Monday, March 08, 2010

Liars Calling Liars Liars

I was thrilled when MSNBC gave Rachel Maddow her own show, until I watched it a few times. I found her endless giggling and snark became tiresome rather quickly; she is not nearly as funny as she thinks she is. More to the point, I find that dishonest partisan quackery annoys me just as badly coming from my side of the aisle as it does coming from the other.

A prime example came last Friday night, in a segment I watched because I was referred in much the same way as the TNR article I wrote about earlier today. Again, I watched her so that you don’t have to (it’s about 5 minutes in), and you can read the discussion in greater detail at Bob Somerby’s place. First what Orrin Hatch actually said last September,

For instance, he was saying, basically, that they're going to have a public plan, one form or another, that they're going to have an employer mandate, and see, I have a lot of problems with that because with an employer mandate, the employers are penalized if they don't provide health insurance. Guess who is going to get hurt the worst? It's going to be the low-income employees that are either going to be cut back on their salaries, lose their jobs or the companies are going to go overseas.

And then he says we're going to have an individual mandate. He said there would be no tax increases. Give me a break! Families earning $66,000 a year, if they don't have health care, they're going to get assessed $3800. That's a tax whether you like it or not. And you can go on and on, you know, he's not going to—they're going to move people into Medicaid. One of the big goals of the Democrats, at least in all the bills that I've seen so far is to move as many people into Medicaid as they possibly can and thus go towards a single-payer system that way.

And look, Medicare, you know, they're not going to do anything to hurt Medicare? My gosh, they're going to take $130 billion out of Medicare Advantage, which most seniors really like, especially in the rural areas. And there's only one reason they're doing that in my opinion and that's because they consider it a Republican part of the original Medicare Modernization Act.

Well, these are taxes. These are more burdensome rules. The expenses are going to be high. They've said, you know, he said last night that it's going to be less than $1 trillion. Well, they don't even count the first three years, up to four years up to 2013. So it's really not a ten year score when you come to $880 billion or $1 trillion. It's really $1.5 (trillion) to $2.5 trillion, no matter which way you look at it if you use a full ten-year score without deleting the first three or four years.

He had a lot of problems with the proposal, didn’t he? Maddow on Friday,

Maddow: Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah also appears to be unembarrassed about his own inexplicable self-negating pronouncements on health reform. Back in September of last year, when pretending to want some kind of health reform was still OK for Republicans, Senator Hatch appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s show and agreed with President Obama’s assessment that Democrats and Republicans were, in fact, in agreement on 80 percent of the health reform proposals that were on the table:

Hatch (videotape): He made the point that about 80 percent of what they’re talking about we probably could agree on. But it’s the 20 percent where all the money is [chuckling] where we have a lot of disagreements. For instance, he was saying, basically, that they’re going to have a public plan, one form or another, that they’re going to have an employer mandate—

Maddow: OK, fast forward to this week. Now that the Democrats have compromised substantially on that pesky 20 percent where the all-important disagreement was, according to Orrin Hatch; now that the president’s plan doesn’t even include a public option and there is no employer mandate, which are the two things that Senator Hatch was complaining about in that problematic 20 percent; now that that’s all been resolved, presumably to Senator Hatch’s satisfaction since those are the things he said he didn’t want…

Even disregarding the issue that the plan does actually penalize employers who don’t provide health insurance to their employees, making her claim that “there is no employer mandate” a bit questionable, Hatch had a long list of objections and she is questioning why, since two of them have been dealt with, he is not on board with the reform bill.

In general, like Bob Somerby, I believe that my ideas should be sold on their merits and not by merely criticizing my opponents; but if my side is going to criticize I at least want the criticism to have some semblance of honesty. When my side is accusing the other side of lying, and are themselves lying in the process, what chance is there for any kind of desirable outcome?

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