Finally… Thank you, Barney Frank

By now, you’ve probably seen the footage of Congressman Barney Frank calling one of his constituents crazy during a town hall meeting held last night in Massachusetts. It’s been all over the web today. Here it is, for those of you who haven’t seen it, though.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment and thank Congressman Frank for saying what should have been said two weeks ago, when all of this nonsense started. We should have, right out of the gate, been confronting these people raving about “death panels” and the like, and drawing attention to the fact that they’re lunatics. Instead, being good, sensitive Democrats, we tried to engage them in open, honest debate. And, guess what? You can’t debate with people that come to Town Hall meetings armed, waving photos of Obama as Hitler, and screaming about how the Democrats want to kill disabled children. You just can’t. And I can’t believe it’s taken two weeks for a Democrat to state the obvious – that these people are crazier than a whole sack of inbred, shit-house rats.

And that’s the problem with Democrats. I like Obama, and I appreciate that he’s been able to come this far with his integrity relatively intact. But at some point the gloves have to come off and he needs to channel a little bit of that legendary White House bad-ass, LBJ. There’s no reason in the world, when we have majorities in both the Senate and the House, that we shouldn’t be able to get a meaningful healthcare bill passed. There just isn’t. This is our one shot at it, and Obama has got to push it through. And, if he has to twist a few arms to do it, then so be it. If he’s got to threaten a few fence-sitting southern Democrats, in my opinion, then that’s what he has to do. He has to tell them not only will he vigorously support their opponents come election time, but that he’ll see to it that their states are at the top of the list when we’re looking for places to warehouse high-level al Qaeda members and dump nuclear waste, and at the bottom of the list when it comes to everything from public works projects to the distribution of Bird Flu vaccine. And, he should strip them of any committee power that they might have in the meantime. It may not be conduct befitting a professor and Constitutional law scholar, but Americans are dying as company profits continue to rise, and it has to stop.

And, one more thing, as long as we’re talking about the Barney Frank video. If you have a chance, listen to what Rush Limbaugh and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had to say about it. It’s enlightening… I don’t want to give anything away, but one of them, I’m not saying which, even takes the opportunity to make a joke about Frank enjoying anal sex… Essentially Frank makes a series of good points, and this individual, instead of addressing the facts, just says, “faggot.” And that’s it. That’s all the audience needs to hear. That’s the level of discourse we’re having in this country today, and it’s absolutely shameful.

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28 Comments

  1. Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Do these people even know what the hell the Nazis were all about? Do they even have a clue about what those murdering bastards did?

    I loathe Dick Cheney with the heat of a thousand suns, but I would never compare him to Hitler. I can’t think of anyone I’d compare to Hitler other than Mengele (sp?) and the other motherfuckers.

    As some of Jewish heritage and who is a semi-practicing Jew, this makes me want to rip off her head and shit down her neck while screaming “Godwin’s law, motherfucker!!!” Hell, this would make me want to do that even if I were a go to church once a day Protestant. (<–not sure if Protestants do that sort of thing? I think Catholics do sometimes? No? Sorry, not good w/ my comparative religions, but you get the point)

  2. Posted August 20, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    During the last election cycle I watched a 10 minute long Michele Bachmann interview on Larry King where the congresswoman breathed through her eyes. I’m not kidding. She didn’t blink once, and every 10 seconds her eyes would enlarge to let more air in. I’ve been convinced ever since that she’s some kind of cyborg d-bag sent to shit all over reason with her persistent, ludicrous assertions.

    It blows my mind to hear her go on about how liberals have forgotten the constitution. Yes, members of the house and senate represent their constituents, who may or may not (in this case, not) be showing up to town-halls in numbers truly representative of their opinions. The fact of the matter remains: this country, in real and mathematical ways, elected a president (by a wide margin) who promised citizens universal health care. The crazies don’t change that– they’re not anywhere near representative of the majority and members of congress shouldn’t give them the time of day until they can act like adults and come to a meeting armed with facts, not propaganda.

    Anyone who wants to challenge their leaders should– its their right to do so. I think people forget that with that right comes a responsibility to represent the truth in the issue at hand. Challenging the government based on a list of bullshit is counter-productive in a democracy. Its like these people are just really bad at internet searches or something.

  3. redacted
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    Fuck you, Mark. This is the most despicable post you have ever made. Wasn’t there a time when the left complained about executive overreach by Bush? And now you call for Obama to decide committee assignments in congress?!?!? And you ride your high horse because you support one particular health care plan, and accuse anyone who disagrees with you of being a half-wit who wants poor people to go without health care, but then advocate dumping nuclear waste and denying access to vaccines to people who happen to live in a district of your political opponents? You are a sick man. You mock anyone who compares Obama to a fascist dictator, then advocate that he… acts like a total fucking fascist dictator. You are beyond debate.

  4. KTL
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Where was your outrage, Redacted, when the Bush administration falsified evidence to lead us into war? If you want to be pissed off about abuse of power, how about starting there? Asshole.

  5. EOS
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Marcy –

    Obama did campaign that he supported a government managed single payer health care program. He also stated his position on hundreds of other issues. No person in their right mind believes pulling the lever for the office of president means that the new office holder has a mandate to enact all of his agenda. Laws are written by Congress and our form of government has checks and balances even when all lawmakers are in the same party. Democrats have the capacity to use the despicable tactics that Mark described in this post to force passage of an extreme health care bill. They will then own the issue and can expect to be turned out in droves in the next congressional elections by an even more irate electorate. Obama merely got more votes than the extremely poor Republican candidate McCain, a man who tried to get on the Democratic ticket 4 years earlier. There are today twice as many Americans who consider themselves conservative than those who consider themselves liberal. There wasn’t even a conservative option in the last presidential election. Perhaps you have been so blinded by Obama’s propaganda that it is you who is unable to see the truth.

  6. Posted August 20, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    EOS: “There wasn’t even a conservative option in the last presidential election.”

    If we’re limiting ourselves to Democrats and Republicans, the truth is that there hasn’t been a liberal option in decades. The last several Democratic nominees for president have been to the right of Thatcher and Reagan. Conservatives have succeeded in shifting the American Overton window so far to the right that Obama seems liberal in comparison, until you look at history and look at other countries. Any such comparison makes it obvious that our choice is between a center-right party and a far right party.

  7. Kevin Lester
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Great article from England on the insanity here in the states entitled “Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason”:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-republicans-religion-and-the-triumph-of-unreason-1773994.html

    Something strange has happened in America in the nine months since Barack Obama was elected. It has best been summarised by the comedian Bill Maher: “The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to a mental hospital.”

    The election of Obama – a black man with an anti-conservative message – as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right’s view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.

    When this image was repudiated by a majority of Americans in a massive landslide, it simply didn’t compute. How could this have happened? How could the cry of “Drill, baby, drill” have been beaten by a supposedly big government black guy? So a streak that has always been there in the American right’s world-view – to deny reality, and argue against a demonic phantasm of their own creation – has swollen. Now it is all they can see.

    Since Obama’s rise, the US right has been skipping frantically from one fantasy to another, like a person in the throes of a mental breakdown. It started when they claimed he was a secret Muslim, and – at the same time – that he was a member of a black nationalist church that hated white people. Then, once these arguments were rejected and Obama won, they began to argue that he was born in Kenya and secretly smuggled into the United States as a baby, and the Hawaiian authorities conspired to fake his US birth certificate. So he is ineligible to rule and the office of President should pass to… the Republican runner-up, John McCain.

    These aren’t fringe phenomena: a Research 200 poll found that a majority of Republicans and Southerners say Obama wasn’t born in the US, or aren’t sure. A steady steam of Republican congressmen have been jabbering that Obama has “questions to answer”. No amount of hard evidence – here’s his birth certificate, here’s a picture of his mother heavily pregnant in Hawaii, here’s the announcement of his birth in the local Hawaiian paper – can pierce this conviction.

    This trend has reached its apotheosis this summer with the Republican Party now claiming en masse that Obama wants to set up “death panels” to euthanise the old and disabled. Yes: Sarah Palin really has claimed – with a straight face – that Barack Obama wants to kill her baby.

    You have to admire the audacity of the right. Here’s what’s actually happening. The US is the only major industrialised country that does not provide regular healthcare to all its citizens. Instead, they are required to provide for themselves – and 50 million people can’t afford the insurance. As a result, 18,000 US citizens die every year needlessly, because they can’t access the care they require. That’s equivalent to six 9/11s, every year, year on year. Yet the Republicans have accused the Democrats who are trying to stop all this death by extending healthcare of being “killers” – and they have successfully managed to put them on the defensive.

    The Republicans want to defend the existing system, not least because they are given massive sums of money by the private medical firms who benefit from the deadly status quo. But they can’t do so honestly: some 70 per cent of Americans say it is “immoral” to retain a medical system that doesn’t cover all citizens. So they have to invent lies to make any life-saving extension of healthcare sound depraved.

    A few months ago, a recent board member for several private health corporations called Betsy McCaughey reportedly noticed a clause in the proposed healthcare legislation that would pay for old people to see a doctor and write a living will. They could stipulate when (if at all) they would like care to be withdrawn. It’s totally voluntary. Many people want it: I know I wouldn’t want to be kept alive for a few extra months if I was only going to be in agony and unable to speak. But McCaughey started the rumour that this was a form of euthanasia, where old people would be forced to agree to death. This was then stretched to include the disabled, like Palin’s youngest child, who she claimed would have to “justify” his existence. It was flatly untrue – but the right had their talking-point, Palin declared the non-existent proposals “downright evil”, and they were off.

    It’s been amazingly successful. Now, every conversation about healthcare has to begin with a Democrat explaining at great length that, no, they are not in favour of killing the elderly – while Republicans get away with defending a status quo that kills 18,000 people a year. The hypocrisy was startling: when Sarah Palin was Governor of Alaska, she encouraged citizens there to take out living wills. Almost all the Republicans leading the charge against “death panels” have voted for living wills in the past. But the lie has done its work: a confetti of distractions has been thrown up, and support is leaking away from the plan that would save lives.

    These increasingly frenzied claims have become so detached from reality that they often seem like black comedy. The right-wing magazine US Investors’ Daily claimed that if Stephen Hawking had been British, he would have been allowed to die at birth by its “socialist” healthcare system. Hawking responded with a polite cough that he is British, and “I wouldn’t be here without the NHS”.

    This tendency to simply deny inconvenient facts and invent a fantasy world isn’t new; it’s only becoming more heightened. It ran through the Bush years like a dash of bourbon in water. When it became clear that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, the US right simply claimed they had been shipped to Syria. When the scientific evidence for man-made global warming became unanswerable, they claimed – as one Republican congressman put it – that it was “the greatest hoax in human history”, and that all the world’s climatologists were “liars”. The American media then presents itself as an umpire between “the rival sides”, as if they both had evidence behind them.

    It’s a shame, because there are some areas in which a conservative philosophy – reminding us of the limits of grand human schemes, and advising caution – could be a useful corrective. But that’s not what these so-called “conservatives” are providing: instead, they are pumping up a hysterical fantasy that serves as a thin skin covering some raw economic interests and base prejudices.

    For many of the people at the top of the party, this is merely cynical manipulation. One of Bush’s former advisers, David Kuo, has said the President and Karl Rove would mock evangelicals as “nuts” as soon as they left the Oval Office. But the ordinary Republican base believe this stuff. They are being tricked into opposing their own interests through false fears and invented demons. Last week, one of the Republicans sent to disrupt a healthcare town hall started a fight and was injured – and then complained he had no health insurance. I didn’t laugh; I wanted to weep.

    How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality? It begins, I suspect, with religion. They are taught from a young age that it is good to have “faith” – which is, by definition, a belief without any evidence to back it up. You don’t have “faith” that Australia exists, or that fire burns: you have evidence. You only need “faith” to believe the untrue or unprovable. Indeed, they are taught that faith is the highest aspiration and most noble cause. Is it any surprise this then percolates into their political views? Faith-based thinking spreads and contaminates the rational.

    Up to now, Obama has not responded well to this onslaught of unreason. He has had a two-pronged strategy: conciliate the elite economic interests, and joke about the fanatical fringe they are stirring up. He has (shamefully) assured the pharmaceutical companies that an expanded healthcare system will not use the power of government as a purchaser to bargain down drug prices, while wryly saying in public that he “doesn’t want to kill Grandma”. Rather than challenging these hard interests and bizarre fantasies aggressively, he has tried to flatter and soothe them.

    This kind of mania can’t be co-opted: it can only be overruled. Sometimes in politics you will have enemies, and they must be democratically defeated. The political system cannot be gummed up by a need to reach out to the maddest people or the greediest constituencies. There is no way to expand healthcare without angering Big Pharma and the Republicaloons. So be it. As Arianna Huffington put it, “It is as though, at the height of the civil rights movement, you thought you had to bring together Martin Luther King and George Wallace and make them agree. It’s not how change happens.”

    However strange it seems, the Republican Party really is spinning off into a bizarre cult who believe Barack Obama is a baby-killer plotting to build death panels for the grannies of America. Their new slogan could be – shrill, baby, shrill.

  8. Lisele
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I find this turn of events frightening. I wonder how we’re ever going to ratchet down from our consumerist, McMansion living, energy spending, water wasting, food importing, factory farming, hyper individualist lifestyles to something more sustainable for the limits that our planet imposes. I wonder.

  9. Oliva
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Such an excellent piece, Kevin. Thank you.

    “Shrill, baby, shrill,” all right. Such as I never would have imagined. Live and learn, though. The tremendous vote for change last Nov. meant so much in many ways, but one very exciting prospect was that we were taking a stand to resurrect our esteem for learning and for actual thinking and effort and other fine qualities. How it is that utter stupidity and cheap tricks are being rewarded, in places are flourishing, just baffling. Like finally getting a long walk you’ve been hungering for and having some people feeling like nobodies come along tossing rotten eggs at you and along your path because some people on the radio and TV told ’em it would be funny and they don’t really have anything better to do. Okay, only partly like that. They also do other noxious things with far more serious repercussions, spurred on by the half-wit radio/TV “personalities.”

  10. Alicia
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    it’s all just terribly, terribly depressing. I love what you had to say, though, and hope that someone’s giving that same message to President Obama.

  11. Glen S.
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Kevin,

    What a great article.

    Thank you.

  12. Mike want longr name
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Lisele,

    I’m not sure how it would come about, but I’ve been hoping to see a coalition between the new libertarian hard core, and the sustainability, anti-consumerist left. The federal reserve has been instrumental in the growth of the warfare state and causing markets to send signals that encourage to over-consumption of natural resources and capital. All the things you listed there were enabled by fifteen years of Greenspan’s massive inflationism. I think I’ll try to put together a collection of resources for the left to explain how the state has subverted the market forces that normally would work to reduce these problems. Maybe.

  13. Posted August 20, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I loved watching this video – and yea, I wish we had been seeing this stuff two weeks ago… it would have maybe helped things from getting as out of control as they are now.

    I watched a clip yesterday where the White House has said it’s looking at pushing this reform through with the reconciliation option without the Republicans… I hope that’s not all talk. I want my public option.

  14. dragon
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    EOS: “There wasn’t even a conservative option in the last presidential election.”

    Not only is cmadler right, that it’s a liberal that has been missing from the presidential ticket, but yout views on McCain seem dislusional…

    He ran for president last year as a “maverick” Republican and had a high-profile meeting with Barack Obama after the election, but Arizona Sen. John McCain has been a staunch Republican vote since failing to win the White House.
    In fact, McCain is siding with his party this year on closely divided votes with greater frequency than at any other period in his 23-year Senate career, according to a CQ analysis of Senate votes.
    McCain has participated in 196 of 199 Senate party unity votes, siding with the majority Republican position on all but nine of those votes. Like most Republicans, McCain voted “no” on the economic stimulus law and on Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
    McCain led the Republican charge against numerous Democratic proposals this Congress, often acting as the lead sponsor of amendments outlining a Republican alternative. That was the case March 2, when the Senate by a vote of 32-63 rejected McCain’s substitute amendment to the fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations act and again on April 2, when the Senate rejected McCain’s substitute to the fiscal 2010 budget resolution by a 38-60 vote.

  15. EOS
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    He was a leader of the gang of 14, who were effective in preventing Bush from making judicial appointments. He stopped his campaign to vote for the stimulus. He supports embryonic stem cell research. nation building in Iraq…

    You’re confusing Republicans with conservatives. Last time those two groups intersected was with Regan.

  16. Michael
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Others are calling on Biden to do the arm twisting.

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/142084/time_for_biden_to_twist_some_arms_on_health_reform/

    In theory, one of the advantages of having a president move from the Senate to the White House is his/her ability to leverage a legislative career to advance his/her agenda. That doesn’t work quite the same way with President Obama — he came from the Senate, but he wasn’t actually of the Senate. Members include his former colleagues, but Obama doesn’t necessarily have long-standing bonds that he can use to his advantage now.

    Joe Biden, however, is a different story…

  17. Bibleman
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Something for the Christians to chew on:

    Matthew 25:41-46 (New International Version)

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  18. Fox Watcher
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The FOX coverage is hilarious. They were attacking Frank for “talking down to” the members of the audience, like this woman, like they were sane, rational people.

  19. EOS
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Bibleman,

    Do you really think that those who vote to have the government fulfill their obligations will be first in line in heaven?

  20. dp in exile
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Mark.

    It’s pretty easy to replace “health care” with any number of different reforms and you could go on the same rant. When I have said Democrats are mostly strategically inept, this post highlights why I am such a firm believer. Dems have proven again and again and again that they are incapable of true leadership (at least since Kennedy/Johnson), and nothing will change anytime soon with gerrymandered districts, irrational third-party & independent candidate phobias, and ballot access laws that drown out those without phobias.

    I have not yet given in to the desire to join Brackinald Achery on the beach, to watch the ship go down burning, but the day of the burning ship is here- most rational people can admit that regardless of party affiliation. Deciding when to jump ship versus trying to save it is a tough question, and one I have not yet come to terms with.

  21. Oliva
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Might be Bibleman doesn’t even believe there’s a line he’ll have to wait in . . . he just gets in, woosh, automatically. But just in case the best-laid plans go awry re. there being a post-life heaven, I hope he gets to experience a lot of heaven on Earth, along the lines of what Matthew, and Billy under a separate post, seemed to be gently urging. Its glory (while we live) would have everything to do with how we treat each other while we live. Not a new revelation, I know, but a whole lot of so-called Christians in this country are actually meanies and bullies who are all too willing to treat others shabbily, sometimes even despicably. Where does that leave the earnest, well-meaning Christians who seek to live good lives and love their neighbors?

    (Re. the beach and burning ship talk. What is the quote, something like: Cynicism is the refuge of those who lack courage. Beach good, cynicism demoralizing, easy, anti-life.)

    P.S. Obama’s webcast just ended. Was very encouraging. He was funny and delightfully candid about the lies and liars of the health care reform debate.

  22. Posted August 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    EOS-

    Just because you say it doesn’t mean that its true.

    “No person in their right mind believes pulling the lever for the office of president means that the new office holder has a mandate to enact all of his agenda.”

    Actually, I think that’s exactly what it means. Whose agenda is he pushing if not his own? You elect someone based on their platform and their goals– otherwise its just a beauty pageant! Obviously Obama doesn’t have the power to strong arm his way through these goals alone– that’s why the people voted a democratic majority into the Legislative Branch as well.

    Its hilarious that you’re pretending that this 2-1 right “majority” had their arms twisted into voting for Obama because there was no conservative option. There were conservative options. During the primaries there were plenty and John McCain was chosen. You want a multiple party system so you can choose a real conservative? Congratulations– I want the same thing so I can choose a real liberal. We have a two party system right now though, so we all settle.

    While we’re at it, we should clear up that in this poll you’re citing 35% of citizens describe themselves as moderate. Again, considering we just elected a democrat to the White House a few months ago, and added a few more to Congress, I think its a safe to assume that many of those moderates agreed with Obama and the enacting of his agenda. He didn’t win only by securing the 20% “liberal” vote, after all. He received 52.9%– and the extra 30.9% had to have come from somewhere.

  23. Posted August 20, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    sorry– that’s 32.9%

  24. Oliva
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Nice, Marcy.

    P.S. I think quote from earlier was more like: cynicism is the refuge of those who lack the courage to have hope.

    I think that’s a little harsh. I can see instead gently convincing a person that it can be better to have hope (and there is a bit of fearlessness involved, which can make you feel courageous sometimes).

  25. Steven Malls
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Rush’s show would be so much more powerful if he were only allowed to use the N-word.

  26. Publius
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    If there were any justice, Barney Frank would be in prison for life for letting the banks steal billions from taxpayers. He changed the rules to make the financial meltdown possible. He rejected stronger oversight of fannie mae and freddie mac. The meltdown has bankrupted the country. Now they want to spend trillions more to take over the healthcare system. It is insanity.

  27. Bob Jones
    Posted December 17, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    There really is nothing I despise more than an evil marxist fagggot anti american jew like Barney Frank. Its not surprising that san fran and nyc not only spread aids (1,500,000 dead or dying of aids) they are our greediest cities at the forefront of the housing conspiracy to defraud americans out of trilions of dollars.

    I can assure you marxist fagggot and baby butchering trashy whores that if I was President Mecca And the Fagggot “meccas” of you evil vermin san fran and nyc would be nuked. I might throw in Miami Boston Seattle and Hollywood And Chicago just for kicks! Dont ever say you support america you vermin!

  28. Kelty
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    “evil marxist fagggot anti american jew”

    Kind of just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

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  1. By Will Obama addressing us or them on Wednesday? on September 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    […] for what it’s worth, he seems to agree with me that Obama needs to take a page from the LBJ playbook. In Reich’s words, Obama will need to, “twist arms, cajole, force recalcitrant members to join […]

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