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this and that; or, dipping a toe into murky water

"I see no indication that that's true. And so it's not a charge I would have ever made. And frankly, unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think the president, you know, President Obama is owed an apology in that regard." – Tom Cole, Oklahoma congressman who is so far out on the right wing of the political bird he could tumble off into the aether at any moment . In fairness to Congressman Cole, I have it on good authority from sources in Oklahoma that his remarks here are not surprising. He is as conservative as they come but a person of principle, unlike more than a few in both of our major political parties. (GOP Rep. Tom Cole: Trump Owes Obama an Apology for Wiretapping Claim)

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The president has suggested that Republicans should let the Affordable Care Act collapse and blame Obama and the Democrats when it happens because it would be politically advantageous for the party, the millions who will bear the consequences be damned. This is reprehensible even if we disregard Republican maneuvers to undermine and sabotage the law since its inception and grant the premise that the act is collapsing under the weight of its own flaws. If the ACA really is on the brink of collapse, isn't there a moral imperative to provide assistance to those who will suffer through no fault of their own? The line on collapse is akin to claiming that the person you pushed off a cliff is responsible for his own demise because he should not have been at the edge of the cliff in the first place, no matter that you hijacked his car and drove him there.

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Scott Simon chatted up Michael Graham, podcast editor of The Weekly Standard, today on Morning Edition. Graham criticized the Trump regime for straying from conservative orthodoxy on health care, which he sums up thusly:

Graham: For years you had a pretty straightforward conservative view on health care that the free market fixes it so you put in some kind of floor so that, you know, worse-case scenario, you still got a net to catch you, but then you have people shop, just like your iPhone, prices go down, quality goes up, that's the formula...

... Simon: Do conservatives, the conservatives to whom you give voice, believe that every American has a right to health care?

Graham: No. They believe that your job as a human being is to feed, clothe, and house and take care of yourself...

... Graham: There is a method going forward that works. It involves using tax credits to let people shop and their choices drive down prices and create more products that they want to buy.

This superficial formulation could be expected from a sophomore who is reading Ayn Rand...or from Paul Ryan. Is NPR unable to come up with a spokesperson for conservatism capable of articulating the conservative view with an appearance of thought, reflection, and rigor?

I was unable to find a transcript of this broadcast. I transcribed the quoted material from the taped broadcast available online at The substance is accurate. There could well be a minor mistake in the wording here or there.

Memo from the Editorial Desk

Minor nonsubstantive edits and an attempt at wit were made after this piece was initially published. The concluding commentary on Michael Graham's remarks was extensively reworked. The gist is unchanged.

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