Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Republican Debacle

I think columnists Robert Scheer, a liberal, and David Frum, a conservative, in two very excellent articles, have both equally hit the nail on the head.

An excerpt form Robert Scheer’s truthdig article, The Moderate Republican: An Endangered Species: “As it is, however, the lock-step march of the Republicans in radical resistance to even the most modest proposals to heal a deeply ailing nation leaves the Democrats as the only party that matters. The Republicans are a party of incoherent rage, and while they might temporarily succeed as demagogues, they are now acknowledged strangers to fact and logic—not to mention compassion.”

An excerpt from David Frum’s article, Waterloo: “I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.”

The republican stance on healthcare legislation is so much in lockstep, as Robert Scheer puts it, it makes one wonder whether or not their stance is taken on principle or simply because they believe that it is a politically favorable position to take. It would seem to me that there would be some republican, somewhere, at least one, who might be in favor in some way with this legislation, but there are none.

And, the republican fiery rhetoric, as that of Representative Paul Broun’s comparison of Obama’s agenda to "Dead Man Walking Around With No Soul," which many Americans may take literally, Representative Randy Neugebauer’s shout out “baby killer,” and generally the congressional republicans’ demagoguery and invectiveness did not contribute to a meaningful debate, and did not honestly serve the American people.

The rancor of conservatives, tea partiers, and protesters, as David Frum says, the “hysterical accusations and pseudo-information” of the talk shows, also did not contribute to a meaningful and comprehensive understanding of the issues. Fox News, particularly Beck, Hannity, and O’Reilly, but also talk radio’s Limbaugh and others also incite unacceptable behavior and violence. Their lexicon: Fascist, Nazi, Hitler, totalitarian, dictator, communist, and socialist, of which none by definition apply.

Healthcare protesters shouted verbal epithets at Democratic Representatives John Lewis and Andre Carson. A protester spit on Representative Emanuel Cleaver. And, ten democrats, and in some cases their families, have been threatened with violence for voting on the healthcare reform legislation.

This behavior, although (except spitting on a person) constitutional, to me is completely unacceptable and should be admonished by every levelheaded American.