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Memo to Laura Ingraham -- Buy a Vowel to Spell Compassion

Reported by Julie - September 2, 2009 -

Ingraham hosted The O’Reilly Factor again last night (9/1/09), and, nope, she still doesn’t appear to have found God’s loving ways – despite the God-fearing image she tries to portray with that eternal crucifix.

I caught Ingraham in the Unresolved Problem segment – an appropriately named segment for Ingraham to host, I think, considering how many of those she has. She began by sniping about the issue of race being injected into the healthcare reform debate, and played a clip of Democratic Congresswoman Diane Watson blaming racism for “the President’s problems with the public.”

Roll the tape.

Watson: “They are spreading fear and they’re trying to see that the first president who looks like me fails . . . Did anyone say anything about the Cuban health system? . . . before you say, oh, it’s communist, you need to go down there and see what Fidel Castro put in place . . . he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met.”

Ingraham covered her face with her talons, and said, “I don’t know which is worse, the Fidel Castro bit or the race bit.”

Ingraham introduced Dr. Marc Lemont Hill and conservative talk show host Tammy Bruce (who seems to make a lot of weird faces, and yes, the same Tammy Bruce who, while guest-hosting on Ingraham’s radio show, called Michelle Obama “trash in the White House”) . . . not exactly someone I would have on to have a “fair and balanced” discussion about race, eh?

“I saw this Diane Watson town hall,” Ingraham whined in her nasally voice, “. . . This looks so desperate, people who show up at town hall events are speaking out because the President looks like Diane Watson, i.e., is black? That’s so insulting.”

Oh, gag me. Since when is Ingraham worried about making racially charged comments? I do believe she’s the same person who said that President Obama, when speaking to the NAACP, “channeled his best Jeremiah Wright accent.” And, as reported by the Daily Kos earlier this year, “Ingraham got her start with a neo-Nazi student publication: the infamous Dartmouth Review. This paper was funded by fascists and white supremacists and was a a ripe source for Jew-baiting and racist insults aimed at black students, such as describing black students as talking like Amos & Andy clones ("We be up to our ‘fros in studies"). The paper ran a quote from Adolf Hitler on its masthead and staged a mock lynching of a black man for its pages. The paper also outed a number of gay students and sent goons armed with sledgehammers to smash a display erected by Dartmouth students who opposed Apartheid. To this day, Ingraham is unrepentant. In fact, she uses her AM radio show to gin up more racist agitprop (this time against Mexicans), and is a torture-loving sadist who thinks water torture is little more than a fraternity prank.”

“I didn’t realize Diane Watson is black, I don’t see race,” Hill responded calmly, “But I think that the issue here is not whether or not every single person who disagrees with healthcare is racist but if there’s a racial dimension to this . . . it would be illogical . . . to say that anybody who disagrees with Barack Obama is racist . . . however as someone who has talked to many opponents of universal healthcare, as someone who has been to the town hall meetings, there are many people who are deeply anxiety-ridden because there’s an African American president in office and they do not want to see him succeed.”

“Who are these people who are deeply anxiety-ridden,” Ingraham sneered, “That an African American man is President of the United States . . . I’d love to interview some of these people on my radio show . . . but the point is . . . they’re losing in the court of public opinion and they’re digging themselves further into a hole by going to race, they always go back to the well of race, it always fails them . . . I think it’s a losing political tactic.” Well, that pretty well sums up Ms. Laura, doesn’t it? Racial issues aren’t real, after all – they’re only to be used as a “political tactic.” And I’ll bet dollars to donuts we won’t see O’Reilly’s lapdog, Ingraham, interviewing any white people -- willing to admit to being racists -- on her radio show.

“That’s a different issue . . .,” Hill admonished. “Many Americans, particularly white Americans, don’t like to talk about race and particularly don’t like to talk about white supremacy and racism . . . but this doesn’t mean it’s not true . . . people who don’t have health care . . . they also have a race . . . it’s not that we can’t talk about race and gender and sexuality and talk about social policy – they’re always connected.”

Ingraham gave up on Hill, and gave Bruce the floor, saying dismissively, “Race, gender, sexual . . . I’m just, Tammy, I’m gonna buy a vowel here, because I’m a little confused. This is about healthcare . . . this is about the public not believing what politicians . . . are telling them.”

“Absolutely,” Bruce said enthusiastically, “And this is one of the reasons why Barack Obama’s lost control of this message, because there has been a focus on things that have nothing to do with what America is rejecting about this bill . . . last time I checked it wasn’t Americans getting into boats to Havana when they need serious medical care . . . so as long as Americans are hearing arguments that make no sense – and look, fine, let the liberals make those arguments. In the meantime, independent conservatives have their voices heard . . . .” Sorry, trash-on-the-O’Reilly-Factor, but it isn’t the “liberals” that are turning the healthcare reform focus on things that have nothing to do with anything and that make no sense. Why don’t we talk about the lies and misinformation spewed by Fox and other right-wingers like Sarah Palin’s “death panels," or Michelle Bachmann’s loony-tunes claims that healthcare reform is unconstitutional? Of course, the right never gets off message, right? They don’t like President Obama's healthcare reform policies -- and to prove that they hold up signs with swastikas and bring guns to town hall rallies.

Ingraham sat quietly while Bruce talked about Diane Watson’s constituents who are “older people of color,” and said, “There is a realization overall and especially for people in her district . . . they know about the disaster of healthcare . . . nobody’s fooled by these arguments. We don’t like “Obama deathcare” . . . .”

“Wow,” Hill blurted out.

“. . . Because it’s going to condemn us into what Canada and what Cuba and what England is going through right now . . . ,” Bruce concluded.

Hill challenged, “These are nothing but straw arguments . . . whenever we talk about universal healthcare the Republicans drag out the three Canadians who couldn’t get an operation within six months . . . they start lying about death panels . . . .”

Ingraham and Hill wrangled over whether it’s “politically wise” to look to Cuba for an example of healthcare, and Hill agreed that it’s not “politically wise,” but pointed out, “If I’m one of the 50 million Americans who does not have access to healthcare then sure I’d rather be in Cuba or France or anywhere else where I can get access to a doctor or preventative care . . . It’s not an issue of having to use Cuba as a template for our healthcare . . . there are lessons to be learned from Cuba about providing everyone with access.”

Ingraham didn’t even attempt to debate this, saying, “Tammy, take a whack.”

With nary a peep from Ingraham, Bruce then threw out a string of untruths about American healthcare: “The most recent American Medical Association and other government overview of American health . . . we’re living longer . . . defeating more diseases . . . we are the healthiest in the world . . . these kinds of policies disenfranchise the disenfranchised. It is people of color, people who live in the inner city . . . .” These people keep trotting out these tired old lies as if we’re all the average uninformed Fox viewing audience. As an August 2009 report by Timely Analysis of Immediate Health Policy Issues stated, “While U.S. life expectancy is at or below the average in comparison with that of other developed countries, findings from research that has adjusted mortality to account for deaths not related to health care (so-called amenable mortality) show the United States to be among the worst performers.”

“That’s race,” Hill interjected snidely. “There’s no race involved in this though, Tammy.”

Bruce continued, “. . . If you want to create a FEMA for healthcare for people in the inner city – that’s what Obama’s arguing for, that’s what Diane Watson’s arguing for, and that’s what every American rejects regardless of complexion.”

Hill made a WTF face (the same one, incidentally, that I made): “I didn’t know black people rejected that . . . you may not know this, I’m black and I happen to be for it. Many black people I know and many poor people I know are for government provided healthcare.”

“You’re not gonna be using it . . . you’re for it for other people,” Bruce shot back hotly.

“Yes,” concluded Hill flatly.

What a concept: Fighting for the disadvantaged even when there’s no direct benefit! It’s a concept Republicans and the far-right fringe elements (seems like most of the right, these days) just can’t grasp. The whole Jesus thing about healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and housing the homeless seems to be optional when it comes to the right-wing “Christians” (Ingraham being a case in point). Once again, Dr. Hill kept his cool, made his points, and – unlike Ingraham and Bruce – demonstrated that he’s a compassionate, caring man who truly has the best interests of all Americans at heart -- a heart that Ingraham has yet to prove she has.