Conservative columnist and cable news pundit Amanda Carpenter posted a telling observation on Twitter: "It's remarkable all Palin had to do is say death panels in a Facebook statement to make the President on down start talking about them."
The Daily Show has a snarkier take: "You know a sales pitch is in trouble when it starts with 'look you've got to trust me, we're not going to kill your grandparents.'"
They're both making an important point: the debate over health reform is playing out on the right's terms. The national discourse (if you can call it that) could very well have been about the benefits of a single-payer system, but aside from a sham vote to appease progressives, single-payer is considered anathema in the media and political establishment and instead Democrats are scrambling to respond to a barrage of rightwing talking points.
On February 15, 2009, Mike Lux energized an audience of some 75 progressives at the Mercury Lounge in San Francisco. Referring to his new book, The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be, Lux put events of the tumultuous recent past in historical context. He spoke about the conflict taking place since the time of the nation’s founding between progressive advances for the common good and conservative retrenchments that favor the wealthy.
The American conservative movement has succeeded in moving public attitudes steadily rightward over the last 30 years, with far-reaching consequences for the country’s political governance. This success has been achieved through a well-funded and well-coordinated organizational infrastructure that follows a long-term, disciplined communications strategy. In order for moderates and progressives to maximize the power of their own ideas and values, and to compete effectively with conservatives over the coming decades, they must develop, without delay, their own infrastructural capacity and p
This seminal paper by the co-founders of the Commonweal Institute articulates the need for organizational infrastructure for the modern progressive movement. It describes the nature of political movement infrastructure, the infrastructure functions important to advancing the goals of a movement, important process considerations in the establishment and function of infrastructure, and options for funding and supporting infrastructure for the progressive movement.
The political initiative at the moment lies with the conservatives, who, generally speaking, advocate shifting a variety of civic functions away from government to the private sector, or at least reducing government involvement in these functions. The list includes some of the most important issues of the day: education, prisons, social security, and land use. Listen to some of the more committed privatizers, and you begin to wonder whether they think there should even be a government.