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Where are the Liberals?

August 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I’ve been writing a bit on the activism dynamic on health care as the August recess begins. I’m not interested so much in the “authenticity” of the rallies and townhall disruptions happening around the country. Obviously, the big conservative groups are heavily involved in organizing events, as are the big liberal groups (including the Obama campaign’s leftover activist arm). The more interesting part to me is why, with polls showing support for the health care bill running 50 percent or higher, the opposition is so much better organized than the support.

Ezra Klein has a good take that I thought I’d pass along:

…the poor in this country are almost entirely unorganized. And that changes political incentives. White House officials have frequently noted to me that 95 percent of the people who voted for Barack Obama had health-care insurance. 95 percent. That number was presumably higher for John McCain.

The electorate, in other words, looks like America after health-care reform passes, not before. The people who are politically involved — both in general and on this issue — are not the people who will be most affected, either for good or for ill. Rather, they’re the people who are … the most politically involved. That doesn’t render their feelings less authentic or valid. But it does make large legislative campaigns harder for both sides, as the battles are more reflections of existing political divisions and trends rather than of the actual need for the policy.

Add to that the fact that it’s way easier to organize against something than it is to organize in support of a President, and the majority of the country that wants health care reform face a major uphill fight from now until the vote in September.

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  • alntht 08/05/2009 9:06am
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    + -2

    We are better organized against it, because we are not looking for handouts, and do not like the government dictating our lives. If I wanted the government to take care of me, and alleviate all of my personal responsibility, then I doubt I would have the unction to do any campaigning either.

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    Anonymous 08/07/2009 9:07am
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    + -1

    Here is the truth – American Patriots are waking up to some of the ways the chicago mob machine is being allowed to push bills into our nation’s laws without even reading them. I think it’s time that process stop. I think it’s time to have a checks and balances way of thinking at the office of REPRESENTATIVES. We as a nation are sick and tired of the taxation and cover ups this administration has already done in just a few weeks in office. This is causing our nation to reach a hyperinflation – and the projects for the stimulas money have not even started for the most part. We are being robbed – If we can not get justice in the courts then relief will come in an AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Listen to the people – put a stop to this tax and spend big government – IMPEACH OBAMA

  • Anonymous 08/05/2009 9:44am
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    + -3

    What alntht said above. It’s not that we don’t have empathy for the poor. Just the opposite. We believe that if you “give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for life”. Those of us in opposition to this bill are people who have probably been poor at one time (like me) but through sheer hard work have made for us a better life. It was through hard work that we succeeded, not a free handout. Free handouts do nothing but make the population lethargic and easier to control.

    That’s why the liberals are on the wrong side now. All they know how to do is protest. They don’t know what to do when they actually have to defend one of their boneheaded policies to actual facts and constructive criticism from intelligent people who (gasp!) aren’t liberal too.

    To Obama and all his cronies it’s about control, not healthcare.

  • Anonymous 08/05/2009 10:24am
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    + -2

    Your stats are wrong. There are more Americans opposed to the current Healthcare bill than are in favor. DC is trying to ignore the trend.

  • Anonymous 08/05/2009 12:09pm
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    47% oppose the current legislation being drafted
    36% favor

    48% oppose a public option
    44% favor

    58% think the current legislation being drafted will increase their costs
    24% think it will lower costs

    29% think the current legislation being drafted will Improve the quality of health care
    45% think it will get worse

    64% would rather be in a private system
    19% would rather be in a gov system

    I think you should do some research before you publish Donny. It makes you look amateur.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 08/05/2009 1:52pm

    I think you should provide sources before posting meaningless statistics. It makes you look amateur.

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    yoder 08/07/2009 4:23am

    Where do these stats come from? This is an Anonymous Coward (Slashdot terminology), so it is immediately suspect.

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    Anonymous 08/07/2009 7:45am

    I was not the person that published a blog with inaccurate statistics. The statistics I quoted can be located at numerous sources on the net (there is some poll to poll variability but they all show the same basic trend). I could post the source however I refuse to do Donny’s work for him especially when it takes minimal effort to get the accurate stats.

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    yoder 08/07/2009 1:41pm

    Numerous sources as in where? I can pull numbers out of my butt just as easily as you can.

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    Anonymous 08/11/2009 6:12am

    As I already stated, I didn’t write the article. The onus is on Donny to supply sources. I was pointing out his shoddy research. I don’t need sources. I didn’t publish an article. These statistics are easy to find. He can find them himself. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% are in favor of the reform effort proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats while 49% are opposed. Those figures include 25% who Strongly Favor the plans and 41% who are Strongly Opposed.

  • Anonymous 08/05/2009 12:16pm
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    + -2

    Nowhere in the U.S.Constitution is the federal government authorized to reform, regulate or take over health care for the nation. Such a program would be disasterous for the taxpayer, the small businessman, the health care industry and the insurance industry. It would also be a can of worms to administrate and the federal government does not do well with worms (hence, our present left wing mess)

    Writing a suggested health care reformation act and sending it out to the individual state legislatures would fulfill the federal government’s constitutional obligation to PROMOTE the general welfare. Anything else would be PROVIDING and, thus, disallowed.

  • Higgy68 08/05/2009 1:00pm
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    The stats are skewed. Most people don’t favor the current health care plan. That is one issue. Another issue is: where in the constitution does it authorize congress or the president to literally run auto or financial companies with the ability to hire and fire, or take over health care. Where in the constitution does it authorize the president to set up his own government with the government(czars) without congressional oversight, or, for that matter, to set up a government within the government, period. I think I still live in the United States of America, at least I hope I do. The same country I gave four years in its service(USMC) because I believe in the Republic and the democracy we enjoy.

  • Moderated Comment

  • yoder 08/06/2009 4:07pm

    This is why “teh intardweb” is not the place to have discussions like this. The pseudo anonymity of the web affords people the option of being morally questionable without having to look anyone in the eye.

  • yoder 08/06/2009 5:06pm

    Rather than debating specifics, it’s much easier to make sweeping generalities against anything.

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    Anonymous 08/07/2009 7:53am

    What sweeping generalities are you referring to? I think most people on Open Congress have spent the better part of a week reviewing the health care legislation pending in committee in the house (more then most members of congress will ever even before voting on it). People are giving their overall opinions. Besides, what is the point of debating specifics with people who have never personally looked at the bill?

  • yoder 08/07/2009 1:43pm

    Just from a quick perusal of the comments section:

    “The result of this bill is a federal government controlled medical system where the medical treatment you are able to receive and the food you are allowed to eat will be dictated by Obama and his appointed Czar’s”
    “This bill will make slaves of all Americans.”
    “Our republic has been under attack by the left for a very long time,”
    “WE THE PEOPLE are sick of your communist crap”

    Yep, let’s start a conversation.

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    Anonymous 08/11/2009 6:15am

    As I have stated. These are overall opinions. Are you going to read the bill are do you need me to break it down for you, because I have read it?

  • Avelino_Maestas 08/08/2009 8:45pm

    So, for a somewhat nuanced look at public perceptions of health care reform, you could do worse than the latest tracking poll from Kaiser:

    It seems that most respondents, actually, want to know the specifics about the proposed reforms. If the bill’s going to put private insurers out of business, they don’t support it. If it will keep costs down and encourage competition, they do.

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    Anonymous 08/11/2009 6:29am
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    The problem is the former is true not the latter. If a survey is going to ask questions it really should ask questions that realistically represent the bill at hand. Why not ask people if they would support the bill if it makes healthcare perfect and doesn’t cost anything?

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