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One of the things that Campaign Managers dread is that that moment when their candidate opens his or her mouth and says something that will divert the entire arc of the campaign. We are witnessing such a moment with Sue Lowden in Nevada. By now you have seen the video of her insisting that she did not misspeak when she said that patients should barter with their doctors instead of just paying or providing their insurance.

"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"

This insane proposition has been dissected and derided all over the Web and some on cable news shows. One point I haven’t seen is that while Ms. Lowden is right that farmers and ranchers used to trade live-stock for care, the level of care they were trading for was far less sophisticated than it is today. When you could bring a chicken to a doctor, there were no antibiotics, no MRI, anesthetic was Ether for the Flying Spaghetti Monsters sake!

The real problem here is not the fact that she spouted this nonsense, it is her instance that it has any place in trying to reduce the cost of health care. It all goes back to the creeping Jethro Bodine-ism of Republican Party. You don’t actually have to be really smart to be a Senator or a Representative. You just have to be comfortable saying the same thing over and over and over and asking for money over and over and over. It is the dirty little secret that we should always keep in mind when we talk about policy.

Bodine-ism in Republicans is a complicated thing, they are often clueless, but they also have this culture they have developed where the conservative idea is always right. This is probably why Ms. Lowden and her campaign are defending her statements instead of walking them back and talking about things that don’t make her sound out of touch and more than a little insane.

Republicans are often enamored of the mythical past. This seems to be one of those times. Sure doctors in rural areas used to take barter from their patients, but in cities that time has been long, long past. It plays into the mind set of the conservatives who feel like they are losing control of their white-middle-class-Protestant nation.

If you are looking for a place to lay the blame for the Republicans coming to a point where they seem to have a ton of Jethro’s running for office, it can be fairly laid at the feet of Newt Gingrich and the GOPAC training for candidates. GOPAC has been the training ground for folks like Sarah Palin as well as the new dynamic duo in Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and AG Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli.

What GOPAC focuses on is the ability to raise money and to look good. It does not care if the Republican candidates is turns out are smart, because the GOPAC method of winning does not require a smart legislator, it just requires a good sound bite artist. The assumption is that once they are in power they will follow the lead of the national Republicans and the conservative movement.  

The problem is the inmates have taken over the asylum. The smart Republicans have pretty much been driven from their party or retired and now we have the likes of Mike Pence who even though the lie has been completely debunked insists that the Financial Regulation bill is a permanent bail out bill.

It seems to me that Majority Leader Reid has caught a real break with Ms. Lowden’s barter statement. It is going viral on the internet. This is because she has played into an accepted stereotype of modern Republicans, that they are out of touch with the realities of health care in this nation, that their ideas are all about taking us back not forward and that they are pathologically unable to admit to a mistake and make it right.

In five months or so we might be looking back as this moment as the one where Harry Reid went from being an almost certain loser in the fall to being able to keep his seat, even though he shepparded a insurance reform bill that was very unpopular in his state through the Senate. It will also be another example of Republican Bodine-im in action.

The floor is yours.

Originally posted to Something the Dog Said on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 06:33 AM PDT.

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