Filling in for Chris Matthews on Hardball on Friday, Lawrence O’Donnell put the screws to Representative John Culberson (R-Texas, below) about the gaping chasm of hypocrisy between the scare-mongering language of those that decry any competitive health care public option as a dreaded encroachment of socialism and the fact that, you know, they don’t want to let an ill word slip their lips (let alone touch benefits!) regarding Social Security or Medicare, unless it’s about government waste, and thus fits in with their incompetent-government meme. Dogged but not smart enough to see the big picture, Culberson takes the bait, describes angry town hall participant Katy Abram as his hero, Medicare as a “very successful but wasteful program,” and then says that he would have voted for Social Security in 1935 and “probably” would have voted for Medicare in 1965.
O’Donnell’s response: “You lie to America about the evils of government-run health care because you people — not one of you liars about government health care — is willing to repeal Medicare, to stand up and be consistent… and say, ‘I hate government health care, and am against it, so I want to repeal Medicare.’ That is a lie that you perpetrate every day.”
Look, if this were a movie, people like Katy Abram would be easily identified as the anxious, manipulatable, under-educated rubes, and those that stoke their sludgy, intellectually unreasoned fears would be the more morally culpable and reprehensible antagonists of the piece. But why is it too impolite to suggest that in real life? I’m really not saying all these people are racists, or unable to articulate their swallowed fear of a black president (though there’s some of that); I’m just saying that, apart from Dick Armey, I don’t know that I’ve met/heard one of these Obama-is-a-socialist gong-bangers who also wants to get rid of their own Social Security or Medicare, impending or otherwise. There’s no principled consistency, see. They’re not smart. Yes, that’s what I’m saying.