About Time

I love Congressman Barney Frank’s response to this “concerned citizen” —

But I admit that I’m not sure if it’s the “right” response. Indeed, none of the proposed strategies I’ve heard for dealing with screeching, irrational mobs seem the best option. As has been the case for centuries, the vocal, boorishly irrational always put intelligent people on any side of the spectrum in a crude Catch-22: they can refuse to answer and appear weak, or answer and stoop to their level. It’s the inevitable result of engagement with this kind of, uh, “debater,” making Frank’s response satisfying, but of questionable value (although he acquitted himself well afterwards, parrying more delicately and questioning their tactics, not just their sanity). What would you do?

I apologize for this short post, but blame it on LaGuardia Airport, which seems to institute five-hour ground stops at the slightest possibility of moisture in the air, somewhere in New York state. I’ll have a full post later today on the seriously exciting news out of the Supreme Court — Troy Davis, who’s waited a long time on death row for a crime that he appears not to have committed, will have his execution stayed pending relitigation in the Southern District of Georgia. Good for Mr. Davis — well earned — but this is huge for other reasons. His reprieve seems poised to send shockwaves through established law on the death penalty, questioning a serious Clinton-era limitation on federal habeas review. Add in a good, old-fashioned rumble between Justices Stevens & Scalia, and you’ve got the ingredients of a late summer blockbuster! Now if I could only find my Hart & Wechsler (the weapon of a gentleman)…


  1. When you do the write up on the court, don’t forget to use the dissent as a (better late than never) prime example (in the negative) of what the Prez meant when he said he wanted “empathy” from a judge.

  2. HAHA. WIN. I will!

  3. i love that barney was true to form. the people here in Massachusetts who hate him have been using it as fodder though. i wish more politicians called these loonies out. come bearing pictures of obama as hitler, come bearing loaded assault weapons, then you better be prepared for a counter attack!.

    once again, the dems are pussies and barney wasn’t!!!

  4. I don’t understand why these people are being tolerated to the extent they are. It’s obvious they’re there to prevent the debate from taking place at all. Kick them out and let them exercise their free speech outside if they want to.

  5. They are tolerated because Democrats want to give the appearance of listening to all sides of the debate, unlike Republicans who don’t seem to care how they appear.

  6. […] of highest morality, and probably one where “empathy” ought indeed to play a part (h/t John, on that point, to be developed more later). In true constitutional toss-ups like these, the […]

  7. From Megan McArdle:

    “We’ll leave aside the garden-variety hypocrisy of people who have suddenly discovered that dissent may not always be the highest form of patriotism. (And, to be fair, those who have suddenly rediscovered their right to peaceably assemble and demand redress of grievances)

    Talk of death panels and crazy signs is, if polls are to be believed, a tiny fringe of the many Americans who do not like this health care plan much. It’s even, as far as I can tell, a small minority of the many Americans attending town hall meetings to harangue their congressmen. Democrats appear to think that blowing those people up into the totality of the movement will help them win the PR battle on healthcare. I suspect this will do more harm to the Democrats, and their ability to effectively deliver their message, than it will to the conservatives.”

    1. I’m noticing a theme here: according to Mike, people violently protesting and demagoguing against the slightest change to the currently immoral status quo are morally equivalent to those who protested against an unjust war.

  8. I’m surprised at how much these disinformation pushes affect the overall perception of the plan.

    “Majorities in the poll believe the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants; would lead to a government takeover of the health system; and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions — all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue about the legislation that has emerged so far from Congress.”

    “While just 36 percent believe Obama’s efforts to reform the health system are a good idea, that number increases to 53 percent when respondents were read a paragraph describing Obama’s plans”


  9. i’m thinking a stupid bomb has been dropped on the US!!!
    i like the idea of ‘forget the republicans and go forward”. if they try to filibuster, let them. i’ll bring coffee and pizza and blankies.

    this constant reference to obama, and now barney frank, putting forth nazi ideals is hysterical. let’s see, hitler wanted to get rid of jews, blacks and gays and his health care reform was total extermiation. obama and frank are a black man and a gay jew respectively and they want health care for everyone.

    stupid bomb!!

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