1) Blame the other side.
It's simply stunning that with overwhelming majorities in both Houses that the Democrats would blame the Republicans for health care reform stalling. Yet, that's exactly what they are doing. It's become a standard mantra of the President.
I think early on, a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, 'Look, let's not give him a victory, maybe we can have a replay of 1993, '94, when Clinton came in, he failed on health care and then we won in the mid-term elections and we got the majority. And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out that playbookWe've also heard Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid make similar allegations. It's also hard to find a liberal pundit not try and make this allegation as well. There is no sign of worse leadership than to begin pointing fingers and laying blame at everyone but yourself when you have problems. That's what the president is doing here. Whenever a significant initiative struggles, the first thing the party in power does is blame the other side. They claim the other side doesn't want "reform", they're playing politics, and in this case they "don't want to give the president a victory." It's all almost always nonsense. In this case, it insults the intelligence of the voters. We're supposed to believe that the infighting in the Democratic party was the Republicans fault. We're supposed to also believe that with overwhelming majorities in both chambers that it is the Republicans that are able to stop this. In fact, we don't believe it which is why reform is stalled.
2)Lies and scare tactics are causing people to get misconceptions.
This is another mantra the president has repeated over and over. He did it again yesterday in this op ed.
But it also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are.
So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country.
It is always the same thing. Whenever a policy loses support, it must because of lies and scare tactics. It can't ever be that the policy is simply rejected by the electorate. It must be lies and scare tactics. The irony here is that the same president that proclaims that scare tactics are derailing his health care plan also declares that health care will break us without his health care reform. Isn't he using the exact same scare tactics that he bemoans others of using? Look at how his top advisor, David Axelrod, justifies their sweeping reform package.
“The times demanded it," he said in an interview. "We didn’t have the luxury of taking things sequentially, year after year, and hoping we got there. That’s the reason that all these major issues had been deferred for decades: Change is hard.
It sure sounds as though the White House is using fear to pass their agenda. So, isn't it entirely hypocritical to bemoan scare tactics of the other side?
3) Sweeping reform is hard because the forces of the status quo always resist.
This is always great because 1) you are on the side of reform and 2) if you fail it's the forces of the status quo that stopped you. Of course, that all depends on the sweeping reform. I'm sure welfare reform was hard as well. That was sweeping but somehow it got done even with the "forces of the status quo". I'm sure the Reagan tax cuts were hard but those got done. Medicare, Social Security were also sweeping reforms but presidents figured out how to get it done.
Here's the reality. Whether or not the president is correct, and in my opinion he's mostly incorrect, it's totally irrelevant. The complaints he makes are silly. That's politics. The number one job of the opposition is to oppose, and the president has the gaul to bemoan their opposition. All politicians use scare tactics and most of them they're perfectly fine. Fear is a great emotion to play to and often it's perfectly appropriate. The number one job of government is to protect. Inherent in that is something to fear, or there'd be nothing to protect from. Of course, the other side is using scare tactics. These are sweeping reforms and there's plenty of variables. Shouldn't the public examine all the possibilities? The president would have us only examine that which he filters.
Frankly, the president complains about the political process. Everything that he claims is happening now happens on each and every piece of legislation. The good ones pass and the bad ones fail. His health care reform isn't failing because the other side is blocking it, scare tactics, or because it's sweeping. It's failing because it's a bad piece of legislation. People should be scared which is why the "scare tactics" are working. The other side is opposing it effectively, because there's plenty of reason to oppose. Inherent in his complaints is contempt for the process itself. There's no good piece of legislation that won't have stiff opposition. Forces don't lay down simply because the president has a plan. The difference between presidents we lionize and those we dismiss is that the first overcome. The second complain about how tough it is. We now know which category the President is in.