Forty Senate Republicans stumbled through the smoking wreckage of New York's 26th Congressional District election, crawled over ruined ambitions and vanished visions of grandeur, and fell on their swords by voting in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) disgraced and rejected House scheme to plunder Medicare, hand its money to the GOP's insurance industry cronies, and pawn off future seniors with vouchers that won't cover even a third of the cost of the private insurance premiums, deductibles, and other expenses the plan would force the seniors to incur.
The smoke had barely begun to clear from the western New York battlefield where the GOP had poured $3.4 million and thrown in their best and most powerful troops, only to suffer a crushing and humiliating defeat. Speaker John Boehner had charged across the western New York horizon, bellowing defiance. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had gone over the top, exhorting his troops. Karl Rove had sent some of his best money moguls. It had all been for naught. A petite Erie County Clerk who'd spent her days helping local folks get their driver's licenses had faced down the thundering hordes of corporate mercenaries and plutocrat phalanxes, and had dealt the Republican juggernaut a stunning blow.
It was Kathy Hochuls who'd earned the (D-NY) notation after her name, but it was the people of New York's 26th Congressional District who had drawn the line in the sand, and had told the GOP no one would plunder Medicare on behalf of their plutocrat cronies today. Those stolid citizens had waited in the chill morning air for their polling places to open, so they could turn back the Republican tide that threatened to bankrupt and abandon them to pain, misery and horrific death in their declining years.
And, in the gray dawn that followed, forty Republican Senators, no wiser for the previous day's slaughter, charged across the Senate floor and whithered before a stolid Democratic line. Ryan's House budget, built around tax giveaways to the rich and slashing Medicare out of existence, went down to a 57-40 defeat, and every Republican Senator save Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) would carry the gaping shame of their vote forever afterward into whatever political purgatory awaited them and the 235 Congressional Reps who had gone before them.
Snide Paul Ryan, the narcissistic sociopath who believed anyone who couldn't afford to pay cash on the barrel head for health care didn't deserve to live, had the audacity to whine on MSNBC's Morning Joe that Democrats were "shamelessly demagoguing and distorting" his plan to eliminate Medicare and force future seniors into the private insurance market with a handful of worthless discount coupons.
Apparently, to Ryan, eliminating Medicare wasn't about the hundreds of millions of Americans who would be left destitute and bereft of medical attention because they couldn't pay the tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket his plan demanded of future seniors. Apparently, to Ryan, eliminating Medicare was about how clever and handsome and celebrated Paul Ryan was, and how grateful insurance corporations would shower him and his cohort with fawning praise and lavish gifts and junkets.
Apparently, to Ryan, eliminating Medicare wasn't about the hundreds of millions of Americans who had worked all their lives and paid their taxes in a system built around employer-based health insurance that had no contingencies for caring for those too old and infirm to work, save for Medicare. Apparently, to Ryan, eliminating Medicare was about how everyone in America would chant his name and willingly, happily suffer any pain and any misery because he, Paul Ryan, the transcendent vision of ideal chiseled manhood and virility, had told them they were disgusting losers who didn't deserve medical care because they hadn't lied, cheated and stolen their way to personal fortune when they'd had the chance.
Shameless demagoguery? Ryan's henchman Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) said it best when he told a constituent worried about losing Medicare, sneeringly, "You want the government to take care of you...My question is, 'When do I decide I'm going to take care of myself?'" Woodall told his constituent to go to Canada if she wanted universal health care, but America was better because, "There aren't many places to find the freedom to succeed by the sweat of your brow."
That Woodall's plutocrat overlords succeeded by the sweat of others' brows, and that those brows were now to be abandoned to the dung heap, troubled Woodall or Ryan or Cantor or any of the Republican horde not at all. Woodall and Ryan and their ilk figure to "take care of themselves" by delivering fatter tax windfalls to their Masters, and don't care who has to die toward that end, except that they die grateful for the chance to serve His Woodallness and His Ryanhood.
Demogoguing? Recall that the 26th Congressional District had been Ryan's and Woodall's henchman Chris Lee's seat. Chris Lee, the shameless narcissist who'd posed shirtless before his mirror, preening and flexing his muscles, certain that a woman he'd pathetically found on Craigslist would swoon at the sight of his overwhelming naked magnificence. Click here and take a good look. I'll wait.
Shameless narcissist Chris Lee's self-portrait is at once the essence and final damnation of the self-possessed, self-absorbed, self-declared flower of the Me Generation that marches from hair salon to tanning booth to cosmetic surgeon with stacks of GQ and Cosmo back issues saying, nip me, tuck me, botox me, perm me, highlight me to look like the prissy trust fund frat boy I am or ought by right of God to be.
Shameless narcissist Paul Ryan, so intellectually bankrupt he's impressed by Atlas Shrugged, obsessively seeking in its barren pages meaningless validation of his self-serving, self-idolizing, self-aggrandizing vision to sacrifice the lives and well-being of millions of his own countrymen and women for no reason but to endow history's richest, most powerful misers with ever greater tax subsidies and to reap whatever rewards his perfidy wins him.
It is in Woodall's words that we can see the essense of these Stepford Republicans. Only in the barren, intellectually-, socially-, emotionally-bankrupt minds of Lee and Ryan and Woodall and Palin and Bachmann and all the rest of the coiffed, blow-dried, tinted, tanned, nipped, tucked, sculpted cookie-cutter living undead Stepford Republican zombies can the glory, the grandeur, the vision, the hope, the beauty, and the promise of America be reduced to just another place to make money.