Yesterday, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele appeared on NPR and quickly got into a testy back-and-forth with interviewer Steve Inskeep over the Republican Party’s tactics in the health care debate.
Towards the end of the interview, Inskeep asked how the GOP plans to explain the complicated health care issue to the American people in a way that “doesn’t just kind of scare people with soundbites.” In response, Steele angrily replied,”No one’s trying to scare people with soundbites. I have not done that, and I don’t know any leaders in the House and the Senate that have done that.”
The problem with Steele’s statement is that it simply isn’t true. The Columbian reports today that Raymond Denny, a 64-year old man from La Center, Washington, recieved a thirteen-question survey in the mail from the RNC, and that one of the questions implied that the health care reform bills before Congress would purposely discriminate against people who affiliated with the Republican Party:
As Politico’s Glenn Thrush notes, “Democrats haven’t suggested using party registration as litmus for care.” Reflecting on the question, Denny told the Washington Independent, “They word these things to solicit the answer they wanted. This one here we looked at and said, ‘Wow, that’s way beyond the pale of what should be done.’”
Of course the RNC survey is just one part of the scare tactics being used by opponents of health care reform. They have suggested that health reform could “pull the plug on grandma“, subject mentally ill children to “death panels,” and even herald in a new era of eugenics.
A spokesman for the RNC has now described the mailing as “inartfully worded.”