by: Miguel Cima
Before he died, the late political pundit Tony Blankley said something on the radio I’ll never forget. Representing the “right” on NPR’s weekly talk show Left, Right and Center in 2010, he was sparring like he usually did against co-host Arianna Huffington. The subject was the red-hot political issue of Obamacare, which had yet to become law. Tempers flared as his colleague implored him to explain what it is that folks who can’t afford healthcare were supposed to do when they got sick. Rolling his signature Anglo-Yankee cadence to a boil, Blankley spat out his answer with seething disdain: “They’ll do what they used to do – they’ll die!”
This was a hell of thing to hear from this guy’s mouth. For those who don’t know, Mr. Blankley wasn’t some bomb-throwing blowhard in the mold of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. No, this man was Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter, and later Newt Gingrich’s longtime Press Secretary. He was an adept wordsmith who helped shape the image of two of Modern Conservativism’s most impactful figures. Listening to his soothing and erudite discourse, there was no denying the man’s impeccable speaking skills and surgical precision in pontification.
Yet now, he had carelessly let the cat out of the bag. Losing his cool over an impending social program that promised health insurance to tens of millions of people, the dude freaked out and let his emotions expose the truth. Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act had nothing to do with socialism, federalism or any other high-and-mighty principle. Beneath it all, these people were pissed off that taxpayers were going to care for the weak. It wasn’t just a callous remark – this was the bedrock beneath their ideology. There was no “alternative plan” to address the problem, “market solutions” never existed. Such assurances were total smokescreens. Does that sound harsh? Let’s fast forward seven years.
On Thursday, (mostly) men were laughing in the Capitol Building. Giggling faces, proudly displaying giddy teeth, were broadcast worldwide like they were filming a silly toothpaste commercial. Passing by throngs of shaming protestors, this pack of hyenas kept yucking it up as they were herded into buses. Mobile guffaws bled from the convoy on the way to the White House, where the hilarity fest kicked into high gear once the snickering sociopaths met up with President Trump at the Rose Garden. This dignified national stage where dignitaries are welcomed and historic events take place was now a front lawn for a frat house. They had triumphantly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and it was time to celebrate. For them, 24 million Americans losing their health insurance was cause for divine mirth.
- But is that why these Joker knock-offs were strenuously smiling like the signature Batman villain? Well, if it wasn’t sentencing 7.5% of your fellow citizens to treatable illness, needless suffering and preventable death, maybe the gag was in some of the other side effects their amoral bill had tucked in there:
- * 11 million people facing slashes in Medicaid funding
- * Insurance companies can charge a lot more for preexisting conditions and the elderly
- * Denied care savings financing $1 trillion tax cut for top 1% earners
- * Huge tax breaks for Big Pharma, medical device makers, and even tanning salons
- * Planned Parenthood funding cut drastically
- What, you’re not laughing yet? This is the funny stuff. This is what these clowns are rolling in the aisles over. For seven long years, the GOP had been lying to the American public about Obamacare. Death Panels weren’t real, job losses never happened, costs weren’t skyrocketing and the USA wasn’t about to become the USSR. But most of all, they lied about having an alternative plan. What they really had all along was a remedy for rich people who feel they should have a lot more wealth. As for the rest of us, too bad, just take Tony Blankley’s advice already and head for the cemetery.
- But it wasn’t all fun and games for these lighthearted legislators. Plenty of them took the time to compound their jocularity with some scolding. Alabama Republican Mo Brooks slapped us peasants down with the sage advice that “people who live good lives” keeping “their bodies healthy” won’t suffer under the AHCA. That’s right – if you get sick, that’s on you. And now Big Government won’t be there to clean up after you anymore. Former congressman and deadbeat dad Joe Walsh kindly reminded us all that sick and dying babies aren’t America’s problem. In his response to Jimmy Kimmel’s touching personal revelation about his infant son’s condition, he shamelessly affirmed his destructive selfishness in a tweet. And good ol’ Idaho Republican Paul Labrador imparted his wisdom with the gem, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare.” Got that, you spoiled rotten citizens? Having no healthcare never leads to death! Get it through your thick skull. So, yeah, they can’t always be laughing. Cruelty is a needed balance lest these merry bunch lose their way and approach decency.
- While conservative barbarism is at the heart of our 2017 healthcare woes, let’s not forget the chipper chimeras on the democratic side after the AHCA passed. Abandoning all dignity, the Blue caucus’ response was to sing Steam’s classic departure anthem Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye as a sort of spontaneous choir. What were they getting all musical about? The assumption that the GOP would lose seats over this vote. Instead of screaming bloody murder about the unbridled misery they just unleashed, they’re all excited about taking power back. Note to DEMS – try a relentless chorus of “SHAME!” next time. It’s sad that even Game of Thrones has stronger examples of leadership than these so-called liberals offered on such a terrible day.
- Making these bad optics even uglier, both Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein – two of the party’s strongest leaders – dismissed Single Payer as a solution to the crisis in separate comments the very same week. As most of the First World has known for decades, the SP approach is really the only cure for our sick system. Don’t be surprised. Both of those ladies get serious campaign cash from the same vile lobbies that he GOP does. So, we have no real opposition. And while they might not be laughing yet, they’re already singing because they’ll be keeping their cush jobs.
- Where does that leave us? Me, I’m not laughing or dancing, I’m crying. Tony Blankley has won, even five years after his own death. Behold the Congressional Abomination. The best of them can’t help but frame our communities’ coming desperation in terms of hopes for their own re-election. The worst of them openly paint the town blood-red, ecstatic over their harming of the sick and weak. Classical literature and traditional religion teaches us that this sort of behavior is a characteristic of evil. It’s the dragon sitting on its gold with a grin, ready to burn any starving citizen who touches so much as a nickel. Let us recognize these people for the monsters they truly are.