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May 09, 2010

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The problem isn't our choices; it's the dishonest discussion and framing of those choices that seems to leave no room for better alternatives. We could seriously get engaged in fixing that...

I believe one dishonest framing is this notion that to vote third party is to waste one's vote. If the Great Aetna Bailout of 2010 tells us anything, it's the opposite, that voting Democratic in the last election was a wasted vote.

i.e. The Green Party might not have any more credibility currently than Democratic Party, but it doesn't exactly have less either.

I'll grant there's more than one way to look at these choices... if you'll grant that no one way of looking at them is the right, or only way of seeing them. I would, for instance, observe that "Great Aetna Bailout of 2010" does describe the corporate-insurance based approach to healthcare reform and why it's problematic; but as I've said, since nothing has really taken effect at this point, and we've yet to get any tangible sense of how a lot of it will actually play out, and it's a guessing game to claim the worst outcomes (like claims that the chief beneficiary, now or later, will be Aetna, or other insurers). Aside from thinking that "healthcare reform" and the claims of it as a massive success is part of the problem with the current Democrats (which I do, too), I think it does illustrate the problem of the naysayers on both sides - they're not offering much in the way of credible alternatives. The plan that passed is unrealistic, too expensive, and doesn't solve the problems of healthcare that need solving... but "single payer" and "Medicare for all" are as pie in the sky (apologies to Lambert and the folks at Corrente, but still) as the "repeal and start over" crowd on the right.

Again, you can get bogged down in saying the problem has to do with the choices... or my point, here, is that the debate itself is happening on artificial turf, as if the larger economic problems we face aren't the real problem here. The real problem with, say, "Medicare for All" is the unrealistic wasy such a proposal ignores the enormous government outlays involved to have such a program take effect. Until that's a part of the overall discussion... we're still not, in a real way, looking at the healthcare reforms that are needed, and can actually be accomplished.

I think the Green Party has had years, decades really, to show itself as a credible, serious alternative to what the two major parties have to offer. I'm not alone in telling you... that hasn't happened. And I think it won't, and I think it can't. I think the generally lefty, pro-environment positions that are/were the foundation of their approach were long ago taken up, even in bowdlerized form, by pro-environmental Dems, leaving the Greens with not much to differentiate themselves from the major party. "The Green Party might not have any more credibility currently than Democratic Party, but it doesn't exactly have less either"... is itself, I think, a false choice. What's unlikely to happen is the Green Party becoming the party we need to articulate the difficult, mostly unpopular positions that neither major party is willing to take on economic issues... partly because, I think, the "progressive" left is unable or unwilling to move beyond the fashionable complaints on their pet issues, and face the reality that lack of money means choosing, painfully, which good causes and interesting ideas are doable... and which aren't. If the Green Party makes that leap... hell, I'd join it, too. But that hasn't happened... and I doubt that it will.

The plan that passed is unrealistic, too expensive, and doesn't solve the problems of healthcare that need solving... but "single payer" and "Medicare for all" are as pie in the sky (apologies to Lambert and the folks at Corrente, but still) as the "repeal and start over" crowd on the right.

It was Obama and the Democratic leadership that made these ideas "pie in the sky" with their secret deals with Big Health; the American people were, as a majority, in favor of them, consistently in poll after poll during the "health care debate."

I think the generally lefty, pro-environment positions that are/were the foundation of their approach were long ago taken up, even in bowdlerized form, by pro-environmental Dems, leaving the Greens with not much to differentiate themselves from the major party.

I'd say co-opted with the end result of doing nothing is more accurate.

I can agree there may be more way to make positive change happen. The Democrats simply are not showing themselves to be one of them, and they've had far more chances than the Green or any other third party to do so.

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