Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another, way more telling town hall interview

quoth Krugman:

What I think is going on here, at least partly, is that the peddlers of anti-progressive lies are managing to convince a certain kind of American — white, socially conservative, etc. — that the hate-mongers are people like them; and, even more important, that progressives are Those People, people not like them.

Obama’s skin color makes this easy; but the Clintons faced the same kind of thing. Why? Well, the old line about Clinton being the first black president gets at something: even if Bill Clinton had a regular skin and name, he was obviously comfortable with people who didn’t, which made him one of Them.

And anti-intellectualism is also part of it.

In any case, it’s scary: you’ve got a good segment of the American population that is completely impervious to any kind of evidence, any rational argument. I mean, who collects statistics? People in black helicopters!


Anonymous said...

watching the real-time political education of every willful dunderhead in the country is the apotheosis of reality television.

next up, Katie Abram's American history teachers will commit ritual suicide during the NBC Nightly News while Tim Gunn leads a panel critiquing their holiday-themed sweaters.

evil r + b said...

Have opponents of health reform come up with any rational arguments based on substantive examination of the real policies in question? Not that I've seen. Maybe one of you playas can hook me up.

gabbagabbahey said...

end of another op-ed piece on the subject by Krugman:

"Many people hoped that last year’s election would mark the end of the “angry white voter” era in America. Indeed, voters who can be swayed by appeals to cultural and racial fear are a declining share of the electorate.

But right now Mr. Obama’s backers seem to lack all conviction, perhaps because the prosaic reality of his administration isn’t living up to their dreams of transformation. Meanwhile, the angry right is filled with a passionate intensity.

And if Mr. Obama can’t recapture some of the passion of 2008, can’t inspire his supporters to stand up and be heard, health care reform may well fail."

that's pretty close to the way I see it from outside. of course, I also know from living in a country with a combination of nationalised and privatised healthcare that it's a really complex political issue. e.g., a lot of our pharmacies were on strike for the last two weeks - protesting against cuts in government fees.

also, lex, do you know anything about the apparent 45 Republican members of congress who opposed Obama awarding a Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (and general liberal/progressive hero in Ireland)?

not that I begrudge their right to object, but the grounds - anti-semitism - were very tenuous and AIPAC-driven.

dave3544 said...


I know that my own tepid support of the "Obama" health care program stems from the fact that it is not really much of a program at all. Especially if the conservatives manage to strip out the public option, which going by Congressional history since 1994, they will.

In all likelihood, we will end up with a bill that will require every person in America to have health insurance purchased through a private company. There will be gov't subsidies for those who don't have employer-provided insurance. The subsidy will be paid for with a tax on the health care benefits of people who receive insurance through their employer - this tax is essentially the same as a flat income tax. Corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonalds will still be allowed to put their employees on the public dole through a variety of loopholes. In exchange, the health insurance companies agree not to refuse to cover people and to lower some administrative overhead expenses.

There is not a lot here to get excited about. At least not enough that is driving me into the streets in support, just to watch. I will be happy everyone has health care, but the system will essentially remain broken with ever-higher spiraling costs. The Democrats will receive the blame for this. Joy.

gabbagabbahey said...

half a loaf, better than no loaf... ?

nationalised/socialised healthcare also has to deal with spiralling costs, hence that pharmacist's dispute I referenced. but yeah, the complete absence of a public option would be a pretty bad defeat. but surely some government reform to prevent people being refused cover would also be a real, if small, achievement?

I can see how that would be poor result for the Obama dream, but if the alternative is to lose a lot of political capital on failing to achieve any reform and allowing the right to win on their refusal to accept anything socialised, the long-term consequences will be worse?

I don't know, he's your president, but it seems like in the grand view this is something that needs - whatever about 'worth' - to be fought for.

Jen said...

This interview is very interesting when viewed not only in terms of content and facts (or lack thereof) about healthcare reform, but from gender and class perspective.

lex dexter said...

Jenny, yep. She doesn't have much to say about healthcare, but she has 1million things to say about other things.