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.