Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Was HCR handled correctly?

I appreciate the sentiment here, but I really don't think any of this is right:
Meanwhile, nobody can seem to make a good campaign issue out of the fact that, for the first time ever, a law was passed that embraced at least in principle Ted Kennedy’s lifelong dream of universal health insurance. It was a weak and sickly stab at it, but it was a political triumph nonetheless. Why is this administration not getting credit for all it’s done, wonder the president’s most avid supporters. It’s because there’s nobody out there — including the president, apparently — who can connect these accomplishments in a coherent narrative in such a way as to command the respect of a public conditioned to believe that universal health insurance means that Stalin will rise from his grave in order to march your white-haired granny into hers.
I think Obama was effective in connecting HCR into a larger progressive tradition of progress and change. Remember all the stuff about how Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to pursue reform, and he was going to be the last? Reform has been getting more popular, in any event. The reason it isn't much of a campaign issue is because, well, it passed, and due to budget hawks it won't start in earnest for a few years. There's not much to campaign on yet, and people are more concerned about other things. I think there is a strong issue in forcing the GOP to come out in favor of repeal--a distinctly unpopular position among the public--but ultimately the economy is still issue #1. I think people are trying hard to improve that situation.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.