Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Blithering Idiot of the Century Award

Former Republican vice presidential candidate said on Saturday that as a child growing up in Alaska she "used to hustle on over the border for health care" in Canada.

To their credit, the good folks at the CBS Hotsheet do briefly note that there is something deeply absurd about this. But I want to go a step farther. At Brandeis, my political science professors used to annoy me because they saw politics as essentially a debating society. They seemed to think that bills would pass or not pass because William Safire wrote a better column that Anthony Lewis, basically. One of them even started a book with some platitude about ideas being more powerful than money or guns or votes. Hah! I always complained that politics is not ultimately about discourse, it's about power; that I would hardly characterize Willie Horton and the Pledge of Allegiance as "ideas." (My grad school days are hereby dated to the Dukakis - George Bush the First campaign.)

But at least Willie Horton really did get furloughed from prison while Michael Dukakis was governor, and there really was some controversy about the Pledge of Allegiance. I can't even remember whether it was the "under God" part or whether people ought to say it before school board meetings or something, it was so ridiculous. But it existed.

However, nothing that the Republicans are saying about the legislation in Congress is actually true, or even has a real world referent. There aren't any death panels, there is no government takeover of health care, there aren't any government bureaucrats coming between you and your doctor, health care is not worse in countries that have universal coverage, etc. They just spout completely false bullshit, and furthermore they know it's bullshit and so do the reporters who transcribe what they say. The only people who don't know it's bullshit are the ordinary folks who are subjected to this crap without the reporters bothering to point out to them that it is, in fact, crap. Without the bullshit, and without corporate media that does not distinguish between unalloyed bullshit and assertions that at least have some marginally defensible claim to reflecting a warped perspective on the truth, there would be no debate at all. There would be nothing to talk about.

I'll retire to bedlam.


Anonymous said...

Your best posts are those in which you get seriously pissed off and indignant, and this is no exception. Keep on telling it like it is and I'll keep reading.

Andromeda Mesmer said...

There have always been reports about USians sneaking over the border into Canada, to have babies, etc. They can use the health cards of close relatives or lookalikes -- but in effect, they are stealing. I actually don't mind much -- poor folks in Buffalo, Detroit, or even the excremental Port Huron border guards deserve a break when desperate. (See the Peter Watts story.)

HOWEVER: Was Palin & co. paying for this, or pretending to be Canadians, or relying on Canadian charity, and was this a common practice in the Alaska border communities?


Horrors -- how *will* CATO rationalize this?