by S. Paul Forrest
The phrase snake oil is as a derogatory term used to describe quackery; the promotion of fraudulent or unproven medical practices. The expression is also applied metaphorically to any product with questionable and/or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, the term “snake oil salesman” may be applied to someone who sells fraudulent goods or who is a fraud himself. Given this description and the events ssurrounding the republican campaign frenzy, it is not difficult to see similarities between these candidates and snake oil salesmen.
The past three years have been more than filled with fraudulent goods and promises. It have been filled with negative rhetoric against our President involving accusations of his not being a citizen; his being a Muslim bowing to Saudi Princes; a Marxist, a Saul Alinski radical and even a man bent on destroying our country. This hate speech has been so fervently pushed upon us Americans from right wing politicians and their media spokespeople that it has taken on a life of its own: Only time will tell how far these salesmen will be willing to go to sell their snake oil to the unsuspecting voter.
In 2010, their Pledge to America won many State level elections and a majority in the House of Representatives but still, they have done nothing. They promise to reclaim America with less Government, touting how they will bring jobs; but still, they have done nothing but criticize and defame our President and his fellows. They promise to bring family values and ethics back to Washington but they have only exacerbated the divide between our legislative bodies and We the People while doing nothing about our troubles.
Those American people who still have their wits about them see it for what it is especially considering that time and time again, the stories have been proven to be exaggerated and in some cases, fabricated and the promises, unfulfilled. The current ploy by these people to discredit the President in an attempt to win the next election is the best faux ware they have found to sell yet: His War on Religion and our Liberties/Rights “granted by God”. To this end, they have employed their next, best snake oil salesman: Rick Santorum.
With his boy from next door face and self-proclaimed Christian virtues, Santorum has leapt ahead of the Republican pack with his contributions to the neo-con marketing plan. Like a nervous comedian on a stage for the first time, once his zingers received applause, he relaxed, rolled up his sleeves, delivered tried and true neo-con one-liners and even began to do impressions. His first: Someone who actually believes what he is saying. The salesman of the month award goes to Santorum for his tireless pursuit of the corner office built upon the foundation of baseless attacks premised by half-truths. And here I thought Christians never lied.
Reporting on Santorum and company’s Big Journey through their Neo-Con Wonderland concerning religious persecution, Ian Millhiser had the following to say;
“President Obama does believe that women’s access to contraceptive care is fundamentally important to ensuring their freedom to participate in society and the in the workforce. Santorum, on the other hand, harshly criticized the Supreme Court’s longstanding decision saying that woman have a constitutional right to use birth control at all. Given that Santorum’s long history of radicalism on women’s health and the Constitution, it’s no surprise that he couldn’t be bothered to check basic facts before mouthing off about what the Obama Administration does and does not believe.”
Amen to that. This statement could be applied to most of what the GOP has been saying across the board, bar none.
The argument against HHS and Obama began with forcing contraceptives on “religious institutions”. Nothing sells like a story that gives people something to hate especially at a time when the American people are mad as hell at job loses and civil liberties being affected by growing corporatism. Who doesn’t sympathize with a good martyr, after all? One would think all Obama would have to do to sate the opposition is compromise, right? Wrong.
President Obama recently made the announcement that he will introduce a Bill to allow these institutions to opt-out of offering contraception coverage. “Employees can then purchase contraception coverage from their insurer at a cost no higher than the enrollee’s pro-rata share of the price the employer would have paid had it not exercised the religious exemption”, he said. Sorry, but this is not a compromise. This is pandering to children holding their breath in a temper tantrum enwrapped in politically motivated drama and in fact, his compromise was met with even more vitriol.
Our President should in no way, compromise his stance. If he does, the flood gates will open to have other institutions come forward to claim they object to contraception or any other medical coverage based on their “religious beliefs”. Too many of those against heath care reform will board the train of “faith” just to chip away at what they unconstitutional and term, “Obamacare”. Contraception and necessary abortions are not an issue that should be compromised; this is modern America not the 13th Century and Theocracy is not an option. These people need to catch up with the times; the rest of us shouldn’t have to regress to their level of religious conflagration.
Giving into the right wing naysayers and proven obstructionists toward progress will only support the claims from them that Obama is not a leader. He needs to stand his ground and anyone in America who believes women should be covered by insurance for contraception and abortifacients when either medically necessary or for pregnancies resulting from a rape or incest and who want to remain steadfast against this emerging Theocracy, needs to stand with him. Instead of this needed strength though, he is caving to an already uncooperative group of zealots who know nothing of compromise.
After the HHS mandate had reached every corner of the American Political Maze and the initial objections began to lose their impact on naive voters, the Republican Party shifted their argument from an objection to contraceptives and abortion pills to as in the case of Santorum, projecting the image of the French Revolution and Guillotines for all if Obama is allowed to prevail. This deluded rhetoric is not only deeply seeped in ire, it is downright absurd to the point of phantasmagorical.
It would seem instead of solutions, the right only wants to find problems. Time and time again, they beat the horse, bury it and dig it up to only beat it again; ad infinitum. After all, controversy sells and what these people want to sell more than anything is a snake oil to salve We the People into the belief that ALL of the negative issues facing this nation are direct affectations of this President’s term in Office. Today, it is freedom and liberty being threatened by Obama: Tomorrow, we will see another attack based on more half-truths or for that matter, lack of any truth at all: The next day we will hear more and the next and the next…Even after Obama has left office, be it in January of 2013 or in 2017, the Right will continue to blame our Nation’s problems on him: Wait for it.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine has in the past, been commended by people like Glenn Beck to represent the path we should take in America but the premise of the book has little resemblance to the attacks against Obama, Democrats and Liberals, alike regarding religion. Paine’s states, “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.“ Which side of this statement are right wing politicians and their followers on? Are they uniting our affections or restraining our vices? Are they encouraging intercourse (a term once used to mean interposition, not a sexual act) or creating distinctions? They claim to represent small government as in Paine’s position but recently, only embody the antithesis of it.
To fill the demand from blame addicted followers, the Red State has received their next shipment of snake oil: Religious persecution. It worked for the Jews, the early Christians and the Quakers; why wouldn’t it work in 2012 with the neo-Christian crowd? This is a subject that is well known and dear to many Americans. Few remember much else in our history but this one they understand. For years now the call to the flock to rebel against Islam combined with Obama once being Muslim has laid the ground for this very sad attempt to garner power. It would be all too naturally believed if it weren’t for the obvious: The Right will do and say anything; including bold faced lying, to reclaim the White House.
One would think the Republicans would find a suitable candidate to represent their unconditional ideology. The rhetoric has certainly been unified against Obama but one front runner after the other has emerged as the favorite only to fall into disfavor for the love of another with a stronger message of hate. At this late stage of the election game, the GOP appears anything but unified. The only thing they agree upon is being disagreeable. Infighting does not win elections nor does vitriol. Real ideas and hope for a better tomorrow in America wins elections but to date, there have been none from the elephant.
These politicians consistently speak of upward mobility and balancing the budget; creating jobs and eliminating bureaucracy as well as fulfilling their obligations to provide the American people with a clear path that gets our country back on track. Though this all sounds good to those of us wanting a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children, to date, the Grim Old Party has done nothing but talk in the seediest of efforts sell We the People their brand of snake oil and it would seem, plan to do nothing else.