Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nothing says Christmas like a blog war

The blog wars over the health reform bill are still raging. Last I heard, Jane Hamsher was on Fox and Friends promoting her kill the bill strategy. Nate Silver and Ezra Klein have been posting rebuttals to the FDL posts pretty much non-stop. And dozens of others have piled on for one side or the other. I admit, that part of my irritation is it all smacks a bit of hit whoring. As someone pointed out on twitter, blogwars are great for traffic.

At this point I just don't care anymore what anybody says. I realized it's pointless to debate the kill the bill people because they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of killing it. If they were that powerful, we wouldn't even be having this conversation, since we would have a Congress full of progressive legislators. And now that my irritation is passing, I'm thinking, to the extent that it might change the narrative a bit, let them rage on. Meanwhile, I do want to flag this ultimate STFU post from Alex Pareene. While I don't agree that anyone should be silenced, he did express my initial frustration really eloquently.

I do, of course, hate this bill so far. Mandating that people give their money to those bloodsucking insurers rankles no end. But context is everything and Bob Cesca delivers that.
I made this point on Twitter yesterday, but it bears repeating. 3x higher costs for senior citizens sounds insane and criminal -- until you present it in the context of the status quo. Without the Senate bill, seniors would be paying 11x more. Additionally, a family of four earning $60,000 will pay around 20 percent of their income to premiums and out of pocket expenses. Insane! Until you put in context of the status quo -- 41 percent of their annual income would go to health insurance without reform.
I guess in the end, that's what annoys me about FDL's hysterical approach. Without this context, all their other valid points are diminished and I think it contributes to the whole "unserious dirty hippie" meme that has plagued progressives forever. Not to mention, it smacks of wingnut blog tactics. Granted they're not making stuff up out of the whole cloth, but errors of omission aren't good either. I think they would have been more successful in moving the narrative if they had taken a more balanced and less strident tone. But what do I know? I'm just a B-list blogger.

Oh and one other point worth mentioning, assuming this passes without any GOP support, which looks likely, it could be the first time a major domestic initiative in the Senate was solely the work of one party, and was unanimously opposed by the opposition party. Not the kind of history being made that bodes well for future legislation. I have a feeling it's going to be another long year.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger Litzz11@yahoo.com said...

Yeah, I hate the bill too, and I hate that the House is basically holding its nose and signing on to the Senate bill, even though we were told everything we hated would be "fixed in reconciliation." And I'm thinking it's pretty unlikely that the other things we want fixed (like the antitrust exemption, let alone a big thing like the public option) will be fixed in the near future.

And that doesn't bode well for a new piece of legislation if this one is scrapped. So I think we need to hold our noses and say fine, this is it. But Democrats, don't try to sell me a crap sandwich and tell me it's egg salad. It's not. Let's just be honest: in the current polarized climate, this was the best we could get. End of story.

And yes, I'm getting very tired of Jane Hamsher trying to throw her weight around. I mean really: Fox News??!!

10:12:00 PM  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

I hate the bill too but I'm holding my nose (actually an octopus doesn't have a nose so lets just say I'm holding the rows of suckers on my tentatcles ... how apt).

Despite everything, go easy on the hamster. As a cancer survivor, one can well understand why she would want to hold out for a more robust bill.

12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

SoBeale it is indeed a crap sandwich and no amount of condiments is going to make it taste good. I don't think anybody even really knows what it's going to do. IOW, same as it ever was. I'm convinced we need to change the process instead of spending quite as much energy trying to influence single bills. What needs to change most is the Senate rules and the freaking Senators who sit in the body.

8pus, I have the greatest empathy for Jane and I understand why this would be an important issue for her, but I think she miscalculated with the Fox appearance. Smacks a bit of hypocrisy when she led a couple of actions demanding the Dems not appear on the station. Frankly I didn't read that much of the whole back and forth, but from what I did read, I think she crossed the line with the personal attacks on people, from our own side, who disagreed with her. And as I said, if she was that powerful, wouldn't we have elected more progressives in the first place? At some point, it starts to look a bit like attention seeking for the sake of attention. Don't think that helps us much.

9:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Larkspur said...

This makes my wee brain hurt.

But in addition to other things we should be doing, we should be punching up, succinctly and vividly, the Republicans' total lack of comity (the word makes me gag now) and bipartisancrapishness, and their ridiculous bleatings about the bill being rushed through on Christmas Eve, and their ratcheted-up post-election churlishness, obstructionism, and the viciousness with which they are attempting to fracture the nation and destroy this administration. Look, they long for the plug to be pulled on Granny so that they can attack us more; fuck Granny, she's cannon fodder for their war.

I certainly don't mean that no one is allowed to criticize Jane Hamsher. Of course we are. It's what we do. But let's not do it instead of training our searchlights and/or torchlights on the enemy and its corporate overlords. We are not wingnuts; we can hold several clashy-type things in our brains at one time.

Hi, Libby. Sorry I'm not around much. My obstreperal lobe keeps exploding like popcorn, then I have to hunker down and wait till I can see again. Ya know?

12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Larkspur. Merry Christmas! So glad to see you. And I so agree we should be fighting the GOPers instead of among ourselves.

And yikes. Don't know what this lobe thing is, but it sounds serious. Hope it gets better soon.

11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

For the "We can fix it later" bunch: Please name one piece of really shitty legislation--SINCE THE PRO-BIDNESS COUP OF 1980--to which the Congress has actually returned, and which was improved thereby, in terms of equity, fairness, or justice. One will do...

2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The Constitution? Alien and Sedition acts of 1798? The Chinese Exclusion act? The Volstead act?

Ok,Ok - you just looked like you had a sense of humor. . .

4:11:00 PM  

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