Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Republicans Suck Healthcare Bill

Carpetbagger's got a post about how a Dem Congressman is daring Republicans to repeal popular provisions of the healthcare law with a bill called HIPA-CRIT (Health Insurance Protects America -- Can't Repeal IT).  And yes, ha ha.  It's a nice little insult and I won't begrudge him that.  But beyond that, what's the point, exactly? 

I mean, Republicans WILL try to repeal either part or the whole thing, or their Tea Partying masters will destroy them.  And they'll fail as they can't possibly get the Senate or Obama to play along.  So they're going to go through with this charade already, meaning that all we're left with is the "hypocrite" insult, which doesn't really apply as they're not being hypocrites in this case because they really DO want to repeal these provisions.  Maybe I'm stupid, but I fail to see why we'd bother with such a silly stunt.

Political Progressives

And the saddest part is reading all the progressives on that board who expose their true agenda: Attacking Republicans.  Sure, Obama got us a decent healthcare law, as well as a whole host of liberal laws passed in a very hostile situation, but he gets no credit for that.  Instead, they celebrate a pointless insult bill that serves no purpose other than insulting Republicans. 

Because passing good laws comes secondary to them.  First up is attacking Republicans with empty political gestures.  They don't give a damn about all the people Obama got insured or the end of rescission.  They just want to see a good mudfight, just like I've been saying all along.

Here are some of the comments I read:
"Better late, than never. Finally we have a democrat able to tie his shoes without help. Now, will Pelosi bring it to the floor?"

"Yes, it's a bit late...BUT, at least someone on the Democratic side knows how to play the game!!! HIPA-CRIT! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MORE, MORE, MORE!!!"

"Maybe Obama should reflect this holiday season on how he might gain the respect of the clowns on capital hill. Most presidents do it by being presidential and tough as nails. The last one to try the nice guy approach, Jimmy Carter, has been a great ex president, but a one term wonder."

"I'm actually on board with this circus sideshow for the sole belief that circus sideshows are the ONLY things we're going to be seeing from the House for the next two years. May as well kickstart the proceedings with votes on HIPA-CRIT healthcare bills, MIL-IONARE tax bills, , and DE-FALT budget bills. GO FOR IT."
Sure, Pelosi and Obama got us actual laws that did stuff.  But since none of their bills had insults in their names, that means they're wimps who always lose.  Much better to stage political theater than get anything done. 

Oddly, we now have progressives who look to uber-centrist Bill Clinton as the model for how Obama should be.  Sure, Clinton was the poster child of the DLC and championed such "liberal" measures as tax cuts, welfare reform, banking deregulation, and bombing Iraq; but damn did the dude know how to fight.  Not that progressives didn't hate him at the time.  But these days, he's the patron saint of the progressive movement, while Obama's awe-inspiring legislative record is cast aside as an after-thought. 

Perhaps if Obama had just been bold enough to insult Republicans with the names of his bills, we could have retained control of Congress.  For as much as I hate to say it, I really wish we could have a few more grown-ups on our side.  There's nothing wrong with winning politely, just as long as you win.  Apparently, many progressives would prefer we lose, as long as we were jerks about it.  And we're to imagine that THEY'RE the ideological hardcore. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"You Can't Have Government-Run Health Care"

As a followup to my previous post, I just wanted to note how Congressman Where'sMyHealthcare's description of the Healthcare law is entirely in keeping with what I suspected.  It's not that he thinks it's great healthcare that he wants to deny to others.  It's that he thinks it's lousy healthcare that will only make things worse for everyone.

As Think Progress notes:
On his campaign website, Harris explains, “[a]s a physician, I know that our health insurance system is in need of repair. However, the answer to the ever-rising cost of insurance is not the expansion of government-run or government-mandated insurance but, instead, common-sense market based solutions that ensure decisions are made by patients and their doctors.”

During an event at the Cecil County Patriots Candidate Forum in February 2010, Harris claimed “there is no constitutionality mandated role for the federal government in health care,” and criticized Medicare and Medicaid. Turning his attention to the health care reform legislation then moving through Congress, he described the public option as “a terrible idea,” adding, “you can’t have government-run health care, it’s just not right.” In July of 2009, Harris also appeared on Fox Business and warned viewers that if health reform passes, “we’ll look like Canada and England.” “Americans are not going to tolerate a bureaucrat making a decision for their families medicare care,” he said.
And yes, he was railing against "government-run healthcare," which he's now embracing.  But that's because he's assuming, correctly, that Congressmen healthcare is great and doesn't let government bureaucrats get between patients and doctors.  And the reason he was against "Obamacare" is because he somehow imagines it does.

And so the problem here isn't that he doesn't want people to have healthcare, because he obviously does.  The problem is that he's too ignorant to even know what it is that he's attacking.  He's been told that government bureaucrats will be making medical decisions for us and he's simply repeating what he's been told.  And while I'm sure he feels like a complete idiot at this point for having bitched about not getting his government healthcare soon enough, it's quite unlikely he'll understand why.  He knows that he wants good healthcare for everyone, he just doesn't know that Obama is getting it for us.

My only hope in all this is that when Republicans finally turn to look at the healthcare law to see which parts they want to repeal, they'll finally see what it is and quit attacking it.  Hell, if they just focus all their energies looking to repeal the part where government bureaucrats make medical decisions, maybe they'll never have time for anything else.  We can only hope.

It's the Ignorance, Stupid

Carpetbagger's got a post about how an incoming Republican Congressman who opposed "Obamacare" is upset that he has to wait 28-days before his taxpayer-subsidized healthcare kicks in, and suggests that it's wrong that this dude wants his taxpayer-funded healthcare while opposing it for everyone else.  And the vast majority of comments on that post insist that this guy is a hypocrite with an "I've got mine, screw everyone else" attitude.

But there's a much better explanation for this: He geniunely thinks "Obamacare" is a bad law that will vastly increase the deficit and destroy healthcare.  It's not that he wants some great healthcare that he's denying to others.  He imagines that the healthcare law is far worse than the status quo because that's what he's been told by people he trusts.  And if the people he's been listening to were correct, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with him wanting good healthcare while trying to save America from horrible healthcare.

And this is a part of the debate that too many liberals/progressives are completely missing.  They keep attacking Republicans for wanting to deny healthcare to people, while Republicans truly believe that they're doing the right thing.  And so we're talking right passed each other; with both sides insisting that we're trying to protect Americans.

Compounding the Ignorance

And of course, the worst problem we've had is that the progressives who shout the loudest in attacking hypocrites and liars have spent the vast majority of their energies attacking Obama for being a lying hypocrite.  And rather than exposing the "Obamacare" lies for what they are, they essentially joined ranks with Republicans in trying to kill it.  And even now, neither of these groups really knows what the bill will do because they're both so positive that it's worse than nothing. 

And for us, the focus shouldn't be on us pushing our POV, but rather, finding out what the other side is saying and addressing those issues.  Calling this guy a hypocrite might feel good, but that's not the problem here.  His problem is that he's listening to the wrong people.  And if our only solution is to personally attack him for something he's too ignorant to be right about, then all we'll do is push him further away and allow him to remain in his ignorance.

Not that I've got some great solution for this, as it's unlikely he'll ever bother to listen to the truth about this at this point.  But pushing him further away with personal insults can't serve any purpose, unless our main purpose is to be self-righteous and insult our opponents.  Unfortunately, I'm positive there are too many people on our side with that exact attitude.  Winning's nice, but attacking opponents is better.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

We, the Messengers

Here's a comment I made at Washington Monthly in reply to someone suggesting that Obama and the Democrats needed to do a better job getting the message out. 

I've got to disagree with the idea that Obama is to blame for not getting the message out. That was our job. Obama didn't win in 2008 because he was such a great messenger. He won because WE were such good messengers.

But unfortunately, some of our best players decided to sideline themselves for two straight years in order to make a point. And instead of helping Obama spread our message, they attacked him for not doing enough. That was a big difference between 2008 and 2010. Obama lost the diehards, and that was a big part of the message machine.

And at this point, everyone is saying that they were right the whole time. Republicans will insist that we lost because Obama was too liberal. Progressives will insist we lost because Obama wasn't bold enough. Obama supporters will insist we lost because progressives didn't help us get the message out. And basically, everyone's going to keep saying the same shit they've been saying for the last two years. Which is more or less the same shit they said ten years ago. Just like I'm doing now. It doesn't matter who wins or loses. We all think we were right all along.

And that's the stupid thing about all the "messages" we were supposedly sending to Obama and Congress by not supporting them: People will only hear the message they want to hear. Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008 made Republicans want to be more rightwing, while Republican victories will make centrist Dems want to be more rightwing. And now Obama's got to work with an even more aggressive Congress, including a House that can impeach him; making it FAR less likely he'll govern the way liberals would like. Brilliant strategy, guys. It's like trying to run a marathon by punching yourself in the face. You might not win, but you'll get really hurt in the process.

The reality is that sending messages doesn't work. Just vote for the Democrat and hope for the best. No matter how shitty the Democrat is, they're still better than what the Republicans are about to do. Sad, but true.

And most importantly: Voting is one of the LEAST effective means of exercising your political power. If we want better Democrats, we need to start right now. Tonight wasn't as bad as it could have been, and I think that things are well positioned for us to kick mucho ass in two years. But the time to start is now. Power to the people.