Respectful Insolence

I don’t normally like Barney Frank. At times, I’ve thought him to be a blithering idiot. However, this time around, he gets it exactly right in dealing with a woman who was carrying around a picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache and comparing his health care reform initiative to Nazi policies.

Best quotes:

On what planet do you spend most of your time?

And:

Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.

Indeed. I actually have a bit more respect for Barney Frank than I once did.

In other news, Rush Limbaugh has cheered on this idiot of a woman and thrown in a homophobic slur for good measure. Thus, the attempt to smear Obama as Hitler continues apace.

I only wish more Democrats and the media would slap down vile people spreading this vile meme the same way Barney Frank did. I wish that Republicans, some of whom I know and some of whom are just as disgusted with this meme as I am, would join in. I probably wish in vain.

Comments

  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    August 20, 2009

    Steven Colbert decided to prove Frank wrong by actually arguing with a dining room table about health care. Unfortunately, the table was French, so Colbert lost.

  2. #2 Anthro
    August 20, 2009

    I think the problem with democrats is that they cannot be united about anything. Last week you posted that you thought Nancy Pelosi is an idiot and now you speak rather disparagingly of Barney Frank as well, but at least give him some credit for this incident. You would never hear a republican publicly denigrating a fellow republican in this way. Much as I hate the way the repubs are in lockstep on everything, I have to admire their loyalty to each other. Even the Mesdames of Maine who are quite rational by republican standards do not publicly condemn even their most brainless cohorts.

    I don’t care who you think is an “idiot”; I want them all to stand behind the President and get something meaningful done and make good science based appointments and pass science based legislation. I really like this blog, but today I think you’re an idiot, but I will only say that to my dining room table.

  3. #3 scote
    August 20, 2009

    “I don’t normally like Barney Frank. At times, I’ve thought him to be a flaming idiot.”

    Flaming? Really? Hmm…

    But I agree that dems need to act more assertive and take control of their town hall meetings. They cannot appease the unappeasable demagogues and so need to take a firm stand. It is time for dems to stop being wishy washy push overs.

  4. #4 Texas Reader
    August 20, 2009

    I think Frank is Jewish and I’m always amazed when someone makes some crackpot “nazi” comment about someone who’s not a Nazi and every Jew within 20 feet doesn’t scream at the crackpot.

    I find it very interesting how right wingers bring up sexuality inappropriately when they don’t like people – claiming Hillary is a lesbian, bringing up Barney’s orientation. They won’t stick to the subject – they want to change the subject and it becomes a personal attack.

  5. Indeed. I actually have a bit more respect for Barney Frank than I once did.

    I don’t. Imagine being linked to that bunch of idiots.

  6. #6 Orac
    August 20, 2009

    Good point. Barney’s comment comparing that woman to a dining room table was an insult to dining room tables everywhere.

  7. #7 DrBuzz0
    August 20, 2009

    The Hitler thing is really just a dumb example of comparing it to the quintessential bad guy. Really, the Obama health plan and the related ideas for funding and having the government administer health and cradle-to-grave care for everyone is more comparable to the Soviet Union than Nazi Germany.

    I suppose the better analogy would be Lenin, who promised something to a people facing problems that seemed like an answer but only resulted in decades of misery, injustice, suffering and poverty.

    Perhaps Stalin would have more impact.

  8. #8 Matthew Cline
    August 20, 2009

    I dunno, Barney Frank could have said something like “State your specific problems with the health care plan, without any references to the Nazis or Hitler. If you mention the Nazis or Hitler again I’ll ignore you and move on to the next person”. But then people would have accused him of dodging the question.

  9. #9 Orac
    August 21, 2009

    True, but it wouldn’t have conveyed the contempt this woman warranted.

  10. #10 Chris
    August 21, 2009

    The woman was one of the LaRouche followers, they is long on passion, but short on knowledge. She probably has no clue why a Jewish gay man would react they way he did to the Nazi reference.

    Wait, haven’t the LaRouchies heard about Godwin’s Law?

    Wait, probably not.

    My first encounter with LaRouchies was over thirty years ago when one of them tried to get their organization represented on the Engineering Student Council, where I represented the student chapter of a national engineering organization. He cornered me with the literature about fusion and all of Lyndon LaRouche’s other wild ideas. Their bid to join failed because it turns out you actually have to be a student of the university to be part of a university student organization.

    They are still crazy after all of these years.

    Here is another response to the protesters.

  11. #11 DrFrank
    August 21, 2009

    Really, the Obama health plan and the related ideas for funding and having the government administer health and cradle-to-grave care for everyone is more comparable to the Soviet Union than Nazi Germany.
    Um, or perhaps much more directly comparable to similar systems in Europe in non-communist countries that work reasonably well? I live in the UK, and while the NHS is far from perfect it’s certainly far better than leaving the poor to die in a skip. I’m more than happy to pay taxes towards such a system.

    Also, if you want to talk about death panels I’d suggest that’s much more the province of private healthcare insurers who will actively try and avoid paying out for treatment wherever possible.

  12. #12 Scott
    August 21, 2009

    I think the problem with democrats is that they cannot be united about anything. … You would never hear a republican publicly denigrating a fellow republican in this way. Much as I hate the way the repubs are in lockstep on everything, I have to admire their loyalty to each other.

    I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that almost everyone who’s not an extremist whackaloon has abandoned the Republicans. IOW, everyone who disagreed left, leaving only the echo chamber.

  13. #13 David
    August 21, 2009

    What I was really surprised at was Orac linking to a HuffPo article…

  14. #14 Landru
    August 21, 2009

    You would never hear a republican publicly denigrating a fellow republican in this way.

    Your careful attention to the 2008 Republican presidential primary cycle (and every contested Republican presidential primary cycle since Ronald Reagan laid down his famous commandment) is duly noted.

    And no, Frank shouldn’t have responded with an attempt at reasoned debate. The whole point of the manufactured town hall outrage at a plan in its formative stages, with multiple extant versions and proposals and ideas, is an appeal to ignorance and a drive to stifle reasoned debate based on facts.

  15. #15 DrCogSci
    August 22, 2009

    Does anyone else think that the hyperlink used in the story above may have targeted an “unfortunate” string of words?

    I mean, all those other times I click on a click saying:

    “get(s) it exactly right in dealing with a woman”…

  16. #16 T.
    August 25, 2009

    Perhaps I’m just not remembering my 6th grade social studies class correctly, but…anyone know how someone can be BOTH a Nazi AND a socialist? Is it that his critics are ignorant, or merely confused? Or am I the one who’s confused? I feel like I’m missing something, listening to all the nonsensical invective…

  17. #17 Skemono
    August 25, 2009

    T., since the Nazi party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, people insist that Nazism is the same as socialism, or perhaps a specific form of it. It helps that they don’t seem to understand either socialism or Nazism.

  18. #18 Ryan Biggs
    August 27, 2009

    A while back Barney Frank appeared on Bill OReilly’s show. When the camera cut to Barney, he wasn’t sitting on the edge of his seat, eagerly awaiting his audience with O’Reilly. Instead, he was reading the newspaper, as if this was taking too long and he had better things to do. It was subtle but brilliant.