Center for American Progress Attacks Howard Dean
by Bob Brigham, Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 04:53:12 PM EDT
In the latest sign Bizarro World is the new normal, Center for American Progress Policy Analyst Ian Millhiser took to Think Progress to attack Dr. Howard Dean. The slam on Governor Dean came up during a discussion on Proposition C, a ballot initiative in the battleground state of Missouri against the individual mandate that just passed with over 70% of the vote.
Here's how Millhiser quotes Dr. Dean:
[T]he truth is the mandate’s not essential to the plan anyway. It never was essential to the plan. They did it in Massachusetts and had a mandate, but we have universal health care for kids in my state without a mandate. … I made this prediction before and I’m going to make it again: by the time this thing goes into effect in 2014, I think the mandate will be gone either through the courts or because it’s unpopular.
To make the case against Dean, Millhiser claims that Dean is wrong in that a mandate is essential and that he is wrong that a mandate might be thrown out by the courts. But look at how he quotes Dr. Dean, see those ellipses? Here's what Dean said directly before Millhiser continued his selective quotation:
I thought the President was right in the campaign. Academically, you want a mandate. The American people aren't going to put up with a mandate.
The line Millhiser decided not to quote undermines his entire slam. While "analysts" like Millhiser favor a mandate, the fact is the American people hate the idea of the government forcing them to pay tribute to a private company. Dean acknowledged that to come to his conclusion. Not just on the right, there is no philosophical argument that holds water with the left on how you can have a mandate absent a public option. This is why the left fought against RomneyCare (mandate being the essential feature), the same reason why California progressives fought against the end package in the "Year of Health Care Reform" once AB-8 became AB-1x.
Don't believe me? This was one of the key points of contrast between Obama and Clinton that helped him win the primary.
As was shown in the key state of Missouri just this week, the individual mandate is a 70-30 issue. It is not popular and is a clear political and rhetorical winner for anyone fighting against it, whether from the left or from the right.
Instead of looking at the mandate in the context of pre-existing conditions, it needs to be seen in the context the public option. Without a public option, mandates aren't just hated by the right, but by many on the left too. Since mandates are what made HCR a giant gift to insurance industry profits, a future GOP congress may choose donors over voters, and lay off seizing this great issue. But Dean was right, Obama was right before he was wrong, the individual mandate is disgusting policy.
It would be nice, if CAP is going to go after Dr. Dean, to go after his conclusion, not selectively quote him for straw man wankery.
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