Monday, October 28, 2013

Week of 10/28/2013

The GOP And The “Staged Tantrums”
– by David Matthews 2

There’s an old Warner Brothers cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd that sticks out in my mind when it comes to the supposed “Affordable Care Act”.

In the cartoon, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were in an argument over what kind of “hunting season” it really was.  At stake was Elmer Fudd and the barrel of his double-barrel shotgun being pointed at which of the two were “in season”. Daffy, of course, had posted big signs saying that it was “Rabbit Season”, and Bugs, in his typical smart-aleck fashion, had only his words and a carrot to retort that it was really “Duck Season”.

So the two of them go into a long point-counterpoint argument, with Daffy saying that it’s “Rabbit Season” and Bugs saying that it’s “Duck Season”, and the argument gets pretty fast and animated, and then Bugs says that it’s “Rabbit Season”, causing Daffy to insist that it’s really “Duck Season”, and the more he argues, the more he demands that it’s “Duck Season” and that Elmer should pull the trigger right now.


Off goes Daffy’s face in a puff of gunpowder and feathers.

He gathers himself together, and he and Bugs are back to arguing about what season it is, and once again Bugs is able to switch things up to get Daffy to insist it is “Duck Season”.


Every attempt to convince Elmer that it is “Rabbit Season” is countered not only by the quick thinking of Bugs, but also by the eagerness of Daffy to argue counter-point no matter what.

And that got me thinking… what if, despite all of their protests to the contrary, the GOP and the conservatives and neo-conservatives are really pushing for the Affordable Care Act and helped to make it what it is today?

Okay, bear with me here as I explain it.

First, let’s get this out of the way.  What I’m about to tell you is pure speculation on my part.  It’s no different than the pure speculation that comes out of the mouths of the trained parrots on Fox News or talk radio when they claim to “know” what President Obama thinks or does or governs.  It’s no different than the speculation crafted by Glenn Beck or the folks at World Net Daily or what any number of conservative and neo-conservative groups have been doing all this time.  I have no evidence other than what I’ve observed over the years as a political cynic, so this is all hypothetical on my part.

Having said that, let’s think about what people wanted out of healthcare reform and what we ended up with.

People wanted a single-payer system to end the myriad of bills that get generated from one simple hospital or doctor’s visit.  They wanted an end to the bureaucracy that came from the dictatorial demands from insurance companies over what they will “decide” to pay and whether they will “allow” a procedure to be performed and which doctor they will “graciously” cover in their network.  They wanted healthcare coverage that they could consistently afford.  They wanted an end to putting profits ahead of real human beings.

Now you tell me, how did we get from all of that… to what we have now?  How did we go from the “Rabbit Season” of what we wanted to the “Duck Season” of what we got?

How about some sleight-of-hand trickery and political misdirection?

First, understand that anything that Obama proposes will be instantly objected to by the GOP and conservative and neo-conservative groups.  He could proclaim that it is daylight and the GOP will instinctively counter that it’s really pitch dark.  This is the level of extreme obstructionism that has existed since Obama won the 2008 election, never mind took office.  You know that whatever it is that Obama wants, the GOP will automatically be violently against it.

So the subject of healthcare reform comes up.  You know that the GOP will immediately say that it is socialistic, that it is communistic, that it will wreck the economy, it’ll cause post-nasal drip and that not-so-fresh feeling some women talk about in those commercials.

But here’s the trick: in order to get past the GOP obstructionism, the supporters of healthcare reform have to push back just as hard, if not harder.  They remembered what happened in the 1990’s when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton wanted to reform the system, and they had to make sure that whatever they planned needed to be pushed through just as hard as the GOP pushed to obstruct it.

So we have “Rabbit Season” versus “Duck Season”, and the rhetoric gets hot and heavy, as is expected.

But… what if you didn’t want to really fix the system in the first place?  Sure, a good segment of the populace wanted reform.  The system needed to be repaired.  But that doesn’t automatically translate into this being what Obama or his White House team really wanted. 

Keep in mind that this is the same group that facilitated the big banks getting away with their criminal activities.  The same group that keeps the PATRIOT Act and the NSA spying programs in place.  The same group that keeps the perpetual war machine moving.  There is nothing “liberal” or “progressive” in these things, despite the out-and-out lies by the GOP and the Fox News contingent.  Obama and his crew have spent more time sustaining the status quo than to change it.  Is it really beyond the realm of possibility that Obama’s people were more interested in helping the big insurance companies keep their power than in helping the American people?

So you have the reform supporters saying “Duck Season”, the GOP and their kooky “Tea Party” scam artists screaming “Rabbit Season”.  And somewhere in the bowls of Congress, the healthcare “reform” program gets changed into a huge insurance program, without the supporters even realizing something was wrong.  No universal coverage, no single-payer system, the states could opt-out of helping, and an “individual mandate” that forces people to buy insurance whether they can afford to or not. 

“Duck Season” just became “Rabbit Season”.

And the masses were none the wiser!  Objectors still screamed that it was “socialistic” or “communistic” (when, in fact, it’s corporatistic or fascistic), and the supporters screamed back that it was still needed, that we still “needed” these changes.

“Duck Season!”  “Rabbit Season!”  “Duck Season!”  “Rabbit Season!”  “Rabbit Season!”  “Duck Season!”  “Rabbit Season!”  “Duck Season! Duck Season!  Duck Season!  I’m telling you once and for all that it is Duck Season!  Now shoot!  Shoot!


Of course, hypothetically speaking, this would have to be worked out with the GOP… just like the Wall Street bailouts were worked out.  They can’t exactly go through this with the GOP leaders suddenly saying “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t the same program your own people are talking about!”  They have to pretend like nothing changed in order for this switch to work.  They have to keep the rhetoric going.  They have to keep saying “Duck Season” to Obama’s “Rabbit Season”, and to do so louder and louder to keep the masses confused.

You’re probably asking yourself what the GOP would have to gain by working with the supposed “enemy” on this little game.  Well, it got them control of the House of Representatives.  It gave them filibuster power in the Senate.  It gave them – and is still giving them – a singular issue to not only campaign on, but, most importantly, an issue by which K-Street and their own masses can contribute oodles of money towards.

Forty-two attempts to either de-fund or outright repeal the ACA, knowing full well that any measure that passes the House would never get past the Senate, never mind get signed by Obama or survive a veto-override.  It is a clear waste of time, but it keeps the masses pissed off and it keeps the campaign money flowing.

There are many ways that the GOP could have fixed the ACA.  They could have neutered the IRS.  They could have redefined what a “tax” is so that it couldn’t be used in the way that it is used with the ACA.  If the members of the GOP really wanted to, they could have found a way to dismantle the part of the ACA they really hated, and to do so silently, without attracting attention, and even with the support of the Dems.

But they haven’t done that, have they?  No, they’ve opted instead for big grandiose productions and overblown temper tantrums, screaming like petulant children not getting their ice cream.  It makes someone like me wonder… are they doth protesting too much?

Think about this: the ACA’s Individual Mandate was saved in the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts.  This was someone appointed by the GOP and Obama’s predecessor.  Do you really think that Roberts could have been convinced just by Obama and the liberal contingent to weasel in the Mandate as being a “tax”?  The GOP had far more to lose over the loss of the Individual Mandate than Obama had to gain by it surviving judicial muster.

Like I said previously, this is still all speculation on my part, but let’s get brutally honest here… this certainly explains some of the antics by the GOP, especially of late.  It explains Senator Ted Cruz and his marathon speaking session, not to mention the Congressional-imposed government shutdown that lasted sixteen days.  It also explains why the GOP is hell-bent on doing this all over again, despite the perceived negative consequences that have come from this.

It’s all an act.  It’s all staged.

It all seems to be a way for both the GOP and Obama to give the insurance companies everything they wanted, and to do so without the liberals screaming in protest.  It gives the GOP a political windmill to tilt, it gives K-Street a crusade to generate money from, it gives Fox News and talk radio something to scream about, and it screws up the economy and puts the screws to the masses, which the GOP can then use to blame Obama for causing.  It became the “key cause” for the 2010 and 2012 elections, and is already the “key cause” for the upcoming 2014 election season. 

That’s some pretty good grifting if you think about it.  But, then again, you’re not supposed to be.

Bear in mind one thing out of all of this… despite the rhetoric and bluster, neither Obama, nor the Dems, nor the GOP have anything to lose out of this whole mess.  They’re all exempt from the ACA.  And it’s not like they couldn’t afford to spring for their own insurance coverage anyway. 

Throughout all of the screams for “Rabbit Season” or “Duck Season”, none of them are the ones that are facing down the rhetorical barrel of Elmer Fudd’s shotgun when the trigger is pulled.  We are.


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