The cognitive dissonance of Tea Partiers on Medicare screaming at the government to get its hands off their health care is well known and all too common. But I don't think it can be pointed out too often.
Whether they simply don't understand the contributions government makes to everyone's daily life, or whether they approve of government helping them but not those other people, it really doesn't make much difference. If what they say they want were implemented, in all its incoherent glory, life for everyone would be much the worse.
In that spirit, I'd like to share Paul Rosenberg's "10-Point Guide to Fighting Socialism In Your Own Life":
Could anything make what happened at Guantanamo any worse? How about if the President, the Vice President, and the Defence Secretary weren't simply incompetent or misled, but knew all along that most of their prisoners were innocent? (via DU):
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.
The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.
An interesting piece by Tom Edsall on the demographics of the Obama coalition sheds some light on both the Tea Party phenomenon and on the frantic fear-mongering by the Republicans.
The combination of persistent, prolonged unemployment, record deficits, the refusal of Republicans to raise taxes, the underfunded Social Security Trust Fund, and a demographic transition moving the nation closer to a non-white voting majority have, together, revived, enlarged, and intensified the battle for limited government resources—pitting those seeking to protect what they have against those seeking more.
The ranks of those who identify with either the "haves" or the "have-nots" are swollen, while the number of those seeing themselves as in the middle, centrally positioned, has declined...
These developments are functioning to aggravate fear among the "haves" that the competition for resources cannot be resolved by traditional means – that is, by economic growth....
You can't even see that the conservatives are winning when you're a supposed progressive and you write things like this from Matt Yglesias about the decades-long health care reform struggle:
I think that to understand what’s wrong with the conservative movement today, you need to think about Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign. In ‘64, the GOP establishment felt that Goldwater was too radical. They said that nominating a hard-rightist like Goldwater would be counterproductive. But conservative activists worked hard, and they did it. Goldwater got the nod. And, just as the establishment predicted, Goldwater got crushed. And just as the established predicted, it proved to be counterproductive. The 1964 landslide led directly to Medicare, Medicaid, Title I education spending, and the "war on poverty." In the 45 years since that fateful campaign, the conservative movement managed to gain total control over the Republican Party and to sporadically govern the country. But it’s only very partially rolled back one aspect of the Johnson administration’s domestic policy.
Frank Rich points out the obvious: the reaction on the right to health care reform is about something other than health care. The firestorm it's provoked has echoes from the past - not so much like the reaction to Social Security and Medicare but to another iconic piece of legislation.
...(T)his "middle-of-the-road" bill, as Obama accurately calls it,...has incited an unglued firestorm of homicidal rhetoric, from "Kill the bill!" to Sarah Palin’s cry for her followers to "reload." At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.
When Social Security and Medicare were passed they provoked strong opposition and accusations of "socialism," but nothing like this. But something else did:
David Frum's forced resignation from the right-wing think tank AEI has let the cat out of the bag. Frum's friend and fellow ex-AEI think-tanker Bruce Bartlett unburdens himself of the secret:
Since, he (Frum) is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI "scholars" on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.
It's a good thing that the Democrats managed to pass a health insurance reform bill. Success brings more success and more popularity, and that might embolden them to craft actual progressive solutions to some the country's many pressing problems. Failure such as was sought from some quarters like FDL would have brought nothing good at all.
They did it for the stimulus bill - demonize it and then take credit for it to their constituents - and now it starts for the health care bill.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) crafted the "death panels" and the "pull the plug on Grandma" memes but those weren't the parts of the health care legislation he was proudly taking credit for today:
In a release sent out by his staff to reporters today, Grassley says the bill will "hold tax-exempt hospitals accountable for the federal tax benefits they receive" thanks to his work...
"The health care legislation signed into law yesterday includes provisions Grassley co-authored to impose standards for the tax exemption of charitable hospitals for the first time," his Finance Committee press staff writes.
Ok, you probably don't even want to hear about it anymore, but Ryan Grim says that in this week's Senate vote on the health care reconciliation package there may be one more chance for the public option.
Republicans are planning to raise a number of points of order on parts of the bill they say can't be passed using reconciliation. If so much as a comma is changed, the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, so Democrats have been instructed by the leadership to vote down every amendment.
Here's where things get trickier:
Uber-wingnut Mark Steyn looks down the long, dark road beyond the passage of health care reform and sees utter doom:
it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage:...the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and...we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer...
If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government...Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time...governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people....there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
There's a very interesting piece on Bart Stupak at rhrealitycheck. As it points out, Stupak has voted reliably with his caucus 96 percent of the time - the departures have been consistently on issues of women's sexual and reproductive health and rights:
He voted for the ban on late abortions in both the Clinton and Bush eras, despite the fact that these votes went against the advice of and evidence conferred by the medical community. He voted for the Global Gag Rule in its many iterations, a policy which research has shown actually results in an increased number of unintended pregnancies and abortions because it prohibits funding of effective family planning programs. He voted against legislation that would have allowed female members of the military to use their own funds for abortion when serving overseas. He voted for an amendment that would prohibit the the FDA from using funds for any abortion-inducing drugs.
A promise to do something in the future in order to get out of having to do it now is not worth much, imo, but here's a new promise from Harry Reid about the public option:
Hoping to assuage progressive Democrats who remain disappointed with the content of the health care reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) committed on Friday to holding a separate vote on a public option in the coming months.
Reid apologized for failing to keep the public option in the current health care reform bill, but in a letter to Sens. Merkley and Sanders promised to bring it to a vote within the next several months.
Chris Bowers over at Open Left is engaged in the laughable exercise of trying to justify the pathetic failure of progressive bargaining in the negotiations over health care:
Why do conservative Democrats hold more sway over the party's policy than progressives? That certain(ly) is a question that...has a wide range of possible, and largely unprovable, answers.
...I think it is fairly safe to venture that one reason for the relatively greater success of conservative Democrats in shaping Democratic legislative policy is that, generally speaking, a Democratic President has a lot more potential leverage over progressive members of Congress from blue states / districts than over conservative Democrats from red states / districts...