Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lucidity On 3 Fronts

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for March 16th, 2010


1) On the ‘casino gambling with a taxpayer backstop’ theory who was first: Dylan Ratigan, Matt Taibbi or Micheal Lewis? I’m admittedly a bandwagoner here. I got into this game on the basis of ‘Dick Cheney is bad for America’ and have had to add health care, polling and financial crises to my elements of focus, and that time line does not allow me to answer the true source question. In fact, I remember the Michael Lewis ‘The Blind Side’ interview, only after Joe Scarborough reminded viewers it was the same guy, and remember the fateful question ‘so what’s your next project’. I remember Lewis talking about how he wanted to dissect the financial crisis and I remember thinking hasn’t that been covered?

I declare Taibbi as the entity that pioneered the concept that over 95% of Wall Street participants were either dumb as rocks or perpetrating a fraud for me. I declare Dylan Ratigan who has courageously kept this populist anger at incompetence and outright fraud on the front burner, despite lukewarm reception by the mainstream. But I wonder if Lewis, the author of Crash, is the genesis of both of those other movements. If you know, tell me. These people are important to me, and I would like to know for posterity’s sake.

2) Lawrence O’Donnell proved yesterday’s central thesis that the right idea is unelectable. He is the first person to come on to the Morning Joe show and declare that private insurance crosses an important line in cases like catastrophic illness where it should never be the provider of record. My record is clear here, although O’Donnell does not say the words, that the line is the definition we all, including Joe Scarborough, learned in economics 101: the public good. As with all economics, there’s word play here so lets redefine to prevent smart people mis-defining out of convenience. A public good is a product or service that cannot be efficiently produced in the private sector, thus is the role of government. Fire departments, schools and national defense are 3 others.

Lawrence has had the benefit of some really tough interviews and circumstances in the last week, and as much yelling for sport that the guy does, he is proving capable of the right kind of humanity. Scarborough had a similar occurrence a few weeks back on torture, unexpectedly facing a victim just after party lining the ‘get them before they get us’ histrionics, but didn’t seem to feel the conundrum he faced with an equal amount of human compassion. But O’Donnell, covering for Olbermann while his father passes, spending time with Michael Moore (did you hear JS groan at the mere mention?) and doing this interview with the leukemia victim highlighted by the president yesterday in Ohio, humanized quite differently.

As a fan of lucidity, you live for the one brief second, when an expert tells you the unelectable truth. We don’t have a choice. We have to embrace single payer medical in our lifetime or the entire system will only be available to 20% of the population in as soon as 10 years.

All of this bluster in the 3000 pages (and growing) of how to prop up the dying current system is hopefully a very short term incremental band aid. But we have to start talking openly not about how to get to single payer, but how to make all the real solutions electable.

We have to pass this bill, not because it’s a short term win for the insurers, but because the real solution will never ever occur without first this intermediate step.

Probably the same with finance.

3) Deem and pass is the right method if available in the eyes of the population that’s sick of waiting for the inevitable. Even opponents of health care would rather that if it’s going to happen, we should probably try and get off floor of the legislature so that they can go back to work elsewhere.

Why would you want to vote 3 times on the same process? Why wouldn’t a vote for the fixes be the net effect of a post conference reconfirmation? Historians, Republicans, obstructionists, and alarmists the world over risk being seen as requiring an insurmountable standard here, and hypocritically so. Remember, you may think you have the high ground because some manual somewhere on parliamentary procedure tells you so, but you would be reading that rule book to the skeptical voter for their first time. So ‘they broke the rules you never heard of’ and ‘the rules seemed designed to fail’ will fight to the death, and only the passed bill and the will to get it there will remain.

Lucid thought number 3, and you heard it here first.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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