Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 9, 2009


Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Liberalism has been long been trapped by the notion that its virtues are defined by the evils of the political right. In fact, while opposing the right may be a necessity, it's not a policy.

The dangers of MSNBC style liberalism - i.e. behaving like Bill O'Reilly but just flipping the issues - has been well demonstrated during the healthcare debate. By obsessing on things like the conservative protests at Democratic town meetings, there has been little interest in looking at the Democratic health plans and seeing why so many are so easily worried by them.

For example, the Democratic plans don't build on what's working now i.e. lowering the age of Medicare or otherwise expanding its approach.

They are hopelessly complex, an open invitation to political disaster.

They contains a lot of cutesy provisions that may appeal to health industry lobbies but make what's going in the bills seem opaque.

They treat health too much as a budget issue without dealing adequately with people's medical concerns.

They are far too friendly with the health industry and the bills show it.

If the Democrats bomb on healthcare, the primary blame rests with them. The right's opposition was a given from the start. What wasn't a given was that the Democrats would mess things up so badly.

It didn't have to be like this. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 53% of Americans strongly support lowering Medicare to 55. Another 26% support it some what. That's 79% of Americans favorable to a plan the Democrats wouldn't even consider.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

MSNBC hosts Olbermann and Matthews have been calling opponents of Obamacare "racists." It so happens a majority of Americans are not convinced the Obama "reform" is something they want. MSNBC is acting as the DNC's FOX.
Smearing a majority of Americans thusly will not help the DNC. Looks like the DNC wants to repeat the GOP's self-destruction act of the second Bush term years.

August 9, 2009 10:19 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...

OK, two things. The opponents of Obamacare are using nazi symbols and placards denigrating blacks. If they're not racist, they're not being very smart about their "protest"

And to Sam. Remember, Obama wouldn't even let anyone discuss single-payer. Democrats start in the middle with further capitulation in mind. The "Obama reform" as some call it may be a positive step, but most people think it will be akin to a band-aid on a broken leg.

August 9, 2009 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Pablo said...

I agree with you, Robbie!
"Democrats start in the middle with further capitulation in mind."

Clinton did it, now Obama. Watching these guys go in to wrestle with the Republicans, it's just sickening. They are like a guy going to sell a horse, that might fetch, say, $1000 to 1200. So they go up to the fellow they hope to sell it to, and say, "You know, this old bag of bones here, I was hoping maybe to get $800 or 900 for it... You wouldn't want to pay $1000 for it would you? You know, 700 would probably be OK, maybe lower." And they are so f***ing concerned about making the Republicans happy. Guess what guys? You didn't score 39% in the elections, and you don't have to form a coalition government. You won, and you won pretty big, much bigger than GWB ever did, and you have a real majority in both houses of Congress. Act like it! Have a backbone for once!
And one more thing: Sam hit the nail on the head with his "hopelessly complex" bit. How the hell are they going to rally people behind something people can't really understand, much less want to really line up and march to win. How about: "Medicare option for every American"!!!

August 10, 2009 2:09 AM  
Anonymous Pablo said...

One more thing. We can't say Obama didn't warn us about... Obama. Remember when he told an interviewer during the campaign, that some kind of single-payer system would be the best, but that "a lot of people are attached to the system we have" and we really can't change it much.
wow, what audacity of hope!?

August 10, 2009 2:12 AM  
Anonymous Keesha said...

"The opponents of Obamacare are using nazi symbols and placards denigrating blacks. If they're not racist, they're not being very smart about their 'protest'."

Not everyone at the Townhalls are carrying signs comparing Obama to Hitler. You've either watched too much MSNBC or you came hear to lie because the "Nazi symbols" you refer to are signs comparing Obama to Hitler -- just like I compared Bush to Hitler when he was in the White House.
It's not the end of the world.

As for your claims of racist signs again maybe MSNBC tossed enough raw meat for you?

I haven't seen any racism signs on the news.

I think Robbie's comments prove Sam's point about the danger of the MSNBC goons.

For any wondering, I don't support Obamacare. I support single payer and would assume most people coming here do.

Here's a link:


August 10, 2009 10:52 AM  
Anonymous hawkwind said...

For the record I really enjoy MSNBC's leftie shows... yeah, sometimes Keith and Ed can be wrongheaded and overbearing but, you know, sometimes it just feels good to see people on TV who agree with me on something, and who take genuinely progressive positions rather than "liberal" ones a la Chris Matthews. I actually tend to agree with Sam more than just about any other leftish commentator I've seen but he doesn't have a TV show.

And Rachel and Ed especially do a good job of calling out the administration for avoiding single payer.

August 10, 2009 7:03 PM  
Anonymous robbie said...


I don't watch MSNBC. I don't have a TV. Once in a while I youtube something of Countdown or Rachel Maddow, but I didn't get the idea the sign was racist from them. I got the idea it was racist when I saw the picture.

And comparing Obama to Hitler over health care deform is MUCH different than comparing the Nazi to a Nazi because he was a Nazi.

August 10, 2009 7:34 PM  

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