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Missing the Point of Ohio's Referendum

Michael Wilk's picture

In a comment posted in response to the Open Salon version of my previous entry, Barzin Pakandam posted the following:

Hi Michael, I completely agree with your assessment. My post goes one step further:

Mr. Pakandam, with all due respect, I think you glossed over what I wrote about Obama. Yes, voters are fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Republican policies. But they're also fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Democrat policies.

On the issue of health care, for example, Obama cynically bet that by ramming through what amounts to a corporate boondoggle, he could remove health care as a wedge issue going into 2012. And the best way he could do that was to pass something the Republicans had already passed at the state level.

Enter Romneycare, on which Obamacare was modeled and which bears many similarities to the Clinton plan Obama campaigned against in '08. (And they all appear to have swiped the idea from Richard Nixon. Go figure.)

The thinking on this was painfully simple, and horrendously evil. There's an institutional crisis in how Americans are able to gain access to decent health care. So Obama's, Clinton's, and Romney's plan was to institutionalize the problem. If it's a built-in part of the system, no more crisis in the system because it's now a feature instead of a supposed aberration. Now we're being forced to bail out the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries because they went too far in price gouging and were losing paying customers.

And, of course, Obamacare, as is Romneycare before it, is deliberately designed to fail. As Jon Walker and Scarecrow at FDL reported last year, the Massachusetts plan failed spectacularly the same week Obamacare became law. The state objected to proposed premium increases, which prompted insurers to back out of agreements to offer new coverage.

Why pass such a flawed plan if it's very design guarantees failure? As I wrote above, there's a cynical political ploy at the heart of the matter. But it runs much deeper than that. By passing a health care law at the national level that's designed to fail, the far right-wing lackeys of Wall Street (which include Obama in their ranks) can pretend to justify their long-disproven claims that government health care or insurance doesn't work. And also as I wrote above, they got to bail out two massive industries that had priced their goods so ridiculouly high that they were starting to worry that they'd not have enough customers.

It's pretty insidious, but then what can be expected from a guy who, as a state senator in Illinois, and at the behest of his corporate bosses, actively and enthusiastically worked to gut a proposed bill that would have extended health insurance to impoverished children?

By the way, a year after the collapse of Romneycare in Massachusetts, it was still a miserable failure.

And that's just on health care reform. Look at each and every one of Obama's policies and you will find a continuation or expansion of Bush's far right policies. He isn't doing these things out of weakness or some misguided desire to be conciliatory. He's doing them because he is a right-wing extremist and his policies are the same as those of the Republicans. THAT is what voters rejected in Ohio on Tuesday.

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on


malagodi's picture
Submitted by malagodi on

Gee, that's odd.

In all the reportage, in all the signage, in all the messaging from my friends who were engaged in the Ohio No on 2 campaign, not once did I see even a hint of the "[Obama] is a right-wing extremist and his policies are the same as those of the Republicans" theme.

I guess those 4 million or so people who rejected 2 are just too stupid to understand what they are actually opposed to.

I guess they simply failed to recognize the evil Obama as the personification and fount of the troubles that beset them.

It must be that they, and the 99%, simply do not understand that it is not a systemic problem that oppresses them, but a cartoonish Dr Evil in the person of Barack Obama who pulls all the levers destruction in exactly the same way as the indistinguishable George Bush did.

Or it could be that a graphic novel treatment of reality geared to sub-literate teens is genre of choice here.

Submitted by lambert on

If Obama weren't screwing us all on behalf of the 1%, somebody else would be.

Principles, not personalities....

Michael Wilk's picture
Submitted by Michael Wilk on

Sarcasm aside, your dismissal of voters' intelligence reflects a woefully inadequate understanding of the situation. People may not be actively saying it, having bought into False Civility Syndrome where sufferers are compelled to use polite-sounding terms to describe evil assholes and their evil actions, but they do know that Obama is not only not on their side, he's actively fighting for the top 1%; they recognize him as a corporate lackey even if they're afraid to say it aloud.

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

-- and Obamacare's, of course -- lie in the Heritage Foundation's early-90s plan, presented as alternative to Hillary's Jackson-Hole-Group-authored plan.