GOP’s Healthcare Pushback a Triumph of Distraction Politics

It isn’t just that the Republican’s false flag town hall protestors are loud and rude — though they are. It’s that they’re not saying anything. Rather like Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Eva Perón, they won’t say much, but they’ll say it loud.

Consider what you’ve heard from these putatively independent, concerned citizens: they’ll euthanize grandma, they’ll ration care, I don’t trust Obama, I want my country back, this is socialism, this is communism, this is fascism. It’s all thoroughly unsubstantive, so much sound and fury, the stuff that sandwich boards and subterranean handbillers are made of, or an out and out lie, of which Governor Unemployed Ghost-Written Facebook Blogger Sarah Palin’s are the worst. It’s not that the sentiment isn’t genuine. Maybe it is. Even so, I don’t care and neither should you. There are reasons to oppose the proposed health care bill, but these aren’t them.

We’ve seen this strategy of distraction politics before. For eight long years, the GOP approach to governing was not to win the debate, but to muddy the waters with enough half-truths until no-one could say who’d won, through the detritus of the daily news cycle. Sure, CIA and ambassadors across the board doubt the Iraq WMD intel. But look! One of them is married to a spy! Sure, Bush is losing both the war and the peace. But is his opponent too French? And haha! Look at him windsurf! It almost carried them through the ’08 election, too, with “serious questions” about Obama’s patriotism, and his pastor.

Bottom line, the modern Republican Party has never trusted the American people enough to engage them on the issues. If they did, the health care debate would look different. We wouldn’t necessarily win a debate on the merits, but at least the American people would’ve learned in the process. An honorable battle, in which all combatants would keep their honor. This, apparently, is too much to hope for.

We deserve better. The uninsured and suffering across America deserve better. This isn’t about socialism. It’s about them.

Also, fire Glenn Beck.

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18 comments

  1. Honestly, I’m inclined to say the worst thing about the health care bill is that legislation to do worthwhile things – like the transportation funding bill – is being ignored indefinitely in order to wrangle with the details of how to do something that as a matter of principle we shouldn’t do in any form.

    1. Right, because you’re for killing the inirm… As one of the infirmzx I can’t say I’m a fan.

      1. Yes, yes, yes, I’m a Social Darwinist and a eugenicist and I think the high school valedictorian should be the only student who survives and I wish I’d gone to the school in that awful Kurt Russel movie Soldier so I’d have been shot since I was never able to run a mile fast enough. Also, I want to be President so I can launch all our nukes and bring about an apocalyptic wasteland that forces the remnants of humanity to evolve into demigods who will then be able to live in a hedonistic utopia like the prophet Huxley foresaw while the rest of us are all dead after our lives that were nasty, brutish, and short – just the way they’re supposed to be!

        Now that we’re done impugning me…

        I can’t name a single domestic agenda item besides this healthcare bill that Congress or Obama has actively worked on for weeks, and important as getting this healthcare thing done right is, I really don’t think it’s important enough to justify ignoring all the other things going wrong or getting ready to go wrong in America.

        And seriously, I am not in favor of killing the infirm. I simply believe that healthcare, whether in its existing form or in every proposed reform I’ve heard of, is engaged in a quixotic quest to prolong and prolong and prolong life as if the quantity, not the quality, of life were what mattered. Sooner or later we all die, and that is really really sad for the people who know and care about us and it hurts them. But besides that, I don’t think it’s any big deal, especially since for people like me the sooner we die the better for ourselves and everyone else, and so I think the Democrats’ proposed “let’s keep everybody alive too long” system is not an improvement over the current “let’s let rich people pay to have themselves kept alive too long” system.

        1. Isn’t that where the death panels end of life counselling come into the picture?

          1. (Please read “death panels” as struck through there)

  2. Americans rejected Hillarykare the same way they are rejecting Obamakare. Guess that’s why Dems who oppose using ID to vote now require it for Town Halls and why Dems are packing the union members in because they have such a strong case.

    1. Great. Then maybe you can help me, because I’m still looking for someone who can explain to me why anyone would be against a system that has been shown in the rest of the world to cost much less and work much better than the current American one.

  3. I STILL can’t help but wonder why this is different from social security reform and how the GOP is behaving any differently than Dems did in 2005.

    1. That’s obvious. Bush’s social security plan was an objectively awful idea. Where would we be now it that had gone into effect? Republican trust in capital markets + Republican ineptitude at protecting the capital markets = fail. On the contrary, in all comparable nations, government health care works (England not Russia)

      1. My investments are looking rosey. Investing isn’t a short-term sport. And what the GOp was talking about was a hybrid plan, part private and part public. Sound familiar?

        Government healthcare in those countries works because it is universal and fully funded by high tax rates. Is that what you are proposing Ames, because that’s not what the Dems are claiming to be selling.

        1. Considering the US spends twice as much per capita on health care as comparable OECD countries do, but get a poorer system for the money, it would seem like there is plenty of resources available for reform if some of all that wasteful spending could be eliminated. Actually, the US public expenditure itself is already higher than in most OECD countries, and then you have the private expenditures on top of that.

          1. So again, are you advocating a universal system?

            1. Universal single-payer all the way, sir. It has proven its worth time and again, and I don’t see any particular reason why you guys shouldn’t be able to create a system that’s just as good and costs the same as what we have over here in Europe.

              1. But that’s not what the administration is offering. So the question remains, if universal is the best option, why are they offering this plan?

                1. I assume that’s because there’s apparently no political support for a single payer system, and they’d rather get some kind of reform through, rather than do nothing. The perfect is the enemy of the good slightly less rubbish and all that.

                  As for why there’s no support for such a system – I still can’t see any reasonable explanation for that, but I remain hopeful that I’ll eventually find one.

                  1. So then if there is so much opposition to government-provided healthcare, why not take that off the table completely and just make it a reform bill that targets the industry for cost reductions, etc? Wouldn’t that be the politically smart thing to do?

    2. Well, you’re correct: The “healthcare debate” and the “social security reform debate” are very similar. In both cases the GOP has done nothing but lie through their teeth about the “crisis” or lack thereof and the nature of the “solution”.

      Oh, how are the GOP behaving differently than the Dems did in 2005? Easy. In 2005, the Dems weren’t lying.

  4. shawncita · ·

    I found this article and it has been very helpful for creating some meaningful debate with friends and family about this issue. Please check it out and pass it on – the piece is well-written and the comments are super powerful as well.
    http://potentialandexpectations.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/this-americans-experience-of-britains-healthcare-system/
    Congratulations on a great site!

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