Why do some people take actions that go against their own self interests? It happens on the left and the right, a lot of the time it can be put in the hypocrisy column and other times it seems to be caused by some emotional reason that is overriding that person or organizations own goals and beliefs. Some of the folks over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher, Jon Walker, Emptywheel, David Dayan and others, seem to contort their own beliefs to justify their opposition to the health care bill. They are using very similar tactics as Republicans like using trite phrases, narrow interpretations, denial, suppositions that are false, clinging to old talking points that are no longer true, vilifying people and corporations unfairly and using that vilification to help bolster their flimsy reasoning and narrow agenda.
The biggest example of this is watching the “Hamsher Gang” talk as if we live in a socialist country all of a sudden. They talk from a premise that suggests that democrats somehow have 60 very liberal, progressive votes in the Senate. There is major denial going on in their camp about what is possible with the current makeup of the House and Senate. They expect President Obama to dictate to the congress single payer health care or at the least the public option as if all he has to do is say “you must do this now, I am King Obama.” Well, that ain’t how it works folks. I’ve visited FDL on occasion to try and figure out what their thinking is and have found in the comments section mostly right wing people who simply attack the President personally, attribute ideas and thoughts to him much like the tea partiers do, based in suspicion, rumors, hatred for Rahm Emmanuel and the president and basically no engagement on the issues at all. Sure there are some who are liberal or progressive who have chosen one anti corporation mentality that guides everything they think. When you challenge them on any point, they throw out the fact that insurance companies will make money off having more people covered. No acknowledgment that those people covered might actually get health care, they only focus on the potential money the insurance companies might make due to an increase in people covered.
I’m not a fan of big corporations that have gotten away with all sorts of things during the Bush/Cheney and to some extent the Clinton/Gore administrations, but I’m not one who thinks they are inherently evil, they are driven by profit in a capitalistic society…uh, it’s been that way for quite a while in this country. Did these folks just wake up from a lifelong dream of living in a socialist country. Did they just now realize that we are a capitalist country? Our country isn’t going socialist anytime soon, get over it people. I personally wish we were more socialistic, a delicate balance between being profit driven and exacting controls on them that protect the public. This balance was tilted far to the right during the W years and needs to be tilted back very quickly. Regulations need to be enforced, they are there for a reason.
I was challenged at FDL with a series of questions that asked about liberal principles and I answered them as I would, very liberally. I was then asked if Obama were to do the opposite of one of my answers, phrasing it as “throwing me under the bus”, and I realized that they are admitting that they are choosing one principle and holding firm to it. Now that idea isn’t necessarily bad, but when sticking to that principle causes you to lose all sense of perspective, all views of the bigger picture and the overall goal of a progressive movement, then it becomes self serving and really just plain stupid. When people can actually type “oh, the old people will die argument” and poo poo it as if people dying isn’t important. Now that is when I know that sticking to that principal has made them go off the rails.
Whenever I hear anyone say “this is what the American people want”, I immediately discount what they have to say. “The American people” is made up of people of all sorts of different beliefs, liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, socialist, fascist, capitalist, communist…we have a myriad of opinions that can’t be boiled down to one question on a robo-poll. It is never accurate to generalize what America believes or wants because “America” is not monolithic in its thinking. At the health care summit we kept hearing the Republicans repeat that the American people don’t want this bill. This poll from Newsweek (and polls are the problem here) shows that when you explain the details of the plan, they do support it.
When asked about Obama’s plan (without being given any details about what the legislation includes), 49 percent opposed it and 40 percent were in favor. But after hearing key features of the legislation described, 48 percent supported the plan and 43 percent remained opposed.
Either way, it’s not a huge margin and no one should claim what the American people want based on it. If one were honest, they would say something like a “small plurality” of the American people prefer, but even that is really not honest since the margin of error for that particular poll is +/- 3.6 % which means it could be as much as a 7.2 % swing either way. Who knows what the American people want? Morning Joe Scarborough is the worst at using polls to try to beat up politicians and put pressure on them. Just this morning on “Press the Meat” with David Gregory, David had a run of questions that were all laced with “what the American people want” or “going against the will of the American people”…..which American people? All of them? Or just those 200 who answered the poll question you are using to make your gross generalization?
I also have a problem with populist governing, let’s take a poll and then decide how we want to proceed. Let’s take a complex, detailed problem with all sorts of minutia and ask the general public what they think about it. How fucking stupid is that? This phenomenon lays open the opportunity for misinformation campaigns, distortions, lobbyist money, all directed at swaying the public so when they take that slanted poll (see link in the next paragraph), they can get the results they want. It becomes a battle of propaganda, who can con the American people the best.
Polls are becoming weapons, just ask Vic Snyder who decided not to run after getting ambush polled by Janey Hamsher. The tactics used by the supposed progressive Jane Hamsher and her organization is just one example of how methodology by pollsters can have a huge influence on results. So once again, how useful is the information gleaned from polls considering all the ways the numbers can be influenced or interpreted? It’s crap.
Now when it comes to election polls, as you get closer to an election the results start to get more accurate when done by reputable organizations with sound methodology. You always have the partisan polling groups on either extreme, but these serve more to try to sway public opinion using the “bandwagon” effect. They try to swing momentum one way or another by upsetting the ongoing narrative. So I guess polls serve a purpose as we get closer to election day, but really to the extent that they do sway opinion, it isn’t a good thing. Shouldn’t people vote for their candidate based on issues and leadership, not because it’s all the rage.
I just came across this story that says that the Senate democrats will pass health care reform within the next 60 days. They will do it by using budget reconciliation to pass a series of fixes to the bill they passed in November. I’m still skeptical whether it can really happen, given so many loopholes in the rules in congress, but it’s great to hear that they are at least considering doing it. I think the democrats are screwed in 2010 if they don’t pass something. From The Hill…
“We’ll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we’ve already done,” Reid said, affirming that Democrats would use the reconciliation process. “We’re going to have that done in the next 60 days.”
The move would allow Democrats to essentially go it alone on health reform, especially after losing their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate after Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special election victory in Massachusetts.
Of course the Republicans are crying fool play, which just cracks me up. They think it is a “hyperpartisan” move to ram through the bill. Now I guess using a 41% “majority” to stop EVERYTHING including low level appointees….well, that wouldn’t be hyperpartisan, would it? This is the height of hypocrisy. They also are saying that this really makes the bipartisan health care summit moot, and of course what have they been saying since the summit was planned? More hypocrisy for you from the party of No!
Speaking of hypocrisy, Jane Hamsher and her Firedoglake brigade are showing us once again, that hypocrisy isn’t just a conservative thing. These so-called progressives are fighting the president not just on healthcare, but many other things. I read a post from Jane herself where she scoffs at the public option coming back, makes several snarky comments, the usual crap she and her gang trot out. Here is a particularly snarky comment from Janey…
The last of the rationalizations for ditching the public option have been peeled off the pundit apologists, who now stand naked and exposed atop their piles of selectively chosen factoids and statistics. (And therein lies the danger of laundering “tips” fed to you by “anonymous sources” who keep their hands clean while you affix your name — you ultimately have to own it.)
Her posts are always stream of consciousness rants, that often make no sense not just because of the lack of support, but for the confusing wording. But she does throw in her buzzwords periodically as red meat to the brainwashed supporters she has tapped into. I wonder what exactly she means by “selectively chosen factoids and statistics”? Would that be oh, pre-existing conditions, not being able to drop peoples coverage, expansion of child health care, community clinics, children being able to stay on their parents insurance till age 26, subsidies for poor people? Are these the “factoids” she is demeaning? What a complete absence of compassion for those who would benefit from any versions of the bill.
In another segment of her rant, she says this…
But the bottom line is that the health care bill that the White House drafted, the one they pushed through the Senate, the only one they ever wanted, is dead. There is not enough graft and payola in the world to get the Blue Dogs to line up for Martha Coakley duty.
Now, I could go and weed through all her previous bullshit posts and find where she criticized the president for letting the congress write the bill. They railed against Obama for not writing the bill, but now that the congress has made the sausage, she wants to put it all in Obama’s lap. It’s only recently that the White House has tried to pull together all sides in the debate and this is because they didn’t want the repeat of Hillarycare, which was criticized for not including the congress in the process. Remember? So her above statement is pure propoganda, she’s trying to appeal to those teabaggers she has been reaching out to and apparently lying is her best tactic. It’s pretty sad, really. The Martha Coakley comment to me reads like she is dancing on her grave, a democrat. Her gang was part of the chorus trying to spin the loss in Massachusetts as a referendum on Obama, another democrat. Hmmmm, what’s wrong with this picture.