creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
David Sirota
David Sirota
31 Oct 2014
Is the Minimum Wage Really a Living Wage?

Under pressure to raise his state's minimum wage, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker confidently declared that there … Read More.

24 Oct 2014
In Legalization Battles, Alcohol Defines the Politics of Marijuana

When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana, the state did not merely break … Read More.

17 Oct 2014
Fracking for the Cure?

Helping find a cure for cancer or "pinkwashing" carcinogenic pollution? That is the question being raised … Read More.

What's the Matter with Democrats?

Comment

Ever since Thomas Frank published his book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Democrats have sought a political strategy to match the GOP's. The health care bill proves they've found one.

Whereas Frank highlighted Republicans' sleight-of-hand success portraying millionaire tax cuts as gifts to the working class, Democrats are now preposterously selling giveaways to insurance and pharmaceutical executives as a middle-class agenda. Same formula, same fat cat beneficiaries, same bleating sheeple herded to the slaughterhouse. The only difference is the Rube Goldberg contraption that Democrats are using to tend the flock.

First, their leaders campaign on pledges to create a government insurer (a "public option") that will compete with private health corporations. Once elected, though, Democrats propose simply subsidizing those corporations, which are (not coincidentally) filling Democratic coffers. Justifying the reversal, Democrats claim the subsidies will at least help some citizens try to afford the private insurance they'll be forced to buy — all while insisting Congress suddenly lacks the votes for a public option.

Despite lawmakers' refusal to hold votes verifying that assertion, liberal groups obediently follow orders to back the bill, their obsequious leaders fearing scorn from Democratic insiders and moneymen. Specifically, MoveOn, unions and "progressive" non-profits threaten retribution against lawmakers who consider voting against the bill because it doesn't include a public option. The threats fly even though these congresspeople would be respecting their previous public-option ultimatums — ultimatums originally supported by many of the same groups now demanding retreat.

Soon it's on to false choices. Democrats tell their base that any bill is better than no bill, even one making things worse, and that if this particular legislation doesn't pass, Republicans will win the upcoming election — as if signing a blank check to insurance and drug companies couldn't seal that fate. They tell everyone else that "realistically" this is the "last chance" for reform, expecting We the Sheeple to forget that those spewing the do-or-die warnings control the legislative calendar and could immediately try again.

Predictably, the fear-mongering prompts left-leaning Establishment pundits to bless the bill, giving Democratic activists concise-yet-mindless conversation-enders for why everyone should shut up and fall in line ("Krugman supports it!").

Such bumper-sticker mottos are then demagogued by Democratic media bobbleheads and their sycophants, who dishonestly imply that the bill's progressive opponents 1) secretly aim to aid the far right and/or 2) actually hope more Americans die for lack of health care. In the process, the legislation's sellouts are lambasted as the exclusive fault of Republicans, not Democrats and their congressional majorities.

Earth sufficiently scorched, President Obama then barnstorms the country, calling the bill a victory for "ordinary working folks" over the same corporations he is privately promising to enrich. The insurance industry, of course, airs token ads to buttress Obama's “victory” charade — at the same time its lobbyists are, according to Politico, celebrating with chants of "we win!"

By design, pro-public-option outfits like Firedoglake and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee end up depicted as voices of the minority, even as they champion an initiative that polls show the majority of voters support. Meanwhile, telling questions hang: If this represents victory over special interests, why is Politico reporting that "drug industry lobbyists have huddled with Democratic staffers" to help pass the bill? How is the legislation a first step to reform, as proponents argue, if it financially and politically strengthens insurance and drug companies opposing true change? And what prevents those companies from continuing to increase prices?

These queries go unaddressed — and often unasked. Why? Because their answers threaten to expose the robbery in progress, circumvent the "What's the Matter with Kansas?" contemplation and raise the most uncomfortable question of all:

What's the matter with Democrats?

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM



Comments

12 Comments | Post Comment
What can you expect from a bunch of people, whose mascot is a jackass?
Comment: #1
Posted by: David Henricks
Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:25 PM
Democratic idols have clay feet. Obama is going hand-in-glove with the bush doctrine. He talked a good
"ball"game" but, when he came to bat, HE STRUCK OUT!!l
Comment: #2
Posted by: John
Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:05 AM
When you use words like "sheeple" and provide no details or citations to support your claims about the bill, it only makes your ideas more awesome.
Comment: #3
Posted by: D'arby Salt
Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:00 AM
I don't have a good answer to your question "What's the Matter with Democrats?" But I do have some thoughts on what's the matter with progressives.
I think there are structural problems within the progressive movement due to a heavy emphasis on top-down mobilization strategies, rather than more democratic, decentralized and authentic grassroots organizing. This has the dual effect of dividing progressives and simultaneously making them ineffective in engaging large numbers of people in a broad-based social movement. More of my thoughts on this are written here: http://democratizeourmovement.blogspot.com/2010/03/progressive-soul-searching-and-way.html
I would be interested in hearing your perspective on this argument, whether you have any thoughts on how to promote democratic local organizing on progressive issues at the federal level, or if you have stories of where this is taking place.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Michael Karpman
Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:28 AM
"Krugman supports it!"
Krugman, like so many Professional Left sheeple, repeats the demonstrably false claims about what the bill will actually do, such as the claim that the bill will end rescission. It does no such thing:
"SEC. 2712. PROHIBITION ON RESCISSIONS.
‘A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not rescind such plan or coverage with respect to an enrollee once the enrollee is covered under such plan or coverage involved, except that this section shall not apply to a covered individual who has performed an act or practice that constitutes fraud or makes an intentional misrepresentation of material fact as prohibited by the terms of the plan or coverage.'
"I don't see how this is any different from the law as it is now.... The way the bill reads now, insurers can still rescind to their hearts' content."
http://open.salon.com/blog/terrim/2009/12/18/does_the_senate_bill_really_ban_rescission
The states will be left to enforce this loophole-ridden provision. So we can expect more of this:
"Only a small fraction of eligible Californians have benefited from agreements that Anthem Blue Cross and other insurers made to settle accusations that they systematically and illegally dropped sick policyholders to avoid paying for their care...."
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/10/local/la-me-rescind10-2010mar10
The Democrats' bill neither strengthens existing regulations, nor provides any mechanism for enforcement. If Democrats were serious about cracking down on rescission, they would have included a provision along the lines of the CA insurance commissioner's recommendation for "insurers' decisions to rescind coverage to be reviewed and approved by an independent panel" -- perhaps within HHS or some other federal agency.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/180222.php
But, of course, since eliminating rescission -- requiring insurers to actually deliver the service they purport to sell (you know, *insurance*) -- would cut into insurers' profits, that was never seriously considered by Democrats.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Jason Guthartz
Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:32 AM
Something I still don't understand: if this bill is so essential to our country, why don't its provisions kick in until 2014?
Comment: #6
Posted by: Jack Davis
Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:18 AM
Please note: Republicans created the choice between health care finance reform for the benefit of insurers or no health care finance reform at all. The former creates an opportunity to improve (why do you think they're screaming and threatening so loudly?). The latter guarantees NOTHING for another generation.

That's right, suckers. Blame the Dems for the Hobson's choice.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Fiona
Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:12 PM
Re: Fiona Voting For the healthcare bill is a vote Against the Constitution. The "opportunity to improve" is a False choice.
Comment: #8
Posted by: David Henricks
Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:33 AM
We cannot afford to continue the status quo. Getting a foot in the door is better having the door slammed in the people's face and proving the Republican's threat of a Waterloo right. The Repubs have to learn they cannot rule by obstruction. The bill is not perfect but the status quo is worse.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Tapia Martinez-Russ
Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:03 AM
WELL I THINK WE HAVE WAY TO MANY POLITICIANS IN THSI COUNTRY. ONCE AREAS NEEDED LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THAT WAS BEFORE RADIO, TV, CELL PHONES AND COMPUTERS. NOW WITH COMMONICATION BEING SO AVAILABLE, WE SHOULD HAVE THE SAME LAWS FOR EVERY STATE WITH A FEW AS NEEDED EXCEPTIONS. ONE U.S. POLICE CHIEG AND EACH STATE HAVING ONE THAT REPORTS TO HIM. ONE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS AND NO GOVENORS, OR STATE POLITIANS.
WE NEED A TAX LIKE PORTUAGUL, 11 PERCENT GETS THEM HEALTH CARE, SCHOOLS THROUGH COLLEGE TO QUALIFIED PEOPLE AND NO HOMES LOST DUE TO JOB LOSS, THE GOVENERMENT HELPS THE CITIZENS KEEP THE HOMES THEY HAVE. WE HAVE SO MANY POLITIANS, OUR TAX MONEY GOES TO SUPPORT DUPLICATE STATE LAWS, BAD DIVORCE LAWS, BAD UNEMPLOYMENT LAWS. WE NEED TO FILTER THE GOOD LAWS FROM THE BAD AND MAKE THEM NATIONWIDE. GET RID OF THE POLITIANS THEN WE CAN HAVE GOOD HEALTH CARE.
Comment: #10
Posted by: BEVERLY ROBINSON
Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:46 PM
I can't believe that this bill is considered improvement at all--requiring people to purchase from these mounstrouse theives? What? No we should all be boycotting the health insurance industry--now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is absurd--all the glee over the passing of this bill that institutionalizes our slavery to these corporations. Geez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????

We are such little punny people.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Danna
Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:31 AM
Re: Fiona It was a False Choice. "Fixing" the insurance companies is not the job of the Federal government (or any government). Health INSURANCE (caps for empasisn not yelling) is a Financial-risk Investment that has nothing to do do with the Healthcare scam foisted on the American people.
Comment: #12
Posted by: David Henricks
Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:00 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
David Sirota
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 3 Nov 2014
Lawrence Kudlow
Lawrence KudlowUpdated 1 Nov 2014
diane dimond
Diane DimondUpdated 1 Nov 2014

20 Apr 2012 Contradiction Where Religion and American Politics Meet

15 Aug 2014 Is Corruption a Constitutional Right?

2 May 2014 We're All Just Grenades In the Partisan Wars