Hell hath no fury like a health care prediction gone wrong

I do not follow too closely the extreme right commentariat, having neither the time nor the stomach to wade through all that ranting. But Roy Edroso of the Village Voice is made of sterner stuff and in an interesting article has carefully chronicled the right wing reaction to the Supreme Court verdict on the Affordable Care Act.

Edroso starts out by describing the premature victory dances and gloating that the rightwingers did before the verdict and how that fed their fury when the verdict made them look foolish. They have lashed out at all and sundry as a consequence, in the process providing fevered warnings that the ruling signaled the death knell of America.

I wrote about how it is a waste of time to try and guess how the Supreme Court would rule and the verdict bore me out. Its surprising mixture of upholding almost the entire law, coupled with its justification of the individual mandate under the government’s taxing powers, and the Chief Justice’s role in writing the majority opinion, threw almost all the prognosticators for a loop. Their earlier analyses being now useless, they had to quickly come up with new theories.

Edroso’s piece makes for entertaining reading about how they tried to rapidly re-engineer their message but is also a disquieting reminder of how shallow and content-free some of the political discourse is.


  1. unbound says

    “… a disquieting reminder of how shallow and content-free some of the political discourse is.”

    To be honest, I don’t recall a time when I’ve heard political discourse being anything but shallow and content-free. Then again, I’ve only been paying attention to politics since the mid-80s…

  2. lorn says

    Over the time I’ve paid attention, since the late 60s, I have noticed the shift from news including educational content with complicated concepts and civics lesson followed by detailed analysis of how things were thought to work toward empty talking points and sloganeering. I suspect it has to do with conservatism really not having much in the way of a deep intellectual underpinning to work with. Take away the bigotry, and racism and sexism, and the anger and hatred and you really don’t have much left beyond a simple assertion that we ought to respect and hold high authority, tradition, and remain loyal to our tribe.

    Of course those selling points have far more traction if you are white, male, and used to maintaining a fair bit of wealth. It is also very dependent upon a rose-tinted view of the past. It is easier to look fondly upon previous ways and leaders if you allow yourself to think that things were better in the good-ol-days, and forget who screwed things up. Reagan looks like a saint if you carefully redact the history of what he actually did and only focus on what he said.

    Point here is that conservatism can’t win a debate over facts and ideas so it works hard to avoid any actual debate. They play to their strengths. Owning the mighty megaphone of the media and most of the money they can win as long as the contest is limited to a cheer leading competitions, synchronous placard waving and talking points, rabble rousing and vilifying, and good old fashion shouting matches. They can hog-call and demagog like nobodies business. So that is the sort of contest they want to have.

    Liberalism, and the liberal ideals of fairness, education, individual rights withing a framework of constitutional protection, and informed debate work. They work intellectually and they work economically. They even work, as shown in the more advanced form of counterinsurgency, as a war-fighting strategy. The general historical trend is toward more liberalism but this has not been without reversals.

    Conservatism is fighting a desperate rear-guard action. The shift from debate over ideas and facts to saturation bombing with advertising slogans, after the conventions we are going to see rhetorical saturation like it has never been done before, is a scorched-earth tactic. The terms of debate have been made shallower over the last sixty years because the GOP wanted it that way. The purposeful and systematic hobbling of the economy and employment by the GOP is another way of destroying the surrounding context to help win the election. Conservatives are desperate.

    They are rapidly coming to that scene in the movies when, out of ammunition, the bad guy throws the gun and takes off running.

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