You call that leadership?

I like a good, healthy debate as much as anyone, but much of what's been passing for debate on healthcare reform is anything but good and healthy. Two news reports on my drive to work this morning caught my attention.

First, House Minority Leader John Boehner has sent a harsh letter to the pharmaceutical lobby accusing them of not being greedy enough. I give the drug industry credit for offering to help with reform, but I don't for a second think they'll meaningfully reduce their profit margins, even if it would save a few lives here or there. But even that act of generosity was too much for Boehner. He claims to be on the side of the people, but most of the people who are dead or dying for being unable to afford the drugs they need would dispute that.

If Boehner was a true leader of the people, he would spend less time worrying about the well-being of one of the wealthiest industries in the country and spend more time addressing the sorry state of healthcare in the wealthiest nation on the planet.

Second, Senator Chuck Grassley recently claimed to "have heard" that Senator Ted Kennedy's brain tumor wouldn't be treated if Kennedy lived in Great Britain because he would be considered too old to justify it. NPR interviewed a U.K. doctor who refuted that bogus claim along with several others that healthcare opponents have been circulating. My beef with Grassley is that, as a purported "leader", he should know things instead of just basing his views on what he's heard.

Lousy leadership is not just a Republican problem, but when it comes to healthcare reform, the Repubs are setting a new record for lousiness.