Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vox Populi, Vox Dei?

Let’s hope not:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

A majority of those polled dislike health care reform but for all the wrong reasons, i.e., for all the reasons the right-wing sound & fury machine has told them to dislike it. It’s too expensive. It creates more big government. It increases the deficit. It diminishes the quality of care. On the other hand, they believe it will have a positive impact on the nation’s health care system as a whole. In other words, it’s bad, bad, bad, but it’s also good. Got that? Sure you do. God bless the folks!

Here’s some of the results:

• A plurality predicts the law will improve health care coverage generally and the overall health of Americans. But a majority says it also will drive up overall costs and worsen the federal budget deficit.

• When it comes to their families, they see less gain and more pain: Pluralities say it will make coverage and quality of care worse for them. By 50%-21%, they predict it will make their costs higher.

Here’s the best, meaning the worst, part:

There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods “an abuse of power;” 40% say they are appropriate.

And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill’s passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics’ harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are “a major reason” for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders.

So a vote in the House of Representatives that results in a Democratic victory is an abuse of power, and Democrats are more to blame for last week’s outbreak of vandalism than Republicans or conservative commentators. Also, health care reform will worsen the federal budget deficit. Where was this poll conducted, Fox News studios? Among the staff of Rush Limbaugh’s ‘excellence in broadcasting’ network? It’s a total victory for right-wing talking points, brought to you by a relentless, monolithic propaganda machine and enabled by a limp, weak, ‘neutral’ mainstream media that simply will not challenge its distortions. They’ve very effectively drilled their biases into the average American’s mind, or at least that small, atrophied portion of the average American’s mind that ever bothers to think about politics at all. Fox News and the Republicans have, apparently, steered public opinion right where they want it.

Deficits. Gimme a break. After eight years of Bush and “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” Dick Cheney, and after their then record $482 billion deficit in 2008, Joe Six-Pack just suddenly wakes up and decides that budget deficits are an urgent problem? Yeah, right.

Mr. Murdoch, we await your orders.

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