Andrew Sullivan was on Colbert last night, discussing his much-ballyhooed cover story in Newsweek. For much of the interview, Sullivan criticized the lunacy of movement conservatism in this country, which I thought was pretty much on target. I also didn’t know he’d been on Colbert eight times (huge amount for someone who’s been blacklisted, eh?) but there was an exchange at the end that perfectly sums up what I was bitching about the other day.
I can’t figure out how to embed Comedy Central’s videos right now and I’m a bit squeezed for time, so the clip is here.
Our fun begins at the 4:30 mark. When Colbert prompts him about the criticism raised against Obama from the left, Sullivan exclaims “They’re as deluded as the right…. He’s also passed universal health care.”
At the 5:15 mark, Sullivan references the National Health Service, the UK’s fee-for-service (or single-payer) health care system as a model for Obama’s reforms. From the video, I can’t see how anyone can argue that Sullivan references the NHS in a less-than-admiring fashion.
For those who did not follow the flaming arguments on the progressive blogosphere during the past few years (and, in many ways, you are better off for not doing so), there were huge screaming tantrums that Obama’s reforms did not go far enough to make the U.S. health care system more like that of the UK or France or Germany or anywhere else. That was the critique. And yet, when Sully reaches for an accomplishment for which to laud Obama and display the immaturity of his lefty critics, he picks health care! Sullivan, by comparing the health care legislation to the superior system in England, is agreeing with us the the goal should be a single-payer system (most progressive agree with this) and that the Affordable Care Act was a good start (again, most progressive agree with this).
See that happen? Less than a minute after chiding those ridiculous liberals, Sullivan’s cites an example that shows how those ridiculous liberals… were agitating for good reforms! But that’s how the game is played. Liberals voice concerns that Obama’s reforms don’t go far enough towards a goal that Andrew Sullivan himself implicitly admits is a far better option and the the right-wing calls it socialism, a government takeover of the economy, the inception of death panels and seeks to return us to a system in which we pay twice as much money for equal (at best) or poorer (much more often) coverage than any other “advanced” country on the planet. But, of course, both sides are equally “deluded.”
Keep shoveling it, Andrew. Hasn’t hurt your career thus far.