Day: March 22, 2010

Suprisingly, David Frum And Other Analysts Get It!

There is no doubt that there are many Fox News viewers who have morphed into the “Tea Party Movement”.  It appears the GOP embracing that movement may just come back to haunt them, big time.   I have highlighted four political analysts who express their take on the events of the last several months.

David Frum, former speechwriter to President George W. Bush:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. [...]

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat. [...]

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

Paul Krugman: Fear-mongering strikes out:

“Few conservative policy intellectuals, after making a show of thinking hard about the issues, claimed to be disturbed by reform’s fiscal implications (but were strangely unmoved by the clean bill of fiscal health from the Congressional Budget Office) or to want stronger action on costs (even though this reform does more to tackle health care costs than any previous legislation). For the most part, however, opponents of reform didn’t even pretend to engage with the reality either of the existing health care system or of the moderate, centrist plan — very close in outline to the reform Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts — that Democrats were proposing.

Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.”

Robert Kuttner: Defining moment of Obama’s presidency:

“We have just witnessed what could be a turning point in the Obama presidency. In many respects we can thank Scott Brown. For it took the humiliating loss of Ted Kennedy’s senate seat, and the even deeper incipient humiliation of lost health reform, for Obama to be reborn as a fighter. It remains to be seen whether he will match the resolve that he finally summoned on health reform with comparable leadership on all of the other challenges he yet faces.

But even those of us who were lukewarm on this bill should savor the moment and honor Obama’s odyssey. His Saturday speech was simply the greatest of his presidency. It reminded us of the inspirational figure in whom so many of us invested such hopes last summer and fall. If you have been on Jupiter and somehow missed the speech, you owe it to yourself to watch it.”

Paul Raushenbush: Hope restored in America:

“Now that this major victory has been won in Congress today, I realize that what I really had at the start of President Obama’s term was not hope, but optimism — and optimism won’t carry you very far in politics, faith or life. Hope is different than optimism. Optimism assumes that everyone will be happy clappy and go along with the program, and then crumples when they don’t. In contrast, hope inspires endurance, and requires serious work. Optimism is a luxury for those who can afford to lose. Hope is for people for whom there is no alternative but to persevere. It was not optimism that carried the great civil rights movements of the last century, it was hope that made a way when there was no way, and squeezed justice out of the bitter fruit of persecution. Hope is tied to a belief in something greater than oneself (if only the collective wisdom of humanity) that wills this world to be a better place. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote “Hope is the faith that, together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope is an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope. Hope is the knowledge that we can choose; that we can learn from our mistakes and act differently next time. That history is not a trash bag of random coincidences blown open by the wind, but a long slow journey to redemption.”

How GOP Talking Points (Ironically) Helped Pass The HC Bill

 
I changed the title of this post to reflect the historic win that Democrats in the House had last night in passing the Health Care Reform Bill.
The post itself is still relevant, after  passage of the bill.   The post appeared on DU at 4:50 pm 3-21-10.
 
Blogger ihavenobias from Democratic Underground writes:
It’s a double whammy:

1. Misinformed/Heartless dopes across America made headlines ranting about a “government takeover”, “Communism” and “Marxism” nonsense which scared politicians, and some well intentioned low-information voters. It also made the half-loaf solution (public option) seem like a full-loaf solution (single payer). It even drove president Obama to say this: “I have rejected a whole bunch of provisions that the left wanted.”

2. Most of us naturally want to stand up against this fear mongering BS from Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and racist teabaggers across America. Unfortunately in this case, as the right reflexively and uncritically chants “Kill The Bill!” it makes some on the left reflexively and uncritically chant “Pass It!”.

Notice I specifically wrote “some” because I know there are plenty of intelligent, thoughtful people who want to pass this bill.

At any rate, plenty of people who’d normally be much more leery and skeptical about the current bill (if not wanting to kill it because it might make real reform impossible for decades) have been pushed into the “it’s better than nothing” camp by the right wing rhetoric. The other negative side effect is that the GOP BS makes it much easier for some to dismiss, mock and marginalize real and serious objections to this reform effort from strong progressives. Instead of critically viewing their largely valid claims, a lot of people dismiss them as “purists” or “closet right wingers”, because again, technically they want to kill the bill as well, although their motive (and information base) couldn’t be more different.

PS—I spoke with respected healthcare consultant RJ Eskow who ultimately decided we should pass the bill…but he also said that Hamsher’s 18 Points are largely correct, which should make even the strongest pro-bill advocates take pause.