Jonah Goldberg has a nice piece over at National Review Online about the way the recently upheld Affordable Care Act has been received at National Public Radio. He picks out Julie Rovner's question about whether there are really any losers in the decision. She eventually concludes that there aren't any. Goldberg can't hold himself back:
It is an interesting perspective given that this is arguably the most controversial law in our lifetimes. It nearly sparked a constitutional crisis, helped cause the Democrats to lose their majority in the House, and, despite herculean efforts by the president to “sell” the law . . . And yet, according to Rovner, the law creates only winners if properly implemented. Why on earth are its opponents so stupid? For the record, there are losers under Obamacare. Here’s a short list: ….
He then goes on with your expected list (taxpayers…it's a tax, you see, Catholics who see part of the law as subsidizing condom use, and people at the bottom of the slippery slope of medication rationing). This, so far, isn't what's good about Goldberg's column. In fact, so far, it's just his usual schlocky version of what a dumb person would think a smart person would say about the issue and about the opposition. But then he surprises:
Obamacare defenders have responses to these objections, and critics have responses to those responses. Still: Serious people do believe that the law creates — or just might create — losers, a fact Rovner might have mentioned.
I don’t mean to pick on Rovner. Her views on Obamacare don’t strike me as exceptional so much as typical — typical of a liberal Washington establishment that still seems incapable of grasping what the fuss is about.
This is nice, except for his saying that he doesn't mean to 'pick on' Rovner. That, of course, is ridiculous — he's making an example of her. That's not wrong, nor is it worth making a big deal about not doing it. Rather, what's nice is that Goldberg sees that this isn't the best the other side can do in the debate, but that it's typical of what the other side does in the debate. That's a good observation, one that shows some real self-awareness and also dialectical sensitivity. You have to disabuse your audience of the bad but widely made arguments before you can get to the good but infrequently given arguments.