Sunday, June 25, 2017

Rep. Jason Smith Serves Up a Heaping Helping of GOP Baloney

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

My congressman, Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri's 8th district, comes out with an email newsletter each Saturday.   The missive always contains photos of Smith standing next to various farm implements and machinery or posing among the throngs of student groups who visit the Capitol each summer.  It also contains obligatory snippets of GOP orthodoxy.

For the past several week's Smith's newsletter has been light on his once effusive praise of Donald Trump. reflecting, one must suppose, growing Republican concerns over Dear Leader's escalating scandals and seeming inability to keep his self-incriminating mouth shut.

But that ban on all-things-Trump appears to be subsiding.  The much anticipated Senate version of Trumpcare came to light this past week, party talking-points have been drafted, and the loyal foot-soldiers, people like Jason Smith, have been sent forth to disperse those talking points to an adoring and gullible public.

Congressman Smith's stirring defense of Trump and Trumpcare is a mere five paragraphs long, yet it is chock-full of Republican whimsy and fantasy.

In the first paragraph he lambasts "Senate Liberals" for "ignoring the will of the American people and obstructing the democratic process" because they took so long to approve Trump's cabinet choices and because they tried to stop the Supreme Court appointment of Neil Gorsuch.  Smith, of course, didn't mention the inordinate length of time Trump took in nominating his cabinet choices - due in some degree, no doubt, to the many vacations he took during his first months in office.  Nor did the outraged congressman make any reference to the Supreme Court nominee who preceded Gorsuch - Judge Merrick Garland - whose nomination was before the Senate for nearly a year with NO action - due to Senate Republicans refusing to act.  A year - and yet Congressman Smith chooses to whine about Democrats taking a much briefer period of time in careful consideration of a nominee - one who actually did get a vote.  That's just a tad hypocritical, Congressman.

The second paragraph of the congressman's newsletter was a regurgitation of the old lie that Democrats did not want to be involved in "fixing" health care.  That presupposes that Republicans ever had an interest in fixing health care - when their stated intent was to repeal and destroy a working health care system. If they had actually wanted to "fix" health care, Democrats would have been eager participants in the process, but that was never the GOP intent.

Then the second paragraph gets really interesting with this statement:  "Some Senators even tried to make it sound like the people who were working together on the senate bill were doing so in secret."  Yes, some senators did make it sound like that - and some of those senators were Republicans - and the plan was being drafted in secret.  To say otherwise would be a bald-faced lie. 

Then Congressman Smith complained about "Obamacare-Loyalist-Senators" slowing the Senate's business processes - and, of course, the Senate must not be slowed as Mitch McConnell rushes to  get a bill affecting one sixth of our national economy pushed through in just a couple of hours - effectively denying input from "Obamacare-Loyalist-Senators," health care stakeholders, and the general public - people like you and me - and ripping health care from millions and millions of people.

The third paragraph berates "liberal Obamacare loyalists" for trying to thwart the will of people as expressed in last November's election - as if that election was a referendum on Obamacare.  But, for the sake of argument, let's say it was.   Let's say that every person who voted for Trump did so because they did not like Obamacare and wanted to see it repealed and replaced - as Congressman Smiths' regurgitation of the GOP talking points would suggest.  And then let's say that every vote for Hillary was an affirmation of the people's desire to maintain Obamacare.    Hillary received nearly three million more votes than Trump.  The people spoke, Congressman Smith, and they did not say what you wanted to hear.

The fourth paragraph whines on about the very real problem of rising health care costs - something that Congressman Smith and the GOP would like to blame on "Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi."  There are a multitude of reasons for rising health care costs, many generated by corporations who donate quite generously to members of Congress to insure that their abilities to profit off of the illnesses and injuries of good Americans is not limited by any program or government fiat.  Does Congressman Smith need to be reminded that even though he has been a member of the House only a very few years, he is already sitting on a massive war chest of campaign cash, some of which was donated by individuals and businesses who profit off of America's health care situation and are vested in the advantages offered to them by less government oversight?  No, he is probably well aware of that political reality.

The final paragraph of Congressman's Smith's newsletter is more regurgitation that "liberal Senate extremists" are ignoring the November mandate (the one Hillary actually won) and are being obstructionist.  It also accuses them of "political grandstanding" and "playing games."  All of that is so rich - coming from the party of Mitch McConnell!

The GOP talking points on Trumpcare are chunks of pure baloney, and Jason Smith is serving them up on Ritz crackers.  He undoubtedly has constituents with their minds closed and mouths open, eager to swallow whatever he feeds them - but he also represents people who know better.  The numbers may be with Smith today, but as access to health care begins to dry up with the elimination of Medicaid, those numbers are going to change quickly and drastically.

The political landscape will be in upheaval, and people like Congressman Jason Smith will be in for one hell of a bumpy ride - a ride they brought on themselves.

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