An occasional look at what people are talking about in politics.
By Chris Ingram
I’m not so much upset about the fact that Obama and the Democrats have taken over one-fifth of our nation’s economy with their healthcare bill, as I am upset that with their accounting tricks (front-loaded revenues and back-loaded spending, as former CBO director Douglas Holtz- Eakin calls it) and disregard for our economic future. In short, Obama and the Democrats have been disingenuous with the American people about how we will be paying for all this largesse.
The new unfunded entitlement starts out with a $250 rebate to seniors to help them bridge the “hole” in the prescription drug benefit. The rebate is necessary because, well, it’s an election year and seniors vote! Of course filling the hole wouldn’t be necessary if George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress a few years ago hadn’t passed this unfunded mandate in the first place. But the GOP can’t help itself from acting like pandering Democrats every now and then.
Alas, there’s a lot of blame to go around. The only common denominator is: politicians.
Back to Obama’s smoke and mirrors — even the liberal New York Times acknowledges the economic shortcomings of the healthcare entitlement legislation. In his column in the Times Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office notes, “In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.” And that’s just the projected cost for ten years – which will no doubt increase faster than a, well, a government program.
Watching the News
I was watching the national nightly news on ABC the other night and in a report about the healthcare debacle, the reporter mentioned “abortion rights opponents” when referring to the handful of pro-life House Democrats who finally caved in on the healthcare vote when Obama gave his word he wouldn’t allow federal funds to pay for abortions.
I’ve been studying the language we use for over ten years going back to my days working for Frank Luntz the Republican pollster who played a large role in crafting the “Contract with America” in 1994. The words we use (and those we hear) make an impact and certainly suggest our buy-in to political points of view.
In the above example the reporter could have called this small group of non-traditional Democrats “pro-life Democrats” or simply referred to them as “those opposing abortion” but he instead injected his seemingly pro-choice position by referring to them as negatively as possible by calling them “abortion rights opponents.” The word choice here had a negative connotation. Further it showed the reporter’s bias as it emphasized his concern — the denial of rights, as preeminent over their concern — the denial of life. Of course the Right engages in this type of language gamesmanship too every time they call the wacko’s on the Left as being “pro-death” and supporters of “abortion on demand.” But you’ll never hear them referred that way on the nightly news.
The point is not about abortion being right or wrong, it’s that the words we use and hear matter. So pay attention. There are a lot of double-talking politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Crist and Barack Obama out there who want to confuse you.
More GOP Double-Talk from Jeff Atwater
Speaking of double-talk, Florida State Senate President and candidate for C.F.O. Jeff Atwater has come out with a few more good ones in the last week or so. He wants the U.S. Constitution changed to require that Congress and the president pass balanced federal budgets to stop the nation from choking on debt. This is no doubt a great idea and it should be enacted immediately. The problem isn’t the idea, it’s the fact that Jeff Atwater is promoting it. Little Jeffy seems to think voters are so stupid they’ll forget he has repeatedly had no problem increasing the size of the national debt when it benefits his own chances of getting elected. The State of Florida used federal stimulus money to balance the state’s budget last year and secured billions to build a high speed rail network to shuttle tourists from Tampa to Disney World. Atwater supported them both. You can see Atwater’s call for the Balanced Budget Amendment by clicking on the video from our homepage. Atwater makes no mention of his own hypocrisy of course…
To further muddle his own record, this clown of a “leader” has introduced legislation to have a non-binding referendum on the ballot in November asking Florida voters if the federal budget should be balanced. That’s kind of like asking a four year old if he wants to eat ice cream for dinner. Except asking the question of a four year old won’t cost Florida taxpayers $80,000 – that’s the estimated cost to include the non-binding question Atwater wants on the ballot.
Personally I’d like to ask Florida voters if the lying politicians who think voters are stupid ought to be sent to Dick Cheney’s water boarding school as a test subject, but I’m having trouble getting anyone in Tallahassee to sponsor the bill.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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