Dissent Of The Day

A reader writes:

Obtuse? Based on one guy's quote?

The overwhelming reaction of "the professional left" to the Daley pick has been to sigh and shrug and say we'll see. And anyway, why is Adam Green obtuse, but Ezra Klein, who said the same thing, thoughtful?

Look, if the health care bill eventually works -- rather than jamming us all with crappy unaffordable corporate insurance we can't opt out of or use -- then Obama will be a progressive hero in 20 years. If not, he won't.

Worrying whether it will work or not - and that a "corporate" approach to it increases the chances it will not - is not obtuse. It's completely legitimate. The same goes for financial re-regulation. And Daley opposed both of them for corporate reasons.

The "professional left" worries with reason that corporatism will hollow out all of this so it has no benefit on the ground for actual humans. That's based on observation and experience. And hell; you agree with it.

I do think Obama's his own man and this doesn't matter very much. But in your zeal to make sure you're never identified with "the left", with whom you agree on virtually everything that's not abstract, you keep coming up with these ridiculous abstract, false equivalences that are just lame.

My own impression of the left-liberal response online differs, but these things are subjective. As to the final swipe: feh.

Take healthcare reform. If I had my druthers, as I've written many times, I'd prefer a much more free-market system, separate from employment, with a subsidized catastrophic baseline of support. I can see how Obama's reform tried to find a path through the middle and, given the practical alternatives, wish it well. Maybe David Brooks is right and we will one day end up with single-payer or a total dust-up. I don't know. What I do know is that the reform we have for the foreseeable future needs intensive vigilance and executive expertise, and that its principles - universality and cost-control - are, to say the least, in tension. If Daley brings a private sector realism to an administration attempting something really hard to make government work in a critical area, I can see the rationale behind his appointment. Which is neither "right" nor "left" - but very Obama.