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Geezers With Pitchforks Vs. The AARP

August 12, 2009

IBD

10 Aug 09

Discourse: At a town hall last week in Dallas, an elderly “mob” with “manufactured” outrage questioned AARP’s support for nationalized health care, asking: “Do you work for us or do we work for you?”

There were no swastika-wearing grannies at Tuesday’s meeting, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might claim. Nor were they “taking their cues from talk show hosts, Internet rumor-mongers … and insurance rackets,” as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said.

But they were mad as hell at the perception that AARP was selling them out in the name of government-run medical insurance. That perception was not helped when the AARP town hall on the subject was shut down by the seniors outfit once the members dared to ask questions. The AARP representatives did not want to hear from the members at all. Just send in your dues, granny, and be quiet.

AARP denies being in league with the administration in pushing its medical insurance agenda. But as Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor for the Washington Examiner reports, that claim may be bogus despite a statement by AARP CEO Barry Rand in the July 31 issue that “AARP has not endorsed any of the bills currently being debated in Congress.”

On Monday, Connie Hair of Human Events reported on a memo from Pelosi in which the speaker described the Democrats’ plan to “partner” with AARP as part of a planned August recess PR blitz for government expansion of medical insurance. The fiasco in Dallas was an example of that partnership.

The memo said: “The leadership is working in close coordination with the White House and outside groups (including but not limited to HCAN, Families USA, AFSCME, SEIU, AARP, etc.) to ensure complementary efforts during August.” How can the AARP claim to have not endorsed the administration’s health care agenda as it works to get its member to embrace it?

The explanation for the memo was that it was just a “draft” composed by an “overzealous staffer.” Fact is, AARP has long worked to accumulate power in the hands of the government, with the organization’s hierarchy opening up its wallets to support Democrats and this administration in particular.

As we have written, the group opposed President Bush’s proposal to let workers choose to invest a portion of their contributions in private investment accounts. That might have lessened government control over our lives. AARP has nothing to say about our senators and congressmen exempting themselves from the plan they would force on the rest of us.

AARP CEO Rand maxed out for Obama in 2008, giving $4,600 to the president’s campaign committee and $4,300 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint effort between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

AARP general counsel Joan Wise gave $1,000 to Obama, AARP project manager Beth Lazur gave $1,500, strategy consultant Joseph Liu gave $2,300, speechwriter Erica Nash-Thomas gave $2,350 and consultant Bryan Rawlings gave $1,000.

You get the idea. So too, apparently, do the seniors they profess to serve. They wonder how AARP can support a nationalized medical system like in Britain or Canada in which people die on waiting lists and where your quality of life is assessed to determine if you are worth treating at all.

They wonder why a system where cost-effectiveness is the final criterion should be supported, a system where a shortage of doctors, finite funding and increased demand leads to rationed care. They know that in a choice between a 20-something and themselves, they will lose out.

Having paid into the system all their lives and now AARP dues, they are upset that illegal aliens will be covered by legislation that eliminates any proof-of-citizenship requirement. And they are furious that AARP would support “reform” that includes “end-of-life counseling” as if they’re being encouraged to get out of the way.

They know that the administration’s plan is one big government “do not resuscitate” order for seniors, and they don’t want some government bureaucrat looking at some spreadsheet pulling their plug.

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