Sometimes, this administration seems so out of touch with the language of its nation that it borders on parody. Usually, that’s an introduction to a Joe Biden anecdote, but this time the quote comes from Kathleen Sebelius, straight out of the nation’s heartland by geography but more out of the Ivory Tower in practice. Yesterday, when addressing the strong opposition to ObamaCare throughout the nation, Sebelius chalked it up to ignorance and misinformation — and suggested a remedy that sounds as if it came out of Orwell, emphasis mine:
“Unfortunately, there still is a great deal of confusion about what is in [the reform law] and what isn’t,” Sebelius told ABC News Radio in an interview Monday.
With several vulnerable House Democrats touting their votes against the bill, and Republicans running on repeal, Sebelius said “misinformation given on a 24/7 basis” has led to the enduring opposition nearly six months after the lengthy debate ended in Congress.
“So, we have a lot of reeducation to do,” Sebelius said.
The administration is particularly concerned about the views of senior citizens – who “have been a target of a lot of the misinformation,” according to the health secretary.
“Re-education” has been a favorite effort by tyrannies over the past century or so, mainly (but not exclusively) communist. The most notorious programs came in China, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the latter of which produced the mass exodus of “boat people” to the US and other countries. “Re-education” has come to mean either brainwashing or intimidation of political dissidents.
In fact, it’s such a notorious term that no one in American politics would be foolish enough to use it, or at least so we thought. Clearly, Sebelius isn’t talking about setting up re-education camps in the Midwest, but it’s about as foolish a term to use as can be imagined in talking about the deep unpopularity of a government program that arguably sets the stage for government control of the health-care sector.
Americans don’t need “reeducation” efforts, and Democrats had just as much time to explain the benefits of ObamaCare as did critics to explain their opposition to it. The reason people don’t like it, and 60% of voters want it repealed, is because it’s a terrible bill that is killing business investment and expansion, as well as grasping unprecedented and unconstitutional power from Americans.
And as for seniors getting misinformation, well, perhaps Secretary Sebelius might want to start her “reeducation” efforts within HHS. Seems as though some of the misinformation has been coming from her own staff.
Update: I had already written the post and the headlines for it when Glenn Reynolds showed that great minds think alike.
Update II: Looks like reeducation will be a tall order, and getting taller:
A new poll shows that public support for health care reform dropped sharply in August – a dagger in Democrats’ hopes that their landmark legislation will help them in November’s midterm.
The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll has support for the bill dropping seven percentage points in August – down to 43 percent – while opposition rose 10 points to 45 percent. That’s the weakest showing since May – and a far cry from the bump proponents had hoped to see as some of the law’s more consumer-friendly provisions kick in.
Democrats said throughout the year-long debate on Capitol Hill that support for the overhaul would increase once the bill passed and Americans were able to take advantage of some of its benefits. But it appears voters’ opinions of the legislation were set more firmly than anyone thought during the bruising political fight.
Better get moving with that brainwashing truth-telling, Secretary Sebelius!