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The Audacity of Disagreement

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank spills lots of ink today excoriating Republican Senator Mitch McConnell for having the temerity to consistently and persistently object to the Democrats' plans to alter the manner in which Americans receive health care.

Ninety-four times he warned of the evils of a "government-run" system, according to a Washington Post analysis. Forty-seven times he warned of a "government takeover" of the same. Fourteen times he railed against the Democrats' nefarious "experiment." Thirty-seven times he spoke the phrases "higher taxes" or "raise taxes," and at least 19 times he used the words "slash Medicare" or "Medicare cuts."

Perhaps more accurate than saying that McConnell gave 50 health-care speeches would be saying that McConnell gave the same health-care speech 50 times, with minor changes. And this in itself is a major achievement: Only a disciplined and well-conditioned public orator could repeat himself so often without injury.

Albert Einstein had an unkind label for those who do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Yet that has been the strategy of McConnell, and congressional Republicans generally, as they have labored over the past several months to defeat any health-care plan proposed by the White House and congressional Democrats.

Of course, Einstein's "unkind label" for what Milbank says McConnell is doing is "Insanity".

But is McConnell insane?

Milbank's only objection to what McConnell's been doing on the Senate floor since June is that--he's been doing it. Nowhere in the piece does Milbank refute the merits of McConnell's speeches. Nowhere does Milbank object to McConnell's claims that Obamacare actually is a dangerous experiment that will raise taxes, slash Medicare and result in our all receiving rationed services. To Milbank, the mere fact that McConnell's had the audacity to run down the conservative litany against Obamacare is the primary offense. And why has this disagreement, to Milbank, been wrong? Obviously because it's not working. That's the point of the Einstein reference. It's Milbank's view that Obamacare is a fait accompli and that McConnell's insane to object to it. To paraphrase Olympia Snowe, "history's calling" and all Milbank thinks McConnell needs to do is just answer the phone.

But is that true?

What's interesting to me is that since McConnell's speeches began in June, according to Rasmussen, public support for Obamacare has dropped 8% (from a 50% approval rating to 42% approval rating). Americans now stand in opposition to Obamacare 54%-42%.

Which calls to mind another expression, not half as sophisticated as the one Milbank attributes to Einstein, but perhaps more telling of what McConnell's speeches have done to the political landscape which Milbank surprisingly believes remains so strongly in support of Obamacare

"If you look around the poker table and can't tell who the sucker is, the sucker is you."


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Comments (14)

Albert Einstein had an unki... (Below threshold)

Albert Einstein had an unkind label for those who do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein ha... (Below threshold)
Albert Einstein had an unkind label for those who do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.Agreed since DoD Health System, VA Health, Department of the Interior BIA Health System have worked so well we should keep doing.
Before trolls (and the few ... (Below threshold)

Before trolls (and the few lefties who are able to properly articulate an argument like jpe)start bashing McConell a ala SNL. I just want to say we DO NOT NEED TO RUSH THIS!


Why must it be pushed through by the end of the year? Wouldn't it be better to do it correctly and have it pass right before 2010 elections so Dems get reelected? I mean there are plenty of ideas that wouldn't cost anything to reduce the budget, and changes need to be made to medicare/aid to make it work properly rather than bleed money.

Fix the current government system, then come talk to us again about a government takeover. Meanwhile get rid of this crap that wants to cripple the insurance industry in what has been admitted by the left "Is the first step toward single payer".

If you show me a properly set up single-payer healthcare system that is budget neutral or better, decreases costs then I will gladly support it. However there are bigger problems to talk about right now than Healthcare in this country, and trying to pass this in the dark of the night will only piss people off.

Gee, Americans now stand ag... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Gee, Americans now stand against Obamacare by a (slightly) greater margin than Obama won the election. He considers his election a mandate to remake American society. What does he consider this?

Obama feels the need to push this through because that's the only way it will ever happen. He does not understand compromise.

"He does not understand com... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"He does not understand compromise."

Jim, I truly hate to disagree with you on this, but he does understand his meaning of the term "compromise." And he has been kind enough to demonstrate his meaning to us on a number of occasion. If you oppose his idea, change your position. Now you agree with him. Now compromise has then been achieved.

I ask you, what else could, "I won" mean?

How can Mitch McConnell be ... (Below threshold)

How can Mitch McConnell be an obstruction even if he wanted to be?

Don't the Dems have majorities in both chambers?

(Sorry, just had to point that out, even though liberal heads explode when they have to process such "inconvenient truth".)

Milbank doesn't work for th... (Below threshold)

Milbank doesn't work for the NY Times, he works for the Washington Post... the link sorta gives that away.

Millbank.....What ... (Below threshold)


What a tool.

Tell me, when he wrote the following, was he referring to McConnell or Obama?

"Only a disciplined and well-conditioned public orator could repeat himself so often without injury."

Took the words right out of... (Below threshold)

Took the words right out of my keyboard, Hank.

Why is it not possible to go through a day without seeing Obama giving the same speech on healthcare.

About how America is behind the public option. About how we won't have to change insurance plans. About how seniors won't get screwed to the wall. About how young people are going to be forced to buy insurance way in excess of their needs. About how only the rich have "cadillac" healthcare plans and they should be taxed out of existence. About how healthcare will save money. About how healthcare is going to be revenue neutral, with no additional taxes and no impact on our national debt.

OK. The Democrats have complete control over Congress. Pull that trigger and see what happens next November.

I call bullshit. The sucker is Dana Milbank.

Hand and BobdogDon't... (Below threshold)

Hand and Bobdog
Don't you know that it is different when a Democrat does it?

Protest, repeating oneself, being outspoken, being against a President Policy, sleeping with pages\interns, taking bribes, etc is OK if they are a Democrat but wrong if they a Republican.

At least he didn't call McC... (Below threshold)

At least he didn't call McConnell a racist.

Though I'm sure if Milbank had a few more column inches that might have happened.

Of course Milbank never act... (Below threshold)

Of course Milbank never actually refutes or counters any of McConnell's points in his speeches, he just counts. What an utterly pointless and juvenile column.

Oh, and fire the editor who approved such dribble.

Milbank.......mouth organ f... (Below threshold)

Milbank.......mouth organ for the DNC....in more ways that one.

Mitch is one of the few Sen... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Mitch is one of the few Senators who is not an idiot.

Milbank is one of the many newspaper writers who is.

The question should never be, "Did you see what Dana Milbank said about Mitch McConnell?", but rather, "Why on earth would you waste your time reading Dana Milbank?"






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