Oh, what a wondrously enlightening health care debate we're having. Democratic hotshots, from the White House on down, blame the throngs protesting at town hall meetings. Baloney. It's the hotshots who are most to blame.
The hot shots see, or profess to, nothing in the least remarkable about rearranging a sixth of the American economy -- the part representing health care -- with just a few casual hearings on Capitol Hill, some presidential rhetoric and, poof, off to the races!
President Obama's strategy and tactics overthrow all known counsels of prudence and good sense. You can say if you want to, mercy's sake, Can't We Listen Respectfully to Each Other? Not the way the White House and its allies have planned this legislative version of Patton's lightning thrust through France. So far as the imperial Democratic general staff are concerned, health care is a case of take-it-or-take-it. The problem being, that isn't what you say to a democratic constituency. When you do, tempers tend to flare.
Fine. Tempers need to flare. Lincoln versus Douglas we don't have here; but, then, Lincoln, if memory serves, eventually found himself crowded too hard by the other side. He turned to resistance.
To repeat: It might not have happened this way but for the Democrats' insistence on not "wasting" a crisis. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her deputy, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, insist in a joint newspaper column that "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." Oh -- like drowning out the honest doubts of House members willing enough to reform health care but not at any cost? The Democratic offensive against doubters and worriers and people who just want to get a huge thing done right wrecked all possibility of a fruitful debate. It became Nancy's way or the highway, and don't waste the Speaker's time loading the car.