Let’s Get Dangerous Serious


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

Related Post Roulette

24 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I’m all for calling out factual misstatements – and Marcus, to her credit, identifies a few whoppers – but concerns about government overrreach, spiraling costs, and regulatory capture are serious issues that deserve more than a curt dismissal.

    You’d think people would realize that. I’m giddy with anticipation to see what kind of stuff gets written when financial reform really starts to gain steam.

    It’s a shame that the antics of a few extremists distract attention from the real debate over health insurance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t real arguments out there against the Democrats’ plan.

    Isn’t that called weak-manning the opposition?Report

  2. greginak says:

    I think there are good arguments to be made about how to reform health care. I don’t think anybody is particularly dismissing the good ones. the thing is by “antics of a few extremists distract attention” you are referring to just about the entire Republican Party and media. It isn’t’ just a few guys with Dachau posters and tea bags. A big part of the frustration many of us who have been looking for health care reform feel is that after so long we have a chance to do something important and good, so much of the debate is swill. And more then just sleazy but filled with lies. So when people of good will ( haha, I’m punny) like you or Mark or ED offer good constructive suggestions that is fine but it is disconnected from the years of struggle for a better health care delivery system, suffering at the hands of the current one and the crap hurricane that has been this “debate”.Report

  3. Sam M says:

    But agan, nobody will answer the question. Let’s assume we put a muzzle on Rush and Hannity and the entire group of GOP elected officials. Let’s assume that we have a week-long national debate, run by the exhumed corpses of Mother Teresa, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy and whoever else you consider a conscientous actor in these regards. Everyone sits down and listens to the facts. Everyone goes home to a town hall meeting and some serious family discussion. Everyone reads four books, all of which you recommend, about health care in America.

    After all that, we do the poll again. What percentage of people will be against the legislation after all that?

    You guys seems convinced that 40 percent against is evidence of some vast misinformation campaign.

    I will put my own opinions on the line. I will estimate that after the national info-fest, the percentage of people against this proposed legislation would stay maybe the same, at 40 percent. That the number of people for it would fall to 20 percent, and that the number of people unsure would rise to 40 percent.

    That is, I think the misinformation works in your favor.

    I bet maybe one American in 5 is aware of the $1.2 trillion price tag. I don;t think you want that to be more widely known..

    But that’s me. You think 40 percent against is outrageous. Tell me what people would think if they knew the whole score.Report

    • greginak in reply to Sam M says:

      My idea of serious debate is not about reading the books I think are good or inviting zombie saints or democrats. ED on this very site has done a lot of conservative flavored discussion of health care reform. I don’t agree with some of it, but it has been good faith attempts to correct the problems many people see in our health care system. It is possible to discuss the issue from a conservative point of view. More wonk less lies. Offer solutions not fear mongering. Can you name me a prominent R or Conservative who has talked in detail about how to fix health care?

      Yeah the 1.2 trillion dollar bill for the 900 billion dollar bill. I wonder how much that frightens people. I wonder how many people know that is a 10 estimate and the one costs of the health care bill are similar or less then we have spent on the Iraq and Afgan wars. I wonder how many people know the CBO has scored the reform plan as cutting the deficit a bit and that the bill is paid for. It is not just all money tacked onto the deficit.Report

      • Scott in reply to greginak says:

        It is only paid for if you are not among those who’s taxing will rise so the gov’t can hand out free health care. If being paid for were such a great thing then why care how much the bill costs, I mean as long as someone else foots the bill?Report

        • greginak in reply to Scott says:

          Oh crimany…the reason to care how much it costs is because that is part of being responsible and paying attention to the real world.

          No health care will not be free. I ,and most people will still have things like co-pays and have to pay part of our insurance costs. Our employers will still pay for a lot of health insurance as a benefit we get in exchange for working. For most people who have employer based insurance we will keep paying for the same way we have been.

          Yes some of costs of health reform are being paid for by tax increases. That is actually how most governments pay for things. There is no rainbow with a pot of money at the end. you complain about the cost, then complain when it is paid for. Part of real world governing, which many R’s don’t seem to want to deal with, is making the hard choices to actually pay for important things. Our health care system has massive problems, so it needs to be fixed. If you are not willing to raise some money through taxes then most fixes are off the table.Report

          • Scott in reply to greginak says:

            It depends on what you define as “important” and what the gov’t should pay for. Of course the gov’t has to raise taxes to pay for things but that doesn’t mean they should pay for stuff. I know there is no pot of money at the end of the rainbow every time I look at my paycheck and see what the gov’t is keeping.Report

  4. Sam M says:


    OK. Fine,. So let’s say everyone in the conservative universe took an ED Kain pill and began talking about healthcare openly and honestly. this went on for a week.

    They redo the poll.

    What percentage of the population would then be against the legislation as written?

    remember, the point of the poriginal post was that this poll came out ang golly gee, a full 40 percent of people are against the legislation! But gosh, who can blame people with all the lying liars and all their lying! And the lies!

    I am suggesting that this argument is rubbish. And that the percentage of people against the current proposal has little if anything to do with they lying liars and all their lies lies lies.

    You disagree. Fine. But please tell me: Given full knowledge, given an honest debate… what sort of support do you think the current legislation might get?

    “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” seems like an insufficient response. Because obviously, you think the lying lies have played a major role in 40 percent of people objecting to the plan.Report

    • 62across in reply to Sam M says:

      Sam –

      I’ll try to answer your question, since you think no one is responding to you.

      If there were an honest debate, I think the percentage of those who objected to the legislation as written would go down and the percentage of those who favored it would go up. Before all the scare-mongering, a clear majority of Americans favored health care reform even if it meant higher taxes.

      Why do you think the dishonest tactics were chosen? Do you really think the misinformation is being spread because it works in the favor of those who want the legislation? That makes no sense at all. It’s not the antics of a few extremists that are preventing an honest debate. It is the chosen strategy of the Republicans, such as my congressman, Rep. Brian Bilbray, who can not say two sentences in a row about health care reform without using the phrases “government take-over” or “pound of flesh”.

      I don’t disagree with Will’s point that there are “substantive arguments out there against the Democrats’ plan.” The problem for health care opponents is that those arguments are more nuanced, more complicated and more difficult arguments to make. And frankly, those arguments are weaker than the simplier, lazier b.s.

      I frequent sites like this one, because I’d like to understand what the substantive arguments against the Democratic plan are. The League has done a very good job at enumerating their concerns about government overreach and whatnot. But even here, I can’t find much detail on alternative solutions to the widely acknowledged failings of the current system, problems like denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and rescission.Report

    • JosephFM in reply to Sam M says:

      You might be half right. Half because if this “honest debate” did happen, and the support for the current bills decreased, I would also expect a major groundswell of support for alternative proposals that do more to reduce costs long term. Some of Wyden’s proposals might actually pass.Report

  5. Sam M says:

    So you’re not going to answer the question?

    That is, you are pretty sure that the lying liars and all their lies have convinced 40 percent of the people to offer a certain opionion about the pending legislation. But you are not willing to discuss what that percentage might be if we eliminated all the liars and their lies?

    I really want to know what percentage of support the current legislation would have to get in order to stop your spiral into depression regarding the current state of affairs in American discourse. what would be proof that the lying liars have stopped their lying.

    Because I find this to be a strange argument. It’s one I heard from libertarians all the time: “Well, of course nobody will vote for legalizing drugs or getting rid of the fed. because all these liars keep lying about the issue. But given full information, my position is so unassailable that it’s completely insane to think that anyone would disagree with my. Because I am obviously correct.”

    Or, you know… maybe people just disagree with you about the positions you take. For good or ill. And maybe it really doesn’t have anything to do with the super-powerful media-bots out to destroy your world-changing legislation.

    And maybe, just maybe, the 40 percent of people who think this legislation sucks don’t really think it sucks because they want Sean hannity to be their daughters’ baby daddy. Maybe they just think it sucks.

    In this case, something between 40-60 percent of the people polled seem fully behind or at least amenable to the legislation.

    Might not be the best time to be crying about Rush Limbaugh’s omnitpotence and the effectiveness of the lying lie liar lies who lie about the lying liars.Report

  6. angullimala says:

    Sam M,

    I think you are right about the attitude which blames the opposition to reform entirely on the “lying liars”. Sadly, however, this kind of attitude is so widespread that it’s kind of unfair to just pick on one group for doing it. Seriously – the opponents of reform do the same thing and constantly claim that the remaining 60% would be with them if only the media wasn’t in the tank for Obama.

    But, yes, in principle .. blaming the media is the natural inclination for people who can’t admit that their ideas just might be seriously unpopular with a lot of people.Report

  7. Kyle says:

    “It’s a shame that the antics of a few extremists distract attention from the real debate over health insurance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t substantive arguments out there against the Democrats’ plan.”

    Cliche Democrat: Well, it would be great if the Republicans would make substantive arguments instead of raving about death panels and the like.
    Not-Cliche Republican: Tort Reform!
    CDem: Useless, see this isn’t a real-life, magic bullet healthcare reform proposal like the public-option. Madness.
    NCRep: So if there are substantive ideas you disagree with why do you spend most of your blog/column space ranting about angry white people and Michele Bachmann?
    CDem: … … … I hate them so much… it-it- the f – it -flam – flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breath…
    NCRep: So umm yeah about my concerns?
    CDem: Sorry, you’re not carrying a sign alleging the President was born in Mauritania, I don’t know how to respond to you. So, instead, I’m going to take what you said and use your lack of resolve to “do something, anything, consequences be damned” to mean you’re soft on Cancer…and Swine Flu…and you hate the poor. Also, maybe you’re racist. I don’t know. I’m just saying.
    NCRep: Maybe this is why it’s taken you guys 50 years and six Presidents to get this close. Just throwin’ it out there.Report

    • Justin_Anderson in reply to Kyle says:

      (Not sure if my comment got lost or is trapped in moderation, so if this is a duplicate, please delete.)

      My sarcasm sensor is not working tonight, Kyle. But, you were joking about tort reform as not being cliche, right?Report

      • Kyle in reply to Justin_Anderson says:

        Hah, the list of republican ideas on health care that aren’t spend less, cover fewer people, etc… is pretty slim.

        I figure any NCR would end up having to use something cliche because really there aren’t that many.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kyle says:

      Not cliche Dem-
      1 Well okay, Obama put tort reform on the table a few months ago.
      2 the CBO scored it and it does not have a huge affect on health costs.
      3 still it could be a decent idea as long as it is done in a way that protects people from malpractice. after all many people are harmed by malpractice and gutting the laws will screw over regular people who have been hurt.
      4 R’s love to talk about D’s being in thrall of trial lawyers, so they don’t want tort reform. R’s are of course not pure as the driven snow. Business interests want tort reform to save themselves money, lets not do tort reform that only serves to favor business interests over people (not that R’s have EVER done that in the past)
      5 and how many R votes would health care reform get if there was tort reform. How many hands would i need to count R votes? One hand? Two? Would i even need one finger on one hand? Based on R statements it would get approximately no votes regardless.Report

      • Kyle in reply to greginak says:

        1.) Obama put tort reform on the table to much grumbling after months of it being a non-starter.

        2.) The public option that is, “necessary, to keep the control costs and keep the health insurance racket honest,” apparently because it will be large enough to be a force to be reckoned with. Right? Well the CBO estimate places it at 6 million individuals by 2019. Which is less than 1/7th the number of enrollees in Medicare. So what exactly is the less potent public option going to have or be able to do about costs that Medicare hasn’t? Two can play the what CBO says amounts to a relatively small portion of reform game.

        Gregniak, you’re smart enough to know that how many votes a particular reform will gather is far, far less relevant/important than whether the reform itself is a good idea. Not to mention, if Republicans aren’t going to vote, doesn’t that mean Democrats have a free hand to write tort reform that accomplishes exactly what you detailed? Oh wait, that’s exactly what that means.

        The bigger – answerable question here is why D’s didn’t consider this an option at all until the alter of bipartisanship demanded a sacrifice. The answer, trial lawyers, who were one of any number of special interest groups that either supported or still support health care reform because it does absolutely nothing but ensure they’ll continue to make money, if not make more (see Pharma).

        Which isn’t to hijack the thread to debate healthcare reform but to highlight how disingenuous Liberal Democrats are in discussing their opposition.

        Plan A.) Cast them all as some combination of heartless, quasi-racist, pro-big business, and complete idiots. Focus on the fringe that supports such statements.

        Plan B.) While casting aspersions the whole time, point out how inadequate or relatively minor opposition ideas are. At the same time, ignore comparably unimpressive positions in your own solutions and fail to recognize that each suggestion/solution is meant to be part of the solution and not one in and of itself.

        This may be a model good enough to earn Keith Olbermann $30 million over four years but it doesn’t strike me as a good approach to anything other than entertainment or umbrage stokingReport

        • greginak in reply to Kyle says:

          It is true that a public option is not likely to have a huge number of people in it. So it is fair to say to D’s , “why is this truly important since it won’t have that many people?” It is just as fair to say to opponents of the public option “ this really isn’t that big a thing, why is it so important it fails?” In any case most health care wonks say the public option is a good thing but not in anyway the most important part of the proposed health care reform. FWIW I think the public option is a good thing and want it in a final bill, but even if it gets cut, reform is still good.

          The discussion about a public option is one of the screwed up ( in a non-partisan manner) parts of this debate. There has been so much energy focused on the public option that I would guess for many people they believe it is the biggest and most important part of the whole deal when it isn’t. Our national debates tend to focus on just one part of a big issue, which leads to impoverished , shallow debates.

          In reference to the original topic of this post and also a comment I made to Sam. When whatever gets passed and people find out there will be no more pre-existing conditions penalties and that almost everybody will be able to get insurance and there will be subsidies for the people who can’t afford it and other insurance reforms and that there is no totalitarian hellhole sub paragraph in the bill it will be popular, most likely very popular

          Re: tort reform: this is not only a debate but a negation. Obama has tried to get R buy in which has failed. It is nice to say he should have put it in there in the first place, but the fact remains people will still be screaming socialism/Nazism. In a negation people often do hold a few chips back to try and get some agreement or support.Report

          • Kyle in reply to greginak says:

            Look, I agree with the point you’re making about the likely increase in popularity of health care reform. Nor for that matter am I stridently opposed or passionate in any way about health care reform.

            What concerns me is twofold, the predilection of liberal democrats to caricature their opposition, often as a way of engaging with more easily demolished argument and sidestepping a more difficult one- a sort of political Manstein plan. Hence my original, sarcastic comment. Don’t get me wrong, conservative republicans do it to, I just think it’s a more relevant criticism of the party in control of government.

            My second concern is the unbelievably large distance between the quality and number of government services demanded by America’s citizenry and the same’s willingness to pay for them. Even if we were willing to pay more, there are, in fact, hard limits to our ability to pay and as such our problem is every bit as cultural as it is fiscal.

            Yet both of my concerns fall by the wayside because I’m either a horrible, disingenuous human being with double standards and – god forbid -bias or a low tax, anti-government zealot. I am, for the record, neither.Report

  8. My sarcasm sensor is not working tonight, Kyle. So- you’re joking about tort reform not being cliche, right?Report

  9. togo says:

    I know this isn’t really related to the topic, but…I just stumbled upon here, and wanted to say that if you like the Disney Afternoon shows, then take a visit on this Tailspin great site!Report