Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sanjay Gupta, et al

Recently Avedon Carol wrote, in "Another revolting development:"

I gotta agree with Krugman about the appointment of Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General. Anyone who can utter that many conservative lies and talking points about single-payer/"socialized" medicine is, to put it generously, the wrong choice - and looks an awful lot like a signal from Obama that he doesn't give a damn about one of the most vital issues facing us. It's not bad enough that he said before that he doesn't support single-payer, but he clearly hasn't learned anything of value in his long period of running for president. Another "Up yours!" to the people who voted for him thinking he had to be better than this.
This is the thing that always worries me about Obama - he seems very much a part of that subgroup of people in his age group who fell hook, line, and sinker for the "libertarian" excuses to oppose liberalism, because he doesn't know any better. And unlike a lot of other people in that group, he hasn't learned anything from the last eight years. I have a friend who seems convinced that Obama is the Real Deal because he spoke to him back during his Senate race and learned that Obama really doesn't like Bush - but, really, despising Bush is a pretty low threshold. Not many people ever really liked Bush, anyway. What's important is understanding why the policies are bad, and listening to Obama talk about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, I get the feeling he doesn't really know what was wrong with Iraq, either. Same with healthcare.

[emphases mine.-JV]

This was around the time that Rob Payne and I had a brief discussion in comments about whether or not Obama is a smart fellow. I argued that he was, taking the implicit position that
he did know better, i.e., that his hawkish foreign policy related appointments, advocacy of expanding the military and recent wishy-washiness about raising taxes on the wealthy were deliberate choices of easy political choices trumping sound policy. Now I'm thinking I could be wrong and that Rob and Avedon, approaching it from somewhat different angles, could be right.

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At January 12, 2009 9:33 AM, Blogger darrelplant said...

Smart fellow" is different from "not wrong fellow." Bixon was "smart," but he was still wrong. I think you have a better case for "not knowing better."

At January 12, 2009 3:36 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I think Arthur Silber puts it correctly when he said

Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system.

When it came to Obama’s hawkish stance concerning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia etc. I have always believed he meant every word. The two words I never believed from Obama were hope and change except perhaps change for the worst.

Nixon was a smart fellow, he was also crazy and paranoid but he is a good case in point. Smart does not always mean good.


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