By CHARLES M. BLOW
One of the most frustrating aspects of the health care debate is that the people who most want reform are the most apathetic about it.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released on Wednesday (8/5), nearly 8 in 10 Democrats said that they favor “Barack Obama’s plan to reform health care,” compared with just 19 percent of Republicans.
Yet, according to a Gallup poll released [week of 6/26], only 47 percent of Democrats said that they had a good understanding of the issues involved in the current health care debate. Fifty-eight percent of the Republicans polled said that they understood.
Furthermore, a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday (8/6) found that Democrats were the least likely to say that they were following the debate over health care reform “very closely.” Only 42 percent of Democrats said that they were, compared with 45 percent of the independents and 56 percent of the Republicans polled.
And while Democrats are sitting it out, Republicans are storming in.
According to the CNN poll, nearly half of those opposing current plans on health care reform said that they were very likely to attend a town hall meeting. Only 37 percent of those who support the plans were very likely to attend.
Not only are anti-reformists showing up, they’re terrorizing legislators with their tomfoolery when they do. Blinded by fear and passion, armed with misinformation and misplaced anger, they descend on these meetings and hoot and holler in an attempt to shut down the debate rather than add to it.
I must say that this says more about them than it does about any forthcoming legislation. Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt.
Trapped in their vacuum of ideas, too many Republicans continue to display an astounding ability to believe utter nonsense, even when faced with facts that contradict it.
A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll released [6/31] found that 28 percent of Republicans don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States and another 30 percent are still “not sure.” That’s nearly 6 out of 10 Republicans refusing to accept a basic truth. Then again, this shouldn’t surprise me. According to a Gallup poll released last summer, 6 in 10 Republicans also said they thought that humans were created, in their present form, 10,000 years ago.
Let’s face it: This is no party of Einsteins. [italics by the bullet] Really, it isn’t. A Pew poll last month found that only 6 percent of scientists said that they were Republicans.
Democrats should be leading this discussion. Instead, they’re losing control of it. That’s unfortunate because the debate is too important to be hijacked by hooligans.
Blow is a Columnist for the New York Times This essay was originally published on August 7th. “I invite you to visit my blog, By the Numbers. Please also join me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”