Thursday, August 06, 2009

Not-So-Populist Protests

There have been considerable efforts made lately by President Barack Obama’s right-wing opponents to spread lies and misinformation about Democratic health-care reform proposals currently making their way through Congress. Bogus “populist protests” have been launched during health-care town hall presentations across the nation. The gullibility of Americans has been demonstrated, as conservatives and independents have been fed some incredible fabrications about how (to quote Salon) Obama wants to “make old people kill themselves, callously deny important medical procedures, funnel tax dollars to abortion clinics, and wiggle the government’s way into every doctor’s office in America.” All untrue.

Although the Republican’t Party insists that it has not “coordinated or deliberately set in motion” this hateful campaign (complete with congresspeople hanged in effigy), MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night expertly refuted that contention. During an exposé segment of her self-titled news show (embedded below), she showed quite clearly that the “town hall takeovers, the bullying, and the intimidation we’ve seen” in opposition to health-care reform aren’t spontaneous demonstrations of public feelings, but instead parts of a concerted campaign by right-wing groups, many of which are led by GOP officials or big-money supporters of the Republican’t Party.

All of this, of course, is intended to damage President Obama and his fellow Democrats. Republican’t “leaders” don’t seem to care whether health-care reform would be beneficial, both to American citizens and to the national economy (which was significantly weakened by eight years of GOP mismanagement under George W. Bush). They don’t want a civil, thoughtful debate about health-care reform, because Americans might actually realize that Obama is right in his prescriptions for overhauling health care. Right-wingers are concerned only with hurting their Democratic and Independent adversaries and regaining power. And they figure they can do that best by shouting down the opposition.

I have to wonder, though, whether conservatives have thought through the consequences of unleashing such divisive, destructive forces. Hate, once loosed, harms everyone.

READ MORE:Unions to Take on Conservative Groups at Health Care Town Halls,” by Sam Stein (The Huffington Post); “Game On?” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly); “Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform,” by Steven Pearlstein (The Washington Post); “For the Modern GOP, It’s a Return to the “White Voter Strategy,” by Thomas B. Edsall (The Huffington Post); “Cornyn: GOP Ready to Capitalize on Americans’ ‘Fear’ and ‘Anger’ in the 2010 Elections” (Think Progress); “The Key Differences Between 2005 and 2009,” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly).

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