Credit Where Credit Is Ignored And Stuff

How do I know President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank is an inspired and awesome choice?  Two reasons.  One, all the smart Puritopian money was depressingly convinced that President Obama was going to fail progressives again because he had to choose Larry Summers for the job.

Second, the right is having a small series of heart attacks.

What will be interesting is how a left-wing physician will run the only aid organization with a decent smattering of free market economists, who have tried, sometimes successfully, to help nations build private insurance-based healthcare systems. My suspicion is that more and more of the competent staff will leave, and the Bank will endorse more centralized medical systems development. I guess it has symmetry that as Obamacare is about to be challenged in the Supreme Court, the president doubles down on his intent to move the rest of the world away from private healthcare.

Now go figure, Fred Hiatt is in love, and Noam Scheiber is convinced that Kim’s views will be neutered, and therefore President Obama basically deserves no credit for his selection.

In Kim’s case, it’s not hard to see how that might put him at odds with the Obama administration, at least when it comes to global health, his area of expertise. Kim’s formative professional experience was co-founding and running the group Partners in Health (PIH), which was dedicated to battling expensive, hard-to-treat diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis in the most forsaken places on the planet. To realize that goal, as Ezra Klein points out, Kim and his more famous PIH co-founder, Paul Farmer, had to wage a years-long battle against the global health establishment, which was generally skeptical of the approach. Suffice it to say, he believes in it pretty deeply.

Problem is, the Obama administration has taken a very different (and, in the post-PIH world, equally controversial) position on global health aid: It has slowed the rate of growth in the money the U.S. government spends fighting AIDS and TB abroad, and instead spent a good deal of money on equally deadly but far easier-to-treat illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria (especially for children).

I doubt a Wolfensohn or Zoellick type would have challenged this approach—such a person probably wouldn’t have spent much time thinking it through before ascending to the World Bank presidency. But in Kim’s case, opposition to the Obama approach is, you know, the foundational principle of his career. Will he dissent from the Obama administration line or pull his punches?

Just…really?   So, President Obama gets pretty much no credit for doing what the left begged him to do, which is “Please pick anyone but Larry Summers!”.  They can’t even give him credit for that, it was served to him on a short list by others of course, and now Scheiber is wondering if Kim is going to actually be any better than Summers or if Obama will make him “pull his punches.”  Christ.  Of Course, Scheiber’s new book on the administration’s stimulus battles and economic policy is pretty much all about how Larry Summers was the worst choice ever, and I’m totally not surprised that Scheiber is immediately convinced that Kim’s choice is bullshit.

And you wonder why I’m mad at the “professional” Left all the damn time.  They got an inspired choice, Obama surprised them pleasantly, Dr. Kim has amazing credentials and he’s exactly what the President’s critics on the Left said the next head of the World Bank needed to be, a development expert and not a banker,  and the first thing they ask is “Will Obama just ignore him anyway and keep being the worst administration ever?”

Really?  What the hell does he have to do, folks?  What is it going to take?

190 replies
  1. 1
    CT Voter says:

    What’s it going to take?

    I think the answer is obvious. PL and winger Rs will never be satisfied.

    And if there’s a brief moment of satisfaction for the PL, it’ll move on to the next example of how Obama has disappointed.

  2. 2
    Ben Franklin says:

    Now, on Geithner….and Biden…no matter. Never mind. :=)

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    And you wonder why I’m mad at the “professional” Left all the damn time.

    No, actually I don’t think anyone wonders about that at all.

  4. 4
    Mark-NC says:

    Ditto CT Voter.

    I don’t listen to assholes – regardless of which side they are on.

  5. 5
    Danny says:

    What is it going to take?

    A Republican in the White House?

  6. 6
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    Their summary of Partners in Health suggests that they really don’t have a clue what PIH does. Since its a ‘post-PIH world’, are they suggesting I should cancel my scheduled monthly donation to PIH?

  7. 7
    xian says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No, actually I don’t think

    you got that part right

  8. 8

    My suspicion is that more and more of the competent staff will leave, and the Bank will endorse more centralized medical systems development.

    Leaving the poor nations so victimised, saddled with a shambles of a health-care system, the kind found in failed states like the U.K…

    I take it from his spelling of ‘victimised’ that poor Mr. Bate is already so afflicted.

  9. 9
    smintheus says:

    This is a pretty sorry attempt to circle the wagons where there really is nothing very controversial in what Schieber wrote. The quotation here is very selective and intended to suggest that Scheiber is biting at Obama’s ankles. In fact he’s giving Obama credit for selecting a development expert rather than a banker. The question of how much money to spend addressing which public health crises, and the extent to which Obama and Kim may have different priorities, is just a sidelight and outgrowth of this nomination; Scheiber admits it may not be much of an issue unless the World Bank shifts its traditional focus fairly radically.

    So how does that amount to carping?

    As for the phrase “the professional left”…seriously, can’t you just retire it?

  10. 10
    moonbat says:

    I like how the guy hasn’t even been chosen to head the World Bank yet — just nominated by Obama — and already he is disappointing. Since their arguments are not based in anything reality based, just ignore them, just as you would a deranged Tea Party member.

    Tough love, but it’s the only way to bring them back to the real world

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    I guess I’m mostly familiar with Felix Salmon from his financial writings. When did he become considered a Puritopian of the PL?

    edited slightly

  12. 12
    Mark B says:

    What’s it going to take?

    Obama’s enemies don’t want him to do or be anything. They simply want him to not exist. They want him destroyed, and they want to piss on the dust. Nothing less would satisfy them, and even that would only be a temporary fix.

  13. 13
    AkaDad says:

    This nomination makes one thing clear. Obama is worse than Bush.

  14. 14
    Jeff Spender says:

    Economics is not my forte. However, from what I understand from the sources I trust, Obama made a very good pick.

    I’m not sure what to say besides that. Let the usual company whine and bitch all they want. It’s what they’re paid to do.

  15. 15

    What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?

    Resignation, immediately. Though it’s too late now, probably.

    Power corrupts. The greater the power, the greater the corruption. To participate in it is to be complicit in the corruption.

    Obama needed to resign the day after his inauguration. Not before — he still had to prove the point that we can elect a person of color to the nation’s highest office — but right after, while he still had a chance to save his humanity.

    And then let Biden run the country. Biden has no soul anyways, he’s a politician.

  16. 16
    Joel says:

    I read Schreiber’s commentary differently than you. He thinks that Obama and Kim have unreconcilably divergent views on global health care. I think he’s completely wrong. But it’s not to give Obama short shrift.

  17. 17
    capt says:

    I’m mad at the “professional” Left all the damn time.

    Me too. They are not really left, many considered “left” aren’t even moderate. Seems like the whole darn bunch are pretty bad.

  18. 18
    Knockabout says:

    Oh nobody would have guessed that Zandar is complaining (which he is allowed to do) about fair and reasonable criticism of Obama (which nobody is allowed to do as long as Zandar is around.) So by your prior posts and classifications does Scheiber’s completely valid question make him a racist in your eyes? Honest question given your history here.

    Also I see you didn’t answer my question from last night. What is the difference between Trayvon Martin’s murder which is a serious crime in your book and Obama murdering Alwaki’s son which you support?

    You are a joke. You can’t be run out of here fast enough.

  19. 19
    Corner Stone says:

    Did you even read the Scheiber article?

  20. 20

    Pfft.

    Our Man done good. Bravo!

    [And you’re doing okay, too. ]

  21. 21
    Anya says:

    @Corner Stone: Where you elected a spokesperson for this blog by the insomniacs when no one was looking?

  22. 22
    amk says:

    While thin lines are everywhere, none exists between pl mob and rwnj’s. ODS is a whitey thingy.

  23. 23
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anya: Maybe. But you’re going to need to stay up a while to find out.

  24. 24
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Knockabout: You’re no less predictable.

  25. 25
    Trurl says:

    Poor Obama. Whipped and scorned by those for whom he sacrifices himself. Like Jesus with drone bombers.

  26. 26
    wrb says:

    It is perfectly obvious that although Dr. Kim gave the impression that he was a good guy, he really isn’t, as Obama’s selection of him has proven.

  27. 27
    bemused says:

    Are other countries as filled with so many professional whiners, no matter what political spectrum, as this one? It gets very tiresome.

  28. 28
    amk says:

    zandar, use your magic power to zap too stoopid for words trolls.

  29. 29
    Knockabout says:

    When there’s no difference between the people Zandar attacks and Zandar himself in being a knee-jerk reactionary partisan when he goes after his own side, your blog loses credibility, Cole.

    What do you plan to do about him?

  30. 30
    LosGatosCA says:

    Professional left or professional right or the unprofessional middle.

    The country has been in a ditch for going on 12 years. Failure of leadership and passivity of the peasants combined with the outright stupidity of folks writing the commentary is the grand bargain for the decline of American civilization.

    ‘Self-destruction disguised as tough choices’ seems to be the global credo now.

    Let’s bomb iran, let’s throw granny to the vouchers, let orphans be school custodians, give me your damn Facebook account passwords, etc, etc, etc.

    Stupidity used to be a problem, now it’s become the preferred lifestyle.

  31. 31
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Trurl:

    I just wonder; who are those two guys hanging next to him?

  32. 32
    Jeff Spender says:

    It’s really hard to resist the urge to respond to the illogical troll.

    Why is that? I mean, what psychological phenomenon creates the urge to argue with someone who uses about three logical fallacies per sentence and doesn’t argue honestly? Is it the drama it creates?

    Perhaps. It’s like a blog soap opera.

    Suffice it to say the Knockabout is pretty silly.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Has Knockabout ever posted a comment on this blog that was not slagging Zandar? A pet story? A political observation? A drunken rant about blondes? Anything?

  34. 34
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone: I’ve read the Schreiber article. I’ve also been a supporter of PIH for years, and I can say that Schreiber seems to really misunderstand how PIH approaches things.

    As one of the commenters at TNR says, they haven’t been targeting AIDS and HIV because they are typically expensive to treat, they have been targeting those diseases and trying to make them cheaper to treat while improving effectiveness. For example, PIH got an expensive tuberculosis drug out to many more people at a staggeringly cheaper cost:

    Perhaps Kim’s greatest coup was a bureaucratic one: Persuading the World Health Organization to reclassify “second-line” tuberculosis drugs as “essential medicines.”
    __
    Second-line drugs are used when drug-resistant disease foils basic treatments. But in the 1990s, they were incredibly expensive as the markets for them were desperate and, in the eyes of the drug companies, small. What Kim and Farmer realized was that it wasn’t so much that the markets for them were small as that the prices were high. If the prices came down, the markets would be huge.
    __
    So Kim gathered drug executives and made the case that the markets could be far larger, particularly if the World Health Organization would reclassify them as “essential drugs,” and thus put some muscle and funding behind their adoption. But there was an issue blocking that, too: Many in the medical community believed it would be dangerous to distribute these drugs widely.
    __
    As Kidder writes, the concern was valid. “In the real world, many places lacked even rudimentary health services, and others had clinics and hospitals staffed by the ignorant, the careless, the lazy. In the real world, some doctors and nurses peddled drugs on black markets, desperate patients sold their antibiotics to buy food, and stupid pharmacists mixed first-line TB drugs with cough medicine. Start distributing the second-line, the so-called reserve, antibiotics in settings like those, and you’d breed resistant strains that no drugs could cure.”
    __
    Kim solved it. Working off a model developed for the meningococcal vaccine, he founded “The Green Light Committee.” Here’s Kidder again: “The idea was simple. The committee would serve as the ultimate distributor for second-line drugs. Once prices fell, it would have real power. Any TB program that wanted low prices would have to prove to the committee that they had a good plan and a good underlying DOTs [directly observed treatment] program, one that wouldn’t breed further resistance.”
    __
    The WHO puts the drugs on an annex to their list. By 2000, the costs of the drugs required to treat a highly resistant strain in a poor country of TB had fallen by 90 percent. Kidder quotes Guido Bakker, who worked for a nonprofit that specialized in driving down the cost of essential drugs and who was involved in these conversations, saying, “I really see Jim as the one who really did this. He just pushed and pushed and pushed. Eighty-five percent of it was Jim.”

    So:

    Problem is, the Obama administration has taken a very different (and, in the post-PIH world, equally controversial) position on global health aid: It has slowed the rate of growth in the money the U.S. government spends fighting AIDS and TB abroad, and instead spent a good deal of money on equally deadly but far easier-to-treat illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria (especially for children).

    In an ideal world, we’d have the money and expertise to treat everything. But I don’t see anything evil about slowing the rate of growth in funding AIDS/TB treatments while focusing on “equally deadly but far easier-to-treat illnesses”. Many, many lives are being saved, possibly more lives for the same amount of money.

    I don’t see a conflict. I see Obama being well aware of what Kim has done with limited resources.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @bemused: a few years ago in France, when LePen beat out the sosh’lists in the first round, I remember reading that there were three different Trotskyite parties in France– can’t remember if they each had a candidate on that first ballot. Thinking about that almost makes me wish the PUMAs had had enough numbers and stamina to split into factions. The Billites vs the Rodhamites vs the Harrietts, maybe.

  36. 36
    wvng says:

    What will it take? A magical wish pony would be my guess. With sprinkles.

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not that I recall. I’m amenable to other evidence however.

  38. 38
    Chyron HR says:

    @Trurl:

    Thanks as always for shitting all over a great book in your crusade against that damn N-word.

  39. 39
    bemused says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I think there is a contrarian personality (there are a couple of them in my family!) that will always take the opposite tack just to stir the pot, get a reaction, even though I suspect they don’t actually have that view all the time. It’s like a compulsion or something. Anyway, all I know is that they really seem to enjoy themselves, the bigger the reaction the better. One relative falls for this every time his son does this to him.

  40. 40
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Really? What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?

    “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

  41. 41
    Amir Khalid says:

    Well, Obama’s nomination of Jim Kim is still subject to approval by the World Bank board, right or not? And, should Dr Kim get the job, he would not be working for the US government nor serving at Obama’s pleasure. He’d be largely free to do his job in his own way. It is also implausible that Obama nominated Dr Kim, knowing of Dr Kim’s fundamental disagreement with his policy, expecting to fight him every step of the way. Obama is surely not stupid enough to undermine his own nominee.

  42. 42
    The Moar You Know says:

    Has Knockabout ever posted a comment on this blog that was not slagging Zandar? A pet story? A political observation? A drunken rant about blondes? Anything?

    @Omnes Omnibus: No. He’s a former coworker of Zandar’s who stalks him. He’s obviously got some problems, and I hope that Zandar has taken precautions for his personal safety.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @bemused:

    I think there is a contrarian personality…

    No, there isn’t.

    Seriously though, B-J’s comments section is home to several.

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary: I read the linked Scheiber article also and took away an impression of a fairly neutral report, and (IMO) shaded to the positive side for the pick of Dr. Kim.
    Scheiber mentions the deep grounding in institution building shared by President Obama and Geithner as well as the quoted question of possible conflict.
    I just didn’t read the Scheiber article as slagging Obama or giving him no credit.
    I also read the one comment that appears at this time and it was fairly informative as to how PIH and the WH may not be so differential in goals.
    Scheiber may indeed be wrong about the level of conflict, but his article isn’t a PL whine against Obama.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Nope, not a thing. Even Special Timmy will try to act human every once in a while, but Knockabout only has one purpose in life.

    Hell, even mclaren has other topics of conversation and will occasionally discuss movies or books. When you’re more single-minded than an obsessive like mclaren, that’s quite an achievement.

  46. 46
    Chyron HR says:

    Disclaimer: The N-word is a True Progressive Greenwaldian criticism of the Obama administration’s policies and is not, nor has it ever been, a racial epithet, and anyone who says different is an Obot.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Moar You Know: Wow. How creepy is that?

  48. 48
    bemused says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, I’ve noticed but I thought it best not to mention that. It just encourages them. : )

  49. 49
    Foregone Conclusion says:

    Demanding that someone who you generally agree with but hate for one little thing be purged from a blog is obviously consistent with the fine and great traditions of liberalism.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Though I’m starting to suspect that the current Knockabout is a spoof and the real one was banned long ago. Its obsessions seem to have suddenly turned firebagger, which wasn’t a feature in its original incarnation.

  51. 51
    Weaselone says:

    What will be interesting is how a left-wing physician will run the only aid organization with a decent smattering of free market economists, who have tried, sometimes successfully, to help nations build private insurance-based healthcare systems. My suspicion is that more and more of the competent staff will leave, and the Bank will endorse more centralized medical systems development.

    There’s a profound level of ignorance in that quote. The “left-wing” organizations have been if anything ahead of the curve in pursuing decentralized health care solutions,and crafting local efforts with significant input and ownership by the affected communities. It also goes without saying that a “private insurance” based health care system leaves much to be desired as a solution to the lethal combination of poverty and high levels of HIV infection.

  52. 52
    Mudge says:

    Kim is President of Dartmouth, hotbed of goofy conservative students. He has established effective treatment in conjunction with drug companies without any seat of power at all, just through a good plan and negotiation. Yet he is left wing, because Obama nominated him.

    I guess they want Ayn Rand nominated from the grave. She’d know how to deal with a world of takers.

  53. 53
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Mark B:

    Obama’s enemies don’t want him to do or be anything. They simply want him to not exist. They want him destroyed, and they want to piss on the dust.

    Why stop there? What they really want to do is to completely erase him from history iike the Egyptian Pharaohs of old. When Lord Mitt takes over, declare him President #44, and pretend Obama never happened at all.

    Since the textbook writers bow to Texas, Kansas and Tennessee, they might even pull it off.

  54. 54

    […] Not just for all the very good reasons Zandar advances. […]

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Scheiber admits it may not be much of an issue unless the World Bank shifts its traditional focus fairly radically.

    I will admit to getting much of the information I currently have about the World Bank from Wikipedia, but it seems to me that the “traditional focus” that Scheiber is thinking of is the Washington Consensus of the 1990s, which was a shift away from the original purpose of the World Bank of providing loans for infrastructure projects in developing countries, including healthcare projects.

    If anything, it sounds like Dr. Kim’s appointment is an attempt to return the World Bank’s focus to its original charter and get it away from things like GDP and overall economic growth that are supposed to be the purview of the IDF.

  56. 56
    MobiusKlein says:

    Haters gonna hate. So chill, we’ve got it.

  57. 57
    smintheus says:

    @Corner Stone: Zandar makes a series of negative comments about Scheiber’s views and his intent, not one of which is borne out by what Scheiber actually says. Some of Zandar’s claims are flatly contradicted by Scheiber’s stated opinions.

    This post is a sorry mess.

  58. 58
    Allan says:

    @Knockabout: So you’re saying that Balloon-Juice is a sundown town? Or would be, if anyone listened to you?

  59. 59
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone: Hmmmm, I’d give Schreiber somewhat less credit for analysis.

    Anyway, the question of how to spend medically-related foreign aid money is a good one. Did you read the linked NY Times article? There’s a lot to be said for saving more lives for the same amount of money (this seems to be an actuality, rather than the possibility I mentioned above), but I understand and empathize with the frustration of AIDS workers on the ground.

    And there may be a bottleneck forming: current policy may save a lot of kids, only to run into poorly controlled levels of AIDS in the population when they get older. Dr. Kim may be able to pull another rabbit out of the head for AIDS treatment and prevention, as he did with TB (not to suggest that TB is solved — nowhere near it). It all depends on how much leeway is left in dealing with AIDS treatment costs.

  60. 60
    Redshift says:

    May I just say that the domain name “american.com” is a great unintentionally ironic encapsulation of the Right’s worldview? (It’s AEI’s online magazine, apparently.) I mean, America, but as a corporation, it’s their wet dream.

  61. 61
    Redshift says:

    @Mnemosyne: Er, I think you mean IMF, not IDF. :-)

  62. 62
    IM says:

    Since then is TNR – even the liberal New Republic – speaking for the left?

    Is there any genuine opposition from the left?

    I like the choice. To put in charge of one of the largest development agencies someone who is actually competent is a nice change.

  63. 63
    Ben Cisco says:

    What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?

    What they WANT is for the niggity-niggity-nig in the White House to offer up a Captain Needa apology, just before an amalgamation of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Ozzie Nelson force-chokes him into submission. Duh!

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    After reading both Scheiber’s post and Comrade Mary’s link, I think she’s right — Scheiber seriously misunderstands what Dr. Kim’s philosophy and achievements are if Scheiber thinks that the way PIH operates is somehow “fundamentally opposed” to what the Obama administration has been doing.

    It would also be nice if Scheiber could have found evidence of this “fundamental opposition” that was more recent than 2009. Reading the article that Scheiber linked to, it sounded as though global AIDS activists initially freaked out at the idea of putting some of that funding into prevention and other diseases instead, but we have no idea what their opinion is three years into the new direction because Scheiber didn’t give us that information.

  65. 65
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m no expert on the World Bank either, but apart from the McNamara years I don’t think it has ever given much attention to social development. From the start, in practice, it has mostly been about using its leverage to ensure that borrowing governments remained friendly to big capitalism and free trade, and it gave money for big projects that would subsidize and expand international trade.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary: Less credit for his analysis of Dr. Kim being the choice? Or less credit for analyzing the level of disagreement between the PIH style and the WH approach to global health care?
    I’m confused as to what the NYT article is supposed to inform me on.
    I agree that the debate about where to best spend limited resources is a valuable one.
    But Zandar does not use that aspect of the debate to further his argument. He simply selectively quotes one assessment of the two differing approaches and where Scheiber questions what the outcome will be if they do indeed clash.
    Zandar’s inclusion and highlighting of the selected quote didn’t accurately portray Scheiber’s intent, IMO.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Redshift:

    D’oh! Believe it or not, I re-checked that! Stupid brain not talking to fingers.

  68. 68
    Donald says:

    “Really? What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?”

    I agree that Obama did the right thing here and deserves credit. But as for what it is going to take–well, a consistent record of doing the right thing would go a long way. This was a pleasant surprise and that’s the problem.

  69. 69
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I agree, I think Scheiber mistakenly believes there’s more difference between the Kim and Obama philosophies to funding health initiatives than there necessarily is. As to actual priorities (AIDS vs malaria), however, there is enough of a gap to reasonably wonder whether that might lead to some divergence of policies.

    My point is only that Scheiber is addressing reasonable policy questions (well or badly is besides the point), not at all doing what Zandar portrays him as doing. Scheiber states explicitly that it’s to Obama’s credit that his WB nominee has his own well thought out views on development policy. Zandar’s depiction of Scheiber’s post is a grossly misleading caricature.

  70. 70
    Valdivia says:

    What Amir Khalid said. This is not like some little employee who will do Obama’s bidding the idea that he can micromanage what happens in the world bank is utterly ludicrous.

  71. 71
    Karl The Crap Blog Detective says:

    What countries are there with successful private insurance-based healthcare systems?

  72. 72
    Anya says:

    @Corner Stone: Scheiber is heavily using the tired old, “yeah, Obama nominated a progressive, but he/she will be outnumbered by the corporate voices that populate the adminstartion and thus, will be ineffectual.”

    Also, too, what Amir Khalid said.

  73. 73
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Less credit for his analysis of Dr. Kim being the choice? Or less credit for analyzing the level of disagreement between the PIH style and the WH approach to global health care?

    Less credit overall. I think he was flogging differences that don’t really exist, and as that is central to his hypothesis of a conflict and to denigrating Obama’s appointment of Kim, it lowers the value of his article overall.

    Why Schreiber thinks Obama appointed Kim: Obama’s Mom worked in development.

    I’d guess the reason Obama finally did—Kim is a doctor, anthropologist, and public health expert who has run the World Health Organization—is for idiosyncratic reasons: Obama’s mother was an anthropologist and development expert who worked for years in Indonesia. The father of his Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, was also a lifelong development professional—a senior official in the Ford Foundation in Rhodesia, India, Thailand, and China. … No surprise, then, that Obama explained the Kim nomination by saying it’s “time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”

    Schreiber also says that, sure, Obama appointed someone great — for sentimental reasons? — but will somehow hamstring him because of an alleged irreconcilable difference between them on development objectives:

    In Kim’s case, it’s not hard to see how that might put him at odds with the Obama administration, at least when it comes to global health, his area of expertise. Kim’s formative professional experience was co-founding and running the group Partners in Health (PIH), which was dedicated to battling expensive, hard-to-treat diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis in the most forsaken places on the planet. …
    __
    Problem is, the Obama administration has taken a very different (and, in the post-PIH world, equally controversial) position on global health aid: It has slowed the rate of growth in the money the U.S. government spends fighting AIDS and TB abroad, and instead spent a good deal of money on equally deadly but far easier-to-treat illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria (especially for children).
    __
    I doubt a Wolfensohn or Zoellick type would have challenged this approach—such a person probably wouldn’t have spent much time thinking it through before ascending to the World Bank presidency. But in Kim’s case, opposition to the Obama approach is, you know, the foundational principle of his career. Will he dissent from the Obama administration line or pull his punches?

    Schreiber overstates and misunderstands the differences between the PIH approach versus the Obama funding choices. He’s portraying Kim as set up to fail or compromise. Given that we both agree that he overstates the differences — which is the core of the argument — I think that weakens the entire article.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    Tangentially related to the general credit and heath themes, OT Huzzah for the NHS, that zocialized hellhole for bringing down cost AND with a better drug. Non NYT link to their article

    For months, a simple generic drug has been saving lives on America’s battlefields by slowing the bleeding of even gravely wounded soldiers.
    __
    Even better, it is cheap. But its very inexpensiveness has slowed its entry into American emergency rooms, where it might save the lives of bleeding victims of car crashes, shootings and stabbings — up to 4,000 Americans a year, according to a recent study.
    . . . .
    Tranexamic acid was never even in his combat hospital’s pharmacy. “An old generic doesn’t have any hair-on-your-chest bravado, so we didn’t even take it to the battlefield,” Dr. Lounsbury said.
    __
    That the British pioneered it “makes complete sense to me,” he added. “I worked in their hospitals, and they did pretty much everything we did — but much more cheaply.”

    And if the Obama admin did choose a highly qualified someone with a different approach to health care, more credit to them. Only craven ideologues fear debate.

  75. 75
    ShadeTail says:

    @Donald:

    I agree that Obama did the right thing here and deserves credit. But as for what it is going to take—well, a consistent record of doing the right thing would go a long way. This was a pleasant surprise and that’s the problem.

    This would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that President Obama’s record has more good than bad to it, by a vast margin. He *does* have that consistent record, and yet people still act like they have reason to be surprised every time he does something like this. I can’t blame Zandar at all for being annoyed and frustrated with such myopia.

  76. 76
    sherifffruitfly says:

    as always, firebagger = teabagger.

    There is nothing in the world for them, except how much they hate Obama.

  77. 77
    mb says:

    the president doubles down on his intent to move the rest of the world away from private healthcare.

    What’s the emoticon for “I just read the stupidest thing ever written about healthcare on the Internet?”

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    I dunno, I think Scheiber has some pretty stupid stuff in the article, like this:

    I’d guess the reason Obama finally did—Kim is a doctor, anthropologist, and public health expert who has run the World Health Organization—is for idiosyncratic reasons: Obama’s mother was an anthropologist and development expert who worked for years in Indonesia.

    Really? Scheiber thinks the president chose a development expert to head the World Bank because of his mommy?

    It’s also a weird article from Scheiber because he looks at the development decisions that Obama made three years ago and concludes that the administration and Dr. Kim will be fundamentally opposed because, um, because Scheiber says so. No notion at all that maybe Dr. Kim’s appointment could signal a shift in the current approach.

    You know you’re reading a deeply silly article when it depends on three-year-old supporting evidence and speculation that Obama chose Kim because Obama’s mother was an anthropologist.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karl The Crap Blog Detective:

    What countries are there with successful private insurance-based healthcare systems?

    Switzerland. And, uh, that’s about it. But their industry is very, very heavily regulated, far beyond what would be allowed in the US with our obsession with “job creators.”

  80. 80
    Redshift says:

    @mb: Yeah, that was hilarious. The bubble has to be pretty thick for them to believe that developing countries are clamoring for for-profit private health insurance like we have.

  81. 81
    Anya says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Really? Scheiber thinks the president chose a development expert to head the World Bank because of his mommy?

    Why not. His foreign policy and his hatred of whites stems from his Kenyan grandfather’s hatered of the British.

  82. 82
    Redshift says:

    @Mnemosyne: And in particular, to participate in providing basic healthcare coverage in Switzerland, the private health insurers must be nonprofit.

    (Apparently the Netherlands also has a private insurance-based system, which I didn’t know until Google educated me just now.)

  83. 83
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    and as that is central to his hypothesis of a conflict and to denigrating Obama’s appointment of Kim, it lowers the value of his article overall.

    Ah, this is the difference in our readings.
    I don’t believe the Scheiber article denigrates anyone, and specifically doesn’t denigrate Dr. Kim as the pick.
    Scheiber takes a background approach and asks a policy question. He in no way says Dr. Kim is a poor choice or Obama did something someone else told him to.

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anya: I disagree completely with your reading of the Scheiber article.

  85. 85
    gelfling545 says:

    @The Moar You Know: Co- worker? I thought it was at least an ex-spouse who divorced him the day before he won the lottery to generate that amount of bitterness.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Redshift:

    That’s the actual difference: many other countries incorporate private insurers into their systems, but all of them are non-profit. Japan’s health insurance system is all private companies, but they’re also all heavily regulated non-profits.

    We are the only industrialized nation that has a for-profit healthcare system. As I was saying at the time of the PPACA fight, it’s that for profit piece that screws us. It really seems to be that a lot of the provisions of the PPACA are designed to squeeze profits so hard that the for profit companies will leave the market and only the nonprofits will be left. Given the experience of other countries, that kind of “market” would probably be workable when combined with Medicare and Medicaid.

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:

    What’s wrong with postulating President Obama chose Dr. Kim in at least some part because Obama had a foundation believing in institution building? And by all measures Dr. Kim is profoundly qualified to develop institutions re: healthcare?

  88. 88
    jprfrog says:

    Rather than a contrarian personality, there is what you could call the purer-than-thou type (otherwise known as the self-righteous a$$hole). This is someone who takes ultra-pure positions, because in their deepest heart they know it will never be realizable. This has many advantages: they get to feel more righteous, more idealistic than everyone else. They get a lot of attention from rational people who may not always realize that others are not rational. And they have the security of never having to answer with real consequences because their prescriptions (if they have any, and not just negatives) will never be applied, at least not within a reasonable time.

    I first realized this in extended dialogue with an “Objectivist” who denied being an orthodox Randian, someone who is sharp and articulate, and who all in all I rather liked. But I have seen enough from the FDL brigade to see that this is more style than substance, and can be applied to any extreme of the political spectrum. However, it still beats me to understand why some must seek out issues over which to be upset when there are enough real problems out there. (And BTW, I come from an Old Left background, my father was CPUSA HUACed in 1954, I grew up reading the Daily Worker and the National Guardian and I still lean left — unlike a jerk like David Horowitz who just took his radicalism from the Left to the Right.) I believe it was Lenin who found the right word for it: Infantile Leftism.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:

    And I’ve been trying to find more info on Felix Salmon re: his Puritopian-ness but teh Google is failing me.
    If anyone has a link to where FS went Hamsher of the Left could someone please post it?

  90. 90
    JWL says:

    “Fail progressives again”. You jackass. As if a POTUS or Party should be rendered immune from honest criticism by virtue of… well, that’s it, isn’t it? By virtue of what exactly?

  91. 91
    Knockabout says:

    Corner Stone is as usual correct. Scheiber is quoting Jonathan Bernstein at the Post who is the one saying that Obama got this pick off a short list of advisors.

    Scheiber disagrees.

    If anything Scheiber is saying that Tim Geithner made this decision, and given Zandar’s known disagreements with Geithner even being selected I find it ironic that he’s questioning Scheiber’s opinion that Kim may be at the mercy of a President that has never failed to put big buisiness first.

    Zandar has the right to criticism of Obama’s picks. Nobody else does.

  92. 92
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone: I didn’t mean that I or Schreiber thought Kim was a bad pick, but that Schreiber seems to imply that Obama have picked Kim for bad reasons, one or more of: sentimentality, an inability to think through their differences before the appointment, or a willingness to make Kim fail or give in on his record in order to stay in place.

    Claiming Obama’s mother as an influence in addition to other good rational reasons is fine, but those rational reasons weren’t listed. And Schreiber doesn’t seem to understand how PIH really operates (this is where we agree), doesn’t give Obama credit for understanding his own nominee, and suggests that Obama may have nominated someone deeply incompatible with his own administrations’ positions.

  93. 93
    Relatively Objective says:

    What an embarrassing post.

    Let’s just turn that around…

    What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?

    It sounds like the only thing that will satisfy you is when every single person who comments on politics anywhere heaps enough unalloyed praise on Obama to satisfy you. Anything less, any rational critique, any sentence at all that does not contain unqualified praise, even any innocent questioning of policy….is an excuse for you to engage in the whining, finger pointing, squeals of oppression practiced by the Right Wing. Anything less than total capitulation to your view of Obama is heresy and a legitimate cause for hate of those Others that you label The Professional Left to be attacked with the same level of demonisation that the bigots on the Right use to attack reasonable people who disagree with them.

    Again, an embarrassing post and a really disgusting level of hero worship leading to an unhealthy level of apparent hatred.

    I am repulsed.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    I didn’t mean that I or Schreiber thought Kim was a bad pick, but that Schreiber seems to imply that Obama have picked Kim for bad reasons

    You said that better than I could. Schreiber’s article seemed to be yet another of those weird articles where the writer complains that Obama did the right thing accidentally or without actually meaning to do the right thing, so therefore it doesn’t count.

    Also, too, on a completely different topic, I haven’t bought my Trek Cocoa yet, but I managed to convince WaterGirl to buy one for herself. :-)

  95. 95

    @Comrade Mary:
    Which becomes the thing that drives Zandar so crazy. Even when Obama makes a breathtakingly great decision (not a rare occurrence), people will *make up* reasons to criticize him about it. Just imagine them up. The man truly cannot get credit for anything.

  96. 96
    IM says:

    @sherifffruitfly:

    True. Scheiber of the New Republic, well known radical left-winger.

  97. 97
    Comrade Mary says:

    One more thing: the article seems to implicitly insult Kim.

    Starting off with the assumption that Kim is an intelligent, well-informed and honourable man, we know that he was willing to be nominated.

    If there is such a significant discrepancy between the Obama administration policies and Kim’s approach, why did he go along?

    – Was Kim not aware of the difference?

    – Is he aware of the differences, but his understanding of them better than Schreiber’s half-assed analysis? It may be a much smaller gap and/or Obama is willing to support more of Kim’s approach.

    – Is the difference as bad as Schreiber claims, but Kim is a poor sap who has been roundly hoodwinked by Obama?

    – Is the difference as bad as Schreiber claims, but Kim just doesn’t care as he’s ready to become Obama’s lapdog?

    I may be missing an option that reflects well on Kim, but if Schreiber’s analysis is correct, then Kim isn’t as smart and honourable as decades of his work in the public eye would suggest.

    Yeah, I think Schreiber’s analysis is pretty weak.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    but that Schreiber seems to imply that Obama have picked Kim for bad reasons, one or more of: sentimentality, an inability to think through their differences before the appointment, or a willingness to make Kim fail or give in on his record in order to stay in place.

    I’m sorry but that is simply not in Scheiber’s article. That’s an inference that Zandar is propagating with zero evidence to date.
    And the sentimental reasoning you list isn’t in Scheiber’s article either. Because someone grew up seeing something, or had a close influence from someone while growing up, doesn’t make that rationale sentimental by default. Nor does Scheiber ever say that Obama is unduly sentimental in this pick.
    “their parents’ careers gave them a genuine reverence for the work that development workers do overseas.”
    I revere many things my father taught me, like the fundamentals of the pick n roll in basketball. That doesn’t make it sentimental, it means it’s useful because it works.

  99. 99
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with emotional reasons for choices as long as they don’t actively lead to bad decisions because emotion outweighs common sense and leads people to ignore likely bad outcomes.

    So emotional reasons, plus good logical reasons work for me. But Schreiber rested Obama’s choice only on his mother’s influence — at least, in the article as published. His original work may have been cut, and in conversation he could expand upon his argument. But all we have to go on right now is the article as published.

    Anyway, I have a longer reply at #94.

  100. 100
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary: Scheiber asks a fairly simple policy question. What happens in a dispute?
    Now, you’re either arguing there will be no dispute between Dr. Kim and the WH, or they understand the degree of any difference between them on policy and are fine with it.
    Scheiber simply asks what happens “when”? Because IMO it’s naive to believe there will be no disagreements over the length of Dr. Kim’s term. Scheiber may misunderstand the degree of disagreement, but he’s simply asking about what happens “when”. He doesn’t say Obama is a simpleton for nominating Kim, nor does he insult Kim in any way.

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s beginning to seem like people have taken Scheiber’s article and started writing fanfic based off of it. Because a lot of things he’s supposed to have said or implied simply don’t exist in his article.
    So the source material must be on a forum somewhere I haven’t seen.

  102. 102

    @Mnemosyne:

    Though I’m starting to suspect that the current Knockabout is a spoof and the real one was banned long ago. Its obsessions seem to have suddenly turned firebagger, which wasn’t a feature in its original incarnation.

    Maybe it’s growing, becoming self aware?

  103. 103
    Clime Acts says:

    I’m thinking Zandar is an ABL sock puppet.

    These
    “what’s it going to take for you people to fall in line and worship DL unquestioningly?” posts read like early ABL, before she went completely off the rails. You know, back before the accusations of rape-enabling and BJ Blogmaster racism; before the shock treatments and thorazine…

    Thoughts?

  104. 104

    @Knockabout:

    Corner Stone is as usual correct.

    Since the only people on the planet that would say such a wrong thing, are Corner Stone and maybe the clown federation, I’m calling bullshit SOCKPUPPET!!

  105. 105
    Heliopause says:

    And you wonder why I’m mad at the “professional” Left all the damn time.

    Whoa, wait a minute. Now Noam Scheiber is part of the “professional left”? Along with Jon Chait?

    Zandar, this is a serious question; are you feeling alright?

  106. 106
    IM says:

    @Clime Acts:

    These posts read like early ABL, before she went completely off the rails. You know, back before the shock treatments and thorazine…

    That, you know, is quite vile. I won’t diagnose you from afar, but then that isn’t necessary: You are just an asshole.

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    I usually refuse to read the scribbles of Fred Hiatt but I did this time and it may be the only thing Zandar got right in this mess of a post.
    Fred Hiatt loves him some Dr. Kim as President Obama’s choice. Just a gushing acclamation of awesome from Fred.

  108. 108
    IM says:

    @Heliopause:

    That is my problem too. If Peretz attacks Obamas middle eastern policy the next time in TNR, is that a attack from the left too?

  109. 109
    Clime Acts says:

    @IM:

    That, you know, is quite vile. I won’t diagnose you from afar, but then that isn’t necessary: You are just an asshole.

    OMG, LOL. Please explain how my comment is anywhere near the cutoff line for BJ insults and imagery? Thanks, I’ll wait.

    Also, too: It’s interesting how you edited my comment in your quote to eliminate ABL’s rape and racism charges against Cole. Why’d ya do that?

  110. 110
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Corner Stone: Wondering what would happen during a dispute is fair. But this article overstates the likelihood of a serious dispute.

    Schreiber may or may not have written the headline “Obama Plainly Disagrees with His World Bank Nominee”, but someone at TNR did, so if we are discussing the-article-as-published, you can see the slant right away.

    Anyway, let’s just see what happens.

  111. 111
    eemom says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    Corner Stone is as usual correct.

    Since the only people on the planet that would say such a wrong thing, are Corner Stone and maybe the clown federation

    Yeah, I had to retrieve my jaw from the floor after reading that one too.

    However, don’t forget the eminent A L and her launching of World War Front Pager against ABL in defense of Stonie’s honor. That was, as the kids say, epic.

  112. 112
    IM says:

    @Clime Acts:

    You are hardly the only asshole on Balloon Juice, but you still are one. And you are also a liar: I edited nothing, asshole.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Heliopause:

    Whoa, wait a minute. Now Noam Scheiber is part of the “professional left”?

    Noam Scheiber appears on TV representing himself as a liberal. He gets paid to do this (what, you thought he was appearing on CNN and MSNBC for free out of the goodness of his heart?) So, yes, I would say that someone who gets paid to write and talk about his opinions from what they claim is a left or liberal POV can be said to be part of the “professional left.”

    From the view of actual liberals, it’s pretty clear that Scheiber is being used by the MSM to demonstrate that “even the liberal Noam Scheiber hates Obama,” but he does actually represent a left political position as his profession.

  114. 114
    Clime Acts says:

    @IM:

    LIAR. You took out the phrase about accusing cole of rape enabling and racism. Which she did. Why’d ya do that?

    And why ya call me names? It makes me haz a sadness…

  115. 115
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @IM: Oh look! It’s little Timmy Kola Noscopy the valiant pedophile defender.

    Who let him out of his cage?

  116. 116
    Clime Acts says:

    @ABL 2.0:

    Hi Zandar! What are you doing back on this rape enabling, racist blog?

  117. 117
    IM says:

    The Professional Left:

    vocals: Noan Scheiber
    guitar: Marty Peretz
    Bass: Fred Hiatt
    Drums: Jon Chait

  118. 118
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ABL 2.0:

    We asked Cole for some new trolls for Christmas, but I guess Santa let him down. It’s just so boring to have the same old same old keep popping back up from under their bridges.

  119. 119
    Allan says:

    @Clime Acts: I’m trying to figure out what the targets of your obsessive hatred all have in common. President Barack Obama, Zandar, ABL… no, I just can’t make the connection. Can anyone help me out?

  120. 120
    IM says:

    @Clime Acts:

    I cited exactly what you wrote. If you edited that later, that is not my problem. I won’t to start use screen-shots on a fucking blog comment.

  121. 121

    just read Scheiber’s article, and it sounded like the usual over thought, fatuous mind reading second guessing the pro left are famous for concerning about everything that Obama does that confound privileged whites. What else is new?

  122. 122
    scav says:

    @Clime Acts: Oh go french kiss your mirror, it misses you dreadfully and yearns to bring you once again to the heights of your self-given name.

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    From the view of -actual liberals- Zandar , it’s pretty clear that Scheiber is being used by the MSM to demonstrate that “even the liberal Noam Scheiber hates Obama,” but he does actually represent a left political position as his profession.

    But it’s quite clear Zandar is, as usual, misrepresenting someone’s position or article to further his own steady coal stoked poutrage engine.
    Guy’s got a serious hard on for the teensiest of potential criticism of Obama.
    He’ll mislabel or misquote anyone he can find to drum up outrage because he knows there’s a steady contingent of commenters here who won’t bother to actually read the source material, and just echo his tripe.
    Others seem to swallow his initial take and can’t seem to get past that slant Zandar imbues others with.

  124. 124
    IM says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    It is still new that TNR is now suddenly part of the left. Who’s next to join the ranks of the professional left, Third Way? Zell Miller? Mickey Kaus?

  125. 125
    scav says:

    Can someone please release my serious (if slightly OT) stuff from moderation? Thanks.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: Hall Monitor, that’s some pretty insipid conflation.
    How about you ask, “Why does he have issues with President Obama?”
    And then ask, “He seems to not like ABL and Zandar. Wonder why that is?”
    Because to elevate the truly awful ABL and the slightly deranged Zandar to the status of President Obama doesn’t seem very helpful if you’d like an answer to your query.
    Oh, wait…you don’t actually want an answer to your question.
    Carry on!

  127. 127
    Clime Acts says:

    @Allan:

    I’m trying to figure out what the targets of your obsessive hatred all have in common. President Barack Obama, Zandar, ABL… no, I just can’t make the connection. Can anyone help me out?

    Yawn…

    I voted for O in the Mass primary the other day. Of course I had to pull up my KKK hood to clearly see the ballot, but I managed. Those eye holes just don’t cut it.

  128. 128
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: When you throw a rock into a pigpen, you know which pig you hit by its squealing.

  129. 129

    @IM:

    Who’s next to join the ranks of the professional left,

    Since Obama is the greatest scourge to nekkid capitalism, the “Progressive Movement”, and Carter’s Little Liver Pills, among other venerated institutions, I would say ALL OF THEM.

  130. 130
    wrb says:

    @Allan:

    When you throw a rock into a pigpen, you know which pig you hit by its squealing.

    Oh, that’s wonderful.

    mine

  131. 131
    Clime Acts says:

    @Allan:

    Why are you throwing rocks at Prez O, and why is he in a pen with ABL and Zandar?

    Why are you a Hall Monitor?

    And a douche?

    Shouldn’t you be over at ABLC, trying to get the comment count past eight with various sock puppets?

  132. 132
    different-church-lady says:

    Once again a political writer is playing checkers while Obama is trying to run a superpower.

    I don’t see Scheiber trying to hate on Obama here. What I do see is a pundit doing the typical village dance of reading potential conflict into every single little lack of fit, trying to create drama where very little probably exists, and performing pop-psychology. Writers have time for that shit, because all they do is sit there and watch things and spend quality time with their own thoughts. Obama doesn’t — he’s got actual work to attend to.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Mary: I’ll admit I am in no position to judge the level of accord between Dr. Kim and the WH on what may happen moving forward.
    I personally expect there to be some level of disagreement, and I consider that a positive thing given the WB’s evolving mission as the world changes.
    I think Dr. Kim is an inspired choice, I think Obama knew who he was getting, Kim knew what he was accepting, and I fervently hope for great results from Dr. Kim.
    Further, I believe it will be difficult to judge any WB results in the 24/7 media so I hope it continues for years to come.

  134. 134
    Heliopause says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And that of course is not what the term “professional left” supposedly means, but you already knew that and are simply being obtuse.

  135. 135
    Allan says:

    @Clime Acts: A sock puppet says what?

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @IM:

    It is still new that TNR is now suddenly part of the left.

    They were always part of the left until Peretz bought them and turned them into a Likudnik mouthpiece. It will be interesting to see where the new owner takes them.

  137. 137
    gaz says:

    @IM: You forgot to also include “child rape enthusiast” among your description of Kola Noscopy Clime Acts.

    @Clime Acts: No matter how many times you change your nick, we’ll ALWAYS know what you did last summer.

    cheers, you sick pedobear creep.

  138. 138
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): You said it with much more flair than I did.

  139. 139

    Yea, yea, all this is preliminary of course, until Greenwald weighs in on the cost of freedom per Obama’s pick.

  140. 140
    different-church-lady says:

    OK, wait: someone explain to me the constructive reason to throw rocks at pigs?

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Heliopause:

    And that of course is not what the term “professional left” supposedly means, but you already knew that and are simply being obtuse.

    Uh, no, AFAIK, that’s always what the term “professional left” has meant — the people who go on TV to represent the left or liberal POV. That’s why people as diverse as EJ Dionne and Markos both get labeled as “professional left.”

    People get pissy about the “professional left” label because they think of people like Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald as bloggers and not TV personalities, but both of them make frequent appearances on MSNBC and other media outlets as representatives of “the left.” Their media appearances are what got them that label, not their blogs.

  142. 142
    Corner Stone says:

    @Heliopause: The PL fits whoever Zandar et al need them to be for their poutrage.
    It’s kind of like some grab bag Harry Potter may own. You reach in and pull out whomever fits your rant that post.

  143. 143
    Clime Acts says:

    @gaz:

    No matter how many times you change your nick, we’ll ALWAYS know what you did last summer. cheers, you sick pedobear creep.

    I stand by everything I wrote, spaz.

    And my boys say “hi.”

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: Case in point.

  145. 145
    The Raven says:

    @Corner Stone: I also read the article as neutral.

    Zandar, you’re barking up the wrong tree here.

    Personally, I say again that Obama’s positives do not excuse his negatives.

  146. 146
    agorabum says:

    I think there is a fundamental math failure made by “even the liberal” TNR. Scheiber makes the claim that “Problem is, the Obama administration has taken a very different (and, in the post-PIH world, equally controversial) position on global health aid: It has slowed the rate of growth in the money the U.S. government spends fighting AIDS and TB abroad”
    So let me get this right: the amount the US is spending on these diseases has grown under Obama, and is growing. But the rate of growth has slowed…
    So we should freak out because increases were 7% from a low baseline, and now are around 5% from a much larger pot? WTF. If funding is going up for Kim’s priority, I’ll bet Kim is happy. This is concern trolling combined with innumeracy.

  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @xian: I find it interesting that I continue to engage in this thread but you just trolled your way in and out.

  148. 148
    Karl The Crap Blog Detective says:

    @Mnemosyne: Which equates to “so-forbidden word-m” on wingnut planet. So it’s still totally unclear what countries they are talking about.

  149. 149
    LosGatosCA says:

    @Redshift:
    I mean, America, but as a corporation, it’s their wet dream.

    For profit. With them as owners. And the rest are the peasants laboring in obscurity, fighting for scraps that they beg for, but only sometimes get. If they have been chaste before marriage without birth control

    You know, the good old days before the French Revolution – only better because the 1% now own all the virtual guillotines through corporations that get the write offs and the peasants get guns to shoot each other if they act suspiciously.

    It’s not a wet dream, it’s here, get used to it.

  150. 150
    Heliopause says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, it obviously doesn’t mean what you say. It obviously has a technical meaning as used by Zandar and others (scare quotes are a pretty big giveaway, for those capable of reading in context). The only open question now is what is motivating you to spew this obtuse nonsense.

    And Zandar, the question still stands, do you feel alright?

  151. 151
    IM says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They were, yes and perhaps the new owner will allow them to be a part of the left again. But the current Peretz TNR is not a part of the left, but very much the flagship of the right wing of the democratic party.

    And Zandar seemed to expect criticism from the left, didn’t find anything and then just declared Scheiber and Hiatt to be the new leaders of the left.

    And I think that stretches even a loose term like left or professional left in a way that renders the term useless.

    But now I will turn my mind to important questions like: If Jon in Jon Chait is short for Jonathan, is Jon Snows true name Jonathan too?

  152. 152
    Knockabout says:

    Oh no, ABL and Zandar aren’t the same people. I can assure you of this. They do very much deserve each other in the “Hell is other people” sense.

    It is quite amusing to see Zandar get destroyed every time he posts. Maybe he’ll take the hint and crawl back to his own blog and his audience of five where he can pretend he’s a Titan among pundits.

    If you think ABLC is a D-list refuge for worthless echo chamber Obamabots, Zandar’s blog is so far down the alphabet that new letters need to be created past Z to define how empty that place is. He literally spends every day ranting at himself, alone.

    Why ABL or Cole would choose to raise up this fool out of the swamp I have no clue. Well in ABL’s case I have a good idea why, and it has everything to do with validation of her massive ego.

    Cole I can’t explain. Perhaps ABL made him take Zandar, which would explain quite a bit. Zandar does make a good minion, unable to create anything close to an original thought he didn’t lift himself from a better blogger.

    Am I wrong, Z?

  153. 153
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Really? What the hell does he have to do, folks? What is it going to take?

    The Reedy Nasal Whine emitted by the emoprogs is like the Tao – pour into it and it can never be filled; pour from it and it can never be emptied. It exists for its own sake.

  154. 154
    eemom says:

    @Knockabout:

    You are one creepy fuck.

    Second what someone said above — go check that the door is locked, Zandar.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Heliopause:

    Also, too, haven’t you ever wondered why right-wing pundits could come on cable shows during the Bush years and praise his decisions to the skies, but left-wing pundits only show up on those shows when they’re criticizing Obama?

    Cable news shows all have a certain premise, and that premise is Democrats Are Wrong. Guests only appear on those shows if they support that premise. Think back to how many left-wing pundits like Dionne publicly embarrassed themselves by supporting the Catholic Church over the Obama administration when it came to contraception.

  156. 156
    Knockabout says:

    Also the fact remains that everyone who disagrees with Obama or Zandar is now “the professional left” even the conservatives. If that doesn’t give the game away for both ABL and Zandar then nothing else will.

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    pour into it and it can never be filled; pour from it and it can never be emptied. It exists for its own sake.

    I thought that was the “formlessness of conservatism”, like the stillness between the waves?

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Heliopause:

    It obviously has a technical meaning as used by Zandar and others (scare quotes are a pretty big giveaway, for those capable of reading in context).

    Yes, it does have a technical meaning, which I explained for you at length. The fact that you don’t like my explanation doesn’t mean that there must be some other, secret explanation that I’m ignoring. That’s what the explanation is.

    If you’re convinced that my definition is wrong, what is your definition of “professional left”?

  159. 159
    Donut says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Dr. Kim may be able to pull another rabbit out of the head for AIDS treatment and prevention, as he did with TB (not to suggest that TB is solved—nowhere near it). It all depends on how much leeway is left in dealing with AIDS treatment costs.

    Gosh. It’s almost, like, a coincidental thing, or something

  160. 160
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan:

    When you throw a rock into a pigpen, you know which pig you hit by its squealing.

    It’s good to know you have such extensive history in pig farming.
    Still not sure why you’d throw rocks at them but it does kind of help explain your mentality a little bit.
    If you saw a kid on crutches would you push him over for laughs too?
    Do you kick people with casts?
    Did your parents let you have small pets when you were a child? Or were the pigs your only friends?

  161. 161
  162. 162
    Knockabout says:

    The evidence seems to point to Z and ABL as trying to do everything they can to stamp out disagreement with Obama even if it means depressing his base in the process.

    Please note that is what the two of them are accusing the “professional left” of doing all the time.

    Projection…

  163. 163
    Mnemosyne says:

    @IM:

    But the current Peretz TNR is not a part of the left, but very much the flagship of the right wing of the democratic party.

    Now, I know that our current political definitions are completely effed up, but isn’t the right wing of the Democratic Party still on the left? They’re way way way over to the side, but I don’t think I would ever refer to Bill Clinton as a right-winger no matter how pissed off I was about welfare “reform.”

    Part of the media problem that we have is that a whole lot of pundits who, in a normal world, would be considered centrists or right of center are put on our TV and sold as representatives of the left. There’s a whole range of them, from Fox News Democrats to the Professional Left, but they all have one purpose — selling the cable news theme that Democrats Are Always Wrong.

  164. 164
    IM says:

    Well you have to be

    a) a professional: Earning your livelihood from commenting on or reporting or engaging in politics.

    and b) on the left.

    And I don’t think the TNR crowd or Hiatt is on the left.

    The media likes to invite people like Ford or Lieberman or Bayh etc. so the can attack other democrats, including Obama. Professionals, yes. On the left, no. Or Joe Klein or Jeffrey Goldberg or the “liberal” op-ed writers on the Washington Post.

  165. 165
    R says:

    Of all the bloggers on this site, it seems like the ones that get dumped on for no good reason are Z and ABL. Gee, I wonder why?

  166. 166
  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero): And @ Allan
    Yes, yes. I see this a lot from sloppy advocates of a certain belief. I’m sure it’s a very useful strategy. If you’re Michelle Malkin.
    Personally, I prefer a precise critique that has some basis in fact or truth.
    I can understand why you..uh..”gentlemen” do not.

  168. 168
    IM says:

    Joe Manchin, to use a severe example, is on the left. He supports the democratic majority leader. He votes more with democrats then even the most moderate republican. So in the political system of the US, he is on the left.

    Now let’s imagine Manchin attacking, one could say shooting at, Obama. Would it really be right to write: The professional left strikes again or shut up, Manchin, you damn emo-prog?

    And since I promised, I will at least speak about Snowe. Olympia, that is. She is to left of every other republican senator. Does that means Snowe is on the left? Is Snowe a part of the professional left?

  169. 169
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Personally, I prefer a precise critique that has some basis in fact or truth.

    You type many words but all I hear is Wheeeee!

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @IM:

    Okay, last thing before I have to go run errands:

    All of those people that you named are part of the “professional left” because that’s what they play on TV. The fact that they aren’t actually part of the left is why they’re invited on. And the only time that people from the actual left are invited on is when they’re there to criticize Democrats.

    That’s why people get pissed off at the “professional left” — they exist on TV only to criticize Democrats. The range of permitted expression on cable news is “Democrats suck” to “Democrats suck,” and people who want to keep appearing on TV learn very quickly that praising anything Democrats do that’s different from what Republicans do (not just Obama, but any Democrat) means they won’t be invited back.

    Zandar is putting this article on the side of the “professional left” because it’s digging hard to find something, anything to criticize about this choice from a left/humanitarian POV, and this weaksauce is what Scheiber came up with.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: It’s so sad you give such short shrift to the only friends you had growing up.
    I feel sorry for you.

  172. 172
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m searching all your comments about me for evidence of “a precise critique that has some basis in fact or truth,” but I’m finding none.

    Still, you type pretty well with those little cloven hooves.

  173. 173
    Heliopause says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    which I explained for you at length.

    No you didn’t, you spouted nonsense that is plainly incorrect. Here is your definition: “I would say that someone who gets paid to write and talk about his opinions from what they claim is a left or liberal POV can be said to be part of the ‘professional left’.” This literal definition would obviously include a good many media personalities that Robert Gibbs wasn’t thinking about when he coined the term, so it is plainly incorrect.

    what is your definition of “professional left”?

    Unlike you I don’t make up my own definitions to suit some rhetorical purpose. Look up what Gibbs said. I’ll give you a preview; he meant ideological purists and drug users who unrelentingly criticize President Obama. Anybody who would put Jon Chait and Noam Scheiber in that group is either being obtuse or in serious need of time off.

  174. 174
    hildebrand says:

    The basic problem with TNR is the fact that many of their writers are allergic to any kind of risky political maneuvering. In order to work there you have to master the defensive crouch. Any decision that might be something other than milquetoast is to be eschewed at all costs.

    The kicker, of course, is that they often write about bold action as a potentiality, but never as an actuality. Thinking bold thoughts is important, doing bold things, far too risky.

    So, as far as the latest bit of wonderment coming from Scheiber – whether it is left or right is irrelevant. Scheiber hoped that the President would act boldly, but he didn’t want the President to actually act boldly.

  175. 175
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: Pig fucker, I think it’s well beyond time you were exposed to this:
    Derailing for Pig Fuckers
    Learn it. Live it. Love it.

  176. 176

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, yes. I see this a lot from sloppy advocates of a certain belief.

    You mean the belief you are a racist moron? Now squeal some more li’l piggy, and dance as fast as you can.

  177. 177
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: Someone got up on the wrong side of the sty this morning!

  178. 178
    Heliopause says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The fact that they aren’t actually part of the left is why they’re invited on.

    This is a very obvious falsehood if we pay any attention to the coining of the term and its historical use.

  179. 179
    David Koch says:

    what’s wrong with the phrase “professional left”? Some people react with such pain when it’s used.

  180. 180
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: Guilty of Derailing #’s 7, 9, 13 and 62.
    Learn it. Live it. Love it.

  181. 181
    David Koch says:

    If “PL” is such an offensive term, why isn’t there a campaign to boycott sponsors of any blog/writer who uses it?

  182. 182
    xian says:

    @Redshift: also, too, Germany. which also has *shudder* mandates.

  183. 183
    xian says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Thoughts?

    not really

  184. 184
    xian says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Thoughts?

    not really

  185. 185
    xian says:

    @Clime Acts:

    Thoughts?

    not really

  186. 186
    David Koch says:

    If people want to ban the use of the term “PL” in polite company, then we should also ban the word “liberal”, because sadly, there are a bunch of “liberals” who are equally terrorized by the term “liberal”.

    It’s sad. Instead of standing up and owning the word, too many liberals cower in embarrassment and piss their pants.

    For the weak kneed leftists, here is how to deal with frightening words.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTFp7WG9J-E

  187. 187
    El Cid says:

    Holy crap, the site looks utterly different! The rest of what I was going to say doesn’t matter.

  188. 188
    Bruce S says:

    Jesus Christ, one guy at TNR writes about some potential conflicts between what Kim has advocated on a particular issue and positions of the Obama administration, and it becomes a tirade against “the professional left”, using a “they” bludgeon even though all you’re pointing to is one guy who has actually done some research and raised some questions.

    For what it’s worth (and nothing other than kneejerk poutrage is worth much in these threads) I went over to Firedoglake, which I never, ever read but understand is the epitome of rage-inducing “professional leftist” sites among a certain rather cramped cohort here and Obama got props for his pick. This psuedo-commentary is just rancid bait for the same old shit to be recycled with little-to-no substance or content other than tossing meat-substitute to the same sorry little pack. Pathetic.

  189. 189
    David Koch says:

    If people want to ban the use of the term “PL” in polite company, then we should also ban the word “liberal”, because sadly, there are a bunch of “liberals” who are equally terrorized by the term.

    It’s sad. Instead of standing up and owning the word, too many liberals cower in embarrassment and soil their pants.

    For the weak kneed leftists and libertarians, here is how to deal with frightening words.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTFp7WG9J-E

  190. 190
    David Koch says:

    This new site format is a plot by the “Professional Left”!

    Funny, I remember 5-10 years ago when liberals finally started landing landing paid gigs as a liberal advocacy journalists. They were so proud of the breakthrough and of the burgeoning new era of liberal journalism to counter the corporate media and the wingnut Wurlitzers.

    Now they’re ashamed of getting paid.

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