Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kill the Bill and What Do You Get....

Nothing. You get to keep the status quo.

I've been staying out of the intercine lefty blogwar but I've finally had enough of this misguided campaign. While I think that Dave Weigel is giving FDL too much credit for the announcement today that another incumbent Dem, Shadegg Vic Snyder of AK, is retiring, their stupid push polls and Kill the Bill campaign are not helping the progressive cause as far as I can tell. If anything, it's moving the Overton window to the right. Shadegg was a moderate who often voted progressively. How does pushing him out move the window to the left?

The fact is the health care bill is ridiculously complicated and nobody really knows what it will do once it's enacted. What we do know for sure is the price of allowing the status quo to remain unchallenged. We're living with the empirical evidence of that. And I can't fail to recall how many times FDL and the other kill the bill people mocked the Democrats for not knowing how to play the game. I'd suggest they check the rule book themselves. It's not easy to get over 500 politicians to agree on a big measure and compromises have to be made in order to make any progress. Any change is better than no change at all. Even if it's for the worse -- which is not at all clear -- it's movement and if the bill fails to improve the situation, at least we'll know what doesn't work.

Down with Tyranny has a much better approach. They've been critical of the bill and of Obama and managed to do it without throwing in their lot with Grover Norquist or adopting right wing framing that only helps the GOP. DWT links to a really good piece that reminds us how the game works. Nobody gets everything they want. And for crying out loud, change we can believe in was a slogan, not a promise to demolish the broken system we've had for decades and completely rebuild it to progressive specs in under a year.

And I'm sorry. Much as I like Jane and respect her work in the past this all smacks too much of putting personal advancement above advancing the cause. One can't fail to remember when FDL joined in roundly deriding Democrats for appearing on Fox and legitimizing the GOP outlet. Now we see Jane appearing on Fox, smiling sweetly at those bobbleheads she villified only months ago and complaining when they don't credit her site for doing their oppo work. And who doesn't know that in today's media environment, that the surest way to get attention, big media links and teevee time is to speak against the President and the Democratic agenda?

Further, Jane has survived three operations for breast cancer, so I assume she has insurance coverage that she feels secure in keeping. I suspect most of the Kill the Bill people do as well. I'd remind them that for the millions of people who can't afford to buy coverage, or can't get coverage at all under the current system, this quixotic quest for progressive purity looks not only self-serving, but a little selfish. If they succeed in killing the bill, they also condemn thousands of Americans to an untimely death from lack of health care. Last I looked, that's not a progressive value.

Tactics matter. Holding their feet to the fire is good, but burning down the house to do it just doesn't help anyone -- except the teabaggers and the Republicans.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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6 Comments:

Blogger Southern Beale said...

Last I checked Shaddegg was a Republican from Arizona ...

5:33:00 PM  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks for associating DWT with your astute analysis.

6:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Radlein said...

Southern Beale is right; Shadegg is an Arizona Republican who is retiring. You're confusing him with Wossname (Clyde?) from Arkansas 02, who just announced his retirement after FDL polled his district.

For what it's worth, I think that the timing was coincidental (he's been behind for a while), and that FDL's poll was more misguided and badly-designed than actively malicious.

8:10:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

You're right. I meant to say Snyder. Thanks for catching the mistake.

I don't think FDL is being wilfully malicious or even necessarily deliberately self-serving. Just that it comes off that way. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the easiest way to get big media attention is to speak as a liberal who is disenchanted with Obama. And they're attacking the man, instead of the policies. Feels like a page from the GOP play book to me. And I'm not the only one.

They have valid concerns about the bill. The bill sucks in many ways but I don't think anyone can really say definitively what effect it will have overall. Everybody is guessing, even the experts. I'm just finding their tactics objectionable and counterproductive for long range progressive goals.

Not seeing the logic of spending all this time and money attacking Obama personally, and I don't get their hit list of Congress lizards either. Why is Snyder on it except that he voted for a bill that isn't perfect?

It seems to me it would be more useful to be finding and electing progressive candidates who will fight and vote for more progressive policies rather than tear down pols who are at least nominally on our side with nobody to replace them. Especially pols that are likely to be replaced by GOPers in an election. YMMV.

9:31:00 AM  
Blogger danps said...

Hi Libby. Thanks for this contribution to the debate; or what it's worth I briefly weighed in on it yesterday.

To the extent that FDL writers are accusing others of bad faith or adopting tactics (like going on Fox) that they once criticized, I think you're completely right.

Still, I'm slightly sympathetic to the strange bedfellows "outsider vs. establishment" dynamic that has her pairing with Norquist. D's in Washington are far too comfortable with private/public "partnerships" that amount to wasting huge sums of money getting some company to poorly do the things that properly belong to the state. Whether it's a bailout for the insurance industry in this case, or privatized prisons, or mercenaries abroad, it's a really troubling development. If a temporary partnership with an antigovernment zealot helps to erode that I think it could be useful.

To the extent they are arguing (as Marcy does brilliantly again today) that the proposed reform package may well end up transferring family incomes to wildly profitable conglomerates but not provide substantial, useful, affordable medical care in exchange they are performing a valuable service. There's a real chance it will end up being terrible policy that financially cripples families already living too close to the edge.

The ultimate measure of the bill is whether it improves the quality of life for people. In at least some cases the folks at FDL are demanding details, and I say good on them for it.

12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think we're all after the same goals Dan. The debate seems to be over tactics and hard as try, I just don't get the logic of adopting the GOP playbook and handing seats to them. Didn't we kind of try that already in 04?

11:24:00 AM  

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