Well, last week was fun, wasn’t it? Obama won a Nobel prize for no reason and conservatives went nuts. Which is entertaining and all, but then groups like the DNC and Media Matters attack them as unpatriotic and siding with terrorists. Which is absolutely vile and one of the reasons the last administration and its defenders were so odious.
By the way, what kind of joke was that? A Nobel Peace Prize? Are they high?
Then there’s this, another tactic I hated from the last administration (bear in mind that I’m not accusing Republicans of inventing it, just that I associate it with the Bush administration because that’s when I started paying attention). Picking out bits of larger legislation and accusing a person of being against something was a significant part of the anti-Kerry attacks in 2004. It wasn’t pretty then and it’s not pretty now.
Or I guess you can say that anyone who’s ever opposed an omnibus spending bill hates the military, schools, seniors, etc. How fun.
A health care bill banning rescission, disallowing coverage refusals due to pre-existing conditions, eliminating the wasteful Medicare Advantage program, and expanding coverage to 94% of the country seems like a step forward.
Then again, it’s a giveaway to teh evil corporations, so I’m clearly some sort of non-sentient shill. But the alternative is being complicit with murder, so hello persistent vegetative state.
So Paul Krugman wrote a column calling climate change-deniers treasonous:
And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?
Yes, it is — and that’s why it’s unforgivable.
Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole — but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.
Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it’s in their political interest to pretend that there’s nothing to worry about. If that’s not betrayal, I don’t know what is.
Krugman’s statement is stupid and hyperbolic (though he has good reason to be angry). John Cole has the correct reaction, so I don’t have much to say on that.
However, Jay over at LitW said this about Krugman’s column:
Of course, not quite understanding that Krugman was turning the right-wingers’ use of the word “treason” against them – pointing out the hypocrisy of an earlier, hyperbolic use of the term for a threat that wasn’t quite all that it was made out to be, by contrasting it with the same folks’ laconic attitude towards an all-too real and present catastrophic threat – naturally the usual people went completely bath*t.
You know, this is pure bullshit. Yes, maybe we can look at some who are in an uproar and go “Ha! You’re reaping what you’ve sown.” Fuck that. Krugman knows better. And liberals should know better than to defend him with sophistry. Treason should actually mean something and not be an empty political insult the way fascism is now.
People who aspire to be more than political hacks should be able to restrain themselves.
You can almost hear this blog dying, can’t you?
Anyway, I was thinking about this post by Mark, which is post 93 in his long running anti-hope series.
Progressives like to claim the public is supportive of their agenda based on single issue polling. It seems to me that once public opinion collides with an opposition campaign, things look different. Public opinion is also contradictory. People like more services and they like lower taxes. They can’t have both. California is trying it and it’s not working. Opinion polls show that if you pay income taxes, you think you’re paying too much. So despite the fact that polls also show people will trade taxes for services, they don’t think they’re getting a good deal. That’s ripe territory for conservatives. And if we’re talking about single-payer, it’s hard to see how anything gets past “the government is taking away your health care for some brand new thing that sucks for various reasons.” Even if the various reasons themselves suck, losing your health care is scary.
That’s all obvious, isn’t it?
So single-payer organizing is pointless right now. If we get a public plan, that changes. Are we going to get a public plan? Beats me.
According to posters on campus, Norman Finkelstein will be speaking at MSU next Wednesday about Israel/Palestine.
I can’t say I expected this to ever happen. I wonder what his reception will be?
I got 296/400, which CAP says is “very progressive.” Who knew?
For what it’s worth, this is my interpretation of Steve Hildebrand’s comments disparaging liberal criticism of Obama during the transition process.
It’s annoying, but useful to the incoming Obama administration. Fending off liberal criticism by repeating centrist mantras about the “most qualified” people broadens their appeal. What Hildebrand lists as what an Obama administration is going to do are arguably progressive priorities. If they can frame their solutions as centrist, it makes their jobs easier. It’s annoying, hinders self-identified liberals’ ability to advocate for policy, and runs the risk of making the left as a whole toxic to mainstream political debate. But it has a purpose and it isn’t necessarily a purpose that’s in opposition to what most liberals want.
So I’m still taking a wait and see attitude. Liberals should continue to critique Obama’s appointees, but they should keep some perspective. Which, by the way, they’re mostly doing, contrary to the claims of beltway apologists.