Lessons from the health care reform debate
This health care debate, when it’s really grinding me down (and right now, with Republicans drawing out in a blatant play to weaken Robert Byrd’s health so that he can’t make the vote, I’m really pissed) has so far managed to at least cheer me up at moments like this:
Okay, why am I cheered that Lamar Alexander is so clueless, so elitist, so indifferent to the experience of everyone who isn’t a millionaire that he actually believes that a bus that comes every 5 minutes would be an intolerable burden? Because what he said is so fucking unbelievable that it has the power to wake people up to exactly how elitist the “populist” Republicans are. Of course, the teabaggers that are out there putting on like they’re some sort of peasantry in revolt aren’t really much better. The teabaggers who flipped out about the way the Metro is D.C. runs live in a similar bubble. Similar, but few of them are so incredibly removed from reality that they assume that buses come by their stops every minute or so. I’ve never even heard of a train that comes by that often.
Of course, the teabaggers choose their own reality, so they’ll just pretend this didn’t happen, if they hear about it at all. But I think that it’s at least helpful for liberals who may be skeptical of the claims that conservatives speak from a place of unbelievably ugly racism and classism and misogyny. This health care debate has brought all of this to the surface, and made it much harder to deny. Like this stinker from Lindsey Graham, where he lists having a 31% African-American population as some horrible burden that South Carolina has to bear:
Months ago, going in to this whole thing, I was wary of pointing out how racist the opposition to health care reform fundamentally is, because I felt that it was too big a pill for people to swallow that this many people can be motivated by this level of dehumanization of their fellow Americans. But now, no problem. It’s fucking obvious as hell to everyone that right wing “populism” is about white people freaking out at the possibility that non-white people might get a better shake in this country, that Sarah Palin talking about “Real Americans” was racial code language, and that morons like Graham can get elected because that many white people in South Carolina are mean ass racists. Not all, I’m sure. But it appears that it has to be a majority.
The point being is that I’m seeing a lot more people get a little more radical in their worldview because of this. The mask has come off the right wing.
And here’s Rachel Maddow offering the kind of coverage of this unthinkable even a month ago: