Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This is good, and it's probably as far as anyone should go under the official aegis of the Democratic Party -- but it's not as far as all opponents of the GOP should go:

Chickens for Checkups!

That’s the name of a new Web site the DSCC [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] is planning to unveil today in an effort to draw national attention to GOP Senate candidate Sue Lowden, who doubled down this week on her assertion that people should barter with doctors to reduce health care prices, a DSCC spox tells me.

Lowden, who wants to replace Harry Reid, said this:

"I'm telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I'll paint your house. I mean, that's the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system."

The DSCC's new Chickens for Checkups Web site ... will allow people to send Lowden a "personalized message asking for her help in finding a doctor for their 19th century illness," DSCC spox Deirdre Murphy says. It will include a menu of stuff you can choose to barter for treatment....

Fine as far as it goes -- but not every, um, service that one person can provide another is as innocent as painting a house.

The site I hope an anti-GOP provocateur starts would be called "Sex for Checkups."

It would quote Ms. Lowden's praise of the barter system -- and point out that, at least in some parts of her state, prostitution is legal. If we really had a barter system of the kind Lowden thinks is so wonderful, what would prevent sick people -- or, say, the parents of sick children -- from resorting to sex barter in return for needed medical services? And how would Lowden feel about that? How would Nevada voters feel about that?

James Carville is reported to have said, "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil." Lowden slipped into a bit of water, but she's not drowning yet; as I said a while back, the notion of barter isn't regarded as completely crazy by a lot of people.

But it is crazy in this case, for a lot of reasons. One is that it offers no help to people in desperate life-or-death situations that require far more treatment than painting a house could possibly offset. The other is that she hasn't thought through the implications of just what some people might offer in trade for health care -- nor have most of the citizens of Nevada.

Somebody needs to make the implications explicit. That's the anvil. And you'd better believe that if the parties were reversed, some GOP-friendly operative wouldn't hesitate to do just this.

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