The revelation last week that a majority of Americans may actually disagree with the President was something for which his team was clearly not prepared. Their attempt to marginalize citizens across the country who dared to speak out against a government-takeover of health care is shameful, arrogant, and desperately sad.
With the American people growing increasingly unhappy with the President’s health care plan, Democrats in Congress are working feverishly to cast those who are concerned as radical props to the special interests. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a sign of bold leadership, last week told reporters that protests of government-run health care were “phony” and “staged.” He stepped up to a microphone holding a piece of artificial sod and declared that the nationwide dissent was but a marketing ploy, just “Astroturf.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the movement “manufactured.”
This week, a Blue Dog Democrat in the House (Indiana’s Baron Hill) said these folks were “political terrorists”. And of course Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, and Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader, took to the pages of USA Today and called those who wanted to speak up “un-American.”
The notion that Americans may not want the federal government making health care decisions on their behalf appears to be truly beyond the comprehension of Democrats in Congress and the White House. So they have responded by slandering honest folks looking to have their voices heard.
The arrogance which the Democrats have displayed by name-calling and discrediting these people reveals their insolence and hypocrisy.
It appears that community organizing and grassroots are terms reserved solely for liberal activism. A number of taxpayer and patients rights groups post the location of town halls on the internet, and Democrats in charge act as though it is an abomination to democracy. Yet when then Senator Obama throws together an operation of a million liberal activists, so organic they created an iPhone app for it, that’s just good old fashioned political organizing. Right!
The hypocrisy is astounding but not all that surprising. The fact of the matter is that the White House and Democrats in power don’t want to hear from anyone who may have a different opinion on matters. As Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) revealed, Democrats were told directly not to work with Republicans. The only dialogue taking place is between Democrats and, well, Democrats. That’s when they’re not bullying doctors, hospitals, or insurance groups. The notion that health care protests are now getting in the way of a civil discussion on health care is nonsense.
If Speaker Pelosi and President Obama had gotten their wish, this bill would have passed both chambers by the end of July, before any such discussions could have begun.
It’s been this lack of willingness for debate and stifling of criticism that has folks fired up today. When Americans spoke out and said “Read the Bill,” a powerful Democrat Chairman in the House literally laughed at the idea. When folks expressed concern about the reckless speed at which health reform was being pushed through Congress, Democrats said it was just a creation of Republican meddling.
When public support for a government-run plan began to fall, the Speaker decried “immoral” insurance companies as the “villain” behind it all.
Americans have serious problems with a bill that will directly affect them in their most personal medical decisions, but Democrats paint them as agents of corporate greed. And they wonder where the outrage is coming from.
The outrage is coming from a health care plan that will force millions of Americans into a government-run system. The outrage is coming from folks who don’t want a bureaucrat between them and their doctor. The outrage is coming from a President whose actions lead many to believe he simply is not interested in people’s real concerns.
When Americans feel like no one is listening to them, they are going to speak up. There’s nothing manufactured about that! It’s what has defined our democracy for more than two centuries. That the White House has asked people to report casual conversations they hear about those who may be opposed to their intrusive health care plan is both astounding and frightening. When average Americans are not allowed to express dissent without having their motives being purposefully perverted, our democracy is truly at risk.
Americans want health system reform. But they want reform that respects them, their decision making power, and their well-being. And they want a debate that respects the democratic principles by which so much greatness has been accomplished. If the White House wants to achieve positive reform, they ought to start with a baseline that preserves the positive elements of the best healthcare system in the world. That’s the one we have, not the one envisioned by the House bill against which Americans are speaking out.