Monday, August 03, 2009

Republican Hypocrites and One Brilliant Smart Ass

These Republican members of Congress voted on Friday in the House Energy & Commerce Committee against eliminating the most socialistic government plan known to man ... Medicare:
Joe Barton, Tex., ranking member
Ralph Hall, Tex.
Fred Upton, Mich.
Cliff Stearns, Fl.
Nathan Deal, Ga.
Ed Whitfield, Ky.
John Shimkus, Ill.
John Shadegg, Ariz.
Roy Blunt, Mo.
Steve Buyer, Ind.
George Radanovich, Calif.
Joseph Pitts, Pa.
Mary Bono Mack, Calif.
Greg Walden, Ore.
Lee Terry, Neb.
Mike Rogers, Mich.
Sue Myrick, N.C.
John Sullivan, Okla.
Tim Murphy, Pa.
Michael Burgess, Tex.
Marsha Blackburn, Tenn.
Phil Gingrey, Ga.
Steve Scalise, La.

The Republican hypocrisy on this issue is (duh) so blindingly obvious. They scream against "government-run health-care," but when given the opportunity (by Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.) to once and for all vote to end socialized medicine in America, they all voted to keep it. (Medicare is not only "government-run" ... it's SINGLE-freakin'-PAYER!)

You can see Mr. Weiner introducing his amendment and daring the Republicans to vote for it -- "I double-dare you!" -- on YouTube. He admitted up front that his amendment was not anything he personally was in favor of, but it should be something every conservative Republican should jump on.

An eye-witness wrote up what followed in the committee (via Scrutiny Hooligans):
...Wiener observed that a lot of Republicans had been warning direly about the dangers of socialized medicine and government interference in the health-care market, and so offered "the amendment they've been waiting for" to give them the opportunity to vote to end the scourge of single-payer health care in America. As a counterpart to the now-famous Republican flow chart of Obamacare, Wiener had a nice simple chart demonstrating how Medicare works (with just 3 boxes: patients, providers, government). There was also a poignant moment when everyone paused to honor John Dingell, who actually voted for Medicare 44 years ago (and is now on crutches and looking rather feeble).

The Ranking Republican, Joe Barton of Texas, made some nonsensical and indecipherable distinction about "government-mandated" health care versus "government-run" health care, and said that Republicans support the Medicare because it is in the former category (if that's true, they sure ought to be supporting the current House health care bill). Wiener asked if the Republicans would support a public plan if it looked like Medicare, and Barton dodged the question. Later Barton hit on the semi-coherent response that Medicare only pays 80% of the cost of treatment, so the private insurance market has to pick up the slack to ensure that doctors and hospitals stay solvent. My understanding is that that's completely false, but at least it sounds coherent.

The debate on Wiener's amendment got pretty heated, with Rep. Steve Buyer calling Wiener an "intellectual smart-ass" and Wiener calling all the Republicans hypocrites (with good reason, though). Initially, Chairman Waxman was not amused by the amendment, since he was trying to keep the markup moving quickly in order to finish on Friday. By the end of the debate, though, Waxman was clearly enjoying it. In the end, despite Wiener's "double-dare," all the Republicans voted no (how often do you see a unanimous "no" vote?), thus proving on the 44th anniversary of the signing of the Medicare Act that nobody's going to mess with Medicare anytime soon.

The company line among Republican rank-and-file (who don't know any better but who grasp at any straw to oppose President Obama) is that Medicare was present in Eden, granted by God in his first creation, and has nothing to do with government and certainly isn't "socialism." Which is how they can stand in their tea-bag protests holding signs saying "FIGHT SOCIALISM," while either they themselves or their parents are direct beneficiaries of Medicare ... and would skin several cats to keep it.

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