The Rage Is Not About Health Care Warning This is rather long but it is good read.

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    Mar 31, 2010 6:23 PM GMT
    The Rage Is Not About Health Care


    FRANK RICH
    Published: March 27, 2010

    THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

    But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

    How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

    No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

    Yet it’s this bill that inspired G.O.P. congressmen on the House floor to egg on disruptive protesters even as they were being evicted from the gallery by the Capitol Police last Sunday. It’s this bill that prompted a congressman to shout “baby killer” at Bart Stupak, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat. It’s this bill that drove a demonstrator to spit on Emanuel Cleaver, a black representative from Missouri. And it’s this “middle-of-the-road” bill, as Obama accurately calls it, that has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from “Kill the bill!” to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to “reload.” At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.

    When Social Security was passed by Congress in 1935 and Medicare in 1965, there was indeed heated opposition. As Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post, Alf Landon built his catastrophic 1936 presidential campaign on a call for repealing Social Security. (Democrats can only pray that the G.O.P. will “go for it” again in 2010, as Obama goaded them on Thursday, and keep demanding repeal of a bill that by September will shower benefits on the elderly and children alike.) When L.B.J. scored his Medicare coup, there were the inevitable cries of “socialism” along with ultimately empty rumblings of a boycott from the American Medical Association.

    But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.

    The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.” Meanwhile, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.

    That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

    In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.

    If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

    They can’t. Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.

    If Congressional Republicans want to maintain a politburo-like homogeneity in opposition to the Democrats, that’s their right. If they want to replay the petulant Gingrich government shutdown of 1995 by boycotting hearings and, as John McCain has vowed, refusing to cooperate on any legislation, that’s their right too (and a political gift to the Democrats). But they can’t emulate the 1995 G.O.P. by remaining silent as mass hysteria, some of it encompassing armed mili
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    Mar 31, 2010 6:57 PM GMT
    I was just told that the article was cut off here is the link for the entire article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html.
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    Mar 31, 2010 7:48 PM GMT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html

    The right-wingers are squealing like stuck pigs over this article.
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    Mar 31, 2010 7:50 PM GMT
    The truth can be quite painful but very liberating.
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    Mar 31, 2010 8:38 PM GMT
    Ducky46 saidThe truth can be quite painful but very liberating.


    yes I know, and that why one has received so much abuse here, even whole thread of hate dedicated to me, but I to have found that liberating.
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    Mar 31, 2010 8:41 PM GMT
    Patticakes, do you think if someone started a thread about HR Puffnstuff you could find a way to make it about you? Of course you could. I knew you could.
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    Mar 31, 2010 8:49 PM GMT
    Pat-

    It's b/c you bemoan about the liberials here in America and you don't even live in our country. I would never comment on the politics that have to do with your country b/c I don't live there and I'm not from there.

    Even now you have made our comments regarding this issue about the race relations in this country which this article points out, you made it about you.
    The hate replies that you have gotten. Do you even read the replies to the threads that you have typed?

    I don't know you, I have wonder about the comments that you have made and found them quite off putting b/c you don't live here.
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    Mar 31, 2010 10:56 PM GMT
    Stop whining, Pattison.
    Grow some balls and be a man.
    If you can't take the debate that goes on here, then just go away.
    You never make any sense anyway.
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    Mar 31, 2010 10:58 PM GMT
    puff.jpg
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Mar 31, 2010 11:35 PM GMT
    beautifully articulated piece. thanks so much for sharing this.
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    Mar 31, 2010 11:56 PM GMT
    I could easily for for a black lesbian for president, but not Condi Rice-A-Roni cuz she ain't no San Francisco Treat.
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    Apr 01, 2010 12:05 AM GMT
    McGay saidPatticakes, do you think if someone started a thread about HR Puffnstuff you could find a way to make it about you? Of course you could. I knew you could.


    Or at least about his online persona.
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    Apr 01, 2010 12:07 AM GMT
    Do you doubt that he's 100% homosexual or are you asserting that he's some percentage of , oh, something else?
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    Apr 01, 2010 12:26 AM GMT
    McGay saidDo you doubt that he's 100% homosexual or are you asserting that he's some percentage of , oh, something else?


    I doubt that he believes the overwhelming majority of what he posts. I wouldn't even be sure he lives in Australia.

    For some reason, I don't doubt that he's gay.

    I thought this was a rather widely shared belief here. When I've posted it in the past, I've occasionally been responded to with, "Oh, but everyone knows that, no one believes he really believes this nonsense."
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    Apr 01, 2010 12:46 AM GMT
    09ARMYJOCK -
    Condi was in charge of National Security when we were hit on Sept. 11th.
    She was repeatedly warned of the growing threat of an attack with planes on American soil.
    Yet she did nothing.
    Maybe she couldn't have prevented the attacks, but she could have - and should have - done something.
    And you'd like to have this incompetent in the White House?
    Just because she's a Republican?
    Clearly, "Country First" is just a slogan for you guys.
    When will you start being an American first, and a Republican second?
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Apr 01, 2010 1:06 AM GMT
    I agree with the article, except the last part about fearing the tea party movement. I just laugh at them.

    And here's a little something for all this Condi talk:


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    Apr 01, 2010 1:07 AM GMT
    theatrengym said
    McGay saidDo you doubt that he's 100% homosexual or are you asserting that he's some percentage of , oh, something else?


    I doubt that he believes the overwhelming majority of what he posts. I wouldn't even be sure he lives in Australia.

    For some reason, I don't doubt that he's gay.

    I thought this was a rather widely shared belief here. When I've posted it in the past, I've occasionally been responded to with, "Oh, but everyone knows that, no one believes he really believes this nonsense."


    Guilty! (though, as with everything, I know I could be wrong, which paints an even uglier scenario, wouldn't you say?)
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    Apr 01, 2010 1:13 AM GMT
    His response to me on the linked page may give some insight (if insight is desired). This comes from a period when he was posting as Oh_God, though he never deleted his Pattison account, just changed his name for a time and then changed it back. Therefore, his own posts come up as Pattison in the thread, but whenever he's quoted, it's Oh_God:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/468735/?forumpage=4
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    Apr 01, 2010 1:16 AM GMT
    It has occurred to me before that the Pattison character is the invention of someone else who posts here. Only RJ knows for sure, as only they see the IP addresses we each have.
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    Apr 01, 2010 1:33 AM GMT
    didntreadxj7.gif
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    Apr 01, 2010 2:54 AM GMT
    Oh, elections have consequences. None of these people voted for Obama, nor did they elect those in the majority in Congress. So, they're pissed. I hope they keep screaming, fer godssakes. It's gotta add color to their cheeks, and the exercise is really good for their greasy ticker.

    These people fit in the same demographic and proportion after the election as before. So, although the noise makes the (sad, sad) news, the electorate hasn't budged.

    I believe there will be only minor shifts to the proportion in Congress after November.
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    Apr 01, 2010 2:58 AM GMT
    Pattison said
    Ducky46 saidThe truth can be quite painful but very liberating.


    yes I know, and that why one has received so much abuse here, even whole thread of hate dedicated to me, but I to have found that liberating.

    Being a pure homosexual,
    ???
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    Apr 01, 2010 4:18 AM GMT
    Well-written, well-reasoned article. And here's the key sentence:

    "If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play."

    Yes, on the surface, demographic trends would appear to favor the Democrats. This has been written several times before.

    However, let's not forget: America still is a center-right country. This is true even among some non-white populations. We should not be lulled to believe the current trajectory is guaranteed to continue. The pendulum swings both ways, and ultimately, absent a world crisis, "it's about the economy, stupid." Unless prosperity returns sooner than later, the opposition party will get another shot soon, the cycle will begin anew and Rich's article will be nothing more than bird-cage liner a few months from now.