Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Backlash... Isn't Violent Enough For The Mainstream Media


Protests are increasing against Paul Ryan's GOP budget-- his "cause," as he puts it-- which seeks to utterly shred the social safety net and tear up the social compact that has bound America together as a prosperous middle class democracy since the 1930s. That compact and that safety net don't fit with Ryan's adolescent fantasy about some kind of dark, heartless and peculiar Ayn Rand dystopia. He has publicly admitted her work is the basis of his desire to get into politics. And now he has dragged the entire Republican Party down into his own personal sewer. Only four House Republicans had the guts or the wisdom to join every single Democrat in voting against Ryan's kamikaze budget, Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and David McKinely (R-WV).

Rehberg and McKinley, nervous about the 2012 election cycle, were simply afraid to cross seniors the way other Republicans did by backing Ryan's attempt to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. "There are still too many unanswered questions with regard to Medicare reform, and I simply won't support any plan until I know for a fact that Montana's seniors will be protected," Rehberg told the Montana media. Although the teabaggers are now on the warpath against him, he's wily enough to know many of the votes in his state-- he's running for Senate against Jon Tester-- will be coming from the elderly. "There are just too many unanswered questions as to exactly how it will work," he warned. McKinely took much the same tack: "My home state of West Virginia has the highest percentage of Medicare beneficiaries in the country, and I cannot support a plan that the Congressional Budget Office has determined would nearly double out-of-pocket healthcare costs for future retirees," he said, leaving Ryan and fellow Republicans in general, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in particular, looking a little cavalier about the welfare of the elderly.

Over the past week we've touched-- more than once-- on the backlash Republicans who did vote for the Ryan budget are beginning to feel. Republicans in the Senate are begging Harry Reid to not force them to vote on it. Maybe he can let them off the hook if they agree to pass the debt ceiling resolution. Nancy Pelosi's office has been very effectively fanning the flames of discontent and has pointed out how Charlie Bass (R-NH), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Robert Dold (R-IL), and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) have all fared badly-- as has Ryan himself-- at public town hall meetings. Seems like a big story, right? Not to the TV networks. There's been virtually no coverage at all of any of this, certainly nothing on a level of the manufactured anger the Koch Bros and Fox trumped up before the last election on behalf of the teabaggers. One of the ultimate Inside-the-Beltway operations, The Hill says there isn't enough violent content to make it a real story yet.
A handful of Republicans were asked pointed questions from their constituents at town-hall meetings last week, including freshmen Reps. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) and three-term Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.). 

But those confrontations-- measured in numbers and vitriol-- have not yet matched the passion seen at healthcare town halls in 2009... [T]here are differences between this year’s early examples and the sustained string of events in 2009. 

The town halls that liberal organizations and Democrats have been touting haven't been nearly as crowded as those in 2009. And none of those being touted as examples of extreme public discontent with the Ryan budget have gotten so heated that violence could have broken out. 

By contrast, in 2009, event organizers at a town hall in Florida threatened to cut the event short when attendees began violently pushing and shoving each other between stints of heckling.

Perhaps NBC and CBS and ABC are just holding off until someone shoots a congressmember like a deranged wingnut did in Tucson. That would be ratings territory for a few days! It came close when Orlando constituents of Taliban Dan Webster objected to his blatant lying about what Ryan's budget would do to senior citizens:

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