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Friday, September 11, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

I opined some time ago that the most important part of any speech (in terms of political impact) is not the speech itself, but the sound bites it generates.  I have whimsically called this Taylor’s Iron Law of Political Speeches.

The single most talked about aspect of Obama’s Wednesday night speech has been a specific sound bit, specifically:  “You Lie!”  I can’t think of another quote from the speech that has received anywhere near the same amount of attention.  See, for example, the LAT:  Outrage over Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst isn’t dying down.

Indeed, not only has it had direct effects on Wilson’s own re-election campaign,1 it appears to me that the debate over health care reform will now shift to the immigration question and whether or not whatever reform is produced has the aim/effect of extending coverage to illegal immigrants.  Indeed, I think this is the new “death panels” discussion—i.e., a rallying cry that opponents of the process will insist is in the bill(s) (even if it is isn’t).  It is also like the “death panel” line of attack because it will inspire the GOP base, which is passionate on the immigration topic.

The other issue that is emerging from Wilson’s outburst will be the issue of abortion and the public option/any public subsidies to purchase health insurance.

  1. Money appears to be flowing into both Wilson’s and his opponent’s coffers. []
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One Response to “More Evidence for my Iron Law”

  1. Alabama Moderate Says:

    Page 143 of H.R. 3200 actually has the clause specifically stating that federal funds should not be used for illegal aliens. This is of course a formality since illegal aliens already do not qualify for government programs under federal law, which leads me to believe someone stuck it in there just because they felt they had to.

    That being said, the argument I keep hearing is that nothing in the bill enforces that completely- in that illegal aliens can still walk into ERs and be treated. While I can see some reason for concern, I’ve stated in a few places that this bill isn’t really the best place to address the issue.

    I have read somewhere that the bill will require that everyone be insured, but since federal funds cannot cover illegal aliens, they will be required to purchase a small private policy or face legal action. I have not been able to find this in the bill, though.

    Even so, one would guess that the best way to deal with the issue is through legislation to reduce the number of illegal aliens- thus reducing the number who might show up uninsured in an ER. This would mean separate immigration legislation would be needed. I find it odd that so many Republicans are insisting that such measures be tacked onto a bill that they already plan to vote against. It could be a creative way of avoiding the issue.

    The same goes for the funding of abortion, which has also largely been debunked. The bill does allow private insurers to offer services that cover abortions; however federal money cannot be used except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in danger. Anything beyond that would have to be paid for through premiums. The only real way to move beyond that would be to completely ban abortions- and I doubt many people, even Republican die-hards, have the stomach to say that a woman can’t have an abortion if her life depends on it. Again, this seems a creative way to avoid the issue separately.


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