Trump takes to USAT to Attack Medicare for All

Fear-mongering of various types on full display.

President Trump has an op/ed in USAT that is remarkable:  Donald Trump: Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors.

I am not a fan of these types of op/eds signed by the president (any president) because we all know full well that the president almost certainly didn’t write the thing (in this case, I am certain of that assertion) and because they almost always nakedly propagandistic vehicles draped in the clothe of an official statement (but, in some ways, I suppose that can describe a lot, if not all, of presidential statements to one degree or another). My only exception are when they are used in the wake of some national tragedy.  This, however, is naked electoral politics.

Regardless of how one might wish to classify these kinds of missives, this one is doozy. It is a melange of scare tactics and misrepresentations.   The foundational scare tactic is that the Democrats are going to take away Medicare for seniors:

The Democrats’ plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business. Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors. There would be long wait lines for appointments and procedures. Previously covered care would effectively be denied.

In practice, the Democratic Party’s so-called Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None. Under the Democrats’ plan, today’s Medicare would be forced to die.

The Democrats’ plan also would mean the end of choice for seniors over their own health care decisions. Instead, Democrats would give total power and control over seniors’ health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

So, we have the specter of rationing, loss of favorite doctors, the collapse of the medical industry, and a not so subtle reference to death.  There is also a clear attempt to pretend like Medicare isn’t already a federal social welfare program currently targeted at persons of a certain age and that “Medicare for all” would mean, at least in simple terms, the same kind of program without age restrictions. (Also, anyone with an even passing familiarity with Medicare as it currently exists knows that one does not always get the doctor one wants and, further, anyone with private insurance knows that private-sector bureaucrats frequently make cost-based decisions about care).

Now, there are arguments to be had against “Medicare for all” but the notion that universal health care, which every industrial democracy has had for decades (some with systems like Medicare for all, many with very different systems), leads to the collapse of health care is simply false.   And while I understand that politics is very frequently about emotion and not policy facts, this piece really relies very heavily on the former.

To wit:

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.

Every single citizen will be harmed by such a radical shift in American culture and life. Virtually everywhere it has been tried, socialism has brought suffering, misery and decay.

I am no defender of the Venezuela created by Hugo Chávez and worsened by Nicolás Maduro. The Venezuela economy is unequivocally a man-made disaster.  It certainly illustrates any number of terrible consequences of the insertion of government fiat into the marketplace.  There is no excuse for the shortages of food and medicine that occurred.  That was purely created by governmental decisions.  The degree to which Venezuela is the ideal type for socialism that many make it out to be is another discussion.  (It isn’t, by the way, and I say that not as a defender of Venezuela, nor of socialism but, rather of accuracy).  For that matter that op/ed uses “socialism” is a pretty amorphous way, which is almost amusing in context since Medicare itself is a social welfare program that has itself been attacked as “socialism.”

But, of course, it gets worse (emphasis mine):

Indeed, the Democrats’ commitment to government-run health care is all the more menacing to our seniors and our economy when paired with some Democrats’ absolute commitment to end enforcement of our immigration laws by abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers.

So, not only are Democrats trying to infuse socialism in Medicare, they plan to give it away to illegal immigrants.  Also note:  Medicare isn’t a “commitment to government-run health care” but Medicare for all would be.  How this is the case, I do not know.

And, in case one still hasn’t got the message:

Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism.

The piece concludes:

Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved. I am committed to resolutely defending Medicare and Social Security from the radical socialist plans of the Democrats. For the sake of our country, our prosperity, our seniors and all Americans — this is a fight we must win.

I could, perhaps, take an attack on “radical socialist plans” that focused on purely market-driven policies.  However, to pretend like social welfare programs that, by definition, share social cost and benefits, as somehow a counter to “socialism” is pretty amazing.  Also:  while it is true that we have all paid into these systems our whole lives, we have been paying for current recipients, not towards our own retirement benefits or care.  There is a great deal of wealth transfer taking place in what is being presented as some bulwark against socialism.

One can have plenty of principled arguments for opposing Medicare for All or other universal healthcare proposals.  That it will be ushering in the Venezuelan economy while at the same times allowing Latin hordes to invade and get free health care, however, is not one of them. That argument is racist scaremongering.  Further, to pretend like Medicare isn’t social welfare is flatly absurd, making this column the prose equivalent of those “keep the government our of my Medicare” signs.

See, all, via WaPo:   Fact-checking President Trump’s USA Today op-ed on ‘Medicare-For-All’  (I would recommend listening to the Reagan clip from 1961 to note a) how his predictions did not come to pass, and b) how much his arguments then are still being used now).

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    I suppose the idea is to scare seniors, who are already more likely to vote in the midterms, into voting for Republicans.

    A few seconds of thought, and a little basic knowledge, demolishes the entire op ed into dust. Unfortunately, thought and knowledge are not as common among the general population as they should be.

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  2. reid says:

    It’s an incredible amount of lies, fear-mongering, and pure BS, as you point out. On top of all of that, it’s the Republican party that has fought to destroy Medicare and Social Security, so add hypocrisy to the mix.

    These people are evil.

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  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Look…Dennison is the most mendacious mother-fvcker in the country. That’s not exaggeration. That’s not hyperbole. We all know it.
    But for the USA Today to publish this piece of shit is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. It’s like they decided to let him hold a campaign rally on their pages. I understand it was the op-ed page. That does not excuse a piece that contains lies and mis-information in virtually every single sentence.
    I have long said, on this forum, that the 4th estate is failing the Republic. This is just another egregious example of the press failing at it’s most basic responsibility…THE FVCKING TRUTH.
    The WH is gone. The Congress is supine. And now, last week, the SCOTUS lost it’s last bit of integrity.
    The 4th estate is the last remaining pillar of the Republic. It”s been on shaky footing for decades. We can’t afford to let it crumble, too.
    Kudos to the WaPo for taking their colleagues to task with a blistering fact-check.

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  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Well, ‘Murica’s had a good run…

    ETA: @Daryl’s…–A long time ago, the CEO of Gannett was asked how to pronounce the name of the company. He answer that it’s pronounced just like their business model, with the emphasis on the “net.” USAT publishes anything they get paid for. Even the opinion page is advertisement.

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  5. Scott F. says:

    @reid:

    It’s an incredible amount of lies, fear-mongering, and pure BS…”

    Yet, when considered in light the steady flow of BS coming from the WH over that last couple of years, this isn’t a particularly egregious example.

    That’s the terrifying result of Trump’s relentless lying. He can go on the record with breathtaking fabrications about a highly popular and effective federal program and which party would champion a stable future for that program, and the reaction will be… ho, hum.

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  6. Jen says:

    Anyone who genuinely thinks that: a) Democrats would dare touch Medicare; and that b) Republicans are in support of it, needs to have their head examined. This is so blatantly bricks of nonsense cobbled together with Trump’s standard mortar of lying that it’s really not worthy of deep examination.

    Republicans have been clear that they oppose any type of healthcare program that would cover everyone. And, they’ve been very, very clear that “entitlement reform” is next on the chopping block.

    Disappointed that any paper would run this, in fact. Even USA Today.

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  7. An Interested Party says:

    Remember the “push granny off a cliff” ads against Paul Ryan? Good thing no one on the left is scare mongering.

    Remember when you were banned from this website? Bad thing that you keep coming back…

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Rupert Simmons:
    Moderators…is it possible that J-enos is back?

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  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Rupert Simmons: I banked mine, and it was a bunch more than $2500 in that I paid ~$100/month for a Kaiser plan that retailed at ~$850 in my state.

    (I didn’t really bank it, but since I was using savings as part of my income stream while I waited to take Social Security at 66, it’s the same basic thing.)

    I promise that I will not feed the troll again during this thread.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: It’s possible, but the comment is about as close to “generic right-wing troll” as you could get.

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  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  12. It is a banned person, and hence comment deleted.

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  13. James Pearce says:

    The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead.

    Is this not true? Didn’t the Dems kill the old “centrist Democratic Party” for being too male-dominated, too white, and too conservative?

    The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

    Not all “new Democrats” no doubt, but we all know who he is referring to here, don’t we?

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  14. Ben Wolf says:

    Regarding the Reagan clip, social democracies have been around for nearly eighty years, and not one of them has become the socialist tyranny Reagan, mouthing the arguments of Hayek, claimed would result from public health care and other social programs.

    The whole world has figured out health care, for god’s sake.

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Is anybody here surprised by this? Anybody?

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

    Not all “new Democrats” no doubt, but we all know who he is referring to here, don’t we?

    If you are referring to Bernie, let me just point out that he isn’t a Democrat. If you aren’t referring to Bernie, I haven’t a clue.

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  17. Kathy says:

    Here’s the thing:

    The GOP held Congress between 1995 and 2006, that’s 12 years. For 6 of those years, there was a Republican president, George W. Bush. For the other six, there was a democratic president, Bill Clinton, who wanted to reform healthcare.

    In that time, did they attempt to pass any form of healthcare reform? There was a prescription drug benefit in the Bush years, but I don’t recall anything more than that.

    Democrats held Congress between 2007 and 2010, that’s four years. Half was under Bush the younger and half under Barack Obama. With the latter, they seemed to face no insurmountable difficulties in passing legislation to overhaul the health insurance market in many ways, under the rubric of the Affordable Care Act.

    Next the GOP came back in control of Congress between 2011 and the present, that’s another 8 years. Six years were under Obama, and it will be two under Trump. In that time, there was a legislative objective involving healthcare, this being the repeal of the ACA. In the latter two years they added a “replace” provision to the repeal. Now, it was clear Obama would veto any repeal, and there were no votes to override it. But Trump wouldn’t have used a veto, and still nothing got legislated. The GOP couldn’t get the Republican Party on board.

    The moral of the story is the GOP has done nothing besides obstruction when it comes to reforming healthcare or health insurance.

    This is not to say the ACA is a panacea or even a net positive. As with most things, it must have been good for some people, neutral for others, and bad for still others. But at least the democrats have made needed changes, and the GOP has not.

    So the scare-mongering is, of course and as usual, well beyond exaggeration and outright falsehood. But what the Republicans should do, instead of playing to their base and scaring, or trying to scare, everyone else into voting for them, is propose their own healthcare/health insurance reform. In the past they’ve spoken a lot about market-based reforms. Good. Let’s see them.

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  18. Teve says:

    I’m a moderator for a biology website that follows and mocks creationist gibberish and I wrestled with the banning/restricting issue for years. You don’t want to ban people if possible but some people are aggressive a-holes and will ruin a site if they aren’t restrained. We eventually settled on a process that works for our particular site. But it is definitely the case that occasionally someone needs to be banned.

    PS in the 50-year history of the internet, telling people not to feed the trolls has worked exactly zero times.

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  19. @Teve: I have been blogging since 2003 and have long struggled with the whole ban thing. For the longest time I was opposed on principle. Of late, however, I have simply come to the conclusion that life is too short to have to deal with a-holes.

    I welcome various viewpoints, I like a good back-and-forth. Rude and/or utterly tiresome people who want to derail every thread they come to or who are not good faith participants, those folks I have little time for.

    And, FWIW, there is plenty of behind the scenes discussion before we ban someone (not to mention that if people really want to come back, they can and do–although why some do it is beyond me).

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  20. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If you aren’t referring to Bernie, I haven’t a clue.

    The “new Democrats are radical socialists” refers to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy:

    In the past they’ve spoken a lot about market-based reforms. Good. Let’s see them.

    I have seen them. They all come down to “The patient spends more for less.”

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Bullshit. He said,

    The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

    So the old “centrist Democratic Party” was killed off by single a woman who isn’t even in Congress yet. Has proposed and filed and voted on not a single bill. Has no committee assignments. Has yet to ask a single question in a hearing.

    Interesting theory you and trump seem to share.

    And for the record Ocasio-Cortez is no doubt on the leftward side of the DEM party. So am I for that matter. I am willing to wait and see exactly what she does once she gets to Congress to make any judgements on exactly where she fits in.

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  23. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’m a moderator for a biology website that follows and mocks creationist gibberish

    Link?

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  24. Ratufa says:

    After the Affordable Care Act was passed, a GOP campaign talking point was that the ACA took money from Medicare. My impression at the time was that it helped Republicans during the off-year elections. It’s predictable that they’d use the same argument against Medicare for all. Attacks like this are one reason that polls that have shown widespread public support for single payer are misleading. The real test is what support is like after the opposition ramps up their attacks.

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  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We may need to cut Pearce some slack as he may be drifting off into the “Tyrell Zone.”

    Consider the following; on this thread, he is quoting and endorsing the (eta: already discredited) words of a bat-shit crazy, lying loon who he himself has warned us about paying attention to lest we become distracted in our goals of opposing said lying loon. He’s clearly losing his edge as a troll.

    Just skip what he says; we’ll all be happier. Even him because he’ll be thinking “they finally get me, I’ve won (!)” at the lack of opposition. Win-win!

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  26. Hal_10000 says:

    That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers.

    TBF to Trump, the plan floated in California would have included coverage for illegal immigrants. And the plan Bernie is pushing right now — 100% coverage with no copays (and no way of paying its $3 trillion price tag) — is a plan that exists nowhere in the world. Most countries achieve universal coverage through a combined private-public system. And even those that have single payer have copays and/or a private system on top of that as some effort to control costs.

    But most of that op-ed is the usual garbage. Medicare for all is a bad idea whose time will never come. But Trump’s op-ed is an idiotic response to it.

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  27. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    So the old “centrist Democratic Party” was killed off by single a woman who isn’t even in Congress yet.

    No, no, the old “centrist Democratic Party” was killed off by Hillary supporters for being too male-dominated, too white, and too conservative.

    The “new” Democrats are the socialists.

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  28. steve says:

    Go read Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare. That is the closest the GOP has ever come to articulating a real plan for Medicare. It would have greatly slashed the spending for the program.

    Just as an aside, it is amazing that on the one hand the GOP can claim that the Democrats are the tax and spend party, which is pretty accurate actually, then claim they dont want to spend on Medicare. Sad part is that the GOP voters will believe it.

    Steve

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  29. @James Pearce: You want to sketch that out a bit more, because I am not seeing it.

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  30. Ben Wolf says:

    Socialist Democratic candidates are essentially Fabian Socialists, not at all what a reasonable person would call radical unless you’re so extreme that when you look Left all you can see is Maoism.

    As for turning America into Venezuela, anyone with the slightest knowledge of Marxian thought would be aware that this is impossible. Venezuela is in Marxian analysis a poorly developed country and therefore incapable of leaping to socialism. It would actually need more capitalism until such time as it was a fully developed capitalist economy.

    The United States, on the other hand, is in the same analysis a late-stage economy ready to transcend the capitalist mode of production.

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  31. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “If you are referring to Bernie, let me just point out that he isn’t a Democrat. If you aren’t referring to Bernie, I haven’t a clue.”

    Pearce is fine with Bernie — remember, Bernie may be a left, but he’s also a white guy. Pearce is undoubtedly talking about the Scary Brown Woman. Sure, nothing she’s said has ever resembled trying to turn our country into Venezuela, but she is a woman and she is a minority so Pearce is scared of her.

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  32. Sleeping Dog says:

    We must consider the source. Trump has told about 5000+ lies in fewer than 2 years on office, why would anyone believe anything he says?

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  33. An Interested Party says:

    This is of the same piece as Trump and his enablers whining and complaining about the Kavanaugh protesters, with their talk of people “screeching” and “clawing”…they don’t even hide the misogyny anymore…it’s pathetic that is all they have, it’s not like Republicans can run on all kinds of positive accomplishments, so they just try to scare the hell out of people with lies and innuendo…

    The “new Democrats are radical socialists” refers to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

    Oh please, as if she represents the entirety, or even the majority, of Democrats…that kind of fearmongering is to be expected of Republicans, but certainly not from alleged liberal Democrats…

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  34. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: No, Bernie’s supporters complain that centrist Democrats are too much in control: the Clintons, Tom Perez, Nancy Pelosi, etc.

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  35. t says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    he may be drifting off into the “Tyrell Zone.”

    good, they are the only reason to read the comments.

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  36. JohnMcC says:

    @Hal_10000: I’m not an expert on this BUT…. I think virtually all universal coverage schemes control costs at the provider level. They limit the amount that the physician, hospital and such can charge.

    It’s a small difference that may be irrelevant to your point but my inner pedant wanted to make the — I think — correction.

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  37. JohnMcC says:

    @James Pearce: Hillary supporters killed off ‘centrist democrats’ control of the party? That’s what you think?!

    That’s hilarious. Read a book.

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  38. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: What’m I, the Trump Whisperer?

    We have to consider Trump’s fighting style. Does he dance around, probing for weaknesses? Does he stand back in a defensive posture, fending off attacks with aplomb? Or does he swoop in, all claws, growling and going right for the throat? Trump? He’s an old school, bam, right up the middle kind of guy, confrontational, in your face, all claws and growling.

    When he says “the centrist Democratic Party is dead,” he’s echoing rhetoric the Dems have told themselves, but shading it with darkness instead of light. Using AOC to define the “new” Democrats? Again, echoing rhetoric Dems have told themselves, but as his wont, with the dark glasses.

    Embrace it, and risk being stereotyped, or deny it, and admit the whole thing is a sham. He doesn’t really care. The point of putting people in a no win situation like that is that they lose.

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  39. An Interested Party says:

    I think virtually all universal coverage schemes control costs at the provider level. They limit the amount that the physician, hospital and such can charge.

    OMG! Socialism! We can’t have that here!!!!!!

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @t: You may have a point. I’ll mull that over.

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  41. @James Pearce: You confuse the matter by making it unclear as to the degree to which you are speaking for yourself or the degree to which you are supposedly channeling Trump.

    In general, I am having a hard time following your POV.

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  42. Your @original post, for example, sounded like you were in agreement (and had been watching too much FNC):

    Is this not true? Didn’t the Dems kill the old “centrist Democratic Party” for being too male-dominated, too white, and too conservative?

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  43. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Your @original post, for example, sounded like you were in agreement

    With the narrative? No. Not really a fan of the narrative. Or how Trump uses it politically. But then again, I’m not a fan of how the Democrats use it either.

    As Monala points out, the old centrist Dems are hardly “dead,” and I’m not really receptive to the kind of identity politics that makes AOC so appealing to some liberals.

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  44. @James Pearce: Well, I must confess that they way you commented in this thread made it very unclear as to your point. Indeed, I remain out to sea as to your meaning.

    Although there is clarity that you do not like identity politics.

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  45. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Well, I must confess that they way you commented in this thread made it very unclear as to your point.

    Honestly? I think my point was pretty clear.

    What probably made it confusing is trying to reconcile my point –written in plain, easy to understand English– with my “persona.”

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  46. @James Pearce:

    I think my point was pretty clear.

    Well, clearly I disagree. And if I have to balance persona, then it further obfuscates.

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  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I remain out to sea as to your meaning.

    There’s never any meaning. A whine and a complaint. No meaning, no alternative, and no solution.

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  48. Teve says:

    @Kathy: It hasn’t been very active lately because the latest tactic was the creationists rebranding themselves “Intelligent Design Theorists” and ixnaying on the esusJay and they thought that would work and when it got to federal court a republican judge basically ruled, “You creationists are straight lying this is not science GTFO.” and most of the Intelligent Design blogs have since withered and died, and we don’t have a lot to talk about lately.

    But here’s the link.

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