Friday, November 6, 2009

Greetings From The Real Middle

This has to be done. At risk is the collective sanity of the free world.

Morning Joe is a fabulous show and I've been addicted to it since it started. I can relate to the cast of characters and think the mix of personalities is part and parcel to their success.

Joe Scarborough has made my life easier because now instead of having to venture behind enemy lines and monitor O'Reilly or Hannity to see what the far right is calling the truth these days, I can get that take from him. No, he's not the same level of extremist or an extremist at all. Of course not, he's that far more good guy type that can convince an ordinary centrist that he is maleable and reasonable yet push essentially the same agenda as any Republican or Conservative operative, camouflaging it as populism.

Let's see how it goes, but just for this week these are my simplest observations that I think are due and deserved to represent the reasonable moderate left.

1) There is no disenfranchisement of the independent voter evidenced by the votes in New Jersey and Virginia. The Scarborough position that "Health Care Is Dead" because of the off year elections is pure propaganda. It would be more honest if he would include the words "I wish people would realize" in front of some of these statements as it would rule out a common fault in his mantra: altruism.

There is anecdotally an anti incumbent bias in these votes. I agree with the finer point that the dem Deeds was much closer in polling earlier this year. But this is the Jimmy Carter phenomenon in a smaller off year vote: people knew the outcome and stayed home. There was an opposite phenomenon in the New York City mayoral but without study one would have to assume that anti incumbent in the land of 3 terms and 100 million dollars is just a single digit victory instead of the expected blowout. But Virginia was a New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams football game from kickoff to final whistle and people just tuned out.

If Mr. Scarborough wanted to describe a more accurate damage to the White House from these elections, he might rather have related Mr. Corzine's Goldman Sachs past to the existing positions in Mr. Obama's staff with Treasury Secretary Geithner and Economic Adviser Summers' equally confusing ties to that TBTF juggernaut. Those are bums to throw out.

2) The "We can't afford it" slant which defines Joe Scarborough's wish to kill health care never gets the real attack it deserves. JS invited a Keynesian economist to come on the show who dutifully charted how in times of economic decline good governments use deficit spending to revive economies. I would concede the stimulus package was not good evidence of cause and effect policy, but the health care bill is the real stimulus. The freedom small business would get as a windfall from health care reform would allow it greater opportunity to become the engine of economic growth its been heralded as for these past 11 months. Small business can't always recruit the best and the brightest because of things like disassociation with group health. If you really believe the green energy revolution is going to come from a storefront in Palo Alto, California then step one is to stimulate that process by taking the single biggest hardship a small business faces off of the table.

3) The most insidious thing out this past week was the JS quote (paraphrased) "just because I'm a conservative guy, I've got bigger things to work out than abortion or gay marriage". The reason that is insidious is that via sleight of hand the two items are inherently left on the table to deal with later. If you're serious make the statement "I promise to leave these issues out of government on my watch completely". Otherwise, the reason it keeps coming up is that people will and should be generally suspicious that you're coming to the debate with the whole conservative platform: "small government until it comes to social issues".

Then, lets get Roe v Wade repealed and start putting health care professionals in jail. Then, lets continue to allow gay couples to live in the shadows of the American support infrastructure despite their contributions to their communities and prosperity.

4) Mika does a great disservice to her accurate rage at childhood obesity by converging on taxes and not connecting this crisis to the health care debate. Childhood obesity is a symptom of a broken national wellness program that combines lack of a family doctor and lack of physical education with the generational phenomenon of the two income family. This plus the perverted food marketplace for children especially children of impoverished families make the ingredients of the crisis as we know it. A wellness system would prescribe physical activity and the whole family would benefit financially from the completion of that prescription through lower overall health insurance rates.

5) Mike has been trumpeting the "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" kill vote on health care for a number of months. It begs a simple question: OK jobs, but by what mechanism? Rather than drone, call for something. Is there some government strategy that's being missed? Everyone agrees with you in the same way they agree with lower taxes, ending wars, fixing Wall Street, and fixing bridges. Joe Biden might as well have been talking to you Mike Barnicle when he said, sarcastic tone and all: It's Complicated.

Conclusion - Ok, so thats enough, I could go on for 300 pages and do a book tour just with the opposition. Again, I'm a fan, these are good people, this will not be a Max Blumenthal diatribe and I'm at best hoping for a 55% success rate. Key words: Altruism, Insidious, Jobs Mechanism, Healthy Children, and Independents are smarter than both Republicans and Democrats on any given day.

Don't worry about me, I Tivo the show and sleep at night. But, don't call either!

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