House Democrats bash health care opponents’ tactics
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit back at protesters vocally disrupting healthcare reform meetings around the country, calling them “un-American” – and with that word ignited the ire of opposition Republicans.
Pelosi and Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote in USA Today that there was an “ugly campaign” to misrepresent the healthcare overhaul legislation being written in Congress and stop public debate, which they said is “at the heart of our democracy.”
Opponents have shouted down lawmakers at town meetings held to explain the healthcare ideas, calling the proposed government-run insurance program to compete with private insurers “socialism” – a fighting word in American politics. “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American,” the Democrats wrote.
The other side was quick to lob equally barbed words back. “Each public forum should give every participant the opportunity to express their views, but to label Americans who are expressing vocal opposition to the Democrats’ plan ‘un-American’ is outrageous and reprehensible,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner.
Congress is on break for the month of August, during which time Democrats were to try to sell healthcare reform ideas to the public.
In the first week of the summer recess, headlines have focused more on the raucous public meetings than on the healthcare legislation itself.
Has the Democratic strategy to win public support for healthcare reform backfired?