Thursday, March 6, 2008


Once in a while I am capable of seeing the error of my ways, and Nicholas Gruen of Club Troppo has shown me:

[W]hen Obama responds to Hillary ... he attacks the mandate in Hillary’s promises [on health care]. Is that legitimate? Seems so to me. But not to lots of Democrats who argue that it’s putting out ‘Republican talking points’. Well yes, but it’s an Obama talking point too ... Hillary’s been clawing her way back into the game with attack ads - it’s 3.00 am and who do you want answering the phone in the White House ... that’s fair enough in my book, but in exactly the way that Obama’s point against Hillary’s mandates in health care is fair enough.
I admit this insight brings me around to my own hypocrisy -- I've been slamming Clinton for feeding McCain a debating point on 'late night terror' without noticing that Obama has been doing the same thing on 'icky health care mandates.' It is, moreover, one that McCain will be able to use equally well against either Obama or Clinton, since each includes mandates in his* health care proposals.

I wince at the word mandate and wonder why Clinton and Obama haven't worked harder to produce a more palatable euphemism. This underscores the point that these candidates -- and this especially means you, Barack Obama -- need to stop trashing the idea of mandates yesterday, since health care reform needs to be a significant differentiator between the Democrat and the Wide Stance, and it will fail if Democrats themselves chip at the very foundations of the proposals afoot. Pretending as though the dismal state of American health care can be fruitfully addressed without mandates (in one form or another) walks directly into the Wide Stance fantasy that choosy consumers, if left entirely free to haggle with doctors, will solve all the problems of American health care and get free ponies besides.

Anyway, I was wrong not to see the flaws of my preferred candidate. It's a nice feeling to know I've gotten my annual oversight out of the way. It's straight infallibility from here on out.

* Norm Geras has put up a couple of good posts of late on the grammatical troubles of the generic he and the singular they. Me like grammar good.


Ezekiel said...

Or you know, instead of using any of the (wrong) pronouns that we have, one could always use the ever useful (and oh so chic) "ze" and "hir".

As in, my friend Pat went to the store where ze bought some eggs for hir party tonight.


Yes, yes it sounds ungainly at first. However, some of my best friends prefer to use it when talking about themselves and others (if the said other hasn't given a specific preference for hir pronoun that is), and you'd be surprised how quickly and easily it starts to roll off your tongue.

Dale said...

Ezekiel, may I call you Zeek? I've always wanted to call someone "Zeek."

Zeek, how should we pronounce "hir" without it sounding like "her," and thus implicating ourselves in the oh-so-politically-charged generic "she"/"her"?

Maybe we should just speak French. That will be most convenient after John McCain is elected (or judicially installed as the case may be).