The Relative Importance Of Health Care And War

This will be a quick examination of the appropriate response time for critical public decision making. It is an area of cognitive analysis that the media, and most of the political order, have neglected to explore. For instance…..

When addressing the current debate on health care, Republicans have concluded that the issue is too important to rush:

Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (R-KY): Americans are telling us that health care is too important to rush.
John Boehner, House Majority Leader (R-OH): Health care reform is too important to rush through a flawed proposal that will raise costs
John Kline (R-MN): Health care reform is far too important to rush through Congress in a few days or a few weeks.
Rick Boucher (R-VA): It’s important that we take the time to consider all of these measures thoroughly.
Mike Johanns (R-NE): Health Care Too Important To Rush
Mike Crapo (R-ID): Health care is too big, too personal, too important to rush or get it wrong.
Paul Broun (R-GA): Whoa, this is an issue that is too important to rush through.

Setting aside for the moment that health care has been debated for several months already in this administration, and for decades if you include prior administrations going back to FDR, the Republican’s judgment to give due consideration to matters of importance is generally commendable. It seems obvious that weighty issues that have the potential for great impact should be more thoroughly considered than trivial issues. Good call, Republicans.

However, the same GOP have similarly concluded that a decision on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan is too important to delay:

Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Any failure to act decisively in response to General McChrystal’s request could serve to undermine the other good decisions the president has made on national security
John Boehner (R-OH): I do believe that the quicker he makes this decision, the quicker General McChrystal can get on with the task at hand.
Dick Cheney (R-VP): The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.
Jon Kyl (R-AZ): Clearly time is of the essence here.
John McCain (R-AZ): Every day we delay will be a delay in this strategy succeeding.
Steve Scalise (R-LA): Our commander in chief continues to delay action on Gen. McChrystal’s assessment that calls for more troops in Afghanistan
David Vitter (R-LA): We simply cannot afford to let the insurgents gain ground.

So the Republican approach to policy is that health care is so important that we must slow down the process to give it more thought, but war is an insignificant little affair that we can just dash off cavalierly. Either that or that war is so important that we need to hasten an abrupt decision, but health care we can afford to dally with and resolve when we get around to it.

This reminds a bit of Aesop’s fable of the man who blew on his hands to warm them, and blew on his soup to cool it. The satyr who had taken him in then threw him out saying…

I will have nought to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.

Sounds like good advice when dealing with Republicans.


2 thoughts on “The Relative Importance Of Health Care And War

  1. I get the point of that fable – and reject it as analogous to Republican behavior or even wise within itself. It does not describe hypocrisy – as Republicans constantly demonstrate – but simply the recognition of the principle of relativity. To wit: one’s breath is warmer than one’s hands while colder than soup. Which is why the technique is effective and immaterial to self-serving contradictory pronouncements.

  2. I live in Chicago and out here at least the bed wetters of the gop have edged out both the chickenhawk and tea bagging wing of the group…Apperantly we are a nation of law only when it fits there decidely skewed world view…The way the repugs have been on local tv would lead one to believe that Osama himself was coming to sit in an Illinois prison…

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