Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 10, 2009

BETTER OPPOSITION, PLEASE.... Rep. Paul Broun, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, spoke from the House floor this afternoon, to explore his opposition to a public option in health care reform. He concluded that a public plan would kill Americans.

"...and that's exactly what's going on in Canada and Great Britain today. They don't have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, evidently. And, um. Dr. Roe, a lot of people are gonna die, this program of 'government option' is being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price -- is gonna kill people."

There are bad arguments, there are blisteringly bad arguments, and then there's the nonsense Paul Broun spews.

In addition to the obvious problem of comparing reform efforts in the U.S. to creating a Canadian/UK system -- that's obviously not what's being proposed -- the argument itself is ridiculous. As the Media Matters Action Network explained, "Besides absurdly stating that the public option will 'kill people,' Rep. Broun's ham-handed transition between the health care systems of Canada, the UK, and the US is mind-boggling because those countries' systems are not a model for US health care reform. And in addition to being wrong about their health care delivery systems, Rep. Broun apparently isn't aware that Canada and Great Britain both enjoy a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy that the United States."

If Broun's name sounds familiar, he is perhaps best known for telling reporters late last year that he feared that President Obama might establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans. He added at the time that Obama, of course, reminds him of Hitler.

Two weeks ago, Broun also insisted that global warming is "hoax," and cited a made-up statistic about the cost of ACES.

Peggy Noonan wrote this morning that we're in an era in which the nation needs "conservative leaders who know how to think" and a Republican Party that is "serious, as serious as the age, because that is what a grown-up, responsible party -- a party that deserves to lead -- would do."

She wasn't talking about Broun specifically, but it'd be great if he took this to heart anyway.

Steve Benen 5:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

Paul Broun's head needs to be teed up at the Masters in Augusta, and all the uninsured in America get to take a whack.

It is shameful what has been excreted into Washington from east Georgia.

Posted by: neill on July 10, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

As a Canadian who, I'm sure, appreciates life as much as any American, fuck you Paul Broun, you douche nut.

Posted by: Paranoid Floyd on July 10, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

As a Canadian who, I'm sure, appreciates life as much as any American

And, I suspect, enjoys it more than most Americans.

Posted by: shortstop on July 10, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Both major parties could benefit from more grown-up and responsible leaders and members, but we seem to be heading in the opposite direction. Having a more grown-up and responsible press ("Was Obama really giving a woman a once over?") would be a good start, but that's unlikely to happen either.

Posted by: qwerty on July 10, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Rep. Broun apparently isn't aware that Canada and Great Britain both enjoy a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy that the United States." Media Matters

For the Republicans, human life is sacred unless it interferes with corporate profits or tax cuts for millionaires.

Why aren't the Democrats making this a pro-life issue, challenging the Republicans to worry about human life after it's born?


Posted by: SteveT on July 10, 2009 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I like this opposition just fine. More of the same please.

Posted by: JPS on July 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"...and that's exactly what's going on in Canada and Great Britain today. They don't have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, evidently. And, um. Dr. Roe, a lot of people are gonna die, this program of 'government option' is being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price -- is gonna kill people."

The man who uttered that babbling bit of nonsense is a United States Congressman....and I'm not.

That does it. If that moron can get elected, so can I. Of course, unlike Broun I'd actually have to run in a district full of intelligent, well-educated people who care about their neighbors' welfare....

Posted by: Stefan on July 10, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Before we get into the weeds of whether his characterization of health reform is accurate, might it not be simpler to point out that our current healthcare system kills people?

One of the reasons Republicans are able to get away with so much fearmongering is that they virtually never compare anything they're saying to what we have right now, they just pretend it's a given that other than having worrisome annual cost increases, our current system is just about perfect.

Posted by: Redshift on July 10, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

And, I suspect, enjoys it more than most Americans.

Yes, but Canadians lack our freedumb.

Posted by: Stefan on July 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are missing the best part of this story--
THIS IDIOT IS AN M.D.
Can we have the AMA declared a domestic terrorist organization already?

Posted by: JJ Daddy-O on July 10, 2009 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

That does it. If that moron can get elected, so can I. Of course, unlike Broun I'd actually have to run in a district full of intelligent, well-educated people who care about their neighbors' welfare....

Unfortunately Swedes are not allowed to vote in our elections.

Posted by: trex on July 10, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I like reading about what the local guy is up to in
Washington. It's a shame what the Georgia legislature created when they gerrymandered the district lines so this guy could represent us (forcing the dem (Barrow) who was doing a good job into running in another district).
Broun must have the same speech writer as Sarah Palin. Or logic professor?

Posted by: anonymous on July 10, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Someone is surprised when a Southern Republican turns out to be a compleat moron?

File under "dog bites man."

Posted by: TCinLA on July 10, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

The more I think about it, the more my mind boggles..
Where is this guy MORE dangerous? In Congress or as a Family Doctor? (his previous profession)
Maybe the people of Georgia are safer since they sent him to DC?
I would love to know if he believes in evolution.

Posted by: JJ Daddy-O on July 10, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

for those of us who follow such things, slamming on Broun is shooting fish in a barrel. But it ignores the sadder fact that most Americans really do think our system is a lot better than that of Canada and GB, because that is what they've been told repeatedly.

DNC and others need to saturate the airwaves with unavoidable advertising that is astoundingly simple. No fancy plots or actors or ominous music or flash cutting. Just a handful of simple numbers: health care costs per person versus infant mortality and life expectancy for 10 well-chosen countries.

The masses need to understand that, jingoism aside, we really are not getting the most bang for our health care buck.

Posted by: zeitgeist on July 10, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats are effective enough opposition to things they were elected to address. Who needs a lying, ignorant, rump party of rednecks and assholes fucking things up when you can elect a nominally better-spoken fake piece of shit Democrat?

Posted by: Jay B. on July 10, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Some years ago, one of my uncles in Poland said that "when a bad Pole dies, he goes to hell; when a good one dies, he goes to USA". Even a dumb Polack peasant seemed understand that coming here while still alive might not be such a great idea... We don't need to wait for the public option to start killing people; the private scams are doing it quite efficiently already, thank you.

Posted by: exlibra on July 10, 2009 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

The scary thing is that Paul Broun is an MD.

Posted by: Andrew on July 10, 2009 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Nazis drew their most committed electoral support from Germany's lower middle class, that is small urban business owners and small farm owners. These people had their savings wiped out by the inflation of 1923-24 and feared being forced back into the working class or agricultural labor force by the Depression. Now which party, the Democrats or the Republicans, represent small business and the farm community in this country? And which party brought about the economic collapse we are now in the midst of? Paul Broun and his ilk aren't misguided or uninformed. They are liars.

Posted by: Robert Abbott on July 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed. But I'll tell you what the, or at least a, right wing response is because I've heard it. 'But those statistics include people in cities' (as though there weren't cities in Britain and Canada, as though 'people in cities', meaning you know who, don't count). but you get the idea, all statistics that don't distinguish between Americans and 'real' Americans can be discounted.

Posted by: J on July 10, 2009 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, it takes a GOP member to repeatedly talk badly about other countries and their citizens.

It's always the GOP that uses their foot-in-mouth-disease to cause people around the world to hate all Americans.

GOP does not care that other countries watch and hear what they say on Faux News & CNN - I guess they think even that countries in the Middle East do not have satellite television - but then, that explains why they were slow in technology such as twitter.

Posted by: annjell on July 10, 2009 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK
Peggy Noonan wrote this morning that we're in an era in which the nation needs "conservative leaders who know how to think" and a Republican Party that is "serious, as serious as the age, because that is what a grown-up, responsible party -- a party that deserves to lead -- would do."

She wasn't talking about Broun specifically, but it'd be great if he took this to heart anyway.

And this, ladies and gents, is what separates the left from the right: We realize there has to be some sort of give and take to make good policy ... more voices to ensure all are heard ... more ideas so every avenue is explored.

But one simply cannot do anything like that with people this uninterested in serious discourse. Don't get me wrong -- the left has more than enough dumbasses (like me) who coarsen our dialog and rip the other side in some pretty harsh ways.

BUT, I can also wonk it up with anyone ... when those in the discussion are willing to do the same.

As trolls such as Al and Mike, tools like Broun and Inhofe, and just plain morons like Doughy LaPantload and Assrocket have shown over and over and (painfully) over again, that simply isn't the case with the current conservative movement on any level, from the federal to the smallest city council.

I don't know if it's ego gone bad, ideology gone radical, or stupid gone nuclear, but it's bad for our nation.

And the saddest part?

It ain't gonna change any time soon.

Name me one person in the GOP who is serious about policy, honest, not a flaming hypocrite, has the intelligence, and is willing to ignore the base and Rush Limbaugh to do what's best for the country in the long run.

Just one.

**crickets**

If the Dems screw this all up, we're effed, because there really aren't any sane options.

Posted by: Mark D on July 10, 2009 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't someone trumpeting the facts that Canadians live about three years longer than we do*, their infant mortality is strikingly lower, and they spend far less per capita than we do? WHO has the stats.

*Probably lowered cardiovascular stress from not dealing with my insurance provider.

Posted by: r'chard on July 10, 2009 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Who needs a lying, ignorant, rump party of rednecks and assholes fucking things up when you can elect a nominally better-spoken fake piece of shit Democrat?"

Well put.

Posted by: garnash on July 10, 2009 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

"In Congress or as a Family Doctor? (his previous profession)
Maybe the people of Georgia are safer since they sent him to DC?"

The fishermen are happy because now the bait store is not always running out of leeches.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 11, 2009 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

The best thing about the US health care debate, from my Canadian point of view, is that it's shut up the idiots who want US style health care in Canada. The ex-head of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Day, is an advocate of American style health care, prob because he runs a fee for service clinic. Those clinics are barely legal in Canada and must operate within strict guidelines or be shut down.

It's not perfect up here, but at least people who need care can get it and no one tells you whether or not you may be referred to a specialist or qualify for a certain type of care. The idea of having an insurance company clerk decide whether or not you get care scares me. And, btw, we generally pay less for drugs made by American owned companies than Americans do.

Posted by: Heather on July 11, 2009 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

I am always amazed when repubs throw out phrases likening people to Hitler. It seems to me they are the most like Hitler of anyone, especially with the information coming out about the house full of repubs in Washington where Ensign and Sanford lived where they used Hitler as an example of leadership.
It is also known that Hitler ruled by creating fear amongst the German people, which is done by the repubs. Also who can forget that the Bush family were longtime supporters of the Hitler regime, even after the start of WW2.

Posted by: JS on July 11, 2009 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

Name me one person in the GOP who is serious about policy, honest, not a flaming hypocrite, has the intelligence...

Dwight Eisenhower!

Wait-- did you mean a living Republican?

Never mind.

Posted by: Decatur Dem on July 11, 2009 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Responsible commentators on the left" need to get used to this simple fact- there is no responsible conservatism.

Like Venezuela, this is not a two-party system, and the reason for that is not the behavior of the Democrats- it is the behavior of the Republicans, who thought they could run America as an oligarchy.

Posted by: serial catowner on July 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

For years, the AMA forced restrictions on entry to medical schools. Our schools were only to allow the best and brightest to pass muster. Sorta funny that one of the claims by the right is that there will not be enough doctors to treat all of the new incoming patients from a reform bill. However, if we only have the "best and brightest", how the hell did Broun, Frist and Coburn pass muster and, even, Ron Paul, can go nutty at times? Geez, until Ensign came along, I was starting to think animal vets were smarter. But, Dr Ensign, before you depart, could you stop by the House and give Dr Broun a distemper shot?

Posted by: berttheclock on July 11, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Why isn't someone trumpeting the facts that Canadians live about three years longer than we do*,

Yes, but they spend those last three years just begging to die....

Posted by: Stefan on July 11, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Rep. Broun is just being a good representative. This is apparently how his constituents who elected him think. Right? So holding Broun accountable really resides with those who elected him. He's just having a Glenn Beck brain seizure.

Posted by: mickster on July 11, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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