GOP flubs health care debate

The well of the United States House of Representatives has provided the forum over the decades for some truly inspiring speeches – some delivered by members of that body, such as former Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde; others by non-legislators invited by the House to speak to its members (Winston Churchill and Douglas MacArthur come readily to mind).  On a day-to-day basis, however, what passes for debate on the floor of the House is more proletarian than uplifting.  Eloquence is more often than not discarded in favor of partisanship, and substance frequently trumped by soundbites.

Even measured against this modern standard for what passes for “debate” in the Congress, however, the final presentations last Sunday evening in the lengthy health care legislation were depressing.  The remarks, delivered first by Minority Leader John Boehner and then by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, completely lacked substance and, in the case of Mr. Boehner, were tinged with anger and profanity.  The Democratic message, delivered by Ms. Pelosi, was typically sophomoric and poorly delivered.  Her remarks claiming that the pending legislation would — presumably by placing control of medicine in America in the hands of the IRS and other government bureaucrats — unleash the American spirit of free enterprise, was silly in the extreme.  Yet, because the point of Pelosi’s speech was to elicit applause rather than enlighten, it drew predictably wild applause from the Speaker’s side of the aisle.

In the long run, however, Pelosi’s comments will matter little; for her party won a significant legislative victory, and it is the results of that vote that will define the future debate, not her remarks.

On the Republican side, however, the manner in which the GOP defined the terms of its position, and the tone and substance of its remarks, will resonate beyond the March 21st vote, and probably not to the benefit of the party. 

It wasn’t as if the Republican Party was not presented with a number of opportunities over the past several months during which this legislation was being crafted, through which to offer substantive, coherent alternatives while at the same time opposing the Democrats’ proposal.  Throughout the months of this unfolding controversy, public polls established repeatedly that a majority of Americans opposed a government take over of the system whereby medical services are delivered and paid for.  And opposing the Democratic Party’s plan on this basis was an important and appropriate strategy for the GOP.

However, in essentially limiting the Republican Party’s opposition to just that — opposition — without clearly and consistently offering a constructive legislative alternative, the minority party has dramatically limited its future likelihood of success in undoing the damage to be visited on America’s economy and medical services by this new health care law.   Now that the president has signed the legislation into law, its terms become the status quo, and it is axiomatic that the most powerful force in the universe is the force of the status quo.

The Republicans will need more than the angry, profane rhetoric of John Boehner as delivered to his House colleagues Sunday evening, as a base from which to launch any electoral or legislative effort to overturn this just-enacted health care law.  In fact, the image of the Republican leader angrily using profanity in his party’s concluding remarks Sunday, rather than setting forth a strong, positive alternative agenda on which to base subsequent efforts, will likely resonate to his party’s disadvantage in the months ahead.

The national Republican Party could have used the opportunity of having a national audience last Sunday evening, to present a clear, substantive alternative to the Democratic Party’s proposal that is now law of the land.  Instead, it simply used the forum to play to its base with a shallow display of anger.

What small glimmer of light there may be at the end of this lengthening dark tunnel of government control, rests largely in the hands of those state attorneys general and public interest law firms that have already filed, or will soon file legal, constitutional challenges to the most problematic provisions in the health care law.  The lawsuits will face a formidable challenge in convincing the federal courts that the mandates in this new law have gone beyond the pale in taking power from the people and placing it in the hands of the federal government; this, considering that in only a handful of instances in the past 75 years has the Supreme Court found any government mandate to be violative of the Constitution.  Still, even though the lawyers who will be prosecuting these legal challenges face daunting obstacles, they are certain to present their arguments with a great deal more substance and professionalism than exhibited by the Republican House leadership.

121 comments Add your comment

Ryan P

March 24th, 2010
7:01 am

So Bob, share with us your ideas on health care reform. What should Republicans have offered as alternatives?

Keep up the good fight!

March 24th, 2010
7:06 am

Dont often agree with you Mr Barr but on this one I think you are on point. Republican leadership failed their party and failed the country. They play into the anger and they stoke the violent language that incites violence. Sarah’s “targets” and “crosshairs”, the slurs and the spitting on Democratic members of Congress all stoke the fire. We all expect better of elected officials and some non-elected persons.

Keep up the good fight!

March 24th, 2010
7:32 am

5 physical attacks on local Democratic attacks. Recorded death threats against children of members of Congress. Angry attacks, whether with words, bricks or more veiled threats should not be tolerated. Its time to be responsible, be and act like elected officials and leaders. Intimidation and profane attacks should no longer be tolerated.

The Republicans should step forward with Obama and say “this is the law of the land, we lost this vote, the majority disagreed. That does not justify violence.” They can even acknowledge lawsuits to challenge or their hopes one day to repeal. But the tone should be that violence is NOT an answer to democracy for those who did not achieve majority.


March 24th, 2010
7:36 am

Republicans have always been sore losers. Remember the backlash after Clinton won in ‘92? Republicans took to the woods with their guns and before long they were blowing up a federal building and either shooting abortion doctors or blowing up their clinics.

Hmmm, sore losers or just losers?


March 24th, 2010
7:37 am

And Bob – just what is your title now? Let’s see, you lost the 2002 primary and lost again in 2008 – so that just makes you a loser writing columns for a liberal rag on the brink of bankruptcy. So, please tell us why anyone in their right mind should give a flip as to what you have to say.


March 24th, 2010
7:39 am

The Republicans “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory” in November! Now it is clear that the Republican “loyal opposition” has decided on a strategy of just oppose everything, no matter what. They have given Democrats the opportunity to portray the GOP as being for the drug companies and opposed to sick children; for the fat cats of Wall Street and opposed to poor people; for insurance companies and opposed to mothers with cancer and cancelled insurance. My recommendation: understand that by and large Americans are not stupid–keep quiet for 2 or 3 months, and start over.


March 24th, 2010
7:51 am

When you look back 15-20 years, you see that the main outlines of this bill were from Heritage Foundation and Senate Republican alternatives to Clinton’s health care reform. The time for Republicans to step up was last year when they could have controlled the process by agreeing to vote in favor if the bill was to their liking. Instead, they decided to replay 93/94 and use that to retake congress. Pelosi was correct that negotiating with the Republicans was a waste of time and only served to make the bill less palatable to Democrats.

Pelosi was also correct in her floor speech about the bill unleashing entrepreneurship. Most small business people I know were able to start their businesses because their wives had family health coverage at their jobs. Why should the main requirement for starting a business be a well employed spouse instead of a great idea? As a long time small business operator myself, I have long thought taking care of the health care end of things would free many more people locked into dead end jobs the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This bill is a very small step in that direction, but a Medicare for all approach would mean I don’t have to worry about health care for my family or any of my employees families. What a great day that would be.


March 24th, 2010
7:54 am

The old adage still rings true:

“When Democrats are in office they are in power!”

“When Republicans are in office they are ……. well, in office.”

Sad but true …………………..

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 24th, 2010
7:56 am

Here Republicans, Catch: An open letter to conservatives
March 22, 2010, 3:16PM

Dear Conservative Americans,

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 prlimentary 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.

You can’t flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can’t complain that the president hasn’t closed Gitmo yet when you’ve campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can’t flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn’t even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed (on the mouth) leaders of countries that are not on “kissing terms” with the US.

You can’t complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt — the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can’t attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hourswhen you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn’t issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can’t throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when — in fact — only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can’t condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attemted terror attack on his.

You can’t mount a boycott against singers who say they’re ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he’s ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Moaist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can’t cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it’s too short.

You can’t support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can’t demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can’t praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it “treasonous” under a Dem president.

You can’t propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can’t be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can’t damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you’ve paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can’t condemn critizising the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president’s party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can’t be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can’t vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of ‘open debate’.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it’s 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you’re taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God’s stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can’t send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can’t criticize Dems for not doing something you didn’t do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can’t decry “name calling” when you’ve been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can’t spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can’t praise the Congressional Budget Office when it’s analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it’s unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don’t.

You can’t vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don’t. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can’t call a reconcilliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can’t spend tax-payer money on ads against spending tax-payer money.

You can’t condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the madates were your idea.

You can’t demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don’t.

You can’t whine that it’s unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party’s former leader admits you’ve been doing it for decades.

You can’t portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can’t complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you’ve routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain — threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented — and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can’t question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn’t object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can’t preach and try to legislate “Family Values” when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer’s wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheatingon your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coherce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife’s mother;


You really need to dissassociate with those among you who:

assert that people making a quarter-million dollars a year can barely make ends meet or that $1 million “isn’t a lot of money”;
say that “Comrade” Obama is a “Bolshevik” who is “taking cues from Lenin”;
ignore the many times your buddies use a term that offends you and complain only when a Dem says it;
liken political opponents to murderers, rapists, and “this Muslim guy” that “offed his wife’s head” or call then “un-American”;
say Obama “wants his plan to fail…so that he can make the case for bank nationalization and vindicate his dream of a socialist economy”;
equate putting the good of the people ahead of your personal fortunes with terrorism;
smear an entire major religion with the actions of a few fanatics;
say that the president wants to “annihilate us”;
compare health care reform with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a Bolshevik plot the attack on 9/11,or reviving the ghosts of communist dictators (update: it’s also not Armageddon);
equate our disease-fighting stem cell research with “what the Nazis did”;
call a bill passed by the majority of both houses of Congress, by members of Congress each elected by a majority in their districts, an unconscionable abuse of power, a violation of the presidential oath or “the end of representative government”;
shout “baby killer” at a member of Congress on the floor of the House, especially one who so fought against abortion rights that he nearly killed health care reform (in fact, a little decorum, a little respect for our national institutions and the people and the values they represent, would be refreshing — cut out the shouting, the swearing and the obscenities);
prove your machismo by claiming your going to “crash a party” to which you’re officially invited;
claim that Obama is pushing America’s “submission to Shariah”;
question the patriotism of people upholding cherished American values and the rule of law;
claim the president is making us less safe without a hint of evidence;
call a majority vote the “tyranny of the minority,” even if you meant to call it tyranny of the majority — it’s democracy, not tyranny;
call the president’s support of a criminal trial for a terror suspect “treasonous” (especially when you supported the same thing when the president shared your party);
call the Pope the anti-Christ;
assert that the constitutionally mandated census is an attempt to enslave us;
accuse opponents of being backed by Arab slave-drivers, drunk and suicidal;
equate family planing with eugenics or Nazism;
accuse the president of changing the missile defense program’s logo to match his campaign logo and reflect what you say is his secret Muslim identity;
accuse political opponents of being totalitarians, socialists, communists, fascists, Marxists; terrorist sympathizers, McCarthy-like, Nazis or drug pushers; and
advocate a traitors act like seccession, violent revolution , military coup or civil war (just so we’re clear: sedition is a bad thing).

If you’re going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they’re NOT synonymous!)

You can’t cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you’ve decided you don’t like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word “terrorism” or say we’re at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you’re going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can’t just pretend historical events didn’t happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn’t make it better.)

You can’t say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from “socialist utopia”; health care reform is not “reparations”; nor does health care reform create “death panels”.


You have to condemn those among you who:

call members of Congress n*gger and f*ggot;
elected leaders who say “I’m a proud racist”;
state that America has been built by white people;
say that poor people are poor because they’re rotten people, call them “parasitic garbage” or say they shouldn’t be allowed to vote;
call women bitches and prostitutes just because you don’t like their politics ( re – pea -ted – ly );
assert that the women who are serving our nation in uniform are hookers;
mock and celebrate the death of a grandmother because you disagree with her son’s politics;
declare that those who disagree with you are shown by that disagreement to be not just “Marxist radicals” but also monsters and a deadly disease killing the nation (this would fit in the hyperbole and history categories, too);
joke about blindness;
advocate euthanizing the wife of your political opponent;
taunt people with incurable, life-threatening diseases — especially if you do it on a syndicated broadcast;
equate gay love with bestiality — involving horses or dogs or turtles or ducks — or polygamy, child molestation, pedophilia;
casually assume that only white males look “like a real American”;
assert presidential power to authorize torture, torture a child by having his testacles crushed in front of his parents to get them to talk, order the massacre of a civilian village and launch a nuclear attack without the consent of Congress;
attack children whose mothers have died;
call people racists without producing a shred of evidence that they’ve said or done something that would even smell like racism — same for invoking racially charged “dog whistle” words (repeatedly);
condemn the one thing that every major religion agrees on;
complain that we no longer employ the tactics we once used to disenfranchise millions of Americansbecause of their race;
blame the victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks for their suffering and losses;
celebrate violence , joke about violence, prepare for violence or use violent imagery, “fun” politicalviolence, hints of violence, threats of violence (this one is rather explicit), suggestions of violence oractual violence (and, really, suggesting anal rape wth a hot piece of metal is beyond the pale); and
incite insurrection telling people to get their guns ready for a “bloody battle” with the president of the United States.
Oh, and I’m not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bold-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we’ll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King


March 24th, 2010
8:15 am

I asked the people supporting govt healthcare to give me an example of a major govt program that doesn’t loose money and is viable going forward, no responce so here we go…The costs of Medicare doubled every four years between 1966 and 1990 – broke in 2017….Social Security – broke….Post Office – broke….AmTrack ……- broke…Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac – broke govt bailout…Veterens health care & VA – broke.


March 24th, 2010
8:25 am

That pretty much says it.

david wayne osedach

March 24th, 2010
8:26 am

The Republicans hope against hope Obamacare will fail. That is not very likely.


March 24th, 2010
8:27 am

@ Russell- brilliant.


March 24th, 2010
8:30 am

Congressman Mike Pence was on “Morning Joe” this Am and was asked to name a couple of entrenched big government programs he would like to cut to reduce the deficits. He was unable to do so. He was asked a second time, and even had hints of several Executive Branches where cuts could be made. He was still unable, or maybe unwilling, to do so.

If the main guy in the rush to cut the deficits can not, or will not, name the programs that should be candidates for the knife, then we will never get it done.

And for you put up or shut up types here are some of my candidates:
1) Raise age for Medicare from 65 to 67. 2) Remove troops from Iraq immediately. 3) Eliminate all subsidies from the Agriculture Department. 4) Eliminate Part D Medicare, the Bush 43 drug assistance program for seniors.

That is about $6 trillion over the next 10 years.

But you cannot get a Democrat or Republican to publicly suggest any of these or any others. So the deficits will probably remain with us. Get used to it folks.


March 24th, 2010
8:31 am

If you hate the healthcare bill because of its spending, then call your congressmen and tell them we need to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan NOW. These wars are what is going to bankrupt us. But I guess we can find money for wars, but we do not have the money to help people.


March 24th, 2010
8:34 am

Hey TFP — excellent post.

When was it written?

The only thing missing is the GOP insisting that Obama is an Islamofacist terrorist in disguise.


March 24th, 2010
8:34 am

@Russell: that should go viral…someone in ‘power’ needs to take those lessons to heart


March 24th, 2010
8:46 am

Tom: The fallacy of your question is that you ask which “major govt program … doesn’t loose money and is viable going forward,” and cite Medicare, SS, Veteran’s health care & VA,” as if they were for profit enterprises. They are not “broke” as if they sold some products and failed in the marketplace. Their financial situation only reflects the difference between what they provide to the people and what we are willing to pay. People demand to “take off hands from my Medicare” and the Republicans accuse the Democrats that they want to cut Medicare expenses, but they oppose any taxes that would cover those expenses. That is sheer hypocrisy.

Gator Joe

March 24th, 2010
8:47 am

Mr. Barr,
You are, for the most part, correct. However, the most damning, and fatal, aspect of Republican opposition to Democratic healthcare reform is their track record. That is, their failure to offer, much less enact, any meaningful healthcare reform. Also, misinformation, angry slogans, and propaganda do nothing advance their position with those of us who think. Republicans, when forcing their initiatives on the Democrats, during the Bush administration, repeatedly reminded us, “Elections matter!” I guess they mean “Elections matter only when the Rebuplicans win.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 24th, 2010
8:49 am

I respectfully disagree, in part, with our host. We agree that the republican leadership is stoking anger; we disagree on the merit of such work. The erosion of freedom has now gone too far. For once, but intelligently pointing out the evil, the republican leadership has performed close to the standards one would expect of a “leader.” There is no virtue in wimpism.


March 24th, 2010
8:50 am

Too bad your column was only able to use the overused cliches – nothing concrete or specific on your part either Bob – just “the sky is falling” rhetoric we have all heard before again and again and again. I do agree with you that the Republicans missed their chance to do something starting several decades ago – and today your followed suit.


March 24th, 2010
8:51 am

The health care law signed Tuesday by President Obama is projected to extend insurance coverage to roughly 32 million additional Americans, but what happens to those who don’t get themselves covered by health insurance?
The new law creates penalties in the tax code as an incentive.
An adult who does not have health insurance by 2014 would be penalized $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, so long as the amount does not exceed the price tag of a basic health plan. But by 2016, the penalty increases to $695 for an uninsured adult, and up to $2,085 per household, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater.
A person would also be penalized only if he or she went more than three months of the year without insurance.
Some people are exempt from the new law. If a person’s income is below a certain level, or if the cheapest insurance would cost 8 percent of the person’s income, no penalty would apply for lack of coverage.
Video: Health care reform and you


March 24th, 2010
8:52 am

Tar and Feathers Party, there is too much money at stake (in healthcare, ill-advised wars, i,e; the political process). anyone who believes there is any substantial difference between Boehner and Pelosi (or Obama and Bush, for that matter) is playing into the hand of the smarmy political/ownership class. a true convservative embraces the conservative ethic or mantra as a “lifestyle choice” he accepts that he is not the only person in the sandbox, but he believes at his core that “less is more” and choices have consequences. he is what I would call an “ethical conservative”. the other type of conservative is not conservative at all. this is what I would call a “political” conservative. his “values” are narcissistic and self-serving; driven by the lure of political power and dare I say; the power that comes with “wealth”. he will pimp, pander and even prostitute himself, if that’s what it takes. that is to say, like the often villified “liberal” a political conservative embraces the “conservative” title in order to further policies, which will effect everyone in the sandbox (think W’s: “you’re either for us or against us” ultimatum). true conservatives, like their liberal counterparts agree to disagree, but they are bolstered by the courage f their conviction. I guess the true distinction is one of “ideology” vs. “policy”. unfortunately, I am too busy to continue. somebody help me out.


March 24th, 2010
8:55 am

The Tar and Feathers Party post just won the internets. This should be copied, posted, reposted and emailed to every in-box in the US. Maybe, just maybe it might make a few of these people realize just how disgusting the rhetoric has become and how much damage it has done to the Republican party.


March 24th, 2010
8:57 am

Those G(rumpy) O(ld) P(eople) sure are grumpy. They are missing the boat. A balanced approach would be my prefference. They should have got aboard and got some gravey.


March 24th, 2010
9:01 am

I say, ‘What the Tar & Feathers Party said Russell King said’…

I will add to an earlier comment about the Republican ‘reaction’ to Bill Clinton, that it goes a lot farther back. What they did following the Watergate fiasco and Jimmy Carter’s winning in 76 started it all. The extreme rightwing of your party poured tons of money, hatred and the revenge motive into everything you have done that has led us to this point. From seeing to it that the Embassy Hostages were held until after the election and the resultant ‘arming’ of Iran against the law of the land…from Reagan’s launch of his campaign in the very place that symbolized racial murder and intimidation…to the dismantling of the financial regulatory structure – abetted by Bill Clinton, I’ll admit – to see to it that your corporate benefactors could siphon off hundreds and thousands of billions and more billions from the National Treasury…to, perhaps, the ultimate horrible mistake, putting in inept, well-familed, near-do-well, in power – combined with, perhaps, the most sadistic, manipulative, Machiavellian, Rasputin imaginable – ‘The Man Behind the Cretin’, as it were…you folks have done it all but like the old Baron Leone (look him up) of the 50’s wrestling shows, despite all the vile and contemptible things you have done and still do, you stand there feigning innocence and all the while having the lies called ‘truths’ by your propaganda machine run by the Australian that never should have been allowed to have a license in the first place.

Saw the movie ‘12 Angry Men’ again the other day. You folks have degenerated into the world’s largest collection of the Ed Begley character – and you seem to be proud of it.

Road Scholar

March 24th, 2010
9:03 am

TFP: Excellent post. No overt emotion, just facts. Both parties should read.

jconservative: Good post also. Are the repubs now the party of no…ideas? It’s always easier to criticize than to implement, or even propose change.


March 24th, 2010
9:08 am

Bob, You are right on target with this one. The Republicans could have chosen (and I use that word intentionally) to join in the process and had much more say in its outcome BUT they chose instead a failed strategy of being obstructionists from the “get go”. If they persist in that strategy they will paint themselves into a corner from which they won’t be able to get out of.

Tar and Feathers Party @ 7:56am: Thank you for posting the letter to conservatives. Much of what is said in the letter is the very essence of my dispute with the right wing conservatives in the Republican Party. It addresses the very duplicity of their platform and actions. To be believable you have to have integrity. The letter states very clearly the disconnect between what the conservatives say and how they behave in both their speech and actions.


March 24th, 2010
9:10 am

Simply amazing to see so many consumers (ie Democrats, Libersl, Progressives, Obama Bots, etc.) “predicting” the failure of the GOP. Last time I checked, Georgia is a pretty solid red state & will probably pick up another (maybe 2) congressional seats that will be allocated to the northern part of the state. So go ahead & gloat in your love/progression of/to socialism. It will be short lived.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Dear jconservative @ 8:30, your comments are informed and accurate, but your proposal is insufficient. While your spending cuts will have a beneficial effect on the government’s direct accounts, you are blind to the effect on the larger productive economy of other government spending. I cite two: SEC and FTC. Those two virtue-less agencies, which exist only to keep otherwise incompetent plaintiff’s attorneys off the dole, have a profoundly dampening effect on what could be a vibrant economy. Practically all of our nonmilitary government similarly produces no value, but greatly constrains our potential.

Road Scholar

March 24th, 2010
9:12 am

After yesterdays posts on the blogs, I want to congratulate and show my respect to those who have posted here today. Intelligent debate, idea sharing and fact sharing…something that has been missing in these political blogs. We can disagree, but with respect and understanding! A new day has dawned!


March 24th, 2010
9:12 am

retire, you are dinging the GOP for integrity??? Yes, the Democrats are so full of integrity that I can name them all on one hand.

Road Scholar

March 24th, 2010
9:15 am

Milton Man: As per your mantra, wait until November!

ps Where is the state repubs jobs program? Transportation plan? Ethics legislation? What is the status of the ethics investigation on who what where in the Richardson affair (everyone knew)?


March 24th, 2010
9:19 am

Obamacare is good for all Americans. However, members of the House and Senate and the Executive staff are exepmt from its provisions and are still entitled to receive their elite healthcare benefits that they so richly deserve as the leaders of the American sheep…er I mean… people. Now shut up and take it. Quit your bitching…I am telling you it is what you need. You will like the way we control your lives.


March 24th, 2010
9:22 am

Obamacare is good for all Americans. however, members of the house and senate and executive brance will still be entitled to their elite healcare plan and are exempt from the provisions of Obamacare. This only applies to the sheep…er…American people. Now shut up and enjoy it.

cranky old man

March 24th, 2010
9:24 am

The Republicans are furious because part of the carefully crafted strategy they’ve been implementing over the past 30 years has taken a hit. They dream of a Libertarian Utopia, where they are allowed to do whatever they like with whatever money, land, businesses, or other wealth they can acquire.

Part of the strategy they’ve chosen to lead them to this Nirvana was their “starve the beast” tactic. Cut taxes whenever possible, and never-ever-under-any-circumstances raise taxes (at least on the upper classes). Meanwhile, constantly increase military spending, because that’s one area of government almost every slice of the political spectrum agrees is necessary, so it’s an easy sell. Start a couple of wars if the Pentagon budget isn’t rising fast enough to suit you. You can also fund other pet projects, but ensure the money goes to ideologically like-minded contractors instead of hiring permanent government employees.

You can’t get rid of things you hate right away, like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Just remember the old saying, “In order to stab someone in the back, you must first get behind him.” So propose politically popular expansions to the programs. Maybe a prescription drug benefit for seniors? Maybe private-public partnerships with insurers, giving them taxpayer money to offer Medicare supplement insurance. But – and this is very important – DON’T FUND ANY OF IT. The idea is to hasten the day when these programs will run out of money. At that point, you can sigh heavily, shake your head, and look appropriately saddened at how you’ve now been forced to eliminate these programs, because, see, they were never really sustainable. Just like you tried to tell everyone from the beginning.

C tha 1

March 24th, 2010
9:25 am

I’m an independent voter with leftist ideas, but I don’t mind having my ideas challenged and I can be swayed with a legitimate common sense rebuttal. Russel your post is well constructed, eloquently presented, and greately appreciated. Some one in power on the Right needs to take it to heart.


March 24th, 2010
9:28 am

I’m not sure how Russell King got the idea that he has the right to tell me what I can and cannot say or think. I suppose he figures he has the power of a king because his name is King.

Good job, Russell

March 24th, 2010
9:29 am

While it was a long read, due to the long list of republitrocities, you hit the nail on the lunatic party’s head!

Russell's #1 best-seller

March 24th, 2010
9:30 am

Dude, while it was a long read, it was SO TRUE. The republicans and their “base” have lost their ever-lovin’ minds .


March 24th, 2010
9:32 am

wow… Russell that was awesome and sadly true


March 24th, 2010
9:33 am

Tar & Feathers: You dug up pure gold. I agree, you win the interwebs today.


March 24th, 2010
9:38 am

Russell, Great post! Please get this out into the mainstream. MSN, Fox, Huffpo, wherever it can be read by many people.


March 24th, 2010
9:39 am


March 24th, 2010
9:41 am

Road, the Richardson ethics investigation is right there with the Roy Barnes investigation of siphoning funds from the GA400 toll for Atlantic Station.

Road Scholar

March 24th, 2010
9:50 am

Milton Man: He put the money in land, and at last report, it had a higher value than when he bought it! I did not agree with his move either, but the money/land still has value for the taxpayer.

Now , where are the plans I asked you about? By not answering, you agree the repubs have nothing!

Rational Person

March 24th, 2010
9:51 am

And today the Gallup Poll shows a nice plurality of Americans favoring the health care bill now that it has passed.


March 24th, 2010
10:03 am

Milton Man: yes, I an dinging the Repubs for integrity because they one thing, i.e. family values, small government, balanced budgets, to name a few, and do the opposite. As I said very clearly above, that’s my beef with them. I did not say that Dems don’t do the same thing but the Repubs are just more egregious (see letter to conservatives submitted by TFP this morning). I don’t see the failure of the GOP other than their hypocrisy, but, again that’s not theirs exclusively. But what I do see is they seem very sure they will pick up a lot of seats in the November elections. Even some of their own question that outcome. My guess is they will pick up a few but nothing near what they hope for.


March 24th, 2010
10:04 am

If you want to read the details on the Gallup Poll go to Nate Silver does a great job of analyzing the poll and breaking down the results by Dems, Indies, Repubs. A big lift in positive attitude by the indies.


March 24th, 2010
10:17 am

@T&FP: Thank you for finding that post; as a person of color…’ve found someone who has told the TRUTH about the GOP…how they FORGOT that they HAD the black vote prior to 1964….that Ronald Reagan announced his support for a racist platform in the same city where three Civil Rights workers died…that the Southern Strategy used by Nixon marginalized the black vote… Nixon created the “welfare check” to entice poor, white voters and to denigrate black people……

There’s a lot to learn here…………