09 September 2009

Assertions are not arguments

I have always thought President Obama comes across a bit school-marmish; a bit of a scold. I honestly cannot remember hearing a president shout as much as he did tonight.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that he did little more than repeat the same things he has been repeating for months as support for his reforms has plummeted.

He can say until he is blue in the face that talk about "death panels" is a lie, but I have read Obama's own words on the topic. After explaining that "...the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here," he goes on to say that the only way to reduce those costs is to reduce the care, and to do so you "have to have some independent group that can give you guidance."

No, he didn't say the words "death panels." But he clearly indicated that care for those who are terminally and chronically ill, as well as those at "the end of their lives," currently receive too much treatment, and an independent panel ought to be formed to determine the proper limits of their care.

If he wants to say that is not, and cannot become, a death panel, he needs to offer something more than a simple assertion that those who say it does are lying.

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