Thursday, October 24, 2013


I'm seeing a lot of examples of one particular liberal argument that's meant to comfort us about the right-wing reaction to the health care law. The American Prospect's Paul Waldman:
[Republicans have] got a new spring in their step, as The New York Times reports today. "If the Web site glitches are just the tip of the iceberg," says Representative Greg Walden, who as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for making sure his party holds the House in 2014, "it's only a matter of time before the law sinks and takes with it those Democrats who wrote it, voted for it and are proud of it." All they have to do is sit back and wait for Obamacare to implode, then reap the political benefits.

I wouldn't get too excited if I were them. First of all, if you're arguing about why the website isn't working, you've implicitly accepted the premise that the website ought to work, so people can use it and get insurance. Which is quite different from arguing, as some Republicans have, that people who are now uninsured just shouldn't bother getting insurance at all. When you stand before the cameras to shout, "I will not rest until these problems are fixed and Obamacare works properly!" and you then turn around and say, "I will not rest until Obamacare is destroyed!", you're not exactly convincing the voting public that you're the one they want running things.
Jed Lewison at Kos's place:
They're still obsessed with Obamacare, so that hasn't changed, but in just a little more than three weeks they've gone from demanding Obamacare's repeal to demanding that Obamacare be fixed. And even though they'll never admit it, that's essentially a declaration of defeat: They know that Obamacare is here to stay. Surely some on the right will continue to battle, but the war is over -- and they lost.
Paul, Jed: You really think saying "Fix the website!" now is going to prevent Republicans from turning around and saying "Destroy the program!" later? You really think what drives right-wing rage is logic?

Right-wingers are the folks who wave signs saying "KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY MEDICARE." Right-wingers are people who believe that being pro-gay is inextricably linked to being pro-sharia. Right-wingers are people who considered opposition to NSA spying treasonous in the Bush years and consider NSA spying itself to be treasonous now.

Logic doesn't enter into this. It's all about passion.

The headline of the Times story Waldman quotes is all wrong. "Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics"? No, they're not switching tactics. They're just doing what they did (or tried to do) during the shutdown: like sharks, they're heading wherever they think they detect blood in the water. They thought it was the moment just before implementation began; now they think it's the rollout of the portal. Once the portal is fixed, it'll be something else. The nature of what they're doing never changes. It's always a feeding frenzy.


Victor said...

Sharks in the water, is the best analogy yet.

And, in their feeding frenzies, sometimes some of them eat one another - which I'm not happy about when I realize that the actual sharks in the oceans are endangered, but puts a song in my heart, when I think of the Republican political sharks.

Peter King and John McCain facing Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, looks beautiful from where I sit.

Chris Andersen said...

Actually, yes, I do expect them to eventually stop saying "kill Obamacare". Why do I say this? Because it's what happened with Social Security and Medicare. They use to say "kill it" quite vocally. But now doing so is almost a political non-starter.

That doesn't mean they don't want to kill it. Of course they do. They just try new, sneakier attacks to kill it by suggesting that their poison is actually what will fix it (see Bush and privatizing Social Security).

But its when they have to go all dog whistle that you know you have ultimately won because, despite all the sturm-n-drang, they know they will never really be able to get rid of it.

Ten Bears said...

Greg Walden, the candy-assed trust-funder punk who's never done a day's work in its* life, Oregon's own Willard Romney, racist extraordinaire, whom I have been voting out of office forfreakingever. Office around the corner, never there. Attends town halls in picturesque little cowtowns with populations of five, but doesn't get any closer to his core metropolitan constituencies than the airport... in Portland. Quite possibly the defining example of both the gerrymander fraud and money - old money - buying the office. It's rather poetic it* chairs the NRCC, 'cuz even the old folks out here are sick of his back-stabbing little ass.

*Yes, "it". It is less than sufficiently evolved, less than human. An animal.

No fear.