Barney Frank, Massachusetts (D), has finally rejected his colleagues' 'tactic' of patient listening to wingnut neocon mouthpieces hijacking their earnest attempts to inform the public on a complex health care reform proposal. Instead, he lays the smack down in what Jon Stewart calls Healthcare Town Hall Snaps.
Frank: "When you ask me that question, I am going to revert to my ethnic heritage, and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."
Stewart: Aww, damn!...You better hope Blue Cross don't consider ugly a pre-existing condition!...Aww, damn!...Your mama's so dumb, she thinks the Public Option is a porta-potty!...Aww, damn!...Your mama's so old, we're gonna get together a panel and euthanize her.
Many liberals pride themselves on their sensitivity, openness, and receptiveness. A hallmark of this is an unconscionable patience for the disgusting vitriol some vent, or the despairingly profound ignorance some belie. It was the willingness of sensitive liberals to listen to Borat's sexism and racism, to patiently offer an alternative perspective rather than a stern reprimand or a punch in the face, that discomfited me the most when I watched Borat. I saw shades of me.
When Frank shut down his questioner, he restored the balance. A balanced conversation is not one in which opposing viewpoints have equal weight, but one in which rational viewpoints have equal opportunity. Creationism is not a valid alternative to natural selection to explain speciation. Ethnic cleansing is not a morally equivalent approach to multiethnicity versus a plural and liberal society.
Jon Stewart calls the pundits on overstating the magnitude of Obama's potential for failure if healthcare reform doesn't get through Congress. He cites Dick Morris's as a representative perspective, and then goes to town:
Dick Morris: I don't know if he'll ever win anything if he fails to get this passed.
Jon Stewart: Yeah, he'll probably end up some two-bit partisan troll, a shell of his former self, his outward physical appearance slowly reflecting the putrefaction of his soul, a Harvey Fierstein-esque conservative minstrel, rolling from town-to-town in a rented conversion van, each day a carbon copy of the last, with only the changing of his three gravy-stained red speech ties to mark the progression of time, every sunrise an incandescent fuck you from a God that long ago abandoned him.