Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Am No Longer A "Progressive", Part Whatever...

John Cole of Balloon Juice takes FDL's Jane Hamsher down a notch by correctly calling bullshit on her assertion that 1) he was a member of the now-defunct JournoList, and 2) the reason why he "cheered" what Jane called "the comfortable familiarity of a Republican health care bill" -- which, if you've been reading Balloon Juice on a daily basis for the last year and a half, as I have, you know is totally ridiculous. In fact, John's stance on that whole health care reform imbroglio, then and now, is one of the biggest reasons why I read his blog every day -- I supported the bill, with reservations, in very much the same way he did, but he explains it much better than I've ever been able to:

...I have repeatedly and consistently stated over and over again that I would prefer any health care bill penned by Jane, D-Day, Jon Walker, or any number of far more progressive bills- if they had any chance of passing. Unlike some, I am quite capable of counting to 60. There were never votes for the public option. I supported the HCR bill because it was better than the status quo. That’s it. If I had my way, I would nationalize the entire damned industry- my military healthcare was pretty damned good. I didn’t feel that way even a few years ago, but watching this healthcare debate opened my eyes to the basic fact that our system is a disaster and there are few incentives to cost-save. Even something as common sense as end of life counseling was demagogued to death. Hell, even the way we train doctors makes no damned sense...


The whole damned soap opera over health care reform opened my eyes as well. But not to the fact that the system was royally screwed up -- that I already knew. I realized that I was a pragmatist, whereas the bulk of people calling themselves progressives were more or less idealists. Well, an ideal is, basically, the conception of what something would look like in its perfect form. A principle, on the other hand, is a fundamental standard, something which is considered acceptable, yet clearly falls short of what would be considered ideal. But since we're all human, we're all destined to make mistakes, so while it may be nice to have one or more ideals we hold dear, the sad truth is, our ideals will never be realized, no matter how hard we labor to realize them. That's the basic human condition.

A lot of the self-styled progressives don't seem to realize the difference between ideals and principles. And Jane Hamsher just might be Exhibit A here. Seriously, what the hell was this? The only common cause that has ever existed among right-wing populists and left-wing populists in America is their anger at the powers that be. Thing is, the left-wing variety has always sprung from anger and frustration from sound perceptions of injustice and the desire to right those wrongs. Left-wing populism is reactive by definition -- you don't need to be Howard Zinn to know this.

The right-wing variety, however, is nothing of the sort. It is wholly artificial, and always has been. And the current iteration of this conservative "grassroots" movement calling itself the Tea Party is being funded in large part by two of the ten richest men in America, Charles and David Koch. You can't get much more un-grassroots than that -- and I can't help wondering what's running through Jane Hamsher's mind these days now that that connection has been exposed.

The next time she starts lecturing anyone on principles, someone should just tell her to stop digging...


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