Feinstein points in the wrong direction

FEINSTEIN POINTS IN THE WRONG DIRECTION…. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California has long been one of the most cautious members of the caucus. Don’t move too fast, don’t try too hard, don’t aim too high.

It’s not surprising, then, that in the wake of Massachusetts’s special election, Feinstein is helping lead the antsy brigade in the wrong direction.

“I think we do go slower on health care. People do not understand it. It is so big it is beyond their comprehension. And if you don’t understand it when somebody tells you it does this or it does that and it’s not true, you tend to believe it, even though it isn’t true. It’s hard to debunk all of the myths that are out there.”

“I think we do go slower on health care.” Right. As if the real problem with the process is how quick and efficient it’s been. What Americans really want is for policymakers to go even slower?

Feinstein’s right when she says there are a lot of “myths that are out there.” Much of the public opposition to the plan is based on the misguided belief that it’s a “government takeover” of the system that may lead to killing grandma. And sure, it is tough to debunk every lie when the insurance industry and right-wing groups are engaged in the most aggressive, sophisticated scare-tactic campaign anyone has seen in a long while. It’s precisely why Americans have been debating this issue for a century without resolution — whenever anyone tries to fix it, powerful interests rise up to undermine the public’s interests.

But Feinstein’s mistaken about the next step. Going “slower” doesn’t help. Giving in doesn’t help.

Telling people the truth helps. Passing the much-needed legislation and proving the critics wrong helps. Social programs that seem scary when under attack end up being quite popular — Social Security and Medicare, for example — after they’re implemented.