George Pyle: Sorry, comrades, Ben McAdams is not a socialist

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Congressman Ben McAdams meets with the Editorial Board of the Salt Lake Tribune, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.

To: All Salt Lake City Sleeper Cells

From: Commissar Pyle

Re: Counter-Propaganda


As the election of 2020 approaches, you must be wary of the wave of propaganda that is sure to be unleashed by the Utah bourgeoisie and their financiers.

The party of greed and wealth will, through every means of communication and publication available to them, blanket society with the message that Ben McAdams, member of Congress from the 4th District of Utah, is a socialist. A fellow traveler. A Marxist. A pinko. One of them.

Do not be fooled. He is nothing of the kind.

No good socialist ever expresses a desire that people seeking health care have “skin in the game.”

He would not expound on how any barrier between working and impoverished people and necessary medical care would be lowered by faithfulness to “market solutions.”

He would not use the terms “capitalism” and “the free market” interchangeably, as a way of using the latter to unjustifiably cleanse the former.

He would not oppose universal health care — Medicare for All — on the grounds that there are already not enough doctors to serve everyone.

In the modern political realm, the mere fact that McAdams styles himself a Democrat, the only one in Utah’s congressional delegation, will cause his challengers to label him a socialist, as if those two terms are synonymous.

It is a stereotype that will make attacking him easy, while having great potential to weigh him down with a label he has not earned and does not deserve. It will force him to waste time and energy thrice denying fellow Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and — at least until she gets elected president — Elizabeth Warren.

Actually, in a time and place that sustained such creatures, McAdams might not be a Democrat at all, much less a socialist. He would be, if such beasts were not extinct, a moderate-to-liberal Republican. The kind of constructive, education-supporting, ribbon-cutting Republican who used to get elected as governor or senator in states from Connecticut to Kansas to Utah.

In many ways, on subjects like expanding access to health care, climate change and immigration, he sounds a lot like nobody so much as Mitt Romney. Though, if anything, Romney is more critical of the sitting administration than McAdams is. Partly because McAdams is in a weaker political position. Partly because Mitt just gets asked more questions by reporters from all across the country

Of course there is one thing that the capitalist running dogs will throw at McAdams that might stick. Something that fits with the idea of being a Democrat these days and something that, in the eyes of too many, is derided as betraying a whacko Lefty Louie position.

He sees government as something that can help. Not solve everything. But help.

His attitude toward health care does not, sadly, center on taking the profit-motivated providers and insurers out back and shooting them (metaphorically, of course). But when McAdams promotes ideas such as building on the Affordable Care Act, limiting the number of years Big Pharma companies can hold onto their price-inflating patents, making insurance risk pools bigger, and thus less risky, it is all in the name of helping normal people get the care and medicines they need.

Those of us who would like to live in a First World country before we die, and don’t want to move to Iceland, don’t think it will work. But he seems sincere.

McAdams does not argue that the country and the government should kowtow to corporate medicine on the theory that, if only we allow enough price-gouging and deregulation, trusting the Unseen Hand of the Marketplace, the obscenely wealthy people who run pharmaceutical and insurance companies will take pity on us and allow us not to die of curable diseases. Out of the goodness of their hearts.

And, when making the case that getting more doctors and other health care providers online is a greater need than providing everyone with health insurance, he puts the problem as one of undersupply. He does not, as do the Republicans who control the Utah Legislature, describe it as the fault of all those disgusting poor people who would suddenly think themselves worthy of health care, show up in waiting rooms and crowd out the deserving rich and middle class.

There are a lot of folks up and down the political spectrum who hope McAdams’ moderate Blue Dog Democrat plans fail. For some of us, the hope is that those who make Ben McAdams impossible will make Elizabeth Warren inevitable.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tribune staff. George Pyle.

George Pyle, editorial page editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, was once called, “that Lefty Louie” by Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.