CommunityPam's House Blend

Joan Walsh on takedown of town hall winger: 'God bless Barney Frank'

That's the editor of Salon praising the Massachusetts Congressman for being one of the precious few to figure out that these crazies at the town halls showing up and babbling nonsense about death panels, internment camps should be called on the carpet, not avoided, for being out of touch with reality. In Frank's case it was a woman declaring health care reform a product of a Nazi President Obama.

God bless Barney Frank. His outburst at a "town hell" protester who accused him and Obama of supporting "Nazi policy" spread virally around the Web early Wednesday and expressed a lot of liberals' head-splitting frustration. "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" he countered, to lots of applause. Frank called it "a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated," and closed by saying: "Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."

On "Hardball" today, Politico's Ken Vogel suggested Frank's outburst might help the right, but I said I saw the opposite: That Frank's frank talk might embolden liberals to counter lies with truth: The idea that some delusional young woman in Massachussetts (reportedly a Lyndon LaRouche supporter) can accuse a gay Jewish congressman of supporting Nazi policies is reprehensible ignorance, and Frank responded with perfect pitch. Here's our Hardball discussion:

In related news: The dumbest statement of the day didn't come from Frank's town hall critic in Massachusetts; it came from the White House, where an unnamed "senior White House advisor" told the Washington Post that the administration just doesn't understand the passion for the public option among liberals. "I don't understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," said the clueless senior White House adviser. "We've gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don't understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform."

I wasn't aware that supporting the public option was the sole obsession of "the left of the left." After all, Obama himself has been touting it as the best way to reduce costs and increase competition in the health care arena.

So it's abandon ship over at the "clueless White House" even though candidate Obama has know for way too long that public option is not some idea that the "left of the left" only favors. When described to the average person, a majority of Americans favor the concept. They know this. What they don't want to admit publicly is that the deal crafted behind closed doors with the entities with the most to lose – insurance companies, Big Pharma, etc. — is something we aren't privy to.

If he caves to the insurance industry and kills it in order to get something, anything passed – as clearly, many of his advisors think he ought to — taxpayers will be left holding the bag for a wildly wasteful expansion of private insurance coverage, and Democrats will ultimately pay.

Welcome, progressives, to the world of "wait" and "compromise". Unfortunately the LGBT community didn't receive a welcome wagon greeting either. We have an IOU.

Previous post

Trying Not To Overstate Things In The Afghan Elections

Next post

If Progressive Members of the House Think We'll Accept Co-Ops as Public Plan, Think Again

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding