Wingnutism as an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Along with not being able to control their fear/loathing of women, wingnuts also are decidedly knee-jerk when it comes to government social programs. So it is that some Republican Senators (Rand Paul, LIndsey Graham, Jim DeMint, and Mike Lee) have trotted out a new plan to “save” Medicare by destroying it.

Dana Milbank writes,

If you’re thinking of answering this in the affirmative, you might want to pause long enough to learn what transpired on the third floor of the Capitol on Thursday. There, four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement. …

… For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises.

And in an election year, too, although I don’t know if any of these four is up for re-election this year. Rand Paul isn’t, of course.

DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast.

The plan is to scrap Medicare and enroll seniors in the health care plan for federal workers. Exactly how this would save money is a mystery to me, although Rand Paul says it would save Medicare $1 trillion over ten years, a figure I assume he pulled out of his ass. It’s possible he doesn’t appreciate that adding all those seniors to the federal group insurance plan would drive up the cost of the federal group insurance plan.

At Thursday’s news conference, Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times pointed out that the lawmakers were proposing to do with Medicare almost exactly what President Obama’s reforms do for non-retirees: Direct them into private insurance with a subsidy for those who need it most.

Paul was flummoxed. “Uh, anybody want to comment on that?” he asked, producing laughter in the Senate TV studio.

DeMint gave it a try. “Medicare’s already set up as a government program, so we’re beginning to privatize with this idea,” he said. He said his plan takes Medicare recipients “out from under that manipulative umbrella of the Democratic Party.”

I’ve seen primary exit polling that suggests many seniors vote for Republicans because they believe they will “save” Medicare from the evil President Obama, who wants to “cut” it. Of course, the opposite is actually true. The President is trying to keep the program as it is but keep it solvent by putting tighter controls on payments to providers. On the other hand, all of the GOP candidates, including Mittens, have endorsed some variation of the Paul Ryan Medicare-killing plan. But a big talking point with them is a promise to maintain the current program for people already on it.

Now Rand, DeMint et al. are challenging the candidates to go even further Right on Medicare than they were already, which would be a disaster for whichever one of them is in the general election. That they couldn’t contain themselves and wait until after the November election to make this proposal makes them all look even more like lemmings than they did already.

Related: “The Case for Crazy.” John Avlon argues that the best thing that could happen to the GOP is to nominate Rick Santorum and lose in a historic landslide in November.

If Mitt Romney does finally wrestle the nomination to the ground, and then loses to Obama, conservatives will blame the loss on his alleged moderation. The right wing take-away will be to try to nominate a true ideologue in 2016.

But if someone like Rick Santorum gets the nomination in an upset, the party faithful will get to experience the adrenaline rush of going off a cliff together, like Thelma and Louise—elation followed by an electoral thud.

Part of the delusion that is “movement conservatism” is the belief that a large majority of the American people agree with teabaggery, and that only a fringe of elitist liberals stand against them. A teabag candidate sinking like the Titanic might wake some of them up, and might also be a warning to the small group of gazillionaires underwriting this nonsense that there’s a limit to what their money can buy, even in the age of Citizens United.

26 thoughts on “Wingnutism as an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  1. Dey can’t hep theyselves.

    They are @ssholes.
    They think like @ssholes.
    And expecting them to do anything but @ssholish things, is like expecting a pig to stand up on its hind legs and sing the “Queen Of the Night” colaratura aria from “The Magic Flute” at The Met – ain’t gonna happen!

    And they think the rest of us are as @ssholish as they are, ’cause the only people they surround themselves with, and the only ones they’ll ever listen to, are fellow @ssholes!

  2. “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast.

    Funny how it never seems that you’re in too much of a hurry to let them hear the truth about what you’re doing. Are you expecting them to find out on their own? I suppose that’s likely, what with personal responsibility and all.

  3. It would be pretty to think that a Santorum nomination followed by a colossal defeat would get through to some of these wingnuts, but I have to say I doubt even that would do it.

    There was a lunatic fringe of the GOP that never got the message from Goldwater’s drubbing, and they’ve been fuming and working and mythologizing ever since, and now they are in control of the party’s ideology. A similar electoral drubbing will merely confirm their paranoia and sense of oppression, not force them to re-assess their world view. This cause has been underway for 50 years, and thought that the world was too liberal BEFORE the Civil Rights Act and all the progressive changes since then.

    I was shocked to hear Phyllis Schlafly on Diane Rehm’s radio show the other day. Yes, Phyllis Schlafly, who hasn’t learned a THING in 87 years on the planet, still walks the earth, and she was happily trumpeting all the entire Santorumist anti-woman nonsense. They are ENTIRELY IMPERVIOUS to reason, or self-awareness, and a little thing like a historical electoral defeat won’t change that.

    It’ll take about 30 seconds for them to decide the election results are a result of massive Democratic election fraud, in combination with the media, of course.

    It will make them even MORE fanatical, in the same way that the historical economic disaster following 8 years of GOP financial mismanagement is now somehow for them proof of how bad government regulation is.

    I worry because I think it’s pretty ugly now, and my imagination of what it will be like when they lose in November is scary.

    • They are ENTIRELY IMPERVIOUS to reason, or self-awareness, and a little thing like a historical electoral defeat won’t change that.

      You’re right, but it might drive them underground for a couple of decades.

  4. “A teabag candidate sinking like the Titanic … might also be a warning to the small group of gazillionaires underwriting this nonsense that there’s a limit to what their money can buy, even in the age of Citizens United.”

    I live in fear that, in fact, there’s NO limit to what their money can buy. I worry that it doesn’t matter how crazy the Republican candidate — that if there’s enough money behind him, even someone crazier than Santorum could win.

    I’m so effing frightened for my country right now. Can someone talk me down, please?

  5. J.T.
    I wish I could.
    We’re at a tipping point.
    They’re pushing to redo voting requirements in their favor, because they know the demographics will soon sweep over them like a tsunami, unless they can rig the vote.
    They’re trying to change Medicaid, Medicare, and SS, while they still have some chance.

    It’s quite simple:
    If the Republicans win the Presidency and the Congress in this 2012 election, we’ll be on our way to being ‘The United Dominionist Christian Corporatist (read: Fascist) States of America.’ And the Democrats will be kept around just so the right has someone to kick around – like a party of Emmanuel Goldstein’s (see 1984).

    If they win the Presidency, but lose both houses, they’ll have to depend on the Red Dogs Democrats (I call them that, because there isn’t anything “Blue” about them) to help them – and that’s not at all unlikely.
    And the remaining, not Red Dog, Democrats will live to fight another day.

    If Obama stays President, but has a Republican Congress, he’ll spend the next 2-4 years vetoing really idiotic legislation.
    And the Democrats live to fight another day.

    If Obama wins, and has a split Congress – he, and the other Democratic house, will spend the years fending off stupidity – especially if the Republicans keep a decent majority in the House.
    And the Democrats live to fight another day.

    If Obama wins, and has a small Democratic majority, the country may be able to advance.

    If Obama wins, and gets enough of a majority, the country could make some major advances (see Obama’s first 2 years).

    That’s why pissing off the women the way they have been for the last few weeks is such a stupid strategy.
    And so is antagonizing seniors, with this Medicare and SS talk – if the MSM covers this correctly – which is a big “IF!”.

    The Republicans have almost 8 months to lie, cheat, and figure out how to steal this election. And the MSM, ever desirous of a ‘close horse race (for ratings and selling advertising purposes), will do their best to keep it close.

    And finally – never underestimate the stupidity and ignorance of the American public. They have proven time and time again, that they will vote against their own best interests, if enough “wedge issues” are brought to the forefront.

    Sorry, I wish I could assuage your fears…

    Oh, and here’s the ultimate night time horror story:
    To paraphrase the great Steve M – ‘The worst Republican President in history, is the next one.’
    Sleep tight…

  6. Since 2 of the 4 are from the state I live in, I can tell you about their re-election prospects:
    DeMint has said he’s not running for re-election, so he can pretty much do whatever he wants (not that he hasn’t been already).
    Graham is mostly liked by moderates and independents in the state, but he faces a certain primary challenge from Tea Partiers who think he’s not conservative enough. Teaming up with DeMint and Paul for something extreme like privatizing Medicare would go a long way toward silencing those critics. He doesn’t have to worry about a more moderate or Democratic challenger because, frankly, even with two years’ advance notice the SC Dems are unlikely to find one.

  7. Yet another reason to hope Romney gets the nomination. He’ll lose in November anyway, and I’d LOVE to see the GOP go through this all again in 2016.

  8. I gotta give Ross Perot one thing: he knew how to explain issues visually, but his persona was ineffective at presenting his facts with dramatic impact. How any of the complex information on insurance/Mediscare will get out in a way the general public can understand is the problem. If the public trusts Obama to have their best interest at heart, he can probably do 10 minutes as a teacher with an overhead projector show and beat the Republicans into the ground. If he just tries to be exclusively inspirational, though, he will be ground up by Republican “facts” invented to sell their delusions.

  9. Fascinating. First, Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan is a menu of private insurance plans which meet the federal guidelines, (including non-denial of pre-existing conditions). As a mailman, it’s my insurance, admimistered by BCBS of Florida. My portion is about $175 per month. My employer, the USPS kicks in a bunch more. I have a point – stay with me.

    The USPS has floated a plan to cut red ink and a major feature of the plan is to LEAVE the FEHB and become self-insured. Their argument is that by cutting commercial insurance out of the deal and self-administering, they can save 7 billion per year. Medicare is a self-insured program, with administrative costs at about 5%, compared to commercial insutance 15%+. While I don’t trust the USPS to run health insurance, I can see how they are tempted to get OUT of the very plan Ryan would put seniors INTO.

    Bottom line – the USPS study and plan from last year came to the OPPOSITE conclusion of the House teabaggers. Self-insured, which Medicare is, is less expensive than commercial, which is what FEHB is.

    I have other thoughts on what’s driving this, which I will post separately.

  10. If you study the origins of Medicare, the problem was that commercial insurance could not and would not offer insurance to seniors at reasonable rates. The problem is one I am observing to my dismay as I approach 60. As you get older you have more health problems and they tend to be more expensive. A LOT more expensive.

    There’s about 35 million seniors, and about 3 million civilian federal employees. So the rates that are being charged now would be completely wrong. Ten seniors for every federal employee means the rates for federal employees would rise dramatically. BCBS needs to run the numbers. But my guess is that the INTENT of the proposal is to sabotage federal employees and Medicare. Cute.

    • Doug — interesting stuff about the USPS. But yeah, I have no idea how these guys think this plan will save money. It makes no sense.

  11. “DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014”

    Yeah the thing that drives me crazy is that us democrats make the argument that the wing-nuts want to leave grandma out in the cold, no medical, no SSI, no nothin. Democrats should argue not that the wing-nuts don’t believe in the social safety net they just want their buddies in big insurance, big pharma, investment hedge-funds and big healthcare to make some big bucks off these programs. They don’t necessarily want to end SSI, they just want to get their greedy mits on the money so they and their cronies can take their taste, like the mob. Arguing that they want to end these programs is a loser, because they don’t want to end them they want to privatize them, big difference and I wish us liberals would start framing the argument correctly.

  12. “It makes no sense.”

    There was an interview with Roosevelt and Churchhill shortly after the US entered WWII. The press was confused by a joint statement that the Allies would not consider anything less from Germany than unconditional surrender. It seemed undiplomatic to take the discussion of a negotiated settlement off the table. The statement wasn’t intended for anyone but Joe Stalin, to discourage Russia from being tempted to negotiate a settlement, because we needed the second front to divide the German army.

    What’s that got to do with this? We haven’t figured out who the audience for this announcement was. If you figure out who the real audience for the announcement was, it will make sense. The Tea Party? I haven’t seen any dollar signs to indicate the Koch Bros are trying to revive the Tea Party, and the last Pew poll in Nov showed support was was down, even in their strongholds. For the House TP freshmen? I’m sure they loved the idea of privatizing Medicare under the premise of transferring it to a different federal program. But it can’t pass in the Senate, nor would Obama sign it. So this is an issue that the Koch Brothers want the GOP House to campaign on? Looks like a way for the GOP to lose elections. Is it a political diversion to get the conversation OFF contraception and social issues which remind moderates what they dislike in the GOP?

    If Romney actually takes a stand AGAINST this proposal, that was the ploy, to provide an issue where Romney could show his integrity by going against Ryan and Demint to save seniors. Because he has to have some excuse to appeal to tbe center. The anti-Obama crowd is in the bag for whoever is nominated. But how can Romney overcome the growing distrust with moderates? Whip up a phony fight over an issue dear to seniors? Might work.

    • If Romney actually takes a stand AGAINST this proposal, that was the ploy, to provide an issue where Romney could show his integrity by going against Ryan and Demint to save seniors.

      Such thinking requires a certain amount of intelligence and subtlety. However, this is mostly Rand Paul’s baby, and not only is Rand Paul dumber than a truckload of hammers, I don’t know that he’d do anything to help Mittens. And neither is DeMint famous for his subtle intellect. I suspect Graham is smart enough to know this is a stupid idea, but he’s trying to buff up his far-Right bona fides to help him win re-election.

  13. Yeah, I agree – too subtle.

    Just chalk it up to the usual suspects – Stupid, Greedy, and Uncaring.

    “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast…”

    If people ‘actually found out the truth about what you’ve been doing,’ and planning, before this, there would currently be more Green Party members in Congress than Republicans.
    Up ’til now, you’ve been smart enough to hide behind wedge issues like racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia, so I guess we should be thankful that you’ve finally decided to be open in your craven drive to screw people while enriching yourselves and your cronies – and decided to listen to those noted intellectuals, Jim DeMint (LOL!) and Rand Paul (ROFLOL!).

    The American people are stupid, but I don’t think they’re THAT stupid!
    Still, one never knows, do one?

  14. I admit to being paranoid, but I think there is a group pulling the strings on all the major players in the GOP. Originally, the pizza guy had the financial backing of tbe Koch Bros and network backing of Fox. He imploded Fox, Norquest, and Koch don’t seem to have lined up behind Santorum. So they accepted Romney, and they are looking for a way to use him to defeat Obama.

    There are IMO, some big-time strategists behind the curtain trying to get the clown car back on tbe road.i wonder if this is part of that effort.

  15. It’s been estimated that privatizing government jobs, fore instance, would cost us 87% more money. I assume that the ‘privatizing’ of anything which is now wholly a government responsibility and/or partially one would result in costing us a lot more money. The Ryan plan would virtually eliminate millions of
    Americans from having access to health care.

    I heard a university professor commenting on the economy say that Glass actually, as written, could not have prevented the kind of fraud that became business-as-usual in the financial sector during the last decade (plus.) He went on to say that something else has permeated our society, something which condones any behavior if it leads to greater profit for the individual or the corporation. If such is the case, our society is experiencing a terrible malaise and may be beyond the point where any legislation can heal it.

  16. Progress Report..

    Well, I’ve resolved a few of my issues concerning Newt Gingrich..I now understand that his lechery and adultery is a personal moral failing, and if Callista can find emotional security and trust in her marriage to Newt…then all is well. Resolved

    In regard to his tapping into Freddie Mac for a monthly $25,000. fix over a two year period..I’ve come to see the big picture in the ripping off of America which shows that Newt only rose to the level of petty thievery. It’s a sad commentary that Newt prided himself in a haul that brought in less than a thousand dollars a day when others who don’t boast of a superior intellect were bringing in millions a day. He’s a piker. I’ll leave his thievery between him and his ego. Resolved.

    I still haven’t resolved my resentment in watching Newt getting off on what he thinks is his cleverness and cunning. Only because I see the damage it does to America, and I can see the toxicity of it. I suppose I’ll have to go to the Lord to find resolution with that. After all, the Lord is quoted in saying ” you delight in your evil”…which expresses the same resentment that I’m experiencing with Newt.

  17. You know you can’t wake up the dead (soul dead, anyway). Right?

    And these Zombies are long dead.

    My prediction is that this ongoing clown circus just prepares the path for Jebbie’s ascension to the throne.

    Imagine how quickly all this thug nonsense will disappear from the giddy MSM coverage when Jeb comes riding in at the Convention to straighten out that mess during the primaries of improper emotionalism (he’s already been quoted on this (and his Mom too!) with no hint of a memory of Willie Horton’s use against Dukakis by his Daddy previously).

    Oh, it’s gonna be a fun summer.

    And the base has been completely fired up and is just awaiting the moment their designated savior will be named.

    Thanks for the terrific reporting. Hope it’s okay to quote you at my place, which is Welcome to Pottersville2.


  18. Real obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious illness for many people. I realize a lot of people in the media say things like, “I’m OCDish”, but that and the title of this post serve to trivialize what can be an incapacitating disorder.

    • Theo, a lot of us have incapacitating disorders. I stay drugged up the wazoo for depression, for example, and depression gets no respect from anybody. So while I’m sympathetic to the issue of incapacitating disorders that are misunderstood and disrespected, I don’t see that my blog post title does that.

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