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Daily Howler: In April, we laughed at a comical group. Come August, they're kicking our keisters
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THIS IS YOUR ASS GETTING KICKED BY TEA-BAGGERS! In April, we laughed at a comical group. Come August, they’re kicking our keisters: // link // print // previous // next //

Judith Warner gets it right: Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve rarely gotten such quick results from so apt a pupil! This morning, Judith Warner drops her chains and breaks the rules—and thereby gets it right. She writes a street-fighting, hard-copy column about “the tide of trivialization that washes over all things ‘Hillary.’” Reviewing Clinton’s trip to Congo, she runs with reporter Jeffrey Gettleman—and walks away from Dowd (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/09):

WARNER (8/13/09): There could have been no more dramatic setting: Overruling the security fears of her aides, she traveled to eastern Congo, where hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade. She visited a refugee camp and met with one woman who was gang-raped while eight months pregnant; she heard of another who’d been sexually assaulted with a rifle. She was told of babies cut from their mothers’ bodies with razors. She spoke of “evil in its basest form.” She promised $17 million to fight sexual violence.

And back home, all anyone could talk about was Bill.

Our analysts loudly cheered Warner, who could see that hundreds of thousands of African lives count more than dim-witted Washington gossip! No, she didn’t name the trivializers. But if you just click here, you can name one.

We’ve gotten instant results from Warner, who was still trivializing all things health care with a silly column about a certain actress in Monday’s Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/09). And ohourgod! In today’s Times, we’re asked to sit through a ponderous response. The letter even got its own headline. Truly, our culture is mad:


Louise, of 'Harry and Louise,' on Health Reform

As the subject of Judith Warner's Aug. 10 column, ''Louise's Second Act,'' and her Aug. 9 Domestic Disturbances blog, I'd like to expand on a couple of points.

I recalled for Ms. Warner various positive experiences I have had in countries with national health care and also here in the United States. But I do not advocate any one health care system over another.

I have always been in favor of health care reform in this country—just as the character I played in the television commercials with Harry was for health care reform. I come from a family of doctors, nurses and health care workers.

At the time of the 1993-94 commercials, I went to my family, as well as friends, who worked in health care and asked, ''Is this the right reform for our country?'' They didn't know the answer, but they did have a lot of questions—questions similar to the ones that the characters Harry and Louise asked in those commercials.

Harry and Louise may be the real names of the actors, but they are also characters—not experts, and they do not pretend to be. They represented then, and still do today, the voice of real Americans with real questions about health care reform. I am proud to have been able to give them that voice.

Louise Caire Clark
Washington, Aug. 11, 2009

Finally! Accurate word is on the street concerning Clark’s state of advocacy. (Does no one care about Harry?)

Clark is right about one thing. “Real Americans” do have “real questions” about the proposed health reform (see below); their questions deserve careful answers. One such question in today’s Times: What’s it like when Dallas Woodhouse and his brother Brad advocate on different sides of this issue? For unknown reasons, Jim Rutenberg was forced to present a full news report concerning this newest inanity.

Perhaps we’ll get Woodhouse letters next! In the face of such threats, we plead with Warner: Please! Keep getting it right!

Special report: Getting our keisters kicked!

PART 4—THIS IS YOUR ASS GETTING KICKED BY TEA-BAGGERS: When it comes to politics and public affairs, Katy Abram, 35, is quite unsophisticated.

Last night, Abram did a full guest segment on Hardball. (Go ahead: Insert joke here.)

Why was Abram on the show? During this August vacation season, had Hardball’s producers exhausted their list of unsophisticated journalists? In fact, Abram had been invited to appear on the show because she’d berated Arlen Specter at his August 11 town hall meeting. Before guest host Lawrence O’Donnell brought Abram on, he played some tape from her ballyhooed exchange with brave valiant Specter, who weathered the storm. The CHEERS AND APPLAUSE are taken from the official MSNBC transcript:

O’DONNELL (8/12/09): Welcome back to Hardball. Let’s watch this moment from Senator Arlen Specter’s town hall yesterday.

ABRAM (videotape): I don’t believe this is just about health care. It’s not about TARP. It’s not about left and right. This is about the systematic dismantling of this country. I’m only 35 years old. I’ve never been interested in politics. You have awakened the sleeping giant. We are tired of this. This is why everybody in this room is so ticked off! I don`t want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country. My question for you is—


ABRAM: What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created according to the Constitution?


O’DONNELL: Joining us now, the woman you just saw, Katy Abram. Katy Abram, I know you’re not a regular at this stuff and you don’t do it every day, so take it easy. We’re just going to go through some simple questions about this.

Omigod! Our noblest lord, the high lord O’Donnell, now sat with a likely tea-bagger!

Granted, he didn’t ID her as same. But before we contemplate Abram’s status as a semi-official tea-bagger, let’s make sure we understand how “unsophisticated” Abram is when it comes to public affairs.

For the record, Katy Abram was a smiling, likable presence throughout her session with O’Donnell. She seemed quite pleasant; more people are. (To watch the full segment, click here.) But as she told Specter at the town hall, Abram had never been interested in politics before the current juncture—and it soon became clear that our highest lord was puzzled by her previous lack of interest. At one point, he tried to help his tea-bagger guest think through the various affairs of her life. Abram had already said that her family does have health insurance:

O’DONNELL: You said in your statement that you’re 35 years old, and nothing has gotten you interested in politics before. And what’s interesting to me about that is, that means you, as an adult, lived through 9/11.


O’DONNELL: You lived through the invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Afghanistan, the first chapter of what became two wars in the Middle East, including the Iraq war. You—you lived through all of that, and were not, as you put it, awakened into an interest in politics. How could those things pass through your life like this, and—and not spark any interest in politics prior to the, Washington saying we think we want to help out some people who can’t afford health insurance the way you can? Why would it—why would this be the thing that wakes you up, after you were—you were willing to just ignore politics as we went past 9/11 into Afghanistan, into Iraq?

ABRAM: Sure. Sure. I—I always seemed to have faith in the government. And, honestly, I didn’t really care. I had other things going on, you know—getting married, having children. It just—it wasn’t a priority in my life.

Abram is new to politics. This became clear as our noble lord continued his razor-sharp questioning.

Katy Abram simply isn’t “sophisticated” when it comes to public affairs. Our lord was nice enough to tell her, for instance, that Social Security is “actually a piece of socialism that we imported from Germany. Bismarck invented that program.” Abram didn’t seem to know that—and she didn’t seem to have given a lot of thought to the questions our high lord asked. In the following sequence about Medicare and Social Security, our lord very capably played on one part of Abram’s statement to Specter—her statement that she’d like to return to what the founders intended:

O’DONNELL: Let me just go now to the, what—the question you actually put to Arlen Specter, which was, you said to him—

ABRAM: Sure.

O’DONNELL: —what are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution? Let’s just go through a checklist of what you think that would require.

I assume that would require repealing Medicare, because that’s a single-payer government-funded health care system, which is socialism. I agree with you, by the way. That is socialism. I think it’s successful, practical, smart socialism, but it is definitely socialism. So, you would want to repeal that, wouldn’t you?

ABRAM: I hate to have words put in my mouth. I mean, I—I honestly—

O’DONNELL: Well, the founding fathers did not anticipate Medicare. So, we can repeal that, can’t we? In order to get back to what you think the founding fathers would have us do?

ABRAM: Yes, I think a lot of the programs that—that are in place were not supposed to be, were not supposed to be here.

O’DONNELL: Then let’s repeal them, right? Wouldn’t you, then, want to repeal them? Wouldn’t you want Senator Specter to go in and repeal Medicare and repeal Social Security? Because that’s actually a piece of socialism that we imported from Germany. Bismarck invented that program. So, we should—that, that is also socialism. I agree with you on that. Again, I think it is smart, practical socialism, but it is socialism. So, I guess you would want us to repeal that?

ABRAM: [Pause] I would hate to say yes or no.

Our high lord was just so much brighter than Abram! It was truly a pleasure to see.

But this brings us to a basic question about American politics.

Abram was a pleasant, smiling presence throughout. But she’s unsophisticated, unlettered, about public affairs. She doesn’t talk politics with her parents, she told O’Donnell at one point. She doesn’t know her own family’s annual income. “Maybe I’m just not that smart,” she said at another point in the segment. But here’s the problem, a problem that is especially acute for the kind of upper-class pseudo-liberals who went to Stanford or (Cornell), became Rhodes Scholars, and like to mock and name-call their lessers:

The vast majority of American voters are unsophisticated, unlettered, about politics! They aren’t as brilliant as our high lords. But uh-oh! They get to vote! And there are many more people like Katy Abram than like our high lord O’Donnell.

(If we had to guess, we’d guess that Abram is the nicer person.)

Make no mistake: Our highest lord is one of the biggest buffoons in recent history too. In October 2000, he was still going on TV (The McLaughlin Report) and making loud misstatements about Candidate Gore’s “most ridiculous and most relevant untruths.” Astounding. In October 2004, he melted down against head Swift Boater John O’Neill; it was abundantly clear that our highest lord hadn’t bothered preparing himself to debate this head Swift Boater. (For both incidents, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/28/04). Even last night, our highest lord interrupted Abram to grandly correct her about one point, then had to slink away in error. Abram said she doesn’t believe President Obama when he says she can keep her current health plan:

ABRAM: I don’t believe it, because I heard him say on a quote, on television, that, you know, it may take five or 10 years, but we will move to a single-payer health, or to a single-payer—

O’DONNELL: Katy, he’s never said that. He has never said we will move to a single-payer plan.

ABRAM: I heard—I heard it on TV. I heard it on TV. I heard him saying it.

O’DONNELL: The president of the United States— Katy, the president of the United States has never said it.

ABRAM: This was a couple years—

O’DONNELL: Oh, it was a few years ago?

ABRAM: It was like in 2002 or two thous—


ABRAM: It was a couple years ago. It’s not since he’s been in office.

O’DONNELL: All right.

Typical. Our highest lord was just so sure—then had to slink away.

(In this piece from Salon, David Sirota discusses some of Obama’s past statements in support of single-payer. By the way: The notion that a “public option” would lead to single-payer was liberal/Democratic dogma as recently as last year—see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/23/09. Today, though, when people like Abram express related concerns, we puff up and tell the world it’s the latest tea-bagger concoction.)

Back to the problem Abram presents for high-toned upper-class liberals:

The American electorate is chock-a-block full of people like Katy Abram. They aren’t schooled, lettered or sophisticated concerning public affairs. They have never heard of Bismarck. They often don’t know what they’re talking about. They can often be badly misled.

They were misled during the 1990s, as people like Lord O’Donnell ran off and hid in the woods, then came on TV to repeat the lies. In some cases (not all), they’re getting misled today.

But these people exist by the tens of millions—and they vote! When they get roused, as Abram has, they can change the outcomes of our politics. In 1993, they got roused about Clinton’s health plan—and the plan went down to defeat. Now, they’re roused about Obama’s plan. Polling numbers aren’t going real well..

Last April, a string of our ugliest pseudo-liberals mocked these people for more than a week, all over MSNBC. We laughed and chortled about them then—just as a certain class of liberal has done throughout the past fifty years.

In April, we laughed and called them names. But in August, these people are kicking our keisters! Will our president’s badly watered-down health proposal actually sink beneath the waves? We don’t know. But it was very dumb to mock the people who had the power to cause this turmoil.

It was very, very dumb. But to a certain type of liberal, Oh lord! It has always felt good!

They’re wing-nuts, tea-baggers, wackos, nut-jobs. We can reliably see that they’re racists. Our own lords are irredeemably dumb, of course. But at least they’re in our tribe!

We call them dumb—but they keep winning! As you watch disaster unfold regarding our already watered-down plan, we’ll suggest you consider a thought:

Omigod! Is this our ass getting kicked by tea-baggers?

Is Katy Abram a racist: On our side, the savants can tell that Abram is likely a racist—that she has finally gotten involved because we have a black president. Lady Tucker gives favorable odds—45 to 65 percent. We could probably get better odds from Janeane Garofalo, who announced in April that everyone at the Tax Day events was in fact a “redneck racist.” For the record, it’s hard to believe we call them dumb, when our leaders “reason” this way.

For what it’s worth, this is what Abram said in response to O’Donnell’s first question:

O’DONNELL: What got you to Senator Specter’s town hall? What made you want to go?

ABRAM: Just for sheer frustration. You know, I see all these things being pushed through very quickly—TARP, this health care bill, cash for clunkers. And the frustrating thing to me is that this is—these programs are being funded by me, my husband, our friends, our family. We have a small business, and the amount of taxes we pay out on that, it’s ridiculous, and yet they want us to pay more, or it sounds like they want us to pay more. So that`s the root of my frustration. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Our lord discussed that statement quite briefly before beginning his lecture.

For what it’s worth, people like Abram said similar things about the Clinton health plan—and President Clinton was white. By the way: Do we really want to assume that these concerns make no sense, just because they come from someone who isn’t politically sophisticated? We seem to recall a very sophisticated person saying, on the Maddow Show, that we are currently going through “the biggest heist in monetary history.” That person was Naomi Klein—and Rachel never had her back. (Bad for corporate ownership?) If we’re undergoing the biggest such heist, are you sure that Abram shouldn’t be concerned? By the way: Why hasn’t Rachel ever asked Klein to explain what she meant?

Is it possible that Maddow is a self-dealing (future) millionaire ass? By way of contrast, is it possible that Abram somehow smells a real problem? That we’re too dumb—too narcotized by stories about Iraqi baseball and John Ensign’s sex romps—to be able to smell it ourselves?

By the way: We’ve never seen Klein ridicule less-sophisticated working-class people. Could it be because she’s too smart?

Our side keeps losing—but their side is dumb! It’s how certain liberals “reason.”