Beyond Stupidity: Republican Avarice In the Health Care Debate

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Suddenly, everyone has a point of view. Everyone is an authority on health care, Communism, Homeland Security, the Economy and Socialism. People with no education and certainly no experience suddenly are experts. These rabid anti-health-reform advocates run out to town halls, fortified with everything they need to argue their points….except, of course, knowledge, understanding, compassion and experience. It would seem as if half of them are seniors on Medicare, a government program. They stand up and argue against a public option in health care while they themselves are being happily cared for by a public option which they all agree they want to continue.

It could be said that everyone but the President is scamming the public today. For example, the Republican lawmakers are being given huge amounts of campaign contributions by the health care industry, but so are the Democrats. The Democrats hold the key to passing health care reform because they hold the largest number of seats in the Congress. So whom can these poor protesters believe?

The Blue Dog Democrats in particular are defending health care reform but keeping their potential votes to themselves as long as possible and gathering as many gold coins as they can fit into their pockets before the votes actually happen. Then they’ll probably vote for health care reform and use the money to fight the inevitable attacks the industry will levy on them in the 2010 elections. But by that time people will know how good health care reform really is and will have voted for Democrats anyway because they will know by then that only the Democrats can be trusted to tell the truth.

The President is very clear and positive that he wants health care reform. The health insurance industry is not going to give any money to his campaign. They want to bring him down. They know that he will sign any legislation that gives the public the right to purchase health care insurance that is affordable, that pays the bills and that cannot be refused or terminated. It doesn’t seem a lot to ask. Unless you are making $14 million a year because you refuse, reject and terminate your customers at their most vulnerable times. Then you might spend unlimited amounts of your insurance company’s money to find people to disrupt the process. And that is why they are busing people from one area to another to shout down any responsible dialogue. And why they have made up these crazy stories.

I love the inanity of the comments of the people on the Right who are interviewed about health care. President Obama is, they say, both a Communist and a Fascist, which would certainly make Hitler, Mussolini and Franco smile. If these people knew any history, which they do not, except that which they get from the History Channel between episodes sponsored by the National Rifle Association, they would know that to be both Communist and Fascist is a contradiction in terms. Fascism and Communism are polar opposite political philosophies.

What they actually mean is that they are upset because of the current emotions of a near-recession caused by the disastrous policies of President Bush and Dick Cheney. Some people are truly upset. They or their neighbors or relatives may be out of work. They may have mortgage problems. They may work in an industry in which some workers have been replaced by illegal aliens. But mostly they are concerned about the economy. So, if that is the case, what were the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration that cause these citizens so much grief? Because it was Bush-Cheney that caused the mess we’re in now.

How about an irrelevant war in Iraq that killed 4,000 good American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and cost trillions? How about looting the government of lands and assigning government jobs to private industries belonging to Bush-Cheney friends, jobs that were done so badly that the government ultimately had to take back the work and sue for damages. How about a division of Halliburton that was so badly run that they killed 9 American soldiers, electrocuted them in their own showers! How about Gale Norton selling off parts of the national lands for drilling and logging. Or Cheney creating a secret, shadow-CIA, with the still-extant Blackwater. Or Bush and Greenspan allowing the financial community to run wild bankrupting the country, sending us spiraling down at the rate of 600,000 lost jobs per month.

Have we forgotten that, as just one example, in the Abramoff Scandal, 18 people plead guilty on corruption charges and 10 went to prison? All government officials. All appointed by the Bush and Cheney administration to keep the public trust. Instead they sold the public trust to the highest bidder. And in the financial community, Barney Frank and Michael Oxley tried several times to have legislation passed that would put some restraints on mortgage sales, but their bills were never considered. The result was a fall in real estate prices that triggered a financial crisis that uncovered basically worthless paper that had been sold by Wall Street firms to banks, trust funds, and individual investors in the thousands of billions of dollars. When that crashed, the entire financial community and therefore the country, was broke. Over three and a half million jobs were lost in a year.

The only solution, since banks had no money, was for the government to step in and create liquidity…give the banks money so that they could operate and give loans to business to keep the country from falling into a depression. Most advanced economists, including Joseph Stiglitz who is a two-time Nobel Laureate in economics, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, as well as the current and former heads of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker..all said infuse the economy with a substantial stimulus to get it moving again. So President Obama did as they recommended and we are now seeing the first fruits of that major stimulus, with the job-loss numbers falling rapidly and economic indicators looking better each month.

So do solid American citizens run out into the streets and clamor for George W. Bush’s scalp, or Dick Cheney’s? No. They do not. And why not? As we have pointed out before in several previous columns, media ownership is in the hands of the Republicans. And they have decided that a scorched-earth policy is the only way to respond to the President’s rational proposals. So their response is to send out from various lobbying organizations and from the Republican National Committee itself, memos on how to negatively react to each and every one of the President’s proposals. They no longer care about the American People. They are reacting solely on the basis of what they think is their only chance to get elected in 2010. So they lie and lie and lie…about health care, about the stimulus, about the unconscionable actions of the Bush-Cheney administration.

It is time for Americans to wake up. The Right Wing is selling itself down the drain, or more accurately is being sold down the drain by the lobbying groups on Capitol Hill. Lobbyists have taken over Washington and now they don’t even care that the very people who they are paying and pushing out into the town halls are voting against their own health care security. They are voting against health care security for their children and relatives and neighbors. It is beyond stupid. It is cruelty being enacted against people who simply do not have the education or the intelligence to defend themselves.