The Republicans vs. Lazarus

Arguably, the only successful program George W. Bush was responsible for was PEPFAR -- a program to provide AIDS relief to Africa. Michael Gerson via Steve Benen:

In 2003, Bush started the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR — an unprecedented, $3-billion a year program to help the world fight AIDS and has resulted in an 80-fold increase in the number of Africans receiving life-saving AIDS treatments since the program began.

And it appears that it seriously worked:

The Biblical story of Lazarus is happening again in Africa. At least it looks that way.

One moment, men, women and children suffering from AIDS are lying at death’s door, barely able to move, open their eyes, or speak. Then a few days or weeks later, they are walking, talking, laughing; truly appearing to have come back from the dead.

This astonishing transformation has been repeated all over the continent thousands of times over the past decade. And, since 2003, America has been helping to pay for it.

But, of course, anything with the smell of "foreign aid" is being targeted by the Republicans:

But a budget-slashing effort in Congress this year threatens to bring much of that progress to a sudden and catastrophic halt.

It's really astonishing how despicable this is, especially considering the visible impact of the program -- a Bush Republican program.

Your "pro-life" party behaving in a decidedly "anti-life" way. Again. Perhaps if the recipients of the money were white-bread NASCAR fans from Alabama, the Republicans wouldn't be so hasty to hand down such a massive death sentence to innocent people.

  • mrbrink

    Nothing gives me more hope for America than a redneck liberal.

    • nicole


    • cousinavi

      Pink wife beater, no oil stains on his hat. The car up on blocks in the front yard is a Prius. Solar panel on top of the double-wide. Still named Cletus, but spells it with a K. Sprinkles chopped parsley on his grits just to add some color.

  • lukenstein

    If PEPFAR is gutted, it will be a life-ending change for so many people. It’s so pathetic that we can’t focus on that harsh reality because a few people feel slighted by a Nascar reference.

    Adding, what do conservatives actually “conserve”? Not education, the environment, not the American dream, not life. Definitely not life – this is another example. The only thing they conserve is the profit and wealth of the select upper crust. Conserve isn’t even the correct verb here. It’s propagate, or hoard. Conservatives my ass.

    • IrishGrrrl

      While I may not agree on the “assholishness of NASCAR fans” with some of y’all, I can honestly say the PEPFAR program needs to be continued without all the Evangelical strings. Imagine what could occur if the education on the use of condoms is paired with the widespread use of modern pharmaceuticals!? That is what needs to be done and that should be the liberal position. What is practical and makes the most sense. Fuck giving Bushco credit, let’s do what is right. In the end, that is all the matters (take note NASCAR fans who were offended, says a Southern gal with a masters degree and who thinks driving in circles is just stupid no matter where you are from).

      • lukenstein

        Southern here too, and finishing Master’s degree right now – preparing thesis defense to be specific! But sadly, I was once as NASCAR fan. And yes, just last year I was still the redneck riding an ATV every weekend with a cooler of beer. But I just couldn’t go on participating in sports and hobbies that involve burning copious amounts of fossil fuels. I won’t even get a little motor for my fishing boat, it’s going to get oar power!!! And I’m moving to Little Rock in a month. Thinking about taking up a little soft cycling.

        And back to the point that matters. Yes, the evangelical thing needs to go from PEPFAR. And isn’t it sad that the right thing to do is so often called a liberal position. Why can’t it be just the plain ole right thing to do because it makes sense? sigh..

  • Bob Rutledge

    You know, when I was growing up back in Wilkes County, NC (in the 1970s) — where the progenitors of the sport once ran ‘shine and where the schools closed for Time Trials at the old North Wilkesboro Speedway, and if you’re a true fan you know of where I speak — NASCAR fans were bad ass, hard-drinking, (often) racist mofos. But they weren’t assholes.

    Shame that’s changed.

    • Alan Fors

      Curious Bob: what makes you say today’s NASCAR fans are assholes? That’s not been my experience. There’s a number of NASCAR “traditions” I could do without, but for the most part the people I’ve met at races are good people, and most of them want to keep politics out of thier sport.

      Adding, to clarify: of course there are assholes in any NASCAR crowd, and they can be obnoxious as hell. But I’m seeing the rise of assholes in any crowd increasing at an alarming rate. If assholiness is a measure to discredit any group, then there’s not many groups worth aspiring to be part of, that I can see.

    • lukenstein

      suffice to say they wouldn’t bitch and moan about being called whitebread

  • Alan Fors

    Chiming in late here, but I’m an infrequent contributor anyway.

    R’s don’t give a shit about the program or who it hurts, and Bush really was pushing an agenda other than AIDS releif, as Mr Brink points out. Democrats need to add this to thier talking points for 2012 and hold R’s responsible.

    I’ll bashfully raise my hand, though, as a longtime Cescan who also happens to be a big time motor sports fan – and that includes NASCAR. While I certainly understand the contrast being made in Bob’s original post, I too shudder a bit (in emberassment, perhaps?) when the redneck NASCAR fan is trotted out as the anti-liberal. And except for correcting CousinAvi: there really are a couple of road courses on the NASCAR schedule where the cars turn both left and right – I’ll stop trying to justify my taste in sports to you all.

    • muselet

      No reason to be bashful: I follow MotoGP, WRC and F1 reasonably closely, pay attention to endurance racing (Le Mans is coming up in a couple of weeks), and generally ignore IRL and NASCAR. Nothing against them, exactly, it’s just that ovals are boring places to race—NASCAR at Sears Point is a hoot (shrink the cars a size, run them on road circuits and you’d have … well, Australian V8 Supercars, but the racing would be more interesting, or at least more to my tastes).

      After the Ds’ success in 1996 among “soccer moms” (that term annoys me no end), the Rs actively courted (the equally cringeworthy) “NASCAR dads” in 2000: white, middle-class (or lower-middle-class aspiring to be middle-class), socially conservative (or politically malleable enough to be convinced they were socially conservative), pro-military, God-guns-and-guts, (mostly) Southern men. So, folks, if you want to get pissy about NASCAR being the shorthand for anti-liberal, blame the Rs and their soulless bastard campaign consultants.

      If anyone can suggest a different shorthand, speak up.


  • lukenstein

    sorry Mr. Brink , didn’t mean this as a reply to you

  • mrbrink

    Alright, Bush’s big unilateral AIDS fighting agenda wasn’t as pure in intent, or execution as it’s being trumpeted, mostly to help salvage some good during Bushco’s tenure.

    For one, the program was initiated with Evangelical strings attached, like allocating a huge chunk of money toward abstinence-until-married education(tell that to rape victims)while ensuring family-planning restrictions, and restrictions on birth control. These right wing restrictions and prohibitive strings have subsequently been overturned since 2008.

    And the anti-retroviral drugs to be used through PEPFAR(President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)were also the most expensive, padding the bottom lines of Pharmaceutical corporations, rather than prohibiting generics, the money could have stretched further and assisted more people.

    And while it’s awesome that this program has helped save lives, it’s also led to an African population boom because of right wing ideology as it pertains to birth control and abstinence only, which will make treatment for AIDS and poverty difficult over time.

    All these things have made direct funding difficult, to say the least, because if your village doesn’t provide abstinence only education, you don’t get your AIDS-fighting treatment. Get it?

    And Bush couldn’t exactly have done nothing. He wasn’t acting on his own curious nature about helping humanity, he was being pressured by everyone from Nelson Mandela to Bono to awareness and pressure raised by the global community as a whole– do something significant.

    When I think of right wing Republicans in Africa, I can’t help but think about C-Street and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni working to make it legal to kill gays.

    But I digress.

    When Republicans touch something, it usually turns to shit, and this is obvious right now while a right wing congress tries to cut funding for a policy initiated by Bush, and bettered by Democrats.

    Because so many people in Africa are in need of constant access to anti-AIDS medication that we’ve been helping to provide, cutting them off would be the equivalent to a right wing-sponsored death sentence.

    Something Republicans are more comfortable with, after all.

    • lukenstein


      GET OVER IT. JESUS H CHRIST! PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIEEEE BECAUSE THE LOSS OF THIS AIDE. And you’re insulted about the NASCAR reference??? C’mon! Get your priorities straight and quit whining!!!!!

      • nicole

        um, luke, i think you replied in the wrong spot. but you probably already realized that. :-)

        • lukenstein

          Yes! I’m having commenting issues tonight!

          Even a former whitebread NASCAR fan like myself (still whitebread) doesn’t know how to use the intertubes correctly!

          Uh oh, did my joke offend you Nascar guys? Yeah, I guess that sucks -almost as bad as living in an Aids stricken village in Africa when the GOP takes away your family’s medication.. almost

          • nicole


          • Alan Fors

            It didn’t reach the level of offending nor insulting me. Just discussing a difference of opinions here.

    • IrishGrrrl

      Mrbrink, thanks for bringing this up. It’s VERY important to remember that this aid from the Bush Admin came with some serious American Evangelical strings attached that will have actually worsened the problem. So the program saved a certain percentage of lives…what percentage died because they didn’t get to hear the message that condoms help prevent AIDS? Something crucial in particular to the African population. I would posit that Bush did nothing of value, regardless of this program.

  • dildenusa

    I like to watch cars race. The point about NASCAR is that many of the old time NASCAR drivers ran moonshine down south. That’s the draw for the whackadoodle Fox Noise NASCAR crawd. Other than that watching cars race can be fun.

  • nicole

    Caleb Becker:
    I’m not saying that because I like NASCAR, liberals should not insult NASCAR, I’m saying that liberals should be bigger than insulting entire groups of people.

    oh dear…….

    You originally directed the following statement to Cesca:

    You wanna knock it off with the NASCAR references? Like many other liberal sites you use this reference as if all NASCAR fans were ignorant knuckle dragging mouth breathing conservatives. As a liberal, and a huge fan of NASCAR I find it extremely insulting.


    1. You did indeed object to the insult directed at NASCAR because you took it personally.

    3. I NEVER said that you said not to insult NASCAR because you like it. Even though you clearly did object to exactly that.

    You are an ass, Caleb. As I already said, get over yourself.

    Edit: Is that you, TDK? ;-)

    • Caleb Becker

      1. So effing what if I objected because I took it personally. You only object to things you don’t take personally?

      2. Your trying to use my words against me falls flat because I only used the words used by many on the left to describe those on the right. What exactly are you trying to prove by quoting that? I wasn’t calling them knuckle dragging mouth breathers, I was using that as a description of how many on the left perceive them. Do you not understand the difference?

      Why don’t you go back and reread what I originally wrote. Try reading it for comprehension of the point.

      Who is TDK? Some troll I assume. Sorry to disappoint.

      Oh and did you forget point 2?

      • cousinavi

        What is it about the phrase “Knuckle dragging mouth breathers” to describe Republicans that causes a problem? The ease with which it rolls off the tongue, or the incredible degree of accuracy?

        I have no problem with pointing to a definable group of people and shitting all over them for the traits they not only share but which, in fact, define them: Soccer hooligans, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, people who think “Irregardless” is a word…the list is long.

        If YOU took it personally, well…have a look around you the next time you actually attend a NASCAR event. Count the number of Nobel Prize winners (it won’t take long). If you have time, count the number of people wearing a shirt or hat that reads, “Git’er Done!”

        Yes, I make rather unflattering assumptions about the IQ distribution in the bleachers at NASCAR events. It may still be a bell curve, but the right end barely scratches triple digits.

        You may well appreciate the high degree of mechanical wizardry, teamwork, driving skill and semi-literacy required to participate in NASCAR or be a fan. Not even Red Green can change four tires and fill the gas tank in 3.2 seconds.
        But your elite understanding of the finer points of running a car around the track for hours at high speed doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of in-bred Appalachian heehaws there assembled are planning to get shit-faced drinking Coors Light and hope someone gets airborne and slams into the wall.
        In that crowd, Sarah Palin could get elected. And THAT is all the evidence I need to consider them dangerous.

        • Caleb Becker

          And this is why the left will never be taken seriously by independent voters. The vast majority of all voters in case you were wondering. Those people you insult, are the very ones that progressive/liberal politicos are trying to help with health care, etc. Those people are the ones we need to convince are being used an run over by the right. I’ve seen posted on this very site the fact that on individual issues, the people of this country are more liberal than conservative. Included in those polls are the very people you insult. Your dismissive attitude and insults don’t help in trying to win them over.

          • cousinavi

            INDEPENDENT voters? WTF do they have to do with anything I said? I’m talking about Republicans…and southern, NASCAR fan Republicans at that! People who think Jeff Foxworthy is funny. People who think Barack Obama is a Muslim Kenyan Communist. People who watch Fox, are (generally speaking) far more racist than average, less educated, and absolutely never gonna be converted to any form of political philosophy that cannot be summed up on a bumper sticker. People who ride around in their Medicare paid-for power wheelchairs while insisting that the goddamn gubmint best stay outta the health care bidness!

            You flip and flop all over the fucking place!
            I’m talking about the people for whom Reagan’s Southern Strategy was DESIGNED; who respond to racist dog whistles about Welfare Queens and think Glenn Beck is telling them the truth. Those ARE NOT independent voters.

            And the suggestion that “the vast majority” of voters are independents only shows that you’re an imbecile. Surveys show about 37% of voters CALL THEMSELVES “independent” (that ain’t no majority, vast or otherwise)…but about half of those, despite liking the title, reliably and consistently vote for one party or the other. In terms of “independent” voters who can be swayed by argument and evidence, the figure is under 20%.

            And in the south, AND among NASCAR fans, I trust you’ll find even fewer of them in favour of a preponderance of loyal Republicans who want them darkies kept in their place and out of the WHITE House.

            If those knuckle dragging mouth breathers want to vote Republican and further fuck themselves because they don’t like MY attitude, they’re too stupid to be helped. I’m not about to stop speaking the truth in order to coddle a bunch of morons into seeing the light. And if you’re any example, they don’t deal well with rational argument anyway.

      • nicole

        You aren’t worth the time required to respond further.

  • muselet

    Perhaps if the recipients of the money were white-bread NASCAR fans from Alabama, the Republicans wouldn’t be so hasty to hand down such a massive death sentence to innocent people.

    You give the Rs far too much credit. The beneficiaries of this program have AIDS, which, according to the Rs, means they are some combination of (a) gay, (b) sexually promiscuous, (c) IV drug users, and (d) debauched in some other, as yet unspecified, ways; a person with AIDS deserves to suffer and die alone and in agony in order to atone for whatever evil s/he did to deserve such a fate. The Rs would be fighting to cut funding for this program no matter what.

    In no meaningful way are the Rs, or social conservatives in general, pro-life.


  • nicole

    These people are heartless, ruthless, bastards.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You need look no further back than to 1930’s Germany for a strong comparison.

    The authoritarian nature of the right wing has come to the fore, and they are absolutely dangerous to our way of life, to democracy.

  • Caleb Becker

    You wanna knock it off with the NASCAR references? Like many other liberal sites you use this reference as if all NASCAR fans were ignorant knuckle dragging mouth breathing conservatives. As a liberal, and a huge fan of NASCAR I find it extremely insulting. You may have the impression that the majority of the fans just grunt and groan at the massive use of fuel and admittedly conservative leaning of many involved in the sport. For many of us though its more than that. Its about the technical set up of the cars, the communication between team and driver to make sure the car handles right at the high speeds they travel at. I, and many like me, can ignore the politics of many in the sport and just enjoy the sport. You show both your own ignorance and prejudice with flippant comments like that.

    • cousinavi

      Especially since those cars ALWAYS turn LEFT.

    • nicole

      the NASCAR franchise has a rep.

      You want to be a fan, and be a Liberal, learn to deal with the insults. It isn’t like Bob made fun of YOU personally.

      • Caleb Becker

        So Nicole, by your logic, other black people shouldn’t be insulted by the racist rhetoric that the right throws at the POTUS, because they aren’t being personally insulted. Outstanding logic.

        • nicole

          Hardly the same thing.

          If you want to run with the redneck dogs, learn to deal.

          Adding……racist rhetoric is aimed at an entire race for an IMMUTABLE characteristic. That you would even think to compare the two indicates your own inability to be both logical and reasonable.


          • Caleb Becker

            I was just using your logic. Because I wasn’t the direct target of the insult, I should just deal. Perhaps if you had original thoughts of your own and didn’t just post everything said on this site to your own, you would understand.

          • nicole

            oh, please….,…

            Big freaking deal. You like NASCAR, therefore, Liberals should not insult NASCAR.

            Your logic. Which is pretty dumbass, not to mention narcissistic.

            Get over yourself.

          • Caleb Becker

            I’m not saying that because I like NASCAR, liberals should not insult NASCAR, I’m saying that liberals should be bigger than insulting entire groups of people. As liberals we should understand what its like to be painted with such a broad brush. Need I remind you of the things that spew from the likes of Limbaugh or Beck?

            Better check on your use of “narcissistic”…

            My logic, as you misinterpreted it, is that, in order to win the arguments, we cannot sink to the same levels of a Limbaugh or Beck. Tad more solid that yours I suspect.

          • nicole

            responding at the top of the thread.

      • elscorcho the marlin

        why? why do liberal nascar fans have to learn to deal with the insults? do you know how absurd that sounds?

        • nicole

          You are not being personally insulted, so a better question might be why are you and Caleb taking this so personally?

        • cousinavi

          Simple. Because they are going to keep coming.
          It’s almost impossible to satirize NASCAR fans – they’re generally such a walking caricature to begin with that there’s nothing left to exaggerate.
          You can learn to deal with it, or you can walk around butthurt and whining all the time. Your choice.

    • lukenstein

      As a liberal, and a formerly huge fan of NASCAR from Mississippi, I couldn’t be less offended. It’s called contrast. What’s more opposite than an African in an AIDS ravaged nation than whitebread NASCAR man from Alabama? And to prove I’m legit on my NASCAR, I quit watching because Jimmie Freaking Johnson and cheater Chad Knaus keep winning. That, and as a environmentalist I simply can no longer support burning shit tons of gas for sport. But even if I was still a super fan, I still wouldn’t be upset.

      The problem is you, and monstermarlin, while claiming to be liberal/democrats, are still residually contaminated by Right-Wing America’s efforts to convince whitebread American (i.e., NASCAR fans), that Democrats are elitist douches. And since you are a liberal/democrat, then you should realize we aren’t douches, and simply let go of the NASCAR jab. Unless you are going to bitch at every other NASCAR fan when they make fun of cyclists, prius-drivers, etc etc. No? – didn’t think so.

      Anyways, lay off guys. It’s not an insult, but if it were insult, then really?? You’d be upset?? As a former NASCAR fan, I thought we all kinda understood we’d be the butt of jokes sometimes…

  • Bob Rutledge

    Perhaps if the recipients of the money were wealthy white-bread NASCAR fans from Alabama


    • elscorcho the marlin

      i fail to see why you have to attack a group of fans in your point. i am an intelligent, college educated person from the south. i also like nascar and i am a democrat. your little snipes turn people off. you might want to consider that with your future postings.

      • cousinavi

        Don’t be a doofus. No one…well, except for me…is attacking NASCAR fans. They are being used in contrast to African AIDS victims.
        See, the Republicans want to cut a Bush program that HELPS Africans who are HIV positive. Cesca used white NASCAR fans as a contrast in that Republicans are opposed to helping black people, foreign people and especially foreign black people.
        He did not attack white NASCAR fans from Alabama.
        Rutledge added the word “wealthy”, and rightly so, because Republicans demonstrably don’t give a frigid shit for poor people of any color or nationality. But he didn’t attack white NASCAR fans from Alabama, either.

        On a related note, we once set up motion detecting cameras to try and catch an intelligent, college educated, southern NASCAR fan / Democrat in the wild. Most of the cameras were destroyed by buckshot after recording someone hollering, “Hey, Bubba! Watch this shit!” Two were victims of what can only be called sexual assault. One was actually eaten.
        So…if you wouldn’t mind…could we get a blood sample? Some hair? Maybe take some measurements?

        • elscorcho the marlin

          Really? That is your response? You are just as narrow-minded as those you claim are the evil ones. A doofus? Really?

          I don’t need the article articulated to me. I can understand what points he is trying to make and what the example was for. I take issue with the example in itself, not the article.

          I also don’t think it is fair to say that “republicans don’t like to help black people”. the majority, yes. to use absolutes is to box yourself in a corner. something you seem pretty good at doing.

          no, i don’t feel the need to justify my likes, beliefs to you. not that a blood sample proves anything, by the way (who is the doofus?). and, by the way, who is “we”. YOU are writing something, and you don’t speak for anyone but yourself.

          • cousinavi

            1. Stop using words you don’t understand – it makes it difficult to muddle through what is already weak thinking.

            2. What’s the problem with using NASCAR fans from Alabama as a contrast to African AIDS victims? One group is foreign, the other is not; one group is black, the other is almost completely not; one is about to have a very successful Bush aid program cut out from under them by Republicans, the other…well, I don’t know what Alabama NASCAR fans have in terms of government programs working for them, but you get the point.

            If you think Republicans are keen on helping poor black people, especially poor FOREIGN black people, you don’t know the foggiest first fucking thing about Republicans. “The majority, yes…but not ALL!” What the fuck??? What does that even mean? Are you suggesting that because there’s one or two lonely Republicans willing to commit US dollars to a foreign aid program aimed at helping African AIDS victims, I should refrain from characterizing the GROUP as an uncaring bunch of racists? Pull your head out of your ridiculous ass.

            We. Me and my team of crack researchers. On the eternal hunt for evidence of the INTELLIGENT, white, southern, college educated Democrat. You can keep the blood sample. Your comments here are sufficient to rule you out.

          • LynnVeraLynn

            I don’t know that I’m INTELLIGENT, but I am white, southern, college educated, a democrat and I have the bonus of being a woman. :) I live less than 10 minutes from a Nascar speedway and I can tell you I am not a Nascar fan.
            So your eternal hunt is over Avi, I’m here. :)

  • Wes Hopper

    If every Republican that was unfaithful got AIDS, we’d have the votes we need to keep the program.

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