No tolerance for opponents of health reform

Freedom New Mexico

The ongoing debate over the White House health-care plan has revealed the ugly dark side of this administration. We now see that behind President Barack Obama’s soothing words and talk about ameliorating differences is a man and his allies who disdain their opponents and have little tolerance for freewheeling public debate.

We’re shocked by the White House’s call for Americans to forward to the authorities any Web-based information about the health care plan they deem to be “fishy” (check out the White House Web site blog entry “facts are stubborn things” Aug. 4, 6:55 a.m. EST).

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, accused the administration of compiling an enemies list, which isn’t an overstatement when you consider the chilling nature of what the White House is suggesting.

Our libertarian adviser and columnist, Tibor Machan, referred to this tactic as “Hugo-Chavez-style democracy” and found the Obama administration’s overall attitude toward protesters bizarre given that the president started out, after all, as a community organizer.

We’ve also been shocked by the Democratic response to the angry protesters at the various congressional Town Hall meetings pitching the administration’s government-heavy health-care plans. Many people are justifiably angry and others are, as the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan wrote, terrified by the proposals.

Top Democrats have compared protesters to Nazis and Brown Shirts, even as their union allies have showed up in force to shout down Obama critics. Democratic leaders and union officials have referred to the citizens as crazies, right-wing lunatics and tools of the Republican Party.

“They are mocking and menacing concerned citizens,” Noonan wrote. “The Democrats should not be attacking, they should be attempting to persuade, to argue for their case.”

The media hasn’t been much better. CNN’s Political Editor Mark Preston said the contentiousness of the debate “befuddles the mind.” We would be more befuddled if such an absurd plan would move forward without widespread public concern.

The president portrayed himself as someone who would listen to the concerns of average Americans, but it’s clear he is an ideologue who has little interest in hearing from anyone who doesn’t agree with his notions. Health care is a life and death matter. It also is a major cost in each family’s budget. Given that, according to recent polls, 70 percent or more of Americans are generally satisfied with their own health care, it’s odd to expect them to roll the dice without demanding answers to the most obvious questions.

Many Democrats have been pulling out the “civility” card, by denouncing the members of the public who have gotten agitated at the Town Hall meetings. Yet there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people expressing deep emotions on this subject, even though some of the protesters have — as always happens with emotional issues — gotten out of hand.

Democrats are using their newfound concerns about “civility” as a way to shut up voices they don’t want to hear from.

Fortunately, the health care reform is headed down a dead end. This administration has been racking up deficits and debt, as did the previous administration. To add even more costs, especially during troubled economic times, and to tinker with a system that works decently for most people is hard to fathom. The unfathomable nature of the plan and the arrogance by which the administration is pushing it are the real reasons for the anger.

The administration needs to put an end to its thuggish tactics and listen to its critics for a change.