Monday, February 8, 2010
Ideology - End of Partisanship and Beginning of Transparency
They Begin with Listening and Adult Conversations
“Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological. and unworthy of serious consideration.”
Gerald Frank, “Why Are Liberals So Condescending?” Washington Post, February 7, 2010
President Obama has called for a televised health care summit meeting with Republican leaders to discuss ideas for health reform It’s a good move on the part of the President. It could be the start of clarity and openness. It could mark the end of health care partisanship and the start of a genuine political dialogue.
Examples of Partisan Partisanship
Political partisanship have taken various forms – locking Republicans out of meetings, presenting plans that smack of “It’s My Way, or the Highway,” Republicans voting in lockstep against comprehensive Democrat proposals and threatening filibuster, Democrats ignoring the pleas of doctors for tort reform, and accusing physicians of ignorance, greed, and mismanagement , not considering shopping for health plans across state lines, Americans having the gall to suggest that ordinary citizens should have the same health benefits as members of Congress, dismissing even dissing Republican ideas of any form of market-driven or consumer-driven care might save costs and increase quality, federal technocrats advancing the absurdity that bureaucrats know more about practicing medicine than doctors, and, in general, presenting government as the savior of health care.
The election of Senator Scott Brown, the growing strength and momentum of the Tea Party movement, polls indicating two-thirds of the public disapprove of health bills, unexpected elections of Republicans in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, forebodings that November elections will be a disaster, has suddenly, inexplicably, and unpredictably turned the political landscape upside dowm.
Until now, evidence of elitism has been everywhere - born out of ideological arrogance of a super-majority and bred by feelings of intellectual superiority. You can’t deny it. Big Brother, PhD policy wonks, mainstream media, MBA managers, Washington politicians know best. Everybody, it seems, knows best but doctors, patients, and the American middle class.
Disdain – and Fear
The disdain and fear of Tea Party gatherings is palpable. Here, for example, is a comment on February 7 in the Guardian, “Right wing Tea Party types are not cool, but there are a lot of them out there. The Tea Partyers are mostly pasty-faced middle Americans, holding all sorts of smallish, grassroots inbred gatherings.” As if that were a bad thing.
On the other side of the aisle, an awakening, an sudden surfacing of discontent, has exploded. This was expressed by these remarks of a Tea Partyer in Nashville on the Senator Brown earthquake, “I think people recognized at that moment, ‘Gosh, all this resulted in somebody being elected and changing the environment for the entire Obama agenda.’
What’s Good for Us is Good for You
Among Americans, partisanship is ideological and unwelcome . It doesn’t ring true, this idea that: We have more compassion. We are smarter. We have more data. We know what is good statistically for the population as a whole must be good for you as an individual . And we have a monopoly on health care knowledge. Only we know how to fix things.
In their hearts and minds, the people instinctively know this is poppycock. To growing numbers of Americans, this We-ism is elitism at work. En masse, Americans are rejecting the notion that they, the people, are short on brains, childish, and being duped by conservatives.
The attitude of the elite shows in the title of a February 6 article in Slate, a liberal Publication, by Joseph Weisberg, “Down with the People: Blame the Childish, Ignorant American Public – Not Politicians – for Our Political and Economic Crisis.”
Weisberg says Brown ran on the promise he would vote against health reform. To the condescending cognoscenti of Big Government, this is anathema . but it is also the dawning of political reality.
The beginning of the end of partisanship begins with understanding that Government does not hold all answers to health reform. Solutions are bottom-up as well as a top-down. Americans, stuck and suffering in the middle, who receive and pay for that care and who currently have benefits they like and fear of losing , have a few suggestions to make of their own.