A Quick Note On Hyperbole and Rhetoric Re: Rep. Grayson

“If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly,” Grayson said, standing next to giant placards that emphasized his words. “That’s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.”

Perhaps the first half of what Grayson says is ok.  It is obviously a case of hyperbole, and a bit impolite, but both those things are sometime defensible in politics.  It’s not my taste–or at least not what I aim for, but I won’t complain so much.

But the second half of Grayson’s comment is ridiculous.  There is no sense in which the Republicans want people to die.  Nothing even approximately close.  Republicans have their reasons for disagreeing with health care reform, many of which I think are bad (slavish devotion to an ideal of the free market, distorted ideas of what will happen).  Many legislators have worse reasons (pandering, insurance industry donations).  But the idea that they want people to die explains nothing.  It’s not hyperbole, it’s pure rhetoric, and it doesn’t appeal to any rational consideration, but pure fear.

I hardly think there’s need for a resolution censuring him–Steve Benen very aptly notes that Republicans have said equally extreme things during the health care debate.  It would be extreme hypocrisy for them to censure him.  In any case, rhetoric is rarely reason for a censuring–Wilson’s outburst broke less subjective customs of congressional behavior.

I haven’t seen many people in the parts of the left I frequent defending Grayson (and to be clear, it’s early for this tempest in a teapot), and I hope that stays the case.

P.S. If you’re disagreeing, does it matter that Grayson called the current situation a holocaust?


One response to “A Quick Note On Hyperbole and Rhetoric Re: Rep. Grayson

  1. Pingback: Another (predictable) liberal defense of Rep. Grayson « The United States of Jamerica