One of the reasons the Obama-Pelosi health care bill is so unpalatable is that it runs counter to something deeply ingrained in our culture and fiber of our country. For all the heart we have as a country, which is why helping the most afflicted among us has worked through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, even unemployment and other popular government programs, Americans in general are a cantankerously unbridled lot. We may all hail from immigrant ancestors, but we fled to be free. There isn’t anything in our makeup that renders us malleable as a mass of conformists, especially when we’re confused. In fact, we rebel when we’re lumped together, which includes when we’re told what to do, can or can’t have or buy. There is a reason Democrats lost out on the gun issue and it’s not because people don’t want sensible gun laws.
The video here of “Hardball,” compliments of conservative Townhall, is the only video I’ve found with a short excerpt of the exchange between Matthews and David Corn. Frankly, I seldom watch “Hardball” anymore, but came upon the health care back and forth that’s worth parsing. It illustrates that Matthews is most times completely wrong on his political analysis these days.
I think the progressives, for all their power on the blogosphere, have not done a positive case for the advantages of some kind of social state. – Chris Matthews
To which David Corn responded:
CORN: Well, Obama hasn‘t, either. He‘s—you know, he‘s made this… … a big—you know, a better business issue.
Matthews loves to target “the blogsophere,” lumping your sister’s blog in with the pros, as if we all belong to the same monolithic organization. But also because like so many others he ignores the power of new media, preferring to disparage his competition and critics. Matthews is particularly disrespectful of movement progressives, those of you who work diligently as activists to make things happen. The thing he gets very wrong on the subject of health care is that it wasn’t “the blogosphere” who screwed up making “a positive case for the advantages of some kind of social state,” though this soundbite does encapsulize the Democratic messaging problem in a nutshell.
It was Pres. Obama, Speaker Pelosi and the entire progressive congressional delegation who blew it. They produced a big bad bill with tax increases that eventually hit the middle class pretty hard, demand Americans buy a product through a rigged system that has no competition, with insurance companies winning the customer lottery, as Americans lose choices, which goes double for women, and freedom to control something incredibly personal. As time goes by these things get worse, though Obama won’t be around when it hits the fan, and neither will others who put us in this mess.
The Democrats had a choice to do something simpler, easier to understand and implement, which could have gone into effect sooner, with a quicker impact on Americans that would have been immediately understood and felt. But the Obama White House and the Democratic elite, including the entire progressive caucus, didn’t want to listen to Dr. Howard Dean and fight for what was right. Expanding Medicare would have been the perfect beginning, while also rendering no argument over abortion, all of which Democrats botched while also moving the party to the right. People get Medicare, which is a monumentally popular program.
Instead, Democrats have created a health care monstrosity, the marketing of which they botched very badly, all the while the movement progressives, those people Chris Matthews is disparaging, kept warning the Democratic Party elite that without a public option or Medicare buy-in we’d all be trouble.
The leadership of the Democratic party missed the most fundamental reading of the people’s mood, but also the very thread of who we are as a country. We believe government has an important function, including regulating industry, because the greedy won’t do it themselves; providing for those who can’t, including the elderly whom we owe, etc. However, when a political party starts telling us what we must buy, as Democrats did with a mandate in a system without competition, even the most liberal rebel.
Matthews got the target wrong, because movement progressives warned the Democratic elite, with groups like Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, even the AFL-CIO accepting onerous taxes on the middle class, while women’s groups allowed the Democratic party to begin the carve out of reproductive coverage, but he did pinpoint a Democratic problem that is real.
The monstrous health care bill comes at a time when the public is in no mood for the people they want to fire to impose more rules on them.
Americans don’t have a problem with governmental oversight and programs that help us out, regulations and looking out for the people. We do, however, have a real issue with more monstrous bureaucracy put in place by politicians that benefits insurance and drug companies, who are also forcing us to buy what these companies are selling, making us guinea pigs to corporations whose whole existence is profit, not what’s good for the people.
Americans love sharing, helping the less fortunate, as the health care bill does, but even as the wealthy gets taxed, the middle class is getting squeezed. Maybe that’s why we’re getting news from Obama’s pet pundit, Richard Wolf, that the rich are about to get hit, while the middle class get some help.
Democrats were right to tackle health care, but they misread the American mood by a mile. What’s worse is there is nothing (small-d) democratic about the big bad bill they wrote, pushed and passed.
The Democratic misreading of the American mood has awakened the inner rebel that was instrumental in founding this country in the first place, and I’m not just talking about the Tea Party. Independents are now the fastest growing political group in this country, with Democrats making more of them since Pres. Obama came into office than anyone could have possibly imagined.