Today: Barney Frank drops in for a chat and Joe Wilson drops all sense of decorum.
Taking the Hill
Rachel led of with the big news of the day, President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress to talk about who he liked best on the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model.
Oh, all right, fine: He talked about health care reform.
Rachel looked at the history of the Presidential bully pulpit and welcomed senior White House adviser David Axelrod who was, um, less into the public option than I’d like.
Maybe it was just that he seemed super nervous, but I didn’t really buy Axelrod’s chatter.
And why is it that progressives are being unreasonable for wanting a public option? It’s already watered down from single-payer, which never even made it onto the table. Aren’t we being pretty damned reasonable for not pitching giant fits over that?
And even if I am being unreasonable, so what? I want a public option. I waaaaaaaaaaant it. A bunch of other progressives do too. Why is Senator Grassley’s (R – Iowa) brand of unreasonable weighted so much more heavily than ours?
I can spread hysterical, demonstrably false rumors too. Is that what it takes?
Fine: If we don’t pass a public option, insurance companies will become so cocky that they’ll just start rabbit-punching the elderly instead of giving them treatment.
Plus, Insurance companies will randomly replace their medication with Pez and every end-of-life counseling session will begin with government-mandated filthy limericks.
Everyone is freaking out about that in a rude and menacing way, I promise. Can we have a public option now?
Dude, Where’s My Majority?
Rachel reported that Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) will be taking over Senator Kennedy’s chairmanship of the Senate Health Committee. Oh, but wouldn’t it be more bipartisan to make Michelle Malkin a Senator and put her in there? I do so enjoy these attempts at bipartisanship.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D – California) dropped in to talk about not being too cool to be touched by Obama’s speech and to heap scorn upon the idea that the best thing to do for health care reform is to start over from scratch.
Guess who hasn’t been impressed with the Republican responses to health care reform? Hint: Her initials are R.M.
But I do think she’s perversely looking forward to the Family Research Council’s Night of 1,000 Republican Stars rebuttal on the Interwebs. And I am looking forward to her mocking it mercilessly over the next couple of shows.
One thing we can all look forward to is any time Rachel and Congressman Barney Frank get to jaw for a little while. Two people with high IQs and low tolerances for bull. I would watch a chat show with the two of them anytime, anywhere.
I’m thinking an hour of cerebral political chat and then for the second hour they put on their capes and hit the streets to fight injustice. And mix the occasional drink.
The Big Sleazy
Senator David Vitter (R – Louisiana, when not pitching a fit at Dulles Airport) sent out a health care mailer that “misrepresented” health care reform. In the sense that it repeated several long-debunked claims.
At what point do we get to call those “baldfaced lies”?
But it doesn’t matter because great swathes of the population either don’t pay attention or only believe what they want to hear and Vitter knows he can get away with it.
I guess once you get caught in a giant hooker scandal and don’t get kicked out of office, you figure you might as well go for the brass ring.
Chris Hayes of The Nation stopped by the studio for a great chat.
Remember How We Were Talking about Lies?
Rachel gave an update on Representative Joe Wilson (R – The Greatly Embarrassed State of South Carolina), the guy who shouted out “You lie” during Obama’s speech.
Wilson has already started a frantic round of apologizing. Either he had no idea how negative the public reaction would be or Rahm Emmanuel is even scarier than I thought.
Here’s what will keep me awake and cranky for the next few days: Did Wilson know he was lying when he accused Obama of doing so?
Was it a cynical attempt like Vitter’s to whip up the wingnuts who wouldn’t know any better?
If that’s the case, Wilson should be publicly censured and shamed for knowingly lying to the public and slandering the President.
Did Wilson genuinely not know he was making a false statement because he hadn’t read the bill?
Then why the hell was he shouting about it with such confidence? And who was he believing so uncritically? And is it because he’s lazy or because he’s stupid?
There is, of course, a third possibility: That Wilson is so frightened of our President that he believed what he was shouting even when he was well aware of the facts that prove it to be false.
He may be in such a panic that he is literally unable to process anything beyond his own emotions. It happens.
But if that is why Wilson shouted out in the middle of the President’s speech, he has made it all too clear that he is unfit to hold public office.
So which is it? Is he a liar, an idiot, or incapable of rational thought?
I don’t think this is over until he admits to one and accepts the consequences, and I don’t think this is over until he admits — clearly and publicly, to his own supporters — that he was factually incorrect as well as impolite.
People like Wilson will only get bolder if we let him get away with this nonsense. Comically misspelled signs were one thing at the town halls. I do not want to see them in Congress.
And I’m tired of the media climate in which a politician can claim that gravity stops working on alternate Thursdays and only have to deal with polite claims that he has “misrepresented” the laws of physics lest someone accuse a newscaster of being biased for reporting concrete facts.
Liar, idiot, or unfit for office. We have to make him choose and hold him to it.