Did the Inglorious N.O.P. Bust a Cap in Health Care Reform?

This is not your grandfather's Grand Old Party. Now revealed as a cabal of quitters, liars and philanderers who propagandize a new brand of Hatriotism, there's nothing grand about it.

In their desperation to replay an election they lost last year, they have left no lie unchampioned. They use the public airwaves for fear-mongering, hate speech and race-baiting. Let's get real. The "birther" drive is as old as D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, and it has absolutely no relationship to the majesty of Abraham Lincoln. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan are surely spinning in their graves with fury over what is being done and said in their names. It's a sad, sad state of affairs when "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater would be considered a liberal by today's narrow standards.

The Republican Party is now led by a collection of drug-addicted gas bags like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and inarticulate, intellectually lazy quitters like Sarah Palin. It is less big tent and more tent revival where those who do not ascribe to and vote in lock step with their narrow dogma are labeled traitors...and you know what they do to traitors, don't you?

This "Just Say N-O Party," its adherents and hate media champions should be ashamed. Just plain ashamed.

Is President Obama, whose campaign for "real change" showed courage and electrified the nation, really going to capitulate on the public option in health care reform based on the biggest bald-faced lie of all -- a one-liner on Facebook by none other than Caribou Barbie? We thought he had more grit.

If Congressional Democrats (Liberal, Progressive or Blue Dog) fail to pass a public option, they will prove Palin right: that her team could have won if she had been cut loose to gin up the hate machine. Indeed it will be Obama's Waterloo, and it is not worth sacrificing all of the hard work and gains that millions of Americans have made to repair the damage of a decade of Bush/Cheney -- and elect those very same Democrats to office. Grow a spine. Or you are all lame ducks.

Are Democrats and the President really going to let this very small, ignominious group kill the public option and perpetuate a fraud of toothless health care reform? This minority of Americans composed primarily of one generation so desperate to hang on to the delusions of the Eisenhower era that they have been using the same sophistry and fear tactics to rally against de-segregation, one man one vote, Civil Rights and Medicare? They are the same misogynists who rallied against the Equal Rights Amendment and who to this very day condemn women in the workforce as the thread that unraveled the fabric of their America. These are the same lemmings who goose-stepped to war based on lies, not against the terrorists who actually attacked us but against a country that promised the biggest economic advantage to an elite few.

How dare Republican Senators like Chuck Grassley promulgate the obscene suggestion of "death panels" when they voted for the same end-of-life consultation as part of the 2003 Medicare bill under the Bush administration? By doing so, he and his colleagues have just given Sarah Palin the keys to that tiny but noisy, hate-filled island kingdom that is today's Republican Party.

Yes, the hypocrisy of the N.O.P. knows no bounds. The same folks who now rally around "states' rights" were champions of federalism when a white Republican was President. These people who freely call Obama a Nazi are the very same ones who staunchly declared that anyone who merely questioned President Bush on Iraq or any of his social warfare policies was committing treason. For the last two weeks, they have attended health care town hall meetings arguing about immigration and abortion and every other third rail issue. The only rational explanation is that all of this chest thumping and verbal flagellation is a facade for something deeper, more pathological, more insidious. And indeed it is shameful.

From a branding perspective, is this really how the Republican Party wants to be defined? I voted for Reagan. I voted for GHW Bush. Then the Evangelicals began slowly strangling the party in their vice-like grip. Is there any wonder that conservative stalwarts like Peggy Noonan, David Frum, Colin Powell and like-minded pundits such as George Will and David Gergen are beginning to distance themselves? God bless them. Voices of reason who speak from the roots of the GOP.

A good deal of blame needs to be laid at the feet of the Democrats and President Obama. They failed to get out in front of the health care issue, allowing it to be hijacked by the ersatz "Conservatives for Patients Rights" who launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign early and set the tone of lies and distortions which was picked up by the right wing echo chamber.

Yet, we are all complicit. Individually, we have dismissed these statements as just looney gas baggery. But hate speech -- true hate speech -- should never be tolerated in any form. We used to have standards that demanded truth in advertising, a balanced presentation on political issues and respectful discourse.

Mainstream media has done little more than loop tapes of the noise and most licentious statements which has done nothing more than stir the muddy waters and further propagate the worst of the mongering. They should be ashamed as well.

I'm a member of the media. I'm also a member of the marketing and advertising industry. I grew up on stage. You cannot tell me we cannot speak truthfully, with balance and respect and still be entertaining. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert do it every night.