If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck – but just be prepared to have your spelling skills challenged when you reach that conclusion.
And so goes CNN’s Roland Martin. On the network’s March 21 special coverage of the House of Representatives passage of health care legislation, host Wolf Blitzer asked Martin, a CNN political analyst, about his views of those who call these so-called reform measures Soviet-style communism or socialism.
“That's just stuck on stupid,” Martin said. “I mean to sit there on the House floor and all of a sudden you're talking about, oh, this is communism and you're sitting here and reaching – that's just dumb, OK? You know what? If Republicans truly cared about health care, why in the world didn't they do anything for eight years? So don't stand here now when the Democrats have been pushing the issue and now say, oh, no, ‘Republicans – we really care about health care,’ when you had the opportunity to make changes to our system.”
Martin accused the GOP of using rhetoric that caused people to hurl “nonsensical names.”
“The fact of the matter is, when you have Republicans who want to sit here and throw all these kind of nonsensical names out there, it does nothing but stir up the nutcases who are frankly calling Democrats the kind of names on yesterday,” Martin said.
But ultimately he said they probably can’t identify what communism or socialism is – or even spell those words for that matter.
“And so if you want to make an argument that there are core differences, there are no doubt between Democrats and Republicans on this issue,” Martin said. “And you know what? You sometimes have to make tough issues – tough decisions. And so I just don't believe in these ridiculous names, what's communism and what's socialism. People probably can't even spell communism and socialism, much less identify it.”
Kevin Madden, the former communications strategist for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign fired back at Martin’s charges, explaining they were personal attacks and not substantive.
“Well, you know, first of all, I think that's unfortunate that you would make an ad hominem attack like that,” Madden said. “I think that there's very important principles, but I think what you're doing is making a personal attack and I don't think that helps the decorum of the debate either.”
According to Madden, the Republican Party did in fact offer alternatives – even over the past few election cycles, despite claims from Democratic opponents that have suggested otherwise.
“But I think what you have to remember the Republicans have been very – been very – we've been very, I think, good at putting forward ideas on health care. If you look at the 2000 elections, 2004 elections, we closed the gap with Democrats on health care because we put forward very progressive ideas, I think, when you look at health savings accounts, when you look at association health plans,” Madden said. “Those are all – core Republican principles to get more access to bring down costs. So, you know, I would disagree that we haven't been putting out any ideas. I think that the – the health care forum that the president held down at the White House obliterated the argument that Republicans are the party of no and the Republicans don't have health care ideas.”