Last August, I entered the blogosphere because I was disturbed about the way the health care debate was going.
There were town hall shouting fests intended to disrupt civil discourse and to interfere with exchanges between Democratic members of Congress and their constituents.
Worse, the mainstream media started pushing the narrative that these shouters had hijacked the debate, that they had caught Democrats off guard, and that they had successfully beaten the Democrats by knocking them off message.
Put another way, I was disturbed by the failure of Democrats to push back. But in September and beyond I became even more disturbed by their failures to fight so-called moderate Democrats.
One evening in August, Rachel Maddow made a reference to Firedoglake and I checked it out. There, I learned about Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL08) and her efforts to undermine reform in the financial services industry, about Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN05) and his mealy-mouthed efforts to undermine real health care reform while doing everything he could to make sure that his constituents wouldn’t notice (not to mention the fact that he voted against the Democratic Party on the stimulus in January), about Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA14) and her efforts to give a huge gift to the biotech-pharmaceutical industry by means of inserting the so-called “evergreening” problem into the health care legislation. I could go, writing about the Obama administration, about other members of the House, and about more than a few senators, but the point – that I discovered a lot of good work being done at Firedoglake – has been made.
Over these few months, I’ve had some serious differences with Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake. Her initial response to the House passing H R 3692 – just after 64 supposedly Democratic members of the House ruined it by voting in favor of the Stupak Amendment – baffled me. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it angered me. In fairness, she changed course and started One Voice for Choice.
More recently, as the Senate moved to make deals in order to pass something that is oddly still called health care reform, though it is not, Hamsher wrote about the possibility of forming an alliance with people who are typically our opponents – right-leaning independents and libertarians – in order to find leverage against the current Senate bill so as to push for real health care reform by other means.
Immediately, someone named DemBah backwards (“habmed”) wrote an angry sounding comment, attacking Hamsher for trying to impose “an insane purity test” on the Democratic Party. I chose to respond. I did so in order to point out the obvious fact that Jane Hamsher has not tried to impose a purity test on Democrats at all.
But the attacks at Daily Kos have been reprehensible and weak at best.
Among the reprehensible was the one in which a diarist dragged out a photo from three years ago that is entirely irrelevant to the current debate (thus, an easily dismissed personal attack) and nonsensically placed Hamsher next to racist images that are so popular among the teabagging crowd. Frankly, I think that anyone who can’t see through the stupidity of such fallacies – that anyone who can let him- or herself be so easily manipulated into accepting the bs conclusion on which they’re based – needs to learn how to think for him- or herself.
An example of a weak argument is one by a diarist who disagrees with Hamsher over whether Americans who want real reform in our health care system should oppose the Senate bill and turns his disagreement with her into an attack against her character and methods. Such attacks make great reading (with all the intrigue of a decent novel), but the effort to turn nothing into the appearance of something and make it all sound so insidious doesn’t pass the credibility test. The bottom line is that the diarist by his own admission cares much more about getting people who run as Democrats elected and about protecting them once they’re in office than about what they do while they’re in office and wielding power. Weak. Such simplistic thinking is in fact harmful to the Democratic Party he suggests he loves so much.
Besides, any guy who would tell a woman she should blow him because he doesn’t think very highly of her is just a dick with no credibility.
Let’s put the nonsense aside.
Firedoglake may not be the right place for you if: 1) you care more about protecting the careers of everyone and anyone who ran for office with a “D” after his or her name than about holding those whom the American people elect accountable for what they do in office; or, 2) you think that the career of any particular politician is more important than seeing that he or she works for the American people and serves their interests and the interests of the common good.
Otherwise, attacking Jane Hamsher and Firedoglake seems, at best, counterproductive.
At worst, I think it’s just plain stupid.
So, I came to the blogosphere last August because I care deeply about reforming our broken health care system. The result has been a huge disappointment, as all the underlying problems that were breaking the system will remain unless something is done. Indeed, what the Senate’s proposing and what the House is being forced to accept can potentially make the problems worse before the decade is out, once you factor in the inevitable abuses of the private insurers that the CBO simply can’t factor into its analysis.
Either way, we’ll be forced to battle with the private insurers over every little thing until there is real reform, which at a minimum must include something like a public option.
Many promises were made last year and, throughout this debate over how to fix our health care system, there have been compromises upon compromises, each one being rejected until even the consolation prize of a weak Medicare buy-in for Americans 55-64 was thrown out with the trash.
I’m hugely disappointed with President Obama, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and with the Senate Democrats for having failed to do more to achieve real reform.
Is anyone else as disappointed as I am?
[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]
[Cross-posted at Daily Kos, where
there are over 125 comments.]