I’ve been commenting for years on NPR’s slanted-toward-the-Republicans reporting. The right wing’s contention that it’s part of the liberal media is just a smoke screen. However, this morning NPR’s Morning Edition hit a new low with its hit piece on what it insists on calling Obamacare, which is the Republican-devised epithet for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act for short. Because the job given to NPR by persons or persons unknown is to keep pushing the myth that the ACA is unaffordable and that is why millions of people are risking federal tax fines by gleefully dropping it. If the ACA is unaffordable for millions of people it is due to the concerted efforts of the Republicans, as I show below.
I don’t know who is ultimately responsible for this hit piece. What I do know is that Steve Inkeep’s lead-in is misleading. What I also know is that typically, the written text underneath the audio link to a news story is identical to the audio story. In this case, the audio version barely resembles the written text. Inskeep intros the story “Millions of Americans have found the Affordable Care Act to be unaffordable.” Thus the story is framed that the ACA is essentially a failure, especially where lower-middle class individuals are concerned. Contrast this with the actual written headline to the story: “Obamacare Deploys New Apps, Allies To Persuade The Uninsured”. Now it’s a story about how the Obama administration is attempting to get more uninsured people the health insurance they lack.
Another difference between the audio and written stories: the audio leads off with sound bites from Dave Egbert of Huron, South Dakota, stating that he and his partner, Rich Davis, dropped Obamacare because it was too expensive. In the written version, Egbert and Davis are buried near the bottom of the story. The audio story says that there are only three insurance plans to choose from. But the story doesn’t explain why and this is where the slanted reporting comes in.
The fact is that Republican South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard and the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to expand Medicaid in that state on February 24, 2014. Expanding Medicaid in all states was a primary goal of–what else?—the Affordable Care Act. Just about all—if not all—Republican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid even though the federal government was picking up the tab for the first few years. So Egbert and Davis should be blaming Governor Daugaard and their state legislature—people they most likely voted for in prior elections—for the lack of affordable healthcare in their state, along with the paucity of health plans to choose from. That’s under the control of your state, gentlemen, not the Feds.
This hit the working poor, like Egbert and Davis, hardest of all. Had state Republicans not blocked this expansion, it is very likely Egbert and Davis among 25,000 other people would have had the affordable healthcare Davis needed at the time. I have no information to back this up but I wonder if both Egbert and Davis are Republicans? What I do know is that NPR contacted Egbert after he posted a comment on its Facebook page. Whether or not they vetted Egbert and his story is unknown.
Something else I do know is that, right before next year’s elections, South Dakota has now decided to expand Medicaid and has gotten the initial “go ahead” from a health official in the Obama Administration. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/09/29/medicaid-expansion-plan-gets-initial-go-ahead-dc/73067220/
So, Messers. Egbert and Davis, and the other 25,000 uninsured inhabitants of South Dakota, it looks like with your South Dakota state government finally embracing Obamacare just before election time, you will get your affordable health insurance. And if it gives you gentlemen any solace, Obamacare started off as Romneycare (an advisor to then-Gov. Romney re-worked it for the Obama administration) which had its genesis with a plan devised by the Koch Brothers own Heritage Foundation as far back as 1989.
So, gentlemen, stop seeing Red over Obamacare. And in next year’s elections, start feeling Blue.
And you, Steve Inskeep and all at NPR Morning Edition, have you no shame? Apparently not.
Upon reading Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew” it becomes crystal clear why the current slate of Republican candidates—with the exceptions of Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich—are either politically incompetent, stupid, or both. It all started with the election of Ronald Reagan, a moderately intelligent fellow, as President. He had been told he had won the lead in a new TV show about the White House called “The West Wing”–18 years before the show was actually brought to TV by Aaron Sorkin. All the Republicans needed to do was surround him with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders and he was a lock for eight years.
Then the Republicans made the fatal error of getting a real brainiac professional political operative and D.C. insider, George H.W. Bush, elected President but he crashed and burned after just one term and was followed by a pseudo-Democratic president into office. The Republicans said, “Whoa, we’ll never do THAT again!” and set about looking for a suitably stupid political incompetent who they could surround with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders. Voila–George W. Bush. Along the way they learned how to steal elections by rigging state election results in Florida in 2000 and then getting their hand-picked U.S. Supreme Court justices majority to appoint their candidate President. Refining the election rigging techniques they learned in 2000, they perfected it in Oho in 2004 to retain Bush in office. Boom—eight years of Georgie boy and the process was patented.
As Ronald Reagan once said from a line written for him, “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.” And therein lies the core Republican philosophy of governing: you install incompetents and partisan shills in all agency and department head positions on down to the lowest filing clerk and janitor. (And President Newt Gingrich would give those graveyard shift janitor jobs to elementary school children). In order to get a job in the Reagan administration, you only needed to do two things: wear a “I’m a neo-conny for Ronnie” button, and send your resume through the Koch-owned Heritage Foundation. As Lyn Nofziger, Reagan’s political affairs director said in 1981, “We have told members of the Cabinet we expect them to help us place people who are competent. As far as we are concerned, anyone who supported Reagan is competent.”
Young Grover Norquist was more overtly partisan when he said in 1984: “First, we want to remove liberal personnel form the political process. Then we want to capture those positions of power and influence for conservatives.” So, no liberals allowed at all in government, no matter how well they did their jobs.
In 2007 under the George W. Bush Administration, Monica Goodling, fresh out of Pat Robertson Regent University Law School, was installed into the Justice Department and helped fire nine highly experienced U.S. attorneys and blocked other federal hires purely on the basis that they weren’t Bush “men” (or women), so to speak. In fact, anyone who displayed the slightest tendency towards competency was banished to “the hall of zombies” where, according to Hugh Kaufman of the Environmental Protection Agency, “…you’re at a desk, and you don’t do anything of substance. Most of the career bureaucrats in Washington in [the Bush] administration are in the hall of zombies.” Fills you full of confidence in your federal government, don’t it?
You see, Republicans like ‘em partisan and stupid because experienced, competent people in government get things done, which makes the populace like their government getting things done. And Republicans don’t like government getting things done. This explains why Michael Powell, son of Colin, was promoted by G.W. Bush to chairman of the FCC, and why Michael Brown, a lawyer and ex-Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, was also placed in charge by Bush of FEMA. Brown was forced out of his job with the IAHA and we all know he resigned in ignominy from FEMA for his incompetence in handling aid and assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. Hmmm, Michael Powell also resigned in 2005 and fell out of the FCC (eventually) into the waiting arms of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association as their president. Wonder if some underground mass RNC communication was sent to all Bush administration agency heads saying, “The jig is up! Amscray!”
The title of of a 1928 article that appeared in Nation’s Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce magazine said it all: “A Plea for Inefficiency in Government”. If you keep government dumbed down, that opens the door to outsourcing and privatizing federal services to the private sector, which means big profits for the private sector. Big profits for the private sector is what makes the Republican world go ‘round. This is why Paul Ryan and his handlers want to privatize the Social Security and Medicare programs. This is why Ron Paul wants to eliminate all federal health insurance programs so that you either pay to play or you die. This is why Rick Perry wants to privatize all oil drilling because it would make big profits for the oil companies who keep him in the Texas governor’s chair. Of course none of this explains Herman Cain’s or Michele Bachmann’s stands on the issues because even they don’t understand what they stand for if it hasn’t been explained to them. Even Huntsman appears to be throwing in a couple of “er’s” and “uh’s” before he speaks in an effort to dumb himself down in the eyes of the Republican National Committee.
The Republicans had a real problem with Barack Obama because here was a Democrat who was extremely politically competent and intelligent. So, they adapted their primary play and used Fox to frame Obama as one of their own–politically incompetent and stupid. However, this made him qualified to be President until they threw in he was also a Democrat AND a native of Kenya AND a communist socialist which immediately disqualified him and made him the illegally-elected President of the United States (as opposed to George W. Bush who had been the legally appointed President of the United States).
So, there you have it, the reason why the Republican candidates appear to be so abysmally lame and stupid. In some cases, their images are being carefully crafted for them. In others, they’re self-made men (and woman).