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Public opinion

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.

  1. June 3, 2009 at 7:23 am

    You are one of the better writers and thinkers in the Montana blog world, along with maybe Crisp and Budge. I hope you hang in there – you just don’t write enough to keep up traffic.

    I keep getting this single payer stuff – as if I did not understand practical politics and the power of propaganda campaigns and the public relations industry. I have said repeatedly that if we are going to have single payer, it is going to be in Canadian fashion, where the barriers were first broken down in Saskatchewan by a dynamic leader, Tommy Douglas, and where it then spread due to its unquestionable success. Perhaps the PR industry and health insurance companies in Canada were not as powerful then as they are now in this country – I don’t know. But I see our best laboratory as being post-Arnold California.

    You did not address the central theme of my post – the emergence of the Democratic Party as a mere containment vehicle for opposition movements. Take 2000 – there is absolutely nothing – nothing! wrong with mounting a third party campaign. I don’t give a rat’s ass how effective or smart you think it is. But the Democrats have demonized Nader now, and very wisely so – it’s a message to anyone else who wants to try it – prepare to be ostracized.

    That is now the role of the Democratic Party – to geld third party movements, to contain all popular movements and minimize their impact. The practical politicians tell us that we must keep our expectations low, and Democrats like Matt and Jay are perfectly happy with that concept. It’s a distressing situation. Screw your hope comment – let’s talk reality.

    The bottom line is that we do not live in a functioning democracy. The Russian people were able to change aspiration to reality. Maybe they aren’t happy with the outcome now, but the point is that they wanted change and got it. Whose system is more democratic?

    Regarding polling and health insurance, it seems contradictory that people are both happy with their current coverage and want single payer. Most people aren’t sick, and have not been exposed to how shitty their coverage is. Those that have want something better. Enough information about the 47 million has spread around that people also understand that while they might be OK, many others aren’t. It seems to fit.

    And pollsters aren’t stupid – they know how to ferret out information in a sly manner. That’s the object of much polling – to get information that the person being questioned does not know he is after. So they hide their objectives, riddle the survey with protrait and contrait questions – the professionals, anyway. The bottom line: Most people favor a single payer system even if it would cost them more in taxes.

    Odds are it won’t – we are ridiculously expensive right now, spending twice what Canadians do per capita. Overhead runs 10% in a good not-for-profit plan, as high as 50% in some for-profit plans. Emergency room care is incredibly inefficient. I doubt it could cost more than we spend now.

    And anyway, watch out. When the Democrat leadership embraces a concept, the odds are that they, like pollsters are really after something else. Beware Baucus. He’s not even a good actor or an appealing persona – I don’t know how he fools so many people other than that they want to be fooled.

    Sorry to take up so much space. I have my own blog. And I love writing – I am one of those who thinks with his fingers.

  2. Fate One
    June 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    One of our organizers is in Great Falls working on this stuff (I’m in Oregon working for SEIU). He jokes about being the only Mexican guy in Montana and that the other guy helping with the campaign is the only Jew.
    He finds it humorous that Baucus and Testor are just “Max and John” to Montanans. But in Oregon Ted Kulongoski is just Governor Ted, which always reminds me of Governor Ed… Ed Schaeffer former Gov. of North Dakota who later was “Governor Ed” on an episode of Junkyard Wars.. which was a kick ass show… there has to be some link to Kevin Bacon in here somewhere.

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