For those of you who missed it, Sen. Chris Buttars has questions. Questions he gathered from several
read and re-reads (Ooops!) chain emails and discredited blogs of the House Affordable Health Care Choices Act. We and a merry band of volunteer have agreed to help educate the Senator on a bill that -- despite his having "read and re-read several time" -- has, apparently, left him confused. Again. (Pig Sex!)
I'll be honest, I thought we were taking on quite a challenge. 1,000 plus pages really isn't that large for a piece of legislation (Bush's final budget was over 1,300 pages long... and speaking of which, did Buttars print that one out on the tax payer's dime too?), but it is a challenge for several bloggers with many other obligations. We assumed.
We assumed wrong. In fact, it's been embarrassingly easy, and a bit of a bore, as research challenges go. Seriously, Mr. Senator, even you cannot possibly be this inept. Most of the work in answering your questions has been done for us. Kaiser Foundation. PolitiFact. Numerous public policy wonks and organizations. Your answers were out there already. Since you seem unaware, we will still offer you the courtesy of collecting the information and posting it over the coming week, but that duty begs a question: Is it really possible a state rep. could be so far out of the loop that he had not, in any way, been exposed to the answers to his own questions already, and was without the tools to answer them? Or was this just a cheap shot of political hack-ti-tude passed off as legitimate questions from a "thinking man"? (Pig Sex!) Do you really assume that the public at large, and readers of The Senate Site, specifically, are that stupid?
Though we can answer the 20 questions the chain email has raised in your mind about health care reform, Senator, we can't answer the question above for you. That is on your shoulders.
For assistance, we can offer you one tool that has been a great asset to us in researching your concerns... (pictured, upper right). Please, Senator, get to know it.
And for those behind the scenes at The Senate Site, forgive me a moment as I step onto my lecturing step stool... Call it a high horse if you wish.
You have enjoyed a much earned credibility with those in Utah who find their news online. You have brought much to the discussion, and opened many doors to public engagement in the legislative process. You deserve (even still) the respect we offer. That said, allowing this post from Sen. Buttars to soil your front page calls the credibility of the site into question. Is The Senate Site going to become another mouthpiece for half-crocked ideological attacks against policy and person that have little grounding in a factual reality, or a goal of informing the public, rather than passing misinformation along? Or will The Senate Site maintain it's integrity and reputation by, in the future, refusing to provide comment taken from, and generate by, mindless, fact free chain emails?
With great power comes great responsibility, blah blah blah...
Frankly, I expected much more from the site, and am admittedly surprised at this entire experience. But, we are a forgiving group (once), so moving on...
Monday morning, we'll a begin multi-day series of answers the Senator hasn't managed to find, and do our duty, in his absence of principle, to keep the discussion honest.
Also: Pig Sex!
UPDATE: The Answers.