Opposite responses to the Baucus bill

On the basis of the Congressional Budget Office’s positive report on the Baucus health care bill, Randall Hoven at American Thinker thinks that it’s all over. The bill meets all the principal objections that have been raised against the House bill and it will pass, period. He states this, not as a personal prediction, but as a fact. He states this, even though he also says the bill will be ruinous. Instead of analyzing the bill and acknowledging its political strengths and finding ways of opposing it, Hoven rushes to surrender.

What makes Hoven so sure? Even as he’s declaring that it’s all over, Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics says that the bill turns off both progressives and conservatives, and will face heavy opposition.

There are plenty of reasons to believe the Baucus bill can be stopped. I think Hoven makes his sage-like statements that the bill will be passed because he wants it to pass. Maybe it makes him feel wise and powerful to have the inside angle on what will happen in the future. But it makes him look the opposite of wise. The judgment of a person who is less interested in fighting for his side than in making absolute, authoritative predictions of ruinous defeat for his side, and who seems to derive pleasure from the prediction, is not to be trusted.

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After drafting this entry last night, I wrote to Randall Hoven:

Mr. Hoven:

It’s one thing to analyze the Baucus bill has you have done and show its political strengths, the damage it would do, and why it must be stopped. It’s another to indulge in sheer defeatism as you have done and declare the battle over before the battle has even taken place. That is not right.

Jay Cost at RCP sees the bill heading into very rough water, since both the left and the conservatives hate it.

Lawrence Auster

Randall Hoven write back to me that he wished he had my “optimism.” He said he hoped he was wrong, but that he expects not, because insanity reigns, as shown by the Nobel prize for Obama.

I replied:

You completely miss the point. I wasn’t urging “optimism.” I was arguing against your total defeatism which is nothing less than a huge assist to the side your supposedly oppose. I was saying that you should fight against this bill, not surrender to it.

Do you have any notion of how many times people have declared knowingly that some terrible event X was inevitable, and it wasn’t? Think of Joseph P. Kennedy saying that the world wide victory of Nazism and fascism was inevitable. Think of Rush Limbaugh in 2007 saying over and over that the amnesty bill was going to pass. To declare that YOU know what the future is going to bring and that resistance is futile is to claim knowledge that you do not possess. It is thus a weird combination of arrogance and surrender.

Finally, the tendency today to turn an issue into a matter of “optimism” vs “pessimism” is a way of avoiding the substance of the issue.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 09, 2009 11:46 AM | Send

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