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Posted by on Aug 20, 2009 in Health, Politics, Society | 17 comments

The Ugly Cynicism of Chuck Grassley

Having spread lies and misinformation about the Democrats’ health care reform proposals for weeks, and encouraged crowds at town hall meetings and other public events to believe that “death panels” would eliminate the old and sick, that the federal government would force them to give up the doctors they loved and saddle their descendants with debt for the next 10 generations, Sen. Charles Grassley now tells us, via the Washington Post, that he and his fellow Republicans need to scale back health care reform, or drop it entirely:

“Not everyone is coming to the town hall meetings because of health care. It’s kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Grassley said. “They’re seeing the stimulus not working. They’re seeing the Federal Reserve shoving money out of the airplane not working. They’re seeing big increases in the deficit coming. Then they see a trillion-dollar health-care bill, and they think it’s not good for the country.”

While Snowe said she is hearing a passionate cry for action on health care from her constituents, Grassley, who is up for reelection next year, said Iowans are more interested in making sure that Congress does not mess up what they already have.

Calls for reform are “not quite as loud as people that say we ought to slow down or don’t do anything,” he said. “And I’ve got to listen to my people.”

Steve Benen absolutely blasts Grassley:

Grassley has become increasingly incoherent in recent weeks, but these remarks are among the most foolish to date. As Daniel Politi put it, the Iowa senator is arguing “he makes his governing decisions based on who screams the loudest.”That sounds absurd, but it’s precisely what Grassley is saying. He has 3 million constituents. Let’s say, hypothetically, Grassley has heard angry right-wing screams from, say, 3,000 Iowans at town-hall events. That would mean the senator had heard strenuous opposition to reform from exactly 0.1% of his constituents. If he’s heard far-right town-hall enmity from 30,000 Iowans — a farfetched claim, to be sure — that would still only be 1% of the people Grassley represents.

What’s more, we’re not just talking about a small fraction of a larger population, but also a small group enraged by right-wing lies, and organized by right-wing groups and private insurers that do not represent the American mainstream.

So why would Chuck Grassley say Congress and the White House should follow the demands of these unhinged activists? Because he’s a surprisingly irresponsible senator, looking for an excuse to oppose reform.

Irresponsible — and bought.