As ridiculous as Jill Stein’s tendency to play pattycake with anti-vaxxers and use of DANK MEMES to attract the kids are, her ignorance about basic facts of politics and public policy are far more comprehensive. Peyser collects some of the sillier comments from her recent Washington Post interview here, including an instructively Trump-like claim that the presidency isn’t “rocket science.” Her recent Intercept colloquy is even more derp saturated. It’s amazing how many absurd statements she can fit into a single “thought”:
But in practice, if Trump wins, what happens to the Fight for $15, what happens to Planned Parenthood, what happens to health reform and immigration reform? Wouldn’t there be a difference between a Trump presidency and a Clinton one?
Maybe around the margins. We would have the Affordable Care Act, instead of some other privatized option. The Affordable Care Act is not a solution, it’s quite a problem. It provides some care for all. There was a Medicaid expansion, but that Medicaid expansion has been stopped, and it made health care more expensive and more out of reach.
I’m not even sure where to start.
- The argument that because the ACA didn’t fully nationalize the American health insurance industry that there’s really no meaningful difference between the “privatized” ACA and the “privatized” Republican alternative is obscenely wrong. A unified Republican Congress would deregulate the insurance industry and probably block grant or privatize Medicaid. Tens of millions of people would lose health insurance and those that retained insurance would pay more while receiving less.
- The term “privatized” strongly suggests that the ACA constricted public insurance and deregulated private insurance, which is the antithesis of the truth. (This is a close cousin to the ‘the ACA BAILED OUT the insurance industry’ argument, ludicrously assuming that we’d have single payer were it not for that meddling ACA.)
- The idea that the ACA made insurance more expensive is absurdly wrong.
- The Medicaid expansion was not “stopped.” A majority of states have adopted it. Millions of poor people have health insurance because of it. Were Stein to succeed in her goal of throwing the election to Trump, conversely, the most likely outcome would be millions fewer people having access to Medicaid than did before the ACA was passed.
- It is true that while all Democratic statehouses accepted the Medicaid expansion after it was ineptly re-written by John Roberts, most Republican statehouses have not. This is surely central to Stein’s point that there is no meaningful difference between the two parties.
- And note how she just dodges the point about the other massive differences between the parties. Is the difference between, say, Roe v. Wade being restored and being overruled “marginal”? How about carbon emissions being more tightly regulated rather than deregulated by crackpot climate change denialists? Oh, wait, Stein already answered that question:
I think they both lead to the same place. The lesser evil, the Democrats, certainly have a better public relations campaign, they have better spin. The dangers are less evident, but they’re catastrophic as well. Just look at the policies under Obama on climate change.
Yes, let’s do look at them. I see the Clean Power Plan, killing the Keystone pipeline, substantial subsidies for clean energy, tighter emissions standards in many areas, and the effective death penalty for the coal industry. Of course, these massive substantive differences are just “PR,” and I’m sure policy under EPA director Inhofe would be exactly the same!
Her analysis of legislative politics is equally shrewd:
You said before that President Obama came into office with an incredible public mandate, and yet he had an incredibly hard time getting anything through Congress. If you were to win the election, would you be able to get any legislation past them?
Because he didn’t want to. He didn’t try. He put his ground troops on the shelf. The myth is out there that the Republicans stopped him. He had two Democratic houses of Congress, he could have done something. He didn’t. What he did was make George Bush’s tax cuts for the rich permanent and he gave Wall Street the biggest bailout on record, that’s what he did.
You think Congress wouldn’t stop you?
No, because we won’t put our ground troops on the shelf. That’s what Barack Obama did.
Jill Stein’s GROUND TROOPS will force Paul Ryan to enact the Green platform. That and her DANK MEMES! The whole interview is like this — there’s scarcely a sentence that doesn’t have a massive factual howler, logical fallacy, or both. (To be Scrupulously Fair, she does defend approval voting, but this doesn’t help to explain why she’s running as if the U.S. already had it.)
And yet, someone in Stein’s position has to afford to be made to look ridiculous. The idea that there’s no major differences between the parties in 2016 is massively stupid, but since the only effect the Greens could ever have on an election in the current context is to elect Republicans, the Green leader has no choice but to pretend to believe it. She doesn’t have a good answer for what a Green presidential campaign can accomplish, but that’s because such an answer doesn’t exist. Being an ignorant crank is exactly what her form of third-party campaign demands.