I speak from the experience of three decades inside the medical establishment: What many people don't realize or remember is that the Republican assault against physicians began in full force during the Reagan administration. Two closely related things happened: first, corporations began refusing to pay the kind of health insurance premiums required for physicians to keep earning their salaries/fees; and (2) Medicare began freezing, sometimes even reducing, physician fees. Of course, for the first 20-25 years since then, it never occurred to physicians that they were simply being regarded as hired help by the "real" Republicans, i.e. corporate executives. They never imagined that when Republicans see a payment to a worker--whether janitor or physician--all they can ever see is an opportunity to cut it and thereby improve their profit margins. They certainly never realized that all the social conservatism of that generation of physicians gained them absolutely no respect from "real" Republicans (who dont care a thing about social conservatism). What they did realize is that in very many large and small communities across America, absolute income of physicians has been going down--albeit slowly. And whaddya know, after a quarter century, physicians have finally waked up to realize what the Republicans have been doing to them, which is no different from what they always do to hired help. And then of course the profound demographic change in medicine has taken hold, too: whereas in 1975-1980 most medical school classrooms anywhere in the country were at most 5 percent women, now they are typically 50% and often more.
Win or lose, nomination or presidency, Huckabee may be the most important candidate the Republicans have fielded, since--oh--Teddy Roosevelt, maybe, probably not quite Lincoln. When in the you-tube debate he described the "fundamental" messages of the Bible as "love your neighbor" and "when you did to the least of these, you did it to me," and when then said "if you think you understand God because you understand the Bible, then your God is too small," he not only left doctrinaire fundamentalism in shreds but unveiled a potent appeal to moderates and even liberals. If the young voters we're talking about in this diary--whatever their partisan inclinations--get the idea that Huckabee is the only one who cares about the poor, then the stage will be set for some serious surprises, more likely in elections to come rather than this one. In some important ways, Huckabee's the William Jennings Bryan of this age--and don't forget that the progressive populism that Bryan espoused was an ingredient in Republican reformation politics (Teddy Roosevelt) as well as being a fore-runner of Democratic Reformation politics (Franklin Roosevelt). More than Edwards, it's Huckabee who's challenging the Democrats--in an historical sense--to back off their centrist infatuation with corporate power.
Both Roosevelts taught us that corporate power was an alien force threatening to destroy American working people and, in the process, destroy America as a free country. We Democrats better never let Huckabee be identified as the chief contemporary spokesman for that point of view.
A few comments from a white liberal evangelical (but not a fundamentalist):
It is essential to distinguish "evangelical" from "fundamentalist." The former by definition is an attitude of reaching out to people in the world; the latter, also by definition, is ideological and not people-oriented. Evangelicals are almost by definition politically and economically inclined to be progressive in their orientation. Aimee Semple Macpherson is one classical, if extreme, example of evangelicalism: whatever else she did, she probably organized more genuine social service activities, including feeding the hungry during the Depression, than any other religious leader in American history. Jerry Falwell was, by contrast, almost the prototypical fundamentalist--remembered not for feeding people but for indoctrinating them.
Evangelicals tend to appeal to poorer people; fundamentalists, somewhat more to middle and certainly also upper class people who feel economically threatened in some way.
Shorter version: economic circumstance is a leading indicator of theological change, which in turn sometimes preceds political change.
Corollary: if there is a theological change underway (I for one think there is), then it may be an early signal of an impending economic collapse.
Do not lightly dismiss this docudrama. Unless we very publicly and very widely discredit it in advance, it will cost us some votes this November--perhaps not too many, but some and that could be enough in close races.
Ignoring these things just doesn't work.
ABC hasn't felt the heat yet.
Neither have the sponsors.
We've got less than a week.
I've had direct inside experience with political advertising in five political campaigns, and my first reaction is:
Don't shoot your own soldiers!
My second reaction is that nothing's simple and there's almost never a single ad that wins it for anyone: you know, different strokes for different folks, that kind of thing.
Third, I take it that a decision was made to build her positives some more before presenting the incumbent's negatives. The old story is that voters won't listen to the negative ads unless they have some level of trust in the one making them, hence the rule that positive ads come first. This old story may not be universally applicable, but there is some logic to it. (As an aside, this predicts that, since Bush has become explicitly not trusted, the usual round of swiftboating negative ads from the Republicans may be less effective this time around.)
Now, this much is also clear: positive ads alone can't win elections against an incumbent. NOT GONNA DO IT! So I have to hope the negative ads are on the way, once they are confident that her positives are strong enough.
PBS had a JFK documentary last night. Its main point was how important the news media, including but not limited to television, had been to the whole experience, and how a whole generation of new reporters (Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, for example) essentially got their start on the scene there. Schieffer was quoted even as saying how glad he was for the opportunity to cover it on the scene (followed by the obligatory "I wish hadn't been for this, though.")
Television, they said, is what "bound us together" and "enabled us to survive" the trauma. So even this event--so traumatic to those of us who lived through it--is now referenced by its "meaning" for the news media. Do we need any more indication that the mainstream media have fallen into the pool of Narcissus?
I share Bigdog's above emotions absolutely: we've never gotten over it, and in a savagely ironic way I think it was the source of the infectious cynicism that has become the major destructive virus in our public discourse. For me, it goes something like this: whoever was involved--singly or jointly (and jointly is a plausible alternative since the House committee's report)--if "they" or "he" can do this, what can't "they" or others like "him" do? Then--to make it clear how far down in Hell we'd dropped--we heard the furies cackling their jeering approval. Yes, in point of fact, in several school buildings across America children burst into cheers and applause on hearing the news of JFK's death over their loudspeakers, so infected was the air already at that time.
Thanks for the replays of the "If by liberal" speech--I had forgotten. See also amendmentnine.blogspot.com for a coincidentally recent contemporary "If by liberal" speech.
Long before William Safire stole the term, my father would recount to me--from his service in the Georgia legislature in the 1920's--his classic "If by whiskey" speech (every Southern politician from the courthouse to the whitehouse had one).
JFK--who carried several southern states--illustrated the fact that southerners have always been fine with liberals, as long as they're also conservatives.