Filling in the blanks

FILLING IN THE BLANKS…. The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a letter to supporters this week, over Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) signature, with a variety of creative claims about health care reform. As far as the NRSC is concerned, President Obama’s agenda may, for example, lead to a “‘lottery’ system of determining who will get priority treatment.” If the agenda becomes law, the government may also discriminate against patients “on the basis of race or age.” The government, the letter added, may even pick your doctor for you — it’s described as an idea that’s “up for debate.”

Now, in Grown-Up Land, the claims in the NSRC letter were not only ridiculous, but an embarrassment to American discourse. Time‘s Michael Scherer had a good item, criticizing both the NRSC correspondence and the political culture that tolerates such nonsense.

“In a just, fully functioning Democratic debate, there would be consequences for such fearmongering by a major political party,” Scherer said. “Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who signs the direct mail piece, would actually be forced to either defend the document, by backing up the claims with actual evidence that these claims are in any way relevant to the current discussion, or he would be discredited as someone willing to fool people — not to mention the elderly — for political advantage. But this is not a fully functioning Democratic system.”

Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the NSRC, rejected the criticism and defended the Cornyn letter.

Walsh … defended the mailer, not as a description of any of the Democratic plans, but rather as an open-ended musing on possible health care reform ideas. “It simply poses questions,” said Walsh. “In looking at it, it doesn’t say definitely what the president’s health care plan is.” Walsh added that no one knows what the final Obama health care legislation might contain. “He has not put forward legislative text,” he said. “We have no idea what the Democratic bill is going to look like.”

So in other words, Walsh is maintaining that the most alarming parts of the faux poll do not describe anything that Democrats or Obama has proposed, but rather describe things that could still be proposed at some point in the future to surprise everybody. Needless to say, it is rather unlikely — call it completely inconceivable — that Obama or Democratic leaders would introduce an 11th-hour amendment to deny health care to Americans based on race.

I see. Democratic reform proposals are still taking shape, and the White House hasn’t introduced formal language, so as far as the National Republican Senatorial Committee is concerned, quite literally anything is possible. Got it.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that GOP leaders have promised to unveil an alternative Republican reform plan “soon.” They have not put forward legislative text, and we have no idea what the Republican bill is going to look like.

With that in mind, it’s entirely plausible that the Republican Party’s health care agenda may require child sacrifice in some kind of cultish ritual. What’s more, the GOP plan may include mandates that physicians hit patients in the face with a baseball bat. If the Republican proposals become law, it’s possible that only Southerners will be allowed to call 911 in an emergency. Perhaps most alarmingly, the GOP agenda might make it illegal to go to the bathroom.

I’m not describing the details of the still-hidden Republican plans; I’m just musing on the open-ended possibilities. This isn’t a definite description of what the GOP plan is, but rather, a possible scenario that the minority party might pursue.