Did you really think I wasn’t going to talk about it? This story is just too much fun not to comment on! My first thought when I heard about the head of the RNC expensing a large tab at a West Hollywood bondage club was, "Is Ken Mehlman back?" Then I realized it was a straight club, so Ken is definitely NOT back. My next thought was, there’s a straight bondage club in West Hollywood? And then my mind had to explore the horror that is wondering what Michael Steele’s safe word is. Is it Reagan? Tax cuts? WMD? After I got my mind out of the gutter (it took a while), I had to wonder what kind of moron would expense something like this? Don’t you know that the FEC looks at this stuff? And then I realized that we’re talking about republicans here. They’re self entitled and hypocritical so it would naturally make sense to engage in this sort of behavior on someone else’s dime while preaching family values to the donors that made it possible. The next thing that occurred to me is that they took what could have been a brilliant and lucrative idea and turned it into a minor scandal. Instead of spending their donors’ money on watching fake bondage, they should have given perspective donors the opportunity to make big contributions in exchange for the opportunity to flog some of their members. Think about the untapped revenue potential! I would pay untold sums of money to put a ball gag on John Boehner and then go to town on his ass with a wooden paddle. I would! And I wouldn’t care that the money will ultimately go to fund Michelle Bachman’s campaign. Four more years of Michelle Bachman, just to be able to shove a butt plug right into John Cornyn? YES, YES, it’s worth it! YES WE CAN! SIGN ME UP! You think I’m kidding, but I’m NOT. The very idea makes me happier than I’ve been in months. Screw long term thinking! I want instant gratification! And I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one. There must be millions of people out there that would never donate to the RNC under any other circumstances, who would gladly open their wallets for this type of opportunity. They could even do an auction to ensure that they got the maximum contributions from people. And if the bids aren’t high enough, they could sweeten the pot. Think about it, how much MORE would you pay to spank a ball gagged Mitch McConnell if you had the ADDED option of nipple clamps? Don’t pretend like you’re above it all. You know you want to as bad as I do.
Thanks to Randi Rhodes for finding this little gem from days gone by (not).
Not surprisingly, my advice centers around health reform. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this strategy of promising to repeal is going to be a disaster for republicans.
Let me first qualify what I mean by “disaster”. Historically speaking, the party that wins the white house loses 27.8 seats in congress in the following midterm election. Republicans could pick up as many as 50 seats this time around. I believe that they’re going to pick up around 20 seats. While that’s enough seats to declare “victory” and claim a “mandate”, it would in actuality be a disaster because it keeps them well in the minority.
Republicans are fighting a losing battle if their strategy is to run on repealing health reform during this election cycle. During the course of the next seven months, everything that is good about this bill will have kicked in. Closing the medicare prescription donut hole ensures that republicans will have lost the senior vote, which is their largest voting block. Allowing parents to keep their college students on their insurance plans wipes out that voting block. Losing those two demographics leaves the republican party crippled.
There’s not much they can do about the 2010 elections, but they can salvage 2012. By 2012, some of the ugly realities of this “reform” will have surfaced. Republicans should instead change their tone to promise to fix the problems with the bill, while predicting massive premium increases. We are definitely going to see massive premium increases over the next four years. In the past week, both the CEOs of Aetna and Cigna have already promised that they’re coming. This bill does absolutely nothing to keep premiums down. My guess, based on my experience with corporate premium increases, is that 2012 premiums are going to be 40% – 60% higher than they are today. I’m not trying to be doom and gloom Bitchy, but that’s what I believe is going to happen. If republicans focus in on the problems with the bill, they can clean up in the elections after those problems materialize.
I want to say up front that I don’t believe there’s a snow balls chance in hell that republicans are actually going to fix the cost control problems with this bill. The only means of controlling cost is to force the insurance companies to compete with medicare. Nothing short of that will do anything to chip away at exorbitant premiums. If democrats ran away from a public option with 68% of democrats and 54% of republicans supporting it, there’s zero chance that republicans will make it happen. There is absolutely NO way to bring down costs while still maintaining a for-profit health insurance system. Trust me I’ve looked closely at health insurance systems all around the world. It can’t be done.
I have no idea what republicans can do, within the constraints of what they have become, to fix the problem. But actual solutions are meaningless in terms of winning elections. Republicans haven’t actually solved any problems for our country in decades. This is a fact that inexplicably hasn’t stopped republicans from controlling our government for the majority of the past 100 years.
Getting elected in this country isn’t about what you’ve done. It’s about what you say you’re going to do. If republicans say they’re going to repeal health reform, they’re done. If they point out real problems with this health reform bill, they have a good shot at gaining power again.
On the other side, democrats have until 2012 to get a public option through. They definitely won’t touch the issue before November. I’m not very optimistic that they’re going to move in the direction of a public option at all, but if they do, it won’t be before the midterm election. They backed themselves into a corner with this bill. While they significantly strengthened their position for the midterm election, they insured that 2012 is going to be an unmitigated disaster unless they can fix this bill.
In the meantime, we need to keep the pressure up to get a public option through. Not because I give a damned if democrats keep control of congress, but because we desperately need meaningful health insurance reform. We haven’t gotten it yet. We need to keep the pressure on democrats because we have no chance of getting it under republican control. Trust me, if I though there was a chance of getting something that would help the average American out of the republican party, I’d be out there campaigning for them day and night. Our only hope is to come out en masse to let the democrats know that they’re in big trouble unless they fix the bill. And because democrats are historically obtuse, we need to spell out what those fixes need to be for them.
I’m struck by something as I watch all of these violent teabagger flair ups across the country. I’m struck by the fact that for eight LONG years I was told to remain in a constant state of fear. I was supposed to be afraid that a foreigner was going to walk into Times Square and set off a dirty bomb every day. I was told to be afraid of biological weapons going off on my stoop. I was supposed to be afraid that prosecuting suspected terrorists within the confines of my justice system was going to embolden the dirty bombers that were laying in wait. I was told to duct tape my windows, and to have a gas mask on hand for when the inevitable attack came. For eight years, I was told that I should be crapping my pants with fear so that the terrorists don’t win.
None of that materialized.
Fast forward to today. Every single day for the past couple of weeks, I see reports like this one and I wonder why the same republicans that demanded that I be afraid aren’t at all concerned. Is it that one big attack every few years is scarier than much smaller daily acts of terrorism? Yes, I said terrorism because terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes”. Is it that they believe that foreigners are scarier than homegrown terrorists? Or would it just inconvenient for republicans if I were afraid of these domestic terrorists because that would take my focus away from being afraid of health reform?
None of these scenarios actually work for me. I find these constant acts of violence to be much more frightening than one big attack. I’m afraid because their frequency is a sign that something ugly is brewing in America. And I’m definitely more afraid of American terrorism than I am of a foreign attack. I don’t fundamentally believe that this country can ever be destroyed by external forces. But I am terrified by my belief that this country can be destroyed from within, which brings me to my third question.
Are republicans ignoring the domestic violence that we’re being subjected to on a daily basis because denouncing it would be inconvenient for them?
John Boehner took his sweet time in denouncing the violence. When he finally did, he spent 1/4 of the length of his press conference denouncing the violence and dedicated the remaining 3/4 of the time reiterating how scary the health reform bill is, and how democrats ignored the wishes of the American people. So he spent more time ginning up the anger than he did reigning it in.
Eric Cantor didn’t denounce it at all. He decided to take the age old tactic of blaming the victim, claiming that reporting on the violence was a means of exploiting what was happening for political gain. He went on to claim that his congressional offices were also subjected to vandalism in order to make the point that democrats are to blame for the reporting the violence AND for creating some of it. His claim was quickly proven to be baseless. It turns out that a stray bullet that was shot in the air landed on the windowsill of his congressional offices. I want to take a moment to tell Eric Cantor that he is a dickless piece of shit for making up a story and adding an antisemitic twist, just for kicks. Yes, he claimed that this imaginary attack on his office happened because he’s Jewish. Every time you fabricate antisemitism, you create antisemitism. So when I say “fuck you”, I say it as a Jew.
Sorry, I got off track there. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m much more fearful of domestic terrorists than I am of any foreign attack. Domestic terrorists have several advantages that foreigners don’t. The most important one being that foreign terrorists unite us while domestic terrorists divide us. We stood together after 911. The whole world stood with us after 911. The fracture that we’re seeing now didn’t exist because it can’t exist as a result of a foreign attack.
I am frightened and angry now, when I never was before. In addition to Eric Cantor and his fellow republicans that aren’t standing up to this, I’d like to add FOX News to my “fuck you” list. They’re perpetuating something very dangerous here just to prop up a political ideology.
I have a question for everyone that is throwing down with these violent extremists. If you have to align yourself with terrorists to keep your ideology alive, isn’t it time to reassess your beliefs?
I first want to start with a warning; this post isn’t going to be bitchy so much as hippy dippy and full of sunny optimism. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m sorry. I’m not feeling like myself today but I can tell you from past experience that it won’t last. I can assure you that I will be back to my usual bitchy self soon enough so please forgive my temporary bout with optimism.
I, like most of you, have been following the stories of violent teabaggers gone wild over the past week. At first I was scared. Okay, I’m still scared. But something struck me as I was reading through the stories. I’m going to focus on one teabagger in particular because I think he’s emblematic of most of them.
Mike Vanderboegh is a blogger that has stepped up to take credit for the brick throwing through windows of some of our democratic representatives’ offices. He sent out a call to arms last Friday, urging his readers to “Break their windows. Break them NOW”. He did this in protest of health insurance reform. The Washington Post discovered that Mr. Vanderboegh is a 57 year old man from Alabama. He receives $1,300 a month in federal disability checks. He’s on disability because of congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. My immediate reaction to this man focused on the utter hypocrisy of taking an anti-government stance WHILE receiving government hand outs! After I let that stew for a while, it occurred to me that this was a very sad man. His life obviously didn’t turn out the way he had hoped it would and he’s full of rage because of it. I decided to go to his blog. It was full of vitriolic anti-government rantings as I suspected it would. Then I looked at the comments that people posted. There were supportive posts from his batshit crazy supporters and there were posts from “liberals” telling him off. I felt compelled to leave a comment myself, not to tell him off but to tell him that I was sorry that his life turned out in a way that has filled him up with so much rage. I suggested that he take steps to make some positive changes in his life like starting a small business or taking some classes that might qualify him for a desk job. I told him that I really believe that taking some positive steps would make the rage disappear before he even realized it. I clicked the “post comment” button when I was done and, to my surprise, received a message telling me that my comment would appear as soon as the owner of the blog approved it. I was surprised because the comments that told him off led me to believe that he wasn’t moderating comments. I waited a day before I went back to look at his blog again, curious to see if my comments made the cut. They did not! Once I realized what was going on, I was struck by the fact that Mr. Vanderboegh is a person that responds to rage. He’s filled with it, and he feels comfortable being surrounded by it.
I think he represents most teabaggers. From what I’ve seen, these are not wealthy people. They don’t appear to be a crowd of people who have seen their dreams realized in their lifetimes. They all seem to be full of rage. Dick Army did a pretty impressive job of misdirecting their rage and motivating them to go out and protest against their own interest.
We can’t respond to them with rage because doing so amounts to pouring gasoline on a fire. Rage is the only thing they understand. They’re filled with it, and they feed off of it. We can’t educate them. It’s obvious that their anger makes them impervious to facts. They have no use for them. So what do we do?
I feel like we only really have two options.
We can ignore them. I don’t mean ignore them by not reporting on their violent activities. I mean ignore them by not reacting with rage. Berating them publicly only seems to increase their resolve. If we just pass the reporting along to everyone we know without reacting, we ultimately win because the majority of Americans are appalled by what they’re doing. We can let them do what they do and just watch as Americans turn against everything they believe in.
The other option is admittedly a long shot, and it’s where the sunny optimism comes in so bear with me. Maybe we can throw in with them. I don’t mean that we should all go out and fill wheelbarrows full of bricks to hurl through windows. I mean that we should leverage their rage and point it where it belongs. Maybe we can band together with them on things that we all agree on to build a productive coalition. Everyone hates wall street right now. That’s one thing that teabaggers, republicans, and democrats can all agree on. Maybe we can agree that good government isn’t possible as long as our political system is wholly owned by corporations. They surely must agree with that premise so why not work with them to get ballot initiatives in every state across the country to make our elections publicly funded. Clean elections is the only way that we’re actually going to have ideological battles about the direction this country to take. Until that happens, we’re relegated to fighting for corporate America. The only thing that separates democrats from republicans is the pace at which the corporate takeover of America happens.
That second option isn’t likely, but we won’t know that until we give it a shot.
What I am certain of, is that combating teabagger rage with rage isn’t going to work. Let’s give something new a shot.
I have been seeing a lot of talk in left wing media suggesting that we should band together to go after every democrat that ever votes with republicans on anything. Really?
Isn’t the problem with the republican party that they vote in lockstep? Can you be angry at them for doing so while demanding that democrats do the same? Do you not see the hypocrisy here?
I have several issues with this stance beyond the obvious hypocrisy.
Let’s start with the inexplicable blind faith that you would have to have in the democratic party for this ideology to work for you. You would have to believe that democrats are a sage and wise group that never make mistakes in judgment. You would also have to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that democratic representatives are always working to represent your best interest. If you really believe those things, I suggest that you take a hard look at how NAFTA has affected America’s financial interests in the world. Nobody is right all the time, and anyone that believes otherwise is a lemming.
Our founding fathers were quite brilliant when they wrote the constitution. Article one enumerates the powers of congress, which means that they intended for a body of representatives to have more of the power. Article two enumerates the powers of the president. They clearly intended to create a government in which a chorus of opinions come together so that they are forced to form a consensus. When was the last time you wrote out a to-do list and put the most important thing second on that list? They weren’t interested in having one voice rule. They fled from a king, and were obviously determined to prevent that from happening here.
I like the idea of having 535 people with different points of view debating issues and fighting for their position. I inherently believe that the best chance we have of getting a good result is to have a system where the best argument rises to the top. It would be fantastic if these opinions weren’t corporate owned, but that’s a topic for a whole other post. If I had it my way, John Cornyn and Russ Feingold would be in a boxing ring shouting at each other until they reach a compromise on every issue. I believe that the right answer is usually in the middle.
Please liberals, don’t fall into the pro lemming position that you despise. Promoting a sophomoric group think mentality is not the answer here, it’s the problem.
I don’t know why I’m shocked by this, but the GOP is inexplicably trying to double down on health insurance reform by promising to repeal it. They have become Don Quixote.
There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that they’re going to be able to touch this bill for a myriad of different reasons.
First off, they’re going to get hammered if they try to run against this in November. By then, all of those elderly, overweight protesters that demanded that the government “keeps their hands off my medicare” will have evaporated. Why? Because all of those people will have avoided the medicare prescription donut hole that they’ve been grappling with for several years now. Every senior in America will be opposed to any candidate that runs on repealing this bill. Parents of college students are also off the table since their kids will have been on their insurance plan for several months by the time November comes around. If losing all of those votes isn’t bad enough, republicans are going to have some issues with their pharmaceutical and insurance company contributors. Those industries will never allow the huge gift that is this bill to disappear. If you think that United Health Care is going to walk away from 32 million new customers, you’re out of your fucking mind. They’re really going to have to make some appalling deals with these companies that will undoubtedly screw Americans more than the current bill does.
Republicans will be getting it from all sides if they keep going down this road. They lost and they have nothing to gain by revisiting this loss in perpetuity over the next seven months.
And then there’s the ridiculous state attorneys general that are trying to sue, claiming this bill is unconstitutional. They may not be aware of this, but our current president is a former constitutional law professor. I can understand how they may have gotten used to having a dumb president that doesn’t know anything, but that’s not what they’re dealing with anymore. Thirteen states have already filed suits claiming this bill is unconstitutional. See the story here. Let’s examine this list closely.
South Carolina $1.38
South Dakota $1.49
Those numbers I have next to each state represents how much money those states get back from the federal government for every dollar they contribute. Only four out of the thirteen are known as “donor states”, meaning that they pay more in federal taxes than they receive. The other nine states receive more federal funding than they contribute. Not coincidentally, the states that receive more federal dollars than they contribute are very poor states that will benefit most from the medicaid expansion in this bill. These attorneys general are willing to screw their own constituents for what they perceive to be political gain. These guys are going to get SLAUGHTERED in the next election if their democratic opponent spells out what they’re doing.
This strategy is a total disaster for the GOP. More importantly, it’s a disaster for the American people since republicans are obviously going to continue to play politics rather than to govern.
PLEASE, GOP stop tilting at windmills and start getting involved in the legislative process! America can’t be ruled by one party!
For three years now republicans have painted Nancy Pelosi as loathsome. Not because of anything that she did, but because she’s an easy target.
Let’s face it, she’s not viscerally likable. To be honest, between the turbo charged blinking and the overabundance of plastic surgery, she’s just not that appealing. Republicans leveraged those unappealing qualities to make her the focus of their base’s hatred because until a few months ago, President Obama was far too popular to effectively target. So poor Nancy has been loathed for a few years now, simply for being in a position of power.
Republicans don’t like their women in power. They like them cute and cheerleady. Okay, they like their men to be cheerleaders too. They just like the cheerleading in general, but I digress. I can’t think of one smart republican woman that the party has put forward as a leading voice. No, they give us Sarah Palin. When John McCain picked her, he clearly picked her as the antidote to Hillary. The problem is that his antidote sent a clear message to women, that any dumb bitch will do.
If republicans are smart (I know, I know, there I go with my optimism again), they will have figured out on Sunday that Nancy Pelosi is someone they should fear. Health reform is a victory that belongs to her more than anyone else. She’s fought republicans, democrats, the senate, the president, and his chief of staff to make it happen. There are reports that President Obama wanted to scale the bill back (even further) after Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts. Nancy refused to have any of that, referring to the president’s proposal as “kiddie reform”. She pressed on to fight for us when everyone else was ready to retreat. She one of a very few handful of tough democrats.
But beyond just being tough, she knows how congress works in a way that very few of our representatives do. When she announced that they were going to pass the vote by using “deem and pass” it wasn’t because she didn’t have the votes (Nancy doesn’t lose votes, look at the record), it was because she rightfully doesn’t trust the senate. Using “deem and pass” (as republicans have done hundreds of times), would have allowed the house to adopt the sucky senate bill while simultaneously reconciling the improvements to the bill. She was trying to bypass a lot of the reconciliation noise that I suspect we’ll be hearing this week. She wasn’t trying to be sneaky with “deem and pass”. She was being very smart.
Despite my early doubts, Nancy Pelosi has proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with. President Obama owes the (I predict) 8 – 10 point jump in his approval rating to her. And we owe the glimmer of hope that we have that health reform is possible to her.
Take heed republicans, Speaker Pelosi isn’t just a dumb liberal with San Francisco values. She’s going to go down in history as one of the most significant speakers this country has ever had. Sorry Boehner, no one will remember you for anything when you’re gone (much like Denny Hastert).
So don’t limit your feelings toward her to loathing. You should fear AND loathe her.
Bravo, Madam Speaker!
No, I’m not referring to the health insurance reform bill that passed last night. I do have to say, as an aside, that I didn’t appreciate being put in the uncomfortable position of being glued to C-SPAN for 10 hours, rooting for a shitty bill to pass because the alternative is much shittier.
I’m hopeful because of this.
I’m hopeful because David Frum and I don’t have much in common and yet, I find myself agreeing with everything that he said. Not most of what he said, but ALL of what he said. He’s exactly right. Republicans should have participated in the crafting of this legislation. Health insurance reform was a forgone conclusion, given the huge majority that democrats have in the house and senate. In the seven months between now and the midterm elections, republicans will have lost the vote of every senior that WON’T hit the prescription donut hole this year (that would be all of them). They will have lost the vote of every parent of a college student who, thanks to this legislation, will now have that child on their insurance plan. That’s a lot of votes to walk away from.
The republicans lost far more than they gained last night. They cemented the batshit crazy base that weren’t big enough to stop landslide victories for democrats in the last 2 elections. Good for you, Boehner! Your crazy base can now guzzle down the lithium they so badly need without fear of hitting the donut hole, so that they can live to fight another day to keep you in the minority.
Let me take a moment to go off on Boehner. Did you see him last night? He came off as the raving lunatic that he is. He was drunk, angry, and almost incoherent. America doesn’t relate to angry white (okay, burnt sienna) middle aged men anymore. He fundamentally believes that democrats have NO right to be involved in the legislative process. His disdain for democrats is irrational and impossible for most people to relate to. He and Mitch McConnell are both arrogant pieces of shit that have displayed nothing short of contempt for Americans, who voted overwhelmingly for democrats. When they talk about what the American people want, they’re forgetting the fact that they represent the MINORITY of Americans that voted for them. Hey Boehner, there’s a reminder right there in your title; house MINORITY leader! You bow down to Nancy Pelosi because WE THE PEOPLE say that you do. You would do well to remember that.
But getting back to Frum’s point, I wish that republicans had actively participated in the crafting of this bill. Look, if I had my way, we would have a system that allows every American to buy into medicare. Don’t go ape shit republicans, I said BUY IN meaning that I pay for my share of the premium cost of participating in medicare. I’m not so big on welfare programs that aren’t necessary. And as hard as I work to craft opinions that result from careful analysis of the facts, I’m acutely aware that as a human being, I am susceptible to ideologically driven tunnel vision. That’s why I need a rational opposition party to come at me from a different ideological perspective.
What we got last night wasn’t a liberal bill. It was an ideologically devoid bow to corporate America. This was SUCH a cave in to the insurance companies, that it makes a single payer system within the next 15 – 20 years a forgone conclusion. Health care costs will reach 19% – 20% of our GDP before these exchanges kick in four years from now because the insurance companies have four more virtually unregulated years to go to town on your premiums.
The biggest problem that we face in American politics today is that every single politician, regardless of party affiliation is working not for their constituents, but for the corporate interests that finance their campaigns. That being said, we were never going to get a good reform bill. But I would like to have seen republicans participate in the crafting of the final legislation.
We’re basically fucked until we start fighting for publicly funded campaigns. We’re doubly fucked in the interim, with one party completely removing itself from the legislative process. As it stands now, republicans are hoping to get elected by decimating the political process so that democrats seem less appealing than republicans do. I want a party that actively works at being a better choice. Don’t you?
I’m hopeful because one republican is starting to get it. I know that one isn’t much, but I’m a sunny optimist. I hope that one will turn into 20 million.
"The very next sentence of my bill provides that the exclusive regulator of insurance companies will be the state where the company’s home office is. Every insurance company in the country would incorporate in the state with the fewest government mandates, just as most corporations are based in Delaware today."
"That’s the only way to bypass idiotic state mandates, requiring all insurance plans offered in the state to cover, for example, the Zone Diet, sex-change operations, and whatever it is that poor Heidi Montag has done to herself this week."
"Much as I admire Obama’s use of terminally ill human beings as political props, let me point out here that perhaps Natoma could have afforded insurance had she not been required by Ohio’s state insurance mandates to purchase a plan that covers infertility treatments and unlimited OB/GYN visits, among other things. It sounds like Natoma could have used a plan that covered only the basics — you know, things like cancer."
"The third sentence of my bill would prohibit the federal government from regulating insurance companies, except for normal laws and regulations that apply to all companies."