Once Again, Voters Are Bad With Nuance

Jonathan Cohn has a fairly lengthy, solid piece taking apart the premise of attacks on “backroom deals” in healthcare reform that you should read in full. For my part, I’ll just add that, once again, what you’re dealing with is a situation where Republican demagougery is furthered by the relative ignorance of the audience for the meme. “Backroom deals” in common American political imagination, most directly refer to the “smoke-filled rooms” in which party bosses used to nominate politics. As American elections moved more towards primary elections with the party rank and file voting for nominees, these were derided, and seared into the public imagination as bad, corrupt, things. In the legislative context, of course, cutting deals in private negotiations are a fundamental aspect of life.Complaining about it is akin to complaining about tacklng in football. But people aren’t really good at making these distinctions in talking points,in part because no one has ever thought to blur the lines before. So when Republicans decide to employ yet anothr misdirection argument, a lot of people wind up looking the wrong way.