Salazar’s indecipherable position on public option part of Dem’s confusion

As the season of blockbuster movies approaches, I am drawn to the cinema for pithy summations of society’s ills. So, in that vein, this week’s news encouraged me to paraphrase a movie title to read, “The Unbearable Confusion of Liberalism.”

The title may be a bit too limited, because those on the right have also shown a high tolerance for chaos. But, in general, the approach and policies of the left are rapidly reaching a maximum level of cognitive mayhem.

On the national level, we see the recent example of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who clearly believed the term “public option” conveyed too much meaning and began to use the term “competitive option” in her discussion of a government-run health plan. What’s confusing is the notion that anyone can compete with a party that makes and changes the rules and uses your money to fund its policies.

The idea gives rise to what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, the unbearable tension of holding two conflicting ideas at once — like thinking you’re going to win a hand at poker when you know the other side holds a royal flush.

We citizens have had this mental disorder inflicted upon us off and on for some time, as national leaders demand that private industry create jobs while simultaneously layering unbearable levels of regulation, tax increases and public criticism on the same industries. It reminds me of the sign one sometimes sees above workers’ desks: “The floggings will continue until morale improves.”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this. During the second term of President Franklin Roosevelt, he created a large entitlement class that he hoped to charm by pounding away at business interests for their lack of job creation — never minding that he had hamstrung those businesses through a quicksand of changing regulation and government bungling.

Even the great redistributer, Lord John Maynard Keynes, cautioned FDR against continuing such an onslaught. If it weren’t for the start of World War II in Europe, the depression within the Depression, created by FDR’s policies, probably would have resulted in his failure to be re-elected.

Clearly, tactics of confusion percolate quickly from Washington masters to Main Street followers, apparently including our own 3rd Congressional District Rep. John Salazar. Through a series of linguistic shenanigans to the question about his support for a public option in the health care debate, Salazar has reached a level of incoherence that is exceptional, even in today’s political climate.

Although The Daily Sentinel has repeatedly asked him this question and received some sort of answer, we still don’t know what that answer is supposed to mean.

The back-and-forth on the question has gotten to the point that it reminds me of a science fiction movie where the protagonist tries to give a rampaging computer a problem that is unsolvable, hoping the computer will freeze up in its attempt to process the information. Rep. Salazar’s staff members seem to hope that their responses may cause the reader to freeze up and, with a loud clattering sound, collapse forward, smoke dribbling out of one ear.

It was bad enough when the congressman was asked in September if he supported a public option for health care and he responded, “If it’s the only way to pass reform.” I’m not sure exactly what that means and I don’t think others do, either. It leaves enough room for interpretation to drive an El Dorado through it.

We might have a better idea what he means if he would come here and hold a town meeting, but so far the representative has treated this area like it was Chernobyl after the nuclear meltdown.

When a national Democratic Web site listed Salazar as a supporter of the public health insurance option, many of us thought we had an answer on his position, but his office denied that was the case.

Escalating the confusion, when one of the groups responsible for placing his name on the list was questioned, it claimed his office had been contacted for verification.

In response to this retort, Salazar’s office graciously replied, “Any implication that the congressman has signed anything of the sort is nothing but a lie.”

Distressingly enough, I’m afraid both of these positions might be true.


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