There are only two things happening on the Internet today: one — further reports that after this woman-beating, then covering-up-with-state-police scandal, David Paterson won’t be able to run for dog catcher in this town (to dust off an old but wonderful phrase); and two — various commentators analysis of yesterday’s health care summit. I’ve got nada to say about Paterson, so health care it is!
If you’re one of the 11 damned souls who watched all 43 hours of the health care summit yesterday, stop reading and go tell your family you love them. For everyone else looking for a quick round up, you can’t do better than Paul Krugman’s column today in the New York Times. Read the whole thing, but here’s an illustrative passage. After speculating that the summit may well lead to passage of a bill, he writes:
If so, the debate will have ended as it began: with Democrats offering moderate plans that draw heavily on past Republican ideas, and Republicans responding with slander and misdirection.
That is a just a fact. The current bill closely resembles what the GOP recommended during Clinton’s failed attempt at health care reform, and Republicans have done nothing but attempt to grind the process to a halt with lies and fear-mongering. He continues:
[R]ight off the bat [Lamar Alexander] delivered a whopper, asserting that under the Democratic plan, “for millions of Americans, premiums will go up.”
Wow. I guess you could say that he wasn’t technically lying, since the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate Democrats’ plan does say that average payments for insurance would go up. But it also makes it clear that this would happen only because people would buy more and better coverage. The “price of a given amount of insurance coverage” would fall, not rise — and the actual cost to many Americans would fall sharply thanks to federal aid.
Notice that Krugman deals with the specifics of what a Republican said, and, with the help of facts, reveals it for the slander that it is.
Contrast that with how David Brooks describes the summit:
Statements from Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, were partisan spin. The Republican leaders, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, were smart enough to stand back and let Senator Lamar Alexander lead the way, which he did genially and intelligently. While Alexander was speaking, Reid and Pelosi wouldn’t even deign to look at him.
He makes no attempt to deal with any specifics in that passage, nor in his entire column. Brooks’ main problem, it seems, is that Mean Harry and Nancy wouldn’t look at Smarty Lamar when he was spouting his nonsense. That, in a nutshell, is the extent of the analysis David Brooks is capable of. More vagaries followed:
If you thought Republicans were a bunch of naysayers who don’t know or care about health care, then this was not the event for you. They more than held their own.
He doesn’t give a single example to back that claim up. None. Why would he? Just make blanket statements about “partisanship” and move on. That’s what got him his job, so, I suppose, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Brooks’ response is illustrative of the entire GOP’s approach to the health care debate. Make crazy assertions, then sit back and see which ones stick. They have no incentive to reach a compromise, and considering all the concessions they’ve already gotten with pure obstructionism, why change now.
Once again, it’s worth remembering how limited and in many ways destructive the “Democrats are good, Republicans are bad” mindset is, so I’ll give the final words to Jane Hamsher over at FDL. She constantly reminds us that the Democratic party members are shills for the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies — only a bunch of dummies couldn’t see that:
Anthony Weiner, Glenn Greenwald and Joe Scarborough pointed out the obvious this morning– the public option is substantially more popular than the Senate/White House bill. Now that only 50 votes are needed, there is no good argument to be made for even trying to pass a bill without one — it’s simply a way to pay off Rahm Emanuel’s backroom deals.