A couple of particularly stupid remarks from Republicans have been bothering me for a while, so I thought I’d get them off my chest.
Rep. Rob Woodall, a Georgia Republican, made a vigorous ideological defense of ending Medicare as it currently exists, telling seniors at a local town hall that they ought not look to the government to provide health care for the elderly just because their private employer doesn't offer health benefits for retirees.
A Woodall constituent raised a practical obstacle to obtaining coverage in the private market within the confines of an employer-based health insurance system: What happens when you retire?
"The private corporation that I retired from does not give medical benefits to retirees," the woman told the congressman in video captured a local Patch reporter in Dacula, Ga.
"Hear yourself, ma'am. Hear yourself," Woodall told the woman. "You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, 'When do I decide I'm going to take care of me?'"
I’m sure it never occurred to Rep. Woodall that government IS one of the ways we take care of ourselves. We all contribute to the cost of building and maintaining a civilized nation in order that we may all reap the benefits of being citizens of that nation. It’s the first thing in the Constitution. You can look it up and everything.
And that's leaving aside the sad irony that Woodall and his ilk have dedicated their political lives to ensuring that this woman and the majority of all Americans will be denied the wherewithal to "take care of me."
A Kansas state Representative had this to say last week, on the subject of rape:
During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told [state Rep. Barbara Bollier]: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”
Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?”
DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”
“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead - for.”
So what Rep. DeGraaf seems to be saying is that women should expect to be raped. Is that what he tells his wife? Or daughters, if he has any? For that matter, how would Rep. DeGraaf feel if anyone so cavalierly treated the rape of his wife or daughter? (Hey, if we can ask Michael Dukakis how he'd react to his wife being raped, I think a similar question may be fairly asked of Rep. DeGraaf.) And just what sort of “planning ahead” does he have in mind? Surely he doesn't mean that women should be saving up for an abortion. If women should expect to be raped, then every man they encounter is a likely rapist, right? Perhaps women should just pre-emptively mace the men they come across in their day-to-day affairs. They might want to start with Pete DeGraaf.
Between this and the unconscionable response of congressional Republicans to the tornado in Joplin, I have to ask myself, Is there any human tragedy dire enough to to register on the Republican psyche as a genuine misfortune?
Available evidence suggests there is not.Posted by Kurt Weldon at June 01, 2011 04:40 PM