House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have an op-ed in today's USA Today, wherein they suggest the disruption of town-hall meetings on health care reform is "un-American":
These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views -- but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
This, of course, does not sit well with conservatives; in the blogosphere, both Hot Air and Michelle Malkin (who founded Hot Air, and who is an official promoter of the tea parties planned for August 22) cite Democratic complaints that the Bush administration called its opponents unpatriotic to marginalize them and push the country into war.
Pelosi and Hoyer don't say opposing health care reform is un-American; they say drowning out debate is. Health reform should be "subject to so much scrutiny and debate...it is well worth the time it takes to get it right. We are confident that we will get this right," they write.
Disruption is indisputably one element of the campaign to oppose health care reform. Is it un-American? What is American? Surely these people were all born in America. All of this is happening in America. Maybe drowning out debate is American, after all...I guess we'll find out.
It's clear that the people who drown out town-hall meetings don't want to hear what Democrats have to say about health care. Lots of them express fundamental misunderstandings about what Democrats are proposing--like the father of a man with cerebral paulsy who shouted at Rep. John Dingell that President Obama's reforms would leave his son with absolutely zero medical care--and they don't want to hear what the plan actually is, because they think they know it already...or they think there's a behind-the-scenes plan to erect a single-payer system, either now or a few years down the road, and they don't trust any part or party of the process, but rather their own convictions about Obama's sinister motives.
The hard part, for Democrats, is explaining their plan with all this going on, and with the "plan" splayed out in several different places and forms--Obama's desire for a public option, the co-op plan bubbling up in the Senate, and the House bill--and on that front, Pelosi and Hoyer vow to crack on:
This month, despite the disruptions, members of Congress will listen to their constituents back home and explain reform legislation. We are confident that our principles of affordable, quality health care will stand up to any and all critics.