'Oh, God, It's Mom'

Finally, a solution to partisan gridlock

This has been burning up the Internet this afternoon, and it should, because it is truly marvelous (h/t the N&O).

I wrote about Dallas Woodhouse after the November election, when WNCN in Raleigh caught him in a state of advanced picklement at Thom Tillis’ victory party. The Woodhouses’ story has been covered before—it’s even been the subject of a 70-minute documentary, Woodhouse Divided, and a 2009 New York Times story—but this episode lifts the brother-against-brother drama to a level of sublime comedy.

And a little bit of tragedy, too. During her call, Joy Woodhouse explains that she’s a registered Democrat, but that like so many old southern Democrats, she sometimes votes for Republicans, too. Now, she says, she’s “more of a one-issue person right now,” and that one issue is health care—she has an autistic grandson.

This is more than a little poignant because, according to the Times article, Obamacare was the wedge that drove the two brothers’ interfamilial war into the red:

The health care debate has brought their biggest clash yet. Brad said he called his brother recently to warn him to tone down some of his claims during a bus tour he was planning, including the false but explosive accusation that Mr. Obama’s plan would force doctors to decide that some elderly people were too expensive to keep alive.

“I said, ‘If you’re going to go out and do this bus tour, I hope you will keep this within some bounds of reason,’ ” Brad recalled. “He was polite, he got off the phone, and then he got on a bus and he went to events and started talking about politicians’ wanting to decide who lives and who dies.”

Where Dallas accuses Brad of “twisting and spinning,” Brad accuses Dallas of trafficking in “lies, innuendo and conspiracy theories.”

It’s tempting to use the brothers Woodhouse as a trite metaphor for the nation, and partisan poles that seem to grow farther apart with each year. But nah. Too easy, and not a perfect fit anyway. (The country doesn’t really have a Mom, although it surely could use one.)

Better to see it as an example of something that got lost in the Obamacare debate, and gets missed in the noise about politics: Policy matters. What the government does and does not do affects real people living their lives in places like Raleigh, where Mama Woodhouse hopes her grandson can get the care he needs, and for a peaceful Christmas.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest