While all eyes seem to be on Obama's health care reform speech this evening, and the news has been focused almost entirely on that issue for the last month or more, we can't afford to forget that there are numerous other issues facing us. This shouldn't detract from the health issue, but I do believe that the climate change and energy independence issues— which are in many ways inseparable— are, over the mid to long term, even more important than health care.
The frustrating thing is that we now have a preview of the right's response to any issue that comes up: obfuscation, obstruction, and falsely inflaming passions with lies and innuendo. An article in today's NYT tries to put a happy, optimistic face on the current situation as regards health:
“At this point, there really should be no doubt where the American people stand: the status quo is not acceptable, but neither are any of the proposals we’ve seen from the White House or Democrats in Congress,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in a statement, adding: “It should be clear by now that the problem isn’t the sales pitch. The problem is what they’re selling.”With all due respect to McConnell (that would be pretty much none), the problem isn't what the dems are selling, the problem is the lies he's telling the voters. If I stood outside a restaurant and protested them for selling ground up puppies, kittens and babies in their burgers, that restaurant could sue me. Unfortunately, there is no process by which I can sue liars who defame and libel the policy recommendations of my party.
Yet Mark McClellan, who ran the Food and Drug Administration and later Medicare under President George W. Bush, said he saw the churning in August as a part of the public’s education, a “necessary step in the process” and not a fatal blow.
And while I find McClellan's comment interesting, I'm not sure why death panels, socialism, fascism, and pull the plug on Gramma were “necessary step in the process.” Does he honestly think that fewer people give credence to those possibilities now than did in mid-July? I'm very worried that we're going to end up with a "reform" that enriches the insurance and medical industries, provides no better, and perhaps worse, actual health care, and serves neither patients nor doctors.
There are at least a half dozen other issues that are of similar importance to health, and the energy and climate issue is probably more important.
And I'm going to have to watch this circus of freaks go through this same theater over and over in the next few years.
I can't wait.