Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The vast right-wing conspiracy, cleverly disguised as concerned citizens participating in representative democracy

I don't even know where to start. I guess this Weekly Standard piece is as good a place as any.

The Democratic Party will pay far lower a price for their immature rhetorical abuse of voters than the Republican Party would, thanks to many friends in the media who will take the press release at face value and investigate the "mobs" forthwith. The White House will pay a lower price than a Republican White House would have for asking citizens to report their neighbors to the administration for spreading anything "fishy" about the President's plans, even via "casual conversation." (Do you remember when local police directives to "see something, say something" to prevent possible terrorist attacks and Homeland Security suggestions to "report suspicious behavior" were a cause for civil libertarian outrage on the Left? But those were designed to protect mere buildings, not the vital mission of Medicare cost-savings and government-run health care, you see.)

But surely there will be some price to pay for equating nearly 60 percent of the voting public with "mobs of extremists." According to a new Qunippiac poll:

In the Quinnipiac survey, 55% (including 54% of the key independent voter bloc) said they were more concerned that the overhaul would increase the deficit than that Congress would not pass some kind of overhaul. That same 57% (and 59% of independents) disagreed with the following statement: “Overhauling the nation’s health care system is so important that it should be enacted even if it means substantially increasing the federal budget deficit.”

The poll also contains another piece of the public opinion puzzle that Mr. Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership may find problematic: Voters by a large margin don’t want a health care overhaul if it can only garner Democratic votes. In other words, even though Democrats control both houses of Congress, voters are suspicious of a bill that only has Democratic support.

The poll found 59% of the public disagreed (and only 36% agreed) with the following statement: Congress should approve a health care overhaul even if only Democrats support it.”

It's utterly probable that some—even many— of the concerned folks showing up at health-care town halls are the kind of older, white, Middle America Democrats Obama went to great pains to woo. The rows of VFW ballcaps and suspiciously well-dressed protesters bespeak a contingent of Hillary Democrats and even the ballyhooed Obamacans, convinced by Obama's moderate shtick and now left wondering what they got themselves into. And, if such folks are not in those crowds, they are in the 60 percent of voters who identify with them, as are the all-important Independents.

When there were suggestions from certain right-leaning quarters that questioning or criticizing President Bush during wartime was somehow unpatriotic, I found that deeply offensive. I really do believe that reasonable people can disagree (but should do so reasonably -- i.e. using their powers of reason -- and without being disagreeable), and that our country is founded on the right of every person in it to hold whatever belief they want no matter how much I may disagree with it or even find it offensive. It is right there in the First Amendment.

Now comes the Democratic party and White House itself basically saying that citizen activism, if it is in the form of objecting to Obamacare, is the behavior of an "extremist mob", and calling on their supporters to be on the lookout for those "fishy" people who might *gasp* have a different view on what needs to be done to reform America's health care system.

Now I am just a consumer of health care and, I think, a relatively intelligent person. I am not a doctor or an economist or even a government bureaucrat (anymore). But, based on what I know about Obamacare from reading the paper and other "reputable" sources in the public domain: I am concerned about the costs of the plan as currently composed. I am skeptical of claims that the "public option" will not directly compete with (and destroy) private insurance. I am alarmed by Members of Congress whose sole job it is to legislate but who claim they are too busy to read, wait for it, legislation. I have other concerns about the Dems' proposed health care "reform" (lack of tort reform and other serious cost control measures, remaking the whole system rather than taking practical steps to insure the uninsured who want insurance, etc.). I guess this officially makes me an extremist wing-nut of the most dangerous sort (along with such well-known crazies as Doug Elmendorf, head of the radical Congressional Budget Office). I suppose I should be expecting a visit from the FBI or the DNC (or maybe ACORN) any day now. If this blog goes silent, you'll know why.

UPDATE: Senator Cornyn has written to Obama calling on him to knock it off with the enemies list. TWS blog has the letter here.
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