- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

How low can they go? The desperate Democratic peddlers of a government health care takeover have proclaimed an insurance “holocaust in America” (Rep. Alan M. Grayson, Florida Democrat), lambasted conservative health care town-hall protesters as “political terrorists” (Rep. Baron P. Hill, Indiana Democrat), sent SEIU thugs to demonstrate outside Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’s private residence, and derided senior citizens questioning President Obama’s fuzzy math-savings claims. Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leading them deeper into demagogic mire.

This week, Mr. Reid pummeled opponents with the worn-out race card. Following in the footsteps of former President Carter (who blamed Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s objections to Mr. Obama’s policy deceptions on a “racism inclination”) and Jesse Jackson (“You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man”), Mr. Reid likened Republicans who object to socialized medicine to slave masters, enemies of women’s suffrage and Bull Connor.

Mr. Reid’s rhetorical aim was worse than the unhinged Minnesota protester who threw tomatoes at Sarah Palin during a book signing and hit a police officer instead. Splat.

Mustering up as much indignation as his taut face could exhibit, Mr. Reid lectured those standing in the way of Demcare: “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‘Slow down. It’s too early. Things aren’t bad enough.’

“When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted, ‘Slow down. There will be a better day to do that. Today isn’t quite right.’

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

It was the Republican Party that fought slavery and the Democratic Party that battled to preserve it. It was then-Democrat Strom Thurmond who led the civil-rights filibuster that Mr. Reid tried to lay on Republicans. And it’s the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, that boasts ex-Klansman Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, among its senior leaders. But don’t confuse Mr. Reid with history while he’s chasing Republicans around with his “RAAAACISM!” stamp.

The more the American public learns about the choice-limiting, debt-exploding, bureaucracy-multiplying health care takeover, the more opposition increases. And the more unhinged the Democratic majority and its supporters get.

There is now a $200,000 “bounty” on the head of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Tom Donohue. Left-wing activist Web site “Velvet Revolution” published a want ad this week with Mr. Donohue’s picture on it, soliciting information leading to “the arrest and conviction” of the business leader for “opposing progressive initiatives.” The witch-hunt is targeting Mr. Donohue for his outspoken criticism of the costs and impact of the Democrats’ health care legislation on small businesses across the country.

Such reckless propaganda accusing opponents of “criminality” isn’t limited to nutroots publications. In the august pages of the New York Times last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof titled his universal care manifesto, “Are We Going To Let John Die?” Mr. Kristof elevated unemployed Oregon sawmill worker John Brodniak, 23, as the Demcare poster child. Reportedly diagnosed as having a cavernous hemangioma, a neurological condition, Mr. Kristof bemoaned: “Without insurance, John has been unable to get surgery or even help managing the pain.”

An emergency room asked Mr. Brodniak not to return without insurance, Mr. Kristof claims (a practice prohibited by federal law). No doctor would treat him, Mr. Kristof reported (get your grain of salt ready). Isn’t it “monstrous,” Mr. Kristof concludes (hanky alert), “for politicians to avert their eyes, make excuses and deny coverage to innumerable Americans just like John?”

Ready for the punch line? Mr. Brodniak not only has coverage through Oregon’s Medicaid program, but has also been a patient at the prestigious Oregon Health and Science University in Portland (a safety-net institution that accepts all Medicaid patients) for the past three weeks - a fact that Mr. Kristof either deliberately ignored and suppressed from readers or didn’t bother to find out before publishing his screed.

In other words, Mr. Brodniak was already being treated and cared for by a top-notch neurologist under our existing health care system when Mr. Kristof came along to scream at Congress for letting him die.

Mr. Kristof’s tale follows on the heels of at least two dubious horror stories disseminated by Mr. Obama. In September, Mr. Obama told of Illinois cancer patient Otto Raddatz, who supposedly died after he was dropped from his insurance plan when his insurer discovered an unreported gallstone the patient hadn’t known about. The truth? He got the treatment he needed in 2005 and died just this year.

In another case, Mr. Obama claimed, a woman with breast cancer lost her insurance because “she forgot to declare a case of acne.” In fact, she failed to disclose a previous heart condition and did not list her weight accurately, but her insurance was restored anyway after intense public lobbying.

But why bother with troublesome facts? In the insatiable pursuit of government control, truth and rationality are the first casualties.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery, 2009).

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