Bet you didn’t know poverty is a thing of the past in America? Neither did I. S’true, just ask Mark Steyn at the National Review, who links approvingly to this “robust” post by Kathy Shaidle (h/t Will Bunch):

Are there even a thousand really poor people in all of America? Really poor. Dying-on-the-sidewalks-with-open-sores poor?

The so-called poor have cars and cable tv and free medical. They live in America in the 21st century, where school is free and libraries are free and a bus ticket to a better town costs less than a bag of crack. If they’re “poor” it’s because they were too lazy and stupid to a) finish high school and/or b) keep their pants on. Jesus had something to say about folks who didn’t properly manage their money or other people’s, and who squandered free gifts and good will. He told the adulteress to sin no more, not to find herself another baby daddy.

It’s difficult to decide which is deserving of more scorn — the contempt these people show for those less fortunate than themselves, or the overweening narcissism and smug self-satisfaction that convinces them that it’s personal merit that allows them to look down on the filthy masses with such superiority. They populate their imaginary world with radical, cockamamie theories that enable their “more for me” omnivorous selfishness and sneering cruelty. They are moral barbarians.

But let’s be honest — they love their fearless leader George Bush because he tells them these things are true. Bush himself thinks the system of emergency rooms in this country is just a fine social safety net.

These are the people who think it’s okay to stalk and intimidate 12 year-old accident victims who have the temerity to publicly express gratitude for their health care. Who think it’s okay to inflict the right-wing hate machine on his family as a lesson to others who might cast Bush and his evil (yes, I said it, evil) regressive policies that rob kids of health care so that insurance agencies can continue to stay fat and happy in a less-than-flattering light.

So what on earth makes these five Democrats think it’s okay to side with Bush and his venal acolytes over S-CHIP and still call themselves Democrats?

Jim Marshall (GA)
Baron Hill (IN)
Gene Taylor (MS)
Bob Etheridge (NC)
Mike McIntyre (NC)

I know some will make the argument that several of these Bush Dogs live in heavy Republican districts, and it’s better to have any Democrat than a Republican. I’m sorry but I just do not buy that any more. These representatives are holding the Democrats hostage with their willingness to join with the Republicans on everything from torture to FISA to Iraq, and the constant desire to appease them is one of the factors that keeps watering down everything the Democrats try to do into utter meaninglessness.

That’s why Blue America and BlogPac decided to start placing recorded calls to the constituents in each of the five districts, and as Mike Stark says, we intend to keep the pressure up. As Matt Stoller notes, we’re operating within a broken market for Democratic primaries that seriously handicaps our efforts to replace each and every one of these representatives. So it’s time to hold anyone who wants to call themselves a Democrat to a standard that includes health care for kids and keep them from sabotaging the efforts of people who are trying to rebuild the America that George Bush and his enablers are systematically trying to destroy.

Because there really are poor people in America, people like Michelle James (who recorded our calls). And they need help.

You can donate to Blue America’s campaign to hold them accountable here (just select Blue America PAC at the top of the list).