Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer have an amazingly clueless op-ed up at USA Today. It starts with the first line.
Americans have been waiting for nearly a century for quality, affordable health care.What kind of nonsensical statement is that? The U.S. has had quality, affordable healthcare for a long time. The vast majority of people in this country have health insurance, the quality is the best in the world, and the poorest Americans are covered by government plans. Any American can show up at an emergency room and get treatment. That opening assertion illustrates why people like Pelosi and Hoyer are so unhinged by opposition. Liberal Democrats are operating from a set of assumptions not shared by at least half the country. Yet they hold their ideological positions with religious fervor. Anyone daring to disagree isn't just mistaken, they are evil and un-American.
We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate.
Really? That's why they are demonizing the opposition as un-American, pretending that grassroots protests are manufactured political operations, and trying to ram through massive changes to healthcare with little or no input from non-Democrats. Like most on the left, when Democratic leaders say they welcome debate, what they actually mean is: as long you as you accept all our major assumptions and preconditions, we'll entertain your objections to a few of the less important details.
Pelosi and Hoyer repeatedly describe healthcare reform as some sort of holy crusade. They quote Truman calling for the "right to adequate medical care and protection from the economic fears of sickness." They describe their efforts as "a defining moment in our nation's history," a "century-deferred goal," and a "historic effort." But at least half the country doesn't think healthcare is a "right," or some sort of progressive goal we've been waiting for. Instead they see this reform effort as a threat to what we already have. Everyone recognizes that the current system has problems. But that doesn't mean that major changes will be beneficial, or that massive government intervention is the answer. But if you fall within the half of the country that feels that way, the Speaker of the House and the House Majority leader think you should just keep your un-American mouth shut. Hopefully people will remember that when they go to the polls next year.