The Credibility Gap


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Mark says:

    Saunders is near the top of the hypocrisy scoring leaders, btw.

    But I think you’re still drawing a false equivalence. Opposition to spending trillions of dollars on a war on Iraq transcended the political spectrum – Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, e.g. And I don’t think anyone would have seen stopping Bush from going to war against Iraq as his “Waterloo.” There were a lot of coherent reasons behind opposition to the war.

    But what are the coherent reasons for maintaining the status quo on health care? Even though it made me ill to listen to their contortions, I listened to Darrell Issa and George Kingston discuss this issue with Bill Maher on Friday. They’ve got nothing, aside from a general fear that rich people may have to be taxed a little bit more. Kingston said he thought a 25-year-old should be able to take the risk of not having insurance (knowing, of course, that the government would pay for him anyways if he got really sick or badly injured.)

    “some people, at least, are legitimately concerned about what their proposal will do”

    Seriously, I look for these legitimate concerns. I can’t find them. The main fear seems to be that private insurance will prove to be so inefficient that it will make the free market look bad. Other concerns seem to be that Obama is a eugenicist, or that the elderly with public health insurance don’t want other people to have it as well.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark says:

      I’ve made what I think are pretty coherent arguments against it: it is going to cost a boatload at a time when we can’t afford a boatload and does absolutely nothing to solve the key underlying problem behind our health care mess.

      As for coherent reasons for maintaining the status quo, the unfortunate fact is that most people are pretty happy with the health care they already have. Although the administration keeps trying to say that its proposal won’t affect existing health care plans, they need to do a better job of explaining this rather than simply dismissing anyone who is worried about this as some sort of an Astroturfed plant. That means, instead of responding by saying such people shouldn’t even be listened to, they should be saying “I understand people are worried about …..”Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mark says:

      It’s not that there aren’t any coherent objections to the reform. It’s that the effort at reform is by comparison such a completely legitimate and appropriate thing for a government to undertake. This is what this party ran on, has always said it would seek to do. There is (or until recently was) a clear consensus that the status quo is not sustainable. There is a reasonable argument to be made that this reform isn’t the right way to address that, but that is being completely drowned out at present by a hysterical reaction that clearly attacks the legitimacy of the effort. By contrast, Iraq War protesters were relatively civil and on-point, while the effort to launch a war well-understood to be not in the national interest on false premises essentially on a true rationale of “war works politically” was among the least legitimate acts of government undertaken in some decades.

      Reform supporters should do more to acknowledge legitimate concerns in the manner Mark (Thompson) prescribes, but when the waters have been so muddied by much-more attention grabbing untruths and distortions, it quickly becomes all they can do to refute the most distracting of those in order even to have a clear forum in which to address legitimate concerns in the first place. To that end, the White House staffer’s unfortunately worded email (to self-selected supporters, it should be stressed) is quite understandable. In order to reach those who have reasonable doubts, it is necessary to clear the waters of the public forum of the utterly misleading misinformation floating about, and it is entirely reasonable for the white House to call on its supporters to help it keep abreast of what ideas are floating about. The call for information about “fishy” town halls protests is more problematic, though still largely understandable in that context. It is of a piece with the “astroturf” objection to the protests, which was grounded in fact but still not particularly relevant to their legitimacy.

      It’s probably true that such an email would have created a greater outcry in the Iraq War debate, but that is more owing to the difference in context between an effort to start a war on false pretenses and an effort to pass domestic legislation through normal democratic processes than to party-specific differences.Report

  2. These lefty fascists like Pelosi would be really quite funny… if WE weren’t the ones they were planning to control.

    Now the DNC is deploying AFL-CIO palookas while at the same time hypocritically dismissing Obamacare opponents as paid shills -even running TV ads to slander them- and delirious SanFranNan is seeing imaginary Swastikas.

    This should make clear to anyone just what these power-drunk elitists think of your opinion.

    Note that whenever Obama, Emanuel, or Gibbs are asked about why polls show SO many people oppose their misguided Cap-n-Trade and Obamacare proposals, they ALWAYS segue-right-into “we need to educate the public…”.

    LOL- save your breath… Constitutionally-aware American patriots don’t take lectures from Marxists.Report

  3. Avatar Mark says:

    “the unfortunate fact is that most people are pretty happy with the health care they already have.”

    That statement is not precise enough. Most Americans who have health care are *not* satisfied with the cost, even if they are satisfied with the performance of their doctors. Second, you’re ignoring the uninsured and also lumping satisfaction with government insurance in with private insurance. Let’s break down some numbers:

    15% = uninsured. Mostly unhappy with their health care.
    28% = public insurance. Very happy with their health care.
    9% = individual insurance. This is where we hear the horror stories.

    So that’s half the country that is either uninsured, paying triple the real cost of their insurance, or covered by the government. The only complaint I hear from this quite-varied group is from Medicare recipients, who don’t seem to care about bankrupting the country for their own benefit and don’t want people under 65 to share in government health insurance.

    Lots of people have double-coverage – here’s the percentage of employer-based plans:

    35% = employer PPOs.
    12% = employer HMOs.
    7% = employer POSs.

    There isn’t a lot of survey data out there for employer-sponsored plans, but the Myers Group survey in 2008 found that 56% of people rated their PPO positively overall.

    It should be clear that American doctors and hospitals do a great job and that people are satisfied with them. But those who don’t get Medicare are not satisfied with the system. Not by a long shot.Report

  4. Avatar Zach says:

    Much worse, in fact. Any anti-Iraq protest outside of the Bay area was met with a bigger counterprotest that put any anti-American insults here to shame, and protesters were met with rubber bullets and tear gas instead of locked doors to venues at capacity (the horror). Beyond that, in retrospect, the Iraq war protesters were right. We don’t need to wait to see if the anti-health-reform protesters are right in retrospect because their argument is so obviously wrong now.

    Frankly, I haven’t seen a single prominent Republican propose an alternative to Obamacare that meets the same criteria that Obama’s set out, and I haven’t seen a single argument that didn’t employ outright lies in opposition to Obama’s plan. “No war for oil” was off-base but a lot more accurate than “death panels,” “socialism,” “abortion on demand,” etc etc.

    I think that Pelosi et al’s goal here is to goad Republicans into even more ridiculous posturing. There’s a mini-surge in the media narrative supporting Obama now and they’re trying to push the GOP into desperation mode.Report

  5. Avatar Zach says:

    @Mark – It would seem to be well worth the investment for Kos or whomever to underwrite a fairly large survey that rates general satisfaction levels (“How satisfied are you with the health care you receive?” “How satisfied are you with the health care your family receives?” “How satisfied are you with the health care most Americans receive?”) and crosstabulates the data with the respondents’ provider. I don’t really know whether private or employer-based insurance would beat out VA/Medicare/Medicaid… would be interesting to know and wouldn’t require a very large survey.Report

  6. Avatar Barry says:

    “Frankly, I haven’t seen a single prominent Republican propose an alternative to Obamacare that meets the same criteria that Obama’s set out, and I haven’t seen a single argument that didn’t employ outright lies in opposition to Obama’s plan. “No war for oil” was off-base but a lot more accurate than “death panels,” “socialism,” “abortion on demand,” etc etc.”

    To put it simply, the *best* that the right can come up with is ‘free market good, govmint bad’. From there, it’s all downhill, in a swamp of ‘keep my medicare away from the government’, ‘if Stephen Hawking lived in the UK he’d be dead now’, ‘Obama wants to kill your grandma’ and other sh*t. All of which is made up by paid astroturfers, trasmitted by the usual pack of right-wing liars, and lapped up by people who haven’t learned anything in the past decade, and are proud of it.Report