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Monday, December 21, 2009

Lessons for leftists in the health care reform debate



The slow blogging has been very slow lately, due to a series of deadlines, voyages, and distractions, not to mention a rethink about what this blog should be--still in progress, that last one.

Meanwhile some words of wisdom from my pal and colleague Marc Cooper, on his blog today. Among other things, he dismisses the silliness of those "progressives" who now think we should kill the Senate bill and wait for--what, the left to get its act together and actually organize the really big movement around health care that it has failed to organize up to now?

Well, give it a read. A couple of my favorite lessons:

"2. The system is not changed by people voicing or blogging their support or opposition for this or that. It is changed when people change it. Voting for a candidate is the first, not the last, step in engaging in real political reform."

"4. The bill taking shape in Congress will not provide Single Payer coverage because there was nothing near the mass political support needed to force Congress to pass such a sweeping measure. Indeed, there wasn't even enough pressure to force a "public option." Too bad but true. Don't tell me about polls supposedly showing this or that level of support. Show me what political and organizing action was taken to make those opinions count, please."


More lessons:

This would appear to be the latest way that leftists can prove they are politically superior to mere liberals. Some arguments against this self-defeating idea from Ezra Klein, and from Marc Cooper:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/12/jane_hamshers_10_reaons_to_kil.html#more

http://marccooper.com/the-something-that-is-better-than-nothinh/

Of course it's not going to happen--the bill will not be killed--but it provides leftists with a good way to flaunt their powerlessness.

If the left wants to have some influence on the future of health care in the USA, it can let this bill pass and then build the movement for single-payer and universal care that it failed to build the first time around. It's never too late.

Worse than nothing? More analysis, and why something is better than nothing.

Don't scream, organize. So says E. J. Dionne, rightly so.