The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
Now hear this. All the crap you are hearing and reading about the “struggle” between Republicans and Democrats in Washington over funding the government and national health care is complete bollox. Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of movies from the UK in recent years. I like that word bollox.
While we’re at it, this analysis piece from David Espo, the chief congressional correspondent for the Associated Press, shows exactly what’s wrong with the press in America. Just look at the constrained language and inside the beltway view behind the analysis.
AP Analysis: Republicans in a risky fight with Obama on health care, budget, government shutdown
Let me tell you a better story about what’s really going on.
Espo writes this for a lede?
“Under relentless pressure from their right wing, Republicans are in the midst of a risky fight with President Barack Obama they know they will lose, little more than a year before an election that history says they should win.”
Really? It is pretty obvious the Republicans are not in this fight to win anything but reelection for themselves in their gerrymandered Republican districts. They clearly don’t give a hoot about the country or democracy or “the people.” They care about supporting insurance companies who gave them so much campaign money to fight “Obamacare” to the bitter end, no matter what damage it does to the country and its people.
Espo goes onto to say: “To minimize the damage, the (Republican) party must redefine victory as something less than a full defunding of Obama’s 3-year-old health care law, yet convince the most conservative GOP supporters that Republican lawmakers succumbed after a principled fight. All without triggering a government shutdown or a default by the Treasury, or otherwise offending independents whose ballots will settle the 2014 elections.”
He then goes onto to publish the obvious lies from Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who staged a speaking marathon on the Senate floor Tuesday and Wednesday, the point of which was to try to convince his followers that politicians in Washington constantly ignore the wishes of voters, a tired, hackneyed line that surely has about run its course in American discourse, at least among those with a college education who get their news from the Web, not Fox News and talk radio or even the sensational two-sided nonsense from CNN these days.
“In addition to the future of health care and a possible government shutdown, the perennial struggle for raw political power is at the root of the struggle,” Espo goes on in this pretense of balanced reporting that finally gets to the facts about the numbers.
Republicans would have to pick up six seats in the 2014 midterm elections to retake control of the Senate, in what he calls “a tall hurdle but not impossible.” While he is right that “the party out of power in the White House historically has won an average of three to four seats in midterm elections since 1934,” he should know damn well that a majority of Americans are not in the mood to go back to the lassiez faire deregulation policies of Reagan and Bush that nearly bankrupted the federal treasury and caused a global Great Recession.
While the tea party Republicans hold a 233-200 majority in the House, the only reason they are hanging on to power there is because they have redrawn the district lines to make sure they have some safe, white, conservative seats, while pushing the Democrats further and further into fewer and fewer poorer, minority districts. The great white uneducated masses either don’t realize this, in part because the press never tells them, or they don’t care, because they like it that way.
Espo says Democrats “figure that chaos is their friend in the current political climate,” which of course is bollox. While their political calculation might be that the public will blame Republicans for any interruption in government services or benefits, as people did back in the 1990s when then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took that gamble and lost, it is not chaos the Democrats are after. It is common sense.
While he never accuses the Republicans of employing false “rhetoric,” he says the Democratic leaders “employ rhetoric designed to raise questions about the mental health of some members of the Republican rank and file, if not their intelligence.”
But when many Americans hear Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada refer to them as tea party “anarchists,” they tend to agree that is an accurate portrayal. When Senator Chuck Schumer of New York says they have embarked on an “insane plan,” a majority of the public probably agrees, because it is sort of insane when you think about it. When New York Representative Steve Israel, who heads the House Democratic campaign committee, says Republicans have launched a “kamikaze mission to shut down the U.S. government and our economy,” he is onto something, don’t you think?
If it is not clear enough out there already for any intelligent member of the press and the public to see it, the corporate sponsored Republicans are trying to make the federal government and American democracy itself fail so the corporations can come back and take over the government to cripple it so they can get away with the biggest con in the history of the world: Convincing people their only hope is a low paying job working as a cog in the bureaucratic machine of multi-national corporations.
I was trying to have a reasonable conversation with a female college security guard about this on Tuesday, but she repeated the familiar line she has heard over and over again over the past 20 years on her cop car radio: “We are moving closer and closer to socialism every day around here.”
Really? Maybe she is right, only it is not government socialism, but corporate socialism, if I may be so bold as to coin a new term. Most of the jobs these days are in a Communist country anyway, in China where they make most of the goodies Americans are now forced to buy at a Wal-mart, since that is about the only store left. I guess if the corporations could drive American wages down far enough with all this talk of “socialism” then maybe they could bring a few jobs back to America. But that is not really the American way. Here, we believe in a worker’s right to organize and negotiate for higher wages and better working conditions. Don’t we? At least we used to.
Finally, Espo gets around to cherry picking a quote from the President of the United States himself, and just has to point out that it came speaking over the weekend to the “Congressional Black Caucus Foundation,” a term guaranteed to make the tea party white people who are not reading his story anyway turn a deaf ear.
“This is an interesting thing to ponder, that your top agenda is making sure 20 million people don’t have health insurance,” the president said, and then questioned why the Republicans would be willing to shut down the government to win the point?
Espo says that “behind the president’s remarks lie Democratic assumptions that the health care law isn’t as unpopular as Republicans say it is, and that millions who now lack coverage will decide they like it once they have it.”
He knows better than that. The only reason it is unpopular is because of the constant barrage of attacks on it in the media from Republicans and the fair and balanced press. It is only unpopular on the left because it is just a law that guarantees health care to all without funding it. What we need is a single-payer national health care system where everybody is covered without having to fork over half our paychecks to a capitalist insurance conglomerate. If that had been sold to the American people five years ago we could be beyond that fight now and getting on with living healthier, happier lives. But NOOOO!
Lets continue this stupid debate until the end of time and break the government and democracy in the process.
At least AP admits that, according to public opinion polls, only 33 percent of the people want Congress to defund “Obamacare” if it means a government shutdown. That’s according to the Pew Research Center. According to Gallup its only 25 percent.
Pew finds only 36 percent of independents in favor of this dangerous path, “sobering (news) for Republicans whose goal is to win a majority in November, rather than merely a series of primaries.”
“That’s enough to give hope to a challenger running against even the most entrenched Republican next fall, and to a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate as well,” the AP concludes.
At the same time, 77 percent of those who align themselves with the radical-right tea party say they want to defund Obamacare — even if a federal government shutdown results, which shows you the motivation of these outcasts in American society. They cannot find a way to succeed in a free country so they don’t want it to work for anybody else either.
Why are we listening to them again? Why do we care what they think? Why does the press give them equal time? So they can go on perpetuating this myth of economic objectivity that nearly drove us to the brink of total failure and collapse in Bush’s last year in office?
Why can’t we just tell people the truth? If you want to succeed in life, if we want to survive and succeed as a Democratic Republic, the government has a crucial role to play in the economy. Always has. Always will.
Anything else is just bollox.
© 2013 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.