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August 12, 2009

Free Speech was great while it lasted

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Maryland’s Democrat U. S. Senator Ben Cardin got quite an earful at a town hall meeting Monday night in Towson on healthcare reform. Although I choose not to attend, according to many published accounts, those who did go soundly jeered and booed him throughout the evening.


It was apparently a scene that has been played-out across the country for the past several weeks.


Everyday working moms and dads – many of whom have never before been active politically – are showing up in droves to let their elected congressional representatives know that they are worried about the Democrat leadership’s plan for the government to take over healthcare.


The paradox is that during the presidential election last fall, many political observers surmised that it was the middle of the road, average working class moms and dads who put then-Senator Barack Obama over the top for an historic election victory.


Moreover, one may argue that the “independent, working class voters” are once again the very voters President Obama needs to win over in this latest go-round of what to do about a healthcare system in which costs continue to spiral out of control.


With that context in mind and fully understanding that almost everyone on both sides of the aisle knows that something must be done about the business of healthcare in our country; why in the world has any discussion about proposed solutions deteriorated into acrimony and angry rhetoric?


First, let’s be clear, disrupting and shouting down our colleagues on the left at town hall meetings is wrong. Disrupting these meetings with uncivil behavior, personal attacks, or even worse, threats of violence, is to the detriment of both supporters and bona fide critics of the healthcare reform proposals.


However, when I said as much about the same tactics used to silence the initiatives of President George W. Bush, the left disagreed and thought such tactics were just dandy.


Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it does appear that situational ethics and moral relativism have come into play.


To the degree that, as Andrew Breitbart wrote in The Washington Times recently, the likes of “CNN's Anderson Cooper and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow (have) led the charge” to disenfranchise and marginalize anyone who disagrees with President Obama…


“Stepping up the rhetoric from mockery to pure hatred, and absent any evidence, Mr. Olbermann has called the president's public protesters ‘worse than racists.’


“Political activist and comedian Janeane Garofalo colored them ‘racist rednecks who hate blacks.’ And at the somewhat higher end of the food chain, liberal economist Paul Krugman in The New York Times wrote last week that they were motivated by ‘cultural and racial fear,’ ” wrote Mr. Breitbart.


What a difference an election makes.


If you will recall it was then-Senator Hillary Clinton who screeched in 2003: "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic.


“We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.”


Roll tape – see the YouTube of the “sick and tired” Senator Clinton here:


Democrats, who have worked so hard to trivialize and marginalize the dissenters by referring to them as racists, un-American and Neanderthal knuckle dragging redneck Republicans are surely missing the point.


Only a small portion of the 50 percent of the country that votes for a living has any faith in big government doing anything well.


The idea of some faceless bureaucrat, with the common sense of a goldfish, making life or death decisions for you or me, a loved one or friend is petrifying.


Nevertheless, most of the supporters of the Democrat plan believe that it is free lunch time again. They will get something for free and the fat cat, filthy rich will pay for it.


However, as terrible as the picture that was just described may be, there is actually an even more insidious problem developing.


Something much more disturbing than the perception that even more Americans are continuing to believe that it simply does not matter how much citizens object to government initiatives, Congress and the Obama Administration are going to do whatever they please – and if you actively disagree or express dissent, the Democrat-media industrial complex will demonize and libel you.


What is even more disturbing is that the White House is actively working to suppress and intimidate any dissent or opposition to the initiatives of President Obama.


About a week ago, the White House posted a blog entry that said: “There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.


“These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to ‘’.”


The very idea that the government is gathering information on citizens exercising their First Amendment rights is appalling.


The “flag” operation is nothing more than the intimidation of people exercising their right to free speech – a right that seems only to be the purview of the left.


Let’s not overlook the howls of protest that would have accompanied a similar approach as the “flag” operation if it been an initiative in the White House of President Bush.


If President Obama and the Democrats continue their assault on free speech and, if Congress continues to totally ignore the center-right citizens of the nation, increased turmoil will be the only result.


Hopefully, it will result in an appropriate adjustment in the November 2010 elections and the country will regain its senses. Flag that date on your calendar.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at


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