Howard Schultz, a corporate predator and liar who got rich using monopolistic tactics to sell Americans bad coffee, is still running what he thinks is a presidential campaign, even though everyone despises him.
Yesterday he had some thoughts about Medicare for All:
The Medicare for All proposal by @BernieSanders would cause 180 million people to lose their current healthcare coverage. All that Sanders and the far-left care about is furthering their agenda. This is unrealistic and shows a total disregard of our country’s overwhelming debt.
The “agenda” here, that Bernie Sanders and others care about furthering, is “providing medical coverage to everyone, rather than leaving them subject to the combined whims of their employers, insurance companies, and plain bad luck within a hopelessly complicated and sprawling, yet insufficient, system that is constantly being sabotaged by Republicans.” It’s hard to see how this is a more singleminded agenda than Howard Schultz’s own fixation on the national debt, which treats the job of balancing the budget—an abstract accounting feat that has been successfully neglected for generations—as unquestionably more important than whether anyone personally gets financially ruined by illness or dies of something preventable.
But principally, Howard Schultz was being rude. In the tweet, and in a dismissive two-paragraph Medium post it linked to, his characterization of Medicare for All and its supporters was abusive and unfair:
With no way to pay for it, no chance of getting bipartisan support in Congress, and the potential for significant ramifications in treatment and innovation, this proposal confirms what we already knew: Sanders and the far-left wing of the Democratic party are out of touch with reality.
Being a leader requires making hard choices and being honest. Bernie Sanders’ plan does neither and only serves to advance a far-left agenda.
Rather than treating Medicare for All advocates as people with valid political interests, which should be incorporated into the balancing act of democratic governance, he presented them as illegitimate “far-left” claimants who are “out of touch with reality” and need to be forced out of the discussion.
And he did this right under a banner that said (in crummily kerned lettering) “civility.”
It is fine, in our political system, for a greedy billionaire to fight against universal health coverage for people who have less money than he does. It’s evil, but if it’s what he wants, he can advocate for that. It’s less fine, but depressingly normal, for him to make that argument dishonestly and incoherently, by framing a change in coverage as a loss of coverage, and by trying to argue simultaneously that Medicare for All is a serious threat and that it is politically impossible to pass. (His banner reads, in full, “honesty civility results.”)
But it is grotesque for Schultz to do this while he claims to be elevating the level of political discourse. There is nothing civil about his message. It’s a plain attack, smarmily packaging itself as something higher than an attack.
In this, if in absolutely nothing else, Schultz’s candidacy is performing a public service. A call for “civility” is never anything but a powerful person’s excuse for telling other people to shut up. Because Schultz is such a dumb oaf, he can’t even fake the necessary level of respect to make it work. He’s the candidate of civility because he and civility are both frauds, and no one needs to listen to either one of them.