Friday, October 05, 2007



Between 70 and 75% of Americans favor the State Children's Health Insurance Program passed overwhelmingly by both Houses of Congress and vetoed by Bush; that includes a majority of Republican voters. It also includes almost all the governors, including a majority of Republican governors-- and not just pinkos like Schwarzenegger but also neo-fascists like Utah's Jon Huntsman. Anyone from outside the Regime backing Bush on this? Glad you asked.

Most of what Newt Gingrich perceptively, if unkindly, referred to as the "pathetic bunch of pygmies" (i.e.- the 2008 Republican presidential contenders) back Bush. The two grandpas, McCain and Fredrick of Hollywood, plus Full O'Mitt, and Giuliani have all barked loudly that they back Bush on this politically unpopular issue. (Brownback avoided voting on this hot potato.)

It may seem like a strange question to ask, but do Republican elected officials and Party insiders even understand that there's a health care problem? Paul Krugman is a lot smarter than any of them and he doesn't think they do.
“I mean, people have access to health care in America,” said Mr. Bush in July. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

And on the day of the veto, Mr. Bush dismissed the whole issue of uninsured children as a media myth. Referring to Medicaid spending-- which fails to reach many children-- he declared that “when they say, well, poor children aren’t being covered in America, if that’s what you’re hearing on your TV screens, I’m telling you there’s $35.5 billion worth of reasons not to believe that.”

It’s not just the poor who find their travails belittled and mocked. The sick receive the same treatment.

Before the last election, the actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s and has become an advocate for stem cell research that might lead to a cure, made an ad in support of Claire McCaskill, the Democratic candidate for Senator in Missouri. It was an effective ad, in part because Mr. Fox’s affliction was obvious.

And Rush Limbaugh-- displaying the same style he exhibited in his recent claim that members of the military who oppose the Iraq war are “phony soldiers” and his later comparison of a wounded vet who criticized him for that remark to a suicide bomber — immediately accused Mr. Fox of faking it. “In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it’s purely an act.” Heh-heh-heh.

Of course, minimizing and mocking the suffering of others is a natural strategy for political figures who advocate lower taxes on the rich and less help for the poor and unlucky. But I believe that the lack of empathy shown by Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Kristol, and, yes, Mr. Bush is genuine, not feigned.

What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.

Well Frederick of Hollywood and McCain have always fit right in and Rudy and Full O'Mitt are doing their best to prove that they do too.


Local papers around the country are castigating reactionary Republican members of Congress who are backing Bush on his veto. Missouri wingnut Sam Graves, who is likely to lose his seat next year anyway, was blasted this morning by the Kansas City Star.
“U.S. Rep. Sam Graves has turned to red herrings and scare tactics to justify his callousness toward ill children whose families cannot afford to take them to a doctor. The Missouri 6th District Republican went against most public opinion and the majority of Congress when he voted to deny medical coverage to low-income children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program…Cheers for lawmakers who will vote to override in the face of unreasonable opposition from the president and some in his party.”

The Salt Lake Tribune, not exactly a bastion of liberalism took Utah's two most reactionary political hacks, Chris Cannon (who looks like he may lose his primary race) and Rob Bishop to task today:
“It’s a rare moment when the individual votes of Utah’s congressional representatives can make a decisive difference for people who are in need. The upcoming vote to override President Bush’s veto of a bipartisan bill to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program is one of those rare opportunities. So far, the majority of our congressional delegation has been on the wrong side, the president’s side, of this issue. But they have a chance to redeem themselves, to stand up and tell The Decider he decided wrong, and they should grab it. Their first responsibility is to Utah’s children, not to a lame-duck president who rarely gets it right.”

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune called out the right-wing puke lady and Minnesota's other crazy extremist, John Kline, for their radical right votes against children's health care:
“Children’s advocates staged a vigil at the office of Rep. Michele Bachmann Wednesday night, urging her to defy President Bush in the big showdown that developed this week over children’s health insurance. We don’t always applaud political theater, but in this case the advocates are right. The number of uninsured children in the United States is a national disgrace, and the bill that Congress produced last week was a sensible, cost-effective answer. Bachmann and Rep. John Kline, the only no votes in the Minnesota delegation, should switch sides and support a veto override… The larger puzzle in this debate is why every other advanced nation can give its children health insurance while spending far less than Americans do. SCHIP has been a practical, effective step toward solving that puzzle, and it deserves better than a presidential veto.”

Even one of the most reactionary Democrats, Rahm Emanuel's Heath Shuler, who first voted with Bush and then got his arm twisted and has relented and agreed to vote to override, got a little shot over the bow by today's Ashville Citizen-Times in case he's thinking of wavering and going back to his GOP pals. (The paper also gets read in little Patrick McHenry's backward district but, presumably, there aren't very many literate people who vote for him anyway.)
“The reasons President Bush gave for vetoing a bill that would expand a popular health insurance program for low-income children exaggerated the program’s reach and were disingenuous at best, given the administration’s own poor record regarding fiscal responsibility…When considering the facts, as opposed to the president’s misleading rhetoric, it’s hard to justify not backing a bill that helps low-income children grow into healthy adults.”

I won't hold my breath for the L.A. Times to call out David Dreier on this. They'll just keep referring to him as a moderate.

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