Posted by Brother Bob on 19 January, 2010 at 7:46 am. 7 comments already!


This story came up over the summer, and only showed up as a small blip on the blogosphere radar. I never quite found the time to write about it then, but with us on the verge of having President Obama’s health care system imposed on us despite massive public opposition I though this was a good time to circle back to this topic.

To recap, over the summer, Rep. Eric Massa stated that he would vote against the interests/opinions of his constituents if he thought it would be “helpful”. There was a small bubble of outrage that quickly passed, as our elected officials were kind enough to give us bigger reasons for outrage. Kim Priestap at Wizbang raises a good question about Massa’s motives, but a greater question was left unasked. Her main point is that Massa made a Freudian slip in asserting that he would vote against his district’s interests, later changing his wording to say opinions, is stating that he would support the health care bill. Priestap goes on to state that the main difference between Bush’s going against public opinion versus Obama’s is that Bush was doing what was in the best interest for national security while what Obama is doing is merely an attempt to grab power and put America under the dependence of the government.

Now, to take Kim’s point a bit further, the heavy public opposition to both policies are for two very different reasons. Many liberals were opposed to the Iraq war simply out of hatred for George Bush. If you don’t believe me look at how groups like Not In Our Name have folded up their tents, how the antiwar comic “Get Your War On” ended on January 20th 2009, or how Code Pink no longer dominates the news as opposed to back when they were exploiting Cindy Sheehan. Many additional Americans opposed the war because Bush did a poor job of making his case to the public as to why the war was necessary. Doug Feith’s book “War and Decision” illustrates how this happened and how the opposition was able to frame the arguments to push public opinion against the war. By contrast, the American public is greatly opposed to the current health care bill because Democrats have done a poor job of obfuscating the disastrous effects that this bill will have on both the levels of health care we enjoy and on the American economy.

But a larger question remains unanswered. For the most part, people opposed to the war in Iraq are in favor of the health care bill and those supporting the Iraq War are against the government taking over the health care industry. Granted, there will be exceptions, but for the most part this principle holds true. Which leads me to the question – we elect our officials to act in our best interests. At what point should we entrust our elected officials to “do the right thing” even if the majority of us disagrees with their course of action? Conservatives know that Bush was right on Iraq and that Obama’s health care plan will lead us to ruin. Liberals know that Bush was wrong about Iraq and that Obamacare will improve health care for all Americans. If we’re applying public opinion as the litmus test, are we selling ourselves short in that a simple majority rule should decide any issue, no matter how complex? For that matter, are we all being hypocrites for praising the steadfastness of our leaders who champion issues that we support while condemning the leaders who back issues we oppose? This is one time I don’t have a solid answer or a solid conclusion. Personally I find it refreshing to have a politician willing to be this honest with his constituents as Massa – I just hope he was as clear about his position during his last election campaign. I’d be really curious to hear what folks from both sides of the aisle have to say…

Crossposted from Brother Bobs Blog

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