The Arizona Republican candidates for the Senate can be characterized by the strength of the teabag message they're carrying. John McCain, now a wholly owned former Maverick is a weak flavor of green tea. JD Hayworth is more like Darjeeling. He's a little stronger but sort of sweet, cloying and disguises the bitterness underneath. But Jim Deakin is pure unfiltered black tea -- the kind that curls your toes in the morning.
His performance in Friday's debate was strange in some ways. There were times where it seemed like Grover Norquist was whispering cues in his ear, and others where it seemed like he'd memorized his Pocket Constitution without fully understanding the meaning of what he was repeating.
The contrast between the candidates was never more obvious than in this short clip from the middle of the debate, in response to the question about health care. McCain's somewhat malevolent grin while promising to repeal and replace "Obamacare" with something more discriminatory and Republican was expected. But listen to Deakin describe what he wants to do to Washington DC.
MCCAIN: Next January, my friends, when I'm back there, I'm gonna lead the fight and we're going to repeal, and we're going to replace, Obamacare.
MODERATOR: Mr. Deakin.
DEAKIN: That's funny that you're going to repeal and replace Obamacare. You proposed amendments so you could make it better. I'm not asking you to send me to Washington DC so that I can so that i can reform it. I'm asking you to send me to washington dc so that I can DISMANTLE it back to the fundamentals of the Constitution. We have enumerated powers in our constitution, that the Federal government is allowed to provide and must provide as services to the states. Everything else belongs to the states or the people respectively.
The reason I'm highlighting Deakin's words is because what he says is no different from what Sharron Angle is saying, or what Rand Paul is saying. They couch it in constitutional language, but the message is as clear as Dick Armey's has been for years -- dismantle order for fun and profit.
Later in the debate, there was more of the same from Deakin, only this time he was far less coherent.
Mr Hayworth, thank you very much. Next question is for Mr. Deakin. It has to do with health care.
You have stated that government should keep its hands out of programs dealing with the health care system. Now does that include such programs as Medicare, and do you support a long term program to make Medicare financially solvent?
Deakin: Yes. We need to get politics out of as much of our economy as possible and that includes healthcare and education. Healthcare costs have gone up exponentially since we passed the HMO act. It's gone up exponentially since we passed the Medicare and Medicaid act. We have to get Medicare back into the responsibility of the individual.
Let us create our own economy; let us find our own healthcare providers; let us find our own health insurance providers. When we do that, when we take the middleman out, we reduce the cost. We reduce the paperwork to the doctors; we reduce the paperwork to the insurance companies, then we will have lower costs.
That's the ultimate goal. The goal isn't to control people's lives; and tell them what to do or to tell them what to eat or how heavy they should be or what they should look like. The goal is to get costs lowered. we do that by eliminating bureaucracy. We can no longer afford the middleman in Washington DC. we have to take care of these on a state by state issue.
This is just incoherent nonsense, and a message that needs to be countered. What the Deakins and the "repeal and replace" crowd forget so clearly is this: We've been there, done that. For years and years and years insurers have had total autonomy, states have failed to regulate effectively and the result is a chaotic, discriminatory expensive system.
Paperwork too much? That's not the government's fault. The paperwork burden is from insurers. The government doesn't require prior authorizations before prescriptions can be filled. Insurers do. Everything these teabaggers propound about health care is intended to leave the system just as it was: discriminatory, chaotic, and exclusive.
None of this is news to anyone paying attention. But look at the wild-eyed Deakin literally spit his contempt for government at the camera and imagine a Rand Paul or Sharron Angle in his place. It's not hard. They represent the bonanza Republicans hope comes their way in November at the expense of those least able to afford it.