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The Real Meaning of “Not Politically Feasible”

Washington’s Blog [1]
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Noam Chomsky addressed an issue I’ve been meaning to write about for a while: what it really means when a political pundit says that something is “not politically feasible”.

Chomsky explains [2] that “not politically feasible” means that the powers-that-be don’t want it, even if the people overwhelmingly and passionately support it:

Up until the year 2004, that idea was described, for example, by the New York Times as politically impossible and lacking political support. So, maybe the public wants it, but that’s not what counts as political support. The financial institutions are opposed, the pharmaceutical institutions are opposed, so it’s not—no political support…

This is very revealing insight into how American democracy functions and what is meant by the term “political support” and “politically possible.” Again, this should be headlines. Will a proposal come that approaches what the public wants?…

It is not politically possible and lacks political support—[no one important wants it, ] just the population…

Chomsky was talking about healthcare, but this applies to every other area of politics as well.


For example, after the TARP bailouts were exposed as a waste of money which did not address the real economic problems, I saw a tv news pundit say that the bailouts were a bad idea, but at the time, “it was not politically feasible” to do anything else. I bet you’ve heard similar things said about any constructive proposal which would address the real problems with our economy.

And the same is true of any other proposal which challenges any aspect of power of the big boys.

The way to combat this tactic? Cite poll numbers showing that it is politically feasible because the people want it.