Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Just Trying to Clear Up a Few Things Here in the Augean Stables

I'll try to finish this before the Super Tuesday polls close.

Incidentally, a young woman of about 30 who works in my apartment building's rental office asked me yesterday what "Super Tuesday" is.  I explained it to her, and she really had no idea.  Not only about Super Tuesday, but what primaries are for, and some other basic parts of the electoral process.  I did my best.

Every day I feel inadequate to comment on this campaign season, compared to years past when I wrote quite a lot on the subject, because I don't think I know enough.  I haven't been following the process as closely this time because I'm old and tired and depressed by the raving ignorance (see the comments under that one) and irrationality (ditto) of so many people of "progressive" and "left" politics.  A lot of people are shooting off their mouths and keyboards about politics despite knowing not much more than the young woman I was talking to yesterday.  Yet I realized, and not for the first time, that despite my ignorance I am much better informed than many of my fellow citizens, and indeed better than many professional commentators whose job it is to inform themselves.  I'm not bragging here, understand, just pointing out how disturbingly low the bar is.

That realization is probably not going to open the floodgates of discourse around here.  But I just started watching a clip on Youtube from The Hill's Sunrise morning program.  I've been semi-following Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti for a couple of months now, and they are much better than most news commentators I've come across, despite some blind spots.  (I thought I'd already written here about some of those, but it seems not.)

As I hope everyone knows (though after yesterday's conversation I realize I could be wrong), both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the Democratic competition yesterday and endorsed Joe Biden. As someone remarked of Buttigieg, this represented perhaps the first time a rat has been observed boarding a sinking ship.  Today Beto O'Rourke chimed in for Biden too.  Krystal Ball commented, with her trademark snark: "Pete and Amy ... may hate each other, but not as much, apparently, as they hate universal health care."

Even I thought at first that this was somewhat unfair - I mean, Pete and Amy and Joe and Elizabeth and Beto are all nice Democrats, surely they don't hate universal healthcare?  That's so harsh.  And I'm sure many moderate, reasonable centrists would agree with me.  Pete and Amy and Joe and Elizabeth and Beto want us to have affordable, accessible universal healthcare that doesn't take away our freedom of choice to pay exorbitant premiums for policies with outrageous deductibles and still be turned down for treatment much of the time - that's America.  They don't disagree with Sanders's policies, they only oppose his stridency and loudness and ideological rigidity, and of course all his many privileged white-guy supporters who are so mean and alienating.  But then I remembered: if they really didn't object to universal healthcare, they wouldn't oppose it so firmly and dishonestly; they wouldn't have initially have made supportive noises and then backpedaled.  If their differences with Sanders really lay in matters of style rather than policy, nothing is stopping them from adopting his policies so that voters could choose based on the important things (his New Yawk accent, etc.) and not his many good and very popular ideas.

But they don't.  It's because they hate universal healthcare, an increased minimum wage, free public college, forgiveness of student loan debt, and all the other "divisive" (but very popular) policies that have one vital thing in common: they benefit most or all Americans, not just the rich.  So Krystal Ball was right on target.  Snarky, but right.