There was a point, just before the 2004 election down south, where I got into a couple of pretty big online fights about Michael Moore's soon-to-be-released Farenheit 9/11.
And one of those tussles was on an old Whiskey Bar thread, where, overall, the level of discourse on all things political was just about the best that I've ever come across, before or since.
Anyway, the fights started when I had the temerity to suggest that I didn't think that it was necessarity such a good thing that so many folks were pinning their hopes on Mr. Moore's mostly fact-based send-up of all things Rovian.
Well it was that modifier 'mostly', which means that no matter how you slice it, Mr. Moore's movie was propaganda.
And I truly believe that all prop, either 'bad' or 'good', is just that.
Which is not a good thing, because all prop muddies the waters.
And muddied waters make always make it harder for folks to call demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are.
I've had that 'all-prop-is-bad-prop' feeling about the American Healthcare Reform fight for quite awhile now.
Please don't misunderstand me.
Because I fully understand that pushback against toxic astroturf and hidden, big money-backed corporate agendas is always required.
It's just that I think that we all lose when that pushback has even a sliver of prop in it.
Because then it can be easily discredited.
Which leads to a rise in false equivalencies that generates a jaded public that thinks everybody lies.
With that in mind, I thought I'd proffer the best nugget of no-prop reasoning that I've come across so far that gives insight into why last night's Congressional vote on the Healthcare Reform Bill was so important.
It's from Paul Krugman, writing in last Friday's NY Times, and it describes, as near as I can figure it, exactly what this bill has been designed to do, and why:
"Americans overwhelmingly favor guaranteeing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions — but you can’t do that without pursuing broad-based reform. To make insurance affordable, you have to keep currently healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that everyone or almost everyone buy coverage. You can’t do that without financial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can pay the premiums. So you end up with a tripartite policy: elimination of medical discrimination, mandated coverage, and premium subsidies...."
Of course, a lot of folks are going to be screaming bloody murder about the last two aspects of that policy in the coming days, weeks, and months during the run-up to the midterm elections.
And they will be screaming from both sides of the issue, using, unfortunately, prop to support their points of view (ie. prop to support a public option and prop to denounce creeping socialism).
Which is too bad, because that will just muddy the waters even further.