"Tax the very wealthy to make everyone healthy."
- Vigilante, Sozadee, CA -
The men shown here are all enemies of the people. They are but a tiny handful of conservative Republicans who are attempting to stall and defeat legislation designed to aid everyday working people, the middle class, and the poor. Like desperate soldiers in battlefield retreat, they are attempting to destroy all that may aid the President in their path. Their aim is to delay passage of any bill not beneficial to corporate America, or any bill desired by a progressive President or Congress. As such, they are not acting as spokespersons for or representatives of the majority of their countrymen. They are, instead, acting as spokespersons for and representatives of special interests, i.e. corporate America (namely, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries) in the current heated debate over health care reform.
Soundly defeated in last November's elections, the now extremely conservative Republican Party's far right agenda of cutting taxes for the wealthy and big business (trickle-down economics) has been thoroughly rejected by the majority of voters. So has their modern tenet of using preemptive military action against foreign countries. So has their penchant for deregulation. And so has their preference for preservation of the status quo, particularly as regards job losses and wage stagnation for workers, and, especially, the unfairness and rising costs found in our badly-flawed health care system. But the conservative Republicans are not making any attempt to change their approach to more readily conform to the mood of today's public. Egged on by extremist media figures like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the Fox "News" network, they have instead allowed themselves to become lulled into a strange complacency. In spite of all logic to the contrary, and with their national numbers shrinking and becoming more regional than national, these fools actually believe they will once again gain control of Congress and the White House by staying exactly as they are today. Their tactic? A deliberately ongoing, insidious attack on President Obama and his agenda. Their arsenal of weapons includes outright lies, utter non-cooperation, disinformation, manufactured rallies, and constant questioning and verbal attack. They are attempting to slam to an absolute halt the progressive elements of Obama's agenda, hoping that discrediting him or making him become ineffectual will guarantee their future electoral success. This is not a patriotic approach to solving the grave problems facing our nation today. Governance by constant inaction and total opposition accomplishes nothing. More than at any other time in their history, insanity reigns supreme in today's far-right, far-from-mainstream Republican Party.
Recent polls have shown overwhelming support (72%) for the adoption of a public option, universal health care plan administered by the government. 57% have even expressed willingness to pay higher taxes to support such a system. Yet conservatives and Republicans nationwide are fighting this idea tooth and nail, in a most determined scorched-earth manner. Just as they did on the President's Economic Stimulus Plan, (which is now showing signs of actually working, something they claimed would never happen),Republicans are loudly voicing opposition and are using a variety of weapons to kill the public option altogether. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has expressed nothing but contempt for everything the President has proposed since day one, and you can see it in the snide expression on his face and hear it in his constant negative comments. Weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell boldly and prematurely claimed the public option to be dead. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) even made the outlandish statement this past week that health insurerance industry does not need any more regulation, even as they are raising prices at will and are paying exorbitant executive salaries while excluding millions of people from coverage! This unified Republican attack has not been limited to domestic issues, either. Just this week, Liz Cheney came out with the wholly nonproductive and inflammatory comment that our country needs "a commander in chief, not a global community organizer." The GOP have become so extreme in their approach that theirs can no longer be dismissed merely as strong opposition. Their modus operandi for such opposition has taken a far darker and more sinister approach which is now akin to outright subversion and sabotage.
The website Think Progress.org recently obtained a 3 page memo from a far-right group called Right Principles encouraging outside conservatives to flood Democratic congresspersons' Town Hall meetings this month and shout down any discussion of health care reform. It gave specifics on how to disrupt these meetings. Other shadowy groups have been actively busing in conservatives from all over the country to attend and disrupt Town Halls. This, of course, is preventing an honest discussion on a major relevant national issue, and, as such, could be considered a subversive action of deliberate sabotage. It is attempting to create for TV cameras, newspapers, and Congresspersons to see and note the illusion of a non-existant huge majority of voters opposed to health care reform. Like the phony Teabagger taxpayer protest non-event of a few months back, this, too, is a manufactured series of actions designed to distort public opinion and influence government policy. This Right Principles health care memo was authored by one Bob McGuffie, a member of the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm called Freedom Works, which is run by the very conservative former Republican Congressman Dick Armey. Now, encouraging outside agitators to crash political discussions between Congresspersons and their constituents is not my idea of acting responsibly in a republic like ours. It is instead a seamy act of subversion.
Conservative media figures like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, to name but two, are acting as a sort of fifth column disinformation ring when they lie and distort information on public policy initiatives as they do nearly every day. Their aim is to sew distrust and skepticism of the President among viewers, not to truthfully inform or stimulate intelligent discussion. They are therefore also guilty of subversive actions, and their activity greatly undermines the functioning of our democratic system. Their irresponsibility leads only to polarization, not unity, and it serves only their interests, not the nation's needs.
But conservative Republican Congresspersons and Senators and corporate America take the cake when it comes to sabotaging legislation through distortion, delay, and hair-splitting. Their aim is to stall health care debate long enough to enable special interest groups like health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations plenty of time to launch a massive campaign of fear and misinformation to completely defeat health care reform. PBS has reported that the industry is spending a whopping $1.4 million PER DAY on lobbyists and ads designed to kill the public option. The lie about how the public option plan will force seniors to undergo euthanasia was hatched by a board member of Cantel Medical Corporation, a medical device manufacturer. But the industry isn't spending millions only on lobbyists and advertising. Mitch McConnell has received $3.1 million in campaign contributions from the medical/industrial complex over the years, according to the Center for Responsible Politics. No wonder he has come out so strongly in opposition to a public option! Even moderate "Blue Dog" Democratic Congresspersons have received generous contributions from the medical/industrial complex which is apparently heavily influencing their stances. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), for example, has received $414,000 from hospitals, $667,000 from insurance companies, and nearly $1 million from pharmaceutical companies. The Republican Party itself, always an ally to big business, has even committed to spending $1 million this month on anti-public option ads. Now THAT'S not a party truly dedicated to the overall public good!
It is clear to see that influence-peddling by lobbyists for the benefit of the medical/industrial complex has been paying big dividends for that complex. Their willingness to spend $1.4 million per day to defeat the public option is highly indicative of the massive profits they make with the system just as it is. It is easy to understand why they wish to preserve such a system, which allows them to exclude millions of people, end medical coverage for others at will, and constantly raise prices when they wish. But that is also indicative of tremendous injustice and proof of why such a system must not be allowed to stand any longer.
The attempts by corporate America, their lobbyists, their bought-out Congresspersons, as well as fearful and ignorant conservatives who aid and abet all of those fools in subverting and sabotaging our system of government borders on treason. These people have the right to express their opinion, to be sure, but not to interfere with OUR rights to hear and speak as well, nor to undermine our democratic process. It may seem as though they have the upper hand at the moment. Yet there are counter-measures we progressives can take to nullify and even overturn these conservative actions. First, tell everyone you know about the misinformation and subversive strategy they are employing. Let's make these corrupt, corporatist conservatives the focus here rather than the lies they are spreading. Second, let's give obstructionists like Boehner, McConnell, and Kyl a little lesson in democracy and throw those bastards out of office next time they are up for re-election. They have been ignoring we taxpayers in favor of corporate America long enough. Third, let's all attend our Congresspersons' Town Halls this month and shout down the phony, bused-in protestors who don't belong there in the first place. Let's continue barraging them with letters and phone calls in support of a public option. Above all, let's keep pushing for real health care reform with universal coverage and a public option---MEDICARE FOR ALL!