Where Ya Been?
Steven Pearlstein is shocked, shocked to see dishonesty at the RNC:
After reading his broadside, one is left wondering exactly what health reform plan Steele thought he was attacking. At one point, Steele claims that Democrats would prevent Americans from keeping their doctors or an insurance plan they like. Later, he warns that government will soon be setting caps on how many heart surgeries could be performed in the United States each year. Where is he getting this stuff? Has the chairman of the Republican Party somehow gotten hold of a top-secret plan for a government takeover of the health-care system that GOP operatives snatched during a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters?
If all that sounds like a spurious and unsubstantiated allegation, it is. And it fits right in with the cynical lies, distortions and political scare tactics that Steele and other Republicans have used to poison the national debate over health reform.
Have you no shame, sir, have you no shame?
The answer is no, and a lot of us had this one figured out long, long ago. Here's Joe Klein discovering the same thing about conservative front groups and professional liars. James Fallows has been on this beat for a while, but even he succumbs to asking "will it never end?"
And now we have the New York Times, in a big take-out story, saying that Dr. Emanuel, in his role as Obama health-care advisor, is in an "uncomfortable place" because he is being criticized by*:
1) Betsy McCaughey !
2) Rep. Michele Bachman (look her up) !!
3) Sarah Palin !!!
4) Lyndon LaRouche !!!!
McCaughey, Bachman, Palin, LaRouche -- shaping American debate and media coverage about health policy? Was Zsa Zsa Gabor not available?
I think Fallows knows the answer: no. Being complete liars and obstructionists has worked out pretty well for the GOP. They get to maintain power even when they don't hold the Congress or the Presidency. They all make a lot of money off the lies in which they traffic. They go to beds with the clear consciences of people choosing not to see the suffering caused by their handiwork. And they get no penalty whatsoever from the media.
I suppose it's good that people like Pearlstein and Klein are waking up to this. But it won't take them long to balance themselves by saying, well, what Klein said in his recent piece, that liberals are scumbags too, sure, don't get him wrong. This amazing story of Klein confronted by aimai, the grand-daughter of I.F. Stone, and then sputtering about the god-damned liberals for the next hour, is very revealing. It doesn't matter how many instances of Republican perfidy confront them, establishment types and their reflexive hatred of hippies will always allow that reflexivity to color their thoughts.
Paul Krugman nails this.
It’s all true. But I’m having a hard time writing columns like that. Why? Because while the raw dishonesty of the modern GOP appears to be a revelation to Pearlstein, Joe Klein, and others, I thought it was obvious at least as far back as the 2000 election campaign. (If I’d really been paying attention, it would have been obvious much earlier.)
Don’t get me wrong: I welcome Pearlstein and Klein to the reality-based community — better 9 years late than never. And in a way they have an advantage: having fought this thing for so long, I just can’t muster the same sense of shock. But I think it is important to realize that the current behavior over health care is nothing new — in fact, it’s been this way for a very long time.
As Rick Perlstein, our premier historian of the rise of modern movement conservatism, puts it, crazy is a pre-existing condition.
It's just the way things are.