Uploaded on Aug 19, 2009
To all the weak Democrats afraid of stepping on toes, take note. This is how the Democrats should handle the ridiculous charges coming from the right-wing loonies at these town hall meetings.
At a town hall meeting this week in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, a young woman, holding a picture depicting Obama with a swastika, asked Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), "Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?"
Frank, who is Jewish, responded: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He then praised the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gives her the freedom to spread such "vile, contemptible nonsense." He ended by saying: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."
Hallelujah! It's about time the Democrats fought back hard against the lies from the right. Instead of abandoning their proposals in the face of manufactured opposition, the Democrats need to stick to their guns and do what the American people elected them to do.
Yes, the polls look grim right now, but that's only because the right-wing has repeatedly lied about death panels and government takeovers and illegal immigration and other such nonsense, and the Democrats let them get away with it. But a new NBC News poll released on Tuesday showed that a clear majority of Americans support Obama's plan once they hear the "actual details." Only 43 percent oppose it.
The Republicans are masters at message discipline and deceit. They can and will say the same thing over and over again, even if it's not true. Just remember Sarah Palin going on and on last year about that "bridge to nowhere" that she supposedly stopped, even after the media discredited her story. Facts don't matter to power-hungry Republicans.
The Democrats have the facts and the people on their side and yet they're still losing the debate. That's because they're afraid to fight back hard. And that's why President Obama must abandon the fantasy that the Republicans want to negotiate with him in good faith. They don't. They openly admit they want him to "fail" and they seek to "break him."
This is where the left would come in, but the left needs to know that Obama won't back down. How can the White House expect Democrats to mobilize in favor of health care reform if they keep letting the Republicans chip away at it? Giving up the public option, as the administration hinted on Sunday, is bad policy and bad politics. Once the Republicans see weakness and smell what Pat Buchanan called "blood in the water," they will move in for the kill and the Obama dream will die along with the hopes of millions of Americans who demanded change last year.
Republican presidents don't seem to have this problem. George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 and governed like he had won a super mandate. Ronald Reagan held views antithetical to the majority of Americans on several important issues, but he stood by his rhetoric, even in the face of Democratic opposition. But Obama, who won a commanding 365 electoral votes and 53 percent of the popular vote, is governing like the guy who barely won the election and needs bipartisanship to win legitimacy.
With a Democratic majority in the House and a filibuster-proof Senate, Obama doesn't need bipartisanship, and the GOP has already shown they won't give it to him anyway. The president appointed two Republicans to the cabinet and tried to appoint a third. And where did it get him? He wined and dined GOP leaders at the White House. And where did it get him?
He added more tax cuts to the stimulus to appease Republicans. And where did it get him? The Republicans opposed the stimulus, they opposed his health care plan, and they're gearing up to oppose his energy bill. They even opposed his nomination of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.
Remember, these are the guys who lost the House, the Senate and the presidency. In a democracy, a small group of angry losers don't get to dictate government policy. We had an election last November and 67 million people voted for President Obama, who promised to deliver health care reform. A few hundred people showing up at town hall meetings should not be able to hijack the agenda that the majority of voters decided on last year.
Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to fight.
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