Come See The Results Of Right-Wing Media

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, a Columbus, Ohio, Democrat, is undecided about whether she will vote for health care reform.  Outside her district office, this is what she faced, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch:

The kind of anger that would make these conservatives—yes, they are conservatives; what else could they be?—behave in such a way is a product of months and months of right-wing media feeding hate and fear to soul-starved people.

On Chris Matthews’ show, I listened to Mike Pence meekly condemn what he saw on this video, even as he made the case that it just shows how angry people are out there.

I can’t believe I share a planet with such people, not to mention a country.  

House Republicans No Match For Obama

President Obama, during the Q&A part of his visit today to the House Republican retreat, explained to Republicans that their use of damaging rhetoric about him in front of their constituents back home—such as claiming that his crazy policies and plans would “destroy America” or that the health care reform bill was part of some kind of “Bolshevik plot“—made it nearly impossible for them then to turn around and work with him on anything, even if they happen to agree on it.

In other words, if Republicans paint Obama as the Devil, then claim that they want to work with him, they are in effect saying they want to make a deal with the Devil.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think that would play well in the Bible Belt, which, of course, is why Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, have no intention of “working” with the President. 

I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the event, which ran about an hour and a half, to check it out here or here.  Or read the transcript here.  It was quite unusual, and I have never seen anything like it.

Obama, as usual, was very impressive, not just with his teleprompter-less answers and his understanding of all of the issues raised, but he also impressed with his commitment to get things done.  And surprisingly, he demonstrated a strong willingness to call out Republican questioners who asked questions that were clearly designed to fit nicely in a campaign ad against Democrats back home.

And, of course, after the event was over, Republican leaders were on the tube in full partisan mode.  I doubt if Obama had left the building before Mike Pence was waving around a copy of the Republicans’ policy book, which was featured prominently during the event.

So, here we go again.

UPDATE: Less than an hour after the event, Congressman Trent Franks* from Arizona was on television repeating the Republican line that Obama’s domestic policies will ruin the country and his national security policies are a terrorist’s dream. However, Mr. Franks did manage to say that Obama was “articulate” and that he didn’t think that in his “heart” he meant to do such things.

Well, I guess that’s an improvement.

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*Congressman Franks represents a district in Arizona that although geographically widespread, actually comprises largely conservative voters living in the western suburbs of Phoenix.  Anyone who has ever been to those suburbs can easily understand that Democrats aren’t likely to be wildly popular there. So, what motivation does Mr. Franks have to be bi-partisan, when he would be thrown out of office in 11 months, if he were to try it? 

Men Of Constant Sorrow

Lest anyone think that conservative Republicans have not been consistent in their fear-mongering over the years regarding the encroachment of “socialism,” here are a few selections from Rep. Mike Pence’s article lamenting his own party’s plans to provide a prescription drug benefit to seniors back in 2003:

Not only is the need for a universal public subsidy questionable, adding a universal drug benefit to Medicare may have certain unintended consequences. Namely, seniors with private coverage from a former employer may actually lose their coverage. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that thousands of seniors could lose coverage they currently enjoy from a former employer if Congress creates this new entitlement.

Mike+PenceSound familiar? How about this:

The final, and most ominous, consequence of a universal drug benefit could be that it will usher in the beginning of socialized medicine in America.

Nobody said conservatives were original. They have been painfully consistent through time in their attempts to scare the dook out of old folks and their claims that government-provided benefits will lead to nasty socialism.

The truth is that Pence did concede in his article that it was okay to provide seniors “near the poverty level with urgent and sufficient prescription coverage.”

The problem is that neither he, nor any conservative, ever makes clear just how the government can do that without being open to the charge of “socialism.”

That’s called having it both ways.

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