On Bribery

That's not exactly a subtle bribe...

Not only was Mitt Romney ill-qualified for the presidency – over the past couple of weeks, he’s proven that he’s ill qualified to be denied the presidency as well. Honestly, though, you can’t blame him – here’s a guy who for his entire life has had the financial means to have everything he wanted, and the first time he gets denied something just happens to be on national television after spending a billion-odd dollars and seven years telling America how badly he wants that thing.

His most recent response to his loss was to suggest that the only reason Obama won was because he offered voters “gifts” in return for their support – free contraception for women, immigration reform for Latinos, student loan forgiveness, and free healthcare to name a few. While the comments were condemned by Republicans hoping to run for president in 2016, they more or less mirrored comments by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh on and after Election Day – Obama won because he “bribed” voters with lavish, taxpayer funded gifts like healthcare.

Yes, Obama bribed America with healthcare – because if there’s one thing that’s of great concern to the country that invented the tobacco industry and considers eating chicken sandwiches political activism, it’s their long term health and well being.

As far as I’m concerned, healthcare is the most important issue in America today, but it makes for a really shitty bribe. See for yourself: Next time you want to get a table at a crowded restaurant, sidle up to the hostess and murmur, “Hey, if you can find us a table for two by the piano player I’ll use a variety of mandates, subsidies, and tax credits to expand the availability of healthcare while creating state-run insurance exchanges to allow individuals and businesses to compare prices while bringing down overall costs.”

I’m sorry, but if you want to bribe me into letting you run my country for four years, you’ve got to bring something better to the table than, “I promise to make it somewhat harder for you to go bankrupt and die of a preventable disease!” You know what a bribe is? A bribe is, “On my first day in office, I will sign the Free $20 Applebee’s Gift Certificate For Everyone In America Act, and I will see to it that every American has access to their own brand new dirtbike and XBox 360 by 2015 – if y’all help a brother out in the midterms, that is.”

Promising to give Americans access to affordable healthcare isn’t bribery; it’s just an attempt to make the state of social welfare in the richest nation on Earth competitive with that of countries like Oman and Kyrgyzstan. A plan where people don’t die of preventable diseases isn’t a gift, it’s modernizing America by bringing us at long last into the 20th century. When someone finally gives us universal healthcare our response shouldn’t be, “Thank you,” it should be, “What the fuck took you so long, assholes!? Fucking Rwanda had this shit figured out years ago!”

That’s what makes me so angry whenever I hear Republicans bitching about how so many Americans feel like they’re ‘entitled’ to healthcare. Of course we’re entitled to healthcare! It says right there in the Declaration of Independence that life is an unalienable right, but fucking Croatia has a lower infant mortality rate than we do? You can’t bribe someone by offering them something they were supposed to have all along.  

To accuse President Obama of bribery you’ve got to kind of forget what democracy is about in the first place. No matter what role you think government should play in daily life, it’s obviously there to serve the people on one level or another. You could argue that virtually any candidate’s political position is bribery – isn’t a political campaign just encouraging people to vote for you because your policies will be more beneficial for them?

If you run for president on a platform of going to war with Iran, you’re bribing people who are scared that Iran is going to attack us. If your platform is outlawing abortion, you’re bribing social conservatives. If your platform is giving every man, woman, and child in America a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, even Dick Morris could predict that you’re going to lose, because people vote for the person who they think has their best interests in mind. Is it any surprise that so many rich people voted for the really rich guy?

And so long as we’re talking about bribery, remember that Mitt Romney was promising an across the board 20% tax cut for everyone in America. He was essentially offering to pay people to vote for him, and he still lost.

I get it, though – losing sucks, the Republican Party had turned on him before Florida was even finished counting ballots, and for the first time in several years, Mitt Romney doesn’t have to monitor his comments in case they’ll make people less likely to vote for him. He’s going to cut loose and say some stupid shit. He’s earned it.

But to say that Obamacare is just some sort of gift being tossed to a nation of whiners too lazy to even afford their own car elevators? Come on, man. Freaking Canada has healthcare. Anybody obsessed with ‘American Exceptionalism’ should be concerned when Canada is better at something than we are. 

Truman Capps should probably go to the doctor more so he can get the most out of his parents' insurance.