Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein looks at Wyoming’s proposed Health Care Choice and Protection Act, which would make it a criminal offense to implement recent federal health care reforms. In comments made the day before Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot, and therefore unconnected to the subsequent controversy over what may have motivated the shooter, Klein points out that extremist rhetoric is not without consequences.
Given the extremism of the rhetoric at the top, is it any wonder that there is incredible fear trickling down to the grass roots? If those are the stakes, then of course criminalizing any implementation of the bill makes sense. Frankly, if those are the stakes, then violent resistance might be required.
Those aren’t the stakes, of course. They’re just the words. And words slip sometimes. Things come out too angry, or too quickly, or too sharply. I’ve had my share of experience with this. But words matter. And the Republican Party hasn’t been slipping up: It’s been engaged in a concerted campaign to scare the population into opposing health-care reform. That may be good politics, but it can have bad consequences.