Is conservatism a mental illness. Considering their backasswards priorities it seems like question worth mulling over.
An open letter to conservatives
The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.
First, the invitation: Come back to us.
Now the advice. You’re going to have to come up with a platform that isn’t built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.
Your party — the GOP — and the conservative end of the American political spectrum has become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it’s tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some expamples — by no means an exhaustive list — of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.
If you’re going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you’ll have to start by draining this swamp:
You can’t flip out — and threaten impeachment – when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that’s centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.
You can’t vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it’s done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) — 114 of you (at last count) did just that — and it’s even worse when you secretly beg for more.
You can’t fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.
You can’t call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.
Are they “unlawful enemy combatants” or are they “prisoners of war” at Gitmo? You can’t have it both ways.
You can’t carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.
You can’t refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn’t meet with you.
You can’t rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.
You can’t rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.
You can’t be for immigration reform, then against it .
You can’t enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.
This is probably the most popular post up at TPM at the moment. It is a very long letter with tons of links that provide examples of what this former conservative is talking about. One of the little trolls, having mastered the art of right-wing deflection pretty much ignores the voluminous evidence supplied into support of the letter writer’s thesis…..but Democrats do this or that too. Yes, let us all acknowledge that part and parcel of the human condition is that we all tell lies and we’re all guilty of being a hypocrite once in a while or other wise do or say things that we shouldn’t. As a matter of fact church goers might be occasionally reminded that we’re all tainted with sin at birth. That is not the point and that particular troll knows it. Conservative have not occasionally strayed from the path of righteousness as it were. They’ve stripped naked and decided to run through the forest painted up like crazed loons full-bore full-time. From the election of Bill Clinton through Bush 43’s two terms many of us thought genuine Republicanism was dead and those passing themselves off as such could not get any sleazier, crazier, ignorant, xenophobic, petulant, violent and irrational. The current crop of Obama Derangement Syndrome obsessed conservative zombies make those 16 years look like the golden years of modern Enlightenment.
One thing that has not slowed down in this economy is the wing-nut welfare system. Yet another former Bush speech writer (William McGurn)- which sadly does not include a skill set transferable to honest work – is hacking away at the Wall Street Journal. Which does at least put to rest the near myth the Washington Post had hired them all, Bart Stupak’s vote for the health bill shows that in the end you can’t count on prolife Democrats.
That is part of what makes the consequences of Mr. Stupak’s surrender so far reaching. Not only has he opened the door to this kind of mischief, he has encouraged those who want to get rid of the Hyde amendment itself, which for decades has prevented federal funds from paying for abortions.
William had the perfect job hiding his fables behind his boss’s voice, now he’s out there is the cold harsh world of fact checking. Roe v Wade is still the law of the land. Despite the insistence of the tea smoking miscreants we still live in a capitalist economic system. The Senate HCR bill retained federal bans on abortion funding except in the case of poor women who become pregnant in case of rape or incest. Maybe William is one of those conservatives who would like America to be more like Iran and stone such women to death. Health Care Reform FAQ
What if I have federally subsidized insurance and need an abortion? Who pays for it?
You do. The compromise struck between the House and the Senate says that federal funds cannot be used to pay for abortions. So if the federal government fully subsidizes your plan, you have to pay out of pocket for abortions—except in cases of rape or incest. (This is the same arrangement for women covered by Medicaid.) Even if the government only partly subsidizes your insurance, you still have to pay for the portion of the insurance that covers abortion. Here’s how it works: You write two separate checks to your insurance company every month—one to cover possible abortions, one for all other treatments and services. The federal government then contributes a third stream of money, which cannot be used to pay for abortions. Insurers that offer abortion coverage are required to keep those three pots of money separate. So any time someone gets an abortion, it’s paid for from the account devoted exclusively to abortion coverage.
William and those of similar ilk seem to think or more aptly want others to believe that a federal dollar three blocks away from where an abortion is taking place is the same thing as paying for it. And of course IRS agents are going to be dispatched to every pro government control of every woman’s uterus Conservative to tear the money from their wallets, much like they did when they took my money to pay for the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9-11.
Mitt Romney will not be the next president of the U.S. – It’s hard out there for a Republican
Republican John Feehery really stepped in it today, on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” when he insisted the “individual mandate” to purchase healthcare insurance would prove to be the most unpopular element of the bill President Obama proudly signed today (video below).
I had to remind Feehery: That’s possible, but if so, it’s just another problem for the GOP, because the idea came from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his friends at the Heritage Foundation. Back then Republicans were worried about people freeloading off a new government-backed system, so Romney included an “individual mandate.“
We may not like it, but the courts have ruled on similar issues before. We are required to buy car insurance. Banks – via FDIC and the Fed – require homeowners to have basic homeowners insurance and depending on where one lives – flood and/or wind damage insurance. Local governments can require that you not build on or object a certain portion of your own property located next to the street. The government can mandate that food processor follow certain sanitation rules or be shut down. These are generally all in the nature of what is best for the general welfare. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Hope for Activist Judges – Conservative State Attorneys Erroneously Claim Health Reform Is Unconstitutional
Their(11 state’s attorneys general) suits focus instead on the new law’s provisions that require individuals to carry health insurance—whether provided by a public program or an employer, or purchased on their own (with help from subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals)—and that fine employers who do not provide health insurance to their employees. The attorneys general claim that both provisions fall outside of Congress’s enumerated powers.
But the attorneys general are wrong. Article I of the Constitution empowers Congress “[t]o regulate commerce . . . among the several states.” The language of this “Commerce Clause” of the Constitution contains two elements. Congress must attempt to regulate “commerce” in order to invoke its commerce power, and this commerce must be “among the several states,” for example, multistate in nature. A requirement to carry health insurance passes both of these tests.
The Supreme Court has not handed down a concise definition of just what qualifies as “commerce,” but even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged in a case called Gonzales v. Raich that Congress has sweeping authority to regulate “economic activity” under the Commerce Clause. There is a long line of cases holding that Congress has broad power to enact laws that substantially affect prices, marketplaces, and commercial transactions, which support Justice Scalia’s conclusion. A law requiring all Americans to hold health insurance does all of these things.
Mitt Romney and Massachusetts Republicans worry about freeloaders is the typical boogieman language that we have come to expect from conservatives – there are ten of millions of lazy poor neerdowells waiting to pounce on any penny that drops out of a hard work’n millionaire conservative’s pocket. What would happen without a mandate ( which may yet be amended out of the final bill) is that some people will inevitably forget, procrastinate or for whatever what seems like a good reason – to let their insurance lapse. Murphy’s law says that’s when disaster strikes and they end up in the ER. A couple of days in a hospital can run up thousands in charges. Thus the mandate protects Joe and Jane Average and protects the hospital, and the rest of us from getting the bill. Amateur historians might appreciate this find by Ian Millhiser, Why George Washington would disagree with the right wing about health care’s constitutionality.
The truth, however, is that the Second Militia Act of 1792, required a significant percentage of the U.S. civilian population to purchase a long list of military equipment:
[E]very citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.
Update: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.): Health Care Lawsuits Moot, States Can Opt Out Of Mandate
Speaking to the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Wyden discussed — for one of the first times in public — legislative language he authored which “allows a state to go out and do its own bill, including having no individual mandate.”
It’s called the “Empowering States to be Innovative” amendment. And it would, quite literally, give states the right to set up their own health care system — with or without an individual mandate or, for that matter, with or without a public option — provided that, as Wyden puts it, “they can meet the coverage requirements of the bill.”
Update II: When conservatives start yammering about freedom and liberty its a lot like listening to the sale pitch of a 19th C. snake oil salesman. Lots of claims and empty promises. With the passage of HCR Democrats made some headway toward millions of Americans having a lot more freedom. Some, and one assumes most Republicans think “45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage” is some kind of freedom. They also think freedom is racist cartoons depicting HCR as “rape” is another definition of freedom. What do you do in the wake of a crushing political defeat?
If you’re Jeff Goldstein, you declare yourself to be way cooler than everyone else; if you’re Darleen Click, you draw a cartoon in which the President rapes a woman, then tells her that he and friends will be back to rape her again later. In the clinical sense, Click is the more interesting case because she thinks that the only problem with her cartoon is that it’s racist. I repeat: she drew a cartoon in which the punch line is a gang rape and the only potential problem with it she can see is that it might be racist. Don’t misunderstand me: it’s plenty racist—plays into tropes as old as slavery and everything—but the punch line is that the President and his associates are going to gang-rape the Statue of Liberty with, I kid you not, immigration reform.
In service of the cheapest of laughs, Click asserts that the statue that symbolizes America’s commitment to the tired, poor, huddled masses of the world is about to be raped because of the President’s commitment to those selfsame masses-yearning-to-be-free. Talk about your industrial grade ideological incoherence—and I would, except for the fact that Goldstein, never one to be upstaged on his own blog, told a woman that the only way she would ever be cool was if someone raped her with an icicle.
Draft dodger Rush Limbaugh in a as usual thoughtful analysis of all things public policy and the common good thinks saving tens of thousands of lives is worse than 9-11. The numbers suggest that our broken down health-care system was actually killing more Americans than al Queda. While conservative expert on values Bill Bennett ( he wrote a book on values) says all these racists attacks perpetrated by conservatives are proof that we truly are in a post racial America. America has obviously come a long way, but let’s not be Republican ostriches, stick our heads in the sand and pretend that racism is suddenly vanished as an issue from the cultural and political landscape.