Former Majority Leader Daschle Says Health Care Backlash Legitimate

Not everyone on the left is in denial of the town hall protests and propagating the notion that any opposition to ObamaCare is manufactured “Astroturf” from the right.

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, now a Bloomberg TV contributor, said that the issue of public sentiment isn’t settled. Some prognosticators have concluded that everyone wants President Barack Obama’s brand of health care reform.

“I think it’s still a toss-up ball quite frankly,” Daschle said. “I think everybody is looking to see who gets to be on the offensive and there is a critical effort on both sides to do that. Whoever is usually on the offensive as you go into the legislative fight is the winner. And so, that’s really the key – who can be on the offensive as we go through the next critical weeks.”

According to Daschle, the struggle in the public forum is part of democracy and with something as major making its way through the legislative process, this is to be expected.

“This is really the noise of democracy, Peter,” Daschle said to Peter Cook. “This happens on all the major transformational debates. It’s part of the process. It’s not messy, sometimes it’s ugly, but nonetheless it is something that’s part of what I think has become the American scene.”

Daschle conceded some of the public outrage, put on display at town hall meetings nationwide, is authentic – and not completely staged as some have alleged.

“Well, some of it I think is authentic,” Daschle said. “There is a concern anytime you got something, you’re trading for something you don’t know completely how to describe, you’re concerned and there are people that are understandably concerned.”

Daschle did take a shot at what he called “extraordinary hyperbolic predictions” about the potential outcome of an Obama health care plan, and used the buzzword term “scare tactics” to describe them.

“What exacerbates it of course are all the rumors and all the extraordinary hyperbolic predictions about how this is all going to turn out,” Daschle added. “And that scares people. Obviously when you’re talking about your personal health, and you’re inclined to be concerned anyway, when you get these scare tactics on top of it, it makes for very volatile politics.”