I was delighted yesterday when Rep. Alan Grayson (D) – FL decided to give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine on the House floor. His tongue-in-cheek speech that the GOP’s health care plan consists of “don’t get sick” and if you do to “die quickly” was intended to drive home the point that the Republicans’ politically motivated opposition to reform will simply perpetuate the problem.
Predictably, the irony-challenged and apparently amnesiac House Republicans seized on Grayson’s remarks (which don’t differ substantively from the pronouncements of Grayson’s Republican colleagues), sanctimoniously demanding an apology and comparing him to Rep. Joe Wilson (R) – SC. I don’t really want to go down that road as it’s already being explored except to ask how many of those Republicans voted against the measure to censure Wilson?
I’m more interested in the liberal reaction to Grayson.
Last night on MSNBC I watched as Keith Olbermann and Ariana Huffington lauded Grayson while tut-tutting Grayson’s use of the word ‘holocaust’. Later Rachel Maddow did the same thing and during her interview with Grayson, she asked him at least three times whether he regretted his use of the word. Not only did this make me angry, it got me thinking.
I don’t contend that Olbermann, Huffington and Maddow are wrong to take exception with Grayson’s use of the word ‘holocaust’. I agree with them that it’s both a distraction and an inaccurate comparison. But I think that the real distraction is that they feel the need to chide him for it.
Imagine if a Republican had made an identical speech. Would Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh criticize their fellow traveler for an unfortunate choice of words? No. They would circle the wagons and press their point.
Conservatives are better at gut-level communications. They aren’t afraid of their own shadows. Wrong as they are, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns. They ruthlessly deliver their message to its intended recipients.
Opponents of reform would much rather argue about decorum and the proper usage of ‘holocaust’ than fix the existing system. Olbermann, Huffington and Maddow are simply playing into their hands. In this regard they remind of the so-called Blue dog Democrats. If health reform is defeated or watered down so as to be meaningless it will be the Blue dogs’ fault, not the Republicans. If Democrats like Grayson who want to take a stand fail to deliver their message, part of the responsibility for that failure will rest with PC-obsessed media liberals who dilute that message with silly nattering over his choice of words.
The Democrats need more Graysons. People who aren’t afraid to call the hypocrites out. Instead of eating their own, the three aforementioned liberals (all of whom I like and respect) need to be driving home Grayson’s point. Health reform is too important to bother with self-defeating arguments over semantics.