Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hearing Mickey Kaus

Mickey Kaus is onto something important about the Tea Partiers. Here he’s rebutting the claim that they represent a new kind of “special interest” (emphasis in the original):

"[T]hey look like people to me. Sure, they are not the majority--in that sense they are "special." But they are not "special" in that they seem to be representing their holistic interest as American citizens, not their partial identities as seniors, or union members, or veterans or employees of corporations. ... Of course it would be easier to pass health care reform if all you had to do was cut a deal with labor unions and insurance companies and PhRMA--the o.g. lobbies of "Special Interest 1.0"--while ignoring the mass of individual voters. But you have to really contort yourself to think the replacement of narrow, economic interests with broader citizen interests is some sort of tragic turn of events. For decades good government types have been attempting to summon broad popular interests in order to defeat narrow economic interests. Now that it's happening they're having second thoughts (because they don't like the first result)."
Obama was elected by appealing to the “holistic interest [of] American citizens.” That’s what his 2004 Keynote Address to the Democratic Convention and his best moments on the presidential campaign trail were all about. Yet he’s tried to pass ObamaCare by buying off special interests (e.g., the AMA with concessions on Medicare pricing and Big Pharma with a promise to oppose drug importation) and offering the unorganized public various Dukakis-like assurances that healthcare reform is sound public administration. Not all of that shift can be explained by the differences between campaigning and governing.

Now the Tea Partiers are the only people speaking the language of public-spirited citizens and they’re getting ridiculed for it by liberal elites.

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