Alan Grayson refused to apologize Wednesday for saying on the House floor Tuesday night that the GOP health care plan amounts to “don’t get sick” – and if you do, “die quickly.”
“I’m not taking any of it back. I stand by what I said,” Grayson, a freshman Democrat who represents Orlando, Florida, told reporters.
“I don’t think that the Democrats have to be on the defensive for a bill that reduces health care costs, makes health care premiums affordable, makes people’s health care coverage comprehensive in the sense that they can’t be excluded for breaching lifetime caps or by preexisting conditions and helps all of the Americans who cannot afford health insurance today. I think we should be on the offense not the defense and that’s where I plan to stay.”
That is just beautiful. Here’s (most of) what I wrote way back in February 2006, right after the Democratic party forced Hackett out of the Ohio senate race:
The core problem with the Democrats, individually and collectively, is their reluctance to say, “I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it.” By apologizing, “clarifying,” or backpedaling away from their statements every time the Republicans and their creatures raise a fake uproar, the Democrats marginalize themselves and their message.
By apologizing, they are saying, “Yes, you’re right, that was not a valid point I was making.” By backpedaling, they are saying, “I routinely say things that I don’t really mean, and I just hope that no-one calls me on it.”
On the other hand, by standing firm and repeating “I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it,” or better yet, “We said it. We meant it. We stand behind it,” every time they are challenged, the Democrats would send the message that their positions are valid and deserving of respect, that they never say anything they don’t mean, and that they will not back down in the face of intimidation.
Of course, the Republican noise machine would howl about how angry and unreasonable the Democrats are. Let them. I believe the Democrats would regain the respect of their base, and the admiration of those undecideds who are disgusted with the Republicans but don’t see a viable alternative.
If Hackett is through with seeking public office, maybe the Democrats could hire him as a speech coach.
31 months later, and I wouldn’t change a single word.
1 commentSeptember 30th, 2009 at 08:02pmPosted by Eli
Schlafly went on to suggest that Americans are “waking up” and that they don’t want “our country to be run by czars,” which she called “a Russian idea.”
For the love of God and all that is holy, THEY ARE NOT ACTUAL CZARS!!! They are political appointees with an interdepartmental portfolio but little actual power, that someone once upon a time decided to call “czars,” just like every scandal has to be called ____gate. At least Schlafly was correct in saying that czars were Russian rather than Soviet, but I’m pretty sure that the intended implication is that Russian = Communist, which is another nice ahistorical touch.
I cringe every single time I see some conservative moron pretending that these government functionaries have anything whatsoever to do with Russian czars, or that comparing them is meaningful in any way. Epic. History. Fail.
2 commentsSeptember 30th, 2009 at 06:59pmPosted by Eli
Sarah Palin spoke to a group of private Chinese investors in Hong Kong [last Wednesday]. Despite glaring ignorance about the region, the audience, and the topic at hand, the group found her folksy and charming.
“I’m going to call it like I see it,” she said early in her speech, “and I will share with you candidly a view right from Main Street, Main Street U.S.A. First there’s a deli on the corner, next to that is the barber shop…” She then went on to describe her hometown for the next 20 minutes. The assembled group of Chinese investors were bewildered, and a little disappointed. “We hired her to get a perspective on rural America, not just her town.” While Palin was mid-way through a story about the first time she made out outside a Dairy Queen, an aide whispered in her ear and she moved on with the speech.
“Ya know, our cultures are very different, but we share common dreams. Where I come from, in America, we look up to mavericks who drift away from the herd. Here, ya’ll are like those terracotta soldiers. You respect same-ey-ness. But we can all agree that we strive for the same dreams: free-market economic opportunity without government regulation.” At this the group of investors applauded loudly.
Finding new energy, Palin’s speech rambled on for an extra 15 minutes, about how the investors should channel the strength of the ancient samurai, about the tragedy of David Carradine’s death, about the one Asian couple in Alaska that she’s “pretty sure” are Chinese, how popular Pad Thai is around the world, and how “it’s great America and China can come together like this after we kicked your butt in the war.”
The assembled investors seemed confused but enjoyed the speech thoroughly. “After years of living outside an American hegemony, it’s wonderful to see this is the person who almost ran your country.” Another anonymous guest said, “Oh she was great! I wanna hire her for my kid’s birthday!”
Shorter John Perry: A military coup is a perfectly reasonable response when it’s a Democrat trampling the Constitution by, um, whatever it is he’s doing, which I can’t quite specify but which is totally taking away my rights.
Dalton Chiscolm is unhappy about Bank of America’s customer service — really, really unhappy.
Chiscolm in August sued the largest U.S. bank and its board, demanding that “1,784 billion, trillion dollars” be deposited into his account the next day. He also demanded an additional $200,164,000, court papers show.
Attempts to reach Chiscolm were unsuccessful. A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment.
“Incomprehensible,” U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said in a brief order released Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
“He seems to be complaining that he placed a series of calls to the bank in New York and received inconsistent information from a ‘Spanish womn,'” the judge wrote. “He apparently alleges that checks have been rejected because of incomplete routing numbers.”
Chiscolm’s request is equivalent to 1 followed by 22 digits.
The sum also dwarfs the world’s 2008 gross domestic product of $60 trillion, as estimated by the World Bank.
“These are the kind of numbers you deal with only on a cosmic scale,” said Sylvain Cappell, New York University’s Silver Professor at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences. “If he thinks Bank of America has branches on every planet in the cosmos, then it might start to make some sense.”
They’re in big trouble now! Although it is a bit concerning that if Chiscolm gets his money, he’ll be able to buy the solar system, and possibly the entire Milky Way galaxy.
The bill the Senate Budget committee sends to the floor will be a merged version of the Senate HELP and Senate Finance committee bills. The merging will take place largely under the direction of Senate majority leader Harry Reid. As such, commenter danthrax notes an important point of leverage the progressive grassroots has in this process:
if reid is the only way forward…we may have a hope. Reid is up for a tough re-election fight
That is exactly right. If Harry Reid is the key choke point in this fight, then we have to use Reid’s uphill re-election prospects as our point of leverage:
Polling against one announced Republican candidate, Danny Tarkanian, and one Republican candidate who has formed an exploratory committee, Sue Lowden, shows Senator Reid to be in a lot of trouble. In three polls, Reid trails by an average of 7.7% to Tarkanian, and by 5.8% across four polls to Lowden.
Further, should Reid lose, Senators Richard Durbin (#2 in the leadership, key Obama ally) and Charles Schumer (#3 in the leadership, chair of DSCC during 2006-2008 landslides) are by far the most likely candidates to succeed Reid as Majority Leader. Either would be an improvement on Reid.
Why should we activists bother to give Reid the support he needs to pull victory from the jaws of defeat if he is likely to be replaced by a more progressive, more aggressive, and electorally safe Democrat like Durbin or Schumer? Reid needs to give us a good reason to try and save his Senate position. If he decides to take the public option out of the health care bill before it reaches the Senate floor, what possible reason could be left to try and help him?
I, for one, am fine with a caucus that has 2-3 fewer Democrats, but a much better majority leader. I am also fine with working hard to elect Democrats who may not be progressive champions, but who do a good job of enacting progressive change in legislation. If enough progressive activists feel the same way and can make their positions clear, then we have a real stick and a real carrot in this fight.
On the one hand, I like the idea that we might be able to get Harry to listen to us for once, although I’m not sure that even his precarious position will be enough. I also really like the idea that we don’t need to reflexively support Democrats who sell us out just because they’re Democrats.
But I guess for me the question is, even if we grant Bowers’ premise, is the public option worth another six years of Harry’s spineless, ineffectual “leadership” in the Senate? Temporary leverage or not, I think we’re a whole lot better off without Harry. And if we lose the “filibuster-proof” 60-seat majority, well, it’s not like Harry was using it anyway.
2 commentsSeptember 29th, 2009 at 07:25amPosted by Eli
Conservatives gathered at a Hilton hotel in St. Louis over the weekend for the “How to Take Back America Conference,” a Phyllis Schlafly-hosted gathering where the faithful gathered to discuss issues such as “How To Counter The Homosexual Extremist Movement,” “How To Stop Socialism In Health Care” and “How To Recognize Living Under Nazis & Communists.”
Among the prominent speakers who traveled to St. Louis for the conference were former Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Republican Reps. Tom McClintock, Tom Price, Steve King and Michele Bachmann, and “Joe the Plumber,” aka Samuel Wurzelbacher.
Schlafly went on to suggest that Americans are “waking up” and that they don’t want “our country to be run by czars,” which she called “a Russian idea.” She said of her organization, Eagle Forum, “fighting feminists is still our main object,” arguing that feminism is “the most destructive force in the world.
(I sure hope the agenda features a debate between Schlafly and Jerry Boykin, who said that “there is no greater threat to America than Islam”…)
On the conference’s Web site, there is only one section available under the “listen & take action” tab: “HOMOSEXUAL EXTREMIST MOVEMENT.” There, Liberty University School of Law Associate Dean Matt Barber writes that “the sin of homosexuality is the bunker-buster bomb in this war against morality.”
“The very firm response by defenders of Biblical truth to the homosexual lobby’s relentless assault on our nation’s Judeo-Christian tradition is indeed a defensive reaction, not an act of aggression,” he says. “The sheer mechanics of homosexual conduct very naturally elicits revulsion in most rational folk. Therefore, most of us would prefer not to even imagine it, much less struggle to defend against its wholesale promotion. But regrettably, our hand has been forced.”
Oh, and Mike Huckabee wants to jackhammer away the part of Manhattan with the UN on it and float it out to sea.
It never ceases to amaze and terrify me that there are millions of people who take these backward freaks seriously. Has America always had this many crazy/stupid people, or did the GOP somehow perfect the science of wacko husbandry?
For two years, the Democrats have charged that Republicans are the “party of no,” and that’s grated on many nerves. Republicans have been talking about their proposals so much their faces are nearly blue. They’ve offered ideas to address the challenge of improving health care in America, but because they don’t have the bully pulpit and can’t get a word in edgewise, their ideas get lost.
Ah yes, those poor, poor Republicans, always ignored by the media, completely unable to ever get any coverage or appear on any of the talking head shows.
Special Bonus Quote:
As a good friend from North Carolina used to tell me, “Nobody likes change except a baby.”
That explains why Obama was crushed in a landslide defeat last year. More than anything else, Americans want to maintain the status quo, because it’s TOTALLY AWESOME.
Still no sign that the conservative movement is going to be pulling back from the brink of insanity anytime soon…
First off, Dan Riehl speculates that census worker Bill Sparkman was murdered because he was a pedophile. Right, because “FED” is totally what you would write on someone’s chest if you killed them for being a child molester. Maybe it was to throw cops off the scent, or maybe the killer thought “pedophile” is spelled with an F.
And then you have some random Facebook moron who put up a poll on whether or not President Obama should be killed. Fantastic. I guess it must be because Obama’s a fedophile.
Ya know, as frustrated and disappointed as I am that the Democratic Party has been almost completely captured by corporate interests, at least I can console myself it’s not the party that’s been taken over by amoral gibbering maniacs.
And that is the other great theme of this book: the struggle of a president mostly interested in policy against an opposition party obsessed with regaining power. The Republican efforts to undermine Clinton were rarely substantive and often unscrupulous. The president was impeached not because he committed anything resembling a high crime, but because the effort would cripple him at a moment when he might have gotten something accomplished — his popularity was running at 60 percent or so, the economy was booming. During the Clinton presidency, the Republicans accelerated their slide from a party of responsible conservatives to a party of antigovernment talk-show nihilists. Leaders like Bob Dole were intimidated by bomb-throwers like Newt Gingrich.
I wonder what it will take to bring the GOP back to reality, for it to take some scant interest in governing rather than simply pursuing power for the sake of power. If anything, they seem to be infecting Democrats with the same disease.
Now that the national Republican party is solely the province of meathead politicians and radio maniacs, there are “sensible” conservatives who are alarmed by what they see. It should be agreed upon in our politics that these people drift into the wilderness for a while and muse upon where their movement has led them. But the first thing they all should do is apologize to the nation for choosing to take a course 45 years ago in opposition to the transcendant moral issue of America. They prospered through bigotry, and then through a deft ability to package it, and they made the ensuing four decades immeasurably crueler as a result. There’s not enough sackcloth in the world for these clowns.
Sen. Bob Bennett wants the Census to collect information on who is in the country illegally in its official 2010 count, but Census Director Robert Groves said that’s not practical a mere six months before the questionnaires are mailed to every household.
“A lot of the forms are already printed,” Groves said Wednesday. “That train has left for the 2010 Census clearly.”
Bennett, a Utah Republican who faces a tough re-election effort, introduced a bill last week that would add an 11th question to the Census forms asking if the person is a citizen or legal resident. He wants to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count used to apportion seats in the U.S. House.
“It does not make any sense for congressional seats and the Electoral College to be determined by a process that unfairly provides the advantage to those communities with high illegal populations,” Bennett said in announcing his legislation.
In addition to being yet still more anti-immigrant demagogic wankery, why wait until six months before the forms have to be mailed out? Why didn’t Bennett think of this when he had a Republican Congress and a Republican president? Did he want to make sure that it would fail so he could rant about the Democrats coddling illegal immigrants?
But even if we set those questions aside, does anyone seriously believe that any undocumented immigrant is actually going to tell the Census Bureau that they’re not a “citizen or legal resident”? That seems like an even bigger practical question than whether or not there’s enough time to change the forms.
2 commentsSeptember 24th, 2009 at 11:51amPosted by Eli
The survey by Public Policy Polling finds that 42 percent of Republicans believe Barack Obama was born outside of the United States while 22 percent said they were unsure.
But of course, the primary focus of the story has to be the much smaller percentage of wacky Democrats who believe that Dubya intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen. As opposed to merely believing that he was so spectacularly, criminally unconcerned about the possibility of a catastrophic attack that he couldn’t be bothered to lift one single finger to try to stop it. Yeah, those Democrats are cuh-razy.
So, it’s going to be Palin/Bachmann on the Republican ticket in 2012, isn’t it. If not Palin/Beck.
“Here’s a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac,” Packham told Radio Times magazine.
Packham believes that money spent on conserving the panda would be better invested in other animals as the species is not strong enough to survive alone.
“It’s not a strong species. Unfortunately it’s big and cute and it’s a symbol of the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) — and we pour millions of pounds into panda conservation,” he added.
“I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity …”
Packham, who is president of Britain’s Bat Conservation Trust and vice-president of the Wildlife Trusts, also saw a grim outlook for endangered tigers.
“I don’t think tigers are going to last another 15 years,” he said. “How can you conserve an animal that is worth more dead than alive? You can’t.”
Um, isn’t the whole point of conservation to protect species that would otherwise go extinct? And while it’s true that pandas are the anti-cockroach, they were doing just fine until humans destroyed their primary habitat, so they’re evidently not quite the abject evolutionary failures that Packham says they are (and most certainly not “of [their] own accord”).
Fox News anchor Glenn Beck is encouraging people people to observe Yom Kippur with fasting, introspection and “prayer for the Republic.” On his television program, Beck described how he will be observing the Jewish Day of Atonement.
He will start by going into a “Real World” style confessional Holy of Holies. In this small room will be only a camera, and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Producers have allotted an hour and a half for a close up of Beck’s face as he reads the Declaration while sobbing uncontrollably.
Beck will then anoint himself as the High Priest of The Republic for the day. On his set, Beck plans to get on his knees and pour canola oil on his head while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Duly anointed Beck will then be the High Priest, whose job it is to to cleanse the hearts and minds of America. To anoint America he will ritually burn copies of The New Yorker, Darwin’s Origin of Species, posters for films like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Milk, a map of California, tickets to the Austin’s South by Southwest Festival and a life-size cardboard cutout of Arianna Huffington.
Fox News will cancel all regular programming for the day, for a series of “sermons” delivered throughout the day by leading conservative thinkers. In the evening, High Priest Beck will lead Fox Viewers in a prayer service. During the service Beck will have a Passover style plate of food, viewers are expected to prepare and eat along with him as he tells the story. The food will be 2 fried chicken legs, 3 barbeque ribs, a hot dog, potato salad, and a slice of apple pie.
Beck will then tell of the significance of each piece of food: the chicken legs symbolizing the journey to new lands seeking freedom, the ribs representing the fires our country has been through and how we must each “give of ourselves,” the hot dog a reminder of the idealism of the American dream and how industrialization makes all things possible, potato salad to symbolize our cultural melting pot. Critics argue that a Irish, German, and English influenced dish that comes out mostly white may not be the best representation of the American Melting Pot, but Fox News has yet to address these concerns. The Apple Pie represents “how sweet things can be, if we all stay true to our American identity.”
That sounds pretty awesome, although I’m afraid Beck may be atone-deaf.
ORLY Taitz apparently believes that the courts aren’t taking her Obama-has-no-legitimate-authority-because-he-was-born-in-Kenya arguments seriously because they’re under Obama’s control.
Of course, the beauty of it is that after the judiciary tells her to get stuffed and/or imposes sanctions, she can tout that as proof that she was right, and package herself as the latest Heroic Martyr For The Conservative Cause, like Kenny Gladney.
1 commentSeptember 22nd, 2009 at 09:48amPosted by Eli
At the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit today, FRC Senior Fellow Pat Fagan, Heritage Foundation scholar Matthew Spalding and Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn, held a discussion on “The New Masculinity.” Schwartz, who was the final speaker, said that Fagan wanted him to discuss “how men, who already are good husbands and fathers,” can “change the culture.”
A few minutes into his speech, Schwartz moved to the topic of pornography, calling it a “blight” and a “disease” that parents’ “sons” would encounter. Noting that he was about to get “politically incorrect,” Schwartz said that it is his “observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people”:
SCHWARTZ: But it is my observation that boys at that age have less tolerance for homosexuality than just about any other class of people. They speak badly about homosexuality. And that’s because they don’t want to be that way. They don’t want to fall into it. And that’s a good instinct. After all, homosexuality, we know, studies have been done by the National Institute of Health to try to prove that its genetic and all those studies have proved its not genetic. Homosexuality is inflicted on people.
Schwartz then recalled “a very good friend” of his “who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time,” saying that he “had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered.” He then relayed “an astonishingly insightful remark” his friend had made about the relationship between pornography and being gay:
SCHWARTZ: And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people.