Terrific (Nobody Dies)

#SomethingTerrific | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID01). [Detail of photo by John Miller/Associated Press]

Let us try a compromise: Just don’t call him “pro-life”. Or, perhaps, we should begin in the moment, as Kristine Phillips tells it for the Washington Post:

A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients.

“You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said.

“That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

The boos instantly drowned him out.

The congressman from Idaho’s First Congressional District and founding member of the House Freedom Caucus might have discovered a new apex for the absolute value of conservative political rhetoric. To the other, tempting as it seems to wonder if e’er so thoughtless bovine excrement was spoken, we do happen to be speaking both of Congress and conservatives, so, yeah, actually, lots. Still, though, Rep. Labrador reminds without question the challenge of abiding no integrity.

As familiar ripples of outrage, disgust, disbelief, and pretentious tol’jaso online shaking of heads echo about the country, David Frum makes the point in congratulating Mr. Labrador on his future as a “star of a thousand Democratic campaign ads”, which is true enough, and probably the shiny-star sound bite of the weekend, but Steve Benen gets in on the act this morning, following up:

He’ll at least have some company. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) said Americans may need to move if they intend to keep their health care benefits; Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said those same Americans should pay more in order to help those who “lead good lives” and behave “the right way”; and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said we’ll all be able to afford coverage without the Affordable Care Act if we give up “getting that new iPhone.”

They’ll no doubt star in Democratic ads, too.

And then the msnbc blogger follows himself up—”Coming soon to a commercial near you”—noting a New York Times article about the Montana House race to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, by which a forked tongue “illustrates the complicated politics surrounding the health law”.

Or, as the headline has it, “G.O.P. House Candidate in Montana Is Caught on Tape Praising Health Bill”, because it is true that, “Another Republican Abides Evil” is only problematic because conservatives have no intention of quitting with the extraordinary excrement. To the one, coverage starts sounding lopsided but only because that is how reality seems to go; to the other, though, we already know Americans consider reality itself unfair. Maybe it is significant that I am old enough, or somehow otherwise culturally connected, that I should remember the mysterious principle that what we want is not necessarily what living circumstance affords. It’s a dangerous point, to remind that life is unfair, but therein lies a powerful demarcation. To some degree, the history of class struggle that defines society, in its American iteration, distills to the acknowledgement that life itself is unfair and the proposition of engaging our human institutions to carve out and enforce some manner of fairness amid the chaos. To put it bluntly, humanity does not shelter itself from the challenges nature puts before it simply to destroy ourselves by our own hand. Republicans do not so much see civilized society as shelter from the storm, but, rather, some manner of playfield upon which conservatives can be the storm. This is something we see over and over again; American politics seem, more and more, to attend a contest ‘twixt to the one those who would repel, and to the other those who would envy, the cruelties of nature.


Image notes: Top ― Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (Photo by John Miller/Associated Press) Right ― David Frum, via Twitter: “Congratulations to Raul Labrador, about to become a multi-media star of a thousand Democratic campaign ads …”.

Benen, Steve. “GOP rep says ‘nobody dies’ from lacking access to health care”. msnbc. 8 May 2017.

Frum, David. “Congratulations to Raul Labrador, about to become a multi-media star of a thousand Democratic campaign ads”. Twitter. 6 May 2017.

Martin, Jonathan. “G.O.P. House Candidate in Montana Is Caught on Tape Praising Health Bill”. The New York Times. 5 May 2017.

Phillips, Kristine. “‘Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,’ GOP lawmaker says. He got booed.” The Washington Post. 7 May 2017

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