A posting on the Obama Administration’s official blog on Tuesday asked for supporters of Obama to report to the White House critics of the democratic health care reform bill who may be spreading “fishy” information. The statement has struck a major nerve with many Americans, particularly conservatives who take issue with the idea of Obama’s administration keeping a list of those who voice their dissent toward the current policy direction in Washington.
The request was more then likely issued because of two major events in the past several weeks. First is the phenomenon of angry citizens at town hall meetings berating their representatives and senators over their displeasure with the proposed health care reform bill. Large numbers of discontent voters, particularly senior citizens and veterans, have been disrupting the public events of congressman with public confrontations. Many are upset that the legislators are not reading bills in their entirety before voting on them. One democratic representative was even laughed at as he tried to insist that the health care bill would result in a budget surplus. The second major reason for the White House’s request is a video recently released on the Drudge Report that may send these unhappy voters into an even deeper frenzy. The clip shows Obama explaining how the addition of a public option for health insurance will eventually lead to a single payer system. This is a concern for many Americans, and has been flatly denied by the Obama Administration.
Republican Senator John Cornyn issued a scathing response to the White House’s “fishy” remarks in the form of a letter to the president. His comments seem to sum up the emotions of health care reform critics who are uncomfortable with the idea of their dissent being reported to the Obama Administration. A link to the letter can be found at the bottom of this article. Here are some of the highlights:
“I am not aware of any precedent for a president asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests.”
“As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.”
“Do your own past statements qualify as ‘disinformation’? For example, is it ‘disinformation’ to note that in 2003 you said: ‘I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan’?”