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No Thrill Up Dylan Ratigan's Leg

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Taylor Marsh Political writer and cultural voyeur, author and speaker.

That was just painful to watch.

That Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, a progressive dynamo who is among the very best we've got, ducked the obvious implications to the insurance stocks soaring by saying she's not a stock analyst, reveals a tragic circumstance that has Democratic leaders pushing the current health care bill at the cost of their own credibility. Dylan Ratigan's simple demand that she answer the question, which she couldn't, sending her off the show ungracefully. When David Axelrod, appearing during Morning Joe, met up with Ed Schultz, it was equally embarrassing. The whole Democratic spectacle right now turning into a tremendous tragedy.

Watching Democrats parade on cable, it's like invasion of the Democratic principle snatchers. The administration's mishandling of health care sending good people out to parrot talking points that you can see they don't even believe. So, here's some advice: Don't trust a word coming out of their mouths right now. Look to Arianna Huffington, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, and especially, Dr. Howard Dean.

As for Dylan Ratigan, he's the new hero of economic rage, and the foreshadowing of things to come for Democrats, if they don't listen to Keith, Ed, Howard and Arianna. Ratigan, who has unseated Chris Matthews in the arena of "hardball," gets what's happening right now with health care, but also manages to feel my pain and my political rage. Meanwhile, Matthews is too busy propping up establishment characters like Sen. Mary Landrieu, whose health care vote was bought amidst the Let's Make a Deal atmosphere on Capitol Hill, which is more shameful than usual right now, the newest reporting revealing that the White House may have pressured the FDA to help BigPharma. With Matthews offering David Axelrod a softball practice zone, where he can dance all over the Hardball host as Matthews takes pot shots at new media for having done the job Mr. Matthews is evidently too lazy to do anymore.

Progressives from across the spectrum, including Obama for America, have successfully sent the Obama White House into full damage control, because we're not willing to have just any win if it means rewarding insurance companies while we pay for the prize.

The argument begins with something very simple, at least for me.

How can any politician, let alone a Democrat, defend the practice of forcing the American people to buy a product from an industry that enjoys a monopoly, with individual choice obliterated by a political party who has always professed to have the people's back?

As we've seen this week, they can't. It's been a Dexter-size political bloodbath for anyone who has tried.

As for Paul Krugman, he's simply lost his mind.

Talking to my economic friends who haven't, they ask what happens when a right-wing president comes in and goes on a budget cutting spree stripping out the subsidies built in to help cover mandate demands? How will Democrats explain that one?

But instead of Pres. Obama going after Sen. Lieberman and conservative Democrats holding up real reform, Pres. Obama openly threatened a Democratic leader for standing up for Democratic ideals:

Obama himself has taken notice.

"Don't think we're not keeping score, brother," Obama told DeFazio during a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus, according to members afterward.

But poking a stick at those in power is what DeFazio does.

What's unfolded this week has ignited my inner libertarian, which I didn't even know existed, with voices of You Can't Make Me Buy Anything raging in my head. Irrational, I know, but I've simply had it, though it's not over.

On Sunday, we will next see Obama's Karl Rove, Mr. David Axelrod, defend health care on "Meet the Press," with Howard Dean, Joe Scarborough, Markos Moulitsas and Ed Gillespie sitting down to join this little chat. There will be no doubt that Mr. Axelrod will be talking about his own family's struggles, a very personal story he's been telling all this week. However, after watching Axelrod work during the primaries, any effort to engender empathy on his part plays like a spider to the fly drama in my head.

On ABC News this past week, Obama was in rare form, doing a Bush impersonation I never thought I'd see from him, using every scare tactic he could think of to warn people of the dire, I say DIRE!, consequences if we don't pass health care reform before Santa Claus comes to town.

If the current health care bill isn't passed "the federal government will go bankrupt," warned Pres. Obama.

Bwah-ha-ha! ...and also absolute rubbish. As Lawrence O'Donnell said on Morning Joe, to paraphrase, no chief executive should ever threaten this about the U.S. It's leadership malpractice.

"This will be the single most important piece of domestic legislation that's passed since Social Security," he continued.

Single most important to the insurance companies that is, who stand to make buckets of cash on the backs of Americans forced to buy health insurance from private companies, without any competition that holds down costs.

"Potentially, they're going to drop your coverage, because they just can't afford an increase of 25 percent, 30 percent in terms of the costs of providing health care to employees each and every year," Pres. Obama threatened.

Potentially drop your coverage. After sitting back all year long this is what we finally get from Barack Obama. Scare tactics that Dick Cheney would love.

I've been uninsured many times in my life and it was for a reason. As a self-employed person I couldn't afford it. I see this plan to force people to buy insurance, looking at those un-insured times in my life and thinking about paying a penalty, and I just want to scream at the top of my lungs.

This is a free country last time I looked.

Democrats have absolutely no right and no moral authority to tell me or anyone else they must buy anything, least of all inside a rigged market that sends me further into debt or maybe worse.

My inner libertarian is on fire, and I'm a die hard liberal. If that isn't a warning sign for the White House nothing is.

Taylor Marsh, with podcasts available on iTunes.

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