Classic GOP Playbook – Attacking Health Care Reform

Posted in General by TBartine on July 20, 2009 No Comments yet

Some days…it is much harder to decide what to write about than others.  Most of the time, I either have a wealth of links to different articles about one, hot topic…or I have a multitude of links to very different, brief topics that can be pulled together into a “round-up” posting.  Today…I have an equal number of links, divided between two topics:

1) Conservative politicians and media losing their collective minds over health care (and trying to take us with them).

2) Sadly, yes, more examples of racism from conservative public figures…seems like I find brand new examples in the news each day.

So…after the coin toss: health care it is. I wrote on this subject last week, but that particular post was designed to look at how we in America DISCUSS the issue of health care, and how that conversation has been derailed by those who “drank the Kool-Aid” that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies have been supplying to Americans for generations, in order to maintain the status quo.  Today’s post: the “smear blitz.” You’ll recognize the “strategies” as Standard Operating Procedure for the current GOP attack machine (ie. it’ll turn us into commies, your taxes will quadruple, your grandchildren will live in the streets, and we’re all going to die).  These are just the MOST RECENT attempts to scare everyone away from what they have dubbed “Obamacare:”

  • Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) went on FOX News Sunday, and presented some “interesting” statistics.  According to Gregg, 20 million young Americans make more than $75 million a year…and just choose not to have health insurance…so we shouldn’t be so concerned about the studies showing how many uninsured Americans there are.  In other words, in “Gregg’s World,“  lots of those who are uninsured are very young, wealthy, and don’t need help.  His solution, is to tax health benefits (isn’t it interesting that it’s the REPUBLICANS who are suddenly putting forward taxing our health benefits as a SOLUTIONTAXES are the answer?).  Well…he’s almost right…except about the 20 million people…and the $75 million they are making…and that large numbers of them are uninsured.  Here’s the actual data on the uninsured, and here’s some REAL facts about income in America.  And this is the man Obama picked to be Commerce Secretary?  I should go out and look for a “thank you for rejecting the President’s appointment” card at Hallmark to send the good senator.

  • Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is now on record about health care.  The same senator who last week said that America is now in the same place as pre-WWII Germany (ummm…this former history teacher begs to differ), now says in an interview with evangelical magazine World Magazine, that most Americans oppose the public option, that in the fall Congress will be afraid to go against the wrath of the the people, that “dependency on government reduces dependency on God” (Really?), that this would end up being Obama’s “Waterloo” (another interesting choice of an ill-fitting historical reference), and he added: “I am not going to be able to persuade my colleagues to do the right things, so I am just going to have to create pain.“  I’m guessing he’s an “Old-Testament” kind of guy….who doesn’t read ANY of the polls, or he would know that Americans are largely in favor of the public option.
  • DeMint shouldn’t feel too bad about not being able to read simple poll numbers.  USA Today seemed similarly unable (perhaps unwilling) to acknowledge the public support indicated in ITS OWN POLL…they ran their own findings under the title “Poll: Americans want health care bill, but not the cost,” and they used the summary caption, “Most Americans say it’s important to overhaul health care this year, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, but they are less enthusiastic about some of the proposals to pay for it,” despite the poll showed nothing except a clear margin of support.  Similarly, The Washington Post ran the headlinePoll Shows Obama Slipping on Key Issues – Approval Rating on Health Care Falls Below 50 Percent.”  Do you see what they did there?  The approval rating of “health care” fell…NOT the approval rating on the President’s health care plan…but the headline is clearly meant to deceive a reader into thinking it refers to the latter.
  • The New York Post ran its own attack on the plan through the use of the following graphic:

Brian Beutler at TPM Muckraker was good enough to amend the picture for those of us living in a “fact-based” reality:

  • And what list of nonsensical and spurious statements would be complete without RNC Chairman, Michael Steele?  When asked if he thought the plan was “socialism,” he simply said “Yes…next question.” He agreed with DeMint that this would be Obama’s “Waterloo” (which I’m sure prompted Senator DeMint to mutter, “Stay OFF my side, Michael”), and he called the plan “unprecedented government intrusion into the private sector.”  He labeled the President’s actions as “Russian roulette” and “experimenting” with our nation’s health care system, and said that the president is part of a health care “cabal” that wants to put everyone on government-run health care.  And just to make sure he hit ALL the usual, GOP-mandated, fearmongering buttons, he said that “Obama-Pelosi want to start building a colossal, closed health care system where Washington decides. Republicans want and support an open health care system where patients and doctors make the decisions.” That’s right…not like our current system…where you and you doctor call make all the decisions, and the insurance companies gladly pay for whatever the doctor says you need.  Oh wait
  • In an interview with Larry King, the late Walter Cronkite said that he felt the news should inform and educate its viewers…FOX and Bill Kristol seem to prefer the whole “fear/disinformation” route.  Watch here as Juan Williams confronts Bill Kristol on FOX News Sunday for his use of fear-based arguments against health care reform:

For a more reasonable examination of why we just can’t seem to win the battle to reform health care, please examine the following segment of Bill Moyers Journal (courtesy of PBS) where he examines the influence of money on our current health care system:

Also check out this site: Physicians for a National Health ProgramInteresting: we hear conservatives bellowing that a public option will put people’s health care in the hands of government bureaucrats…well, according to the PNHP homepage, 31 percent of every health care dollar is already feeding a bureaucracy…we call it the “Health Insurance Industry Bureaucratic Paper Mill.” Wow…that’s even WORSE than government.  More tomorrow…until then…stay healthy, for God’s sake.  You can’t afford not to.

UPDATE: 8:51 PM -

Speaking of the conservative attack machine, the following Glenn Beck clip came out after I wrote this post, but bears inclusion:

Watching this, I realized that I have never really watched Glenn Beck for any length of time; I usually read printed transcripts of what he says…so I didn’t realize that he utilized such a strange assortment of facial expressions and funny voices.  I kept waiting for him to hit a gong or toot on a clown horn.  In the seven and one half minutes of this clip…I found ONLY antics, overt appeals to fear, and generalized statements which I would assume Mr. Beck considers to be “conventional wisdom,” but are a poor substitute for actual information.  All in all, he succeeds only in revealing that he has little to add to the conversation about health care, economics, or America.  I found it amusing that he chose to take issue with President Obama’s assertion that some of the cost of the proposed plan would be offset by the savings generated…this is not an unusual practice; Beck should remember it from when George W. Bush used it repeatedly to justify the expense of the Iraq War.  I’m CERTAINLY not saying that makes it right…I’m just pointing out that Beck and friends didn’t seem to have problems with the practice back then..

On another separate, but related note…President Obama is asking bloggers to assist in combating the disinformation campaigns that are being waged against health care reform.  I volunteer

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