Friday, August 07, 2009

dissociative state

steven pearlstein says that "the recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage." pearlstein continues:
There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress -- I've made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.
i engaged the other side quite a bit online over the last few weeks and i've found it quite hard to find any die-hard conservative opponents of health reform who have even a passing familiarity with any of the actual proposals in congress. instead, what i get from them are buzz-words like "socialism", comparisons to health systems that are completely different from the system in any version of the health reform bills, and the weird persistent inability to distinguish between health care and health insurance. the latter is what i really find the most odd.

as for pearlstein's lying charge, i think you have to make a distinction between the republican leadership and health insurance industry lobbyists on one hand, and conservatives in general on the other. the conservatives who i have been arguing with are not lying. they don't think they're misleading anyone, they're just repeating what they think is true, even though it comes across as nuts to anyone who has tried to follow the legislation. their seeming detachment from the real debate is more of a byproduct of the alternate universe that the conservative media has built for itself. if you get you information from fox news, rightwing blogs and talk radio, you're probably unfamiliar with any of the basics that are necessary to participate in any substantive discussion of the real policy issues.

the wingnut media has essentially excluded its audience from the real health care debate. so instead all they're left with is railing about imaginary demons to each other and throwing their bad information around in public demonstrations. that's all that's going on here.