August 25, 2009

Not Delivering "High-Decibel Rants," I Guess All Those Dittoheads — Oops, I Mean, Citizens — Must Be "More Reasoned Voices"

Meet Bob Collier, a guy offered up by the NYT as the picture of calm. Here, for example, we see Bob calmly sitting on his porch against the calm of his wooded back yard.

According to yesterday’s piece in the Money & Policy section, Bob typifies all those people attending health care meetings who aren’t responsible for the “high-decibel rants,” but instead represent “the calmer, more reasoned voices.” (Driving home the point are actually three photos accompanying the article portraying Bob’s contemplativeness and placidity. You see it, right?)

Given this disposition, one can clearly understand how Bob’s cancer-surviving wife was shocked by the fact her husband, having driven an hour to attend a town hall held by Georgia Democrat Sanford D. Bishop Jr., would calmly take to the microphone to deliberately urge his Congressman to oppose health care reform.

However, while the article roots Bob’s opposition in reasonable concern about “how we’re going to achieve reforms” and The Times reassures us the Collier’s attended the meeting “not because they had received an electronic call to action but because they had read about it in The Macon Telegraph,” just a few quotes and facts seem belay the narrative of Mr. Collier’s calm and prudence.

For example, I was trying to imagine the tone of this quote about Mr. Obama as it actually left Bob’s mouth:

“Here comes this new guy in town,” he said, “and he wants to centralize everything. He wants to take over the car companies. He wants to take over the banks. Now he wants to take over health care. It’s a power grab, and if he gets this, there’s no turning it around.”

And then, there is this little snip of background:

The Colliers are committed conservatives who have voted Republican in presidential elections since 1980. They receive much of their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and Matt Drudge’s Web site.

What was it the article said — that Mr. Collier didn’t attend the meeting because of an electronic call to action? And then right about now, don’t you just love the message that lower amplitude equals thoughtful attitude?

Finally, I can almost understand how Bob wants to stymie a public option and those “lazy and irresponsible people who play the system” given his personal 100% employer-paid health care package.

(image: Kate Medley for The New York Times)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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