President Obama used his weekly YouTube address to talk about the debate on health care, naturally. This time, however, he set out to take down some of the more ridiculous things circulated by opponents of reform, calling them "outrageous myths."
Some of the key takedowns, in case you don't feel like watching all the way through:
- His first calling out of people perpetrating insane rumors. Basically, insane people funded by lobbies: "...willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are."
- Illegal Immagrants being covered under reform: "Let's start with the false claim that illegal immigrants will get health insurance under reform. That's not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has never even been on the table."
- Abortions being covered by the government: Some are also saying that coverage for abortions would be mandated under reform. Also false. When it comes to the current ban on using tax dollars for abortions, nothing will change under reform.
- Finally, the intelligence-insulting "death panals": As every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called "death panels" – an offensive notion to me and to the American people. These are phony claims meant to divide us.
Granted, it's been a long time coming, but it's nice to finally hear him come out with a firm position in debunking extremist talking points without coming off to partisan himself. Notably, he didn't tackle the pressing issue of straight-up crazies other than to generally characterize their actions as "outrageous," as a catchall for the insane shit they're saying, but it's an easy flame to fan, and also, he doesn't need to get into a First Amendment debate in the middle of health care.
Still, we all knew Obama would bring the crazies out of the cracks, and sure enough, here they are, being debunked on a national stage. The question of how much of a threat the White House perceives these accusations to be is on the table, now: they dignified them by answering them. And it's great to see them fight back against inane lies and truthiness. But — how's the saying go? — you can't argue with an asshole. Did he take the rumors down, or give them more voice? Or just open up the floodgates for worse to come in?