Two Defeats for Democracy

Scream loud enough and, apparently, you’ll win over the uninformed and get your way: the Senate Finance Committee will pull provisions providing for end-of-life counseling. This decision does little more than hurt patients and soothe the consciences of fools, while handing the Republican Party proof that yes, they can still score political victories, regardless of facts, by appealing to the worst in all of us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: today’s conservative politicians benefit from the two deepest flaws in democratic theory, that inflammatory fear sells better than boring fact, and people will always vote for money now (tax cuts) over solvency later. Indeed these two points are adequate to explain the majority of the GOP’s recent victories. For shame.



  1. Wow. This is really disappointing, depressing, and disgusting.

  2. Yes. Nate Silver’s deconstruction of the poll (they’re “fuzzy”) is small comfort :-/.

  3. the democratic congress should be ashamed of themselves….the pussies

    1. Fact. Grrrr.

      1. Not just the Congress, the President himself. He needs to get the special interests out of the White House and seize control of this debate by creating, and then selling, a complete plan, or we are going to end up with crap.

  4. There’s a very good post on why the Democrats lost control of this debate over at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

    I’m increasingly of the belief that either nothing will happen on healthcare or the bill will be so watered-down as to be pointless.

    The point is that no one on the Right and a LOT of people in the middle simply do not believe Democrats really want the plan they are promoting. We all think it’s a torjan horse for a single-payer system and this is based on previous statements by most of the Democratic leadership (including the President) that single-payer would be preferable.

    Democrats should have been honest from the start. They should have said they wanted a single-payer system and fought hard for it. I think the odds actually would have been better than what they have now, because at least no one could skew their intentions. Instead they tried to back-door the whole thing and that just set off everyone’s alarm bells. That’s what support for this is collapsing.

    1. I still say, sounds like a conspiracy theory. Which isn’t really backed by anything but conservatives mistrust.

      1. So you DON’T think that the majority of liberals would prefer a single-payer system? Almost every Democratic presidential candidate from the last election said they were in favor and John Edwards oulined a plan eerily similar to what’s onthe table now and said it was a first step towards universal health. This isn’t tinfoil hat stuff. It’s asking Democrats to be honest about their intentions.

        Ames is always saying we need to read between the lines to understand Obama’s true intentions about gay marriage. He says that Obama is just being smart and chipping away at things and that gays should take comfort in his micro-steps in their direction. This is in light of Obama never really being very supportive of gays in his own words. On the flip side, when we claim this is meant to be a first-step towards single payer, basing this on the President’s stated preference for single payer, we’re told that it’s a conspiracy theory.

        Why does the Left only want to believe that Obama has secret intentions when it benefits liberals?

      2. Serious conspiracy theory. The difference between this and gay rights eg, is that Obama hasn’t started fighting for gay rights yet. If he had we’d have to accept that whatever he started pushing was the final product. It may be that Obama wanted single payer at first – I’m largely ambivalent – but at the point that you see a thorough, well-articulated, and complete statute being reported out of committee, it’s more than a little tin foil hat club to stand on the sidelines and scream WHATS HE HIDING. Republicans need to get over themselves and try to engage in the real work of governing rather than continually looking over their shoulders. This is just one more example of that.

      3. No, I do think many people want it.

        But it’s already been off the table for a long time, and you’re theory is that they’re secretly going for it anyway.

        I don’t see any evidence of that at all. With everything we’re giving away to the invested interests, I’d almost HOPE you were right. But it all seems made up for me. No one’s trying to sneak anything past you Mike.

        1. All kinds of experts, liberal, conservatives, libertarians, non-partisan, etc are saying that this would be a logical first step towards single-payer. This plan follows the path laid out by Edwards during the campaign. The president has expressed a preference for single-payer. Most liberals DO prefer single-payer. If you guys REALLY believe that it’s going to stop here…there’s a heavy amount of denial going on.

        2. Claire McCaskill sai it best: it’s just not going to happen. And if it looks like it might, moderate dems like her will stop it cold. Worry about descents into socialism down slippery slopes if you want, but be mindful that it’s basically political fan fiction.

          1. I remember when people were saying the same thing about gay marriage.

        3. It’s hard enough to debate the actual bill in limbo, without addressing every random persons’s unfounded fears with no backing evidence except, “I know Democrats like it”.

          1. Here’s what’s frustrating as hell for conservatives… All of the defenses of Obama’s policies that folks like Ames moun are based on just disregarding what Obama and other Democrats have said. Gay marriage? So what if obama has said he’s opposed…secretly he loves it. Universal healthcare? So what if Obama says he is in favor…secretly he loves a crappy centrist solution. Gun bans? So what if he’s on record as supporting an AWB and other anti-gun measures…secretly he is a gun nut and would never take them.

            To buy into liberal/Democratic logic we are supposed to ignore everything Obama says he wants and assume he will take the road that conservatives can endorse. That requires an incredible amount of willingness to be duped IMO.

            He says he wants single payer, other democrats have said this is the way to get there…what is so hard to understand conservative aprehension in light of those two facts alone?

            1. I just find it hard to understand the apprehension about a universal, government-funded health system as such. Practically all other countries in the developed world, and quite a few developing countries as well, have such a system and have excellent experiences with it. By comparison, the current US system seems, if I may be so bold, like overly complicated, expensive and inefficient rubbish.

              I don’t know if Mike or someone else can explain what is behind this opposition to building a system that actually works, because I genuinely do not understand it. It seems completely irrational to me.

          2. He’s on the record supporting federal civil unions, which is all I reasonably want. He’s on the record opposing most gun limits, other than the assault weapon ban, which is just common sense. He’s on the record supporting single payer, but endorsed a compromise bill. No conflict.

  5. lanfranc, i completely agree with you. i work in healthcare here in Massachusetts and i went to school in europe. i have experienced both systems and prefer a one payer system.

    there are so many issues with our current system, it’ll make your eyes bleed! why these pussies in our government, and i include obama, can’t see this, astounds me.

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