Today's Michael Steele op-ed on health care reads like a greatest hits of dishonesty about health coverage reform. There's so much dishonesty in there that it's hard to note it all. But he essentially endorses the ideas of death panels and rationing by age, and that tells you all you need to know about its substance. And I don't have the energy for another round on that stuff.
I do, however, want to focus on a couple of broader problems with the op-ed -- ones that have been recurring again and again.
First, note the huge contradiction on the issue of "costs." It's all right there in the first paragraph. The GOP is happy to demagogue the costs of reform, and to claim that reform will increase the deficit and have little effect on the curve. But in the very same breath, they demagogue every provision intended to manage those costs. Taxes on super-rich, out. Modest cuts to waste over 10 years, out. Comparative effectiveness research, IT WILL KILL YOUR GRANDMOTHER!
There's really no way to logically counter this stuff. If you cut costs, they'll claim rationing. If you don't cut costs, they'll raise deficit concerns. And in reality, they'll say all of these things simultaneously regardless of what you do.
That's why it would be nice to see a bit more offense on this issue. "Objectively pro-discrimination" sounds good -- the GOP has no plan, is in the pocket of insurers, and has no interest in protecting people from the excesses of insurers' practices. These things can all be worded better, but the point is to make the GOP defend their position for once.
Second, Steele raises the "$500 billion cut" argument, which I explained here was a bad faith argument. Again, to make this argument without physically collapsing under the weight of your own hypocrisy, you have to think that every single dollar over a 10-year period is 100% non-waste. But even then, the cuts are coming to things like unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies. The clear (and patently misleading) impression is that the cuts are coming to vital care. The whole thing is particularly hypocritical coming from the party who claims to be anti-government, and has traditionally been hostile to Medicare.
Also, go read Yglesias for more on Steele's dishonesty (and the Post's facilitation of it).
[UPDATE 11:20: Joe Klein agrees, and uses the "L" word. The larger point here isn't about policy differences, which of course are what political discussions are all about. The point is about obtaining basic factual accuracy from one of our national newspapers.]