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Conservatives in 2005 rushing to overrule one family's end-of-life decision.
Conservatives say that they do not trust the federal government. These same conservatives say that because the federal government cannot be trusted, the best course is to limit the size and scope of the federal government's power and reach.
If there is one overarching theme coming from conservative opponents of Obama's health care reform, it seems to me that it is limiting the size and reach of the federal government. Dozens of signs seen outside townhalls refer to socialism, government intervention into private health care decisions, government can't do anything right, can't be trusted, etc.
This conservative theme, I think, is a two edged sword. While I would never argue that the federal government cannot at all times be made more efficient and less wasteful....and, therefore, must always be watchdogged.....the overarching theme of conservatives, who are now in a fever pitch over the size, scope, and role of government in health care, is simply not credible.
Two factual episodes from recent history will illustrate why the conservative theme of limited government is suspect.
In 2005, the executive and the legislative branch of the federal government, controlled by Republicans at the time, working together and with emergency fervor, intervened in the lives of one specifically targeted family.....the Schiavos. The conservative party, the party of limited government, whose mythical hero, Ronald Reagan, had once rallied the party by trumpeting that "government is the problem, not the solution".....came to a frenzied, emergency decision that in the case of one family, government intervention was the solution to an end of life situation.
A Republican president who didn't have a sense of urgency in 2001 to cut short his vacation when he was briefed about Bin Laden's imminent threat to the U.S.....cut short his vacation in 2005 because federal government intervention into the lives of one single family was of such extreme urgency.
To this very day, conservatives still insist that majority Republicans in 2005 did the right thing by extending the scope of the federal government's reach all the way to the end-of-life decisions of one specific family.
Yet, in today's "debate" over health care reform, these very same conservatives heatedly maintain that legislative provisions within health care reform, and specifically end-of-life, living will counseling with doctors provisions, should not be within the power of the federal government to legislate as an option for Americans.
My second example of why conservatives' insistence on limiting the power, scope and range of the federal government is not credible is witnessed in our "new" national defense paradigm.
Over the last 8 years of Republican governance at the federal level, conservatives of all stripes have continually told me, and often with gusto, that increasing the scope and range of federal government power in such areas as secret gulags, torture, extraordinary rendition, wars of choice, spying on Americans' communications, outing CIA agents, eliminating habeas rights, and violating international treaties and conventions......were not only necessary, but essential because the threat from a small band of radical cave-dwellers was just too great.
This huge expansion of the federal government's reach, much of which was done in open violation of existing laws, (not to mention eerily similar to 1930's Germany with their central-government led, authoritarian military expansion), is still to this day justified by the very same conservatives who are now telling us that a federal government expansion of health care availability to all Americans is a heinous exploitation of government power and a danger similar to the Nazi takeover of Germany.
There are, of course, numerous examples of cognitive dissonance within today's conservative "messages", such as they are. The reason why conservative objections to health care reform, and other soon-to-be-townhalled issues, must be exposed for there disingenuousness and obvious hypocrisy is because corporate-whore media has done nothing since Obama's inauguration but give voice to every one of those conservative objections without including conservatives' total lack of credibility.
Conservatives' complaints over government-led health care reform, complaints that government health care reform is an unholy expansion of the federal government's power, scope and reach.....are simply not credible.