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Aug 17 2013

Town-halls are not going quite like they hoped

There are Christian Reconstructionists, science deniers, and a host of other oddballs controlling the House these days, but there’s one forum they don’t control. In town-hall after town-hall, the discussion is turning to healthcare. Only this time, those demanding the gubmint keep its hands off their Medicare are in low supply. Instead, people are asking what the GOP would do to replace Obamacare or some of the life saving provisions in it. So far their only consistent response is to evade and lie and get booed:

ThinkProgress — Wednesday, voters confronted the five-term Congressman with an entirely different sentiment: they demanded to know why Republicans would take away the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions without offering any credible other alternative for reforming the health care system. One grieving mother, who spoke to reporters before the event, said that her son was denied insurance because of a pre-existing health condition and eventually died of colon cancer.

This is happening in other places, too:

TP — QUESTIONER: What happens to us when Obamacare is repealed? What happens to people with pre-existing conditions that can’t get health care? What happens to those of us who finally have access to health insurance for the first time in nine or ten years? What happens to us? And you want to make this local, I’ll make this local. I’m a constituent, right now I can’t get health care. I’m waiting for this [insurance marketplace] to open and I’d like to know why we keep repealing [Obamacare]?

That last question was directed toward a congressman who is a disciple of a full-blown Christian nnutcase named Bill Gothard, as are Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. There’s no point in trying to reasons with him, he’s probably convinced Jesus is clapping every-time he fucks over the poor and the sick for the rich and the corrupt. He and others like him are a terrible public face for Christianity, but that’s their PR problem, not ours.

As far as I know there is absolutely no coordinated plan to deliver people with these concerns to town-halls in red districts. That’s not to say I should or would know if there was. But I haven’t heard a peep about anything like it. To the best of my knowledge this is a grassroots, organic trend from legitimate, registered constituents who do not know each other and are worried, some might even be near panic, about basic survival if the GOP were to succeed and eliminate their last chance for insurance.

Maybe the explanation is simple: it’s not 2010 anymore. The full weight and damage wrought by this recession has dropped squarely into the lives of millions of people by now. Employer insurance plans are irrelevant for the unemployed, but they still get sick or developed medical issues just like anyone else. Meanwhile, Republicans have not only gotten a well-deserved rep for proudly doing nothing to help anyone but the powerful and wealthy, they have systematically alienated key voting blocs. Sooner or later most everyone knows and loves a gay person, a diabetic, a Latino, an asthmatic, a single mom, or other people who are vulnerable, traditional targets of the kind conservative bullies have long zeroed in on.

Whatever the reason, the whole republican blame and shame shtick is just not flying like it used to, and they have painted themselves into a nearly inescapable ideological corner. A full blown melt-down has been long predicted, some even say the conservative movement is finally collapsing under the weight of its own failures and corruption and ignorance, no matter how much money is thrown at it. I still don’t know if that’s quite as imminent as some might predict, or if it will ever happen. But it’s closer than I’ve ever seen before.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    magistramarla

    Slightly OT – Have you been following the big news down here in San Antonio about the councilwoman Elisa Chen and her homophobic rant? Some one secretly taped it, al la Romney’s 47% rant and it blew up in her face. It definitely worked against her, since I read that one other council member who had been sitting on the fence has now decided to vote in favor of the anti-discrimination law that is being proposed for SA.

    Sadly, when a gay disabled veteran testified in favor of the law he was booed by religious anti-gay protesters who were there. This is a man who lost a leg in Iraq and was there standing next to President Obama whne he signed the repeal of DOMA into law.

  2. 2
    badgersdaughter

    That is good news about San Antonio, but it will come across as bad news to my fundamentalist brother there.

    My husband just got his green card six weeks ago, but we are already making plans to try to move back to the UK because we think it’s easier to not do something (implement Obamacare) than to do something. We have a lot to offer but the US isn’t reciprocating. For everyone’s sake we hope our pessimism is misplaced.

  3. 3
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    If you can get back to the UK and be gainfully employed, that might not be a bad gamble. Unless you are independently wealthy or close to it, you’re taking a real chance in the US, that sooner or later nothing unlucky will happen to you here, that there will never be a lay off after you or your husband reaches late middle age, no president crazy-pants gets elected, your pension or retirement savings do not evaporate and are not stolen, etc., and there’s not much margin for error if stuff like that does happen. Because if it does, there’s a party who will sympathize but can’t do much about it, and there’s one who will enjoy your misery and be indifferent to your death as though they were a cheap reality TV show.

  4. 4
    badgersdaughter

    Well, that’s the thing; the whole reason we are here and not there now is that my former boss lied about offering me a transfer to our UK plant. We’re in middle age now. The big hurdle to moving back is that the UK demands he make more than the average pay for where his family lives in the UK to qualify to bring me over as his wife (if I was from the EU it would all be very easy, but I’m a US citizen). We are hoping for some immigration reforms over there but until that happens we will just be saving our pennies. At least we’re both working here.

  5. 5
    dean

    Magistramarla, you must be mistaken about Romney. Don’t you know he said no such thing? /snark
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/mitt-romney-47-remark-didn-article-1.1412761

  6. 6
    ischemgeek

    Completely OT: Thanks for mentioning asthmatics in a way that acknowledges that asthmatic adults exist. Most articles that mention asthmatics seem to be written by those who think that all asthmatics are under age 18 and asthma auto-magically disappears the moment you hit the age of majority.

  7. 7
    nathanaelnerode

    ” not only gotten a well-deserved rep for proudly doing nothing to help anyone but the powerful and wealthy, they have systematically alienated key voting blocs.”

    I do not understand why politicians do this. It seems like a poor reputation to get, and systematically alienating key voting blocs (for no personal benefit!) makes no sense. If I understood why politicians do this, perhaps I would be able to figure out how to fix all the problems of government. It just seems crazy to me.

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