Anger and Astroturf

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

There are two observations I have noticed during this health care debate that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been pushing.

One, there is anger from the American people concerning the direction and the destination of health care ‘reform’.  Genuine anger.  The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst.  Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue.  Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now.

Which leads to my second observation and the accusations that this grass roots opposition to health care ‘reform’ is being labeled as astroturf.  Due to the cooperation of the mainstream media in failing to provide unbiased programming of the health care debate in addition to leading Democrats from President Obama to House Speak Nancy Pelosi having mislabeled genuine American concern of government intrusion via health care ‘reform’ as artificial.  If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment.  Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012.  They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

Just my two cents worth.

27 Responses to Anger and Astroturf

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Tito,

    The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst. Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue. Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now

    I think there’s 2 misperceptions here. One is that there is a general shouting down of the politicians. If you watch the whole presentation in context, I suggest that what happens is the politicians refuse to allow alternate points of view to be presented, refuse to answer, obfuscate and/or outright lie about the bill. Sometimes it is necessary to get loud to be heard. Granted it doesn’t always make good press when it’s cut by the liberal media to try and discredit the protesters. Caution is necessary to be sure, and there may have been excesses at times.

    Secondly, there is not many people who oppose reform of the health care funding system we have. Most support tort reform, and leveling the playing field between employer and privately purchased plans, as well as freedom of choice as to levels of coverage.

  • paul zummo says:

    I don’t subscribe to bizarro news network, so I don’t know which town halls you are referring to.

    It’s interesting that you (rightly) castigate the media for not fully reporting what’s going on, and yet you’re mocking Matt because he has a more accurate understanding of the complete picture behind the town halls. What you see on the nightly news or are hearing reports of are small snippets. People are asking thoughtful questions, and people are being respectful. However, people begin to get agitated once their representative begins to hem and haw, and then simply lie.

    I agree that there’s no use in yelling for the sake of yelling, and we should allow our opponents time to speak – after all, in many cases, they do a fine job of defeating their own cause. But it’s simply wrong to say that the protesters are not allowing Congressmen the opportunity to speak at all before the shouting begins.

  • Tito Edwards says:

    Paul,

    Only a small minority is needed to make our arguments look bad.

    The mainstream media, as I wrote in my posting, is doing a terrible job covering what is actually happening.

    We all know that the MSM tilts heavily towards the left, don’t you think it would be wise to be a bit more careful when articulating our arguments.

    The MSM will give liberal protesters a pass when they portray Bush as Hitler, but will play up Pelosi’s “swastika” comments. And she was lieing!

  • e. says:

    Could somebody kindly explain Tito’s rather sarcastic dismissal of Matt’s previous comments?

    I thought the whole point of Tito Taco’s post was concerning the poor depiction of what is actually transpiring in these Town Hall meetings, which I thought Matt’s own comments attempted to provide a more accurate portrayal thereof.

    Was there some sort of rhetorical irony I might have missed in Matt’s comments that I may have missed which seemingly sought to make a mockery out of Taco’s post?

  • restrainedradical says:

    If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

  • Tito Edwards says:

    e.,

    This is to much fun, but since you may not be aware, Matt and I work together. In fact our offices are right next to each other.

    So we rib each other from time to time.

    Hopefully that will calm you down and relieve some of the anxiety you have.

  • e. says:

    The nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans.

    I’m afraid the only nutjob here happens to be the commenter making this comment.

    Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

    Wackos being the Demo-n-Caths and all wackjobs of fellow adherents of that sordid political party that merely pretends to usher in change on behalf of the general populace all the while under this veneer of healthcare for the common man lies a most devious atrocity which can only be conceivably advanced by the democrat death squads.

  • awakaman says:

    Highly recommend the attached article by Camille Paglia. She, of course, is in favor of health care reform, but she correctly places the blame for the heated discourse where it belongs on the Democrats and Obama for attempting to hastily push through poorly explained and thought out legislation.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/index.html

    She states:

    “But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

    You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

    I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.”

    She even has sympathy for Sarah Palin’s recent statements about Death Panels:

    “As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.”

  • jh says:

    “If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.”

    Do you actually believe this? I talked to a friend of mine that is a Senate staffer in the most least populated area of the State ,In the most obscure areas it is standing room only and trust me these are not RUSH LIMBAUGH Republican Ditto heads

    I am always amazed on the left or right how some see some plot. I have been through this enough times to see that is a purely bipartisian affair.

    It is slighlty amusing, though with a bit of sadness, that SOcial Justice Catholics that proclaim themselves above such petty things as party fall into the same ole tiresome thing they rant against. No these people have legitimate concerns. They want answers. To call them “nutjobs” right off the bat shows a particular disconnect. Like I said I have seen this on both sides. Right now it is just you.

  • cminor says:

    Oh, please, gents–

    Surely by now you’ve all seen the SEIU squad beat up a conservative activist (posted below, if I recall), the bullhorn-toting Obamacare supporters trying to intimidate the opposition at Pelosi’s visit of a Denver clinic:
    http://www.lookingattheleft.com/2009/08/pelosi-astroturf-healthcare/
    and the guy with the Obama with Hitler mustache poster (evidently obtained from Lyndon LaRouche’s organization) who was later spotted handing out literature for Rep. Dingell:
    http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2009/08/busted-obama-as-hitler-poster-was.html

    There’s poor footing to argue that the vocal nutjobs are all on the right, especially when some of those rightists turn out to be plants. Be wary of opening your mouth precipitously; you may find later you have inserted your foot!

    For the record, I went to a town hall earlier this week and the one attendee there who distinguished herself by attempting to interrupt the speaker and trying to rumble with the police security was an Obamacare supporter.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    I do believe the “death panel” portion of the current bill has been blown way out of proportion — and I have actually read it, by the way.

    It states simply that the healthcare plan will pay for senior citizens to have consultations with their doctors regarding advance directives (such as living wills or healthcare powers of attorney) at least every 5 years. Such consultations would be paid for on a more frequent basis if the person becomes seriously ill — not necessarily because anyone is trying to hasten their death, but because the person themselves may want to make changes or adjustments in their advance directive as their condition changes or worsens. Bringing the doctor into the discussion makes sense because many times, advance directives are drawn up by and filed with lawyers and the doctor may be the last person to know that a patient even has an advance directive.

    Federal law already requires hospitals to ask patients whether they have advance directives and inform them of their right to have one — but it doesn’t REQUIRE anyone to actually have a directive if they don’t want one. Mandating that insurance pay for a service is NOT the same as mandating that the policy holder actually take advantage of the service. Most if not all of us probably have health insurance that by state or federal law has to cover things we never personally take advantage of.

    Now, it is true that National Right to Life and other pro-life groups would like to see stronger language in this bill to protect seniors and the handicapped from being pressured by their doctors, family, or others into signing away their right to life-saving or life-sustaining treatment. That is a legitimate concern which must be addressed, but it is a far cry from asserting that the bill creates an all-powerful “death panel.”

    I know it is very easy for conservatives, and particularly pro-lifers, to assume the worst about the Obama administration given his record so far. However, that does not excuse intentional distortion or hasty misinterpretation of the healthcare bill for purely political reasons.

    Now, all that being said — there are still very, very many serious questions to be raised about this bill and attempting to rush it through Congress without giving Congresscritters themselves — let alone the public — time to understand what it really does, and instruct them to stick to canned talking points, is the WORST possible strategy the Democrats could take. The more they attempt to dismiss and discredit criticism of the bill, the more they come off looking like dictators and playing right into the fears of those who are opposed to the plan. It’s enough to make me think they WANT to lose control of Congress next year… maybe they’ve discovered that being the party in power isn’t as much fun as they thought!

  • hoboduke says:

    It is confusing to have any discussion, when the elected officials can’t refer to any facts. There are so many versions and variations of health initiatives crafted by staff and lobbyists, we can’t keep track. How can there be a discussion on smoke and mirrors! They are blowing the smoke, by confirming “my version doesn’t say that!”
    The media choose to ignore this mutliple layers and versions as adding to anger and confusion. It’s like buying a car with 3 different contracts in front of you.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Elaine,

    I’m sorry, with this bill the bureaucrats have the power to require such consultations and possibly to sign directives that the patients don’t agree with. There’s nothing in the bill which enforces the voluntary nature, it’s in the hands of government, we just have to trust them.

  • I’m not talking about mere opponents of Obamacare when I say “nutjobs.” I’m not a supporter of Obamacare. Those who support or oppose the plan on its merits are a small intelligent minority. I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas. Dems can mock them with political impunity.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    elitistunrestrainedadical,

    Matt McDonald Says:
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 A.D. at 1:06 pm

    unrestrainedradical,

    like the typical leftist elite you completely misunderstand the American people, the majority who are opposed to ObamaCare.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    Saying that the end of life consultation provision could be open to abuse in the future is accurate — just about ANY provision of any law is open to abuse, and the potential abuses have to be considered when the law is written. However, saying this bill actually creates “death panels” is NOT accurate. In fact it may be even less accurate now that the Dems are seriously talking about removing that whole provision from the bill, which is fine with me.

  • Tito Edwards says:

    RestrainedRadical,

    I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas.

    You have to admit that that is a leap of logic of connecting genuine grassroots opposition to socialized medicine to racist birthers.

    Elaine,

    It has been removed, but don’t you think they removed it because perception is reality? Meaning that it could be used to implement Aktion T4 like directives?

    Aktion T4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4

  • hoboduke says:

    During this whole debate, nobody consulted Michael Moore on his documented health care in Cuba. If we opened relations with Cuba,and sent cruiser ships with seniors for health care to Cuba, then we could find a happy solution.
    Grandpa could retire there with a bottle of viagra, lots of cigars, and plenty of rum! That’s what I call a great way to end your days!
    If I had to choose between Canada and Cuba, there’s no question I want Cuba!

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