Thursday, August 20, 2009

Barney Frank Doesn't Live Around Uranus, But A Lot Of Conservative Activists Seem To Be Moving There

According to The Huffington Post, at a town meeting in Dartmouth, MA, last Tuesday, Congressman Barney Frank was confronted by a constituent (or a woman posing as one) who asked him why he was "supporting this Nazi policy." She was referring to the Obama administration's initiative intended to address the billions of dollars we flush down the toilet daily to achieve the worst, or second to worst according to some estimates, national health care outcomes in the industrialized world. Read the story about this bizarre charge and see the clip of Frank's response here. Frank, who is a Jewish homosexual (both categories of people were murdered by the Nazis), responded by asking the demonstrator: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He then called her stated views "vile, contemptible nonsense." He closed by saying: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table." Several news sources, including the Washington Independent, confirm that the woman and several other demonstrators were holding signs that said "Obama=Nazi."

"To be fair," the Independent reporter editorializes, "the evidence suggests that the woman is a supporter of fringe political activist Lyndon LaRouche." The Independent, a non-profit, non-partisan news source sponsored by the Center for Independent Media offers no source for this hypothetical.

But to whom are we trying to be fair? The politicians and insurance companies who are ready to sell us all down the river to preserve a failing for-profit system? And heaven only knows, we wouldn't want the Republican Party, whose mainstream conservative politicians talk openly of crippling an Obama presidency in search of the political Armageddon they imagine will return them to power, to be tarred with the brush of extremism. No. Particularly since on Wednesday, the voice of the Republican Party, radio host Rush Limbaugh, reported on the Dartmouth, MA incident and closed by asking: "Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?"

Last time I heard this one I was in middle school.

On top of this, consider reports that a man outside an Obama health care rally in Arizona marched around wearing a pistol and carrying a semi-automatic weapon demonstrating, as he put it, "his freedoms." And of course, Sarah Palin continues to exercise her first amendment right to lie about government "death panels" that would encourage the elderly to stop wasting our tax dollars by living (although, come to think of it, this is precisely what the Republican Party is willing to say to every American too poor, or too sick, to have health insurance.) In fact, what has been proposed is that terminally ill people of all ages would have counseling available about end of life care instead of being given "treatments" they may not want or understand while God is busy doing something other than elevating them to the Elect.

Yes, Virginia, some people do talk about Death before She is standing at the door, and it is neither a dumb or an immoral thing to do. And we all -- not just the elderly -- should have resources for doing it as soon as we are old enough to make an independent decision about whether to choose life or death. As an aside, one study by Dana Farber proposes that patients welcome End Of Life (EOL) conversations, and that knowledgeable conversations between physicians and terminal patients lower the cost of dying in the final week alone by 36%.

But no, not according to the Republican Party and its loyal activists, for whom the elderly are as idealized a creation as the fetus -- and in possession of even less will, apparently. The President is a "Nazi" proposing "death panels." You know what? Instead of arguing with people who have clearly not only moved to Uranus, but have handed their free will and good sense over to a party whose only interest is in helping the wealthy become wealthier, try this. Find a Republican Senator or Congressman (if you live in Connecticut Joe Lieberman will do, or try Governor Jody Rell) and ask that person to make a public statement disavowing any language or lie that incites violence, or hatred that could lead to violence, against any other public figure.

And if you are a conservative yourself, begin to qualify what you mean by "conservative" with a descriptive adjective that helps distinguish you as a thoughtful person who is committed to civil disagreement. Are you a fiscal conservative? A pro-business conservative? And then say what that means, why that is an important value, and how that value is going to reform healthcare. Not eliminate health care -- intervene to provide more and better healthcare to 100% of Americans, thus permitting small businesses to flourish, children to go to school, and workers to be productive and spend their dollars to give them access to their constitutional right to happiness.

Photo credit, and more information about Uranus, here. If you are suffering from a pain in Urotheranus caused by Republican dirty tricks, click here or here to take action.

18 comments:

Tim Lacy said...

Ditto. Well said. And I especially appreciate your last full paragraph on conservative identifiers. - TL

Mackensen said...

I think it's fair to say there are plenty of socially liberal small government conservatives out there just keeping their heads down, for lack of a better option.

JackDanielsBlack said...

I thought Rush was funny (juvenile, admittedly, but juvenile can be funny). I notice that you liberals love to dish it out but hate to take it.

Virginia said...

Rush's comment was vulgar and juvenile.

And yes, not only was the woman carrying said sign, when Rep. Frank commented on the defacement of the President's photo being her 1st Amendment right, she proudly held it up. She still didn't get it, in other words.

See the video, if you haven't already: He was fabulous.

Adam Henne said...

I like the idea of challenging Repubs to respond to the nuttery. Democrats were forced to disavow Rev Wright and the Weather Underground and so on based on the most tenuous of historical associations. Those moderate Repubs "keeping their heads down" are still directly implicated in the here and now. They receive the benefits of the chaos AND get to look like decent moderates for not contributing to it actively. The least we can do is to keep them from having it both ways.

JackDanielsBlack said...

Notice that the tone is changing; a month ago Rachel Maddow was tee-heeing about "tea baggers" and how ineffectual they were; now she is talking about them as a threat to democracy. I think they represent democracy in action; every Senator and Representative needs to be reminded forcefully once in awhile that "You work for us!" They also put a human face on an argument that has been strangely abstract on the Democratic side. Where are all the outraged proponents of health reform? Michael Moore could get them out; why can't Barack Obama?

Anonymous said...

Well said for sure! And never fear, JackDanielsBlack, you mindless troll, we evil liberals are coming out in force against the lunatic fringe that is doing your thinking for you.

Jonathan Dresner said...

offers no source for this hypothetical.

It's not a hypothetical: the woman's question credits LaRouche with having already defeated the idea of National socialist style health care (or having beaten the Nazis and Soviet Union, I'm not sure) and asks why Frank is still supporting it.

JackDanielsBlack said...

Anonymous 1:25, the way Obama's poll numbers are sinking, you and your liberal friends better hurry or Obamacare will be toast come September.

Brian said...

Great post.

But after some initial amusement by some of the signs and remarks--"keep the government away from my Medicare", the best one I saw--I am increasingly depressed about the chances of any real health reform passing. It is astounding and scary how successful the right wing is at defining the terms of the debate even when, as in the case of health care, they rely on talking points that are jaw dropingly insane. The left has never figured out how to correctly respond, though it does not help when the democrats as a whole lack courage and always try to find compromise with those whose only concern is to protect the profits of the insurance industry.

Tenured Radical said...

Great comments all-- but one quibble, Jon Dresner. The evidence seems strong that this woman is a Larouche follower, but it is still circumstantial -- no one seems to have actual proof that this woman is a Larouchie, and no one bothered to interview her afterward -- at least, not the Independent. Much as I oppose the way this fight is being carried out (and what the woman said actually makes no logical sense -- that the Dems are shrinking health care dollars *because* of the recession and the deficit, therefore people will be killed because care will be retracted not expanded I still think you need proof. And saying that she is a far-right wing cultist is a diversion (unintentional perhaps) hat these things are also being said by Republic Congressmen.

Jonathan Dresner said...

TR, I've never heard anyone credit LaRouche for accomplishing anything (except for the creation of a creepy cult, and tax fraud) who wasn't a dyed-in-the-wool LaRouche dead-ender. But you're right, nobody checked her voter registration card.

Anonymous said...

The Constitution doesn't actually give a a right to happiness, just the pursuit of happiness-but as a group or as individuals?

Anonymous said...

I find the explosion of Hitler references completely baffling. Even if we assume that most people walking around with signs, images, and comments that equate Obama with Hitler are making something less than a well-reasoned argument (as I think we must), there must be some kind of cultural logic (or at least an institutional/organizational genesis) that explains where this is coming from. Right? ... Is this confusion over the difference between "national socialism" and "socialism" ... or what? Please tell me some political scientist or American historian can explain this bizarre phenomenon!

Bess said...

Anon 9:37 - The "logic" behind the Nazi comparisons is that "death panels" evoke eugenics evoke ethnic (and other degenerate) cleansing. Ergo the extra weirdness of bringing that up to Frank. & to be clear, lefty nutters also compared Bush to Hitler-- try a new comparison, folks. Ever heard of Godwin's Law?

TR, "Urotheranus" = good one

Anonymous said...

Tell me, O great Uranus expert, do things get all wee-weed up in August on Uranus?

Jonathan Dresner said...

Larouche Youth Pac claims Frank questioner as member

Anonymous said...

what up people i love this