Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wake Up & Smell the Coffee Cup

The recent right-wing temper tantrum over health care reform bears an interesting resemblance to this 1961 recording, Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine:

The LP was part of Operation Coffee Cup, an early 1960s campaign developed by public relations consultants for the American Medical Association in opposition to the creation of Medicare for seniors. On the LP, Reagan engages in gloom and doom rhetoric, warning his listeners that if they fail stop the creation of Medicare "you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free." Reagan not only warns that the government will command doctors where they can practice medicine, but that in the future, children will have their professions chosen for them by government schools.

Needless to say, Reagan's alarmist predictions turned out to have zero validity. In fact, Medicare has been so unobtrusively integrated into the fabric of American life that health care reform opponents are now engaged in widespread denial that Medicare is a government program. The same reactionary elements who cried socialism in opposition to Medicare in the early 1960s are now wailing against socialism while simultaneously claiming to be defending Medicare. The hypocrisy is galling, of course, but then again, I can see no better illustration of how conservatism consistently fails to accept when its premises have been disproven.

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