Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Courage of Their Own Convictions

When the Democrats had a majority in Congress, the did not vote through a bill which included a government option for health insurance; i.e., they did not extend Medicare to everyone.

Presumably, they had counted heads and found not enough Democrats were brave enough to risk the wrath of the insurance companies and the voters back home. Most people believed if you offered Medicare for all, the vast numbers of citizens would vote with their feet and go for Medicare, rather than for commercial, profit-first, listed on the stock exchange insurance companies who don't care about anyone's health but care only about the bottom line: profit. So if you offered the people all the attractions of that bogeyman, government run health insurance, the people would leap at the chance to take it and would forsake the insurance companies which have been screwing them for years.

Actually, it was the insurance companies, those bastions of free enterprise the Republicans love so, which argued, look, if you want us to offer insurance to people with pre existing conditions and to the 24 year old, just out of college who wants to remain on his parents' health insurance, you will bankrupt us, becauase then we'll be paying out more than we take in, with all those sick people with pre existing conditions we can no longer ignore and reject. So give us some people who will do what every insurance company depends upon: Pay in for years and get nothing back, other than peace of mind.

And the Democrats counted up how many people make their living selling health insurance, administering health insurance, and they counted how many dollars those companies contribute to political campaigns and they wilted. They caved. They didn't have the balls to do the right thing.

So now, the Republicans on the Supreme Court can argue they are all for insuring people who want health insurance ,but you cannot force people to buy something they don't want to buy, you cannot take away the liberty of a 25 year old who wants to ride a motorcycle and who will wind up on the ER and on life support and then in the neurology ward, you cannot make a young person, who is, as Justice Scalia noted with great sympathy, "just starting out" pay for health insurance or make him pay a penalty if he refuses to help society assume his risk for him.

Of course, your concern for liberty does not make you liberate the hospitals from the responsibility of taking care of the irresponsible. The kid who loses that bet cannot be turned away from the hospital door, not morally, not even legally. Federal and state law requires the uninsured be treated.

Fair enough.

The Democrats were wimps and fail to pass a single payor plan, did not have the courage of their own convictions.

And now, once again, the Republicans have out maneuvered the whimps, by making the hapless Dems pass a plan which will provide care through commercial providers. Then the Republicans say, but you cannot force a person to engage in commerce!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kayla Williams Loves Her Rifle More than You

This is a very good memoir, with quite a lot to say about the Army we now have, the trap America has fallen into by engaging in eternal war, as the world's policeman, the nature of who Americans are and what we have become.

It is well worth reading.

There are some things which you have to get past: Ms. Williams complains about some things I would think few men would complain about: She is a Vegan and she discovered the Army does have vegetarian MRE's (prepackaged meals) but her sergeant would make no effort to supply her with these. (She finally found a cache on her own, and was miffed he would not make the effort for her.) He was likely being passive aggressive, not liking a soldier who had "special needs" on the front lines.

On the other hand, she details the incompetence of many of those who out rank her in convincing detail: One who orders her to stay in her Humvee rather than taking cover in a building during a mortar attack, when commanders had radioed everyone get out of the Humvees and into better protected stone buildings and another (a woman) who retorted that as the sergeant in charge of William's outfit she had no interest in learning the technology or the details of what the unit was doing, so it was up to Williams to know that. This jaw dropper, fortunately was flounced before a lieutenant, so Williams was saved.

There is a wonderful chapter about a woman attached to her company who had been in Iraq only a month and committed suicide, shot herself in the head, and Williams reaction was anger at the dead woman, anger at herself for not seeing it coming and fury at the commander who made the whole company sit through a maudlin, absurd memorial service for this dead woman who nobody knew and who had caused everyone else a lot of trouble by shooting herself, had let down the unit. This sounded completely real and honest to me: It reminded me of how angry interns used to get at alcoholics who would drink themselves into ulcers, come in vomiting blood all over everyone and keeping us up all night. We had lost all capacity for sympathy. We were the ones who dealt with the consequences of their misbehavior.

But most of all, there is the picture of the "mission" in a war where you are trying to win the "hearts and minds" of a people whose language you do not speak, culture you do not respect and who harbor people who are trying to kill you.

We have not studies the history of Vietnam and we are doomed to repeat it.

The sociology of what the Army has become is also clearly presented: As Bob Dylan once said, "Join the Army ,if you fail." The Army is populated by people for whom the Army is the best or only financial option. They are all hired Hessian's now.

Sure, after 9-11, there was an NFL football player who gave up his millions to fight--only to be shot to death by his own troops, but the army now is comprised of people who feel they have no better options, or no other options.

In Vietnam, we were sold the lie we were fighting the relentless march of world communism, when in fact, we were intervening in a local nationalist movement which had no implications beyond that small, agrarian nation, but oh, if we didn't fight them in the Mekong Delta, we'd be fighting them in the streets of San Francisco.

Now we are fighting them in Afghanistan rather than fighting them in the streets of New York. We are fighting the world war on terrorism. We are engaged in endless war. As Carver says, in The Wire, when Kima shakes her head at his war on drugs, "You sad ass losers, fighting the war on drugs, one brutality case after another." And Carver retorts, "Girl, you can't even call this a war." And Kima asks, "Why not?" Carver says simply, "Wars end." That is, wars have defined objectives, you capture the flag, burn the capital city. But these "wars" of occupation never end, and the "War on Terrorism," is so nebuluous we would not even know if we'd "Won." No objectives, no mission.

So we fight to "deny terrorists their training camps."

As if terrorists can only be trained in Afghanistan rather than Somolia or in an apartment in Berlin.

I like Kayla Williams. I might not like her, if I had to live in her neighborhood, but reading the book, she passes the test of Holden Caufield: You know it's a really good book when you finish it and you put it down and you want to call up the author, on the phone, right away.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finally, A Democrat with Balls

Tonight, I had a glimpse into history. I felt the way I imagine Abraham Lincoln felt when he finally discovered a general who actually could fight.
After years of watching his generals fail through disorganization, incompetence, and mostly, through simple failure of nerve, generals who consistently grasped defeat from the jaws of victory, he found Ulysses S. Grant, a real fighter.
He was told Grant was a risk, a drinker who was often drunk at the height of battle.
"Then I would like to find out what it is he drinks," Lincoln said, "And give it to my other generals. He fights!"
And so it was tonight, when Jackie Cilley, Democratic candidate for Governor of New Hampshire came to a meeting of Hampton Democrats.
She had spoken here before, but she was one of a half dozen Democratic hopefuls, and she was not given much time.
Tonight, she spoke alone.
She began by saying she would not take "The Pledge," to never seek a New Hampshire state income tax. She won't do it on principle, because she says her first priority is not avoiding an income tax for New Hampshire, though she would try her damndest to avoid it. But her first priority is to get New Hampshire the government it needs, and the Pledge is a Republican ruse to divert attention from what they are trying to do, to change the subject from governance and values to taxes.
She spoke for about twenty minutes and the first question came from some old codger up front who said, "So, if I heard you right, you're for a state income tax?"
She took a deep breath. This was obvious not new for her. She likely had been through this before dozens of time. She talks about what the Republicans are doing to dismantle public education, to legalize guns in the state legislature and in school yards, to shut down every government service except for those which protect private property, and all some people hear is, she's going to bring in an income tax for me to pay.
She said she would not apologize for wanting the state to spend money on education. The Republicans and their Tea Party allies and their wacko Free State Project Utopian off the grid crazies want all children, ideally, to be home schooled or sent to private schools, but no public money for schools.
She would not apologize for wanting contraception to be available to New Hampshire women, because it's cheaper to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to deal with all its consequences and because it right for women to have contraception. She noted the Republicans are now saying there is no difference between contraception and abortion and oppose both and clearly oppose spending public money on either.
She would not apologize for wanting to protect collective bargaining and she would not apologize for supporting the unions which help build a middle class, while the Republicans canonize the Republican governor of Wisconsin who has tried to destroy every union in Wisconsin.
She would not apologize for wanting to protect the lakes and seashore which are the basis for the biggest industry in New Hampshire, not to mention the great joy of its citizens, while the Republicans make environmental protection into a public enemy.
She came out swinging because she knew where she came from. Her father worked in a factory, and carried a lunch pail to work and never drove a car. He had too many kids to afford to send any of them to college, but Jackie went to the state university and flourished there and saw the good a public education could do, saw how it could help kids from working class families take a step up in economic status, helped grow the human resources of a nation.
And she talked about the Republicans and their co conspirators, the New Hampshire Free State Project, as pernicious and scary a lunatic fringe as has ever invaded the Granite State. And the Tea Party paranoid schizophrenics who believe the only good government is a dead government.
She is one tough cookie.
She made me believe.
If only we can expose the Republicans, just let everyone know what they are actually saying, what they actually believe in. The worst thing for a really bad product--good advertising.
So there is hope for New Hampshire Democrats.
If we can just figure out how to pin those stars on her collar.

The Attack on Social Security

Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

I watched him interviewed on television.

He started off by saying that the richest segment of our population is the group over 65 years of age--they have the greatest "Net Worth," mainly because so many of them have paid off their mortgages.

And he asks, why should we ask 25 year olds who are struggling to raise their young children to pay into social security to support those rich old people?

At least, this is a new tact for the government is bad and has never had a good idea crowd.

Of course, "Net Worth," is something of an illusion. As so many people discovered recently, the "worth" of your house, and the worth of so many of your holdings (even your annuities) is something of a phantom--your house isn't worth a dollar, until you sell it. It's worth quite a lot in non dollar terms, because you need a place to live, but when you attach a dollar sign to your house and you start adding things up in a column, well, you can't spend your net worth at the grocery store, or at the gas pump.

Used to be, we talked about people over 65 somewhat pityingly, as "pensioners" or people living on "fixed incomes." And we were concerned about how many of them were losing their homes because they couldn't afford local property taxes.

Now, we have quasi T party types, like Professor Williams, trying to re-image this graying crowd as one percenters, the rich, living off the labor of poor younger people, who are under the lash of big government, making them pay their hard earned money into a government run program of welfare for the undeserving rich.

The complaint about Social Security from the right, from the Paul Ryan Republicans and from George Bush and the get the government off my back crowd of all stripes used to be that if you'd just let me invest the money you take out of my paycheck, I could do so much better than what I get back in Social Security.

Of course, that argument totally missed the point of Social Security which is that is was never intended to build wealth; it intended to provide security. And security for the over 65 crowd directly benefits not just the gray headed, but it benefits the 25 year old trying to raise his family because it means he doesn't have to pay his parents' rent right now.

Social Security came in as a result of the depression, to provide that famous safety net so people wouldn't starve and clog up the sidewalks waiting on food lines.

Like so many of the other Depression era safeguards which the Republicans have been trying to dismantle, it has worked so well we take it for granted and we forget what life was like before it was in place.

So, Republicans, fulfilling that old adage, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, Republicans repealed all those safeguards which kept banking from doing really stupid, greedy things like packaging mortgages as stocks and they brought us to the brink of another Depression.

Republicants would repeal penicillin, polio vaccine and antisepsis if you gave them a chance.

For your information, Professor Williams, the greatest concentration of poverty in this country is among the over 65 crowd. Poverty among the elderly is 30% higher than it is among the 25-45 year old segment of the population.

I know that for sure because, like Professor Williams, I just now made those numbers up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Republican'ts

One of the thing I liked about Howard Cossell was his reaction to those who continued to call Muhammed Ali Cassius Clay after that fighter decided to change his name.

One thing about this country, Cossell (who had changed his own name) said, is that a man deserves to be called by whatever name he chooses. We are a nation of immigrants and many of us came here to reinvent ourselves. Or we simply wanted a certain name for certain reasons, but the minimum respect we can give another man is to call him by the name he chooses.

So the smug, smirking practice of every Republican from Mitch McConnell to John Boehner to Eric Cantor of calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" party is especially irritating. It signifies the mindset these partisans have which says there is no such thing as comity or civility when it comes to politics, as far as these politicos are concerned.

It is a sort of gleeful Frat Boy prank, they all do. They say DemocRAT as if it is a party of rats, and they look very pleased with themselves as if they have just now come up with something very clever.

Democrats have chosen to ignore this, like some adult who simply will not rise to the bait, because he has more important things to do.

But that is an error. The Democrats need to throw a counter punch every time the Republicans throw one, not just block the blow, but counter punch, and better yet, throw a flurry.

So, I propose calling it the Republican't party. (Or, if the setting is more formal, the Republicannot Party.)

It is, after all, the party of cannot do. Can't have contraception. Can't bail out the auto companies. Can't pay for unemployment insurance. Can't intervene to save the country from driving off the economic cliff. Cannot find Osama Bin Laden. Can't spend money on roads or bridges. Can't tax billionaires. Can't do anything, except, of course, force vaginal probes up women who are in their own doctor's offices and force doctors to do probes, say words, take positions they do not want to do.

I rather like it. Rolls off the tongue. Republican'ts and the Republican's party. The party of cants. They pick up a cant (as in a recited, pre formulated, repeated party line) and they stick with it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ah, Democracy

"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."
--Constitution of the United States of America

I'm going out to vote this afternoon, after work. I've got a candidate for the school board I'm voting for.

There will also be ballot questions, like: Do we need a skate board park in Hampton and are we willing to float a bond for it?

Some homeowner wants to plant azaleas on the other side of the sidewalk, on town land. Should she be allowed? Stuff like this makes it on the ballot in Hampton, New Hampshire.

This morning, on National Public Radio they were interviewing voters in Alabama. A man earnestly declared President Obama is an unconstitutional president because the Constitution says you have to be a natural born American and he is not, because his father was born in Kenya and to be a natural born American, your parents have to be born in America. Says so, right there in the Constitution.
Now this is not a matter of belief. Nor is this a matter of interpretation. This is something you can look up, right there in the Constitution.

But this Alabama voter, very earnestly, was speaking into a microphone and telling us something.

What he was telling us is that if you wish really, really hard, the world will be the way he wants it to be.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, your dreams come true.

Another Alabama voter said she will vote for Rick Santorum because he wants to put God into everything, and she likes that.

Listening to these voices with their Southern accents and Southern rhythms and Southern inflections, I felt so very lucky to live in New Hampshire.

Not that I you never hear this sort of thing up here in the Granite state.

But when I told my coworkers what I had heard this morning they all broke out laughing and asked me to repeat it. When I repeated it, I tried it in my best Southern accent and they loved it even more. They roared with laughter.

It was very un PC. It was like laughing at a Polish joke, about how stupid those Southerners are.

It was a bonding moment.

E Pluribus Unum.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

History as Psychology

Richard Hofstader has his detractors. He was a historian at Columbia University, and George F. Will described him as the quintessential example of the condescending liberal because Hofstader wrote The Paranoid Style in American Politics which offended Will because it so clearly portrayed the very sort of reactionary Republican we see today in Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and, that Zelig of Republicans, Mitt Romney, as a deranged and truth-be-told, psychopath.
Professors of history decried Hofstader's penchant for using secondary rather than primary sources in his review of the past, but this is an irrelevant and essentially effete criticism: What do I care how Hofstader arrived at the truth? I care whether or not he can see the truth.
And looking at the mindset, or the psychology of the Rush Limbaugh's of the world is the only way to really understand their appeal.
What is just as, if not more important is looking at the psychology of those who are listening and echoing what they hear Limbaugh said.
Which brings me to the instance which prompts this posting. This week a forwarded email circulated around my office. It was a rant by a 21 year old woman who was incensed, outraged by something she had seen on Fox News: Down and Out types who has so little self respect they had actually stooped to using food stamps, were using those government hand outs for the undeserving to buy Ho Hos or some sort of junk food--the name escapes me--the modern equivalent of Twinkies.
This provoked a torrent of invective among the young women in my office, most of whom have children below the age of 10, and whose salaries average in the low $20,000 range.
The only email which had provoked the same level of contempt was a "Shoppers of Walmart" compendium of photographs of grossly obese or otherwise physically repugnant Americans, often wearing short shorts which barely contained their pelvic anatomy.
It fascinated me the fury all this provoked. There was no sympathy, only anger and revulsion at these people who were just one step or maybe a few steps below these office workers on the socio economic scale.
They had no such resentment toward those above them, at least none I've ever been able to detect. These people who have some high school, or graduated high school, or some community college do not blink an eye at the pie graphs showing the small sliver of wealth their own income group controls. They know they are struggling economically. They pay more than half their incomes in rent and food is a significant part of their cost of living. They are in and out of living with their parents, dealing with older cars which keep breaking down making them late for work, dealing with misbehavior of their children at school, phone calls from teachers or principals, and yet they see none of their own circumstances as being connected to what the top 1% or the top 20% are doing in the world, are doing to their world.

They have accepted since they do not have "qualifications" they do not deserve better. They have bought into the idea of a meritocracy so thoroughly, they accept their place at the bottom of the scale as deserved.

One woman, who I know particularly well, tried to take a course in "Anatomy and Physiology" at a local community college, which is required so she can get a certificate which says she is a certified "Medical Assistant." Now, this is a woman who has learned a great deal of practical physiology and medicine in the 5 years she has acted as an uncertified medical assistant. She is very bright, and she reads every chart before she passes it on to the doctor she assists and if there is a relevant lab missing, she notices that, and she gets on the computer and digs it out. She does a blood test on a patient and records the result but she doesn't stop there, she looks at the pattern of how that test fits with previous tests on the same patient, and she often hands the chart to the doctor and says, "Looks like Mr. Smith is burning out his insulin production. Bet he'll need insulin soon. I'm not telling you your job. I'm just saying."

She's almost always right.

But the course she took at the community college was taught by a martinet, infamous among the women who have to get past him, and she brought in the work sheets and exams this professor subjected his unfortunate students to and they were evidence of a special psychopathology. The other physicians I showed them to just laughed. The questions were: a/ about such minutiae as to be laughable b/ revealed the professor did not understand the very topics he was attempting to "teach" his students.
But he stood between his students and "certification."
The woman I am talking about dropped out of the course, defeated, convinced she did not deserve any better, did not deserve to be "certified."
The fact is, she is better, knows more, is more valuable to the patients and the clinic, and is more deserving of being called a "certified" medical assistant than 90% of those who have got that certificate.
Thus is the poisonous result of selling the notion of "meritocracy" to the American soul.
It would be one thing if true merit were accurately defined and identified, but it's quite another how the whole notion of who deserves the prizes is practically delivered in our current day American nation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Snob Appeal

Rick Santorum was not thoughtless to use the word snob in connection with college education.

Like Rush Limbaugh, who is the well spring of Republican Party thought, he knows to which resentment he can appeal.
I interviewed a man today who has been a welder for 30 years. Welders these days are not just guys with torches and masks. This guy had welded everything from space shuttles to airplane engines to medical devices and what he does is very high tech and highly skilled and requires a talent for measurement and a lot of practical math.
But some years ago he was working at a company, managing thirty employees in his department and doing a terrific job. The company's earnings had risen ten fold over his tenure there and his supervisors and bosses decided it was time to bring him into management.
Until they found he had never been to college. He was not only not promoted, but because they felt they could not simply keep an employee who had become so visible and valuable in a non management capacity, they fired him.

All because he had not earned his merit badge: A college B.A..
In this, I find myself in odd company: Charles Murray of the American Enterprise institute says we should prick the BA balloon. It's become a pretty meaningless credential. It's only meaning is bestowed upon it by mindless, lazy "human resources" types who don't want to have to devise ways of actually evaluating people in a meaningful way--they want to just throw out all applicants who do not have B.A.'s. It makes the life of the HR person easy--she can go to lunch on time.

So when President Obama says everyone should be able to go to college, for people who smoulder with the resentment of that experience, they hear it as, "Everyone should go to college." And they think: Why? Why should some feckless privileged frat boy who spent four years drinking on his fraternity porch be promoted because his father paid for 4 years of college.
Fact is, not everyone should go to college. Fact is, the college degree should not be a ticket to promotion at the workplace and should not even be a ticket to the hiring interview. In our zeal for a "meritocracy" we breed understandable and justifiable resentment among those who have been mindlessly made into losers.

Funny thing is, the resentment is not directed toward the owners of the factories, but always toward the President and the Democrats.

That one, I'm still trying to figure out.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: The Boil Lanced

Sometimes, in medicine, you have to dissect open a wound and follow it from the surface downward into a deep cavity, to really appreciate the extent of the pathology. One of the most common instances of this is a a peri rectal abscess, which can, once excavated, wrap around all sorts of anatomy and be far more extensive than anyone appreciated when they first began cutting.

So let's explore, layer by layer, the peri rectal abscess which is Rush Limbaugh. I have thought, until now, of Limbaugh as the central nervous system of the Republican party, but now I realize, he is the the peri rectal abscess. But then, rectum, brain, when talking Republicans, I repeat myself.

Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who had the temerity to say she thought the Jesuit institution, which provides health insurance to its non Catholic workers and students ought to include in that health insurance contraceptive coverage, which she considers part of health care for women.
To his credit, and typical of the Jesuits, the president of Georgetown, who disagrees with Fluke, quoted Saint Augustine, "Let us , on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim we have already discovered the truth."
You got to love the Jesuits. Mad Dog was on the faculty of that Jesuit institution for nearly 30 years, and if there is an order in The Church, which can disarm you with its open mindedness, it has to be the Jesuits. But I digress.
Rush Limbaugh.
Rush Limbaugh says Ms. Fluke went "before a Congressional committee and says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. she wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps. The johns." And then he adds, the coup de grace, saying if we are all be asked to pay for her having sex, we ought to demand something for our money, "We want you to post the videos [of you having sex] on line so we can all watch."
Where do you begin? There's a lot going on in there.
First, there is the idea that a woman who asks for coverage for an IUD or an oral contraception is asking to be paid for sex. If she had a health insurance account, from which she could withdraw money for any health care cost, would she still be asking to be paid for having sex?
When most people think of a woman asking to be paid for sex, they are thinking about a woman who structures a deal with a client: I will have sex with you if you will pay me money. Here we have a woman who says, I would like treatment which will protect me if I behave in a way you do not want me to behave, but I want to avoid some very unhappy outcomes.

Before we go on: The insurance payments for Georgetown students do not come out of the taxpayer's pocket. The payments come from the pockets of the parents of the Georgetown students, for the most part.

And then there is the notion that insuring someone engaged in a risky behavior is something the insured is being paid "to do?" Consider the auto wreck. Have we paid the woman who was knocked unconscious and fractured to be knocked unconscious and fractured?
If we paid for the installation of a seat belt in her car, would we be paying her to have a wreck?
We want to prevent breast cancer, so we pay for mammograms. If a woman is found to have breast cancer, we do not say we are paying her to have breast cancer.
Then there is the usual Limbaugh escalation to moral outrage: If you make me pay for your coverage, then you are making me complicit in your crime of having a need for contraception, and that makes me both a pimp and a john, a participant in illegal and immoral sex.
Well, up to this point, there is a certain logic: You are demanding other people become involved in the implications of behavior they may not approve of and so they have a right to feel possibly complicit. It's all hyperbolic and over the top and exploded into outer space, but there is a shred of a line of reasoning.
Until we get to the sex videos.
And this is not exactly new with Rush Limbaugh.
I well remember, during the Clinton years, a twenty minute rumination by Rush Limbaugh about the Clintons having sex at the White House. First he elaborated about how fat Bill Clinton had become. Then he expounded on how fat Hiliary was. Then he put them in a bed in the Lincoln bedroom. Then he cackled about the creaking and moaning of the wooden timbers of the Lincoln bed, straining under the weight of the Clintons having sex and on ad nauseam.
What was really peculiar and striking was the detail with which he described the sex and duration of his description. He simply would not let go of it.
He was getting rather breathless describing it.
It was Clinton porn, right there on the radio, courtesy of Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh had his paid guffawers in the studio, laughing like drunken hyenas at a fraternity party, of course, but he was stoking his own flame.
I am not a psychiatrist. I am not even much of a fan of pop psychology.
But I would say, this man has a problem with sex.
I mean, just look at the man.
I don't want to even imagine or explore why he might have a problem with sex, with women, especially with women who, while they might want to have sex with some male, would not under any circumstances want to consider having sex with Rush Limbaugh.
Even thinking about Rush Limbaugh having sex has got to be a pretty disturbing proposition for most people on the planet, no matter what their gender.
None of this would be particularly germane to a political website, were it not for the particular psychopath we are considering.
After all, Don Imus is just as rancid, but Imus, as right wing as he is, does not inform, does not formulate thought for the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh does. He is the central nervous system for the Tea Party Republicans, for Joe Six pack Republicans.
Rush Limbaugh is the pacemaker for the heart of the Republican Party, Fox News.
And this is what they are made of.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big Tent: Republican Party Style

The Republican Big Tent

Sometimes Hendrick Hertzberg is simply on his game.
"An excitable, overlapping assortment of Fox News friends, Limbaugh dittoheads, Tea Party animals, war whoopers, nativists, Christianist fundamentalists, a la carte Catholics (anti-abortion, yes; anti-torture, no), anti-Rooseveltians (Franklin and Theodore), global warming denialists, post-Confederate white Southrons, creationists, birthers, market idolators, Europe demonizers, and gun fetishists."

And that's not to mention, Ayn Rand idolaters, Ronald Reagan worshipers, super patriots, endless war advocates, labor union bashers, American Royalists, constitutional originalists (whatever that may be) Bible thumpers, anti contraceptive, anti pre marital sex, anti sex Puritans.
And that's just the short list.
These are not people you can talk to. These are people you have to defeat, dismember and drive a stake through their hearts because, if you do not they will re emerge like so many zombie vampires and try to kill the Republic.
A Republic, as Ben Franklin once said, "If you can keep it."
A Republic requires a loyal opposition. That, we ain't got.