Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Explain the tangible benefits

A last thought for today on the health care legislation, this from Dan Balz in the Washington Post. I found it very interesting and perceptive. I don't generally mean this blog to be so focused on politics, but this issue is just too big and fascinating to let go.

But then I saw this comment under the article and thought I would share it with you, as also being a really interesting view. I don't know the author. I shared the post with friends who join me in really wanting a health care bill and really wanting the President to be successful, and they thought that AOS1 had nailed at least part of the problem.

Dan Balz-

I like this column, but I'd go one step further to say that what we are seeing on the health care debate is the inevitable extension of a character trait of President Obama's -- one that has served him well before, but isn't serving him well now.

"Barry" Obama, Candidate Obama, Senator Obama and President Obama have all been particularly effective active listeners. By facial expression, body language, and in his responses, he comes across as someone who is genuinely (and I don't doubt his sincerity) listening to what you have to say. In responding, though, the active listener is usually trying to convey that he/she has heard and understood what you said -- not necessarily what his/her own position is.

As a result, Obama has always struck me as something of a Rorshach test -- love him or hate him, you could see in him what you wanted to see. That's great for getting votes, not so great when you are leader of the Free World. On healthcare, that means left wing Democrats could see the avatar who'd bring about single payor (or darn close), and right wing Republicans could see a big-government loving socialist.

The truth is somewhere in between, as is the bill that President Obama would ultimately like to sign. To get to that bill he needs to develop a short list of items that explains the tangible benefits -- I agree with your column. But he also can't continue to allow people to believe what they want to believe about his position. He needs to affirmatively state what his position, and correct those (on both sides of the debate) who continue to see what they want to see.

The health care bill can't be a thousand page ink blot.


1 comment:

e-Patient Dave said...

Yes. This discussion has gotten SO muddied and SO full of insane allegations. I don't often use words like "insane" and "evil" but whoever is making this stuff up, they're truly doing evil.

Anyone who hasn't yet seen Jon Stewart's phenomenal bit last night on the Barney Frank Nazi exchange should take a look, imo. Responding to the woman who asked why he supports Obama's "Nazi policy," Frank asked "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Stewart capped it off perfectly: "Apparently a planet where a mixed-race President and a gay Jew qualify as Nazis."

(For those who, like that dingbat, don't know that bit of history, the Nazis wanted to ban mixed race marriages and exterminate gays and Jews.)

And in case you haven't been keeping up with the news, she's not the only one who's been introducing Nazi thinking into the healthcare debate. Here's a video of a woman yelling "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man in Las Vegas who's telling a TV reporter how the Israeli system works. (Obviously a clear thinker, she later branched off to "There's no way my tax dollars are going to pay for abortion.")

Against insanity like that, the only defense can be clear, simple, tangibles.

And really - who is making this stuff up and injecting it into the public discussion?? That's creating and spreading poison, just like the racial hatred hammer-and-sickle "ObamaCare" cartoon that's been circulating in email. Who did that work and circulated it? Some person sitting somewhere did.

It's a new definition of chutzpah to play on racial hatred and simultaneously accuse a black and a Jew of promoting a Nazi plan.