I was glad to see health care reform pass yesterday. About time.
I’ve seen several good commentaries on it today. Paul Krugman, however, I think said it best in this post today at the New York Times.
For once, he says, all the lies and fear mongering didn’t work. This makes me think: I wonder if my conservative friends ever get tired of having to apologize for the Tea Baggers who use those racist epithets, the wild rantings of Herr Beck, Limbaugh et al, and the outright lies spread by a few, such as Palin’s death panel blabbering, that the Republican Party seems all too willing to let take the stage with only pro forma protest.
I know a lot of people who claim to be conservatives who do not rant. They hold firm beliefs, but they are willing to listen, willing to talk and, frankly, make me have to think a lot harder about my own beliefs. Quite often, they make me change my mind. I keep telling people I am, at heart, a very conservative person, and there would be much about the conservative cause to attract me if it were not led by uncompromising wing-nuts who brutally enforce political correctness.
People who rant, who scream, who make blatantly outrageous charges, are popular and fun to listen to, but achieve nothing but fear. They drown out compromise, reason and even thought. They are the dogs of war, and the leaders of the so-called Republican Party like to let them have their fun because they do serve a purpose, of sorts. The confuse the issue, muddle the discussion, polarize the argument, and generally make productive discussion impossible.
People who like that sort of thing need to beware. Sometimes when let loose, those dogs cannot be brought back. Political factions in Germany in the 1930s thought the Nazis would control the Communists and then could be brought under control. Look what happened then.
The screamers and ranters are not gone. Rush and Glenn and the others will be in full form today, ranting and screaming and whipping up the crowd. They have to, it is how they make their money.
In a way, as one blogger whose link I can’t find right now said, they won and the Republican Party lost. They managed to polarize the nation and force the Republicans to take an uncompromising path of solid opposition, the party of no thing, rather than take part, be productive, and emerge from this with an image of someone who wants to work for the betterment of the nation.
Instead, they look small-minded and petty, wanting only to win, thinking only about the next election.
This time the fear mongering didn’t work, but I worry what they’ll go after next.
ps: found the link I referred to earlier. Copied from a WaPost story:
But one prominent conservative commentator—former Bush speechwriter David Frum—argues that last night’s vote was an enormous political reversal for Republicans. Saying that the Republicans went for “all the marbles” by unanimously opposing the bill and refusing to compromise in any way—fueling activist fury at the same time—he writes:
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.