I have a new column up at the Prospect about the long-term political effects of health care reform, and more generally the theory of a liberal plot to craft a permanent majority for Democrats by making the majority of voters dependent on the government -- the theory, really, behind the GOP "47%" obsession. Basically, I call nonsense on it. I think it's a good one, so please check it out.
Meanwhile, I had to track down a good Rush Limbaugh quote for it, and found this:
But they also want people to use Obamacare as a gateway to more government dependence. So the more people that sign up for Obamacare, the more they're signing up to be lifelong Democrats.But that's not what this item is about. This item is about the Limbaugh screed where I found that quote. It's from a couple weeks ago -- July 11 -- during the publicity about Obama Administration plans for advertising the exchanges. Which Rush turned in to: "People Aren't Signing Up For Obamacare."
That's right: past tense. Well, okay: present tense. In Rush world...well, I'll give you the flavor for it:
But nevertheless this guy at Forbes has done the research and found out that people are just not signing up -- young people particularly, and that's who the regime really wants. They need them to pay the freight! They need young people who are not gonna be pulling much out of the system in terms of health care treatment, paying the freight for the elderly who need all the care.So there's this long screed about how Obamacare is a flop because no one is signing up, but nowhere in it does Rush happen to mention that the exchanges open for business on October 1. All this "not signing up" isn't actually happening (among other things, Rush conflates findings about past-tense Medicaid-eligibles who don't use it with future-tense exchange-eligibles who might or might not use it).
That's not happening...
I mean...look, I've listened to a fair amount of Rush Limbaugh over the years. And of course I've seen plenty of selected quotes from him, especially the ones pulled out (usually fairly, sometimes not) to make points about how awful he can be.
But I think what this points to is just the low-grade constant drum of misinformation being injected into the world by Rush, and by similar talk show hosts. I'm not even talking about the core irrationality of the piece -- um, if choosing to advertise means that the product is in trouble, it's amazing that McDonald's, Budweiser, and Coke have survived. The thing is that a smart listening could figure that part out. A skeptical listener might discount Rush's reports of trouble with the program...say, by applying some "partisan bias" discount to whatever the talk show host claims. But there are simply no internal cues available to help even a relatively well-informed listener understand that Rush has botched the basic facts here so badly that there's really no reliable takeaway at all.
Okay, that's enough. Just worth noting -- when we talk about a conservative information feeback loop, it's stuff like this that we're talking about, just as much as it is more obviously partisan fabrications (such as the myth of the thousands of IRS agents hired to enforce the ACA) or the more complex theories, such as the one I wrote about today.