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Mark Belling Fails His Listeners on Obamacare Compliance and OCI's Emergency Rule 18
Written by Kirsten   
Monday, 21 November 2011 22:21

Late this afternoon, Milwaukee-area talk radio personality Mark Belling failed his listening public in an epic manner.

Belling had an opportunity to use his bully pulpit to explore fully both sides of Emergency Rule 18, recently promulgated by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) and signed by Governor Walker on November 3rd. The rule brings Wisconsin into compliance with Obamacare rules and regulations.

Astonishingly, the talk radio host claimed he was setting the record straight, then presented the only side of the story that apparently interested him. He finished off with an attempted and shameful drive-by hit on conservative grassroots activists and Tea Party organizers who are responsibly educating and advocating on the opposite side of the issue.

How regrettable that Mr. Belling, whose radio show depends on his credibility, denied his many listeners greater access to the facts and attacked people who have researched this matter thoroughly. He might have done a great service by helping the public to understand an issue that bears heavily on whether they will continue to enjoy personal healthcare freedoms. Instead, he fell down on the job.

To "get the story straight," Mr. Belling went to one source, and one source only--The Governor's Office, from whence he heard and swallowed the same tired OCI talking points that nationally recognized experts have already thorougly discredited, most notably:

  • We must comply with Obamacare to resist Obamacare
  • The emergency rule represents only limited compliance and does no harm 

Bewilderingly, Mr. Belling chose not to interview on his program today:

  • A single conservative grassroots organizer advocating on this matter--and there are now a number of us
  • Any of five Republican Assemblymen who voted against AB 210, and who would thus almost certainly be against Emergency Rule 18
  • State Senator Frank Lasee, who killed AB 210 in the Senate Committee on Insurance and Housing and similarly stands against Emergency Rule 18's language
  • Experts from the Goldwater, Cato, or Heartland Institutes or the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, all of whom agree on the dangers of any compliance with Obamacare, however limited

Failing to talk to anyone but the administration allowed Mr. Belling to thoroughly dismiss a number of legitimate concerns, which he did, apparently with no compunction.

Talking to all sides would have provided Mr. Belling with a rather different perspective. The matter of Emergency Rule 18 is not nearly so harmless as the Governor's Office claims, by way of the OCI's talking points. If Mr. Belling had even simply read the articles I have published right on this very website (Pt 1Pt 2Pt 3, and Pt 4), all of which contain links to additional resources, he would have gained a clearer picture of what's at stake. I could also have referred him to national experts if he wished.

Mr. Belling further accused the Tea Party of attacking Governor Walker at an inopportune time on this issue. I'm not sure to whom precisely he is referring, because he did not name names. But I would challenge him to find anything in the Wisconsin 9/12 Project's rhetoric that reads as an attack on Governor Walker regarding this matter. Quite to the contrary, the Wisconsin 9/12 Project has taken OCI to task but has abjectly refused to attack the Governor. It is our contention that the Governor is badly misinformed on the issue of compliance with Obamacare and that the public needs, firmly but respectfully, to help him understand the truth. We staunchly maintain that position today. 

Furthermore, I would ask Mr. Belling whether he thinks it is somehow less egregious if a Republican governor unwittingly opens the door to Obamcare than if a Democratic governor does so on purpose. I think he would have to agree that the outcome is the same: The enslavement of Wisconsinites under Obamacare. 

So what shall conservative grassroots organizations like Wisconsin 9/12 Project do?  Wait until the recalls are over to raise this issue?  That is the criticism Mr. Belling lodged today: That the Tea Party has picked a fight at the most inopportune time.

To the contrary: Respectfully, we have not picked a fight. And it seems to us that it is Governor Walker's signing of Emergency Rule 18 that is ill advised and ill timed. We should sit silent while our healthcare freedoms are compromised because it's not politically convenient to speak up...?  Isn't that how we got into such a mess in this country in the first place?  By letting politics rule over principle?  

It is indeed unfortunate that Governor Walker's signature on Emergency Rule 18 puts not just the Tea Party but all Wisconsinites at risk at a tenuous moment. We all understand that signatures are being gathered for the Governor's recall. We had hoped the death of AB 210 in committee would have ended the path to compliance with Obamacare. We were grateful when Senator Frank Lasee killed that bill in the Senate Committee on Insurance and Housing. When it became obvious that the OCI would maneuver around Senator Lasee with an emergency rule, we worked hard to prevent its signing, though we were stymied in those efforts. Now, here we all are, in a place we'd rather not be. 

The goal of the Wisconsin 9/12 Project, and that of many of the groups with whom we are working most closely, must now be to reverse the course of compliance upon which the Governor is currently traveling. In partnership with others across the state, we want Governor Walker to understand the real dangers his actions now pose to:

  • Wisconsin's state sovereignty
  • The healthcare freedoms of state residents
  • The soundness of the state's currently thriving insurance industry
  • The number of real jobs the insurance industry provides
  • The existence of the free market
  • The integrity of our lawsuit against Obamacare

We are firm and resolute in our position. We cannot be moved.

For those, like Mr. Belling, who would criticize us for our unwavering position, a little refresher on recent history:

The Tea Party first began to coalesce about three years ago around TARP and a host of abysmal bailouts. But it perhaps gained its greatest momentum around Obamacare. Many from Wisconsin's Tea Party movement sacrificed time and money to go to Washington, D.C. at Christmastime in 2009 to try to stop federal passage of this most egregious of affronts to individual liberties and states' rights. Now steps are being taken here in our own state, wrongly and dangerously, that move us further in the direction of this disastrous socialist public policy monstrosity. We are rightly and deeply concerned, as should all Wisconsinites be.

You see, the Tea Party movement drew its line in the sand in 2009. Don't expect those of us who remember that line to move it now...for anyone. We are hopeful that when enough people understand the realities involved in this situation, they will join us behind that line, rather than continuing to insist that we abandon it.

As for Mr. Belling's parting shot at the Tea Party movement this afternoon, he made a libelous, if laughable, accusation that we are raising this matter at present because we've been infiltrated by Democrats. To be quite plain: I know all of the key players involved in the efforts to get the Governor to re-examine his decision on Emergency Rule 18. They are all patriots. We may not all share the same tactics. We may not agree on all issues. But if we can in any way be seen as a whole, let it be on this ground: We are absolutely united in our resistance to socialist public policy. If Mr. Belling wishes to level accusations regarding our "infiltration," let him come armed to the teeth with proof. I'd certainly love to see it. I know my colleagues would. However, I submit that Mr. Belling has no such proof.

The Wisconsin 9/12 Project will not be cowed by Mr. Belling's misguided attempt to silence the Tea Party movement on the matter of Emergency Rule 18. Nor do we expect any of our close friends and colleagues in this movement to be cowed by what amounted, today, to unfounded criticism and a cheap smear. We have been infiltrated by NO PARTY, Mr. Belling. Our concern for constitutional liberties is principled rather than partisan in nature--which certainly seems to be a big bee in the bonnet for some powerful individuals these days, not to mention the bonnets of those that carry water for them. 

I and other activists in the conservative grassroots who oppose Emergency Rule 18 (and any permanent rule of compliance that may come after it) stand ready to articulate our position to anyone who asks. Most of us are downright friendly and approachable when not being maliciously dismissed, denigrated, and slandered. As importantly, if not moreso, we've done our research and consulted the experts. We understand the facts in this situation.

The question is, will anyone in the media have the courage to talk to us?  

We certainly hope that others will do what Mr. Belling sadly did not: Get both sides of the story.

 

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