As I entered the shop, a string of bells attached to the door jingled to announce my presence.
The place was small and cluttered, with narrow aisles between shelves crammed with pet foods, aquarium gear, and cat litter. The air had a slightly rank animal smell.
A little old man with a wrinkled face and a fringe of white hair around the top of his bald head came out from the back, wiping his hands on a rag. “Welcome to GOPets,” he said. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I saw the sign, and I was wondering about it.”
He straightened up, beaming with pride. “We sell only genuine Republican pets to right-thinking individuals.”
“I don’t get it,” I said. “How can pets have political parties?”
“Come on back and see,” he said. He led me to a back room, where a line of parrots sat on perches. “Our latest shipment,” he said. “These parrots are specially trained by hours of watching Fox News to expose the problems of Obamacare.”
“Really,” I said. “And what problems would those be?”
“Check it out,” he said proudly. He pointed at the nearest bird, which spread its wings and squawked, “No one’s going to sign up for Obamacare! Everyone hates it! RAWK! It’ll fail! RAWK!”
“Guess this little guy hasn’t heard the news,” I said. “Despite the problems early in the rollout, looks like they hit the target, and then some — 7.1 million enrollees as of April 1. And that doesn’t count the young people who got coverage on their parents’ insurance till they’re 26 or the people who got coverage through Medicaid expansion.”
“Well, how about this one?” the old man said. He led me to an orange and yellow bird that crowed, “The people who signed up for Obamacare aren’t going to pay their premiums! RAWK! It’ll fail! RAWK!”
“Actually,” I said, “that’s pure speculation, since most of the people who signed up recently haven’t even gotten a bill yet. And the places that have reported in so far — California and Vermont — say 85 to 90 percent of the people who have gotten a bill are paying, which is plenty enough to sustain the program. What else you got?”
A green and yellow-striped bird called from a nearby perch. “People lost their coverage! Obama lied! RAWK!”
“Some people lost their old coverage because their plans were lousy and didn’t meet the minimum standards set by the ACA,” I said. “But Obama didn’t cancel them, the insurance companies did — and then most replaced them with new, compliant policies. And every single one of the ‘Obamascare’ news stories about people losing their coverage turned out to be bogus.
“When news organizations got off their butts and investigated rather than just repeating the scripts of attack ads, they found out that these fake ‘victims’ were ignoring the fact that they could have gotten cheaper, better insurance through the Exchanges, or that they were actually paying lower premiums and ignoring the cap on out-of-pocket costs. Fact is, millions more are now covered than were before.”
“Cooking the books! Cooking the books! RAWK!” a nearby blue-feathered bird piped up.
“Let me guess,” I said, “back during the election, this bird was squawking about ‘skewed polls,’ right?”
He looked stunned. “How did you know?”
“They’re nothing if not predictable. And how’d that work out for you?”
As I spoke, I spotted one grizzled old bird whose feathers were ragged and faded. As I approached, he looked at me balefully with an eye filmy with age.
“I’m not a parrot,” he said in a croaking, pitiful voice. “The Democrats are the parrots. They’ll never criticize Obama. Rawk.”
“Wow,” I said, “that’s an old one, all right. Delusional as well. … So is anybody buying any of this?”
“Not as many people as used to,” the old man said sadly. “If it wasn’t for the news media repeating everything the parrots say without challenging it, no one would know about them at all.”
He began to cry. “I’m ruined,” he said. “All the talking points my parrots have learned are useless.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “There’ll always be some who’ll listen to a lie over and over and believe in it even after it’s debunked.”
A mynah bird in the corner stretched its wings and threw back its head. “BENGHAAAAAZI!” it hollered. “OBAMA LIED, PEOPLE DIED! CAW!”
“See what I mean?” I said.
The old man smiled. “I feel better already.”
I sighed. “I wish I did.”
THE PARROTS SQUAWK BACK:
Perennial anonymous coward fugitiveguy, commenting as he does every week on the Pilot website:
Dusty would be right at home on a comedy central roast. Anyone who feels that the needless death of 4 brave Americans including the first ambassador killed in 3 decades is fodder for faux humor just to file a column would be in good company. I don't think it was just the string of bells that announced your presence.
This is a pretty frequent tactic of the wingnuts: make fun of their desperate attempts to create an Administration destroying scandal out of the Benghazi tragedy, and they cry all sort of crocodile tears about how you're mocking the dead. So let me make it clear: I'm not mocking the dead, dim-bulb, I'm mocking people like you. Hope this helps.
Then there's my old pal Frank Staples aka "skylinefirepest", who posted this gem:
Dusty, you're turning into a brazen liar trying to defend your idol's defenseless crapola. Your parents would not approve!
Frank's comments constantly invoke my parents, because like most wingnuts, he's an asshole with no sense of boundaries.
Actually, Frank, my mom tells me quite often how she likes my columns. She's told me she thinks you're a jerk, though.
My favorite, though, is this one, from anonymous cowards "JK":
Does anyone read Mr. Roades' [sic] columns.... certainly not me!
Gotta love the idiots who spend time commenting on something they say they never read.
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