Friday, March 19, 2010

The Spineless go to the wall

Jane Hamsher is right in her bitter lament about the Dim "left" cave on health care:

Nobody will take progressives in congress seriously, nor should they. Their threats are idle and they won’t fight for anything they believe in. In the end, they’ll just take turns shaking their fists in futility and alternately sucking so no serious liberal challenge ever emerges to anything.
Tbe pain is visible on Democracy Now as Dennis Kucinich, whos's spent his congressional life as a pirncipled outsider, explains why he switched to Obama after a ride on Air Force One:
it would be impossible to start a serious healthcare discussion in Washington if this bill goes down, despite the fact that I don’t like it at all. And every criticism I made still stands.
I want to see this as a step. It’s not the step that I wanted to take, but a step so that after it passes, we can continue the discussion about comprehensive healthcare reform, . . . But if the bill goes down and we get blamed for it, I think there’ll be hell to pay, and in the end, it’ll just be used as an excuse as to why Washington couldn’t get to anything in healthcare in the near future. 
Clearly Obama and the other Dem leaders were planning to retaliate against Kucinich and other holdouts, perhaps as the party retaliated against Cynthia McKinney in Georgia by running a "moderate" against her in the Demoratic primary.   Goodman and Gonzalez gave Kucinich every opportunity to say that he got something for caving in.  He seems to have gotten only the absence of retaliation.

It's sad because of Kucinich's courageous and unpopular stands against various wars along with other wasteful, destructive stupidity that the U.S. blunders into and then feels entitled to continue - like  the main elements of its awful healthcare system.  Sadder still is his apparent belief that by conceding this time, he will be listened to next time.  Au contraire.

Why does the progressive middle-class think that if it concedes now it will win later? If I agree with you now, will you agree with me later?  Ha ha ha, of course not!

There were some institutions that did work like that: large organizations with clearly-defined roles and job security, professional groups like medical practices, and other structures that institutionalized reciprocity, or codified it informally.  These were humanizing forces in society, even when they were bureaucratic, stratified, exclusionist, and so on. They are being relentlessly eaten away by the external and unilateral use of power, particularly forms of financial control like treatment regulations imposed on doctors by HMOs. That is the time of the iceberg.

Middle-class America  will increasingly approximate the condition of the US Congress, except without the floods of lobbyist cash. The failure continues to be intellectual, as Talk Left points out:
[Nate] Silver can not imagine a progressive bargaining position that threatened the passage of the health bills. No one could imagine it, even progressives. Until they can not only imagine it, but in fact project it in a political negotiation, progressives will remain irrelevant outside of Democratic primaries, when they will receive a plethora of campaign promises sure to be abandoned by pols.

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