Democrats, Michigan — January 28, 2010 at 8:05 am

Washtenaw Dems chair Stu Dowty smacks down Heritage News


Okay, not the entire newspaper. But Heritage Newspapers employee Terry Jacoby anyway.

Stu Dowty is the chair of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party. Since his election to that position in 2009, he has done a terrific job of leading the Dems. In answering a series of questionnaire questions sent to him by Mr. Jacoby, Stu demonstrates his extensive knowledge of both the “lay of the land” for Democrats in Washtenaw County as well as the facts and figures of health care and the position our country was in a year ago vs. today.

Most of the questions are just what you would expect from a newspaper editor or journalist. Questions about the state of county for Democrats, what projects Washtenaw Dems are involved in. Things like that. Dowty handled them well, armed with handfuls of facts and figures.

But the last two questions separate Terry Jacoby from a true journalist. When writing an op-ed piece, you expect to see political bias come into play. That’s normal, it’s expected and it contributes to conversation and debate. But when it is displayed in patently obvious fashion in articles and new pieces, that’s a different story altogether. And that’s exactly what the last two questions are: pure and unadulterated right-wing/Republican spin by Terry Jacoby:

Here’s the first:

Q: How do you respond to the fact — and it’s a pretty solid number — that 80 percent of Americans with health insurance are satisfied with their coverage. Democrats seem pretty set on telling 80 percent of Americans that the government can do better. Do you understand their fear, doubt and skepticism?

Really, Terry? Are you really going to spread the ridiculous lie that the federal government is out to take away people’s private health insurance? In an actual newspaper piece? Unreal.

Stu Dowty goes on to handle his dumb question with facts, figures, and aplomb:

Democrats support genuine healthcare insurance reform.

No Democrat is, as you assert, telling any Americans they should change from healthcare insurance that they currently have and like. None of the proposals before Congress prevent anyone from keeping the insurance that they already have.

I understand this — the fear, doubt and skepticism you mention has been generated primarily through the lies, fear-mongering and misrepresentations of the multi-million dollar insurance lobby. These insurance groups have been spending $1.4 million a day in lobbying efforts to spin things their way. They want to protect the status quo, where the top 10 health insurance companies made $8.28 billion last year and their profits soared 426 percent from 2000-2007.

The fact is that our healthcare system is in crisis. Costs are spiraling out of control, co-pays are increasing, coverage is shrinking, and almost 47 million Americans have no coverage…

He then goes on to give the statistics about the situations so many millions of Americans face with regard to health insurance. He finishes with this:

In conclusion, your perception — that Democrats are telling Americans who are satisfied with their current healthcare insurance that government can do better — is simply wrong. The current proposals will not force insured Americans to change.

The proposals will, however, start to address the very real problems of millions of uninsured Americans, the additional millions who face shrinking benefits and coverage, and escalating medical care costs so serious that they threaten our general economic stability.

The last question is equally ridiculous:

Q: The Democrats have run this state for years, including our own Pam Byrnes in the House of Representatives. Now she is running for the Senate. Does she deserve our vote when her policies have contributed to state’s economic mess?

You can only wonder what state Terry Jacoby has been living in for the past decade when he makes a statement like “The Democrats have run this state for years”. Dowty sets him straight:

A: Yes, Pam Byrnes deserves our support. No, her policies have not contributed to our economic mess.

In fact, the Democrats have not “run this state for years.” The fact is that since 1986, the Republicans have had control of one branch of Michigan government or another. They have been able to block any legislation they do not like. And they have.

Fact: Republicans have controlled the Michigan State Senate since 1986, to date.

Fact: the Michigan governor, from 1991-2002, was a Republican, John Engler.

Fact: the Democrats have not “run this state for years.”

To blame Pam Byrnes, or Democrats in general, for the economic mess is Michigan makes no more sense than to blame the editor of the Saline Reporter for the current distressed economic state of the newspaper business. (Is your paper responsible for the impact of the Internet?)

The Michigan economy has been the victim of worldwide economic realities, such as globalization, NAFTA, and the management decisions of the “Big Three” auto companies during the past several decades.

The inability of Michigan’s Legislature to respond to the fundamental economic changes of recent years has been due to the obstructionist practices of the Michigan State Senate, not Democratic legislators.

Kudos to Stu Dowty for his quite excellent answers. And shame on Heritage Newspapers and Terry Jacoby in particular for once again showing an extraordinary unprofessional level of bias.

I’m just sayin’…