Congressman Ozark Billy Long: Cheap Shot Artist? Nope. He’s No Artist

cheap shot artist:
An individual who raises the act of taking a dishonorable, lowbrow, disrespectable action to an artform. This is accomplished either through frequent and conspicuous use of cheap shots or a particularly noteworthy low blow.

—from the Urban Dictionary

Geeze.

I had heard that my congressman, the former auctioneer Ozark Billy Long, participated in the farce that was Wednesday’s hearing conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on “implementation failures” of the Affordable Care Act. But even I, a long-time critic of the congressman, never dreamed he would make such a cheap shot-shooting splash on the national stage.

Here is the painful transcript of Ozark Billy’s moment in the anti-ObamaCare sun. And keep in mind that he had plenty of time—almost three and a half hours during the hearing itself—to formulate his questions:

OZARK BILLY LONG: …thank you, Secretary, for being here today and giving your testimony. Earlier in today [sic] you said that “I’m responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” I’ve heard you referred to, maybe yourself, as the point person for the rollout, the architect of implementing Affordable Care Act, so you are kind of the President’s point person, are you not, for this rollout?

SECRETARY SEBELIUS: Yes, sir.

OZARK BILLY LONG: I, uh, earlier, you were asked—and there’s a lot of things striking about the rollout of this and about the Affordable Care Act altogether—but the thing that’s most striking to me is that when we have the point person for the rollout here, and you’re not going into the exchange. Now, I’ve heard you say that—and you’ve got some advice from the folks behind you—but I’m asking you today could you tell the American public, if your advisers behind you, if they happen to give you some wrong information, if it is possible for you to go into the exchange like all these millions of Americans that are goin’ into the exchanges, will you commit to forgo your government insurance plan that you’re on now and join us in the pool? Come on in, the water’s fine, all the congressmen, all of our staff, have to go into the exchanges. We have to go into the D.C. exchanges.

And I will say that I tried to get on the website, I was successful during the hearing earlier, and I got to the D.C. exchange, which is where I have to buy from, and I got part way through and then when I got to the point where I had to enter Social Security number, billy long cheap shot artistI could not bring myself to do that from what I’ve heard from people like John McAfee and folks about the security, will you tell, if your advisers are wrong, and it is possible, for you, and I’m not saying it is, but if it is, if it is possible for you, to forgo your government program you have now, will you tell the American public that, yes, I will go into the exchanges next year like everyone else?

SEBELIUS: Sir, the way the law is written—

LONG: It’s a yes or no—let’s say that you’re wrong on that. Yes or no. If you’re wrong, will you yes or no…

SEBELIUS: I don’t want to give misinformation to the American public…

LONG: You what?

SEBELIUS: I don’t want to give misinformation…

LONG: I want you to go on and research it…if, if, if you’re wrong…will you go into the exchanges? If you can, will you? That’s a yes or no; if you can, will you?

SEBELIUS: I will take a look at it. I don’t have any idea…

LONG: That’s not an answer. That’s not a yes or no.

COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN FRED UPTON (R-Michigan): The gentleman’s time has expired…

LONG: You’re the architect of the whole program and you won’t go into it with the rest of the American public…

SEBELIUS: I did not say that, sir. I think it’s illegal for me—

LONG: —If it’s not illegal, if it’s legal will you go in? …Come on in, the water’s fine…

UPTON (R-Michigan): The gentleman’s time has expired…

CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN (D-California): Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request…

SEBELIUS: (turning to someone behind her and muttering) …don’t do this to me…

WAXMAN: …Madame Secretary, I’d like you to answer for the record: if you were able to do what the gentleman just suggested…and went into the [exchange] to buy an individual policy, would you be able to find one that would protect you from cheap shots…?

Yikes. Cheap shots, indeed.

First of all, besides the cheap shots and incoherent mess that was Long’s questioning, when he asks Sebelius, “will you go into the exchanges like everyone else?” we know that “everyone else” will not be going into the exchanges. It will typically be only those Americans (about 15 million) who don’t get coverage through their employers or through Medicare or Medicaid or who are self-employed or who are owners of small businesses trying to provide insurance for their workers (or members of Congress and their staff who were, unfortunately, put into the exchanges by a Republican provision that Democrats adopted).

Second, Sebelius already has health insurance and doesn’t need to go into the exchanges. Her employer is the federal government and, by law, her employer must provide her with affordable insurance, which it does. And since apparently she is enrolled in Medicare Part A, she couldn’t go into the exchanges without withdrawing from that program, which would be dumb since it is, uh, free. Thus, in order for her to sufficiently prove to Billy Long that she loves ObamaCare, she would have to give up her government-provided health benefits, quit Medicare, and start paying out of pocket for her health insurance. Dang, I wonder why she doesn’t do that?

Third, when Long says that Sebelius “is the architect of the whole program,” he is either lying or he doesn’t realize that the architects of this program were largely Republicans, who, before Obama embraced their enhance-the-private-insurance-industry scheme, were all in favor of enhancing the private insurance industry. And if Sebelius were the architect of the program, she would understand it much, much better than she does and would be able to explain it much, much better than she has so far.

Fourth, when Ozark Billy referenced John McAfee, I thought he was kidding. John McAfee, besides being the founder of the anti-virus software company that used to haunt our computers, is actually a “person of interest” in a murder case in Belize. He is one weird cat. House Republicans solicited his “expertise” on October 14, those Republicans being in desperate need of a clown to complete their anti-ObamaCare circus act.

Instead, they settled for Ozark Billy Long, whose cheap shot artistry was long on cheap and short on art.

Geeze.

Here is the entire hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,  and you will find the complete display of Long’s lack of artistry near the end, at 3:23:22 or so:

Here is a clip:

12 Comments

  1. RDG,
    Odds are good that Long believes John McAfee is a retired tennis player who dabbles in computer software. At least he performed his pestering of Ms. Sebelius without trademark floppy cowboy hat.

    Like

  2. angelfire

     /  October 31, 2013

    Oh my God I saw this exchange….I was sighing under my breath, “Oh God please let this clown shut up so my friends in Cuyahoga County OHIO….(the downfall of Romney and the people who kicked Karl Rove in the nuts election night)….don’t SEE my Congressman. He’s a disgrace to the office ya’all know what I mean? All one can think when they see this guy is “pig”.

    Like

  3. ansonburlingame

     /  November 1, 2013

    Duane provides a good public service to show just how dumb our 7th District Congressman acts when he speaks publicly. He does not do so all that often that I have seen or bothered to see. I saw him during the 8 or so member campaign for the GOP nomination 5 years ago and saw all I needed to see. I haven’t voted for or supported him since that time.

    But I continue to believe ACA is not wise governing as well. The reality of Obamacare is improvement of HC benefits but now popular way to pay for it over time. Same old stuff we have been doing for over 50 years, creating popular programs with no idea how to fund them.

    As for the substance of the question, well it would take a blithering idiot to willingly give up a
    “cadilac government HC policy” that was FREE (to the individual), for an Obamacare policy. Isn’t that already obvious to the most casual observer, no questions needed to be asked, but maybe a good subject for a speech which Billy thought he was delivering!!

    Anson

    Like

  4. moonglow

     /  November 3, 2013

    I just found your blog. Thanks for doing what you do.

    What do you think Democrats need to do to beat Billy Long in 2014? Frankly, I am not too pleased with the only declared Democrat’s line of thought. I like what he has to say but it sounds more like starting a commune than running for office.

    Billy Long is a total disgrace to all Missourians. He is rude, crude and socially unacceptable.

    I moved to Springfield from Ft. Worth, Texas in 1998. I’m glad I left because TX politics are a disgrace to all native Texans. I am now a Missourian. An embarrassed Missourian.

    Due to several unfortunate things happening, I am on SSDI, SNAP, and some utility assistance. This is due to an ultra conservative employer finding a way to dismiss my wife from her job after a political comment was misconstrued. Fortunately, she is starting a new job tomorrow, but several months with no income except SSDI has left us in a tough situation.

    I have considered throwing my hat into the ring because I am the conservatives worst nightmare. I am a left wing, bleeding heart liberal Democrat and proud of it. My platform would be that I am more a “real” person with life experiences to guide me. Oh, well just a thought. Billy Long has to be voted out of office.

    Like

    • Thanks, moonglow.

      I am sorry to hear of your misfortune, but glad to hear that things may be looking up a bit.

      As for Billy Long, I have many times criticized him on this blog and will, no doubt, continue to do so. I’m not all that comfortable saying he is a “disgrace to all Missourians,” since, I’m afraid, there are all too many Missourians that find him quite acceptable. As far as his being “rude, crude and socially unacceptable,” I can only say that I have spoken to him, or tried to speak to him, on three occasions and he was only rude the last time, after he recognized who I was, I suppose. He refused to even talk to me—one of his constituents who had a totally legitimate question about federal funding for Joplin’s recovery from the 2011 tornado. And one of his “handlers” was a certifiable pr**k.

      As far as running against him, I recommend that you raise at least $600,000, as that is the amount of cash that OpenSecrets says he currently has on hand. He will undoubtedly have much more by the time next summer arrives. So, unless you are a heckuva fundraiser, I’m afraid you will be starting the race way, way behind. As you probably know, having a treasury full of money is how these guys keep opponents from challenging them, both in the primary and the general. It’s too bad, but thanks to mostly right-wing opposition to campaign finance laws, that’s the reality.

      Good luck to you and welcome aboard!

      Duane

      Like

      • moonglow

         /  November 4, 2013

        Thanks, Duane

        It’s a real shame to “buy” a seat like Billy. I don’t know if Missouri is ready for the likes of me anyway.

        Tommy

        Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  November 4, 2013

    MoonGlo,

    Jesus Christ would be defeated by Billy Long in this district, in my view. Ronald Reagan would also be rejected as a GOP candidate for President around here as well. The 7th Congressional District is about as red necked, right wing bomb throwers, even some racists as it gets in America today. If there is a more “red” district in America, I wonder where it might be.

    Duane speaks for the minority around here, for sure. And he attacks fire with fire as well and becomes, at least a bomb thrower himself, in doing so. But I read his blog everyday to LEARN positions from the other side. Sun Zu said it best, at least for one with a military background. I don’t consider Duane an enemy for sure, at least not in a military sense, but a political opponent, of course I do believe such. And he is joined my many others in comments and other “followers”.

    But I submit that neighter Duane nor I reflect the majority sentiments around Joplin, MO as well. But like it or not, and I don’t like it, Billy Long so represents such majority voter views, around here. That may change but not while Obama is in the White House, for sure!

    If you want to really choke on majority views in Joplin, I suggest you read Geoff Caldwell’s blog, “Caldwell’s Corner”. But you won’t find his views herein as Duane banned any comments from Geoff herein about two years ago, or so!!

    Anson

    Like

  6. ansonburlingame

     /  November 4, 2013

    Moonglo,

    I tried to post a reply to your honest concerns from a liberal Dem over Billy Long. I think I hit the wrong button and it went away. My fault.

    But I will summarize it for you. Like it or not Billy Long represents the strong majority view around here. Duane certainly does not nor do I in my blog as well. But be assured, Ronald Reagan would probably not get the majority vote for the GOP nomination for President, in Joplin, MO today.

    I am usually the lone conservative commenting herein. I know I won’t change anyone’s views herein as well. But I read this blog and comments thereto each day to learn about the opposition. I am also dumb enough to drop my own comments herein from time to time and get a lot of grief from doing so. But so what!!

    Joplin supported George Bush II by and large. But the lid did not really blow off the local stew pot until Obama was elected. Then the Tea Party in all its glory arose in dissent, loud, crude and very confrontational dissent. Duane has responded in kind as well, right back at them and any other conservative as well. Like it or not, Billy Long represents that majority view in Joplin, MO. That won’t change until Obama leaves the WH at least.

    I submit that neighter Duane, nor I, present the majority views in Joplin in our respective blogs. If you want to choke, as a bleeding heart liberal which you call yourself, then go read Geoff Caldwell’s blog and now routine columns in the local paper. Unfortunately you no longer can read Geoff’s views herein, however. Duane banned him about 2 years ago, leaving me as the sole regularly commenting conservative, for a while at least. As well I note from his comment herein that Duane has cancelled his subscription for the local paper as well!!

    If the 7 district race came down to me, Duane and Geoff, well Geoff would win the strong majority vote in a landslide. Such is reality, like it or not, around here, at least in my view.

    Now if you are worried about the whole state of Missouri, I suggest you check the results of the re-election of McCaskill as Senator. But Akin won that vote, around here by a significant majority as I recall. But if you as a bleeding heart liberal are serious about running in the 7th District, well protect yourself at all times, around here, for sure. And you will waste your money in doing so, in my view as well.

    Hell I couldn’t be elected as I am too liberal for most voters in Joplin!! Forget the assualts that herein that I am a racist, arrogant, bombastic, Das Boot U-Boat commander (thus a Nazi I suppose), etc., etc. as well.

    Anson

    Like

    • moonglow

       /  November 5, 2013

      Hi Anson,

      Of course you are right about this area voting the incumbent back in. I really knew that coming in. The thing that is bothering me the most is the racism involved. I grew up in the late 1950’s and early 60’s and being from Texas, I saw so many horrible things happen.

      50 years of some semblance of equal rights down the drain. According to the far right, it appears that the south is going to rise again and that scares me a lot.

      Did you happen to see the news about Jim Wright? I’m sure you know the was Speaker of the House for a couple of years and served another 32 years in the House. Newt Gingrich brought him down on ethics charges. He was denied a voter registration card in Texas due to not having the right ID. A former Congressman! What is this going to do to poor blacks, Hispanics and the elderly? There are many forms of racism as you know.

      Even with Viet Nam and Watergate, those days were tame compared to today. I hate that our country has become so out of hand and regressed as far as it has.

      I won’t be running so I guess I will become one of the sheep. I’ll be the one on the far left at the rear of the pack.

      I have enjoyed the feedback I have gotten here. I’m sure I’ll be back for later discussion on who knows what.

      Tommy

      Like

  7. ansonburlingame

     /  November 6, 2013

    Well Tommy,

    Welcome to the fray, local blogs from Joplin, MO. As a self confessed bleeding heart liberal you picked the right comfort zone to participate, right here with Duane and others.

    Having been called a racist by some of the extreme commenters herein in the past, I won’t burden you with a full retort to your concerns about racism. I will only say the matter concerns me as well, but from both sides of the extremes of the political spectrum.

    Some on the extreme right sound and act much like a “gentler” KKK of old. No lynchings allowed today however!! But …… check out the extremes on your side as well is all I ask.

    Sorry for the double comments above. Some computer glich caused it however and Duane and I sorted it out privately. While I receive strong disparagement or rebutal herein, I have remained able to post comments. I am sure we will cross swords herein if you stick around.

    Anson

    Like

    • moonglow

       /  November 6, 2013

      Anson,

      I agree with you 100%. It is not a single party problem, but a people problem. I live in Springfield and see it on a daily basis. It is not just a race problem but also the “haves and the have nots”. I probably won’t live long enough to see a great deal of change but I hope people won’t let it regress too much.

      Tommy

      Like

  8. ansonburlingame

     /  November 7, 2013

    Tommy,

    Race, haves and have nots, disabled or physically and mentally “normal”, and the list goes on and on and the arguments of what do about the “lesser ones” will go on as well

    I have just read Amanda Ripley’s new book, The Smartest Kids in the World. Astounding book in my view. I highly recommend it if anyone is interested in public education which I am. It will rival The Bell Curve, I suppose, in condemnation from “professional educators” however!!

    I have just started working with “marginal” kids in Joplin High School, a very small group of low income, terrible family life, academic failures, maybe some drugs and alcohol as well. My job will be to mentor them to improve academic performance in science and math.

    To kick matters off I constructed a 10 question survey to be completed anonymously by each kid, 5 of them. But I became “sneaky” and first gave the questions to three local grand kids, top of the class, very wealthy families, silver spoons in their mouths type grand kids. I look forward to comparing the survey results. My guess is the concerns with schools, how hard they work as students, what they do when they “answer a question wrong on a test”, etc. will find VERY common responses, background having little to do with such responses.

    So far, “how much homework do you do in science” —- response NEVER. Do you stay busy in science class? —- NO, it is boring!! I’ll let you know later if both groups respond in the same manner.

    Anson

    Like

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