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More questions for the single-payer deniers

August 11, 2009

None other than Michael Barone introduced me to the latest hacked together group of quotes today in his column. Barone is no bomb-thrower, and he throws his full support behind this latest one, featuring quotes form Obama and a couple of more behind-the-scenes types who are nevertheless very influential and excellent examples of two kinds of liberals: the unlikable, unprincipled anything goes cut-throat (chief deputy whip in the House Democratic leadership); and the likeable principled and soft-spoken radical (professor Jacob Hacker). As an aside, things would go on a lot easier at SMD if our favorite commenter had the honesty of either of these two folks.

The video:

The first quotes are from the unrefuted AFL-CIO video from 2003 (unedited version):

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.

Obama is clearly equating single payer and universal health care. They are one and the same. And he knows it’s going to take a while to get people to go for the socialization of medicine, so complete Democratic control of the Government is needed.

As a collary, which is obvious to all except the most credulous lickspittle, is that announcing your intent to socialize the American medical system as a candidate for, or occupant of the White House, is also a necessary tactic. The dogs might not know what’s good for them. So you have to lie, distort and make half-truths 24/7 until you get them to want what you want them to want. Because universal health care (and the power that goes with who administrates it) is a very, very desirable thing to have.

Lest you think this is made up, I have Chicago Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky to thank for her extreme honesty. As Barone relates:

The video shows her speaking to an enthusiastic group last April. She cites an insurance company spokesman as saying, “A public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer.” The audience cheers. “My single-payer friends,” she goes on, “he was right.” Later she adds, “This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there, and I believe we will.”

They couldn’t be more clear. Says Prof. Hacker:

(speaking of the government option in 2008) he says, “Someone told me this was a Trojan horse for single-payer. Well, it’s not a Trojan horse, right? It’s just right there. I’m telling you. We’re going to get there, over time, slowly, but we’ll move away from reliance on employer-based health insurance as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance. We’re going to give them a choice of public and private insurance when they’re in the pool, and we’re going to let them keep their private employer-based insurance if their employer continues to provide it.”

Until their employee dumps them into the the government option; or they change jobs; or their plan changes even slightly and it no longer complies with government standards. Then it will be government run healthcare for the employee despite the false promises being made right now. And to think that just a few years ago Wal-Mart was being criticized because too many of its employees were on Medicare! That’s exactly what’s in store for up to 100 million American households according to one study.

As for Timmy’s disputed quote from May 2007, here’s the full transcript at the progressive Center of American Progress. For the record I actually think is one of the best Obama interviews I have seen or read, and is definitely one of the many reasons Americans trusted him with the Presidency and health care. He does sound quite reasonable too, and that’s where the devil gets in those details. Here’s some fuller context:

As I indicated before, I think that we’re going to have to have some system where people can buy into a larger pool. Right now their pool typically is the employer, but there are other ways of doing it. I would like to — I would hope that we could set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. But I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out where we’ve got a much more portable system. Employers still have the option of providing coverage, but many people may find that they get better coverage, or at least coverage that gives them more for health care dollars than they spend outside of their employer. And I think we’ve got to facilitate that and let individuals make that choice to transition out of employer coverage.

I do believe that employers are going to have to pay or play. I think that employers either have to provide health care coverage for their employees or they’ve got to make a decision that they’re going to help pay for those who don’t have coverage outside the employer system.

See how the more seasoned candidate Obama has learned to fuzzy up the picture so that a great many people can hear what ever they want in his proposal. “Single-payer” and “universal health care” are out. As he said in his first book:

It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: (White) People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied;they were relieved – such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.

That doesn’t keep him from clearly stating his goal however: the elimination of private insurance in 15-20 years. Why else would he say that?  The mechanism for that change is not important to him “a federal or state pool of some sort”. Change is important: “The most important challenge for us is to build a political consensus around the need to solve this problem. ” He also wants to help business: “You know, large corporations recognize that they can’t be competitive on the international stage if their health care costs are rising at a constant clip and their competitors don’t have to pay any health insurance because it’s all covered through a government system.”

The unspoken answer to the problem? How about something where American businesses “don’t have to pay any health insurance because it’s all covered through a government system. ” Sounds like a good idea to me!

He’s watching the little guys paycheck too: “I get most disturbed when I start hearing the best way to save the system is basically to cut reimbursements to hospitals or cut reimbursements to doctors or, you know, stop giving raises to nurses or have nurses work 10, 12, 15 patients or 20 patients.”

You know what disturbs me and most Americans? Rationing, specifically rationing by a government run health care system.  Because when an insurance company denies you coverage they promised you, at least you can sue them. When health insurance companies ration health care it’s evil money grubbing. But with government, rationing becomes savings! And if Obama is disturbed by the idea of rationing, he doesn’t show it in this interview. It’s all about being the most red-state friendly in language possible at the time he’s seeking votes. But based on the company Obama keeps, his original ideals- which I think any honest person knows Obama still harbors on some level- its utterly logical and fair to think that at the very least, Obama would not veto any legislation passed by the most vigorous efforts of a very left-leaning Congress. There are no red lines to cross, not even funding for abortion. That would be just a distraction for this “anti-abortion” President.

The tragedy of the situation is that if the President actually was some kind of centrist reach across the aisle type, he might get some traction from Conservatives on the exchange idea on a State level. Decoupling health insurance from the employers and bringing it to employees on an individual or non-employer specific group that is portable would also have some support. The President, much to his credit, has made health care an important issue for everyone , even though most people are happy with their coverage. Sadly, much of the interest comes form not wanting to get screwed by the Federal Gubment.

Contrary to he Presidents insulting straw man argument against “those who would do nothing” there is a great many Conservative ideas out there on health care. House leader John Boener shares some good Republican ideas blocked by Democrats. Here’s a good column by Charles Krauthhammer with some great ideas, like questioning why we get health insurance from our employers. Given Obama’s supposed friendliness to the idea of eliminating employer health care, couldn’t that be a point of agreement? Because according to Krathammer “It was advocated by candidate John McCain. Obama so demagogued it last year that he cannot bring it up now without being accused of the most extreme hypocrisy and without being mercilessly attacked with his own 2008 ads.” Ooops.

His heart wouldn’t be in it anyway. Even though Timmy tries to pass off the idea of an exchange as completely having nothing to do with government run health care, I think that position is believable only if you take Obamas talking points at face value, which given his past statements, plus his undisputed position that if he was “starting from scratch” he would create a single payer system, is unwarranted, not to mention unwise for those opposed to the idea. Single payer is clearly his ideal. Yet because he obviously can’t start a system from scratch one is supposed to believe that he’s is going to be vigilantly on guard against the encroachment of a government run plan? Ridiculous.

For an entirely sensible critique of the House and Senate health bills, I highly recommend this piece by the Heratige Foundation: A Federal Health Insurance Exchange Combined with a Public Plan.

Their take on his use of an insurance exchange:

the President is not pursuing a national exchange as a way to create a robust and competitive national market for health insurance. Health insurance is an odd exception to the general rule. There is a robust and competitive market for virtually every other set of goods and services in the economy, including complex items, and none of these requires the congressional creation of anything like a national exchange, administered by a commissioner, to facilitate their availability to consumers. If the President wanted to create a national market for health insurance, he could simply propose the repeal of outdated provisions of federal law that erect barriers to the purchase of health coverage across state lines. The President is obviously not interested in creating anything like a normal national, competitive market for health insurance.

…. most important, the national health insurance exchange would become the mechanism for the new government health plan to compete against private health insurance plans. This would seem to be its main function…

…based on the best independent evaluations of such an arrangement, millions of Americans throughout the United States would end up losing their private coverage, particularly if employers dumped workers and their families into the new public plan.

By millions, they mean 100 million- a 48.4 percent reduction in private coverage when full coverage is achieved. This will not happen by Americans choosing anything. It will be a transaction between the employers and the government, to nobody’s benefit. Obama, and the Congressional Democrats are in no way trying to create something along lines acceptable the Heritage Foundation. At each and every stop we find a passivity to, if not outright on-fire support for government-run health care at the expense of private insurers.

PS: I know I used some excess invective. I always like to give one the out if you’d rather focus on that than the substance of the argument!

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. Timmy C. permalink
    August 11, 2009 11:44 am

    I’ll comment on a few other things later, but outside of the 6 year old quote that Obama did indeed back then support single payer, and has since stated that he changed his mind and moved to a more pragmatic “it would be good if we were starting from scratch, but not good now that we’ve gone this far down field….”

    Outside of that, the main “gotcha quote” that the bulk of your argument is resting on is still not saying what you suggest:

    “That doesn’t keep him from clearly stating his goal however: the elimination of private insurance in 15-20 years. Why else would he say that?”

    As factcheck.org rightly called out he was referring to that it might take 20 years to remove “employer coverage” – not to move from “private insurance” which you wrongly quote. He is talking about eventually moving from an employer defined form pool of choices to a state or national pool that would include private insurance offerings …not about single payer.

    And he’s not being intentionally blurry there, he’s very clear — and only selective editing of the quote makes it not so.

    The other quotes are nothing new. Some dems do want single payer. (Shocker). Some hope that if the public option demonstrates worth, then some day it would make folks willing to consider single payer in the future (Double Shocker)…. The dem coalition unlike the Republicans right now is a diverse bunch on the issue. from strongly liberal to blue dog dems.

    But to quote one faction of them to call the President a liar based on it is just bad logic.

    Also as I said before, I’m would not be surprised to see Obama (as he’s said) be willing to support some form of Super-co-op or Co-op, as opposed to the Public Option if folks can find a way to make it really be able to compete to keep prices down.

    I think Obama is no where near as religious about his views on the public option as his opponents are. To some democrats chagrin.

    PS: really do wish you’d stop insulting my honestly

    “…if our favorite commenter had the honesty of either of these two folks.”

  2. Timmy C. permalink
    August 13, 2009 9:02 am

    (Trying again, think my last attempt at posting got caught in the spam checker (i put a lot of links to source materials in trying to be fair, I think i end up being mistaken for a viagra posting… so with links removed, here is a facsimile of what i tried to post last night)

    So figure i’d fact check things one bit at a time.

    I had to look up Professor Hacker, as I didn’t know of him. He’s no “radical” as he’s a Yale professor and on a bipartisan think tank (New America Foundation) and he’s also no direct advisor or architect of any of the Obama or current Reform plan. The basic idea of a public private partnership in 2007 did influence both Hillary, Obama and Edwards plans, but that’s it.

    The entire Hackler quote is misleading also. Barone writes that Hacker was “Speaking of the government option in 2008” but Hacker is not talking about the current Reform plan. He’s not even talking about a comparable “public option.”

    That’s him talking about his own 2007 “America Health for All” plan. Which like the current plan was a public private partnership, but also was VERY different.

    For instance, Hacker plan had about half the country covered by his version of a medicare like “public option” but then his version requires all employers to either match the rates for that plan privately, or buy into that plan and pay a fee of 6% of payroll.

    The current reform plan has none of that. No requirements for anyone to take up the public option. No preset requirements for 6 percent of all payroll to pay in.

    When he talks about a “trojan horse” to a single option, he’s talking about his very different plan, than the current one.

    But just watching the video is cut to make you think that Obama directly “got his idea from” Hacker… and that his quotes are referring to Obama’s secret real trojan horse plan.

    Even then the Hacker quote about transitioning into a medicare for all over time was out of context. When you see the whole thing it’s clear he is speaking that that would happen IN HIS PLAN only if private insurance didn’t compete.

    Full quote:

    “So what I did was just did was say ‘what if this new [public] pool… just kept the rate of increase in it’s costs to the rate of increase of costs that medicare sees….and assuming that employers DON’T step up to the plate and start saving money at the same scale?…after all they have to provide what would happen? What would happen is that more and more over time folks would be in this new pool. Someone said to me, isn’t that a trojan horse….”

    So the evidence from Barone and the video from Orange county is based on a 6 year old quote Obama has since changed his mind on and campaigned against, a quote from Obama taken out of context that isn’t talking about removing private insurance at all, and quotes from this professor, who is talking about a different plan all together from the current Reform plan, and even then not saying what the snippet suggests.

  3. David permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:10 pm

    The ability to sue an insurance company could take months, even years to do. There have been many recorded incidents of people dying (including children) while the litigation is going through. These insurance companies have infinitely deep pockets, and they will stonewall at every opportunity.

    People feel reluctant to change jobs, because they are scared that they will be denied coverage in their next job because of a pre-existing condition. Denying any patient, for whatever reason is immoral.

    To be honest, Count. I cannot understand why you are not more angry with the health care industry putting profits before people, it is immoral, and perhaps even criminal. Both the Dems and Reps are on the take from these lobbyists. The rich tv and radio pundits have their cake, and the very people who watch or listen to their shows don’t understand the kinds of money the top people in these companies make. Most personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses, and if you don’t have health insurance and you go to the ER to get treated for anything you could be billed thousands, or tens of thousands.

    The health care system is a mess, and without reasonable competition from a government funded alternative, people will continue to die through lack of access to medicine.

  4. Timmy C permalink
    August 17, 2009 8:01 am

    Folks are just now seeing what I was saying for a bit. Team Obama has never seen the Public option as the core of the reform, and have long been open to other scenarios.

    From FirstRead today:

    “Are we the only ones who aren’t surprised by today’s headlines — in today’s New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere — that the Obama administration isn’t 100% wedded to public/government option? Truth is, this is where we’ve been headed all along. It began months ago when President Obama refused to make a public health insurance option a non-negotiable part of any reform. But over the weekend, the administration was no longer being so coy about its intentions.”

    This isn’t and has never been about a government takeover of insurance.

    And while I see no reason other than Conservative Ideology to jettison a public option….It does feel like the hints dropped of late were not subtle that this is the direction the negotations will go…. I can hope tho that in exchange for removing this cost cutting measure, that other real reforms from the Insurance industry are obtained…. and that Co-ops are given as much teeth and competative power as possible…

  5. Timmy C permalink
    August 18, 2009 2:55 pm

    Mike:

    Can’t that article be summed up this way?

    “It’s OK to compare supporter’s of Congress’s Health Care Reform Nazi’s because 1930’s Germany had universal health care set up by non-Nazi’s and non-socialists in 1883.”

    See…it clearly leads to socialism and then Nazism.

    (Forget that many other countries: France, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, etc…all had universal health care and somehow avoided Nazism)

    Another falsehood in the article is that it claims that Pelosi’s “swastika” comment was calling the Anti-reform protesters to Nazi’s.

    Nancy Pelosi, started this episode by comparing American citizens who oppose Obamacare to the Nazis and asserting that her political opponents were donning “swastikas.”

    She didn’t. She was accurately describing what they were doing carrying Nazi swastika’s etc, to call Obama one.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/07/pelosi-swastikas/

    All this conservative wacko stuff about Nazism being “leftist” mistakes one simple thing: Hitler and the Nazi party was never about statism. They were about racism.

  6. noway permalink
    August 19, 2009 8:25 am

    An angle I have never heard – who owns the insurance companies? I doubt it is the CEO,etc – the group we hear about. If the owners turn out, in large part to be, oh say our own pension funds, etc then what happens when we shoot yourselves in the foot. Of course, I don’t know where my pension fund is, but I hope I am not accidentially shoking it to death. Please research who the hell the owners are before we run off half cocked.

  7. Toayminator permalink
    August 25, 2009 9:23 am

    Tim,

    Yes the NAZI’s became monsters, but they started out as SOCIALISTS. THAT’s the point. Liberals always think the problem with Socialism is that they just haven’t had the right people running it. They completely discount human nature.

    And Pelosi WAS calling protesters Nazi’s. And other lib Congressmen and Senators have called them “thugs” and “anti-American”. Bottom line here- the libs are about increasing their POWER. And they are lying about what will happen with state controlled health care.

    To whit:

    Oregon’s state-run health care plan won’t cover a new drug that could extend her life — which is, after all, the entire point of health insurance and health care — but will gladly pay the bill if she decides to stop costing the state more money.

    This was entirely predictable. When the state assumes the cost for the personal and private functions of its citizens, the private and personal become public, and the limits of government disappear.

    You want to extend your life an extra couple of years? Sorry. You can’t generate enough revenue to cover the cost of treatment, so the state won’t allow it. If you’d be so kind as to drop dead now, though, that will save some money for some twisted lib-tard’s sex-change operation.

    In this case, fortunately, Wagner got rescued from her own state government. Who played the hero? The EVIL pharmaceutical company that produces the drug she needs. They gave it to her for free out of disgust.

  8. Rob Asghar permalink
    August 25, 2009 10:44 am

    Timmy!!!! I keep having to come over here like an overprotective mother, grabbing you by the ear, and dragging you away from these bad people. Didn’t I tell you not to cross the tracks to the bad side….???

  9. David permalink
    August 25, 2009 11:55 am

    Here’s another good reason why we need health care reform. A friend of mine’s 11 year old neice was recently knocked down by a car while crossing a designated crosswalk. She is currently in a coma. She has brain injury and a fracture pelvis and is going through tests. Her father has health insurance, but because of the expensive tests and treatments to help keep this poor girl alive, it is probably going to bankrupt him. That’s right! He has health insurance, but during this catastrophic time, the insurance company has determined certain tests to be uneccesary even when the ICU has asked for it. It then comes out of his pocket and the costs are already in the tens of thousands. THAT IS RATIONING, and it is going on now, with private health insurers. The USA has been ranked 37th for quality of health care by the WHO, France has been ranked #1.

    Our health insurance industry is the only ‘for profit’ health care insurance in the entire western world. We spend twice on patients in this country then any country in Europe, including England. Yet people in this country actually live shorter lives, and are unhealthier. France wins on longivety and quality of life for seniors. I don’t see any ‘death panels’ over there.

    The right-wing nuts have been spurred on by mis-information from the pundits to prevent any meaningful change from the status-quo, because the health care industry is too powerful. I do not understand why these poor mis-informed people at town halls want to fight for something that works against their own interests. Health care is a right for all citizens, that’s how we can provide for productive citizens. Obama should raise taxes to pay for the wars (which should have happened before we went in) leaving more money for the infrastructure and social justice.

    Overall our academic standards have dropped, especially our science standards because our politicians don’t particularly care to educate our young, and now we have almost half our nation believing the biblical account of creation to be literal, with absolutely no empirical proof except that one book says so.

    Forgive the rant, but the right wing have gone absolutely nuts, and ironically put a hitler moustache on Obama, saying that their America has been stolen. Try telling that to the Native Americans and the Mexicans.

  10. Timmy C. permalink
    August 25, 2009 4:02 pm

    Rob is probably right… it does feel like the conversation here (with a couple rare exceptions) stays on the wrong side of this triangle:

    For instance, Mike’s recent post was just contradiction with no evidence.

    (The middle of the triangle)

    Where he just said basically: “Yes Nazi’s were socialists… and Yes Pelosi DID call the health care protestors themselves Nazi’s” … but with no evidence for either contradiction.

    For the record, here is evidence and argument that Nazism was not a socialistic.
    http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Socialism_and_Nazism/

    And here is Factcheck.org on the Pelosi statement:

    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/nazi-symbols-at-town-halls-the-real-story/

    The Factcheck article concludes:

    Pelosi did not actually accuse opponents of being neo-Nazis; that’s just the way Limbaugh and others chose to interpret her phrase, “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” It is clear from the images in hand that the anti-Obama protesters were the ones accusing others of Nazi-like tendencies. And Pelosi turns out to be right.

  11. Toayminator permalink
    August 26, 2009 12:41 am

    What Tim fails to realize is that there is no “wrong” side to a triangle. It must have 3 sides or it is NOT a triangle.

    Tim should also read Jonah Goldberg’s heavily researched- and best selling- book “Liberal Fascism” before he tries to convince anyone else that the Nazi party was NOT socialist. It was the National SOCIALIST Party for crying out loud.. Don’t make come over there and swat you with a two-by-four.

    I sympathize with David’s story, above. Let’s try this- allow health insurance companies to compete across state lines, across all 50 states, and see what happens to your coverages. Quality will go way UP, costs will go way DOWN. The free market WORKS. We just need the pols in DC to remove the “in-state” restrictions and get out of the way.

  12. David permalink
    August 26, 2009 7:16 am

    T. Up to this point, the free market has failed. Free markets do not work when bigger companies gobble up the little ones, which is why strict regulation is needed.

    This whole thing about the USA having the best health care in the world is baloney, we are way down that list. The majority of household bankruptcies in the USA are through health care costs, that is unheard of in the rest of the civilized world.

    I understand the concern that the government should not be in business, but then perhaps we should dissolve medicare (seniors should have saved up enough money for their ‘golden years’ health care), social security (people should be responsible for saving and not consumption of goods they don’t need), the military (we spend vast sums of money on equipment and wars we don’t need), food stamps (the poor should grow their own food), subsidizing farmers (perhaps then we won’t get cheap corn syrup which is making our people obese), unemployment insurance (people should save for ‘rainy days’).

    For profit health care is wrong when the profits are excessive. There should be a cap on the earnings of the CEO’s and no stock market floating. The rest of the money should be but back into the company for better equipment and research. The profit motive is killing people, we already have rationing.

  13. Rob Asghar permalink
    August 26, 2009 9:16 pm

    Timmy, have you seen enough yet to not bother arguing with Toay and Grecu…? I like Toay’s assertion that Jonah Goldberg has done compelling research and argumentation on liberal fascism.

    Yep, the spirit of Atticus Finch, the models of Frederick Douglass and Bobby Kennedy, the images of the OT prophets standing up against social injustice, are just so many Hitler clones.

    “‘I was forced to sit in the back of the bus,’ said the Lord, ‘and you did not fight for my rights — good for you, because we sure don’t need that kind of fascist interference in the political system.'”

    Tim remains one of the great specimens of intelligence and flexibility in his thinking on politics, religion and sundry things related to humanity. For him to come here, patiently, day in and day out, and be told by Toay that he’s going to get a 2 by 4 swung at his head, tells me all I need to know.

    Tim, you’ll lose respect for yourself as you keep tossing pearls before these sub-swine. “The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction,” Eric Hoffer said. “The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without.”

    That’s what you’re dealing with in Toay and Grecu. They won’t change. They’ll just pat themselves on the back for their implacable — and stupid — stands. As you know, Tim, such persons have no ability to weigh evidence that contradicts their own need to be “right” in every way.

    • September 8, 2009 11:55 am

      <<Tim, you’ll lose respect for yourself as you keep tossing pearls before these sub-swine. “The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction,” Eric Hoffer said. “The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without.”

      How about this quote: "Ad-hominem attack is the last refuge of those without facts."

      Ad Hominem: adj. Directed at or appealing to one's hearer's or reader's personal feelings or prejudices rather than his intellect or reason (Webster's Third New International Dictionary)

      • Rob Asghar permalink
        September 8, 2009 1:59 pm

        >>”Ad-hominem attack is the last refuge of those without facts.” <<

        Duke Ray — That's quite interesting, I always thought that Internet anonymity and aliases were the last refuge of those without facts or the courage of their convictions. But what do I know…?

  14. Timmy C. permalink
    August 26, 2009 9:44 pm

    Mike:

    Regarding Goldberg’s heavily researched book, I can dig up dozens of reviews of authors that span the political spectrum calling it out the chapter on Nazi as a leftist movement as total wacko material.

    I’ll give excerpts from two example reviews — and i found many — one liberal and one conservative.

    From liberal David Neiwert:

    What these historians record — but Goldberg variously ignores or minimizes — is that the “socialism” of “National Socialism” was in fact purely a kind of ethnic economic nationalism, which offered “socialist” support to purely “Aryan” German business entities, and that the larger Nazi cultural appeal was built directly around an open antipathy to all things liberal or leftist. Indeed, whole chapters of Mein Kampf are devoted to vicious smears and declarations of war against “the Left,” and not merely the Marxism that Goldberg acknowledges was a major focus of Hitler’s animus.

    …”the Left” were the people who were beaten and murdered in the 1920s by the squadristi and the Brownshirts; and the first Germans sent off to Nazi concentration camps like Dachau were not Jews but socialists, communists, and other left-wing political prisoners, including “liberal” priests and clerics…

    [Liberal Facism] employs the same historical methodology used by Holocaust deniers and other right-wing revanchists: namely,it selects a narrow band of often unrepresentative facts, distorts their meaning, and simultaneously elides and ignores whole mountains of contravening evidence and broader context. These are simply theses in search of support, not anything like serious history.

    And the other the review of Liberal Fascism from the American Conservative magazine:

    Goldberg’s Trivial Pursuit…
    Goldberg does not content himself with rebuking those who call anyone who disagrees with them a fascist. Instead, he invents reasons of his own for calling anyone who disagrees with Jonah Goldberg a fascist….

    He devotes a whole chapter to proving that Nazism was left-wing. Hitler was a revolutionary, Hitler was anti-business, Hitler was a socialist: therefore Hitler was a leftist. ….but clearly one can also place Hitler on the Right. An ideology does not come under some kind of curse just because it is put in the same category as Hitler’s. Nor by lumping Hitler in with one’s political opponents can one can somehow burden them with his crimes. Other than scandalizing one’s enemies, little is accomplished by applying the categories “Right” and “Left” to Hitlerism….

    Indeed, Liberal Fascism reads less like an extended argument than as a catalogue of conservative intellectual clichés, often irrelevant to the supposed point of the book….. lacking even the excuse of ignorance, he chose to sling the term “fascism” around as casually as the most vulgar leftist. It does not speak well of Goldberg that, by his own admission, he wrote his first book not to enlighten but to exact revenge.

    Liberal Fascism completes Goldberg’s transformation from chipper humorist into humorless ideologue.

    And for the life of me I can’t find any positive review of Goldberg’s book or his view of Nazism as a socialist or leftist movement that come from any peer-reviewed historian, or political scientist.

    Can you?

  15. Toayminator permalink
    August 31, 2009 5:27 pm

    Just want to thank Rob, whom I haven’t even spoken to in over 3 years and probably more, for showing up and attacking me. Way to make it personal, Rob, and come after ME instead of addressing the ISSUE. Very classy.

    For the record, I’ve never had anything against you. I always considered you to be intelligent and thoughtful. And as far as I can remember, I’ve never attacked you personally. Apparently that respect is not mutual.

    At one time I would have counted you as a friend. Based your comments above, it would seem that era has passed… You seem to have “Moved On”. Perhaps my respect for you was misplaced or in error. Sadly….

  16. Duke of Ray permalink
    September 11, 2009 12:11 am

    Rob, it’s good of you to admit your ignorance, thanks.

    Seriously, though — is this REALLY going to be your approach, now: just one ad hominem piled on another? Do your really not see how self-righteous this fallacy is, that only those who (apparently like yourself) want to use the federal gov’t to fix every social ill are “the good” and those who disagree are “the bad” without Christian compassion? Do the many acts of real compassion and giving that I know the Count and his wife have done, helping children and military men in need anonymously (that scandalous word) not compute as compassion in your enlightened moral calculus? Can you not see that good intentions can pave the road to hell, and have many times over the course of human history? Is it not possible to righteously question good intentions when one can see the smoke down the road…?

    I know that it gets out of hand here sometimes, and frankly I’ve told the Count I think he needs to dial down the invective myself at times; and I’ve tried to keep it civil but may fail…
    So I’m not making a case for the immaculate conception of Strange Monkey Doll. But I am asking you out of love if nothing else to be a bigger man than your latest comments here, because it seems to me you have been that man in the past.

    I have no expectations, only hopes.

    Keith

  17. Rob Asghar permalink
    September 16, 2009 9:34 am

    KEITH WRITES: >>I know that it gets out of hand here sometimes, and frankly I’ve told the Count I think he needs to dial down the invective myself at times; and I’ve tried to keep it civil but may fail… So I’m not making a case for the immaculate conception of Strange Monkey Doll. But I am asking you out of love if nothing else to be a bigger man than your latest comments here, because it seems to me you have been that man in the past.<<

    Thanks, Keith. The reason I'm not a bigger man here is because I have given up on you guys. You have not dialed it down even when you're dealing with someone as civil and reasoned and fact-based as Tim.

    I only got involved here because I saw how you guys continue to torment the one guy who gives you a more gracious form of argumentation. You say I don't offer facts; but Tim offers facts and insights and is mauled anyway in a quite uncivil way. I keep showing up here to see what you've done to him lately. And I keep hoping he'll stop, yes, casting his pearls before swine. You have not un-swined and I suspect you never will.

    So no, I will not be a bigger man, because Tim has been a bigger man for years and it has gotten him nothing. So this is my last post to you three. Goodbye.

  18. September 17, 2009 2:54 am

    You paint with quite a broad brush, Rob. Timmy C, sincerely please contact me if you feel that I’ve “tormented” you.

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