Fox's Megyn Kelly brought on the Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer and the ACLU's Mark Sawyer to discuss the crowds at the recent GOP debates where people there were cheering for the number of executions Gov. Rick Perry carried out in the state of Texas, and for Ron Paul's position that somehow churches and charitable organizations could manage to take care of someone who is sick and doesn't have insurance, with a few in the crowd being so crass as to yell “Let him die” when asked Wolf Blitzer's hypothetical on who pays when someone finds themselves in that situation.
Naturally, Kremer said she was very offended by the cheering for allowing an uninsured person to just be allowed to die and said this about those that yelled out at the debate:
KREMER: Well Megyn, first of all I'd say that the people that yelled that out were not “tea party” activists. They were hecklers. You know, we do not, the “tea party” movement does not focus on the social issues whatsoever. And when you're talking about, you know, capital punishment and then the question that Wolf Blitzer asked, you're talking about two different aspects there. And we just don't go there. Focusing on these issues is not going to turn the economy around. It's not going to pay down our debt and deficit, put people back to work, and that's not what we're focused on. I have in the last couple of days tried to find out who yelled that out, because I want to know. It wasn't fair to the rest of the people from the audience. And I can tell you when it happened we all turned around to look and identify who it was, because we were appalled at that behavior. It was absolutely unacceptable.
Okay, fair enough that no one knows for sure who the people were who yelled out the “Let him die” statement. That said, Kremer doesn't actually know whether this was some self-described “tea party” activist or not, does she? I don't think it actually matters all that much though because her group which is nothing but a bunch of AstroTurf-ers looking out for the interests of big business and the insurance companies among others may not be crass enough to say out loud that their political position is to just let the uninsured pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and if they were not fortunate enough to have insurance, they're probably going to die, the end result if the same. When this woman and her ilk get on board for single-payer and quit looking out for the interests of their corporate masters, I'll believe that any of them have a charitable bone in their body. Until then, she should be considered nothing more than a spokesperson for the Koch brothers, big pharma, the insurance companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and any of the rest of them that are sponsoring her so-called "movement."
As to Kremer's assertion that their Republican re-branding effort called the “tea party” does not focus on the social issues, well, that notion is just ridiculous on its face. As many have written about here and as David Sessions at The Daily Beast pointed out, there's really not a dime's worth of difference between the extreme right-wing, Christian fundamentalist arm of the Republican Party and these self-described “tea partiers.”
The ACLU's Mark Sawyer did a pretty good job here of pointing out that the views of these “tea partiers” is that if someone doesn't have insurance, they look at that person as a deadbeat that doesn't want to pay into the system, which is a fiscal issue and not a social one.
Kremer defended herself by repeating Ron Paul's ridiculous assertion that charities can somehow take care of those who are sick and don't have any insurance.
KREMER: I'm not backpedaling at all. Look, we... it's not that we want to go out there and turn our backs on people that need help. That's not it at all. We are all for helping the needy, people who fall down on their luck go through hard times. The problem is when that safety net becomes a hammock and becomes a way of life. (In other words, those dirty lazy brown people sitting on their asses collecting their welfare benefits who don't want to work.)
That's what we are against. But when people truly need help we're all for it. And in addition to that, we are the most charitable country in the world. We are very good at taking care of people and contributing to charities, so that charities can help people. So we... it's not that we have no compassion. That's not it at all. It's... we are focused on the fiscal aspects of what is going on here in Washington D.C. and as I said, we are not going to let these social issues distract us.
Unfortunately Sawyer didn't point out to her that charities taking care of the sick didn't work out so well for Ron Paul's former campaign manager, who died with no insurance and almost $400,000 in debt for his medical bills.
And apparently Megyn Kelly never heard of survivors benefits from Social Security since she framed one of the last questions for her panel members this way.
KELLY: Mark, those who would defend some of the audience, you know, members, who were yelling, and we'll stick with the Ron Paul thing for now have said, there's a difference between a society that says for example we're going to help the poor, we're going to help children, we're going to help people who literally cannot afford health insurance, and we'll do that, because we're a compassionate society. And being a society that says to a man like in Blitzer's hypothetical, who has the money and who can buy it, but chooses not to, to then rush in when you need the state and say, we will give you the benefit of insurance you never bought, just because we're that kind of society. And the argument people will make is, you know, would we rush in to help a widow and her children for a man who didn't buy life insurance even though he could afford it? What say you Mark?
I'd say Kelly needs to read up on Social Security survivors benefits, because yes we do already as a society, help those people. If Kelly wants to know more about that survivors benefit program, maybe she should bring in Rep. Paul Ryan to answer some questions about it, since he knows a thing or two about how it works since he benefited from it.
As Sawyer also pointed out at the end of the segment, that individual mandate to buy health insurance that these so-called “tea partiers” supposedly hate so much as well would have taken care of the problem of the hypothetical man in Wolf Blitzer's question to Ron Paul not having any coverage.
And on a final note, why in the hell are any of the networks bringing this Kremer woman on at all, other than trying to pretend we've got some actual third party in America? There is no "tea party." It's a creation of Fox News, CNN, the Koch brothers, Freedom Works and a bunch of other right wing groups that are tied at the hip with the Republican Party and big business interests in America. Whatever you could claim that was "grass roots" about this movement was co-opted almost as soon as anyone calling themselves the Tea Party got started. I'm so tired of the networks deceiving their viewers that this is either a real third party movement and not just some re-branding of the Republican Party to get the Bush stink off of it or that it's actually "grass roots", it's not even funny any more. But sadly, they all continue to do it.
When any of these birds actually run with the party affiliation "Tea Party" behind their name, they can claim that this is some actual third party in the United States. Until then, they deserve to be branded as what they are, which is nothing but the extreme right wing of the Republican Party who want to push to get more extreme right wing Republicans elected and push the Overton window even further to the right.