It wasn't the Tea Partiers and conservative radio hosts who had the harshest things to say about Obamacare. Left-wing bloggers offered some of the sharpest attacks - and some of them made lots of sense.
From the beginning of the debate a year ago, Jane Hamsher of the influential blog Firedoglake insisted that no "reform" without a public option would be acceptable. Her fetish for a public option was misguided, but some of her reasoning was solid.
The day after the bill passed, for instance, Ms. Hamsher wrote: "This bill fundamentally shifts the relationships of governance in order to achieve its objectives. ... We have empowered another quasi-governmental, 'too big to fail' industry with alarming nonchalance."
On March 17, four days before the vote, Ms. Hamsher was even harsher:
"The claims made by the administration about the virtues of the health care bill are outright fabrications. As Marcy Wheeler has documented in her post entitled 'Health Care and the Road to Neofeudalism,' it does not control either insurance premiums or health care costs. Forcing 31 million people to buy a product they don't want and can't afford to use does not constitute health care reform."
She's right, of course. The "individual mandate" that forces every American to purchase health insurance is an assault on liberty and clearly unconstitutional. It must be repealed.
The next sentences from Firedoglake get even tougher: "Once again, the poor get used as human shields so corporations can be the beneficiaries of massive government bailout. Rather than actually helping the poor, this bill is a dangerous and unprecedented step on the road to domination of government by private corporate players who use it to suppress competition and secure their profits - the textbook definition of fascism."
Ms. Hamsher helpfully provided an online link to the very definition of fascism in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: "Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society's economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the 'national interest' - that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it."
One need not sling around labels or endorse such a loaded term as fascism to understand that Obamacare is anathema to the American system of free enterprise and limited government. Also anathema were the bait-and-switch, strong-arm, kneecapping tactics used to ram this bill into law against the wishes of an overwhelming public majority. Again, here is Firedoglake: "Members of Congress are dealing their seats away, planning to retire after the vote is cast in exchange for appointments or other sinecures from the administration." And "the corruption, lies and lack of affordability that were the hallmarks of the bill" helped demonstrate "the bad faith with which the president engaged in the health care debate."
From right, left and center, almost anybody could see how bad a bill and distasteful a process this government takeover of health care was. It must not stand.