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June 22, 2009

Healthcare And The Economy: Time To Put The Public Back In The Policy

Posted in: bipartisan zombies,congress,corruption,democrats,economy,health care,oversight

Digby points to a Catherine Rampel piece at NYTimes.  In it, Rampel underscores a universal political truth:

According to two recent polls from The New York Times/CBS News and The Wall Street Journal/NBC News, Americans appear very worried about controlling the federal deficit.

…that most Americans put a higher priority on keeping the budget deficit down than on spending more money to stimulate the economy.

Creation of perception makes your political reality come to life, including through carefully Luntzian-crafted questions and manipulation of the after-messaging, regardless of the underlying facts and hard numbers.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

But only if we let it, as Digby aptly points out:

The fiscal scolds don’t stop when the numbers turn around. They keep up the fear mongering because it isn’t really about balanced budgets or paying down debt. It’s about keeping government from bringing positive results to the people. As long as they can keep people focused on debt, whether it exists or not, they always have the rationale to stop any sort of government action that could empower average citizens.

And thus we come back to the question I find myself asking over and over again when mouths yap up and down about the "good of the country" and "too big to fail" and "the market will sort it out" — what’s in it for the person whose gums are flapping?

What skin do they have in the game? What promotional interest or PR ploy or electoral backscratch is involved on the down low?

Krugman has a piece on the health-care-palooza traveling carnival show we’ve all been watching. And Paul asks the question I keep asking myself:

If I had to guess, I’d say that what’s really going on is that relatively conservative Democrats still cling to the old dream of becoming kingmakers, of recreating the bipartisan center that used to run America.

Bipartisan zombies must go.

At what point does the public’s interest get put back into the policy?  As Yglesias says, the public option still has overwhelming support from the…public. 

From the Blue Dogs, the well-heeled lobbyists, the suits and well-bonused fatcats….the elected officials who seem more interested in "what’s in it for me" and whether the public gets the shaft?  That’s pretty much an empty bench when it comes to the public’s interest these days, isn’t it?

I don’t know the answer on how to fix this, but I’m sick and tired of just being so pissed at the wasteful, self-serving bullshit.

John Anderson’s wonderful piece on the Pecora Commission keeps haunting me:

To an extraordinary degree, in the halls of Congress, the conspiracy of silence continues to protect sinners on both sides of the aisle. That it is patently obvious that there are more sinners on one side of the aisle than the other doesn’t seem somehow important enough to alter the equation.

And so, as it was not quite 80 years ago, and as it was again in 1973, someone—some one man, some one woman—must break the logjam if ever we are to get at the truth.

I’m sick of waiting for the man (YouTube). Let’s find a way to force the public back into the policy. Now.


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