Heaven Forbid The American People Should Get Any Rising Expectations

How much chance is there that the federal government will shut down in October? The threat of intraparty challenges to Republicans who do not show bona fides of intransigence tilts the odds toward shutdown, though it’ll become a right-wing dead end real quick unless they can frame interruption of Social Security checks as the fault of the illegitimate usurper Obama. Which they will try to do. This may even be absurd enough to challenge the convention of equivalence in blaming Democrats and Republicans–or not, given how entrenched false equivalence is and how well Republican politicians and special interest lobbyists have exploited the unwillingness of mainstream news to take note of obvious asymmetries in extremism.

Shutdown is likely because no shutdown would mean climbdown and capitulation to an illegitimate President, an unconstitutional health care law, and an unacceptable status quo, according to Tea Party thinking. It is up to the Democrats, starting at the top, not to sigh, not to become visibly agitated or annoyed, but to explain again why standing firm on implementation of the Affordable Care Act is in the best interests of the country. There is no reason to give Republicans an easy target by pretending extending health coverage is in all ways a free lunch, but there is good reason to explain the great benefit in moving toward a universal risk pool. And there is every reason to remind the public in a cheerful, upbeat way of the gains in security and quality of life that the Affordable Care Act will promote. It would be great if Democrats and perhaps even some Republicans would point out, again, the benefit of things like health care portability and ensuring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Countering right-wing scare tactics will work best, though, only after the law’s provisions start to spread by word of mouth.

That is what really scares right-wing elites: that the tens of millions of people who have suffered becoming more and more insecure and economically marginal in the last few decades will discover that the Affordable Care Act makes a positive difference to them. Heaven forbid we should allow, or worse encourage, rising expectations among the 21st-century proletariat and lumpenproletariat.


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