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What He Said

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Look: I’m trying to forgo commenting on issues that are purely national news, but this sums the events of Tuesday up so well (inhaler-necessitating wheezes and all) that I cannot possibly avoid posting it.

Also, the above clip demonstrates once again why an entire generation looks to Jon Stewart as their primary news source—as opposed to the purported actual news sources.


  • It’s not that Obama didn’t push hard enough, it’s that the one with all the cajones, Pelosi, unfortunately as Gingrich said about her today in Politico, has only been concerned with “her far left cadre” and has been oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of the public, like the voters in MA, are more in the center. And on a personal level, the Republicans – like Limbaugh, on down locally – speak of pelosi as though she’s some sort of bionic vampire behind that too-tight mask. They just plain don’t like her or trust her.

    MA voters like many, are more likely to be registered Independent, than Democrat or Republican, no longer guaranteed “blue.” These voters skew liberal on social issues but are fed up with all the big spending that’s yielded few results for anyone in terms of jobs, other than bonuses for “fat cats” on Wall Street. And the healthcare bill’s $trillion or so cost would be paid largely by gutting MediCare, the only thing many have to rely on as a safety net in their golden years. The mandated health insurance would be much more expensive the older you get, so many fear they and their parents would be worse off. Only the insurance co’s would benefit for sure, with everyone being forced to buy, and no caps on premiums – in fact,a big tax on “Cadillac care” and scares about very old people being considered too “Expensive” to fix. An article in yesterday’s LA Times, which actually advocated for the Senate plan, says that ‘everyone’ agrees that wait times for those currently insured especially at the low end in Kaiser-type places, would increase as many more joined but the pool of doctors couldn’t expand rapidly enough, especially in urban and very rural areas. Conservatives are convinced that despite what Obama and Pelosi say, as soon as the bill passes it will be amended to include illegals or will do so de facto, since hospitals can’t do INS checks – how could they, if employers allegedly can’t?

    Most people want to see the government prove then can do something right before they entrust them with the whole package. Pelosi IS showing some street smarts by realizing this and NOT caving to those who want them to “ram something, anything through” so Obama could claim a “win” during this first year. Yes, that’s appealing because Obama’s ratings are down and the progressives who pushed hardest for him are mad, but slowly but surely IS wiser.

  • That was well said. The administration is run by Chicago style thug politicians and a community organizer that knows only one way to do business and it’s not going to work for them at a national level. The Mass. election might be waking them up.

    Parts of the reform needed, like buying across state lines, not allowing insurers to kick people out of plans due to illness or not allowing pre-existing conditions need to be implemented.

  • I actually agree on something with SF, at least as far as my channeling “the zeitgest” on this. Except that I don’t think it’s Obama that’s to blame or is a Chicago-style thug; he’s actually more of a centrist, or has evolved into one, but Pelosi’s been managing the show and making him look bad.

    The start points SF mentions are among those commonly accepted – and expanding one’s coverage so that “out of network” doctors don’t fall out of the plan and cost a fortune, so that elderly or sick people are afraid to travel even to visit out of state relatives, for example. Getting insurers to offer a basic plan for younger, healthy people to encourage them to sign up – kind of like basic car insurance – rather than penalties, is one way to help offset the costs of not kicking people out of a plan for getting sick or having pre-existing conditions. Going back to the things people complain about as a starting point.

  • P.S. The Politico summary did say that it’s Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s COS who’s pushing Pelosi at this point to shove the Senate bill through, but she and Obama want to take it slower taking the longer view of what will serve them best, versus a short-term win which alienates more people than it appeases. Not to mention, she admits they don’t have the votes, anyway.

  • Sure Fire,

    What “Chicago thug politicians” are running the Obama administration, and how so? Also, what is Obama’s “one way” of doing business?

  • As far as Coakley goes, the people you campaign to are the people who vote for you. When Howard Dean resigned, I wondered what would happen to the “50 State Plan”. Would they continue hitting every single district, weeding potential Democratic voters in so called republican regions, and, most importantly, energizing the base and campaigning to as many demographics likely to vote Democrat as possible? No fly overs? Or, are they going back to that old DLC mind set, trying to get republicans to vote democrat while assuming union workers, blacks, latinos, and other likely Democratic voters will just flock to the polls like lemmings? Sounds more like the latter, to me. Ted Kennedy, love him or hate him, was a hard core campaigner, and a great speaker. The reason why he carried that seat for a half a century was because he constantly stayed in touch with his constituency, and never took any district or even any single voter for granted. I just didn’t see where Coakely ran a similar campaign. This could very well be a referendum on national politics, but I doubt it. I think it’s just lousy Democrat campaigning. I wish Howard Dean would consider holding off retirement for a couple of more years. There’s still a lot of dead wood that needs to be cleared out.

  • Show me a Democrat losing a senate race in Massachusetts and I’ll show you a fucking quagmire of a campaign. End of story.

  • The reason nobody except surefire, his mentor Rush, and other right-wing flamethrowers use the phrase “Chicago Thug Politician” is because it’s painfully obviously racially coded language. Chicago is inserted to give cover for using the word “thug.” And if you call them on it they complain that Bill Clinton said it first, which is true, but shock of all shocks – not everything Bill Clinton does is okay.

  • serious book lover, I’m in favor of pushing through the plan not because I think it’ll be a “win”, though that is part of the political logic for some, but because I think it will be a good bill and help people. I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and fear and that 99% of those fears won’t come to fruition, but the benefits will. In other words, it will help politically by actually doing good things for people. Whether or not you agree on the merits of the bill, I think that’s a pretty good conception of how politics should work.

  • mavis, you offer no specifics of how it “will help people.” I’ve listed a few where it won’t – especially for the elderly. E.g. IF they want to gut MediCare as they explicitly do, to pay for it, they shouldn’t also continue letting insurance co’s raise rates exponentially by age: those over 65 WILL likely be much worse off in most states. (CA already has the lowest rate of reimbursement of any state, so that only 1/3 of doctors take MediCare as it is.) By the time someoone’s 80 and is paying the exhorbitant rates based on age, healthy or not, with the loss of MediCare benefits which are a much more generous and better deal in most states, they’ll be much worse off. I also personally oppose the concept of penalties based on our insurance being linked to IRS statements: last thing we want is MORE IRS intrusion. (And how many people would have to be bureaucratically involved in matching our healthcare plans and payments to income statements, then sending out fines and incremental penalties and so on? Just one of the myriad details.) Then there’s the increase in wait times for those currently ensured, etc. etc.

    Sorry but it’s your kind of resorting to grand ideals about the greater good. arguing some should suffer so more can benefit, absent facts that means this bill is NOT ready to be shoved through as is. Pelosi’s making a surprisingly acute political calculation in admitting that, and going back to tackling the specific issues which make most Americans unhappy with their current coverage.

    (The ORIGINAL house bill, sans single payer which I believe would involve too much of a leap of faith to hand our government, which has so mismanaged many other things including the $Trillions dollar financial institution giveaway – was actually more coherent, but watering it down to suit the Republicans – many of whom DO just want to obstruct any bill, bit by bit – has resulted in something that is incoherent and has a lot of the negatives without proving enough positives given the exorbitant cost.)

  • I should add, Mavis et al, that I would LOVE to see a single payer in principle, too – so people could go into any facility and get the treatment they need without worrying about money. BUT that’s not what the plan(s) were in fact.
    I also readily admit that the insurance lobby was largely behind scotching the single payer option – Rick’s List on CNN has some good substantiation of that today – BUT ironically, the current Senate plan would end up benefiting only the same insurance companies. We’d all be obliged to buy insurance, at escalating rates by age, under gov’t and IRS penalty now (except of course those who don’t file with the IRS or use fake SS#’s), with no cap on rates. They’d allegedly be prevented from dropping those with extremely expensive health needs or pre-existing conditions (which is a catch-22 now, you’re damned if you tell them upfront and also if they “catch you” omitting something as minor as acne or a routine yeast infection later on), but there’s nothing to prevent them from passing on the extra cost. We need to see how the gov’t-insurance co’s manage to solve any of these dilemmas short-term first.

  • I’m not interested in having an argument about the health care bill right now. Another time. My point was simply that while there are crass political reasons for pushing through the bill, there are not-so-crass reasons for doing it as well.

  • Mavis, I generally avoid arguing healthcare here (or elsewhere anymore) like the plague, since it boils down along ideological lines with no one persuading anyone else and people just getting agitated. But I responded to SF’s points because I thought they were a relatively reasonable middle ground (except for the Obama is a thug part), pragmatic points, which is where most of the American people are.

    The dialogue from the right has been dominated by the extreme types like Limbaugh and his lesser minions whose ignorance and dogmatic determination to bring down Obama at all costs is as mind-boggling and disconcerting as their popularity, but unfortunately Pelosi et al had hitherto seemed to respond in kind, resulting in a stalemate and sense that they weren’t listening, that they’d ram through anything to please their most enthusiastic, left base. Not what you want from the ruling party. I’m more shocked than pleasantly surprised she seems to finally be “getting” this.

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