Re: Whitehouse

Granted, Randal Edgar begins his report with equivalence between political parties, but it’s still surprising to see Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s offensive remarks achieve front-page, above-the-fold status in the Providence Journal. If anything, however, that attention only makes me more wary of our all-too-natural reaction.
I’ve absolutely no doubt that Whitehouse derives enjoyment out of writing and delivering soaring partisan rhetoric about his vision of the most evil people of our day (conveniently, his political opposition), but in an environment in which Sen. Al Franken (D, MN) disallows Sen. Joe Lieberman (I, CT) a few moments to wrap up remarks, it seems to me unlikely that Whitehouse would be granted permission for diatribes unless there were political utility. It could be merely that the Democrats know that forcing through the sort of healthcare bill currently on the table is going to come at a political cost across the ideological spectrum, from far left to far right, so they want to toss some crumbs left and deflect some blame right.
Even if that’s the only motivation for Whitehouse’s division and offense, it’s important to consider that he occupies a very safe seat, from the perspective of Washington, D.C.: He’s not up for reelection until 2012, and he’s from a relatively liberal state, in which stridency might buy him stronger support in some quarters. I suggest that we look at his remarks as an act, not just of his, but of the Democrat Party’s. The critical questions, in that light, are:

  • From what are they trying to distract the public?
  • How can we avoid being distracted?

My fear is that the too-obvious answer to the first question — that they’re simply throwing up sand in preparation for passing unpopular legislation not only in the dead of night, but in the dead of a silent night — hides something more sinister. Whatever the case, the various videos of outlandish comments from Sheldon are not going anywhere; they’ll be on the Internet well into the 2012 election cycle, and they’ll no doubt have picked up additions along the way. In the meantime, we should avoid turning our gaze so fixedly on our senator that we fail to be offended at the broader destruction of our way of government (not to mention of our economy) being perpetrated by his party.
By all means, begin planning for 2012, but don’t let political stagecraft and the design of our electoral system become a shield against your ire, right now.

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Tim
Tim
11 years ago

You’re seeing pure evil on display.
Backroom deals, political bribes and Christmas Eve votes to pass legislation that will negatively impact the lives of every single citizen of this country.
Pure evil!
And stopping that pure evil??
By any means necessary.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

I only have the online version of the Projo, but the headline “Reed, Whitehouse stand with Dems in health-care vote” hardly conveys the content of Whitehouse’s speech.
With all of the reported backroom deals and pay-offs, why isn’t every newspaper in America screaming with “standing heads”? Can it simply be that they believe “the ends justify the means”?
No wonder the “fourth estate” is facing bankruptcy.

john paycheck
john paycheck
11 years ago

sheldon just made himself more vulnerable in the next election. must be taking lessons from patches..

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“It could be merely that the Democrats know that forcing through the sort of healthcare bill currently on the table is going to come at a political cost across the ideological spectrum, from far left to far right, so they want to toss some crumbs left and deflect some blame right.”
No question, they are attempting to pass highly unpopular modifications to our health care system which, if they become law, will prove to be highly destructive of it. (Congress, however, has carefully excluded themselves from the fallout of the actions that they have inflicted on everyone else.)
So the senator was lashing out in frustration while vilifying those who have had the temerity to point out the numerous flaws in this legislation (which, in actuality, is comprised of nothing but flaws). As Justin pointed out, this has the added value of throwing meat to the senator’s supporters.
At the same time, while we can understand where the senator is coming from, we still have to ask. He and his political collegues have the votes to ram this legislation through. Why the hate speech? Why add so vigorously to the negative tone that he himself deplored?

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

I think the question I’d have for Sheldon and Jack Reed are why are they shortchanging RI with this bill? Ben Nelson from Nebraska got $100M in Medicaid in this bill in exchange for his vote (http://bit.ly/7XArip) because he’d be the 60th and be able to block anything the Republicans want to do. So what is RI getting out of it? Why isn’t Nelson the 58th vote and then Reed and Whitehouse are 59 and 60 after RI gets a sweet deal too?
Or if all that disgusts you and them, then why aren’t they lashing out at Nelson and rejecting his ridiculous demands in exchange for his vote? It’s gotta be one or the other. Either our Senators shortchanged Rhode Island or they disagree with the back room dealing that their party did with one of their own.
So which is it?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

I found it: “R.I. Sen. Whitehouse slams GOP critics of health-care overhaul”
“Slams” seems a bit mild, sort of like when racial groups “clash”. “Denegrates” would seem a better description.

Matt
11 years ago

From what are they trying to distract the public? . . .
My fear is that the too-obvious answer to the first question — that they’re simply throwing up sand in preparation for passing unpopular legislation not only in the dead of night, but in the dead of a silent night — hides something more sinister.

Listening to this morning’s news cycle I couldn’t help but have the same reaction. Like it or not, Sen. Whitehouse’s over-the-top rhetoric worked. It changed the conversation from one about the Democratic Party’s hijacking of 1/6th of our nation’s economy to one about the character and composition of the out of power opposition party. When USAF Col. Sen. Lindsey Graham feels the need to go on national television and proclaim that he is not a member of a militia, it is not hyperbole to say that as a nation we have been fooled by Sen. Whitehouse’s rhetorical sleight of hand.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

I think we don’t need any more discourse with leftists,progressives,or whatever they call themselves.
One or the other side will come out of this,because the idea of compromise is dead.They brought,it and for their sake,they better be as strong as they think they are,because payback is a a bitch.
The idea now should be to make Obama irrelevant starting in 2010.Deny him the automatic majority and he can go kiss ass on America hating dictators for the rest of his miserable tenure.
If thisstate doesn’t force Whitehouse out in 2012,we deserve any indignity visited upon us.Sheldon is a certified POS.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

+1 on what Joe said.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Yes, Shel went a little over the top. But hey, I didn’t vote for him.
I’m just finding it a little amusing that the same people who had no trouble using Nazi imagery on Obama and believe the fountain of misinformation Palin and her ilk have spewed about death panels are suddenly going Butterfly McQueen here.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

I disagree that the time for discourse on this issue has passed. The problem is convincing people in the center and even some of those leaning left that classically liberal ends can’t be achieved by the strong-state command-and-control model for society favored by the current Democratic party leadership, and convincing people that there are more options than either a government takeover of healthcare (the Democratic end) or the thoroughly irrational state-siloed employment-based system (the status quo). And convincing people that what hasn’t yet been created but may be possible always takes some effort.
But Democratic stridency is the result of their realization that they can’t win a rational argument on behalf of their reform plan or strategy — Harry Reid is afraid that a couple weeks of Democratic Senators talking to voters at home would cause them to change their votes. Now is not the time to give up pressing them on the persuasive front.

MadMom
MadMom
11 years ago

Rhody, it was the Linden Larouche (you know, the Democrat) crowd who used the Obama Nazi signs, not the GOP or independent opponents of the government’s takeover of healthcare who Shelly derides and maligns during his inflammatory speech.
As for death panels, read the post here about the Medicare Advisory Boards. The whole bloody thing will be a death panel. A board which rations limited resources (and resources WILL be limited) resulting in preventable early death sure sounds like a death panel to me. Maybe you’ll change your mind when you reach a ripe old age and become ineligible for a life saving cancer treatment because you’ve reached the geezer threshold of unworthiness in the cold bureacratic eyes of said board.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Mom, I put much more stock in the word of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John than that of Rush, Sean, William and Sarah.

MadMom
MadMom
11 years ago

So do I. Your point? Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John inform you that despite decreasing Medicare by $500 billion that you will still get your life saving treatment under Obamacare?

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Mom, to simplify, I choose not to believe the hype (which you take as gospel) you’re shouting at me.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

This argument people,is NOT about the health care bill,which I like most everyone else understands very litle of and consequently have said almost nothing about it.
This is about a piece of crap US Senator telling all who don’t fall into lockstep behind Obama and his programs are racist,Nazis,or fringe idiots.The “progressives”who are gloating over their moment of power might do well to read what happenned to others of their ilk who tried for the whole enchilada in other times and other places.They wound up choking on it.
Reference Points:
Post WW 1 Bavaria;Chile;Indonesia;Hungary under the Kun regime.
Forget that pants pisser Chris Matthews-just read some history.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

I choose not to believe the hype

Hype like Federalizing regulation, providing subsidies and imposing mandates is actually going to reduce the cost of something?

Aldo
Aldo
11 years ago

Well have to wait until 2014 not 2012!!!
But this being RI, the morons still here will vote him back in…
Will the last sane person leaving the state, please turn out the lights?

Madmom
Madmom
11 years ago

Whitehouse is up for re-election in 2012. Reed is up in 2014.
Hey Rhody. Shouting at you? Crack me up!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

MadMom-Rhody is a sensitive creature-he reads threats into simple written excoriations of his point of view.
“Shouting” requires caps online if I’m not mistaken.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“Well have to wait until 2014 not 2012!!!”
Why is this hard? He was elected in November 2006. Senators get 6 years. 2006 plus 6 is 2012.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Gov. Carcieri stomped on Sheldon’s head with a smile on national TV.
Great whack on our lisping lilly Jr. Senator there Gov. lol
Check it out.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/28047338/governor-sounds-off-on-health-care-bill.htm#q=governor+carcieri

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

The Don doesn’t give a damn about the citizens of his state. Why should his attitude toward the other officials they elect be any different?
Besides, for every person Shel pissed off with his speech, he probably gained two fans.

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