The tea party is becoming violently unhinged after the historic passage of health care reform.
Here’s the latest:
Someone smashed a window at the headquarters for Alaska’s Democratic Party in Anchorage this past weekend.
According to Alaska Dispatch, the police officer who inspected the damage called it a “smash and run.” The first pane of a double-paned window that was situated on the front and center of the building was smashed, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The damage extended from the top to the bottom of the window and the metal frame was also damaged.
Statewide party officer Dave Metheny told the Daily News that there were no leads but that the office had fielded calls from angry people before and after Congress’ vote on health care reform.
But don’t forget this:
Just hours after an historic vote in the House of Representatives to pass Health Care Reform, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords got her first feedback. Early Monday morning, someone vandalized her Tucson office by kicking or shooting out a front glass door.
Authorities are investigating the severing of a gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother following the posting of his address online by Tea Party activists.
The activists are upset with the Virginia congressman’s vote in favor of the health care reform.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement late Saturday saying that he was spit upon while walking to the Capitol to cast a vote, leading the Capitol Police to usher him into the building out of concern for his safety.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) received racist faxes Monday in the wake of Sunday’s House vote approving health care reform legislation.
Clyburn, a veteran of the civil rights movement, told Keith Olbermann Monday that faxes sent to his office had racist images including a noose.
On Saturday, Tea Party protesters in a crowd backed by Republican lawmakers called Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) a “nigger”
Protesters in the same crowd called Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) a “faggot.”
An anti-reform protester called Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Tex.) a “wetback“ last week at a townhall meeting in his home district
And, from last year, don’t forget any of these either:
The Daily Caller has a jaw-dropping exclusive about how the RNC is spending its money:
According to two knowledgeable sources, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele once raised the possibility of using party money to buy a private jet for his travel.
Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a “plan” to buy a plane. “I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed.”
While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.
Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
RNC trips to other cities produced bills from a long list of chic and costly hotels such as the Venetian and the M Resort in Las Vegas, and the W (for a total of $19,443) in Washington. A midwinter trip to Hawaii cost the RNC $43,828, not including airfare.
[All emphasis mine]
Private planes, fancy hotels, expensive Hawaii junkets, lesbian bondage cubs…does that sound like the kind of folks you want running the country?
Health care reform may not be perfect, but I’d take the folks who gave us that over the folks who spend other people’s money to go to kinky sex clubs any day.
As I’m sure as you all know by now–despite all of the right-wing sound and fury, despite all of the astroturfed protests and fauxtrage and multi-million dollar campaigns–health care reform has become the law of the land.
Reform isn’t ideal–I would have preferred a bill with a strong public option, if not single payer. But this was a major undertaking with a lot of competing factions that had to be placated. In the end, it was still a very good bill that was very much worth passing, and it gives us a good basis for future reforms (and I”m hoping the absence of the right’s promised health care apocalypse will serve to undermine whatever hyperbolic claims they make about the next stage of reform).
While health care reform isn’t exactly popular, some more recent polling seems to show opposition decreasing and support increasing. In that vein, I think that support for health care reform hit its nadir and is likely to increase over time.
Why? Because its easy to get people angry about a bill still under construction, a bill that nobody knows what it will end up looking like in the end, especially when that bill is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But now that reform has passed and will start going into effect, it will hard for people to believe the right’s misinformation because they’ll be experiencing the benefits of reform firsthand.
Republicans worked so hard to prevent this bill from becoming law because they knew that, once enacted, it would turn out to be politically popular. Let’s face it, covering 35 million additional Americans, reducing the deficit, eliminating practices like discrimination based on preexisting conditions all while helping middle-class individuals and families to buy better, cheaper insurance are all very good policies. The right sought to drown those good policies in a sea of misinformation, and they almost succeeded. But now that reform has become law, it’ll become increasingly difficult for the GOP to sustain such strong opposition.
That’s why I think the oft-rumored GOP campaign to repeal health care reform is a dud–who’s going to say they want to take health care away from 35 million Americans? Who’s going to say they want to repeal a bill that reduces the deficit? Who’s going to campaign on letting insurers deny coverage because of preexisting conditions and yank people’s coverage as soon as they get seriously ill?
The CBO has scored the reconciliation version of health care reform. Here are the details:
1. CUTS THE DEFICIT Cuts the deficit by $130 billion in the first ten years (2010 – 2019). Cuts the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the second ten years.
2. REINS IN WASTEFUL MEDICARE COSTS AND EXTENDS THE SOLVENCY OF MEDICARE; CLOSES THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG DONUT HOLE Reduces annual growth in Medicare expenditures by 1.4 percentage points per year—while improving benefits and lowering costs for seniors. Extends Medicare’s solvency by at least 9 years.
3. EXPANDS AND IMPROVES HEALTH COVERAGE FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES Expands health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans Helps guarantee that 95 percent of Americans will be covered.
4. IS FULLY PAID FOR Is fully paid for – costs $940 billion over a decade. (Americans spend nearly $2.5 trillion each year on health care now and nearly two-thirds of the bill’s cost is paid for by reducing health care costs).
As Ezra Klein points out, the reconciliation version of health care reform will reduces the deficit more than either the House or Senate version, and it covers more people than the Senate version.
We’ve waited for this long enough. We’ve debated this long enough. It’s time to finish healthcare reform once and for all.
Both the House and Senate have already passed health care reform–it’s just a matter of reconciling the two bills and sending them to the President’s desk.
After nearly 100 years of debate, we’re on the verge of passing real health care reform once and for all. It’s time to end this.
Adding to what I wrote earlier today, can we please stop treating reconciliation like some kind of unprecedented democracy-ending apocalypse?
The Republicans used reconciliation 7 times between 1995 and 2007–the latest time they used it was to pass a health care reform bill. At no point was the GOP’s use of reconciliation ever portrayed in any way as scandalous or controversial.
Nor should it have been, since reconciliation is part of the Senate rules–it’s a perfectly legitimate procedure that has been around for decades. If the GOP opposed reconciliation then they should have tried to change the standing rules of the Senate when the 111th Congress began.
There’s something inherently dishonest and shameful about complaining when someone else uses a rule that you had taken advantage of and that you let stand without objection.
The GOP’s sudden opposition to reconciliation is dishonest and hypocritical, and nobody should talk about the reconciliation process without bringing that fact up.
First, Republicans will pick up seats in November. But can we all stop treating it as proof of some kind of Republican comeback or national opposition to health care reform? It’s standard for the party in power to lose seats in the first election after taking the White House.
It happened in 1994, 1990, 1982, 1978, 1970, 1966, 1962, 1954 and 1946 (2002 and 1974 were exceptions for what should be obvious reasons)–in other words, it’s a phenomenon that goes all the way back to the days of Harry Truman.
So the GOP will win seats this fall, but it’s not exactly the sign of a Republican resurgence–it’s just a normal cyclical phenomenon that has been part of American politics for nearly 70 years.
Second, conservatives keep pointing to the polls showing how unpopular health care reform is as reason why Democrats shouldn’t pass it.
But the entire conservative movement has been waging a year-long misinformation campaign on health care reform–they’ve spent a year lying to and scaring the American people.
So the question isn’t really whether or not the American people support health care reform, but if they even know what reform would do.
The $15 billion jobs creation bill will now be sent to the President’s desk.
Thanks, Scott Brown!