Today: Rachel looks at voter literacy tests and Tea Party challengers to Ron Paul.
A Look Under the Hood
Rachel started us off with a more in-depth look at why Tom Tancredo’s call for a return to voter literacy tests was so vile. Sure, his remarks are shiver-inducing the first time you hear them, but Rachel took the time to really drive the creepy home.
As Rachel noted, the round of applause for voting restrictions was even more disturbing. A gut-level wave of approval for the sentiment “people who aren’t like me shouldn’t get to vote” was not what I wanted to see on television in 2010.
But then I didn’t want to see waves of people getting on television for super-fertility in 2009, so I guess that’s one area in which I’m definitely not getting a vote. Maybe the Tea Party Nation will be happy with that?
And of course one of the most charming aspects of the whole thing has been the immediate, deep umbrage some Tea Partiers have taken at the suggestion that Tancredo’s racist statement was racist. All he said was that immigrants and, you know, “people who voted for Obama” shouldn’t be allowed to vote. And those mean libruls had to make it about race.
I used to be massively annoyed by those people who say any horrible thing they want and then append “I’m just being honest,” as though the perfect expression of their unexamined feelings is society’s highest ideal. But the people who are defending Tancredo’s applause have shown me that racism plus weaseling is worse.
My God, the Tea Partiers can make one crotchety lately.
Rachel was pretty fired up herself. She claimed she doesn’t do her best work when she’s angry. You may not agree.
Fortunately Harvard University’s Charles Ogletree dropped by to add a dose of perspective.
Oh, Congressman Ron Paul (R – Texas). It’s going to be hard to get that angry, loopy genie back in the bottle.
Rachel noted that the current Tea Party movement can trace its lineage back to Ron Paul and the shouty, blimp-buying supporters of his Presidential run. Representative Paul is perhaps wishing the lineage couldn’t be traced quite so easily, as three current Tea Partiers have found his district and are challenging him in the primary.
David Weigel of The Washington Independent stopped in to explain the difference between Dr. Paul and his challengers — and the similarities between his challengers and the current Republicans.
Flaw and Order
Rachel reported that Senator Mitch McConnell (R – Kentucky) hates America.
He’s been publicly criticizing the FBI and their handling of the Panties Bomber, and those are the old Bush rules, right? If you criticize the government’s handling of a crisis – especially during a time of war — you must either submit to televised castigation and remain under suspicion forever or just give up and head to Canada in your old VW van, hippie.
Only it turns out we missed a memo somewhere in there and now explaining that you were following Bush Administration procedures just makes people like Mitch McConnell shout louder.
Which works well, since shouting makes it easier to get all the lies out at once.
Do we get to call it lying instead of “making factually incorrect statements” yet? Because either the members of the Republican Shrieking Machine are deliberately lying to make political hay out of an act of terrorism or they are so ignorant about basic procedure that they think interrogations work like they do in the movies.
And if it’s the latter, why aren’t they worried that our FBI agents will run out of snappy one-liners to say before they immediately start beating up suspects? Sure, it’s easy when it’s Christmas and the explosives are in the guy’s underpants, but what if it’s Arbor Day and the bomb is in a nonfunny location? Shouldn’t these terribly concerned public servants set up a fake fact-finding committee to go with their completely false premise?
Rachel decided to frighten everyone off their Jell-o by pointing out what will happen if health care reform doesn’t pass.
Last year health care spending was 17.3% of the GDP, up from 5.2% in 1960. By 2030, you will need to be collecting original Renaissance artworks just so you can trade them for individual tongue depressors.
By way of example, Rachel pointed out that Anthem Blue Cross in CA notified its individual policyholders that their rates would be hiked as much as 39% this year, which I guess they thought was pretty reasonable after last year’s 68% increase.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the California Insurance Commission are looking into the matter. A spokesperson for Anthem Blue Cross made it as far as “We’ll look right into that making-fewer-profits thing,” before dissolving into giggles.
“A Million Dollars is Not a Lot of Money”
Rachel gave us an update on the Republicans’ much-ballyhooed common touch.
RNC chairman Michael Steele, defending the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, said “Trust me: After taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money.” And a nation trustingly withdrew their tongue depressor savings accounts to set up a relief fund for overtaxed millionaires.
In another example, Representative Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) has decided that a stock market crash could never, ever happen again and privatizing Social Security would be neato. And if the stock market did crash, our devastated seniors would only need to look to Michael Steele’s example to see that one can somehow manage to live well on not a lot of money.
And in general last summer’s Great Defenders of Medicare are not even pretending to like our cherished social safety nets anymore. If you break your leg in front of Republicans, do not show it. They will shoot you and grind you up into protein shakes for the strong.