Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With pundits like this...

Charlie Cook is pretty revered amongst the class of prognosticators/pundits. And so he's a good example of much that is wrong with our media when he writes: Bad Decisions Came Back to Haunt Democrats in Midterms. Nope, he's not talking about the "bad decision" too many Democrats made to distance themselves from the very policies that have been successful. The bad decision he zeros in on is the one he thinks they made back in 2010 to pass health care reform. But according to Cook, it wasn't just a bad decision, it was a "horrific choice."
This horrific choice, to focus on the Affordable Care Act rather than the economy, besides costing Democrats their House majority—not to mention platoons of Democratic governors and state legislators who would have been handy in drawing the congressional redistricting maps the next year—created scar tissue that remains to this day.
When he suggests that the Democrats focused on the Obamacare RATHER than the economy, he must be ignorant of the fact that - at the time of its passage - health care was the number one reason why Americans were going bankrupt. And perhaps he's unaware of the fact that health care reform slowed the rise in health care costs substantially (more good news on that today!) In other words, he's not paying attention to the fact that Obamacare WAS a way of focusing on the economy.

But the bigger picture is that Mr. Cook is limited to ONLY seeing things like this through the lens of how it affects elections...not the millions of people who now have affordable health care. Given the ubiquity of that lens, one has to assume that Cook and his friends would have suggested that passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was a "horrific choice" for Democrats.

Now, don't get me wrong. The reality is that politicians have to walk a tightrope between pushing for reforms and not getting ahead of the public. After all, you can't get anything done if you can't get elected. That's democracy. But I agree with President Obama...the scales on that one have become unbalanced.
What’s most important to the American people right now, the resounding message not just of this election, but basically the last several is: Get stuff done. Don't worry about the next election. Don't worry about party affiliation. Do worry about our concerns.
Perhaps if pundits like Charlie Cook were to pay at least some attention to the concerns of the American people - rather than always focusing on elections - things would fall more into balance.


  1. What the simplistic progressives miss over and over is that the economic stimulus EXCEEDED the percentage of support offered in the Depression. They focus on low wages - and it IS a critical issue - that is, in our society, entirely the work of PRIVATE companies and corporations. We do NOT have the capacity, other than specifying the bottom level, of telling employers what to pay. Rather than pound on a useless 'solution' of government regulation, we need to radically change the way we approach the entire issue. The only reasonable way for working people to improve their lot is with either greater union presence and bargaining or with direct worker ownership of businesses. The latter can come in many forms from microenterprise to union worker cooperatives as being developed with 1worker1vote.org The issue is the power to control one's relationship to capital. Government is no better at this than corporations - they are both forms of corporatism - but working people ARE better at putting the primacy of labor as their core value with capital merely as an instrument. Rather than beat the dead horse of government intervention, better by far to find ways to increase worker control of production, of decision making, of product and price. Worker ownership is the real solution.

    1. Of course you're also talking great ideas for going forward.

      Charlie Cook is WAY more ignorant that I thought if he assumes Congress would have passed a dime more in stimulus or any other form of intervention in 2010 - when the ARA hadn't even been completed implemented yet.

      Not to mention, as I said above Obamacare WAS a way of improving the economy.

    2. Charlie IS more ignorant if he thinks this president or Congress should have done other than what they did. You are totally correct about the positive economic impact of ACA in ending medical indebtedness and improving economic well being. But if he's looking for gov't to intervene in lousy income distribution, they can't. And he's an ass for thinking that is a solution.

  2. well, Charlie Cook is also a lifelong Republican. He'll tell you so. For what it's worth, at a speech he gave at the Newseum last month (which I covered for work) he warned his party that in 2016, seven GOP Senators are up for re-election in states Obama carried in 2016.