Politics Over People: The Republicans Playing Deadly Game on Health Care Reform

This is your modern day Republican party:

Conservative leaders will push delay any vote on health care reform until after the August recess to capitalize on what they say is a growing tide of opposition to reform measures, they said on a conference call with “tea party” participants today.

“I can almost guarantee you this thing won’t pass before August, and if we can hold it back until we go home for a month’s break in August,” members of Congress will hear from “outraged” constituents, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint said on the call, which was organized by the group Conservatives for Patients Rights.

“Senators and Congressmen will come back in September afraid to vote against the American people,” DeMint predicted, adding that “this health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America.”

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him,” he said.

Republicans delay health care reform meanwhile sick people die, children go without necessary treatment, and small businesses continue to crumble under the weight of rapidly growing health care costs. I wish this was hyperbole but sadly its a grim reality.

But I wish I could say that I’m surprised by the GOP’s usage of obscure political tricks to block health care reform. Despite popular support from the majority of Americans and their concession during last year’s election that health care reform was important, Conservatives are sticking to their bread and butter…not small government and free markets, no they don’t actually support those. I’m talking about shady tactics used to delay, hold, and filibuster any legislation looking to  address the need of the average American. (Instead of the special interests who pour millions dollars into Republican campaign coffers.)

Of course, a lot of people would will probably respond with some prepacked conservative talking point about how “socialized medicine” is horrible or the high costs of the democratic plan.  But that misses the point. Aside from the obvious facts those rhetorical musings  get wrong, democrats aren’t proposing a socialized health care reform and their plan is deficit neutral, the real focus of Republican’s demagoguery should be on the conservative alternative.

…oh wait… there isn’t one.

And therein lies the real problem with the Republican party’s strategy. It isn’t their policies or, and I emphasize, alleged support of  “conservative” principles. The problem is the fact that the Republican strategy on health care reform, like many other important issues, is to to avoid the issue altogether. In other words: 1) admit that the issue needs to be solved while emphasizing that it needs to be done “right” 2)  attack the proposals being offered by democrats 3) Demagogue, delay, and filibuster proposed bill in order to kill it 4) High five each other and pound their chests once the bill is killed and the issue has been tabled for future considerations, ie never.

That might be a good way of accomplishing short term political gains but its an even better way of sitting around and watching as American society crumbles.

Why Do Politicians I Work For Keep Cheating On Their Wives?

In case you’ve missed it, the biggest political story of the last 24 hours has clearly been  Senator John Ensign’s (R-NV) confession that he had an affair with one of his married campaign staffers:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) has acknowledged an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer in a statement released by his office. “I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions,” said Ensign. He is expected to announce the affair at a press conference at 6:30 pm tonight. The affair, which was with a woman who worked for both Ensign’s re-election campaign and his Battle Born leadership political action committee

But the aspect of the story that REALLY makes this political drama interesting is that I worked for Senator Ensign’s re-election campaign during the time in question and knew the woman he cheated with.

OUCH

But wait…it gets better. According to MSNBC and Politico, the reason Ensign disclosed his affair is because the husband of the women involved tried to blackmail him for a large sum of money. Yes, that’s some good ole fashion extortion right there.

And yet, despite all of the press coverage, there’s one angle that’s being overlooked by all of the media outlets. Not only is the couple involved in the affair/alleged blackmail close and personal friends of the Ensign family, they’re arguably even close to top Republican strategist couple Mike and Lindsey Slanker, the brains and brawn behind Senator Ensign’s political apparatus. It remains to be seen which side the Slanker’s take, but any schism between the two sides could have drastic repercussions for the Republican party.

But, what we do know is that Ensign’s confession will no doubt have major repercussions on the landscape for the 2012  presidential election.

To Run or Not To Run?

Before word broke of an alleged extortion scheme, the prevailing wisdom believed that Ensign’s seemingly random admission of guilt was an attempt to air out his dirty laundry well in advance of a potential campaign for the Republican party’s presidential nomination. But with new information coming to the forefront, no one knows for sure if Senator Ensign will make a 2012 run.

One thing’s for certain. 2012 is a long ways away and no one knows what the political landscape will be like then. Personally, I don’t think Senator Ensign’s confession will harm his political standing one way or another. People have short term political memories. And when it comes to “unimportant” conservative issues like family values, Conservatives  have historically been more than willing to self rationalize forgiveness. Of course, this is only if you’re a Republican and not at all Bill Clinton.

Do As I Say Not What I Do

Though the more curious point that needs to be made is how any person could claim to hold integrity when their current actions oh so clearly violate their past statements. Personally, I believe a politician’s private life is private. As long as there’s two consenting adults there its none of my business what you’re doing in a relationship. But when you run on a socially conservative platform that stresses the values of the family, when you jihad against providing same sex couples with equality under the law, and when you stand on the biggest soapbox you can to routinely criticize other politicians for marriage infidelity, even going as far to demand their resignation, how can you with good faith, postulate your supposed moral authority?

In short, you can’t.

House GOP: Fuck State Rights

Its funny how, Republicans are more than willing to “infringe” on the “rights” of state’s when it fits their political ideology:

A handful of House Republicans and two Democrats waded into the culture wars today, launching a bill that would put a halt to recognizing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.

Does anyone find it amusing that Republicans opposed using federal powers to stop state sanctioned racism but are jumping over one another to use federal power to stop gays from getting married? Moral of the story: it’s worse to be gay than racist. Terri Schavio must be rolling in her grave right now.

Personally I’m still waiting to hear why allowing consensual adults to marry undermines marriage. But of course, no conservative really has an answer for that.

Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home: The Notre Dame – Arizona State Controversies

If the 2008 presidential election has taught us anything its that conservatives are sore losers. Very sore losers.

You know conservative deranged syndrome has gotten bad when people are practically rioting on the street because the President is going to give a commencement speech that the universities invited him to.

Personally, I think honorary degrees are stupid. But the idea that President Obama is somehow “unworthy” of a meaningless paper weight is laughable. Its such a stupid issue that it only bears mentioning in order to be mocked.

First, Arizona State’s decision to deny Obama an honorary degree because he “lacks a significant body of work” is particularly galling and quite frankly an insult towards the office of the President of the United States. But what’s even worse, if you can imagine something worse than insulting the center of American democracy, is the futher explaination from university officials that honorary degrees were only given to people for their lifetime achievement.

Yes, because elected as the first African American president isn’t a lifetime achievement. How sad is it that when the best defense you can muster is “No, we’re not un-American, we’re just racists.” And yes, it is racist to say that being elected as the first black president isn’t a significant lifetime achievement.

All of this coming from a school that prides itself on it’s major in golf management and reputation as the top party school in the country..

At least at Notre Dame university officials tried to make a legitmate argument against the President speaking. Of course their arguments ignored the fact that a majority of Notre Dame students supported President Obama in the presidential election. And the fact that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama. And the fact that Notre Dame has a long history of pro choice politicians who have given commencement speeches.

Republican Party: Tolerant Need Not Apply

In a shrewd bit of political manuevering, President Obama has named Jon Huntsman Jr, Utah Gov ambassador to China. For those of you who are unaware, the very moderate Huntsman, who’s stances include support for civil unions and not so stupid health care reform, was seriously mulling a presidential run in 2012.
With his appointment, Obama eliminated a potential political rival and made a token effort for the last few people who still believe in bipartisianship in one feel swoop.

But as Ben Smith points out, ambassadorship to China is hardly a dead end political move. (Think George H.W. Bush)

But the bigger story is the underlying context behind Huntsman dropping out of the 2012 race. In case you didn’t know or were simply in denial, being reasonable and tolerant is a political liability in the Republican party. So if you ever plan on running for the GOP nomination you better make sure you hate gays, the environment, and minorities and love corporate lobbyists and Wall Street.

Required Readings: “Too Big To Fail”

Alright kids, here’s your homework for tonight.

Tim Geithner; too big to fail?

“If you think stopping global warming is expensive wait till you see how costly inaction is”

“The Idiots Guide to Pakistan is still really really complicated”

Is US Aid hurting Pakistan?

Can you guess the theme? Hint: its pretty obvious