If you enjoy political theatre, this was your night. If you are a Republican politician, however, you’ll be anxious to forget it. President Obama was in prime form during his Sept. 9 speech before a joint session of Congress, eloquently making a moral case for health care reform. That was bad enough for the GOP, but when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) blurted out, “You Lie,” at the President of the United States, Wilson personally sank his party to a new low. However, if there was a bright side for the minority party tonight, it was Charles Boustany (R-LA) and his Republican response to the president.
If you caught Boustany’s brief response, I imagine you’ve already declared me insane, but hear me out. Boustany was entirely unremarkable, but for Republicans, on this occasion, being unremarkable was a good thing.
Click HERE to read the transcript.
Frankly, Rep. Boustany had no business being in the health care spotlight, despite his status as a heart surgeon. The Louisiana Republican mimicked the same tired & misleading arguments the GOP has made in the past related to the costs of the anticipated legislation. Most misleading, though, was Boustany’s assertion that the proposals supported by Democrats amounts to, “Replacing your family’s current health care with government-run health care…” But, nobody’s talking about doing that.
His general message was that we can’t afford reform and that we should approach it from another angle, but this is disingenuous. It was a passive-aggressive and cynical message, suggesting an awareness of the need for reform, but in a different way and at a different time. As Boustany put it, “we need to start over.” Don’t believe it.
The truth is, Boustany and his party are not interested in reform. Take a look at Bustany’s voting record on health care issues, where his campaign funds come from, or his writing on the subject, and his intentions — and those of the GOP — become quite clear: If allowed, they will kick this issue down the road, dilute it, or kill it if they can.
For more on the speech and the future of health care policy:
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