Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well, so much for Marc Ambinder's theory that right-wingers have overplayed their hand. A new USA Today/Gallup poll says that the right is winning the health care wars, just the way the right has won most of these things for a couple of decades now:

... In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say the sometimes heated protests at sessions held by members of Congress have made them more sympathetic to the protesters' views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.

Independents by 2-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.

... There's some tolerance for noisy disputes at town hall meetings. By 51%-41%, those surveyed say individuals making "angry attacks" on a health care bill reflected "democracy in action" rather than "abuse of democracy." However, by 59%-33% they say "shouting down supporters" of a health care bill was an abuse of democracy....

Greg Sargent is confused, but he shouldn't be:

... I'm going to need your help interpreting these numbers.

... a majority says "angry attacks" at town halls represent democracy in action, but an equally large majority says "shouting down supporters" is an abuse of democracy? ...

It's simple: Right-wingers have many more outlets through which they've been able to flog the message that this is just healthily democratic case of speaking truth to power. So first they use corporate-generated lies, half-truths, and hysterical rumors to hijack the debate, then they use a well-developed, multi-pronged propaganda infrastructure to dominate the debate about the hijacked debate. I know, I know: they'll talk about this as if it's some samizdat effort up against the great liberal monolith. But that's only plausible if you believe that the #1 cable news channel, all the top talk-radio hosts, and the only newspaper mogul in America who doesn't seem to be on the verge of shutting down his papers to be samizdat. Not to mention a large percentage of the best-funded advocacy groups.

The last two election cycles were fun, but for decades we were told that right-wingers and Republicans are "normal," even when they engage in racist attacks or blow up federal buildings, while liberals and Democrats are dirty hippies who don't go to church and eat arugula and use four-letter words in public. That ingrained notion doesn't go away overnight, or even in a few years. And the right-wing/corporate noise machine knows just how to tap into it.


UPDATE: More of the same from Pew:

"Among those who had heard at least a little about the meetings," the Pew Center's Andrew Kohut reports tonight, "61 percent say they think the way people have been protesting is appropriate." And just 34 percent said they view the protests as inappropriate.

Game over. They won. Let's pick another battle and move on.

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