Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Class conflict and health reform

David Brooks, New York Times:

It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plotline is exactly the same. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.

If you're anything like me, you often wonder what the fuck David Brooks is talking about.

Personally, I prefer the explanation that if you can't deliver what 72% of the population wants -- namely, a public alternative to private insurance -- you are likely to forfeit their "approval." This is especially true if the exclusion of what people want actually increases the costs of health reform.

This issue is a great example of how straight-up class conflict gets recast as a narrative about Democrats and Republicans just not getting along: Obama liberals are so far out in left field that responsible moderates just can't keep up!

But insofar as the complaint aimed at Obama is that his initiatives are out of step with Washington, this deliberately ignores the fact that most of Washington is out of step with 72% of Americans. In this respect, praise for "bipartisanship" is praise for rejecting public preferences out of hand.

The sad reality is that ours is a system in which 72% of the population can support something and still only command a minority in Congress, thanks to the well-organized interference run by private concerns.


Anonymous said...

"If you're anything like me, you often wonder what the fuck David Brooks is talking about."

Well, if you're anything like me, you don't bother with Brooks at all, except when you run across him in blogs like this one.

But in his usual superb manner, Larison points out **exactly** what the fuck Davey is talking about, and why. Brooks was one of the smug pricks cheering on everything Bush the Lesser did -- up until it became embarrassing. Time to jump ship then! And a gutless little careerist like Davey always knows whom to distance himself from. That's what the feigned god's-eye tone is all about.

Hell, it's enough to make you admire a psychopath like Smilin' Billy Kristol. I mean, the guy hasn't skipped a beat, he's **still** blithely dispensing fever dreams. And it doesn't seem to have reduced his bookings any....
-- sglover

Rottin' in Denmark said...

Also, don't the vast majority of Americans live in big cities and on the coasts?

Aligning political programs with the interests of urbanized Americans is, actually, the precise opposite of losing touch.