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Gayle in MD
04-12-2010, 10:39 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Sunday was a tough day for the loyal opposition, and you could gauge early on just how hard Republicans took the Democrats' impending win on health-care reform. During ABC's morning political show This Week, conservative political guru Karl Rove whipped out a whiteboard covered in scribbles to dispute the Congressional Budget Office's estimation that the health-care bill will cut the deficit. Debating the issue with President Obama's erstwhile campaign manager, David Plouffe, sent Rove into hysteria: "For God's sake, will you stop throwing around epithets and deal with the facts for once, David!" How the mighty have fallen.

Rove isn't the only casualty. The vaunted tea partiers, who terrified the entire Democratic caucus as recently as last August, spent the day just outside the House chambers, waving every flag they could get their hands on and demanding that representatives "kill the bill." As the House of Representatives moved, vote by glacial vote, to approve the Senate's health-reform legislation and a package of fixes to be approved by the Senate in coming days, the crowd slowly dissipated until only a group of hoarse hardliners remained. By end of the night, nearly all of the remaining demonstrators were pro-reform.

Even the normally laconic Republican leader John Boehner gave a rousing speech before the final vote, shouting, arguing with the chamber's presiding officer over rules, and warning darkly of punishment to come: "We have failed to listen to America … This is the people's house, and the moment the majority forgets it, they are on their way to the minority."

So what do Republicans do now? They claimed that if the bill passed it would "cripple free enterprise" (Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers), "lay the cornerstone of [the Democrats'] socialist utopia on the backs of the American people" (Rep. Devin Nunes), or become "the death of freedom" (Rep. Marsha Blackburn). What do they do the day after freedom dies?

Well, they aren't planning to just accept the actions of the people's duly elected representatives as legitimate—you can't promise Stalin and end up with some health-care co-ops. So they are adopting a new set of tactics.

In the Senate, Republicans are planning to challenge the tiniest details of the final fix that Democrats will pass this week, but they're descending into incoherence. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is set to force his caucus to fight against the fix because it includes cost-saving measures in Medicare, which he once championed, and ends the so-called Cornhusker Kickback, which his party has criticized. And though the Republicans have promised to campaign on repealing the bill, McConnell won’t say what they'll do with health care if his party wins in November.

Unfortunately, that's really the most rational response from Republicans. Republican gadfly Rep. Steve King, encouraging tea-party demonstrators from the Capitol balcony, meditated aloud about a new, better country that would consist primarily of his ideological allies: "If I could start a country with a bunch of people, they'd be the folks who were standing with us the last few days. Let's hope we don't have to do that!"

Across the Potomac in Virginia, the Republican attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, has already announced his plan to challenge the health-care bill in federal court, criticizing the legislation for "its unconstitutional overreach." Though his passion for states' rights is endearing, Cuccinelli doesn't have much of a case for nullifying the law. Attacking Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause, a favorite move of opponents of the New Deal, has consistently failed—even conservative Supreme Court Justice Anontin Scalia concedes the point—and the doctrine of "interposition," offered as justification to block civil-rights legislation, has been discredited for five decades.

<span style='font-size: 20pt'>So Republicans will try to discredit Democrats by extending this debate through November's midterm elections, but that, too, is a difficult strategy. Republicans could look like sore losers, endlessly complaining about health-care reform—an issue that, it's safe to say, has exhausted the country—while the Democrats move forward on their agenda, from jobs to financial regulation. Meanwhile, Democrats believe the early effects of the bill, including a ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions and tax breaks for small business, will combine with the luster of legislative success to make their plan more popular.</span>

"The Republican Party wants to go out and say to that child who now has insurance or say to that small business that will get tax credits this year … 'You know what, we're actually going to take that away from you,' " David Axelrod, the president's message guru, recently said on Meet the Press. "Let's have that fight. Make my day. I'm ready to have that and every member of Congress ought to be willing to have that debate as well."
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The Republicans could be right, of course, that this bill's passage is their ticket back to power. But even if there are short-term political gains for the GOP, one thing is nearly sure: Republicans won't be able to repeal the bill, just as Social Security and Medicare are now sacrosanct when Americans became accustomed to their benefits.

"Regardless of what happens tomorrow, we will be here!" Republican Rep. Jack Kingston promised protestors outside the House. So, too, will health-care reform.</span>Fernholz is a writing fellow at the American Prospect and a research fellow at the New America Foundation.

© 2010

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ugotda7
04-12-2010, 11:22 AM
A Liberal Guide to Debating Conservatives
Mar 31, 2010 Author Scot Cerullo

Liberals have long since learned that debating Conservatives can be a challenging endeavor, since Conservatives have a penchant for fortifying their arguments with facts, statistics, history and other elements that create convincing and thoughtful arguments.

Not to worry. The following are several tips Liberals can use right away to begin defeating Conservatives in every debate, every time.

Lib Tip # 1: Drop the Race Card: The moment your Conservative opponent begins crafting a cogent, air-tight argument buttressed in fact, drop the race card. This technique is designed to stifle further discussion, impugns your opponent and puts him on the defensive. Often, this is enough of a distraction to direct attention away from your lack of qualitative, quantitative evidence.

Lib Tip # 2: Impugn the Source: When debating a Conservative, content is less important than character. When your Conservative opponent states a compelling argument, do not address the argument and instead attack the Conservative personally. Since we are all sinners, it shouldn’t take long to find something wrong with your opponent. Use it.

Lib Tip # 3: Social Justice Trumps Logic: Argue every issue from a “Social Justice” or “Moral” high-ground. The Conservative will attempt to show that your ideas are unworkable, unsustainable or downright illogical. Don’t worry about any of that. Just stay on message by arguing from the moral, social justice perspective.

Lib Tip # 4: Exploit the Weakest Link: Define your opponent by his weakest link. If 10,000 Tea Partiers hold a rally, and one guy has a placard that is inappropriate, that is all you need to characterize the entire group as radical, racist militants. See how that works? It’s simple and fun and, most importantly, deflects all those awkward facts and articulate points away from the discussion and leaves the Conservative in a defensive mode.

Lib Tip # 5: Use “New Speak”: If health care is not a right according to the Constitution, and you want it to be a right, claim it is and then raise your voice. Raising your voice is always the best course of action in lieu of a good argument. Redefine words to suit your needs, and always be on guard for any stray, powerful fact or statistic the Conservative may use to support their position.

Lib Tip # 6: State the Opposite of what you believe: If you are in favor of taking money from producers and giving it to non-producers, that’s fine, but make sure your wording is a bit more obtuse than that. Try saying you are in favor of moral and social justice, and characterize everyone who earns a good living as somehow having won the lottery in life, and all those who want as being desperately hard-working folks who have an almost allergic reaction to hand-outs. Never imply or point out in any way that people can change their situation simply by making better decisions.

Lib Tip # 7: Define America by it’s Errors, not its Successes: Taking a cue from Lib Tip # 4, it is important to characterize America by it’s errors in judgement and misdeeds. It is critical that you completely overlook the good things America has done, and the manner in which it has beaten back one dictatorship after another. In fact, you must go to some lengths to divert people from the notion that without America, the world would be a far more dangerous, hostile, sad place. So talk about Indians and Slaves.

Lib Tip # 8: Blame talk radio and FOX news for fanning hate and racism: Avoid at all costs the fact that both talk radio and FOX news stand in defiant refutation of an otherwise fully agreeable media that presents only one template, a liberal template. Also, attempt to divert attention should someone ask why Conservative Talk Radio and FOX news is growing exponentially, while traditional, liberal media is closing offices, thinning their employees and running deficits like, you know, the government.

Lib Tip # 9: Government is Good: Insist that a massive expansion of government is a good thing. Assert that it is our patriotic duty to pay ever more in taxes so that a centralized government comprised of east and west coast Liberal elites can decide what is best for the unwashed masses, since it would be sheer lunacy to allow individuals the right to make decisions for themselves. If you run into problems, see Tips 1-8.

Lib Tip # 10: Assign Blame away from Yourself: Always assign blame to the other guy, preferably a Conservative. This may require rewriting history so that people may one day believe that Reagan did NOT usher in 25 years of prosperity, or it may require still more retooling of the content of public school text books. But over time we’ll get there.

Remember: The ends justify the means. No matter how cruel and violating the means may be, if it results in a mediocre society where all citizens ultimately suck off the the government for their most meager needs, it will all be worthwhile.

There is of course the small matter of where all the money for all these programs will come from. Right now, they come from spirited entrepreneurs, dreamers with drive and other people whose passion poses a direct threat to the new world we want to usher in.

But first things first. Learn the ten tips to squelch free speech, hurt your opponent with the intellectual equivelant of a kick to the groin and avoid facts, statistics and studies altogether, as those will get you in trouble.

Good luck Liberals! Battle on and remember what Dennis Prager said: The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. Oh wait, no. You don’t want to remember that. My bad. Here, try this: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Yeah, that’s the one. Whew!