Afraid of the Base

Remember about 12 hours ago, when we posted that Ezra Klein interview of Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, debunking the death panel insanity, and some of you called him honest and straightforward? You might want to take it back:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today denounced comments made by President Obama and his spokesman regarding Isakson’s alleged connection to language contained in the House health care bill on “end-of-life counseling.”

Isakson vehemently opposes the House and Senate health care bills and he played no role in drafting language added to the House bill by House Democrats calling for the government to incentivize doctors by offering them money to conduct “end-of-life counseling” with Medicare patients every five years.

In for a penny, in for a pound. There is simply nothing these guys will not lie about, and they have no problem reversing course hours after publicly stating something completely different. The facts are just optional with these guys. They just don’t care if they tell the truth, they are not ashamed to lie at will, and no one in the media will hold them accountable.

Isakson is up for re-election in 2010, and he knows how wingnutty the base is. He has to play to the Palin wing or he will get primaried. That is how crazy the GOP is these days.

Isakson on the floor of the Senate here.

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100 replies
  1. 1
    TR says:

    Yep, I was the first to praise him, and I’d like to be the first to take it back. Unbelievable.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    I think a lot of these people still believe that nobody writes down what they say, and they can safely say one thing in the village and another back in the home district.

  3. 3
    Meyer says:

    The lesson here is simple.

    Forget bipartisanship. It’s over. Pass the best bill you can and then bury the bastards.

    I was opposed to killing the filibuster. No more.

  4. 4
    JK says:

    I guess Isakson got a phone call from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Glenn Reynolds, the real leaders of the Republican Party.

  5. 5
    jwb says:

    @MikeJ: Do we have any evidence that they can’t?

  6. 6
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Gah. Just…sigh. I used up all my fucks in a previous thread, so I got nothing left to say.

  7. 7
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    If the basest of bases is as strong as this would imply, I’m thinking maybe Sarah Palin will be the republican nominee in 2012. Yaaay!

  8. 8
    JR (not the other JR) says:

    Meanwhile, down the road from Mr. Isakson: Black congressman’s sign defaced by swastika

  9. 9
    TR says:

    Good Lord — Isakson used the phrase “end of life” five separate times during his interview with Klein, and now he’s holding it in scare quotes like the very phrase offends him.

    I pray to God that Ezra has that interview on tape.

  10. 10
    JenJen says:

    Gawd, what a day. So much wingnuttery, so little time.

    I can’t even begin to understand these people. Watching Keith Olbermann now:

    Claire McCaskill: “I believe global warming is real.”
    Crowd: “Boooooooo!”

    Arlen Specter: “I believe President Obama knows he’s an American.”
    Crowd: “Booooooo!”

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    Technically, I suppose, it’s true he had nothing to do with language drafted by House members, since he’s a senator. But good grief, such carrying on. You’d think Obama slashed the tires of his Lexus sedan and then set his garage on fire, rather than toss the guy a compliment, for Pete’s sake.

    I’d like to think that at least some of these guys can be counted on to do decent things in private, and that things will go smoothly as long as they’re not called out on it. But I’m not holding my breath.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    Do we have any evidence that they can’t?

    We’ll see if the people he’s trying to fool back home accept his backtracking. And of course if anybody other than the DFHs notice.

  13. 13

    @John Cole

    In for a penny, in for a pound. There is simply nothing these guys will not lie about, and they have no problem reversing course hours after publicly stating something completely different. The facts are just optional with these guys. They just don’t care if they tell the truth, they are not ashamed to lie at will, and no one in the media will hold them accountable.
    Isakson is up for re-election in 2010, and he knows how wingnutty the base is. He has to play to the Palin wing or he will get primaried. That is how crazy the GOP is these days.

    Fuck it, go to town with this. Play up the interview in Georgia and say that it proves that he’s just a RINO and in bed with the Obama administration. Say that the interview shows that he wanted to throw real, conservative Republicans under the bus so that he could be popular with the liberals in the MSM. Feed the Georgia B&B crowd (Birfers -n- Baggers) as much raw, red meat as you can so that they’ll put up a challenger to Johnny Isakson in the primary and then watch Johnny twist in the wind.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    There are two Americas after all, just not in the way John Edwards envisioned. Let sane America have affordable, quality health care, and let insane America pay 110% of their salaries on junk insurance. Oh, and lets make sure all their value meals are supersized.

  15. 15
    JK says:

    @asiangrrlMN:
    I have a few fucks left that you can use.

    @JR (not the other JR):
    Instadochebag Glenn Reynolds won’t say a damn word about the swastika

    @JenJen:
    The wingnuts are getting crazier and more deranged by the nanosecond. Of course, these are fine, upstanding folks according to Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds.

  16. 16
    JenJen says:

    Who, exactly, does this kind of talk persuade? Wouldn’t you already have to be a complete fucking nutbar to not be deeply disgusted by this?

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/.....e-protest/

    [blockquote]“Why are we bankrupting this country for 21 million illegals who should be sent on the first bus one way back from wherever they come from. We don’t need illegals. Send them home once. Send them home with a bullet in their head the second time. Read what Jefferson said about the Tree of Liberty — it’s coming baby.”[/blockquote]

    “It’s coming baby.” They should all be ashamed for co-opting Thomas Jefferson just to express their tiny penis jerk-off “Let’s kill all the liberals and illegals” mass-murder fantasies.

    Has today been a shitty day, or what?

  17. 17
    JenJen says:

    And…. I still can’t code for shit. But you get the idea.

  18. 18
    nikita says:

    Not to go off topic or anything. I don’t know if y’all saw this post by Nate Silver over at 538. I know that readers of this blog don’t need this but I what the heck, he does a neat job of explaining the difference between single payer and nationalized healthcare – with cute pictures and everything! I’m definitely sending this link to a couple of people I know.

    Check it out: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com.....alike.html

  19. 19

    They don’t call them the party of fear and smear for nuthin’. The only difference now is anyone and everyone can be a target, even southern right wing Senators who don’t tow the Rush/Pal line every waking minute.

    We have some of that on our side as well, in the form of round firing squads, but the argument is always rational.

    These are people who not only see their political ideology slipping away into the sands of history, but also their personal identity as the rightful creators and rulers of their country slipping away as well. Dangerous thing when people lose that, or perceive such.

    And to top off the perceived insult to injury, the black sheriff is smart as a whip, and coated with teflon. So it’s out with the crazy glue and whacko memes to make something, anything stick. And if you ain’t with us, we’ll glue your ass to the RINO whipping post.

  20. 20
    MattR says:

    Technically, Isakson is right that as a Senator he had nothing to do with the House ammendment to a House bill. His statement then tries to distinguish his (good) Senate ammendment from the (bad) House/Obama ammedment. I haven’t read the language of either ammendment, but I would be willing to be that they are a lot more similar than Senator Isakson’s statment would have us believe. Ya think?

  21. 21
    jwb says:

    @MikeJ: Either the people back home will accept his backtracking or he’ll be defeated in the primary by someone even more wingnutty. In no event will he be held accountable.

  22. 22
    flounder says:

    Ha ha. When I first saw that moment of clarity from the otherwise insane Isakson, I knew it wouldn’t be long before he reverted to normal. You all should have known better.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @ Wile E. Quixote / 8:14 pm

    I live in Georgia, and I would so work for Isakson’s primary opponent. (And then work twice as hard for the Dem in the general.) (Yes, I know it’s pretty much a futile gesture.)

  24. 24
    Lesley says:

    Town Halls for sane, reasonable, normal Americans.

    Clown Halls for the GOP.

    I loathe the media for giving any of the mouth breathers air time and pretending they’re ordinary folk with reasonable demands and questions when they’re nothing but bile-filled lunatics.

  25. 25
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @JK: Fanks. I need a ton of them. Kthxbai.

  26. 26
    jwb says:

    @JK: Do we have any real measure of the size of the wingnuttery and whether it’s increased or decreased in size recently?

  27. 27
    p.a. says:

    Know how American business is criticized for only looking to the next quarter/next report when forming policy, forsaking the long view? What about Republican leadership (aka Digby’s BIG MONEY BOYZ). What kind of party, what kind of gumint can they expect to run with these whack jobs in the vanguard? Didn’t the period from Schiavo to the 2008 election show the BMB’z this isn’t working? Isn’t there someone there trying to put the cork on the bottle? Even given the assumption the leadership consists of craven cynics, can anyone really look at this and think ‘yup. Long term, this is the way to roll. This will work out well.’

  28. 28
    mcc says:

    So I am trying to follow Isakon’s explanation of how it is that he wrote the Senate end-of-life provision but opposes the House end-of life provision.

    Isakson… played no role in drafting language added to the House bill by House Democrats calling for the government to incentivize doctors by offering them money to conduct “end-of-life counseling” with Medicare patients every five years. Isakson also strongly opposed the House bill language calling for doctors to follow a government-mandated list of topics to discuss with patients during the counseling sessions.

    By contrast, Isakson took a very different approach in July during the Senate HELP Committee hearings on the Senate version of the health care bill. Isakson’s amendment to the Senate bill says that anyone who participates in the long-term care benefit provided in the bill – if they so choose – may use that benefit to obtain assistance in formulating their own living will and durable power of attorney.

    I’m trying to figure out what the difference is here. This seems like some really fine hair-splitting but maybe I just don’t understand the specific thing being discussed. So the difference he’s trying to point to is that the house provision “offers money” to doctors for end-of-life care, but the Isakon amendment allows patients to “obtain assistance” in obtaining end-of-life care? Might that assistance be… money?

    I’d be very curious to see the exact text of these two provisions, so I can see exactly how much or little sense Isakon’s distinction makes. The HELP bill is publicly available somewhere, I think, but was that before or after committee amendments such as Isakon’s were added? Is the House bill publicly available at all?

    If it’s any clue, I think this is the Isakon-cosponsored bill Obama was referring to in the remark that set Isakon off:

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, the — I’ve seen some of those signs. (Laughter.) Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for “death panels” that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t — it’s too expensive to let her live anymore. (Laughter.) And there are various — there are some variations on this theme.

    It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, et cetera. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready, on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything. This is I guess where the rumor came from.

    The irony is that actually one of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican — then House member, now senator, named Johnny Isakson from Georgia — who very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people’s options. And somehow it’s gotten spun into this idea of “death panels.” I am not in favor of that. So just I want to — (applause.) I want to clear the air here.

  29. 29
    lyleleander says:

    Someone got a few panicked calls from their campaign staff reminding them of exactly what you said– You piss on Palin-ism, you’re pissing into a hornet’s nest. And in Georgia, no less.

    Anybody who didn’t see this coming as soon as they read the quote has been living under an Alaskan-sized rock for the last year.

  30. 30
    Tax Analyst says:

    asiangrrlMN said:
    “Gah. Just…sigh. I used up all my fucks in a previous thread, so I got nothing left to say.”

    I haven’t used too many today, so I think I can loan you a couple. You may have to straighten them out a little first, though. I recall throwing them around quite freely on quite a few occasions.

  31. 31
    mcc says:

    Graugh, html fail. I forgot that for some reason multi-paragraph blockquotes on this site screw up.

    Please use your power of IMAGINATION and pretend that in my previous post, the paragraph beginning with “By contrast, Isakson took a…”, the paragraph beginning with “It turns out that I guess this arose…”, and the paragraph beginning with “The irony is that actually one of the chief sponsors of this bill…” were all in blockquotes.

  32. 32
    jwb says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: “We have some of that on our side as well, in the form of round firing squads, but the argument is always rational.”

    I wouldn’t go that far (we have our nutcases as well), though we we don’t tend to carry real bullets.

  33. 33
    Tax Analyst says:

    OH…I see that JK beat me to it, asiangrrlMN, but if you still need a few more, help yourself.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JK:

    I’m guessing death threats, myself.

  35. 35
    wilfred says:

    I commented about this strategy the other day. It’s really the only play they have.

    Homelanders are gutless and stupid. Didn’t we see enough of that in Clinton’s successfule race/religion baiting campaign against Obama? The voters she attracted are hearing the dog whistles now. Ecce Homelander.

    Talk any kind of nonsense or truth – deny it when it suits your purpose – but stay in the game. If things go south domestically, pick up another 10% of people willing to look past the crazies.

    It’s disgusting, but it’s not stupid – it’s more like Battle of the Bulge factionalist politics.

  36. 36
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Tax Analyst: I’ll take ’em. I have a hunch we haven’t seen the end of crazy yet.

  37. 37
    gex says:

    @JR (not the other JR): And in the comments someone is already suggesting the swastika was painted there by a liberal to damage the anti-reform movement. Unbelievable.

    I’ve had it with the right in this country. I don’t know what Cole saw in the Republicans. I was 10 when Reagan was elected, and my whole life this is what the Republicans have really been about. They used to talk a better game, and they used to hide these guys better, but it was plain as day to anyone paying any attention.

  38. 38
    JK says:

    @jwb: I don’t about the size of wingnut America, but I think intensity of emotion has certainly been increasing thanks to incurable loons like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Glenn Reynolds.

    Dumbest Wingnut I’ve Seen Today

    “Scare tactics is Rachel Maddow taking the first ten minutes of every show this week to denounce them and call them names and talk about Astroturf. […] The real terrorism going on is MSNBC and the liberal media” – Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation.

  39. 39
    JK says:

    I meant to say Dumbest Wingnut QUOTE I’ve Seen Today

    “Scare tactics is Rachel Maddow taking the first ten minutes of every show this week to denounce them and call them names and talk about Astroturf. […] The real terrorism going on is MSNBC and the liberal media” – Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @wilfred:

    Didn’t we see enough of that in Clinton’s successfule race/religion baiting campaign against Obama?

    I’m pretty sure Clinton lost the primary campaign, which is the opposite of “successful,” no?

  41. 41
    SpotWeld says:

    Okay.. this is starting to get weird.
    The Bush admin was just as crazy when it came to far right nonsense. (Defense of Marriage Act for example.)

    But I don’t recall the GOP having to go out and re-herd its members like this.

    One of the biggest things that the GOP had going for itself was its ability to maintain and consistent party-wide message.

    What changed?

    Have the really gotten that nutty all of a sudden?
    This isn’t really that much more dumb than “drill baby drill”?

    So, why are these breaks in the armor appearing now.

    Are they actually being swayed by the message of their constituents?

  42. 42
    Demo Woman says:

    @JenJen: All you have to do is use < instead of [..@SiubhanDuinne:
    GA is an open primary so you could always vote for Johnny’s opponent. The way Isaakson has been voting, his opponent can’t be any worse.

  43. 43
    wilfred says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The strategy was successful enough for her to rack up enormous margins of victory in many states, enabling her argument about numbers of voters, you may recall.

    Had she not used that strategy, she would not have garnered so many votes and, imo, would not have leveraged them to become SOS.

    IIRC, a lot of of people thought that strategy was pretty stupid, too.

  44. 44
    jwb says:

    @JK: Agreed, there’s a lot of energy, but they are also getting a lot of attention, which sort of increases energy by default. I also imagine that attention translates to some extent to identification, so it wouldn’t surprise me if polls showed an uptick in the wingnuttery, but I’d love to know if the numbers have in fact moved much.

  45. 45

    @jwb:

    I wouldn’t go that far (we have our nutcases as well), though we we don’t tend to carry real bullets.

    The bullets are real, The guns metaphorical.

  46. 46
    JenJen says:

    @Demo Woman: Thank you!! I always get my < and my [ confused. :-)

  47. 47
    Tsulagi says:

    He has to play to the Palin wing or he will get primaried. That is how crazy the GOP is these days.

    Yep.

    Which in a way is kind of funny. To survive their primary, they gotta go outraged teabagging birther/deather level loony otherwise their Idiocracy base will tell them they talk like a fag and their shit is all tarded. But right after that in the general they need to appear minimally intelligent and sane if they want to win. However when they do that they piss off their base. Plus it’s so blatant and obvious they lose respect among sane Republicans and independents. It’s a Catch 22 for these dumb bastards. See McCain, John.

    I think the Republican base is at least as much responsible for Democratic election wins as the D-candidates themselves. Think some of the Ds just win by default. When the choice is between a screeching spittle spraying loon in the image of The Base or the other guy, better than even odds the other guy wins.

  48. 48
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    I said no such thing John. :)

    I knew he would flip-flop as soon as I heard what he said. There is no way a Georgia (R) politician would stand behind that statement, no f’ing way. Not with the industrial strength stupid they home brew there.

    Southern (R)’s have spines of spring steel when attacking DemoncRats but their base can quickly turn that spring steel into a Slinky when necessary. Fortunately for them it returns to spring steel upon resumption of attacks the on the DemoncRats.

    Hey! The (R)’s are Decepticons! Where’s Optimus Prime and the Autobots when you need them?!

  49. 49
    jwb says:

    @SpotWeld: When Bush was President, they were in power so they could communicate to the faithful by winks, even if they seemed to say something that seemed contrary to the faith; now they are out of power, and the faithful has had their faith challenged, so they have to perform acts that assure the faithful that they are who the faithful insist they be.

  50. 50
    kay says:

    I called my hard-right House member’s local office and left a polite message that I hoped he’d support reform, and left my name and number.
    A really young-sounding person called me back, and I have an appointment with that person tomorrow. I have a hearing across the street, so it’s not all that much of a sacrifice going out there, full disclosure.
    I’m curious if they’ll defend this face to face. I know a little about advanced directives and living wills, I know, for example, they are encouraged in my state, and my House member used to be in that same statehouse.
    I want that young, serious Republican who called me back to defend this nonsense, one on one, without Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh feeding him lines.

  51. 51
    steve s says:

    “August 11th, 2009 at 8:37 pm Reply to this comment
    asiangrrlMN
    @Tax Analyst: I’ll take ‘em. I have a hunch we haven’t seen the end of crazy yet.”

    You aren’t going to see the end of the crazy. Ever. Especially not during the reign of B-Rock “The Islamic Shock”. I remember the Clinton years. The crazy was there all eight years.

  52. 52
    Calouste says:

    @JK:

    Pinkerton, eh? Domestic terrorism?

    The New America Foundation doesn’t seem to be that wingnutty looking at their website.

  53. 53
    mcc says:

    @SpotWeld:

    One of the biggest things that the GOP had going for itself was its ability to maintain and consistent party-wide message. What changed?

    It had leaders before, now it doesn’t? Worse, it has four or five sorta-leaders who are all jockeying for position against each other, meaning that instead of unifying the message the leadership layer is actively splintering the message.

    I can think of a couple other problems, among them * They have no message to stay disciplined on, except the same messages they’ve had since the 80s, and all those messages have been proven unworkable by their own actions when they were in power * They were in power before, now they weren’t. They were winning before, now they’re losing. It’s a lot easier to get everyone to keep their head down and go with the flow when everything’s working than it is when everything is on fire.

  54. 54
    Jim in Chicago says:

    General Winfield Stuck

    “…the black sheriff is smart as a whip…”

    THAT’s the part that has them so pissed off. The rest is window dressing. The veil has been lifted off of the “Southern Strategy”: the people Nixon sought to appeal to are almost all the Republican Party has left — plus single-issue abortion voters and rich fucks who only care about upper-income marginal tax rates (never mind that they actually make more after taxes during economically productive Democratic administrations than during economically mismanaged Republican ones). Not exactly a working majority outside of the South and the Mormon belt.

  55. 55
    steve s says:

    “I think intensity of emotion has certainly been increasing thanks to incurable loons like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Glenn Reynolds.”

    Talk radio is all about emotion. The reason the Southern Strategy pulled the nuts into the republican party 40 years ago but they’re just now taking over is that for most of that 40 years the wingnuts didn’t have the technological ability to raise and sustain daily outrage. With talk radio, the Internet, and Fox News, they do, and are.

  56. 56
    Alien-radio says:

    is there such a thing as a metic to measure wingnuttiness?

    How about drawing up a list of wingnut dog whistles and counting the frequency in articles via google news?, you could measure the frequency of different terms against each other, say obama birth certificate or vince foster and see how they change over time and volume of repitition would show intensity of crazy.
    different terms could even be put into differant classes, like, crazy, stuid or godwin

  57. 57
    Jason says:

    @mcc: Great stuff. So, the argument here is:

    1) He actually did co-sponsor the bill as a Rep., and would have an “alleged connection to language in [it]”

    2) He’s on record, recently, w/ Ezra Fucking Klein reinforcing that language as necessary and desirable;

    3) Obama’s statement correctly noted (1) and only sought to highlight the short history of much less charitable interpretation than (2);

    4) This idiot goes with the “It wasn’t me” defense?

    Am I getting this right? Despite an overwhelming amount of public evidence to the contrary, he’s claiming he has nothing to do with the language of any bill even remotely associated with the concept?

  58. 58
    Demo Woman says:

    @kay: Cool!
    When they say that you will be able to buy insurance across state lines, ask how that will help. Also ask what provision they would have to prevent larger insurance companies buying out smaller ones.

  59. 59
    steve s says:

    @Tsulagi: LOL. “There’s that fag talk we talked about….”

  60. 60
    Deborah says:

    It’s not clear that this has much win for Repubs, though, especially Senators who have a whole state of disparate groups to potentially piss off. As MikeJ notes, it’s possible to pull the Senator’s words and interviews out come election time; his pretense that they never happened will just make him look silly. The more time they spend before the primary tongue-kissing Palin and tying themselves to every nutjob out there, the more craziness to tie to them in the general election campaign. Take the guys who apologized to Rush–Rush has a hard-core base but even in Georgia I don’t think it’s 50% of potential voters.

    I do agree with the folks upthread: the Rs went all in on hysterics, so pass the best damn bill you can and let your people run on the results in 2010 and 2012. We voted in Dem control of House, Senate, and Presidency because we want you to get shit done. If the Rs can’t contribute anything but “Death Panels! Soylent Green!” hysteria, move on. And then play those “Soylent Green is Peeeoooople! Palin said so!!!” clips for the election.

  61. 61
    kay says:

    @Demo Woman:

    I only have a half hour. There’s a conservative-stalwart law firm on the same block. I want to ask the young Republican staffer if all the probate lawyers in that building drafting living wills are grandma killers, because they’re all drafting them.

    It was really interesting how vehemently he denied that the GOP were blocking reform, so the Party of No thing must have some potency.

  62. 62
    jcricket says:

    Georgia was less than 5% points (IIRC) from Obama winning. Montana was around 3%.

    Do we think that time is best spent converting the wingnuts? Or converting another 5-10% in the middle?

    You can’t ignore the wing-nuts, but responding by trying to smear them or whatever won’t work. Our heart isn’t in it. We’re awful at, for example, finding obscure provisions in large bills that we can twist to “support” an argument that Senator X supports turning puppies into shoes for illegal immigrants. You simply cannot out-crazy them, because we are not crazy, and the few crazies on the “far left” are far too tiny a group to be useful even if we tried.

    Obama’s “calmness” is a much, much better response. No matter what his answers, he comes out sounding sensible to 75% of the population, which is more than enough. It’s a far better, more sustainable version of Rove’s strategy, actually. You don’t have to win over everyone, just enough to win. It helps that demography and facts are on our side, natch.

    I do think some tighter messaging (as was evidenced in today’s town hall) the whole time would help, instead of waiting until things get out of control and then addressing things. But otherwise, I think the soundest strategy is staying on message, being seen as rational, helpful, compassionate (for realz, not bush-like). Oh, and never backing down or giving in. Compromise with these fools is worthless.

  63. 63
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I’m doing the one thing that makes me feel something other than helpless outrage over this crap.

    I just left a message on Isakson’s office voicemail expressing my disappointment with his backtracking on this issue.

    And then I promised to donate $50 to the Georgia Democratic Party as soon as I hung up (I’m doing that now), and another $50 to his opponent in 2010. Oh yeah, I also promised to encourage every person I know in Georgia to work for his opponent next year.

    I’m doing this to every GOP hack who takes a high-profile position encouraging or caving to the nutter camp.

  64. 64
    jcricket says:

    @Jason:

    Am I getting this right? Despite an overwhelming amount of public evidence to the contrary, he’s claiming he has nothing to do with the language of any bill even remotely associated with the concept?

    Yes. SASQ.

    When you are uninterested in whether or not your policies work, whether or not your ideology lines up with facts, whether or not you help or hurt people, the world, etc. you can get pretty damn creative with your responses to questions.

    Democrats, being largely constrained by reality and some modicum of decency (or just being wimpy), are at a big disadvantage in this fight.

    Republicans think we’re in the WWE, while Democrats are participating in a amateur wrestling match.

  65. 65
    jwb says:

    @Jim in Chicago: I would just add that we’d be facing peak wingnut even if it was a white guy who was President. Wingnuttery would manifest itself differently, to be sure, (and the full bankruptcy of Nixon’s Southern strategy has become evident precisely because Obama is the guy in the White House); but the crazy always finds a reason to believe that the current Democratic President, whoever it happens to be, is the worst ever and is going to rain destruction down on everything that is good and true about America (this attitude goes back to at least Roosevelt, though his wingnuts weren’t primarily Southerners). Because any Democratic President poses this existential threat, wingnuts also feel no compunction about lying if they believe it will serve their ends.

  66. 66
    Barbara says:

    His statement is literally true. Isakson’s proposed language would have MANDATED end of life counseling. Democrats thought that was too harsh, so they substituted his amendment with language that made such counseling voluntary. Thus, he can claim that he had “nothing” to do with the actual language that is in there. There is dishonesty and then there is rank hypocrisy. You can accuse him of the latter but not the former!

  67. 67

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Wow. I don’t get to have nearly as much fun being represented by Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and a real Muslim.

  68. 68
    Left Coast Tom says:

    “al Qaeda” == “The Base”. Or vice-versa. Just sayin’.

    @55 (steve s):

    Talk radio is all about emotion. The reason the Southern Strategy pulled the nuts into the republican party 40 years ago but they’re just now taking over is that for most of that 40 years the wingnuts didn’t have the technological ability to raise and sustain daily outrage.

    The nuts have been taking over for years. They started in the ’90s by taking over GOP central committees at the local level, and have ever since moved their way up the ladder.

    To me the real surprise is that the Country Club Set funded the nonsense for so long, knowing full well where it was headed. It’s almost like the GOP had it’s own “today we party for tomorrow we die” mindset.

  69. 69
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    When they say that you will be able to buy insurance across state lines, ask how that will help when the same thing was done for companies offering credit cards and all that ended up doing was eliminating usurious credit card rates and individual state regulation. Also ask what provision they would have to prevent larger insurance companies (or shell companies owned by insurance companies) buying out smaller ones. Ask if one state could become a haven for insurance companies to operate from, similar to South Dakota or Delaware, allowing them to offer an inferior product at exorbitant rates with few or no options to shop elsewhere.

    Fixed.

  70. 70
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Oops, change “eliminating” to “allowing”.

    Fix de edit! :)

  71. 71
    mcc says:

    @Jason: That sounds about right, one note though, the link I gave was to a situation where he co-sponsored the bill as a Senator. I would be curious whether he co-sponsored any similar bills as a representative as well, as Obama’s statement seems to be saying.

  72. 72
    kay says:

    @jcricket:

    I agree with you. I’m not going to yell at the staffer. Our telephone conversation was pleasant, mostly because he was breathlessly denying blocking reform and I wanted to put him at ease. I was taken aback at his nervous denial of what I see as something obvious.

    I’ll be elaborately polite. I have to live and work here, unlike GOP House members, who get to say all kinds of crazy things, with no repercussions. I can’t run around screaming like a crazy person.

  73. 73
    Llelldorin says:

    @Jason:

    Am I getting this right? Despite an overwhelming amount of public evidence to the contrary, he’s claiming he has nothing to do with the language of any bill even remotely associated with the concept?

    Yes. Read recent posts on slacktivist to see the media’s attitude on calling a deliberate and mendacious misrepresentation of fact “a lie” to understand why it’s quite likely to work just fine.

  74. 74

    Listen closely to Isaakson’s speech from the Senate floor. Not only did Isaakson endorse a durable power of attorney for end-of-life decisions he said it should be MANDATORY for Medicare recipients to fill one out when they apply for benefits. Not given the OPTION to have one made but it should be REQUIRED. Ruh roh. That sounds like another mandate from the Federal gummint to me.

  75. 75
    gizmo says:

    Could we establish a derivatives market for wingnuttery and somehow trade in it and make some good money?

  76. 76

    […] Ascended balls: U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today denounced comments made by President Obama and his spokesman regarding Isakson’s alleged connection to language contained in the House health care bill on “end-of-life counseling.” […]

  77. 77

    @gizmo: Monetizing wingnuttia? Now THAT is some ch-ch-change I can believe in!

  78. 78
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @gizmo:

    Could we establish a derivatives market for wingnuttery and somehow trade in it and make some good money?

    The problem is we need to find people willing to bet that we have Peak Wingnut. John can’t be the counterparty for all of us.

  79. 79

    @kay:

    Please report on your visit! My rep is pretty much the ideal Congresscritter, which saves me a lot of time & aggravation but doesn’t give much opportunity to *influence* him, because he almost always does exactly what I would like.

  80. 80
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Hey, I never said I was a constituent.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    @Doctor Science:

    Thanks. I won’t be able to influence him. He ran as a moderate, based on his father’s moderate record, and name, incidentally, but he isn’t. He wrote a blatantly dishonest op-ed about the energy bill, where he used Heritage numbers rather than CBO numbers.

    I will tell you what the staffer says, absolutely.

  82. 82
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Good for you!

    I encourage you to take a copy of the bill with you. When the staffer spouts a talking point, ask him or her to show you exactly where that appears in the bill.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I’m actually just curious if he’ll defend this bizarre and senseless attack on “advance directives”, which is what this heretofore completely uncontroversial consultation is called in my state.

  84. 84

    @Left Coast Tom:

    The problem is we need to find people willing to bet that we have Peak Wingnut. John can’t be the counterparty for all of us.

    That’s true if we’re trading futures, but options are more fun. I’m willing to sell you a Wingnut call, but I’m only going to do it at an extremely high implied vol. Think internet startup a half hour before the bell with an earnings release at 5pm and tomorrow is expiration. That sort of implied vol.

  85. 85

    @Zuzu’s Petals: Yeah, but I live next door to Michelle Bachman’s district, and I don’t feel like banging my head against that wall.

  86. 86
    gnomedad says:

    @JenJen:

    And…. I still can’t code for shit. But you get the idea.

    Arguably, you got a better result than if you’d done it “right”.

  87. 87
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Yes, it’s interesting that Isakson was quick to point out – the first time – that such a measure is designed precisely to give people control over their own lives and health decisions. Not the insurance company, the hospital, or the doctor.

    And oh yes, the measure specifies that the choices include a choice for full treatment … just like every other advance directive.

    I don’t understand why the individual control factor is not brought up more. Like Isakson first said, it’s the opposite of govt interference.

  88. 88
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Well me either, really. I just donate money.

    If it comes down to it though, I guess I’d do phone banking against a really skanky candidate.

  89. 89
    buggy ding dong says:

    I’ve said it a million times: Republicans are terrified of their base; Democrats are terrifed of the Republican’s base.

    You can’t have bipartisanship with crazy people.

  90. 90
    geg6 says:

    kay: Go get ‘im. In the most polite and logical way possible. Make him embarrassed to be lying to you. Because he will undoubtedly lie. I wish Altmire would have a town hall, but he won’t. But he keeps getting emails from me. And I’m going to the Specter/Sestak forums at Netroots Nation, so I hope to see what the people who we can count on think is going to come out of this mess.

  91. 91
    Perry Como says:

    8/7 Deathers for Truth!

  92. 92
    Comrade Darkness says:

    And in the comments someone is already suggesting the swastika was painted there by a liberal to damage the anti-reform movement.

    Take heart that they still realize it’s a screwed up thing to do and want to pass the buck (as usual). Really need to worry when they start taking credit when they don’t know who did it.

  93. 93
    jcricket says:

    Yes. Read recent posts on slacktivist to see the media’s attitude on calling a deliberate and mendacious misrepresentation of fact “a lie” to understand why it’s quite likely to work just fine.

    There’s a new movie coming out starring Ricky Gervais in which it posits a world in which no one can lie, at all, even about the most trivial bullshit. So the man (Gervais) that discovers lying, can quite literally, get whatever he wants (everyone else being constrained by reality).

    Republicans are Ricky Gervais. We are the truth-tellers, so to speak.

  94. 94
    jcricket says:

    I don’t understand why the individual control factor is not brought up more. Like Isakson first said, it’s the opposite of govt interference.

    There is nothing that Republicans won’t at least attempt to spin into SOCIALISM, ZOMG! GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER! WILLIE HORTON! BROWN PEOPLE! INVADING MUSLIMS!

    Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zip. We cannot inoculate ourselves.

    I think we need to be done with the idea that we can. Done with the idea we can convince 100% of people. And done with backing down or compromising.

    Say what we believe, stand up for it, and get enough people on board to make it happen. Enough people respond positively to that type of behavior we can continue to win elections (and as importantly, continue to pass progressive legislation).

    And maybe, just maybe, the press will catch on if Democrats refuse to bend over and take it.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @SpotWeld:

    One of the biggest things that the GOP had going for itself was its ability to maintain and consistent party-wide message. What changed?

    It’s just the continuation of what we saw in the primaries — the GOP is succumbing to stress fractures along its fault lines. Over the decades the party became an amalgam of northern bluebloods, southern racists, western populists, confused and unemployed midwestern blue-collar workers, and religious extremists, united by little more than fear. Fear can be a pretty strong glue — this mishmash of often conflicting interests has pretty much held together for a good 40 years now — but it can only do so much.

    @John Cole:

    He has to play to the Palin wing or he will get primaried. That is how crazy the GOP is these days.

    I really have to wonder how much of Isakson’s walkback is nothing more than kabuki, for the sole purpose of playing to his constituents. There’s an awful lot of window dressing in politics — news to no one here, but the explanation behind Isakson’s apparent lunacy might be as simple as this. It makes all of us in the lefty/left-of-center blogosphere point and laugh at him, but what does he care? And his colleagues in the House and Senate might roll their eyes at his words, but they know that tomorrow they might do something — or, as in Isakson’s case, have something happen to them — that might get them in trouble with their constituents, and they’ll have to do something to make nice with them, no matter how goofy it may appear to the rest of us.

    I have as much fun as anyone else generalizing about Republicans, especially in their current phase, and castigating them accordingly, but the fact is that they’re human too, with all the attendant complexities. Given the evidence, I have no problem believing that Johnny Isakson can, at least upon occasion, work in good faith with his Dem colleagues on specific issues and produce results that are beneficial to the common good. And I can easily imagine that, following the President’s remarks in Portsmouth, Isakson thought, “Oh shit, the guy just blew my cover on national TV. Now I have to go say something all silly-assed in public. Swell.” It doesn’t make him look any less ridiculous for having said what he did, but if I were to find out that this was exactly how things went down, I wouldn’t be surprised. A little relieved, maybe, for the sake of his basic dignity, but not surprised.

  96. 96
    Morbo says:

    They want a soundtrack for his speech over at D-kos? I nominate Fear Factory’s “National Panel Beating.” It’s death-ish metal; it’s got “panel” in the name; it even has halfway appropriate lyrics (“I am a tool”).

  97. 97
    Da Bomb says:

    I said yesterday, that I was shocked that he was being truthful.

    I definitely walked that back. I have to place in the tribe of
    Republican Slackjaw Cavemen that is slowly.

    Every time I watch those GEICO commericals with the cavemen, that “I see Republicans”.

  98. 98
    Da Bomb says:

    I hate there is no edit function.

    Editing my earlier comment, “I have to place Iskason in the tribe of Republican Slackjaw Cavemen that is forming fairly quickly.”

  99. 99
    Dar says:

    You’re really not surprised about the 360 turn-about, are you? I know I’m not. What we need to do is stop talking about, writing about these do-nothings. We should have learned by now that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is going to stop them from telling lies, inciting hate, or opposing everything this administration tries to do.
    Here is what is needing to be done in this “debate” about healthcare. The everyday people who are for hcr need to get up, get out and be heard. Go to a local townhall. Call or visit your senators and house reps. If they are for hcr then call and thank them. Write an editorial in your local paper. Get the REAL information on hcr out there in the public. Remember if you go to a townhall do NOT get in a shouting match with the oppostion. Bring flyers, show your support. Stand tall, proud, stand your ground in an intelligent and calm way. The POTUS gives us an excellent example on how to get your point across. I believe intelligence will win out in this matter.

  100. 100
    Serena T. Nao says:

    Oh, for cryin’ out loud, when will idiots like Isakson shut up and go away?!

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  1. […] Ascended balls: U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today denounced comments made by President Obama and his spokesman regarding Isakson’s alleged connection to language contained in the House health care bill on “end-of-life counseling.” […]

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