Former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey challenged Keith Olbermann to a debate today after he called her out as shill for Big Pharma, who is paid by extension to lobby for the industry. McCaughey denied Olbermann’s charges and challenged him to a debate on his MSNBC program, Countdown.
Here is the Countdown story:
In a statement today, McCaughey said, “If Keith Olbermann of MSNBC could defend the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill on their merits, he wouldn’t be resorting to personal attacks on me. Olbermann calls me a shill funded by the drug industry (2-12-2009). That’s not true. I am not paid by the pharmaceutical industry or by the Hudson Institute. I hold only an honorary Fellows position at Hudson, and take no money or benefits from it. If Keith Olbermann has the courage, I invite him to debate me on his program.”
Notice how she offers to debate Olbermann and not Laurence O’Donnell who knows a ton about healthcare policy? She also questioned Olbermann’s courage, “Mr. Olbermann, do you have the backbone (and the facts) to debate me?” Here is the thing, McCaughey is intentionally distorting the bill. If you go read the parts the bill in question, which is available at both C-Span.org and the official House website, the phrase that she is referring to as the government telling doctors how treat patients is really about the availability of electronic medical records to doctors wherever they are. The government is going to be giving anyone orders on healthcare.
I hope that Olbermann does to choose to have her on his show. Her Bloomberg commentary is full of holes, and logic is not its strong suit. As O’Donnell said this is a preemptive strike by the drug companies to thwart any potential Obama healthcare reform effort by planting the seeds of fear. The drug companies are already breaking out the same threat of nationalized healthcare that killed Clinton’s attempt in 1990s. However this is a different time and attitude. I don’t think the same tactics will work.