Saturday, August 15, 2009


One of the more significant and telling parts of the healthcare debate is to watch the behavior of both sides. As Yogi once said, you can observe an awful lot just by watching.
The people engaged in opposing healthcare reform and the public option have been engaging in tactics we've seen before.

They drape themselves in the American flag, accusing those who disagree as socialist or communist, or just plain anti-American. They claim their way is the American way. They did the same thing with anyone who opposed the invasion of Iraq and everyone knows what happened there.

During the Iraq war Clear Channel dropped Nightline from their TV stations around the country when Nightline had the audacity to start showing the names of soldiers who had been killed in Iraq on a daily basis. And everyone remembers what happened to the Dixie Chicks thanks to the moronic Texas station manager who banned their music and the organized burning of Dixie Chicks CD's which looked in every way like the images of Nazi book burning.

People like this operate not only out of sheer ignorance, but part of the plan is to drown out real and useful information, keep it from getting to people and let ignorance ( and their ideology) rule. The other tactic is what is called "the big lie". Tell a lie big enough and often enough and there are a lot of people who will swallow it. And that has been having its affect as well.

What we see with the disrupters ( not protestors which is fine, but they are not protesting, their goal is to disrupt) is ironic because everything these people engage in comes right out the fascist handbook. From telling "the big lie" to trying to drown out anything that dispels it. And then they claim they are the true Americans.

If you listen to what's actually behind their opposition to the public option you learn that for most of them, it's not enough that they don't want it, they don't want you to have it. Its been made clear over and over that anyone who wants to keep their present insurance can. But that's not enough for these true believers. They dont want a public option because they dont want anyone else to have the choice. It is ideology at work. And pure utter ignorance.

How ignorant are these people who oppose reform and the public option? As Paul Krugman reports, a man in a town hall meeting in South Carolina stood up and shouted at Congressman Bob Inglis, "keep your government hands off my Medicare". When Inglis tried to explain that Medicare was already a government program, the man "wouldnt have any of it".

These are people who represent a political group whose polices were a disaster for the country the last 8 years. But to them it doesn't matter. Its the philosophy that matters not whether it works or solves problems. And what the Republicans use to motivate these people are the same tactics that have always been used to motivate a mob -- fear.

We saw another man comparing healthcare reform to Nazi Germany in the 30s, and signs showing Obama with a Hitler mustache. Limbaugh has picked up on the Nazi and Hitler theme and if anything, it is a classic example of projection with the real fascists accusing the other side of being exactly what they are.

Another problem is the news coverage. A CNN reporter interviewed a union member outsdie a town hall meeting in Maryland who opposed health care reform because he said he didnt think he should be forced to give up his insurance and take something he didnt want. In true CNN fashion, the reporter, obviously feeling it wasnt his place to actually inform anyone of anything, didnt tell this man that the plan doesnt force anyone to take anything and that the public option is voluntary. So the news media is content to let those who are completely ignorant of what is being proposed to stay that way. After all it makes for some good pictures.

It is certainly true that Obama and his White House have botched the entire health care debate beyond anything thought possible, thanks to a complete lack of leadership. And Obama has shown no ability to fight back. They allowed the Republicans to make their dishonest charges without a strong and powerful response and the result has been that the conservative mobs are either believing the lies or are simply willing to be foot soldiers in an ideological cause. CNN and Wolf Blitzer in particular have shown they are the most easily intimidated by the mob mentality.

The question now is to what extent will Obama and his White House fight back? Are they going to label the Republican position lies something they should have done weeks ago? Are they going to take them on and fight? Or are they going to just offer weak resistance like John Kerry did in 2004?


Paul said...

It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

"Or are they going to just offer weak resistance like John Kerry did in 2004?"

Do I even have to answer this? Dems will do what they always do best - cave. Which is also why I officially changed from registered Democrat to registered Independent in 2006. My party of choice for 40+ years is brain dead and has no moral center.


Anonymous said...

It's Nancy Pelosi who called dissenters "un-American." That one remark cost the Dems the momentum. Since when is dissent treason? It was wrong for the Bushies to equate dissent with treason and it's wrong for the Dems to do the same today.

And you admit that the Dems have been incompetent in their handling of this issue. After the bailouts, after the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, after the cave-in on holding anyone accountable for the torture, why SHOULDN'T the American people hold Obama's feet to the fire on a massive overhaul of a huge part of the nation's economy?

Thinker said...

I normally love your blog Marc.


1. Wasn't it Pelosi the one that called people Un-American?

2. I think most Americans want healthcare reform, but what are we supposed to think when we find out that Obama won't negotiate with the drug companies for lower rates?

That's not healthcare reform, that's more of the same thing.

3. Maybe some people are ignorant, but when you have elected officials saying that they haven't even read the bill, that creates a lot of problems. How are they going to be informed when their own congress is ignorant about the contents of the bill??

Anonymous said...

If at any point Obama had expressed a clear commitment to health CARE reform - I would have supported him (even though I have never believed a word he says). If he had said a Strong Public Option is non-n egotiable, millions of us would have supported him. He didn't. He lost his support because no there there. It is pretty hard to get excited over nothing.

He has made it clear from the beginning that he really doesn't have any "plan" at all. He is willing to go to any lengths to pacify the Republicans and enrich the Insurance Compnaies at the expense of the rest of us. This is not health care reform, it is purely a Health Insurance Company Profits Protection Plan. So, I hope he does fail.

What he is proposing is for middle income Americans to be forced to pay for insurance with no mandate on care, no cap on costs, not a damned thing except for a giant transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the wealthy - AGAIN.

How many times in one year can he take everything we've got and hand it to his friends?

DancingOpossum said...

Agree except --

You still seem to be working on the assumption that Obama's proposed plan is actual health care reform. It is is a huge giveaway to the insurance companies, who are utterly delighted with it, and why shouldnt' they be? It guarantees them even more obscene profits and costs them nothing in return--they wouldn't even agree to stop the practice of rescission, i.e. dropping someone's coverage if they are diagnosed with a serious illness. They flat out told Congress, nope sorry we're not gonna do that.

This abomination is NOT worth supporting if you're someone who truly believes in reforming our wretched health care system. It's nothing but a boondoggle to Obama's puppetmasters and it needs to be killed, quickly and with extreme prejudice.

And does anyone really believe that the lousy Dems are "caving in" because they are "weak"? Wrong. They are doing exactly what they want to do, they don't want real health care reform anymore than their paymasters at the insurance companies do. Are you kidding me? If they wanted it, we'd have it. Period. They don't want it because their real constituents don't want it.

Marc, you are normally one of the most insightful bloggers around, and a terrific writer, but you really need to disabuse yourself of the notion that Obamacare is the answer to our health care system. It's actually WORSE than doing nothing. We need single payer, or Medicare for all if you prefer that term, not this botched up handout to Cigna and their ilk.

And if the crazy tea-party rightwingers are the ones to kill it, so be it. It deserves to die.

Marc Rubin said...

"but you really need to disabuse yourself of the notion that Obamacare is the answer to our health care system."

The real answer is a single payer system but that isnt going to happen now. The closest thing to that is the public option and what is amusing is to watch Obama cave in on it and see the Dems tell him they are going to do it anyway making him alienated now from people who both support and oppose healthcare reform. He's made himself irrelevant.

DancingOpossum said...

Well, that's an excellent point. He really has managed to make himself the least relevant part of this...I wonder, do you think he wanted it this way? He doesn't seem to like getting his hands dirty doing actual work, just taking credit for other people's sweat and tears. This time it may have backfired.

BARB BF said...


The current health care reform debate in Washington is really just a distraction -- a ploy to keep everyone focused on all the wrong topics while quietly refusing to talk about the big issues that threaten the health of an entire nation.

Here are the top 10 things missing from Obama's health care reform plan (and often absent from the debate):

#1) Ending the FDA's suppression of natural cures and safe, effective nutritional supplements.

#2) Initiating a real investment in public education to teach people about how to prevent disease with nutrition.

#3) Ending Big Pharma's monopoly on drug prices and drug patents (not to mention patents on human genes and animals).

#4) Restoring the ability for local doctors to practice local medicine without being controlled from bureaucrats in Washington.

#5) Cracking down on junk food advertising, soda advertising and pharmaceutical ads that convince people to purchase products that will only harm them.

#6) Banning dangerous chemical ingredients that cause diseases in the first place (aspartame, MSG, sodium nitrite, etc.)

#7) A real effort to improve school lunches and serve food that's nutritious instead of food that's cheap and convenient.

#8) Ending bizarre food subsidies on crops like corn that end up making high-fructose corn syrup the cheapest sweetener for manufacturers to use.

#9) Affirming health freedom for parents who wish to opt out of the current system of forced vaccinations and gunpoint-enforced chemotherapy.

#10) Requiring honest food labeling where irradiated and GMO foods are clearly labeled as such.

Anonymous said...

Will Obamacare address the deaths of 100,000 Americans that die in our hospitals every year from preventable errors?

DancingOpossum said...

Barb BF, many of those things you cite from NaturalNews are worthy goals (except for the the stupid "health freedom for parents" crap).

Personally, for isntance, I wish the makers of aspartame would be buried alive in that hideous dreck because when I eat anything with aspartame in it, that's all I taste and it's utterly revolting.

BUT these things are not the major health problem facing us. The major health problem is twofold: Lack of insurance and therefore any access to medical care at all; lack of coverage and medical care even for the insured. In short, good luck getting medical care of ANY kind. Sorry, but that's a far more pressing issue than any of the problems listed there. All the natural nutrition in the world won't help if you come down with cancer, or break a leg, or get hit by a truck, and you have no insurance, or your insurer decides to rescind you.