Fear Struck Out


Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.

It wasn’t just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor’s Business Daily declaring that health reform is “affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.” It was wild claims about abortion funding. It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it, an assurance that older Americans have enjoyed ever since Lyndon Johnson — whom Mr. Gingrich considers a failed president — pushed Medicare through over the howls of conservatives.

And let’s be clear: the campaign of fear hasn’t been carried out by a radical fringe, unconnected to the Republican establishment. On the contrary, that establishment has been involved and approving all the way. Politicians like Sarah Palin — who was, let us remember, the G.O.P.’s vice-presidential candidate — eagerly spread the death panel lie, and supposedly reasonable, moderate politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley refused to say that it was untrue. On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that “freedom dies a little bit today” and accused Democrats of “totalitarian tactics,” which I believe means the process known as “voting.”

Without question, the campaign of fear was effective: health reform went from being highly popular to wide disapproval, although the numbers have been improving lately. But the question was, would it actually be enough to block reform?

And the answer is no. The Democrats have done it. The House has passed the Senate version of health reform, and an improved version will be achieved through reconciliation.

This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama, and a triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out.

4 thoughts on “Fear Struck Out

  1. Bullshit all the way through. This is a victory for insurance companies – plain and simple. The Republicans in Michigan and Florida crafted bills to move the primary dates up, and because of their actions, the votes of the Democratic party voters weren’t counted in full. And James Roosevelt, CEO of Tufts Health Care and Chairman of The Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party, used those historical events to dock the winning candidate half of the delegates she had won, to arbitrarily hand four of her delegates as well assign all of the uncommitted over to a candidate that had removed himself from the ballot and because of those actions, we now have the health care plan that that chairman has lobbied for publicly.

    The only triumph here is the triumph of corruption.

  2. I wish I were as optimistic as Krugman is. We won coverage for about 30 million people at the cost of excluding 20 million undocumented people who were basically sentenced to slow death. I don’t see much American soul; I see a lot of soil.

  3. yes, yes, YES!!!!

    bitter dead-enders REPRESENT!

    tell me again about the face-scratch bird flip, that’s my FAVORITE one of your stories!!!

    I also LOVE the one about the debate that was really a “gang rape” the “groping in effigy” one!

    You’re right Lori, compared to you the Princeton economics professor knows NOTHING!!!

    It’s all about Hillary!

    And god knows, having failed miserably when she tried to pass health care reform, only Hillary could have ever passed a health care bill!

    Obama is unelectable!

  4. Stevee boy, do you have that particular rant on your clipboard?

    A lot of people were left out. A lot of issues are going unresolved. I’m not impressed, but hopeful that this is just a start.

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