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.