Maddow and Her Straw Man

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, a liberal for sure, and whose viewership declined 40% in September, speaks often of the current health care debate on her show. And in the nature of MSNBC as the rallying base for the Democrat Party, Maddow takes shots at Republicans often ranging from mocking their current minority status in a baby tone of voice, to flat-out lying regarding their position on health care reform. My comments today are to clear up that smoke and mirror parade of Maddow’s.

On September 29th, Maddow, in her opening monologue, made the claim that congressional Republicans were being supplied information from conservative think tanks on “how health reform is a bad idea.”  Maddow, guilty of what those who study logic call a straw man argument, constructed an illegitimate representation of the Republican Party’s position on health care reform, and proceeded to attack the representation.  Straw man arguments, while fallacious, are also so very tempting.  What could possibly be easier than putting fish in a barrel and then shooting them?

Let’s be clear: the health insurance industry, as most other industries out there, is riddled with corruption and insurmountable degrees of greed.  Republicans believe that such irresponsibility is only made possible by government regulation of the free market.

And believe it or not, Republicans and Senator Chuck Schumer agree that the only real solution to the problem is to allow for real competition within the industry.  Some Democrats want to do this through the creation of a government-run option that would be (over-)funded by the taxpayer, thus creating an impossible opponent to compete within the private sector.  Republicans on the other hand want to remove the barriers that prevent health insurance companies from going at each other across the country.  Republicans want to:

  • Remove state barriers that prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines,
  • Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance must cover,
  • Give the same tax benefits to employer-provided health insurance and individually-owned health insurance,
  • And make costs transparent so Americans can choose from the most efficient plans.

Republicans are not “against health care reform.”  We’re against the increasing government involvement in yet another private industry.  We’re against bureaucrats deciding for us whether or not we even want health insurance.  We’re against another Medicare program that is not cost-effective and a vortex to taxpayer dollars.  We’re against the reform being proposed here and today.  So when Maddow mocks the Republican Party as being against health reform, and when the President calls those against this bill in Congress “defenders of the status quo,” they are attacking a Republican Party that does not exist, since no Republican believes those things.

Changes must be made, but not the ones Democrats are pushing.


Maddow’s rating down.

Audio of Maddow’s Sept. 29 show.

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