As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Pauline Kael Syndrome

This John Boehner quote, where he says he hasn't met one person who supports the public option, reminds me of the famous quote that has been attributed over the years to Pauline Kael, though there's compelling evidence that it was apocryphal. The quote usually goes like this: Kael was told that Nixon bested George McGovern in a landslide in 1972, and Kael replied, "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon!" It's often used by Republicans to prove how East Coast elites who read or write for the New York Times are so out of touch with everyday 'Murcans.

In this case, it's the conservative who is deeply out of touch with American needs and desires. Like the stereotype of Kael, for Boehner to say that proves he self-selects a very narrow band of people as his companions, the sample of which bears no resemblance to the public at large. And people have rightly pounced on the quote. Here's a testimonial from a woman in Boehner's district, from Oxford, Ohio, who has consistently argued for a public option to Boehner's office. Health Care for America Now is gathering signatures of people who support a public option in the hopes that Boehner will meet with one of them. And Americans United fit this into a narrative of an out of touch Republican leader:

It was simple to find statistics like 57% of Ohioans supporting a public option, to throw into avid golfer Boehner's face. Even garlic lovers slammed Boehner for calling the public option as unpopular as a garlic milkshake (I've been to Gilroy, CA, home of the Garlic Festival, and everyone there swears by the garlic ice cream and milkshakes).

The narrative has really started to turn. It's the Republicans who look out of touch and out of ideas to deal with America's health care crisis. Alan Grayson started this ball rolling. And John Boehner's Pauline Kael impression cemented it.

...the Facebook group, "Hey John Boehner, I'm an American and I support a public option!" has over 1,000 members in the first five hours, and is growing.

...The Progressive Campaign Change Committee also has an ad up and is encouraging Boehner to meet with folks in his district.

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