The nature of the debate

The vote to repeal last year’s health care act provides an example to examine the nature of the debate. The issue, as described in the WSJ on The Repeal Vote:

Democrats are deriding last night’s House vote to repeal ObamaCare as “symbolic,” and it was, but that is not the same as meaningless. The stunning political reality is that a new entitlement that was supposed to be a landmark of liberal governance has been repudiated by a majority of one chamber of Congress only 10 months after it passed. This sort of thing never happens.

And that does not include the fact that more than half of the states are involved in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the bill. What is the defense?

One is the equating of the repeal efforts to Nazi propaganda efforts with copious accusations of unspecified and vague “lies” – which has some noting the contrast to recent dialogue about the need for civility. Some media outlets are using the challenge to the Senate leader for an up or down vote on the issue as “blaming” Senator Reid. John Nichols highlights some other aspects in The Nation: Time For A New Debate On Health Care. That one starts out with “The American people are not fools” which is indicative of a defensive point of view (seeking validation of an argument by consensus rather than quality, even it that consensus has to be manufactured – see the climate consensus for another example) so caution is needed in reading Nichols to separate conclusion and opinion from fact and reality. For instance:

Republicans in the House used their new majority to push for a return to the bad old days when insurance companies executives were deemed to have an absolute right to their multimillion-dollar bonuses but children and people with pre-existing conditions were deemed to have a right only to beg for charity.

If the House debate on repeal of healthcare served a purpose, it was to illustrate the deep divide between those who believe the highest priority is to preserve insurance-industry profits and those who worry about sick kids.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) summed the whole charade up with her usual precision, when she invited House Republicans to consider their responsibility to represent not just corporations but the common good.

That illustrates how media and politics often become one in an actual, deceitful, propaganda effort. The falsehood here is the deeply ideological one fundamental to socialism where the enemy is those evil corporations – private business – and the children will suffer because those who support the evil corporations do not care. Note the modifiers and extremes (reduce to absurd) – “bad old days,” “absolute right,” “charade,” and “usual precision.”

This Nichols story is an NPR heritage and explains why NPR is under scrutiny as well but the real issue is the nature of the debate that is illustrated here. One the one side there is the public voice being shown in original opposition to the bill, in the national elections, and, now, in a vote of the House of Representatives and in state lawfare. On the other we have the allegations of lies, accusations about collusion with big evil corporations, accusations of not caring about the children, the sick, or the elderly, and constructed validity in selected polling and wishful thinking about the people’s real views.

i.e. there is a difference. One side is working the issues and the other side is working its opponents. That is worth some consideration.

Comments are closed.