it seems to me that people as above are engaging on an emotional level, not intellectual, and so the way to reach them is an emotional appeal. It is, after all, how the drug companies / spin masters reach them ... obviously not by using facts!
13th-Sep-2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
The problem there is the "not caring" half. They are so invested in their view that they genuinely don't care who dies or otherwise suffers on their account.

I have a libertarian friend, for example, who says that it doesn't matter what good social programs accomplish if they're unconstitutional. If they're unconstitutional, the government has no right to pursue them. And of course he maintains they're unconstitutional, despite the Supreme Court having said otherwise. His stated philosophical view is that government shouldn't be helping its citizens any more than necessary to protect them from violence, let alone saving them from themselves. In other words, to him, not only suicide but all drugs should be legal, and no regulation on workplaces or environmental protections. "If you don't want to work or live there, don't," is his view. "The market will determine everything."

The problem with that is . . . the current situation.
13th-Sep-2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I guess basically I see ignorant / uninformed people being swayed by an expensive media campaign, and I think, well if they can be swayed one way, why not the other ... what if some megaminister started preaching that caring for your fellow man was necessary for entrance into heaven, and the way to do it is through universal healthcare? equally evil I suppose.
13th-Sep-2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
"why not the other"? Because fear is easier than risk. Messages of caring will always be subject to cynical attack by fearmongers. This is why it's actually amazing the World has come as far as it has. Eventually, truth wins. It just takes an awfully long time.
13th-Sep-2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
If that tactic were going to work, it would have worked already. Socialist health care programs have been on display around the world for decades and they've made no impact on these peabrains.
13th-Sep-2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
I don't get the sensitivity. I don't see anything wrong with the sign, whereas I find calling political opponents "slugs" purely for their opposition to be offensive. I am disappointed in Paul Begala, though of course I agree with some of his points.

"Sick"? "Savage"? No. Strong, yes. Paul Begala needs to get out of the kitchen if he can't take the heat.
13th-Sep-2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
I honestly believe that a lot of the people protesting are either closet racists or happy seeing poor people "in their place".
13th-Sep-2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
What slays me is that a lot of the protesters are "poor people" themselves. Like a lot of Republicans in the last 30 years, they're actively campaigning against their own interests. Dumbshits.
14th-Sep-2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I think that it was Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann that said that the Republicans are becoming the party of stupidity, which is totally true. These people are reacting on base fear and I can guarantee you that if they actually educated themselves, they might find themselves surprised because they'd actually agree with what's being said.

Granted.. It's a might. I doubt it would ease the people who are "ZOMG IT'S SOCIALISM, NO FACISM" or the people who are objecting purely because it's a "uppity negro" suggesting it. Those people would just find another reason to bitch and moan.
13th-Sep-2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I posted this in liberal and liberal_talk. Some of the comments there may make your your head explode though. I did give you credit and a tip o' the hat too. Thanks for this post.
13th-Sep-2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding? When were we allowed to start criticizing Saint Ronnie?

Oh, that's right. He didn't screw around with women and have questionable legal associations. He just sold out his fellow actors in the SAG by giving away payment for rights, and left his first wife to marry Casting Couch Nancy when he knocked her up.
14th-Sep-2009 03:20 pm (UTC) - For the Least of These
I don't care who you are or your politics -- this nation is in a mess and needs help NOW. I'm sick of the hatred (yes, there are a tons of people who hate Obama because of the color of his skin.....it's time they admit it publicly). And it's so odd that the majority of those who don't want "Obamacare" are white, Republican, fat, ugly, and have a wad of cash in their back pocket to pay for their own care. We are totally screwed up.

A. Lewis
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