Lies, Half-Truths And Talking Points, Part I

I attended Congressman Jay Inslee’s health care townhall meeting in Edmonds, Washington, on August 31st. It was my first townhall meeting and probably gave me impossibly high expectations for any future townhalls I might attend.

My estimate is that there were over 2,000 very engaged people packing the gym at Edmonds-Woodway High School. At first glance, it appeared that people supporting a government or single-payer option out-numbered those who were in opposition to such a plan but I believe that was because there were several groups outside the building distributing signs in favor of such an option; based on audience response during the course of the townhall, I would guess the actual breakdown of those in attendance was 60% opposed, 40% in favor.

I wondered in a previous post how Inslee has managed to pass himself off as a moderate. True, he probably couldn’t do so in Oklahoma City, but he’s been fairly successful here. After seeing him in action, I’m no longer wondering. Despite his policy shortcomings, Jay Inslee is a skillful politician. He knows his talking points and he sticks to them and his command of double-speak and obfuscation is formidable. While he’s not ashamed to pander to his base – and is not at all hesitant to offend his “non-supporters” – he manages it with a disarming air of reasonableness.

Two themes dominated Inslee’s comments during the course of the afternoon. First, despite being reminded twice from the audience that nearly everyone in the room was pro-health care reform, with the differences being about how reform can best be accomplished, Inslee continued to frame it as an all or nothing question. This comes straight from President Barack Obama and is part of the larger strategy to paint the GOP as mere obstructionists with nothing of substance to offer; nothing new but it must be refuted at every opportunity.

Second, based on Inslee’s language (and many signs),  look for the public option to be characterized as a matter of “choice,” a popular concept among progressives. Everyone benefits from choice, right? Everyone deserves a choice, right? Choice is good, right? Choice for everyone except the people footing the bill, right?

Inslee did have one moment of complete candor. When asked if he would support legislation that did not include a public option, Inslee’s answer was an unambiguous, “no.”

“My belief is that a public, uh, option is fundamental…I will do everything within my power to do a public option. I hope it’s in the bill. I will fight for it….”

Thank you, Congressman Inslee, for that moment of honesty in what was otherwise an exercise in distortion and evasion. And thanks, too, for confirming my hunch that you’re not all that interested in really listening to your constituents; your mind is already made up.

(I’ll have more to say on this topic in the next few days. Bryan Myrick’s take on the days events at the Seattle Conservative Examiner.)

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5 Comments

Filed under Washington

5 responses to “Lies, Half-Truths And Talking Points, Part I

  1. Glad you went, and glad you wrote it up. Looking forward to reading more about it.

    You’re right–he would not pass as a moderate in OKC. I went to a townhall with Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) last week, and it sounds like a totally different experience than yours. Ours was, as best I could tell, 100% against obamacare. I wrote about it on my blog, and suspect I am in the minority on having gone to such a meeting.

    Good for us for going, and good for you for writing about it and holding him accountable for his statements. I hope many people in your district read your post. Excellent!

  2. jacksmith

    NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

    Young People. America needs your help.

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% of republicans). Basically everyone.

    According to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. And 79% of seniors support creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!! Senator Max Baucus, You better come out of committee with a strong government-run public option available on day one.

    The History:

    Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

    FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

    So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

    This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

    This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

    Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

    They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senators, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

    An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one, would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

    A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense.

    Actually, no tax payer funds should be use to subsidize any private for profit insurance plans. So, NO TAX PAYER SUBSIDIES TO PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PLANS. Tax payer funds should only be used to subsidize the public plans. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith — Working Class

    Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out

    (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

    American HEROES!! 🙂 Click replay to play http://bit.ly/j31oU

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbWw23XwO5o) CYBER WARRIORS!! – TAKE THIS VIRAL

  3. That’s what I call a bulls-eye. Nice shooting, Paula. Can’t wait to read more.

    Jack: seriously? You throw out poll numbers like that and I’ll be left to guess you got it from High Times, MoveOn, or AARP itself. It sounds like Rommel criticizing Patton, and supposedly giving pointers to him for future conflict.

  4. It sounds like an email-mailout to me.

    Seriously, I recommend that Jack read The Forgotten Man, by Amity Shlaes; and A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, by Milton Friedman. These two illuminate the Great Depression very clearly, with documented footnotes.

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