Are the Democrats following criticisms of their health proposals a little too closely? K-Lo just sent me this piece about Sen. Ben Nelson personally calling a constituent to complain about the constituent's appearance in an ad criticizing Nelson's position on health care. Then a former White House colleague sent me this item from the White House website in which they are asking people to rat out anyone expressing an opinion that the White House would classify as "fishy":
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.
My friend, who understandably does not want to be revealed as fishy to this Colonel Flag fellow, wrote the following:
Move over, George Orwell! Could you imagine the furor this would have created if the Bush Administration had done this? The media would have had a field day issuing ominous warnings about the specter of the White House openly recruiting people to report on their friends' and neighbors' objections to a White House policy initiative. Be careful what you say — through its network of willing spies, the White House is listening! Children: Are your parents spreading misinformation about President Obama's plans for health care? Then email firstname.lastname@example.org. It's your duty!
My take is a little different. The White House asked for a truth squad, so it seems to me that conservatives should submit any "fishy" statements from administration officials to email@example.com. But don't expect any retractions anytime soon.