"Tumbrels have rolled through taunting crowds. Broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from southern trees."In other words, opponents of this bill are Jacobins, brownshirts and Klansmen. Some Republican Senator should make a point of order about this kind of rhetoric. It's one thing to throw around inflammatory metaphors on a blog or cable TV, but another thing entirely to bring it onto the floor of the Senate.
UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: If somebody's got video or a text of Whitehouse's speech, please let me know. That was one of the most villainous speeches I've ever heard by any Senator, and I hope to God that some of my friends who are Senate staffers will provide a Republican with a solid rebuttal to vile Adorno/Hofstadter psychoanalytic crap, which is no more valid today than when Buckley critiqued it in Up From Liberalism nearly 50 years ago.
UPDATE 3:03 p.m.: Sheldon Whitehouse is the Keith Olbermann of the Senate, and I mean that in the worst possible sense of "Keith Olbermann." The only good part of his speech? "Mr. President, I yield the floor." And not a moment too soon!
UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: For crying out loud, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) reads Richard Hofstadter on the Senate floor. In other words, if you oppose this bill, you're a neurotic suffering from status anxiety. There can be no rational opposition. Is Julian Sanchez ghost-writing speeches for Democrats now?
UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) just said he's got relatives in Nebraska who are "embarrassed and ashamed" by Ben Nelson's "Cash for Cloture" sellout -- click that link, because The Boss is still fighting. She weighs less than 100 pounds, but it's all fight.
PREVIOUSLY 2:09 p.m.: C.K. MacLeod writes a lengthy defense of the radical worse-is-better approach to political opposition.
This idea was central to Vladimir Lenin's revolutionary vision: The worse real-life conditions became -- the more oppressive the czarist regime, the greater Russia's military disasters in World War I -- the greater likelihood of the kind of political upheaval in which the Bolsheviks could seize power.
Given its source and original meaning, Lenin's worse-is-better strategy is obviously not something any conservative would endorse. However, as MacLeod makes clear, that isn't the way he means it. What he is arguing is that a short-term "win" by the Democrats should not be viewed by their opponents as a demoralizing defeat, but rather as a springboard for future conservative victories. His is a message of hope, not despair:
This is a moment for sober judgment, and for confidence in one's own beliefs and analysis, whichever best keeps you in the fight. It's a moment to decide whether our message to the Obamaist progressives is going to be: "You win -- we give up" or "We're coming after you, and getting rid of your laughable, embarrassing, and repugnant health care bill (presuming you ever get around to passing it) will just be the beginning."Indeed, and you should read the whole thing. Speaking of radical rhetoric, I notice that
Humor Update: (Smitty) 3:13PM
Whereas I read MacLeod's piece and thought of Coleridge, by way of the Monty Python. This legislation could prove both an albatross and a career opportunity for Dingy Harry, as seen in the clip:As a bonus, Graham Chapman's humorless Colonel prefigures the tender, loving care that government health care will embody.
The gross, atrocious irresponsibility of this bill in all aspects will be a boon to Americans. Harry Reid gives us ammunition. We will return it to him with, bonus kinetic energy.