The Wrong Way to Attack Gingrich

November 30th, 2011 at 5:11 pm | 21 Comments |

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The American Spectator has decided to attack Newt Gingrich’s position on healthcare because he once praised the work of Dr. Donald Berwick’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement. I must say, as someone who has pretty consistently thought that Obamacare was a terrible way to go about reforming our healthcare system, that the criticism by David Catron is ridiculous.

It would be like criticizing Stephen Chu’s Nobel Prize in Physics for laser cooling and trapping of atoms because he is a terrible venture capitalist in energy companies. True and unrelated!

Berwick’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement has done terrific work in outlining approaches to, as the name implies, improving healthcare. They typically focus on patient safety issues, ways of using data to improve outcomes, how to improve patient-doctor communication, etc. If Newt Gingrich supports this sort of thing, more power to him. To attack Dr. Berwick’s ideas about centralized control of the health care system is completely justifiable. To attack quality improvement efforts his organization has pioneered because one does not like his politics is execrable.

The other absurdity of Catron’s article is to attack Gingrich for praising the landmark report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences on the frequency of medical errors. This report has been instrumental in developing a culture of patient safety in America’s hospitals and physician offices. The results of decreasing blood stream infections, for example, has been one terrific outcome of the report. True there has been controversy over the numbers of patient deaths that the Institute of Medicine study reported but even if they exaggerated by 75%, it would still be horrible.

There are those that are clearly bent on damaging Gingrich. There may be very good reasons to do so but this article by Catron provides none.

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • Nanotek

    (1) “…and it has lately come to light that he endorsed stepped-up end-of-life counseling. Combined with those afflictions, Gingrich’s praise of Berwick will send his health care credibility straight to Forest Lawn.” Catron

    thinking it may be good to help people as they approach the end of their lives is bad in conservativille?

    (2) Dr. Goldfarb, there is no Obamacare … other than Obama cares … there is The Affordable Health Care for America Act … you offer little different than for what you condemn Catron.

    (3) so if the Affordable Health Care for America Act puts a bee in your bonnet, what is your solution Doctor for the many tens of millions of Americans with no or inadequate health care? simply to die while you berate “Obamacares,” as Grayson pointed out?

    first do no harm

  • LFC

    “To attack Dr. Berwick’s ideas about centralized control of the health care system is completely justifiable. To attack quality improvement efforts his organization has pioneered because one does not like his politics is execrable.”

    “The other absurdity of Catron’s article is to attack Gingrich for praising the landmark report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences on the frequency of medical errors. “

    I agree with your statements that using these for a basis of attack is ridiculous, but I disagree that this is a specific technique for damaging Gingrich. This is the M.O. of the right-wing when it comes to anybody who doesn’t toe the line 100%.

    In Wingnutland, Dr. Berwick had something they disagreed with, therefore he’s pure poison. The National Academy of Sciences says global warming is real and caused by man, hence they are radical and dishonest. And of course Planned Parenthood’s mission is to perform abortions, dontcha’ know.

    Gingrich approved of organizations that are not viewed as 100% ideologically pure, making them enemies of all “god-fearin’ Amuricans”. That’s all you need to know to understand why somebody on the right would make such a stupid attack.

    • dugfromthearth

      This

      the GOP has used lies as their approach for preventing healthcare reform for years. Death Panels, pulling statements of possible outcomes and claiming those were the goals of the people who listed them, and any other underhanded and disingenuous claim they could come up with.

      of course this is not restricted to healthcare. The GOP simply regards lies and slander as the way to attack anyone that disagrees with them on any subject

      • Houndentenor

        When do those Death Panels start anyway?

        • LFC

          Not sure, but if several men dressed in black and wearing sunglasses knock at your door while black unmarked helicopters fly overhead, you might not want to answer.

  • TerryF98

    This is the way to attack Grinrich

  • Watusie

    Why would Frum Forum want to attack the man who is going to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and therefore is the man they’ll be shilling for no matter how manifestly inferior he is to the current occupant of the White House?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Goldfarb ignores how Gingrich also used to be for the “Nazi Godless Totalitarian” Mandate, back when it used to be promoted as being responsible and was pushed by the Heritage institute. This takes up a good portion of the article.

    Granted, this Catron is a complete idiot but as he writes for the American spectator, that should be taken as a given. Look at this: and it has lately come to light that he endorsed stepped-up end-of-life counseling.

    Yes, God forbid elderly sick people have consultation with their doctors. This attack that government funded Medicare should not have mechanisms by which there is government-financed end-of-life counseling is brain dead beyond belief. Thank God though I never read such a trashy website as the American Spectator. At least Goldfarb is not so far gone that he at least recognizes some absolute garbage.

    • LFC

      This attack that government funded Medicare should not have mechanisms by which there is government-financed end-of-life counseling is brain dead beyond belief.

      It is also in direct opposition to the position held by the majority of Republicans when they passed the 2003 Medicare drug prescription bill which contained end of life counseling provisions. But then Obama said he liked it…

  • Holmes

    It’s time to rename this blog “Frum for Romney in 2012.” And I agree that Goldfarb shows more restraint than David in assessing the opposition.

  • medinnus

    The correct way to attack Newt – by Ron Paul:

    http://youtu.be/CWKTOCP45zY

    • Demosthenes

      Epic!

    • jdd_stl1

      Awesome.

      Maybe we’ll have a Gingrich/Romney or Romney/Gingrich ticket.
      Wouldn’t that produce some nice commercials from the DNC?

    • LFC

      I read that the Obama campaign really has no interest in attacking Gingrich. From their point of view it seems like Romney is candidate they least want to run against. They’d be much happier with any other members of the Republican clown car.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Wait. Is Goldfarb defending the guy who shut down the government back in ’95, had an affair while he was impeaching Clinton for having an affair, got caught lying to the House ethics committee, trashed Freddie in public while lobbying for Freddie in private and called it “history lessons” while his company called it “strategic advice” and collected lobbying fees, proposed putting a religious test on “fair” immigration? That Newt Gingrich?

    Being Newt’s cheerleader is like Paterno being Sandusky’s advocate. You’ll get that smell all over you.

  • heap

    I’ve always been fond of using a pointy stick, personally.

  • Ogemaniac

    “It would be like criticizing Stephen Chu’s Nobel Prize in Physics for laser cooling and trapping of atoms because he is a terrible venture capitalist in energy companies”

    The vast majority of firms supported by venture capitalists fail. So far, Chu has lost what, two out of forty or so?

  • dgkerns

    Aside from the senseless “Obamacare” meme, this is the most sensible fair-minded Goldfarb entry I’ve seen on FF.

  • icarusr

    “because he is a terrible venture capitalist in energy companies. True and unrelated!”

    1. It seems it is impossible for any writer on FF to write anything about a Republican without pissing all over Obama or his Administration. Yeah, we get it. You are Republican and you don’t like Democrats. Next.

    2. Do we know for a fact that Chu himself is “a terrible venture capitalist in energy companies”? We know that one company whose application for subsidies was supported by the Energy Department failed. Is that the mark of being a terrible capitalist? Isn’t the mark of *any* capitalist or to try – and if one fails, to try again? What happened to the “creative destruction” that the likes of Romeny love so much when they take the hatchet to private companies?

    3. As was pointed out above, isn’t the whole point of “venture” capital – whether invested by government or the private sector – that it is risky and could fail? Isn’t that, in fact, the main reason why defence-related research by government is considered appropriate – because it is inherently uncertain, like other venture capital investments?

    I don’t get it. Shouldn’t be a requirement, at a minimum, for any soi-disant conservative attacking lib’ruls to know Economics 101?

    • TerryF98

      “I don’t get it. Shouldn’t be a requirement, at a minimum, for any soi-disant conservative attacking lib’ruls to know Economics 101?”

      It seems not. The writers here suck on so many levels, one or two excepted. No wonder most people come here for the comments and not the writers!

  • getreal

    The right way to attack Gingrich is over his recent praising of Singapore’s ‘Very Draconian’ Laws That Mandate Executions For Drug Possession. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/11/29/377716/gingrich-praises-singapores-very-draconian-laws-that-mandate-executions-for-drug-possession/

    What he calls for is Unconstitutional on so many levels. See above article plus http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/11/28/376987/newt-gingrichs-latest-assault-on-the-constitution-drug-test-americans-before-they-get-any-kind-of-federal-aid/

    Plus, he completely destroys the conservative value of States’ Rights as well as Small Government. Regarding medical marijuana, Gingrich, said he rejected letting states set their own policies “because I think you guarantee that people will cross state lines if it becomes a state-by-state exemption.” All this from a party that claims to be for limited government and states’ rights. BS.

    Newt Gingrich: Says Drug Use Is “Antithetical to Being an American,”

    Really? All of America is drugged up on alco-drug. Get real Newt.

    What would the Founding Fathers say about Newt?

    1. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a Just God, cannot long retain it.” –Abraham Lincoln, letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859.

    And who denies freedom to others, and so are Anti American Treasoners, who should NEVER LEAD Free Americans?

    2.The U.S. Declaration of Independence clearly identifies the deniers of freedom:

    “A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a TYRANT, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” —U.S. Declaration of Independence July 4th 1776

    Time to wake up America and use our Reason: the Conservative Newt is a Tyrant unfit to lead free Americans. You remember freedom don’t you? Shut Newt down for the sake of American Freedom.