MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Columns

March 30, 2010

Health care threats will surely backfire

It’s part of the American Way: If you’re unhappy with something a politician does, threaten him.

Makes sense — if you want your society controlled by thugs and goons. Or terrorists.

When you stop and think about it, the people who are trying to intimidate members of Congress over their stance on health care reform are just that. ...

It’s hard to say how many health care opponents have resorted to these tactics in the wake of Congress’ approval of landmark legislation. Hundreds of threats were received, but many of these are likely the result of serial offenders.

They get a list of lawmakers and start churning out phone calls and e-mails.

I’m probably being overly dramatic by describing these dweebs as terrorists. That suggests they have the guts to do something besides issue anonymous threats.

The vast majority lack the capacity to find more constructive ways to engage in the political debate.

Instead, they employ methods that are bound to backfire. During much of the debate over health care reform, critics railed about how unpopular it was, pointing to polling data.

But recent public opinion polls show a shift, with some indicating more Americans support the legislation than oppose it.

That may reflect a better effort by supporters to explain what’s in the bill. But maybe the antics of health reform opponents wore out their welcome. While drama and hyperbole work for a while, most people eventually want clear, calm information when it comes to important matters.

Warnings about socialism and comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler don’t exactly fall into that category. Although legislation of health reform’s scope contains plenty of provisions open to criticism, the mindless and uninformed ranting that dominated much of the debate couldn’t be sustained by the facts.

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