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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Why Is Nobody, Except Teabaggers, Interested in Healthcare?

I sat a table tonight with five fairly liberal friends of mine who worked their feet raw last year for Obama. Today, as we sat around watching mixed martial arts, I brought up healthcare and mentioned that the right wing was outnumbering the Democrats and Obama’s plan may be defeated.

The response I got was “Gee, that sucks. I hope healthcare passes.”

The echochambers of OpenLeft, FireDogLake and DailyKos would like you to believe the apathy among Obama’s supporters is because his healthcare plan isn’t radical enough, it’s not single payer, or he isn’t giving us an excuse to get all worked up.

Maybe that’s true for the few thousand on the far left who if given a hour with The Communist Manifesto can convince themselves that Karl Marx was a corporate puppet, but around my friend’s living room this evening, it wasn’t anger or disappointment at Obama that was preventing them from acting, it was just plain lack of interest.

The most frustrating thing was none of these friends of mine have healthcare. It is in their best interest to make sure something substantial passes, but instead they shrug it off as nothing, not important, go back to their sporting events, movies, nightclubs, and ho-hum lives.

In the meantime, the only viable fighting groups on the left, the echochambers of the blogsphere, are too busy parsing each word out of Obama’s mouth to try to pinpoint the betrayal and outrage.

So I sit here wondering, the right is so riled up over this, but here on the left, those who wanted change, have seem to decide that healthcare is not nearly as important as the Yankees-Red Sox game, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland pictures, or So You Think You Can Dance.

What do we need to do to get people to care? What happened to the sudden resurgence in interest in policy and politics I saw last year? Does this bode well for the future?

It’s worrisome in my opinion.


  1. It’s an easy issue for the hard Right: “Just say no to socialism!”  Sure to work up the Constitution Party lifers, and this is the only audience the GOP is playing to so it’s all the same to them.

    Easy for the hard Left as well: “The Man wants to kill the poor people!”

    For the bulk in the middle – particularly those employed and with decent coverage –  it is mostly a “wow, that’s complicated” issue.

    So, the difference between messages is really the difference in party at the moment.  The Dems are running a moderate results-oriented scheme and the GOP is running an extremist burn-the-place-down scheme.  You can’t expect the Dems to push the “screaming and running down the street” messages (because they are trying to achieve something and that doesn’t help) but conversely that is exactly what you can expect from the GOP because their only goal is to suck up to the worst amongst their “own” and ensure nothing gets done under the Dems.

    So, all in all I’m not overly worried.  I’m only moderately in favor of the more extremely leftish solutions to healthcare and more strongly in favor of reasonable steps in that direction for the moment – and that’s what is likely to happen under the current situation.

  2. anna shane

    those who think they’re immortal, or something like that. Why younger people take more risks in general.  It’s hard to look ahead.

    i’ve been bloggng for the medicare for all option, that would rein in costs and make the other players have to really compete for customers.  But the pugs have taken the current suggestions and waged a disinformation war that this is more ‘ radical’ than a real public option, which isn’t radical, many already have that, vets for example and the over 65’s and those on disability. Why not the rest of us?  Oh, yeah, we can’t let the insurance companies have to get excellent to keep their customers?  

    I think it’s the pugs strategy to keep a real public option off the table by opposing what they don’t oppose. And Max Baucus, why is this man from such a small state and so ‘conservative’ for a so called dem holding all the cards?  How’s that democracy?  

    I think more progressives would get involved if there were a real public option to fight for.  We can’t expect the pugs and the special interests to not protect their profits, it will take a fight, but now it’s not a fight, it’s just, I don’t know, a small step that could eventually go in the correct direction, but just as easily might not.  

  3. Do you really think only the Right and the blogosphere are worked up about health care reform? This issue is so big that it blew cap and trade completely off the radar. Now, that’s big.

  4. NavyBlueWife

    We in the military community are silent because we have universal (public option) health care…mandatory for the person serving and optional for families.  We also have a private option with a deductible and a catastrophic cap.  It works, but it is not perfect.  I keep reminding those who say it that perfection is NOT the goal.  After all, private health care providers screw up more than military providers.

    As for my non-military friends, we’re just not pleased with the way it’s going.  The changes are not enough and the insurance companies and Big Pharma are still in control.  What strikes me as completely odd in all this tea-bagger nonsense is that these people are completely okay with insurance companies and Big Pharma controlling their lives, but not the government.  The propaganda that they have sold them has “worked” to make them true believers.

  5. HappyinVT

    Obama’s the president and we have majorities in the House and Senate so now we can reap the benefits of our hard work in getting our candidate(s) elected.  I almost wish I believed that ’cause my blood pressure would stablize.

    BTW, I’m going to NH tomorrow to be outside the president’s town hall.  Any suggestions for a good pro-reform sign?

  6. spacemanspiff

    I still can’t get over this one.

    Everytime I PWN N00Bs on Xbox Live the irony still causes me to giggle.

    Uncontrollably if I’m blazed actually.

    Please watch and try not to laugh next time you hear the word.

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