Well, Skip, I think you're deserving a straight answer. There's such a snowstorm of partisan politics around the ObamaCare thing right now.When I wrote "big word storm," above, I'd forgotten that he'd said "such a snowstorm." Normally, I'd rewrite to eliminate a clumsy repetition, but I'm leaving this one for effect. And I'm also amused by that first sentence. To say that Skip is "deserving" of "a straight answer" is not to promise you're about to give one. I'm reminded of the way we used to laugh when Nixon said "let me make one thing perfectly clear." And I'm reminded of the way Obama et al. keep blaming others for hearing promises when, technically, there were none.
All Williams said is that Skip deserves — or, oddly, is deserving — a straight answer. He never said he was going to give Skip a straight answer, and if Skip somehow gets the impression that a straight answer is forthcoming, well, then Skip ought to sharpen his critical listening skills. And when Williams said "There's such a snowstorm," he did not say: And I'm here to guide you through the storm, Skip. The passive voice preserves the possibility that Williams himself is part of the snowstorm. Why wouldn't he be?
Back to the text:
So I'd say the number one thing I would say is....What a locution! Why not just say what you have to say? When you say that you're going to say what you would say, it sounds as though you are dissembling.
... just look at this week. A million people went to the website as it was working. So there's obviously an appetite, a real need.A need?! People are required to buy insurance. The need is to comply with government force. How is that evidence of appetite? (I picture a parent saying "You're going to eat it and you're going to like it.")
30 million people uninsured. Millions more inadequately insured who can avoid bankruptcy and illnesses as a result. Number two, I think it the reason [sic] I think this is going to work is it doesn't disrupt the market for most people. Nobody on this panel is going to have their health care affected, impacted, by what's taking place.There it is! He looks around at George Will and Brit Hume and the AP's Julie Pace and says, hey, we're all doing fine. So what's the big deal? People like us aren't hurting!
ADDED: Williams shouldn't get away with that callousness. Where's the empathy? And now I want to take a shot at George Will. Just before Williams got his question, Will said something that also struck me as distanced and out of touch in a way that maintains the aversion many people have to conservatives:
The education of this president is a protracted and often amusing process as it was this week.Oh? You were amused? Is that what this is, entertainment for you, old man, as you sit back and — whatever you do — puff on your pipe and sip your Scotch? Real people are really struggling with this. It's not funny.
As he continues to alight upon the obvious with a sense of profound and original discovery. He's alighting on what is obvious to governors. This is really why we should have governors more often than senators as president. The president is saying the trouble with big government is it's so darn big. And like a lot of big organisms, dinosaurs spring to mind. It has a simple nervous system. It's erratic, it's governed by inertia. And it's hard to move. This from a man who's devoted his life to increasing the power of government as an instrument to the redistribution of income because government is wiser than markets. And it's, as I say, highly amusing.There are some great points in there, but why does he have to begin and end with his own amusement? I understand the temptation to sit back and find amusement in the foibles of humanity, but it's not very attractive. If people are struggling, you might want to shut up about how funny it seems to you, that is, if you want to win favor with those people and not, you know, enrage them.
Yesterday, we were looking at an article in USA Today about how healthcare.gov was incorrectly putting people into Medicaid and depriving them of the chance to buy the insurance they're supposed to buy. A commenter, David, snarking "Customer service, government style," quoted the line:
"If the Medicaid determination is wrong, consumers should file an appeal with the federal marketplace, says Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters, but she says she does not have an estimate on how long that would take."And I said:
So people who thought they'd get the subsidy — which seemed sort of friendly like a low tax rate in a system of progressive taxation — find themselves shunted into welfare, which has to feel insulting or at least surprising, and then if they realize they aren't supposed to be there, how do they get to the subsidy they actually deserve?I wrote that before listening to George Will, and then when I heard him, I thought: No! That's exactly what conservatives should not say! This is the time to show empathy — if you can scrape it together somehow — to forefront the suffering, and George Will is passively chuckling over how amusing it is to see Obama stumbling and bumbling. Republicans are doomed to lose over and over again if they can't at least look like they care about people. They seem to care so little that they don't even notice how much it shows.
This is causing so many people to feel so much anguish. I can't imagine how upset I would be trying to get this straightened out or even trying to understand if something is wrong.
And that's with no health problems. What if you had to deal with this while hurting from a physical (or mental) problem and on top of the actual malady, you had to worry about losing the ability to pay for your treatments?
There is so much suffering here. I assume it's a huge snowballing mass of problems that we are only seeing the very beginning of.
I think the Republican message should be: How dare you create such an uncontrollable machinery of suffering? How could you be so arrogant and reckless? And how dare you hide the damage that you knew was coming? What are you still hiding?