(He not only mischaracterizes the policy differences over it, he completely falls down on defending it, relying on the same-old same-old "it ain't perfect but it'll insure millions of people" Maserati Defense.)
It's also abundantly clear how personal this all is for him. He's ranted about Glenn Greenwald and other Bush critics before, screaming about "civil liberties extremists", and been completely humiliated for doing it. If you haven't, read about his outburst at a beach party about Glenn Greenwald. It's comedy gold.
But in his flailing tantrum, he's betrayed something important:
The denizens of the left blogosphere consider themselves the Democratic Party's base. But they are not. For Democrats, as opposed to Republicans, the wing is not the base; the legions of loyal African Americans, union members, Jews, women and Latinos are.See it? Klein thinks that the Dems are nothing more than a collection of special interests. There are no beliefs, no political philosophies, no ideologies; to him it's just a bunch of grasping minorities shouting "more, more, I want MORE!" This is a right-wing stereotype from the nineties; yet as the first terrible decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close, it's made perfectly clear that Klein still believes it.
And, remember, Klein is not an original thinker. He doesn't have thoughts or beliefs of his own. He simply parrots whatever his betters say, reciting the conventional wisdom of Washington at the time. That's what makes him boring, but that's also what makes him useful.
This is what the Dems really think of progressives and liberals. Hell, this is what Washington thinks of progressives and liberals. They spent the whole of the past year blaming "the left" for every problem with health care reform while bending over backwards to please the Republicans and their maniac base. They recoiled at every attempt to highlight the overwhelming influence of Wall Street on Washington's financial planners, and lavished attention on the right-wing's deficit shibboleth while ignoring progressives' concerns about anemic job growth.
Sure, progressives are useful. They're passionate, donate time and money, and do a lot of the hard work of organizing human beings so that the professionals can get down to the far more important work of begging for cash.
But for God's sake, you don't listen to them. You don't legislate based on anything they have to say. You don't side with them in debate. You don't hold the line for them. And if they hold the line themselves, you and everybody else who is part of the Washington community is fully entitled—if not REQUIRED—to smack them down.
You have to smack them down, because they've forgotten their place. It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on, or which institute you're at, or how many baseball statistics you've collated. At the end of the day, progressives are objects.