President Obama is the Real Target of Health Care Protesters, Not Policy
By Mike Lupica -- New York Daily News
The woman went to an airplane hangar in Belgrade, Mont., the other day, prepared to actually listen to President Obama talk about health care reform in America. She has watched, the way the rest of us have watched, as the debate about health care has turned into a sideshow and in some cases even more of a freak show than Glenn Beck's. Now she wanted to see for herself, along with more than 1,000 others, if it would happen this way in Montana.
This is what she said about the event when it was over: "Yes, there were a few protesters en route. But the Montanans who were excited to hear the President far outnumbered the fringe groups." Then she said this about Obama: "He was smart, fair, funny."
So this wasn't an occasion when people with legitimate concerns and legitimate points to make were overwhelmed by the wing nuts and screamers who take their marching orders from right-wing radio and television and the Internet. Those idiots come to these town hall meetings more to be seen than heard, and think creating chaos makes them great Americans.
Those people have been convinced by the current culture that we are dying to hear from them, and the louder the better. People who think that all they need to star in their own reality series is a couple of TV crews. But then this is Twitter America now, where no thought is supposed to go unspoken.
We hear that all of this is democracy in action. It's not. It's boom-box democracy, people thinking that if they somehow make enough noise on this subject, they can make Obama into a one-term President.
The most violent opposition isn't directed at his ideas about health care reform. It is directed at him. It is about him. They couldn't make enough of a majority to beat the Harvard-educated black guy out of the White House, so they will beat him on an issue where they see him as being most vulnerable.
In the process, they'll come after him on health care the way Kenneth Starr went after Bill Clinton on oral sex in the Oval Office.
With that kind of zealotry, screaming about government programs as if Medicare isn't one. It is why so many of them, all these wild-eyed red faces in the crowd, look completely certifiable, screaming about how Obama wants to kill Grandma, as if he's suddenly turned into Jack Kevorkian.
And by the way, if Sarah Palin is involved - Palin as uninformed as ever about these so-called "death panels" - the debate just got dumber, if that's possible. No kidding. If foreign policy was a brain-buster for Palin, something as truly complex as health care will make her feel as dizzy as if she just rolled down a hill.
So much of this comes from people who get all their information from right-wing media, or their cheerleading from political has-beens like Betsy McCaughey, people who don't see this as a fight for better and more inclusive health care, but who now see it as something grander and more noble, a fight to reclaim America from Obama.
They couldn't win the fight last November, when he laid out John McCain and Palin and a whole party with one election, so they try to do it now, with lies and rather amazing distortions. They want everybody to believe that, if Obama gets his way, he'll eventually be in charge of insurance and doctors and whether you use CVS or Duane Reade. He's a Socialist selling socialized medicine. He'll kill Grandma. Come on. The notion that this is all honest dissent is just one more lie.
Even in Montana, the Swift Boaters who would line up against any health care plan endorsed by Barack Obama ran one television ad 115 times over a day and a half before the President arrived.
"Every time we are in sight of health insurance reform, the special interests fight back with everything they've got," the President said outside Bozeman. "They use their influence and run their ads. They use their political allies to scare the American people."
He is right about that. But the special interests aren't fighting the reform, in a system that cries out for reform, as much as they are fighting him. They see their first real good opening and they go for it.
They don't just want to hijack this debate, they want to hijack his presidency. The rest of it, about your coverage and everything else, is just the cover story.