Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Markos Moulitsas Shows The Ugly

On a recent broadcast of his highly-rated radio show, Rush Limbaugh hastily declared that if the health care reform legislation currently being kicked around in Congress becomes law, he might expatriate -- to Costa Rica, a state that (ironically) has a socialized health care system.

As far as I'm concerned, liberal media personality Markos Moulitsas can join Limbaugh.

I'm having a cranky reaction (obviously) to an interview Moulitsas gave on MSNBC tonight, tearing Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to ribbons because Kucinich is heavily, vocally critical about the health care reform package -- and appears to be set to vote against it out of principle. As Kucinich put it in an interview of his own this week, the health care legislation is like "building on sand," and not, in fact, a solid base for reforming health insurance and the distribution of care in the United States.

I understand Moulitsas's point. He echoes the Obama Administration line that this package, though "imperfect," is a beachhead. Pass this bill, get it to the President, and use it as a basis for improvements and additional reforms in the coming years. If it fails, so the story goes, the political defeat will mean Democrats lose seats and it might be, who knows, centuries before we get another chance to pass badly convoluted and watered-down fake reform again.

Sorry, that wasn't exactly an objective summary. The point is, Moulitsas does have a rational argument here. He would like to see more progressive reforms, but thinks passing this is a pragmatic approach, and he's telling himself we'll get around to more meaningful reforms later. Even if it means generations later. That's where the Administration is, and much of the Democratic Party: hungry for a legislative victory even if it's pyrrhic. These are folks who have no use for the left.

So no surprise to see Moulitsas come up with the worst word he could possibly think of to smear Kucinich: naderism. He even went so far as to accuse Kucinich of "finding common cause with Republicans." In other words, a person with a different point of view cannot be sincere; they are actually conspiring with the right, just to spoil things for the rightful rulers. The rightful rulers are centrist Democrats, of course. No one to the left of them has a legitimate principle or an opinion worth fighting for.

The left are only there to suck it up and vote in the centrist Democrats. When they start having their own opinions, boy is that annoying!

So Kucinich is reduced to a spoiler, for the same reason Ralph Nader has no right to challenge Democrats in elections. It is the arrogant belief that the Democrats, even conservative Democrats openly working in the interest of their corporate sponsors, are entitled to hold power, and those who disagree with them, who think that reform can move in larger increments, that our steps can be more bold and effective, should simply shut the fuck up and re-elect Blanche Lincoln.

In plainer talk: it is not only arrogant, it is anti-democratic. By invoking the Democrats' rage against Ralph Nader, Moulitsas exposes the ugly undemocratic sentiment of the Centercrats and much of the media: a politically active left is bad for them and thus, in their view, bad for the country.

I already thought Moulitsas was kind of an ugly debater, a liberal counterpart to Rush Limbaugh. In a televised debate, also on health reform, with Tom Tancredo, Moulitsas inexplicably strayed from the topic and began talking about Tancredo's Vietnam war deferment in order to smear him personally. It turned my stomach to see the liberal media applaud him for that ugly display. So that stuff is okay when a liberal does it? Got it. Count me out.

Yes, I already knew Moulitsas was a dirty fighter. Until tonight, I didn't know he's not much of a democrat (small d).

So, whereas Moulitsas is yin to Rush's yang, I will gladly buy his airfare on Limbaugh's flight to Costa Rica. And I'll congratulate both men, because Costa Rica's health care system is pretty good. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be stuck here with a for-profit health insurance system that kills Americans, and a political culture that stifles debate and punishes dissent.

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