Video: Jay Rockefeller, Ron Johnson clash over charge that racism is driving opposition to ObamaCare

posted at 11:21 am on May 22, 2014 by Allahpundit

I’m used to this by now but I can’t tell you how dispiriting I find it knowing that we’re in for four or even eight years of it under President Hillary, to whom all resistance will inevitably be dismissed as vestiges of sexism. (Hillary herself has already begun to feed that beast.) In fact, I think this sort of demagoguery will happen much more frequently under Clinton than it has under Obama. There’s more to be gained from it politically: Electoral returns from racism charges are marginal because Democrats already win 90+ percent of the black vote, but women’s votes are hotly contested. The gender gap has been crucial to Democratic gains over the past eight years; they have every incentive to cry sexism early and often in the interest of making that gap wider. Also, call me naive but I think there are some — some — Dems who recognize how grave the charge of racism is and tend to shy away from it. Inveterate race-baiters like Jim Clyburn, who can find a Reconstruction analogy in the Benghazi hearings, aren’t deterred, but not all Democrats are as quick to take the gloves off. I think they’ll be quicker on the charge of sexism, simply because it doesn’t carry quite the same stigma as an accusation of racism does. (Whether it should is a separate question.) Prepare for lots, lots more of this in years to come.

Two noteworthy details here. One: Rockefeller couldn’t be more casual in lobbing his grenade. He’s not out at a fundraiser with a drink in his hand, mindlessly babbling to some reporter with his guard down. He’s at an actual Senate hearing with a Republican senator sitting right in front of him, and yet it’s bombs away — and not for the first time. Congressional rules of decorum forbid swearing and personal insults, but if you want to charge the other side with racism for questioning Obama’s pet boondoggle, fire away. Two: Unlike most instances where this accusation is made, the target was present and eager to respond. Watch the very beginning and then the last few minutes of the second clip to see Johnson hit back. I would have walked out if I were him, but admittedly, his approach is smarter.

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Mr. Rockefeller how can the President Obama be of the wrong color when he’s half white and half black?

Release on May 22, 2014 at 6:15 PM

That’s about the weakest response to Rockefeller one could ever think of. If the opposition to Obama were based on him being black, it wouldn’t dispel the opposition to say, “Well, he’s only half black.” I never heard of a racist saying, “If it turns out he’s only half black, then I only hate him half as much as I did before.” That’s not how things work.

The response to Rockefeller should be that (a) there are a lot of reasons to dislike Obamacare based on its policies and effects, not just which president proposed it, and (b) anybody who would imply that the opposition to Obamacare is based to a significant extent on racism is unworthy of being in the U.S. Congress.

J.S.K. on May 22, 2014 at 10:00 PM

I bet if one really dug deep, they would find some pretty interesting nuggets from this old bag of bones from WV and his thoughts on race early in his days. This guy is a joke. WV…Rockfeller and Sheets…wow, what dynamic duo for a state.

The Dude on May 22, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Ask jay why he opposed clarence thomas…better yet ask why he praised grand wizard robert byrd.

jaywemm on May 23, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Maybe next time?

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Bravo for Sen Johnson. I’m happy to know that this Jay Rockefeller will one day reap the whirl wind.

Darvin Dowdy on May 23, 2014 at 7:10 AM

I think that’s the first time I’ve heard rockerfella and I’m amazed anyone so stupid could be elected over and over again!

Bambi on May 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I think that’s the first time I’ve heard rockerfella and I’m amazed anyone so stupid could be elected over and over again!

Bambi on May 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Rockefeller was elected and re-elected for only one reason. His last name. It is just a name on a ballot that idiots recognize.

Dasher on May 23, 2014 at 10:12 AM

I actually gasped when Rockefeller said, “God help you.” The nerve!

We need more stories like the one about Johnson’s daughter, and we need more righteous rage like his also. The other GOP sound like accountants.

PattyJ on May 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM

I actually gasped when Rockefeller said, “God help you.” The nerve!

PattyJ on May 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM


I though Johnson was great, equal parts forceful push-back and helpful explanation. I wish he was getting more press than Cruz and Rubio (nothing against either of them). The clarity from someone who was successful in business, rather than as a lawyer or politician, is enjoyable.

BocaJuniors on May 23, 2014 at 2:59 PM

You know, there are countries you can live in now that offer that.
A paradise for those who want ‘limited’ (no) government.

verbaluce on May 22, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Nice try, but you can’t behind the truth; in a system where there is perfect agreement that veterans should be given the best care, and a single-payer system to boot, with this perfect storm to showcase the merits of single-payer, government has shown that it has failed miserably.

This straw-dog of an argument about “go to another country” does nothing to change the argument that government both Republican or Democrat can’t get it right.

In 2009, the budget was 87.6 billion.
In 2012, the budget was 132 billion.
In 2014, the budget is slated for 152.7 billion.

That’s a budget increase of 74% in 5 years, and there’s not a whimper here of objection. Our veterans deserve the best. But once again, your friends are taking our money and not delivering squat. And your answer is “go live somewhere else”?

What would a private company with a 152 billion dollar budget do? First, it would probably get rid of half of the administrative costs that have saddled the American people with a poor performing investment in our veterans. That’s the best place to start. Then they would start a voucher system so that veterans could go to their own doctors instead of a limited few.

The VA told my dad that at 88 years old they would not give him the pacemaker that would keep his heart pumping. It took an emergency and Dad being sent to a Catholic hospital that saved his life. They gave the bill to the VA and they were forced to pay half. Dad’s working the rest out.

That’s today’s VA for you. If your only solution is to tell my Dad to go somewhere else, come up with a better answer.

itsspideyman on May 25, 2014 at 2:35 AM