John Welhan’s opinion of July 5, “Idaho Senators: Do the right thing” is a sad example on how invective has become the new form of persuasion. While there might be much to dislike about the Senate’s bill to reform “Obamacare,” Mr. Welhan provides few facts for opposing the legislation. Does he oppose the bill’s Medicaid reforms (many of which are needed, including slowing the trajectory of spending)? Does he oppose replacing subsidies with tax credits? Does he have a specific number in mind for how much federal spending there should be for healthcare (we spend over a trillion dollars a year, or 25 percent of federal expenditures). From Mr. Welhan we get no facts to argue his case. Instead we get shop-worn, ad hominem attacks: “vile partisanship being displayed by Republicans;” “third-rate dictatorship;” “cowardice;” “stench of such corruption;” “travesty of partisan demagoguery;” “spineless lackeys,” etc. You get the point. Cicero it is not. While this type of fact-free opinion is now too commonplace, what is alarming is the biographical statement informing that the writer is a professor who teaches graduate students. I hope these students have other professors to show them how to make a rational, persuasive and fact-based argument.
Peter Urbanowicz, Sun Valley