Tumbl/CounterTumbl: Peter Feld and John Carney Debate Health Care



Yesterday, bloggers Peter Feld and John Carney had a heated back-and-forth about health care on their various Tumblrs. Among other points, they debated death panels, the relevance of police tasering to the discussion, and just how good the U.S. Postal Service is.

It all started out with this short post by Carney:


Trying to defend Obamacare, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein said he saw no evidence that the government was prone to madness.

Watch this video about cops tazering a teenager with a broken back 19 times if you also think you haven’t seen evidence of government madness.

I know “death panels” are a scare tactic. But when it’s not hard to believe in death panels when you see this sort of thing.

Here’s what Peter Feld (above, left) had to say. To see Carney’s rebuttal, click here.

This takes the cake, but it’s indicative of the distracting, misleading, intentionally irrelevant campaign that health care opponents on the right have been waging. Here’s how it works: Take something completely unrelated to health care, that puts government in a bad light, and say, hey! you hate waiting at the DMV, don’t you? Or the Post Office? Well then, you sure don’t want the government anywhere near your health care! Look at the cops torture that poor kid — well, you sure as heck don’t want these people in charge of your medical treatment!

When I was on Fox News with two Republicans last week, they tried to taunt me with “what has the government ever done well?” That’s not hard to answer. NASA put a man on the moon. FEMA does a pretty good job when it’s not being run by George Bush. The government built the interstate highway system. We have public universities (that means, run by the government!) at the top of the rankings, like UC Berkeley where I studied, or Michigan, or SUNY. As for the Post Office, where’s the complaint? Put a 44 cent stamp on a piece of paper and a few days later it will be delivered across the country. And as Bush-lovers have bragged, the government prevented another terror attack on US soil after 9/11.

Closer to health-care relevance, the government inspects the food supply and keeps us from being poisoned. And the National Institutes of Health is at the forefront of medical research, the Food and Drug Administration safeguards the approval of new medication, and the Centers For Disease Control are masters at coping with pandemics. And there are great government-run hospitals. Even the DMV — and I’ve been caught up in their system once or twice — generally hands me a number and takes care of me as quickly as any other line I have to wait on. I could go on.

A video of a kid being tasered (removed for your non-viewing pleasure) might be an argument against police having tasers. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t let the government anywhere near our law enforcement! Maybe we shouldn’t let the Feds send Americans abroad with guns and weapons, either. Or operate prisons. Well, a few of the people showing up to yell at their congressmen might actually make one or two of those arguments, too. (The same ones who show up to see the President with loaded guns, maybe). Either way, that clip has zero relevance to this issue. You do not need to see a kid being tasered by cops to take part in the health care debate.

And amazingly, John Carney is still trying to convince us that there are death panels in the health care bill. There are not! There was a totally sensible provision, suggested by Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, to have insurance reimburse doctors for couseling patients and their families about end-of-life decisions and living wills. Thanks to the nimnuts at the Town Hall meetings, it has been removed. Thank you, conservative right.

Peter Feld is a writer and content strategist, a former Democratic political consultant and ex-market research director at Conde Nast Publications. He taught political polling and strategy in NYU’s graduate Political Campaign Management program, and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UC Berkeley. He has written for Ad Age, the New York Post, Gawker, Radar, Portfolio.com and Cookie. This post originally appeared at Six Degrees of Peter Feld.

John Carney’s rebuttal

compiled by Robert Quigley.

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