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With Candidates Like These...

For worse or for worse, there are currently only two viable national political parties in the United States. One has tried to build a big enough tent to be attractive to Americans of every stripe, with the inevitable result that, once having attracted people with diverse interests, trying to get them all on the same page is akin to trying to herd cats into a laundry basket. The other party is simply bat-shit insane.

Still smarting from having lost the fight to keep affordable access to healthcare from as many Americans as possible, one up-and-coming Republican thinks she has the solution. Sue Lowden, a Nevada Republican who has her eyes on Senator Harry Reid's seat, proposes turning to the barter system to settle medical bills. She suggested that a patient might be able to offer a doctor a chicken in exchange for an examination. A chicken. No, seriously. The money (barter?) quote:

"You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I'll paint your house. I mean, that's the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system."

One might argue that I am being unfair by selecting an absolute moron as a representative sample of today's Republican Party / conservative movement, thereby painting the whole movement unfairly in the image of said moron. But I think Lowden's bright idea is actually fairly in keeping with what passes for thought on the Right today.

A central tenet of Right-wing "philosophy" is that America has somehow strayed from a former righteous and pure self. This is evident in a slew of Right-wing ideas; from wanting to revert to the Gold Standard to undoing the New Deal to the idea that only people who live in Small Town USA are Real Americans - you know, a place where women know that they belong in the kitchen, religious superstition trumps science and education, and the black people don't even dream of moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Thus, given such a mindset, it isn't much of a leap to pine for the days when simple country folk might actually pay a doctor in chickens. Of course, in those good ole days medical treatment hadn't advanced far beyond leeches, bone saws, and smelling salts. And there's no word from Lowden on how a modern doctor's office is supposed to pay its overhead costs with chickens, but I digress.

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