A Left-Right Twitter Scrape Over Obamacare

The reasoned, informed view and ... something else




Two guys got into an argument about Obamacare on Twitter a few days ago. One, Jonathan Cohn, is a national correspondent for The Huffington Post, former New Republic and American Prospect writer, and author of a book about the U.S. health care system. The other, John Nolte, is a Watauga County resident, former screenwriter, and editor-at-large for the conservative Breitbart collection of “Big” websites. (His Twitter avatar is Al Bundy from “Married… with Children.”)

Cohn published the whole exchange through Storify, calling it “a window into the very different worldviews of left and right.” I don’t know if I’m completely on board with that—I don’t think these two equally represent their political persuasions—but what struck me about the exchange was its disparity in tone. It starts right away.

Cohn: “On a (very) related note, states potentially affected by King overlap with key Senate races.”

Nolte: “Oh noes the able-bodied might have to pay for their own stuff!!”

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on King vs. Burwell, the case that could rip the guts out of the Affordable Care Act over what amounts to a typo. Nolte, who like the now-infamous Luis Lang proudly eschews health insurance, says he wants to help break Obamacare’s back on the grounds that government-enforced insurance constitutes “the textbook definition of fascism.”

If these are the competing worldviews of left and right, then heaven help us. Because the first is sober, well-informed, thoughtful, and nuanced, and the second is hysterical, illogical, paranoid, immature, and flat wrong. And here’s the frightening part: There’s about a 50-50 chance that the second worldview will end up winning.

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Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Charlotte had a Democratic mayor that got rebuffed by a Democratic majority council before the president appointed him to his cabinet; a former mayor in the Governor's Mansion after an oh-for-infinity streak; membership in a state that sees Charlotte as, well, another state; a neighboring state where public officials do very, very silly things (and sometimes go "hiking"); and a county commissioner who specializes in insulting constituents yet can't seem to get himself unelected. Sounds interesting to me, so I write about it and other matters public. Hashtag #nestpoke. You want to yell at me, email nestpoke@gmail.com.

About Greg Lacour

Greg Lacour spent nearly 10 years as a reporter for the Observer, where he covered Charlotte and Mecklenburg County government, including the infamous Nick Mackey for Sheriff farce of 2007-08, which made him simultaneously homesick for his hometown of New Orleans and hopeful that Charlotte might yet attain "world-class" status. He has written several features for this magazine and took part in the Hurricane Katrina coverage that won The Sun Herald of Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss., another former employer, a Pulitzer Prize. Lacour is single and lives in NoDa.

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