October 1, 2013 9:54 am -

AP120529134492-e1380631597219-620x412President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation has done more to stimulate the “say something really crazy” region of the conservative lizard brain than any government-related factor since (arguably including) Monica Lewinsky. One New Hampshire state politician must have thought it would be sheer genius to play the race card on steroids. Sadly for him, it isn’t working out that well:

In what may be the party’s lowest moment throughout this debacle, Republican State Representative William O’Brien of New Hampshire, said Obamacare is every bit as bad as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. President Obama naturally scoffed at the very idea, but O’Brien defended the analogy. “Just as the Fugitive Slave Act was an overreach by the federal government,” he told the Manchester Union Leader, “so too we understand that Obamacare is an assault on the rights of individuals.” That claim explains a lot about right wing thinking, where callousness toward universal health care is exceeded only by ignorance of slavery.

Perhaps the phrase “just as” can be used as an incantation in Tea Party rhetoric, magically tying their own narrow political goals to universal values. But in the real world – the one informed by actual history and human experience – there is no meaningful similarity between slavery and health insurance (apart from the fact that both have been the subject of federal legislation). The very comparison is deeply insulting to human rights. Slavery was an evil system of unspeakable brutality, while national health insurance, at the very worst, involves a little bit of additional bureaucracy.

It’s worth noting that the Manchester Union-Leader has seen a trend in recent years away from from having a traditional New England conservative leaning and toward being a Tea Party mouthpiece.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.