Conservative Pundits’ Sneakiness

Have you noticed a perennial tendency in the columns written by conservative pundits such as David Brooks and Ross Douthat? They aspire to, and are generally considered as, being thoughtful conservatives. But they can never ever write a column, even one that ostensibly praises an Obama policy or condemns a Republican policy, without taking a gratuitous swing at Democrats and/or liberals. It is as if their heads would explode, if they constrained themselves to the main thrust of their column. Of course this kind of lashing out at the other side, does not occur in their columns that are wholly critical of an Obama Policy or praising a Republican policy. Why do they engage in such antics? Are they afraid they will be ostracized by their fellow conservative punditocracy?

The latest example is Douthat's column criticizing Republican Congress' passing of the AHCA in the House of Representatives. He wrote

"When President Obama said — lyingly – that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” his party ultimately paid for it."

Even though Obama expressed regret for that statement, since it was not as clear as it could be, wherein he had meant to say, that since a majority of working age Americans were receiving their health insurance coverage through their employers, the ACA would not affect who their doctors would be.  His point was that the ACA did not seek to upend health insurance for the vast majority of people who were in good employer provided plans. And that was indeed true of the ACA.  

But of course since the ACA has some minimum essential benefit requirements, the existing plans had to meet these requirements as well. Obviously, those plans that did not meet them, would have to modify their plans. That could mean some changes in the network of doctors that were a part of their health plan.  There is nothing nefarious about this. Even before Obamacare, doctors moved in and out of one's networks. No one other that God could guarantee that a particular doctor would be on one's network without change. Obama did not mean that, since there is no way he or any one else can say that, or guarantee that, unless that person is almighty God himself.

Ross knows this. What is even more galling is that Ross has not used such vehement language to describe the utterances of any Republican President, including the current occupant, the onerous Mr. Trump. Yet he uses it gratuitously, since it is a standard Republican talking point. In a weird way, it is a testament to Obama's general honesty, that this is one of the rare instances Obama's critics can point to, as having misled the people. If these same pundits were to cover every one of Trump's misleading statements with such tenaciousness, can you imagine how their columns would read. They would not have time, space or ink to write about anything else.

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