The old saying that ‘you’re welcome to your own opinions but not your own facts’ seems quaint in today’s political environment. We’re a nation divided not only by partisanship and ideology, but also by wildly divergent realities.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the discourse around Obamacare. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be made of the Affordable Care Act, but many conservatives — including the dominant faction within today’s Republican Party — speak about Obamacare as if it were an ebola pandemic, melting the organs of the American heartland from within.
Some of the claims ostensibly respectable figures on the right make about the law are simply mind boggling. This week, Ben Carson, a conservative surgeon and activist — and the flavor-of-the-day at Fox News – told a crowd at this year’s “Values Voters Summit” that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Forget two world wars, the Great Depression or coming within an inch of annihilation during the Cold War.
Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita (R) reached back further in time to condemn the ACA as “one of the most insidious laws ever created by man,” which prompted Jon Stewart to point out that Rokita was, in effect, “putting Obamacare up with the Nuremberg laws, the Spanish Inquisition and prima nocta — the medieval law where on your wedding night the king gets to sleep with your wife.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), an enthusiastic promoter of Politifact’s Lies of the Year in 2009 (“death panels”) and 2010 (“government takeover of health care”), was more subtle, concluding merely that the ACA would eventually turn the US into a “police state” and “will ultimately be known as DeathCare.” For Rick Santorum, Obamacare is a direct “descendant of the French Revolution.” And Arizona state Rep. Brenda Barton told a reporter, “You better read your history. Germany started with national health care and gun control before [the Holocaust] happened. And Hitler was elected by a majority of people.”
This stuff is nothing short of comical...
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