The Raised Hands Myth

Both the teabagger email posted by Rochesterturning and the comments on this D&C story contain the same myth:

When a show of hands went up (requested by someone in the audience) showing that the majority of the attendees did not like the bill and the federal takeover of our medical system there was no acknowledgment of the lopsidedness of the hand vote.

I've also seen a comment where the vote was spun as showing that everyone at the meeting was on the side of the teabaggers.

What really happened was that an audience member asked Massa to poll the audience on whether he should vote yes or no on the current bill. Both the Glenn Beck crowd and those who had been waving HR 676 signs (indicating support of single-payer health insurance), didn't raise their hands. Only a couple hands went up.

The reason the teabaggers didn't raise hands is obvious: they want Massa to vote "No" on everything. The reason the HR 676 supporters didn't raise their hands is also obvious: they want a tougher bill.

It's pretty weak tea to spin it as anything meaningful, but that's the level of honesty we've come to expect from the same crew who try to convince people that Barack Obama wants to smother old folks with a pillow.

Update: Anyone who's inclined to swallow the whopper about euthanasia should read this debunking by the non-partisan



What I see is that democrats now trying to demonize people who disagree with them, they are using the same tactics that they accuse opponents of doing. The fact of the matter is that the democrats have no one to blame for the pickle they are in. They tried to ram through yet another massive spending bill in a matter of a week or two.

If they had taken the time to discuss, debate and inform initially they may not be in the situation they are in. Healtcare is a very serious issue that has failed in the past to reform. The democrats now have a track record of bills like stimulus, cap and trade where the night before a big vote there is a huge modifications show up. In cap and trade 300 pages were added hours before a vote.

You can drink the party kool-aid and continue to demonize and over dramatize Obama pushing end of life issues. Obama brought the end of life issue on by having Ezekial Emanuel as an advisor. Emanuel is the brother of Rahm and has many controversial opinions on end of life and when to deny care. Obama's extremes views on abortion along with the party history on abortion bring in the question of tax payer funded abortions.

You can demonize the right and call them teabaggers and the left can be demonized by calling the union people that are part of the organized Obama people as union thugs. Or we can start over with a bill that includes input from all, democrats republicans liberals and conservatives and include the American people as well. A process that understands what a huge piece of the economy as well as importance to the lives of so many. Or we can keep fighting over this 1018 page monstrocity that influential people like john conyers and arlen spector don't have the time to read and more importantly understand.

Nobody's "demonizing" anyone. The fact is that a bunch of very fringe right-wingers came to Eric Massa's meeting on Thursday night and made a lot of noise. The question is whether the Republican party is going to embrace them as part of their core, or treat them how they should be treated -- as a fringe element.

In a two-party system, each party is bound to have different fringe elements. The Democrats have a group that came to Randy Kuhl's meetings in sheets drenched in fake blood, but it was a few of them, and nobody was defending them as you are apparently defending Glenn Beck's "army". It appears that, like a lot of Republicans, you're trying to make excuses for them because you think there's some slight political traction to be gained by their tactics.

Your silly conspiracy theory about the Emanuel brothers is a prefect example. The notion that an innocuous provision in the bill, which simply encourages end-of-life planning and living wills, is some sort of devious plot is something an intelligent person can't honestly believe. Every physician, including Zeke Emanuel, wants their patients to have a living will so there's no question about their wishes at the end of life. They aren't advocating for euthanasia, just for clarity, and provisions like the one in this bill were just common sense until Glenn Beck's army pawed through the bill looking for ways to scare old folks.

Also, the way you get "input from all" is to come to the table. In the House, that hasn't happened. Your party's leader there, John Boehner, has adopted a position of just saying "no" to any compromises on healthcare or any of the other bills you mention. So what's happened is that the Democrats are arguing amongst themselves to come to a conclusion on the healthcare bill. If Republicans would try to bring their issues to the table instead of hoping that their intransigence will lead to Obama's downfall, they might get some of their proposals (like tort reform and taxing employer-provided benefits) into the bill.

A functional opposition party does more than just saying "no", and it doesn't show its power by coming to town hall meetings and yelling louder than anyone else. I honestly wish we had a functional opposition party, because I think we'd have a better bill.

I guess it all depends on how you interpret the word "Demonize" When you refer to Americans as "The Glenn Beck Crowd" you are attempting to create a negative connotation. Every congress rep has town hall meetings where loud vocal organized groups show up. Whether they are ACORN, Loud Union reps or "The Glenn Beck Crowd"

How does one come to the table when the night before a bill there are 300 pages inserted then dumped on. The senate is making the foolish mistake of thinking about passing this with 51 votes. That means they dont even hav all the democrats on board.

The Ends of Human Life: Medical Ethics in a Liberal Polity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. This book argues that two key unresolved issues in medical ethics today, terminating care and the equitable allocation of medical resources. As long as you have politicians deciding these factors you will have contoversy.

The problem with Obama is his rhetoric does not match his actions. So no matter what he says no matter what the emanual brother say as long as you have a 1018 page bill being rammed through you are going to have people screaming to slow down.

Please keep up your foolish posts on the matter how everything the democrats and the perfect Obama and Emanuels of the world are doing and only the loud silly uniformed glenn beck crowd are in there way, it puts the brakes from ObamaCare happening.

"The Glenn Beck Crowd" is an exact description of a good number of the people who showed up to Massa's Thursday town hall meeting. They were wearing yellow t-shirts with "" on them. That's the Glenn Beck organization in this area. A lot of them were yelling and interrupting. I call them what they are, and they're a small, vocal minority.

But let's return to your slur on Dr Emanuel, who is an oncologist and medical ethicist. Your claim is that "Emanuel is the brother of Rahm and has many controversial opinions on end of life and when to deny care." You refer to his "controversial" book. Of course, when a bioethicist writes a book, he's going to examine the arguments for and against euthanasia. But don't let that cloud the record. Here's his position on euthanasia:

The proper policy, in my view, should be to affirm the status of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as illegal. In so doing we would affirm that as a society we condemn ending a patient's life and do not consider that to have one's life ended by a doctor is a right. This does not mean we deny that in exceptional cases interventions are appropriate, as acts of desperation when all other elements of treatment- all medications, surgical procedures, psychotherapy, spiritual care, and so on- have been tried. Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia should not be performed simply because a patient is depressed, tired of life, worried about being a burden, or worried about being dependent. All these may be signs that not every effort has yet been made.

By establishing a social policy that keeps physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal but recognizes exceptions, we would adopt the correct moral view: the onus of proving that everything had been tried and that the motivation and rationale were convincing would rest on those who wanted to end a life.

Seems like this is exactly the guy we should have advising the President on euthanasia.

Also, I never said that there was a problem with slowing down to examine the bill. Of course, your call to slow it down is disingenuous, because by "slow" you mean "stop". But, putting that aside, the real problem is the dishonesty of people like you who try to scare others by misrepresenting the contents of the current House bill. There is no euthanasia provision in the bill, no matter how many ways you try to hint that there is. I encourage readers to go to the current text of the bill [pdf], go to page 425, and just read. The only mandate is that the patient and provider discuss end of life care, and that the forms and terms used in that discussion are standardized.

Please read this Scott Rasmussen column for a more scientific hand count. It appears the more people find out about health care reform, the more they like their present coverage.

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the actual questions Rasmussen asked at He apparently doesn't share those with the public, unlike the other major polling firms. If you want to see a whole bunch of poll questions on this, here's a good source:

There's certainly no overwhelming support for Obama's plan, nor is there overwhelming opposition. It's looking about 50/50 depending on how you ask the question. There's general agreement that something should be done (see below for one example), but now how it should be done. It's up to Obama and Congress to create a bill that addresses that agreement, and that hasn't happened yet.

"Do you think it is or is not necessary to make major structural changes in the nation's health care system in order to make sure that all Americans have health insurance?" N=506 (Form A), MoE ± Necessary Not Necessary Unsure
77% 21% 1%

"Do you think it is or is not necessary to make major structural changes in the nation's health care system in order to reduce health care costs?" N=521 (Form B), MoE ± 4.5

Necessary Not Necessary Unsure
74% 23% 2%


What are you under my couch? Arte you some kind of mind reader? When I say Slow I mean slow, never have I said we do not need health care reform. You are successfully alienating people towards opposing this bill. You are so narrow minded hatefull of glenn beck listening americans you are developing a paranoia psychosis.

What I want to see in a health care reform bill is:
More competition among private insurers.
Explicit langage that any government agency will not provice abortion.

I don't care about the hyde ammendmant. Laws can change and if left to the devices of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi we will pay for abortions.

No requirments that empoloyers must provide or be responsible for HC insurance. I am an employer, I offer HC as a competitive edge not a right that the gov't requires me to do.

There are other issues as well
Such as explanation of bills and inclusion of competing ideas. The comment you made that republicans must come to a table is only ggod if the table does not meet at 3am with exclusive parties.

To stop have demonizing, calling people un-america or nazis as nancy pelosi has done. There is nothing wrong with protestors at town hall meetings. It has been going on for a long time in america, It is just a new phonemon for the organizers to be on the right as opposed to the usual on the left. Beck while annoying has just as much right to organize as does Obama. SEUI, code pink, cindy sheehan or any other organization. It is interesting that the "Glenn Beck Crowd" is forcing congress to have to read and explain. (I doubt conyers has still read it is a disgrace that he even made such comments). Massa took advantage of this. He was smart to get out there and took a notch up in my book. Some of the other members like dan maffei are only fueling

One last thing what slur against emanuel are you talking about? I am sorry but no matter how many quotes you get from people like the emanuels I must question them, they are extremly shrewd people with political goals. You may think his policies are benign but the question always what are the excpetions? It sounds great in the abstract as much of Obama policy does, but once put in practice deciding on when is enouigh, what counseling is appropriate is a very difficult thing that comes to being god-like in practice amd will result in sad situations.

There is a reason that doctors don't talk to people about this and families struggle with it. It is difficult with no pleasant outcomes. Every person knows when they are sick and dying.

When my father was extremely ill the doctor got us all together, he had some things he wanted to try. There was a chance my father wouyld have died during the night. He asked my father in front of us if things got bad did he want to let nature take its course and not to use heroic effects. My father wanted the heroic effect as did our family. He was a fighter as are we. My father survived the procedure that night and went on to live almost another year. I am sure the insurance companies would have had no problem if he did not make it. My father reuired oxygen and frequent visits to the dr. I question what a barack obama end of life counseling provision would have had done. The Federal Government should not be in the business of counseling end of life. It is basically an attempt to control costs through death care.

We can go around on this until the cows come home, until I see the removal of such provisions I will not support such a bill, regardless of how silly someone named rottenchester thinks I am.

It's great that you have some ideas on healthcare reform. I probably agree with most of them (e.g., more competition among private insurers would be excellent, but the devil is in the details), and don't care about some (e.g., abortion -- if it makes somebody happy, a few more words can't hurt, but the Hyde amendment is operative). But your party can't get its ideas in when your negotiating position is simply "No", which is the Republicans' current position. Lindsay Graham is signaling that there might be some dealing forthcoming. Maybe that will happen, who knows.

I've also had family members on their deathbeds -- it's led me to be sure my living will is in order now, long before its needed. I'm glad your Dad made the right decision, for him, after a discussion with his physician. This bill is only trying to make sure everyone has that conversation before the end is nigh. There's nothing wrong with that, and you've been sadly misinformed if you think otherwise. You need to look at a non-partisan source like the link I put up in the post today.

Addressing a couple of specific points

* Nancy Pelosi never called anyone a Nazi. She denounced the use of Nazi symbols by opponents of the bill. There are pictures all over the web of people carrying signs with swastikas and "SS' lettering.

* The slur on Emanuel is trying to connect him with the false charge that the Obama administration is trying to slip euthanasia into the bill. Whatever you think of Emanuel, that isn't in the bill (I provided two links to show that), and he wouldn't support it anyway (I provided a link to his own words to show that).