Can Jane Hamsher or Howard Dean be wrong on the substance of policy issues? Of course!!! I don't think they often are, but recently there have been many progressives who have thought so. These were reasonable disagreements and everyone was within their full right to think Dean or Hamsher might not have gotten the balance right on any particular issue.
So, why can't they be wrong?
Because even if you disagree with them, they're doing you a huge favor. If you're a strong progressive and you think Howard Dean has gone out too far left on health care reform or Jane Hamsher has attacked President Obama too hard from the left -- then, fantastic, you are now officially a moderate!
And more importantly, so is Obama.
Why is this so important? I'm not sure you particularly want to be moderate, and I'm certainly not sure you are one. But that's not the point. The point is that the mainstream media loves people who they can call "moderates." If Joe Lieberman is somewhere between Obama and Cheney, no matter how far to the right he is, he gets to be called a moderate. Why? Because there's someone to the right of him.
1. I'm not sure this need be a political spectrum litmus test at all
I'm definitely moderate and more than a bit indigo in the canine department and I fully support universal single payer healthcare based on the very principles of fiscal responsibility and economic growth/flexibility that make me inhabit that place on the spectrum. I have no idea why we did such a lousy job of selling the very real economic gains that it would make possible. I'm certainly not against the uninsured or undercovered getting equal access to care, but that is far from the only reason to support civilized health care.
3. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "far left" or "moderation" or anything like that.
Pro- or anti-public option is a policy matter: that has something to do with where you stand on the policy questions. But "kill the bill" or "fix it later" is not a policy question (or if it is, it only is in highly technical, non-ideological ways); it's more a question of political tactics. I'm a hard-lefty, but still think this bill should pass.
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