Decimate or Alienate

Robert Waldmann

A good sign of a totally bogus argument is reliance on contradictory presumptions of fact. When one is simply wrong, one can often make a convincing argument by inventing facts. When one is being absurd, one can fall into the temptation to invent inconsistent facts.

In this article in the Washington Post Ceci Conolly is being absurd. She argues that progressives (such as movon) who attack Democratic Senators who don’t support a public option are endangering health care reform. For brevity only I will call the first group “leftists” and the second “centrists.” “Centrists” is not as accurate as “people who care more about the value of insurance company shares than equity or efficiency and who are willing to sell their votes for campaign contributions” would be more accurate but too long.

She presents two arguments one stated in her own name in what is supposed to be a news article and one ascribed to an anonymous source whom she does not criticize.

The first is that the centrists have the power and might destroy health care reform if their feelings are hurt. Hence her personally stated opinion that leftist pressure is a bad idea because “the intraparty rift runs the risk of alienating centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill.” Now I know it was rude of me to suggest that said centrists are more or less corrupt, but at least I didn’t assert as Connolly did that they are willing to leave people without health insurance out of pique.

The second is that centrist Democrats are better than Republicans and terribly weak so that criticizing them will cause them to lose office — just look what a close call Ben Nelson had last time. Hence the anonymous source “The strategist, who asked for anonymity because he was criticizing colleagues, said: “These are friends of ours. I would much rather see a quiet call placed by [Obama chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel saying this isn’t helpful. Instead, we try to decimate them?”” So which are they people so powerful that they must not be offended or they will damage the country or people so weak that one tenth of them will die horrible deaths if they are criticized ?

One of the other Conolly and Penn or maybe Schoen .

Oh and did the strategist also ask that it not be mentioned whether or not he or she is paid by big business for helping them with public relations ?

Just reading the headline, I knew I’d be hearing about this at eschaton who linked to Adam Green.

Boy am I late on this. I’m not even the first Waldman[n] to denounce Connolly.