I know that this eventually made the national news by this point. But when I first began writing about it elsewhere before the weekend it was still under the wire. And it's so egregious -- not just a Quote of the Day, but a contender for Quote of the Year -- that it still bears addressing, even now.
And that's the comment made by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), responding to a question at a town hall meeting he was holding. It was when he said --
"Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare"
-- Rep. Paul Labrador (R-ID))
It's so inexplicably bizarre that trying to comprehend what he was thinking when he said it almost hurts. And I'm sure that he or at least his communications director has come up with an explanation of what he "really meant," but it doesn't matter because we can hear what he said, in context, and whatever he "really meant" after the fact (at best, bending over backwards until your head touches the ground) still has as its bottom line that healthcare insurance isn't as important as the damn liberals and doctors and health organization want you to believe. At its best, you still have to wonder what in God's name was in his mind when those words came out of his mouth.
And "at its best" is not a concept one should necessarily apply to Raul Labrador, who has a history of thoughtless, idiotic statements. When I first wrote about this online, I got a response back from someone who lived in the district that Mr. Labrador represents, and he said (excuse the crudeness, but I'm quoting here), "Yes, he really is a dick."
Mind you, when I say "bending over backwards" what Raul Labrador may really have "meant," I'm going pretty far here, because even days after the fact, I've yet to come across a public explanation from the congressman or a spokesperson from his staff. Maybe I've missed it, though it would difficult given the amount of coverage. Or maybe it's what he did mean. Still, I'm going to continue giving him the massive benefit of the doubt that he's not a complete heartless idiot, just a work in progress.
And because the quote is so monumentally ludicrous, I think it's not enough to just quote it, but actually show it as proof that he really, truly, honestly did say it and in context --
The good news is that he's booed instantly by the outraged crowd. Unfortunately, the video cuts off after two seconds of booing, so we can't see how long it went on. But since there were no news reports of an angry mob rushing the stage in Idaho, I think we can assume that Raul Labrador didn't have to face that.
But then, short video or not, I have a sneaking suspicion that this won't be the last we see of Mr. Labrador saying this. It's likely that it's already on a loop to be played and re-played endless during the 2018 election cycle, since Raul Labrador is now the Poster Boy for "TrumpCare."
I don't think we can tie all Republican in the House of Representatives who voted for the TrumpCare bill to this statement by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID). Cruel, heartless and thoughtless are different than clueless and insane. But I do think from the vote and the silly "celebration" at the White House Rose Garden before this House bill is even addressed in the Senate, and from comments from many of those who voted for it that -- at best -- what they believe Rep. Labrador may have been "meaning" to try and say about the unimportance of health care that he was indeed speaking for many of his fellow Republicans. Or else why vote for a bill whose predecessor was scored to show that 24 million Americans will lose their health care and by all accounts this version is worse.
And so, I just thought it appropriate, if not necessary to bring the quote up even days later and also show it in full Technicolor.
I was going to say "living color," but...well, I thought that that just didn't fit.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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