What John Spratt Might Have Said


I guess I’m in the wrong business. I need to be in the consulting business, coaching Democratic politicians on how to answer questions, because they sure as hell don’t know how to do it on their own. Of course, they don’t seem to be conscious of their ineptitude so I would probably go without any clients.

I attended Congressman’s Spratt’s Town Hall meeting on health care in Rock Hill tonight. It was an overflow crowd and even though the people were mostly polite, they were also mostly self-described opponents of whatever the Democrat was selling. Which, in truth wasn’t much.

Spratt gave a little on tort reform, gave a lot on the time line for reform, and waffled a great deal on a great many questions, including those that were ready-made to turn the surliness factor of the crowd down by several notches. Like the woman, who works 20 hours a week, is the caregiver to her sick husband and, who came hoping that her Representative might have some small lifeline of hope to toss her. Spratt stumbled on his answer to her as well as those from opponents of health care reform. Before any of the contestants on Stump the Chump were chosen, his handlers had to know that one question was coming, because it has ever since somebody at GOP Talking Point Central saw that the Dems would flub the answer. It is: “If Obamacare is so good, then are you willing to quit your health care plan and go on it?”

John Spratt rambled on about how the opponents of reform are criticizing the public option as unfair to private insurance companies and if all the people who are now on Medicare, Medicaid, Tri-Care, and other federal employee health insurance programs were put into the public plan, then the pool would be expanded so much that it would really drop prices and boy would those people squeal. Huh?

There are several possible answers to what is really a softball question.

  1. I’m already on a public health care plan through my employer, you. That why I’m fighting the special interest groups to make sure that you get some basic health coverage, if you’re one of the growing number of working Americans not covered by your employer, or can’t afford your own insurance.
  2. Do you want me to go on food stamps simply because they are available? I don’t qualify for them any more than I would qualify for the so-called public option. Besides, I believe in personal responsibility and I don’t believe that government’s role is enrich people like me, who are already rich by any reasonable standard. I am fighting to help working Americans get some very basic health coverage when their employer doesn’t provide it and they can’t afford to buy it on the open market.
  3. I will, if you will voluntarily forgo your socialized health care from Medicare and give up the transfer of wealth from my kids to you known as Social Security. In fact, I will have to find some kind of health care when Medicare goes broke in 8 years, if the people who like things as they are succeed in stopping these reforms. I might even have to go on food stamps after I lose all my money trying to get health care. That’s why I’m fighting to help working Americans get some very basic health care coverage when their employer doesn’t provide it and they can’t afford to buy it on the open market.

Democrats, how about coming up with a set of clear, easy to understand talking points to share with your constituents? Or are you just so busy admiring the sound of your own voices that you can’t even intelligently present the case for reform any more? If this is what passes for leadership in the Democratic Party, then you deserve to lose Congress in 2010.

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