By SEAN QUINTAL
Since Californians have spent the last month or two with the specter of Omicron stalking us wherever we go, most of us have become proficient at taking at-home COVID tests. Of course It’s important to know the status of our body’s health. But what about our body politic?
How can we tell if one political party or another is good for our country’s health? How can we tell if one party knows how to effectively legislate for the nation’s benefit? Or, how can we know if a political party is populated by officeholders and candidates who lie incessantly, and who brazenly take positions contrary to Americans’ desires?
As a service to public, political health, please feel free to take the following, at-home political test. No swabs are required.
Question 1: What political party just passed the single most important piece of climate legislation in American history, that will also lower healthcare costs?
Answer: Democrats. The single most important piece of climate legislation in American history, the bill makes massive investments in climate, tax and health care policy. It will reduce the nation’s budget deficit by $102 billion over 10 years, and puts in place mechanisms to help the Federal Reserve fight inflation for years ahead.
On climate, the law will create clean energy tax credits, environmental justice grants and drought resilience funding. Importantly, jump-starting and supporting clean energy industries could create millions of jobs, many in communities that have relied on fossil fuels. So the skills that oil, coal and gas workers possess will be in consistent demand, as the nation transitions to a clean energy footing.
On healthcare, the law extends Affordable Care Act subsidies for three more years, and it allows Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
Question 2: Which political party blocked efforts to cap insulin prescription prices, and also voted to deprive veterans of their guaranteed healthcare for medical issues attributable to their combat service?
Answer: Republicans. Democrats have tried for years to cap insulin prices, which have skyrocketed in recent years. 37 million Americans, more than 1 in 10, have diabetes. Democrats had a provision in the bill to cap the prescription’s cost at $35. Republicans apparently were more interested in pleasing their BigPharma campaign donors, so they blocked the provision in the Senate.
Republican senators also voted “No” on the PACT Act. The Act expands VA benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. In June, Republican senators voted for the bill. But when it came time for final passage this month, 25 Republicans changed their vote. Why? In a fit of utter childishness, Senate Republicans were mad that the Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, without a single GOP vote. So angered were they by the Democrats’ success that they took out their hurt feelings on wounded combat vets. Only after they were publicly humiliated and shamed by veterans’ groups, Jon Stewart and others, did the Republicans sheepishly vote to reverse their temper tantrum opposition.
Question 3: What party passed the CHIPS Act that strengthens our national security against China by investing in US semiconductor manufacturing?
Answer: Democrats. The legislation, in the works for two years, will decrease U.S. reliance on computer chips manufactured in China and other countries, and will also fund science and technology research to keep American industries competitive with foreign firms. Unsurprisingly, many Republicans ended up opposing passage of this critical national security legislation. Why? See the above re: temper tantrum.
Question 4: Which party welcomed Hungary’s authoritarian leader, Viktor Orban, to the US this week, the same party that saw many successful primary campaigns by candidates who openly endorse efforts to dismantle American democratic institutions?
Answer: Republicans. The GOP continues to embrace the crypto-fascist Orban, as they did this week in Dallas when, at Republicans’ invitation, he addressed the CPAC convention in Dallas. This is just two weeks after he gave a speech in which he endorsed the white supremacist “replacement theory,” and denounced a “mixed race world.” The Hungarian autocrat regularly denounces gay and lesbian people, and openly vilifies immigrants. Orban has corrupted the judicial and electoral systems in Hungary to the point where it is no longer considered a functioning democracy. The gathered Republicans in Texas gave him a standing ovation. It’s worth noting that, at one point, the CPAC stage was adorned with a banner that read. “We are all domestic terrorists.”
This summer, Republican primaries across the country were won by candidates who advocate overturning elections or imprisoning their opponents. The GOP candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, and its candidate for secretary of state in Arizona, were both outside the US Capitol during the January 6 coup attempt. A GOP candidate for US Senate wants to lock up Anthony Fauci for his efforts to slow the spread of Covid. And another Republican gubernatorial candidate has called for her opponent to be jailed for certifying Biden’s electoral victory.
Question 5: What party’s President got much of the above accomplished while he was working from home because of COVID?
Answer: The Democrats’. Let’s go Brandon, indeed.
Question 6: Which party’s most recent president wished U.S. generals were more like Nazi generals?
Answer: Republicans’. John Kelly, Trump’s former Chief of Staff and a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, said Trump once said to him, “You f-ing generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?” When Trump confirmed he was referring to Nazi generals, Kelly pointed out to his boss that Hitler’s generals had tried to assassinate him three times. Trump, obviously a brilliant student of history, disagreed, and continued to praise the Nazis saying, “No, No, no, they were totally loyal to him.”
If you answered “Democrat” to all odd numbered questions, and “Republican” to all even numbered questions, congratulations, you are in good political health. If you didn’t, you may have been isolating at home too long with an unhealthy diet of Fox News. Ask you doctor if truth and factual information are right for you.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.