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August 21, 2009

Comments

Oh, god, do we really still need to make fun of Armando? Haven't we all heard the punchlines by now? Can't we just have one post that says "Shorter Armando: Durrrrrrrr," (which would envelop just about his entire blogging career) and be done with it?

I'll take the 5th on that. But I would like to obtain a license from you to use the template "Shorter X: Durrrrrr" sometime.

I'll try to get this on the right thread.

Actually, since you are citing someone citing Matt, you might want to correct the sidebar to link to his ThinkProgress blog rather than the old Atlantic site, especially since von holds him responsible for myriad health care sins.

But I would like to obtain a license from you to use the template "Shorter X: Durrrrrr" sometime.

I DEMAND ONE MILLION DOLLARS

...okay maybe just the "Doctor Who" box sets

...okay a link back

On top of the hypocrisy, apparently he thinks Matt Yglesias, etc. are actually negotiating health care reform as opposed to being informed spectators/commentators. Obviously, meaningful health care reform will never happen when some Democratic bloggers can't even deliver decent concern trolling, people.

Look, I have negotiated civil litigation settlements for 20 years.

Poorly, apparently.

I guess the "shorter" tactic allows you to frame the Other's argument any way you want and then dismiss it. I get that he's not well-regarded around here, and if he's a suspect source for an argument based on that, OK. But I was interested to hear your "longer" take on the argument (setting aside who's making it) that the administration is busily watering down health-care reform with some help from bloggers advancing the half-a-loaf meme. Because that argument is being made by more than just this guy. Could we get more out of this health-care reform effort than we're getting? Is it right to just accommodate ourselves to what Congress and the administration are currently willing to discuss, or should we press for more? I like your stuff a lot, and these issues are really bothering me lately, so I guess either here or in a separate post I'd love to see your longer views on that.

Actually, his error is mostly in "Advising political negotiators to do so is simply stupid." since they've not done that.
The second quote you picked is advice on bargaining strategy but crucially: (a) differs in that there were counter-proposals at the time (something relevant to the current post which didn't make it into your first quote) and (b) even there, he does not say what eventual outcome her or Hillary would/should accept. That's the difference between "we should split the bill" and "I'd take mandate-regulate-subsidize".

That said, he's only right as far as negotiation tactics is concerned. He's wrong to think Yglesias is a progressive. He's a moderate, as evidenced by the fact that he'd be fine with a lot of outcomes true progressives would hate. He also vastly oversells the importance of the named bloggers to the negotions - for nothing more than a cheap intra-party shot. _That_ should have been the focus of your criticism, not the suggestion of a contradiction, which in itself is just a cheap shot back.

Just to be clear, the Palinesque gunslingers caressing their bullet dispensers outside public healthcare forums, on one side, and me and my death posse on the other side are negotiating the healthcare reform bill.

You'll know when negotiations have ended when someone ends up with a fatal pre-existing condition.

Yglesias, Klein, Publius, Drum, Obama, Von, the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, you name it, have squat to do with this vital issue.

The only voice you need to hear is gunfire.

"But I was interested to hear your "longer" take on the argument (setting aside who's making it) that the administration is busily watering down health-care reform with some help from bloggers advancing the half-a-loaf meme."

Because I'm outside of the country, I'm not following this as closely as others here, but this seems to imply some coordination between the White House and various bloggers. I can understand that this may be overreading on my part (but if you agree with that, it would be nice to give some evidence of coordination), but I see the situation as being the White House not precisely defining the end product, because any definition will allow the media to play this as Obama lost. (cf. the recent kerfluffle over Sebelius and the public option) A piece I read (that I can't seem to locate) noted that this process of not clearly defining goals is something that both Lincoln and FDR practiced. Despite the current composition of Congress and opinion polls, I still think that the media, because of that Broderian notion of he said, she said, creates the situation we see now. One could define this as the White House refusing to take leadership, or the White House letting leadership develop. Others have noticed that in the townhall/teabaggers furor, the energy of progressives was lacking. In truth, I think this is only something that can be judged in hindsight, but I still think that if we don't have the kind of grassroots energy that characterized Obama's election victory, any move to the left is going to be swallowed up.

Echoing what others have said upthread....

The mere fact that BTD says something certainly does not make it worthy of serious consideration. He's a tiresome blowhard who, in addition to having a long record of wrong is a major internet bully. As a general rule, he's best ignored and avoided.

That being said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And I agree with scott that BTD raises some interesting issues about the way those on the pro-reform side have approached this debate, issues that might actually be worth discussing more carefully and seriously than BTD himself is capable of doing. Reform advocates, both in and outside the actual halls of power, have been doing a lot of unnecessary negotiating with ourselves. And I've been aggravated, if not particularly surprised, at the willingness of the more establishment-oriented voices on the "left" of the blogosphere--Matt, Ezra, and Kevin, e.g.--to counsel ditching the public option.

This post seems to me mainly about dismissing criticism of Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and Kevin Drum by locating a singularly unpleasant source of such criticism and shorter-ing him. But BTD deserves less attention and the issues he raises deserve more.

"The only voice you need to hear is gunfire."

...and in the overwhelming silence that follows, one idea walks out of the saloon door, the people on the streets realize the fight is over and shuffle slowly along their way, hoping the good guy won.

Krugman: Obama has punked progressives.

In litigation, you don't tell the other side what your bottom line is until the deal is done. But you also don't say you'll never make a compromise you would be willing to make. If the left says no public option, no deal, then the result could be no deal. ("Deal" here is with the Blue Dogs, since I accept that the Republicans have no interest in a deal. )

I'm torn. I have trouble believing that Jane Hamsher, nyceve and others would really rather see the bill go down to defeat than give up the public option.

On the other hand, their brinkmanship does seem to have worked so far; everyone now believes the final House bill will have a public option and it may yet emerge from conference.

I just fear that the public option will lead to a unanimous Republican filibuster, which cannot be broken without Byrd and Kennedy. Even splitting the bill would lead us with just the public option (and probably Medicaid expansion), and sacrificing all the other important reforms (community rating, ban on rescission, etc).

But you also don't say you'll never make a compromise you would be willing to make. If the left says no public option, no deal, then the result could be no deal.

Actually, no, negotiators say that sort of thing all the time. It depends on the situation. Part of negotiation is giving the other side the impression that your absolute bottom line is higher than what it actually is.

Look, it may be difficult to think of Ezra and Matt as the counterparts to George Will and Charles Krauthammer, but the reality is that they are viewed as progressive opinion leaders, not just two guys with blogs. With mild power comes mild responsibility. A lot of progressives had to get on the phone and scream bloody murder about Kathleen Sebelius just to dispel the notion created by Ezra and Matt that the left could get by just fine without a public option.

I don't want Ezra and Matt to become dishonest dissemblers, but I do want them to maintain a sense of where they fit into the overall progressive strategy. They may not have the influence of Paul Krugman, but the positions they stake out are still going to define the terms of the debate on the liberal side to at least some extent. So they should bear that in mind before casually musing that they're willing to give away the store.

I think Steve is exactly right. Obama has done a terrible job on this and his fetish with bipartisanship has led him and other dems to negotiate with themselves while the republicans and the blue dogs smirk and move the goal posts. The focus should be on shaving off the few blue dogs needed to get it passed in the house and then getting 50 votes in the Senate because Byrd and Kennedy will be wheeled in if needed and I find it hard to believe that any dem will actually vote against cloture even if they will vote against the bill in the end.

The bottom line is that the majority of Americans a) want a public option, b) support the President and c) don't like the republicans. Add to that the fact that WE WON and an inability to get the public option can be ascribed only to either epic incompetence by the dems in general and Obama in particular or the fact that Obama just did not try that hard because in the end the corporate interests, who are clearly well represented by the chief of staff, won.

I could care less about the interblog inside baseball crap.

seems to me w/o single payer AS the outcome, nothing will actually, in the real world, happen.
Insurance companies will continue to drive the thing.
Which is in Dim & Renut interests....the $ spigot. The Dims arent BAD at it, this (status quo, for all intents) is their desired outcome.
Sidebar- have you read of the impenetrable bureaucracy which is the Fed mortgage refi program?
I just see the end result more of the same....

"Look, it may be difficult to think of Ezra and Matt as the counterparts to George Will and Charles Krauthammer, but the reality is that they are viewed as progressive opinion leaders,"

Passive voice. Viewed by whom?

Charles Krauthammer:

s an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and a prominent political commentator. His weekly column appears in the The Washington Post and is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers and media outlets.[1] He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and The New Republic. He is a Fox News contributor, a regular panelist on Fox’s evening news program Special Report with Bret Baier and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.[2]
George F. Will:
[...] He won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for "distinguished commentary on a variety of topics" in 1977.

[...]

Will has also written two best-selling books on the game of baseball, three books on political philosophy, and has published eleven compilations of his columns for the Washington Post and Newsweek and of various book reviews and lectures.

His column is syndicated to 368 newspapers.

Will is also a news analyst for ABC since the early 1980s and was a founding member on the panel of ABC's This Week with David Brinkley in 1981 (now titled This Week with George Stephanopolous). Will was also a regular panelist on television's Agronsky & Company from 1977 through 1984 and on NBC's Meet the Press in the middle and late 1970s.

He was a consultant to Ronald Reagan.

Ezra has just achieved a small online blog at washingtonpost.com, and Matt has one obscure book, and a blog at a site that only people who pay attention to political blogs know about.

The equivalency here is nuts. When millions of people are listening to Matt and Ezra on tv, and reading their columns in the actual Washington Post, some equivalency might actually exist.

"A lot of progressives had to get on the phone and scream bloody murder about Kathleen Sebelius just to dispel the notion created by Ezra and Matt that the left could get by just fine without a public option."

Maybe this is true. But I have no way of knowing from this comment: which progressives, specifically? On the phone to who? And who are you, and what's your position to know this? Cite, cite, cite?

All I know is that you're some guy named "Steve" making an unsourced claim on a blog. As such, without cites, you have to establish credibility for your assertions.

Hey, if "Steve" doesn't mind, can he also get some links to posts where these progressives were "screaming bloody murder" about single payer from 2006-2008? Thanks!

This is the sort of thing I had in mind when I replied to markus upthread.

Will did various things in the 1970s and 1980s and Krauthammer writes in the WP and various conservative publications. etc.

This denies the importance of EK and MY to progressives opinion leaders, how? Passive voice or not, they are major players in the blogosphere and read and influence them much more than those two. A search or daily reading will find a myriad of cites, both positive and negative of those two. Or, as Steve say to "at least some extent" they are important.

They did not "create" the assumption that the public option isn't essential any more than recent comments by Publius about what should be demanded if it was taken away. They (and others) just helped promote it, and given their role among "progressive opinion leaders," this is notable.

As to bloody murder, I don't know what that means exactly, though there is the campaign sponsored by Jane Hamsher to pressure progressives on the point based on the fear the public option was being tossed aside by Obama. See also, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Greenwald on the point.

BTW, I'm unsure of the relevance of 2006-8 to this debate. What health care legislation being debated then?

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