Home / General / It’s Like Ron Fournier, From the Ostensible Left

It’s Like Ron Fournier, From the Ostensible Left

Comments
/
/
/
1681 Views

rmcV5I5

It’s not easy to turn a Republican bill that would strip 24 million people of their health insurance and use the money for a massive upper-class tax cut into a “Both Sides Do It, But Democrats Are Worse” story. But inexplicably — or perhaps too explicably — Jacobin commissioned someone to do it. And…it’s even worse than this sounds!

The Democratic leadership looks hardly different than it has for my entire adult life, a grim and aging collection of Clinton apparatchiks totally secure in their sinecures — all the more so because the only time the party ever does use what power it has, it’s to quash any discontent from its base or its leftward flank.

Sure, the ARRA, the ACA, Dodd-Frank — all just symbolic attacks on the Democratic base, which FYI consists solely of affluent white guys in Brooklyn who delcared themselves to be socialists starting in 2014.

The ACA, which may or may not die in the Senate, only ever made sense as an intermediate step toward a universal provision of health care. It was a big, ugly, ungainly, cobbled-together thing that, for all the partisan paeans to its wonderfulness and indispensability, never really worked very well.

“A statute that dramatically redistributed wealth downward, providing access to health care to 24 million people — ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” — Paul Ryan, and people who are most definitely Leftier Than Thou.

The part that did work was Medicaid expansion.

Okay, the ACA did contain a health care program for the poor that was vastly superior to the one that passed under much more favorable political circumstances in 1965. Surely, this is central to Bacharach’s point that the Democratic party is composed of useless neoliberal shills who never accomplish anything! It also would have helped even more people had the Supreme Court not re-written it, but once we start down the road discussing the institutional barriers to reform efforts we might actually learn something, and that doesn’t really work for this genre.

In other words, the part that worked was the single-payer program that the Democrats so ardently refused — continue to refuse — to endorse. Supposedly the party of incremental progress, they seem to view each increment as the final end state of civilization and history. America Is Already Great, and all that.

The idea that “Democrats” view the health care compromise that emerged from James Madison’s sausage factory as the End Point of History is an almost comically ludicrous lie. Why, even Hillary Clinton, the neoliberalist neoliberal to emerge from neoliberalism since Margaret Thatcher, ran on a public option and expanding Medicare. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is arguably the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2020, endorsed single-payer running for a purple House district in 2006. Virtually nobody thinks that “the best bill Joe Lieberman would agree to vote ‘yea’ on” is optimal health care policy. The ACA is no more the end of history than the deeply compromised programs of the New Deal. And like the programs of the New Deal, it provided valuable benefits to many people.

Anyway, the thing about the health care debate, such as it is, is that while every Democrat voted “no,” no one bothered to articulate a compelling alternate vision. Republicans want to kill you! Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die. You become inured to this sort of thing after a while.

I dunno — personally, I find “we shouldn’t kill 30,000 people a year to pay for upper-class tax cuts” pretty compelling. So, apparently, does the public in general. But, yes, the most urgent political priority we face today is to issue self-congratulatory tweets about how if you were elected Prime Minister of the United States in 2008 we would totally have had single payer.

The specter of Democrats literally singing in the halls of Congress because they imagine that more than a year from now they’ll reap some reward from the GOP’s pettiness and failure to construct any real alternative system is just despicable. Who are these people? Even if the bill dies in the Senate, even if they take the House in 2018 . . . Liberals accuse the GOP of forgetting about people, of sacrificing public good to the cruel idols of their idées fixes, but it’s the ostensibly liberal party that is actually abstracted from the human mass; it’s Nancy Pelosi for whom this whole thing is just a career.

Look, I think the “na-na-hey-hey” singalong was misguided — as long as this can pass the Senate Republicans inflicting political wounds on themselves is nothing to celebrate. But Bacharach omits some crucial context — this is what Republicans did after Clinton’s tax increase passed in 1993. You will be shocked to learn that this did not stop Republicans from successfully pursuing an obstructionist strategy on health care or sweeping the 1994 midterms.

Anyway, using a single spontaneous event that involved a handful of frustrated legislators to stand as the sum total of Democratic opposition to TrumpCare is mind-numblingly stupid. Like, Mark Halperin stupid. To accuse Pelosi, who whatever her faults was instrumental to getting comprehensive health care passed where Truman and Clinton failed and LBJ didn’t. even. try., of not caring about the people who would be devastated by its repeal and helped organize steadfast opposition to it, is disgusting. And it’s particularly rich coming from someone doing the patented “Obamacare was worthless neoliberal crap, and the Democrats are monsters for not using unspecified magic powers available to the House minority from stopping it” two-step.

And this, at bottom, is what’s so irritating about people who think that Bernie Sanders is the first American public official to understand that other liberal democracies have better health care systems. They don’t seem to know anything about the New Deal or Great Society, and they don’t know or care about the formidable institutional barriers that protect the status quo in American politics. Anybody who actually cared about getting truly universal health care in the United States would be very attentive to these basic points. But these articles aren’t actually about single payer — “The Democrat Party are perfidious neoliberals who never accomplish anything” is the end, not just the means. What these empty, glib, know-nothing hot takes are supposed to accomplish for the American left remains beyond me.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Joe_JP

    Meanwhile, on the “why some voted for Trump” front ..

    Jack Goldsmith sums up: “DT judicial nominees r enormously qualified and, on the whole, v conservative. Will win him support on right no matter what else he does.”

    Various picks, such as Joan Larsen, are getting some kudos from the anti-Trump crowd, but in my book as a whole “enormously qualified” would not just include “basically just very conservative types.”

    Like Gorsuch, multiple people under 50.

    • This is the long game: deny judicial posts to the liberals, and then stack it with as many relatively young conservatives as you can when the opportunity presents itself.

  • DamnYankees

    You know, there is a very real common thread that ties together people like this author, and Fournier and indeed Trump himself.

    All of these people fundamentally hate politics. They don’t truly understand that we live in a country with 340,000,000 and that its basically impossible to do productive things that get sufficient approval of most people. And they hate, hate, hate the idea of political compromise. Oh, they say that want it, but they all really hate it. They praise it in the abstract but vitiate it when it actually happens.

    And their hatred of it goes so deep that to acknowledge its inevitibility would render their entire purpose in public life useless. So, they are forced not just to hate it, but to deny its even real. That way they can pretend like it’s avoidable, and blame the people in charge for not taking the obvious, true path!

    None of these people have solution. None of them have paths which take us from where we are to where they want us to be. And so rather than propose a path, they just constantly insult the people who are actually making the effort. They always pretend like there’s a silver bullet out there, something which can cut through the muck. Of course, they never identify it. They just insult other people for never finding it.

    It’s fundamentally a very pathetic view of the world, espoused by sad and impotent people who rage at their dissatisfaction with the world. If they didn’t have so much power in Washington, it’d be funny.

    • DiTurno

      Agree, Damn, with a minor modification. While Fournier clearly hates politics, Bacharach and his crowd are more of a People’s Front of Judea bunch: they operate from an ideal of politics that is wholly unconcerned with actually getting anything done.

      • DamnYankees

        they operate from an ideal of politics that is wholly unconcerned with actually getting anything done.

        In other words, not politics.

        • DiTurno

          Not *actual* politics.

          How about this: Fournier hates politics and imagines his views are non-ideological, while Bacharach longs for an ideologically pure politics free of compromise?

          • I think you guys may be overthinking these jerkoffs. They just want attention for their position, which is JOCKS SUCK!

            Oh, and “why won’t anyone pay my student loans from my outrageously expensive private college that’s for rich kids who didn’t get in to a top tier school and the poorer kids who get scholarships, but was a dumb status decision by an upper middle class sucker who thought he was too good to go to a state university?”

            Oh, and we’re Marxists who know no history and don’t have structural critiques, but that’s OK because Marxism is mostly just JOCKS SUCK!

            [BTW, Jacobin complaining the Dem party is a ghost is kinda funny, since Jabin is a heck of a lot whiter than the Dem party]

          • witlesschum

            Ask Fournier about whether Social Security needs to privatized ASAP and you’ll hear some ideology, I’d bet.

        • tsam

          Well, not politics by any normal definition, and certainly not one that applies to US politics. The problem is that they have a view of what politics should look like, and want to impose it on the system, then seem shocked that it doesn’t work that way. Now they could blame the people who were expressly sent to DC to burn down the entire place, but they remain convinced that it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault.

          I’m not so sure it’s about hating politics as much as being uninformed jerkoffs paid to pacify other uninformed jerkoffs.

          They don’t really quite get the iron law that there are two parties that control 100% of the political power here, and while this system has plenty of problems, their answers to it are completely useless.

          • DamnYankees

            You can’t have the job Fournier had and be uninformed. It’s literally not possible. I think we need to accept that people can be incredibly well informed but just filter everything they learn through a ridiculous filter.

            • tsam

              Could be–I’ve never really recognized any useful distinction between being an uninformed jerkoff and acting like one. The net result is the same in either case.

              • Rob in CT

                Willful ignorance is worse than just plain ‘ole ignorance. The latter is more easily addressed.

                • tsam

                  The willful ignorance invites retaliation, yes. The other kind is pretty hard to penetrate sometimes, but over time, it tends to fade I think. (Thinking of the same sex marriage and legal marijuana debates)

            • efgoldman

              You can’t have the job Fournier had and be uninformed. It’s literally not possible.

              And yet, every time he takes fingers to keyboard….

    • cleek

      yup.

      Fournier et al want a third party big daddy to step in and do the things they think everyone else agrees are ideal but which can’t get done because of politics.

      they think DC should work like it does in Dave: an outsider sits down at the Big Table and, by virtue of his simple-minded innocence, sees through all of everybody else’s political bullshit. then it’s just a few common-sense decisions and … voila! … Washington works again!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZARAldXlSyA

      • DamnYankees

        What’s interesting about this is how profoundly insulting it is to so basically everyone. It assumes that political disagreements aren’t real. That everyone is living under a false consciousness. That what you claim to care about? You don’t really care about it. You just need a leader to show you how stupid you are.

        It’s just so patronizing.

        • brad

          If it weren’t an overplayed trope I’d call it wokesplaining, or something similar.

        • aab84

          See also Chait’s recent piece on how Trump isn’t non-ideological, but rather sub-ideological, in that he doesn’t understand what political ideologies are or why people believe what they believe. It’s basically the defining trait of low-information voters (and not just something politicians on the right can take advantage of: Obama appealed heavily to this belief in 2008).

        • ASV

          Everyone who finds their ideas not being taken up by society at large thinks everybody else is living under false consciousness. FFS, all consciousness is false.

          • DamnYankees

            This is nonsense and not true. I don’t think people like Steve King, for example, live under a false consciousness. He just believes different things than I do.

            • Colin Day

              I don’t think people like Steve King

              Well I certainly don’t :-)

          • efgoldman

            Or, as regular commenter Davis X Machina reminds us, the logical progression of their “idea” is: get the politics out of politics.

      • EliHawk

        Fournier et al want a third party big daddy to step in and do the things they think everyone else agrees are ideal but which can’t get done because of politics.

        Right, and the Jacobin types want a Lefty Big Daddy Stalin to step in and get rid of the perfidous class traitors and do the things they think are ideal and beloved even though nobody ever actually votes for them.

        • cleek

          and i want the Jacobin types to go choke on a bag of steamed unsalted tofu dicks.

          • Phil Perspective

            Some would say the same about you and people like you who think capitalism is anything but a virus destroying this planet.

            • cleek

              those people are idiots.

            • Colin Day

              And with what would they replace capitalism?

            • Manny Kant

              You know what was terrific for the environment? Socialism!

              • EliHawk

                And if you don’t believe me, I have a boat in the Aral Sea to give you!

            • Origami Isopod

              That’s funny, given that there are a fair number of anti-capitalists here. Is total agreement with Jackoff Bin a prerequisite for criticizing capitalism?

          • burritoboy

            So, instead of fighting what you claim are your opponents, you prefer to emptily threaten a marginal group of essentially fantasizers (at worst)? You run around yelling about how Jacobin has mis-spent $5 and mislead it’s audience of 30, while simultaneously being silent about how your “organized” political party blows billions and misdirects the efforts of 10+ million adherents.

            • cleek

              the fuck are you talking about?

          • efgoldman

            i want the Jacobin types to go choke on a bag of steamed unsalted tofu dicks.

            Or at least go over the in the corner and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.

            And Phil, Comrade? Hope you come from a gene pool of people that live for a very long time, because even then you won’t live to see capitalism destroyed to bring us the Great Socialist Paradise.

        • MPAVictoria

          “the Jacobin types want a Lefty Big Daddy Stalin”

          Yes. It is true. Us socialist long for the gulags. You figured us out.

          /Redbaiting

          • econoclast

            Why, do you write for Jacobin?

            • MPAVictoria

              I subscribe to their magazine.

              • Anna in PDX

                OK so what? I do too, and I really enjoy it. Articles like this are stupid, counterproductive and deserve all the criticism they get. Also you do not need to be a “leftist” with a card in order to subscribe to Jacobin, you just need to send them money. I’ve been subscribing for two years and they never even asked me if I was a registered voter or said they didn’t want money from a registered Democrat, imagine that.

                I am so tired of the leftist takedown of everything Democrats do as never being enough, never being sincere, and equating it with the gop, this is not only just plain wrong on its face but it contributed to lots of younger people being disenchanted enough to stay home and not vote. It is the opposite of useful. They need to stop it.

                • farin

                  What, Jacobin accepts money in exchange for goods and services?! Why is anyone listening to these neoliberal sellouts?

                • mongolia

                  I am so tired of the leftist takedown of everything Democrats do as never being enough, never being sincere, and equating it with the gop, this is not only just plain wrong on its face but it contributed to lots of younger people being disenchanted enough to stay home and not vote. It is the opposite of useful. They need to stop it.

                  this is why i get frustrated with anyone on the ostensible “left” spending all their time on how [insert democrat here] is terrible, sellout, corporate neoliberal shill, warmonger, right-wing, etc. there’s both a complete lack of historical knowledge here, and a lack of understanding of how apathetic and cynical 18-30 year olds are. by pushing this sort of nonsense, pointing cannons at Democrats while aiming dart guns at conservatives & the gop, it creates fake fractures among the left that have to be patched when that time could be better used attempting to destroy the right, and getting closer to what both liberals and lefties want

                • veleda_k

                  you just need to send them money

                  How bourgeois.

          • mds

            “Us socialists” =/= “the Jacobin types”, which itself is referring to (certain) contributors at the magazine by that name, not any political radical in the general mold of Société des Jacobins, amis de la liberté et de l’égalité.

            • Morbo

              I would have thought after Maxspeak posting day that we would have learned that belonging to a large group of people and voluntarily choosing to identify with a smaller subsection that is the specific object of derision would be something to avoid, but here we are.

          • Pseudonym

            Jacobin has some good essays, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them. Inaccurate or indiscriminate attacks on the center-left aren’t going to bring about socialism, especially not with the GOP in control of all three branches of government. (Whether accurate, discriminate attacks will is a different discussion.)

            • Anna in PDX

              Cosigned. I really like a lot of the stuff in Jacobin. That does not mean this particular piece isn’t hot garbage.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Jacobin has some good essays, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them. Inaccurate or indiscriminate attacks on the center-left aren’t going to bring about socialism, especially not with the GOP in control of all three branches of government. (Whether accurate, discriminate attacks will is a different discussion.)

              This is an accurate take.

            • mongolia

              who are the writers you would recommend there? i remember when i first heard of the magazine being interested enough to start reading, but then got frustrated at what i thought were poor and/or shoddy analysis the writers were using to justify their viewpoints, and then never cared to go back (and it didn’t help that the articles i’d see after that were the ones that seem most obviously wrong, like the one this blog post is targeting)

              • djw

                Mihály Koltai’s piece on the impending closure of CEU is quite good. I think she’s written about Hungary for them before, but I’m not sure. Alex Gourevitch writes for them occasionally, and he’s generally excellent.

              • Pseudonym

                I don’t read enough Jacobin to know, but I’m interested to hear the answers too.

            • Brien Jackson

              Still the quintessential Jacobin piece to me. Not all that interested in making it art of my regular reading no matter who says otherwise.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                Written by Jeb! Lund’s weed carrier, of course.

                • Brien Jackson

                  With the amount of self-righteousness substituted for knowing a damn thing about what you’re talking about in that piece, you could totally convince me it was self-parody. You know, if I’d never read Jacobin before.

                  Admittedly not as bad as The Undefeated’s “racism held back The Rock” article, but at least that guy was just a mark.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  The thing is that Jeb! Lund’s still a rather talented writer (even if he’s become more nihilistic) but Failson Danny Boy reads more like a weed-carrier than an affiliate.

                • Pseudonym

                  May I ask, not knowing a damn thing about pro wrestling, what’s inaccurate about the piece? (Or do I actually have to read it myself?)

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well within the first four or five paragraphs he makes it clear that he’s either too sloppy a writer or just has no idea wtf he’s talking about to maintain a coherent argument, and is just casting everything promoters did/do as bad even if it directly contradicts another point he’s made. Territories and collusion between promoters was bad! Vince McMahon was bad to take talent away from other promoters by making them better offers and paying them more money!

                • mongolia

                  the entire bro_pair/mobute/billmon etc. group is just…if you like seeing mediocre college leftist arguments and temper tantrums by grown men, have at it. did enjoy their meltdowns in jan-mar ’16 when they would lash out against anyone who would dare point why anyone would vote against bernie though, but after that it just got pathetic and frankly not worth anyones time to read 2,000 word essays that could be accurately summarized as “i can’t stand stand hillary clinton”

                • Brien Jackson

                  “May I ask, not knowing a damn thing about pro wrestling, what’s inaccurate about the piece? (Or do I actually have to read it myself?)”

                  So bullet pointing a few things about the argument:

                  1. The author doesn’t know enough about the history of wrestling to even accurately summarize the independent contractors thing, and just lazily casts contemporary issues onto the past. But during the 70’s and 80’s days, anyone above jobber status was definitely more of an independent contractor, who would come in pitching an angle for their character in the promotion, work the program, and then leave for someone else with the character. They really were more like contractors than employees at that time. You could make the argument that that starts changing in the 80’s when Vince is copyrighting gimmicks to the WWF, but even then the boys still had a lot of creative leverage, and even a geek like Honky Tonk Man could hold Vince up for a pitch and end up earning a shit ton of money because it worked.

                  2. The NWA territory system wasn’t ideal for workers, but it had its advantages too. Regulating the territories and keeping the outlaw promoters down on the totem poll meant that you didn’t have to worry about a bunch of guys setting up in a hot territory and then burning it out to make a quick buck. One thing the author clearly doesn’t know, or at least can’t remember, is that basically everyone above the jobbers is getting paid based on the draw of a show. So if a territory gets burnt out, not only is the promoter screwed but so are the workers. It also more or less guarded against the sort of “promotion wars” like they had in the 1990’s which, hey, gave us the hottest period in the industry and made lots of guys lots of money, but ended up destroying one of the major promotions and creating a de facto monopoly for the WWF, which was way bad for workers. Ultimately, basically everyone working above the jobber level did much better with the territories than they do now, relatively speaking.

                  3. There’s even some little things he gets hilariously wrong, like the whole “stretching out” thing. Guys didn’t get that treatment for pissing off management*, it was usually reserved as a punishment/warning for guys either working sloppily/dangerously or working stiffer than agreed to or, pretty typically, sneaking in a move/bump the other guy had refused to take. The last one was really pretty common, actually. Sending that guy out to get the crap beat out of him was a form of self-policing, protecting each other, and a reminder that it was all a work and he could get his ass kicked too.

                  *If it was done for the benefit of a promoter, it would generally be a result of “holding up” a show for money, i.e. waiting until the last minute and then refusing to go on unless your terms were changed. But again, that wasn’t just bad for the company, but endangered everyone else’s payouts too. Basically either way, stretching out was used to enforce industry norms and unofficial rules designed to protect everyone’s best interests and guard against incentives to go into business for yourself.

                • Pseudonym

                  Thanks, Brien! Sounds like pro wrestling actually has an interesting history, though I’m still not interested in watching it.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yeah it’s a weird industry because the whole “stage fake fights and pretend to lose them” dynamic always creates the possibility of a screwjob or some sort of stunt that could significantly hurt everyone’s bottom line. Territories weren’t quite about stopping that, and it’s easy to look at them and see collusion by capital, but it’s much more complicated than that and you can find lots of examples of workers who leveraged it to fuck over promoters.

                  The one thing everyone in the 70’s really seemed to instinctively get right was the recognition that if one promotion went national, it was inevitable that the resulting war would create some sort of monopoly. Which is exactly what happened, and it’s basically only by accident that Crockett/WCW didn’t lose the war somewhere between 1988 and 1993 when they were bleeding money and on life support via Turner. If Ted Turner didn’t feel some weird personal loyalty to the company for anchoring TBS’ programming in the early years, Turner divests itself of wrestling in 1992-93, Hogan never gets brought in so the company either goes back to a small time regional one of just shuts its doors, and there’s no boom period at all before the monopoly era. There are DOZENS if not hundreds of interviews on YouTube where guys who worked in the 70’s and 80’s in various places lament the territory days ending because it was so bad for the workers, but I doubt that was part of the research process here.

    • NYD3030

      Wait is it your contention that the Jacobin crowd has too much influence in Washington?

      • DamnYankees

        No – this author (I can’t speak for the Jacobin crowd as a whole) shares the quality I describe with people in Washington, including the President. Who has the power.

      • Rob in CT

        Um…

        You know, there is a very real common thread that ties together people like this author, and Fournier and indeed Trump himself.

    • SatanicPanic

      +1

      I have friends like this, but I stopped trying to talk to them or recruit them to do anything when I realized they have no fucking idea how things work and look down on anyone who does. Say what you want about the Bernistas (and I have a lot to say about them), but they appear to be actually doing stuff. These people are all talk. Stupid talk.

    • If only they *were* completely impotent. Their power lies in polluting discourse so thoroughly that they help short-circuit any honest reckoning of the system we actually have.

      • cleek

        Their power lies in polluting discourse so thoroughly that they help short-circuit any honest reckoning of the system we actually have.

        without accusing anyone of anything, lemme just point out that this is precisely the M.O. that Russia uses against the west. they flood the people with disinformation that works to turn them against their governments and against each other. by this, Russia hopes to destabilize its rivals.

        • Origami Isopod

          Between tripe like this, Christian Parenti, and utter trolls like Sam Kriss, I would be completely unsurprised to learn that someone at Jacobin is on the take from Russia. I’m sure this will earn me outraged screams of “vile lies!” from MPAVictoria or the like. I don’t care.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Rarely is the question asked, “is our True Left derping?”

            Because with the increasing density of dumbassitude I’ve seen in the last month (Sessions can’t be worse than Holder! Mild criticism of Sanders on Ossoff/Mello is shitposting! How is Cuomo worse than red-state Dems? Why can’t we ever use general-election dealbreakers? Redbaiting!), we seem to be experiencing an intellectual decline in real time.

            Or maybe having thecollagen literally boiled out through one’s ass cheeks has become the new fad on the left and I just missed it.

            • Origami Isopod

              It’s tempting to agree, but there have always been a lot of stupid people out there. We see more of it now because of the internet, and because the mainstream media has gone from “stodgy, sometimes cluelessly privileged, but reasonably trustworthy on facts” to “alternating between stodgy and lurid, always cluelessly privileged, completely untrustworthy, and desperate for clicks.”

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                Even excluding PM and NMAC, though, the derp acceleration seems to have become much worse since about April. ISTR MPA previously being well-above “why don’t we have general election dealbreakers?” for example.

                O’Malley should’ve been the left’s candidate of choice.

                • SNF

                  O’Malley would’ve won.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Quite possibly, yes.

              • Pat

                And it’s just so odd that the “desperate for clicks” folks glommed onto EMAILS! instead of ONE CANDIDATE IS A SHILL FOR PUTIN.

                All the noise goes in one direction.

                • cleek

                  All the noise goes in one direction.

                  this

    • kvs

      They have no theory of change.

      • so-in-so

        Sure they do; it’s just a really dumb theory (“one day, everyone wakes up and realizes I was right all along…”).

        • kvs

          I see how they can confuse a theory of change for the opening line of the creative writing homework they had in high school.

      • Matty

        I was just ranting about this earlier today. In the comments on the Facebook post from Jacobin for this article, there’s the inevitable slapfight about Democrats and Bernie and the perfidious DWS, and one of them, I swear to god, posted:

        “So, [redacted], how has the Sanders takeover of the Democratic Party been going? I guess we’ll see in 4 years when they nominate another corporate interest candidate and nothing changes.”

        As though there were nothing happening at any level in the next 3 years!

        The enraging thing is the people in my local DSA chapter* are involved with some good, solid, local work, including actions with the nursing home workers and transit unions and immigration activism and the campaign for an elected schoolboard and solid stuff like that. But there’s still a bunch of snarking at “pussy-hat wearing NPR libs” and mumbling about how we need a third party. I don’t understand the disconnect.

        *I know that “Jacobin” and “DSA” aren’t synonymous, but there’s a grip of overlap, especially on ye olde social media.

        • Davis X. Machina

          If there’s not at least one active splinter group a-formin’, it’s not socialist enough.

          (DSA member since Ron Dellums/Irving Howe days, just after the transition from DSOC.)

        • Origami Isopod

          “pussy-hat wearing NPR libs”

          Which of course isn’t a dogwhistle at all.

          • so-in-so

            Pretty sure it’s a megaphone; maybe not a full bull horn. Certainly well beyond a dog whistle.

          • tsam

            If that ain’t begging for some 4-knuckle dental work, I don’t know what is. More of the same old shit from comfy white boys…”women’s suffrage was a huge mistake.”

            • Origami Isopod

              As Donna Gratehouse said on Twitter not long ago, they want the tax rates and the social roles of the 1950s back.

            • Matty

              To be scrupulously fair, while the chapter is whiter and maler than the city of Chicago as a whole, that direct quote (and it is a direct quote) was from a woman*. I think the Women’s March (and the Science and Climate Marches, and the airport actions around the Muslim ban, and the Day without an Immigrant demonstrations, and and and) caught a lot of people, even self-identified socialists, by surprise. It just continues to be dismaying to me that there isn’t a moment where folks go “oh, this march got 10 times as many people in one day in one city as we have nationally, maybe we ought to be thinking in terms of coalitions” not “lol, Love Trumps Hate is a stupid slogan, what about Smash The State instead?”

              *which doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bunch of quiet sexism of the “strikes are better than marches” variety baked in to a lot of activist conversations, but that’s a longer, more diffuse conversation

      • Davis X. Machina

        The Dialectic is waiting for you outside.
        With a tire iron.

    • burritoboy

      No, ultimately, both you and the Jacobin crowd can’t fundamentally understand politics. In fact, the American political regime is designed to be a negation of politics. There is no American political life in the full or proper sense. It doesn’t exist and there’s no tradition or memory of one. It’s true that Jacobin is not political, but then, neither are you.

      Your assertion that there is a country with 340 million people in it, and that this assertion is beyond question, is grossly anti-political. A country is a political thing, and thus is always strongly questionable. You’re assuming the endpoint of what must be the greatest argument!

      “And they hate, hate, hate the idea of political compromise.”

      So do you. So does everyone, except for a few paragons of virtues that the American political regime explicitly rejects. You’re not going to foster the virtue of prudence and moderation while simultaneously demanding that no virtues exist at all.

      Meanwhile, you worship compromise as though that compromise isn’t an artifact of one ideology and was itself a product of forcing numerous people – by violence – into one political regime. The problem for you is that that ideology doesn’t actually much support your vision of liberalism.

      • DamnYankees

        …what?

        • djw

          I can’t imagine I’m the only one for whom that comment evoked a brief twinge of nostalgia for those dorm room bong sessions. (Emphasis on ‘brief.’)

          • Scott Lemieux

            Love and life are deep, man.

          • tsam

            When I mow my lawn, it’s like I’m giving the world a haircut.

        • burritoboy

          Follower of fourth-rate John Locke wannabees (that’s you) cannot see beyond his bubble, that’s what. At least the Jacobin crowd has an inkling there’s something beyond. Not you, however.

          • Scott Lemieux

            You have successfully used English words, but have yet to arrange them in an order that generates meaning.

            • He’s a latter day mental physicist who has unwittingly discovered “anti-sense.”

          • Origami Isopod

            I thought we were followers of fourth-rate historians.

            • Pseudonym

              Didn’t you hear? Erik got promoted to third-rate.

              • kvs

                When does he become a prof of the line?

      • SatanicPanic

        I’ve read this twice and it still doesn’t make sense.

        • McAllen

          I think it’s just “Money’s just a social construct, it isn’t even real man!” applied to the nation-state.

          • SatanicPanic

            What if nothing is political man?

            • farin

              Because, like, it’s too political to be political?

        • Manny Kant

          At first I thought it was serious and might be going somewhere abstruse and wrong, but comprehensible. Then, I thought it was a joke making fun of people who take the position I thought it might be advancing. Finally, I decided that it’s just nonsense.

        • LeeEsq

          What burritoboy is lamenting is how the United States political system freezes out many forms of Far Left politics and ideas that at least could get a cursory representation in Europe. The American political system and its accompanying culture also limit what is considered acceptable discourse. You can say wilder things on the Far Left side without getting considered a kook in many other developed democracies. So you can have a “Lets Teach Kids About the Virtues of Polyamory” group in the Netherlands or some Nordic country and it won’t be automatically ridiculed or hounded out of political existence like it would in the United States.

          • SatanicPanic

            Fair enough, but it’s a weird way to put it. We’re still talking politics, we just have a different range of what we consider useful.

      • Bootsie

        *is said in college dorm room as Rage Against the Machine plays in the background*

        • tsam

          It feels more like the Dave Matthews Band crowd to me.

      • Pseudonym

        …so let the South secede this time?

      • Origami Isopod

        So, let me see if I have it right.

        Countries don’t exist in meatspace, just in the mind, and it’s anti-political to assert that they do. Therefore the existence of the U.S. negates politics. Though somehow the existence of France, Uruguay, or Laos does not.

        By suggesting that Jackoff Bin et al. grow the fuck up and learn how real-life politics works, Scott et al. are demanding that nobody be “virtuous,” i.e., nobody compromise, ever.

        Compromise isn’t a necessary part of real-world politics unless you’re a filthy neoliberal. Neoliberal regimes are the only sorts that require voters or politicians to sometimes take half a loaf instead of none or all.

        How’d I do?

        • burritoboy

          “Countries don’t exist in meatspace, just in the mind, and it’s anti-political to assert that they do.”

          You’re arguing that there must always be a United States of America simply because land and people exist? It’s simply a metaphysical necessity? None of the entities you named existed at various points in the past. (even the land didn’t exist in the distant past) None of their current political regimes existed before 1787. (Except for the US, none of those regimes date before 1960.) All of them (even including the land) will not exist at some point in the future.

          All this is to say that saying that the USA has 340 million people configured in a particular political way, while true at the moment, tells us only something about the future. Somebody who asserts that that current reality is the only possible basis for a political discussion, is removing much of any possible politics – revolution, reformation of a regime, conquest, secession, civil war, dissolution, change of a constitution, even different leadership – as impossible, when it’s clearly possible. This is a person who can’t have a full discussion of politics. Worse than that, this person is barging in on those who really do what to talk about politics in the more complete sense, and yelling at them, demanding them to end their conversation, so they can donate $5 to a campaign or look at protest puppets at a demonstration.

          • Origami Isopod

            You’re arguing that there must always be a United States of America simply because land and people exist?

            Whooooosh!

            Somebody who asserts that that current reality is the only possible basis for a political discussion, is removing much of any possible politics – revolution, reformation of a regime, conquest, secession, civil war, dissolution, change of a constitution, even different leadership – as impossible, when it’s clearly possible.

            Er, I kind of would like to remove conquest, secession, civil war, and revolution from the table, thank you. Each would be a case of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

            Worse than that, this person is barging in on those who really do what to talk about politics in the more complete sense,

            A blogpost on one’s own blog is “barging in” on a conversation? I thought that if Party X put up a public post about something political, any Party Y had the right to discuss it.

            so they can donate $5 to a campaign or look at protest puppets at a demonstration.

            Somehow I missed the PayPal link and protest puppet photos in Lemieux’s OP.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Yes, clearly what looked like rote “Democrats are the suxxor” bullshit was actually a visionary call for revolution.

              It’s good to know in these polarized times that it’s not just conservative know-nothings who confuse “socially constructed” with “easily changed if you want it,” though.

          • SatanicPanic

            All these things are definitely possible, we’d just love to see the plan.

          • You are the know-it-all asshole that insists on deconstructing everything. The rest of us have heard of postmodernism too, and it’s useful in certain restricted circumstances but, 99% percent of the time, as exemplified in your comment, it is pointless time-wasting hot air.
            People are angry and het up about politics, because we choose to play the game as it exists. We don’t take the geological long view, because, By the time the continents have changes noticeably from their current configuration, we will have been dead for eons. All of your just-supposes hypothetical situations are so wildly unlikely to change, that to consider them would take time away from the effort needed to win elections, in the USA, with the actual voters, under the laws that exist, or could reasonably exist by the next election.
            I mean if you don’t want to be dismissed as a pointless, distracting waste of time, try having a point, and being on topic.

          • Pseudonym

            All of them (even including the land) will not exist at some point in the future.

            “The Democrats shouldn’t focus on opposing ACA repeal because of plate tectonics” is one criticism I haven’t heard before.

            Look, it’s fine to articulate a vision of the future that goes beyond current political limitations. But that’s not what this essay does. And political parties also have to deal with the here-and-now, not just provide that vision. They have to win votes by getting support from a lot of different people with different visions. The present alternative to the ACA is not international anarcho-socialism or whatever, it’s the AHCA. Do you think the Democratic party leadership talking about whether the USA is a metaphysical necessity is going to do anything to help a 55-year-old with a preexisting medical condition?

            • Junipermo

              Do you think the Democratic party leadership talking about whether the USA is a metaphysical necessity is going to do anything to help a 55-year-old with a preexisting medical condition?

              Bingo.

              We are in the midst of a crisis. The ACA, which is actually keeping people alive, has just gotten closer to being dismantled. Now is not the time to have college bull sessions filled with philosophical navel gazing. Now is the time to do the dirty, nitty gritty work of practical politics to preserve what we have (and to literally save lives). Failing to understand this is simply failing to understand our politics at a most basic level.

              • Junipermo

                Whoops. Block quote in the wrong spot. Should have been the 1st graf in my comment above.

              • Pseudonym

                Actually I think it’s fine to have college bull sessions filled with philosophical navel gazing oneself, just not to criticize the Democratic Party leadership for not doing so, and as long as one does it only in moderation.

              • BloodyGranuaile

                1. Short-term goal: Save ACA.
                2. Medium-term goal: Medicare for All.
                3. Long-term goal: Fully automated luxury gay space communism.

                I can be president of left politics now?

                • sergiol652

                  Yes, you must

          • efgoldman

            You’re arguing that there must always be a United States of America simply because land and people exist?

            No, she’s mocking the fuck out of you, which is way better than you deserve.

        • burritoboy

          “Scott et al. are demanding that nobody be “virtuous,” i.e., nobody compromise, ever.”

          And here is revealed our common American liberal of today, who doesn’t realize what prudence and moderation are. Hell, that one’s even in his own political tradition and he still doesn’t know what the hell it is.

          You can’t yell “compromise, compromise” unless there’s prudence and moderation in the regime and the people. You can’t have prudence and moderation in the regime and the people unless you educate for it, and design the regime around it. Instead, your regime and education militate against prudence and moderation – and then you, bizarrely, grunt “this is beyond comprehension” noises.

          • Origami Isopod

            And here is revealed our common American liberal of today, who doesn’t realize what prudence and moderation are.

            You wanna define them for me, then? Also, I’m not a “he,” thanks.

            You can’t yell “compromise, compromise” unless there’s prudence and moderation in the regime and the people.

            I agree. We should vote out the people we have and vote in a new people. Also, I want my own personal Pegasus so I can fly over traffic, and I want the government to subsidize its care and feeding.

          • Pseudonym

            Instead, your regime and education militate against prudence and moderation – and then you, bizarrely, grunt “this is beyond comprehension” noises.

            So being condescending to readers who don’t understand your shitty writing is the left’s current strategy for accomplishing revolutionary change? Can’t wait to see how well that works out.

      • ColBatGuano

        Have you ever really looked at the back of the dollar bill?

      • elm

        What if, uh, C-A-T really spelled dog?

        • wjts

          What if, like, each atom in your body was a tiny universe, and each of those universes had single-payer healthcare?

          • elm

            Wouldn’t the infinite universes theory predict that at least one of them had free healthcare provided by altruistic clown monkeys?

  • Rob in CT

    Anyway, the thing about the health care debate, such as it is, is that while every Democrat voted “no,” no one bothered to articulate a compelling alternate vision. Republicans want to kill you! Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die. You become inured to this sort of thing after a while.

    That’s some mighty fine hand-waving right there.

    • Colin Day

      Perhaps Jacobin is trying to develop green energy.

      • Rob in CT

        I mean, I’ve read this a few times now and every time I read it I get more contemptuous of the asshat who wrote it:

        Republicans want to kill you! Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die.

        One could repurpose this for anything. Yeah, yeah, a proper national health system would be better but we’re all gonna die someday so whatever!

        • OMG, could you imagine this in real life? You couldn’t. What kind of person answers “Republican policies will kill people” with “life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all going to die”?

          • so-in-so

            I’m sure some Republican probably has already used it. Weren’t we assured recently nobody actually dies from a lack of health care?

          • liberalrob
          • rea

            “That man just shot at you!”

            “Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die.”

          • Colin Day

            OMG, could you imagine this in real life? You couldn’t. What kind of person answers “Republican policies will kill people” with “life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all going to die”?

            I’ll take Jacobin writer for $600, Alex.

          • Bruce B.

            Thomas Ligotti, whose book The Conspiracy Against The Human Race is a book-length argument that every life is so filled with awfulness that not being born is the best outcome for every possible person.

            But then Ligotti sensibly recognizes that views like he weigh against trying to engage in politics. He doesn’t go around being a political pundit on top of the anti-natalist.

            • gmack

              Wait, he wrote a book-length treatment that simply re-states the wisdom of Silenus?

            • Matt McIrvin

              I believe David Benatar, another antinatalist philosopher, has taken a position on abortion that he describes as “pro-death”. He believes abortion should be obligatory.

          • JMP

            In a few trillion years, the gas clouds that give birth to stars will run out of hydrogen and star formation will cease, and after a few trillion more years even the long-lived red dwarfs will exhaust their fuel, rendering the universe cold and dark and life impossible; therefore why should we care about anything?

          • blackbox

            We don’t have to imagine. Gary Johnson said this about environmental protection in a televised interview response.

        • lizzie

          Same here. Without accusing young people of being like this in general, I do think it’s quite easy for a relatively young dude like this (I don’t know his age but I see he calls himself a millennial) to handwave away issues of health and health care. I saw it a lot on a forum about financial independence where I used to spend time—a lot of youngish glibertarian type dudes really not understanding that it is highly unlikely that they will live a long healthy life and then drop dead without needing any health care or long-term nursing care or somesuch.

          • liberalrob

            Dudes in general, not just youngish glibertarian millenials, tend not to realize these things until staring it in the face. By which time of course it’s too late to do much about it.

          • Origami Isopod

            Glibertarian dudes, if they even give it a thought, just imagine they’ll be rich at that point so it’ll be no big deal. Or they’re pretty affluent now.

            The Jackoff Bin dudes, I’m guessing, aren’t hurting for money.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And that he goes on to accuse Nancy Pelosi of not giving a shit is what makes it extra special.

          • urd

            This accusation is not without merit.

            Her reaction, hell the reaction of much of the democratic party after the health care vote was juvenile and more reminiscent of frat boy behavior.

            Pelosi’s statements after the vote were, for the most part, more in line with someone who wanted to score political points, not someone who was deeply disturbed that millions of Americans might be losing health care.

            She’s been a political hack for a long, long time.

            • brad

              This is among the stupidest things I’ve ever seen said here. Including the racist mouthbreathers.

              • urd

                Then you need to get out more. If you think I’m off on Pelosi’s behavior, talk to people in CA, like I have. People who live in CA have a pretty good idea of how she works, even if you don’t.

                And if you live in CA, then you definitely need to get out more.

                • brad

                  People are saying things to you, mhm. Bigly, huge things. It’s gonna be tremendous. Just tremendous.

                  You really aren’t good at this.

                • SatanicPanic

                  I live in California and you are being foolish.

                • Oh christ, it’s this guy again. We just got the place cleaned up a little. Do they work in shifts or something?

                • JMP

                  I live in California, and not too far from Pelosi’s district. People here have a good idea of how she works and so think she’s completely awesome. urd is full of shit.

            • Scott Lemieux

              I know it’s not news that urd is a lying shitbag, but here are some excerpts from Pelosi’s floor speech:

              Over 50 years ago Dr. [Martin Luther] King said, ‘of all of the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.’ We come to the floor with the moral force of Dr. Luther king’s words in our hearts. The Affordable Care Act is a civil right, a fundamental right for every person in our country, not just the privileged few. So in the spirit of Mr. [Jim] Clyburn and Dr. King, let us be prayerful about how we go forward on this very personal issue, about the well-being of every person in our country.

              Speaker Ryan once called this bill an act of mercy, an act of mercy. There is no mercy here. Indeed, inequality and inhumanity is exactly – that is exactly what Trumpcare has in store for the American people. But when he said it’s an act of mercy, here’s what others said, ‘from the beginning Trumpcare was a moral monstrosity that will devastate seniors, children and hardworking Americans.’ That was from me. But don’t take it from me.

              […]

              By gutting key protections, Trumpcare eviscerates essential health benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, emergency coverage, prenatal care and guts protections for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. As bad as Trumpcare was the first time around, it was dead, it died. It died right here on the floor. Now it’s come back to life. Like a zombie, even more scary than before and it is even worse.

              If Republicans had their way, Americans with pre-existing conditions would be pushed off their insurance and segregated into high-risk pools will where they will face soaring costs, worse coverage and restricted care. Trumpcare means huge premium increases. It’s frightening future for families who need affordable, dependable care the most. Now on the floor, the Republicans have recklessly, and some would say fraudulently, claimed that Trumpcare covers Americans with pre-existing conditions. It does not. It does not.

              […]

              Forcing a vote without a CBO Score shows that the Republicans are afraid of the facts. They’re afraid of learning the full consequences of their plan to push Americans with pre-existing conditions into the cold, or as my colleague from New York said, off the sidewalk.

              If Republicans thought they really were protecting people, they wouldn’t be afraid of the facts. But they’re also afraid of the truth and the truth that would come forth if we knew the facts. And they’re afraid that the American people will find out that this is not a health care bill. This is a tax bill disguised as a health bill. This is a bill that is the one of the biggest transfers of wealth in the history of the country, from the middle class to the richest people and corporations in America.

              Clearly, this frat boy doesn’t care about having her signature legislative achievement dismantled.

              • urd

                It’s also not news that Scott resorts to insults and personal attacks when challenged.

                Pity you focus on her speech, instead of her actions.

                Also this bit of behavior is to be more often found at campus frat houses and sporting events than in Congress when something this awful has just happened:

                http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4474758/Democrats-ridicule-GOP-chanting-Hey-hey-goodbye.html

                I didn’t say she didn’t care; I said she seemed more concerned with scoring political points.

                Nothing in what you quoted really disproves what I said. If you believe everything she said, then that’s your mistake.

                • sibusisodan

                  Pelosi’s statements after the vote were, for the most part, more in line with someone who wanted to score

                  Pity you focus on her speech, instead of her actions.

                  ???

                • Scott Lemieux

                  instead of her actions.

                  You mean, every member of her caucus voting “no”? And her being instrumental to getting the enormously difficult lift of getting it passed in the first place? But, yes, other than her words and actions there’s no evidence that Pelosi cares about the victims of Trumpcare.

                  As for the rest, I would recommend reading the posts before commenting.

                • urd

                  Admittedly, this was very bad phrasing on my part, which is my mistake.

                  While she speaks long and eloquently about how people will be hurt and the changes that could come as a result of this bill, she still refuses to entertain single-payer or similar health care options. So while she is so very, very concerned about the health care people will lose, she has proven again and again she won’t even talk about the possibility of single-payer.

                  It would have been better for me to say: if you strip away all of her pretty language, you will get to the heart of what she really cares about. For most of what she says is for the media and people foolish enough to take what she says at face value.

                • urd

                  You mean, every member of her caucus voting “no”?

                  So they should get a prize for doing this? It’s about time the democrats were united in their votes against Drumpf and the GOP.

                  Sorry, I don’t praise them for passing the ACA in the first place. It was a centrist compromise that even the democrats at times hid from. Hardly the sign of a rousing success.

                  As for the rest, I would recommend reading the posts before commenting.

                  True, that was a mistake on my part, which I’ve clarified below. As for you, you might want to actually address an issue that is raised, rather than running away from it. But then again, it wouldn’t be the first time.

        • efgoldman

          every time I read it I get more contemptuous

          Gave me a startle, because my very liberal MA state legislator at one time was named Bachrach. Relieved to see it’s not the same guy.

    • DamnYankees

      Paragraphs like this are nothing more than “why won’t Democrats agree with me on what would be good?!?” wrapped up in words intended to hide the masturbatory content.

    • Scott Lemieux

      “Who gives a shit that TrumpCare will kill people — everybody dies.” — The Real Left

      • wjts

        The final line of Blade Runner isn’t a sound basis for health care policy.

        • mds

          Well, it is still too bad she won’t live. And on the bright side, maybe someday Paul Ryan will be explaining all this to one of his constituents, and that constituent will gouge Ryan’s eyeballs out.

          • Mayur

            “Nothing the God of Predatory Capitalism wouldn’t let you into heaven for.”

          • liberalrob

            “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

        • Morse Code for J

          “______ 2020: I want more life, fucker.”

      • Pseudonym

        I assume the complaint is that the Democrats aren’t articulating a vision other than “Republicans are worse”—they are, but it’s not something that’s reported on because the mainstream media cares about political entertainment rather than policy, and it’s not the same vision as Jacobin’s anyway.

        • BloodyGranuaile

          The Democrats aren’t articulating a vision in a snappy/sensationalist enough way to force and/or shock the media into reporting on it, for which I put half the blame on the media for sucking at its job and half the blame on the Democrats for not having way upped their game in manipulating the media considering that it’s sucked at its job in almost the exact same predictable way for a few decades now. And now I feel like *I’m* falling into both-sidesism and I hate everything.

          • blackbox

            That’s not both-sides. Both-sides is a means of making all qualities and faults of both sides out to be a wash, usually deflecting from a specific criticism of the GOP, or just kept up as a general drumbeat such that no voter is at risk of becoming educated about what a party or politician actually wants or has done, which might cause them to make an informed decision in the booth.

            Obviously, the former is something GOP politicians (and the rather similar breed, Internet commenters) do; the latter is something you can find lefties doing as well, as in the subject of this blog entry.

    • cpinva

      “That’s some mighty fine hand-waving right there.”

      he’s right you know. Obama had eight years, eight.years! and just never even bothered to consult with Mr. Bacharach on this issue. had he but taken 5 minutes out of his busy schedule of golfing, and flying down to FL every weekend why, we’d all be singing his praises, as the guy that brought single-payer to Washington! oh sure, there was that feeble attempt at a bill, so big no one even bothered to read it, most certainly not Mr. Bacharach (he was spending his time productively, writing songs and producing albums for his good friend, Bar Streisand). so we got this law, that no one understands, and just doesn’t help everyone exactly the way Mr. Bacharach wants it to.*

      * sorry, couldn’t remember the official LG&M snark font.

      • efgoldman

        Obama had eight years, eight.years! and just never even bothered to consult with Mr. Bacharach on this issue.

        And the whole time, the White House housekeeper (just fired by Coral Cankersore for, I guess, being too black and too female) had the key to the Green Lantern vault in the basement.

        sorry, couldn’t remember the official LG&M snark font.

        T’aint hard. Just highlight text and click the code button above the comment box.
        Do I have to teach you whippersnappers everything?

    • Junipermo

      You know what this remark sounds like? Sociopathy. Makes this person sound no better than Paul Ryan, to just hand-wave away premature death, and the prolonged suffering that often precedes it.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      To be fair, I think he’s trying to say that Democrats play the “Republicans are trying to kill you” card too much and it doesn’t work anymore.

      I don’t really buy it, and it’s not based on a fair reading of what Democrats do, but it’s a less despicable point.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I’d be interested to see the evidence that it’s not effective. You know how hard it is for a president to propose something that can’t get 20% support in a country where fucking Donald Trump can get 46% of the vote?

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Well yeah. But asking him to explain why “Republicans want to kill you, as can be seen by their support of policies that will kill you” is actually a bad argument isn’t fair.

          Democrats will let you live, but won’t immediately create a leftist utopia, which is worse, in a way, if you think about it.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Unfortunately, the new version of the bill seems to be more popular.

          This is due to Republican voters being more in favor. These are likely low-info voters who know that the party is unified behind the new bill (at least until it gets to the Senate, highlighting intraparty divisions again) and therefore allying with their tribe.

  • Nobdy

    What is it supposed to accomplish? Lefty signaling and being able to lash out at someone who isn’t as scary as the Republican party (and the Republican party helped Trump get nukes so it is very scary.)

    It helps to think of politics as an intellectual exercise devoid of practical constraints or consequences.

    Picture a college sophomore in a seminar of about 20 people constantly raising his hand so he can prove he is the smartest person in the room, only he hasn’t done the reading.

    If you imagine him as the author of these pieces they all kind of make sense.

    • brad

      Apologies to anyone who cares for being slightly cryptic and not naming names, but a former college classmate of mine seems to have been a published Berniebro (actually, I can think of one or two others who also might be, but don’t want to know). And I can confirm, having had multiple classes with him, that he is indeed the type who would constantly raise his hand to restate what the prof had just said, then look around the room for praise for his insight. Also, he was a creepy perv who peeped on girls in the shower, but I digress.
      That is who they are. They don’t really know what they’re talking about, and they’re oblivious to it.

  • petesh

    Spot on, Scott. And may I just requote this for emphasis:

    the part that worked was the single-payer program that the Democrats so ardently refused — continue to refuse — to endorse

    That is a lie.

    Yes, yes, I am supposed to say that it is an example of ignorance or a slip of the pen or some nicety of that sort, but no. It’s a lie. Every bit as bad as Trump’s. Any conversation with Jacob Bacharach has to start with asking for repudiation of this statement, and without that, ends.

    • NYD3030

      I just watched a video of Dianne Feinstein saying she does not support single payer like, yesterday. There are plenty of examples for both side of this issue but perhaps most relevant is that the most recent nominee did not support single payer. I don’t think he’s lying when he says that the party as a whole is not terribly committed to it, whether or not they like medicaid.

      • petesh

        Nope. He defined single payer as Medicaid expansion (or vice versa). That was in Clinton’s platform. Indeed Scott linked it in the original post.

        • NYD3030

          I think you’re deliberately misreading it. No writer for Jacobin defines ‘single payer’ as the Medicaid expansion in the ACA. Anyway Scott linked to a page saying Hillary supports a public option in the exchanges and expanding Medicare by allowing people 55 and up to buy into it, neither of which are Single Payer.

          • DamnYankees

            He’s not misreading it. Maybe the author miswrote it. But the plain words the author wrote mean that the Democrats refuse to support Medicaid. Which is a lie.

            • NYD3030

              Smh. Okay.

            • petesh

              Perhaps we are supposed to take Jacobin seriously but not literally.

          • Scott Lemieux

            He didn’t just say that Democrats oppose single-payer, he said that they don’t support any expansion of the ACA because they think it’s perfect. The former is misleading, the latter an outright lie.

          • econoclast

            This is such a stupid argument. Plenty of countries have universal health care without single-payer, like Germany.

            But no, unless the Democrats actively fight to take away insurance people get from their employers, they’re almost as bad as Trump.

            • Junipermo

              But no, unless the Democrats actively fight to take away insurance people get from their employers, they’re almost as bad as Trump.

              Great point. It’s like the Jacobin types don’t have even a rudimentary understanding of human nature: that people are often very resistant to change, even if that change might ultimately be for the better.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I’m sure this guy has a very detailed and persuasive argument for why Canada’s health care system is vastly better than the ones in France and Germany and isn’t just using “single payer” as an empty slogan.

      • BloodyGranuaile

        HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, has 108 Democratic co-sponsors in the House, which is a little more than half the current House Democratic caucus.

        So it’s not true to say the Democrats as a whole either do or do not support single payer — it’s pretty evenly split.

        Now, if the Dems take back the House and Senate and go through trying to pass this bill, it’s entirely likely that whatever gets signed will be weaker than the current bill, which is also what happened to the ACA. How much weaker depends on a number of factors, such as how many seats the Dems do gain, how many of those seats are occupied by Joe Liebermans, how hard their constituents work them from the left or the right, how much industry pressure is put on them and how much they cave to, how much industry and constituent pressure is put on the opposition party to support/oppose, what the President would be willing to sign, etc. etc. etc. a whole long list of boring unsexy things that ordinary people have varying degrees of control over and that would require a variety of movement-building strategies by various actors within and outside of the party over time to influence different points in the process — in other words, politics.

        • NYD3030

          Which is exactly what organizations like the DSA are attempting, which is left entirely out of the conversation here. Will it work? No idea. But someone is actually trying, not just writing leftier than thou articles as mist people here seem to believe.

          • BloodyGranuaile

            I just recently joined DSA for precisely this reason, and it doesn’t make the leftier-than-thou articles coming from pretentious outlets like Jacobin any more palatable. I think they’re damaging to coalition-building, and since Jacobin is, for some reason, the most prominent explicitly socialist publication in the US, that’s a not insignificant amount of damage.

            (Of course, I’d also like “liberal” media to stop hippie-punching leftists, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon either. This is why we can’t have nice things.)

            • Matty

              If we had upvotes, I would upvote this comment.

        • searcher

          I think it’s even understating the Democratic support to simply count co-sponsers; if HR 676 or any other reasonable “Medicare For All” bill were to hit the floor for a vote, I would be surprised if fewer than 80-90% of the Democrats in Congress (either house) voted for it.

          And I’d also be surprised if more than 0% of Republicans in Congress voted for it, so it’d be doomed to failure unless Democrats had absurdly large majorities in both Houses.

          Now, we can spend all day trying to figure out how to get 100% of our diverse coalition to support single-payer healthcare, or we can spend all day trying to figure out why no Republicans are willing to vote for anything nice, but at the end of the day it’d be just as productive and a lot more fun to crush our own respective sex organs in vises, hydraulic or hand-cranked.

          So I don’t really blame Democrats who care about healthcare and are in a position to do something about it for focusing on things besides single payer, that are politically possible and will save lives.

  • rfm

    How much more aggressive bad faith from the left is it going to take before we just steal their good ideas and quit playing at being allies? If the Democrats ran hard on single payer in 2018 and 2020, there would be a flurry of Jacobin pieces about how, actually, only single provider is good.

    • econoclast

      What good ideas? European social democrats had the good ideas 50 years ago. The Jacobin crowd is devoid of ideas of their own.

      There’s also a weird generation gap here. While there were dumb leftists during the Bush administration, back then the left understood that the real enemy was Bush and his foreign policy. There’s a new generation whose real enemy is the Democratic party.

      • NYD3030

        Are you under the impression that today’s Democratic party is running on the SPD platform from the sixties? I’d be pretty happy with some twentieth century social democracy…

        • econoclast

          No? Is this a trick question?

    • CP

      The problem isn’t so much that we won’t steal their good ideas, it’s more that when we do, they refuse to acknowledge it and go right on talking as though it’s never happened. Which is how you get an article in which a guy accuses Hillary Clinton, the candidate who ran on a public option and a Medicaid expansion, of not running on a public option and a Medicaid expansion.

      • Davis X. Machina

        a guy accuses Hillary Clinton, the candidate who ran on a public option and a Medicaid expansion, of not running on a public option and a Medicaid expansion.

        Pick one:

        “She doesn’t mean it.

        UR NOT DOIN’ IT RIGHT.

  • NewishLawyer

    The Jacobin crowd and the GOP hate the Democratic Party for being squishes. Liberal middle-class squishes who want to improve the system as it exists instead of radical alteration.

    The far left dislikes the Democratic Party because we are generally not opposed to Capitalism. We might think Capitalism needs to be tempered and regulated so the corporations and finance dudes don’t go off the speculative deep end and take us down with them but we are not opposed to Capitalism or the profit motive as such.

    The right-wing thinks even the modest suggestion of regulation and control on Capitalism is nothing more than full-throttled Leninism.

    And I think the far left and far right acknowledge each other’s devotion to extremism. They don’t like muddle along Democratic center-leftism.

    • econoclast

      I think this is close to right, but I want to quibble with it a little bit. You don’t see that many on the left who advocate genuine socialism — you see some, but you see just as many who advocate social democracy. Social democracy, as the Scandinavian countries show, is tempered capitalism. So it’s more of an objection to style. Democrats might take steps towards regulating and tempering capitalism, but they’ll always do it in some sort of bland technocratic way. They’ll pass some dull, complicated piece of legislation like the ACA.

      • NYD3030

        Yes but that dull complex means tested kludge is not only the best we could get, advocating for anything better is counter productive and why Hillary lost.

        • econoclast

          Were you born after the ACA was passed? We came pretty close to getting nothing. They literally took out the public option to get the one vote needed for it to pass.

          • The Temporary Name

            Who was that one vote? All caps please…

            • NYD3030

              MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE

              • liberalrob

                OHHHHHHHH YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

            • econoclast

              I don’t remember his name, but he was definitely the most sucessful candidate the Connecticut for Lieberman party ever produced.

              • Rob in CT

                Blood pressure, rising…

                Eyelid, twitching…

                • liberalrob

                  Calm down, Mr. Furious :)

              • Scott Lemieux

                The Scrupulously Fair, I don’t think the public option in the House bill ever had even 50 votes in the Senate. Lieberman did kill the Medicare buy-in, though.

          • NYD3030

            I am aware that it was the best thing that could have emerged from that process, supported it’s passage, oppose it’s repeal. I don’t think anybody could have waved a magic wand and gotten a better bill through that Congress. All the same, it’s insufficient.

            • liberalrob

              It took me a while to finally come around to that conclusion. But eventually my last vestiges of idealism and optimism about the American Experiment died, and I stopped worrying and started loving the bomb.

              At some point, the contradictions will heighten themselves enough for people to notice them; but at that point it’ll be far too late.

            • Pseudonym

              It seems like the left’s belief in this time of GOP control of government is that the best defense is a good offense: that the broadly-defined left should focus on articulating a vision of the future rather than defending the status quo from regressing. Unfortunately here that takes the form of attacking those playing defense.

            • Brien Jackson

              I mean…what’s the argument about then?

            • Scott Lemieux

              I am aware that it was the best thing that could have emerged from that process, supported it’s passage, oppose it’s repeal. I don’t think anybody could have waved a magic wand and gotten a better bill through that Congress. All the same, it’s insufficient.

              I’m curious — who do you think you’re disagreeing with?

            • FlipYrWhig

              All the same, it’s insufficient.

              I don’t understand where this leads. Do you want credit for _saying_ things should be better, or do you have some notion of how things could be _made_ better that goes beyond wanting them and saying so? I get hung up on this with all contemporary American leftish discourse. Anyone can say good things would be better than bad things. It’s really not a sign of bravery or intelligence.

      • NewishLawyer

        I don’t read much Jacobin but while they might go more for Democratic Socialism over Clause IV Labour Party, they do seem to have a hard time admitting that the profit motive and consumerism have a place in society.

        Americans for better or for worse like consumer products and seem to prefer creature comforts over free time.

        There has been an aspect of the left that always disliked materialism of this kind and I think another reason the Democratic Party is disliked is because they won’t make anti-consumerism especially of Veblen goods, an issue.

        So in the Democratic world, you might have universal healthcare and civil rights protections but you also have conspicuous consumption and parts of the left really hate that.

        • Mr. Rogers

          Indeed – in such a world former politicians might be able to command the market rate when giving speeches.

        • Davis X. Machina

          There’s a Puritanism of the Left and a Puritanism of the Right…

          I remember discussions on DKos about how the 2008-9 financial meltdown was an opportunity to ditch consumerism and build real communities and get to know our neighbors through the return of subsistence agriculture, and seed swapping.

          Me, I just wanted Stop and Shop to be there in the morning. I guess I’m a sellout.

          • LeeEsq

            Even on this blog, we get many posters who really don’t seem to understand that people like their creature comforts and if we could only get rid of our Play Station 4s than there will be revolution.

          • Linnaeus

            I don’t think you need to worry about the Red Menace.

        • FlipYrWhig

          There has been an aspect of the left that always disliked materialism of this kind and I think another reason the Democratic Party is disliked is because they won’t make anti-consumerism especially of Veblen goods, an issue.

          Pfft. 20- and 30-something dudes with elite educations, IOW big swaths of the contemporary “left,” have consumed their share of Veblen goods. They just relate to them in a spirit of survivor guilt.

        • urd

          profit motive and consumerism have a place in society

          Current events, both on the social and environmental fronts, would seem to dispute this belief.

        • Linnaeus

          I don’t read much Jacobin but while they might go more for Democratic Socialism over Clause IV Labour Party, they do seem to have a hard time admitting that the profit motive and consumerism have a place in society.

          This doesn’t really bother me. I mean, I may not agree with all that they publish, but I’m kinda glad that publications like Jacobin exist. “Acceptable” political discourse in the US is, IMHO, pretty narrow and it’s generally taken as a given that profit motive, consumerism, etc. are inherently good. Capitalism is basically a theology in the US. So I can appreciate someone challenging that, because it needs to happen, even if that challenge goes off into the woods sometimes.

        • Matt McIrvin

          A high top marginal tax rate and an inheritance tax with teeth might actually cut down on some of the worst of it, though. Nobody does conspicuous consumption like princelings with vast inherited wealth. And all of this is more or less independent of whether capitalism exists as we know it.

      • btfjd

        “Dull, complicated pieces of legislation” are how change happens. Look at the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. No green lanternism there, just imperfect but important laws helping people and regulating capitalism. To take only the most obvious example, everything in the New Deal had to be passed with the support of Southern senators and congressmen, and all were consequently terrible on race. That being said, I’d rather have the imperfect Social Security Act passed than a perfect Social Security Act voted down.

      • LeeEsq

        You think that the welfare state and nationalization legislation that occurred in many European countries during the mid-20th century was anything but bland technocracy? All those laws were very detailed and technical and mid-20th century social democrats saw themselves as the true technocrats. It was those wrong-headed communists further to the left that were the revolutionaries and those American capitalists were not technocratic either because they left it all up to chance.

        • Ronan

          The thing I never got about the anti technocratic rhetoric* is that Nordic social democracies are pretty much the standard bearer for dull, technocratic governance.

          *I mean Ive engaged in it, and have sympathy for parts of the argument, but the goal is actually just a well functioning technocratic welfare state. Which is mostly boring and politically uneventful.

          eta: only now reading econoclasts comment, but the point still stands.

          • LeeEsq

            Exactly. The Nordic social democracies or the classic Labour Party under Atlee and Wilson did not see themselves as radical revolutionaries. They saw themselves as educated professionals using the latest scientific methods and research to bring material comfort and happiness to the masses. Other social democratic parties saw themselves the same way. The entire idea of mid-20th century social democracy was to save people from the excesses of Communist revolution and the chaos of free market capitalism.

          • Linnaeus

            Critiques of technocratic approaches to government aren’t just about how things get done, but what gets done and who does it.

      • Linnaeus

        Social democracy, as the Scandinavian countries show, is tempered capitalism. So it’s more of an objection to style.

        Not just style, but also degree. The Scandinavian countries temper capitalism more stringently than the US does.

        • The Scandinavian countries temper capitalism more stringently than the US does.

          They heat capitalists white-hot before plunging them into water? Sounds good to me!

          • Linnaeus

            I wouldn’t protest.

    • cpinva

      “The right-wing thinks even the modest suggestion of regulation and control on Capitalism is nothing more than full-throttled Leninism.”

      which is kind of ironic, when you consider that just a few years ago they were all extolling the virtues of Adam Smith, and his treatise on economics, “The Wealth of Nations”. apparently, none of them actually read the book (I did), wherein Dr. Smith advocates for gov’t regulation of private businesses, and the economy in general. he did this for the very same reasons the Democratic Party, and Progressives in general do: to keep the private sector honest, and from destroying the economy once every few years.

      Geeze, the R’s even had Adam Smith ties and everything!

      • so-in-so

        Pretty much like their understanding of the Constitution. Or anything else not about getting more money for the rich.

      • liberalrob

        apparently, none of them actually read the book

        Pfft, you kidding? Reading’s for nerds. If you can’t get the gist from the back-cover blurbs it’s not worth the time.

      • Colin Day

        Also, infrastructure.

      • mongolia

        isn’t adam smith’s entire political and economic philosophy about how an invisible hand can build skyscrapers and iphones?

    • Origami Isopod

      And I think the far left and far right acknowledge each other’s devotion to extremism.

      It’s partly the hatred for wonkery (too intamallekchual) and compromise, partly the repudiation of identity politics.

  • kvs

    What these empty, glib, know-nothing hot takes are supposed to accomplish for the American left remains beyond me.

    1)They’re supposed to lift the wool from our eyes so we overthrow our Democratic Party overlords.
    2) …
    3) Utopia

    • tsam

      Yeah, the whole thing is basically a drunken rant saying “GET ON MY LEVEL, SON”.

      Nah–I seen your level, son. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit.

    • D.N. Nation

      I’d care more – and even sign up for what they were hawking – if these types actually, y’know, ran for something. Or put up a candidate. Who wasn’t a horrific crank.

      As is, though, it’s Statler/Waldorf progressivism.

      • veleda_k

        Hah, I like that turn of phrase, even if I think it’s unfair to Statler and Waldor.

    • liberalrob

      They’re supposed to accomplish the goal of getting Bacharach (hey, Burt wants his name back) and his cohorts paid. Accomplishing anything for the American Left is lagniappe.

      • Colin Day

        What the Web needs now is love, sweet love!

    • ColBatGuano

      They are convinced that there are huge masses of democratic socialists living in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states who are just waiting to be inspired to vote and columns like this are just the thing to do it.

      • liberalrob

        Somebody needs to introduce them to this guy:

        In deep-red America, the white Christian god is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, or change. When you have a belief system built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t that coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans. The problem is that rural America doesn’t understand itself and will never listen to anyone outside its bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views will be automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they will not even entertain the possibility that it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact that I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.

        • efgoldman

          Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system

          And local control of really shitty public schools

  • aab84

    The base of the Democratic party is, in many respects, black women. It’s amazing how often they’re completely written out of these discussions.

    • brad

      Too blinded by identity politics. They need a white man to set them free.

    • DamnYankees

      No one ever pretends to care what black women think, on the left or the right. It’s pretty amazing. I can’t think a more politically engaged population that gets less media and critical attention than black women.

      • aab84

        It’s especially ridiculous for Jacobin and other left-critics writing about Hillary Clinton and bemoaning that Sanders didn’t win the primary.

        The single biggest reason Sanders lost is that Clinton absolutely destroyed him with black voters, and particularly black women. Any effort to move the party as a whole to the left/win primaries needs to make a serious effort to understand why that’s the case and what needs to be done to address it.

        (Caveat: I’m not a regular Jacobin reader, so they may have written numerous excellent pieces on this issue. But by and large, it’s woefully under-discussed).

        • Junipermo

          The single biggest reason Sanders lost is that Clinton absolutely destroyed him with black voters, and particularly black women. Any effort to move the party as a whole to the left/win primaries needs to make a serious effort to understand why that’s the case and what needs to be done to address it.

          Yep. If these people were really serious about moving the Democratic Party to the left, they’d find some way to get the Dems’ most loyal, consistent voting bloc to move their way. Instead, they decry “identity politics” even as they urge focusing more on white working class voters (too many of whom are hostile to the concerns of black women voters). They can’t see that to a lot of folks this reads as them blaming black voters for having lost the election.

          • NYD3030

            The DSA is pretty serious about reaching out minority communities and involving them in the leadership of the organization.

          • tsam

            they’d find some way to get the Dems’ most loyal, consistent voting bloc to move their way.

            I don’t know that those most consistent voting blocs aren’t already there. Being that those groups are the ones most constantly shit on by our society, some tangible evidence that we care about them would be helpful.

        • Brien Jackson

          “The single biggest reason Sanders lost is that Clinton absolutely destroyed him with black voters, and particularly black women. Any effort to move the party as a whole to the left/win primaries needs to make a serious effort to understand why that’s the case and what needs to be done to address it.”

          Or, you know, you could consider that black women tend to be the most left-wing, most radical political segment of the country and stop implicitly alienating them with constant bromides about how they’re an obstacle to overcome in “moving the Democratic Party to the left!” Maybe even go so far as to consider that their perspective of what “the left” means is equally valid as Matt Stoller’s?

          • so-in-so

            Can’t be, it diminishes the importance of white “leftist” bro-self image.

          • Ronan

            “Or, you know, you could consider that black women tend to be the most left-wing, most radical political segment of the country ”

            Where are you getting this from, out of curiosity? My understanding was that ‘Asians’ were the most liberal* racial demographic, though Ive never seen it broken down by gender.

            *not solely by party affiliation but by self identification as liberal.

          • aab84

            You’re reading my comment in a way I didn’t intend, which is almost certainly my fault. I didn’t intend to denigrate the political views of black women or to suggest they’re somehow an obstacle to change. The point I was trying to make was: any piece focused on “Clinton apparatchiks” supposedly ignoring “the base” needs to wrestle with the fact that the actual base of the Democratic Party overwhelmingly supported Clinton in the primary.

            I’d hoped it was clear that I wasn’t taking the side of the Matt Stollers with my comment. Apparently it was not. That is my bad.

            • Ronan

              i thought your comment was clear.

            • altofront

              I’m pretty sure you and Brien are in complete agreement (assuming that’s who you’re apologizing to).

              • Brien Jackson

                Yeah, I didn’t think that we were here, but that phrasing pretty much speaks for itself in terms of being problematic.

        • Ronan

          Sander’s is still very popular among African Americans and women.(so I assume African American women)

          http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/329404-poll-bernie-sanders-countrys-most-popular-active-politician

          I assume one of the barriers he had to overcome in the primaries(with African Americans and in general)is that Clinton had better organisational support and name recognition among.(and Obama’s support?)

          • EliHawk

            Meh. Favorability means jack when you aren’t being attacked. He polls like a generic Dem they’ve heard of for favoriblity. It doesn’t mean that, given the choice between him and someone else in a Democratic primary, they won’t vote for literally anyone else.

            • Ronan

              Sure. But this is pretty much my point, ie that Clinton had better organisational support and name recognition.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I dunno, I’m pretty sure the base of the Democratic Party are white guys who think Nancy Pelosi is a reactionary.

      • Junipermo

        Obviously. Now if only all those black women voters, activists, and organizers that have been there since 1964 would see the error of their ways….

      • FlipYrWhig

        Judging by my FB feed, an astounding number of people would not recognize this statement as a joke.

  • D.N. Nation

    Republicans want to kill you! Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die. You become inured to this sort of thing after a while.

    Look, peasants, the healthcare debate is boring to me – outside of the important conclusions that “Dems suck” – and must surely be boring for you.

    – This guy, straight out of the Matt Stoller Face Factory: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/690181628346417152/aD53k_Kc.jpg

  • MPAVictoria

    The article is actually pretty good Scott.
    /Also Jacob lives in Pittsburgh. He is also Jewish, gay and, as far as I know, not well off at all.

    • NYD3030

      Shhhh he’s a Bushwick straight white trust fund kid pretending to be Lenin or something!

    • Turkle

      I happen to really enjoy the author’s writing in general, although this certainly isn’t his best work.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I’ve never read anything he’s written before; for all I know this is highly atypical.

        • JerBL

          He blogged during the Bush years and early Obama as Ioz; I think he’s always had a streak of this sort of nihilist crankery, but I think it’s gotten more pronounced lately. One explanation I can come up with is, it was more of an affectation, a literary choice, which I think worked pretty well; but now, when he writes actual political analysis, it just becomes hackish.

          Delong has preserved an old piece of his (in fact, the first I ever read by him) that I think is pretty typical: you can see the world-weary, above-it-all pose at the beginning, but I think it comes off a little better in this setting.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The article is actually pretty good Scott.

      That article would be improved by being replaced with a YouTube video of a monkey throwing its own shit. But if it was a good article you would, you know, defend some of its arguments on the merits.

      • petesh

        I considered tone-policing but I’ll grammar-police instead: were not was. Save the subjunctive!

        • Davis X. Machina

          Were we not to save the subiunctive, English would be greatly impoverished.

      • NYD3030

        I can see you are enjoying the smug attitude that comes with the rousing victory which vindicated your political vision in November…

        • McAllen

          Buddy, you might not want to start measuring the correctness of political philosophies by their electoral success, cause you’re going to lose that fight pretty fast.

          • EliHawk

            True Leftism is on the march! I mean, just a few weeks ago it almost beat the guy whose entire family is about to be in prison.

      • veleda_k

        This article probably reads better if one is severely concussed.

        More seriously, it does occur to me that while you and I find arguments like, “So what if Republicans take health care away from people? We’re all going to die anyway,” jaw-droppingly stupid, it comes from the same sort of place as, “The Supreme Court is blackmail.” It’s this idea that consequences are meaningless. The only thing that matter is the purity of one’s beliefs. Anyone who bases their arguments on results and consequences is to be distrusted.

        • You know who else wanted results?

          This version of the joke calls for the answer “Stalin.”

          • NYD3030

            Gotta love red baiting.

            • veleda_k

              On the one hand, it’s way to early to be drinking. On the other hand, whiny socialists are pouting about red baiting.

              Decisions, decisions.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                At this rate, Murc is going to turn into a Cuomo clone by 2021.

    • kped

      Pretty good…how?

      Also…who said anything about where he lived, his religion, his sexual orientation, his money situation? Certainly Scott didn’t. Talk about a strawman…

      • MPAVictoria

        “FYI consists solely of affluent white guys in Brooklyn who delcared themselves to be socialists starting in 2014.”

        Which I read to include the author of the piece in question.

        • Nobdy

          Scott is to be taken literally and seriously.

        • So your objection is to “Brooklyn”?

          • wjts

            Google informs me that he lives (or lived) in Lawrenceville, which is the Brooklyn of Pittsburgh.

            (I used to live in Lawrenceville. I liked it a lot.)

    • kvs

      Jacob lives in Pittsburgh. He is also Jewish, gay and, as far as I know, not well off at all.

      Which doesn’t tell us whether Jacob has participated in Democratic Party organizing meetings. Which would be relevant to know because the article begins with:

      I’ve said before that the Democratic Party isn’t really a political party at all, but rather something closer to a think tank — a kind of failed academic enterprise whose principal output is dubious research written in the style of a press release and the occasional bemusing and ineffectual appearance on cable news.

      which reads like someone whose familiarity with the party doesn’t come from firsthand experience or knowledge of its operations.

      The GOP gave birth to a feisty swamp monster of Tea Party activism. Convince yourself all you want that this was the result of Koch Bros astroturfing; in reality, it’s the Republican Party that’s been roiled by primary challenges to established teat-suckers; it’s the Republican Party that’s tossed out its goldfish-mouthed leadership in favor of a class of politicians really committed to exercising power.

      Because primary challengers are always the result of grassroots organizing. I’m also not sure how the Freedom Caucus gets credit for wanting to exercise power so badly when they were willing to kill their party’s Affordable Care Act repeal bill. The Republican Party leadership has also passed so many other signature pieces of legislation since January.

      • econoclast

        This fits the point I made above to Newish Lawyer. Their real objection is one of style. The Democrats are just so boring.

        • tsam

          There may be something to that. Avoid fearmongering, try to tell the truth, even if it’s not what people want to hear, focus on what we can fix rather than lofty pipe dreams…all pretty boring.

        • burritoboy

          And you apparently believe that the population is composed of people who fervently await the discussion of the innermost details of tax policy.

          Instead of admitting that the population is a giant mob of fools, and thus, admitting to yourself that you were wrong, you’d prefer to lose every political battle.

          The people need a narrative. They need drama. They need heroes and villains. They need good and bad. And there’s plenty of perfectly liberal heroes, narrative and stories that numerous politicians want to try out. But you want to block those who are willing to do this so that politics can look like the 1950s poli sci textbook about “compromises between interest blocks” that exists in your head.

          • Brien Jackson

            Counterpoint: This only works because Republican fucks ups have been followed by competent Democrats who were able to fix things up in relatively quick order. Take that away and instead have Democrats who are equally as nihilistic and fantastical as the Republicans and you just an apocalytic dystopia in 8-12 years.

            • kvs

              Alternative counterpoint: there is a range of options for effective political action between releasing white papers and producing a Democratic Ring Cycle saga. Some of which the Democratic Party actually does.

          • tsam

            And there’s plenty of perfectly liberal heroes, narrative and stories that numerous politicians want to try out.

            I’m almost afraid to ask, but…such as?

            • FlipYrWhig

              Such as “banks are wicked bad,” which excites people for about 17 seconds.

              • tsam

                Well that’s certainly new information to middle America. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR DEMS? RELEASE THE HOUNDS

                • kvs

                  RELEASE THE HOUNDS KRAKEN

        • Tybalt

          No one on the left would give a shit if the Democrats are boring. The complaint is that the Democrats are cack-handed and singularly incompetent at instituting (also at advocating) both liberal and left policy.

          It’s very hard to see in all this discussion here at LGM right now, where the Democratic policies and policy vision are. None articulated and none even hinted at, including on health care; despite the cavil that Bacharach himself isn’t presenting policy, his criticism that Dems are interested only in “America Is Already Great” nonsense seems rather on the mark. The ACA! The ARRA! Dodd-Frank! The fact that this is all lipstick on a pig is apparently not important, but we need to hold our criticism because Hey, At Least You Tried. Well, you didn’t try, but you tried to try. Not very hard, mind you.

          What is definitely beyond question: that the people of America seem to have an idee fixe that the country is badly broken. As is the charge that Democrats don’t take that idea seriously.

          I wish you all well. I do. I know that Democrats aren’t happy with their fumbling and flailing, even those putting a brave face (such a brave face!) to sing and smile for the cameras as tens of millions lose their insurance coverage. It’s up to those who love the party to save it and I wish you very, very well.

          • kvs

            Obligatory reminder that the Senate had and still has a supermajority requirement for passage of most legislation. Any analysis of legislative outcomes and supposed Democratic policy preferences that doesn’t account for that threshold is facile at best.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman totally would have voted for a spending-only $3 trillion stimulus, but Obama Didn’t. Even. Try.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Yeah, the mass of Americans are definitely itching to hear that capitalism has failed. It’s what’s foremost in their minds as they trundle their carts down the aisles at Walmart.

          • sibusisodan

            You can’t complain that Dems are incompetent at instituting liberal policy while yadda yadda-ing the ACA.

            It’s one or the other.

          • Scott Lemieux

            No one on the left would give a shit if the Democrats are boring. The complaint is that the Democrats are cack-handed and singularly incompetent at instituting (also at advocating) both liberal and left policy.

            You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t even know enough about American politics to bullshit successfully about it.

            his criticism that Dems are interested only in “America Is Already Great” nonsense seems rather on the mark.

            Hillary Clinton ran on a policy vision that was both detailed and the most left-wing the Democratic Party has run on in decades if not ever.

            The ACA! The ARRA! Dodd-Frank! The fact that this is all lipstick on a pig is apparently not important,

            Yes, unlike you I do think the 30,000 lives saved each year by the ACA, not to mention the halving of medical bankruptcies and the alleviation of a great deal of stress and suffering, is important. Unlike you, I think the many people who have jobs because of the ARRA (which, by the way, was a far more robust stimulus than was passed in most comparable liberal democracies) matter. Unlike you, I think the consumers who haven’t been ripped off because of Dodd-Frank matter. I think this because thinking like you would be immoral.

            It is true that all three of these laws fall short of ideal social democratic policy. The same is true of such lipsticks on a pig as Social Security, Medicare, the Wagner Act, etc. etc. This is not surprising, because the United States has a 1)high veto point system that 2)massively overrepresents conservative and rural interests. It’s not because the Democrats don’t give 110%, whatever the Aaron Sorkin scripts that seem to be your sole basis of knowledge about American politics have told you.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            What is definitely beyond question: that the people of America seem to have an idee fixe that the country is badly broken. As is the charge that Democrats don’t take that idea seriously.

            Obviously when the Democrats hold the presidency, it’s difficult for them to run on “America is being run incompetently and it’s all horrible!”

            Obama’s 2008 bullshit about rising above partisan politics was pandering to the idea that American politics is broken. Bill Clinton saying “there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with America” is riffing off that idea as well. Both were used against incumbent Republicans. But sure, Democrats don’t run on America being utterly broken, having nothing good in it, or presenting American government as fundamentally corrupt.

            You also need to separate out Americans based on who they blame for the broken state of affairs. The ones who think there’s too much political correctness and are anxious about white Americans losing their demographic majority might agree with Rev Jeremiah Wright that “America is broken” – but they don’t actually have much in common.

      • Scott Lemieux

        He also doesn’t seem to understand the point of his own story. “The right has succeeded by trying to win primaries and then voting for the Republican in the general win or lose. The lesson is that the left should build socialism by running a uninformed buffoon as a third party presidential candidate every four years.”

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          William Maher SUPERGENIUS is probably the worst identifiably-left-liberal in this regard, and even he’s significantly smarter than Trump. (Except for his views on health science, which give me rabies every time I watch one of those clips).

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            Trump is anti-vax, and thinks that fast food is safer because “at least you know what’s in it”. I think on the whole, Trump probably is derpier than Maher even on that subject.

            Also I’m not sure why you say Maher is worst in this regard. Maher was a big Bernie supporter during the primaries, but switched over to “this is too important to fuck up, vote for Clinton” as soon as the primaries ended.

        • Colin Day

          The lesson is that the left should build socialism by running a uninformed buffoon as a third party presidential candidate every four years.”

          Jill Stein?

    • cpinva

      “The article is actually pretty good Scott.”

      if you’re referring to Prof. Lemieux’s, yes it is. if, on the other hand, you’re referring to Mr. Bacharach’s, no, it is not.

      “Also Jacob lives in Pittsburgh. He is also Jewish, gay and, as far as I know, not well off at all.”

      what all this has to do with the issue at hand kind of escapes me, care to elucidate? Wait, I thought he wrote a best selling book, surely the royalties from that must put him in the high life?

    • TroubleMaker13

      He is also Jewish, gay and, as far as I know, not well off at all.

      “I was nearly expelled from high school my senior year, just before graduation. Only my grades, acceptance to a relatively prestigious college, and privileged position as the son of one of the pillars of the local economy prevented it. ”

      -Jacob Bacharach

      ETA: removed the irrelvent part about teenage ideological dalliance.

      • so-in-so

        I dunno, the bit about affinity to alt-right seems to be of importance.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          I’ve noticed that sometimes the most irritating left-wingers are those that used to be right-wing trolls (also can happen in the other direction).

        • TroubleMaker13

          Maybe, but I was responding to the ludicrous assertion that a white male trustafarian with a “prestigious college” education and a multi-volume book deal with a major publisher is “not well off at all”.

        • brewmn

          The other side of the politics as performance art coin.

      • Lit3Bolt

        Did he at least get to summon a Demon Lord before turning 30? Or a Baron of Hell? Wait, is he Chaotic Evil or Lawful Evil? It’s sometimes hard to tell with brocialists.

        Or did he join the Unseelie Court, since he’s a Fey?

        Anyway, since he’s a disciple of Aleister Crowley and Scott’s a disciple of the Neoliberal H.R. Cthulu cult they should have an epic Black Majik battle someday for the souls of the WCC.

      • econoclast

        the son of one of the pillars of the local economy

        Hahahahahahahahahahaha

      • kped

        Jesus he’s a bad writer. ” profane sketch gags centered on the peripatetic wanderings of a character”. Now, I’m not so learned with the words, so I look up peripatetic , and it is defined as

        traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.

        So, his sentence there now reads as ” profane sketch gags centered on the traveling wanderings of a character”

        Put the thesaurus down young writers, you look like an idiot and an asshole.

    • Rob in CT

      Defend the bit where he doesn’t give a fuck about the GOP’s healthcare bill ’cause we’re all gonna die anyway, I triple-dog dare ya.

      Of course, you HAVE a proper national healthcare system. Easy to disparage our move towards one, I guess.

    • mds

      So, given that we are apparently talking about Monsieur IOZ, we can replace “affluent white guys in Brooklyn who delcared [sic] themselves to be socialists starting in 2014″ with “affluent white guys in Pittsburgh who declared themselves to be socialists starting in 2014.” Because IOZ was much more of a “it’s all pointless” anarchoschmibertarian who once breezily dismissed support for fucking labor unions, and at least at one time was literally a trust fund kid or something very close to it.

    • LeeEsq

      And here we have another lovely example of Jews will be classified be Gentiles as White or non-White for the convenience of the Gentile. I think I’ll call this LeeEsq’s Rule. This is true for both MPAVictoria and those responding to her.

      • mds

        Can we call it “LeeEsq’s Magical Inerrant Internet Goyim Detector,” instead?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        “Him;” the “Victoria” in his nym refers to the city in British Columbia.

        • elm

          In fairness, I always assumed MPAVictoria was a she until I started following him on twitter. Now I know he’s a he and is seriously obsessed with sandwiches and the definition thereof.

  • njorl

    “Look, I think the “na-na-hey-hey” singalong was misguided “

    My wife read about this and told me that the Democrats were singing Blitzkrieg Bop.

    • Solar System Wolf

      The singing didn’t impress me, but I was deeply offended by the GOP frat-boy beer bash. Articles that call out the one don’t seem to call out the other. Both sides do it but the Democrats are worse, etc.

  • louislouis

    I think the context that’s missing here is the primary, where it was argued by Hillary and others that a move to support single payer would be a repudiation of the ACA, as well as totally unrealistic. Since the election, Democrats have rejected calls to use the Republican clusterfk on health care to advocate for single payer or Medicare for all.

    • it was argued by Hillary and others that a move to support single payer would be a repudiation of the ACA

      Do you have a link?

      • NYD3030

        How about the entire primary where Hillary said Bernie wants to tear down the aca rather than improve it. If you don’t remember that you weren’t paying attention.

      • louislouis

        Yes, I do.

        https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/pat-garofalo/articles/2016-01-13/hillary-clintons-bizarre-attack-on-bernie-sanders-health-care-plan

        “His plan would take Medicare and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act health care insurance and private employer health insurance and he would take that all together and send health insurance to the states, turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” Clinton said. “We had enough of a fight to get to the Affordable Care Act. So I don’t want to rip it up and start over.”

        Clinton’s daughter Chelsea got in on the act, too, in an even worse manner, claiming that Sanders wants to “dismantle Obamacare.” She said: “I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era, before we had the Affordable Care Act, that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”

        • Rob in CT

          “We had enough of a fight to get to the Affordable Care Act. So I don’t want to rip it up and start over.”

          This argument always struck me as defensible even if you end up disagreeing. It’s not an argument that SP is bad, but rather a political argument about what’s possible today.

          Chelsea’s argument was bad, though. I think what she might’ve been trying to say is that the ACA was taking shots from both sides, which put it in danger and the alternative wasn’t gonna be SP (see: our Darkest Timeline). But she didn’t make that argument, so…

          • BloodyGranuaile

            It does seem to be a regular Thing with the Democrats that they can’t tell the difference between selling their vision/ultimate goals, and evaluating the obstacles to it on the ground and planning what concessions you’ll have to make. Both need to be done, but if you do the latter when you should probably be focusing on the former, that’s not very inspiring to voters.

            More recently, Nancy Pelosi’s “I’ve been supporting single payer since before you were born and also the Democrats should definitely not put it in the party platform” can be parsed in a way that makes perfect sense and isn’t condescending, but she didn’t succeed in actually saying it like that.

        • TroubleMaker13

          Your paraphrasing of this:

          “His plan would take Medicare and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act health care insurance and private employer health insurance and he would take that all together and send health insurance to the states, turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” Clinton said. “We had enough of a fight to get to the Affordable Care Act. So I don’t want to rip it up and start over.”

          to this:

          it was argued by Hillary and others that a move to support single payer would be a repudiation of the ACA

          is flatly and plainly dishonest.

          • urd

            How so?

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Problem is that Democrats weren’t going to Green Lantern their way to single-payer.

      Expanding Medicaid and Medicare further and a public option would be strong steps towards single-payer, and they’re also more politically feasible and more popular as well.

      Low-info voters don’t base their opinions on careful evaluations of policy. They can see “Obamacare is hated by the left and the right, so it must be bad” and getting many people to think that probably doesn’t lead to single-payer.

      We’re seeing the structural factors now – now that the Democrats are out of power, and the GOP is proposing their horrific alternative, the ACA is becoming more popular in polling. We’re only 100 days in, but the narrative is about how Democrats will never embrace single-payer (despite half of the House Democratic caucus cosponsoring a Medicare For All bill).

      • Brien Jackson

        Even this is granting too much: A) You’re out of your mind if you think the average person covered under employer based benefits would rather be on Medicaid, and b) Medicare for all has neither been seriously fought against, nor has anyone proposed the changes necessary to make it a universal system.

        • humanoid.panda

          Medicare for all has three aspects:

          -on the demand side, we pretty much have the model already: a basic universal plan, plus supplementary insurance for those who want/need it.
          – While we would have a lot of work to figure out premiums and such, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem to figure out how to charge younger people low enough prices to make enrollment worthile for them, because they are, well, cheap to cover.
          – The big issue with Medicare for all is the cuts on the supplier side: Medicare pays much less than private insurance, and providers don’t like haircuts.

          • Brien Jackson

            Right; Actually passing a Medicare for All bill doesn’t just mean everyone is suddenly covered by Medicare (or Bernie Sanders’ hypothetical even better than Medicare for less money unicorn plan), it means that you have to make changes to Medicare that combines some number of further cuts to suppliers, lower consumption rates of healthcare for patients, and higher taxes to fund it all. And that’s going to drastically bring those favorable ratings down in a hurry!

        • Aaron Morrow

          You’re out of your mind if you think the average person covered under employer based benefits would rather be on Medicaid

          While I agree that 50% of people who have employer benefits wouldn’t take that deal, I bet more than 10% would accept significantly narrowed networks if it meant free health care. (Wasn’t that one of the top 5 cliches of “Trump Voters: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let’s Find Out!” articles, that they’re mad that other people are getting free Medicaid and they aren’t?)

          • Brien Jackson

            Sure, but if all you can pull is 10%, and some 40-60% are in “massive freakout” mode over it, then the proposal is dead in the water.

            • Aaron Morrow

              I’m sorry.

              I was assuming you were responding to ForkyMcSpoon’s claim that expanding Medicaid (and Medicare) wasn’t popular, but you were talking about single payer and immediately forcing people to change how they got their health care. (I like gradually expanding coverage from those and other sources of government insurance, like CHIP, as a bare minimum for Democrats to support.)

              I agree with you; I apologize for my confusion.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                My claim was that policies expanding Medicaid and Medicare ARE popular. Maybe you confused me with Brien Jackson?

                I think single-payer would be a hard sell partly for the reason that Jackson gives: those who already have insurance they like (or like well enough, anyway) would tend not to be supportive. And calling it “Medicare for All” won’t make that problem just disappear. But expanding eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare and creating a public option would not destroy the employer-based insurance system.

                Basically, I think we’d have more success slowly draining the power of the insurers and medical providers than trying to destroy them in one go.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And the providers are the real problem. They’re popular, and any single-payer system that is viable and worth doing would have to give them a yooooge haircut.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  … good grief, I screwed up again. I owe you an apology, as well. I meant to say you said that expanding both was popular, that I agreed with you, and that since he was merely opposing Medi____ for All as infeasible and not Medi____ expansion, it sounds like he agrees with you in kind, if not degree. Again, I’m sorry for the confusion.

                  If I had to guess based on what happened to the exchanges prior this year, the providers would really push back hard at expanding Medicaid beyond somewhere between 200% and 250% FPL. (Based on a question I asked Anderson at Balloon Juice a while back, they’ll really push back at expanding Medicare below somewhere around 55-60 years of age.) Any further than that and we’ll need to increase the Medicaid (and Medicare) payments to providers to get them on board.

    • humanoid.panda

      Since the election, Democrats have rejected calls to use the Republican clusterfk on health care to advocate for single payer or Medicare for all.

      Some Democrats have, others haven’t, and still others (including the neoliberal monster Booker) signalled they are open to the idea. The truth is that at this point, no one can or should talk for the party on this or any other matter- the midterms are going to be a referendum on Trump, and the presidential primary is where people will hash out what is the party’s platform. An in that regard, I foresee a competition between “keep ACA with a public option where insurance companies don’t sell healthcare and more generous expansion” on the right, “universal health insurance with insurance companies serving as providers” in the center, and single payer on the left. Which is about 100 to the left from the 2008 debates.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Obviously, the way to save the ACA is to talk about how much it sucks. You just don’t understand political tactics.

        • FlipYrWhig

          People newly covered by ACA grumble over its gaps, flaws, and kludges. The only solution is obviously to upset more people who aren’t yet upset and to make them deal with more drastic changes.

  • “The Democrat Party are perfidious neoliberals who never accomplish anything” is the end, not just the means.

    I know I’ve been banging on about this for a while, but if you assume they outright disbelieve in the existence of anybody except Republicans, it all makes a lot more sense.

    Sure they use the word “Democrat,” but sometimes the truth peeks through that words like “Democrat” are meaningless to them and their view of the world is “everyone is a Republican except brave truthtelling me.”

    • FlipYrWhig

      Everyone who participates in politics is a Republican, but brave truthtelling me and everyone who hates politics are all flaming socialists.

  • veleda_k

    It’s at times like this I’m reminded just how little regard the ostensible left cares for my life or lives of those like me. The ACA is the only reason I have insurance. I have access to life saving medications because of the ACA. This is what the Jacobin crowd shrugs off. The author of the article sneers at the idea that the ACA has been indispensable. Well, to me it certainly has been. But I get it. The so-called left sees people’s lives just like Republicans do: as political game pieces, to be moved around and sacrificed for eventual glorious victory.

    Also, “It doesn’t matter if millions of people lose access to health care and die of treatable condition, because we’re all going to die anyway,” is quite possible the stupidest, most uncaring argument I’ve ever seen the so-called left put forward, and there’s a lot of competition.

    • CP

      It’s at times like this I’m reminded just how little regard the ostensible left cares for my life or lives of those like me.

      Likewise.

      Some of us, even those of us for whom the care we need isn’t life-saving, can’t afford to turn down half-a-loaf policies over and over until we somehow become nuclear-armed Sweden. We need to take whatever help we can get.

    • Junipermo

      I am happy that you and other people like you can now get life saving medicines. Then again, I’m just an ordinary liberal Democrat, and middle aged black woman at that, so the Jacobin crowd can just dismiss us both, I guess.

  • McAllen

    Anyway, the thing about the health care debate, such as it is, is that while every Democrat voted “no,”Jacobin whines about the ACA, no one bothered to articulate a compelling alternate vision. RepublicansDemocrats want to kill you! Yes, yes — look, life is a conspiracy against itself; we’re all gonna die. You become inured to this sort of thing after a while.

  • kvs

    This is an example of a group of people with a theory of change.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-stands-down-to-help-nhs-doctor-win-against-jeremy-hunt-a7723491.html?cmpid=facebook-post

    Labour and Liberal Democrat activists have united with the Green Party in a groundbreaking alliance aimed at unseating Jeremy Hunt in the general election.

    A “progressive forum” organised by the South West Surrey Compass group over the weekend saw the Green Party withdraw their candidate from the race completely, while Liberal Democrats and Labour members agreed not to campaign, after members from all four parties selected the leader of the National Health Action party as the best placed candidate to oppose the Health Secretary.

    The decision by activists to unite behind Dr Louise Irvine, who took 8.5 per cent of the vote in 2015, marks the latest development of the Progressive Alliance movement, which seeks for progressive parties across the country to tactically unite behind a candidate who has the best chance of defeating the Tories.

    • Davis X. Machina

      to tactically unite behind a candidate who has the best chance of defeating the Tories.

      They had me with them right up until this bit.

      Sellouts.

      • ColBatGuano

        Definitely a dealbreaker.

    • EliHawk

      I mean, tactical voting has been a thing in the UK for at least 20 years, with varying degrees of success. One reason Labour was able to win their ’97 landslide (and the Lib Dems were able to nearly triple their seats) was zupportrs of each party voting for the better placed candidate to unseat the local Tory. But Iraq and Coalition scuppered that, to the Tories’ benefit.

  • The Democratic leadership looks hardly different than it has for my entire adult life, a grim and aging collection of Clinton apparatchiks totally secure in their sinecures — all the more so because the only time the party ever does use what power it has, it’s to quash any discontent from its base or its leftward flank.

    This reads like it was assembled using the Dyspeptic Internet Left Refrigerator Magnet Poetry Set.

    I don’t know of any particular reason to believe that the current Democratic leadership is particularly loyal to or beholden to any of the Clintons. “Clinton apparatchik” here is a shibboleth. It means nothing but it signals anti-establishment virtue.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Ron Dellums called and wants his entire frickin’ life back.

      • humanoid.panda

        The “Clinton apparatchiks” line is oddly old-fashioned: as the DNC chair race showed, if there is a neoliberal who is holding down the masses its Obama..

  • NickUrfe

    “Supposedly the party of incremental progress, they seem to view each increment as the final end state of civilization and history.”

    I see a writer protesting too much. To see the current state as the end state is to see the current state as static: unchanging, causally insulated from history or the future. But the only people thinking or talking this way are more-holy-than-thou liberals. They acknowledge that historical achievements (Civil War, Square Deal, New Deal, Great Society) occurred in a context that required non-ideal compromises, but they see the present state as isolated from those same contextual factors, and therefore present-state political actors as subject to criticisms they wouldn’t dream of leveling at LBJ.

    Explaining this, Lemieux buries the lead a bit in referring to Bacharach’s being affluent, white, and male. It isn’t just that his belonging to these categories protects Bacharach from the effects of his supposed unwillingness to compromise. It’s that unwillingness to compromise *in effect* endorses the conservative policy outcome. When holier-than-thou-ism results consistently in a more conservative political landscape, further weakening the Left’s negotiating position with the Right, you have to ask just how committed these people really are to Leftist goals. At some point, aren’t they just the children of Reagan Republicans who’ve chosen the language that their parents hate for a policy outcome their parents would’ve written themselves?

    • MPAVictoria

      “affluent, white, and male”

      The writer in question is Gay, Jewish and not, to the best of my knowledge, affluent in anyway.

      • You can be affluent, white, male, gay, and Jewish. Why do you keep suggesting some of those stand in opposition to each other?

        As for his affluence, I don’t have access to his bank balance, but he’s a novelist from a wealthy family, according to this much better piece of his.

        • NickUrfe

          A much better work that reveals how of-a-piece the Conservativism of his childhood is with his current thinking. And come on: he’s a gay Jew self-describing as a Nazi! Hard to imagine a political mindset screams “I’ll become my father on MY OWN timeline, thank you,” much louder than that.

          To wit: self-describing as a Nazi also helps to explain why he sees “We’re all going to die anyway” as a valid response to “People will die under the GOP plan anyway”.

      • veleda_k

        Are you capable of defending the article on its merits, or are you reduced to being pedantic about the author? Because I’d love to hear you explain why a proper response to “People will die under the GOP plan” is “We’re all going to die anyway.”

        • D.N. Nation

          Even the pedantry falls short given the guy’s actual background.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be getting the detailed defense of this excellent column anytime now.

      • TroubleMaker13

        and not, to the best of my knowledge, affluent in anyway.

        Your knowledge sucks– you might want spend about 15 seconds with Google before posting such a false assertion twice.

        I’ll leave it to others to argue whether it’s relevant.

      • Origami Isopod

        Aside from what’s already been said: There are gay conservatives, there are Jewish conservatives, and there are lots of conservatives who aren’t rich.

    • CP

      Like I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, I think they like to think of themselves as too savvy and cynical to fall for all the “corporate media” “conventional wisdom” “elite bubble” crap. Because of that, they’re not well positioned to realize just how much conventional wisdom has in fact soaked into their worldview, by osmosis if nothing else.

    • efgoldman

      To see the current state as the end state is to see the current state as static: unchanging, causally insulated from history or the future.

      I’m sure they all had to study history for a grade at multiple times in their lives. Clearly, they’ve taken no lessons from those courses.

  • nemdam

    Why I don’t read any Jacobin (or Intercept) articles. It’s like someone telling me to sincerely check out a National Review column. The very few that are good are the exceptions that prove the rule.

  • epidemiologist

    I refuse to get out of the boat but I did want to share that every time I see this post title in my open tabs, I hear it in my head to the tune of “Ironic”.

    So thanks for that, I think.

    • veleda_k

      Oh great, now it’s in my head too.

  • Bootsie

    I wish I was Trve Kvlt Leftist enough to wake up, masturbate to the word “Socialism” for five hours, and then write a long article for Jacobin about how Democrats don’t do PEOPLE’S REVOLUTION correctly.

    • JonH

      “masturbate to the word “Socialism” for five hours,”

      5 hours or until blisters erupt, whichever is greater.

  • Hondo

    Who are all the people standing around Ryan in that picture and why are they all laughing at that midget in the middle?

  • XerMom

    Can someone please explain how single payer in the US will magically avoid all of the conservative attempts to frack it up? I am all in favor of universal health care, but I’m pretty agnostic on how we deliver it. Yes, the UK and Canada have dandy single payer systems, but the Netherlands has a dandy system that uses multiple insurers.

    In fact, Obamacare looks like what you’d expect to get if conservatives decided to hose the Dutch system by allowing the healthy to opt out and by gutting cost controls. Why does anyone think single payer isn’t at risk from similar shenanigans?

    It’s not uncommon for countries with single payer to also allow private supplemental or alternative insurance. If I had to guess, we’d see American single payer hampered by extreme underfunding, constant attempts to “block grant” it into disaster, and a slow expansion of private supplemental insurance until we’re basically a single payer country in name only. I’m guessing that Republicans can figure out how to say “pregnancy isn’t a disease, and therefore shouldn’t be covered by Medicare for All” or “middle-aged women can schedule mammograms three years in advance to get a spot on the waiting list – it’s not like they don’t have breasts for decades ahead of time.”

    I guess I’m just too cynical now to think we can ever have nice things…

    • Rob in CT

      Not to mention what they would do re: reproductive healthcare.

      That’s not an argument against SP, really, though. SP isn’t the problem with this, Conservatives are.

      It’s not like the ACA was safe from Conservative fuckery.

      • humanoid.panda

        I think the strongest argument against XerMom’s position is that while its true that conservatives hate Medicare/Social Secrurity, their record in attacking it is…not strong. In other words, you can make an argument there is no harm in people waitig for a mammogram for 3 years. But if the person in question is white, living in Philadelphia suburbs and in a household making 100K a year, you are not getting far on that argument.

        That being said: given American culture, I think that some form of government plan supplemented by private insurance is where wer are headed, and any attempt to go beyond that will not pass.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Hyde Amendment for All!

    • mds

      Indeed, despite the success and popularity of the NHS (single provider) and Canadian Medicare (single payer), modern conservative politicians in both places have nevertheless tried to undermine them. So I don’t see how a country with an electorate as fucked up as that of the US would avoid constant threats to whatever universal health coverage might somehow be enacted. I mean, these people still want to dismantle the New Deal, for God’s sake. “If only Democrats had made it better despite intransigent resistance” isn’t really a strategy for making any such program untouchable. (Until a few short years ago, I might have been more receptive to this notion, but then (1) a Republican president and some GOP members of Congress bandied about destroying Social Security, and the party only spent the political equivalent of five minutes in the wilderness; and (2) Matt Bevin got elected governor of Kentucky on a platform of destroying kynect by the people most benefiting from it.)

      • Tybalt

        Conservative politicians in Canada have been incredibly unsuccessful in attacking single-payer medicare; so much so that a long series of federal Tory leaders have had to (delightfully) twist themselves in knots pledging (against their own ideologies) to maintain a one-tier public-single-payer model.

        The advantage Canada has over the U.S. in continuing to implement a single-payer public health care system is a timing advantage, and that’s it. Because it’s already part of the woodwork. But other than the (two decades newer, but similarly beloved and entrenched) Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is the most popular political program in Canada, and is so popular that it’s widely considered electoral suicide to be seen to want to touch it. Much less touch it. It will take no time at all for similar policies to become universally beloved in the U.S.

        • humanoid.panda

          The problem with this is that the US already has a system with which most Americans are pretty happy (employer-provided insurancE). If we don’t dismantle it, the Medicare-for-all program will not be universal, and thus not as politically strong. If we do try to dismantle it, opposition would be extremely powerful.

          The designers of the ACA kinda hoped that as the exchanges staliblize, more and more employers will simply push their workers there, and thus the problem will become less complicated. This obviously is not going to happen, so to figure out how to design a plan that will take apart EPI without pissing people of is an urgent assignment..

          • Tybalt

            This, from Gallup, is old. The gap is greater now.

            One-fourth of American respondents are either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with “the availability of affordable healthcare in the nation,” (6% very satisfied and 19% somewhat satisfied). This level of satisfaction is significantly lower than in Canada, where 57% are satisfied with the availability of affordable healthcare, including 16% who are very satisfied. Roughly 4 in 10 Britons are satisfied (43%), but only 7% say they are very satisfied (similar to the percentage very satisfied in the United States).

            Looking at the other side of the coin, 44% of Americans are very dissatisfied with the availability of affordable healthcare, and nearly three-fourths (72%) are either somewhat or very dissatisfied. The 44% in the United States who are very dissatisfied with healthcare availability is significantly higher than corresponding figures in either Canada (17%) or Great Britain (25%).

            • humanoid.panda

              Yeah, this doesn’t adress my point. Lots of people are unhappy with system ,but like their own insurance.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Exactly. People on both Medicare and good employer insurance are strongly adverse to changes to the status quo that might affect them. Anyone handwaving this issue away doesn’t give a damn about actually getting universal health care in the United States.

                • humanoid.panda

                  The real devilish contraption we face is that the terrible nature of the system makes it harder to reform it, because everyone is afraid to lose what they already have..

          • Junipermo

            I have gotten my insurance from an employer my entire life. First from my parents’ jobs, then mine, then my husband’s, and now mine again. I have always been basically satisfied with it, though none of it is perfect.

            One reason I support the ACA is it lets me and my family keep my employer provided insurance and even made it better (no co-pays on preventive care, no annual or lifetime caps, etc.) while also providing a safety net should that insurance disappear via job loss. I am sure I’m not the only person in America who feels this way. That’s what I think the single-payer or bust people have yet to grasp.

            • Linnaeus

              I supported – and still support – the ACA because it is a considerable improvement on what existed before it. I went two years without health insurance because I lost my job in 2011, and the health insurance that went along with that. I got two jobs after that (jobs I still have) and because neither of them offer health insurance as a benefit, I still need the state exchange made possible via the ACA.

              That said, I can understand why the ACA gets criticism. It can be a frustrating and anxiety-inducing experience to buy health insurance through it. There’s figuring out what coverage you need and what you can afford among the plans with different levels of premiums, copays, and coinsurance. There’s technical issues, like purchases that don’t go through, website failures (and not just the federal website that got all the bad press back in 2013 or so), etc. There’s confusing messages that you get from the exchange about how to renew coverage, the current state of your coverage, etc.

              On top of all that, even with subsidies, decent insurance still isn’t all that cheap. Interestingly enough, I’ve qualified for Medicaid this year, and while the initial setup and establishment of care (I had to go through a different provider because the one I’d been using before doesn’t participate in our state’s Medicaid program) was more complicated that I would have liked, I’m getting an even better level of care than I was getting before and since I don’t have the same out-of-pocket costs, i.e., I just go to the doctor, get my care, and leave, it’s been a better experience so far.

              And so I begin to wonder, why can’t it be like that for everyone, where you don’t have to worry if you can get care, you don’t have to worry about which plan you can afford, you don’t have to worry if someone at your insurance company or health care provider can help you with something that you don’t understand, etc. In that light, single-payer starts to look even better.

        • altofront

          The advantage Canada has over the U.S. in continuing to implement a single-payer public health care system is a timing advantage, and that’s it.

          Well, it also has a parliamentary system of government, where the party in power is completely in power, and is thus held completely responsible. It would be a mistake, also, to make it sound like the Canadian healthcare system hasn’t been degraded over time due to the efforts (and/or neglect) of both federal and provincial governments.

        • mds

          Stephen Harper was much wilier than Stockwell Day et al. He slashed federal revenues and introduced a new Medicare funding formula that drastically reduced federal support provided to provinces. That apparently hardly anyone noticed the steps he was taking to make an extremely popular program financially unsustainable just goes to underscore how fragile all such achievements are. I mean, of course no one would touch your beloved Medicare; how would they dare? Well, they’d dare, all right, just not openly. The same thing has been going on with the NHS, which the Tories keep scheming to kill by a thousand cuts.

          No complacency. Nothing is settled, ever. It’s frustrating, it’s depressing, but the current global political trends show it’s true. I mean, we’re richer and more productive than ever, yet we can’t afford any of the nice things we used to? Austerity is the first and last answer to everything? Memories are short and selective.

          • tsam

            The weirdest part for me is the fanatical devotion to getting rid of those programs. They consider the existence of these things a personal affront. They have no logical reason to want to kill these things, but they live to destroy them.

            There’s something broken in these fuckers.

    • Brien Jackson

      I had actually assumed there was no real opposition to single payer on the left-center until very recently coming across some people making more or less this argument: The American political system coupled with a nihilistic Republican Party that doesn’t give one fuck about peoples’ livest is an environment where single payer won’t actually work on an administrative level. At the very least you need a parliamentary system where conservatives will be held directly responsible for mismanagement or actively making outcomes worse.

      • humanoid.panda

        The obvious counteragument to this is Medicare: while Republicans would love to kill it, there is no evidence they are trying to administratively undermine it. But then again, MEdicare was 30 years old program when the Gingrich revolution came along.

        • Brien Jackson

          And as Eli notes, even putting aside that Medicare reciients skew Republican, there are less hot button issues that serve as wedges for Republican politicians covered in Medicare. It’s just a given that Republicans make it a platform issue that single payer won’t cover abortion or your slut pills, and from there you’ve already established that playing games with coverage is a requirement in Republican primaries.

      • EliHawk

        Also, in a world where women’s health is considered very much a political football, making single payer happen is a one way ticket to the end of abortion coverage, among other things, the moment the GOP takes control of it.

  • Roberta

    Does anyone remember IOZ, of the blog WhoIsIOZ, a semi-regular feature on blogrolls in the liberal blogosophere back in the day? This guy is IOZ.

    I greatly enjoyed his Teenage Nazi Wannabe article and it gave me flashbacks to the occasions when I read his comments section and saw the proto-alt-righters in there.

    This article also gave me flashbacks, though to his own IOZ posts and not to his comments section. It’s cleverly written, big on tearing down what people are doing for insufficient radicalism, big on dismissing any positive gains (not just saying they’re not good enough, but brushing off their good effects at all), low on any kind of actual advocacy of any policy because it’s much easier to tear down than build up.

    • mds

      Whoa, that’s a blast from the past. And sure enough, the airy, sarcastic dismissal of political reality and the cost in human suffering of washing one’s hands of even half measures are all there.

    • Anna in PDX

      Wait…really? I used to like that blog though I am not a libertarian like he was.

      • Roberta

        Really. He went from WhoIsIOZ to Blogarach to jakebackpack on Twitter.

        His takes have gotten better over time IMO, but occasionally he comes out with bits of glib nonsense. As in the OP.

        • rea

          His novels sound like sucky imitation Chabon–not that I have actually read them.

          • wjts

            The description of his first novel piqued my interest. The description of his second sounded pretty tedious.

  • cleek

    lefty splitters got nothing on wingnut splitters.

    http://gizmodo.com/so-begins-the-alt-right-purity-spiral-1795017211

    Dressed in metal armor and bearing an American flag, an unidentified man clashed with “Stars and Bars”-waving neo-Confederates guarding the monument of General Lee. In a Periscope video, the man claims to have traveled from Los Angeles to take part in the protest, and alludes to his involvement as a Trump supporter in the bloody and vicious streetfights that broke out in Berkley. “You guys don’t understand you’re working against the movement,” he tells a group of people who wanted to see the statue stay, referencing the obvious racial implications.

    While some in the alt-right suspected the armored man—who they’ve since dubbed the “cuck knight,” a demeaning spin on the “alt-knight” Kyle Chapman—to be a leftist plant, others later noted that the man stayed through the remainder of the event. Another user who filmed the incident was quick to point out that Twitter users within the moderate spheres of the alt-right weren’t helping to signal-boost the infighting. Maybe they didn’t want to dox an “ally.” Maybe they just weren’t comfortable siding with Confederate flag-waving white nationalists.

    and of course they’re beating each other up

    • Origami Isopod

      and of course they’re beating each other up

      Truly, this fills me with sorrow.

  • JonH

    “The Democratic leadership looks hardly different than it has for my entire adult life”

    Dude’s like 35. His entire adult life encompasses the Obama administration and a smidge.

    Reminds me of when you see a 4 year old exclaim that he’s been waiting his whole life for something.

    • He longs for the era when Sam Rayburn gave up power after one term so new leadership could take over.

      • Scott Lemieux

        If only we had an inexperienced socialist as Speaker in 2009, Heath Shuler would have voted for single-payer.

It is main inner container footer text