11
Jul
13

And herein lieth the problem…

Cross posted on The People’s View.

Erstwhile journalist McKay Coppins had a HILARIOUS tweet regarding the Farm Bill passed by the GOP-led House:

The inside-the-beltway humor would be amusing save for one thing: the GOP bill excised all funding for food stamps from it, which normally makes up 80% of the spending in any agriculture bill. Families barely making it with that assistance are now facing a bleak summer. Will the House take up SNAP funding separately? Will Speaker John Boehner cobble together a coalition with Democrats to make sure that families aren’t starving on the streets of the world’s only superpower?

Oh, of course, these are rhetorical questions. Yet all the same, they are pertinent, and deserve some type of, if not answer, then an explanation.

Mr. Coppins’ “humor” is illustrative of a disease which infects the corridors of power—or at least those corridors inhabited by the GOP and their media enablers. Call it “lack of empathy”, call it the “I got mine screw you” syndrome. If you’re waxing Christian, call it “lack of charity”, or, perhaps, the more direct and appropriate “greed”. It is the same disease which seemed to have had Ari Fleischer in its grips when, upon a tax deal raising revenue from those earning more than $400,000, which also limited how much one could deduct from one’s taxes for charitable donations, tweeted that he and many like him would cut back on those donations. Because charity begins and ends in his accountant’s office.

It is a disease which has had a long gestation. It’s been infecting the American body politic at least since the accession of Ronald Reagan to power. But, in fact, it has always been festering in our history, from the landing of the Puritans to the Prosperity Gospel so popular now among certain sectors, which claims that God’s greatest goal for his believers is for them to become stinking rich. (That part about the poor inheriting the earth must have been a typo at the printer’s.)

The idea of social justice and the idea of social Darwinism have fought it out to an uncomfortable stalemate for most of our history. From the 1930s to the 1960s, justice had the upper hand. After that came the reaction which led to Nixon, Reagan, Bush père et fils, and the Tea Party vomiting of 2010. If you can’t feed yourselves, to paraphrase the words of a well-known work cataloging this illness, you had better get to dying to decrease the surplus population.

We are now on the cusp of, possibly, another swing back towards social justice. Barack Obama has struggled mightily, with often scant help, to re-orient the country to the idea that we’re all responsible for each other, that no man is an island, and that we’re only as strong as our weakest member. It is, quite frankly, a Herculean task, which flies in the face of better judgment and experience. As McKay Coppins’ tweet illustrates, those who are supposed to be informing the public are likewise infected with the disease.

But it may be the most important work we do in this generation. Yes, the midterm elections are of vital importance. But unless we inexorably change the mindset of more and more of our fellow citizens, we’ll fight the same battles over and over, with losses and reversals which affect not only people’s lives, but determine whether or not they live. The midterms are a step on a long journey; the ending of it has to be a society in which expressions such as Mr. Coppins’, and actions such as those of the GOP-led House, are not only disdained, but unthinkable. We’re engaged in not a mere political battle, a tussle between competing ideologies which tire people who are too busy just trying to lead their lives. We are, without exaggeration, in a battle for the nation’s soul. Will an inclusive, expansive vision hold, or will we descend into 21st century serfdom, where only a few enjoy the benefits of the Republic, while the majority are mired in struggle?

That the GOP garners so many votes from people who are harmed by their policies is merely the proof of its pure cynicism, plying its base with fears of the Other coming to take “their country”, while the party does more to destroy the idea of America than any immigrant, gay man, or African American has ever even thought of. I don’t know if we can reach that base; it might be lost for another generation. The only thing we can do is to build a winning coalition which will continue to win elections, change the country bit by bit, until the GOP and its masters are consigned to history’s dustbin. Anything less and what’s happening in Texas will be the condition of the country, not the exception.

McKay Coppins’ tweet is a symptom of the disease infecting the country. If we want to live in a country worthy of its ideals, we have to administer the cure.


110 Responses to “And herein lieth the problem…”


  1. July 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    A couple days back, there was this interaction…

  2. 18 Nena20409
    July 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Tally, Congrats on Your Gold ;)

    Here’s Jay “Clark Kent” Carney…..I have just posted it on the last thread.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=KhL_c5k1unM&list=UUYxRlFDqcWM4y7FfpiAN3KQ&feature=player_detailpage#t=3s

  3. July 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

  4. 25 Layla
    July 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    So eloquently stated LL, as usual!!!!!! TY

  5. 26 Dudette
    July 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

  6. 27 Dudette
    July 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Great essay LL! Of course, I’d expect nothing less from you Sir! :-)

  7. 29 Dudette
    July 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

  8. July 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    House Republicans Pass Bloated Socialist Monstrosity………

  9. July 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Extraordinary piece….LL….This is the money line for me!!

    That the GOP garners so many votes from people who are harmed by their policies is merely the proof of its pure cynicism, plying its base with fears of the Other coming to take “their country”, while the party does more to destroy the idea of America than any immigrant, gay man, or African American has ever even thought of. I don’t know if we can reach that base; it might be lost for another generation. The only thing we can do is to build a winning coalition which will continue to win elections, change the country bit by bit, until the GOP and its masters are consigned to history’s dustbin. Anything less and what’s happening in Texas will be the condition of the country, not the exception.

    *****************************************************
    they are blinded by the racist notions that are fed to them by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh…I do not know how we break thru…but we must….and then on the other side is the so called PL with their own racist notions…

    it is hard to remain hopeful in the face of such dire circumstances…but then I think of King…Tubman….Douglass…Mandela…and our beloved PBO….and know that ……I am the change I seek….

    I must keep on my marching shoes…and move Forward>>>>

    • 33 catrst
      July 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      You have said the most important thing just now. Nothing ever gets done by cynics. Only those who dare to dream and work for that dream make the universe better. Barack Obama is a miracle as far as I am concerned and we got him into office twice. We should not be surprised by the push back. People who abuse power do not stop easily. They know not what they do but we do and can be the change we seek. LL summarized what that change looks like and what is the basis of that effort, love, honor, justice, hard work, and competence.

      • 34 theo67
        July 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        Excellent. As LL so eloquently said: we are in a fight for the very soul of this country.

        “We are, without exaggeration, in a battle for the nation’s soul”.

    • 35 majiir
      July 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      “They are blinded by the racist notions that are fed to them by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh…”

      I see this everyday here in my part of GA, Pf. Just mentioning PBO’s name brings out the racism and the crazy, and one of the reasons it does is because every medium here is anti-Obama. Every one of them. There’s very little truth-telling or focus on republicans’ obstructionism. Even the poorest of the poor, whom PBO wants to help the most, hate him. These folks can keep telling the lie that they don’t like PBO because of his policies, but the fact is to them, his race matters more than anything else. They refuse to admit that it’s possible for a Person of Color to be competent.

  10. 37 Nena20409
    July 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Brilliant Post LL. You have a way of simplifying things. Thank you.

  11. July 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    If it doesn’t make juicy political news, DC people like Coppins don’t give a crap.

  12. 39 Nena20409
    July 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Prior to the 1990s…..print reporters earned closer to average middle class worker. Today……TV and many reporters are paid very well that most of them have Never been closer to the lives of average Citizen.

    Attending parties, vacationing with one another and their kids going to the same school are their preoccupation. Hence the disconnect. A growing many of todays print Journos in DC have multiple media jobs. Pundits are paid well. keeping their Large homes are their concerns not the condition of average Americans.

    • 40 theo67
      July 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      There are plenty of well-to-do people who still care about their neighbors. The lack of regard for their fellow man is a fundamental character flaw for these reporters. It’s not tied to their salaries. They’re just corrupt and heartless.

      • 41 Nena20409
        July 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

        I agree generally. But To know one is to Love, understand, hear and empathize with one. These people No Longer see many Americans. Out of Mind, out of sight is more like it.

  13. 42 dotster3
    July 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

  14. 44 Nena20409
    July 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Please those who Tweet….help Us spread these C-SPAN best of…….These are all TBGOPers about the Senate Rules…… and when it needs to be changed.

    • 45 Nena20409
      July 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Note the repetition of the 41 senators stopping the Will of the People. That Election of a GOPer POTUS was what counted…….Please someone tweet that to Dana Bash of TeaNN.

  15. 46 Layla
    July 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    WASHINGTON — Beginning a third week holed up in a Moscow airport’s transit zone, Edward Snowden finds himself far enough away to evade U.S. authorities, but also too far from any of the sympathetic nations willing to shelter him. Aviation experts say that even if Snowden accepts the tentative offers of Venezuela, Nicaragua or Bolivia to give him shelter, it’s virtually impossible to chart a flight plan to those nations that doesn’t include traveling over or refueling in a U.S.-friendly country that could demand inspection of the plane – and detain him.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/10/196362/trapped-an-air-escape-from-moscow.html#.Ud9DJ9zD9Xp

    • 47 theo67
      July 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      I thought earlier reports today had him nearly landing in Cuba via Russia tactics? Was that wrong?

    • 52 majiir
      July 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks, Layla, this is just what I’ve been thinking would happen. Snowden is trapped. He and GG thought when he fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, it would allow him more choices of countries to settle in. It’s done the exact opposite, leaving Snowden stuck in a Russian airport hotel. I want all of those who have been saying that the U.S. is weak under President Obama to kiss me where the sun doesn’t shine. Idiots. I’m sick of their uneducated BS. They don’t know what they should know. Some on the left are as bad as the tea partiers because they jump on bandwagons without having all of the information they should have about a person/incident. They fall for stupid mess all of the time, just like the tea partiers.

      • 53 theo67
        July 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

        Indeed – President Obama can afford to wait him out, and even if he finds shelter somewhere, that country has more to lose than to gain. With each day, Snowden becomes less valuable. They forgot that the title “Leader of the Free World” isn’t complete rhetoric.

  16. July 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Evening TOD. Enjoy your daily dose of Idris Elba…lol

    • 67 majiir
      July 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      What now, Corbett? I remember when the president and DOJ announced the federal government wouldn’t continue wasting tax money defending DOMA, you’d have thought it was the end of the world for republicans. What does a RW bigot do when his own AG refuses to defend PA’s gay marriage ban? When Michael Thurmond was our AG and refused to sign on to the anti-Obama-care lawsuit, our RW governor chose another lawyer, and GA, along with all of the other states, still didn’t get the Supreme Ct to reject the employer or employee mandate.

    • 68 jackiegrumbacher
      July 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Pf, THIS is the woman I want to take on Pat Toomey in 2016. She is fearless, she is popular and those who have met her say she is very charismatic in person. Please, please,run, Kathleen. Now the PA legislature has to decide whether it will give Corbett the $s to hire a private attorney to defend ban. More to come….

  17. 69 lockewasright
    July 11, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Why did the cowboy want to adopt a dachshund?

    So he could get a long little doggy.

  18. 80 Nena20409
    July 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Jeff Merkley on Thom Hartmann talking about the Filibuster and the need for change.

  19. 81 Dudette
    July 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm

  20. 83 Dudette
    July 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

  21. July 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Senator Reid has called an ‘All Senators’ meeting for Monday, 15 July, 6p ET and said all his team will be present. Looks like he’s actually going to act to end #GOP obstruction in the Senate. We don’t have long to know if this is yet another take it to the edge and then back down moment.

    In the spirit of LL’s very fine essay (yet another!!), suggest everyone provide as much support for Senator Reid and the Dems to do the correct thing and halt GOP obstruction-by-filibuster.

    #FORWARD Together

    • July 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Yes We Can

    • 91 majiir
      July 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      I think the major reason Sen. Reid hasn’t made a full-throated call for using the nuclear option before now is because he still views the Senate as a body in which a gentleman’s word is his bond. The reason he’s seriously considering the nuclear option now is probably because he knows McConnell’s word doesn’t mean a thing. McConnell made and broke the same agreement with Sen. Reid at the very beginning of the 112th and 113th sessions of Congress, and maybe he’s had enough. I sure have. Rand Paul is Example #1 of why we need filibuster reform in the Senate, and Kirk is Example #2. Rand Paul has vowed to block President Obama’s nominee to the FBI until he gets the info he wants about the FBI’s drone use. He could do this by scheduling a meeting with FBI officials, but no, he wants to draw attention to himself. Kirk had the audacity to say that the D.C. Court doesn’t need to fill three vacanc-ies. What both of these tools want is to stop President Obama from doing what all other presidents have done, and it’s wrong. I’ve read Article I of the Constitution, and there is nothing in it that gives members of the senate any other power over a president’s nominees that the ability to approve or reject them. Republicans in Congress want to bring the government to a standstill only because they haven’t won the WH in the last two presidential election cycles. This informs me that for all of their claims to be America’s greatest patriots, they’re not, but they are the nation’s worst domestic terrorists, imo. No true patriot would undermine/destroy his/her own government simply because his/her political party doesn’t control all three branches of government.

  22. 93 arapaho415
    July 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks to TOD for posting tweet from @MViser, Boston Globe about Elizabeth Warren-John McCain resurrecting Glass-Steagall (YESSSSSSSS!).
    Here’s an update:

    “The bill sponsored by Warren along Senators John McCain, an Arizona Republican, Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, and Angus King, a Maine independent, would separate traditional banks that offer checking and savings accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from “riskier financial institutions.” The latter category includes companies involved in investment banking, insurance, swaps dealing, hedge funds and private equity, according to the lawmakers’ statement.”

    The hubris of the WJC administration thinking that history didn’t matter (i.e., The Great Depression) is still galling to me.

    Also, love that this bill is sponsored from coast-to-coast (Maria Cantwell, Washington state and Angus King, Maine).

    I think this is the one bill that would really make a difference between now and 2014 elections (any bills passed by our reprehensible House will be garbage–not much chance of that happening, though).

    • 94 0388jojothecat
      July 11, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      McCain probably is for because he knows the House won’t pass it……waste of time. Lets see if McCain is for it after 2014.

  23. July 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    So I was on my way to work early one morning this week and since I”m NOT a morning person, I was tired as hell and ready for the day to be over and I hadn’t even made it to my car to get to work. So as I was approaching the parking lot, I see this dude that I see most morning on his way to work as I’m on my way to work. I noticed him cause he was in a volunteer firefighters uniform and he was cute! So anyway, as I approach him, his back is to me and as I pass him and he turns around I notice he’s holding something in his arms and I realize it’s a newborn baby!!! He was rockin’ him to sleep in his arms I guess. Man, I swear, I felt the frost on my ovaries melting LOL! It was too sweet. Don’t worry though, I got over it…lol.

  24. 98 carolyn
    July 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Today my husband and I were talking about the LOD interview with Sarah Slayman. My husband had a good question: “Where are the men who should be speaking out? They’re being cowards and leaving it all to the women.” I SO appreciate my husband for saying that! I was thinking the same thing. It took THREE Texas Rangers to carry out that small woman from the hearings…..my, my, wasn’t that brave!!!!!

    Finally one man is speaking out, and that man is former President Jimmy Carter. He held a conference at the Carter Center last week and discussed this very thing…..the vile treatment of women, and stated that men are using RELIGION to enable them. He actually went there.

    He said there are religious doctrines that “contribute to political, social and economic structure where political leaders passively accept violence against women.” and he came right out and named Christianity as one of those religions. He frankly acknowledged politicians’ cowardice and the “great aversion among men leaders, and some women leaders to admit that this something that exists, that it’s serious, and that it’s troubling and should be addressed courageously.” I found this at Politicususa…….(I don’t know how to bring links here.)

    More men need to step up and say this. With all the courageous women, men just look like wusses and cowards, hiding behind the women’s skirts.

    I also learned that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention because they would not ordain women, not allow women to be deacons. I think I had heard that previously, but this also was included in the article.

    • 99 jackiegrumbacher
      July 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      As always, Carolyn, Jimmy Carter speaks truth. He was telling us the truth about climate change when he was president and no one listened. Now we’re bearing the price. By the way, I share your inability to link. It’s embarrassing.

    • July 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      I saw a clip of what former Pres Carter said today. It made me think of my Mom who passed away this last February. Prez carter was her all time favorite President.

  25. 101 Jovie
    July 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    And Chips likes this!

  26. 103 vitaminlover
    July 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Jay ‘Clark Kent’ Carney is terrific.

  27. July 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    They’re all obsessed with their President!

  28. 106 arapaho415
    July 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Infuriatingly enough, Booz-Allen will suffer no repercussions from GG’s manipulations of #Snowden.

    The Pentagon has absolved Booz-Allen of any responsibility for #Snowden’s treasonous actions, and will (no doubt) continue to award them more lucrative contracts:

    • 107 99ts
      July 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      So a young guy gives up the rest of his life so media pundits like gg can attack the black man in the white house – and the company that gave the information to Snowden and GG will be rewarded for their stupid.

  29. 108 amk for obama
    July 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Sooo, did harry do the nuke option or not ?


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