An unshakable persecution complex

AN UNSHAKABLE PERSECUTION COMPLEX…. I missed the speech yesterday in which a House Republican compared health care reform to tyranny of King George III, so I was glad to see Greg Sargent track it down.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), a freshman, railed against the individual mandate provision — which was a Republican idea, by the way — which he considers unconstitutional. “As Virginians, we did not accept the chains of George the Third,” Griffith said. “Nor will we accept the chains of Obamacare.”

This is obviously very silly rhetoric from a right-wing politician who’s trying too hard, but it fits nicely into a larger pattern of Republicans with a deep-seeded persecution complex. Greg explained that GOP officials have a “comical” tendency to “compare their current situation to that of history’s leading victims of oppression, persecution, and genocide.”

After noting several recent examples from prominent far-right voices — including the “blood libel” and “pogrom” incidents from last week — Greg added, “It’s hard to know what motivates this kind of thing. It’s almost as if these folks are suffering from what you might call a world-historical inferiority complex. They’re desperate to imagine themselves as actors in an ongoing drama that rivals the most momentous struggles and conflicts in human history. So they just play-act the part…. It’s all so pathetic and adolescent.”

Well said.

I’d add, while we’re on the subject, that this notion that the individual mandate is some kind of unprecedented, abusive power-grab from a government gone mad really is ridiculous. The Center for American Progress had a report this week on how fairly common it is for Congress to exercise its legal authority to regulate.

Existing federal laws require millions of homeowners, for example, to purchase flood insurance. Nuclear power plants to purchase liability insurance, whether they want to or not. The Civil Rights Act mandated businesses engage in commercial activity that owners found objectionable. George Washington even signed a law requiring much of the country to purchase firearms and ammunition. (The 10th Amendment never came up.)

It’s precisely why Republicans didn’t think the health care mandate was unconstitutional when they came up with the idea — it’s consistent with how the government has operated for generations.

Morgan Griffith may believe his own nonsense about “chains,” but his twisted understanding of reality is nevertheless absurd.