Repeal and Replace This
by Jack Landsman, Sat Aug 28, 2010 at 11:25:53 AM EDT
Last night I ventured into Laura Ingraham’s No Spin Zone. Confined to the house by inclement weather, I chose to contribute indirectly to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s News Corp. dividends and directly to Bill O’Reilly’s Olympian ego. In the race to the bottom that is cable news, Laura Ingraham’s monotonous Reaganite pabulum trumps msnbc, which is unwatchable, as well as that other thing which barely warrants mentioning.
I witnessed a truly interesting exchange between the aforementioned Ms. Ingraham and Rep. Eric Cantor, who gets to be majority leader after the bloodbath of November. The broad issue was ObamaCare but the main focus was what Ingraham perceived to be Eric Cantor’s squishiness on Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the unpopular reform law.
LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: …You've now got to correct the record because Politico is reporting that Eric Cantor, if he's the House majority leader come -- come November, that you're going to push for a more modest approach to Obamacare, meaning defund it, not repeal it. Did Politico get it wrong?
REP. ERIC CANTOR: Laura, I'll tell you one thing: As you and I have known each other for several years and as many of my constituents are, I'm a big fan of yours. So I got several calls from constituents over the last day or so saying, "What's Laura Ingraham talking about that Eric Cantor is not for a repeal of Obamacare?" Of course I'm for a repeal of Obamacare.
As you know, Laura, I'm the Republican whip in the House, and the duty of the Republican whip was to marshal as many votes as we could against Obamacare to make sure it didn't become law. And in the end, we didn't have one Republican vote that voted for it. Unfortunately, the bill passed. So we are faced with a situation where, hopefully, this November, a conservative majority will regain position in the House. And we're going to do everything we can to repeal the bill, to delay the bill, to defund the bill, to do all of the above. I mean, these things go hand in hand, Laura.
Whenever I wade into the land of Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck, I’m always careful to have plenty of aspirin and a barf bag on deck. The latter very nearly came into use after watching Mr. Cantor kiss the ring of hot reactionary blonde Laura Ingraham like the dickless establishmentarian he is. But however nauseating the display may have been, there are important insights to be gleaned here.
Rather than reaping a fortuitous repeat of 1994, conservatives are exactly where progressives were in ’06. In many respects ObamaCare is to them what the war in Iraq was to us. The mainstream public’s rather late aversion to the intractable chaos and bloodshed of the Iraq adventure vindicated grassroots progressives. It was a swift reversal of fortune that came right on time after the nightmarish re-election of President Bush. Unsatisfied with handing Democrats a decent majority in the House and a slim one in the Senate, the American people marched ahead and put a charismatic “change agent” in the White House two years thereafter. And yet the war(s) go on.
This analogous bit of history must frighten Laura Ingraham and her crowd. Read my lips: If the GOP regains Congress this fall and the presidency in ‘12, they probably aren’t going to repeal and replace shit.
For starters we have to appreciate the galling reality of what ObamaCare is: a corporatist sellout that warrants repeal. More specifically, it is policy that has roots in Republican policy circles. The binding element of this monstrosity is the individual mandate that originated in the first Bush administration. It experienced a revival during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s efforts to reform health care as a demagogic tool of Sen. Orrin Hatch and others. This wasn’t socialism. This was Mitt Romney’s baby.
Like progressives who were once elated at the prospect of sending wonderful representatives like Jon Tester and Jim Webb to Washington (and an epic fuck-you to the Bush administration), grassroots conservatives are about to relearn the cruel lesson of America’s Scylla and Charybdis political system.
Even if we were to momentarily forget the ironic origins of ObamaCare, we would still have to consider the character of only some of people who control the destiny of this ascendant GOP. Mr. Cantor, once more, is a stuttering, contemptible creature of Washington. Their most recent standard-bearer, John McCain, has repeatedly affirmed his intent to repeal and replace. Lest anyone is tempted to believe him, remember that McCain is basically an intemperate, vindictive man motivated by personal grudges and his political interest more than anything—and by God I mean anything—else.
Then there’s the curious case of the Massachusetts golden boys: Sen. Scott Brown—who drives a truck!—and the aforementioned Mittens. Scott Brown cynically staked his entire campaign in deep blue Massachusetts on his opposition to ObamaCare despite his support for Gov. Romney’s plan as a state senator in ’06. And the fact that Romney—who makes John Kerry heroic in comparison—remains a formidable frontrunner for the Republican nomination speaks volumes about the political nihilism of that whole crowd.
For progressives who see the ugly truth of ObamaCare (i.e. private insurance companies using the Internal Revenue Service to shakedown the American people), the repeal movement is a reliable gauge of the intellectual seriousness of the right.
There’s nothing conservative (and surely nothing progressive) about the federal government mandating citizens to enter into a private contract with a corporation as a requirement for lawful residence in the United States. Will the Roberts Court lay aside its partiality to business interests and strike down this unconstitutional tyranny? Will Sarah Palin keep her promise to repeal and replace? Or will the shiny perks of the presidency and celebrity disappear whatever principles she currently espouse? Like the current fellow. I think I have an idea.
Get ready to cry those eyes out of your Cro-Magnon heads, wingnuts.