An editor’s note: this post was researched and drafted late Saturday morning (CT), with the tweets on which they were based sent by me around noon. And then, after a dash to the laundry room, I turned on the TV and heard the news.
The title you see here was initially chosen because of the fact that — as the first draft put it — “a Nor’easter full of wind, snow and stupid is due next week when they bring up the (oh, dear) ‘Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.'” But, of course, that vote isn’t going to happen next week, given what has happened. And yet the title remains on this post, unchanged; to some extent, it still seems apt, in a very odd way.
The Psychometer was launched in the last week as a way to call attention to the fact that House GOP members sometimes lose their grip, in a way that allowed for audience participation, and was fun in general. But maybe, now, it will serve as one of thousands of canaries in a coal mine. (If it continues at all — that discussion can also happen, and perhaps should.)
Everybody is swearing-off hyperbolic, emotionally-loaded language now. They’re saying that they’re going to be more civil, to “disagree without being disagreeable.” But you watch how long that lasts. And, in its way, the Psychometer will watch too, if in fact it remains a going concern.
Will, for example, Ted Poe (Tex.) take it down a notch? If you don’t know him yet, he’s entering his fourth term, and was a judge from the Gulf Coast north and east of Houston. He was one of those judges who handed out Scarlet Letter sentences — sandwich boards saying “I’m a thief” and such. Also, he has this adorable habit of closing every speech he gives by saying: “…and that’s just the way it is.” Perhaps it is an homage to Jim “BEAM ME UP!” Traficant. (Or, perhaps, he’s just a fool.)
Anyway: he had several rants this week — a couple about border security, and one on the plight of a guy who flew the American flag but got hammered by a homeowner’s association. (To be fair: homeowner’s associations are a bunch of suburban busybodies who are obsessed with perfection. Screw ’em.) But, those comments didn’t make the cut in my eyes. What did get nominated? This:
T Poe calls HCR “totalitarian” act of “oppression,” placing “chains on the American people.” CR 1/6, H50
Now that’s some Grade A Crazy. Slavery and dictatorship in the same breath, almost. So the question is this: does this sort of statement get made after what happened yesterday? If so, how soon from now, and to what level?
That discussion continues post-jump, together with Mike Pence giving himself a stump-speech talking point at the expense of ladybits, and Steve King, twice, on health care, and a possible expansion of the criteria beyond House GOPers to cover clueless press hacks.
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