To hear critics of healthcare reform tell it, the whole world hates “socialized medicine.” So, presumably, Norwegians should have leapt at the opportunity to remove the yoke of government oppression from their overly taxed shoulders when conservative parties proposed partial privatization of the country’s healthcare system. Right? Wrong. In the country’s September 14 election Norwegian voters opted to continue striving toward the “social-democratic paradise” talked up by Prime Minister
, whose left-leaning coalition surged at the close of a campaign that became a test of the country’s commitment to liberal values and state-run healthcare and pension programs. Stoltenberg, the first Norwegian leader to win re-election in almost two decades, accepted his mandate “to renew, strengthen and improve the Norwegian social welfare state.” Suggested headline for US media: Socialized Medicine Proves Popular. JOHN NICHOLS
South Carolina Congressman
‘s infamous outburst during President Obama’s healthcare speech may not have endeared him to his Democratic colleagues, who voted overwhelmingly on September 15 to reprimand him, but it (and the left blogosphere campaign against him) has made him a cause célèbre of the right wing. As
noted inthe Washington Post, “The more times he is required to write ‘I will not call the President a liar’ on a special blackboard set up in the well of the House, the bigger hero he will become to a large chunk of the population.”
At press time, Wilson has raised more than $1.7 million since September 9–$750,000 of which came in within forty-eight hours of his eruption–outstrippingthe nearly $1.2 million he raised for his entire 2008 race. Wilson’s Democratic rival,
, hasn’t fared too badly either. Since Obama’s speech, his campaign has netted more than $1.5 million, in large part through a fundraising drive on
, whose members gave in hopes of “defeating the man who yelled ‘liar’ at Obama” or, as one donor put it, “retiring ass clown Joe Wilson.”
Miller, a former marine, lost the 2008 Congressional contest to Wilsonin a 55-45 percent split, having spent just $614,487, $220,000 of which came from his own pocket; so the incident as a whole has certainly helped to even the campaign-cash gap. Still, it’s premature to conclude that Wilson’s heckling will lead to a Miller victory in 2010.
“Folks are making Wilson a hero,” says
, a civil rights organizer from South Carolina, who also noted that his state is “the ideological home of white supremacy in the country.” Despite the Miller campaign’s growing pocketbook, Gray believes that Wilson’s constituents will continue to mobilize, making Miller’s chances slim. “It won’t be against Miller,” he says. “It will be against Obama. The black guy.” ELISABETH GARBER-PAUL
On September 12some 70,000 people participated in a
Taxpayer March on DC
. March coordinators called upon “thousands of local organizers and grassroots Americans” to take to the streets of Washington to protest “the out of control spending, the bailouts, the growth of big government and soaring deficits.” Pretty straightforward economic conservatism, right?