My 39 Seconds – The Olbermann Effect

BatW on MSNBCWell, it has been an interesting week for me.  On Monday evening, I began receiving a steady stream of comments on my recent post (kind of a new experience).  I checked my blog stats to discover that my hits had spiked tremendously – driven primarily from Keith Olbermann’s mention of my post in his blog.  On Wednesday, I found out that my post was not only mentioned on his blog.  It was also shown on the “Special Comment” section of his show (9:47 into the 14:34 video clip) – Olbermann: ‘Death Panel’ Palin dangerously irresponsible (transcript).

It has been an extremely eye-opening experience, and I have been amazed at the comments I have received over the last few days.  I have approved most of them – since I am genuinely interested in encouraging a meaningful dialogue.  However, there were some that were very personal, threatening and too vulgar to post.  This is ironic given the gist of Mr. Olbermann’s entire Special Comment was that:

Sarah Palin. . .by peddling frightening lies to her mob of ill-informed followers, puts the safety and security of the nation at risk.

I am not accusing anyone of “peddling frightening lies” as I did paste the Liberty Council’s line by line analysis (just as I have posted from CNN, ABC, etc).  But, I also cited the source of the information and even commented that “like all parties to this discussion, they (Liberty Council) have their point of view.”

I consider myself to be pretty open-minded when it comes to the heath care debate.  I see the inefficiencies of the current system first hand every day and understand that meaningful change is necessary.  One of my main goals of this post was to encourage average people to try to read the Resolution and make sense of it for themselves.  I have read it in full and find it extremely difficult to comprehend – even as someone with 17 years experience in the industry.  In over 1,000 pages of text riddled with cross-references, there are very few details about what the “qualified plans” will cover and what they will cost.  These are very big details with very big implications.

There are detailed plans for the structure and governance of the bureaucracies that will make these decisions.  But, that isn’t exactly comforting given the level of efficiency we have come to expect with governmental entities in general.  I would love to see a more straightforward and easily understood solution – like my Benefits Fix.  Solutions stated in Plain Language would seem to be the best way to get truly broad public support without creating unnecessary and expensive bureaucracies sheltered from market competition.



  1. Matt Grawitch · August 14, 2009

    Excellent post! Well stated, and a very professional response, given what you likely read in response to your last post! Keep up the good fight of encouraging actual dialogue about the issue rather than trying to ram one side or the other down people’s throats.

  2. Pris · August 15, 2009

    I too would like to continue “meaningul dialogue”. I think that we have many intelligent citizens who have much to contribute. Why not let everyone present their point of view, so we may debate these issues. The Health Bill obviously has been written in a language that is very difficult to understand. That is why we have these interpretations. Instead of having Congress vote on a 1000-page bill that many will not even read, why not start with a basic plan, something that the public(and Congress)can understand. Additions could be present piece by piece and voted on separately. We all know that health reform is necessary, and I am sure there are many benefical aspects in the bill that we can all agree on. Let us begin with these changes. The more complex issues can be studied and debated and then gradually be presented for a vote. Allow us to absorb these issues more slowly.

    • John in Austin · August 17, 2009

      Clearly, the arbitrary July deadline for such a voluminous and impactful piece of legislation caused much of the hysteria and hostility towards the health care reform.

      W/r/t any piece of legislation, there are numerous persons who are anxious to see its enactment as there are numerous who feel strongly otherwise. The specific reasons vary individually (philosophical alignment, legislative significance, level of trust of politicians, etc.), but those individual motivations for or against enactment end up aggregating and polarizing significant portions of the electorate.

      However, the most influential portion of the electorate is by nature deliberative about legislation in direct proportion to its significance, and many persons (particulary our more vintaged citizens) feel that health care legislation is paramount.

      So this portion of the electorate witnesses a Congress and administration in hasty turmoil leading up to the August recess with divisions not only along party lines but intra-party as well. Then, on the eve of the August recess, a bill comes out of committee without time or opportunity for any member of the committee (republican or democrat) to actually read and consider the proposed legislation.

      For many, this legislative process all but decided the fate of the bill. Nevermind that most voters had not read it. Neither had the legislators. The people were being asked to accept on faith a piece of legislation that they felt was the most important law-making in a generation without any confidence in the process by which it was derived. No way.

      Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your perspective, this legislative fire drill was a pre-meditated strategy designed by Tom Daschle and followed blindly by the administration. Now the President’s retrenchment on key issues looks like a retreat and not considered deliberation. I hope that the President can rise above the fray and admit that his exercise in gamesmanship was a mistake because if he doesn’t, he likely won’t regain the trust of the American people anytime soon.

  3. physician · August 20, 2009

    While I strongly disagree with the misinformation in your blogs, I do agree with you Mr. Daly on a very important point that you raise. The language of the health care proposal is dense and almost uninterpretable in places. We should demand of our legislators that plain and direct language be required. As you know, however, the insurance industry (as a whole) is one of the worst offenders in placing confusing legalese in their documents.

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