October 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

When it comes to health care reform, whatever happened to intelligent debate?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This country ought to be embarrassed. Our government has turned the debate over health care reform into a series of misrepresentations, name-calling and ugly comments more fit for a school yard than a national forum. First came the Republicans - led by Sarah Palin - who went on and on about "death panels."

Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, “You lie!” after President Obama denies the health plan would cover illegal immigrants.

She was followed by Congressman Jim Wilson - who called the president a liar during his speech to a joint session of Congress, a public outburst toward the president we've never seen the likes of.

But it's by no means just the Republicans.

On the floor of the House of Representatives, Freshman Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson claimed the Republican health care plan calls for sick people to "die quickly."

Grayson then went on to issue a non-apology... saying he apologizes to "the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America." Really? He's comparing the plight of uninsured Americans to the Holocaust?

Grayson's a real class act. Right here in the Situation Room yesterday he called Republicans "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

What has happened to us? We used to be able to engage in an intelligent debate, be willing to compromise, reach a consensus, and move on. And when the government engages in this kind of childish behavior, it's no surprise when ordinary Americans start yelling nasty slogans and lies at each other. Sad.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to health care reform, whatever happened to intelligent debate in this country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kellie from Cleveland writes:
For an intelligent debate, those engaged in the debate have to actually use facts to make their arguments. These aren't debates, they are shouting matches. Factual, intelligent debates don't get air time.

Kathryn writes:
When our elected leaders are bought and paid for by the special interests of the health care industry, they have no reason to debate, compromise and come to a consensus. They already know what they want the outcome to be and any distraction serves their purpose to keep legitimate debate and compromise from occurring.

Marco in Gainesville, Florida writes:
"Hey hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" I firmly believe, Jack, that you are pining for a past which never existed. Comments, like the one I've quoted above, have been a staple in American politics since I suspect our inception.

Monica from Lincoln Park, Michigan writes:
Calm and rational debate ended when this country elected our first African-American Democratic president and the Republicans drew a line in the sand. From day one, the Republicans said they wanted Obama to fail and followed the likes of Rush Limbaugh. The GOP does not want to debate the issues on their merits or based on what Americans really want! They are out to defy this President no matter what!

Joe writes:
Intelligent debate requires intelligent people. Washington has been lacking intelligent people for a long time. With lawmakers voting on bills they don't read, ignoring the voices of their constituents, and putting their own political careers before doing the right thing, good luck!

Glenn from California writes:
The health insurance companies paid for it to go away.

Jyll in Texas writes:
What happened to intelligent debate? It got sick and died.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Kellie in Cleveland, OH

    For an intelligent debate, those engaged in the debate have to actually use facts to make their arguments. These aren't debates. They are shouting matches. Factual, intelligent debates don't get air time on CNN or any other news network.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  2. Robin in Maryland

    I don't believe its fair to equate Congressman Grayson's comments to those of the Republican party. Since President Obama has been in office he has been called a lot of nasty names by the Republicans and their supporters. This includes racially charged rhetoric that I haven't seen at this level since the 1950s and 60s during the civil rights movement. Congressman Grayson expressed the truth and it is about time the Democrats got some backbone to express righteous indignation and outrage against the Republican party and their antics. Outburst such as Graysons are warranted and needed when its truthful and honest.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  3. joe m

    intelligent debate requires intelligent people. washington has been lacking intelligent people for a long time. with lawmakers voting for bills they don't read, ignoring the voices of their constituents, and putting their own political careers before doing the right thing, good luck!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  4. B

    Jack, They are not fighting over Health Care really, there are fighting over who gets the biggest piece of ill gotten gain. They are fighting over who has it, who wants it, and who will get the most out of it. Corruption at it's finest.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Eric - Houston

    Jack, this is congress for heaven sake! Most of them and the President already know about what they will pass when the last moment comes. Now it is about theater, showing what a fighter you are to your electorate and why you need to be returned to protect your correct thinking constituents from either the godless liberals or knuckle dragging conservatives. It is all about getting reelected and either gaining or consolidating power not about honest debate or being efficient. Why is the President going to Denmark, when the congress needs his leadership? Why not, they are not ready to be lead yet.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  6. Karl from SF, CA

    Jack, Alan Grayson can’t hold a candle to Joe Wilson’s disrespectful outburst and the outrageous comments of Virginia Fox and Michelle Bachman on the subject. Ms. Fox told seniors, from the House floor, that the Democrats want to kill them and she didn't apologize or even flinch. Intelligent debate infers you have two intelligent sides discussing a single topic. The party of NO has no health care alternatives to discuss so it is a one sided debate as I see it. The Republican Party is now obviously a division of the health care industry, not a representative of its constituents, who overwhelmingly want health care reform with the public option. What they aren’t telling us is that their “status-quo" plan will cost us many times more than any reform bill ever could when the current system completely collapses and has to be bailed out, and it will.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  7. BJ, Columbus, GA

    I really think a great deal of the ugliness comes from two sources - the horrible sense of being true to one's political party - if you are a Republican, everything the Democrats want, you must be against and vice versa. Also, so many of our Senators and Representatives receive big bucks from the health insurance companies and pharmceuticals that they are only interested in padding their pockets and we all know how people act when your threaten their income!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  8. Kingsley

    Jack, intelligent debate, must be kiding. The debate we see is all motivated by the $$$ power. The common American is the one feeling the heat not those in congress.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  9. Matthew from Orange,CA

    Intelligence doesn't get you air time, Jack. Think about it. Did you know who Wilson or Grayson were before they jumped in front of the camera waving their arms? Now they are all we talk about.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  10. Scott from Milwaukee

    In this me me me state of mind which we live in, it is easy to see where we get this. These are not politicians, but their children sitting in for the vacationing congress/

    October 1, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  11. fred hughes

    The republicans have been attacking the Democrats on the health issues sence day one. Now that there is a statment made to rebuke them, everyone wants an intelligent debate. It's about time that someone stood up against the lies and deceit that the republicans have been using during this most important legislation. As far as I am concerned, Grayson should be named the Speaker of the House.

    Livingston, AL

    October 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  12. Gregory Miami Beach, FL

    We lost the ability to have intelligent debate when we stopped electing intelligent politicians. Coverage of this fiasco is not just the responsibility of the media for being used by wingnuts to distract everyone from meaningful issues but by everyone for not seeing through it all and voting these fools out of office. If there is no intellignt or meanigful conversation involved, than it is reflective of alot of confused people in turmoil.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  13. balinda

    why cant we fix medicare and medicad instead of a new program, and make it available to the uninsured.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  14. Carla, Wyoming

    The media, all of you, encourage both sides of the spectrum to attack each other. Then you "pick up the ball and run with it", festering all the negativity going on. Anything to get that one disgruntled person to watch your program. And so on, and so on. I am beginning to believe that the only true intelligent and educated people in this country are Barack and Michelle Obama.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  15. Connie

    Why can't we outlaw lobbying??? Maybe it would help to destroy the "What's in it for ME" mentality that apparently controls Washington. If they stood to gain nothing other than their base salary maybe they would be far less biased with their votes. With all of the MILLIONS spent wining and dining the politicians we could PAY for HEALTHCARE for EVERYONE!!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  16. ben stockton, calif

    are you kidding . the right wing nuts will do almost anything to prevent obama from having a civil debate.. maybe when they or their kids get sick an dont have health insurance they will further blame obama..and just like ex president carter stated, just because he is black. in their warped minds that message has been passed on by their grandparents and parents.these nuts get their marching orders from limbaugh and his watercarriers.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  17. Esther Ohio

    We threw INTELLIGENT DEBATES long ago. We have not be civil to each other for almost 25 years plus. Makes me sad to think that we just call each other Liar's. We do not believe in our first amendment anymore. We have freedom of speech but not when it may injure others. Slander you to be something we dueled over. Nor do we agree with Voltaire's who said these immortal words. "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your RIGHT to say it." those words are long dead in our society. We talk street to each other we no long care if we offend people in our lyrics in songs or in our hateful tone in which we say things. Health Care should have been included in the Bill of Rights. IF it is good enough for our PUBLIC SERVANTS TO HAVE IT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR US TO HAVE IT TOO.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Jeff In Minnesota

    You're implying there has been some sort of intelligent debate to begin with. From what I've seen, there has been very little intelligent discourse on this important topic. It began with TV ads telling horror stories and painting the rosy pictures and went down hill from there. It appears that the intelligent discourse is going on behind the scenes since the public discourse is so stupid.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Mike Field

    Jack, I am from Barbados, a little 166 square mile island and we have Free Health Care for our citizens. It's really rediculous to hear the very nasty comments coming especially from the Republicans. Don't people matter anymore? Is it only Big business and their bottom line that matters? When America elected President Obama, I was extremely proud and started to really believe that "change" is possible. White people can get over their prejudices and see "content of character and not color of skin". But since reading and hearing the nastiness aimed at the President, with Republicans even excusing some lunatics right to call for his asassination. What is so wrong with the public option in health care that this debate has reached such a very low level. Jack, please ask them to stop. What's really sad is that America is now being seen as having no moral right to tell any Country on any subject, how to behave. I hope things really change. The people of the world deserve a better America.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  20. Tim

    Intelligent debate? Intelligent is not the word I'd use. It's more like let loose the egos and greed and the biggest ego and stuffed wallets will win this "debate", if you can call it a debate. Why not take the best of the EU health plans and use those models. Oh wait a minute. Those governments really care about their citizens. Our politicians are only concerned about taking in as much as they can from lobbyists and "Big Pharma". Case in point, the H1N1 is a scam to pay "big pharma" $650,000,000+ for monkey soup (vaccine) that will only increase the chances of getting H1N1. My doctor and several others are saying, "DON'T TAKE IT." We can't trust our government to do anything right. They have screwed up everything they have touched.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  21. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The Representatives in Washington are merely a reflection of the people in their districts; it was designed that way by the founding fathers. Unfortunately, many of the people in their districts spend too much time watching idiotic "reality television", drinking, and eating, with no concern for the real issues facing the country. The health care reform debate is just a hint of the problem. Our entire country needs a swift kick in the butt to wake up and move forward.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  22. Tom in Iowa

    Intelligent debate died when the Republicans decreed that 'Health Care will be Obama's Waterloo". Since then all the republicans have done is push against any intelligent conversation, especially on health care. It is about time that someone in Washington said was we all know, when it comes to health care the Republicans would rather see people DIE then let Obama win.

    Tom in Iowa

    October 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  23. Glenn from CA

    The Health Insurance companies paid for it to go away.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  24. Ian

    It went out the window with right wing talk radio


    Burlington, Vermont

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  25. Ian, Canada

    Jack, you're living a myth. When it comes to politics Americans have never been civil to each other.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  26. Wm in PA

    We are addicted to conflict. Watch any news show. Guest 1 says something and guest 2 says 1 is just plain wrong etc. and we show that yelling is acceptable as national news. (The public does not know it is all for gaining viewers journalistic ethics were lost long ago.) With more and more seeking to be heard we all start yelling. The congressman has just gotten more press and raised more cash than he ever dreamed he could. So we pay off bad behavior. The bully wins. The yeller wins. The most guns win. The most air attack, bombers, missiles and drones win. Just look at our stunning victories in Iraq and Afghanistan. OK, so it the most real money that wins. Then you can buy hearts and minds for a while. Just ask Brittan, Russia and Genghis Kahn

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  27. steve from Vancouver

    As far as apology, Republicans should apologize to 45,000 uninsured people who die every year from lack of health insurance. What did they do for these people when they were in power?

    The Florida Rep. does not owe ANYONE an apology. Truth is actually coming out in the uncivil discussion, and about time.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  28. Scott from Milwaukee

    Every politician seems to be an idiot. Have you ever seen a group of idiots hold a conversation? Great material if you are a comedian. I think that the fore fathers would have given up to England had they known this would be the result of their revolt.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  29. Shawn, KY

    Intelligent: Having the ability to learn and understand.
    Jack, there is your answer. Keyword understand. The Republican Party don’t understand what the American people need and voted for in the past election.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  30. Carol Fox-Good

    Very simple Jack, "Money"

    October 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  31. Alex A.

    I'll put it simply:

    It's gone straight to hell and it'll never come back.

    [Rose City, MI]

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  32. Dan from the USA

    If they debated it would be on CSPAN like President Obama promised but hasn't delivered. I guess the politicians have decided they need network face time first and that requires "You lie" remarks and "Die Quickly" lies.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  33. Bruce - Delaware

    They are all acting like greed and egos are dominating their higher brain functions. It is probably time for our response; not paying taxes, repudiating debt, and ignoring the government.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  34. Ryan

    Jack the Republicans threw out intelligent debate when they started spreading lies and fear about health care reform. Grayson's comments were hyperbole but no worse than anything the Republicans have said on the floor of the House over the summer. Nice to see a Democrat making a stand for once.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  35. wanda j brown

    The democrats did not start the lies or the mud slinging. Ms. "Just make stuff up" Palin was the beginning of the total loss of truth in the debates. Sen. Grassley invented "pulling the plug on grandma." Then
    Rep. "You Lie" Wilson. Rep. Grayson is a lightweight compared to the
    above mentioned MORONS. It will get worse as long as the GOP keeps condoning this verbal garbage and lack of decorum. Wait until
    the immigration issue comes up. You haven't seen anything yet!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  36. Theodore R. Wade Jr.

    There has been very little intelligent debate in the country since the Supreme Court elected George W. Bush in 2000.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  37. Charles H. Fremont, Indiana

    What debate? Ever since you got your "blog" I've been shut out of the conversation. But I do still like you Jack Cafferty.

    Charles Hamm
    Fremont, Indiana...moved a bit since we chatted...

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  38. mlamanno

    "Hey hey, LBJ! How many kills did you kill today?" I firmly believe, Jack, that you are pining for a past which never existed. Comments, like the one I've quoted above, have been a staple in American politics since I suspect our inception.
    Gainesville, Florida

    October 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  39. Margaret AZ

    It went the way of Intelligent persons that WE elected.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  40. Ron in Phoenix

    It all comes down to: I pledge allegiance to my party in the United States of America. Intelligence has nothing to do with it.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  41. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Jack'This country is gone mad. and it's all about money.People don't care what we think of them,As long as the money is right. They know in a few days we will forget and forgive.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  42. Tyler

    Actually Jack, when you consider a recent Harvard Medical School study that links 45,000 U.S. deaths a year to a lack in health care coverage, maybe Congressman Grayson wasn't too far off in his hyperbolic rhetoric. That's a death ever 12 minutes – 3,750 every month.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  43. frank j. longo

    Grayson should have added another part of the GOP plan :

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  44. Robert D Reid

    It collapsed under the collective weight of corporate greed , the bribery of legislators and the pathetic dupes decieved into supporting these corrupt influences
    Robert D Reid

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  45. Manny Whitlock

    Jack, my brother,

    You know where it went. The blasphemy spewed right out of the mouth of those at FOX. They started this mess and it is their place to get rid of the trouble makers that have done this.

    The Senate and Congress have been caught up in the middle of Big Money and caught in the act. Fox tried to lie to America and we are sick of it. Just ask Our Brother Rick.

    We have a President that ran on Health Care for all, a public option, and they lost. They are still trying to make him fail and they are doing everything they can even it it is lie and deceive. We The People rely on trust worthy people such as yourselves at CNN to give us the best possible scenerio from both views. FOX dont. They lie.



    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  46. Bill

    Try looking at your own industry. The 24 hours news media doesn't seem to be interested in honest debate. Instead it would rather pitch one extremity against another for the sake of increased ratings.
    Was nothing learned from "Crossfire".

    October 1, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  47. walt Ingram

    I don't think the problem is limited to health care...

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  48. gail ricketts

    Intelligent conversation is impossible with our gov't bcause all they can think about is their bottom dollar. Let's get them all replaced and start a real conversation.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  49. Sheri Stritof

    What happened to intelligent debate about health care? The Republicans. A Democrat finally stands up to the party of lies and no and people get upset. Sheesh. Ocean Park, WA

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  50. Rosanne Weed, Ca.

    I would venture a guess ... People like Glenn Beck and Rush L. have set a new low. It is a shame. We need an adult to get the lobbying out in the open and put an end to it.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  51. Mark (Newburgh, NY)

    Jack, there has NEVER been intelligent debate on health care reform in this country. For some weird reason, the choice to make sure ALL Americans have access to health care without the risk of personal bankruptcy is fraught with controversy in this country. It's embarrassing, to say the least.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  52. T Duffy

    So where was the outrage over the past two MONTHS when the Republicans were saying – and are STILL saying – crazy, outrageous things on the floor of the House? Saying that people will DIE, seniors will DIE, and so on. And saying terrible things about President Obama and his supposed take-over of the healthcare system?

    Now FINALLY one Democrat Alan Grayson has had it and outlines what the GOP is really proposing? That we are all on our own? That we should be become an oligarchy – with a small wealthy ruling class and the rest of us as powerless peons with no healthcare? RIDICULOUS.

    I HAVE HAD SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE when I lived in Europe for nine years. It was great!!! And I think Alan Grayson is AWESOME.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  53. AP from Aurora

    This decease of name calling started with Limbaugh long time ago and he made a fortune on that. From that other right wingers picked it up and evcentually left wingers caught on it thus destroying our whole civil culture

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  54. jim Blevins

    You left out the best - Republicans are knuckle dragging Neanderthals. I think Darwin explained this - Democrats evolved, Republicans didn't. How can you have an intelligent conversation with a pre-human.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  55. Alveta, Maryland

    MONEY MONEY MONEY and ignorance and a carefree congress. Don't all government employees have GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE INSURANCE.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  56. kathy from Phoenix

    What intelligence? It seems my dog has more intelligence, respect and even listens better than most of the people in this country.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  57. Pat Tully Jr.

    Why is it that the corporate media quickly begins decrying the vulgarity of the national political discourse when a Democrat tells the truth after months of ignoring or treating as sane idiotic republican claims about birth certificates and "death panels".

    Facts are facts. Thousands of Americans die needlessly because of our third-world for-profit medical system. Republicans are defenders of that third-world medical system.

    Thank you Rep. Grayson for telling the truth. You now have a national constituency. I look forward to supporting your re-election.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  58. alton morrison

    greed is NOT GOOD

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  59. Sheila Radford

    Emotion, Jack, and no education as to how to debate with respect. I loved that Democratis congressman's show yesterday. About time the R's were put in their place. He is absolutely correct. If the Republicans squash all this effort and there ends up with no public option, the preventable deaths in your country will explode. Your question should be "what has happened to our country that individuals are willing to pay taxes for garbage pickup and roads, but will stand by and watch their fellow Americans die. Good luck to you, here in Ontario, we all sleep well at night knowing every citizen has health care. Not perfect, granted. But nobody dies here for lack of insurance or is impoverished by hospital, physician bills.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  60. SteveG, IN

    If YOU the media would of reported on the FACTS of the matter, from the onset, it probably wouldn't of gotten to this point. However, YOU the media ONLY reported on the fanatic's actions. Does that excuse the politicians to lower themselves to such childishness, no, but in my opinion you the media have failed the people as much if not more than the politicians.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  61. Ken in NC

    Calm down Jack. Here is what happened. They are all acting like kids in Congress now and "THEY LIED" when they said they have not stopped taking their Prozac.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  62. Charles

    Whatever happened? Absolutely nothing! Youre just getting old and becoming aware of how the world really is. There's nothing new under the sun.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  63. Deb

    I dont know about anyone else, but I find it hard to be be intelligent staring at my COBRA bill until my 90 days kicks in – which will only relieve me by a small fraction anyways. Why shouldnt republicans be referred to as knuckle-dragging? They still think that middle class Americans with health insurance greater than their mortgage is okay...that is just the premium, forget about the copays – good grief! I guess I should just buy another house to help the economy and hope I dont get sick...is that neaderthal enough?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  64. Gil from Texas

    Simple answer to that one: Special interest money now pays for what they want in politician payoffs and propaganda ad nauseum, and of course we foot the bill. The American Way!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  65. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    When you have our representatives (Congress) in the pockets of the Health Care Insurance companies, this is what you'll get. Because "Money Talks", and everything else "Walks".

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  66. Andres Middletown, NY

    Easy. 2 points.
    1-you need intelligence for it to occur
    2-insurance co. –> money –> congressmen –> vote for insurance co. –> job with insurance co. –> money . . .
    you get it??

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  67. Stephen Fox

    Intelligent debate went out the window when Senators and Representatives became Slay-For-Pay fighters for big corporate lobbyists. The more they get paid, the more they fight, call names and sling mud for the side to which they sold their allegiance.. The only thing left of consequence here is for the corporation bankrolling the cause to get the most fight for its buck. But I wouldn't say it's a free spectacle for the audience.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  68. patricia akin

    Todays Politicians do not go to Washington to govern for the people. They go to govern for their party.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  69. Clay


    Jack, your question presupposes that politicians are actually intelligent. They're all only a few steps removed from the Fuller Brush Man, with the exception that the brush man was probably honest. But to expect intelligent conversation from this particularly nasty batch of snakeoil salesmen is pushing things a bit far.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  70. Chad Martin from Tampa

    I believe intelligent debate died when Jerry Springer hit the air waves... As a true American, I have to point the finger at somebody.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  71. mark

    Of more concern to me is the fact that these corporations are buying out our elected representatives so that the holocaust, and I believe the term is exactly right, can continue.

    Holocausts like a woman breaking a bone and her insurance saying it was preexisting because she had osteoporosis, or a woman losing her insurance because she had acne. The Death Panel claim is right, but not about any healthcare plan, it's what these companies do to people every single year. We the people need to start over.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  72. CDS

    I'll tell you what happen to honest debate in this country, Jack. It went by the way of Fat Sam when Bush took office. The Republicans have been doing this stuff for years. i applaud Grayson. Political correctness on this issue has gotten the debate about the health bill nowhere. About time someone told it like it is.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  73. Curtis

    Unfortunately, intelligent debate requires intelligence, motivation, energy, a willingness to listen and a grasp of the facts. Of these requirements, only motivation and energy are present. In place of the balance of the requirements for an intelligent debate are ignorance and spitefulness. Yay.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  74. Dick Malinoski

    A prerequisite for intelligent debate is that you have intelligent people. Nuff said.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  75. Adrian Z from Toronto

    Oh, Americans. Remember when y'all were shaking your heads at our Parliamentary Question Period??? Question Period looks like child's play compared to the yelling over each other happening now in America.

    Good luck.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  76. Ellen Myrtle Beach, SC

    That's a good one, Jack. Intellegent debate...our Congress. I'm laughing so hard it's hard to finish this senten.......

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  77. Ben

    Jack, your commentary took words from my mouth. We have lost sight of the time when politics had room for respect, honest debate, and informed compromise. The levels both sides stoop to know no boundries and while they bicker, we all suffer inaction and misinformation.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  78. independent

    What has happened is named Nancy Pelosi. She is the poster child for partisan politics, double standards and name calling.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  79. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    Isn't it ironic? Americans vote in the slickest, most squeaky-clean politicians and then expect them to fight dirty to achieve their objectives. Then, come campaign time, we expect them to be squeaky-clean again. Jack, their behavior is actually OUR fault. We Twitter and text and iReport our political tantrums, write heated letters to these politicians, and protest when we choose. Monkey see, monkey do. They're just looking to get re-elected.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  80. Bob In Florida

    That depends on what the definition of IS....IS. Or the definition of "Intelligent Debate" is. I believe Alan Grayson told the cold, hard truth, which IS intelligent AND does spur debate. Just because the truth is UGLY, that does NOT make it untrue! It is obvious NOT ONE REPUBLICAN wants to solve health care issues, and DOES NOT want ANY REFORM that will jeapordize GREED AND PROFITS at the expense of the sick and dying.

    Before criticizing Alan Grayson, tell us "HOW MUCH MONEY" they have accepted from the hleathcare industry! Example: Baucus, $3,244,105.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  81. Kerwin Burton

    Both sides have succumb to fear. Fear of change, and fear of taking action that in the end doesn't fix what it's intended to. Thank god that President Obama is a strong enough leader to mostly block out the fear all around him.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  82. amanda whiting

    Congress has forgotten how to debate intelligently instead they are acting like two year olds and resulting to name calling. Instead of process its how has the money and its not the taxpayers its the insurance companies. George Washington was right when he said avoid political parties they are no good and nothing gets done. Maybe we should take the advice of our first President. I think he would be ashamed of what has become of our government today.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  83. Kathryn

    When our elected leaders are bought and paid for by the special interests of the healthcare industry, they have no reason to debate, compromise and come to a concensus. They already know what they want the outcome to be and any distraction serves their purpose to keep legitimate debate and compromise from occurring.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  84. Charlie King

    It is simple, money. The republicans are looking out for the insurance companies profits, who they are in jeopardy of losing support, and the Democrats are looking for a better life, and that takes money. When things get to looking like you might lose, you pull out all stops to win.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  85. R LaCava

    how about you stop covering and giving free publicity to the smearing and name calling and cover the actual intelligent debates. They do happen the news just covers smut to boost ratings.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  86. Jeff

    Jack, I want to applaud you for your comments on this. There have been name callers on both sides and you were fair in pointing that out. We do need to stop the name calling and get back to intelligent debate and compromise.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  87. Willie from New York City


    You have GOT to be kidding!!!!

    Since when do you negotiate with a bully? It's unreasonable for anyone to think that they will be able to reason with those on the verge of political insanity. Republicans have incessantly contradicted themselves on every end. We will never have a civil debate on health care until the playing field is leveled. That would mean relegating most of the authority in the senate and congress to the bench. But as a progressive...I can't help but to assure you that Grayson's move was both necessary and appropriate...Democrats need to grow a pair and start fighting back!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  88. Jonas

    The "Party of NO" isn't interested in thoughtful debate if you've paid attention. Finally, a Democrat takes a stand and everyone's talking about it!!

    Now we have a debate.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  89. Alex in Missouri

    Intelligent debate? Oh yeah that went out the door the day that insurance companies started to write checks to republicans and blue dog democrats.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  90. Ed from Montana

    Intelligent debate is impossible without intelligence to begin with. Lest you forget, we are now a nation that is better educated at voting for American idol than we are at voting for our government.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  91. Mary, south Mississippi

    The republications happened. Money from insurance happened. Favoritism happened. I recently had a colostomy and owed the hospital 287 dollars. My husband had the same thing and we owed nothing. So you tell me? Do we need a fair and just system?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  92. Linnea

    Hyperbole seems to be the only thing to grab our attention today. I just wish the debate was always as factual as possible. I am intelligent enough to sort our the opinion and the personal attacks. If 45,000 people really do die a year from a lack of health insurance, I don't care what the politicians call each other. They need to do something!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  93. Larry

    Jack. I have to give this question the coveted "Come on man" award. Where did the intelligent debate go? I believe the more accurate question is was it ever present. Besides, how intelligent is having the same conversation; among the same people for 40+ years without a conclusion. Maybe the point is there is no point. How intelligent is that?

    Charlotte, NC

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  94. Toni Stettler

    It's called frustration Jack. How can you deal with parties that come to the table and object to everything that you bring up but have no answers of their own except TAX CUTS. They don't want to bite the hand that feeds them.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  95. dcflush

    I agree with you 100%...however, it's hard to blame the dems...how long must the repubs shout lies as truth (death panels, illegal immigrants are covered, etc) and claim attempts at cooperation yet only trying to derail any progress before a dem gets fed up and shouts back...Grayson's holocaust statement was far overboard and ridiculous, his other comments can be taken as frustration. I'm surprised it took this long before a dem fired back in this manner.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  96. Lynn

    That is a good question, Jack. It would seem that intelligent discourse has vanished with the other values of our great country. Congress is responsible to the American people to come to conclusions that will benefit us as citizens. But most of the Congressmen and Senators are so ego centric that they think mostly of how their actions can benefit them. I have news for them....most of them will be thrown out on their ears in 2010. We Americans are fed up not only with them but with the role models they are showing the youth of this country. Whatever happened to the changes in Washington we were promised?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  97. Gregg Harcus

    If idiots could fly the Capitol would be an airport.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  98. Clare

    Politics and keeping the status quo trumps the lives and health of the american. Caring for actually happens to the american people is considered Rhethoric, not to be taken seriously.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  99. Wilson

    Truth and intelligence have being hijacked by self serving, egocentric, sadists who pretend to speak for the wellbeing of the American people but the contrary is true. Did you call it intelligent debate? Where is intelligence in Ameriaca today but lies and gacha.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  100. TJ Harrisburg, Pa

    the question should be, "what happened to intelligent politicians?"

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  101. Deb

    When people disrupt town hall meetings, carry firearms to rallies, and yell out during a State of the Union address...they get tv. People who try to have meaningful debates get zilch. As outrageous as Mr. Grayson's comments were, the freshman congressman managed to get tv time on CNN and other news media. Would anyone have listened to him before now? THAT, in my humble opinion, is what is most embarrassing.


    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  102. Joan Mazulewicz

    Could all this viciousness be the result of politicians at odds with their collective consciences? I think they know they should be operating in the best interests and well being of the people who elected them but all those campaign bucks and subsequent I.O.U.s just keep getting in the way.
    Chaumont, NY

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  103. Dave Herdman

    Finally I understand the value of The Gong Show! The citizenry needs an official GONG process that allows us to remove the idiots from our government. Give each side an equal number of GONGS to apply and then let the remaining legislators be the deciders.

    Seriously, they are trivializing the process that has been successful for their own aggrandizement. Mature, thoughtful, intelligent folks are leaving government to the oafs. But that's our loss.

    Keep up the good work.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  104. Sandy Hill

    As a 63 year old grandmother I have noticed my grandchildren are a lot more vocal about things, they are more outspoken, their language is awful with shorten words and cussing. Why, could it be TV? We now see more fighting between girls, and the boys just kill each other. Again from TV. We watch it on the news, they get it in gaming, everything is a fight. We are raising a generation with out morals and without heart, not caring for your fellow man. It is starting to show up in our state departments, WHERE IS OUR MANNERS!!

    S. Hill

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  105. Eva

    debate, what debate, the republicans from day one have not debated this at all. Civil, well all we have heard for months and months is lies and innuendos from the republicans with no plan so good for grayson for finally standing up to them. I guess that is the only way we can be heard.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  106. worstoftheworst

    Mike – Texas

    Alan Grayson is my hero and I am glad he speaks for me. He is 100% right. We had the election and sent to Washington the combination of representation necessary to accomplish sweeping reforms. And, frankly, I could care less if the other guys are outraged that those like Congressman Grayson are telling it like it is.

    The Republicans say they have better ideas. Well, I do not recall hearing a single one of them between 200 and 2008. Do you?

    It is time for the majority to "dance with the ones that brung 'em"?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  107. Ann Perry Garland Tx

    I am so glad we have a Democrate that talked back to the Republicans.Good for him.They have got out of hand.Joe Wilson is stupid and N C. governor is a snake in the grass.I would not want to live there at all.Texas is bad enough.If I was Pres. I would not do anything just mess with the war and let the stupid people root for themself.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  108. souixb

    We have the best congress money can buy....There is plenty of lobbist money to encourage people to behave badly. Slash and burn politics that puts party before policy has been raised to a high art by the likes of Carl Rove. Newt Gingrich wasn't a slouch either. We are even seeinig it at the local leval. Shame on them all!!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  109. Brian in Augusta

    Intelligent debate is not a phrase the mepublicans understand. It first started to disintegrated when they when they accused the Democrats, on the house floor no less, of "wanting to pull the plug on grandma". Congressman Grayson just took their words and turned them around on them. Then the Republicans went crying to mama. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  110. johnchristopher saskatchewan

    Intelligent debate when the way of the Dodo when we started electing people who didn't graduate grade six and began listening to radio sqwaukers whose lips drool with hate, senators who are owned by corporations. Let's face it Jack we're becoming more stupid by the minute.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  111. amanda whiting

    Oh yeah I am from Iowa where Chuck Grassley seems to want to do the least about Health Care and we haven't heard much from Tom Harkin.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  112. Mark Ware,MA

    Intelligent debate went out the window when congressmen and woman stopped caring about the people and started caring about their own interest. I am an out and open Democrat and I am ashamed of both Democrats and Republicans for the childish behavior they display when it comes to the Health Care debate. It's okay to disagree but we are taught as early as kindergarten that even when we disagree we need to diplay that in a respectable and acceptable way. Maybe that's it, maybe all these men and woman in congress need to go back to kindergarten to learn the basics all over again.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  113. Rosa F

    I think republican started their debates by name calling and tea parties and so on, in respect to some republican leaders they could have stopped all the nonsense and started in a more mature and intelligent conversation and since that is not the language that they are familiar with, it forces some democrats to act the same way.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  114. patrick

    the comment rep grayson made was over the top but what he was saying i understand everything the president does conservatives have a problem with it everything i support our president and i dont agree with all his policys but i dont think everything he says and do is wrong i think republicans have no debate because how can you debate the obvious we need reform we need a public option and thats final rep grayson is right republicans need to get there heads in the game and quit the bull crap

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  115. James Nolen

    The reason people cannot debate each other because every word they speak belongs to lobbist who have bought every word they say.

    James Nolen

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  116. Barbara

    It IS racism pure and simple – Carter is right but everyone acts all insulted that we could still be racists in 2009 – Americans are always indignant when someone suggests it – republicans are desperate and are scaring people like the senior white citizen population who believes someone is going to take something away from them. What a legacy to leave the next generation – republicans even lie when they portray their concern for a health care system as being concerned over the debt they leave behind – each administration is charged with the same thing and no one believes that their concern is legitimate – republicans are quick to remind you that Obama accepted the SC slob's apology but he only apologized after his fellow republicans asked him to – and who would think Mr. Obama would NOT accept it – but it's racism, pure and simple!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  117. Erik

    Sadly, Jack, the answer to your question is– we don't want intelligent debate. And, we means we– the public, the media. . .all of us. What we want is a 30 second soundbite or youtube video that shocks us. Yelling "liar" at the President or turning healthcare debate in to the holocaust both have something in common. They got you to talk about it (a lot) and me commenting about it. Before we talk seriously about "intelligent debate" we need to get back to common decency. As a group (media and all) we are lost. We need bold leaders to go against the grain of the "high school popularity contest" of American politics and just do what is right.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  118. Mindy Newell

    Jack, it's not just about health care. The Republicans are determined not to let President Obama succeed at anything. Their lackeys over at Fox (Hannity, Beck) and their emperor, Rush Limbaugh, do their dirty work for them by encouraging the vast American moronic public to be nattering, Neathanderal na-bobs. So what else can you expect when these same morons put people in office representing their collective moronic intelligence?

    I am glad that at least one or two Democrats, i.e., Alan Grayson and Barney Frank, are fighting fire with fire.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  119. Duncan

    Intelligent political debate does not exist anymore, because politicians, both democrat and republican, care too much about their own political gain rather than the interest of the people. I wish politicians would realize what they were hired for. They are the voice of the people. They need to leave their own opinions about things out of it, and properly represent their constituents. In order for intelligent poitical debate to happen again, politicians must be held accountable for their words, and simply express what their constituents want. Leave the baggage at the door.

    Fort Collins, CO

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  120. Herb Cockcroft

    Anything intelligent related to health care reform ended when the first politician accepted the first check from the first lobbyist for the first health insurance company that wrote it.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  121. Chad, California

    The problem is that every argument is us vs them. The facts become irrelavent. It becomes a problem for every American when it ends up with nothing ever getting done unless you have enough money to lobey congress.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  122. Dan from the USA

    Dem. Grayson should be labeled a fear-monger. "If the Republicans win they want you to die quickly because no one likes a drawn-out holocaust." This from an elected official in an official meeting? Freshman Grayson should be a one-and-done politician for inciting this kind of hate.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  123. Marty

    What happened is that these idiots on capitol hill are more interested in making political points then they are in getting anything done to further the betterment of our country and its ill,s.They are making a mockery of what was once a group of intelligent people working for the people of the united states. It is shameful and every last one of these morons should be called out for the garbage they sling and then thrown out on their behinds and let them live the lives of us ordinary Americans for once in their lives and see& feel what they are doing to us, The people who voted them in to do what is in OUR best interest.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  124. Dave From Rhode Island

    I think part of the blame for the lack of civilized debate comes from cable news and the 24/7 news cycle itself. Many debates are reduced to shouting matches where the host has to play referee in an ugly contest of who can out shout the other. Guests are chosen based on how much they will clash with each other because it makes good TV but in the end, the viewer loses because they learn nothing.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  125. Martin Ganz

    Political rhetroic began to head south when the rightwing nuts of the Republican party, led by Newt Gingrich, set forth their "Contract with America" and began to villafy all Democrats as unpatriotic, aethists, and outright liberal scoundrals bent on destroying THEIR America.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  126. Adam Ware

    Here's the solution:

    1. Suspend health care coverage for congress immediately.
    2. Activate it only after they reach an agreement
    3. If during this period someone get's sick, they will have their coverage suspended just like the rest of us with pre-exisiting conditions.

    Guaranteed the vote would be unanimous and swift to reinstate their government healthcare plan.

    They should all be fired. Military coup looking pretty good from this vantage point.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  127. Jim Drake

    Jack, your question presumes that there are actually intelligent people out there to have this "intelligent debate." When more than 30% of the country supports an intellectually challenged, former governor and treats her diatribes as if they are sound, substantiated, rational thoughts you are hard pressed to find anyone on that side to actually be able to speak intelligently.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  128. Kurt from Virginia

    The sad fact is that intelligent debate on all issues, health care included, takes a backseat to getting re-elected and to keeping your party's leadership happy. The even sadder fact is that they are pandering to us, the voters, who keep lapping it up.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  129. Harold Anderson

    It demonstrates how our representatives value politics over respect for Americsa. An empty can makes the most noise but provides no substance. How appropriate!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  130. Steve


    How is it possible to have any sort of intelligent debate with people like the Republicans and the so call blue dog Democrats when they have no interest in Health Care and care only from themselves while getting paid and speaking on behalf of Special Interest only??? I am ashamed at what's going on. A bunch of well off, tired old fools don't seem to give a damn about 40,000,0000 uninsured fellow Americans. Where is the intelligence in this thinking?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  131. Rusk

    What happened to intelligent debate? nothing! Have you ever read the book Animal Farm? That what goes on in congress.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  132. Pat

    Jack, An intelligent debate requires intelligence....need I say more?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  133. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    I see this as still another exhibition of the failure of our education system in this country. An undereducated public continues to elect these morons to Congress & to governorships – where else in the world would actors & wrestlers assume some of the highest elected offices in the land? No wonder intelligent debate is replaced by these media 'food fights' – it plays well on TV & the 'fix is probably already in.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  134. Mark

    You are joking right?!
    Republicans have been engaging in name calling,
    false statements, and repeating misleading slogans/catch phrases
    for decades.

    Are you just taking notice now? Wow.

    Or is it because Democrats are finally fighting back
    and fighting fire with fire. The Democrats have been the Republicans verbal punching bag for long enough and I for one and happy to
    see the Dems fight back.. I say it's about time !

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  135. C.P. Thomas

    when it comes to health care, you get what (WHO) you Vote for! Atlanta, GA.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  136. Born in San Francisco

    As for intelligent debate in this country, it is still alive and well in the cannabis clubs of San Francisco... maybe the politicians should take a minute smoke some pot. Then they might realize it really doesn't matter what they do because the money is against reform, and so will be the final decision.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  137. Teri from Florida

    There has never been an intelligent debate on heatlhcare reform. It is the clash of ideologies. It gets emotional and heated. I applaud Representative Grayson for stating what many of us have already said. We all know what we support and we all know that when it comes time for the bills to be voted on that the Republicans will vote NO. There is no apology needed from Grayson and by the way Jack, you have also used some colorful language to describe politicians on several occasions. Remember, those in glass houses......

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  138. RANDY .M

    Jack you must be remembering a time before I was bon and that was fifty years ago. I don't ever remember our congress ever getting along and as far as I am concerned we need to get rid of the feet dragging republicans, because the world is changing and it's either get out of the way or get ran over.
    We have senators that couldn't read a bill if they tried. We need to get our act together and put term limits on our elected officials.
    Have a nice day!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  139. Elaine

    As far as "intelligent" debate is concerned, you can forget about the Republicans as I don't think they know what the word intelligent means!
    The Right-wing are just sore losers who are still furious that their boy (McCain) lost in the election, and lost to a BLACK man! In response, they're out to sabotage anything The President proposes, no matter what the American people want nor need! That's the Republican way! They've done this since Nixon, and they haven't changed one iota, they've only gotten much worse!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  140. Fran

    It was swallowed up by fear. FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. He knew fear leads to anger and anger to violence. The elected officials in Washington who are playing on fears are dispicable people. They are not serving the people. They are an insult to those real great leaders of this country.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  141. Richard

    Lets face it congressman Grayson had the guts to say what a lot of people think of the republican party. Democrats have long tried to be the better man in the face of the republicans name calling and as honorable as that is its lead to the image of a weak democratic party. More power to congressman grayson. The guys got moxie. Perhaps president material!!?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  142. Frank Nardo Cape Coral,FL

    why would you say that we don't have intelligent debate? the entire country is engaged in debate, I think that is what america is all about, the news media's focus on the single individual absurd action is what you all seem abscessed with, you would do better to focus with the real debate going on in our country then to give credence to the few who take debate to another level of absurdity.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  143. Ray from Chicago

    We are taking what Grayson said out of context. He is simply stating that Republicans have no plan and this is true. What is the Republican Plan exactly? Why are we not talking about the meat and potatoes of what Grayson is saying instead of the over the top stuff. As media, you should also tell people what Grayson said before the knuckle dragging stuff.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  144. Sean

    As a thirty-something in 2009, I can honestly say this could be the most important issue presented before this country in my lifetime.

    As a result, intelligent debates require "intelligent" and informed individuals. There is so much propaganda and misinformation clouding the ability to have a civilized, intelligent debate. As a result, individuals are defending aspects of this debate which at times are untrue and exagerated.

    It's hard for the average citizen to trust our government officials will produce something that reflects our interest when the bill created is 1000 pages long and written as though it were tax code. If they wanted the public to play an active role, they should have created a downloadable brochure that specifically addressed the changes that have been presented.

    Then the debate would be intelligent and informed.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  145. Lane Morris

    Mutual respect in our political houses went away as soon as all the lobbyists were allowed inside the halls of congress. Politicians today care only about getting re-elected and that takes lots of money. If we want to turn back the clock on government actions, start with campaign reform, stop lobbyist from gaining access to our politicians. Stop all PAC's from being formed and maybe if people did some real due diligence before voting, we would get some candidates that really want to follow the public wishes. Maybe we should start a new party. We could call it the American party.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  146. Jerry - Michigan

    Jack – You're after the wrong guy today. In addition to Wilson, 3 other Republicans in House sessions have made similar comments that the Dems health plan tells people to "drop dead" and such. Grayson is finally giving the Repubs a dose of their own medicine (no pun intended) and you cry foul.Come on Jack. Repubs have shown for years that they will easily discard civil discourse and, in fact, sacrifice the country in order to win the spat on the playground, bring about a President's "Waterloo", or to maintain their income from lobbyists. The selfishness and disrespect has been largely from the Repub side. I'm glad Grayson pushed back directly. To maintain a one-sided civility has gotten the Dems nowhere – except to give them a false sense of superiority.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  147. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Intelligent conversation was terminated by those foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals (a.k.a Republicans and Democrats who take huge donations from insurance corporations and Big Pharma) to hold the rest of us back from 21st Century health care.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  148. mike brea ca

    hey jack
    any civility went right out the windows when our senators and congressman got bought out by the special interests.you think its bad now what do you think would happen if we took all of there medical insuranse their goverment option that we pay for them and there families away ....its only fair, they think that we are not important enough. take that away and they would move alot faster to get it done....all the game playing would go away

    mike brea ca.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  149. derek

    It amazes me that the public puts so much scrutiny on our elected official's moral back bone during elections and yet once they're in office NONE of them have the nerve to stand up and denounce the hate speak in the media, town hall meetings, or public protests. They hide behind the idea that they're protecting freedom of speech – what happened to guiding our nation, leading by example, building a better, civil nation?

    I'm a big believer in a multi-party government, too bad all we have now is a in-affective majority and parody of a minority.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  150. Roger Zoeller

    Jack , These so called "politicians" think they know what is best for the AmericanPeople . They have there OWN AGENDA and don't listen toi anyone and try to ram down our throats anything and thereby don't get anything done for us The American People. The WHOLE CONGRESS NEEDS TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE and we START FRESH & NEW ROGER ZOELLER MERIDIAN IDAHO

    October 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  151. Joan McLaughlin

    It's not possible to have a conversation with an opponent who uses over the top scare tactics instead of reasoned argument and who offers no counter proposals. This has been the case for too long with the Republican elected officials and party leaders.
    Though I think Rep Alen Grayson was also over the top he spoke the truth – which is that the Republican stance has been to be concerned about the insurance industry and not at all about the plight of the ordinary citizens who are faced too often with economic hardship and bankruptcy. The answer that Eric Cantor gave to a woman at his town hall was to sell her house and seek charity to pay the bills after being denied insurance coverage. That is an insulting answer not only to her but to all of us who may find ourselves catapulted into that situation. It's a shameful response from an elected official.
    That's why I applaud Rep Grayson for saying ( in an ironic and theatrical way) something that's uncomfortable but true. I share his frustration and thank him for calling them out on their strategy thus far.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  152. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    Politicians will use whatever means necessary to get their message out there. If the media and voters demanded actual intellectual discourse and bothered to fact check politicians then we would have a different tone. Unfortunately, everyone is to lazy to learn the facts and would rather rubberneck at the latest wreck that the political system has become.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  153. Rod, Oklahoma

    When the main goals of the national parties are to destroy each other, they've already lost the battle for a better country for the American people.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  154. Lindsay Reed

    Money, pure and simple. Those who have made the most outrageous comments (on both sides of the aisle) have raised millions. For some reason, money seems to motivate the people's representatives. Could be it's time for campaign reform – except for real this time.

    Lindsay Reed
    Lubbock, TX

    October 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  155. Tony Kovacs ny

    There is really only one debate on this topic. Either you are self-centered and care for nobody but yourself or have compassion and wish for everyone to have health and happiness. Who in there right mind would not want for everyone to have access to health. Only a selfish ignorant sorry excuse for a human would want to horde everything for themselves. I personally have health care and wish for everyone to have health and happiness. Anyone who apposes this plan is basically saying. I don't care about who dies as long as I am covered. It is a horrifying thought that so many people seem to have ego driven view that in the end will lead to mass misery. It makes me ashamed at what we have become as a nation.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  156. Lynne F

    You can't have an intelligent debate with the Republicans – they've made it quite clear they want to use this health reform to bring down President Obama. That should tell you everything you need to know about them.
    Thank goodness for Grayson, at last a Democrat with a spine. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and stand up to the bullies, and that's exactly what he's doing. Isn't it amazing how excited everyone is over his comment, and yet everyone just yawned when the Republicans comments accusing the Democrats of trying to kill everyone came fast and furious for weeks on end on the House floor. Where was the outrage then? When the Republicans apologize for the mess they've made of the country the last 8 years and apologize for the months of birthers, deathers, tea-baggers, and accusations of President Obama being Hitler and a Nazi, maybe then Grayson could apologize.
    There is a huge double standard going on here. And look up the definition of holocaust – it can also mean the reckless destruction of life, havoc, and I guess if 44,000 people die every year for lack of health coverage that could be thought of as havoc, and the reckless destruction of life.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  157. Greg Pishotta. (MT)

    As soon as the major media outlets stop committing endless air time to discussing the loudest voices and instead devote their efforts toward covering pertinent issues, then maybe we can get back to having something resembling an intelligent debate. Stopping the around-the-clock focus on the most crass and divisive voices, and instead discussing compromise and policy for once would go a long way toward redeeming our political culture.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that the media itself will ever acknowledge it's part in the dumbing down of discourse in this nation.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  158. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    I don' think thier ever has been a real debate. The politicians know that by pandering to the publics emotions, fears and ideology they get more traction with their sides agenda. I think the Republicans are more guilty due to the fact that most of the right wing is in the south and midwest. You may not want to hear this but does not speak well for our country.

    I was watching MSNBC the other night and one of the Republican startegist said the party has to rebrand itself. One of the reasons is that the more educated people become they move away from the party.
    You should have seen Pat Buchannans face when he said that. Priceless!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  159. Carola Dryden

    I am afraid intelligent debate has gone in the same direction that our society in general seems to have gone. Down the tubes. I feel very disturbed about the direction our country is going. Our lack of ethics, our greed and self interest, our inability to put good of the whole ahead of the good of the individual or the minority, and I am not talking about race when I say minority. I have seen a steady disintegration of our values and our country over the last ten years and it is very painful to see.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  160. Paul Skidmore

    Blame it on the media. Like with the advent of Sports Center type shows, where the athletes play mostly now for the highlight reel, politicians stand a better chance of making the news shouting, "You lie," than they do in engaging in intelligent debate. Look at the money raised following Wilson's "shameful" moment.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  161. Carla, Wyoming

    Debate this...Grayson for President in 2016! Sixteen years of Democrat rule is what this country needs!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  162. Buckshott

    We lost the ability to have intelligent debate with each other on any subject when we decided not to listen to the other side, and I mean literally listen. We no longer even hear what the other side says, we automatically shut it out as irrelevant.

    I'm old enough to remember the days of stories about when Lyndon Johnson, as President, would invite Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen over the the White House for drinks after work. Johnson and Dirksen were polar opposites poitically, but they still liked each other as humans.Each knew why they were having drinks together, too. Johnson would pull a list out of his pocket and say, "Ev, now dammit, I need this bill to pass to help my programs, and you can make that happen." Dirksen nodded, pulled out his own list from his pocket and would say, "Mr. President, If you could see your way clear to do this-or that for me, we can both be happy". The point is, these guys liked each other, listened to each other, worked together, and things that each wanted got done!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  163. Peter M

    There is body intelligent left in the Republican Party. It is all noise. They scream, rant and call names...the same guys that spent this country into a ditch now sit on a high horse and pretend to be outraged. It is pathetic to watch them.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  164. Jim


    Campaign contributions and an unquenchable thirst for money and power. The right-wing extremists and the Health Insurance Industry have been waging war on Obama, and anyone who supports him, since the day he took the oath of office. It was inevitable that a few democrats would start shooting back. Grayson won't be the last.

    Reno, Nevada

    October 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  165. Robert Elder

    I can not believe all the hate. Why don't the Republicans and Democrats all go out and just shoot each other. Then we won't need any health care at all. Grow up people. Talk about love and get all the hate out of your hearts! Can't we carry on a normal conversation without all the name calling. What has happened to us as a nation. We are divided.... Divided we fall united we conquer. Can't we stop acting like a bunch of school kids and get along with each other. I am an American not a Democrat or a Republican. AMERICAN..........................

    October 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  166. Dennis R., Florida


    In government, like most institutions, there are good people and bad people.

    The problem is, even the good people who go to Washington get seduced by the money that can be made from a special interest group; in this case, health care.

    Until we remove the easy money from politics, to some degree it doesn't matter who we elect. You know, you hear the amounts into the hundreds-of-thousands that our elected officials get so often that I think we the people become desensitized to it. Again, they are receiving HUNDREDS-OF-THOUSANDS of dollars to protect the current health care system . . . under these circumstances, why are we surprised?

    Dennis R.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  167. Donald in CA

    The republicans killed it when they let the right wing crazies take over the debate with the guns and bad behavior at town hall meetings. Then the republican politicians took up the chant from the right wing crazies. As long as Russ and fox cable run the republican party nothing will get done for the American people. The sad part is republicans who need health care and health care reform go alone with the crazy stuff.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  168. Tom Keane

    I believe that Mr. Grayson, like all Democrats, have had enough! When, almost, 70% of Americans want some form of a public option; that seems to tell me that more than just democrats want change. I'm sure there are Republicans out there who've lost their job and health coverage but we don't see those people on television. If republicans truly wanted change, they would have something called "an alternative plan"! Yet, after months of phony debate and stalling by republicans, what do we have? Republicans have been out in public openly LYING about what a health care plan would cover under President Obama! Republicans are sore losers and any good that a democratic administration can provide, they will hinder however possible! They also realize which party will benefit from passing this health care bill. They have a choice; either get on the train or get out of the way!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  169. t-mac

    grayson is the truth and you all no it!!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  170. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    The real problem, jack, is that health care and thus health insurance are very complex. Making things worse is our personal and emotional connection to health care.
    It is much like the banking and financial industry only we don’t identify as easily with the decisions being made.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  171. Vince

    Freshman Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is right! The Republican's are run by the insurance companies. I can't believe they were ganging up on him at the Situation Room...

    Freshman Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson–I see a president in the making. I'll vote for him.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  172. Laurene

    Jack , It is about time some one stood up to tell it like it is. I have not yet seen one Democrat Dispute any of the retoric some of the Republicans has had the nerve to let come out of there mouths . Some of the garbage that is said coming from the right is Rediculous. Thanks Rep. Grayson well said.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  173. Jackie in Dallas

    By the way, I support Alan Grayson for having the gall to stand up to the vicious, lying, and money-grabbing GOP, especially Joe Wilson! He called them on what they are: self-interested, and only beholden to big business and those with big pockets.

    JFK said it best in his Inaugural speech "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life...If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

    October 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  174. laura ont

    Intelligent debate good luck with that one. They are so ticked off at everyone they have even started picking on Canada.

    This summer I have heard everything from Paul Broun in Georgia saying we do not sanctify life in our country. Or Mitch McConnell who knows someone who knows someone who died because they were in Canada.
    Or how about Bob Corker who just yesterday referred to us as Parasites when it comes to health care.

    It is the art of distraction and inaction.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  175. Daniel Begg from Moorestown New Jersey

    Ask the Republicans. Everything that Grayson said, with the exception of referring to the healthcare crisis as a Holocaust, was right on the mark. Since Obama began his efforts at Healthcare reform, Republicans have done everything in their power to block his efforts, and prevent any meaningful reform from happening. They have deliberately poisoned the debate with lies about "deathpanels and the like. And now for the first time a Democrat is bold enough to call them out for their behavior, calling them "foot dragging neanderthalls". It may not be a classy thing to say, but it happens to be true.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  176. Robert

    Jack, there will be no intelligent debate as long as powerful lobbyists have those in Washington in their pockets.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  177. Jerry - Michigan

    This may sound crazy but if you are asking historically what happened to respectful debate about government issues and programs – I have to go back to Ronald Reagan. There have always been debates about the role of govt in our lives but Reagan is the one who started the utter disrespect for our govt with his badmouthing and fear mongering of "big government". There are pages of Reagan quotations bashing our own American govt. and I don't remember anyone calling him on such treasonous talk. Ironically, a POTUS basically gave his party license to bash our own system and proudly speak with disrespect with a wink and a nod. I remember being horrified then as I am now. The bar of civility and respect in our government was lowered long ago by a man some people revere. This should make us sad and embarrassed..

    October 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  178. sharla

    when you make noise you get heard. Grayson's remark did not compare the helthcare plan to the holocaust he called it a holocaust. Let' get it right. Love ya Jack!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  179. lynne from NC

    Intelligent debate has been only a pipedream. Tthe GOP has been hijacked by people who have some sort of mental condition that throw their noses up at the facts. The Dems have always stood by and took it until Rep. Grayson had the guts to say something and not apologize for it.

    Even though it has been proven that there will be no death panels or rationing of care, they still spout it.

    It will only end when those with common sense take back the parties in question. Shame on us for letting it deteriorate to this level.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  180. Conor in Chicago

    What happened to the debate? The Neo-Conservative movement within the Republican party of the United States-that's what happened. Opinion is fact, deep questions are unpatriotic, and to disagree is to be wholly wrong.

    The other side is simply reacting. They're not perfect-oh no they are not. But if the Republicans were treating this the way the Democrats were it would all be a hell of a lot more civil.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  181. Peter


    I tell you what happend to intelligent debate. Our country is no longer for the people and by the people. Its for a select few the rich, minorities, and people with no common sense. Our congress is being paid by insurance companies to vote no for health care reform. My tax dollars are going to welfare programs for minorities having a ton of children so they can stay on welfare. Because they are to lazy to work and support the farms they are having for famlies. And the working class is funding a government that is spending money on stupid stuff that does nothing to benefit the citizens of this country. People are tired it. You may think i am predjudice because of the above statement. Before you do walk around the streets and communities around America and speak to the average Joe about these issues.

    Peter NY

    October 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  182. Lucy

    This is what happens when the politicians with the most money as compared to the politicians with the most brains are elected.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  183. freddie Gavin

    whatever happen to intellegence!?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  184. Dan of Denver

    Intelligent debate requires intelligence among those debating. A little common sense doesn't hurt either. The politicians such as Representative Wilson, Representative Grayson, and of course Ex-Governor Sarah Palin obviously have demonstrated with their outlandish outbursts and comments that they do not have the intelligence required for an intelligence debate; or for that matter be qualified to hold public office. As American tax paying citizens we deserve better and should require a higher standard of our elected officials. If I want goofy, hair-brain stunts and commentary I'll watch Realty TV or Glenn Beck ... and really waste my time!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  185. Lowell Hillyard

    Wilson should be bared from ith Senate for a year for the disrespect he should our president during the address to the joint house on national television

    October 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  186. Renardo

    Jack...I believe the congressman original comments on the floor was factual.Is it not a fact the insurance companies do not want you to get sick, but if you do become seriously ill; i.e. cancer, they would prefer you die quickly. So if you're deep in the insurance company's pockets like the republicans... wouldn't you say thats guilt by association!

    October 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  187. Susan Mueller

    I never in my entire life seen the disrespect 'yellow ' journalists are instilling in people who do not know how to think for themselves . They preach about indoctrination ..jeepers these citizens are proof it works . Whatever topic these twists scream , cry or lecture at night , is on the their follower's lips the next morning . They can yell " Hear me speak " all they want , but with their hatred , nonsensical and misdirecting rants who wants to listen .

    October 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  188. Angie Heath

    Jack, I've always prided myself on being pretty good at intelligent debate especially being a classroom teacher for 30 years but it is hard to keep calm cool and collected when your wonderful, hardworking 25 year old son's affordable health care options are about to run out and the voices screaming the loudest are willing to dismiss the life of people like my son. Of course, they don't know him by name, they call him a "pre-existing condition". I'd like to subject the "death panel/ government take-over people to spend time with the victims of our current insurance/health care system. I don't get how people can be so self-serving. Angie from Terre Haute, IN

    October 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  189. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    How there be debate if one side of the debate has no proposals? Republican Congressclowns refuse to work FOR anything specific. All they know and say is that they are against anything OBama is for. Not much of a position. At this rate, the insurance companies are winning. They will continue to take their unholy huge percentage of our health care budget. Thanks Republicans. Like the financial meltdown and the budget deficit run up by Bush in his eight years, this health care debacle is all on you.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  190. Chika Uzokwe

    Healthcare has everything to do with life and death. When the debates on which way to follow get unneccesarily longer the death toll gets bigger and words can also get nastier. Party politics is to blame.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  191. Carmen, Phx, AZ

    Most people are able to discern the fact from the smearing that occurs readily between politicians. The rest of us who buy the hyperbole have misplaced anger or an agenda. The irony, debate needs to contain hyperbole to gain greater attention to the issue, but the issue gets lost to the greater attention to hyperbole.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  192. J.J.

    When it comes to healthcare, we truly have crossed the line – the "IT'S TIMELINE" and a generational gap including decades of greed leading to blindness. Arrogance leading to short sighted stupidity and closed mindedness. Sad that most people live their lives by what they see or hear. And most of us see nothing but confusion. We voted these reps in to do what? I thought it was to be our voice, the voice of the American people; to speak truth to power and stand up for our well being. Stop squabble to confuse us when you should be spending your educated common sense (TOGETHER) helping our wounded country stand tall again. We need you to be present.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  193. Terry

    Ever hear of the Dodo bird. Thought not. Intelligent Debate has gone the same direction. Extinct!

    Kelowna, BC

    October 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  194. Rose T

    What happened to intellegent debate. The answer is 24 hour news. The Town Hall meetings became an opportunity for a minority to gain attention and news covergage by being loud and obnoxious. Instead of covering the debate on Health care, the news covered the rude behavior. That debate was stiffled was seen as successful and what was wanted by those who did not want intelligent debate. This started in the Right Wing talk shows, was escalated in the Town Hall meetings, and supported by members of the Republican party. That the democrats are now fighting fire with fire should have been expected.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  195. Conor in Chicago

    And just think Jack-All the young people of this country, the ones who can't find jobs, the ones who don't have any health care, the ones who fought your damn wars you didn't think to stop, the ones who are watching this country disintegrate, the ones who will reap what YOU DAMN PEOPLE are going to sew ARE THE ONLY ONES not screaming nonsense at each other.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  196. Ruben

    Why don't you ask this to all of these so called conservative talkers out there. If they would stop spreading all of the false propaganda there might be some intellegent debates.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm |