On this episode of Reality Cast, Jacqueline Ayers of Planned Parenthood will tell us about Congress’s sneaky attempts to kill family planning funding. And I’ll be reviewing conservative reactions to the Supreme Court rulings on health care and same-sex marriage.
Speaking of the court, the Supreme Court has issued a very important stay.
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This will keep these clinics open until, likely, the Supreme Court makes a final ruling on these regulations. This is a good sign, folks, but we have a long road ahead.
On Thursday, June 25, the Supreme Court struck down yet another major challenge to the Affordable Care Act. It wasn’t a huge surprise, because the case conservatives brought was laughably bad and the plaintiffs didn’t even really seem to have standing, as some journalists, particularly at Mother Jones, discovered. The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell tried to argue that the government had no right to offer health-care subsidies in states that didn’t establish their own exchanges, and that argument should have been laughed out of court on day one. That it even got this far is a testament to how much power conservatives have over the judicial system. But that was not, as you can imagine, enough to placate conservatives who want all the power. Of course, they only had 24 hours to pack in their freakout before the Court legalized same-sex marriage and that became the new thing to freak out about. But this is the American right, y’all, and they can pack a lot of screaming into a 24-hour news cycle.
Karl Rove kicked things off by trying to make the anti-Obamacare argument more true through repetition.
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For those who haven’t been following this case closely, a quick explanation: The part of the bill that sets up tax credits for people to use to buy health insurance with says that if you buy through the state exchange, you can use this tax credit. Conservatives tried to argue that this means you can’t therefore use it if you’re on the federal exchange, which was only set up because some states refuse to participate in the state exchanges. Yep, it was basically a long, childish attempt at a “gotcha.” But the law doesn’t work that way. Intent and context do, in fact, factor into court interpretations of the law. Since it was obvious to all people, even the dissenters, that the people crafting this law didn’t mean to limit subsidies to state-only exchanges, the Court correctly decided not to go along with this childish attempt to gotcha millions of people out of their health insurance. But conservatives like Karl Rove are trying to pretend that it’s somehow illegitimate to take context into consideration when interpreting a law, even though that’s literally how all court decisions have been handled since the beginning of time.
Rush Limbaugh decided to get conspiracy theory minded.
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In typical conspiracy theory fashion, he hints and dances around the argument for some time, but the general gist of it is this: He thinks that Justices Roberts and Kennedy, the two conservatives who sided with the liberals to uphold this decision, were somehow benefitting from the immediate surge in hospital stocks after this decision was announced. So yeah, kind of implying that they were, well not bribed, but sellouts for sure. This is all silly, of course. But I do like that conservatives are so hateful to low-income people that they’d rather see a significant financial sector, the health-care industry, tank in the stock market rather than see low-income people get health insurance.
Sean Hannity got even nuttier with the conspiracy theorizing.
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Yep, Hannity went there, actually trying to argue that unless we strip health care tax credits away from low income people, um, the government is going to forcibly kill you with morphine. Who the “you” is that will be killed is awfully vague? Old people? Sick people? Conservatives? Liberals? Random people chosen by lottery? Hannity doesn’t say. He just wants you to know they’re coming for you, for reasons unknown. Because reasons, that’s why.
The freakout on the right over Obamacare being saved was bad, but nothing, as you can imagine, like what came pouring out of conservatives in response to the news that the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. The response to that was pure apocalyptic raving. Now, to be clear, gay marriage has been legal in a number of states, including my own State of New York, for years now without blood running in the streets or plagues of locusts attacking us. You would think this would calm conservative fears about the supposed dangers we are facing. But that would assume that they’re making these kind of arguments in good faith, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned reporting on social conservatives all these years, good faith arguments are not really their thing. Mike Huckabee was particularly livid.
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See what I mean about bad faith? Huckabee sure wants you to believe that there’s going to be some kind of massive resistance that will somehow make this not happen, but what exactly would that look like? He likes to compare himself to civil rights activists who refused to honor the rules of segregation, but they were able to flout those rules with their own bodies, by being Black in places where Black people were banned. How do you exactly resist gay marriage? By not getting gay married? Uh, doesn’t work that way? By disrupting gay people’s weddings? Maybe. I could see them trying to do that, like how they tried to physically force women not to go into abortion clinics until the police crackdown caused anti-choicers to scale back and simply call it “protesting” and now “sidewalk counseling” or whatever. But that was easier, because there’s only so many abortion clinics and they can be targeted, whereas weddings happen everywhere and are very decentralized. I just don’t see that happening. He’s full of hot air, trying to seem tough and brave without actually having to put his money where his mouth is.
This whole thing was so dumb that even Megyn Kelly of Fox News took a break from giving flattering and welcoming interviews to anti-gay activists to ask Huckabee what flavor of dumbass he really is.
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Here’s the thing: You can sit around pouting in your living room about how you don’t accept this, nuh-uh, and no one cares. You can deny that gravity works but that doesn’t make you able to fly. You can’t just change reality by whining about it. This is the law of the land, the marriage certificates are being issued, this is a done deal. Temper tantrums don’t change that. Kelly finally had to feed him the constitutional amendment idea. I suspect Huckabee knows that’s literally the only way, besides violent revolution. But he doesn’t want to say it, because as soon as he does, you realize how silly and futile all this is. The majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. Even amongst those who don’t, a lot of them don’t care that much. The chance that the Constitution gets amended to nullify the court’s decision is less than zero. Even mentioning it makes it clear that Huckabee is just a demagogue who is latching onto an impossible issue for no other purpose but to pander to the religious right for money and support for his go-nowhere presidential campaign. It’s silly.
Not that I think this is going to go away after this initial temper tantrum, however. I hope it does. But people like Huckabee are endlessly interested in controlling your sex life and don’t give up that easily. They don’t have good ideas right now, but I’d keep an eye on them.
The apocalyptic talk was coming from all corners of the right. Like Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association.
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You know, if you believe that God thinks that gay people are so unnatural, you would think you’d start wondering why he keeps making them.
Glenn Beck, as is his way, tried to make it all about himself.
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Yeah, just like they banned saying that you’re anti-abortion after they legalized abortion. Oh, wait. Honestly, I could quote clips like this all day. According to the religious right, this is an assault on free speech and religious liberty and puppies and rainbows—well not rainbows, as they seem to officially hate those now. Honestly, I think this is why gay marriage activists made so much progress in a relatively short time on this issue. Conservatives were so over-the-top with their ridiculous claims about what this would do that people who were on the fence realized that the right doesn’t have any good arguments about this. And that helped push them over to the left on this.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, unbelievably tasteless edition. Craig James of the Family Research Council is, as you can imagine, feeling victimized because gay strangers are allowed to marry even though he doesn’t like it. And he reached for what may be the most tasteless comparison of his suffering to others ever.
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Yep. He just compared the suffering of having to know that other people have marriages you don’t like to the suffering of the families of the nine people shot in Charleston by a white supremacist. I have no words.