Monday, December 9, 2013

Idiots' Delight: The Annual Edition (Amended)

At long last, the year-end Idiots' Delight awards have finally arrived. If, like me, you found it difficult waiting a whole six months, don't despair. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

As I mentioned in the last installment, the big advantage of opting to go with a semi-annual format over a monthly format was that keeping up with all the "dimwitted behavior" of the "same nincompoops" had become "exhausting." I should've also pointed out that it was becoming redundant. For me it came down to simple math. Less was more, I figured.

And, as befitting a year-end segment, all the nominees listed below did their absolute best to earn their stripes. Also worth mentioning is the fact that two of the eight "winners" are Democratic. Hey, I calls them as I sees them. When it comes to idiots, everyone's fair game. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I never spare the rod. You might also notice a theme in most of the entrees. Hmmm, I wonder why.

So let's get this show on the road.

Ted Cruz for his crusade against Obamacare. Almost eighteen years to the day after they shut down the government, Republicans once more pushed the country to the brink of Armageddon, and the chief architect of their suicide mission was none other than first term Texas Senator and Tea Party darling Ted Cruz. But Cruz wasn't merely the architect of his Party's march to madness, he was its General Patton, or Custer as it turned out.
Cruz ostensibly held the entire Republican House conference hostage attempting to defund a law that even members of his own Party said couldn't be defunded because it was exempt from discretionary spending. Undaunted and equally oblivious to the facts, Cruz and about 60 of his cohorts in the House needlessly provoked a government shutdown and near debt-ceiling default just to prove a point.

And what did these dim bulbs get for their stunt? Nothing. Not only didn't Cruz succeed in defunding Obamacare, he caused irreparable damage to his Party's already badly tarnished image; damage that may well result in the GOP losing control of the House in next year's midterm elections.

Rather than quit while he was behind, old shit-for-brains has decided to double down. He and his Tea Party minions are hell bent on going after any congressman or senator who "sold out" the Party and voted to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.  I would expect a plethora of primary challenges next year to "RINO" incumbents. Can you say Dick Lugar?

Barack Obama for his handling of the rollout of Obamacare. It's been said all too frequently by me and a host of political pundits, but it bears repeating. This president can't draw a narrative to save his life. Well now you can add another infamous distinction. He apparently sucks at micromanaging.
Okay, I get it, he wasn't the guy who designed the software. I also understand that presidents routinely delegate such responsibilities to their subordinates. That's why they have a vice president and a cabinet. But I cannot and will not believe that on what was his signature piece of legislation - one with his name attached to it - he was this detached. Shit, absentee landlords are more involved with their properties than Obama was with this rollout.

Yes, I know that the federal website was never designed to handle that much traffic. The original intent was for the state exchanges to pick up the bulk of it. But once the Supreme Court decision basically allowed states to opt out with no penalty, Obama should've known that all bets were off. Like it or not, the site was going to have to manage the lion's share of traffic. It is inexcusable that neither he, nor HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, knew that the site was nowhere near capable of handling such a high demand. And if they knew and did nothing, that's even worse.

Adding insult to injury, it is now all too apparent that the President and Sebelius knew that people would lose their healthcare coverage once the ACA went into effect. It matters not that many of those plans were inferior; what matters is the impression it left with potentially millions of registered voters who, as history has shown, tend to voice their opinions at the ballot box. Once more, a failure to communicate has become Obama's biggest self-inflicted wound.

Ironic, isn't it? Had the Republicans not been so obtuse and forced a government shutdown, they could've sat back and watched the horrific rollout of Obamacare and said, "See, we told you so." In short, they'd be sitting pretty now. Funny how things turn out.

Congressional Republicans on their deplorable conduct over Obamacare. Actually, you could say their conduct has been deplorable on everything from the economy to immigration reform to gay and women's reproductive rights. But their obsession over Obamacare is one for the ages. I've never seen anything like it.
For over three years all the GOP did was fight healthcare reform tooth and nail. House Republicans tried more than 40 times to have the law repealed. They even risked destroying the U.S. and world economy over it. Then, once the law took effect and the federal website woes began to mount, all you heard from them was how upset they were that people couldn't sign up.

In less than 30 days the Republican Party went from not giving a shit about millions of people without insurance to now suddenly being their chief advocate. Disingenuous doesn't begin to cut it. The GOP has behaved like a pyromaniac who, once he sets his fire, stands outside rooting for it to consume the building and then has the audacity to criticize the fire department for failing to put it out fast enough. 

Congressional Democrats for running for the hills as the Obamacare rollout began to go south. Oh what a difference a month makes. It's hard to believe that in October, Democrats were united in their opposition to Republican demands to defund Obamacare.  John Boehner figured he could make Obama and the Democrats blink, just like they did two years earlier. He guessed wrong. In the end, Democratic solidarity broke the GOP and ended the government shutdown.
Then the roof fell in as, one by one, Democrats began getting weak-kneed over the problems with the federal website. Some suggested a delay in the individual mandate, virtually mirroring some of their Republican counterparts. When the canceled insurance policies controversy hit the fan, some thought it would be a good idea to allow those very same policy holders to keep their insurance; a cure that was worse than the disease.

It's a good thing the Republicans have a death wish. The way these spineless fools respond to a little pressure, if they were a football team, they'd blow a four touchdown lead in the last two minutes of the game.

The National Republican Congressional Committee "tutoring" male members on how to talk to females. Once more, the GOP has concluded that a certain percentage of its party - like a majority - need instruction on how to effectively communicate with the opposite sex. It seems expressions like "legitimate rape" don't go over too well with the ladies. Who knew?
So for the umpteenth time, they have decided to go back to school to learn what most people already know: that words matter and making offensive and obnoxious statements about women have political consequences.

Actually, if the GOP really wants to dress up its image with women voters, it might actually try something truly unique and meaningful. It might try adopting some policies that appeal to women in the first place. Abstaining from saying things like "legitimate rape" doesn't go very far when your stated position to birth control and abortion is subjecting women to vaginal probes. This Party doesn't need a tutor, it needs a colon cleansing. Maybe one of those vaginal probes might come in handy.

The Mainstream Media for their coverage of the Obamacare rollout. Like a rudderless ship, the fourth estate was predictable as dirt once it became obvious that the federal website was having problems. Watching these people is like watching a tennis match. The back and forth is great if you're a sports fan. If you're looking for any semblance of journalistic integrity, good luck. You won't find much these days.
It's one thing for Fox News to ignore the truth, but when they're joined willingly by the mainstream press in some symbiotic, twisted dance, that's quite another thing. Yes, it was fair to criticize the President for the website problems and the canceled insurance policies, but comparing this to George Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina or calling it Obama's Whitewater is absurd.

From Politico to CNN to CBS the laziness and lack of investigative journalism into this story was appallingly bad, even for an industry that began its decent into mediocrity decades ago. I've said this before, I'll say it again. Cronkite and Murrow are spinning in their graves.

Rick Santorum for comparing Nelson Mandela's fight against Apartheid to Republicans' fight against Obamacare. If you want to know why the GOP has such a hard time attracting voters on a national level, you need look no further than this incredibly ridiculous statement from last year's runner up to the Republican presidential nomination.
Santorum has had a history of these kinds of brain farts, like when he compared homosexuality to man on dog sex and the 9-11 attacks, or when he accused President Obama of being a snob just because he wanted everyone in America to go to college. He's been putting his foot in his mouth virtually his whole political career, but this statement - made on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show - might go down as his all-time stupidest. How detached from reality do you have to be to compare a political struggle to liberate millions of people from oppression to a healthcare law you don't like? If you're Santorum, pretty detached.

Can you imagine a Ted Cruz / Rick Santorum 2016 GOP ticket? If you're a late-night comedian, you're drooling at the prospects.

Republican governors who continue to reject Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. What do Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Paul LePage, Pat McRory, Robert Bentley, Nikki Haley, Bob McDonnell and Scott Walker all have in common? They are among the 23 Republican governors who have decided not to expand Medicaid coverage in their states under the Affordable Care Act.

As a result of their obsession with stopping Obamacare, millions of people will be denied badly needed healthcare coverage under Medicaid and millions more will pay higher rates for healthcare in these states.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

This is the definition of ideology run amuck. These governors couldn't stop Obamacare, either legislatively or through the courts, so, like a spoiled brat who wouldn't eat his vegetables, they've decided to deny their constituents badly needed benefits just to make a point.

Perhaps it's time for the residents of these states to make a point of their own next year.

1 comment:

Peter Fegan said...

An earlier version of this piece had only 7 winners of the annual Idiots' Delight segment.

I added the last one two days later; hence the amended status.