Monday, August 03, 2009


Via The Hill, I see that an ex-Giuliani speechwriter named John Avlon is playing concern troll at the Daily Beast:

Vilified centrist Blue Dog Democrats aren't trying to kill health-care reform. They're the president's best hope to save it, argues John Avlon, along with his mainstream mantle.

... Attacked as villains by liberals and accused of slowing down the legislation’s passage, [Blue Dogs] are the unsung heroes of health-care reform. They are not trying to kill Obama’s initiative; they are trying to save it.

Barack Obama’s 2008 victory was not a liberal ideological mandate but a vote against the Bush era’s polarizing play-to-the-base politics. Congressional centrists are trying to help the president follow through on his rhetoric about a new era of bipartisan consultation and cooperation. They are doing the heavy lifting of trying to forge the broadest possible coalition of support, while liberal leaders encourage a narrow play-to-the-base party-line vote. In the process, congressional centrists are pragmatically looking out for President Obama’s interests in the larger electorate.

You know what's really in President Obama's interests regarding the larger electorate? Not being fragged. Not being very publicly shot at by people who are allegedly on his side. Not being lectured and scolded every time he talks about health care. Not being portrayed as having inappropriate, dangerous ideas. Not being Judased by every centrist who wants to suck up to the Rush Limbots.

Funny how I don't recall anyone saying that George W. Bush's best friends were Paul O'Neill and others who privately expressed caution about the chance that Bush's tax cuts could bust the budget. Bush came into office with centrist rhetoric of his own, after all ("I'm a uniter, not a divider"); Bush's approval ratings slid to about where Obama's are now in his first six months in office, despite the fact that he was facing much milder problems and was handing out much bigger tax cuts. But it was understood then that the president and members of his own party in Congress would stick together -- he was a Republican and that's what Republicans do (and are supposed to do). That's what they'd do subsequently on the even more divisive issue of Iraq; again, no one said Bush needed a centrist challenge for his own good.

And then there's this from Avlon:

But perhaps the most significant contribution of this centrist coalition to the health-care debate might be the replacement of the controversial "public option" with a nonprofit private cooperative plan, based on American models that have existed at the community level for decades. This simple switch would single-handedly defang conservative fear-mongering about the national socialization of health care.


Yeah, right -- because we all remember that no one ever engaged in fearmongering about the cooperatives in the Clinton health-care plan. We all know that no one ever called that plan "socialized medicine." And we all know that, really, all conservatives ever want is a bit of compromise -- they fell all over themselves to vote for Obama's stimulus after the Blue Dogs engineered cuts in it, right?


(More from Zandar Versus the Stupid.)

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