Friday, August 14, 2009

Shadow boxing

There's something a tad strange about the Daniel Hannan Sean Hannity interview controversy. Consistent with much of the healthcare "debate" in the USA, the only alternative that the pundits seem able to comprehend for the US system is the NHS. But of course Barack Obama is not proposing any more government provision of healthcare than takes place already. Nor has Hannan said anything much different than he has said before. But anyway. Both the BBC and Sky editors seem to have decided to that the most outrageous quote from Hannan (since it's the one they keep playing) is --

How amazing to me that a free people, you know, citizens of a country founded on the principle of independence, independence for the citizen as well as independence for the state, should be contemplating, in peacetime, burdening themselves with a system like this, which puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy.

But he also said --

The idea that you'd want me to know go down this road to Cuban what North Korean system, is just extraordinary.

NHS = North Korea? Now that's loony. David Cameron should be able to come with something more than this oblique response. But in the big picture, the row is typical of the luck of those opposed to healthcare reform. They find a hackneyed but not entirely useless rhetorical tactic and carry it too far -- in this case turning it into an embarrassment for an overseas political party that should be their natural ally, the Tories. With enemies like these, maybe Barack Obama doesn't need friends.

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