As the health care reform bill inched closer to passage in the U.S. Senate a last week, several Republicans started to behave like petulant children.
Rhetoric has been heated and nasty—on both sides to be fair—for the last several months, but reached a new low as the bill cleared two procedural hurdles along party lines Dec. 22.
Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said America should pray that a senator misses the late night vote on the health care bill.
The Huffington Post and other liberal blogs interpreted Coburn’s remark as a reference to the 92-year-old Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who has been brought to the Senate floor in a wheelchair recently and has been ill for several months.
In other words, it was interpreted that Coburn, who is a medical doctor, was asking for prayers that Byrd die, thus robbing the Democrats of the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster.
Coburn denied he was talking about Byrd. But even he’s telling the truth, he was certainly wishing something unfortunate would happen to a Democrat.
That’s still mean-spirited and personal—too personal.
In an attempt to distract everyone from that putrid remark, the GOP spin machine with the help of Fox News immediately jumped on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., for obliquely calling Republicans racists.
On the Senate floor, Whitehouse said, “The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militias and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist.”
Maybe Whitehouse could’ve picked a better place and time to say what he said, but he was telling the truth.
Of course, not all Republicans in the House and Senate are in step with the tea party folks and those packing guns to public appearances by first candidate and now President Obama but some do smolder with resentment.
Remember South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson of “you lie” fame. That was nothing short of a bald-faced attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency by showing contempt during a joint session of Congress.
How about another South Carolinian, Sen. Jim Dimint, who said killing the health care bill would be Obama’s “Waterloo.”
During the town hall craziness this past summer, a number of Republican officeholders made appearances at tea party rallies.
It’s not helpful for either side to hurl personal attacks at the other when this country is in such dire shape.
It’s a given that the political philosophies differ. That’s always been the case, but the venom wasn’t there just a couple of decades ago like it is now.
The GOP bears most of the blame for the current state of affairs. They never attempted to sit down with Obama even after he opened his arms to them.
Their complaints are illegitimate because you can’t complain when you did nothing to find a solution.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)