Home Stop the Presses | Don’t do this to me

Stop the Presses | Don’t do this to me


My friends on the other side of Main Street are making my life difficult. How they are is in an op-ed in today’s News Virginian that cites a New York Times article and a purported Barack Obama 2008 endorser as raising critical points about the Obama-Democratic push for health-care reform.

The problem is that, well, for starters, the article in question from the New York Times, instead of offering criticisms, actually raised the issue that much of the concern about health-care reform among seniors results from “fear of the unknown,” then goes on to try to explain away the unknown.

To quote from a key passage in the article:

“The zeal for cutting health costs, combined with proposals to compare the effectiveness of various treatments and to counsel seniors on end-of-life care, may explain why some people think the legislation is about rationing, which could affect access to the most expensive services in the final months of life.

” ‘I don’t think we will get the quality of health care with this plan that we get now,’ said James T. Aronis, 79, of Wichita, Kan.

“But the House version of the legislation would help older Americans with their drug costs. It would eliminate co-payments for screenings and preventive services, and it could improve the coordination of care they receive from different doctors.”

And then as to the supposed Obama ’08 endorser, OK, so it’s Nat Hentoff, noted and self-professed civil libertarian, who, sure, wrote for the iconic Village Voice for 50 years, which probably made it hard for him not to endorse Obama last year, but as it turns out, he didn’t endorse Obama, and actually pushed John McCain in one column to consider Sarah Palin to be his GOP running mate, in addition to calling Obama out on his “extremist” views on abortion and even calling him in another column “the flimflam candidate.”

So is it remarkable, then, that this vigorous critic of Obama has more in the way of criticisms to offer of Obama, specifically in the here and now on health-care reform? Certainly if Hentoff had been an active supporter of Obama in ’08 it would be of interest to note that he had jumped ship, but he wasn’t, so there’s no story there.

Neither is there a story there in this NYT piece that didn’t say what we were told it said.

I know; I read it, and several Hentoff columns, spending an hour reading his civil-libertarian nonsense that I won’t get back until the clocks change in the fall.

I’ll give the NV some slack on the Times article. Partisan passions being what they are, maybe you can read into what was written that it was a man-bites-dog departure for the Gray Lady. Me, I think you have to reach pretty far out there to get that from the article, but interpretation is interpretation.

Thinking Hentoff backed Obama when he was a Palin cheerleader at a time when maybe 10 other people in the Lower 48 had even heard her name and when Hentoff had written in a column ahead of his endorsement of her that he was “once strongly inclined to vote for Barack Obama for president,” but “then I learned Obama’s voting record on abortion” – well, it’s tough to give much slack there.

I love the folks on the other side of Main Street like family, and I take my lumps among progressives for saying so publicly, but when they do what they did here as the basis for saying that “Obama and his pals, not their opponents, have been the tellers of untruths,” it makes it hard.


– Column by Chris Graham



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

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