Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Krugman on health care:

The smear-and-fear campaign has already started. The Democratic plans all bear a strong resemblance to the health care plan that Mitt Romney signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, differing mainly in offering Americans additional choices. But that didn’t stop Mr. Romney from denouncing the Clinton plan as “European-style socialized medicine.” And Fred Thompson claims that the Clinton plan denies choice — which it actually offers in abundance — and relies on “punishment” instead.

There's a problem here, though. Neither Krugman nor I actually believes that "European-style" constitutes a "smear" in the health care context. Nor do we believe that "European-style" health care is something people should be afraid of. But the Democrats, Clinton included, have assiduously attempted to differentiate their approaches to universal health insurance from "European-style" health care plans. This, though, puts liberals in an awkward position. Like in the famous Seinfeld episode, we need to angrily denounce insinuations that the Democrats are "European-style" but always with the caveat not that there's anything wrong with that. But it seems to me that if we're doomed to have a debate about European-style socialized medicine, we might as well propose European-style socialized medicine.