There are times when I want to quit being a progressive liberal, tear up my ACLU membership card and surrender my implanted mind-control chip through which I receive marching orders from Hugo Chavez. No matter the righteousness of the cause, liberal progressives cannot seem to get on top of any public policy debate, cannot seem to win any war of words — which is just weird because you have to assume there are many more English majors among liberals.

While opinions on health-care reform break sharply along partisan lines, with most Democrats in favor and most Republicans opposed, independent voters strongly oppose the health-care reform measures pending in Congress by a whopping 70 percent to 27 percent, according to a recent Pew Research poll. How could the left possibly be losing the debate on health-care reform when its opponent is the roundly loathed health insurance industry — an ongoing criminal syndicate, in my view, that demands protection money from sick people?

It’s because the insurance industry’s demagoguery is better and smarter than the reformists’ demagoguery. This is a gunfight to which the reform agenda has brought a dull spoon.