Unlike “grandma”, one thing that will not die is the spin surrounding the Health Care debate. So let’s recap where we are right now with the new health care law: In the past week, a bunch of pompous speeches and voting have taken place, and in the end, all it means is the bill is still passed. That was the short summary ignoring all the bloviating (thank you, Mr. O’Reilly). Meanwhile, the President continues to tour across American campaigning about this bill. Isn’t it a bit scary that the President needs to put so much effort in selling this bill to the American people after a year of debating? This man could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. Anyways, of all the talk, the most intriguing part to me is how the Left and the media are working desperately to spin the storyline away from the bill and on to circumstantial events.
I’ve noted on the site before, I read/watch equal parts right and left-leaning news pieces, if not more on the left. Reason being; I’m not as interested in listening to someone agree with me. I know my opinions on things, and I am more interested on what basis people form an opinion that are different (or wrong) from mine. Here is what I have gathered from the past month of news stories regarding Health Care — it’s not about Health Care, I guess. I guess the real story is how hateful, bigoted, undemocratic, stupid, and crazy the right wing has become.
Think about it – over the last month, how much serious conversation and civil debate have we been able to have about Health Care reform? We had the one bi-partisan summit, which got broken down into a single headline about Obama ripping McCain about the campaign being over — ironic, as the Obama Health Care Tour 2010 continues (coming to your town soon!). Instead rather than the bill, the focus leading up to the vote was about how hypocritical the Republicans were in terms of using Reconciliation to pass legislation. Rarely a mention unless it came from a Republican congressman that the size of the programs are not even close to being on the same scale. Never receiving high publicity, except on a few Fox shows, were taped comments about a 51-vote majority made by Democratic leaders in 2005.
Soon after the bill passed, they needed a new way to distract the public, so they’ve latched on to a few isolated incidents of hate speech and veiled threats against members of Congress. I am not defending the actions of some tea partiers; in no civilized society are threats of violence and racial slurs an appropriate alternative to righteous disagreement. Although I believe people should be held responsible for their own actions, the Left and the media have been pinning any violent actions on the Republican Party and demanded they condemn these actions. So, what does the leadership of the Right do? They condemn them. No less than three times, Boehner has spoken publically saying that the Republican Party does not condone the violence. So that should be that, right? Wrong. Now many on the Left say that condemning the violence isn’t good enough.
Commentators such as Chris Matthews – who I usually enjoy more than most on the Left – has been a leading voice attacking what he calls violent rhetoric from the right, with rhetoric of his own. He has blamed the Right for creating this atmosphere by being audacious enough to disagree with this meteroically bad bill. Let’s not forget, it was almost a week ago that even the Far Left was against the bill, for differing reasons, but still against the bill. Now Matthews is saying the Republicans are against Democracy. On a show this week he said the Republicans have acted criminally in inciting violence.
In the meantime, the Democratic National Committee finds these threats so serious, that they should be able to profit from them. Less than a year since ridiculing Rep. Hoekstra from Michigan for raising cash in he aftermath of the failed Detroit bombing, the DNC sent out an e-mail blast looking to receive donations for congressman receiving threats after their Yes vote to Health Care reform. No mention of the hypocrisy shown here from our mainstream media. It doesn’t anger (careful — I shouldn’t say anger, I’d hate to enrage anyone reading) – it doesn’t bother me to send a fundraising message out, it’s the double standard that someone on the Right would be ridiculed until denouncing his ad, but coming from the DNC it’s totally acceptable.
Again, I am not here to defend these threats or violence on anyone. But let’s keep a few isolated incidents in context. Am I supposed to believe there were never any death threats sent to Bush administration officials the last 8 years? Or that in all the anti-war or anti-trade rallies, no violent rhetoric was used to state their case? I mean, we are a society that sends death threats to High School football coaches when a recruit doesn’t go to our alma mater. If minimalist things such as this can send people into rage, why are we not to think there are few cracked nuts willing to send threats over a Health Care bill that begins to nationalize our health care and our education system?
The final discretionary tactic used by the right this week was recent polling showing that 24% of people thought Obama was the anti-christ and another early on that showed the public thought that the passing of the bill was “a good thing”. First, the Harris poll that collected negative thoughts about the Democrats was a hit job commissioned by an outlet looking to prove the lunatic fringe is hijacking America. The tactics by Harris Interactive were shady at best, leading answers with no positive options. Respondents were people who were promised redeemable points for clicking through their Internet questionnaire. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust polling using these tactics. Gary Langer, director of polling at ABC News, has a nice article with more information about this horribly designed poll.
A Gallup poll of people surveyed the Monday after the bill’s passage showed that 49% of people survey thought it was “a good thing”, 40% thought it was “a bad thing” . I am not a statistician, but nearly everyone will tell you a poll taken this soon has many flaws. I will let Nate Silver, a staunch liberal but a fair political scientist explain it better than I can:
But — hold your horses. This is just one poll, and even if the bounce is real, it may very well evaporate.
Silver does a good job analyzing past and current polling that doesn’t fall in line with these findings. I have seen some sites arguing that the people now finally understand what is in the bill and that is contributing to the jump. That’s a huge assumption that is concluding that the American public did not understand the bill over the last year but in the 24 hours after its passing – VIOLA!
Even if we want to take that to be true – that people have learned something from the bill in the first 24 hours, I wouldn’t be surprised if many thought it was a good thing. Every newspaper article I read hitting on how this bill affects you, has highlighted the early benefits and not spoken about the costs or taxes, such as this from MSNBC. What do you think will happen when people find the IRS cracking down if you havent purchased health care or paid the Cadillac tax if you have a better program? Or when your company decides it would rather switch to a lower cost program given through the government exchange? You already saw some major pushback this week as people learned that the legislators and staffers that wrote the bill, would not be actually in the exchange they created. It’s easy to like something now talking about some of the good points without any of the costs or deficits associated.
This week has been increasingly frustrating as I’ve watched the wool being pulled over Uncle Sam’s eyes. Another week passes, and the Left has again manipulated the people into thinking they are evil if they don’t agree with the progressive agenda. We will truly not learn the totality of the effects of this bill until it is in practice, but in the meantime don’t be surprised if you become distracted by the flashing lights, bells, and whistles on the “left” while trying to look forward and learn more on your own about the re-framing of the American Health Care system.