As a former History teacher, I take a conservative approach to revisionist history. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in calling out the Holocaust Deniers, the Sandy Hook Truthers, and other such idiots. It’s the statements of lower impact that are thorny. Came across one of those yesterday, when a commenter said, “Democrats could have passed single-payer [health insurance] in 2008.”
A number of issues here. I’ll come back to the “2008” reference last.
Revisionist History – the ignorance of the Bern-it-downers
We hear this foolishness from #nonpartisanprogressives. They declare a pox on both parties. It’s possible the OP is just an uneducated/unaware individual, who heard someone else make this statement, and now they’re parroting it. This is more than possible, given the extent to which Berners of all striped parroted the lies of the Republicans about Clinton last year. It would not surprise me to learn that someone like Sarandon or Stein said this, and now the parrots go off. Angry people get angry, and there’s often no dealing with them. We see this regularly with Catholics, on the abortion issue. Close-mindedness is certainly not limited to any particular ideology.
ACA before Stimulus
Could the Democrats have passed single-payer in 2009? Doubtful, for a number of reasons:
The economy was a hot mess. President Obama and his team decided that passing his very-successful economic stimulus package was a greater need, out of the gate. Keeping Congress focused to accomplish something is tough on a good day. Throwing two huge agenda items at them at the same time risks the failure of both. Obama went for the economy first. Given that one of the biggest raps against the Clinton campaign last year was a lack of a clear.focused, economic message, this decision made a lot of sense.
Healthcare took time. One of the biggest arguments against TrumpCare was how quickly “repeal and replace” happened. Paul Ryan handled it badly for Team Trump. President Obama took the time to put ACA together. Teams were working on healthcare in the White House while the public face of the administration worked on the stimulus. It takes time to put a big package like healthcare reform together. They listened, kicked around ideas, and considered what would and would not pass muster, even in a Democratic-controlled Congress. This sort of thing doesn’t get done overnight. Adults know this, but #nonpartisanprogressives think there’s a magic wand that makes things happen.
The ACA required compromise. Ironically, the Affordable Care Act was initially a compromise proposal. It was created by the Heritage Foundation. Newt the Gingrich offered it in 1993. It was a counter to President Clinton’s single-payer proposal that year. The dynamics had changed significantly by 2009. The ability of Gingrich to defeat “Hillarycare” outright in 1993 emboldened the Republicans. They believed they could beat back any future attempts to take down the industry. President Obama recognized that. His team put forward a variant of the Heritage Foundation’s plan. ACA kept the insurance industry intact, giving it a better chance to pass. That’s how compromise works. It’s what adults do. Still, #nonpartisanprogressives wrap themselves in purity.
The Public Option
Obama’s proposal had a “public option” component. Many believe (as do I) that the public option was a bargaining chip. When the Dem leadership in both houses began to whip votes, it was clear that both caucuses didn’t have the fortitude to vote for the public option. You take what you can get. Adults don’t run home crying; they make the best out of the situation. They don’t try to Bern down the house.
Final passage of ACA was a still a near-run thing. The Dem caucuses had the votes to pass in both the House and Senate. The Senate filibuster was the main problem. Obama’s team knew 60 Senators was a problem. No way the public option was going to survive that process. Dems liked the private insurance framework. Those holding out for local pork got things thrown at them. Had Obama taken the all-or-nothing stance of #nonpartisanprogressives, the whip count was more like 56-58 votes.
So, I’m simplifying a lot here, and I welcome comments elaborating on specific points. I stand by the notion that the public option was dead on arrival when ACA was pitched.
Yet, we’re almost eight years on and the left’s purity police are making claims that are patently wrong. They don’t rise to the level of Sandy Hook Truthers, and that’s the problem. A crazy spouting such incredibly stupid things is easily dismissed. Revisionist history with respect to policy wonkery just doesn’t stand out in the same way. The #nonpartisanprogessves in the lead or in the punditocracy know this. Their followers most likely don’t.
This is is why there’s no compelling reason to try to bring #nonpartisanprogressives into a coalition. We’d love it if they stopped throwing rocks and grew up, but it’s not necessary to push the Republicans out. Their penchant for revisionist history makes things worse.
Anyway, I said I’d come back to the “2008” thing. This is a common mistake. Of course, the president starts his term on January 20th of the year after the November election. In a serious discussion, however, most folks care when it comes to dates. Of course, #nonpartisanprogressives aren’t serious. That’s why many of them voted for Stein. She said the many things she said that were factually inaccurate. The “2008” sort of error indicates someone who doesn’t take any of this seriously. So-called leaders engage in revisionist history because their people won’t call them on it.
1. I was critical of an aggregation of Twitter stuff that a friend put together and shared here on Facebook. I was rude in my comments.
2. While it was inappropriate for me to be obnoxious on another’s page, I still firmly believe that using twitter to blog is ridiculous.
3. Instead of composing a proper thesis and discussing it, the tweet-blaster gives us 140 characters at a time, like leaky faucet.
4. notice that these “thoughts” aren’t even 140 characters, because when you come to 130ish, you need to stop to move on to the next one.
5. the argument for doing this is, your audience is on twitter. I categorically reject this. It’s an excuse to be lazy, lowering the bar.
6. I wanted to say “it lowers the level of discourse” on that last “tweet”, but couldn’t. It ran the message over 140 characters.
Take a breath…this isn’t Twitter, after all.
7. So-called writers who take to twitter in this fashion rely on others to aggregate the blast into a coherent form. That’s unreliable.
8. A couple of weeks ago, I saw E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post re-tweet the FIFTEENTH part of some NYT gal’s tweet vomitus.
9. He said, basically, “here’s some stuff to read, go find this woman and read the rest of what she had to say. Assuming you can find her.
10. Have you noticed that, at the beginning of each of these “tweets”, I lose two characters in the hopes this “essay” stays organized?
11. This isn’t how thought leaders work. This isn’t an acceptable way to grow an audience. Thought leaders establish a premise, then they
12. (see what happens when you hit the 140-character wall in mid-sentence?) Now your next tweet looks feckin stupid, and you lose the reader
13. Thought leaders, like Jamelle Bouie of Slate, write essays that provoke thought and comment. Here’s his latest.
14. Bouie isn’t looking for a cheap appeal to someone with a minute and a half to glance at their phone. He wants to discuss an issue.
15. Reject tweet blasts. Don’t pander to the people who do them.
Jerome Smith was a young civil rights activist and Freedom Rider in 1963. Arthur Schlesinger, in his book on RFK, recalls that CORE described Smith as a young man beaten more than any other CORE worker at the time.
Jerome Smith stood up to RFK
It was no surprise to anyone that Smith had no kind words for Bobby or his brother:
“Mr. Attorney General, you make me want to puke. I don’t care what you think, and I don’t care what your brother thinks either.”
Smith was a man of the streets, not academia, or the entertainment world. He’d been in the streets, on the buses, working to register voters and advocate the cause. In the 1963 meeting Jarvis DeBerry mentions in his article about the film, “I Am Not Your Negro”, he was arguably the wokest person in the room.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but having seen “Hidden Lines” last weekend, it’s time I did. The movie is about Baldwin, so it’s not surprising that some things get left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Jerome Smith (assuming they shot his remarks at all. Jarvis explains it:
Because that section of the documentary focuses on Baldwin’s friendship with the playwright Lorraine Hansberry and her premature death at 34, it is Hansberry’s disgusted response to Kennedy’s hemming and hawing that is given attention. But Hansberry’s decision to snub Kennedy by standing up, bidding him goodbye and exiting the room wasn’t the most demonstrable display of disgust. The most disgusted response, which isn’t in the documentary, came from New Orleans’ own Jerome Smith.
So, it’s no deep conspiracy that the woke young man got left out of the documentary. He just got overshadowed. I learned something new today, that Smith was from New Orleans. I’d not read Schlesinger’s book (it came out in 1978) when I was teaching American History in the early 1980s. I certainly would have highlighted this encounter, if for no other reason, because Smith was a local guy.
Now I want to go back to the classroom. Gotta win dat powerball.
Joe McKnight was shot dead in a road rage incident on December 1st of last year. The shooter, Ronald Gasser, was originally arrested for manslaughter. That’s mainy because Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand never met a white guy with a gun he didn’t like. A grand jury saw things differently, however, and indicted the shooter Gasser with second-degree murder. That’s a distinction with a difference, because second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence. Gasser’s looking at life as a plantation slave.
Joe McKnight – murder victim
This is serious business, and the JP DA’s office must clean up the public relations mess Normand left them. Gasser, can afford private counsel. They’re hard at work, making motions to suppress evidence:
Among several claims, the motion states Gasser’s confession was not obtained “freely and voluntarily, but (was) made under the influence of fear, intimidation, threats or other duress, or because of promises or other inducements.” The motion also claims Gasser was not read his Miranda rights, and that investigators seized evidence without issuing a proper search warrant.
This is pretty much pro-forma for defense attorneys. It’s going to be tough for them to convince the court that a guy who started his self-defense claims as soon as he got out of his vehicle was intimidated or coerced.
Sheriff Normand can’t help himself
Sheriff Newell Normand, of Jefferson Parish (T-P/NOLA.com photo)
Of course, the Sheriff tossed the ADAs on the case under the bus:
“Our arrest is only as good as a prosecution,” Normand said. “We accomplish nothing if we make an arrest and we can’t put ourselves in the best posture to reach a successful prosecution.”
Yessir, that’s cooperation to get criminals off the street, I tell you. While Normand’s latest presser was a far cry from his December temper tantrums about social media, he really needs a PR consultant. He needs someone who will tell him to shut up and maintain his dignity. Jefferson Parish is already a #shitshow of politicians who don’t know how to act.
Still, at this point, things look good in terms of justice for Joe McKnight. Gasser is not an appealing defendant, even though he’s a white man who shot a black man.