The absurd Republican rhetoric on Obamacare being upheld

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Thom Hartmann A...
Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture

The Supreme Court’s health care ruling on Thursday protected hundreds of millions of Americans from being denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions, kept millions of young people insured under their parents healthcare plans, and will eventually lead to coverage of more than 30 million Americans who previously did not have access to health insurance.

But if you asked Republicans about the ruling, they’d say it’s a sign of the apocalypse.  The reactions from Republicans to Obamacare being upheld are telling.  Republican Congressman Mike Pence compared the ruling to 9/11.  The former Spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, Mike Davis, argued that an armed revolution might now be justified.  And Conservative radio hosts Michael Savage and Bryan Fischer attacked Chief Justice John Roberts, suggesting this his decision may have been influenced by epilepsy medication – a story that was also picked up on the Drudge Report.

The point is, Obamacare will save the lives of millions of Americans – and if Republicans think that’s as bad for the nation as 9/11 or a sign that an armed revolution is necessary, then there’s something very rotten in today’s Conservative movement.  It’s clear today’s Conservatives have been taken over by a strain of Ayn Rand psychopathy.


.ren's picture
Quote: But if you asked


But if you asked Republicans about the ruling, they’d say it’s a sign of the apocalypse.

I can actually vouch for that by direct observation.

I'm watching people in my mostly logger-worker, Limbaugh-Fox-programmed community literally shake with anger as they talk with each other about this ruling.  Most of them, when I try to talk with them calmly and rationally about legal technicalities, demonstrate that they can't even begin to comprehend the first few sentences of a legal brief or a SCOTUS ruling.  Most actually believe this mostly insurance company-written bill is an enactment of socialized medicine (hence the images of impending Apocalypse), the kind they imagine would have been in place in the Soviet Union, not the kind of corporate welfare that flickers with images of a fascistic marriage of corporations and state.  None I've talked to have even heard of the Federalist Society and how it relates to the majority of justices on the Supreme Court.

Their anger is incomprehensible to me.  The abysmal ignorance I keep finding in what seems now to be utterly unquestioning followers of the Republican Party and what their propagandists spew out in the name of free speech through corporate media leaves me feeling utterly helpless and in great concern for the political future of this nation. 

There's no joy in observing this level of ignorance as it collectively fans its own embers into rage.

nimblecivet's picture
Both the far left and the far

Both the far left and the far right seem to rely on this sort of apocolyptic rhetoric. It makes the average person look at politics as the domain of the mentally ill and irredeemably devious. At the same time, a lot on the left rely on the "Brave New World/1984" frame. Thing is, capitalism has proven itself to be far more sophisticated than having the world divided into 3 blocs which alternate between being friends and allies. It is truly mind-boggling to observe how people of different persuasions shift their rhetoric to the reality created by the deep state. Unfortunately, I don't think "absurd" goes far enought to explain it. At least the loggers are consistently against any form or variety of "big government." You know what they say about a broken clock.

WorkerBee's picture
Unfortunately every issue

Unfortunately every issue nowadays is placed in apocalyptic terms, Thom is also guilty of this.

Capital.0's picture
Well  speaking of absurd

Well  speaking of absurd democratic rhetoric... 

.ren's picture
Quote: At least the loggers


At least the loggers are consistently against any form or variety of "big government." You know what they say about a broken clock.

Good one.  That gives me about two seconds a day to develop anything I might have to say they can agree with.

douglaslee's picture
The GOP whining about them

The GOP whining about them not being consulted on this bill is rubbish. Boehner railed 'HELL NO' on the house floor. Some facts


This Is What "Bipartisanship" Looks LikeWhat do the GOP amendments to this Senate health care bill actually say?

Sen. Ted Kennedy

When the Senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee passed its health care bill Wednesday, the Obama administration hailed it as a "bipartisan" effort. No matter that it passed the panel on a strictly party-line vote, with all 13 Democrats voting for and all 10 Republicans voting against. It was bipartisan, administration officials explained, because it contained 160 Republican amendments. Republican senators said that characterization was absurd. After all, they said, most of the 160 amendments were technical, rather than substantive, changes. Lisa Murkowsi of Alaska told the New York Times that, while it was "pretty impressive" that 20 of her amendments were accepted, "they were all technical."

Who's right? There's no real way to resolve this debate without examining the content of these amendments, and the committee has yet to officially release them. But a Senate Republican source sent Slate a summary of many of the amendments, with a short description of each. (Download the Excel file here.) Disclaimer: This is an incomplete list. Of the 788 amendments filed, only 437 appear here. And of the 161 GOP amendments passed or accepted, we have confirmed only 80 as such. We hope to update the document as more information becomes available.


That said, some context: Of the 788 amendments filed, 67 came from Democrats and 721 from Republicans. (That disparity drew jeers that Republicans were trying to slow things down. Another explanation may be that they offered so many so they could later claim—as they are now, in fact, claiming—that most of their suggestions went unheeded.) Only 197 amendments were passed in the end—36 from Democrats and 161 from Republicans. And of those 161 GOP amendments, Senate Republicans classify 29 as substantive and 132 as technical.

Yet many of the GOP amendments on this incomplete list do seem pretty substantive. For example, one amendment offered by Oklahoma's Tom Coburn requires members of Congress and their staff to enroll in the government-run health insurance program. Another, sponsored by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, would "establish an auto advisory council to make recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury regarding how best to represent the taxpayers of the United States as the majority owner of General Motors." An amendment written by North Carolina's Richard Burr requires that "a private plan would be exempt from any federal or state requirement related to quality improvement and reporting if the community health insurance option is not subject to the specific requirement."

The list goes on. An amendment from Mike Enzi of Wyoming promises "to protect pro-patient plans and prevent rationing." Another of his would "prohibit the government run plan from limiting access to end of life care." An amendment from New Hampshire's Judd Gregg "requires all savings associated with follow-on biologics to go towards deficit reduction."

There are some technical-seeming amendments, too. For example, an amendment from Burr (which was accepted) says, "On line 23 after 'groups' insert 'and reduces the cost of health care.' " Another amendment, proposed by Coburn, "[d]efines [the] average work week as 40 hours."

Again: We're working with limited information here. The summaries are vague. There's no accounting yet for the other 80 or so Republican amendments that were included in the legislation. But in this sampling, at least, it appears that a good portion of the GOP amendments offered were substantive (which, of course, is hardly a criticism). Whether that makes the bill "bipartisan" is a separate question.

Got more details? Let us know.

How can you submit 721 amendments and claim you weren't consulted? 162 were accepted, 135 were republican. The amendments' sponsors ought to be identified, and confronted in their election campaign with the facts.

Reckless endangerment is

Reckless endangerment is something I think we can document in GOPimp leadership of America.  It is the Democratic emperors who have been the good managers, diplomats and financial conservatives.

I would suggest that the Left may have been lulled by the easy treatment of 1984 and Brave New World as metaphoric warnings rather than as "prophecy" in the modern, popular sense of future telling.

Polemical contention always leads to hot rhetoric and appeal to emotions.  Fear of what "they" will do in power is an essential motivation to this kind of partisan engagement.  But, when that fear is based in good research and sound policy awareness connected to knowing how damaging the myths being propounded have been and will be if continued, it is not paranoia.  

On the other side, we have a national mythology being threatened by critics and being defended by desperate believers.  There are a whole lot of folks who want to be part of the Exceptional People and find it more exciting and meaningful than being a lower-middle class drone in the American Economy.  Unless that status is part of being Exceptional, it becomes boring drudgery.  If you take away that faith in the flag, what takes its place?

People in power with lots coming in from this system have built in emotional reasons for supporting it.  Even those who practice some of the seamiest means of exploitation find ways to rationalize it as 'moral.'  Others are aware that they are stealing Gramma's lunch, but think it is ok to do so.   Those trying to work hard and play by the rules seem to find it hard to believe that success and wealth does not flow to those who earn or merit it.  They want that world of fairness too much to admit that the game is rigged.  And, it would mean taking on power.

I think this is the only metric that matters.  When we are ready to take on power rather than beat up on its victims or franchise managers, we will find enough friends inside the corrupted system to make power yield to reality.  Rediscovering an interest in democracy and its possibilities could be an inspiring process.  It would be a rediscovery of the locus of power in the people rather than the angels and demons from above.

nimblecivet's picture
What basis is there for

What basis is there for hoping that progressive change will emerge from this decision? We had an opportunity to make a simple decision: to take control of our healthcare system. We failed to do that, period. Obamacare is now in the hands of the insurance industry and they will use it, manipulate it, and abuse it for their own ends economic and political. The sum of energies expended toward the goal of single-payer or a public option has been expended, and the left/progressive movement has now been divided and conquered.

I fail to see why Obamacare will not be repealed. In 2016, when the bill makes it possible for states to go their own way, the insurance industry will count their "tax" money and then channel the resentment over their extortion towards the government. Invoking Roe vs. Wade is apples and oranges, in that this decision works for the health insurance industry because the push for privatization now comes with the right of corporations to determine "tax" rates for the services people need from government. Furthermore, while the insurance companies are collecting premiums, the government pays for the health care for the poor out of actual tax dollars. The constant state of "crisis" in which the financial markets are kept, coupled with the threat of the corporatocratic, trans-party majority to shut down the government, means that in the end the "entitlement" created by Obamacare will be targetted by the politicians who convince the people that to go along and get along means further austerity.

The reality is that the industry lobbyists won and the progressive left is in damage-control mode. Among those that once talked a good talk are they who now hold on to their earnest hope that somehow this will prove to be some sort of victory for progressivism. Isn't there enough definite knowledge of the situation to know that this is a false hope? How can progressives hope for a progressive future if the word "progressive" means nothing in respect to a meaningful agenda, but can be invoked in any situation to interpret it according only to some vague notion that somehow there's always a "silver lining"? Unless progressives are able to counter the threat of shutting down the economy and the government with the counter threat of more government, they will stymie democratic movement politics at every turn.

nimblecivet's picture
not a reply, sorry good post

not a reply, sorry

good post though drc2

.ren's picture
I don't have much to add to

I don't have much to add to nimble's and drc's excellent posts, but I would like to balance out my own earlier post where I focused on what Thom had said about Republicans. I'm concurring somewhat with their points, and I just want to add that those who do consider themselves serious progressives, humanists, leftists or whatever might be an acceptable label for those of us who seem to find ourselves in perpetual rebellion of an obviously increasingly inhumane system need to do some very deep dredging about what is trumpeted as "wins" for progressives in the U.S.

Republicans aren't the only ones creating an emotion-based fantasy land.

will in chicago
will in chicago's picture
I would argue that the

I would argue that the Affordable Care Act is but a first step towards ensuring that all Americans have health care.  I expect that we will see a great deal of experimentation among the states.

As a regular listener to the show, I know that many countries have different forms of universal health care.  So, I took the time to look at health care systems in a few different countries.  Here is a link to something that I wrote at the Four Freedoms Blog:

<a href="">Universal Health Care – International Edition</a>.

(Repeated attempts to post the links correctly, despite my formatting everything correcly failed.  Perhaps it is time for the board to get a more advanced posting system?  I love the show, but I even bothered to copy the sample link and replace everything in it for my links.  )

There are several links, some charts, and some of my thoughts.  The key thing that we need to remember is that we will likely see several different models of health care among the states and learn which best deliver affordable quality health care.  We can, however, try to learn from what other nations have done and use their experiences to help us.  It is not enough for us to learn from our own mistakes.  We should be wise enough to learn from the mistakes and positive experiences of others.

In the end, I think it is up to us to build a world where all can live with dignity and freedom.  To qyote Adlai E. Stevenson, "A hungry man is not a free man."  Currently, India, South Africa, Indonesia and China have moved or are moving towards universal health care.  These countries comprise about 40 percent of the world population. I would recommend the article.

<a href="">World Momentum Builds for Universal Health Care Coverage</a>.

will in chicago
will in chicago's picture
Let me try this link

Let me try this link again:

mauiman58's picture
Here's an article fom the

Here's an article fom the Chicago Tribune where the writer states that the verdict may not be as favorable to the left as meets the eye.  Now that this expansion of health care can only be done as a tax and states are not required to go along with the expansion of Medicare in 2016, there are some very interesting questions about how this will all play out.

Here is the link:,0,6645496.column