Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watch out for Teddycare

I don't have all that much to say about the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, aside from that of course I have offered a prayer for the repose of his soul. There is nothing to gain by speaking ill of the dead, and Kennedy is beyond earthly censure anyway. As we all hope for mercy in the next life, we can't do less than pray for this mercy to be extended to all who have died.

But I do have something to say about the shameless attempt by the Democrats in Congress to reshape the health care debate already:
Democrats are hoping that the memory of Sen. Ted Kennedy will revive the Democratic Party's flagging push for health care reform.

You've heard of 'win one for the Gipper'? There is going to be an atmosphere of 'win one for Teddy,'" Ralph G. Neas, the CEO of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News.

Democrats are hoping that Kennedy's influence in death may be even stronger than it was when he was alive as they push for President Obama's top domestic priority. Democratic officials hope that invoking Kennedy's passion for the issue will counter slippage in support for health care reform.

I'll grant that Senator Kennedy, like most far-left leaning liberals, was in favor of government-run health care. The restraint proper given his recent death forbids me from speculating about his reasons for supporting such a system; but I suppose that it's fair to say that liberals generally believe in the power of the federal government and think that giving it greater and greater control over people's lives is the way to make sure that all Americans have access to health care via government-run insurance programs, socialized medicine, or other such systems.

Thus far, Americans haven't been too impressed with the health care plans being presented by Congress. Though all of the media attention has been on the vocal and unruly at town halls, there's no denying that the present iteration of health care reform has more critics than it has supporters, and that people in general seem to be confused about what the various plans offer--not surprising when their pages number in the thousands. So far, Americans have been keeping a watchful eye on this whole process, not willing to give up key freedoms in exchange for the promise of cheaper or easier health care.

But I think it's safe to say that the strongest proponents of today's health care reform plans are going to maximize on Ted Kennedy's popularity and point out his long-time advocacy for a government-run health care industry (or at least, for such public plans as the one presently being debated). Health care will be recast as "Kennedycare," or maybe even "Teddycare." And what sort of evil grinch could possibly oppose "Teddycare?" The name alone conjures up images of sympathetic plush toys being distributed by a benevolent Uncle Sam to sick kids who need someone else to pay their medical bills.

If Democrats successfully link Ted Kennedy to the Obamacare plans, public opinion on this thing may start to turn around. I don't think that would be a good thing, because I think the present plans are too flawed to be worth supporting, mainly from a life issues perspective, but also from a cost perspective among a few other issues. I do think that it is depressingly possible; politics, increasingly, involves battles lost and won through propaganda.

"Obamacare" has gotten a shaky reputation. "Teddycare" may capture the public's rather vapid imagination, and be rushed through before we have a chance to realize that it's the very same sort of plan, dressed up in a New England accent. Those of us who oppose the latest scheme to turn the health care industry over to the people who brought us the Post Office and the I.R.S. should be on the lookout for this attempt to manipulate the debate.


Irenaeus said...

"If Democrats successfully link Ted Kennedy to the Obamacare plans, public opinion on this thing may start to turn around."

The people that need convincing -- middle america, purple america, populist america -- aren't going to be moved by anything having to do with Ted Kennedy, I think. I just don't think he's all that popular beyond the lib wing of the country, which is in the bag on this already.

Remember how well Paul Wellstone's death and the immediate attempt to capitalize on it politically ended for the Dems in Minnesota a few years back. Backfired. Big. Time. In the People's Republic of Minnesota! So -- for once and only once -- I think your fears unfounded.

Red Cardigan said...

I hope you're right, Irenaeus, but I'm thinking more in terms of age and religion than middle, populist, etc. America. Older Americans have been more opposed to this health care reform than many thought they would--but would they oppose Teddycare? Catholic Americans--especially pro-life Catholic Americans--have opposed Obamacare. Will some of them, perhaps already wondering how the Church's social teachings relate to health care, be swayed by Teddycare?

Sure, the staunch Republicans among these two groups won't be moved. But what about the Catholic who attends Mass every Sunday but doesn't think of himself as political? Or what about the senior citizen who has fond memories of "Camelot"?

So far quite a few seniors and Catholics have opposed Obamacare (something which I think surprised the administration). I hope you're right that this won't change, but I also think that hope is based on an assumption that voters are basically intelligent, thoughtful people incapable of being emotionally manipulated.

Kim said...

No way; "Teddycare" is just, stupid. And I agree that the late Senator was not so popular beyond his own cronies. Also, Americans are likely to be suspicious of any subsequent health care plans coming from this administration.
At least, that's my wishful thinking!

Jeannette said...

Here's a "cheery" thought: under Obamacare, wouldn't the late senator have met with endcare counselors who would have advised him to consider euthanasia?

joel gonzalez said...

now its up to us..

bblackvt said...

…like we’ve all been saying, it’s not a good proposition. Look at Canada and all other countries that have this type of health reform…it’s not beneficial to folks who truly need good and quick health attention.