Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where Has Our Change Leader Gone To?

Some of our best bloggers have essays that detail exactly what is happening to our hope of health care finance reform (nothing good) and say exactly what I think (which is that it is failing bigtime). Please read the following essays for the truth that the mainstream media is denying us.

And then send them to everyone you know.

Distributor Cap NY

Here is the obvious - the Health Care Reform debate has gotten away from President Obama. It is as if he opened Pandora's box, but instead of only the ills of the world's escaping - he let the lunatics out of their padded cells and completely take over the asylum.

I don't know if it was hubris, arrogance, laziness or just plain ignorance that allowed Obama - who proved during the campaign that he understood clarity of message and control of the data flow better than any politician in a generation - to let one of the most crucial piece of his platform fall into such disarray.

The mistakes have been so numerous and so damaging (egged along by a media that enjoyed watching this twist in the wind), I don't think it can be rescusitated into anything other than a Pyrrhic victory - a victory his team can celebrate and the rest of the country will eventually end up regretting.So Mr. Obama, my ideas - I think it might be too late - but you might want to consider. Remember this is a country that buys bottled tap water.

David Michael Green at the Regressive Antidote

He should have named enemies, right from the beginning. He should have warned Americans about what these people would do in the ensuing weeks and months. And he should have called them out on it, angrily and by name, when they in fact did it. When they started lying and frightening senior citizens in order to protect their legalized scams from reform, he should have slugged them so hard they were knocked on their fat corporate asses, never to rise again. He should’ve called them greedy, selfish, treasonous traitors who are willing to lie and steal to further enrich their bloated selves, while tens of thousands of Americans die every year from lack of medical care.

Above all, what Obama should have done was shown some passion. The unflappable conciliatory professor act has got to go. Here’s a newsflash (evidently) for the Obama White House: If the president has any desire to sell his policies, he’s got to sell his policies. If he wants to lead, he has to lead. And if he wants our support, he’s got to tell us why this is important. With juice. Mr. Folksy isn’t getting it – not by a long shot.

. . . So I have to ask: Hey, Barack. How’s this working out for you? In eight months time you’ve squandered a massive and historic opportunity. You’ve resuscitated a murderously evil political party that, with a little shove in the right direction, might instead have been buried dead forever. You’ve let just about anybody say just about anything regarding you and your policies, without consequence. People are running around claiming that you’re gonna kill grannies, and millions believe them. You’re being pilloried for the bogus failures of the British healthcare system, and your mealy-mouthed-room-temperature-yesterday’s-leftover-oatmeal proposal – such that you even have one – doesn’t even bear the slightest resemblance to the NHS.

Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar

Angry conservatives are fighting against their own interests, they’re unappeasable, and dishonest politicians are fanning the flames. Yet national Democrats seem terribly shocked by this, as does the media - who then give angry conservatives the microphone. The more liberal perspectives are often lost in the shuffle, of course. We've seen this basic story before, although this time it does seem uglier and more dangerous.

I'm curious as to the exact breakdown – how many of the eager mob are birthers? How many believe in death panels? How about internment camps? Where do they draw the line? How many of them supported Bush to the bitter end? How many would score high for authoritarian traits? I would guess there's significant overlap, but the particulars might be interesting. Is there a guy out there somewhere who's saying, "Whoa, of course Iraq had WMD and Obama's a Muslim born in Kenya, but death panels? That's just crazy!"

During the Bush presidency, some conservatives eventually acknowledged he was a disaster and jumped ship. Others, when pressed, would admit he was horrible, but they remained convinced that those damn Democrats would do far worse. Some conservatives, when pushed, will even admit that Rush Limbaugh exaggerates and sometimes outright lies (Al Franken used to have his childhood friend and dittohead Mark on the radio and present him with Limbaugh's latest BS). On the other hand, some conservatives think Stephen Colbert is a conservative. And authoritarians will often defend directly opposing beliefs, or insist on a belief in the face of strong contradictory evidence, even when a simpler explanation is available (see Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians, especially pp.120-121). At least one study found that when conservatives were presented evidence suggesting one of their beliefs was wrong, it actually reinforced their convictions. (Perhaps it's just that social dynamics – the "oh yeah?" reaction – is stronger than empiricism, but conservatives apparently have a stronger affinity for that.)

Social conservatives often put a premium on what they view as the natural social order. Get the right kind of people with the right "values" in charge, and all shall be well (or at least better than it will be otherwise). Authoritarians tend to define right and wrong mainly based on group identity – torture is right when we do it, wrong when done to us, and so on. Re-read Ron Suskind's classic article on "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush" and you'll see similar dynamics. That approach does make decisions much easier, and absolute certainty is comforting in a way the "reality-based community" may not be.

Dave Dubya at his Freedom Rants

Maybe you saw the woman holding her Bible up in the air and chanting “This is the only truth.” She was one of a group of conservatives following instructions to disrupt Democratic representatives meeting with constituents. Perhaps she was inspired by Republican lobbyist Dick Armey’s Freedom Works’ guide "Rocking the Town Halls-Best Practices."

Maybe she was following Conservatives for Patients' Rights. It's a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization that's run by a former hospital executive and generally slippery greedy fellow named Rick Scott. Or maybe she was taking her cue from Americans for Prosperity. They’re listed on the page under the name of their own subsidiary, Patients First. The national chairman of Americans for Prosperity is the 19th richest man in the world. A man named David Koch.

These are organizing forces behind the Right Wing offensive against the free speech and democracy being attempted at these meetings. The Republican Party tells us, "What Democrats call mob rule, the average American calls democracy. These kinds of despicable characterizations of middle-class Americans smacks of elitism."

So let’s get this straight. The 19th richest man and his fellow Republicans are in no way promoting anything resembling elitist interests.

Right. And Hitler’s Brown Shirts were promoting democracy by doing the exact same thing. The Brown Shirts were charged with disrupting political opponents’ meetings.

Driftglass was way out in front of the mob and has the best graphics you've ever seen that define into infinity our current state of insanity. (I swear I'm not overspeaking.)

These guys are the best.

Read on!

Suzan ________________________


Stella by Starlight said...

One of the most informative, and depressingly honest, posts I've read. Suzan, I'm actually speechless. Distributorcap's comment, The mistakes have been so numerous and so damaging ...I don't think it can be resuscitated into anything other than a Pyrrhic victory" is eloquent. I need to link to driftglass' images. "I love Blue Cross?" Uh, OK.

I hate to write Obama destroyed his opportunity. I tried to be positive, initially giving him every opportunity to prove himself after the previous eight year debacle.. Even my Congressman Henry Waxman capitulated to big pharma and multinational corporations.

I was raised on politics from the time I was a child. I don't recall a time when American civics confused me so much. As a Californian, I can at least campaign and hope that AG Jerry Brown and Senator Boxer are elected in 2010.

Thanks, for stopping by, Suzan. You always make excellent points with such brevity—a style I could never adopt but greatly admire.

driftglass said...

I second Stella; this is a terrific if sobering assay of our current condition. And your words of encouragement are always read with appreciation.

Suzan said...


Wow Wow Wow, guys!


I love your blogs! And I learn something there everyday.

Stella, you picked out my favorite line, girlfriend! What more succinct a statement about this failure could exist than that?

I don't think it can be resuscitated into anything other than a Pyrrhic victory" is eloquent.


Your images . . . strike me dumb.


How's that for brevity?

nunya said...

Damn, I left comments on blogs, but never clearly blogged about knowing
A) What Obama was up against.

B) Whether who he was making a show of being against had already vetted him, so campaign promises to the people would not be kept.

Suzan said...

I know how you feel, nunya.

Join the club.

Of the disenchanted struggling for a positive way forward.

Trying to figure out whom to trust.

I was warned about Obama early on (prolly because of his Chicago connectedness and his wealthy backers) but had already decided that Hillary was just another Bush waiting to happen with her "no regrets" for her war vote and bellicose sword rattling about Iran.



I wish Dennis Kucinich would don his superman cape soon. I know he must looking for that magic phone booth.