For reasons unknown, the Heritage Foundation has sent me yet another survey. To whit: “Taxpayer Opinion Poll On The Real Liberal Agenda.”
The Heritage Foundation is conducting this Taxpayer Opinion Poll to compile evidence that will refute the claims by President Barack Obama and the liberals in Congress that the American people want bigger government and more spending. This will help Heritage fight the liberals’ efforts to impose large tax increases, reward illegal aliens with amnesty, appoint left-wing judges and cut the U.S. defense budget.
Really. Why do they keep sending me surveys?
At least this one tells me how I’m supposed to answer it. Twenty-nine political positions, and each one tells me what the “Liberal Agenda” stance is and the “Heritage’s Conservative Agenda” stance is. Then, I get to check a box that says what my stance is. Either yes, no, or undecided. No room for nuance.
Here’s the three questions the Heritage Foundation survey asks me on Health Care:
- 8. Have U.S. government ration all health care.
- 9. Block sensible Medicare reforms.
- 10. Expand freedom of choice in health care.
The “Liberal Agenda” position, according to the survey is, respectively: Yes, Yes, No. Which means that “Heritage’s Conservative Agenda” position then, respectively, is No, No, Yes.
Liberals want to “ration all health care”? Liberals want to “block sensible Medicare reform”? Liberals want to restrict freedom of choice in health care?
Liberals in Congress have spent the last year talking about expanding access to health care. In what kind of Orwellian newspeak does expansion equal rationing? President Obama has said he wants to reduce wasteful Medicare spending. How is that not a sensible reform? The public option or Medicare buy-in proposals, both of which were jettisoned from the Senate health care bill, would have expanded choice in health care because they would have given people a genuine option in how they’re covered, while it is conservatives, like Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and Blanche Lincoln who have ultimately restricted choice by opposing policies that would have offered choice.
In other words, I actually agree, on purely binary terms, in the absolute meaning of the words “Yes” and “No,” with the “Heritage’s Conservative Agenda” on Health Care. I don’t want the government to ration health care, and I know that the bills the House and Senate have passed do not ration health care. I don’t want the government to block sensible reforms to Medicare, and I know that the bills passed make sensible Medicare reforms. I want an expanded freedom of choice in health care, and the bills in Congress make a least a start in expanding choice, though they could go much further than they do.
Suddenly, I feel like Inigo Montoya talking to Vizzini. It’s as though the words the Heritage Foundation uses don’t conform to any definitions I’m familiar with or to any reality that reflects, well, reality. “I do not think this word means what you think it means.”
This is why the conservative viewpoint baffles me. Language itself is twisted beyond its breaking point, and the definitions become a way of defining reality against itself. Up is down. War is peace. It’s Orwellian newspeak.
Take, for instance, this passage from Edwin Feulner’s letter, attached to the survey:
Now here we are today, facing a powerful liberal majority that is determined to dupe voters with conservative-sounding initiatives such as “fiscal responsibility” and “security.” But you and I know what the liberals’ REAL agenda will mean for America — everything from higher taxes and socialized health care to huge defense cuts and a watered-down war on terror.
Is there any mention of the fiscal irresponsibility of the Republican Party in the past decade, who cuts taxes, took the federal budget from surplus to massive deficits, who squandered the future on unnecessary wars of choice that weakened America’s standing in the world and left us less secure? Of course not.
Is there any mention that the debts of the past eight years are going to come due, whether we like or it not, and that’s going to mean higher taxes (or, rather, restored taxes when the Bush tax cuts sunset in the next three years)? Is there any notice that Obama’s proposed budget increases defense spending over the duration of his term? And the recent successes the Obama administration has had in capturing Taliban leaders couldn’t have been known when the letter was written, but it’s worth pointing out that the “war on terror” is anything but “watered-down.”
I guess if you tell a lie often enough, people are gullible enough that they’ll start to believe it. That’s what’s at play here, in this Heritage Foundation survey. Dupe enough people enough of the time, and they’ll vote against their interests and they’ll vote for people who will take them for everything they have.
Fuck you, Heritage Foundation.