Favorite

‘The tree of crazy’ 

I remain convinced that the best path to quality universal care is a single-payer health insurance system. In other words, Medicare for everyone, with the usual optional supplements for the well-to-do. But I knew from the outset of the current debate that my preference wasn't going to happen, or anything reasonably close.

Any civilized country you can name provides health care for all — including foreign visitors — at a lower cost than we pay. Plus their citizens live longer and newborns don't die as often.

Yet, it seems a given that only a minority endorses a trade of the existing U.S. system for these cheaper approaches and their better outcomes.

OK, so I lose. But that hasn't prevented near coronaries over the bodacious lies being told to defeat whatever the Obama administration brings to the table. (What is that plan, you ask? Beats me. The vaunted Obama message machine has been on the fritz for months.)

I didn't expect honesty from Republicans — the Just Say No party. They are outraged by Obama's election. The shout-down halls are a free platform to share that unhappiness, loudly, with the world. Race — the fear of black males that permeates so many decisions in America still — is an undeniable factor.

It has been discouraging to see Democrats stoke the hysteria. U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, who has always trucked in fear, is an unsurprising example. Whether waving a miniature flag to endorse Pledge of Allegiance legislation or bashing gay people or swinging a shotgun around or casting women with difficult choices as baby killers, Ross has never been a profile in political courage.

Ross was never going to support meaningful health reform, despite the huge poverty in his district — tens of thousands without health care or bankrupted by inadequate insurance.  He's politically invulnerable and beholden to the medical industry. Still, some of his utterances have been stupefying. Like what he said on CNN:

“I will never vote for a bill to kill old people, period.”

There is not, was not and will not be any such bill. But this non-existent demon has come to embody Obama's health plan for the zanies. Opportunist Ross is happy to take advantage, too. He might as well have added: “And I'll never vote for a bill that makes a tattooed 280-pound black man your executioner.”

The media bears some blame. Rather than call a crazy a crazy, today's media quote the craziness straight and, for “balance,” get a brief sane response. Something like:

“Hundreds of angry protesters besieged U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln at a Benton County picnic Saturday to shout loudly that the earth was flat. They said Arkansas was perilously close to falling off the edge. A NASA scientist said later that satellite imagery suggests the world is round.”

Rick Perlstein wrote in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post that  serious journalists didn't waste time with the crazies in the golden days of Cronkite.  “The media didn't adjudicate the ever-present underbrush of American paranoia as a set of ‘conservative claims' to weigh, horse-race-style, against liberal claims,” wrote Perlstein. “Back then, a more confident media unequivocally labeled the civic outrage represented by such discourse as ‘extremist' — out of bounds.

“The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora. Only now, it's being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest.”

And fertilized by Mike Ross.

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Lyons doesn't have an ex-wife, silly.

    • on January 23, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • What? That was all made up? Oh my. Well, let's hope he gets busy on…

    • on January 22, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Pssst - Lyons plans to pen a column on why the donors stopped giving to…

    • on January 22, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation