Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In case you missed it

In case you missed it, I think Luke Mitchell's essay awhile back in Harper's on healthcare reform, "Understanding Obamacare", is a good explication of what just happened in front of our eyes.

In conjunction with Mitchell's essay, I find the anger on the Left at Jane Hamsher for pointing out how badly the current version of healthcare reform sucks sadly familiar. And I expect in a few years the Hamsherites will be resented even more by many Dems in the blogosphere for being right.

My only quibble with Mitchell's piece is that he sees the Democratic Party as usurping the Republican Party's role of actively representing corporations. Which it has. But my guess is that the current link of extruded sausage will be so unpalatable when served to the American working class that the Democratic Party will be left holding the bag and will suffer the consequences.

When this happens, the Dems doing the work of the corporations (see: Bill Clinton, GATT, NAFTA, etc.), you get people searching for alternatives, like teabagging, death-paneling, or Contract-With-America-ing hoaxes, which get enough resonance from reactionary media outlets to put Republicans back into power.

Not that Republicans (or Democrats) are so much in power as much as in a position to serve their corporate owners. Not that all Democrats are exactly equal to all Republicans. I find the Republican brand particularly loathsome and its mythology much too close to the mid-20th Century fascist movements. Those few Democrats on the left (you know, showing some concern to the great unwashed and uninsured), unfortunately, will get tarred for going along with Obama and will get eliminated in future elections, leaving the Ben Nelsons and Max Baucuses, thoroughly protected by corporate money, to march into the future with the Democratic brand name.

So in the name of healthcare reform the Democrats will pass a health insurance bill for insurance companies, get the blame for the predictable consequences, and the Republican obstructionism will be rewarded with yet another Reich.

So it goes.

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At December 22, 2009 12:05 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

It seems to me that if you believe in the lesser of two evil theory that one should vote for the republican party. I wouldn't vote for them but I don't believe in the lesser of two evils. The only moral thing to do is not support either party. My own view is the democrats do far more damage than the republicans do.

At December 22, 2009 12:18 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

The main problem with the type and depth of analysis used by Luke Mitchell is the deep partisanship that doesn't get questioned.

Bob, I don't understand your visceral disapproval of Republicans. It seems to me what you don't like is a caricature Republican whom you can dress up with all sorts of foul deeds and evil thoughts.

Are you trying to "even the score" on when people like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter rain hellfire on "liberals"? Something else at work here?

It ought to be quite plain to anyone observing the developments in American government and business since Vietnam -- the Democrats are as evil-minded as the Republicans, they just have a more humane rhetoric and a more superficially tolerant support base.

I see the whole thing as a massive distraction. In fact, Bob, I'd say that someone who is a GOP registered voter who has been without work or health coverage has more in common with "leftist" people who want socialized health care than he does with a NeoCon like Dubya Bush. But it sounds like you'd readily turn him away because of his stated GOP affiliation.

That's something that I don't understand, really.

At December 22, 2009 2:43 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

First, the name is Rob. Second didn't I just say the democrats do more damage? Third, you are putting words in my mouth, again.

At December 22, 2009 2:49 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Rob, I was talking to Bob!

At December 22, 2009 3:14 PM, Blogger rob payne said...



At December 22, 2009 3:14 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


At December 22, 2009 4:59 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

That's why Bob specifies he's in Pacifica, even if he's occasionally elsewhere.(OK, so that isn't true, he called himself that before DH even existed, but it sounds good...)

As far as which party is worse, I see this as a mostly irrelevant question. From my vantage point it seems that they do what they do primarily in reaction to one another, and the democrats without the republicans, as well as the republicans, would be very different animals.

Call it "good cop, bad cop", or maybe "corrupt cop, other corrupt cop"(possibly more apt, but alas, less catchy).

I've never read Walter Karp's Indispensable Enemies, but I gather he has a somewhat similar theme. It's one of those books I mean to read in 2010, along with Bob's fave, Deep Politics.

At December 22, 2009 5:07 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Excuse me. Directly above I meant to write:

"...the democrats without the republicans, as well as the republicans without the democrats, would be very different animals."

One of the problems with what's happening right now is the democrats are sort of running on the fumes of the New Deal and the Great Society to buy them "progressive cred", while in their actual actions they repudiate the principles of a social safety net and a welfare state.

And likewise, the supposed limited government republicans ran up the debt under dubya to it's currently perilous level.

At December 22, 2009 5:31 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan, I think it would be a mistake to consider Bush/Cheney, Bush/Quayle, or Reagan/Bush to be "limited government Republicans." All 3 administrations were keen on using expansion of government (in its various guises, i.e. regulator, dispenser of justice, keeper of order) to enrich their friends.

Small government Republicans have never held power in my lifetime. During my adult life, Barry Goldwater and John Chafee are the historic exemplars of the small gov Repub wing, and Ron Paul is the example today. They are as small a subset of the overall Republican Party as the communists are in the Democratic Party.

In absence of its opposite, each of the Republican and Democratic Parties would be precisely what it is today. The only thing to change would be the rhetoric, as it is only the rhetoric that distinguishes them now. They have not evolved as they have because of each other. They have evolved independently, with identical goals -- domination of federal government.

The boys at SMBIVA have assessed the relation between Dem and Repub quite accurately. See it here:


At December 22, 2009 6:08 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Unfortunately, Janet's just jumped on the nationalized healthcare now bandwagon after berating those who weren't for the public option: http://vastleft.blogspot.com/search?q=firedog+lake

At December 22, 2009 7:24 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I agree the partisan thing is a waste of time but I’m not sure that these guys would be all that different if you had one without the other. National leaders are typically and drearily the same after all. The partisan thing I see as a way to keep the populace split and unorganized, basically a movie for television. You’re right about them reacting to one another and obviously they compete with each other in their scrabble to the top but in the end with a few notable exceptions they are pretty much the same. Right now the neocons are gaga over Obama after his war hoop speeches and this is because when it comes to foreign policy more than anything else most leaders are in complete agreement. As someone said there isn’t that much difference between liberals and conservatives.

Neither party has ever delivered what they promise. The republicans have never given us small government and the democrats never really deliver on supposedly socialist programs the medical insurance scam being a great example. Here the democrats have effectively destroyed any hope of real reform for years to come and have delivered us to the wolves, the insurance companies. Both parties are a complete fraud.

At December 22, 2009 8:56 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

"Jonathan, I think it would be a mistake to consider Bush/Cheney, Bush/Quayle, or Reagan/Bush to be "limited government Republicans."

CFO, to clarify: that's why I called them

"the supposed limited government republicans..."

At December 22, 2009 9:08 PM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Jonathan -- OOPS. I must've been reading too fast. you're right of course.

At December 22, 2009 11:56 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I was under the impression that Jane Hamsher was always against the mainstream plan. Thanks for the link.


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