by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The Right shows far more eagerness for a fight than the hapless Left, or what remains of it. Barack Obama “smacks down” progressives like gnats, yet they continue to behave as if their mission in life is to save his presidency. Now, purported progressives vow to defend White House “health reform” proposals that bear no resemblance whatever to reform. “Only the wrongheaded and racist are taking action at this critical time.”
Freedom Rider: In Praise of Tea Baggers
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Progressive critics don’t get the time of day from the man they continue to protect and support.”
Who took to the streets of Washington in the thousands, marching and demanding political change? Was it Progressives for Obama, or perhaps it was members of Moveon. The correct answer is neither of the above. Nowadaysthe only Americans who can be counted on to take to the streets or shout down presidents in righteous indignation are right-wingers. Progressives are smacked down time and again, but like hostages in Stockholm or kidnapped school girls, they believe that their survival depends on loving the abuser.
South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson was not well known until he shouted, “You lie!” at president Obama during his health care speech before a joint session of Congress. Democrats should be angry about this episode, but angry because none of them had the guts to call George W. Bush a liar on national television. Bush stole a presidential election, occupied Iraq under false pretenses and killed one million people, invaded Haiti and killed thousands, broke United States law to spy on American citizens, abandoned the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and bankrupted the treasury without ever being called to account by his so-called opposition. Not only were Democrats too timid to call him a liar, but he achieved all of his dubious distinctions with their willing assistance.
“The only Americans who can be counted on to take to the streets or shout down presidents in righteous indignation are right-wingers.”
Now Barack Obama has presented a health care “reform” proposal that is essentially the same as that produced by Republican Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. The plan, which requires the purchase of health insurance, is nothing but a giveaway to the industry that has created so much suffering and made this country the laughing stock of every truly advanced nation on earth.
The Obama proposal does nothing to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. The Bush era regulations which prevent the government from negotiating the cost of prescription drugs are still in place. Democrats did not make even a token effort to repeal those rules and the now notorious “donut hole” strips seniors of what little money they have if they choose to remain alive and healthy.
While zombie-like right-wingers attended congressional town halls in droves, and agitated in favor of the status quo, progressives sat back and haughtily looked down on the yahoos. It didn’t occur to the besotted Obama lovers to question whether any of their idol’s proposals could in fact be called reform at all. Those who knew the score and demanded a robust public option were shut out by the White House and congressional negotiators. Members of Congress who did dare to speak up were threatened with retribution by presidential chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and his enforcers.
“It didn’t occur to the besotted Obama lovers to question whether any of their idol’s proposals could in fact be called reform at all.”
Only the wrongheaded and racist are taking action at this critical time. Their animosity towards Obama is rooted in the shock and awe brought about by the very presence of a black president. It is also mixed with the anger brought about by the defeat of the Republican Party, accurately perceived as the champion of white America. Unable or unwilling to express the true source of their anger, the self-proclaimed “tea baggers” are left to call Obama a new Hitler, or a new Stalin, or a Kenyan smuggled into Hawaii as a newborn baby.
The bizarre behavior and inexplicable attachment of vulnerable people to interests who do them harm makes it easy to dismiss their actions. Yet they are now teaching the entire country a very valuable political lesson. In simple terms, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
“Only the wrongheaded and racist are taking action at this critical time.”
The squeaky wheel gets press attention, creates confusion in the minds of otherwise discerning people, gives cover to waffling politicians, and in the case of an administration openly disdainful of popular action from the left, the wheel even gets grease from its sworn enemy. The administration will meet withanti-abortion activists in order to reassure them that abortion will not receive federal funding under any health insurance proposal. Progressive critics don’t get the time of day from the man they continue to protect and support. There is truly more value in opposing Obama than in supporting him.
It is unfortunate that no Democrats are willing to call Obama a liar. His assertion that a public option is not viable because it would mean “starting from scratch” is enough reason for Americans to rise up in anger. More than forty years ago Congress passed legislation establishing Medicare, which went into effect a mere six months later. Who are the true yokels, Wilson and company or Democrats who keep defending blatant lies?
So don’t sneer at the tea bagger, birther, deather, dead ender Republicans. They relentlessly make their demands known and in the end, they will get what they want.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.