Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Craziest Republican of the Day: Orrin Hatch


He took home the award back on October 16, and he gets the nod again today. What for? Why, for being crazy, of course, in that especially partisan and dishonest way of his.

Consider this, from The Hill.

In an interview with right-wing CNS News, Hatch actually suggested that health-care reform would destroy America's two-party system:

And if they get there, of course, you're going to have a very rough time having a two-party system in this country, because almost everybody's going to say, "All we ever were, all we ever are, all we ever hope to be depends on the Democratic Party."

Right, because apparently American democracy is that fragile, just a step away from one-party rule. Why do conservatives insist on essentially dismissing America's political system as so inherently weak?

Of course, this isn't just crazy, it's actually rather revealing of a key Republican motive in opposing any and all reform. For what Hatch is admitting here is that reform would actually be very popular, that it would be giving Americans what they want. And, of course, it would provide a huge long-term boost for the Democrats. And Republicans can't have that, can they? Of course not -- not when, as usual, they put party before country and self-interest before the interests, not to mention the health, of the American people.

But that wasn't it for the crazy. Hatch went on to say this:

Do I believe [Democrats are] that diabolical? I don't believe most of them are, but I think some of them are. Maybe diabolical's too harsh of a word, but the fact is, they really, really believe in socialized medicine.

This, of course, is just plain stupid. Adding a public option, another choice, to what would remain essentially a market-oriented system would not constitute socialism, not by a long shot, and neither would a more stringent regulatory regime to rein in insurance industry excesses and injustices. The idea is to bring more people into the system, people who currently have no access to it and in many cases no hope of accessing it, as well as to make health care more affordable and available for people who are currently limited to a private option that is driven by profit, not the health of customers, and to reduce costs across the board, costs that are spiralling out of control and threatening to sink the entire system. If robust enough, a public option that opens up the market to millions who are currently on the outside looking in would undeniably be a significant addition to the existing system. It would not mean a government takeover of the system.

For the likes of Orrin Hatch, it's much easier to lie and distort and smear and play to irrational fears than to debate the issue on the facts and merits. Which is why we continue to get this sort of ridiculous nonsense from Republicans. The smarter ones among them know that Democrats are on to a winning formula, with good and just public policy likely leading to partisan gain. It was the same with Hillarycare back in the '90s, when Krazy Bill Kristol led the offensive against reform. This time, there can be no backing down.

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