Friday, November 06, 2009
Putting the "Dumb" in Freedom
Dana Milbank's column in today's Washington Post is required reading, even if you have to sign in to do it.
As a service to you nice folks, here's the best of it (and oh how irony can be such a cruel mistress):
"Many of the demonstrators chanted 'Weasel Queen,' their pet name for the speaker of the House. Others wore masks of Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); they were covered in fake blood and carrying dolls representing aborted fetuses, as the Grim Reaper led them in chains to hell.
In the front of the protest, a sign showed President Obama in a white coat, his face painted to look like the Joker. The sign, visible to the lawmakers as they looked into the cameras, carried a plea to 'Stop Obamunism.' A few steps farther was the guy holding a sign announcing 'Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds' [sic], accusing Obama of being part of a Jewish plot to introduce the antichrist.
But the best of (Michele) Bachmann's recruits were a few rows into the crowd, holding aloft a pair of 5-by-8-foot banners proclaiming 'National Socialist Healthcare, Dachau, Germany, 1945.' Both banners showed close-up photographs of Holocaust victims, many of them children.
Immediately in front of this colorful scenery, various House Republicans signed autographs and shook hands with the demonstrators. Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), who recently said the health-care bill is more dangerous than terrorists, gave out stickers saying 'Govt Run Healthcare Makes Me Sick!'
'Who knew a casual comment on TV could generate this?' Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) exulted as he stood in front of the Dachau banner.
Now, objecting to the health-care bill is one thing. But doesn't it send the wrong message for House Republicans to hold an event on the Capitol grounds full of hateful and gruesome words and images?
"I'm not worried about the message of freedom," Hensarling replied.
...But, as with a similar rally by Democrats a week before, unpredictable things tend to happen in the wide-open spaces of the Capitol's West Front. Minutes into the rally, a breeze toppled the American flag from the stage.
More ominously, a man standing just beyond the TV cameras apparently suffered a heart attack 20 minutes after event began. Medical personnel from the Capitol physician's office -- an entity that could, quite accurately, be labeled government-run health care -- rushed over, attaching electrodes to his chest and giving him oxygen and an IV drip.
This turned into an unwanted visual for the speakers, as a D.C. ambulance and firetruck, lights flashing, pulled in just behind the lawmakers. A path was made through the media section, and the patient, attended to by about 10 government medical personnel, was being wheeled away on a stretcher just as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) stepped to the microphone. 'Join us in defeating Pelosi care!' he exhorted. A few members stole a glance at the stretcher. Boehner may have been distracted as well. He told the crowd he would read from the Constitution, then read the 'we hold these truths' bit from the Declaration of Independence.
...This protest was unusual because it was an official House GOP event, and because some of the remarks on the stage were as outrageous as those in the crowd. The actor Jon Voight, standing with the lawmakers, said of Obama: 'Could it be he has had 20 years of subconscious programming by Reverend Wright to damn America?'
Even the Rev. Stephen Broden, at the microphone to deliver the closing prayer, fumed about 'death panels inside this death care,' adding: 'It is tyranny! It is socialism!'
The lawmakers set the tone early, when Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) asked for the Pledge of Allegiance because 'it drives the liberals crazy' to hear the 'under God' part (his bravado was premature, for he left out the word 'indivisible').
By the time it was over, medics had administered government-run health care to at least five people in the crowd who were stricken as they denounced government-run health care. But Bachmann overlooked this irony as she said farewell to her recruits.
'You,' she said, 'are the most beautiful sight any of us freedom fighters have seen for a long time.'"
To steal a pretty popular phrase over at Cesca's blog these days: Keep it up, guys. You're doing great.