For once I thought Pollitt was a little off--especially in her final point. The blame for this emerging fiasco lies squarely in the Obama camp, not in the implied juvenile narcissism of his supporters. The fact that the Obama presidential campaign magnificently utilized grassroots support didn't make it a grassroots movement; the movement was galvanized from above by a spectacular cheerleader-in-chief, Barack Obama himself. But the Obama administration is not approaching healthcare reform like an election campaign: they're sticking, for whatever bizarre reason, to the preposterous fiction that change in the healthcare system can be achieved by a friendly collaboration between partners acting in good faith--as if that's possible with an industry whose existence is parasitic at best and vampiric at worst.
The gloves--which should never have been on at all--should have come off with the first mention of "death panels." The fact that the climate has been allowed to deteriorate to the point where professional politicians feel safe airing this vicious blood libel is not the fault of the people who worked so hard to get Obama elected: it's the fault of the administration, which has not utilized its position to set the pararmeters of the debate. If no one in the Democratic power structure wants to talk frankly about the insurance industry, the Democrats are going to wind up playing defense. And although it's a truism, it doesn't make it any less true: defense is not a winning strategy in politics.
Sep 2 2009 - 3:47am