September 22, 2009
Plain as DayBy Joseph Ashby
Somewhere around eighteen months of age, one of my darling children noticed that faces have two convenient, almost finger-sized slots. I remember one night in particular when this child was exploring the newly discovered openings. When asked to stop, the child turned away to conceal the unsanitary activity from my view. Easily perceiving what was going on, I asked out loud, "Do you think that I don't know what you're doing?"
Poorly hidden intentions have been a hallmark of the current health care debate. In many cases those intentions are obvious to a wise and experienced electorate.
Among these not-so-subtle deceptions is President Obama's attempt to hide from the public that a major part of his health care plan revolves around care rationing. In his speech to a joint session of Congress, he mocked those who claim "that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens."
The problem with Obama's claim is that the panel was already created in the Stimulus bill. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research is the invention of former HHS nominee Tom Daschle. The purpose of the $1.1 billion bureaucracy, as explained by Daschle's own book, is to empower a panel "immune from political machinations" to "make tough coverage decisions." Slipping the panel provision into an unrelated bill, the first major legislation passed under Obama, is also a strategy advocated by Daschle.
To believe Obama, we must first believe that a health panel made for the purpose of rationing and passed at the only time when a rationing panel would not have been stopped, will now somehow not lead to rationing.
Even more obvious than the rationing denial was the president's assertion that illegal aliens would not be covered in the health care legislation. Even after the Senate validated Representative Joe Wilson's much publicized comment by adding language excluding undocumented immigrants from the plan, the president's promise still rings hollow.
Just last week Obama dropped the pretense that the plan was not meant to cover illegals by advocating amnesty for the express purpose of giving them health care.
But, even if the American public is successful at stopping another amnesty law, the health bill would still likely cover illegal aliens. The 1982 court case Plyler v. Doe found under the Fourteenthth Amendment's infinitely elastic equal rights clause that illegal immigrants had legal rights to tax-payer funded programs (specifically public education). The Plyler case could easily be cited as precedent for the Supreme Court to eliminate the prohibitions on health care programs' availability to illegal immigrants.
Less obvious than the false claims about rationing or illegal immigrants is the intention behind the introduction of race into the health care debate. Everyone is pushing the race issue - from the elite media to Jimmy Carter to the would-be racial healer in the White House, whose delayed and weak response is revealing.
Using race makes deciphering Obama's intentions more difficult because accusations of racism invoke so much emotion. Ever since the civil rights acts of the 1960's (which had wider Republican support than Democratic), Democrats have used charges of racism to marginalize and demean their political opponents.
George H. W. Bush's forty-state drubbing of Michael Dukakis is blamed on the "racist" Willie Horton ad. Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" is credited for winning him an election where his Democratic challenger and a third party candidate won most of the southern states. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman credits Ronald Reagan's massive success to appealing to "southern" white racism. (In two presidential elections, Reagan won ninety-three out of a possible one-hundred states -- including New York, Massachusetts, and California in ‘80 and '84.)
After tempering the emotionality of the racism charges, it becomes plain to see the Democrats' intentions behind using race. They hope that hurling accusations of racism will turn public opinion against the civically active, widely well-meaning citizens who don't want a socialization of the U.S. health care system.
It is that threat to our health care system that is the most important example of hidden intentions. Obama's reassuring promises that government will not take over health care are betrayed by the words of the bill's advocates.
Early in the health care debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi excitedly proclaimed that we are "one day closer than we have ever been in history--to enacting real health care reform." Echoing that sentiment Obama recently told a union gathering that "we've never been this close."
We have never been this close to what?
Reform? Are Obama and Pelosi saying that Medicare wasn't reform? Medicaid wasn't reform? Democrat-concocted Health Maintenance Organizations, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and its subsequent expansion, signed just this year, weren't reform?
What Obama, Pelosi and others mean when they say "reform" is a complete re-weaving of the nation's political fabric. As author Mark Steyn recently reiterated:
While Obama and the Democrats go merrily on denying the realities of the health care bill, my question to them is the same as I posed to my little one: Do you really think that we don't know what you're doing?