August 2009 may go down as the coolest weather on record, but the political rhetoric on President Obama’s attempt to nationalize health care is more heated than ever.
Health care is a kitchen table issue: every American adult wants the best health care for themselves and their families and — across the generation gaps — they are coming out in record numbers against the Obamacare proposal.
As a result, the president and congressional Democrats are doing their best to stifle the debate and silence their critics.
Nancy Pelosi’s August recess strategy memo said, (as HUMAN EVENTS’ Connie Hair reported on August 3) “Winning the health reform debate in August requires nothing less than an aggressive, multi-front effort to control the message and keep the momentum moving forward.”
The president is working hard to control the message. Campaigning for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds last week, Obama criticized those who opposed his nationalization of healthcare. He said, “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess…”
Barack Obama’s rhetoric is straight out of Ring Lardner. One of the greatest writers America has ever produced, Larder wrote the best fictional dialogue. Here’s one brief exchange from “The Young Immigrunts,” between father and child:
“Are we lost, daddy?” I asked tenderly.
“Shut up, he explained.”
But Americans aren’t shutting up: they’re making their voices heard just like they did in the 2007 immigration debate. And their greatest voice is conservative talk radio, the “loud folks” liberal Sen. Lindsay Graham (R?-SC) complained of then.
After calling health insurance companies “villains,” Speaker Pelosi said that the thousands of Americans who are protesting Obamacare at congressional Democrats’ town hall meetings are phonies, organized by right wing extremists. She said, “I think they’re AstroTurf, you be the judge…They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare."
Despite Obama’s command to silence dissent, people are speaking out and his legislation has stalled because many Democrats are uncomfortable with the cost and the intervention of government in the doctor-patient relationship. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “So far, they have produced a measure that they cannot sell even to their own members. The only thing bipartisan, so far, is the opposition.”
For the next three weeks, until Congress returns on September 4, congressional Democrats — at least those, unlike Indiana’s Baron Hill, who is apparently too scared of his constituents to even schedule a town hall meeting — will be hearing continuously from constituents who are concerned and angry at the Dems’ approach to health care “reform.”
But they have a lot on their side. Especially Obama’s three stooges: the SEIU, AARP and PhRMA.
Pelosi’s strategy memo also said, “The Leadership is working in close coordination with the White House and outside groups (including but not limited to HCAN, Families USA, AFSCME, SEIU, AARP, etc.) to ensure complementary efforts during August.” Complimentary means opposing the protests of concerned Americans.
The three stooges are all members of a coalition of union, lobbying and business groups called “Heathy Economy Now” which is spending an enormous amount of money on television ads aimed at the Blue Dog Democrats, seeking to push them into supporting Obamacare.
The Service Employees’ International Union made its presence felt in the 2008 election, spending a reported $150 million to elect Obama and Congressional Democrats. And they’re showing up at the town hall meetings in considerable numbers. We’ve all seen the video of people wearing SEIU t-shirts pushing and shoving — physically assaulting — protesters outside one town hall meeting. They want the so-called “public option” which will establish government-run healthcare, and they will brook no dissent.
AARP supposedly represents the retired and elderly. But Obamacare proposes to cut about $500 million out of Medicare over the next decade, and will result in both healthcare rationing and “rationalization.” The rationalization — based on cost effectiveness determined by life expectancy — will limit what the elderly can obtain from their doctors. If the Washington bureaucracy decides that you’re too old for a hip replacement, you’ll either have to pay for it yourself, or be unable to get it.
And AARP members aren’t supporting Obamacare. But the AARP — now nothing more than a liberal lobbying group disconnected from the interests of its members — is spending time and a lot of money to help stampede congress into passing the bill.
Perhaps the most shameful is PhRMA: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. PhRMA is the business lobby comprised of drug manufacturers. Its support was purchased in negotiations with the White House. PhRMA’s chief is former Louisiana Democratic congressman Billy Tauzin.
As the Wall Street Journal reported on August 7, “Chief pharma lobbyist Billy Tauzin’s clients were probably wondering about the return on their investment. Then, lo, Mr. Tauzin disclosed this week in a page-one story in the New York Times that, yes, the concessions were capped at $80 billion, no further. ‘We were assured: ‘We need somebody to come in first. If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal,’” Mr. Tauzin said. ‘Adding other stuff changes the deal.’ The White House confirmed Mr. Tauzin’s account.”
Tauzin had said, according to the Times report, that the deal was confirmed with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, deputy chief of staff Jim Messina and health care reform “czarina” Nancy-Ann DeParle.
PhRMA is planning to spend $150 million on television ads supporting Obamacare beginning this month. You can’t expect to see the hard sell from PhRMA: with all that money to spend, they’ll likely hire the best actors and actresses to star in their commercials. The old will be likely be assured by Wilford Brimley that they won’t feel the pain of Medicare cuts. Younger voters will probably be told about the benefits of Obamacare by experts such as Denise Richards, famous consumer of optional enhancement surgery.
All through August, Senate negotiators will continue work on the Obamacare bill. The three Republicans — Sens. Charles Grassley (Ia), Olympia Snowe (Me) and Mike Enzi (Wyo) — will be the keys to killing the bill. While Snowe is hopeless, Enzi — so far — has rejected the nationalization approach. Which means Grassley is the key to stopping Obamacare.
Grassley has said that there should be no “public option”, the government-run insurance plan that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said will drive 131 million Americans out of their private plans and into the government plan. But Grassley is an old-time Washington deal-maker. He needs to hear from his constituents at every August meeting and he will. And so should every other member of Congress.
Obama and his congressional cohort are in a state of near-panic because Americans are speaking out in huge numbers against their effort to nationalize health care. Voters rightly doubt that Obamacare will do anything to improve the way they receive health care or limit its cost.
It won’t do either, and the more Americans speak out to stop it, the more likely we’ll be able to have the best healthcare system in the world: that’s the one we have now, not the one Obama’s three stooges want to shove us into.