Washington Post calls for reason from both sides in debate

It's hard to be reasonable when your opponent is implying that you are a Nazi or a racist, but nobody ever said democracy was easy.

That's basically the point of this rather even handed editorial by the Washington Post as they call out both sides for demagoguery and hyperbole on the health care debate:

If this moment is squandered, it will be a sad indictment of the political system -- and there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists have fanned the flames of uninformed opposition with familiar warnings about government-run health care and socialized medicine and irresponsible new twists, such as the suggestion that the proposals under discussion would strong-arm seniors into euthanasia.

Democrats, with polls showing increasing nervousness about health care, have resorted to vilifying the health-insurance industry. No doubt, insurers engage in rational but disturbing practices under the current system: They angle to attract the healthiest customers, refuse coverage to the riskiest and seek to avoid paying claims. But the insurance industry of 2009 is in a far different place than it was 16 years ago; it has agreed to accept all applicants and generally charge the same amount, in exchange for a requirement that all individuals obtain insurance.

So it is disappointing, to say the least, to see Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats revert to round-up-the-usual-suspects demagoguery. President Obama has been more restrained but hardly more accurate; in a news conference last month, he inaccurately complained about insurers making "record profits, right now." In fact, among U.S. industries generally and other parts of the health sector in particular, insurers are not particularly profitable. The latest Fortune 500 ranking of most profitable industries has pharmaceuticals third, medical products and equipment fourth, and health insurers down at No. 35. Drugmakers reported a 19.3 percent profit margin; insurers, 2.2 percent.

The Post fails to mention the most outrageous transgressions by the Democratic National Committee, Pelosi, and the president himself who have abandoned any pretext of trying to defend this monstrosity and simply gone into full attack mode, smearing protestors and other reform opponents with a broad, demagogic brush. By failing to engage opponents who have very legitimate concerns about where this bill will take health care in America, the Democrats are guilty of not trusting the Democratic process, substituting the most vile political fear mongering for reasoned debate.

Polls suggest this isn't working. And while there has been exaggeration and some fear mongering on the right as well, it is obvious that most of those protesting reform are doing so out of a sincere desire to influence their Congressman to vote against it. Does shouting people down at town halls contribute to that goal or make it harder to achieve? Does deliberately fostering notions of Armageddon if Obama's reform measure passes strike the rest of America as reasonable or does it hurt the cause of defeating it?

Even though no bill is in final form yet, what has been proposed is so bad, so inimical to our First Principles that defeating health care reform becomes a national necessity. The question in my mind is, are we going about the task of defeating reform in such a way that we are actually making it more likely that it will pass? I think we are which is why I was glad to see St. Louis tea party protestors picket the SEIU headquarters yesterday, calling for a halt to the violence and for a reasoned debate on the issues.

That's the best way to defeat this measure and send the Democrats reeling.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky



It's hard to be reasonable when your opponent is implying that you are a Nazi or a racist, but nobody ever said democracy was easy.

That's basically the point of this rather even handed editorial by the Washington Post as they call out both sides for demagoguery and hyperbole on the health care debate:

If this moment is squandered, it will be a sad indictment of the political system -- and there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists have fanned the flames of uninformed opposition with familiar warnings about government-run health care and socialized medicine and irresponsible new twists, such as the suggestion that the proposals under discussion would strong-arm seniors into euthanasia.

Democrats, with polls showing increasing nervousness about health care, have resorted to vilifying the health-insurance industry. No doubt, insurers engage in rational but disturbing practices under the current system: They angle to attract the healthiest customers, refuse coverage to the riskiest and seek to avoid paying claims. But the insurance industry of 2009 is in a far different place than it was 16 years ago; it has agreed to accept all applicants and generally charge the same amount, in exchange for a requirement that all individuals obtain insurance.

So it is disappointing, to say the least, to see Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats revert to round-up-the-usual-suspects demagoguery. President Obama has been more restrained but hardly more accurate; in a news conference last month, he inaccurately complained about insurers making "record profits, right now." In fact, among U.S. industries generally and other parts of the health sector in particular, insurers are not particularly profitable. The latest Fortune 500 ranking of most profitable industries has pharmaceuticals third, medical products and equipment fourth, and health insurers down at No. 35. Drugmakers reported a 19.3 percent profit margin; insurers, 2.2 percent.

The Post fails to mention the most outrageous transgressions by the Democratic National Committee, Pelosi, and the president himself who have abandoned any pretext of trying to defend this monstrosity and simply gone into full attack mode, smearing protestors and other reform opponents with a broad, demagogic brush. By failing to engage opponents who have very legitimate concerns about where this bill will take health care in America, the Democrats are guilty of not trusting the Democratic process, substituting the most vile political fear mongering for reasoned debate.

Polls suggest this isn't working. And while there has been exaggeration and some fear mongering on the right as well, it is obvious that most of those protesting reform are doing so out of a sincere desire to influence their Congressman to vote against it. Does shouting people down at town halls contribute to that goal or make it harder to achieve? Does deliberately fostering notions of Armageddon if Obama's reform measure passes strike the rest of America as reasonable or does it hurt the cause of defeating it?

Even though no bill is in final form yet, what has been proposed is so bad, so inimical to our First Principles that defeating health care reform becomes a national necessity. The question in my mind is, are we going about the task of defeating reform in such a way that we are actually making it more likely that it will pass? I think we are which is why I was glad to see St. Louis tea party protestors picket the SEIU headquarters yesterday, calling for a halt to the violence and for a reasoned debate on the issues.

That's the best way to defeat this measure and send the Democrats reeling.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky