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Lou Dobbs Tours Single-Payer Systems Abroad and Realizes, Holy Crap They're Good

Has CNN's government-out-of-my-face bloviator actually had a change of heart when it comes to Obama's health plan?

Lou Dobbs is a strange man. One day he's railing against "Obamacare," stoking the birther and deather paranoia that an illegitimate president's health care plan will mandate euthanasia. Next day he's practically singing the praises of single-payer healthcare systems 'round the world.

It's kind of French of him, but last week, CNN's government-out-of-my-face bloviator began a monthlong, nation-a-night series to "learn from other countries' health care plans." He's already toured the single-payer systems of Denmark, Canada, and England, and the heavily regulated, public/private plans of Germany, France, Holland, and Switzerland. And, as if he were channeling Michael Moore or something, he's been rattling off stats showing that most of these universally covered foreigners are spending less on healthcare but living longer than we do.

Oh, sure, he'll occasionally exaggerate any weakness he can find--Lou's particularly eager to tsk-tsk over England's long lines. But overall, the series (reported mostly by CNN's Kitty Pilgrim), has been straightforward, like this look at Denmark, which could almost inspire a townhall mob to chant "Mandate, baby, mandate!"

And tonight it's off to Japan!

But, really, what gives, Mr. Independent? Have you gone soft on softcore socialism? Do you realize that you're actually making the "government takeover of healthcare" look pretty darn good? Or is this some kind of forced penance for spraying CNN with birther spittle, causing the network a " publicity nightmare," and, worse, sinking your own ratings?

On his Wednesday radio show, Dobbs as much as announced that CNN president Jon Klein (who's been publicly defending Dobbs against calls for his firing) made him do it: "We're pushing opinion aside. We're focusing on a nonpartisan objective reality that it is our job to cover," Dobbs declared, admitting, "I resisted this idea initially."

But as Lou has proved again and again, he can't help but resist. On radio the very next day, he slammed Obama for compiling "an enemies' list" ( not true), and harrumphed mightily: "I'm moving from being an independent, sir, to being absolutely opposed to your, any policy you could conceive of!" As if he hadn't moved into outright opposition long ago.

So, as soon as Lou had completed all that extra homework--writing 100 times on the blackboard, "I will push opinion aside. I will push opinion aside"--he finally gets to bust out and mix it up with his guests. Only then do the familiar snide comments, appalled facial expressions, and twisted facts spill into a headlong attack on each and every aspect of Obama's healthcare plan--even the aspects resembling those he had just more or less commended in Europe.

That is, Dobbs can read all sorts of fair and balanced words from a script, but he is willfully deaf to their meaning. Anything that doesn't fit his worldview, he doesn't hear, it doesn't compute, and he goes blank.

As he did last week when he interviewed Obama's former doctor, David Scheiner. The fact that Scheiner had criticized the president's healthcare plan was enough to land him on Lou Dobbs Tonight ; but the fact that Scheiner had criticized Obama from the left for ignoring single-payer plans simply couldn't find an empty berth to tie up to in Dobbs's brain. Dr. Scheiner passionately, and at length, explains to Dobbs that it is private insurance companies that are standing between doctors and their patients, not the goverment. "The government never gets in the way," Scheiner says. "In Medicare, 40 years of Medicare, they've never interfered with me giving care."

"Medicare is--I'm sorry, which is interfering?" replies a suddenly glowering Dobbs, who apparently wasn't listening at all. Yet even after Scheiner carefully explains yet again, Dobbs kept on: "But the argument is, as you know, Doctor, that with government-run healthcare that there would be great intrusion by the government..."

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