New Civil Tone Same Old Lies

Bill Scher

Yesterday the House Republicans began the floor debate over its bill to repeal the health reform law. And as both McClatchy Newspapers and The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted, they managed to leave behind much of their past vitriol. There was little talk of “death-panels” and “socialism.” Most even gave up on their new “job-killing” talking point.

So, yes the debate was much more civil. Conservatives were very civilly lying.

We’re not talking about a little white lie here, a little hyperbole there. The entire basis on the repeal argument is one massive lie after another.

House Republicans may not have repeated past attempts to deem health reform “socialism,” but they still called it a “government takeover” – which Politifact.com christened the biggest lie of 2010.

Republicans repeatedly claimed that the health reform law will lead America to “bankruptcy,” when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just estimated it’s repeal of the law which will increase the deficit by $230 billion over the next 10 years.

Republicans accused Democrats of forcing the CBO to employ an artificially narrow analysis to ensure a favorable cost estimate last year. But the CBO just scored the Republican repeal bill this year, and came up with the same conclusion – health reform cuts the deficit, repeal increases it.

Republicans also directly attacked the CBO for “double-counting” savings, when it simply has done nothing of the sort.

And Republicans merely replaced “job-killing” with “job-destroying,” even though there is not a single credible analysis showing that health reform – which lowers taxes on small businesses who provide health insurance — will lead to one lost job.

In my book, civility means showing respect. Lying at a lower volume doesn’t clear the minimum threshold of respect.

UPDATE:For those in the DC-area, Health Care For America Now! will be protesting the repeal bill, before the vote, on Capitol Hill today at 1 PM. Protesters should meet at Independence and New Jersey Ave, SE, across from the Cannon House Office Building.

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