Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 10 Conservative Idiots

The "Top 10 Conservative Idiots" has been a long, long-running weekly piece on Democratic Underground.

While there is little doubt that the Republican Party is chock-full-o-nuts, in light of recent events too numerous to count, the Republicans do not have a total lock on idiocy. The Democratic Party has its share of boneheads. And both parties are floating comfortably on a veritable ocean of special interest money. But when it comes to hypocrisy, greed and stupidity, no one holds a candle to the Republicans.

Here's some snips. There are many pictures to go along with the words at this link:

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 369
July 27, 2009
Bad Medicine Edition
This week: The GOP (1,2), along with RNC chairman Michael Steele (3), remind us why they're the "Party of No." Don't forget the key!

#1 - The GOP

Health insurance reform is a complex issue to understand, so let's just put it this way. When it comes to the lives of the American people, the Republican Party ranks things in this order of importance:

1) High corporate profits
2) Low taxes on millionaires
3) The lives of the American people

Actually I should make a correction to that list.

1) High corporate profits
2) Low taxes on millionaires
3) Hot extramarital sex
4) The lives of the American people

That's better. Now, back to health care...

FACT: "Since the recession began, an estimated 4 million additional Americans have lost their health insurance and 2 million have become uninsured. The recent turmoil in the job market is likely increasing the number of uninsured at the rate of 14,000 a day." -- Center For American Progress

FACT: "The challenges facing America's biggest health insurer range from the uncertain to the unknowable. ... For now, though, Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group has reason to celebrate ... For the quarter ended June 30, UnitedHealth said net earnings were $859 million - a 154.9 percent increase from $337 million a year earlier ... Joshua Raskin, an analyst with Barclays Capital, called it a 'very strong result' in a note to investors." -- Minneapolis Star-Tribune

THE DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE: "There are reports of insurers raising rates by 28 percent in California; seeking a 23 percent increase in Connecticut; proposing as much as a 56 percent increase in Michigan. If we don't act, these premium hikes will just be a preview of coming attractions. And that's a future you can't afford. That is a future that America can't afford. ... So, Ohio, that's why we seek reform." -- President Obama

THE REPUBLICAN RESPONSE: "I can almost guarantee you this thing won't pass before August, and if we can hold it back until we go home for a month's break in August ... If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." -- Sen. Jim DeMint

THE SECOND REPUBLICAN RESPONSE IN CASE YOU COULDN'T QUITE BELIEVE THE FIRST RESPONSE: "We can stall it. And that's going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election." -- Sen. James Inhofe

Sure, maintaining the status quo means that Americans will die. But who cares about that? The GOP smells blood in the water! And never mind whose blood it is!

#2 - The GOP

You've got to hand it to those Republicans though - when it comes to the perils of health insurance reform, they've got the facts on their side. According to the Washington Post:

The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers,
and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a
consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public
insurance option.

To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is "the
nonpartisan Lewin Group." To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an "independent research firm." To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the
second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is "well known as
one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."

So there you have it. It's a well known fact that the Lewin Group is a bastion of nonpartisanship, and has nothing at all to do with any health insurance companies - certainly not UnitedHealth Group, the company I mentioned in the previous item that just declared a 150% increase in profits.

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly
owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers.

Oh, I see.

#3 - Michael Steele

The man who in my opinion may be the greatest RNC chairman of all time was back in the news last week after holding forth at the National Press Club in Washington. Michael Steele was there to talk about the Democrats' health care plans, which - surprise! - he hates. According to Think Progress, "Steele derided President Obama's health efforts, calling it a 'risky experimentation,' a 'Grand Experiment,' and the product of a 'cabal.'"

So far so good. Then things started to go wrong...

After reading his speech, Steele then took a few questions. It quickly became
apparent that, once Steele ventured off his prepared talking points, he was
uncomfortable responding to queries about his health care views. The RNC
Chairman offered a host of bizarre, conflicting, and nonsensical responses.

Such as:

Asked whether he supports an individual mandate - an issue that became a point
of controversy in the 2008 election between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -
Steele was completely ignorant. "An individual requirement? What do you mean?"
Steele could only respond that there are "differing opinions" on this.


When stumped with numerous health care policy questions, Steele said, "I don't
do policy," acknowledging that he's paying attention to his internal RNC polling
to craft his political message. Moments later, Steele said he's "not concerned"
about the politics of health care. "I'm not looking at this through the
rose-colored glasses of, oh what are our political fortunes."

Given his terrible performance at the National Press Club, you'd think Michael Steele might have the good sense to replace himself as health care spokesperson with someone who knows what they're talking about. And you would be wrong! The next day Steele appeared on CNN, where, according to the Huffington Post:

The RNC Chairman stumbled during an appearance on CNN on Tuesday when he was asked to name what type of insurance he has and who exactly is his health care

"What company is it?" host Kyra Phillips asked.

"Blue Cross Blue Shield I believe," Steele replied. "Or maybe not. I think it is Blue Cross Blue Shield."

The slip-up was immediately seized upon by the Democratic National Committee, which charged that Steele's hesitation was further evidence that he and the RNC are out of touch and only interested in political warfare when it comes to health care.

"It must be nice to have the luxury of not even knowing the name of your own health care provider, but Michael Steele's comments today, and the Republican strategy of working to kill reform for their own political purposes, is simply insulting to the millions of American families and businesses struggling with soaring health care costs," read a statement from DNC Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.

Greatest RNC chairman of all time.

Go see #4 thru #10 here. It's mind-boggling. They're so horrid, it's a weekly feature at DU.

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