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Rejected Subtitle: Rep. Steve King Supports Al Qaeda; Gives Bin Laden Spongebaths; Hates Children

Oh for the love of...


You know, stop. Just stop. Even as impetus for satire, it isn't worth it.

Sure, I like being reminded that the most powerful military in the world is under the direction of emotional schoolchildren. Sure, it's great to know that the problems faced by millions of Americans will be debated and supposedly solved by people whose greatest intellectual triumph is the ability to tie absolutely any issue to their overwhelming fear of Secret Brown People. And sure, it's even mildly amusing to see grown men and women reverting to statements like "Resolved: my distinguished colleague from the state of such-and-such has cooties" or introducing legislation like the I'm So Patriotic I Make Betsy Ross Look Like a Traitorous Pile of Crap Act of 2007.

But when you're reduced to having your staff make up large visual aides to assist explaining your insults, I think perhaps satire won't cut it anymore, and we have to devolve to out-and-out mockery.

So fine. Let's play the game, Republican style. Representative Steve King, of Iowa's 5th District: you support al Qaeda. I don't have to prove it. I don't have to back it up. I just have to say it, and it becomes true. And now the debate can be about why you support al Qaeda. Is it because you are "soft on terrorism?" Is it because you are living in a "pre-9/11 mindset?" Is it because you "hate America?" It is because you were beaten senseless by river otters during your own sixth birthday party, and now harbor a deep grudge against our native American fauna? I don't know. I don't have to know, because all of America is now ruled by the Fox News Schoolyard Taunt. Blah blah blah, flag pin. Blah fart blah, unpatriotic. Blah fart cough, Hillarycare.

The truth of it is, if the Republicans could tie healthcare for children to an external enemy in need of retribution, they'd be all over it -- but unfortunately for America's children, you can't bomb car accidents. If they could tie the needs of children and families with crippling unforeseen medical expenses to an al Qaeda plot to harm those children, they'd find a way to divert a token one or two percent of the half-trillion dollars of Iraq War funding towards covering them all. Perhaps. Yes, if we made caring for our children an act of patriotism, perhaps the Republican Party would show some interest.

But for some reason, caring for our children isn't considered patriotic, and so those children can go rot.


Healthcare in this country is broken. It is not that people make irresponsible choices: it is that there are, for many millions of people, no choices to make. When my daughter was born with a small hole in her heart, that was it -- no insurance company would cover her. I don't mean "it would have cost a lot of money". I don't mean "it severely limited our options." I mean no insurance company would touch her, period, and she went the first half-decade of her life with no health coverage at all until the requisite number of years after the hole had closed on its own, at which point insurance companies were satisfied that if they finally took our money to cover her, they wouldn't have to pay it back out to actually do much covering.

It was pot luck whether or not that hole would have, at some point in those years, required surgery. In our case the hole was small, and didn't: in other cases it is larger, and does. So for children like that, we as a nation have two choices. One, we can let them live or die depending on the precise polices of the location of employment of one or both parents at the time of the child's birth. Two, we can cover them. We can either have hospitals around the country artificially inflate the price of every syringe, every MRI, every bedsheet, and every meal to make enough money to cover those children if and when they are carried in needing lifesaving emergency treatment, or we can help those children as a basic tenet of modern civilization -- as a demonstration of what we, as a nation, want our country to be.

But Oh. My. God. What if, in covering some children, it proves a slippery slope to covering other children? How horrible, how socialistic, how akin to the worst of Stalinism that would be, to assist all children born with holes in their hearts instead of just some! What if, horror of horrors, Hillary Clinton wanted those children to live? How could we possibly support it, knowing we were on the same side of an issue as a Democrat? What if, perish the thought, somewhere some unauthorized brown child accidentally was given care? Is not the danger of that so great, and the consequences so severe, that we must not take the risk of abandoning them all, just to be safe?

What would Jesus do? Clearly, he would put up an inane posterboard slandering His enemies. He would rail against covering one million children because one hundred might get care they were not "entitled" to. He would shudder at the thought of diverting funds meant for war into funds meant for children. He would fart out some statement involving Socialism, and raise His eyebrows meaningfully, as if the mere use of the word was enough to end conversation among all rational and thinking people.

So it's not patriotic to give children healthcare. And it's not Christian to give them healthcare. So suffer the little children... literally.


What is so monumental about Representative Steve King's conflation with healthcare for children and fighting the brown people menace is not that he thought of it himself, but that it was a pre-planned Republican strategy.

Yeah, I'll let that sink in for a moment. From earlier in the month:

House Republicans quietly distributed a survey by David Winston, who is close to [House Republican Leader John] Boehner, that came to a different conclusion. It said critics of [SCHIP] can win the public debate if they say they favor "covering uninsured children without expanding government coverage to adults, illegal immigrants and those who already have insurance...." A copy of the poll was obtained by The Associated Press.

So it's not one Republican being an unsupportable ass. It's the now-standard Republican rallying cry: the only one the entire party can agree on, and the only one that acts as suitable coagulant to gel the party's ever-shrinking platform and base.

What, you thought fiscal responsibility was a guiding principle of conservatism? Then you haven't been paying attention to every single one of the last Republican administrations and Republican-controlled Congresses, budget-busters all. You think religious values or moral values are part and parcel of conservatism? Please. How many GOP-led resolutions have we seen dictating that we feed the hungry, or clothe the poor, or protect the oppressed, or treat the sick, or honor the elderly? Less than bupkis, that's how many.

Now go to any of the most popular online conservative websites and start a tally. How many posts are there condemning fiscal incompetence? How many about moral values? Now, how many are there about scary brown people doing something that needs immediate, potentially militant attention?

Take a look at the top five "favorite" conservatives of 2007, according to a survey of right-wing bloggers: Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Mark Steyn, and Newt Gingrich. How many of those folks are known for their tireless work towards fiscal accountability? For their impeccable moral values?  What about for their screeds against brown people, or people from "liberal" cities, or the dangers of immigration, etc., etc., etc.?

Fiscal and religious values have very little to do with modern conservatism, as it is put into actual practice on daily basis by actual conservatives.  Those things may be rhetorical vehicles, but conservatives themselves don't threat them as anything but just that -- rhetoric. We have tax cuts, war without cost, and titanic deficits that continue to make Reagan-era federal deficits look like child's play, and fiscal responsibility has at no point threatened to rear its head in twelve years of Congressional rule, despite ample opportunities during each session, year, month and week to have it happen. There are no sermons from figures in the conservative movement about how conservatives can best embody the spirit of the Beatitudes; Ann Coulter wears a bright and glittering cross around her neck, but her "Christianity" penetrates no deeper than that. It is decoration, not philosophy.

But pair either of those things -- fiscal conservatism, or religious conservatism -- with good-old-fashioned ideological hatred or ethnic paranoia, and you've got yourself a Republican rallying cry. Even in the most unlikely and absurdly manufactured situations. From the cynical and exploitative Point A:

House Republicans quietly distributed a survey by David Winston, who is close to [House Republican Leader John] Boehner, that came to a different conclusion. It said critics of [SCHIP] can win the public debate if they say they favor "covering uninsured children without expanding government coverage to adults, illegal immigrants and those who already have insurance...." A copy of the poll was obtained by The Associated Press.

To the unmitigated hackroscopic blusterassery of Point B.

That's right, we can't cover your children because unauthorized brown people might accidentally get some of the money. Sorry about your kids, but, you know -- BROWN PEOPLE! IN YOUR COUNTRY!

It's not even true, of course -- illegal aliens are barred by law from receiving SCHIP assistance -- but fear and fury at ethnic people is the only core of conservative values that can still generate a rallying cry, in these dark days for the supposed philosophy, and so ethnic people are made to figure prominently in every nook and cranny of conservative legislative and pundit-fueled rhetoric.


As it turns out, this initial rallying cry was all but lost in the blowback to that second attack against S-CHIP, an organized and sanctioned attack against the family of a twelve year old who dared speak out on the opposite side of an issue as the President. But this first rallying cry was equally heinous, and equally based on entirely fabricated arguments. And it's almost nice to see that, even after the slouching, venomous attacks against individual families, they never lost their original storyline either. At least there is a steady consistency in their abject falsifications.

Because God forbid we debate healthcare for children on the merits, and not on Fox News schoolyard taunts. God forbid a twelve year old be able to speak on the radio, if he contradicts our Leader. God forbid we have a conversation that does not revolve around basing every aspect of national governance on the intentional stoking of ethnic paranoia.

In debating the welfare of our own children, God forbid the Republican Party ever act like grown-ups.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Oct 18, 2007 at 03:25 PM PDT.

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