August 09, 2009


Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Liberalism has been long been trapped by the notion that its virtues are defined by the evils of the political right. In fact, while opposing the right may be a necessity, it's not a policy.

The dangers of MSNBC style liberalism - i.e. behaving like Bill O'Reilly but just flipping the issues - has been well demonstrated during the healthcare debate. By obsessing on things like the conservative protests at Democratic town meetings, there has been little interest in looking at the Democratic health plans and seeing why so many are so easily worried by them.

For example, the Democratic plans don't build on what's working now i.e. lowering the age of Medicare or otherwise expanding its approach.

They are hopelessly complex, an open invitation to political disaster.

They contains a lot of cutesy provisions that may appeal to health industry lobbies but make what's going in the bills seem opaque.

They treat health too much as a budget issue without dealing adequately with people's medical concerns.

They are far too friendly with the health industry and the bills show it.

If the Democrats bomb on healthcare, the primary blame rests with them. The right's opposition was a given from the start. What wasn't a given was that the Democrats would mess things up so badly.

It didn't have to be like this. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 53% of Americans strongly support lowering Medicare to 55. Another 26% support it some what. That's 79% of Americans favorable to a plan the Democrats wouldn't even consider.