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     Right now there seems to be a certain complacency that eventually the Republican governors who are refusing to expand Medicaid even though the Federal government will be picking up the tab and their states will get more than their fair share of the money because their programs are so crappy now will eventually see the light. Never mind the free money - never mind that the hospitals are screaming for help, never mind that making poor people go to emergency rooms costs more from everyone already than just giving them insurance, never mind that getting people on Medicaid  lets them be healthier and avoid financial disaster.... Never mind that it's just human decency to run society so that becoming poor for any reason shouldn't be a death sentence. Digby has several posts (here and here) why that's just not going to work with the heartless bastards of the GOP.

   Let's use the tools they've unwittingly handed us. Let's hang them with their own words and slogans. Let's call them what they are:

     Baby killers.  

    (But let's be smart about it. More below the Orange Omnilepticon.)

Who Needs Medicaid When You Have Word Salad?

      If you've been paying attention to the Republican framing about Medicaid expansion, it's all about fear that the Feds will someday cut back leaving the states holding the bag, that the administrative costs are a deal breaker, that there are more effective market based solutions*, that the states should be left to their own solutions, etc. etc. Digby links to Douglas Holtz-Eakin with some word salad summing it up:

... A superior option would be the flexibility to address the needs of the sub-poverty populations on a state-by-state basis in ways consistent with each state’s norms.
  Digby translates:
Right. And if a state's "norms" is to let people die it would be wrong to interfere. People are different! We shouldn't inflict our values on them. Letting some Americans languish in poverty and illness and die early preventable deaths while others are allowed to have health care and security -- all on the basis of some arbitrary lines drawn up long ago --- is a perfectly respectable moral position. No biggie.
* like unicorns - often talked about, but never seen.

YOYO Worldview - You're On Your Own.

       The conservative world view is very simple: you're on your own. Your problem is just that - your problem. Expect to neither give nor receive help in this world - it's morally wrong and weak to look for help from others, from society, from government - it just creates dependency. You have what you can take and hold; screw everyone else. This goes hand in hand with an authoritarianism centered on private power rather than civil authority. What you've gotten by any means, fair or foul, is yours - you owe nothing to anyone.

      From a factual viewpoint, expanding Medicaid to cover poor people makes objective sense in several ways. It's far more effective to give people preventative care (cost-wise and outcome-based) instead of forcing them to resort to the emergency room when they have no other choice. It's better for everyone when you don't have a whole bunch of people chronically ill, unable to work, going bankrupt from medical bills. At the most basic level, it's a lot nicer than having to step over dead bodies on the sidewalks while ignoring diseased beggars. Fewer plagues, too.

       The real problem conservatives have with Medicaid expansion is the same problem they have with Medicare or Social Security: seeing people getting stuff without fighting and clawing for it offends them on a deeply spiritual level. It just doesn't make sense to them; they have a fundamentally different view of the world that colors their reactions to almost everything. They see it as rewarding failure, a sin in their world view.

UPDATE: David Atkins weighs in with more on this over at Digby's.

For GOP governors and their base, there are two kinds of people: those who deserve to prosper and be happy and those who don't. For them, the greatest injustice in the world is the taking of their tax dollars to assist the undeserving, and the removal of their private authority to abuse and exploit the undeserving.

Sometimes the definition of "undeserving" is based on race. Sometimes on gender. Sometimes on sexual orientation. Sometimes simply based on how much money one has, which in circular fashion is itself proof of one's worth. Sometimes it's all of the above. But for modern Republicans, it's about much more than just the money. It's about ideology.

Going There: Hitting Them With Their Own Words

        So, how do we respond to people who've built an elaborate series of rationalizations to justify letting people suffer and die when it's not necessary? One way is to use their own belief system against them to A) make them question their own beliefs - or at least struggle over them, B) change the framing away from the one they're using to kill Medicaid, and C) use it as a wedge to open up space for different world views. And to be effective, we have to reach them on an emotional level - because that's where they live.

       If there is one issue the Republicans have used to rally their troops and demonize their opponents, it's the right-to-life versus freedom-of-choice culture war. They've made the rights of the unborn paramount. They've elevated the rights of 'fetus Americans' to restrict the rights of women over when, where, how they do or do not choose to have children, essentially turning them into slaves of their wombs. They use it to pursue their agenda even when it makes no rational sense.

      So.... when Republicans start going on about Federal tyranny and the trap of free money, the loss of freedom at the state level to solve problems their own way, and all the other diversions from the issue of people sick and dying because they lack health care, ask them this: What about the unborn?

      What about children who have no choice about being born in the 'wrong' womb suffering because their parents don't have health insurance, not because they're lazy or made bad choices, but because of bad luck, or other reasons? How many will miscarry because of lack of care? How many will not survive birth, or will die too soon? Why should these innocent children suffer because their parents might have lost their jobs? (How does a single mother pay for health care if she can't work because she's pregnant?) And how do you justify letting this go on for one more day in hopes that somebody, somewhere will come up with an answer that might be better - just not today? How can you turn it down when the money is already there, when that will save those precious lives while you try to find a better way?

    The vaginal probe crowd has enough speech on record about the sanctity of unborn life that this should really be a hard argument for them to answer without sounding like hypocrites. It should not be hard to use their own sound bites against them. The actual hypocrites will try to change the subject or counter attack. The sincere ones may shut up or at least start to think about what they're saying. The ones who've been going along with the flow may start paying a little more attention and start thinking for themselves.

     And maybe, it won't just be about the unborn if we can use this to open up the conversation.

     When do you dump kids on their own? When do they become freeloaders on the government health care tit? What about people who have had bad things happen to them - natural disasters, plant closings, etc. Do they deserve to be punished with death and disease for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? How do the Bishops defend their patriarchal cult of the embryo over the woman, while trying to block health care for those unborn and the families around them? Why is the only choice live free or die, when it too often comes down to live free AND die in real life?

     Odds are die-hard conservatives will not be persuaded or convinced. But... that may not be the case for their followers. If we want them to accept this, demand it even, we have to do it in a way that reaches them emotionally, in a way they can understand. We don't have to be screaming and abusive about it - just insistent that they justify their own values. We might even be able to make some of them ashamed if we're deft enough. And we can do so in a way that makes life hell for their sociopathic leaders.

    What's not to like?

Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 5:56 AM PT: UPDATE: Before this diary slips out of sight, let me see if I can sum this up. The right bases much of its legitimacy on self-proclaimed moral superiority. They oppose Medicaid expansion because, as Atkinson notes, "the greatest injustice in the world is the taking of their tax dollars to assist the undeserving, and the removal of their private authority to abuse and exploit the undeserving." At the same time, they use the unborn as an excuse to restrict the rights of women (and to enshrine the power of that private authority) on moral grounds - the defense of truly innocent lives. Well, they can't have one without comprising their stand on the other. Maybe it's not enough to collapse this fortress of 'morality' they've built - but it's enough to open chinks in that armor and discredit them in the eyes of the rest of the world. What's more important to them - the lives of the innocent, or their tax dollars? That's a question for which they have no good answer.

      Of course, none of their answers for anything are really that good judging by the track record where they've been put into practice.


Using the Unborn as a wedge for Medicaid Expansion:

5%1 votes
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| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hotdamn, Renee

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:01:58 PM PDT

  •  I love John Cole. (7+ / 0-)

    John Cole:

    Anyone anywhere who votes Republican, registers as a Republican, or calls himself a Republican is quite simply a sociopath. They know what they are aiding and abetting and don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:04:15 PM PDT

    •  I've said this for a while. Stupid or sociopath. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hotdamn, xaxnar

      Either way you don't get to be my friend, let alone get in my pants.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:25:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ASDF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YOYO Worldview - You're On Your Own.
    I remember when the Prez himself coined that term. Don't understand why he abandoned it.

    2012 is looking better and better!

    by Erik the Red on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:43:10 PM PDT

  •  Fetus vs. ex-fetus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch

    The anti-choice community seems to have minimal interest in whether an ex-fetus lives or ides. The single goal is to see a baby emerge and draw breath, and then that's it.

    I also don't get the impression that they have much sympathy for babies who chose the wrong wombs. There is so much blame heaped on the parents that there's plenty left to splash over onto the children. The more they look like middle-sized children, and the less they look like a fetus at three months in utero, the less interest the anti-choice people seem to have.

  •  If conservatives lived in a rational world... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...this might work. They don't. They live in their own reality. Their answer to your question about the unborn will simply be "it doesn't happen, no unborn baby dies for lack of health care," because in their world, it doesn't. Hence the fiancee of one of my FB friends today telling me if I just keep digging into the health care law, I'll find all of those things which horrify her so, even though she won't tell me what they are. Hence another Facebook friend recommending I read The Coming Crash, a conservative polemic detailing all the terrible things that will happen if we don't eliminate the debt and deficit RIGHT NOW, because THIS book has all the FACTS, and once you read it, you'll renounce liberalism forever. Hence yet another friend of a Facebook friend, having quoted the preamble to the constitution, then responding to my question "What part of 'promote the general welfare' don't you understand" with some rubbish about the government's job is to provide you with an environment where you can succeed or fail on you own, adding - and I'm quoting (from memory) here, "you shouldn't expect the government to wipe your ass for you." (Though apparently inserting a vaginal probe is okay.) Don't expect them to respond to rational arguments.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:51:54 PM PDT

    •  So hit them with the question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "What would you do about an unborn child who will die without health care?"

      Keep pressing them on it. How many children will have to die to take care of the deficit? How many tax cuts will it take to make up for those lost lives? And so on.

      You never know if you don't try, you don't know when your words may come back to haunt them, you don't know who else might be listening - but if those words aren't said, you do know nothing will change.

      As for your friend "you shouldn't expect the government to wipe your ass for you." - ask: What if you were paralyzed by an injury you got fighting for your country? What if you broke your back as a firefighter trying to save someone?

      Maybe they won't respond to rational arguments - but if you can make them uncomfortable enough at a level they can connect to personally and emotionally, they might be driven to start thinking.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:27:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, part of my husband's COPD IS due to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        being a volunteer fireman and breathing in various sorts of crap for 20 years.

        Of course, the pack a day habit during fifteen of those years didn't help, but I don't think he'd be THIS badly off without the smoke from house fires, too.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:27:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Have you tried this out? (0+ / 0-)

    There are several Diaries in recent days from Kossacks who have convinced a family member or acquaintance of the rightness of the ACA and the wrongness of the opinions pushed by the Right.

    One of the points made is that it works best to start from a health problem among family or friends, or to begin by asking a person what is most important to them.

    Your title seems to be inaccurate. The diary is about convincing individuals. Convincing Governors is more about political campaigns, and lobbying by the medical industry looking for new business, and worried about unfunded Emergency Room care.

    Hands off my ObamaCare[TM]

    by Mokurai on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:37:37 PM PDT

    •  Haven't had a chance to do more than write this up (0+ / 0-)

      But it does tie in with several other recent diaries.

      While this diary is titled about the governors, yet is targeted at individual actions, the intent is A) to discuss the overall idea behind this approach, B) give people some tools they can use personally, and C) provide a template for broader action.

      The practical concerns you raise about the governors and what they're responding too are not to be denied. BUT.... the ideological component under it all is what's really driving it. And that's what we have to address. It's about using all the energy they've put into Right To Life issues against them.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:01:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pregnant women and most children (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, xaxnar

    are already eligible for Medicaid in Texas.

    As are the disabled and certain elderly who get joint coverage with Medicare.

    It's the childless adults who aren't being covered, and that's why the expansion is being resisted: They don't want to cover adults who -- in their view -- should get their own insurance or do without.

    Never mind that those adults are either unemployed or work at jobs that don't provide insurance.

    The poor unborn are some of the few already covered by Medicaid in Texas.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:20:40 PM PDT

    •  Which shows that the unborn... (0+ / 0-)

      ...have enough clout to be a problem for those opposing Medicaid expansion.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 03:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  politicians in the red states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, xaxnar

    have been screwing over their constituents for many decades, keeping the people poor, undereducated, unhealthy, and unemployed while getting filthy rich in the process. And they still keep getting reelected.

    They do it by whipping their base up into a frenzy of hatred against scapegoats whom they can blame for everything wrong with their lives. Blacks, Hispanic immigrants, homosexuals, feminists, whatever minority group is available.

    You can patiently explain the facts to them until the cows come home; that the politicians they so fervently support are really corporate tools who are stealing every penny they have and laughing all the way to the bank with it; that the Medicaid expansion will improve their lives and they should join us to fight for their interests against the 1%.

    And at the end of it all, they'll just look at you in blank incomprehension and scream "BUT WHERE'S HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE?!!" It's not a question of rationality. It's a question of tribalism and identity politics.

    Washington/Obama/Medicaid expansion are not of the tribe, ergo they are of the devil and responsible for everything that's wrong with the world.

    Their local politicians are real 'Merikans who look and talk and pray like them, ergo they are God's elect and their word must be obeyed without question. End of story.

    It took Arizona 17 years after the passage of Medicaid to set up its Medicaid program. What are the chances they'll take the feds' money for the Medicaid expansion anytime soon?

    If the Civil Rights Act had allowed states to opt out, Jim Crow would still be alive and well today. That's why it didn't allow opt-out, but required all states to obey that law.

    No, there's not a lot that can be done about the SCOTUS ruling to ensure that more states accept the money. It's just going to take a long, long time.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 10:48:03 PM PDT

  •  Right wingers just don't care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My boss, who is really a good guy who I like and respect is a conservative. He complained to me last year that his father, yes, his father was getting SS and didn't deserve it because he didn't pay enough into it. Let me repeat that....he said his own father shouldn't live with dignity in his final years because he didn't deserve to. That alone tells us that these people will always use the impoverished to feel superior in their own little lives, even if it is at the expense of their parents.

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