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Profiles in courage, as "Open" "Left" makes its single payer censorship policy explicit

[A warm welcome to the usual suspects. What took you so long? -- lambert]

Mr. Bowers loses his touch, and makes a clumsy attempt to conflate snark in a Quick Hit with commentary: "Progressive bloggers don’t write about single-payer because they are afraid of Rahm"*.

Fortunately, I assumed that "progressives" like Bowers would stoop to outright censorship at some point, so here is the post Bowers censored in order to replace with that link:

cant_understand_500

So, the question's still on the table: Why don't "progressive" bloggers cover single payer?

And now, the badge of honor!

banned

Banned!

Finally, here's the post that Bowers is concerned to avoid answering (it was at the other end of the "can't understand" link (I think) in the screen dump above). Let me just post that screen dump for the record:

ol_policy

Perhaps, now that I am unable to respond, Brave, Brave Sir Bowers will find it in himself to answer the questions posed. Particularly the one about the assumption of good faith...

NOTE * Somewhere in my blog travels in the last few weeks, there's been a big post from a reasonably respectable, unshrill source, that makes the same point Bowers finds so pearl-clutchingly terrible. Can't lay my hand on it, though. Readers?

NOTE The solution is really simple and it's not about lambert, as I have no doubt that Mr. Bowers does -- indeed, must -- believe, since the alternative is too frightening. At a minimum, Open Left needs to figure out whether it's about "any stick to beat a dog"-style advocacy, or about reporting. Right now, they want the credibility of being reporters, and the power of being operatives. That's why Bowers is flailing and, since he can't answer the arguments made, goes into full denial mode by shooting the most persistent messenger. That level of denial doesn't bode well for "progressives." After selling a health care policy that would have 130 million enrollees, be Medicare-like, and provide a smooth glide path to single payer, "progressives" delivered a system with 10 million enrollees by 2019, not Medicare-like, and with single payer outlawed in the states. That's a terrible track record, and if they plan to improve their performance, some level of self-criticism, some approach to "lessons learned," would seem to be the order of the day. I don't think it will happen. Denial is operating at gale force. Too bad.

NOTE I have no doubt that the usual suspects won't check the moderation policy here. Obviously, I'm not propagating right wing memes or using any stick to beat a dog-style argumentation.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

But I'm not sure their commenting system works with Firefox. Neither my two year old old login nor a new one would work. Oh well.

What I would have liked to ask is why there is so little coverage of single payer. He says it's not Rahm. (Well, he doesn't actually say so, but I'm guessing that's the intended gist.) So what is it? Why is single payer, by any name, not worth much coverage according to him? I'd be curious to know.

Submitted by lambert on

But, apparently, I won't be able to ask it.

Perhaps others more deferential than I am will be able to?

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

as I wrote my comment but I figured I'd just get some wishy-washy response like "Well, we can cover only so much."

The answer (or the answer I'd give) as to why is right in lambert's post.

After selling a health care policy that would have 130 million enrollees, be Medicare-like, and provide a smooth glide path to single payer, "progressives" delivered a system with 10 million enrollees by 2019, not Medicare-like, and with single payer outlawed in the states. That's a terrible track record…

They can't cover single payer because every syllable about single payer belies and magnifies their incredibly poor strategic choice and lousy outcome. The people who are protesting and risk arrest now simply did not buy any of the package—the constraints, the bait, the supposed path to universal coverage—sold by the progressives. They're a living rebuttal to so-called incremental strategy.

Submitted by bigchin on

Because Bowers is a fraud.

Because Obama is a fraud.

Because the National Democratic Party is a fraud.

They will lose because they are frauds.

And they will blame the "left"

... and then lose again.

They aspire to to their own obsolescence.

Mithras's picture
Submitted by Mithras on

Maybe people don't like you just because you're an asshole, not because you're pro-single payer. Out of all of the so-called "A list" who you chase after, only digby - sweet soul that she is - even tolerates your antics. The unreasoning invective, the air of martyrdom, the dumb catchphrases and high school French - it's the definition of "poseur." I'm guessing that's why they ignore you, not because of your preferred policy on health care.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

...and your objections to covering single-payer are?

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

We're talking about health care policy here (and 44,789 deaths [PDF] in the US per year), not lambert, really.

Submitted by lambert on

They're talking about lambert because they can't talk about health care. When they do that, all these ugly issues of policy and strategic ineptitude come up. So here we are! If only the world didn't have so many assholes speaking high school French, we'd be covering the people who are going to jail to support single payer in a New York minute, you betcha!

Submitted by lambert on

... in a rule governed environment, I bow to your implied request.

My mother had a cat once who hated my aunt (well, hated everybody except my mother). One time, the cat walked up a flight of stairs, walked into my aunt's room, hissed at her, and then walked out and back down the stairs.

And so Mithras. Honestly, logging in just to call someone an asshole? What on earth is the point?

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

but that convention is somehow too irresistible for me not to comment on, even as I agree with it.

Mithras really just wanted to say it's you, you, you! But the problem is (1) it's not you and (2) his take is wrong, anyway. People who say that sort of thing, as I've said before, don't get it—they're operating in that world that Barbara Ehrenreich is writing about: the people pointing out the uncomfortable truths are the deviants who must be ostracized. Your aunt's cat was just dealing in pure loathing, which is always easier to defend.

My dime-store, incredibly obvious psychological theory is that, as the curtain draws to a close on this health care insurance fiasco, the reality will begin to creep in slowly, the denial will even be harder to maintain, and messengers like you will be even more quickly banned or shot summarily.

Chris, who always strikes me as "conflicted," seems to be having a sort of blogosphere version of a nervous breakdown—lashing out, censoring, cracking down—which indicates, to me, at least, not that he thinks you're wrong but that he knows you're right. Sad to see, really. (How hard would it be, really, for him to say "You know, lam, old boy, it is actually quite a good idea to cover more [actually, "some"] of that single-payer stuff…" and then just cover it straight, no hardcore advocacy, just reporting. You're not calling for "all power to the Soviets!" or something. Unreal.)

Submitted by lambert on

... I'm sure PNHP has somebody housebroken who could post and would like the exposure. So this isn't hard.

Submitted by lambert on

Obviously, posting on single payer as policy has nothing to do with personalities. As you can tell, by poor Bowers' non-response to the points made.

Just to repeat the part of my post that anticipates material like yours:

The solution is really simple and it's not about lambert, as I have no doubt that Mr. Bowers does -- indeed, must -- believe, since the alternative is too frightening. At a minimum, Open Left needs to figure out whether it's about "any stick to beat a dog"-style advocacy, or about reporting. Right now, they want the credibility of being reporters, and the power of being operatives. That's why Bowers is flailing and, since he can't answer the arguments made, goes into full denial mode by shooting the most persistent messenger. That level of denial doesn't bode well for "progressives." After selling a health care policy that would have 130 million enrollees, be Medicare-like, and provide a smooth glide path to single payer, "progressives" delivered a system with 10 million enrollees by 2019, not Medicare-like, and with single payer outlawed in the states. That's a terrible track record, and if they plan to improve their performance, some level of self-criticism, some approach to "lessons learned," would seem to be the order of the day. I don't think it will happen. Denial is operating at gale force. Too bad.

But thanks for logging in, and all to type the word "asshole." We all get excitement as we can, eh? I welcome your hatred. It means I'm doing the right thing.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

And "maybe" your comment here is because you are concerned about enacting single-payer health care and Lambert's incredible rudeness is hurting your efforts. *snort*

Then again, "I'm guessing" it's about mindlessly defending your tribe (because they are delicate flowers) against a perceived attack by an unpopular "outsider", and who gives a fuck about health care, really?

Tip: if yer into content-free Corrente-stalking, there are tons of places to go. Some blogs are devoted to it! While you are enforcing purity, Bob Somerby is also not sufficiently cool. Why don't you send him an email too? You can tell him he's a crank and an asshole and why doesn't he understand that people hate him and please lay off your pals, because he's just a grievance seeking loser?* This is important for him to know!

*Plus he also (OMZG!) occasionally uses words in ANOTHER LANGUAGE! *gasp* *vapors* *must lie down*

Michael Kwiatkowski's picture
Submitted by Michael Kwiatkowski on

Lambert's among those of us telling the truth and pointing out the dishonesty, hypocrisy, and exclusionary methods practiced by you pseudo-progressives. The truth is not pleasant, nor is it meant to be. Maybe if you and your fellow establishment-boot-lickers stood for principle instead of selling it out from under the rest of us, you wouldn't find yourselves offended by the truth.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i've been trying to think of the right thing to contribute to this discussion. here's what i've come up with, flame away if you disagree. basically, although not a direct feed, people like Bowers rely upon a revenue and access stream, one that is tied to the powers that be. those powers, right now, are busy making sure that there is no dissension in the ranks. because in the Village, anyone to the Left of hitler has to demonstrate 1000% Unity in order to make their arguments for policy work, in the bipartisanworld they live in.

so i tend not to be so harsh on the OL crowd. they annoy me frequently, but i consider that a good sign. the fact that OL took down your post is a good thing, imho. it means 1)someone in power is reading USP advocate posts, and b) the cheerleading class for the "public" option know it is bullshit.

Submitted by lambert on

1. Yes, it's a good sign. Bowers wouldn't have taken the post down and banned me unless he was feeling pain, so that means the arguments are sticking. Same deal with poor Mithras, here. Neither have any analytical response, so they've got to shoot the messenger. Like Atrios said at one point: The only way to get a politician's attention besides money is pain. And here we are!

2. Sure, Bowers can make money any way he wants. But he doesn't get the benefit of the presumption of good faith when he doesn't post on topics his paymasters don't want him to cover -- if, as you say, that's what's happening -- all while claiming to be "open" "left." His choice of business model is not my problem -- except insofar as it denies those like me health care, of course.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I know you meant this in jest, but actual mental illness is no joking matter:

Obviously, health care is not part of the "reform" process so we will be left with a profit-based system of "care," so where would someone go if they needed psychiatric help?

EDIT: Let me add this Fresh Air interview of a woman who worked the psychiatric wing at a hospital to help show the utter disaster that that awaits too many of the mentally ill in this country from dealing with our "health care" system alone. Health care, including mental health, is a gravely serious issue. All anyone here is trying to do is focus on pushing the Democrats to deliver the best policy possible.

Mithras's picture
Submitted by Mithras on

No, I'm serious. Most people get over this kind of high-schoolish need for attention by this age.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

to accuse your critics of having psychological problems.

Mithras's picture
Submitted by Mithras on

The Soviets institutionalized people. I'm saying he needs to seek help himself.

Submitted by bigchin on

Junk science... and the reason people like you are losers.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

You obviously didn't read the RAND link or you would see that even those mentally ill who have insurance face incredible difficulties in getting actual health care. but for someone who treats mental illness as a lame joke to try and deflect the fact you have no answer to our questions, I shouldn't be surprised.

Mithras's picture
Submitted by Mithras on

No, really. Your argument comes down to, "You 'A list' bloggers are not writing the things that I would write!!!" Which isn't really an argument, but a complaint. To which you have heard the only correct response already: You have a blog. Write what you want on it. Don't bitch about what other people write on theirs.

And in all honesty - this is not meant for you, lambert, because I'm past caring about you - I know many of these so-called "A-list" people. I am fairly certain they aren't trimming their sails to gain access to Nancy Pelosi. (As Bowers has patiently explained to lambert already.) They just grasped months ago that single payer is not do-able this Congress, and so are focusing on what is possible. Which lambert is not. Because he'd rather be pure than accomplish something. Because he doesn't really understand how this politics stuff works. Because he's an asshole.

So, lambert, in short, fuck you. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Why did someone as cool as the farmer ever associate with you?

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Brave Sir Mithras please, whom is this quest for? Have you decided to demonstrate to the "many people that you know" that you can face up to the ogre in his den? You've got their back? Is it for all of us dullards here?

So who exactly "really understand[s] how this politics stuff works"? And if they understand, then the shit-sandwich that is apparently on its way is the product they desire? Or is it the product that the brightest minds are capable of producing?* And if either, then no criticism is welcome?

Meh.

*It's hard work.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

This statement is a bit vague, but if by "this stuff" you meant politics, political horsetrading, political activism and/or political advocacy, then I have to say I am still bewildered by OL/"progressives"/"A-listers" naivete, and amused at the accusations hurled at everyone else that they are the ones who don't understand.

Even small children knowthat when negotiating for something, you start with the most that you want and negotiate down. You don't start down and just hope that the other side will graciously allow you to negotiate up later.

But I do want to thank Mithras for reminding me of the unfettered bullying of the primaries. I'd almost forgotten. Scream down your critics at all costs.

Submitted by lambert on

... because I think he's giving us all a very important lesson about "progressive" values, if any. The other commenters on this thread have done a fine job of shooting the fish in mithras's little barrel of argumentation.

Hey, Mithras, out of curiousity, do you know what OL's business model is? I'd like to know.

* * *

NOTE I haven't granted Mithras's suicide requests (yet), not only because his posts are such an object lesson, but because I think his crude misrepresentations and sloppy writing do his own faction, which I oppose, more harm than good. So, say on, Mithras!

UPDATE I vaguely remember the ideas of some French psychologist on the difference between neurosis and psychosis; the neurotic would look at, say, two flowerpots, and see two assholes. But the psychotic would look at, say, a collendar and see hundreds of assholes. So, mithras's first comment was about one asshole, this comment is about two assholes, and one can only wonder where his imagination will take him next!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

They are focusing on what is do-able.

Is Lambert a member of Congress? Does he need to focus on the "do-able," (if that is in fact what members of Congress need to focus on)? No, he's a private citizen, and his job is to express his principles. What happens if we all get focused on the "do-able" as told to us by our high and mighty members of government? The bar gets lower and lower. The "do-able" becomes less and less.

The fact of the matter is that something is not "do-able" because this bar has gotten so low. It's now acceptable for people to take money from anywhere that will give it. It's now acceptable to be corrupt, because everyone else is. Why? Because we believe them when they tell us what is "do-able." If we all stuck to our principles, the bar for what is "do-able" would rise very quickly and go very far.

So, I'm glad that Lambert can say what he believes in. This influence he or anyone else can get through a blog, or through whatever, does not decrease the need to speak on principle, but increase it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

They just grasped decided months ago that single payer is not do-able this Congress, and so are focusing on what they think is possible.

and some of us think that not only was a lot more possible, it was imperative.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

One more thing Mithras, Vastleft caught that as late as Sept. 18, 2009, Chris Bowers disagrees with what Chris Bowers disagrees with, or conversely, some guy named "Chris Bowers" "gets it", meanwhile some other guy named "Chris Bowers" doesn't "get it":

"Some guy named "Chris Bowers" at Open Left, in a post titled "Conspiracy of Bogus Process Arguments" (I've edited out the specific policy he was referring to, since the general wisdom of his concept is so great):

Instead of arguing against the [policy at hand] in policy terms, the Senators instead argue that the [policy at hand] simply cannot pass. In fact, among these five Senators, only Joe Lieberman has even stated his opposition to [policy at hand]--and Lieberman cites the inability of the [policy at hand] to pass as his "most important" rationale for opposition....

This is how conservative Democrats talk to progressive Democrats. Instead of coming out against progressive policy ideas on their merits, they instead offer up process argument. Further, as is the case with the arguments above, such process arguments are typically bogus. They all claim there aren't enough votes for [policy at hand], without citing a list of Senators that makes it impossible, and without addressing either reconciliation or the nuclear option....

We have to diffuse these process arguments. We need to show that all of these Democrats talking about the need for 60 votes are simply lying.... Countless Democrats and pundits have been spreading this fundamental mistruth about the operation of the Senate, and using it as justification for why the Senate continues to either defeat or water down every aspect of the progressive agenda. They don't go on record against progressive policy, but just claim their hands are tied. That simply isn't true. We need to put an end to this conspiracy of bogus process arguments."

Posted in its entirety because it needed to be.

Michael Kwiatkowski's picture
Submitted by Michael Kwiatkowski on

After all, you're the one behaving like the proverbial attention-seeking high school student. By the way, just how old are you, and shouldn't you have taken your own advice by now?

Submitted by lambert on

Wake me when it's over, somebody. I remember the "seek help" snark from years ago. It's really rather charming and innocent. Sweetly non-inventive.

Hey, it's pretty easy to really prove I'm an asshole -- Destroy the argument. Just give me a list of all the front page single payer posts at "Open" "Left." Eh? Bonus points for stories about single payer advocates being arrested and going to jail.

A.Citizen's picture
Submitted by A.Citizen on

....but it's wasted on Bowers. I know him and Stoller, since left to get the Geetus from some CongressScum, and really the guy has no clue about what he is doing other than finally people pay attention to him.

In the interest of transparency I must reveal that I was banned by the 'BoneHead' for commenting that, '...if elected Obama will be constrained to govern in essentially the same way McSame would'.

Bowers could not handle it. Said that my comment was, 'the most heinous thing he'd ever seen on his blog.

res ipsa loquitor and all that...

Tell yah, I don't miss the stupidity.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

It will be interesting to see whether Bowers and Lux et. al. will succeed in (or even push for) recruiting Open Lefters as front line troops for the insurance company bailout, now masquerading as the "public option".

This issue, more than any other, has stripped away their activist façade to reveal Ivy League technocratic DP hackery in all its naked glory.

Fewer and fewer dissident voices seem to be allowed. And those that remain-e.g. David Mizner, Z, seem to be walking on eggshells in their recent comments.

I'm curious how many banned OLers have found their way to the greener pastures of this blog.

Here's a shout out for you to weigh in and be counted. (And maybe throw a few bucks Lambert's way as well.)

Submitted by hipparchia on

i was initially drawn by their bush dogs effort. i only lurked, never commented, but they were my go-to lefty blog back in the day.

then they started pushing their 'responsible plan to end the war' which was ok if not spectacular, but the fact that they uncritically passed on the meme [or did they start it?] that it was a responsible plan, led me to the conclusion that they were all about achieving political power for their own group [not a bad thing in itself, in fact, quite a good thing if done for the right objectives] but they're not very smart about actual policy [or else they don't care, power is all].

fortunately, i found corrente at about that time.

Submitted by cg.eye on

the hit-and-run ill treatment from those betters during the CDS days, here comes the example of a person who says 'asshole' (and 'bitch', if gender allowed), as if his imputed status gave him the power to judge without offering proof or nuance.

I've seen daycare kids digging into their toddler diapers with more tact and grace. Thanks for reminding me that at least the GOP's goons never pretend to be on my side, to insult my stand on the issues. Thanks, OL!

cwaltz's picture
Submitted by cwaltz on

I'd take it in stride. I daresay passing health insurance reform that isn't going to affect 90% of the country as a best case scenario is going to be enough to keep the Dems in power anyways. I wish Bowers lots of luck in persuading people the left side of the aisle is superior on issues with the track record he is going to have to work with.
Heck, if he can't cover the story from all the angles I don't see how he is any better than those on the right side of the aisle more interested in promoting propaganda than real solutions to real problems.

brucedixon's picture
Submitted by brucedixon on

I was wondering why Open Left continues to give next to no coverage of single payer events. Thanks to lambert's relentless prodding, we now know beyond any shadow of a doubt. OL is paying the price to remain in the good graces of the administration.

Who knew such obligations came with the regular paycheck, and the continuing certification in the fellowship of Democratic party consultants? The Democratic party establishment long ago effectively annexed a great deal of blogistan, and now the worst criminals are anybody to the left of the White House. The longer this goes on, and the further we get into this administration, the more of us to its left will be banned from places where the polite and respectful Conversations That Matter are happening. That's just the way it is.

Chris is doing his job. We need to double down on ours. Seems to me this underlines the urgency of what lambert was pushing a while back, of developing our own sustainable infrastructures and not being so utterly dependent on the Democratic party and its consultant class.

Submitted by lambert on

What you said, Bruce. Thanks. I'm glad you understood and explained.

NOTE Incidentally, I'm not granted the several suicide requests from mithras, because I think his comments are both instructive and so bad they're actually damaging his cause. Say on, Mithras!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Open Left had a hot link saying that OL received $1 from HCAN for everyone they signed up for HCAN's campaign. It is not there right now.

I always wondered how they could jeer at Baucus for taking AHIP money but turn around and take HCAN money to maintain the black out of single payer news.

The best thing can happen is for Lieberman and Lincoln to join the GOP fillisbuster and sink the insurance bail out. If this legislation passes it will be wildly unpopular.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

and that is that it will create pressure on our elected representatives in ways the status quo does not.

Not sure where I stand on whether I want this thing to pass or not, but it's not clear to me that the best way forward is for it to not pass (not clear to me it isn't either).

Submitted by lambert on

There's noting about there yet but talking point summaries from Pelosi.

You can bet the lobbyists know every line, but we don't.

On both FISA and finance, the Dems have demonstrably made things worse (except for the constituencies that actually matter to them, of course). This bill could well make things worse. Everybody agrees there are no cost savings. So whose hide do the savings come out of?

Submitted by hipparchia on

it was still there sometime last night

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