House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat, must be smoking some of that medicinal marijuana dispensed by her city’s cannabis clubs.
That has to be the explanation for her outlandish remarks yesterday likening present opposition to President Obama’s plan to makeover the nation’s health care system to anti-homosexual rhetoric in San Francisco in the late 1970s.
The 1970s rhetoric was “very frightening,” she said, “and it created a climate in which violence took place.” She was alluding to the 1978 murder of openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk by a colleague on the city’s Board of Supervisors.
Well, maybe Milk’s murder was driven by homophobia (although, late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who was not homosexual, was also gunned down along with Milk). But it’s downright demagogic of the House Speaker to insinuate that opposition to Mr. Obama’s proposed health care scheme is driven by hatred of the president.
Indeed, in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, more Americans said they oppose Obamacare than support it, 48-46 percent. Even worse for the President, Americans by 54-41 percent say the more they hear about his health care reform, the less they like it.
Are those 48 percent of Americans who oppose Obamacare all haters? Are the 54 percent who like proposed health care reform all the less the more they hear about it all Obamaphobes? Has the current debate over health care created a climate in which an assassination attempt upon the President is a distinct possibility, as Speaker Pelosi irresponsibly suggested?
No, no and no.
When a President – Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative – proposes a reform as large and historic in proportion as that which Mr. Obama proposes with health care, he has to anticipate strong and spirited opposition.
That’s what George W. Bush encountered four years ago when he attempted to restructure Social Security. That’s what Bill Clinton experienced 16 years ago when he proposed to overhaul the health care system. That’s what Ronald Reagan endured when he undertook tax reform 28 years ago.
Presidents Bush, Clinton and Reagan faced no less opposition to their proposed reforms than has President Obama. Yet, none of their supporters went so far as to suggest – as Speaker Pelosi has in the current health care debate – that reform opponents created a climate in which violence would take place.