- by Caroline Baum (Bloomberg) -
When the political winds shift -- when a party is voted out of power or a policy is panned by the public -- Washington turns to its favorite pastime: the blame game.
And so it is with President Barack Obama, who tripped on his sprint to the health-care-reform finish line. Voters, it seems, want to understand a little more about what ObamaCare will mean for them, what it will do to the doctor-patient relationship, and what it will cost future generations in higher taxes and, yes, rationed supply.
Rather than examine the public’s concerns, the plans’ inconsistencies or the sheer irresponsibility of trying to ram something this big and complicated through Congress without a small-scale trial, the Obama administration is pointing fingers. Lots of them. Most of the targets are just plain silly.
1. Conservative groups
When liberal activists, including trade unions, Acorn and MoveOn.org, protested against anything and everything President George W. Bush said or did, it was called grassroots democracy.
When conservative groups encourage supporters to attend town hall meetings and make their sentiments known to their congressmen, it’s un-American, disruptive and the work of right- wing extremists.
Where was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, when President George W. Bush was being compared to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? She was a “fan of disrupters” in those days, as she told anti-war protesters at a January 2006 town hall meeting in San Francisco. Pelosi only developed a thin skin (too much plastic surgery?) when the Democrats took control of the executive and legislative branches of government.
The effort to blame right-wing groups is transparent. If my feedback on a recent column is indicative of the political persuasion and demographic distribution of the protesters, these are ordinary Americans energized by the debate, frustrated at not having a voice and motivated to exercise their right of free speech. Attempts to smear opponents and shut down debate are, well, un-American.