The Left Misunderstands Again

17 Aug

Why are the majority of Americans upset about our current bout of healthcare reform? That is the fundamental question no one on the Left can answer. Let me try to help.

But first, let me separate the question of 1) why is healthcare FAILing in the Congress, and 2) why are people upset. In a representative democracy, the answers to those questions should probably be the same. Not so this time.

The Democratic Congress and Democratic President are FAILing at passing their signature reform, dreamt of for decades, for a variety of reasons. Incompetency at key Congressional positions (most especially Reid and Pelosi). An inability to enforce party discipline (Blue Dogs). A President more concerned with the ideas than the implementation. And a variety of Dems on the take from the health insurance industry.

Note that the Republican Party is not on this list. With 40 votes in the Senate and 178 votes in the House, the R’s have nothing to do with what comes out of Congress. No party has had this much control of the House, Senate and Presidency in 30 years – if the Dems were competent, they could pass anything they wanted.  This doesn’t make me happy, but that doesn’t stop it from being the truth.

These ideas have been parsed to death, and as the Horse Race is all that is covered on the cable news, this is all you hear about.

My second question, why people are upset, has been glazed over and demagogued. Most seem to think it has something to do with Obama being Hitler. Or death panels. Or evil lobbying firms creating Astroturf. Or Eugenics (how many people spouting on this, on either side, even know what Eugenics is?). Or ignorance. Or that rich white people hate poor minorities and don’t want them to have health coverage.

The last two fit well with the Left Storyline. It allows them to both judge stupid Americans, and still know what’s best for them. Obama as Hitler sticks around because of its tastelessness and inaccuracy, despite the fact that a leading supplier of Obama posters is actually leftist Lyndon LaRouche (oops – BlameFAIL).

LaRouche Poster

Buffalo Pundit asked two very good questions last week:

First,

During its tenure, the Bush Administration ran roughshod over civil rights, wiretapping phone calls without a warrant, detaining people without charge, violated the Geneva Conventions repeatedly, he and Cheney systematically grew the power of the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency at the expense of the other two, constitutionally co-equal branches of government.  The power of the state was used repeatedly to trample constitutional rights in the name of national security.  Here’s a handy list of ways in which constitutional rights were eroded during Bush’s tenure. And yet, astonishingly, there were no tea parties.  No indignant people screaming to drown out Republicans at town hall meetings. . . There were no teaparties over the Bush Administration’s genuine infringement on constitutional liberties. Not. One.

Or, to put it another way, why do people hate healthcare when we’re trying to help them, but not lots of other things that are far worse?

Secondly,

My only hope is that the silent, centrist majority of Americans are quietly watching all this and are appalled by it. 

Ok, that’s not really a question. But it should have been. Are the silent, centrist majorities quietly watching and appalled? If the Left could answer this, we’d have an American public clamoring for a healthcare bill.

So, again, let me try to answer the fundamental question: why are the silent, unscreaming Americans so upset. The answer has nothing to do with healthcare. The answer is the deficit.

Guffaw, you say. Wonks worry about the deficit, not ordinary Americans. But it has grown now to such a point that it has finally entered the public consciousness. A $787B stimulus. A projected deficit from Obama that is equal to the previous 43 Presidents combined. Its finally big enough that the masses are paying attention.

As The Economist recently pointed out, 24% of Americans rate the budget deficit as the number one problem facing the country, and that number has doubled since Obama took over. More telling, while 25% think Obama is spending too much time on healthcare, 40% think he is spending too little on the deficit. That is the appalled silent majority. Appalled by rude, obnoxious, hijacked town halls. Appalled by the massive burden we are passing to our kids for our own “needs” now.

Americans didn’t get loud about Bush’s civil liberty intrusions because, in their minds, it didn’t affect them. Terrorists were the target of those wire taps. Not unreasonably, they thought if they stayed out of a Yemeni training camp, they had nothing to worry about.

But healthcare affects them directly, and so do taxes. Obama thought he could win when he changed the healthcare debate from healthcare to health insurance. Major political blunder. It just got the Left mad he is letting them down (which he is), and allowed the Right to focus on the cost (which is too high for not much).

And the silent majority of Americans may not know the specifics, but they do know the deficit is too high, and their healthcare could be worse.

9 Responses to “The Left Misunderstands Again”

  1. marc August 18, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    Saying Larouche falls on the left of the political spectrum in today’s political climate is a bit of a stretch. He’s so far left, that If politics were a circle, he’d actually pop back up back on the right just ahead of libertarians like Ostrowski and Mike in WNY… 🙂

  2. Brian Castner August 18, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    True – As a perrenial candidate for President with the Dems and US Labor Party, I pick the left. But I do believe that at the very ends, the Left and Right become roughly equivalent!

  3. Colin August 18, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    1. In all my time on the left, I’ve literally never heard anyone say “you know who I like? That Larouche fella!”

    2. There’s a problem with claiming that anti-healthcare anger is simply about the deficit, namely that deficit spending is nothing new, and different kinds of deficit spending yield wildly different reactions. Spending a few trillion to invade and occupy another country, for instance, raises few feathers on the right or among the “silent majority.” The reaction isn’t simply about the cost — it’s about people’s values.

  4. Brian Castner August 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    @ Colin:

    1) I don’t blame you – I wouldn’t say it either. But that doesn’t wish him away.

    2) Its not simply about the deficit, but I think that is a large unspoken portion. Obviously, there are some number of people upset about other things, like fake death panels. But I agree with you that Americans are willing to spend money on some things and not others. Fighting a war after we’ve been attacked: a-okay. $1 Trillion for what? Some half-assed not really extra healthcare coverage? Boo. Sounds right to me.

  5. Ethan August 20, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    But that doesn’t wish him away.

    No, but it also means he’s not of the left. He’s unto himself. Don’t try to tar the left with that brush, it is dishonest at best and a lie at worst.

    Fighting a war after we’ve been attacked: a-okay… Sounds right to me.

    I’m sorry, the 9-11/Iraq link was what? Oh, that’s right: there was none.

    It is telling that our country spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined, but can’t easily contemplate universal health care for its citizens… we’d rather kill people than keep them healthy. Some “Christian nation” we’re turning out to be; I think the historical Jesus would be appalled.

  6. Brian Castner August 20, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    @ Ethan: LaRouche has run for President as part of the Dem Party and US Labor. That makes him yours. You seem quick to jump to the words “lie” and “dishonest”: care to look in a mirror or check your facts?

    And I never said 9/11 and Iraq. We invaded Afghanistan when we were attacked, if you remember correctly. It is also telling that we spend twice as much on Medicare and Social Security ($1.2 Trillion) as we do on National Defense ($600B) Outlaying enough $$$ is not our problem. Spending it smartly is.

  7. Ethan August 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    Brian,

    I have to ask, have you read “Lyndon LaRouche And The New American Fascism?” Or, anything besides, perhaps, his website and or wiki page? How deeply have you acquainted yourself with him, who’s history stretches back to the late ’40’s? Because I went through my LaRouche questioning phase in the late early 1990’s, in college. Actually, he went to my alma mater, Northeastern University, for a semster or so…

    So while he was once part of the then-called “New-Left,” he sits squarely with the racists, anti-Semites and fascists today, and sorry: that’s the right. He’s yours. An you are more than welcome to him.

    I think I said all I need to re. our national penchant for killing other people over helping our own.

    • Brian Castner August 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

      I have read beyond his wiki page and website, but I certainly never had a “phase,” as you did. . . .

      Sooo, the definition of someone on the right is a racist, anti-Semite or fascist? Or is it just that the racists are only on the right, and you have none on the left? If you truly believe that, no wonder its impossible to have a conversation with you.

  8. Ethan August 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    What I’m saying is that his ideology, which includes loads of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and fascism, is one which most everyone agrees is of the right. As long ago as 1985, for example, this WaPo article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/larouche/main.htm) claims his views have shifted from the Left to the Right. Why can’t you just admit it: He’s on the right. We seem to agree that he’s horrible and neither of us endorse the guy… but your holding him up as an example of “the left,” is factually wrong. So give it up.

    Questioning phase,” the words I used in full, means: in-depth assessment of his writings and positions, not endorsement of them. At no time did I consider myself a follower; rather, I’m saying I took the time to really get to know what I was rejecting. Just like the several months I spent in the early 2000s (when I first found Antiwar.com) reading and digesting (and rejecting) libertarian writing. I think you’re willfully mischaracterizing what I write to suit your bias.

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