Absurd and asinine analogies have been swirling for weeks by critics of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). They have compared it to Watergate, to slavery, to Iraq, and relentlessly to Hurricane Katrina. Their arguments are ridiculous and transparently political.
It is certainly within the realm of reason to oppose ObamaCare and articulate a case for pursuing a different solution to expand access to health care and lower costs for patients, businesses, and government. The only problem with that is that Republicans have no other solution. They are so fixated on repealing ObamaCare that they can’t be bothered with developing a plan that might actually help the American people. And in the process they are resorting to epic levels of overkill in order to characterize a glitchy website as the end of western civilization.
However, it’s one thing to employ hyperbole to advance a political agenda, and another to recruit a notoriously controversial figure to elevate that hyperbole to heretofore unspeakable heights. Yet that’s what Fox News has done by giving former Bush Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, a platform to make grotesque assertions that diminish the tragic loss of life and property in the Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Katrina.
For those who don’t recall, Yoo is the author of the Bush administration’s legal justification for what they euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation,” but which the rest of the world calls torture. For someone who has advocated the use of barbaric tactics that have been denounced by the United Nations and the World Court, to compare health insurance reform to a natural disaster that took almost two thousand lives is reprehensible.
Yoo is probably the worst possible spokesman for this line of attack, given his resume. And he proves it with his opening argument that favorably differentiates Bush from Obama by saying that “Bush had to respond to unpredictable events,” such as “an act of war in Iraq.” Unpredictable? The act of war in Iraq was a deliberate, preplanned assault on a nation that had done nothing to incite it. The stipulated reasons for the invasion all turned out to be false. And the consequences for Iraq and the United States were costly in terms of both human life and actual expense. Yoo goes on to make this inexplicably inane assertion:
“Obama is hitting the shoals for the exact opposite reason. ObamaCare’s collapse does not result from an act of nature or the attacks of a foreign enemy. Instead, it is a perversely self-inflicted, man-made disaster that replaced the efficiency of the private markets with the tangle, confusion, and ideological bias of government bureaucracy.”
Once again Yoo falsely implies that the war in Iraq emanated from “the attacks of a foreign enemy.” Then he makes the delusional and unsupported statement that the private insurance markets were performing efficiently. Of course, if they were there wouldn’t have been 48 million people who were unable to get insurance due to cost or rejection for preexisting conditions. There also wouldn’t have been millions more who were paying for plans that provided little in the way of security, and that could be terminated entirely when a claim was filed. But the most grating rhetoric in Yoo’s screed is the repeated portrayal of ObamaCare as a “disaster” on par with, even worse than, Hurricane Katrina.
It is impossible to overstate the idiocy of an opinion that ranks a failed website rollout as inferior to the incompetence that left thousands to needlessly die in a great American city. Yoo dishonors the memory of the victims and insults the survivors. But coming from someone whose most significant professional achievement was to justify the use of torture, perhaps we should not be surprised. Neither should we be surprised that Fox News would embrace this cretin and his inhumane philosophy.