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Andy Ostroy Headshot

Are Liberals Just as Bad as Republicans When it Comes to Rhetoric and Spin on the Affordable Care Act?

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No one's ever accused me of being a patsy for the Republican Party. To the contrary, I've been a staunch supporter of President Obama, Democrats and the liberal agenda. I've also loudly, vociferously and consistently criticized the GOP for driving a wedge into our political system with its self-serving, obstructionist tactics. But what I've been witnessing and personally experiencing this week regarding the Affordable Care Act controversy has me wondering if, in the end, liberals are no better than their conservative counterparts.

Talk to a passionate Democrat and they'll more than likely offer you this lofty opinion of themselves: "We're the smart ones. The rational and logical ones. The ones who care about others. We're better than they are." But are they? Perhaps Washington is broken not just because of Republicans, but because of Democrats as well. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango... and liberals have been dancin' up a storm this week.

The liberal spin on the ACA mess is astounding, and mirrors the typical partisan tactics of the GOP. Let's start with how Democrats are giving Obama an inexplicable total pass on the bold, unequivocal promises he's made repeatedly about ACA:

"If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."

"And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn't happened yet. It won't happen in the future."

Pretty clear, right? "Period...period...no matter what." Yet the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 10-million Americans will be forced into policy cancellations by their current providers (because their current coverage doesn't meet the new ACA standards) and have to buy new, possibly more expensive policies from these same insurers or from the ACA exchanges. So are liberals--who'd typically be outraged by this kind of blatant lie, misrepresentation or incompetence from a Republican--demonstrating outrage and demanding accountability? No. Instead, they're spinning like mad. Like Republicans. They claim that the new insurance will be better. Maybe so. But that still doesn't mitigate or excuse "Period...period...no matter what."

Then there's the condescending spin that these existing policies are nothing more than "substandard, worthless plans." Again, maybe so. But Obama never said "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan -- if we deem it to be adequate."

Perhaps the most egregious spin of all is this one: "Obama said if you like the plan you have you can keep it. He did not say if you like the plan you have they will keep you!" Really? This is the most fascinating parsing of words since the Bill Clinton days of "depends on what the definition of "is" is."

Self-righteous liberals now find themselves condescendingly lecturing people that they're too stupid to know that their current policies are dreadful and worthy of termination, and that they should in effect be thankful that these smarter liberals are forcing new, more expensive policies on them. To see liberals stoop to the same shameful, disingenuous spin levels of Republicans is quite disheartening.

It's been a rough week for ACA, Obama, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and with good reason. Within the administration's ranks, the media, at Congressional hearings and on Main Street they've been skewering on the hot seat and have been forced to profusely apologize for the health care law's botched roll-out. Yet so many liberals are holding firm in their belief that ACA is perfect and wildly beneficial while summarily dismissing the opinions and experiences of others who may be negatively impacted by it. That makes them no better than the myopic, fanatical Tea Party "patriots" whom they loathe.

Yes, Washington is indeed broken, as so is the American electorate. People have become so angry, polarized and drunk on the party Kool-Aid that objectivity has all but disappeared. There's no middle ground anymore. No ability to appear or sound rational or logical. No right and wrong. Just red and blue.

To be sure, Obama could find the cure for cancer and most Republicans will criticize him for it while defending the overall merits of this dreaded disease. Similarly, Republicans could be 100% spot-on about something and most liberals will swiftly and summarily dismiss it simply because it comes from the right. It's become almost impossible to have an intelligent political conversation because most people can't objectively discuss a policy subject without injecting convoluted, hyperbolic partisan rhetoric.

These Republibs, as I call them, will practically call you a traitor if you don't toe the party line 100%. I had one old friend tell me yesterday that I "should vote Republican then" simply because I acknowledged ACA's flaws (despite being an ardent supporter of it) and suggested that Obama re-attempt a bi-partisan dialogue for the fix. Sadly, we live in a culture now where "compromise" and "objectivity" have become bad words.

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