I’m playing truant from UK politics for a bit, because the US stuff is just so much more fun.
In a sign that the Republican party may have irretrievably lost the plot, Sue Lowden, who is the party’s leading candidate in the state of Nevada for the US Senate elections in November, has suggested the following as an alternative for a publicly funded healthcare system:
Let’s change the system, and talk about what the possibilities are. I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house. I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care
That’s right, a candidate for high political office in the fourth sixth eighth (take your pick) richest country in the world is proposing a system where everyone pays cash for their medical treatments, and those who can’t stump up the cash barter with their doctors instead. You know, barter – that system of economic exchange that preceded the development of a money economy [apparently it didn’t – there are times when Wikipedia can be a real killjoy] is usually regarded as a feature of less economically developed nations. Anyway, I’ll just give you a moment to savour the mental image of a patient turning up at a doctor’s office in downtown LA with a squawking chicken under one arm, or a sackful of onions over their shoulders…
Ok, welcome back.
Sue Lowden isn’t just some two-bit backwoods hick, by the way, unfairly propelled into the spotlight by a liberal media keen to make out that their opponents aren’t just wrong but also terminally stupid. In November, she’s going to be challenging for the seat of Harry Reid, the current Senate majority leader, and, setting aside Obama himself, probably Hate Figure #1 for the Republicans. This is pretty much going to be the key Senate race for Republicans this time around, the seat they want to win more than any other. They are desperate to defeat this man, not just to strip him of the majority leadership, but to utterly humiliate him by evicting him from the Senate altogether – and Sue Lowden is the best they can come up with?
I mean, forget the whack-job ideas filled with manifest absurdities that an eight-year-old could point out (the multinational pharmaceutical company that makes your statin or your insulin injections is going to accept regular payments in farmyard produce?) – they’re more-or-less par-for-the-course for a Tea-party-fondling Republican. Just look at her personal demeanour – this drone-voiced, charisma-free woman who looks so exhausted that she seems to be on the verge of physical collapse, this is the person the Republicans think Nevadans are going to send off to Washington to fight their corner for them? She looks like she’d struggle to fight her way to the top of a flight of stairs, never mind taking on the challenges of national politics. I’m beginning to wonder if the present-day Republican party is a bit like the 2001-era Conservative party in the UK, where ideological purity was so important that people like Iain Duncan Smith were propelled to prominent office, even though they were clearly wildly unsuitable for anything (such as politics, for example) that involved appealing to the public. Because, if so, then that’s really good news for the Democrats.
And now, please enjoy this dancing chicken video, specially created for the purposes of mocking Sue Lowden: