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…………


March 24th, 2010
10:22 am

While the Dems won a battle, us Pubs are winning the war (no pun intended). You won the healthcare battle (congrats), but that will not change the fact that life for most of the Republicans of this country is so good right now compared to yours. Democratic citizens will continue to be lazy, angry, dependent, underachieving, poor, needy, and most importantly envious. You are envious of everything that we have and you don’t. You can’t stand that you made poor decisions in life and now you have little value. It pains you to see people succeed and make more than you, to be able to provide for THEMSELVES, to have self pride, and most importantly to be happy. So enjoy your rants and tirades and your moral victory with healthcare (again congrats)….just remember that until you do something with yourself,you will continue to be miserable.

Karl Marx

March 24th, 2010
10:36 am

Yes the Republicans screwed up again just like they did a few years back when Bill Clinton was President. Democrats very successfully change the tone of the debate from his perjury to sexual impropriety didn’t they Mr. Barr.


March 24th, 2010
10:39 am

Just once I’d like to hear something POSITIVE from a Republican! Something he’s going to do FOR America instead of what he’s going to do TO his opponent. Boehner had the chance to be magnanamous but did he do it? Yeah! When hell freezes over! The best thing the people of Ohio can do for this nation is let Boehner walk this fall and elect someone who puts their nation ahead of their ego.


March 24th, 2010
10:40 am

Congrats to the Dems for getting it passed…even though it was mostly due to closed door pork and secret deal making. But whatever, its done and we all must move forward.

However, by passing this, the Dems that caved to Obama’s wishes will be given their pink slips in November. Also, in Nov 2008 the approval numbers of white men who broke for Obama were around 44% and that was enough to elect our new president. Now those approval numbers have dropped below 35% and show no signs of slowing down, so Obama’s days as our leader appear to be numbered (1032 or so) as nobody envisioned Obama taking us within inches of EU socialism.

White female approval numbers have also fallen, but not as sharply as those of white men, but those two together with the addition of this healthcare bill will seal Obama’s fate as a single-termer.

As an independent, I can only hope a 3rd party candidate can finally get elected and return our country to its proper place as the political envy of the world with less government, free enterprise, elimination of the IRS and instituting the fair tax.

We need to blame both the Dems and Repubs for ruining government over the past 60 years with their political posturing and sense of entitlement. Did ya’ll ever stop and think why our politicians will not participate in this recently passed healhcare policy? They say its good for all of us, but its not good enough for them. Interesting…


March 24th, 2010
10:41 am

@ Allen – I’m challenging you on your post..point-by-point:

March 24th, 2010
10:22 am
“While the Dems won a battle, us Pubs are winning the war (no pun intended). You won the healthcare battle (congrats), but that will not change the fact that life for most of the Republicans of this country is so good right now compared to yours. ”

Are you acknowledging that Republican policies have shifted the wealth UPWARDS rather than the trickle-down (or should I say – pi$$ed-on) economic theory you espouse?? That Republican policies are designed PURPOSELY to leave out the ability to progress for anyone who is not of wealth….or of a specific color??

“Democratic citizens will continue to be lazy, angry, dependent, underachieving, poor, needy, and most importantly envious.”

That is a false assertion; there are MANY Democrats who work, achieve, are not lazy, are independent, desire the best for their children…AND their nation; they just are not as selfish as you are!! They do not envy you…but in their own way, strive to be BETTER than you!!

” You are envious of everything that we have and you don’t. You can’t stand that you made poor decisions in life and now you have little value.”

So you’re saying that Democrats who believe in education, hard work, perserverance made poor decisions…..and those values are small in comparison?? Are you also saying that a HUMAN LIFE, no matter at what end of the national scale, has NO value??

” It pains you to see people succeed and make more than you, to be able to provide for THEMSELVES, to have self pride, and most importantly to be happy.”

So you are saying that people who desire the same things for others that they themselves have — happiness, prosperity, success, pride — can only be Republicans?? Another false assertion!! Many Democrats fit that mode! You seem to have NO altruistic characteristics….just selfish ones!!

“So enjoy your rants and tirades and your moral victory with healthcare (again congrats)….just remember that until you do something with yourself,you will continue to be miserable.”

Democrats are not miserable….but you and your existence seem to be……

As Mr. T says: “I pity the fool………”

Bob Brown

March 24th, 2010
10:47 am

To Mr. Russell King: You have my gratitude and respect for your elucidation of the GOP’s toxic issues. What a great piece of analysis and prose. I suggest that AJC should try to entice you away from your day job to join its editorial writers. Thank you, sir!!


March 24th, 2010
10:48 am

HDB, the GOP had the black vote prior to 1964??? The GOP never had the support. George Wallace even carried the black vote in 1979.


March 24th, 2010
10:49 am

Gee, Allen, Have you ever met a Democrat?

“underachieving, poor, needy, and most importantly envious. ”

Let’s see, I own my own company, the building and property it’s in, have 2 condos in Atlanta, a house in the mountains, did it all on my own without help from you and certainly am not envious of you. Maybe you should widen your circle of friends to include a little more diverse group of people other than your gun toten’, paranoid, Rush listenin’ group.


March 24th, 2010
10:51 am

AGAIN Bob Barr displays his resentment towards the GOP over his failed primary run against John Linder. Bob, had you run in the district Phil Gingrey represents instead of against Linder you might still be in Congress. You resentment stains your views. You share in ANY ills that the Republican Party carries due to your Clinton Impeachment efforts. As for your attempt at suggesting Republicans could have participated in the process, HOW? Charlie Rangel said ‘we don’t need you Republicans, we will do what we have to and what we want to on health care reform’, impeached former Federal Judge and now Democrat Congressman from Florida Alcee Hastings said ‘we ain’t worried about rules, we make up as we go, we are going to pass this bill’. Pelosi barred Republicans from participation in the bill writing, conducted behind closed doors. Harry Reid did the same in the Senate. I have no doubt you are much smarter than me, so please, tell me how in the world Republicans could have been part of the process, HOW? Do I need to remind you this ObamaCare Bill had BI-PARTISAN opposition and no bi-partisan support!!! Before you take off and blame Republicans in your ongoing ‘pitty party’ over being soundly whipped by John Linder, you might want to consider being honest, something over which you sought impeachment of Bill Clinton. As for John Boehner, was his rhetoric any worse than Bart Stupak’s deceit? How about the VP’s comments in introducing the President…’this is a big f****ng deal’


March 24th, 2010
10:53 am

HDB = bipolar. Man to you even have the intelligence to realize that you sound like you are arguing with yourself.

“Are you acknowledging that Republican policies have shifted the wealth UPWARDS rather than the trickle-down…”

“So you’re saying that Democrats who believe in education, hard work, perserverance made poor decisions…..and those values are small in comparison?? Are you also saying that a HUMAN LIFE, no matter at what end of the national scale, has NO value??”

So you are saying on one hand that wealth is bad but working hard to obtain wealth is good??? That is hilarious.

I like your analysis on Human Life. Last time I checked clown the democrats are the one who favor abortion.

Swede Atlanta

March 24th, 2010
10:54 am

I agree with Bob that it would have been more constructive to have the Republics present a comprehensive HCR bill for consideration as an alternative to what was about to be passed by the House. That would have been the adult thing to do.

What concerns me, and has been raised by others, is the reaction by those opposed to the legislation. I am fine with Republics introducing legislation to repeal the law. That is what they are supposed to do – i.e. change the law as provided for under our Constitution. I am also fine with states challenging the law’s constitutionality in court. That is their right.

But it is not helpful to moving the nation forward to have the hateful rhetoric, physical violence (e.g. rocks through the windows of Democratic party and Congressional members’ offices), racial slurs (e.g. John Lewis) and talk about guns, re-loading, etc. This acts are bordering close to being domestic terrorism.

I am surprised that the tactics of these domestic terrorists are not uniformly denounced by Boehner, McConnell and other Republic leaders. That is not the way we resolve matters in a Constitutional democracy.


March 24th, 2010
11:07 am

Allen @ 10:22- Nice! And this time I thought it was those republicans that hated the latte-sipping, Ivy league liberals. Especially since the south is ruled by your party. But you keep thinking that. That was funny.


March 24th, 2010
11:08 am

Captain:”Pelosi barred Republicans from participation in the bill writing, conducted behind closed doors. Harry Reid did the same in the Senate. I have no doubt you are much smarter than me, so please, tell me how in the world Republicans could have been part of the process,”

Tell us, Captain, where have you been for the last year while this healthcare debate had been shown EVERY DAY on CSPAN in the HOUSE AND SENATE Committee rooms? No participation in the bill writiing? How do you explain the over 200 REPUBLICAN amendments that are in the bill?


March 24th, 2010
11:13 am

What bothers me with the GOP message is that the GOP really does have something to sell. It can sell itself as a party of those who believe in individual responsibilities, and corresponding rights. Stay in the tradition of our forefathers who brought forth this great nation in bravery. Too often they slip into the slime with their Dem friends.


March 24th, 2010
11:21 am

@ MiltonMan: Prior to 1964, the preponderance of black people voted for the GOP as the “party of Lincoln”; the first black Senator since Reconstruction, Edward Brooke (MA) was Republican. This is a fact that the GOP does not WANT people to remember.

It is NOT bipolar to note that the largest transfer of wealth went to those who ALREADY had wealth, not those who were attempting to ACQUIRE wealth!! I have no problem with wealth…but when the middle class is getting squeezed by stagnant wages, the poor made poorer by lack of employment…and the wealthy increasing their wealth while this is occurring……C’MON, MAN!!

Democrats favor CHOICE, not criminalization…….I do not have the right to deny a woman the choices she desires; I don not have the right to outlaw a medical procedure if that decision was reached between a woman and her doctor. I don’t want to see anyone have to make that decision….but it’s not my right to deny a woman the right to make that decision….NO ONE DOES!!. Here’s MY question: how many conservatives would care for the plethora of children not aborted…..and how many conservatives are against the death penalty…..aborting a fully-grown life?? That dichotomy astounds me……..


March 24th, 2010
11:25 am


March 24th, 2010
11:13 am
What bothers me with the GOP message is that the GOP really does have something to sell. It can sell itself as a party of those who believe in individual responsibilities, and corresponding rights. Stay in the tradition of our forefathers who brought forth this great nation in bravery.

Joan, the GOP’s message is primarily fear, division, and racism!! The GOP wants you to be afraid of those who are unlike you, keep you afraid…and prosper from the fear!! If they stayed in the “tradition” (as you speak)…neither you nor I would have the freedoms that we have now!! WE would still be considered PROPERTY!!

I won’t go back to that……………….

Jon but not Jon Voight

March 24th, 2010
11:25 am

If you don’t like the requirement that everyone has health care, then petitition the Supreme Court that people can be “denied treatment” if they don’t have health care or do not provide a substantial down payment prior to receiving services. Our current system is set that people who don’t have health insurance either pay out of pocket or don’t pay at all. People who pay out of pocket don’t have regular screening of annual exams. They don’t want to pay full price for that. So they wait until they get really sick, or get cancer, and then it either bankrupts them or they don’t pay. And who gets stuck with the bill? It’s the people who have health insurance. Hospitals and doctors pass their losses in increased rates and fees. Insurance companies pass those costs in the form of rate increases. I’m personally tired of paying increased premiums to cover the deadbeats who wait until they get sick, or get in an accident, and then won’t pay.


March 24th, 2010
11:27 am

Bob, which of the following would you want to repeal?This law immediately prohibits insurance companies from excluding children from coverage for pre-existing conditions. Later it prohibits insurance companies from excluding adults or charging more for pre-existing conditions. It prohibits insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. It eliminates lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits. It begins to close the “donut hole” on prescription drugs for senior citizens. It requires new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost sharing. It limits the out-of-pocket expenses your insurance company can make you pay. It extends coverage for young Americans, allowing them to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to their 26th birthday if they choose. It lets you comparison shop for a quality, affordable health plan through a new health insurance exchange or marketplace.
These provisions help everybody, even Republicans.


March 24th, 2010
11:31 am

And by the way, the Heritage Foundation and conservatives have always been FOR a mandate for everyone to have insurance…until the Democrats proposed it too! It saves us all money in the long run, because as “Jon” says, we will no longer have to pay for those deadbeats who can afford it but refuse to get insurance.

No More Progressives!

March 24th, 2010
11:34 am

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.

Yet when an angry mob of liberals prevents an invited guest from speaking, it’s “political dissent.”

No More Progressives!

March 24th, 2010
11:42 am


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.

You duplicitous, kniving moron. Blaming the Okla City bombing on Republicans is about as low as a human (you are a human?) can get.

Off with your head, traitor.


March 24th, 2010
11:43 am

Allen – I happen to vote mostly democratic because the republican part ran me out with their bigotry, prejudice, etc. I earned $200K last year, so I guess I don’t fit into your neat, tidy explanation of democrats either, do I?


March 24th, 2010
11:43 am

The current arguments to healthcare reform are virtually the same ones used by southern politicians against the civil rights laws of the 1960’s.

middler and so tired of all the rhetoric :

March 24th, 2010
11:45 am

Pretty good for the most part, Mr. Barr. Most of us don’t care who is in power or office if they do their jobs and produce what they are paid to do. Republicans haven’t done that for a long time. Everyone kept waiting for Boehner’s alternative budget, remember? Nothing. A Republican alternative healthcare bill? Nothing. Lots of words about destroying Obama’s presidency. Why is that so important? Aren’t we supposed to be the focus? If Obama has something positive work on it together and make it the best it can be. True for the Republicans too. Oh, and did I miss something about people in Canada threatening that hate spewing woman who calls herself a Christian? Did we annex Canada and I missed it? Canada has laws about the lengths to which free speech can reach; read the news. This wasn’t “liberal” U.S. citizens; it was folks in another county who are allowed to express their opinions about her brand of “satire” and “conservatism” without being called unAmerican or liberal. I bet Ronald Reagen and BIlly Graham would be insulted to be lumped in with Ann Coulter.


March 24th, 2010
11:45 am

NMP: In Coulter’s previous speech, she said that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to fly… fact, she said for them to use a flying carpet. When a Muslim student asked her what should she do if she didn’t have a carpet…Coulter said: “Take a camel!”

There’s the CAUSE of your angry mob….Coulter brought it on herself……but that is NOT on the same caliber as spitting on an elected Representative!!

Is Coulter indicative of what conservatives REALLY are?? As Sarah Palin would say: “You bet’cha!”

BTW – Be glad it wasn’t ME who was spit upon…..I would’ve had a broken foot…for it’d be in someone’s posterior!!!


March 24th, 2010
11:50 am

Bart! That’s not fair! You’re trying to use facts to convince people!

Swede Atlanta

March 24th, 2010
11:55 am

Here Here Jon but not Jon Voigt

I completely agree. People talk about how the HRC bill takes away people’s freedom. It does take away their freedom to not purchase health insurance and to ‘freeload’ on others when they do get sick.

I would like to be free from paying increased premiums and increased costs for the care I get from my health care providers.

I handle the affairs of my elderly father. He had a short stay in a hospital last year and the hospital didn’t capture either his Medicare eligibility or his retiree medical coverage from his life-long employer. I got the bill at X amount and called the hospital to have them bill insurance. When I got the updated statement from them it was 10% higher. They explained to me that they give a 10% discount to those without insurance. So in essence those with insurance pay a 10% premium. Some suggest that is because of the high cost of handling insurance claims. To that I say rubbish. If someone doesn’t have insurance I believe the hospital is going to have a much harder time getting paid from someone who has to find their own resources to pay or someone who simply cannot or will not pay.

I see there are only two options. Everyone has health insurance either through a program like Medicare, Medicaid or a private policy. Insurance is intended to spread the risk across a large pool of insureds and reduce the overall cost to any single insured.

The other option is to say that anyone who shows up without insurance is refused care unless they pay up front in advance. I for one can’t imagine living in a society as wealthy as ours that treats its citizens in this manner.


March 24th, 2010
11:59 am

“Too often they slip into the slime with their Dem friends.”

Oh, contraire! The Republicans dug themselves into their very own slime pit, no assistance requested or required. Fear, name-calling, shout-outs in the halls of Congress, on and on. The number one rule in politics has always been, “when you’re in a hole, stop digging.” That sorry lot must be suffering from collective amnesia.

No More Progressives!

March 24th, 2010
12:20 pm


March 24th, 2010
11:45 am
NMP: In Coulter’s previous speech, she said that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to fly… fact, she said for them to use a flying carpet. When a Muslim student asked her what should she do if she didn’t have a carpet…Coulter said: “Take a camel!”

There’s the CAUSE of your angry mob….Coulter brought it on herself……but that is NOT on the same caliber as spitting on an elected Representative!!

Is Coulter indicative of what conservatives REALLY are?? As Sarah Palin would say: “You bet’cha!”

BTW – Be glad it wasn’t ME who was spit upon…..I would’ve had a broken foot…for it’d be in someone’s posterior!!!

Sure, tough guy. Free speech is only free, as long as you say so, right?

Brought it on herself, my aching backside.


March 24th, 2010
12:37 pm

NMP…..Canadians have a different set of rules…..but when Coulter makes her insults, she’d better prepare herself for the flashback!!

Here’s what Coulter said – freported by the Toronto Sun:

Fatima Al-Dhaher, a political science student from London, rose and spoke about comments Coulter made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The firebrand Republican had suggested Muslim countries be invaded, their leaders killed and all Muslims converted to Christianity. She later suggested Muslims denied air travel take “flying carpets” instead.

“As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” Al-Dhaher said to loud and sustained applause.

“I thought it was just American public schools that produced ignorant people,” Coulter replied, prompting her own round of applause.

Coulter then noted many Japanese were converted to Christianity after the Second World War and “we haven’t heard a peep out of them.”

To shouts of “Answer the question,” Coulter finally replied “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”

“Are you going to convert her now?” another student shouted out.

“No, there are some people I just as soon not convert,” Coulter retorted.

Wise man said: When you leave yourself open, you will get hit!!

No More Progressives!

March 24th, 2010
12:50 pm

So, it is safe to say that you support angry, hostile mobs preventing invited guests from speaking?

I can only imangine the screaming and ranting eminating from your direction if an unruly mob prevented any liberal speaker from an invited engagement.

Your a profound hypocrite.


March 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

NMP – I did not say I supported the mob…..but when you insult someone, be prepared for the flashback…..

Coulter brought it on herself….I stand by that statement!!

I could ask the same question to you: Do you support the Tea Party’s spitting on black elected officials, using racial epithets….and receiving NO denunication from the GOP?? That’s the mob mentality of conservatism at work!!


March 24th, 2010
1:06 pm

I want to say something nice about “Ann” Coulter…the guy has some seriously pretty hair!


March 24th, 2010
1:30 pm

And he has nice legs…a little skinny tho.


March 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

NMP….BTW…I remember conservatives outside the Florida recount in 2000 in their suits and ties doing everything to stop the recount…..another case of conservative mob rule……

Look..both sides have their lunatics……but the conservatives are better financed, better nuanced…but in many cases. on the wrong side of the equation!

Like Billie Holiday:

“Them’s that got shall get…..them’s that not shall lose…
For the Bible sez…and it still is news….
Mama may have…..Papa may have….
but.. God bless the child that got his own….
…that got his own….”

Joe Biden

March 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

Just wait…this ain’t nothin’. Wait till we pass a bill taking away the retirement accounts from all you rich Americans. Just wait cause it’s coming…we can do any @#$% ing thing we want to you and you can’t stop us.


March 24th, 2010
1:54 pm

- There are a lot of posts today complementing Tar and Feathers
for a submitted treatise on what the GOP needs to do to redeem
itself. You can add mine to the list.

Tar and Feathers (content by Russell King): Excellent post!
Congratulations on a great list of astute (and timely) observations.


March 24th, 2010
1:57 pm

Abrazos – Mar. 24 – 1:06 pm – LOL!

We can stop this now

March 24th, 2010
1:59 pm

If 10 or 15 million really angry American men will meet me in Washington in a week? We will take care of this and Washington right now! Why should we wait until November to throw everyone in Washington out. Lets just go do it. The military would not stop 10 or 15 million people. The Dems want to use 219 cowards to end the country and steal our freedoms. Why should we need to use the ballot box to end this? Lets just go get this done?


March 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

Tar and Feathers: You now have a mandate: Get your post/Russell King’s content out to as many sources as possible… can start with Michael Steele, and continue with the state Charimen of the GOP & DNC……. :)

Your job, should you decide to do it…….(Mission Possible!!)


March 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

@ We Can Stop……I wouldn’t recommend your course of action…..what you open yourself for are charges of treason and sedition… could be shot on sight!!!


March 24th, 2010
2:03 pm

HDB – I don’t “pity” Allen the fool …

– 10:24 am , Mar. 24 – ?????

– he needs to follow his own advice and do something with himself.
Accusing someone of rants and tirades after you just posted a paragraph
full of them is NOT a way to make a cogent argument or observation.


March 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

We can stop this now – I don’t “pity” you either.
This is America, not Moscow in August of 1991 or a banana republic.


March 24th, 2010
2:13 pm

Hi, dewstarpath……

When you attempt to make a cogent argument to one who is as irrational as Allen, all you can do IS pity them!!

Wise man said: “Stupidity is contageous…..and common sense ain’t common!”


March 24th, 2010
2:19 pm

We Can Stop This Now..Exactly which “freedom” did they steal? The freedom of Healthcare providors to take away your coverage when you get sick? The freedom of you staying on your parents plan while you’re in college until you are 26? Is that one of the “freedoms” you”re missing? The freedom of having parents not having to worry about changing jobs and not beiing able to take their insurance with them? Which one of these freedoms are you missing?


March 24th, 2010
2:28 pm

This is a halfway intelligent column by Mr. Barr! I pretty much agree with him. It just goes to show you how far the GOP has sunk. I used to think that Mr. Barr was one of angry extremists. But he’s Julie Andrews compared to the party wingnuts these days.


March 24th, 2010
2:46 pm

somewhereinga – They did take away a freedom. Our government has never before mandated that a citizen must purchase any good or service. Hence one of the lawsuits.


March 24th, 2010
2:47 pm

I am hungry for alternatives. The legislation the Dems passed has been vilified but there has not been sufficient debate over alternatives.

I truly don’t know if the few things put forward by Pubs are truly problem solving. Certainly, tort reform will do very little to address the range of issues that drive heath care costs. Making it possible for an insurance company registered in one state to operate in another is also slip-sliding away from any real oversight of the insurance industry.

We need discussion and debate, not rhetoric.

I am not angry with the Dems – I just don’t know if there were better alternatives. I do know that the Pubs did absolutely nothing about refoming health care coverage or delivery in the years they held the power. It makes me think they really don’t have substantive ideas on how to solve the problem.


March 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

For all you elated Obamaites…see how good you feel when you see the jobless rate skyrocket in the next couple of motnhs as employers figure out they can’t afford the mandated costs deploed by this “historic” Bill to keep all of their employees. Change you can beleive in baby!!! Oh Yeah!!


March 24th, 2010
2:59 pm

ugaaccountant; I didn’t notice any of the Republicans complaining about “freedoms” being taken away in Massachusetts when Romney “forced” the population of that state to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Where was the uproar? It’s almost the identical thing in the long run! In the year 2000 whatever everyone will be required to have medical insurance just like Romney made them do in his state. Is hypocracy spelled with one GOP or two?


March 24th, 2010
3:21 pm

Are you aware that the Obama administration is going to continue working towards increasing the federal governments role in our lives. They have stated that the Federal Government “knows what’s best” for all Americans. Health Care is first, then will come a crackdown on individual rights. You will be required to buy a certain brand of car, use mandated energy items, and so on. Believe me, it’s coming. Is this socialism?


March 24th, 2010
3:44 pm

somewhereinga – State law is different from Federal law. I don’t know the legal basis under which this was done in Massachusetts, but I do know that the Constitution has alot to say about what the Federal government can or can’t do.


March 24th, 2010
4:12 pm

Ed: since you’re psychic, what are the lotto numbers for this week? Be required to buy a certain brand of car? Do you people actually read your posts before you post them?


March 24th, 2010
4:31 pm

Ed, I need a hot stock pick? Please let me know one as soon as you can. You may share it with others on the blog, I won’t mind.

Chris Broe

March 24th, 2010
4:38 pm

These constitutional challenges are interesting because they depict the Right’s willingness to dance for the insurance lobby. That lobby OWNS the Right and dancing is what fascists do best. Dancing with the Czars!!!


March 24th, 2010
4:41 pm

Ed is right. Buried in the healthcare bill are funds for me to create the thought police. I knew you all would be criticle of Ed for being correct, even before you submitted your blog.


March 24th, 2010
5:14 pm

The alternative that could be offered would be to remove barriers to new entrants and competition among insurance companies and healthcare providers. There are also certain provisions in the tax code that contribute to the perverse system we have now. Over the long term that would drive down costs and allow the markets to come up with new ways of providing care that satisfy the needs of society.
The prerequisite in a free society is that the answers arise from the people, instead of being imposed by politicians through force. Regardless of political affiliation, it’s the nature of a free society – companies are created to satisfy demands, some fail, some succeed, and that is the trial and error process through which societies evolve. Imposing an industry structure, no matter how well intentioned and thought out, stifles the trial-and-error process.
Cheers -

Christina Speros

March 24th, 2010
5:41 pm

Republicans should stand and say ” this is the law of the land”. They passed nothing. They are
gangsters, thugs and should be treated as such.
Throw this obama character out and send his cronies with him. Every last one.. Feet first or on
their thick heads.
When he is removed from office, I will host an annual party celebrating this great day.
I will have to rent a large hall to accomodate the vast number of attendees, and this is just in my little neighborhood. Why,this could be a national holiday. Hallmark would get on the band wagon.
Send cards to your loved ones. “obama is a gona”. Write songs commemorating the ocassion.
This could create jobs. Competition would flourish. It could be as big as Christmas.
The re-birth of our nation.
World War ll pulled our parents out of the great depression. Dumping obama will pull us out
of this one. SEND OBAMA PACKING.


March 24th, 2010
6:09 pm

Allen: Your thesis is completely unsupported by the facts. The reddest states, that is the states that are most reliably Republican, are almost always the poorest and least educated with the worst health care. See the demographics.


March 24th, 2010
6:11 pm

I disagree with you on most points, Bob, but I think you did an excellent job of showing conservatives how they should conduct themselves in debate. If someone accuses you of trying to kill their grandma, it’s hard to negotiate with that person. So was life in the Senate thanks to people like Chuck Grassley.

This bill is obviously not as liberal as a pure liberal Democratic majority would want. I still would like to see Medicare opened up to all as a public option. But I like this bill overall. No more pre-existing condtion problems, no more caps, and more availability. I don’t like the mandate to buy insurance on its own, but considering all that is being done to insurance company income, they have to get something to bring in more. It’s either this or scrap the system for single payer. This is about as good of a compromise bill as I think we could get, especially with polarization and the fact that most GOP members didn’t negotiate in good faith.


March 24th, 2010
7:03 pm

The Individual Mandate?
By chrishamm
The mandate in reality gets the good house keeping seal of approval

A key centerpoint of the Healthcare legislation is the Individual mandate. In essence requiring all citizens of a legal age, that are not covered by an employer plan, or from their parents to purchase Health Insurance.

A lot of rhetoric attacking this idea is in play.

Where did this idea come from? It’s not too hard to research. The Heritage foundation, a Conservative think tank, did some analysis of Heatlhcare cost, and reform back in the late 1980’s. They compared three options:

1) A Canadian like system (single payer/public option)

2) Employer mandates (requiring all employers to provide coverage)

3) An individual mandate (requiring all citizens, not covered by a employer plan to purchase insurance via the private sector).

The Heritage Foundation argued for door number 3. The funding would be covered by some tax incentives, mostly tax credits, and actual Healthcare bills would be considered “‘pre-tax expenses”. The Heritage foundation also was recommending the phasing out of tax benefits for businesses to provide insurance to employees.

This was advertised as “national responsible health insurance”.

In 1994, when Health reform was a key policy proposal of the Clinton administration, the Republicans again brought forward the idea of an individual mandate as a better alternative.

The leading GOP alternative plan known as the 1994 Consumer Choice Health Security Act included the requirement to purchase insurance. This proposal was leveraged off of the 1990 Heritage Foundation proposal that I just referenced. “The government would require, by law every head of household to acquire at least a basic health plan for his or her family.”

As recently as last summer, members of the GOP were still in favor of the idea. Senator Grassley said the following in August:

“through an individual mandate and that’s individual responsibility and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility.”

In June, Grassley said the following:

“There isn’t anything wrong with it [an individual mandate], except some people look at it as an infringement upon individual freedom.”

Grassley was one of the lead negotiators in the Senate, working and crafting the initial ideas for this legislation.

An individual mandate, was a cornerstone of Conservative thought for basically 20 years in regards to Healthcare reform.

Very recently Senator Grassley said the following: “The high cost of this bill comes from a non-Constitutional mandate.”

Now why would the GOP be pushing an non-Constitutional idea for roughly 20 years?

The answer is pretty simple “for Political reasons”.

So, it begs the question; “if an Individual mandate, was an idea originally developed by a Conservative Think tank, and embraced by Republicans in 1994, and embraced by Republicans as late as last summer, then why is it a bad idea now”?.

Seems like a reasonable question.

The answer is that it is not a bad idea.

Yes, there is incredible inconsistency and back peddling, but the real point is this:

“An individual mandate has merit. The GOP supported the idea for 20 years, and the Democrats support it now. It is a key cornerstone for future reform. It’s not un-Constitutional”.

Politics will always be Politics. The rhetoric being used against the Individual mandate is Politically driven, not reason driven


March 24th, 2010
10:21 pm

According to Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code,§2917.01, 1996) Boehner’s statements regarding Steve Driehaus (he’s “a dead man”) could and has incited violence. Support Arrest John

Dennis Jordan

March 24th, 2010
11:56 pm

Very well written. I’ll pay more attention to your thoughts. I’m Canadian though; 99% of what was said about our country in this debate was propaganda paid by billionaire insurance entities. We don’t have a perfect system, but certainly more people are carelessly killed by elevator failures in a city like San Francisco or Manhattan than die from a lack of healthcare in Canada. And that is the only lens through which I view America’s shift from a minority of one Western national that lacked universal healthcare coverage toward something resembling it. In fact, in my view, the legislation may have worked best if it began with a “babies and wrinklies” type approach — defend Medicare for the elderly and expand it to include all legal American residents under 18; none of whom could possibly be asked to die due to their inability to afford (premiums to hedge against the cost of) six and seven figure treatments for major illnesses. No kid should die in a wealthy country because his/her parents lack $500k in their chequing account to cover treatment. That it happens by the thousands or tens of thousands in the U.S. is sad. That it won’t now is good.

I’m no fan of people who enjoy welfare and ride it. We all need to work; most especially those who inherit wealth. And we have experimented with curtailing welfare here for those who abuse it. Innovation and productivity are essential for any well functioning economy. And be clear, Canadians admire the American spirit of enterprise. You landed a guy on the moon, for God’s sake. And you’re also exceptionally committed to English-style liberalism — at least to what it was when that word meant individual freedom and was not bent to mean weakness. But let me just say that I cannot imagine a society lasting long where people who work hard and earn $60k or $70k a year find themselves bankrupted or simply forced to passively terminate a loved one due to a lack of easy access to six-figure funds. I want to live in a society where minimum wage clerks get treated for cancer, and millionaire hockey players have to wait next to them in line at the hospital. Our system is not government run; it is run by enterprising doctors with privately owned, for-profit clinics, plus hospitals owned by whomever — often municipalities. What makes the system universal is simply our health cards, which constitutionally guarantee us access to any and all necessary (not frivolous) care at all times from birth to death at no charge beyond parking; it cannot be legally denied to anyone with a card, and everyone legally resident here has the option to obtain one. That in my view is a society that is set up to succeed, both ethically and economically.


March 25th, 2010
2:08 am

Excellent write up by Barr.

His point even goes beyond just politics. Do you like it when you’re doing something, anything, and you have someone standing by you yelling “no no no, you’re doing it wrong !!!”, but then you ask them “ok, so how should I do it?” and they can’t answer ?

Nope, no one does. The Republican’s anger riddled “NO” to everything is not going to help the Party. Oh sure, the hard-right supporters love it, but realize something…you are not the majority.

To win elections you gotta be willing to embrace as much of your side of the spectrum as possible. Mostly, you gotta snatch alot of the moderate-center. The Republican’s behavior lately is an absolute embarassment. McCain publicly stating “you’ll get no cooperation from us for the rest of the year”. Smart move there *sarcasm*

There will be no GOP comeback in the midterm elections and they have only themselves to blame.


March 25th, 2010
8:33 am

I think Mr Jordan’s post from last night above may have sparked an idea…or perhaps it’s been obvious to him and others but I just realized it. What if the Administration, or the entire array of proponents of health-care reform were to position the ‘card’ that every citizen would be entitled/required to have, like in Canada, in order to have access to the ‘universal’ health-care system were to be positioned as a National ID card (or perhaps the other way around). And, at the same time, be part of an immigration reform initiative that would require all to participate in the costs? Just a thought.

No More Progressives!

March 25th, 2010
8:40 am


March 24th, 2010
2:47 pm
I am hungry for alternatives. The legislation the Dems passed has been vilified but there has not been sufficient debate over alternatives.

Too late for that now. In 3 or 4 years, there will be no more private insurance carriers, and your choice will be: Big Government. Take it, or take it.

Amy in the ATL

March 25th, 2010
12:32 pm

As a moderate, I feel that we needed to do something to address the abuses of power of the insurance industry and their monopolistic control over healthcare. Regardless of what some say, healthcare hasn’t really been a free market. For proof, just try finding a primary care physician if you don’t have insurance…even if you’re fully willing to pay up front in cash.

What is a shame is that the Republicans picked trying to bring Obama down over trying to make the healthcare system work a little better. By stating that they wouldn’t vote for any healthcare reform no matter what, they essentially wrote themselves out of the discussion.

This is unfortunately, because the legislation would likely have been improved by the participation of moderate Republicans, who probably would have tempered some of the excesses. But without the chance of getting any GOP support, why should the Democrats even bother to address GOP concerns, regardless of how valid?

The GOP needs to grow up and stop acting like 5 year olds. Compromise isn’t a sign of the lack of a spine….it’s the sign of a thoughtful adult. And right now, we could use some more thoughtful conservatives in Washington.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 25th, 2010
3:58 pm

Speaking of flubbed health care debate:

Staffers who wrote the health-care bill exempted themselves from the requirement to join the state-run insurance exchanges.


Congressional leaders apparently not only made quid pro quos with congressmen who voted for ObamaCare, but also with congressional staff who crafted the legislation.

A key loophole is how the bill defines “congressional staff” as “employees employed by the official office of a member of Congress, whether in the district office or in Washington.” That phrase has been interpreted by the Congressional Research Service to exclude various professional staff and those working for leadership offices — the very staffers who wrote the bill.

In the name of solidarity with the voting public, legislators required themselves and their office staffs to join the bill’s newly created state insurance exchanges. But the loophole exempts high-level leadership and committee staffers. For example, staffers who work in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada Senate office would be required to join. Those who work under him as Senate Majority Leader would not. In their own cases at least, key staffers obviously were prepared to make sure President Obama kept his promise that those happy with their current coverage can keep it.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who has led the charge in publicizing what he calls a double standard, says: “The message to grassroots America is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

Democrats call the loophole unintentional, but both Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and Mr. Grassley say they tried to close it last year but were stymied by Mr. Reid. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz told “Obviously staffers are anxious about it. The whole bill is full of loopholes, it’s such a mess.”

And what does it say about ObamaCare that the warriors on the frontline in writing and passing it wanted no part of it?

frank burns

March 26th, 2010
6:01 am

This bill is not the end of the world, or the US, in fact, many Republicans were endorsing most of its measures until they decided to form an en bloc opposition to what they called “Obamacare.” It is not government takeover, it is just insurance regulation. And we needed that. Most people have no idea how exposed they were to getting ousted by their insurance companies in the case of catastrophic illness (which is precisely why we buy insurance in the first place). Also, in 5 years no one was going to be able to afford their premiums. Obama analysed the situation correctly and averted a crisis before it happened. Only people who haven’t studied the situation don’t yet see that it was for their own good. When they do, let’s hope the Obamacare label sticks He deserves it.


March 27th, 2010
12:49 pm

Bob, you’re such a loser and always will be. The Republicans had ideas, but since they’re in the minority they were not in a position to advance them. They were locked out of the health care debate literally by Pelosi and Reid. The Republican mantra should be “Repeal and Reform.” Fade away Bob, you’re as irrelevant as Jimmy Carter, and at least he builds houses!

Wil Wasi

March 28th, 2010
1:56 am

GOP just go find youself. Dems have advanced to the next level while you wasting your time reeling from the 2008 and Health Care Bill debate. Grow up and offer some serious alternative policies for the future of America. Stop preaching bigotry, fear, hatred, discrimination, racism and falseness. Unless you find yourself soon, America will lose heart in you. Show us some competent leadership with your so-called smartness and untold riches.