David Brooks as Cassandra by Political Cynic

By now, everybody involved seems to be in a state of anxiety. Insurance companies are trying to put out new products, but they don’t know what federal parameters they have to meet. Small businesses are angry because the provisions that benefited them have been put on the back burner. Health care systems are highly frustrated. They can’t plan without a road map. Senator Max Baucus, one of the authors of the law, says he sees a “huge train wreck” coming.

I’ve been talking with a bipartisan bunch of health care experts, trying to get a sense of exactly how bad things are. In my conversations with this extremely well-informed group of providers, academics and former government officials, I’d say there is a minority, including some supporters of the law, who think the whole situation is a complete disaster. They predict Obamacare will collapse and do serious damage to the underlying health system.

But the clear majority, including some of the law’s opponents, believe that we’re probably in for a few years of shambolic messiness, during which time everybody will scramble and adjust, and eventually we will settle down to a new normal.”

Mr. Brooks can’t seem to resist the temptation of engaging in a convoluted, rhetorically sophisticated fear mongering, though it contains elements of speculation, conjecture and not so discreet self-congratulation. The use of the words ‘minority’ and ‘majority’ take on added resonance considering the proscribed nature of the ‘debate’ that Mr. Brooks constructs, with the rhetorical aid of : “a bipartisan bunch of health care experts, extremely well-informed group of providers, academics and former government officials”. If nothing else Mr. B. is well connected to an impressive range of experts, as presented.

The protracted summing up features the word cascade.

The experts talk about the problems that lie ahead in cascades.”

the structural cascade”

the technical cascade”

the cost cascade”

the adverse selection cascade”

the provider concentration cascade”

Never has a political/policy disaster been described with such telling detail, heavily garnished with an unseemly mood of celebration. The not yet, the possible, the probable looms large as the about to happen. The role of political Cassandra, before the fact of institutional Republican obstructionism manifests itself politically, he/she as truth teller, as seer- we might just view this as propaganda introduced into the national conversation for the purpose of what?

Political Cynic

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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1 Response to David Brooks as Cassandra by Political Cynic

  1. “But the clear majority, including some of the law’s opponents, believe that we’re probably in for a few years of shambolic messiness, during which time everybody will scramble and adjust, and eventually we will settle down to a new normal.”
    One has to give a bit of credit to Mr. Brooks for his rhetorical gift to American political discourse: ‘shambolic messiness’ is certainly one of the most valiant efforts to express the notion of chaos, without repeating it, that I’ve yet to read. Kudos to one of Neo-Liberalism’s chief apologists!
    American Litterateur

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