Center for American Progress Attacks Howard Dean

In the latest sign Bizarro World is the new normal, Center for American Progress Policy Analyst Ian Millhiser took to Think Progress to attack Dr. Howard Dean. The slam on Governor Dean came up during a discussion on Proposition C, a ballot initiative in the battleground state of Missouri against the individual mandate that just passed with over 70% of the vote.

Here's how Millhiser quotes Dr. Dean:

[T]he truth is the mandate’s not essential to the plan anyway. It never was essential to the plan. They did it in Massachusetts and had a mandate, but we have universal health care for kids in my state without a mandate. … I made this prediction before and I’m going to make it again: by the time this thing goes into effect in 2014, I think the mandate will be gone either through the courts or because it’s unpopular.

To make the case against Dean, Millhiser claims that Dean is wrong in that a mandate is essential and that he is wrong that a mandate might be thrown out by the courts. But look at how he quotes Dr. Dean, see those ellipses? Here's what Dean said directly before Millhiser continued his selective quotation:

I thought the President was right in the campaign. Academically, you want a mandate. The American people aren't going to put up with a mandate.

The line Millhiser decided not to quote undermines his entire slam. While "analysts" like Millhiser favor a mandate, the fact is the American people hate the idea of the government forcing them to pay tribute to a private company. Dean acknowledged that to come to his conclusion. Not just on the right, there is no philosophical argument that holds water with the left on how you can have a mandate absent a public option. This is why the left fought against RomneyCare (mandate being the essential feature), the same reason why California progressives fought against the end package in the "Year of Health Care Reform" once AB-8 became AB-1x.

Don't believe me? This was one of the key points of contrast between Obama and Clinton that helped him win the primary.

As was shown in the key state of Missouri just this week, the individual mandate is a 70-30 issue. It is not popular and is a clear political and rhetorical winner for anyone fighting against it, whether from the left or from the right.

Instead of looking at the mandate in the context of pre-existing conditions, it needs to be seen in the context the public option. Without a public option, mandates aren't just hated by the right, but by many on the left too. Since mandates are what made HCR a giant gift to insurance industry profits, a future GOP congress may choose donors over voters, and lay off seizing this great issue. But Dean was right, Obama was right before he was wrong, the individual mandate is disgusting policy.

It would be nice, if CAP is going to go after Dr. Dean, to go after his conclusion, not selectively quote him for straw man wankery.

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"there is no philosophical argument that holds water with the left on how you can have a mandate absent a public option."


by Charles Lemos 2010-08-06 05:26PM | 0 recs
I'm pretty sure

that even with a public option, a mandate would've failed in Missouri too...maybe not 70-30, but 60-40 isn't anymore helpful to the cause.

The American people hate the idea of the government forcing them to do anything, whether it be pay to a private company or the government  (otherwise taxes wouldn't be so toxic)


by DTOzone 2010-08-06 06:38PM | 0 recs
I've said it before

I'll say it again, it doesn't matter what an opinion poll says, the mandate is a voting issue for barely anyone.  The vast majority of Americans already have insurance and no matter how much they say they hate the concept of a mandate, it doesn't require them to do anything and they're going to find something that actually affects them to base their vote on.  Of the people who don't have insurance, only a very small portion actually care deeply about their inalienable right to go through life without insurance.  Much of the anti-mandate sentiment is based upon the fear that people will go to jail if they don't have health insurance or that they'll be forced to mortgage their house or whatever, and when the sky doesn't actually fall a lot of this sentiment will go away.

Having said that, of course a public option is infinitely preferable, but it's hardly some cure-all.

by Steve M 2010-08-06 10:55PM | 0 recs
RE: I've said it before

By that reasoning, no male would ever vote on the issue of Choice. But plenty of us do. The government requiring citizens to pay a corporation is something that should be considered on the grounds of fundamental civil rights, in which case even those with insurance should proudly fight against such a ridiculous policy.

by Bob Brigham 2010-08-07 02:24PM | 0 recs
There seems to be a 'hate progressives' campaign being run by the White House.

This is hard to understand given Obama's campaign views, but it was the progressives who clammered for a public option. They were denied and the medical insurance corporations won. Now the progressives are being dismissed.

Obama has gone Clinton, but he is doing it much more ineptly, and doing it in the face of Congressional majorities that Clinton never had. I must be out of touch.

by MainStreet 2010-08-13 11:53AM | 0 recs


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