Predictably, the opposition's tactics in the health care muddle are getting ugly.
Insurance company lobby groups tell elderly people that Obama's health care reform bill is a plot to institute mandatory euthanasia. Are Americans dumb enough to believe that the Democrats are dumb enough to propose such legislation? It would seem so. Many of the same people fear a government take-over of Medicare (the US government-run health insurance program for Americans aged 65 and over).
Concerning the manipulated protests, there is growing outrage at this spectacle on liberal blogs and on the fringes of corporate media.
I have tried to follow this debate closely, but not once have I heard the president name a specific set of changes that he considered absolutely essential; so far, Obama has spoken in platitudes about the need to enact cost-saving reform. All Americans have heard from the White House is vagueness; plus some tired anecdotes.
If the insurance lobby is filling a vacuum with lies of its own making, that vacuum exists because Obama has not been clear about the specifics of the health care bill he would sign. Americans do not tend to trust Congress, but until quite recently Obama was the one politician whom two-thirds of the country looked up to for leadership. But instead of leading, Obama outsourced health reform to Congress. That need not necessarily have made for trouble, but what Obama needed to do was speak out on behalf of several concrete benchmarks. Criteria. Americans looked for Obama to put forth a "seven point plan" or even a "fourteen point plan."
Then Obama could have spoken to Americans with clarity, passion, and conviction about his health care dream. Only then would the dream have seemed real to people -- something they could get excited about.
Although barbarians seem poised to sack the city, ardent supporters of health care reform do not appear determined to fight back just as hard. The explanation for this should come as no mystery. Where a people are not convinced of their lord's resolve to endure a siege, they will merely await their prince to work a prince's peace.*
* That is, we suspect the fix is in, that the notion of a health care "debate" is merely a way to prepare the public for otherwise outrageous concessions -- all made in the name of "compromise." We saw this happen with the stimulus package, carbon-trading. . . .