Lessons From a Nag


The last several weeks have been unusually stressful for reasons I’ll elaborate on at a future point, but, for the purpose of this story, suffice to say that I was not feeling especially sociable a few nights ago. Needing a good meal, I walked through the main part of the restaurant and kept on going through the doorway marked “Professional Drivers Only,” sitting at a booth in the far corner. I was enjoying a quiet meal and catching up on some reading when the gentle tranquility was shattered with a furious human blast from across the room.

“You used to be able to answer that question!  What’s the matter with you!?” bellowed a very disagreeable woman at her apparently hapless and defenseless husband, who looked like he would rather have been in the very depths of hell than seated across from the shrill person who was, presumably, at one point the love of his life. He looked old. Old and tired. She looked like the very definition of every man’s nightmare as she sat there in a large angry pile, firing acrimony on top of criticism on top of accusation on top of demand in such rapid-fire succession that before the poor fellow could get one syllable of a response out, she had levied another 37 prosecutorial demands on him.

I felt bad for him, seated as he was in a half-stupor while this insufferable shrew berated him, in public, for all the world to see. At what point, I wondered, did he sense that his own emasculation had gone beyond the point of all rescue? I wondered, while walking back through the truck stop, was there a moment when he could have reversed course, or was he simply destined to live supinely at the direction of others?  

Then, just as I reached the door leading out to the parking lot, I heard another shrill explosion.  This time it was a male voice. The anger was palpable and the rage was as close to total incoherence as I had ever heard — yet it wasn’t anyone actually in the truck stop. No, this tantrum came from a television set, and the voice belonged to none other than Ed Schultz, MSNBC’s resident maniac. I had heard him only in brief segments previously, but never really stopped to watch, so I turned and walked toward the television set in the driver’s lounge area.

He had all the charm of a skin rash and the bug-eyed rage of a great many of the drivers that typify my experiences in the Northeast. If only I could introduce him to that squawking battle-ax in the restaurant, I thought, we could all move to a happier world. Listening to the substance (if one can call it that) of his rage, I gathered that unless one is willing to violate the 10th Commandment’s prohibition against coveting another person’s belongings and the 8th Commandment’s prohibition against stealing (otherwise known as spreading the wealth around), one cannot be considered a Christian by enlightened moralists such as Mr. Schultz.  Truly, his egalitarian impulse passeth all understanding.

Stepping out into the comparatively blissful sound of idling diesel engines, I wondered exactly who is listening to Ed Schultz? The obvious answer is, “not many people,” judging from MSNBC’s ratings, but somebody has got to be absorbing his thunderous nescience, right?  Who?  Hearkening back to the tone of his remarks, I was reminded less of someone trying to persuade his audience than of someone trying to bully them. Could it be?  No … of course not. And yet, reading the comments of some Republicans, you’d think they were taking his psychotic critique to heart.

When they aren’t scaring their weak-kneed opponents, the practitioners of omnipotent government can actually be funny as hell. So much has hit the fan down in Venezuela, for example, that the government has nationalized toilet paper, of all things. “The People’s Defense from the Economy will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities,” announced Vice President Arreaza. Of course, the people do indeed need to be defended “from the Economy” that micromanages everything down to the microfibers that reach closest to home, as it were.

Here in America, “The People” need defending from a gargantuan, liberty-swallowing law that has thus far resulted in health care providers such as the Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt University Medical Center laying off employees and scaling back operations. Health insurers such as UnitedHealth, Aetna Inc., and Cigna Corp are looking for the exits in an effort to escape participation in Obamacare, while employers across the country are moving employees off of their insurance plans in some cases, and reducing employee hours in others. From public employee unions who once backed this monstrosity, to large businesses, to those who will implement and enforce the law, no one wants to be subject to it, and favored groups have sought and received waivers and exemptions. As the Washington Post reports:

Just 42 percent of those polled support the law while 52 percent disapprove. Dig into those numbers and a clear passion gap presents itself; 26 percent strongly support the law while 39 percent strongly oppose it. But, wait, there’s more. Thirty-six percent believe the law has made the health care system worse while 19 percent think it’s better. (Among independents, just 16 percent think is has made things better while 35 percent say it has made things worse.) Just nine percent of people said that the law had made their family’s health care costs better while 33 percent said it made them worse. (Among independents, that was 10 percent better/34 worse.) 

All that, and the law hasn’t even gone into full effect yet! But in a few short days, the full force of this heavy-handed intrusion into the most intimate area of our lives will come to bear on the American people, the majority of whom want no part of it. To those who ask why a few on the right intend to fight this thing vigorously and now, the answer is: for the same reason we would push an elderly lady out of the path of an oncoming truck rather than letting her get walloped as an object lesson to other elderly ladies. This law is already disastrous and the horrors are only beginning. The idea that officials who were sent to Washington DC precisely to uproot this disaster would actually keep their word and try to uproot it ought not be heretical, but that appears to be the view of some.

David Brooks recently commented that the Republican leadership will eventually have to rein in people like Senator Ted Cruz and show him who is boss (and it isn’t the American citizen).  Meanwhile, Fox News’ Chris Wallace revealed that, “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.” If the tenaciously timid among us, those whose ostensibly superior strategy consistently calls for taking a stand at some future point that never arrives, could devote half as much energy to fighting the left as they do to undercutting conservatives, the cause of liberty might actually be advanced once in awhile.  

For his part, the President swaggers and mocks those who defend constitutional principle.  Ridiculing conservatives for “trying to mess with me,” he casually ignores the fact that it is he who is trying to mess with the individual by dictating what he must purchase and, eventually, what medical procedures and services he is entitled to. The President claims he is being extorted by Congress, when it is he who extorts us when he decrees that if the people’s representatives won’t agree to his legislative agenda, he will bypass them altogether. These are the traits of the bully, of the blowhard, and of the perpetual nag, and the only way to beat them is to stand up and fight them.

As Andrew McCarthy noted a few days ago: 

Spending requires a positive act by Congress – not a thin dime may be spent unless Congress approves. That is, there can be no spending on Obamacare unless Congress votes to approve it. Thus, the one-half-of-one-third crowd is in the driver’s seat. All they need to do is say, “No.”  It is President Obama who needs action here – congressional Republicans need only to decline to act.

So yes, perhaps it’s time that we rally around those with the spine to run point for the rest of us, rather than taking shots at them from behind. If the Senate sends the bill back to the House with Obamacare restored, then perhaps the House should start sending smaller bills that individually fund every aspect of government except Obamacare. Let Harry Reid and Barack Obama shut down the government because they refuse to agree to one bill that funds the military, and another that funds the Department of Education, etc. And if the President shuts the government down, life will go on as it does every weekend and holiday, essential services will continue, and the people might get a chance to live their lives without 16,000 new IRS agents enforcing an unworkable and horribly destructive law. The left appears immovable precisely because the right continues to move backwards. It’s time to reverse that trend.

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    All that would be great Dave, if the Republican Party had spent the last year educating people about how appropriations work, and the fact that if there is a government shutdown it will be because Obama threw a temper tantrum and shut it down when he didn’t get his way.

    But they didn’t.  Republicans allowed the perception to form and harden that they are the ones who will shut down the government to stop Obamacare.  This mistake goes all the way back to Newt Gingrich in 1996.  Now, many Republicans fear the stupidity of low information voters, and I admit that such stupidity is a force to be feared indeed.  But it is our own fault.  We didn’t do the hard work; didn’t prepare; didn’t educate; didn’t gain control of the narrative.  Now it’s too late.  Shame on us.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Coolidge

    Well done, Dave.

    I am livid about all those who worry about scoring political points. Time to do the right thing. 

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  3. Profile Photo Inactive

    Republicans are motivated by the desire to maintain office.  Period.  I don’t know how they square the deep unpopularity of Obamacare with there lack of resolve to oppose it.  It makes no logical sense.  But then the Roman aristocracy squabbled among themselves even as the Goths were hammering on the city gates of Rome.  I can only suppose that the acquisition and maintenance of power trumps all, even in the face of an existential threat.  I guess it’s a little late to propose term limits.

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  4. Profile Photo Inactive

    I saw this poor ineffectual loser sat down next to me in one of the many airports I have inhabited recently, and his wife proceeded to berate him for about 10 minutes, to the point I was about to get involved because her poor manners was ruining my ability to read.

    The republican party is dead, now its just which kind of maggot get to eat the corpse.

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  5. Profile Photo Thatcher

    Meanwhile, back in the old country, the Green Party insisted that Germans should institute a “veggie day”:  healthy eating, environmentally responsible food, yada yada yada.

    Angela Merkel just beat them like a gong.  It’s a pity that the Germans (the Germans) are showing less interest to being pushed around by their government than Americans show for being pushed around by theirs.

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  6. Profile Photo Inactive

    Just the other day, I was thinking – I haven’t read a Dave Carter post in quite awhile.  Where is he???

    Although I hate to see your ire raised, it’s great to see you’re back (and in the usual rare form).  And the topic is just about the most important thing going on right now – not Syria, not Egypt, not the killings in Kenya, but what this horror called the “Affordable Care Act” (now there’s an oxymoron for you!) will do to all 315 million of us.

    Reading your posts is like a cool drink on a 104 degree day.  Great!  Just great! (and I love the picture)

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  7. Profile Photo Coolidge

    Isn’t interesting that when we see two men fighting, bystanders will sometimes get involved to try to keep things from escalating?

    But when we see a woman tenderizing a man, we NEVER get involved?

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  8. Profile Photo Inactive

    Nicely said, Dave.

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  9. Profile Photo Inactive

    “… none other than Ed Schultz, MSNBC’s resident maniac.”

    I thought it was Lawrence O’Donnell.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member

    Even though the nagging wife is horrible, her husband might be a major jerk so don’t go over board on the pity.

    I cannot sustain my level of outrage any longer against the Rep Party, the Dems, Obama, or even the IRS any longer.

    Defund, make a huge fuss procedurally, legally, civilly and actively. Make our side’s protests the news, and along with this, make the Left the bad guys. Do more than oppose, declare war. The timing is excellent.

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  11. Profile Photo Member

    Thanks, Dave!

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  12. Profile Photo Inactive


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  13. Profile Photo Inactive

     And if the President shuts the government down, life will go on as it does every weekend and holiday…

    Booyah! (And congrats on the win yesterday in Baton Rouge.)

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Inactive

    My ex-wife was like that.  I left her.  This pic sums up my unfulfilled fantasy though.


    “I told you I hate skim milk”

    OK, just a joke ladies.  I promise not to complain about Bobbitt references for wife beaters in the future.  

    I remember a bible study where the pastor talked about nags.  Nag Bag Hag, sort of Dr Seussy eh?

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Coolidge

    Dave Carter wants to shove old ladies! He said so himself!

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    Dave Carter: [F]or the same reason we would push an elderly lady out of the path of an oncoming truck rather than letting her get walloped as an object lesson to other elderly ladies.

    I thought we were supposed to be pushing them off cliffs.  And wouldn’t Grandmacide™ be easier that way, rather than waiting for one of ’em to just happen to wander out into traffic?

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  17. Profile Photo Inactive

    Conversely, if the GOP caves on the defunding, & funds a business as usual CR, + plays non-serious games with the debt ceiling, I wonder how long it will be before third party talk comes along seriously. If people give up on the GOP acting in a responsible manner, how much worse could a third party be? I am beginning to think, no worse and with greater satisfaction.

    I lost any illusion towards a responsible GOP immediately after the 2010 election when they placed in key leadership positions the same folks that a) give drunken sailors a bad name and b) felt it their right and responsibility to dictate what light bulb I could buy. have not sent them a dime since.

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  18. Profile Photo Member

    Great stuff once again Dave, thank you kindly for spending the time to express yourself.

    Here’s a podcast all should listen to:

    The Milt Rosenberg Show

    Episode 35: Victor Davis Hanson The Latest Chapter in the Syrian Follies

    September 23, 2013 at 7:34am

    Even though the spotlight has shifted back to Congress, the delay or discard of Obamacare, and whether some Senate Democrats might defect, Syria still festers and the Obama performance still, shall we say, puzzles. We talked withVictor Davis Hansonabout what was (and remains) at issue and how the President played it (and was played)–and though the conversation was done three days ago, it still seems to us to be “right on.”

    • #18
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