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Marc Ambinder on the attack

September 9, 2009

Following last nights insightful piece on the amazing resilience of Obama and his health care proposals in the August of our discontent, Marc Ambinder (who I mistakenly called Armbinder last night (I guess I have read too many cheap fantasy novels Armbinder sounds like some half-assed sword)) is on the attack this morning with a post on his blog challenging Sarah Palin’s right to participate in the health care debate.

(…)Palin’s existence in this debate does not (a) lend her voice any credibility and, beyond that, even if you believe that her experience as a state governor does give her at least a modicum of credibility, it does not follow that, because her voice is credible, it ought to be influential. Newt Gingrich is influential by rights; he’s done the work, come up with original ideas, and been in the trenches. (Replacing Medicare with vouchers…not new or remotely plausible, even if GOPers do well in the next two elections. Quoting Ronald Reagan talking about that type of proposal…not new. Etc.)

The media — by which I mean the cable news networks, primarily — will determine whether Palin’s view on health care becomes influential. There are many Republican, conservative health care spokespeople who have earned the right to speak for their party’s principals, and, truth be told, can recite the talking points (complete with Ronald Reagan quote) better than Palin and her writer can. They’re the ones who should be offended if Palin’s op-ed becomes the voice of the opposition tomorrow, because Palin isn’t seen by most Americans as a particularly trenchent analyst of policy. Indeed, the reason why Palin’s team wants to get her pieces in publications like the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal is that, in this next phase of her political career, Mrs. Palin has to burnish her policy skills. And the Journal is all too willing to lend some space to this project, because plenty of people will see the piece.

So here’s a challenge to the media: if you want to do justice to conservative ideas and find some balance in your coverage tomorrow, book serious Republicans with original ideas on your programs. If you don’t, Palin is giving herself a voice at your expense and through little effort of her own.


No one else finds Governor Palin’s ideas all that original either but she is articulating a policy that many people hold as the correct course for health care reform. Original doesn’t mean better, look it up in the dictionary. Under Ambinder’s criteria he should be complaining about the administrations economic plans, they aren’t original, Obama adopted them in response to prodding by others, and they have no chance of succeeding. (Maybe he has I don’t know he has never been on my radar screen before. I never heard of him before yesterday)

Others disagreeing with Ambinder

Megan McCardle

. . . and so on, ad infinitum. Health care reform has not survived the worst Republicans can throw at it. It’s survived–barely–the opening volley.

Mickey Kaus

Health Care Speech: Obama doesn’t need to get “Republicans on board.” He doesn’t need to get Blue Dog Democrats on board. He needs to get voters on board. They aren’t on board now –39-37 against, according to Gallup.


My Slate colleague Timothy Noah says more or less exactly the opposite:

The constituency that Obama should be worrying about right now isn’t the defining-moment-loving press or the Republican-wary public. It’s the risk-averse Democratic Congress ..

Moe Lane

It’ll also be infuriating, if people like Marc Ambinder are any guide. To the point where spelling suffers and Freudian slips rule the day:


I imagine that there are in fact many people out there who would like to be the ones who get to speak for the party’s ‘principals.’ I wouldn’t mind getting the job myself – or at least the opportunity to give those principals a polite, yet emphatic, rant about how they need to work for the grassroots (which includes showing those grassroots how they’re working for them). But then, I also wouldn’t mind getting a pony – and the lack of either doesn’t cause me to write somewhat bitter articles about my inability to just call up the Wall Street Journal and place an op-ed any time that I like.

Not that I’m suggesting anything, of course.

Mickey Kaus again

Marc Ambinder now says Obama is in good shape on health care because he “survived August” in better shape than Ambinder had expected:

At the beginning of the month, I predicted that August might turn out be a bloodbath for Democrats. At the time, the Democratic self-containment on health care had dissolved, cranks were taking over constituent meetings, and that real anxiety about Obama had found a channel and political opponents of health care had an edge.

Hmm. That’s not what I remember Ambinder saying. I remember him saying that health care opponent-cranks were overplaying their hand in a way that would help

Camille Paglia

Sept. 9, 2009 | What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration’s bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama’s declining national support.

all of the above found at Instapundit

Sorry I wanted something more amusing this morning but that guy pissed me off last night.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Humboldtblue permalink
    September 9, 2009 1:24 pm

    Yeah, Palin, who struggles to put two coherent words together wrote that piece of right wing bullshit, and I’m Barack Obama. Why the hell anyone gives that idiot print space is beyond me. The woman is a willfully ignorant wannabe beauty contestant who can’t answer a question from a true journnalist, not a FOX network talking dipwad, and when she’s questioned about what she has said or what positions she claims to hold she screams about bias. Face it, you backed an idiot and now when people point out that you backed an idiot it’s somehow the other guys fault. Please, run her and Bachmann together in ’12, don’t let us down.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      September 9, 2009 7:13 pm

      If you actually read what I wrote, the question was about Palin’s right to participate in the debate. If she is as ignorant as you believe then you should be happy to have her in it as it will make Obama look better.

    • Sean the Maggot permalink
      September 9, 2009 8:34 pm

      If you think Sarah Palin is inconsequential, then just ignore her. She’ll just fade away. The loud protestation by her opponents is keeping her momentum going.

      You’ll not like where that’s going.

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