Republican Fun with the Third Rail!


Didn’t your mother always tell you, “Never pee on the third rail, son?” (She didn’t say that to the girls so much.)  And yet, the Republican Party, driven by God knows what self-destructive urge, is hellbent on telling the people of the US:  “Choose Medicare in your old age, or choose us.” Or as I put it more rhapsodically in a previous article:

…today’s Republican Party, enjoying a brief final majority in the House, knowing no limits, lacking frontal lobes, eyes ablaze, hair flying in the wind, leaning forward in the cockpit like a kamikaze pilot or racecar driver on angel dust, has put forward a budget that explicitly gets rid of Medicare…  The GOP in one of its final acts is committing a spectacular hara-kiri, throwing away one of its few remaining dependable voting blocs, in a feverish and fatal Danse Sacrale to its corporate overlords.

And this week we had the first electoral results of this madness, with surprisingly chingona Democrat Kathy Hochul blowing chickens-for-healthcare-lady-lookalike Jane Corwin out of the water in a district that had never gone Democrat before – Jack Kemp’s old district, the blood-red FIGHTING 26th of New York – on precisely this issue.  (And I should mention, in a race for the seat abandoned by shirtless transsexual-fancier and Chapman grad Chris Lee, whom we profiled here.)

DCCC chairman Steve Israel says 96 districts held by Republicans are more Dem-friendly than NY26 was ever thought to be, which augurs well for a return of Madame Speaker next year  – that is, if we keep this issue front and center, which I sure intend to do.  Did I mention that nearly every Republican Congressman – including our own Rohrabacher, Royce, Campbell, Calvert and Miller – as well as 40 Republican Senators – voted to kill Medicare, which has now gelled into some sort of Republican orthodoxy to which they are somehow bound?  Oh, right – don’t forget to thank them:

The dreamy-eyed, pointlessly buff Paul Ryan, celebrated architect of this doomed plan, was all over the TV the next day looking like a woeful, scolded stepchild.  The problem, he insisted, was that people just didn’t understand his plan, which he proceeded to explain again for the umpteenth time.  No, Paul, Americans do understand your plan, we’re not stupid.  Switching it to a voucher program to buy private insurance is not “saving Medicare,” it’s getting rid of it.

He even timidly tried out the dopey term “Mediscare” one time.   That’s one thing I do like about Paul Ryan, he has too much self-respect to spout the focus-group-tested catchphrases that most Republicans squawk all day like parrots – eg, “Obamacare,” “job creators” – although he does repeat “demagoguing” like it was going out of style.  But here is one thing that has really pissed me off since the beginning of this:

Trying (unsuccessfully) to start a Generational War



One thing Ryan kept insisting we don’t understand – and Jane Corwin desperately repeated as she approached her defeat – was that whole “this won’t affect you unless you’re under 55.” I’m proud of Americans that this kind of divide-and-conquer doesn’t fly.  Do Republicans really believe that Americans are so selfish (like them?) that as long as they think something won’t affect them personally, they won’t mind if it happens to someone else?

Do Republican politicians really think Americans over 55 don’t have any, say, kids they might care about?  Spouses under 55 they might care about?  Brothers and sisters under 55?  Friends under 55 they might care about?  Apparently they do think that, because they’re still trying to hammer that home, in hopes that older people will get over their fierce aversion to the Ryan plan and come back home to the comfortable Grand Old Party.

Well, keep it up, GOP, just keep pissing on that Third Rail!  And we’ll see you in November ‘012!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.