06 October 2009

The Biggest Straw Man in the Health Care Reform Debate

If you were to listen to Democrats, the only reason we do not have a sensible reform package on the table to deal with the problems in America's health care is Republican nay sayers. President Obama campaigned explicitly on a promise of bipartisanship, already tied to an implied message of Republican obstructionism. America's deliverance from eight years of Republican tyranny at the hands of the Obamassiah has so far, however, produced nothing of substance and it is clear that Democratic party leaders are getting frustrated. Who better to blame than the Republican minority for continuing a nefarious campaign to stop the One from implementing his promises of bipartisan reform of Washington?

And so the White House rolls out Gov. Arnie 'the RINO' Schwarzenegger and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg in support of health care reform. Here are the real Republicans, is the underlying message of this media stunt. If only the Republican Party could be like them, we would not have had this frustrating summer without the passage of a sound public option.

That Arnie the RINO should have come out in favor of health care reform is not surprising, for several reasons. The most important is the lack of real philosophical differences. But even granted that factor, notice the words Gov. Schwarzenegger used:
Our principal goals, slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery, are the same goals that the president is trying to achieve. I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people.

These words help show up the big straw man in the whole debate, at least as Democrats are trying to frame it: that Republicans are against health care reform. News flash to Democrats: Republicans are against the Democratic plans for health care reform because they involve setting up a huge new federal bureaucracy, with new federal oversight, enormous new tax burdens, ill-construed insurance policies and regulation, etc. In general, their plans try to treat symptoms, some of which many Republicans do not even believe are caused by the same disease, and the cures are, in their view, worse than the disease.

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