Congratulations to President Obama (and Nancy Pelosi)

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pelosi obama.jpgAnyone watching the health care debate unfold this past year couldn’t help but note that it had the feel of a badly run, badly managed sports season in which the President’s team nonetheless is going to end up holding the trophy cup.
Some time between 6 pm and midnight eastern, there will be a vote in the House of Representatives that passes health care reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already getting rave reviews in the media for taking a dead health care package and breathing life back into it and beating and kicking the legislation through a very tough crowd in her House of Representatives.
Pelosi deserves the praise.
President Obama is said not to be really turned on to a challenge unless he is being tested and feels like he is losing. It’s said — by chroniclers like Richard Wolffe in his book Renegade: The Making of an American President — that Obama then decides to get on his game, and change things up on his team and in his approach, and then really pushes hard.
This is exactly what President Obama did on health care — and he too deserves huge credit.
I am waiting to see what the final package looks like when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and some other issues. The kick-in periods for some important pieces of this legislation are years away. I think it is a big mistake not to have a public option out there for people as I don’t see how cost containment is achieved without such an option.
But that said, I am for health care reform, not only for the merits of helping Americans deal with pre-existing condition nightmares but because of the massive opportunity costs of this legislation that distracted from so many other key problems the country is facing now.
Obama is already telling folks that he needed health care checked off to be able to move to jobs and immigration, but there’s a lot that desperately needs serious attention on the foreign policy plate.
And we hope that the President will take stock pretty soon — realize he’s not doing well on foreign policy, and show the same sort of ‘getting his game on’ approach there as he has done on health care.
Congratulations President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and others on the White House team for what looks to be a victory tonight — even Rahm (!).
— Steve Clemons
Editor’s Note: I believe health care reform legislation will pass the House tonight, but I will be on a plane to Tripoli, Libya this evening and won’t be able to blog it then. So, I wanted my comments up now. I will be at the AIPAC annual meeting today before the health care vote. Best, Steve Clemons

Comments

91 comments on “Congratulations to President Obama (and Nancy Pelosi)

  1. Ohio Medicaid says:

    It seems there is little chance any medicaid reform will be celebrated by hospitals, patients, doctors and insurance companies alike. Perhaps there is a need to overhaul the greater system? Big words, but not too much in way of solutions. Some people are just idea people…

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    I have no idea how this process has affected academic work,
    WigWag. And I don’t know how young people deal with this
    issue. But you’re addressing a huge problem that I can’t see any
    solution to: The problem is that after the digital revolution, we –
    whether we are writers, composers, or photographers – became
    our own editors.
    Photographers use their blogs as digital galleries. Composers
    compose, play, record, and edit their work on a computer,
    becoming the composers, musicians, engineers, and producers
    of their own music, before distributing it on iTunes or other
    digital music shops. I assume that writers of all kinds still feel
    that it’s an honor to be accepted at a respected publishing
    house or magazine, but nothing is stopping us from publishing
    all of it on our own self-made blog.
    We who produce the stuff are also becoming the ones supposed
    to separate the wheat from the chaff. And even the best among
    us are usually not capable of doing so. We need the qualified
    eyes of others to see what we don’t see ourself – and this
    applies to everything from coherence of thought, to fact
    checking, grammar and orthography.

    Reply

  3. WigWag says:

    You make an interesting point about tempo, Paul. In the old days a letter to the editor of a newspaper might not appear until several days after the initial article that inspired that letter was published. People reading the letter might not have seen the original article or if they had, they might not remember it.
    In medical journals a published paper frequently inspires another investigator to repeat the experiment described in the original paper to see if he gets the same results. That investigator will then publish a paper of his own either verifying or criticizing the original publication. Of course, this all takes months if not years.
    What I wonder about is the effect that the blogosphere has on young people who get to participate in it by writing posts. Journal articles have to be peer reviewed and if they are accepted for publication at all, there is frequently a lively give and take between editor and author that significantly strengthens the paper. Engaging in this process not only enhances the craftsmanship of the author but the vetting process ensures that only the most well thought out and rigorous ideas are published.
    This is the opposite of what happens in blogging. What type of vetting process takes place at the Washington Note or other blogs? How carefully are the essays scrutinized to insure accuracy or completeness? How often is the intent to titillate or entertain rather than to inform?
    I’m not saying that blogging is a bad thing; if I thought it was, I wouldn’t be here. But I do wonder whether young authors who publish here and elsewhere are losing out on something valuable.
    Not to pick on him in particular, but wouldn’t Ben Katcher be better off researching and then writing articles for Foreign Affairs or getting started on his first book about Turkey rather than writing two or three paragraph puff pieces for the Washington Note or the Race for Iran?
    Blogging is fun for the readers and it provides a new and useful vehicle for consummate pros like Steve, but is it really what youngsters should be spending their time on?
    You’re an author and a translator, Paul. Would you be as good as you are at what you do if you spent your 20s and 30s blogging for a living?

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag and Sweetness, I saw the last two posts just now.
    Interesting subject -rhetorics and the blog as a genre. I just
    want to add one aspect here to what WigWag said: Tempo.
    WigWag or Kervick writes a provocative comment, and one hour
    later, five commenters have written a reply.
    The threads are written conversations, a new genre. We lose
    something and gain something by the unwritten rules of a
    genre or form.
    But the tempo aspect also applies to the initial posts, written by
    the hosts or their guests, that WigWag referred to. Clemons,
    Barry Rubin, Stephen Walt and many others write several articles
    a week on their blogs; some, like Steve C and Andrew Sullivan
    some times write several articles in one day. That’s the tempo of
    a blog, and yes, quality suffers due to the pressure.
    As a contrast to this speed, you may consider the tempo by
    which thoughts are produced through the history of philosophy.
    I once wrote, half jokingly, on a blog, the following:
    “What about slow commenting?
    Plato writes a paragraph in a book, and decades later, Aristotle
    writes a comment. Centuries later, Plotin or Cusanus respond.
    Thousands of years later, Nietzsche criticizes Plato`s paragraph;
    and suddenly Heidegger or Adorno may add a comment, just
    decades after Nietzsche.
    Is this kind of conversation through the centuries dying, or will
    we see a revival in cyberspace?”

    Reply

  5. WigWag says:

    “Your comment reminds me of a project that I’ve been mulling over for a while. A lexicon of rhetorical devices that are used on political blogs to “advance” an argument. One of them is “I get that you…” Another is “Do you really think we’re that stupid…” Another is “Blah, blah, blah…” They are used by all sides, but I wonder how effective they really are. It would be interesting to look at each one and define its purpose and various uses.” (Sweetness)
    Sounds like an interesting project, Sweetness. If you decide to undertake it I will be interested in your results.
    I do think that the format of blogs, both the posts and the comments, does tend to make all of us lazy; I know that I am certainly guilty of that myself.
    Alot of it has to do with space limitations which is one of the reasons I like the Washington Note. The smarter commenters here write comments that are long enough to actually say something which is rare, I think, for blogs in general.
    I do wonder whether or not the format tends to “dumb down” the people who write the actual posts. It doesn’t matter much what you or I or Paul Norheim or Dan Kervick say. After all we’re just here for the fun of it; if we read something from a commenter that we didn’t know before, that’s just an added bonus.
    The people who write the posts like Steve Clemons and his guest posters are seriously employed in a world where the ideas they express actually might have some consequences.
    In the old days they would be writing journal articles, op-eds and long opinion pieces. I think that type of writing requires real craftsmanship; at least if it’s done well.
    I wonder whether the short format required for blog posts along with the snarkiness frequently necessary to entice a young and cynical audience steeped in the ironic zeit geist that pervades popular culture today, detracts from the ability of the posters to do serious writing.
    My guess is that it’s not much of a problem for mature experts like Steve Clemons, Walter Russell Mead, David Frum and others who have been *plowing the fields* for a while. But I am curious about whether it’s really a positive experience for some of the young people that Steve invites to post on his blog. At the Washington Note we see blog posts all the time from the likes of Ben Katcher, Jonathan Guyer, Sameer Lalwani and Faith Smith. Unless I’m mistaken, most of these are relatively young people just embarking on their professional careers. 25 years ago they would have spent a good portion of their time doing intense research and writing serious articles that had to be carefully scrutinized if not peer reviewed before they were accepted for publication. Now, presumably they can write anything they want for the blog with just the lightest scrutiny or editing by experienced mentors like Clemons.
    The question is whether this is really a good thing. Are we handicapping the next generation of Steve Clemons’s by encouraging these young people to write short snippets, that while not frivolous, are not exactly in-depth either?
    Personally, I’m very familiar with the world of biomedical research. The way it works in most laboratories is that young graduate students and postdoctoral fellows work under the tutelage of a more senior faculty member. Frequently the youngsters write the first draft of research articles that are then edited by the more senior scientist before being sent off to prestigious journals like “Lancet” or the “New England Journal of Medicine” or “JAMA” or “Science” or “Nature.”
    If the young scientists in research laboratories were spending their time writing blog posts instead of detailed journal articles I wonder whether we would be doing them or anyone else a favor.
    Anyway, the advent of the blog has certainly changed things. Other than the entertainment value that they provide to people like me, I wonder whether they are really a positive development.
    I think it’s a close call either way.
    Thank you for putting me in mind of all of this.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    Hey Wig…
    Your comment reminds me of a project that I’ve been mulling over for a while. A lexicon of rhetorical devices that are used on political blogs to “advance” an argument.
    One of them is “I get that you…”
    Another is “Do you really think we’re that stupid…”
    Another is “Blah, blah, blah…”
    They are used by all sides, but I wonder how effective they really are. It would be interesting to look at each one and define its purpose and various uses.
    Anyway…
    I think that “I get that you…” is designed to allow you to skip over the other person’s argument without engaging it and assert, without proof, that the other is merely stating his opinion, but not saying anything of substance.
    Naturally, I disagree with you here, but I won’t go back over everything I’ve said. So let’s dig in to what you say…
    Wig: I hate to say it, but it’s what people on the left of the political spectrum (at least in the United States)always do.
    SN: There is so much contrary evidence–look at all the argumentation that takes place on tpmcafe by the main bloggers. You may think they are wrong, but they aren’t simply calling folks dumb. Steve Clemons is another good example.
    (Then again, this does sort of remind me of Mead’s “either dumb or anti-Semitic” charge.)
    Wig: What’s the left’s main complaint against Sarah Palin? She’s a hick and she’s stupid.
    SN: Hmm. She mis-used her power as mayor and governor. She tried to get books censored at a library. She lied about the bridge to nowhere, her claim to fame at the convention. She belittled Obama’s experience as a community organizer without reason. Her positions were neocon/Reagan retreads. She was only able to utter slogans. AND she was a hick and stupid (that’s my opinion).
    Wig: What was the left’s main complaint against George W. Bush? He wasn’t intellectually curious; he wasn’t well-read and he was stupid.
    SN: Had he just been these things, he would’ve gone down in history as an inoffensive mediocrity. But he was installed under dubious circumstances and he went on to make MAJOR foreign policy blunders (Iraq, primarily) and tried to roll back a key piece of America’s social safety net. AND he was intellectually incurious, not well read and stupid. In fact, it was these qualities that may have led him to make the mistakes he did.
    Wig: What was the left’s main complaint against Ronald Reagan? He was a phony; he was lazy; he relied on his aides for everything and he was stupid.
    SN: To be fair to his critics, he was criticized for many things on the substance–voodoo economics, for example. Iran-Contra, for another. There were many substantive things for which he was criticized. But you have a point in saying that he was unfairly called stupid.
    Wig: What was the left’s main complaint against Gerald Ford? He was dull, dimwitted and stupid.
    SN: He was probably underrated, but he had no chance, really. Nixon’s shadow shadowed him. He was unfairly attacked for his Poland comment. But he was a bit dull, I think. Dull and decent.
    Wig: What was the mantra of those who supported Adlai Stevenson agains Dwight Eisenhower? Stevenson was such an intellectual; he was so articulate and brilliant. As for Eisenhower; they thought he was a dullard.
    SN: That’s what I remember, too, but there may have been more to the critique than this. Then again, this argument clearly failed, and Ike won for equally frivolous reasons: He’d been a general in a very successful war. So this one was a wash.
    Wig: The same pattern reoccurs like clock-work.
    Why is it so impossible for people on the left of the political spectrum to just argue that their political opponents are wrong?
    SN: Well, as Paul says, Nixon didn’t fit into this pattern either time. I don’t think Barry did either. The left brought down LBJ without using this approach. HW was parodied for his malapropisms, but he wasn’t called stupid. He and Lee WERE guilty of equally superficial venality toward Dukakis. What’s worse–calling someone stupid or saying that you abet criminals and might side with someone who had raped your wife (I think that was the example)? Hardly a good day for substantive arguments.
    Wig: What sort of vanity is it that inspires people to insist that their political opponents are dumb?
    SN: And the right calls Ds traitors, unAmerican, against the family, pro-communist, willing to leave America unprotected from its enemies, against freedom, troop haters, faggots, nigger lovers and more.
    Calling folks stupid strikes me as small potatoes. Or is it potatos? I can never remember-:)

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    I think, WigWag, that we both agree that Hillary Clinton and
    Margaret Thatcher are/were very competent politicians. I would
    also guess that perhaps both you and I may think that the latter
    made plenty of mistakes during her rule in the UK, but that those
    mistakes were more related to ideology than to competence –
    right?

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    “The problem is that this is just a lazy way of criticizing
    someone you don’t agree with.”
    This is certainly not the case, WigWag. Although Dick Cheney
    made mistakes of epic proportions, I would say that he
    somehow qualified as “prepared” (on the level we are discussing
    here), because despite the fact that he sees things completely
    differently from myself, he was, generally speaking, at least as
    familiar with the issues as one might expect of someone
    occupying his office. Palin obviously didn’t have a clue on most
    of the crucial issues, and would thus be completely dependent
    on others to decide what to do if she got any responsibility. We
    are discussing basic competence here, not political views. Very
    few people have argued that Cheney lacked competence on the
    level we are discussing here. He misjudged despite his
    competence, not due to any lack thereof.
    The same could be said about President Nixon and LBJ. Ronald
    Reagan is a more ambiguous case, I think.

    Reply

  9. WigWag says:

    To Paul Norheim and Sweetness; I get it that you think that Sarah Palin is not very bright. The problem is that this is just a lazy way of criticizing someone you don’t agree with.
    I hate to say it, but it’s what people on the left of the political spectrum (at least in the United States)always do.
    What’s the left’s main complaint against Sarah Palin? She’s a hick and she’s stupid.
    What was the left’s main complaint against George W. Bush? He wasn’t intellectually curious; he wasn’t well-read and he was stupid.
    What was the left’s main complaint against Ronald Reagan? He was a phony; he was lazy; he relied on his aides for everything and he was stupid.
    What was the left’s main complaint against Gerald Ford? He was dull, dimwitted and stupid.
    What was the mantra of those who supported Adlai Stevenson agains Dwight Eisenhower? Stevenson was such an intellectual; he was so articulate and brilliant. As for Eisenhower; they thought he was a dullard.
    The same pattern reoccurs like clock-work.
    Why is it so impossible for people on the left of the political spectrum to just argue that their political opponents are wrong?
    What sort of vanity is it that inspires people to insist that their political opponents are dumb?

    Reply

  10. WigWag says:

    “The right tends to pick the ‘next guy in line’ so I don’t think Palin would win a Republican presidential primary. But I’d be happy to see her in the VP slot again.” (Nadine)
    Nadine, Sarah Palin in the VP slot again would be a disaster for Republicans. Palin is an intensely polarizing figure. Yes, she fires up the Republican base like no one else, but with the rest of the American public the level of her popularity ranges from modest to none.
    The upcoming Presidential election is not one of those elections where the most important thing needed is to “fire up” the base; because of health care, the deficit and the accusation (which I personally think is correct) that Obama can’t resist appeasing American enemies, the Republican base will be wildly enthusiastic; Palin doesn’t need to be on the ticket to insure that.
    If the Republicans want to recapture the White House in 2012 (which I think they have about a 45 percent chance of doing) they need to appeal to the huge swath of independent voters who cast their ballots for Obama last time but are increasingly skeptical of his policies. Palin is most certainly not the most appropriate VP choice to appeal to these voters.
    The Republicans have a legitimate chance of defeating Obama if they can resist the temptation to constantly cater to their most ardent supporters at the expense of reaching out to the broad middle in American politics.
    Think about the electoral math:
    In 2008 Obama won 365 electoral votes; he racked up such a large number by winning several typically Republican states such as North Carolina and Indiana and Iowa.
    Obama also won every single swing state including: Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and New Mexico (I’m not counting Pennsylvania as a swing state).
    Obama lost only one state that typically votes Democratic; that state is West Virginia.
    In the next election, given everything that Obama has done and given the fact that the bad taste in the mouth that everyone had from the Bush years will be long forgotten, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa and probably Virginia will swing back in the Republican direction (if you doubt it, just look at how poorly the Democrats did in the recent Virginia elections not to mention New Jersey and Massachusetts).
    That means that a quality Republican ticket will start off with 219 electoral votes of the 270 needed for victory.
    If the Republicans win Florida, it becomes a real horse race. Florida appears to be turning sharply to the right as evidenced by the likely election of Rubio to the United States Senate. Obama’s fight with Netanyahu is alienating the large Jewish population in South Florida; these Jews tend to be older and more serious about Israel than their children and grandchildren who live in other places. Obama will get some votes from the Haitian community because of the wonderful job he did rescuing Haiti, but many Haitians aren’t citizens and can’t vote. My guess is that the Cubans also swing back to the Republican camp. Interestingly, Obama didn’t do terribly in the panhandle last time around; this time he will be eviscerated there. If I were a betting person, I’d be inclined to bet that Obama loses Florida in 2012.
    An Obama loss in Florida would give the Republican candidate 246 electoral votes and they would only need to find 24 more from some combination of Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. A win in Ohio and just one other of the other swing states would put a Republican in the White House.
    None of those swing states will be enticed to go Republican with Sarah Palin on the ticket. Every one of those states is moderate; few if any of the swing voters in those states will feel comfortable with a firebrand.
    As crazy as it sounds, I think McCain, if he were to run again despite his age, would be the Republicans best candidate. Romney would be a close second although I think many evangelicals would think twice about voting for a Mormon (as if Mormonism was any more ridiculous than any other religion).
    The Sarah Palins, Mike Huckabees and Newt Gingriches of the world will be poison to the Republicans. They need a sober, mainstream candidate who can do more than preach to the converted.
    Even the perfect Republican candidate will have a difficult time winning. Nevertheless one thing is clear, that candidate needs a boring Vice Presidential candidate preferably from one of the swing states. They don’t need Sarah Palin.
    This doesn’t mean Sarah Palin is stupid, it just means that she’s not the candidate who can help Republicans recapture the White House.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    thanks for the reply, and glad to hear that you enjoyed reading
    Swick’s essay. I knew that also you are a big fan of travel
    writing, so I expected that you might find it interesting.
    As to the war poets, I’ve read a handful by Graves, and Owen,
    but have to look more into that. I once translated a prose
    account, Ernst Jünger’s Storms of Steel, from German – a book
    many claim is more realistic then the pacifist Remarque’s
    famous book from WWI, but I am much less familiar with the
    poetry from the era – except for some German expressionists
    like Gottfried Benn and Georg Trakl.
    It’s certainly a strange epoch in the history of Europe: regardless
    of class, nationality, or political views, most men were
    enthusiastic about the war in august 1914, and cued up to
    participate. Disillusion came later.
    ———————
    As to the qualifications of Palin, it shouldn’t come as a surprise
    that I agree with Sweetness. It was irresponsible of
    Kristol/McCain to ask Palin, and it was irresponsible of her to
    accept the ticket.
    Everybody from Kennedy to Nixon to Obama or Biden do
    mistakes, gaffes etc. – but this is in no way comparable to the
    utter unpreparedness and fundamental ignorance of national
    and international politics shown by Sarah Palin.
    It’s true that the media on the right and the left distort politics
    into a cartoon-like universe, but Palin is and was always
    involved in this business as well, much more than Obama.

    Reply

  12. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes:
    1) Cable outlets have shown video of tea baggers doing and
    saying some terrible things. I don’t think that these outbursts
    were staged for television, but I have no reason to suspect that
    they represent a cross section of the Tea Party movement or
    that they are in some way emblematic to what most members of
    that movement think.
    SN: Yes, but we all know that if it bleeds it leads. That’s a
    problem with journalism-journalism. Most Southerners weren’t
    lined up throwing bricks at young blacks trying to go to school.
    It doesn’t mean it wasn’t news. Ten incidents have now been
    reported. Sarah Palin has “cross-hairs” on her map of key Dem
    targets. She’s urging Republicans to “reload.” Is this definitive?
    No. Is it representative? No. Is it disturbing? I would say so.
    Look, how many Muslims are in the military? Hasan was one
    guy. If someone gets shot or seriously injured, it won’t matter
    that the perpetrator isn’t representative of the teabaggers.
    Wig: 2) Your comments about Sarah Palin prove my point. You
    say,
    “Yes, but is it unfair to point out that Bill Clinton really IS
    intelligent while Sarah Palin really is not? Can’t we make those
    distinctions? Bottom line: a lot of TRUE things were said about
    Palin while a lot of UNTRUE things are being said about Obama
    and his policies–and were said of Clinton. I think that matters.”
    Your suggestion that Sarah Palin “really is not” intelligent seems
    over the top. She was elected Governor of Alaska and she stood
    toe to toe with an extremely accomplished and experienced Joe
    Biden and held her own in the Vice Presidential debate.
    SN: I guess it’s a judgement call. And it depends on what you
    mean by intelligent…and what kind of intelligence is involved or
    important to you. To me, it was obvious from the moment they
    opened their mouths that neither Bush nor Palin were very smart
    in ways that are important to leading this country. Sure;
    everyone says dumb things from time to time, but it’s not the
    same thing. Bush wasn’t qualified either, IMO, and Cheney
    pretty much ran the country for the first term.
    Wig: Clearly she said some dumb things during the Campaign,
    especially about foreign policy. There’s no doubt that on many
    issues she was unschooled; but does that mean that she is not
    intelligent? I don’t think it means that at all; and I think millions
    of Americans find it elitist to suggest that it does.
    Certainly Sarah Palin puts her foot in her mouth with some
    degree of regularity; but after all, Joe Biden does that too.
    SN: I guess, following your principle here, that if someone ends
    up on the ticket, we have to simply say the guy or gal is smart
    and qualified for the position. I just can’t bring myself to do
    that. I don’t mind being called an “elitist” if that means finding
    the most qualified and intelligent person for the job. Is it elitist
    to look for the smartest doctor for your brain surgery? No. It’s
    smart.
    Democrats are regularly called liars, communists, unAmerican,
    and all kinds of things–and no one except a few liberals seem
    to mind. For Rush and his fellow travelers it’s ALWAYS open
    season on Democrats and Sarah is one of those fellow travelers.
    She appeals to American’s basest instincts.
    Wig: During her speech to AIPAC the other night Hillary Clinton
    lambasted Hamas for naming a square after a suicide bomber;
    the only problem is that it wasn’t Hamas that did that; it was the
    Palestinian Authority. Does that make Hillary Clinton dumb?
    SN: No. Ford’s gaffe didn’t make him dumb, though it was used.
    Gore’s many gaffes didn’t make him a liar, though it was used as
    such and continues to be by the likes of Palin.
    Wig: And then there’s the question of whether native intelligence
    (whatever that is) or academic achievement are the most
    important ingredients to a successful presidency. I tend to think
    that they are; but I could easily argue the other way.
    SN: Intelligence–the kind that’s important to the job–goes
    way beyond academic achievement. Unfortunately, Sarah is
    simply a demagogue, which goes beyond being “unintelligent”
    and arrives at “venally unintelligent.”
    Wig: Speaking of the media’s characterization of Palin you say,
    “They belittle her background because she’s a pretender to the
    crown for which she’s manifestly unqualified…”
    But couldn’t the same thing have been said about Obama? Sure
    the media was rooting for him, but wouldn’t an objective
    analysis have suggested that if he was more qualified to be
    President than Palin was to be Vice President, it wasn’t by much?
    She was a Governor, he was a state legislator and a United States
    Senator who began campaigning for President shortly after he
    arrived in Washington.
    SN: It could have been said and WAS said. And yet it was belied
    by his 1000% firmer grasp of the issues–issues, not slogans.
    Wig: If it’s qualifications that we’re talking about; what makes
    him more qualified than her? Is it that he was editing Law Review
    articles at Harvard while she was out hunting moose? You and I
    may think that editing the Harvard Law Review is a good
    learning experience; my guess is that millions of people would
    disagree. How important is all this anyway? Remember, Harry
    Truman was a haberdasher.
    SN: Millions would disagree, which is one reason I’m NOT a
    populist. (Actually, no sane Jew is a populist, IMO, but I digress.)
    Surely, his time teaching Constitutional Law better prepared him
    for judging justices, an important presidential duty. Certainly
    beats hunting moose. Others may disagree, but there are always
    “others who disagree.” What’s the point? Some people think that
    moose hunting better prepares you to pick Supreme Court
    justices than teaching constitutional law-:) Any point with which
    “others disagree” is ipso facto falsified? I’m not disputing the
    fact that Palin is popular among a certain group of people.
    We’d have to dig in to Harry’s situation to really discuss this. But
    it wasn’t Palin’s time as governor or mayor or moose hunter that
    disqualifies her…it’s what she does and what she says and
    doesn’t say that reveals who she is and her caliber, IMO.
    Wig: By the way, Palin was right to ridicule Obama’s claim that
    his role as a community organizer was somehow a qualification
    for his presidential bid. I’m a community organizer; I volunteer
    to make baloney sandwiches for homeless people at our local
    Catholic Worker House and I just organized a fundraising
    campaign for our local AIPAC chapter; does that make me
    qualified to run for President?
    SN: It wasn’t the FACT of his having been a community
    organizer that counted…it was the quality of his character and
    grasp of issues and process that were enriched by this
    experience that counted. At least to me. So, it counted for him
    because of how it had helped mold him. It was good
    experience, but not definitive experience. He didn’t run on
    “experience”–that was Hillary’s gambit.
    Governors, mayors, presidents, Congresspeople are often in it
    for the glory, power, perqs, and money afterward. Community
    organizers, typically, are trying to help people and communities.
    They have an ethic of public service. I think that’s important.
    Wig: As for journalism in the United States, what happens on
    FOX or MSNBC really isn’t journalism its infotainment.
    SN: Agreed, but some shows are better than others.
    Wig: Unfortunately the mainstream media really is vile; Al Gore
    lost because the likes of Maureen Dowd and the rest of the
    media whores ridiculed insulted and disparaged him almost
    continuously. Remember how close that race was. Had the
    media played it even approximately down the middle instead of
    shilling for George W. Bush (in precisely the way that they shilled
    for Obama eight years later) Gore would have won.
    There would have been no Iraq War; no massive budget deficits,
    a rational energy policy, a reasoned approach to climate change.
    None of that came to pass because of the Maureen Dowd’s of
    the world.
    Perhaps you remember this famous line of Ms Dowd’s
    “Gore is so feminized he’s practically lactating.”
    Speaking of dumb, Dowd makes Sarah Palin look like a Rhode’s
    Scholar.
    Wig: Couldn’t agree more about Gore. See the Daily Howler on
    the War Against Gore. Ken Auletta had a good piece on Dean’s
    Scream. But it was primarily the Sarah Palins of the world who
    doomed Gore’s candidacy and who continue to ridicule him,
    including Palin herself. I mean, if you don’t like FOX, you can’t
    think very much of Palin, because they are birds of a feather and
    two peas in a pod. Dowd is far smarter than Palin–that’s
    obvious–but she was odious on this point. I agree.
    Palin simply isn’t qualified in the broad sense of “qualified” that I
    use. She isn’t smart or intelligent except, perhaps, in the sense
    that “crafty” is considered to be a synonym for “smart.” She
    speaks in slogans instead of to the issues. And she stokes the
    lowest angels in our nature as Americans.

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    “Your suggestion that Sarah Palin “really is not” intelligent seems over the top. She was elected Governor of Alaska and she stood toe to toe with an extremely accomplished and experienced Joe Biden and held her own in the Vice Presidential debate. Clearly she said some dumb things during the Campaign, especially about foreign policy. There’s no doubt that on many issues she was unschooled; but does that mean that she is not intelligent? I don’t think it means that at all; and I think millions of Americans find it elitist to suggest that it does.
    Certainly Sarah Palin puts her foot in her mouth with some degree of regularity; but after all, Joe Biden does that too.” (wigwag)
    And Joe Biden doesn’t have Palin’s excuse of lack of preparation. Imagine the outcry if Sarah Palin had said that FDR went on TV to talk to the country after the stock market crash in 1929; yet Biden’s goofy statements get a shrug because “that’s just Joe”. At this point you’re talking about a country club rather than a media.
    Remember, Palin was dumped into the maelstrom of a presidential campaign with no time to prepare. As a VP candidate, you don’t just need to know your own positions on everything, you need to know your running mate’s positions. She still energized the base for McCain’s campaign and was a net positive for the campaign.
    I submit that the relentless left-wing campaign against her which is still going on, is a testament to amount of fear she instills on the left. I think the left assesses her as more likely to win than the right does, because she fits how the left picks candidates: she’s got looks, freshness, oratory, charisma, connection with the common people. As a candidate, she is just like Barack Obama. Except unlike Obama, she actually had executive experience.
    The right tends to pick the ‘next guy in line’ so I don’t think Palin would win a Republican presidential primary. But I’d be happy to see her in the VP slot again.

    Reply

  14. WigWag says:

    Sweetness, in response to your comment at Mar 23 2010, 3:18PM I would respectfully submit the following:
    1) Cable outlets have shown video of tea baggers doing and saying some terrible things. I don’t think that these outbursts were staged for television, but I have no reason to suspect that they represent a cross section of the Tea Party movement or that they are in some way emblematic to what most members of that movement think. We have demonstrations by members of the Tea Bag movement in South Florida all the time. Mostly its 30-50 people standing at intersections with placards criticizing the recently enacted health care bill; I’ve never witnessed anything that a reasonable person could find outrageous. The fact that MSNBC has gone out of its way to find the most egregious behavior and then suggest that it serves as a proxy for the entire movement is not only dishonest and disingenuous, its precisely what FOX News does with more left wing groups. None of this is about journalism; it’s all about entertainment. It’s little better than professional wrestling where the audience roots for its favorite clown.
    2) Your comments about Sarah Palin prove my point. You say,
    “Yes, but is it unfair to point out that Bill Clinton really IS intelligent while Sarah Palin really is not? Can’t we make those distinctions? Bottom line: a lot of TRUE things were said about Palin while a lot of UNTRUE things are being said about Obama and his policies–and were said of Clinton. I think that matters.”
    Your suggestion that Sarah Palin “really is not” intelligent seems over the top. She was elected Governor of Alaska and she stood toe to toe with an extremely accomplished and experienced Joe Biden and held her own in the Vice Presidential debate. Clearly she said some dumb things during the Campaign, especially about foreign policy. There’s no doubt that on many issues she was unschooled; but does that mean that she is not intelligent? I don’t think it means that at all; and I think millions of Americans find it elitist to suggest that it does.
    Certainly Sarah Palin puts her foot in her mouth with some degree of regularity; but after all, Joe Biden does that too.
    During her speech to AIPAC the other night Hillary Clinton lambasted Hamas for naming a square after a suicide bomber; the only problem is that it wasn’t Hamas that did that; it was the Palestinian Authority. Does that make Hillary Clinton dumb?
    And then there’s the question of whether native intelligence (whatever that is) or academic achievement are the most important ingredients to a successful presidency. I tend to think that they are; but I could easily argue the other way.
    Speaking of the media’s characterization of Palin you say,
    “They belittle her background because she’s a pretender to the crown for which she’s manifestly unqualified…”
    But couldn’t the same thing have been said about Obama? Sure the media was rooting for him, but wouldn’t an objective analysis have suggested that if he was more qualified to be President than Palin was to be Vice President, it wasn’t by much? She was a Governor, he was a state legislator and a United States Senator who began campaigning for President shortly after he arrived in Washington.
    If it’s qualifications that we’re talking about; what makes him more qualified than her? Is it that he was editing Law Review articles at Harvard while she was out hunting moose? You and I may think that editing the Harvard Law Review is a good learning experience; my guess is that millions of people would disagree. How important is all this anyway? Remember, Harry Truman was a haberdasher.
    By the way, Palin was right to ridicule Obama’s claim that his role as a community organizer was somehow a qualification for his presidential bid. I’m a community organizer; I volunteer to make baloney sandwiches for homeless people at our local Catholic Worker House and I just organized a fundraising campaign for our local AIPAC chapter; does that make me qualified to run for President?
    As for journalism in the United States, what happens on FOX or MSNBC really isn’t journalism its infotainment.
    Unfortunately the mainstream media really is vile; Al Gore lost because the likes of Maureen Dowd and the rest of the media whores ridiculed insulted and disparaged him almost continuously. Remember how close that race was. Had the media played it even approximately down the middle instead of shilling for George W. Bush (in precisely the way that they shilled for Obama eight years later) Gore would have won.
    There would have been no Iraq War; no massive budget deficits, a rational energy policy, a reasoned approach to climate change.
    None of that came to pass because of the Maureen Dowd’s of the world.
    Perhaps you remember this famous line of Ms Dowd’s
    “Gore is so feminized he’s practically lactating.”
    Speaking of dumb, Dowd makes Sarah Palin look like a Rhode’s Scholar.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    Paul, thank you very much for the link to the Swick article which I really enjoyed. I do live in Ft. Lauderdale and the Sun Sentinel is my hometown newspaper but surprisingly I don’t know Tom Swick.
    This paragraph in Swick’s article really made me smile.
    “Curiously, the genre’s renaissance coincided with the appearance of its obituary. In 1980, the cultural critic Paul Fussell published “Abroad,” a superb study of British travel and travel writing between the wars that concludes with the pronouncement that the postwar age of tourism killed real travel and, by extension, the writing that was its offspring. It didn’t finish off either, any more than televised baseball brought an end to a day at the ballpark. There is still the authentic experience but, like being a spectator at a game, travel is now altered by its well-recorded popularity.”
    I am a huge fan of travel writing; I like everything from Robert Kaplan’s and Colin Thubron’s chronicles of their visits to remote places (Thubron’s recent book on traveling the Silk Road is extraordinary)to Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad.” My favorite non-fiction book is Rebecca West’s opus book about her travels in Yugoslavia before the Second World War, “Black Lamb Gray Falcon.” West’s book is Shakespearean in its depth and insight.
    Several years ago I became very interested in British poetry that emanated from World War I. I actually became curious about the subject after reading “The Great War and Modern Memory” which is the magnum opus authored by the Paul Fussell mentioned in Swick’s article. (I’ve also read “Abroad” which was specifically referenced by Swick). I don’t know if you are familiar with this genre, it’s somewhat arcane. It features extraordinary poets (many of whom were gay) who served in the infantry (mostly in the trenches) during the Great War. The most famous poets of this genre are Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves. If you’re not familiar with them, I highly recommend their poetry; it’s magnificent. Sassoon and Graves also wrote poignant memoirs of the experiences in the War; alas Wilfred Owen could not; he was killed near Ors in Northern France just one week before the War ended. There is a wonderful biography of Owen written by Dominick Hibbard and to this day there is a Wilfred Owen Society run by one of his relatives. Here’s a link if you would like to take a look,
    http://www.wilfredowen.org.uk/home/
    Sassoon went on to join E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Duncan Grant, John Maynard Keynes and others as a member of the Bloomsbury Group.
    To make a long story short, my interest in this genre led me to discover that there was also a significant number of prose authors inspired to travel and write about their travel experiences by their alienation from British society engendered by their experiences in World War I.
    Some of the books mentioned in Swig’s article fall into this category. I’ve also read the Freya Stark and the Lawrence Durrell book.
    I didn’t know that you published a work of travel writing. I’d love to read it if it’s been translated into English.
    Thank you very much for putting me in mind of all of this.
    I can tell that you have a touch of the poet in you, Paul. You are a very kind perso

    Reply

  16. LInda says:

    Oops, there is a typo in my comments above, as I meant 86th Congress (1965) not the 68th whenever it was.
    Linda

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    michael moores take on the health care bill on democracy now today…
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/23/michael_moore_health_care_bill_a

    Reply

  18. Linda says:

    One thing is sure, both on TWN and in the nation, we are farther from post-partisanship and even bipartisanship than we were at the start of the Obama Administration. So the sad thing for the 21st century so far is that we have had two Presidents who each promised to reach across the aisle and instead to date have polarized the country more and more.
    Process does matter, and Democrats in the 68th Congress knew that major legislation is best passed early in the first year. So here is the legislative history of Medicare from Social Security Administration with one addition from me in parentheses:
    “H.R. 6675, The Social Security Admendments of 1965, began life in the House Ways & Means Committee where it passed the Committee on March 23, 1965. President Johnson issued a statement in support of the bill after the favorable Committee vote. and a Final Report was sent to the House on March 29, 1965. The House took up consideration of the bill on April 7th, and passed the bill the next day by a vote of 313-115 (with 5 not voting).”
    “The Senate Finance Committee reported the bill out on June 30th and debate began on the Senate floor that same day, concluding with passage on July 9, 1965 by a vote of 68-21 (with 11 not voting).”
    “The Conference Committee to reconcile the differing bills of the two houses completed its work on July 26th. The reconciled version of H.R. 6675 then went to final passage in the House on July 27th and final passage in the Senate the following day. President Johnson signed the bill into law at a special ceremony in Independence, Missouri on July 30, 1965.
    The 89th Congress was a lot more efficient in that the entire consideration of this bill took four months during which over 500 amendments were considered.
    The final vote in the House was 307 yea, 116 nay and 10 not voting divided by party as follows:
    Democrats 237 yea, 48 nay, and 8 not voting. Republicans 70 yea, 68 nay, and 2 not voting.
    The final vote in the Senate was 70 yea, 24 nay, and 6 not voting divided by party as follows:
    Democrats 57 yea, 7 nay, and 4 not voting
    Republicans 13 yea, 17 nay, and 2 not voting.
    This was efficient legislating and was bipartisan and in the days of the real filibuster that was used sparingly.
    Most of us can recall more readily the also messy legislative history and passage of the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003 (prescription drug benefit and added funding for Medicare Advantage plans.)
    One thing that did has changed things since 1965 is the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 that gave us reconciliation as a way around the filibuster, followed by the Byrd Rule in 1986 that was amended in 1990 to define when and how reconciliation could be used. It is these changes that gave us CBO scoring done for a 10 year forward period when everybody knows that it’s impossible to realistically project much beyond five years.
    So I think it’s time for all members of Congress to act more maturely and consider going back to the old ways. They make their own rules and can change them and maybe regain more respect from the public.
    No doubt also that we have to look at how Congressional districts have been gerrymandered into politically safe ones and probably this needs to be done soon because this is a census year.
    CNN isn’t much better than Fox News or MSNBC. No politician has to appear on any of them. So while I am otherwise totally serious, I’d also be very happy if the only place members of Congress appear is on “Washington Journal” on C-Span.

    Reply

  19. Sweetness says:

    Wig writes and Sweetness asks some questions:
    W: While the tea baggers don’t brew my cup of tea, Nadine is
    precisely right; the way they are portrayed on MSNBC is
    completely unfair and inaccurate. The way that MSNBC
    caricatures the tea party movement is precisely the same as the
    way Fox News caricatures “ACORN” or “MoveOn.” It’s all
    despicable, but it’s equally despicable when both sides do it.”
    SN: Perhaps. But do you deny the stories of the pictures of
    Dachau, the spitting, throwing rocks through the windows of
    Congressional offices, the racial and homophobic hatred? I
    hadn’t noticed that kind of behavior from ACORN or MoveOn.
    W: I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many advocates of the
    Tea Party movement in South Florida. I don’t agree with anything
    that they say; but I see no evidence of racism, sexism or bigotry.
    SN: The Tea Party movement, no doubt, is diverse to some
    degree and hard to draw a line around–I doubt there are party
    rolls per se. But it’s hard to ignore the placards, is it not?
    Obama as witch doctor in white face? The remarks? The
    spitting? The rocks through the window? The support for
    secession? The bragging that they aren’t going to follow federal
    law? The brandishing of guns at presidential town halls?
    W: Most of the people I’ve spoken to don’t even seem to share
    any of the social or religious concerns of the far right. They
    don’t spit on people who disagree with them; they don’t come
    armed to demonstrations; they don’t shout racial epithets.
    SN: But clearly a vocal subset within the group does, and the
    group says nothing to disavow the behavior.
    W: They just think that both political parties are spending way
    too much money and that this is going to ruin the nation that
    their children and grandchildren inherit. I think that they’re
    wrong; but they are just entitled to their point of view as I am to
    mine; the fact that we disagree doesn’t mean that they are the
    monsters that media elites like to portray them as.
    SN: To that degree, I have no problem with them, except in
    policy terms.
    W: All of this is reminiscent of the way that MSNBC and other
    media outlets treat Sarah Palin. Let me be clear; I don’t agree
    with anything that she says and I don’t think she’s qualified to
    be President or Vice President. But the way many in the media
    belittle her intelligence or her background cannot be defended.
    SN: They belittle her background because she’s a pretender to
    the crown for which she’s manifestly unqualified. Part of her
    disqualification is her lack of intelligence and acquaintance with
    the world. Isn’t that fair game? Or are we forced to treat with
    equal respect ANYONE who says “I’m ready to lead” even when
    they are manifestly not qualified to lead.
    She was perfectly content to get up in front of a national
    audience and disparage Obama’s credentials as a community
    organizer–someone’s who’s actually trying to do good for the
    community–but folks shout foul when she gets dished. Unfair
    to poor, Sarah! Yet, no amount of opprobium and innuendo is
    off limits with respect to Obama, including where he was born
    and whether he’s a witch doctor. It should be noted that Obama
    called her Governor, not the hick that sank Wasilla’s budget on a
    sports arena and then got cleansed by a REAL witch doctor.
    W: No wonder millions of Americans are outraged at her
    treatment; when the elite media attacks her; they are really
    attacking them. MSNBC treats the Tea Bag movement and Sarah
    Palin with all of the intelligence and fairness that talk radio
    treated Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal or the made-up
    Vince Foster assassination incident.
    SN: Yes, but is it unfair to point out that Bill Clinton really IS
    intelligent while Sarah Palin really is not? Can’t we make those
    distinctions? Bottom line: a lot of TRUE things were said about
    Palin while a lot of UNTRUE things are being said about Obama
    and his policies–and were said of Clinton. I think that matters.
    Wig: The media in this country is preternaturally horrible. It’s not
    the Tea Bag movement or ACORN that should be apologizing for
    ruining the level of discourse in the United States and it’s not
    the Religious Right or MoveOn either.
    It’s the media that should be apologizing; it’s Bill O’Reilly; Glen
    Beck, Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews.
    SN: And Rush and Laura and Ann and Michele and Hugh and
    Savage and on and on. There really is no comparison about
    which side has its hand on the scale. My opinon, of course-:)
    Wig: But even worse than the clowns on cable television; it’s the
    media stars who are most to blame. If you don’t like Sarah Palin,
    maybe someone can tell me how Maureen Dowd is anything
    other than a media whore.
    SN: Actually Modo takes her lumps from the left. Sarah remains
    a saint, last I looked.

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    here is the link to Tom Swick’s essay, if you happen to be interested:
    http://www.worldhum.com/features/tom-swick/not-a-tourist-20100322/

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    “But the way many in the media belittle her intelligence or her
    background cannot be defended.” (WigWag about Sarah Palin)
    Outrageous, isn’t it, WigWag? I would be interesting to compare
    that with the way you have belittled Barack Obama during the
    last couple of years, WigWag.
    Teabaggers: I admit that I’ve never met a teabagger in my life,
    but perhaps Jonathan Raban provides a more complex portrait
    of the movement in a recent piece in the New York Review of
    Books:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23723
    I believe people on both sides may find his article interesting.
    BTW, WigWag, earlier today I stumbled upon an interesting
    article about travel writing from a certain Tom Swick (whom I’ve
    never heard about before). It caught my attention since I’ve
    written one book in that genre too. I don’t know how interesting
    it will be to you. In any case, it seems like he’s been working
    from a place not far from where you live. In the presentation of
    the author, I quote: “Tom Swick was the travel editor of the
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 19 years, and his work has been
    included in “The Best American Travel Writing” 2001, 2002,
    2004 and 2008.”
    And in his article, he says: “My first trip “on assignment” was to
    Spain and Portugal. It was October 1989, two months after I had
    taken a job as travel editor of the Sun-Sentinel in Fort
    Lauderdale. (I had never thought of living in Florida, but I had
    long dreamed of traveling for a living.)”
    Fort Lauderdale, that’s in your neighborhood, isn’t it?
    I’ll provide a link in a separate post below this one, because it’s
    to wide for the margins of this text block. (If I widen the whole
    text block of this comment, it screws up the whole text, due to
    Safari issues).
    You may, or may not, be interested in reading Tom Swick’s
    essay. In any case, I provide the link below.
    But I think Raban’s narrative from a teabagger conference is
    interesting regardless of political preferences.

    Reply

  22. WigWag says:

    While the tea baggers don’t brew my cup of tea, Nadine is precisely right; the way they are portrayed on MSNBC is completely unfair and inaccurate. The way that MSNBC caricatures the tea party movement is precisely the same as the way Fox News caricatures “ACORN” or “MoveOn.” It’s all despicable, but it’s equally despicable when both sides do it.
    I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many advocates of the Tea Party movement in South Florida. I don’t agree with anything that they say; but I see no evidence of racism, sexism or bigotry. Most of the people I’ve spoken to don’t even seem to share any of the social or religious concerns of the far right. They don’t spit on people who disagree with them; they don’t come armed to demonstrations; they don’t shout racial epithets. They just think that both political parties are spending way too much money and that this is going to ruin the nation that their children and grandchildren inherit. I think that they’re wrong; but they are just entitled to their point of view as I am to mine; the fact that we disagree doesn’t mean that they are the monsters that media elites like to portray them as.
    All of this is reminiscent of the way that MSNBC and other media outlets treat Sarah Palin. Let me be clear; I don’t agree with anything that she says and I don’t think she’s qualified to be President or Vice President. But the way many in the media belittle her intelligence or her background cannot be defended. No wonder millions of Americans are outraged at her treatment; when the elite media attacks her; they are really attacking them. MSNBC treats the Tea Bag movement and Sarah Palin with all of the intelligence and fairness that talk radio treated Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal or the made-up Vince Foster assassination incident.
    The media in this country is preternaturally horrible. It’s not the Tea Bag movement or ACORN that should be apologizing for ruining the level of discourse in the United States and it’s not the Religious Right or MoveOn either.
    It’s the media that should be apologizing; it’s Bill O’Reilly; Glen Beck, Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews.
    But even worse than the clowns on cable television; it’s the media stars who are most to blame.
    If you don’t like Sarah Palin, maybe someone can tell me how Maureen Dowd is anything other than a media whore.

    Reply

  23. Sweetness says:

    Paul…perhaps…but I still think it’s important to keep asking certain questions…

    Reply

  24. Paul Norheim says:

    Sweetness,
    I know that you know this… but asking a bigot whether there are
    many bigots in the movement he or she belongs to doesn’t make
    much sense to me.
    – Are there any cannibals left on this island?
    – Why do you listen to liars? Of course not! We ate the last one
    two months ago…

    Reply

  25. Sweetness says:

    Nadine writes: “Nothing in the tea parties is reminiscent of Bull Conner, except when you see how they are reported on MSNBC. They are pushing this militant redneck narrative. MSNBC even went so far as to show the one guy with the gun in a tight shot of his waist, without showing his face. Why didn’t they want to show his face? Because he was black! Ooh, doesn’t fit the narrative. This is propaganda, not reporting. Raise your IQ by watching something other than MSNBC or CNN.”
    Guns, windows broken at Congressional offices, spitting, calling folks nigger and faggot?
    The guy, at least one of them, carrying a gun was black, and it was shown on MSNBC.
    But so what? There was no attempt to hide it.
    If you look at all the folks who defended Stack’s actions–Paul, King–they come from the right. It is, generally speaking, the libertarian right who want to dismantle the IRS.
    But sure, there is anger at government on the left…

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    Republicans, “An Absence of Class”, Bob Herbert:
    http://www.nytimes.com//2010/03/23/opinion/23herbert.html
    Needless to say, Mr. Herbert does not believe the emerging mountain of bigoted and hate filled displays by partisans are oppositions ‘plants’. Guess that makes him just another dark sinned stoolie in the eyes of the hate mongers.

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    David, if Obama is a capable salesman, how come he gave 50 speeches to sell this bill, and people still hate it by a 20% margin?
    I’m with Dan Rather on this one: “Obama couldn’t sell watermelons by the side of the road if he had a state trooper flagging down traffic for him.” That’s a direct quote.

    Reply

  28. Martha Nakajima says:

    European countries with their heavy burden of social services are reluctant to engage in wars. Maybe the US will become more peaceful with national healthcare! Wouldn’t the US be a stronger country today if all the money wasted on unnecessary wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan had gone into social infrastructure?

    Reply

  29. Don Bacon says:

    Facts are facts:
    * Medical insurance firms are in business to make money, and they do it by raising premiums and limiting services.
    * With both the government and the insurance firms involved, the paperwork sucks up thirty percent of the premiums.
    * Fee for service means that services increase to far beyond what is required, especially when doctors are a financial part of the service-providers (hospitals).
    * Heavy involvement by legal firms (think John Edwards) pump up costs for insurance by another ten per cent, while also contributing to increased services beyond what is required.
    * Expanding all of the above only exacerbates the problems, and the expenses, which someone must pay. And it looks like Medicare recipients are going to pay first.
    Jane Hamsher: “This bill fundamentally shifts the relationships of governance in order to achieve its objectives. It was hard to reconcile the President’s campaign against the evils of the insurance industry with a solution of “corporate tithing” that drives millions of people onto their rolls. We have empowered another quasi-governmental, “too big to fail” industry with alarming nonchalance.”

    Reply

  30. David says:

    Thank you, thank you, Ross Sharp.
    Also, my turn: what questions said, backed up, and said again. By November, I think David Frum’s analysis will prove more than prescient. Obama can, and must, make it happen. The positives in this bill are very marketable, and Obama is a very capable salesperson. One conservative friend quipped that he could sell oil to an Arab sheik. I said that one of the things a successful president must be is an able salesperson, so I thought it was a good, not a bad. Sticking with my take. Git er dun, BHO.

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    One more thing, questions. That CNN poll where 59% disapprove of the bill, also says
    “56% say the bill creates “too much government involvement in the nation’s health care system,” 28% say about the right amount, while 16% say not enough.”
    That’s not a lot of support for your idea that lots of people disapprove because they really want single payer. More like 3% of the disapprovers, from these numbers. And that’s before any of the new taxes and premiums have had a chance to bite.

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    “Just give it some time to settle in. The first wave of benefits will be felt after agencies start writing the necessary rules. ”
    Sure, and they all come free…if you believe in Tinkerbell. The first wave of benefits will be accompanied by a 20% hike in everybody’s premiums as the insurance companies try not to go bankrupt at once…of course Obama will continue to demonize them as greedy profit-mongers because he wants them to fail, so he can put in single payer.
    The public cares about deficits. They will soon see this is not a 1 Trillion dollar bill, but a 2 or 3 Trillion dollar bill sold by deceit. The public cares about JOBS, and they will soon see this bill is a job-killer. It does nothing to control costs.
    The President campaigned for a full year on this bill and the public opposes it by 20%. Pelosi had to beat the snot out of her own caucus to squeak this by. You can pretend all you like that people will suddenly learn to love it; but remember the costs are front loaded, the benefits come four years later.
    It is true that it is unlikely the bill will become so radioactive that it will be repealed while Obama is still President, but once Republicans control the House, it can be defunded.

    Reply

  33. questions says:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/anti-reform-chamber-wont-be-helping-gop-with-calls-to-repeal-health-care.php?ref=fpblg
    TPM reports the Chamber of Commerce isn’t spending a penny on repeal. They want to work the refs at the agency rule writing stage instead.
    Tinkering, not repealing.
    Congressional Republicans are shut out. The Obama admin is going to write this stuff up. Unitary Executive revival time?!!

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    Two missing letter s-es (how does one write the plural of ‘s’??)
    Nate coverS
    It takeS….

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    Re repeal, Nate the Great also cover this one, I believe.
    It take a majority in the House, a majority in the Senate, a signature from the president, or a veto override to repeal legislation. The Republicans cannot physically command enough Senate seats until 2013 for repeal. And they would have to override Obama. So then we’re up to the day after the next inauguration of, ummm, President Palin? Or President Romney (of Romneycare in MA) — and a lot of House and Senate races gone the Repub way.
    AND people have to hate all the provisions.
    So then they repeal: pre-existing condition coverage, kid coverage, doughnut hole coverage, fraud investigation…. Yeah, right.
    It’s not going anywhere. It’ll be tinkered with on the margins as needed. That’s what happens with legislation. Like computer code. Like Windows. Generally AMAZING and brilliant ideas with some flaws because of existing platforms that have to be preserved. Windows has to read old old software and cope with it. HCR has to keep insurance companies. So the new systems are grafted on to the old ones, and we prune and repair as needed.
    Ain’t no one gonna replace Windows with a whole new operating system, and NO ONE is going back to DOS! (Or punch cards, either!)

    Reply

  36. questions says:

    No no Nadine, a chunk of the CNN opposed was opposed from the LEFT. That’s a different “opposed” from those opposed from the right. It actually makes a difference in terms of how this will all be read in a few weeks. I think Nate the Great runs through this point, but I’ve seen it in a few places.
    Just give it some time to settle in. The first wave of benefits will be felt after agencies start writing the necessary rules. There are a number of things to like. And some of the middling opposition will ease. Even some Republicans will swing into the “gee, this isn’t the end of the universe” thing, and they’ll realize that keeping their underemployed 23 year old sons insured, and their asthmatic 12 year olds insured will be awfully nice. In a recession, parents really worry about their older kids. Even Republican parents do! Seniors will get doughnut checks, there will be news stories about successes. The tone will chill. We’ll relax. The 4th of July will be here before we know it. Ahhh.
    And I don’t watch MSNBC — not even clips on line anymore. Not even Rachel and Keith anymore. And I still have a sense that there are some over the top tea partiers even as there are some fairly regular, if utterly fed up in inchoate fashion, members. The over the top ones are really over the top, though. The movement is likely to fracture as its very incoherence is its main characteristic. The racists will gross out the merely frustrated. And the frustrations are so varied that they won’t be able to sustain much of anything. Protest is like that.
    Of course, I don’t do Fox or IBD either, so I don’t worship the tea party, either.
    And note the anecdote about the gun — in typical Fox Fashion, you take a single story, treat it as the typical case, and voila, outrage du jour, served with soup and crackers!

    Reply

  37. nadine says:

    Nothing in the tea parties is reminiscent of Bull Conner, except when you see how they are reported on MSNBC. They are pushing this militant redneck narrative. MSNBC even went so far as to show the one guy with the gun in a tight shot of his waist, without showing his face. Why didn’t they want to show his face? Because he was black! Ooh, doesn’t fit the narrative. This is propaganda, not reporting. Raise your IQ by watching something other than MSNBC or CNN.
    WTF should I “add in Stack”?! HE WAS A LEFTIST. One of your nutters, not ours, Sweetness.
    Are people at the tea parties mad? Sure, at the imposition of a soft tyranny from DC. But they will take their ire to the ballot box.
    BTW, CNN Opinion Research took a poll this weekend on the Obamacare bill: 59% to 39% oppose it. Never in history has a majority jammed down sweeping legislation on a bare majority partisan vote like this. Republicans will run on repeal. Those in DC who say you can’t repeal an entitlement are living in the bubble. The vast majority of people will see higher premiums and lower service from this – starting with Medicare recipients, whose benefits are being slashed.

    Reply

  38. Beth in VA says:

    You just can’t write a post that is gracious to the
    President. It has qualifiers and criticism sprinkled
    throughout, as usual.

    Reply

  39. Sweetness says:

    Sorry…should have been “hallowed,” I think.
    But it is pretty hollow ground anyway, IMO.

    Reply

  40. Sweetness says:

    Nadine: “After you compare opponents of Obamacare to
    segregationists, you have some nerve complaining about how I
    argue.”
    No, I’m not comparing “opponents of Obamacare” to
    segregationists. What I’m saying is, “earthly fury” is not
    necessarily something to be avoided. Sometimes, doing the
    right thing brings on “earthly fury.” And that’s the fault of the
    furies, not the ones who are doing the right thing.
    That said, some of the implied violence of the ‘bagger
    movement– such as carrying guns at presidential town halls,
    carrying signs about coming armed next time, and talk of
    watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants–in short,
    the threat of violence– is reminiscent of Bull Connor’s glory
    days.
    Add in Stack…add in spitting and nasty epithets…add in talk of
    secession harkening back to 1860…add in talk of refusing to
    obey federal law (an issue that was settled back then)…and I’d
    have to say that the bagger movement is veering dangerously
    close to the hollowed ground of Ole Dixie.

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    After you compare opponents of Obamacare to segregationists, you have some nerve complaining about how I argue.

    Reply

  42. Sweetness says:

    Nadine…here are a few things wrong with the way you’re
    arguing this. First, you don’t answer all my points, like the
    threat of violence, like the picture of Dachau that was SO
    obvious Cantor addressed it; you cherry pick.
    Second, you ignore the obvious. For example, there are a LOT
    of pictures of ‘bagger get-togethers and a lot of pictures of
    nutty, even offensive, signs. Everyone knows this. It’s not a
    matter of CNN reporting. Pick up almost any paper. There are
    also pictures of a lot of other, more normal signs.
    And third, you challenge me to name one Republican
    amendment and claim Pelosi is “lying through her teeth.” And
    yet it took me seconds to find the Slate article below. So, all
    you’re doing is asking me to “go fetch” and showing, most
    importantly, that you’re not interested in the answer. If YOU
    wanted to know which Republicans amendments were included
    in this bill, you could have spent the 2 seconds it took me to
    find it. And this article doesn’t strike me as terribly partisan.
    (Remember, Slate published the big take-down of Kevin B.
    MacDonald.)
    So, if you’re not interested in the answer to your own question,
    the question is illegitimate, IMO. You don’t get any points for
    the question or the answer.
    As far as the “earthly fury” goes, no, they are not the same. It’s
    just that “earthly fury” doesn’t mean the fury is correct or should
    be obeyed. You have to judge the action on its merits.
    In terms of mandates, the problem is, right now, everyone gets
    health care, but many don’t pay for it, e.g., emergency rooms are
    required to treat those who arrive on its doorstep. If someone
    chooses not to buy coverage, but move the burden onto the
    public, then he should pay something for it. This, actually, is a
    conservative idea. Everyone has to pull his own weight, with
    help if necessary. We have mandatory car insurance or fee paid
    into a pool for uninsured motorists for the same reason.
    Hopefully, this is a better route because people will gain access
    to health care BEFORE it becomes a costly emergency.
    One last thing about Stack: A lot of ‘baggers hate George Bush,
    as do many conservatives. I’ve listened to them. This doesn’t
    mean the guy was a leftie.
    From Slate…
    “That said, some context: Of the 788 amendments filed, 67
    came from Democrats and 721 from Republicans. (That disparity
    drew jeers that Republicans were trying to slow things down.
    Another explanation may be that they offered so many so they
    could later claim—as they are now, in fact, claiming—that most
    of their suggestions went unheeded.) Only 197 amendments
    were passed in the end—36 from Democrats and 161 from
    Republicans. And of those 161 GOP amendments, Senate
    Republicans classify 29 as substantive and 132 as technical.
    “Yet many of the GOP amendments on this incomplete list do
    seem pretty substantive. For example, one amendment offered
    by Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn requires members of Congress and
    their staff to enroll in the government-run health insurance
    program. Another, sponsored by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee,
    would “establish an auto advisory council to make
    recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury regarding
    how best to represent the taxpayers of the United States as the
    majority owner of General Motors.” An amendment written by
    North Carolina’s Richard Burr requires that “a private plan would
    be exempt from any federal or state requirement related to
    quality improvement and reporting if the community health
    insurance option is not subject to the specific requirement.”
    The list goes on. An amendment from Mike Enzi of Wyoming
    promises “to protect pro-patient plans and prevent rationing.”
    Another of his would “prohibit the government run plan from
    limiting access to end of life care.” An amendment from New
    Hampshire’s Judd Gregg “requires all savings associated with
    follow-on biologics to go towards deficit reduction.”
    http://www.slate.com/id/2223023/

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    “Where’s the cramming? The House bill has 200 Republican amendments.”
    Oh yeah? Name one. Nancy Pelosi is lying through her teeth.
    The Republicans were TOTALLY shut out of the process. Both bills were cooked up by the Democrat caucus behind closed doors. They could have passed a bipartisan bill easily, but it wouldn’t have been a federal takeover the whole healthcare sector. They jammed down the left-most bill they could squeak through. They couldn’t even get Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins to sign on. They had to bribe and threaten their own members to pass this. They didn’t dare let them go home to own districts before the vote.
    “As far as “earthly fury” goes, we don’t need Carroll to tell us how
    “popular” the segregationist movement was in the South or how
    much fury was unleashed when the country did the right thing
    and desegregated public spaces. ”
    So people against IRS enforcement of healthcare mandates and wrecking US economy with out of control spending are just like segregationists whose opinion should be made illegal? Thank you so much for that display of liberal tolerance.
    Remember, what goes around comes around. How will you like it when you are in the minority?

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    “The bagger movement did seem to be getting some substantial
    funding from various groups, including insurance industry
    groups–so it’s been hard to know how “popular” it’s been. And
    how about that ‘bagger who drove his plane into a government
    building? I thought only jihadis did that. Or wingnuts like
    McVeigh. Ron Paul and some other reps said they understood
    “Stack’s” pain–but I guess not the pain of the family of the
    military veteran who was killed.”
    The “bagger” movement got 30,000 people to turn out Saturday on 24 hours notice. It’s a real popular movement, unlike, say, the anti-war protests where everybody carries and pre-printed sign made by the Stalinist group International Answer. When CNN covered those marches, they were careful to interview the sweet hippy couple and ignore the radicals calling for jihad from the platform. (I actually saw this once by comparing C-Span’s coverage of an anti-war march to CNN’s)
    When CNN covers tea parties, they will search a crowd of 30,000 for the one nutty sign and home in on it. Oh, yes, we’re onto their “coverage”.
    One good example is CNN’s claiming that the nut who flew into the IRS building was a “bagger”. Actually, he left a long screed full of hate for George Bush. He was a leftist. But that’s not the preferred narrative, so they fix it!
    It’s entirely possible that if one guy did yell out “nigger” on Saturday, he was a plant, who could operate in full confidence that the MSM would be his megaphone to discredit the tea partiers, no matter how much they tried to shush him.

    Reply

  45. Sweetness says:

    N: How about, just to toss a radical idea out there, admitting
    people on the merits on a color-blind basis?
    SN: Well, except if those groups are under-represented and
    continue to be disadvantaged, what sort of “color-blind”
    approach would help with that? You can’t address the problem
    by ignoring it.
    Beyond that, we don’t live in a colorblind society and the effects
    of racism persist. One of the reasons why all the stats for blacks
    and latinos remain much worse than for others. The
    unemployment rate among Native Americans is 70%–that didn’t
    just happen and it doesn’t help to ignore the problem.
    N: How about not tarring all black candidates with the stigma of
    having the bar lowered for them, forever? For crying out loud,
    the President is black, does this nonsense have to go on forever?
    (Though come to think of it, if the bar hadn’t been lowered for
    Obama, he wouldn’t be President. Try to imagine a white
    candidate with his resume. You can’t do it.)
    SN: What bar? What are the “qualifications” that matter to you?
    The bar for a candidate is getting elected. Many “more qualified”
    candidates than the leaders in the 2008 election got pitifully few
    votes–and that was “the people” speaking. Folks could have
    voted for Biden or McCain or Palin or Romney–but they didn’t.
    Hillary was almost as inexperienced as Barack according to the
    usual scales. There is no affirmative action in politics–it is all a
    matter of counting the votes. Al Gore had a LOT more
    experience than George Bush, and yet GWB got the nod, however
    flawed the process, and Gore accepted it, pretty graciously.
    N: The left has gone racially bonkers. Used to be, if you asked
    first, “what race is he?” you were a racist. Now they claim you’re
    a racist if you don’t look at everybody through a racial lens. It’s
    just nuts.
    SN: This is silly. 150 years after blacks were emancipated we
    have our first black president–I think that’s something to
    celebrate and ponder. Obama was the only black in the Senate
    in how many decades? You think this was a coincidence? I
    don’t.
    In any event, race isn’t a topic that’s “just” been discovered by
    the left or America. It’s been going on since the founding.
    Affirmative action has been going on a long time. The left hasn’t
    gone “racially bonkers.” Moreover, I don’t see anyone asking,
    “first,” what color is he…except the teabaggers.
    N: Of course I don’t believe in calling people niggers. Anybody
    have a recording?
    SN: Are you saying it didn’t happen if there was no recording?
    N: I wouldn’t put it past these democrats to make it up.
    SN: Quite a number of people seem to have witnessed it. One
    Mr. Ryan spoke on the House floor about it.
    N: They’ve tried to paint the outrage of the tea partiers as a
    bunch of racist rednecks from the beginning. Everybody knows
    that no popular movement can be against the left, so the way
    they figure it, it can’t be a popular movement.
    SN: I think there may have been some unfairness as you say.
    That said, some of the “jungle bunny” imagery on placards and
    talk of guns and carrying of same went way over the top. All
    those folks itching to water the tree of liberty at a presidential
    town hall. Wow. That’s implied assassination territory, Nadine.
    (During Bush’s time, you couldn’t attend a presidential town hall
    wearing the wrong teeshirt!)
    The bagger movement did seem to be getting some substantial
    funding from various groups, including insurance industry
    groups–so it’s been hard to know how “popular” it’s been. And
    how about that ‘bagger who drove his plane into a government
    building? I thought only jihadis did that. Or wingnuts like
    McVeigh. Ron Paul and some other reps said they understood
    “Stack’s” pain–but I guess not the pain of the family of the
    military veteran who was killed.
    That’s extreme, especially as the IRS has been around, I think,
    since 1913. Federal taxes are lower now than when Bill Clinton
    was in office and WAY lower than when Reagan was in office.
    Why get angry about it now?
    Did you support that large photograph of the bodies piled up at
    Dachau at one of Bachmann’s fests? Likening health reform to
    Dachau? Even Cantor had to walk THAT back as “unhelpful.” I
    wonder if he would have done that had he not been Jewish?
    All in all, I think the teabagger movement has a lot to answer
    for. I guess we’ll get to see how popular–widespread–the
    movement turns out to be. I’m hoping that once ordinary people
    get that they can now keep their kids on their insurance policy
    after college, they will realize this isn’t the end of the world as
    we know it–a thesis the ‘baggers are pushing hard with all
    their talk of socialism and Naziism.
    As far as “earthly fury” goes, we don’t need Carroll to tell us how
    “popular” the segregationist movement was in the South or how
    much fury was unleashed when the country did the right thing
    and desegregated public spaces. Those folks aren’t gone, but
    they get that their views are not acceptable to most normal
    people–and that should remain the message.
    As far as ramming things through…The Senate bill passed with a
    SUPERmajority. The House bill passed with a majority. The
    House passed the Senate bill with a majority. Hopefully, the
    Senate will pass to undo most of the most egregiously unfair
    deals that were made ONLY BECAUSE the Republicans forced
    them to go for a SUPERmajority.
    Where’s the cramming? The House bill has 200 Republican
    amendments. The Senate bill is close to what Romney, Chafee,
    Bob Dole, and Bob Michel proposed. It’s more conservative than
    what Richard Nixon proposed. Calling this a radical left, one
    step closer to socialism bill means you have to ignore these
    facts. It doesn’t pass the laugh test, Nadine.

    Reply

  46. DonS says:

    ” . . . throwbacks to the ugliest chapters in
    our history, some of which have not yet come to
    an end. I don’t think you can defend the above
    without ceding ground to all those folks who want
    to call us “kikes” and paint swastikas on shuls.” (Sweetness)
    Sweetness, there is nothing vaguely defensible about these sorts of people. That an emotional outburst would resolve into ‘niggers’ and ‘faggot’ reveals the thinnest of veneers that covers a persons bigotry and hatred.
    This was my point some threads ago in referring to the so called ‘christian’ right, who have a apparent marriage of convenience with the zionist right. These folks, benighted and ignorant, in the true sense of that word, come from a cultural and social background that lumps Jews in with blacks, homosexuals and, now we find, ‘liberals’.
    Seeking to reap advantages, in the short term, from that marriage of convenience with narrow minded bigots, is disgraceful in someone who identifies as a Jew. Scratch the surface veneer of that christianist and you will find an anti-Semite more times than not.
    Our problem in this polarized world and society, it seems, is growing fundamentalism of all sorts. Only, you know, in the US, these folks are as blinded as surely as the most rabid ‘islamist’. And perhaps with less reason although, as we know, bigotry needs little actual reason to fester.

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    We have neither done the right thing, nor exhausted all other options.
    You have no earthly idea the fury that you have engendered by jamming this down the throats of an unwilling public with partisan dirty tricks. But in November, you’ll begin to see.

    Reply

  48. John Waring says:

    Yes, the bill is flawed. It has no public option. But it sure beats no bill at all. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly at first. Establishing the principle is the most important first step. We can fix the flaws as time goes by, not that that’s going to happen any time soon.
    Speaker Pelosi is no left coast liberal. She’s one tough pol from Baltimore’s Little Italy, and obviously a master of the inside game. This is her triumph.
    Ross Sharp, remember what Churchill said of Americans. We do the right thing, after we exhaust all other options.

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    “Why would you want to CONTINUE to
    underrepresent and disadvantage these groups? I
    don’t get that.”
    How about, just to toss a radical idea out there, admitting people on the merits on a color-blind basis? How about not tarring all black candidates with the stigma of having the bar lowered for them, forever? For crying out loud, the President is black, does this nonsense have to go on forever? (Though come to think of it, if the bar hadn’t been lowered for Obama, he wouldn’t be President. Try to imagine a white candidate with his resume. You can’t do it.)
    The left has gone racially bonkers. Used to be, if you asked first, “what race is he?” you were a racist. Now they claim you’re a racist if you don’t look at everybody through a racial lens. It’s just nuts.
    Of course I don’t believe in calling people niggers. Anybody have a recording? I wouldn’t put it past these democrats to make it up. They’ve tried to paint the outrage of the tea partiers as a bunch of racist rednecks from the beginning. Everybody knows that no popular movement can be against the left, so the way they figure it, it can’t be a popular movement.

    Reply

  50. Sweetness says:

    Nadine quotes: “”In awarding grants and contracts
    . . . the Secretary shall give preference to entities
    that have a demonstrated record of training . . .
    individuals who are from underrepresented
    minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds . .
    . .”
    But…
    Why would you want to CONTINUE to
    underrepresent and disadvantage these groups? I
    don’t get that.
    Also, do you really think that spitting on
    someone, calling him “faggot” and “nigger” is the
    right response to someone’s stand on a piece of
    health care legislation?
    These are throwbacks to the ugliest chapters in
    our history, some of which have not yet come to
    an end. I don’t think you can defend the above
    without ceding ground to all those folks who want
    to call us “kikes” and paint swastikas on shuls.
    I have to say, I find this incomprehensible.

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    “”It wasn’t just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor’s Business Daily declaring that health reform is “affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.” ”
    Racial preferences ARE all over the bill. On page 884-885 the bill states:
    “In awarding grants and contracts . . . the Secretary shall give preference to entities that have a demonstrated record of training . . . individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups or disadvantaged backgrounds . . . .”
    One of many passages. For others see here http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/racial_preferences_in_the_demo_1.html Affirmative action forever, only for blacks and latinos. Asians and Jews and poor whites need not apply.
    Krugman used to be an economist. Now he is the most venal kind of partisan hack. No real economist could support this trillion dollar fiscal train wreck.

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    Nate’s analysis seems muddled to me. First he says that Obama’s share of the district’s vote matters most, then he shows a graph that shows that a member’s ideology matters just as much.
    And what’s the deal with leaving retirees out of the voting totals? They vote at proportionately higher rates than younger people.
    Lobbying money mattered very very much. So much it kept tort reform out of the bill altogether, and got all those special deals for unions. All those details we can now look at that the bill has passed, like Pelosi had the gall to tell us the other day. But since lobbying money kept the stuff it wanted to keep out, out of the bill, it didn’t need to apply to the voting totals, now did it? Its ox wasn’t gored so it could afford not to care.
    So, you think there is no centralized planning in this bill? What are the hundred new federal agencies for? What is the centralized standard for insurance policies, overseen by the HHS and enforced by the IRS? The IRS is getting 16,500 new agents to enforce compliance of the individual mandate. That is in the bill. What are the new standards of care, as defined by federal panel? You think the federal government will pay for treatments without enforcing their standards? Ha! They will enforce them all over the doctors, who will quit in droves.
    I’ve heard that doctors won’t be allowed to opt out of the system either (not sure if it’s true, but if not, it’s a matter of time, they will mandate participation in reaction to the doc shortage, just like Canada does. It’s one of the details we didn’t get to see before the bill was passed). How’s that for centralized control? If you’re a doc, you now work for the feds.
    You have some utopian dream in your head, questions. You have no idea how bad this bill is.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    From Krugman, check out this IBD quote….
    “It wasn’t just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor’s Business Daily declaring that health reform is “affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/opinion/22krugman.html?hp
    Wow. Just wow.

    Reply

  54. questions says:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/03/obamas-share-determined-dems-votes-on.html
    Nate the Great noting that Obama’s vote totals and ideology (DW-NOMINATE) and PVI (last 2 elections) seem fairly strong correlates, with Obama’s vote totals’ being the best predictor of dem voting. Lobbying money, not so much. Gee, who’d-a-thunk it ain’t the money…..
    Sorry to spam up the place this morning! But I think the post mortem is informative.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    One more note about international or intersystem comparisons — we should really figure out just what we’re comparing.
    There’s an old joke: Bill Gates walks into a bar and says, hey, someone treat me to a drink because I just increased the average income and wealth in here so you all can afford to treat me….
    So any study of average wait times between two systems one of which insures everyone and one of which doesn’t is going to give very misleading information.
    In the US, the wait time between diagnosis and treatment doesn’t hold for the uninsured, as there isn’t much in the way of diagnosis. The wait time for hip replacement is current age til Medicare eligibility — if you’re uninsured.
    If we all wait a few extra months for non-emergency care so that more people have access to any care at all, maybe this trade off is a good one. Remember, there are always trade offs in the distribution of goods and services. Civil society should want distributive systems that preserve lives. And HCR is definitely a move in that direction.
    So, again, Nadine, read something besides IBD and watch something besides Fox. They use a particular set of assumptions and play on a set of fears that really do correlate with lower IQs and lower levels of being informed.

    Reply

  56. questions says:

    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2007/May/Mirror–Mirror-on-the-Wall–An-International-Update-on-the-Comparative-Performance-of-American-Healt.aspx
    Comparative outcomes study with a link! Insurance seems to make a difference. Hmmm.
    And even Wiki gets in on the act. (By the way, above somewhere I think I wrote that Canadian doctors work for the gov’t — apparently that’s incorrect. Sorry!)
    “A report published by Health Canada in 2008 included statistics on self-reported wait times for diagnostic services.[49] The median wait time for diagnostic services such as MRI and CAT scans is two weeks with 89.5% waiting less than 3 months.[49][50] The median wait time to see a special physician is a little over four weeks with 86.4% waiting less than 3 months. [49][51] The median wait time for surgery is a little over four weeks with 82.2% waiting less than 3 months. [49][52] In the U.S., patients on Medicaid, the low-income government programs, can wait three months or more to see specialists. Because Medicaid payments are low, some have claimed that some doctors do not want to see Medicaid patients. For example, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, specialists agreed to spend one afternoon every week or two at a Medicaid clinic, which meant that Medicaid patients had to make appointments not at the doctor’s office, but at the clinic, where appointments had to be booked months in advance.[53] A 2009 study found that on average the wait in the United States to see a medical specialist is 20.5 days.[54]
    In a 2009 survey of physician appointment wait times in the United States, the average wait time for an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon in country as a whole was 17 days. In Dallas, Texas the wait was 45 days (the longest wait being 365 days). Nationwide across the U.S. the average wait time to see a family doctor was 20 days. The average wait time to see a family practioner in Los Angeles, California was 59 days and in Boston, Massachusetts it was 63 days. [55]
    Studies by the Commonwealth Fund found that 42% of Canadians waited 2 hours or more in the emergency room, vs. 29% in the U.S.; 57% waited 4 weeks or more to see a specialist, vs. 23% in the U.S., but Canadians had more chances of getting medical attention at nights, or on weekends and holidays than their American neighbors without the need to visit an ER (54% compared to 61%).[56] Statistics from the free market think tank Fraser Institute in 2008 indicate that the average wait time between the time when a general practitioner refers a patient for care and the receipt of treatment was almost four and a half months in 2008, roughly double what it had been 15 years before.[57]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Canadian_and_American_health_care_systems
    Side-by-side comparisons would seem to be pretty hard to do as there are good and bad points in every system. We should know we’re not going to get paradise in any complex system, and we should probably follow the Rawlsian notion of making the lowest position in society as high as we can because any of us could end up there. Thus, being unable to afford life-saving medical care should probably not be a death sentence — it can happen to any of us.

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    Here it is!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/business/22bizhealth.html?ref=policy
    “Yet the bill would not create the thing that insurers feared most: a government-run public option, a health plan that would compete with the private insurers.
    Over all, the legislation would be a positive for much of the industry, said Les Funtleyder, who oversees health care strategy for Miller Tabak & Company, a New York investment firm. ”
    “Hospitals have little to fear. The number of newly insured is expected to decrease significantly the amount that hospitals now lose each year when they provide care to people with no means to pay.
    But the expanded enrollments in the low-income Medicaid program could be a mixed blessing, analysts say, because Medicaid typically pays hospitals less than the actual cost of care. So the question becomes whether hospitals were already treating many of these patients without any reimbursement at all, or whether they will now see an influx of new money-losing Medicaid customers. ”
    “Doctors are another group likely to benefit from more paying customers, which is a reason that the American Medical Association last week began publicly supporting the legislation.”
    “Drug makers, meanwhile, may have the most clear reason to celebrate the legislation. Pharmaceutical companies are going to be asked to contribute $85 billion toward the cost of the bill in the form of industry fees and lower prices paid under government programs over 10 years. But they can look forward to tens of billions of dollars in additional revenue as more people with insurance visit doctors and fill prescriptions. ”
    *****
    See, it’s ok. Rich people will continue to be rich. Even if they have to pay the Medicare tax on their interest and/or dividend income, over 250,000 a year. I think they can afford it.

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    Nadine,
    There isn’t any centralized planning!
    There are corporate hospitals. Corporate drug companies. Corporate insurance companies. Corporate Medicaid providers. Corporate Medicare providers. Corporate employer plans. Corporate doctors groups. HCR keeps the entire corporate structure in place. There’s nothing central at all.
    Doctors groups approved. Drug companies love it. The patent protections for biologics extend 12 years. There’s money to be made in them there hills! The generic drug companies aren’t thrilled. So plenty o’ drugs for plenty o’ people. Hospital groups are happy. They’ll probably get a boost in Medicaid payments to help defray what has been uncompensated care. The Medicare cuts may well be a wash given the extra Medicaid money coming in. (I can’t find the article that went over this stuff — NYT maybe? But I’m not sure.)
    Given the list of people who are ok about this (providers), the list of people who are ok about it (kos-and-to-the-left), and the people who are opposed (IBD and Fox), I’m pretty happy still!
    I think, Nadine, you should get some other sources of news and at least do a compare/contrast study. IBD and Fox make money from your panic.
    Oh, and the governor law suit stuff 00 kos ran a diary tracing that — there was some article somewhere that noted that 1 state (is it Idaho????) is planning to sue. And 37 other states have a proposal in the legislature regarding suing. As the diarist pointed out, that means that some Republican legislator introduced a bill but state action is far from guaranteed under those circumstances. Remember the chambers would have to pass the bill, send it to the gov for signature and then task the AG to sue…. Ain’t gonna happen.
    The Medicare cuts, I believe, are mostly from Medicare Advantage plans which Bush started as a giveaway to corporate insurance and an attempt to privatize Medicare.
    The world isn’t ending, though IBD would like you to think it.

    Reply

  59. nadine says:

    From Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, on what Obamacare as written will cost:
    “Removing the unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion), and adding in the annual spending that so far is not accounted for ($114 billion) quickly generates additional deficits of $562 billion in the first 10 years. And the nation would be on the hook for two more entitlement programs rapidly expanding as far as the eye can see.
    The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal funds from education, Social Security and long-term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html?ref=opinion
    Those are just more realistic estimates of the bill as written. Medicare overran its initial estimates by 9 times. When there’s a free lunch, everybody eats a lot and nobody cares what it really costs because somebody else is paying.
    It’s not as if we had the money to spend. Federal and State government were already being bankrupted by out of control entitlement spending. At some point, you run out of other people’s money, even on credit.

    Reply

  60. nadine says:

    “The thing with that comment is the following — people like many of the things that the health care bill does — they like guaranteed issue (they also like the public option, but hey, can’t win ’em all), they like broadened coverage…. The bill does much of this, but they hate the bill — see, that’s what doesn’t make sense. ” (questions)
    It only makes no sense if you think your fairy godmother will pay for your free lunch. If fairy godmother pays, then you love a free lunch. But if you are an adult who doesn’t believe in fairy godmothers, and you ask questions like, who gets the bill for all these wonderful free steak lunches for everybody? If you are adult enough to ask the question, chances are that the sucker who gets the bill is YOU.
    There were ways to reform the health care market that didn’t involve centralized planning. Ways which would have actually worked. (And before you jump on the Republicans, questions, ways that involved tort reform and free markets that the Democrats always vetoed).
    Americans think their good health care system can adjust to any idiocy from Washington. It adjusted to Medicare by cost-shifting because the market was still mostly private. By the time they see that it can’t adjust to this and it’s breaking down, it will be very hard to recover a working health care system. We will get the same crappy care from DMV workers they get in Canada, with the same 2 year waits to get a primary care doctor.
    But in the meantime, the Governor of nearly every state will sue. This bill is the mother of all unfunded mandates. The whole financing of this turkey makes Bernie Madoff look like an honest man. It’s got a half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts (which they won’t dare make), which were not only counted as savings, they were counted twice – once to ‘save’ Medicare and once to finance Obamacare. That’s the kind of accounting there is behind the claims of saving money.

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  61. Mr.Murder says:

    The Federalist Papers, revisited.
    This marks the beginning of an epoch. To state the obligation affirmatively was a milestone in and of itself, however incremental true policy is in its practice.
    From there a wider definition of medical rights can occur. Societal obligations are an enduring question within our institutions. Are we our brother’s keepers? The question was not meant for answer, it was one meant for action.
    True family values should include health care. We must strive to define this right and still secure the greatest of liberty on this important issue.

    Reply

  62. Dirk says:

    Sure have your fun at our expense, but you should know that I have to buy a jaunty beret tomorrow and sew little red stars on all my shirt’s epaulets. There also handing out little red books tomorrow for us to memorize.
    The Rapture doesn’t happen until Tuesday when the Senate passes the reconciliation and Comrade Obama signs it.
    I’ve been to your country, Ross, and while I didn’t notice any “jackboot-wearing, death-panel camp infested, slightly left of Chairman Mao, vast and bankrupted communist dictatorship run by a Muslim zulu who wants to kill your firstborns.” I did however notice the highly suspicious dark red soil in Adelaide, Ayer’s Rock and Perth. Clearly a commie country.

    Reply

  63. ali says:

    famous proverb says: “Health is Wealth”. When i was a child, i was taught to be a lesson of it. Now i am young enough to understand it, but i am no more than a child what a rubbish ha! actually it was a joke. i only wanna to say that good health is a sign of a developing countries nation’s. so legislative or reforms are much better for the health of a citizen, so that lively nation’s pride is stealth in their health. To fight with the other nation in every field and depart it is strongly believe in their good health and strong wealth(economy). so i strongly believe in Obama’s health reforms policies and i appreciated in towards good act.

    Reply

  64. Ross Sharp (Brisbane, Australia) says:

    I have it on very good authority that Obama, having now achieved his most evil of evil deeds in health care and thus condemning millions upon millions of people to live a bit longer and not feel so poorly, now intends to relocate the U.S. capitol to Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast and govern the entire world from a large black helicopter which shall hover about hither and thither in unpredictably random patterns over Iran and Syria.
    And he’s banning the bible and the church, too. From now on, all Americans must study “The Audacity of Hope” as a holy text, and sacrifice a goat on Sundays (a chicken will do if you can’t find a goat in a hurry, but a bucket of KFC will suffice if you’re squeamish) whilst chanting excerpts from it and setting fire to effigies of Ronald Reagan and Martha Stewart and having evil thoughts about the Olsen twins.
    And not content with all this, he also intends to pollute the North American water supply with a concoction of biochemical agents that will turn all rodeo circuit cowboys into gay flower arrangers with inexpicably large collections of Bette Midler records.
    The evil, it burns.
    The man simply must be stopped before all these sick people get well again. It’s disgraceful.

    Reply

  65. Paul Norheim says:

    Now that America is entering the dark interim period between
    health care reform and Armageddon – I wonder what’s next?
    In hindsight, we may be thankful that this dangerous Muslim
    with a middle name was occupied with his death panel project
    for 12 months – distracting him from implementing even more
    sinister islamo-fascistic plans.
    Now let’s get the facts straight here. Only morons and utopian
    leftists can now ignore the obvious, that this Hussein boy
    intends to steal those 200 nukes from Bibi and evenly distribute
    them between the leaders of North Korea, Iran, Myanmar,
    Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Syria – as a gesture of goodwill and
    an extended hand towards America’s many enemies.
    Chamberlain, remember? Appeasement? Adolf Hitler? Pol Pot? I
    hope Liz Cheney, the teabaggers and other reasonable people
    will mobilize against this appeaser before it’s too late.

    Reply

  66. Ross Sharp (Brisbane, Australia) says:

    Congratulations, America. It’s about bloody time.
    However, now that there’s some form of national health care in operation over there, your country shall now go the same way Australia did when it was introduced here.
    Which is to say, overnight you’ll be transformed into a jackboot-wearing, death-panel camp infested, slightly left of Chairman Mao, vast and bankrupted communist dictatorship run by a Muslim zulu who wants to kill your firstborns.
    And the Rapture is coming.
    Pack a toothbrush.

    Reply

  67. frenchconection says:

    nadine
    The Investor’s Business Daily has no article with this data.
    There is no such entity as the United Nation’s ‘International’ Health Organization. Presumably the author was attempting to claim the source of the ‘data’ came from the U.N.’s WORLD Health Organization.
    None of these statistics can be gathered from the data on the WHO’s website. Especially something as specific as a hip replacement.
    Investors Business Daily is famous for saying that Stephen Hawking would be dead if he lived in England, which he does.
    The data is seemingly in direct conflict with data on the WHO website/survey.
    Nadine is quoting an urban legend she got in her mail

    Reply

  68. questions says:

    The other effects are: keeping Baby Rubin on Daddy’s insurance, when daddy and mommy divorce, and mommy has, I don’t know, asthma, mommy can get an individual policy on the exchange, and when mommy and daddy are in a nasty car accident and they both need kind of pricey reconstructive surgery, then their policy won’t be rescissioned or canceled, and when your coworker gets cancer or AIDS, your boss might not have to cancel everyone’s policy or fire the sick dude, and people on the lower end of the income scale will have access to Medicaid and community health centers….
    There’s some good early stuff. And like most complicated legislation, it’ll take some time to grow into and probably some fixes. NCLB is still a work in progress — as a matter of fact, they’ve gone back to ESEA to show just how much work it needs. But Baby Rubin still managed to learn how to read under the horrors of NCLB (it is a horrible law). So there might be bugs to work out, but the basic controls over the nastier practices of the insurance industry and the the alternatives to some of the worst we do to one another in order to make a buck — I think it’s all good!
    By the way, 538 has a handful of conservative posters whom you would find — just like that! I’m impressed.
    The thing with that comment is the following — people like many of the things that the health care bill does — they like guaranteed issue (they also like the public option, but hey, can’t win ’em all), they like broadened coverage…. The bill does much of this, but they hate the bill — see, that’s what doesn’t make sense. People know what they want, but they don’t know what the bill does.
    Someone who supports the bill and actually knows what’s in it is in a different position from someone who supports the various points in the bill but opposes the bill out of ignorance. So the issue is the cognitive disconnect, not some charge that THE PEOPLE don’t know nothin’.
    224 votes for the rule! Enjoy the day!
    (Notice by the way, the attempt the Republicans are making to scare Stupak into thinking that we’re all going to be forced to have federal abortions every day — men and women equally! — as Wonkette might put it! They have nothing left to argue. Nothing.)

    Reply

  69. nadine says:

    questions, here is the first, good comment:
    “Nate, you’ve been pounding the notion that a lot of the general public that is opposed doesn’t really know what’s in the bill. Wouldn’t the same be true for a lot of the general public that is in favor? Very few people pay enough attention to the policy details to have a good grasp of *any* of this.”
    Ans: of course they don’t, but Nate only put the “anti’s” on the dock. I would go further: the “pro’s” know much less about what the bill would do, because to be a “pro” it really helps if you don’t know how insurance works, how Medicare works, how employer policies work, or how government has already screwed up the market. Or how how supply and demand works, for that matter. You just want a fairy godmother to pay for everything for you.
    If, on the other hand, you actually understand something about economics, you are overwhelmingly an “anti” because you understand what a fiscal train wreck this bill is. They only claim it saves money because they made the CBO score 10 years of revenue against six years of benefits.
    The only effects anybody will see for the first four years are higher taxes, higher premiums and Medicare cuts. This bill pretends to control costs when it only refuses to pay them. By this fall, Congress must either pass the $200 billion “doc fix” or refuse to pass it, and then we will see health care cut off to millions of elderly. You cannot ‘control costs’ by ordering doctors to work below their costs. Yet that is just what they try to do.

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  70. Greg Chase says:

    Are you people kidding. Have any of you even read the bill. I have to beleive after going over the first part only as it would take 6 months to do it all,that the only people who think it is good are either ignorant or don’t know how to read at all.If you have read it you could not possibly support it. It is national bankruptcy,and will cost millions of jobs putting most small businesses out of business.Lets cut our nose off to spite our face. Great policy.

    Reply

  71. questions says:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/health-care-information-gap-more.html#comments
    Nate the Great’s take on the information wars.
    Link is to comments, scroll up for post. You’ve probably seen this one before.

    Reply

  72. nadine says:

    “Nadine, the numbers in the polls are ever so iffy. ”
    questions, you are kidding yourself. The numbers have remained entirely stable since last year. Obama hasn’t been able to move the needle at all with his 50+ speeches. Gallup, Rasmussen, PPP, all asked “do you approve the bill” and people say NO. Go look at the RCP averages, they list all the polls.
    “The order of the questions, the push polling, the utter lack of information, the kind of ignorance that demands that the government get its hands off my Medicare, the noise machine….”
    The people are stupid, we know better, we should make their decisions for them, they are too dumb to be left on their own. Yup, that’s the liberal line of the day. Good luck running on it.

    Reply

  73. questions says:

    At least 220 on the rule!
    Nadine, the numbers in the polls are ever so iffy. The order of the questions, the push polling, the utter lack of information, the kind of ignorance that demands that the government get its hands off my Medicare, the noise machine…. The polls showed that people like many individual points in the reform by very significant margins, but that people seem to have bad associations with “Obama’s health reform.” There’s not really a cognitively together way to hold both views.
    As people see what we’ve gotten, they’ll mellow out.
    Republicans will not be able to cancel the pre-existing conditions restriction removal, they won’t be able to kick all those 24 year olds off their parents’ insurance, they won’t be able to open up the doughnut hole again…. No one is going to have energy for this.
    I think the dems might actually be ok, but I’m willing to be that your media pals will work very hard to avoid that fate. Waterloo, they want, again and again.
    224 votes now!

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    Frum is one of the morons who told us what a moderate Obama was. Once Obama ceded the process to San Fran Nan and her ultra-liberal chairmen, there was going to be no compromise. There was never going to be a compromise that involved a federal takeover of 17% of the economy. The Democrats didn’t want compromise, they wanted the federal power grab. That is first and last in this bill. Health care is just the cover story.
    It’s not just the Republicans who say they hate this bill – it’s the American people by a 20% margin. They voted Republican in NJ and VA last November. They voted for Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and he ran as the 41st vote against Obamacare. They could not have expressed their will more clearly, only to be dismissed, called stupid, derided as “teabaggers” and ignored by Obama and Pelosi. Republicans will run on repeal, and win.

    Reply

  75. questions says:

    And a little more from the same Frum”
    “I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
    So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.”
    ****
    This is a nice bit of analysis.

    Reply

  76. questions says:

    From David Frum, in mourning:
    “At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.
    Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.
    This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
    Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.”
    *****
    NOTE WELL that last paragraph — the gap between….. As the kos people noted over and over, this is largely a Republican plan with a bit of a dem gloss. It keeps markets in place, we’re going to be paying in, I’m not sure what’s to moan about, but I’m willing to bet that IBD isn’t going to tout the Heritage Foundation as the, umm, foundation of the legislation!
    http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo
    I do think one could pick up some pocket money designing some ironic take on “Obama’s Waterloo”!

    Reply

  77. nadine says:

    “My future predictions: Obama’s popularity goes up as the debate dials down. Being against health reform will turn out to have been a bad move. People will start to like the availability of insurance and they will start to dislike Republican intransigence”
    We just started the debate. They will be debating this in the Senate. People are just furious at being told by Pelosi et. al. that they are too stupid to be worth listening to. Charlie Cook predicts a “wave” election in November. One or both houses of Congress will go Republican.

    Reply

  78. traveler says:

    I am a relative newcomer to the blog but I have been going back and reading many of Steve’s posts from the past. I must admit that this is one of the most interesting collections of commentary I have read. I love the swashbuckling style of the commenters. And I respect Mr. Clemons’ balance and unpredictability about all of these issues. He’s clearly unique in the blogosphere and really works at this stuff.
    So just wanted to take a moment to thank our very decent host.

    Reply

  79. nadine says:

    “The individual market is in a death spiral, which is a market failure.” (questions)
    Now the ENTIRE market will be in a death spiral, by law. Which is by design. So if this isn’t repealed, they will come back and say, “Oh look, the free market doesn’t work. Gotta go to single payer.” Then we can all have the same crappy care and long waits they get in England. You got cancer? The oncologist can see you in 9 months. No new drugs will ever be developed, and if by chance they are, only the rich will get them.
    Access to insurance is NOT access to quality health care. Half the doctors will retire or go to cash-only boutiques. That’s what the polls are saying.
    questions, if I dropped IBD and Fox, it still wouldn’t make me unknow what I know: which is that you cannot legislate a free lunch and this monstrosity will bankrupt the Federal Government, which is already on a course to bankruptcy. Medicare has 43 Trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. So, let’s save money by creating ANOTHER Medicare! and $500 billion in new job-killing taxes, which might pay for about one third of the cost. Only in Washington. Maybe Obama thinks the Great Depression was so good for FDR, he wants one of his own.
    Take a good look at Greece, questions. That’s us in 10 years or less. Then they have no choice but to cut, and cut deeply. How does government health care make cuts? It rations care. Hello, death panels.
    You’ll have insurance, all right. But you won’t have care.
    We are governed by fools.

    Reply

  80. questions says:

    Nadine, one more thing — drop your ‘script to IBD — your IQ will rise by 30 points just from ignoring that rag!
    You’ll get another 30 for dropping Fox, and if you start reading actuaries and policy analyses, you’ll pick up another 15!
    Canceling cable entirely gives you 50 more!
    You could be beyond genius with just a few media moves!

    Reply

  81. questions says:

    Nadine, I’m so happy about this bill’s passing, I can’t tell you!
    The key to you list is quite possibly “after diagnosis” which means that people had access to diagnosis. I honestly personally know one person who definitely died because of a lack of care. I have two family members who probably died sooner than they would have because of a lack of health insurance. I have seen people turned away from care in doctor’s offices for a lack of the doctor’s fees. I know of someone who just lost a job and insurance, needs a routine infusion of a very expensive drug. The drug company has a charity program, but infusion drugs have to be administered in hospitals. The hospital fees are too expensive.
    If you’re on the individual market, any insurance you have is not insurance as it will be canceled should you develop any illness that will cost more than your premiums bring in. It’s a business model.
    The individual market is in a death spiral, which is a market failure.
    The small group market is doing equally badly. Premiums go up if one employee gets too sick. The result is that the employee is fired or the whole business loses insurance.
    If you have a pre-existing condition, and at this point, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t to be honest, and you have spousal insurance and your spouse dumps you or dies on you, you’re uninsurable in the individual market.
    What is there to love about this system?
    People 65 and up in good health in the US have Medicare to thank. And maybe a bunch of the sicker people died before they hit 65. Selection bias could be an issue here?
    MRIs might actually be overused. There are some interesting studies about what happens once the machines arrive. I don’t really know what the right number of MRIs is per/ population.
    The referrals to specialists in the US — ever deal with HMOs? They don’t give the referral in the first place. And it’s hard to know with a general statistic like this just what those referrals are for. If it takes two months to see a dermatologist for acne, I think people will survive. And of course, if you don’t go to a primary care doctor in the first place, you don’t get the referral in the second place.
    The diabetes number may well be a combination of Medicaid and Medicare where the most likely patients are going to be. And there may be an utterly insane number of diabetes cases in the US such that it gets monitored more, diagnosed more, and followed up with more. I don’t have data on disease rates. We might simply have more diabetes care built in to the system because we have so many more cases. If Medicare and Medicaid are dealing well with diabetes, what’s wrong with having more people covered?
    Oh, and isn’t it the case that in England, the doctors work directly for the government, so it’s not at all comparable to what we have here? And the same for Canada?
    HCR is really insurance reform. A lot of continuity is being maintained. Take a deep breath!
    So, as with all such data, without all of the backstory and the breakdowns and the context, it’s kind of hard to say what it all means.
    I’m going to be anecdotal on this one. I know people who have suffered, died, watched others die because of our current system. I see the failures as much as the successes. And I think the changes will increase the number of successes and decrease the number of failures.
    The priority on prevention, the opening of the insurance market to the currently uninsurable, the expansion of Medicaid, the subsidies, the coverage of the “young invincibles” — all of this is to the good.
    Pelosi worked magic!
    The executive order/signing statement was a thing of genius for face-saving Stupak et al (I really liked the opt out gimmick, but this one is really impressive, I will say), allowing the process to do its absolute best and then fail and then revive was perhaps the best thing of all. The dems may have learned something about legislating, the repubs will scream about the unfairness, but they were given endless opportunities to participate, Congress had the lead as it should under our Constitution, really, the whole thing was impressive. And finally, Obama stayed low for enough time to give the Constitution a chance.
    So, no no Nadine, I’m not going to fret. I’m going to celebrate! And I’m going to hope that no one else has to lose family, friends, neighbors, children, or total strangers to a lack of insurance.
    (Oh, and none of this is for “free” — we’re all going to be dumping money in.)
    My future predictions: Obama’s popularity goes up as the debate dials down. Being against health reform will turn out to have been a bad move. People will start to like the availability of insurance and they will start to dislike Republican intransigence. Just as Medicare and Medicaid have become part of the landscape, so will general insurance. And when the world doesn’t come to an end after the Senate votes and Obama signs, people will move on to something else. And Obama’s numbers, Pelosi’s and Reid’s numbers will edge up.
    Fox will find something else to do. My Foxfriends will find a new complaint. And they’ll get to the doctor for that pain that’s been bugging them for a while. And the seniors who are panicking will find that their next appointment is just like the last. Ahh, continuity and familiarity. Ahhh.

    Reply

  82. Daniel Lucio says:

    I have to say that this article cuts right to the
    issue that could turn everything else around.
    Obama’s current take on foreign policy, especially
    in the Middle East, is taking it’s toll.
    There are a number of easily enacted initiatives
    that are under direct control of the executive, that
    would make ameliorate problems with our economy and
    strengthen our competitiveness as a player in the
    world economy.
    -DL
    Texas

    Reply

  83. nadine says:

    It would be nice to live in your head, questions, along with Peter Pan and the Easter Bunny.
    Just let Nanny Government take care of it, and everybody will have insurance. Whether they can use their insurance to actually see a doctor, that’s a different question. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe now, maybe a year from now, gotta take a number and get in line. Depends what the standards committee says. The newest treatment is so expensive, the we can save money by waiting to okay it, let’s see how the ten-year trials look.
    There’s a price for waiting months to see a specialist and not having the newest drugs available.
    A recent “Investor’s Business Daily” article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.
    Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
    U.S. 65%
    England 46%
    Canada 42%
    Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:
    U.S. 93%
    England 15%
    Canada 43%
    Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
    U.S. 90%
    England 15%
    Canada 43%
    Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
    U.S. 77%
    England 40%
    Canada 43%
    Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:
    U.S. 71
    England 14
    Canada 18
    Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in “excellent health”:
    U.S. 12%
    England 2%
    Canada 6%
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH

    Reply

  84. questions says:

    What David says.

    Reply

  85. David says:

    This is one small step for change, but its implications for breaking the stranglehold the illness exploitation investor system has on health care are very significant, and the direction at least is for the better, flaws and all. This is America – we can’t have what Canada, France, or any of the other developed societies have – but it is no small achievement. Legitimate concerns exist, but they are hardly what the opponents have chosen to bray about.
    Congratulations are in order for Speaker Pelosi and President Obama. Now, here’s hoping he pays attention to the points Steve raised, especially regarding foreign policy issues. But above all, jobs, jobs, jobs.

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  86. The Pessimist says:

    I keep having this Howard Cosell flashback, updated for modern context:
    DOWN GOES OBAMA! DOWN GOES OBAMA! DOWN GOES OBAMA!
    I think it is still premature to predict passage of this flawed bill. The politically motivated obstructionists are still in the fight.
    The House Reps are not concerned with public health; they are concerned with public perceptions. They are deviously posturing and positioning themselves to gain public support for their own political self preservation.
    Either a yes or no vote can be spun to the advantage of the Reps. A yes vote and they claim “I gave you health care.” A no vote and they claim “I stood up to the greedy insurance companies.”
    Either way the spin does have an appeal to the public. The Reps are simply trying to gauge which vote garners the most support from their constituents, not which vote best benefits their constituents. They are always putting their own and party interests ahead of ours.
    Due to my pessimistic nature, I just simply don’t trust the actions nor the words of these self serving representatives. But perhaps I’m wrong.
    Regards

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  87. afisher says:

    wrensis,
    You overspeak (sigh) as only 25% of Seniors have Medicare Advantage, care to hazard a guess about their income? Legality of RvW – oh my! Are you saying that SCOTUS ruled improperly, but somehow GWB failed to get this overturned? You really need to quit telling everyone what YOU think is correct and try, I don’t, following the law (again, something GOP et al like to ignore when convenient).
    The cost will cripple the economy (yikes) – yet we have all seen that the GOP are in with the lobbyist’s and Wall Street Bankers to assure that there are no regulations. So which is it, you are either for regulation to assure that the banks don’t get regulated, so they can do it again or you are for regulation which is against the philosophical mentality of the Right? Prove me wrong that we won’t hear the GOP legislators try to protect the Banks and blame the Left for somehow causing the meltdown of 08.
    Nope, I won’t hold my breathe waiting for a sane and reasoned response.

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  88. wrensis says:

    When you place the weight of this bill on the backs of seniors, our grandchildren who will pay and pay and pay, and then ignore the legality of Roe vs. Wade. The cost will cripple our economy at a time when our economy will never recover from the last…”great thing”.

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  89. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine — thanks. I realize there is a chance that this may not be done yet, particularly listening to the slippery way Hoyer is saying he has the 216 votes. But have to take a calculated bet right now that President Obama will pull this off. If he doesn’t after the declarations they have made today, then the loss is catastrophic. But I think my congratulations to them on this will be a placeholder for my views and anything I may need to add tomorrow while I’m in North Africa.
    best, steve clemons

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  90. nadine says:

    “The coverage won’t kick in for four years, but the Medicare cuts take effect immediately. Thus the savings.”
    You forgot all the new taxes. Taxes on health care benefits, taxes for not giving health care benefits, a new Medicare tax on unearned income, taxes here there and everywhere. And don’t forget the higher health care premiums we’ll all pay. Plus the slashed Medicare Advantage benefits, that starts right away too.
    Oh yeah, the polls may say that people oppose this bill by 55% to 35% now, but just wait until they begin to feel the results, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
    That’s if it passes. I wouldn’t be counting this as a done deal yet (You hear me, Steve?) It takes an awful lot of buying off to get Congressmen to commit political suicide for you.

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  91. Don Bacon says:

    Health care has been checked off, alright.
    How can there be billions of dollars saved while 30 million people gain coverage?
    The coverage won’t kick in for four years, but the Medicare cuts take effect immediately. Thus the savings.
    Dick Morris: “Physicians’ fees will be slashed 21 percent and hospital reimbursements for Medicare patients will be cut by $1.3 billion. Tens of thousands of doctors and thousands of health care institutions — hospitals, hospices, outpatient clinics and such — will refuse to treat Medicare patients. . .In effect, the elderly will experience a doctors’ strike against Medicare patients.” http://tinyurl.com/yfjfckp
    These folks will vote this year, the ones not covered any time soon and the ones experiencing reduced care, and they won’t vote donkey.

    Reply

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