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I'm angry about voter anger

October 28, 2010 - Mike Maneval
Dan Balz of the Washington Post has written one of those broad overviews that often surface just before an election, hopscotching across the country to give random voters in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere a chance to speak on the mood of the electorate. The voters and the pollsters on whom Balz relies for context say the electorate is angry.

"I stood up against communism and Marxism, and that's the way I see our country going," one voter, a Vietnam veteran, told Balz. Another voter, also in Colorado, complained of America "trending toward socialism" as well.

And their fears are not surprising, in light of The Daily Beast's report from journalist John Avlon detailing the 46 harshly critical books written so far about President Barack Obama's administration. Of the 46 books Avlon lists, five have some variation of the word "communist" or "socialist" right in the titles. Others titles characterize his administration as "radical" or "leftist," or refer to the government "takeover" of health care.

And yet the health care reform act of 2010 did not include a government-run public option, and while the Senate spent longer debate the package of legislation than any proposal since U.S. entry into the first world war, none of that debate touched on arguments advocating a true "takeover" of health care, a single-payer system in which the government is the sole provider of health insurance, because any proposal built on that approach was left off the table from the beginning. Even if the health care reform act had created a new government-administered insurance program, what precisely makes government-administered health insurance such an appalling step toward socialism? Do voters fearful of looming socialism oppose the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and its government-administered insurance of consumer bank deposits? Where were they six or seven years ago when tax dollar-backed policies from the Overseas Production Investment Corp. began insuring reconstruction work in Iraq? Will the Cassandras crying about our horrific socialist future stand against Medicare Part D, or Medicare Advantage, government-run programs that provide recipients with two services for which they never paid and whose expenses go straight into deficit spending?

Or, rather, will they start standing against these programs, which are just as "socialist" as anything House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or President Obama has proposed? Because so far, they haven't. And for this reason, so far, their complaints about America being threatened by "socialism" seem more like mindless tantrums.


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