A pox on one too many houses

A POX ON ONE TOO MANY HOUSES…. Time‘s Mark Halperin had an item late yesterday on his top 10 reasons “everything about the health care mobs is a national disgrace.” Some of the observations are fair, some aren’t.

For example, Halperin calls out media outlets for contributing to the problem, noting that coverage of the mobs “is playing into the hands of the mobsters, and “crowding out a needed national debate about health care.” He added, “It is very easy to disrupt a town meeting and the (apparent) reward is getting their requisite 15 minutes of fame on television news.”

He also takes on the Republican Party, arguing, “The abject weaknesses of the Republican Party and the conservative movement (in general and on health care) are on display in the reaction of their ‘leaders’ to the mobs.” Halperin even raises a point the GOP would much prefer go ignored: “Ask Republican members of Congress who voted for President Bush’s massive prescription drug entitlement law how many of them read that bill before they voted in favor of it — or how many bills they EVER read in their entirety.”

But the third point on Halperin’s top 10 list seemed out of place.

The White House is understandably pushing back against and exploiting the mobs for its own political gain; while understandable, it is also shameful in its own way.

Now, the efficacy of the White House pushback strategy is open to debate — more on that later — but I’m not following Halperin’s reasoning. As Michael Crowley noted, “The White House is ‘understandably’ fighting back against hysterical and frequently dishonest opposition, and that’s ‘shameful’?”

I suspect Halperin saw that his list went after the GOP, the right-wing mobs, and the media, so he felt compelled to bring some “balance” by criticizing the Democratic administration, which has had the audacity to try to overcome ridiculous lies with the truth.

Halperin’s larger point — the mobs are a disgrace — is obviously compelling. But I think he put a pox on one too many houses.