The Corner

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D, Republicans want people to “die quickly”) is not apologizing; he’s doubling down:

The congressman wasn’t feeling any more conciliatory when he spoke to Salon Thursday afternoon, saying, “If anybody needs to apologize, the Republicans need to apologize, because since they started these obstructive tactics so many more thousands of Americans have died for lack of health insurance.” And he stood by his original assertion, “Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.”

When Salon pressed him, “Is what you said really true? Are they that evil?” Grayson responded, “Uh, yes. Yes. The answer is yes. They have done nothing to grapple with the real problems in people’s lives … Nothing that they have proposed would eliminate the daily tragedy, in fact the hourly tragedy, of people dying in America from not having health coverage. So the answer is yes, what I said is a proper characterization of what they have proposed or in their case not proposed.”

I think I know what’s going here. This is about “death panels.” It’s about a perception shared by people on the Left that they tend to lose policy debates, not because their ideas suck, but because the Democrats are afraid to be as belligerent and tendentious as the Republicans. This is where their obsession with George Lakoff and “framing” comes from. It’s one reason self-described progressives didn’t fully trust Obama back in January of last year; he “used conservative frames in very unhelpful ways” to attack Hillary Clinton from the right.

His crime? Attacking Hillary’s health-care plan by claiming that health-insurance mandates “would force people to buy insurance even if they can’t afford it.” As I wrote at the time, “Obama’s statement isn’t wrong because it’s false; it’s wrong because it doesn’t adhere to the party line, according to which mandates don’t force people to buy insurance, they provide coverage, which would otherwise be absent.” (Obama has since flip-flopped on this issue and now supports mandates, having rebranded them as “shared responsibility.” Nice frame!)

So this is the game Grayson is playing, and it is profoundly stupid. What’s worse, the Republicans are taking the bait and helping to make him a star, just like the Democrats helped make one of Rep. Joe Wilson (R, “You lie”). The difference is that Wilson comes from a safe district in South Carolina, whereas Grayson comes from a right-leaning district in Orlando. He’s vulnerable. Why are we increasing his Q score again?

My advice to the GOP, for what it’s worth, is to stop feeding Grayson’s apparently limitless ego (and campaign coffers) and just ignore him. The substance of Grayson’s attack is not worth taking seriously. However, if you must respond, just repeat after Ed Morrissey: “I seem to recall that Republicans wanted to abolish the death tax, and Democrats objected.  Which party wants to make money off of your dead corpse?”