Extremism in Defense of the Insurance Lobby | Buzz Blog

Extremism in Defense of the Insurance Lobby

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Teabaggers, furious that a Democratic majority led by a Democratic president is actually managing to get things done on Capitol Hill for once, have resorted to death threats and vandalism. ---

Over the past year, the GOP's No. 1 priority has been to sabotage any legislation that might aid in the nation's recovery -- particularly health-care reform. And, for awhile, it looked as if they might succeed.

But now, in the wake of Democrats' single-handed victory in enacting health-care reform, it's clear that the Dems have grown some cojones -- and teabaggers are pissing themselves.%uFFFD Bricks through windows and obscene fax transmissions have become de rigueur. The brother of a Virginia congressman had a gas line at his home cut after a teabagger mistakenly published the wrong address. A spokesman for the Danville Tea Party apologized for the error. I suppose everything would have been just fine and dandy had the arson and/or murder attempt occurred as intended on the property of a U.S. congressman.

I also suppose that the teabaggers are unaware that this sort of insurrection can quickly lead to more government involvement in their lives rather than less. Nobody wants that sort of thing, which is why hippies now have drum circles and sing "give peace a chance" instead of lobbing bombs. Obviously, teabaggers are new at this dissent thing -- after all, they've lived for decades under a failed system of laissez-faire government that coddled to their peculiar brand of politics at every turn. They haven't had time yet to become accustomed to being in the minority.

Ah, well. Live and learn, I say!

Evidence suggests that at the heart of the teabagger riots seems to be this half-remembered Barry Goldwater quotation: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice."

It's a pretty good quote -- not as galvanizing as Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death," but still an inspiring call-to-arms. The conservative National Review responded with bland diffidence. But, whether left or right, don't we all feel like we're defending liberty as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson smile down from the heavens upon our passionate love for America and all it stands for? Of course we do.

I'm just not sure the Goldwater quote is a good justification for pouting over health-care reform. It comes from his acceptance speech at the 1964 RNC national convention. In the same speech, Goldwater basically called JFK a communist, and failed to rally the sagging conservative base. (Lyndon B. Johnson won by a landslide that November.)

Toward the end of his life, Goldwater recanted the radical-right politics of his naive, younger days, and ended up becoming a gay-rights activist. Just sayin'.

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