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Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’

Here’s a major reason why the Republicans are still a viable party: they don’t mind getting loud. They’re willing to flagrantly lie out loud, while also making a huge production out of insignificant and contradictory nonsense that heretofore was never even considered to be a political trespass — shamelessly and unapologetically amplifying it all to a level of noise that forces the press and voters alike to pay attention.

The Democrats could learn a thing or two about this. More presently.

For all of their faults, the Republicans are absolutely using the whole political animal, so to speak. Like an ancient tribe of hunter-gatherers, they’re somehow able to butcher every carcass and turn all of the lies, gaffes and misstatements into something useful. Something that will command attention. Put another way, the Republican strategy seems to be: there’s no such thing as bad press, so get loud.

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin appeared in Nashville at the Tea Party convention and while criticizing the president for using a teleprompter — a device that all politicians, presidents and TV personalities have used since the technology was first invented — she had the words “tax cuts” scrawled on her hand or else there was a chance she might forget.

A Republican who might forget to say “tax cuts” is like a preacher who might forget to say “Jesus Christ.” But there she was. The leader of the Republican Party — so ill-prepared, so incapable of even the most basic political skills that she had to write a secret crib sheet on her hand to help her remember to say “tax cuts.” Say nothing of the fact that Miss Drill-Baby-Drill had to write “energy” on her hand also.

In her defense, I understand Lincoln had to write “slavery” and “Civil War” on his hand so he wouldn’t forget. So there’s that.

And yet the Republicans don’t mind getting loud about it. She’s just like regular folks, they say. She’s just like you, they say. This makes her qualified to be president, they say. (The Republicans are even loud about repeating colossal mistakes. Even after George W. Bush nearly destroyed the Republican brand, they’re doubling down on the stupid by elevating Sarah Palin. Just remarkable.)

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There appears to be a simple two-pronged strategy for killing health care reform.

One of those prongs involves, of course, delaying reform until it’s too late. If it’s not passed by the end of the year, there won’t be the political balls to do so because of the fast approaching 2010 midterms when members of Congress will be much more focused on raising money (health care industry money) and pandering to voters.

Another reason for delaying health care reform is it gives the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats plenty of extra time to inject their special cocktail of mind-bending crazy into the discourse and make it stick, furthering both the current delay while also eroding any voter impetus to pick up the issue again after the midterms. That’d be prong number two.

Not a single dose of the aforementioned “mind-bending crazy” actually holds up when run through even the most cursory fact-checking scrutiny, and, in every statement, the obstructionists trafficking in these lies further underscore their already obvious contradictions and ideological hypocrisy.

Regarding the latter, I can’t recall, for example, this degree of nipple-twisting from Republicans and Blue Dogs about spending and fiscal responsibility when the Bush administration was pitching a blank check invasion and occupation of Iraq on the heels of invading Afghanistan — all during a recession — while also passing a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest one percent the year before.

Yet affordable, accessible health care for everyone is a bridge too far, right? (My blood pressure kicks up into the red zone whenever I hear Republicans today suggesting that they were against the Bush administration’s spending habits when, in fact, they supported each program individually. After all, opposing the commander-in-chief in wartime emboldened the enemy, no? Not any more apparently since we’re still at war and the heretofore “patriotic” far-right won’t even admit the president is an American citizen. Consistent of them.)

Back to the mind-bending crazy. I detailed some of these attacks last week, and my friend Michael J. Elston (Washington, DC radio’s “Buzz Burbank”) hit some of the arguments in his new Huffington Post blog as well. But who knew they would top themselves this week with an attack so simultaneously absurd and shameless that it easily fits comfortably in the Birther/Truther wackaloon syllabus.

This is of course the notion that the president’s health care reform plan includes a mandate to kill old people.

First, here’s Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Cuckoo’s Nest) on the House floor:

It’ll make sure we bring down the cost of healthcare for all Americans, and that ensures affordable access for all Americans, and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.

And the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh:

According to Politico:

Sean Hannity believes it. So does House Minority Leader John Boehner. Talk show host Fred Thompson calls it “the dirty little secret” of the health care reform debate.

Yes, if you believe what these cranks are selling, the Obama administration is engaged in an elaborate plot to rid the nation of its burdensome population of old people. All this fluff about a public option, all the debate about reducing costs and making health insurance more affordable is merely subterfuge in the White House’s scheme to impose a final solution to the nation’s obvious elderly problem.

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It only makes sense that a party currently being wagged by fringe crazy people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann would release its alternative budget on April Fools’ Day.

Not only does the Republican plan freeze discretionary spending for five years in the midst of a recession which, by most accounts and proved by history, will countermand any sort of economic recovery, but it also cuts taxes by 10 percent for the same Wall Street executives whose actions largely got us into this economic mess in the first place. In other words: Congratulations, Republicans, you just released a budget that rewards wealthy corporate executives while blocking any attempt to dig us out of the economic catastrophe they created.

Smart!

The only bit of Republican legislation that’d be more ridiculous would be if Michele Bachmann were to introduce a constitutional amendment thwarting a fake plot to eliminate the dollar as the form of currency in the United States.

Oh wait. She’s already done that. And 33 Republican congressmembers so far have co-sponsored the amendment. 30-plus Republicans have irrevocably tethered their wagons to the Bachmann crazy train. Excellent. Next on the agenda: a bill creating the Office of Robot Insurance, protecting us from robot attackers who use old people’s medicine for fuel. Speaking of which, the Republican plan also phases out Medicare.

The marquee item, however, in the Republican plan is their inexplicably regressive tax cut for the super rich. Wealthy Americans in the top three tax brackets would see their tax burden cut to a flat 25 percent from previous rates of 35, 33 and 28. According to the Center for American Progress, CEOs from any of the top 800 corporations would receive a tax break of around $1.5 million a year. Meanwhile, if you earn $15,000 a year, your tax break will be around $0 a year.

But get this. Under the Republican plan, Americans are given the option of paying the old tax rates instead of the new, expensive and regressive Republican rates. So, for example, if your household income is $100,000, you could pay the same tax rate as someone earning $15,000. Or you could be a swell egg and go back to your old rate. Aside from the utter lack of fairness in the notion of a $100,000 household paying the same rate as a $15,000 household, who in their right mind would voluntarily pay higher taxes?

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The historical record of far-right ridiculousness has been well-documented here and throughout the blogosphere.

Who can forget Michelle Malkin’s inspired cheerleader skit? Or when Rush Limbaugh mocked a guy’s Parkinson’s Disease tremors. What about John Boehner’s public sobbing jags? Pat Robertson insisting he could leg-press 2,000 pounds. Sarah Palin’s turkey geeker photo op. George W. Bush telling us that Iraq is a “peeance freeance.” Remember when Bill O’Reilly shouted down the son of a 9/11 victim? Already, we’re talking about a mélange of weirdness and upside-down logic suitable for the ages, and that’s all prior to January 20, 2009.

But I don’t think we ever anticipated that the presidency of Barack Obama would, among other things, send the far-right into a freakazoid display of shockingly deranged conniptions and outright crazy talk — their manic hyperdrive engines, fueled by Rush Limbaugh’s gesticulating arm flab, blasting them out of their political Mos Eisley cantina scene and expelling them a thousand parsecs beyond the zero barrier of insanity.

Too much?

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the lies or distortions or their utter lack of credibility (zero cred) on broad-ranging issues like, you know, foreign policy and the economy. What we have here is the equivalent level of chaos as, say, the first group therapy scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In other words: a total berserker meltdown.

Seriously, have you ever seen the Republicans more twisted and kerfuffled than they are today? Movie metaphors aside, I’ve been hard pressed to find greater examples of insanity from the far-right than have been exhibited in the past week alone. Here we have a Republican Party that’s been discredited and bloodied, and yet in the face of an enormously popular president who is confounding conventional wisdom while building a working consensus among American voters, the Republicans appear to be reflexively coughing up the most intellectually violent chunks of hooey on record.

They’re screaming about fear-mongering, even though we had eight years of this.

They’re screaming about fiscal responsibility, even though we had eight years of this.

They’re screaming about free speech, even though we had eight years of this and this and this.

They’re honest to God screaming about fascism, even though we had eight years of this and this and this.

Yes, the Republicans have claimed to have “found their voice.” If this is true, then their “voice” sounds exactly like Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge and Michelle Malkin, depending on the day.

So what are these voices saying exactly?

For starters, Rush Limbaugh — the de facto leader of the Republican Party — said on his show Tuesday that the entire economic meltdown was actually precipitated by a conspiracy between George Soros and a cabal of billionaire liberals who deliberately sought to sabotage the world economy in order to get Barack Obama elected.

He, of course, has no real evidence for this, other than what the shadow people told him while he was tweaking his TV remotes.

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