Disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew was fond of referring to the 1970s Democrats as "nattering nabobs of negativism." That phrase was pretty much all I liked about Spiro Agnew, and now in the United States Senate the shoe is clearly on the other foot; it is the Republicans who have turned into "nattering nabobs of negativism" --perhaps "malicious malefactors of mistruths" would be even more apt.
Watching the recent late-nite speeches in advance of the successful Senate vote to move the health care debate along to the next level in the U.S. Congress, I was struck by the duplicity of Republican senators, including even those like John McCain for whom I had once had some respect. After reading carefully-selected portions of Obama campaign speeches on health care, McCain quoted a biased columnist to the effect that most of the American people deplore health reform.
But worse than those misrepresentations were the mistruths of many Republican Senators who whined endlessly about how the President had not consulted them on health care legislation. They need a lot of treatment for memory lapses, as early in the process of designing an improved health care system, the President courted Republicans on many occasions, including special invitations to the White House to provide their input. Some one hundred and sixty one amendments to the evolving health care bills were based on that Republican input.
That is much more consultation than they ever gave the Democrats on anything, when the Republicans controlled Congress for many years.
Had we progressives any doubt that the Republicans are desperate to sink the Obama Ship of State, their atrocious misconduct in dealing with health care legislation would lay that doubt to rest. Indeed, many Republicans' communications to their constituencies make clear that their key goal for the next few years is to force Obama to fail.
The fact that, at this crucial time, a failure by our President will also mean failure by America as a nation, seems not to concern the Republicans at all. Therefore, another alliteration comes to mind to describe recent attempts by Republicans: shameless sinkers of the Ship of State! We cannot let them succeed in those attempts.