Liberal blogger and Firedoglake publisher Jane Hamsher has come under heavy fire for an appearance on Fox & Friends in which she promotes a petition to kill the current health care reform bill. Liberal critics paint her as a “useful idiot” being exploited by the right, and point out Hamsher’s own distaste for those on the left who appear on Fox.
Hamsher has responded to the criticism, but she’ll have to convince a tough critic: Jane Hamsher from July. That Jane Hamsher seemed to have a different set of priorities.
Right off the bat, let me say that I don’t see anything wrong with Democrats, progressives, or anyone at all appearing on Fox. I go on conservative talk shows all the time. If your argument has merit, it makes sense that you would bring it to people who don’t already agree with you.
Here’s the Fox & Friends clip, in which Hamsher is shocked, shocked, I tell you, to learn that the White House and the Senate Finance Committee have cut a crummy deal with PHrMA:
In Hamsher’s response to her critics, this is the section she highlights:
In 2000, the Republicans passed Medicare Part D, and it had no negotiation for prescription drug prices. And then in 2006, when the Democrats took over Congress, the first thing they did was say “hey, we’re going to roll that back, we’re going to allow for [negotiation of] prescription drug prices to be passed. But now that they actually have the chance, they’re not doing it. And you’ve got people like Jeff Sessions on the floor of the Senate saying this is criminal, this deal is criminal, but he didn’t vote for it in 2000 or 2006 when he had the chance. So we’re sort of looking at a situation where people on the right, people on the left, are looking at the Senate, and they’re saying “nobody’s there representing us. Nobody’s representing the people.” It’s just a matter of who’s in power and who’s taking PhRMA’s money.
Is she wrong about the PHrMA deal? No, she’s just 6 months late. In fact, in this clip from July, she not only knows about the PHrMA deal, she has to fight against a conservative who uses it against her:
This is the real problem with Hamsher’s Fox appearance. She’s dishonestly using the PHrMA deal as a smokescreen to whatever her real objection is. When Jillian Bandes pointed out this deal with the devil, Hamsher had nothing to say about it.
Nobody likes the PHrMA deal (except pharmaceutical companies), but most supporters of reform have been willing to hold their noses and accept it as the price of getting a good bill. To wave it around at this late date is disingenuous at best (as is much of her opposition to the bill). Hamsher was throwing red meat to Fox’s audience instead of focusing on her real problem with the bill.
I don’t know what that is for sure, but I suspect it has something to do with this statement, from the Fox & Friends appearance:
“If you’ve got insurance right now through your employer that you like, this bill taxes the benefits, middle class benefits, and actually causes it to be worse, to cut back on benefits, and to be more expensive copays, that’s how they bend the cost curve is by making sure that you use less services.”
This is all true, and an excellent point, but neither Hamsher nor Doocy bothers to ask the question that David Shuster asked in that clip from July: What about the tens of millions of people who have no insurance, good or otherwise?
Jane Hamsher loves to remind people that she survived cancer (three times), even calling it “offensive” for someone to argue with her because of it. What she seems to have forgotten is that, for all the trouble she had with her insurance company, she had insurance. She’s urging people to kill a bill that will cover tens of millions of people who don’t have insurance now (rather than urging a strong push to improve the bill in conference), while she is living proof that having insurance can be the difference between life and death. Now, that’s offensive.
I hate when people do this, but since Jane opened the door, I have to say this. My dad dropped dead of a heart attack at age 58, without health insurance. If he had had health insurance, he’d probably still be alive today. Does that make me right about health care reform? No. This thing should be argued on the merits. I think most people would agree that we need an America in which both Jane and my dad get to survive.
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