Reading the full transcript of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' August 10 interview with the Arizona Daily Star, it's easy to see why people are so frustrated with plans to launch government-run healthcare insurance.
The costs, the potential savings, the type of coverage, the potential taxes to cover the plan -- all in flux, according to Giffords. So what is the plan? Heck if we can tell from this gobbledegook. The Star says the transcript of Giffords statements were "edited for clarity." We'd hate to see the unedited version.
The unfunny part of all this is the clarity of the vision by Giffords (and other Democratic would-be healthcare reformers), as can be seen in this July 26 column...
I support reform that creates competition through a strong public option that lowers everyone's costs and competes with private insurers.
I support reform that allows Arizonans who lose their jobs to afford insurance so they can get back on their feet without fear of getting sick.
I support reform that will slow the growth of health-care costs and does not impose new taxes or burdens on our nation's most valuable economic contributors, small businesses.
... compared to the mess this turns into when advocates try to apply the ideas to reality. Even Giffords admits in her interview with the Star that "the devil is in the detail."
Part of the consternation coming from the masses probably stems from the somewhat arrogant statements and mischaracterization of critics Giffords also displays at the start of her long interview.
For instance, in answer to the question, "Why is this such a volatile issue," Giffords responds:
GIFFORDS: I don't know the answer to that. I could talk to you about my perspective.
You gotta hate when smarmy politicians don't answer a simple question. Giffords acts like the very concept of negative feelings toward a nationwide healthcare plan is so repugnant, it's unimaginable.
She also makes a clear misstep in comparing the anti-healthcare protests to demonstrations about the Iraq war:
I was first elected in 2000. So I've gone through five campaigns. I've never seen anything like this before. Not through the Iraq war when you saw a lot of protesters, a lot of anger about what was happening in Iraq.
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It took us about five seconds to disprove that one. From a Wikipedia entry on the February 15, 2003 Iraq war demonstrations (which are backed up by footnoted links):
The protests were largely peaceful though a small group of protesters who were reported to have broken off from the main rally, caused damage to property in the Union Square district, and threw stones at police officers, which resulted in forty arrests.
In Colorado Springs, 4,000 protesters were dispersed with pepper spray, tear gas, stun guns and batons. 34 were arrested on failure to disperse and other charges and at least two protesters had to have hospital treatment.