Speaker Boehner has been MIA this past week as the national conversation reaches a fever pitch regarding, not the limits, but the responsibilities attendant to free speech. The Tea Party and Wingnut media, finding themselves on the defensive, lash out at the Left's withering criticism of their violence-inciting rhetoric, filled with gun symbology and coded allusions to 2nd Amendment rights and "remedies." Boehner declined the President's invitation to attend the service for the victims of the tragic Tucson, Arizona shooting. The two Arizona senators, John McCain and John Kyl were forced by protocol to be in attendance. But their refusal to shake the President's hand spoke volumes of the true climate of incivility in Washington.
Indeed, even before the victims were buried, the extremist Right resumed its hysterical attacks on the President. Briefly, there was an etiquette breach in Rightwingville as those commentators slightly more elevated in tone — the Fox illuminatti of Chris Wallace, conservative columnists, Charles Krauthammer, darling of the Idiot Punditocracy, having coined the viral term for Obama, "a man of the Left,"(Obama is no such thing), reminding us why we call Chris Matthews, worst of the Krauthammer groupies/imitators, a man of the Idiot Punditocracy — actually praised the President's speech. For a fascinating collage of how much in lockstep even the conservative intelligentsia march — the political messaging equivalent of red killer ants on a rampage — this Sam Seder report puts their repetitive robotic messaging in high relief:
This note of high-minded unanimity on the Right toward President Obama lasted, oh, about a day. No sooner had the Fox pundits and ancillaries praised the President that the Leader of the GOP reminded them who's the BOSS. Rush Limbaugh contemptuously accused the wingnut elites of "slobbering" over the President. Even Charles Krauthammer couldn't save this one:
Here we go. Prompted by Limbaugh, his wingnut lieutenants in the paranoid blogosphere began their assault. They falsely accused the President of lying about Giffords opening her eyes for the first time, conducting a "pep rally" (see below), and most ludicrous of all, this idiot claimed the closed captioning applause lines in the Jumbotron images of the speech were White House prompts to induce the audience to unspontaneously applaud.
So now that the President's appeal for an elevated tone to the political discussion is by the boards, John Boehner is pressing forward with the largely symbolic vote in the House to repeal the healthcare law, because to table it would be to incur the wrath of the Teabaggers and a swift exit in GOP primary elections. But to go on record voting for repeal would be to risk losing the general election.
The AP headline reads: “Poll: Opposition To Health Care Reform Eases.” The more accurate headline should be: “Opposition To Health Care Reform Eases as Majorities Favor Key Provisions.” These are the AP story highlights of its AP/Roper Poll on Healthcare reform:
- Ahead of a vote on repeal in the GOP-led House this week, strong opposition to the law stands at 30 percent, close to the lowest level registered in AP-GfK surveys dating to September 2009.
- The poll finds that 40 percent of those surveyed said they support the law, while 41 percent oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, opposition stood at 47 percent and support was 38 percent.
- As for repeal, only about one in four say they want to do away with the law completely. Among Republicans support for repeal has dropped sharply, from 61 percent after the elections to 49 percent now.
And so the internals of the AP/Roper Poll (shown below) are not good news for Teabaggers and the wingnut Right pushing repeal. For one thing, the trendlines in support of the law are ticking upward, while those in opposition tick downward. The decreasing numbers from the day after the November election to 1/5/2011 opposing the law are eye-opening: 47-41. This is a statistically significant 6-point decrease! The increase in total support for it ticked up two points from 38 to 40.
The internal numbers (below) are particularly interesting. During the same time frame, those who want the law to stay as-is remained relatively stable from 20 to 19. Those who want to change it so that it DOES MORE to change the healthcare system had a significant 5-point swing UPWARD: 38-43. Those who want it changed so that it does less, up slightly from 8 to 10. Still a very small number. And those who want to REPEAL the law had a significant 5-point swing DOWNWARD: 31-26. We're getting into real HARD CORE WINGNUT/TEABAGGER BASE TERRITORY here; hardly an expression of the will of "the people."
First of all, bad news for the Tea Party and the wingnut extremists who control the Republican Party. As it becomes increasingly better understood, repeal of this healthcare reform law will BECOME LESS POPULAR. We already see it now. People whose children are covered TODAY, where only one month ago they weren't, are saying, "Hey, wait a minute; this law is HELPING us. I don't want it repealed!"
This lightbulb moment will go off in people's minds, apolitical "independents" who don't follow politics closely, thousands of times. At the same time, as we lift the scab off the extremism of the Right and the Tea Party, those who voted for Republican extremists will no longer look upon them beningnly. The Republican propaganda machine keeps repeating they are only following the wishes of the "American people," but increasingly, the "American people" are catching up with the reality that an extremist slice of the electorate that does not go beyond 20 percent does not speak for them.
Wednesday's symbolic vote in the House to repeal the healthcare law could in effect become the Republican Party's Waterloo, to flip Tea Party Jim DeMint's phrase concerning its passage. (Not to underestimate the GOP, but they're overreaching here.) It will be the Republican Party's turn to get shellacked at the polls in 2012. Beginning right here, right now with Wednesday's vote. There's nothing like taking away some really REALLY important health care benefits to concentrate the American voters' mind.