Friday, August 7, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #85: Palin Creates Straw Man, Denounces Straw Man

These days people scream at each other without listening, and they call it a debate. Case in point: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin denounced President Obama's health care reforms (as she spins it) as "downright evil." (Link hat tip: @teksquisite.) Here's my meta-rant about the wrongness of the current form of the debate:

1. The amount of weasel words, fear-mongering, and slippery slope logic (reflexively weasel words, too) used by Palin combine into an emotional appeal to a more susceptible audience (relative to all audiences, which are susceptible in varying degrees).

2. In other words, a lot of spin does nothing but scare those who don't want to do their own research. If that's your base, then the ideology itself isn't worth much anyhow.

3. In other words, if you are going to denounce a proposed plan - attack the actual plan and not some bogeyman plan you invented for convenience's sake. Use facts and figures, not fear.

4. There are better opponents who have argued against the President's proposals with more grace and nuance. I wish they'd get more coverage than Sarah Palin. (And yes, I support the President's plans so far.)

5. If you have a problem with any proposed solution, propose your own viable solution. Stop complaining and worrying.

6. If you already like what you have, especially in terms of health care, chances are that you'll continue to be able to have it no matter the outcome of the health care reform debate. So enjoy what you have, as quietly as possible, and let the rest of us (who have to deal with a broken health care and insurance system) debate for our current/future health and livelihoods.

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