An Open Letter to KOS

KOS, your progressive voice is a strong, eloquent, and persistent battle cry against the monstrously nihilistic conservative Republicans who are trying to tear our society apart. You were a prime force in getting President Obama and the Democratic Congress elected. Now you are pushing them to achieve progressive legislation, especially health care reform. However, your exertions against bipartisanship and your continued fight for the already-defeated public option only serve to pull Republicans into the next Congress.

Your efforts in the recent election campaign were exemplary. You and other progressives helped us get rid of Bush and all he stands for. You got many people to believe in the need for change, and to vote for the type of change Barack Obama stood for: real justice, true diplomacy, good jobs, transformative climate-change action, prosperity-producing energy industries - and universal health care.

President Obama has started to work and is making progress on each item he promised. Because of all the conservative forces and institutional restraints placed on him, he has a long way to go on his agenda. But he is making progress.

When it comes to his number one priority, health care, President Obama has already taken us further than any other president in American history. He has worked on it for months on end, almost from the beginning of his administration. He has talked to practically anyone who had any ideas on the subject. He negotiated with congressional members of his own party and of the opposition party. Today, both the House and the Senate have approved health care bills. We are so close to our goal we can taste victory.

Unfortunately, our possible victory is not total. In order to pass a bill in the Senate, we had to remove the public option. Without this compromise, the bill would not have passed. You and a few other progressives may not agree with this evaluation. But this evaluation was made by our duly elected president.

Of course, in his campaign Barack Obama stressed over and over again that he would seek bipartisanship. He tried valiantly to do it, but the Party of No stymied him at every turn. You, KOS, and other prominent progressives, did not help in any way. As a matter of fact, almost from the beginning you kept hammering away that bipartisanship would not work. And when it did not, you gloated that you were right all along.

Would it have helped if you had taken a different tone toward bipartisanship? Probably not. However, it would have kept the Democratic Party more unified and President Obama's favorability numbers higher. The Democratic Party would have been in a better position to withstand the coming Republican onslaught in 2010.

Even now, after the huge battle fought in the Senate, you are fighting the leader of our team, President Obama, by continuing to push for the public option. Evidently, you don't believe in teamwork. During the campaign you performed as a member of the team. But now, when it counts, you are working against the team.

During the campaign, Barack Obama proclaimed that he would not be able to do all he wanted unless we acted as a team. Here's how a team should work: Before a decision is made each person or group should push as hard as possible for their approach and everyone's ideas should be considered. After the decision is made all members of the team would be expected to work together towards what had been decided.

As a member of the team, it's time to stop the criticism of Obama, forget about the public option, and push progressive ideas in a way that is not likely to produce another ideological battle. Even Jakob Hacker, the guy who introduced the idea of the public option, thinks the Senate bill is OK:

As weak as it is in numerous areas, the Senate bill contains three vital reforms.  First, it creates a new framework, the "exchange," through which people who lack secure workplace coverage can obtain the same kind of group health insurance that workers in large companies take for granted.  Second, it makes available hundreds of billions in federal help to allow people to buy coverage through the exchanges and through an expanded Medicaid program. Third, it places new regulations on private insurers that, if properly enforced, will reduce insurers' ability to discriminate against the sick and to undermine the health security of Americans.

According to the latest polls, the majority of the public is now against the health care bill. Why? One big reason is the constant and violent attacks of Republicans. This alienated many to the right of center. Another big reason is the many attacks of the bill from progressives like you, Huffington and others. This alienated many to the left of center.

The net result of all your criticisms is that you have reduced the enthusiasm of the left, making liberals less likely to vote, thus making it easy for Republicans to gain strength in 2010. If this happens, you will have a Congress that is less likely to produce any progressive legislation.

We must pass a health care bill or the Democratic Party is doomed.

KOS, join the team. It is not too late. Abate your criticism. Indulge in a little praise. I personally think President Obama deserves a mountain of praise for the way he has confronted his many challenges and the great progress he has already made. Let's work for the Democratic Party in order to prevent Republicans from ruining our chances for a decent society.

Tags: Healthcare, Kos, liberal, progressive (all tags)



Re: An Open Letter to KOS

Kos may simply be being a good capitalist. Republicans being in power is after all "good for business".

by vecky 2009-12-29 09:10PM | 0 recs
Did you post this on dKos also?

Would get more attention there. A few things...

Personally, I have no problem with kos' disdain for bipartisanship. Honestly, what is the point? We get the odd vote from a Republican like Cao when we don't really "need" it? Big deal, I'm not impressed. Meanwhile, we are bending over backwards to court assholes who have no interest in helping us, trying to include them in a process that they have an interest only in obstructing. Seems like a waste of time to me. We're better off twisting Democratic arms (not that I've seen the administration trying that) and ramming what legislation we can through while we can. Bipartisanship doesn't get us much of anywhere, so far as I can see. Excessive efforts at bipartisanship 1) annoy certain elements of the base, which may see it as a waste of time or resent the attention being given to people who obviously have no desire to help us accomplish anything, 2) have no influence on Republicans, who will not help us regardless, and 3) make Democrats look ineffective to middle/swing voters when said efforts prove fruitless and wasted.

I have no problem with kos and others pushing for the public option and a stronger bill, even though it seems obvious that it's not going to happen. I'm glad many on the Left are making it known that we are not overly pleased with this bill. In the end, I hope that most will accept it, but I do not take issue with people being vocal about their reservations. What I do not like are the alliances with teabaggers and similar trash.

I hope that kos will be supportive of Democratic candidates in 2010 and of Obama in 2012, but even if he's not -- it's important to remember that bloggers are a very small percentage of the base. So if he -- and others -- are not supportive, it does not necessarily spell doom for Democratic candidates over the next few years.

by sricki 2009-12-29 10:48PM | 1 recs
Re: Did you post this on dKos also?

I have to agree with sricki here. This would work better on Kos's site than Jerome's.

by jsfox 2009-12-30 03:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Did you post this on dKos also?

I have to disagree with Sricki here.

If Obama's post partisanship was about Republican senators or congressmen, then - at this juncture - she would have a point. But forgive me if I got this wrong, but I thought his post partisanship was about reaching out to former republican voters.

The Obamican element is still a success, somewhat in the manner of the Reagan Democrats. Whether it becomes a tectonic shift like that, we have to wait and see. The current republican strategy is helping to make it so, and if you look at the other top diary on MYDD, or some of the founders or regular contributors to the Moose, you'll see that Obama's appeal to centrist republicans is still active and powerful.

Post partisanship at this level, hasn't failed. But I would wager a bet that, if Obama did what Kos wanted, you'd soon see his popularity ratings sink to the 40s

by brit 2009-12-30 11:15AM | 0 recs
RE: Did you post this on dKos also?
Obama is president of ALL Americans, not just us liberals and Democrats. He promised to be post-partisan, and I, for one, am happy he is sticking to his promise.
by lojasmo 2009-12-31 08:39PM | 0 recs
RE: RE: Did you post this on dKos also?
How's that war in Afghanistan going?
by ReillyDiefenbach 2010-01-04 12:36PM | 0 recs
this is a bizarre letter

this letter bespeaks of boot licking toadyism and the faint but pungent smell of lobbyism at its worst.

So the lobbyists have figured out how to shill diary? So what. Kos is right. Reform without a national health service. IS NOT REFORM.

by Trey Rentz 2009-12-30 05:01AM | 0 recs
RE: this is a bizarre letter
toadyism, yes. I was about to ask if there a special school where they teach democrats boot licking.
by TeresaInPa 2009-12-31 04:28PM | 0 recs
RE: RE: this is a bizarre letter
In the clinton school of politics.
by lojasmo 2009-12-31 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: An Open Letter to KOS

"you don't believe in teamwork?"

There's nothing that would have appeased the opposing Republicans than to retain a strong corporate medical care bill. And that is what they got out of Obama's teamwork. Medical insurance company stocks flew sky high with the passage of the Senate legislation. The Republicans are trilled to death.

That's teamwork in action.

by MainStreet 2009-12-30 07:06AM | 0 recs
RE: Re: An Open Letter to KOS
Nate silver pointed out that your claim is a lie.
by lojasmo 2009-12-31 08:41PM | 0 recs
So the five responses above...

...are a true sample of democratic thinking?

I've got to say, guys, if you all start throwing each other under the bus after a year's worth of a Presidential term, there's going to be gridlock for the next three years: mainly because of bodies are higher than the buses.

I've written a diary about this before, but once again...

Now I Know Why Democrats Keep Losing

Remember what the Republicans know. Unity in adversity. Someone on my side of the aisle, though wrong, is still on my side of the aisle. The people, disunited, will always be defeated.

by brit 2009-12-30 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: So the five responses above...

I think your advice is best directed at the party establishment, not the rank and file.  They are the ones who refuse to be united.  Indeed, you cannot even rely upon Democratic senators not to filibuster Democratic legislation.  We party members have deluded ourselves for the past 40 years that "someday" things would get better- we just need to turn the tide on the conservative movement, get more Democrats elected, and more recently, wait until we have strong majorities in congress and a Dem president.  Well, we've gotten about as far as we go and we still have no decent results.  There is nothing more to wish for at this point- except for the truly cock-eyed (see Strummerson's navel gazing on how progressives can be more effective in the future).  It is the leadership who have abandoned its members, not the other way around.

by orestes 2009-12-30 11:31AM | 1 recs
Re: So the five responses above...

You may be right, but the 'leadership' in question seem to be those ensconced, for unlimited terms, in the Senate. Both the president and the house of reps are more subject to the popular will.

On that score, and in the media's constant American idol popularity stakes, the rank and file do have a voice.

by brit 2009-12-30 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: So the five responses above...

Well, I'm a bit more cynical after this health insurance debacle.  I don't think the rank and file have a voice at all in the Democratic party.  It's become abundantly clear to me.  

by orestes 2009-12-30 11:43AM | 1 recs
Re: So the five responses above...

I wonder where it is that the "rank and file" do have a voice.

Certainly you can't be thinking it's on the blogs.

by vecky 2009-12-30 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Plenty voices on the blogs

it's the ears (and thus the 'listenings') that are in short supply.

by QTG 2009-12-30 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: So the five responses above...

Of course, it is difficult to have a discussion with DC and its enablers in which the leadership cynically says they represent the majority on like Public Option when 60 percent of the general public (never mind just Democrats) favored the public options inclusion.

Meanwhile, those who would defend DC somehow can claim that they represent the "middle" despite the numerical reality that shows they do not. At some point, you have to conclude they are just not listening, and, are in fact, bullshitting:

"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."

Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are." tml

One week claiming that they are all deeply for the public option in DC when it suits them, and the next week, parsing language to claim the complete opposite. There has always been bullshit, but not on this level of marketing.

How you cut through the bullshitting is anyone's guess. Between the manipulative frames that can be constructed based on partisanship, personality based politics, branding ideological constructions as progressive that aren't, etc, it becomes very hard to have a serious discussion about the things you mention. This bullshit has become clear to me as a feature rather than a defeat of the system of maintaining the status quo.

by bruh3 2009-12-30 03:11PM | 1 recs
Re: Bullshit on a shingle

Stuff 3 paragraphs lifted from a website blurbing a book with an interesting title between 4 paragraphs of specious attack.

Now,that's a simple and fast recipe for 'bullshit'.  

by QTG 2009-12-30 05:16PM | 0 recs
RE: Re: So the five responses above...
You're nothing if not self-aware. Bravo.
by lojasmo 2009-12-31 08:42PM | 0 recs
how about this for pary loyalty
when the people choose one candidate to run for president, it would be nice if the other people they have put in office previously would honor their choice. Let the fucking party be unified with the actual voters again and then I will worry about what the voters owe them back.
by TeresaInPa 2009-12-31 04:33PM | 0 recs
Good letter

I would like Kos back in the fold fighting for a bill to pass as well.  Nonetheless, I will point out that he did not go the Jane Hamsher route and start a scorch earth policy (if he did, he could have done some real damage).  I have always respected Markos for this reason: when he thinks he can be helpful to a Democratic issue, he helps.  When he thinks he can't, he stays out of the way.

by deaniac83 2009-12-30 11:29AM | 2 recs
Markos is the preeminent progressive blogger

And such an appointment is well deserved. There is a reason why you see him on Meet the Press, MSNBC, and in other mainstream media outlets.

Unlike some others, there is a fine line between policy and personal criticism. Markos can walk that line.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-30 01:41PM | 1 recs
Re: Bullshit on a shingle

Exhibit A.

I post about how difficult it is to address issues due to the bullshit factor, and I then cite a book discussing the bullshit factor in public discourse. Your response? To distract by complaining about the use of the citation. Classic example of how this game has worked out. Thanks for contributing.

by bruh3 2009-12-30 06:02PM | 1 recs
Re: Bullshit on a shingle

I forgot to add how your post fits in as a classic example.

One of the tools of the trade of bullshitting is changing the subject. I am discussing health care reform, and the impact of regulation, you start discussing how many people I will kill because I don't support the bill. Orestes asks for concrete ways that progressives will produce change later if we can not do it now. It gets the kitchen thrown at him about random thoughts on the matte hoping, I am guessing, that one will stick for him or lurkers.

Finally,  I am discussing how difficult it is to discuss politics because of the bullshit factor- "It depends on the definition of campaigning"

You respond by trying to change the subject to navel gazing over the length and inclusion of a citation that is actually directly on point about my subject matter. In other words, you don't discuss the subject matter of distracting through bullshit. You change the subject matter so that we can't discuss it.

by bruh3 2009-12-30 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: An Open Letter to KOS

As a member of the team, it's time to stop the criticism of Obama, forget about the public option, and push progressive ideas in a way that is not likely to produce another ideological battle.

You call yourself a progressive? LBJ would have been disgusted to see almost a trillion dollars of taxpayer money spent to subsidize health insurance companies. Weak consumer protection and no requirement that companies actually pay for anything. KILL THE BILL!

by bsavage 2009-12-30 06:23PM | 2 recs
Re: An Open Letter to KOS

I love irony of saying that progressive means following into line.

by bruh3 2009-12-30 06:42PM | 0 recs
The DLC have called themselves progressive

since their inception.

by ReillyDiefenbach 2010-01-04 12:44PM | 0 recs
RE: Re: An Open Letter to KOS
I don't think so. Of course, pushing Obama on the public option is a fool's errand, as he doesn't legislate. We should be pushing our congresspersons, senators, and congressional leadership.
by lojasmo 2009-12-31 08:45PM | 0 recs
is that you?
As a member of the team, it's time to stop the criticism of Obama, forget about the public option, and push progressive ideas in a way that is not likely to produce another ideological battle. Even Jakob Hacker, the guy who introduced the idea of the public option, thinks the Senate bill is OK:
Forget about the public option. Forget that with out it there is no reason for insurance companies to lower their profits and extend better deals to the American people. Accept this crappy Insurance protection ACT because otherwise... OBAMA LOOKS BAD AND WE CAN'T HAVE OBAMA LOOK BAD.
by TeresaInPa 2009-12-31 04:25PM | 2 recs
Emotional intellegence

President Obama is giving all of us a lesson in emotional intellegence (see Daniel Goleman)

His calm non-reactive demeanor is moving us forward.  There is no good reason to demonize the other side - just stick to the facts - try not to get insulted - and work your butt off.

Thanks for the post.

by Moonwood 2010-01-06 12:24PM | 0 recs


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