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WE’RE ALL GAIL COLLINS NOW! Ed Schultz got left for dead–as Josh Marshall mooned about Sanford: // link // print // previous // next //
THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2009

WE’RE ALL GAIL COLLINS NOW: Simpering, purring and diddling a nation, Gail Collins is back at it today. But let’s give credit where credit is due. At least she doesn’t pretend that she’s upset with all the hypocrisy:

COLLINS (7/2/09): An Affair To Remember

Before everyone finishes piling on Gov. Mark Sanford, let me say that all of us in New York were happy to learn that he has been scheduling his assignations in our state.

Trust us: Collins will finish piling on Sanford about the time the cow jumps the moon. This morning’s effort represents her third straight column on the governor’s love life. She and her simpering role model, Dowd, have together devoted five straight columns to this aggressive self-diddling.

Nothing else exists for these ladies—only the governor’s affair.

But then, why should progressives complain about this? Yesterday, Our Own Josh Marshall sat himself down; thought long and hard; and began to philosophize for young liberal readers. Josh had given a great deal of thought to an important topic:

MARSHALL (7/1/09): JUST GO BE WITH HER!

In part two of his leave-no-rock-unturned interview with the Associated Press, Mark Sanford says that at least he will "be able to die knowing I had met my soul mate,” as David [Kurtz] noted below. And if that’s not enough, he says that for all the grief his affair has caused, that if the affair means he can never run for president (think the ship's sort of sailed on that one), that it will have been worth it.

I know there are a lot of people who are genuinely questioning Sanford's sanity at this point—when you put together the furtive trips and the endless new revelations. But am I the only one who thinks that he appears to be deeply in love with this woman and should just go be with her?

[...]

Josh’s very thoughtful pensées continued along from there. To be fully enlightened, just click this. Or you could just go rent Candy (click here).

Josh rarely presents his own thoughts any more, except for the occasional haiku assembled from snark (click this). When he did to decide to expound on a topic, this was the topic he chose.

But then, we’re all Gail Collins now! Which brings us around to Ed Schultz, a fellow who still almost isn’t.

On last night’s Ed Show, Shultz had finally seen enough. He’d seen enough of the people with cancer who can’t get coverage in this country—people like Debby Smith, 53, who spoke with Obama at yesterday’s health care forum. Schultz has been discussing health care every night, though not effectively (keep reading). On MSNBC, this is allowed in the 6 PM slot, before the audience builds.

Last night, he finally issued a challenge—a challenge to Republican senators. Please come to Toronto, he finally said. Let’s see how the Canadians do it! In the process, he referred to the “Debbies”—people like Debby Smith:

SCHULTZ (7/1/09): I want to know how many Senate Republicans have gone on a field trip for health care to find out how other countries do it.

Now, we know they go to Iraq for fact-finding missions. We know they go to Afghanistan. They do foreign relations type stuff. What about health care? You know that I can go to LaGuardia Airport, 20 minutes from here, and I can be in Toronto in one hour, arguably the best, the best health care system on the face of the earth in single-payer.

Has any Republican senator gone to Toronto to find out the real story about the long lines, and people not being able to get the services they want when they need them? Or are there a bunch of Debbies up there? There must be a bunch of Debbies up there, the way the Republicans talk about health care. Heck, they’ve got all the answers!

Tonight, on this program, I am challenging any Republican senator to come with me, to come with the steel workers, to come with the Service Employees Union. Let’s go to Canada...

Let’s go up there and find out what the hell is really going on up there! Because somehow, they’ve figured it out and we haven’t been able to figure it out. But you know what? We spend twice as much money on health care than they do!

Good God! In passing, he even mentioned the difference in per capita health care spending! Though he said it so quickly, and in such truncated form, that it likely flew by without notice.

Please come to Toronto, Schultz said. Let’s fly to Toronto—it takes an hour—and learn about their health care system! But in that statement, you saw the soul of pseudo-progressive failure on this issue.

Schultz, you see, is a major progressive. He’s a long-time talk radio host, from the northern tier of the country. A few years ago, Democratic Party leadership helped him advance to his current national platform.

And yet, even at this late date, Ed Schultz doesn’t know squat about Canadian health care! A bit later on last night’s program, he interviewed Nancy Barto, a Republican state legislator from Arizona who opposes Obama’s health care proposals. In particular, Schultz explained, Barto has helped “put a constitutional amendment on the 2010 ballot that would ban nationalizing health care in that state.”

Schultz wanted to know why she did that. And sure enough! In a very familiar exchange, Barto left Schultz for dead:

BARTO: We are interested in health care reform, but we’re not interested in what is being discussed seriously in Congress. We want to protect ourselves against it.

SCHULTZ: Well, the discussion is to get everybody covered. Now if the people of Arizona—I’m sure there’s millions there that don’t have insurance— What are they going to do to get it if there’s not a public option, if they can’t afford it?

BARTO: Well, like I said, Ed, we are interested in many options. When people have the freedom to choose their own health care, and the right, which this act will guarantee, to have that health care provided in the state, there will be options.

SCHULTZ: What’s so dangerous about a public option? What’s so dangerous about offering up something that people don’t have right now?

BARTO: Well, Americans are too smart to accept another huge government program, because they have seen what we have already had and how it doesn’t work and how it does ration care. They have seen what other nations have been going through with their 900,000 people on a waiting list in Britain waiting for care, 25,000 Swedes waiting for heart surgery.

SCHULTZ: That’s why I got to do a field trip. I got to go find out about all this stuff.

Fifteen years after the failure of Bill Clinton’s health plan, this leading progressive has now decided to “find out about all this stuff.” Ed Schultz broadcast from Fargo for years. But he still doesn’t know how to respond to standard critiques of Canadian health care, such as the one made by Barto.

But don’t worry! He plans to go now!

In that completely pathetic exchange, you see the Potemkin heart and soul of America’s “progressive” pseudo-movement.

Pseudo-progressives—people like Schultz—have been too dumb, too lazy, too uninvolved to assemble even the simplest facts and frameworks for arguing health care. Last night’s exchange was quite typical:

Barto knew what objections to raise. Schultz had no idea how to respond.

And our own brilliant Marshall was pondering hard—about who Mark Sanford should live with.

Yesterday, we asked a simple question: Has anyone ever dumbed himself down to the extent that Josh Marshall has? Later that day, he gave you his answer:

We’re all Gail Collins now.

The very latest from Neverland: Are we all Gail Collins now? Above, we described Schultz as someone “who still almost isn’t.” To his credit, he does discuss health care every night. Or at least, he pretends.

But let’s be frank: We’re all Gail Collins.

Schultz opened his program with health care last night—with his standard noisy thundering. But then, about twelve minutes in, the gentleman offered what follows. COBRA is a law which lets some people maintain health coverage after they leave a job:

SCHULTZ: I speak for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, who have lost their health care! And this COBRA thing is a fraud! That`s what COBRA is. It’s a fraud.

You ever see the expenses of COBRA? So we’ll just let the—you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to let the Bush agenda just continue on with 40 great Americans in the United States Senate!

Let’s go to Toronto! Let’s do a field trip! Let’s find out if anybody wants to go get the real story!

Coming up, the King of Pop is outselling "The King!” Michael Jackson’s sales have now overtaken Elvis. This story is changing by the minute.

We’ll have the very latest from Neverland, next.

Speaking for millions of Americans who have lost their health care, Schultz promised “the very latest from Neverland, next.” In fact, he did two segments about Michael Jackson, and another on Mark Sanford’s love life.

Barto came on the program later—and left Ed Schultz for dead.