The Obama Straw Man

I was thinking about pointing this out every time he does it, but my fingers just couldn’t tolerate all that typing. But here’s a perfect example of the Obama Straw Man. I recently sent an email to the White House telling them my feelings on nationalized health care. I got the standard form response. Bold highlighting is mine:

Dear Friend,

If you’re like most Americans, there’s nothing more important to you about health care than peace of mind.

Given the status quo, that’s understandable. The current system often denies insurance due to pre-existing conditions, charges steep out-of-pocket fees – and sometimes isn’t there at all if you become seriously ill.

It’s time to fix our unsustainable insurance system and create a new foundation for health care security. That means guaranteeing your health care security and stability with eight basic consumer protections:

No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
No cost-sharing for preventive care
No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
No gender discrimination
No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
Extended coverage for young adults
Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid
Learn more about these consumer protections at Whitehouse.gov.

Over the next month there is going to be an avalanche of misinformation and scare tactics from those seeking to perpetuate the status quo. But we know the cost of doing nothing is too high. Health care costs will double over the next decade, millions more will become uninsured, and state and local governments will go bankrupt.

It’s time to act and reform health insurance, drive down costs and guarantee the health care security and stability of every American family. You can help by putting these core principles of reform in the hands of your friends, your family, and the rest of your social network.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

First off, I’m not your friend.

Secondly, I find it interesting how in the same paragraph the President warns me about “scare tactics” he also tells me that if we don’t pass his plan there will be mounting costs, millions of people (maybe even YOU!) losing insurance, states going bankrupt, human sacrifice, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together, real wrath of God type stuff, etc.

The main point here, however, is the Straw Man: “Those seeking to perpetuate the status quo;” “The cost of doing nothing is too high.”

But the only people who are telling us that there is one option, and one option only, are the Democrats and Barack Obama. There have been several healthcare plans floated by the Republicans. I’m not even in government and I put forth the basic tenets of a plan.

Obama does this all the time. We needed to pass his stimulus plan even though there were people saying we should “do nothing.” Really? Who? We need to ignore those who want the “status quo” on health care. Really? Who? Listen for it. It’s a debating trick designed to make people believe that there is only one way out of this mess and that we need to just shut up and blindly follow the leader. Obama uses this ploy every time he tries to advance one of his policies. It is a way of neutering the opposition by making them sound unprincipled and void of differing ideas and opinions. Do not fall for this trick. There may be some libertarian types advocating “doing nothing” out there, but it’s not the Republicans in Congress, it’s not the Conservative Party, and it’s not me.


UPDATE: Thanks to the good folks at NRO’s Critical Condition blog, I see that Keith Hennessey received the same email and wrote a brilliant counterpoint that really deserves widespread viewing.

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