I want to be able to write about health care reform.

I do.

But, frankly, it's just too damn depressing. A few days ago, Steve Benen marveled at the horrible vitriol that erupted at Sen. Specter's town-hall event in Lebanon, PA and concluded "We're better than this. We have to be."

Me? Not so sure about that. Or at least who this "we" is supposed to be.

There is something monumentally depressing about seeing the absolutely appalling rhetoric, the lies and distortions and obfuscations that have emerged from not only the crowds at those town-hall meetings, but also from prominent members of the GOP and the right-wing noise machine. It makes me incredibly sad for our country that we, apparently, cannot have an actual reasoned debate about health care reform without a bunch of lunatics talking about "death panels" and euthanasia and all the related clap-trap and totally hijacking the conversation. That those same lunatics comprise potential presidential candidates in 2012, members of Congress, and television and radio personalities with millions of listeners/viewers is yet more depressing.

Once upon a time, I considered myself a relatively moderate person, one who would consider voting for candidates of quality from either political party. Those days are long, long, loooooong gone. Seeing Sen. Isakson walk back from his perfectly reasonable response to the whole "death panel" brouhaha because it may have actually helped the Democrats puts paid to that notion.


  1. I agree, and I find it monumentally depressing to see the appalling rhetoric, lies, distortions, and obfuscations that emerge from the proponents of ObamaCare, up to and including Mr. Obama himself.

    If the conversation has bene hijacked, it is because those in power have done an amazingly poor job of framing the conversation. Mr. Obama had every advantage, and he's clearly blown it. The President is extraordinary at reading pretty speeches and intuiting what a crowd wants to hear. But he has no talent for delivering results; the man is a walking disaster of a chief executive. Now that he is in power it no longer is what he says, but what he delivers, that matters. To date he has delivered a steaming pile of fail. Put the blame for the failure of healthcare reform where it belongs, on the desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    As far as DC pols actually working for the common good, may I remind you that the previous President tried to address the coming train wreck of Social Security. Remember the SOTU address when the Ds lept to their feet to applaud the failure to even get SS discussions off the ground? So if you have labored under the impression that both parties want to work together, please, all of this should disabuse you of any such notion. Congress is filled with pols, and pols don't give a damn about you or me. They only care about their friends that reward them with cash, R and D alike.

  2. I'm having a really hard time figuring out what you're trying to communicate here, John.

    One side is conflating health care reform, including a perfectly sensible provision that would have covered end-of-life consultations, with Nazis and death camps. And the other has done a poor job, in your description, of "framing" the conversation? And this is somehow equivalent?

    Look, man, if you want to cast in your lot with the imbeciles and sociopaths that are shouting down members of Congress and making blatantly false statements for the public record, be my guest. Watch all the Glenn Beck you want. Just don't expect me to take your arguments seriously.

  3. Here, let's try another approach. You remember how you didn't trust Mr. Bush when he was wiretapping foreigners in the US, even though he said it would only be used for good? I have the same level of distrust about Mr. Obama and his plans for putting DC in charge of healthcare. Even if he promises it will only be for my own good, I don't trust him. At all.

    And what I was trying to say about framing the discussion... Mr. Obama has the Bully Pulpit, the Congress, the MSM, and the remaining popular charisma from his campaign, and he's done a terrible job convincing the US public of the wisdom of his various plans for healthcare reform. He assures us that, to pick something he's lying about at random, the government is the only one that can really run healthcare, but you can keep your current plan if you like it ("don't worry, private industry can compete, just look at the Post Office" isn't all that reassuring).

    Finally, the sheer level of hypocrisy streaming from the pro-Obamacare side is breathtaking. Dissent is now UnAmerican. Civil disobedience is cast not as a long American tradition, but as the tool of sociopaths and imbeciles. The President is lying through his teeth in claim after claim (AARP supports me! I'll not raise taxes on the middle class!) and you worry about people who seem a little confused at the sausage being made on Capitol Hill?

    Be my guest if you want to toss you lot in with the arrogant elites who advise Granny to take a pain pill instead of getting a pacemaker. Be my guest if you want to support a Congress who is determined to funnel yet more money to their friends in the name of insurance reform by inserting Buddha-knows-what in the fine print of Section D, Part 14, Subsection 9 of a 1400 page bill that noone understands. Just don't act smug and superior about it and then complain that people are shouting mad, OK?

  4. Gadfly John...... Bush and Social Security.. Imagine if his and Darth Vador's plans came to fruition and the funds had been invested in Wall Street or better yet, Bernie Madoff. Gone would be the operative word. Health Care reform will pass and hopefully those citizens who are not as fortunate as some of us, will receive the care they need without the additional burden we face as taxpayers when they go th an ER.

  5. Yeah, so much better that your funds are invested with, say, CALPERS or the Post Office. Because CALPERS and the Post Office can take what they want from future taxpayers, even though they are being run by the equivalent of Bernie Madoff.

    Say, have you checked out the C-SPAN coverage of the PhRMA negotiations? You remember, Candidate Obama committed to televising these kinds of healthcare horse-trading on C-SPAN, promising these negotiations would be, and I quote, "right there in front of the American people", end quote, and he committed to, again I quote, "not negotiating behind closed doors" end quote. Well, how's that working out for President Obama? Yeah, just about like his "promise" to close GITMO. And a bunch of other empty campaign pledges.

    Healthcare reform has been blown up by the incompetence of Pres. Obama, with his endless stream of lies and walkbacks from his off-teleprompter gaffs, and from letting the morons Pelosi and Reid construct a FrankenBill in the middle of the night instead of leading an open process. People aren't going to stand for such a level of arrogance on such a personal issue.

  6. John, your comparison to the warrantless wiretaps is a ludicrous false equivalence. People were legitimately concerned about Bush's listening to American citizens' communications because they were a violation of the law, and his "trust me" amounted to his saying that his executive authority allowed him to flout checks and balances and defy FISA statutes.

    On the other hand, members of Congress, prominent GOP politicians, and right-wing media personalities are all spreading outright falsehoods about health care reform. There is no comparison between the two situations. And yeah, those people showing up with "Obama-as-Hitler" posters and blending seamlessly into the crowd? Sociopaths and imbeciles, every one.

  7. My point about wiretapping was not about legality. I'd be happy to argue that one elsewhere, but for now, just remember the level of trust you had in Mr. Bush's arguments that it was indeed legal. That's the level of trust I have in Mr. Obama's "promises" about healthcare. Or, if you wish, substitute your feelings about Mr. Obama's level of commitment to SSM -- which he has explicitly said he does not favor.

    It would be surprising if, in the confusion over what actually **was** going to be in the healthcare bill, some misrepresentations and falsehoods were not inevitable. Congress had its "verdict first, trial after" hat on, hellbent on passing a bill that no one had read, no one knew completely, and would have gone into the sausage factory of markupsville with Cthulhu-knows-what emerging on the other end.

    What objection do you have to the notion that the bill ought to be fully fleshed out, then debated in public before becoming law? Why is that such a deal killer for Dems and Obama, despite their pinky-swears to do exactly that during the election?

    Finally, as you well know, sociopath and imbeciles show up in every group, progressives included, pro-Obamacare included. Debate the merits of the proposed reforms. What could be more rational?