03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Party Of Death: GOP Says Stop Effort To Halt Health Care Deaths, But Escalate War

Well-known fringe freak show Rammesh Ponnuru published a childish screed in 2006 attacking Democrats as "The Party of Death." It was a (deliberately) provocative title -- and we should thank him, because it's a perfect moniker for these troubling times. Only not for Democrats, but for Republicans.

Indeed, in the simultaneous health care and Afghanistan debates, Republicans are really going on record as being objectively pro-death -- and frankly, the message is even more blatantly pro-death than even Rep. Alan Grayson (courageously) made it out to be.

Think about it: On health care, Republicans are arguing that Democrats are "rushing" legislation through Congress -- legislation that would bring down the astronomical number of deaths that occur thanks to our broken health care system. At the same time, they are attacking President Obama for not more quickly escalating the Afghanistan War -- an escalation that would likely result in a large number of American and Afghan deaths.

Clearly, it's mathematically absurd to insist that Democrats are moving too fast on a universal health care initiative that's been debated for 50 years* but too slow on a 2-month-old plan for an Afghanistan escalation. But that discrepancy is not nearly as important a point as Republicans' very clear message: They want to block the effort to stop 45,000 Americans from dying every year for lack of health care, and move forward a plan that would potentially result in 40,000 more American soldiers dying in Afghanistan.

And so, I'll just say it again: The Republican Party has turned into the Party of Death -- a party that is, in sum, advocating a twin health care and war agenda that would almost certainly result in more American deaths. Indeed, if, as the GOP wants, health care does not pass, and the Afghanistan War is escalated, the number of American deaths will almost certainly rise in the short term, and probably continue rising in the long term.That's not an interpretation of speculation -- and I defy anyone to try to make an argument to the contrary.

* Or, even the most conservative estimate, for 16 years since the Clinton health care initiative.