Jonah Goldberg from the National Review suggested on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom that ObamaCare is the policy equivalent of the Iraq war, but worse because the Iraq war didn’t affect our lives directly. He said, “(U)nlike the Iraq war, this affects people’s lives personally in a much more direct way.”
Watch the April 10 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom via Media Matters here:
Goldberg nattered on through a series of Republican talking points about the ACA (“ObamaCares”), including my favorite that it was not saving dimes to the defict but adding trillions of dimes to the deficit, to land on his coup de grâce attack. Goldberg compared ObamaCares to the Iraq war, “In a lot of ways you could say this is the domestic policy equivalent of the Iraq war. It’s not going the way the guy promised… And unlike the Iraq war, this affects people’s lives personally in a much more direct way.”
Jonah Goldberg surmises incorrectly that Americans didn’t have any stake in the Iraq war, didn’t have any family members fighting, didn’t lose any friends or family fighting in Iraq, didn’t know any Iraqis enough to be impacted by their deaths, and/or don’t know anyone impacted by the war.
Perhaps Jonah Goldberg has been spared seeing returning troops try to deal with their disabilities. Perhaps he’s been spared local news headlines about the suicide of a returning veteran. Perhaps he has been spared the lonely flag flying on the home of a widower/widow. Maybe he hasn’t had to see childrens’ faces waiting at the airport to finally see their parent again. Maybe he doesn’t have any friends who spent years worried sick about their loved one fighting in Iraq, losing them for years to repeated tours. Maybe he hasn’t taken a walk through a memorial for our troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
But I can assure him that the Iraq war impacted many Americans directly. Some of them paid for it with the ultimate sacrifice, and their families are paying for it directly. This kind of clueless elitism is truly offensive from the party that never fails to use the troops as political props. This failure to connect with the very real sacrifices made by our veterans and their families may have been partly the result of a ban on the media showing the coffins of our dead troops, put in place in 1991 by then President George H.W. Bush. But the ban was lifted under the Obama administration in 2009. There’s no excuse now.
As for the policy comparison, that’s another fail. The Iraq war was started based on a deliberate lie about weapons of mass destruction. The ACA was designed to help Americans, not invade a country. The Iraq war killed millions. The ACA is designed to save lives by making affordable healthcare accessible to many more Americans, and to force insurance companies to be fairer with the customers.
Republicans might believe that ObamaCare is just like Iraq, but believing something that insane only makes them fringy. This is yet another attempt to excuse and justify the horrors of the Bush administration by constantly trying to attribute his debacles to Obama.
Republicans have accused Obama of having the trifecta of Republican embarrassments: Watergate, Katrina, and now the healthcare law is the Iraq war. At least we were spared the ever-present Hitler argument.
Finally, we all pay for the war, which Bush left off of the budget and President Obama rightly put on the budget, with our tax dollars. That’s pretty personal and pretty direct. Which means that Jonah’s argument kills the conservatives’ argument about the deficit, since their argument is predicated on the horrible notion that we are burying our grandchildren in debt. Much of that debt, by the way, came from the two wars Bush started, one of which was Iraq.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.