Sometimes it's the method, rather than the message, that is maddening.
And few are up to the task of infuriating critics as well as those wily masters of manipulation, Bill and Hillary Clinton.
There is almost universal agreement that when it comes to politicizing, campaigning and full-blown chutzpah, few can match the president and his first lady (and New York senator wannabe).
Take, for instance, the timing of a speech earlier this month when Mrs. Rodham Clinton wooed New York hospital executives with the notion that they deserve more federal money. Lo and behold, a day later her husband's administration agreed to let hospitals in the state keep an estimated $1 billion in Medicare overpayments that Uncle Sam had been trying to recover.
Turns out hospitals in 34 other states also will benefit from HCFA's decision about the determination of disproportionate-share payments for treating the poor. The feds had contended the states had overstated the number of needy patients their hospitals had treated over the past 10 years by counting patients who qualified for state public assistance programs but who were not eligible for Medicaid benefits.
But New York healthcare leaders and politicians were especially vocal about the disproportionate-share issue, since Empire State hospitals would have owed the largest repayment. It sure seems fishy that the relief news came so close to Hillary's appearance at the Healthcare Association of New York State's annual meeting.
(Of course, this is the same likely candidate for the New York Senate seat who suddenly became a New York Yankee fan despite a supposed lifelong devotion to her "hometown" Chicago Cubs. And it's the same Mrs. Clinton who, despite her voiced objections to it, is likely to benefit from her husband's curious clemency decision for 16 Puerto Rican terrorists.)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the disproportionate-share decision is a step in the right direction but added that New York hospitals also need big help from cuts inflicted by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Furthermore, he noted that HCFA's decision is "gratifying because it means we have the attention of the (Clinton) administration."
Truer words were never spoken.