Posted on 06-11-2009
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

In their continuing attempt to whip up inchoate rage (which looking at the demographics of the crowd, appears to be largely based on people upset at the decisive Obama win at the polls a year ago) at the administration’s policies, the Republican leadership joined congresswoman Michelle Bachmann at a so called spontaneous rally before the Capitol today (where the participants were bused in by a rich donor) to “scare” the Democratic leadership into abandoning the attempt at health care reform.  I suppose when your so called health care plan will provide access to only 3 million out the 40+ million uninsured and raise premiums for the unhealthy you have to stage media spectacles like this to pretend you are relevant.  If the spectacle of an elected official busing in a mob to intimidate her fellow elected officials was not offensive enough, you then have the signs displayed by the crowd.

Politicians can be cut some slack for the occasional nitwit holding a sign or saying something offensive at their rallies.  But it is time for the Republican Party to claim ownership of the spectacle their demagoguery helps create.  The signs were visible last year when Sarah Palin was delighting the Republican crowd by accusing Barack Obama of palling around with terrorists.  They were visible at the tea bag protests organized by Fox News earlier this year.  And they were very visible at the protests today, even if John Boehner feigned amnesia.  Possibly the most offensive of the signs on display was this (identified by the folks at ThinkProgress.org).

Comparing healthcare to Dachau

Way too many people have a tendency to casually toss in comparisons to the Nazis to cheap political points. But seriously? Offering universal health care is equivalent to the what the Nazis did at Dachau and the concentration camps?  I would be inclined to dismiss this again as an isolated nut job if the congresswoman organizing this mob did not have a history of stoking paranoia by suggesting that the census would be used to herd Obama opponents into internment camps and that other benign programs were examples of a reeducation campaign based at opponents,  if the Republican Party’s leading luminaries had not cheerfully used the so called “death panels” as a talking point against the health care bill, if Republican elected officials even today were not questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship and if these signs had not been all too evident at the many teabagger rallies this year (without any challenge from any Republican officials present).  Matt Yglesias is right. These are the wages of a conservative leadership and media that’s consistently tried to drum-up opposition to health care reform not by opposing things that are actually in the bill, but with demagogic opposition to completely fabricated provisions.

During the presidential campaign last year John McCain appeared genuinely shocked at the passions his acolytes helped whip up and even admonished an attendee at his rally who questioned Obama’s patriotism.  Today the entire Republican establishment has abandoned any such attempts and are attempting to surf the maelstrom their rhetoric has stoked up with no thought to the consequences to the social and political fabric of this country.  History shows the difficulty (if not the impossibility)  of doing so unscathed.

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