Words of the Week: Bill Moyers and Josh Marshall

September 4, 2009

Just watched Bill Moyers present his thoughts on President Obama, health reform and our wacky, wacky world. You can watch it here, or read the transcript.

After Moyers lays out his frustrations, he suggests that Obama turn to Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall to write the speech Obama will deliver Wednesday before a joint session of Congress.

Why? Because Marshall “doesn’t split things down the middle and call it a victory for the masses,” and he knows how to explain the much-maligned “public option,” now the focus of so much debate.

In a short piece published at TPM last week, Marshall offered this refreshingly clear description:

[… ] I think I could pretty much guarantee you that if the question in the public mind was “Would you like the option of buying into Medicare before you turn 65?” the opposition would be vastly diminished.

This isn’t just rhetoric. This is the most accurate and graspable explanation of what’s being proposed.

Not that Marshall thinks the public option, as it currently stands, is the perfect panacea:

Indeed, the big secret not many people are discussing is that in the current iterations of the ‘public option’ in most of the bills in committee that ‘option’ isn’t given as an option to many people. Most people aren’t allowed to access it. And it’s designed that way in order to put a crimp on any competition it might provide to private sector insurers.

But what we’re stuck with is ‘public option,’ which a crew of bamboozlers have warped into some sort of Logan’s Run government program in which your ten year old will need to make his case for his future contributions to society to ensure he can get his broken leg set rather than be euthanized and ground into Soylent Green to feed yet more illegal aliens on welfare.

Why this isn’t being used as a way to explain this program is simply beyond me.

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