According to Ed Schultz on Wednesday, "most" doctors hate government and vote Republican. What source did he cite for these claims? Well, none. The MSNBC anchor happily admitted he was just saying what came into his head. Railing against the compromise budget plan that passed the Senate, Schultz mentioned the "doc fix," an effort to correct a problem in how doctors are paid by Medicare. Schultz snarled, "This is about the vote. Most doctors in this country vote Republican. Most of them don't like government." [MP3 audio here.]
For proof, the host touted, "Do I have anything to back that up? No, that's just a gut feeling." He added, "I'm willing to say that, because it's just instinctively, that's what I feel in this country." The liberal New York Times disagreed with Schultz's hunch.
In a May 30, 2011 article entitled, "As Physicians' Jobs Change, So Do Their Politics," writer Gardiner Harris suggested that Doctors may be moving towards the Democrats:
Doctors were once overwhelmingly male and usually owned their own practices. They generally favored lower taxes and regularly fought lawyers to restrict patient lawsuits. Ronald Reagan came to national political prominence in part by railing against "socialized medicine" on doctors’ behalf.
But doctors are changing. They are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals, particularly in the North, but increasingly in the South as well. Half of all younger doctors are women, and that share is likely to grow.
There are no national surveys that track doctors’ political leanings, but as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening from Maine as well as South Dakota, Arizona and Oregon, according to doctors’ advocates in those and other states.
A partial transcript of the December 17 segment is below:
ED SCHULTZ: You see, they believe, the Republicans, that all of these unemployed people in America, they're Democrats. And they also believe that they're not going to vote for the Republicans anyway. So that's part of the equation. Oh, we did get the doc fix in this bill. How many Democratic doctors do you know? This is about the vote. Most doctors in this country vote Republican. Most of them don't like government. Do I have anything to back that up? No, that's just a gut feeling. I'm willing to say that, because it's just instinctively, that's what I feel in this country. So the game plan for the Democrats starts with something they really have no ledger to go on. You know what they have when it comes to dealing with John Boehner? A blank sheet of paper. That's what they have.