Jane Hamsher makes it official

The Netroots now prefer the Teabaggers to Barack Obama. What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the striking things about the Netroots Revolt against the health care bill is how much the rhetoric sounds like Tea Party rhetoric: the government is a conspiracy between the two major parties and the special interests to screw over good, decent, ordinary folks, and the current Administration is corrupt and incompetent. But since “Teabagger” is about as nasty a name as you can call someone in Blue Blogistan, I decided (for once) to be polite and not make the point.

But what’s the use? Jane Hamsher just made it for me.

There is an enormous, rising tide of populism that crosses party lines in objection to the Senate bill. We opposed the bank bailouts, the AIG bonuses, the lack of transparency about the Federal Reserve, “bailout” Ben Bernanke, and the way the Democrats have used their power to sell the country’s resources to secure their own personal advantage, just as the libertarians have. In fact, we’ve worked together with them to oppose these things. What we agree on: both parties are working against the interests of the public, the only difference is in the messaging.

Right. The bailouts that prevented the Great Recession from turning into a second Depression were a bad idea, because some bank executives took home bonuses they didn’t deserve. And the only difference between the party that gave us Justice Scalia and the party that gave us Justice Sotomayor, the only difference between the party that passed the Lilly Ledbetter bill and the party that opposed it almost unanimously, the only difference between trying to stop global warming and denying that it exists, the only difference between Sarah Palin and her racist-nativist-theocrat crew and Barack Obama and his supporters, is “messaging.”

And therefore it makes sense for Jane Hamsher to join Joe Lieberman and Bill Kristol in putting an effective end to the Obama Presidency, while leaving tens of millions of the uninsured out in the cold.

Footnote Henry Aaron, who actually knows what he’s talking about, disagrees. So does Paul Krugman. But now that the Netroots have parted company with the reality-based community, following people like Howard Dean who have parted company with reality, that scarcely matters.

Update Commenter KCinDC pulls a better quote from Hamsher’s rant:

… the “lazy progressive bloggers” and the tea party activists are saying almost the exact same thing about the Senate bill.

Now, lemmesee, I used to know how this “logic” thing worked.

If (1)  Teabaggers are stone crazy, and if (2) Jane Hamsher agrees with the Teabaggers, then …

… better not go there.

Steve Benen rebukes people criticizing the Netroots for trying to scuttle the bill:

there are reflexive, knee-jerk opponents of health care reform, who seem more concerned with an ideological agenda than the nation’s needs. You won’t find them on Daily Kos or FireDogLake — these opponents include Tea Party activists, Fox News’ on-air personalities, and the vast majority of the Republican caucuses in both chambers of Congress.

I see what he’s trying to say.  But it’s hard to agree with him when Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake says, in so many words, that she agrees with the “Tea party activists.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

33 thoughts on “Jane Hamsher makes it official”

  1. She's even more specific about her solidarity with the teabaggers: "… both the 'lazy progressive bloggers' and the tea party activists are saying almost the exact same thing about the Senate bill."

  2. Couple of points.

    1) This is batshit insane. Pure and simple.

    2) Given 1, it does not follow that the final bill will be worth passing. People keep talking as if it's a done deal, while avoiding the reality that Ben Nelson has not agreed to it (and is making some pretty insane comments of his own in regards to both abortion and Medicaid). Nor am I convinced that Bayh, Landrieu and/or Lincoln won't be next in line with demands. Or that Holy Joe won't change his mind, yet again!

  3. I see a bill that won't so much "cover" more people as force them to buy insurance they already can't afford, and at prices they can't pay. Pretending it'll be affordable just because the insurance companies will be gobbling up their profits from a subsidized public trough instead of directly from their new customers doesn't really do anything to remedy the underlying structural problems that have made reform a necessity in the first place. The changes that would make coverage affordable for our nation as an aggregate have been steadily stripped from this bill. The same old unaffordable health care system will continue to get even more expensive, and the subsidies will be prime targets for future congresses looking to trim fat. I fear that in 5 years we'll be looking at a mandate without a subsidy, with no fixes for what really caused this mess.

    I put cover in quotes above because it seems evident to me that the only policies most of our nation's poor will be able to afford are high deductible junk insurance that doesn't do a thing to prevent financial ruin in the event of a serious illness. How is spending money (even with a subsidy) on that kind of policy better than spending that money to keep food on the table?

    Mark, you mention putting an effective end to the Obama presidency, but, if this is as effective as he can be as a leader for our nation and his party, I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing. It doesn't follow that what is good for Obama is necessarily good for the United States.

    On the whole, I think it's probably better if the Congress passes no bill than it would be to pass the current version. I'd rather see the Senate spend its time reforming its rules and addressing the dysfunction that has ruined a year of reform efforts.

  4. Sometimes it's a good idea to read more than one version of a person's stance on an issue before declaring them to have parted company with reality, just on the off-chance that whoever reported the first version didn't quite get it.

    Here's what Dean told Salon, for instance:

    "What irks him the most in the current bill, he said, is that it permits insurance companies to charge as much as 300 percent more to some customers than others. So even though they must provide coverage to anyone who applies — known as "guaranteed issue" — the price differential that can be charged to older or sicker customers virtually erases that promise. "If you have to pay $20,000 a year for insurance, what good does it do if you have guaranteed issue?" he asked rhetorically. "Which is in fact what you'd have to pay if they can charge you three times as much as they do ordinary people. They have 300 percent rate differences in that bill."

    He's not "conflating" guaranteed issue with price differential, as Rolling Stone sniffs scornfully. Rather, he's pointing out that the latter *negates* the former.

    That the Rolling Stone writer equates Dean with Betsy McCaughey, of all people, should have been a clue that perhaps what Dean actually had in mind didn't, you know, quite get through. Plus the fact that the writer comfortably assumes the folks who will be charged 300 percent higher rates will be the "older RICHER sicker folks" (emphasis added).

    We don't have to agree with Dr. Dean. But we should at least understand what he's saying first, so we know what we're disagreeing with and why.

  5. Couldn't agree more with your post. Netroots activists have taken leave of their senses if they think that scuttling this bill will advance the cause of reform. By this point it ought to be patently obvious that the bill only gets worse the longer it is under debate, as swing senators extract more and more concessions. Now that the public option and Medicare buy-in have been stripped from the bill, new attacks will focus on the subsidies, regulations, and Medicaid expansion (as Nelson's comments yesterday indicate) — in other words, the real heart of the bill.

    The netroots behavior on this makes me question my earlier association with them. I used to think they were smart and principled. From this vantage point, they look like mindless ideologues — truly the equivalent of the teabaggers.

  6. Mark: "…But now that the Netroots have parted company with the reality-based community, "

    Mark, it's already been pointed out that your negotiation skills are perhaps lacking a bit. Right now, I still see two senators tag-teaming Obama, and having a good time doing so. And we still have a House-Senate conference bill which can be fillibustered, right after this stage of matters.

    We are watching Obama visibly deflate in front of us. It's no irreparable, but the present course is called failure.

  7. I don't think Mark is negotiating, but just telling it like it is. Hamsher may find it cathartic to say both parties are working against the people now, but she's really not justified on the merits at all.

  8. "Hamsher may find it cathartic to say both parties are working against the people now, but she’s really not justified on the merits at all." Actually, she is. This "reform" is really nothing of the sort. I'm not in the individual market, but if I were, I would not be able to come anywhere near affording one of these "policies." Not at my age, even without any pre-existing conditions other than being eligible for the AARP. Since the insurers will be able to charge me 3X what my daughter would pay, how is age not a pre-existing condition? What ever became of pooing risk? Isn't that the whole point of insurance? Not that we need insurance reform in the first place. We need health care reform. Any insurance reform remotely resembling this abomination will be good only for the insurance companies and their wards in Congress. And to say that passing any bill is better than nothing is horsehsit. Medicare Part D, anyone? Gramm-Leach-Blilely? How did those work out for us? Big PhRMA, banksters, great. But for us as a republic composed of citizens, not subjects? Let's not go there.

    I think many of you more reasonable people mistake the source of "our" dissatisfaction with Obama. I’m not disappointed in the outcome, which doesn’t really surprise me given the state of our politics. I didn’t expect to wake up one morning and find myself in New France, where the best health care in the world is a matter of course, doctors treat patients as they come through the door, a night in the hospital costs less than $50, women and men are beautiful, good red wine is a given, the politicians may have mistresses but are not perverts about it, the people may be chauvinistic but are neither sanctimonious nor stupid (except for a love of Jerry Lewis), and everyone takes off the month August to go the beach or the mountains. I’m disappointed that the outcome was preordained by Obama’s unwillingness to fight, to argue forcefully, to give it his best shot, to go to the people who elected him (that would be the netroots and independents, not the constituents of Senators Baucus, Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu), to make it crystal clear who would be responsible if this initiative fails. He is the freakin’ POTUS, not some community organizer working in the shadow of Comiskey Park. As was pointed out earlier during this fiasco, he had no compunction about slapping down Democratic congressmen who made noise about his war funding. See that article about how he was keeping score on the Democratic Representative from Oregon? But in this particular case actual, you know, leadership might have pissed off a few GOPers and pearl clutchers for whom Obama is solicitous, for some reason that I cannot fathom. Absolutely no one but David Broder and his little pissant acolytes gives a flying flip about “bipartisanship.” And only the densest of the 28% can fail to see that the GOP is unwilling to do anything but yell and scream; I guess Rahm is in that group. What people care about is results. Absent results they want to see real effort to get results plus the ability to identify their enemies who are responsible for a failure of this magnitude. I get that Obama is not the second coming of Eugene V. Debs or even LBJ. What I don’t get is his failure to understand that he is working on a short clock, with real catastrophe lurking when we get to 00:00. For him and for us. I expected better of him. On HCR, on torture, on the banksters, on his inherited wars, on just about everything. Jimmy Carter is a political giant compared to Obama. Yeah, go ahead and laugh, but had anyone listened to Carter, several of our more pressing problems wouldn't be so difficult. So far, that is. Maybe Obama is playing eleventy-seven dimensional chess and will prevail. I hope so. But Rahm and L’il Timmy at the Treasury are quite obviously playing checkers on the front porch, on a badly chipped board with a few missing pieces. As of now, this is not change we can believe in. It’s not even change. It is not even a facsimile of change. And btw, Jimmy Carter actually earned his Nobel Peace Prize for several concrete, indisputable accomplishments that have made this world a more peaceful place in which to live.

  9. Mark (and supportive commenters in this thread): Take your morally superior tone and put it where the sun don't shine.

    First, the fact that tens of millions of people lack health insurance does not mean that tens of millions of people will be helped by the legislation as it currently stands. I'm in my early fifties, in excellent health and I don't have medical insurance (it's not offered through my job). Despite having an annual income well below the median, I have a comfortable lifestyle. Rather than buy insurance on the individual policy market (been there, done that–it sucks hard) I choose to put a few hundred dollars into savings each month. I'm betting, wisely or not, that I'll make it to age 65 without incurring major medical expense. The mandate means some or all of my monthly savings would instead go into the coffers of some insurance company in exchange for what will likely be crappy coverage that I don't think I need. There are many millions of people like me among the forty-plus million uninsured who will be considerably worse off if the Senate bill is adopted.

    Second, yes, many people would be helped by the bill, and that's a good thing, but the cost would be borne disproportionately by people in my situation. The fact that you have employer-provided insurance and would not be economically burdened in any significant additional way makes your outrage ring hollow. (The fact that as a California resident I help pay for your employer-provided insurance just adds insult to injury.)

  10. FWIW, this from MIT economist Jon Gruber is worth considering with regard to premium costs:

    "In a letter to Senator Reid on November 20, the Congressional Budget Office (the official government scoring agency) reported that they estimated the cost of an individual low-cost plan in the exchange to be $5200 in 2016. This is a plan with an “actuarial value” (roughly, the share of expenses for a given population covered by insurance) of 70%. In their most recent communication with Congress, CBO also projected that, absent reform, the cost of an individual policy in the non-group market would be $5500 for a plan with an actuarial value of 60%. This implies that the same plan that cost $5500 without reform would cost $4460 with reform, or almost 20% less. …

    This conclusion is consistent with evidence from the state of Massachusetts. In their December 2007 report, AHIP reported that the average single premium at the end of 2006 for a non-group product in the U.S. was $2613. In their October 2009 report, AHIP found that the average single premium in mid-2009 was $2985, or a 14% increase. That same report presents results for the non-group markets in a set of states. One of those states is Massachusetts, which passed a health care reform similar to the one contemplated at the federal level in mid-2006. The major aspects of this reform took place in 2007, notably the introduction of large subsidies for low income populations, a merged non-group and small group insurance market, and a mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance. And the results have been an enormous reduction in the cost of non-group insurance in the state: the average individual premium in the state fell from $8537 at the end of 2006 to $5143 in mid-2009, a 40% reduction while the rest of the nation was seeing a 14% increase."

    So getting to universal coverage is something that lowers premiums, with or without a public option or extension of Medicare.

  11. Firstly, it should be addressed that bloggers are irrelevant. I'm irrelevant, Jane Hamsher is irrelevant, you are irrelevant. For the most part, this is just self-centered naval gazing and posturing from online communities that wish they actually had influence on the political process.

    Otherwise, I don't get the scope of your idea; is Hamsher crazy for stating that the American government, especially in the legislative branch, is more responsive to corporate interests than public interests? Are we just to assume it's a coincidence that Joe Lieberman rakes in millions of dollars in campaign funding from insurance companies and his wife made over $300k being a health care 'consultant' last year, and he is now opposed to the more progressive elements of health care reform he tacitly endorsed during his last senatorial campaign? And what is to be said of Lieberman that can't be said of Reid, Pelosi, Obama, and virtually every politician, Democrat or Republican; that they are all beholden to corporate interests that provide the majority of their job security via campaign fundraising? Jane's point, and it's well taken, that while we are busy bickering about Sarah Palin and Barack Obama and all the minute aspects of made-for-television political drama, nefarious interests from the private sector continue to disempower the public from taking control over it's own government.

  12. Check out Glenn Greenwald's latest on the fault line between pro- and anti-Senate-Bill progressives. His argument is that we're seeing a break between liberals who recognize and oppose the increasing corporate influence over our government and those who don't. It's persuasive. This Senate bill enshrines the primacy of the private insurance and pharmaceutical corporations; the sops to American citizens are an afterthought.

    In this context, Hamsher's point about the teabaggers make more sense. The right wing tea party movement is a populist revolt against corporate influence over the government; they just don't realize what they're actually railing against. Liberals — like many in the netroots community — are the teabaggers' more informed counterparts.


  13. There are two issues here, connected, but kinda separate. One's about Jane seeming to equate TB'ers and netroots progressives. To the extent that she really intended to do that, I would disagree. Really no equivalence.

    But assume that Jane had not seemed to put progressives and TB'ers in the same boat. The other and more important issue is whether progressives are crazy for trying to tank HCR. And Mark seems to be answering that one in the affirmative.

    So how should they be handling this? Maybe the bill will improve the current situation, but maybe in an overall sense it will make things worse. It's not clear.

    So, even though progressives think it's a really lousy bill, they should do what? Pretend it's just fine? Or, enumerate objections, but say they support it, because it moves us in the right direction? Or, just shut up?

    I expect that in fact, this progressive outburst makes it more likely that a bill will pass. You know, if the hippies don't like it then it must be magnificent.

  14. Swift Loris has been taken in by Howard Dean. The differential in the bill is for age, not for pre-existing conditions. I, for one, see no good reason to make younger people, who on average have lower incomes and less health-care utilization than those of us in the pre-Medicare stage, subsidize our higher health costs by paying the same premiums we do.

    I'd like to than JM for making the real issue clear. He's what's technically known as a "free rider." He's within his current rights – though I would say he's also out of his mind – to risk financial catastrophe and perhaps medical disaster by going naked in the health insurance market. But let's get clear on what the issues are. If he gets seriously sick and can't pay for his own care, the rest of us get to pay for it through the "unpaid care" accounts hospitals build in to their rates. The bill now pending would forbid that selfish and stupid practice, and force everyone to contribute to the collective project of providing health care for people who are sick. JM resents it. He therefore opposes the bill.

    Does JM also oppose the rule that forces hospitals to provide critical care to people who can't pay, or is he, consistent with his principles, in favor of letting the uninsured – including himself – die if they get expensively sick?

  15. Mark:

    I may well be out of my mind, but it's not because I don't want to be forced to pay for an over-priced product that may or may not cover my potential future needs. Your point about the possibility of me becoming a free rider is a good one. Free ridership is undoubtedly a problem in how our society chooses to deliver health care, but free riders are only those who avail themselves of the service without paying for it. I pay for the care I receive out of pocket. Additionally, given my age, my health, my lifestyle and my family medical history I have a very, very good chance of reaching Medicare eligibility age without requiring major medical care.

    What if something bad happens, nevertheless? Honestly, I don't know. But choosing to die is not an entirely unlikely solution. Three years ago a coworker was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer at age 59. He worked until he was no longer physically capable and then shot himself about a week and a half later. Knowing him to be a proud man I assume he realized that even if his cancer was successfully treated, he no longer would have the strength to work in his trade and that he didn't want to become a burden to his family or, presumably, society. This choice is not uncommon in present day working class America.

    So, will the pending legislation reduce the need of facing this choice? Yes, for some. But how many and at what cost? It is not the tens of millions you implied and why should the cost be borne disproportionately by those of us who will be mandated to buy over-priced (medical loss ratios in the neighborhood of 25%), minimally protective (I dropped my individual policy because I too often had to fight disputed claims) insurance on exchanges that will do little, if anything, to induce competition and limit cost? While I can afford it–at the expense of my monthly savings which now provide a very real cushion of economic security–many others cannot, even with the proposed subsidies. The point of my previous post was that your moral outrage rings hollow given that, should the bill pass, you, and others with employer-provided insurance, will not be bearing its cost in any significant way.

    Finally, my tag is jm, lower case. Others than I among blogosphere commenters use JM.

  16. The right wing insists that the world is flat. Barack Obama once upon a time said that the world is a sphere. Progressive and leftist bloggers (like Jane Hamsher) said, yes, of course, the world is a sphere. But Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln all said that the world is round, yes, but it's flat too – like a pancake. And so Barack Obama says, yes, the world is round, but it is flat too; that compromise on ideas is necessary to move forward. But Jane Hamsher insists that the world is not flat at all, dammit, it is a fully dimensional sphere, as Barack Obama himsaelf has said many times before. And so Mark Kleiman says Jane Hamsher's criticism of Obama is an "agreement" with right wingers.

  17. So, if

    (1) Teabaggers are stone crazy, and if (2) a teabagger says he likes pizza, and (3) I try and like pizza, then …?

    A somewhat silly syllogism

  18. I think that one of the prongs of the Republicans' ultra-Kristolian opposition strategy has been to force so many compromises that progressives would rebel and kill the bill for them. As of now (the final bell hasn't sounded) it looks like that strategy has narrowly failed, leaving a disappointing but better-than-status-quo bill. I would liken this moment to the immediate aftermath of a very heated primary battle between once and future allies. I predict that tempers will cool and alliances will re-form. If I am wrong then the Republicans will have won a bigger battle than defeating HCR would have been, but I don't expect that.

  19. Rolling Stone's (and subsequently Mark's) misunderstanding of Dean is a side issue here, so I'm not going to pursue it, except to note that Mark didn't read what I wrote or what I quoted Dean as saying carefully enough. His point is that older people are more likely to have preexisting conditions; if they have to pay 300 percent higher premiums ($20,000/year was Dean's figure) and are not well enough off to afford them, guaranteed issue for them is virtually meaningless.

  20. What alec said @ 9:04…

    With one addition:

    Anybody comparing netroots to teabaggers is doing a great disservice to teabaggers. They protest loudly and angrily in public places, hoisting guns, and emotional signs. They get a lot of TV time. Netroots do their protesting by furiously typing their rage into comments on Daily Kos. One gets seen and heard a lot in wide screen color. The other gets read and echoed by an elite choir.

    The teabaggers won because they passionately protested the lies they believed, or pretended to believe…

    The netroots lost the public option and then the Medicare Buy-in because no one bothered to bus them onto the scene.

    They did not become visual. They were irrelevant. True believers in the internet…

    If Jane H. was a serious person she would get in the bussing business.

    If Kos was a serious man he would be negotiating with Greyhound.

    All that being said: Pass the fugging bill.

    It will help BHO get reelected.

    That's all that matters now. Whether it helps ordinary people is a side issue now. Time will tell.

    But know this: If the republicans get back the White House we are fucking doomed.

    Make that your mantra.

    That's something no sane person should dare vouchsafe…

  21. On an earlier thread about the public option -> medicare extension compromise, I said I would wait and see before taking a position on whether to kill the bill or not. After watching what's happened, and doing my best to figure out what's actually in the bill, I think the best tactical position now is to support its passage. It does look like it will do much more good than harm, inadequate as it is. Why oppose it if that's true? And if it's not, I'd be happy to agree that it should be killed if I could see actual provisions in the bill that will likely lead to many of the catastrophic predictions of the opposition.

    That said, on the more basic question of whether or not the Netroots Revolt is crazy and has left the "Reality Based Community", I'm with the crazies. What they share with the Teabaggers is the growing recognition that our system of government is badly broken right now.

    we live in a plutocracy and that there is, in fact, a system, not a conspiracy, that is structured to be run by the monied elites for their own benefit whether or not it's at odds with the interests of the larger public. The major parties are by and large in their pocket, and are constrained not do to anything that they do not want done. That's not quite a conspiracy, but it's a pernicious form of government, and pretty far from "democracy". The rest of us have little power to affect outcomes.

    However, the Netroots Revolt doesn't share the Teabaggers' failure to understand what's wrong. I think the recognition of this difference is what Benen was getting at. Maybe the Netroots Revolt has let their anger lead them to overreact in the current tactical situation. But the real disagreement is that, while Mark seems to believe that the system basically works, the Netroots Revolt, and the Teabaggers, and I, don't. Perhaps, Mark, it would be better to spend more time asking why there is such a growing sense of frustration and anger with the system from people of multiple political stripes and less time telling such people that they're being irrational.

  22. I longed for Obama to be elected, and was ecstatic when it happened. I also fully expected to be disappointed by much of what he would do or leave undone if elected, and he has not disappointed me in that expectation.

    Many writers (possibly even our host, if memory serves?) retold, at the time Obama was elected, the old story of FDR telling people, "I want to do what you think should be done; now go make me do it".

    I don't have a huge amount of time for Hamsher, to be perfectly honest. But bless her for holding Obama's feet to the fire. That, and not tongue-baths and loyalty-tests, is what he needs. I refer Rahm Emmanuel, and anybody else who feels the president deserves any special deference, to the advice so often proffered by Bender B. Rodríguez.

  23. jm: You don’t need lung cancer to run up a hospital bill that will exhaust the savings of all but the wealthiest uninsured person. A few months ago, my aunt was hit by a bicyclist while crossing the street and got a concussion that put her in a coma for over a week, followed by many weeks of rehab. (When I visited her in the hospital, a month after the accident, she had trouble remembering the names of my children.) Her hospital bills from the incident run into six figures; I don’t know what proportion was covered by insurance.

  24. They're the tea party, not the tea baggers. Continue to call them tea baggers, and I'm going to start referring to the Democratic party as the "Demonrat" party, without the least shame, and encourage all my friends to do so as well.

    Are you actually incapable of dealing with a popular movement you don't like, without childish sexual innuendo?

  25. I think I parted company with Mark somewhere around the "The bailouts that prevented the Great Recession from turning into a second Depression were a bad idea, because some bank executives took home bonuses they didn’t deserve." Most of the evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of bailout money did nothing for the economy. It didn't go to increased lending, it didn't even go to increased liquidity, it just went to bonuses and balance sheets, and it did so in a way that pretty much guarantees we'll go from a half-decade of deep recession (for employment anyway, not that that counts) to staving off another depression. A tiny chunk of bailout money, and some of the stimulus money, staved off a depression. So yeah, minimal bang for the buck, crowding out of lots of useful expenditure = bad idea.

    As others have said, it's in large part about the fact that the system is so badly broken. The rage at having to pay outsize ransoms to problem-causers for the "privilege" of making stopgap fixes is, uh, understandable.

  26. Overwhelmed by the amount of half-truths here in the "Reality-Based Community".

    Dean was specific about why he thought the bill was bad, and in case you didn't notice three out of the four things he cited were changed in the subsequent negotiations to better align with his position. He then stated this past Sunday that he felt the bill still needed improvement but that it should pass in the Senate and go to conference. Thus, any claim that he is simply a "kill the bill" guy is an over-simplification.

    So is the idea that the netroots have turned against the bill. Some have, some haven't. Depends on who you read, and how you define netroots. For example, I hardly consider MoveOn netroots. I once did, but once they took a vote and then reorganized themselves as a PAC they lost their right to call themselves netroots.

    Also, show me one netroots organization that has "turned on Obama" that states "the government is a conspiracy between the two major parties and the special interests to screw over good, decent, ordinary folks, and the current Administration is corrupt and incompetent." I have heard complaints about the power of lobbyists, and I have heard questions about competence. Most of these questions are at least worth addressing, but I have not heard the conspiracy theory line from anyone.

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