Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

Obama Needs “Emotional Moral Clarity” for Obamacare

Michael Zuckerman contends that “President Obama’s new push to ‘sell’ the law … risks devolving into transactionalism … To make the case, Obama needs to strike the sustained, emotional moral clarity—consistent claims that go beyond economic benefits—that helped bring him to Washington in the first place.”

“For supporters of progressive taxation, the social safety net, and the responsibility to heal the sick, that rationale for shying away from moral claims is misguided to the point of self-sabotage. Adding a set of bold moral arguments for healthcare reform to a recitation of the program’s transactional benefits is a winning strategy for three main reasons.”

  • First, the risk is not that high.
  • Second, it’s better than being ignored.
  • Third, Obama is the standard-bearer of a party in the midst of a fight over the validity of its philosophical underpinning.

Martha Nussbaum: “Ceding the terrain of emotion-shaping to antiliberal forces gives them a huge advantage in the people’s hearts and risks making people think of liberal values as tepid and boring.”

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