Wednesday, September 09, 2009
They’re mad as hell, etc.
So Nick the Firstborn was visiting over the Labor Day weekend, and when we talked briefly about that widely-circulated clip of Al Franken dealing calmly with the crazy, Nick suggested that Senator Franken conceded too much to the loons, rhetorically. “I didn’t see it that way,” I replied. “I just kept imagining Norm Coleman in his place, smiling and reaffirming his opposition to B. Hussein al-Obama’s secret Muslim deaf panels.” We agreed, however, that there are two important moments in this scene of public persuasion, two moments of communicative reason FAIL. Take that, Habermas!
Nick pointed to the moment at which Franken says, by way of establishing (what he surely thought was) an elementary basic and not at all controversial point, “by paying for preventive care, we will save money, there’s a return on investment on preventive care—that’s been shown.” In response, at the 3:50 mark, Sunglasses-Wearing Pasty Teabagging Guy responds, “no it hasn’t.” He goes on to explain that preventive care doesn’t save money because “if everybody has preventive care, we don’t have enough doctors to give everybody health care.” “That’s correct,” sagely nods Pasty Blond Tea-Party-T-Shirt-Wearing Teabagging Woman.
Yes, that’s pretty bad, I acknowledged. And it suggests that, indeed, supporters of health care reform are right to be cynical about the motives of some of their opponents: not only in the bowels of the insurance industry but also in the minds of ordinary teabagging folk, the problem is that health care reform might provide health care to Other People. (Later, at 7:15 SWPTG will ask whether immigrants are responsible for the high cost of health care in McAllen, Texas, but not at all in a racist or non sequitur kind of way.)
But for sheer WTFness, I said to Nick, the moment you want to look at comes a bit earlier, at 2:04, when Franken says, by way of establishing (what he surely thought was) an elementary basic and not at all controversial point, “people tell me, ‘I’m scared to death that one of my kids will get sick,’ or they would tell me, ‘one of my kids does have a pre-existing condition, and I can’t leave my job, because if I leave my job and start the small business that I want to start, I’ll never get health insurance because I have a child with a pre-existing condition.’ So we want to get rid of that, and I think almost everyone is on board with this...” at which point SWPTG and PBTPTSWTW adamantly shake their heads. Well, I guess that’s why Franken had to say “almost everyone.”
But I have to think this marks a watershed for American conservatism. Remember, last year J. T. Plumber, Esq., became famous for a similar exchange in which he asked B. Hussein al-Obama about the punitive taxes he would face as a fabulously successful plumber owning his own small business and clearing over $250,000 a year (net). The reason for Mr. Plumber’s spectacular rise to fame, of course, is that his question revealed how Marxist-Leninists like Obama are thwarting the hopes and aspirations of fabulously-successful-small-businessmen-to-be with their confiscatory “progressive” taxes that “spread the wealth around.” Now, however, the problem seems to me that ordinary liberal non-Marxist-Leninist Democrats like Franken want to make it possible for people to start their own businesses and purchase health care for their families.
Teabaggers are against that.
And remember, these are the people driving the “debate.” Well, Hussein al-Obama better be humble when he comes to the Hill tonight. As for the rest of us, I do believe we have been well and truly teabagged.
Update: And here’s the antidote, for those of you who still believe in things like communicative reason.