It’s Not About Health Care Reform


One of the ironies about Democrats, especially in Congress, being so tentative about health care reform is that the anger the reform efforts seem to have unleashed isn’t really about health care reform at all.

That’s not to say the anger isn’t real. Take a look at this video shot by the Columbus Dispatch, of competing health care rallies yesterday outside the office of Democratic congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (thanks to TPM Reader JL for the link). Pay particular attention at the :50 second mark, where anti-reform protesters yell and throw a few bucks at a man holding a sign claiming he has Parkinson’s.

Those guys screaming about “handouts” would be perfectly at home at a rally in the 1990s, or the 80s, or the 70s and so on. This isn’t new, and it’s not original. The social and cultural currents running through this debate exist independent of the debate, and the anger can’t be tempered or avoided by procedural figleafs that few people inside Washington understand or by better messaging. At the end of the day, even abandoning reform won’t calm that kind of anger.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.