Well, now we know why Senator Jay Rockefeller is retiring. It's because he's gotten to that age where you have to keep a really, really close watch over what you're babbling: "A senior Democratic senator suggested Wednesday that President Obama's race factored into opposition to the Affordable Care Act, sparking outrage on the part of one of his Republican colleagues." Basically, what Rockefeller did here was to wait until a hearing room was almost empty and then snidely suggest that Republican opposition to Obamacare was likely due to the President's skin color*'**. This did not sit well with Senator Ron Johnson (I said that the room was almost empty):
"It was regrettable and I would say it was offensive, seeing as how I'm the only one in the room here really talking about opposition, that you would play the race card, that you would say opposition to Obamacare necessarily must stream from, inert, inherent racism—very offensive," Johnson told Rockefeller.
"So, no, I didn't object to this because of the race of the president," he said. "I objected to this because it is an assault on our freedom. Mr. Chairman, I have to admit I have a great deal of respect for you and I'm the only one in the room and I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I'm a racist because I opposed this law."
Jay Rockefeller's response was to deny that he meant Ron Johnson, and then to change the subject. Of course - and drearily familiar, that. Moving, as they say, on... kudos to Ron Johnson for calling out Jay Rockefeller, of course. And kudos to Jay Rockefeller... for finally retiring. Clearly it's long since past time that he did.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*First off, Republicans didn't like it when it was Hillarycare; and, judging from the 2012 election cycle, we weren't all that fond of it when it was Romneycare writ large. As pretty much everybody on the Right has noted by now, the Veterans Administration scandal very accurately and clearly articulates why conservatives have a problem with government-controlled health care, period.
**Second... not to be indelicate about this; but while I recognize that Jay Rockefeller grew up in a certain place and period in time when it was acceptable to have certain beliefs and assumptions, and while I also recognize that Rockefeller is doing his best to not let the ignorance and prejudice that he was steeped in*** poison his heart. But I would appreciate it if Jay Rockefeller stopped assuming that everybody else has the same kind of voices in their heads whispering horrid things that Rockefeller apparently has in his.
***No, I'm not talking about West Virginia. He moved there after his opinions were fully grown. But there's no provincialism like spoiled Knickerbocker/New England Blueblood gentry liberal provincialism. Also: screaming racists, in their smug little ways. Although the latest generation has evolved some, I freely admit. Not quite up to South Carolina or Texas levels, of course, but that sort of racial tolerance takes time to foster.