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Why the Unfortunate Linkage?

Reader comment on item: The Geneva Agreement with Iran: A Foreign Policy Disaster

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Nov 24, 2013 at 13:43

I agree with Dr Pipes that Obama and Kerry have made a bad, and worse, unnecessary deal with Iran. Unnecessary because the sanctions that brought Iran to the table would have brought further dramatic results in the near future or, at worst, led to a military crisis on far better terms than will now be available if and when Iran reneges on this deal and the spirit behind the sanctions has been compromised.

But WHY the impulse to link this bad deal with the Health Care Law?

Is it to praise the fact that the United States alone among developed countries still doesn't provide meaningful health care coverage to all its citizens? Is it to advertise the fact that the Republicans, who are almost hysterical about this law – so hysterical that they came within hours of causing the united states to default on its debts - at the same time have offered no alternative to the 50,000,000 Americans who lack basic health care coverage? And who, along with millions more Americans with weak coverage, are alone in the developed world in facing the risk of medical bankruptcy?

I often have the wish to ask every Republican who is on television yelling about "socialized" medicine, and shouting "repeal, repeal, repeal" if THEY are without health care insurance. And if they or their parents are on Medicare, do they call this "socialized" medicine too? (actually, I guess some do).

I have long deplored the fact that we no longer have any political animals called "Cold War Liberals". As in Franklin Roosevelt who, with his New Deal and his early, strong awareness of the Hitler threat, was a cold war liberal before the term was invented. As in Harry Truman, who defended the New Deal and sought universal health care even as he strongly opposed the new Soviet threat. As in John Kennedy, who supported the civil rights the republicans are now trying to undo and unravel with their shameless voter suppression laws, while still facing down Khrushchev. As in Henry Jackson, who opposed the Soviet union with seminal legislation and stoutly defended Israel even as he had supported the New Deal in his earlier years and continued the defend its social welfare accomplishments. (It's strange that several of his key aides have gone on to further careers in national defense while rejecting or forgetting all that their former boss stood for in domestic affairs).

So why don't we have any parallel to the proud tradition of the Cold War Liberal in this new world-wide threat from totalitarian Islam?

That's a difficult and tragic question, for another paper, but at least, those who are trying to fill the void left by the absence of the 'cold war liberal' should perhaps not be trumpeting their opposition to the only major piece of social welfare legislation on the contemporary scene of US politics, and that long overdue. If they, and Dr Pipes, were trying to fix it, and supporting the principle, they might find a far readier audience among those who used to support FDR, Truman, JFK, and Henry Jackson in their Cold war policies, instead of contributing to the impression that while republicans care about national defense they don't give a damn about millions of Americans without health insurance at all or with highly inadequate or trap-door policies.

I suggest it is a political mistake to link opposition to the Iran deal with opposition to the national health care law.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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