Books, Pop Culture and Political Humor from J.D. Rhoades, best-selling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist.
"Like [Lee] Child, Rhoades dishes out one airtight action scene after another, mixing in just enough character-building moments and holding our interest in a full cast of nicely developed supporting players."-Booklist
That’s how many times the Republican-controlled House has voted to repeal all or part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (which they call “Obama-care”), even though they know that such a measure is doomed to fail in the Senate.
Even if such a bill through some miracle managed to somehow survive the Senate, it would certainly be vetoed by President Barack Obama. The most recent vote came this past Wednesday.
I’ve often said that a key quirk in the wingnut psyche is the absolutely unshakeable conviction that if something fails repeatedly, it’s because they just didn’t ram their heads against the wall hard enough. “The economy crashed despite big tax cuts? That just means we need more tax cuts to grow the economy!” And so on.
There’s a fine line between perseverance and insanity, and Cryin’ John Boehner and his merry band of fools crossed that line so long ago that they can’t even see it in the rearview mirror anymore.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that this wasn’t some form of mental illness on the part of the Prince of Orange and his crew. There are some cynics who say that the Republican leadership knew the measure, like the 32 before it, was doomed to fail. There are some who even say that the whole thing was a political stunt.
They say the whole thing’s a ploy to get House members staked out on their positions on the health care reform bill so that those votes could be used against them in the upcoming election, when those impressive voiceover announcers who only seem to surface at election time will be intoning “Congressman Schmendrick voted with Obama” with the type of voice-of-doom gravitas that suggests that they equate that voting record with unqualified support for child molestation.
But that’s hard to believe, don’t you think? I mean, that would make the Republican leadership seem like a bunch of completely politicized hacks who would take one of the 42 remaining days they’ve allotted themselves until the end of the year to address the people’s business and use it for the sole purpose of creating sound bites.
That would be a crassly cynical act by a party that’s decided to abandon the idea of addressing any real progress on jobs, immigration, national security, energy independence or any substantive issue at all, a party whose one and only priority is not governing, but winning.
That can’t really be it, can it? I mean, I know that’s what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said was his party’s “No. 1 priority” a while back, but he was joking, right? Because that would make them seem pretty useless to the average American.
No, I’ve got to go with insanity here. Another indicator that the Republicans are suffering from some sort of mental breakdown is the things they say about the ACA that are completely divorced from the reality of the actual bill.
Quotes like Mitt Romney’s assertion that “Obamacare puts the government between you and your doctor.” Or his claim that “Obamacare means 20 million American will lose the health insurance they have and want to keep.”
Or the oft-repeated claim, most recently seen in an ad from one of those shadowy anonymous SuperPACs attacking Florida Sen. Ben Nelson, that the health care law’s cost will be $2 trillion, “double what we were promised.” Or the claim from Florida Gov. Rick Scott that a company with 20 employees “could go out of business” because of the law’s requirement to buy insurance (even though companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from that requirement).
All of these assertions have been rated “false” by the nonpartisan fact-checking site Politifact. The “business with 20 employees” canard from Scott was given the lowest rating for truthfulness: “Pants on Fire.” And yet Republicans keep repeating these and other proven falsehoods over and over and over again.
Now, some people would insist that that means they’re all a pack of liars who have such complete contempt for the American voter that they think you’ll believe anything.
To believe they’re not seriously delusional would mean that they believe, as Adolf Hitler stated in “Mein Kampf,” that “in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility … for the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world.”
And that can’t be right. They can’t really think that way. Can they?