Friday, August 07, 2009

Chicken Soup

Pretty much everyone is going to post this column by WaPo's Steven Pearlstein but I don't care, I'm going to do it also.

I needed this.

The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.

There are lots of valid criticisms that can be made against the health reform plans moving through Congress -- I've made a few myself. But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.

More like this please.


Anonymous said...

Oh that is rich, someone on the left calling the Republicans political terrorist. I am getting really tired of this holier than thou crap the left is spewing. The good thing is, so is most of America.

E - I hate to tell you that Obama isn't passing this bill any time soon and it's his own fault (gasp). Yep, I said it, he decides he wants a healthcare bill but doesn't want to tell anyone how to do it or lead his party in getting it done in an effective manner that might have a shot at passing, this means compromise, negotiate and sacrifice.

Mark my words, when the House and Senate reconvene and have had a nice vacation getting beat up and yelled at for the stimulus package which has been ineffective because it hasn't been spent, the cap and trade bill which nobody wanted to pass (also the bill that cost him the political wiggle room to pass healthcare) and the healthcare bill which again has a sound majority on not being implemented *please read this carefully - IN THIS MANNER, WITH THIS ECONOMY AND AT THIS SPEED*, not because we are evil people who have spent no time thinking about this and would prefer people be sick and die young and as painful as possible to save $15 a month. If that's your opinion of us on the right, you really need to turn off your computer for a month and go meet some new people.


Anonymous said...

A conservative being tired of hearing "holier than thou...?" Now, indeed that is rich, coming from the supporters of the party of David Vitter, Bob Livingston, Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, John Ensign and on and on as the list seems to go. Even the rising star Piyush Jindal toots his own horn for getting the legislature to pass "the gold standard of ethics" but fought back against greater transparency for his own office. In short, the folks on the right have written the book on hypocrisy and clearly continue to do so and the column merely pointed out many of the vicious lies and now ugly disruptive tactics (organized by industry groups) emanating from that direction as regards the health care reform bills. In the 1960's I remember a lot of people becoming disgusted with the ugly and radical extreme nature of anti-war protests as they seemed to evolve but now the people on the right are showing themselves to be just as capable of foolishness if not more so. Yes, a meaningful dialogue on the issues would be great and indeed vital to the health of our democracy. However, it's the people on the right who, when Bush was president, did everything to stifle protests at events where he was speaking and now want to cry about it when Democrats are telling them not to carry on like an unruly, angry mob. Yes, Republicans ARE all about saving their $15 even if it means larger deficits (that they don't worry about when the White House happens to be in GOP hands) or cutbacks in education and health care for all. The column made a great point about progress coming when some have to make a sacrifice for everyone's good. The question is when are we a better society? When the rich can get to have the more astronomical pile of wealth or when the middle class can get to be strong?

Anonymous said...

>But there is no credible way to look at what has been proposed by the president or any congressional committee and conclude that these will result in a government takeover of the health-care system. That is a flat-out lie whose only purpose is to scare the public and stop political conversation.<

I really like this blog, let me say that. And I like provocative commentary, so there's that. But I have heard this proposition bandied about, including by the president, and I think it's inaccurate.

First of all there are statements by Barney Frank, and in the past by Barack Obama (before he was inaugurated), and other public health proponents that state point blank that a "public option" is a very viable means, or gateway, towards achieving single payor, government run health within a decade or maybe a score of years.

Employers will very likely drop better options with possibly better care for a cheaper, government run insurance plan. The only government run insurance plan I have experience or knowledge of is Citizens flood insurance, and that ain't good.

Look, if the government wants to create a public option it should put out a prospectus just like any other insurance option and we can decide on *that*.

If HR 3200 is that, and it *is* online yaknow, then I've read *that* and I ain't buying it.

Getting past that, I just think there are so many reasonable discussions and debates to be had here on so many levels, taht when Republicand and Democrats start calling each other "liars" and "thugs" and etc., then this ballgame's already over, sorry.

jeffrey said...

I think they are a far more effective opposition party than the crappy Democrats were during the previous regime.

Sure the Republicans are disingenuous, thuggish, lying, wrong... everything Pearlstein says they are.

They're also winning, though.

What the hell are Democrats good for?

Anonymous said...

The Democrats have almost always had the more difficult job to do. The problem is in that people WANT to hear that their taxes are too high, that "give-away" social programs and that the government being "in their way" with excessive regulation is the problem just like a kid always wants to get their dessert but not necessarily eat their vegetables (while the Democrats' theme seems to be "eat your vegetables because they're good for you" -- as they indeed are) and the GOP is happy to tell them what they want to hear. The Democrats have historically actually been better managers, better at sound fiscal management and better for the economy (how can people who don't believe that government can ever get anything done competently or has any role to play outside of defense effectively manage government functions?). But can you get the country to concede that it does have to eat its vegetables? In Great Depression times the national mood was desoerate and such that Roosevelt could get the New Deal agenda passed (and his own communication and political skills helped immensely, too). But people don't feel the same way about themselves now. The center of gravity of the American people is more moderate conservative to conservative than it is centrist or liberal on liberal left to conservative right political scale.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of conservatives who were anti-Bush for his spending policies. Republicans, Independents and others. "Supporters of the party of..." crap is getting old.

Anonymous said...

No one said anything about George W. Bush (or his father, either). The issue is what certain conservatives are doing. A terrorist is someone who just wants to do something violent to draw attention to their self while inflicting damage on the structure of society but is always purely destructive or disruptive and never someone offering up anything actually constructive. Ergo, in that sense what these conservatives are doing fits that definition perfectly. They are looking to disrupt and poison the waters under the guise of "protesting." People who do want to go and participate in a question and answer in a civil manner cannot do so because of what these others are doing. Why, pray tell, are the conservatives afraid of letting a civil dialogue transpire? Is it possible that if people have their legitimate questions answered then they might decide that health care reform is indeed desirable and that the plan being offered -- the conservatives have offered up exactly zilch for an alternative -- is indeed an improvement over the status quo? Standing *outside* of a building and protesting would be fine and still a good way to get a message across. What reveals the conservatives' true colors is this blatant and ugly attempt to stop the Democrats' message from getting through. Poison the waters, sow confusion, start unfounded rumors, tell blatant lies, spread fear...why are the conservatives thinking that they have to resort to such tactics?

Anonymous said...

Anon posted: What reveals the conservatives' true colors is this blatant and ugly attempt to stop the Democrats' message from getting through. Poison the waters, sow confusion, start unfounded rumors, tell blatant lies, spread fear...why are the conservatives thinking that they have to resort to such tactics?

And as much as I hate to take this easy only need to look in the mirror to find the answer. Are these not tactics used with far greater efficiency that the Democrats bragged about behind closed doors during the election? Come on, you can say it....please do not offer up the fact that these people who are horribly upset to this healthcare bill as some terrorist act, it is insulting (which I know that's your point) but its also a childs argument.

Also, this fallacy of "conservatives haven't offered any alternative" is BS. They have recommended tort reform, which isn't being looked at. Please anon tell me why? Could it possibly be because the trial lawyers are one of the biggest supports of the Democratic party? What about the ability to tax current health care benefits to assist in paying for this monstrosity that your cherished leaders have yet to read - nope, can't do that because the unions squealed. So before you start trotting out this nonsense of terrorism, elitism, and morals of what the Democrats are trying to do but the "evil" conservatives are just getting in the way...take a look in the mirror, your beloved politicians are doing just that, not for the best interests of the country but only whats in it for them. I am by no means defending the Republicans but stop, just stop one second and ask yourself do you as a person truly understand what this bill does, and the effect this bill will have on other business sectors and the economy? Stop listening to the politicians, turn off the TV and think for yourself for once in your life. Research this bill, both sides (Dems and Repubs) need to research this bill and the very long undeniable fact that the government will not be able to run this program effectively. Why do we proceed in doing the same thing over and over and expect different results?

Anonymous said...

So the answer to the question as to why to resort to ugly tactics is purely "Well the Democrats started it...." It's one thing to have questions about a proposal. It's another to be opposed to some proposal (but civilly so). It's another to protest in some way that does not disrupt what others are earnestly trying to do. But that isn't what's happening. The "protests" are aimed at disrupting the Democrats' ability to sell the proposal, pure and simple. If people want to find out more information and make an informed decision for themselves about whether to like or oppose what's been proposed, they can't. If congresspeople want to hold a meeting and make an earnest effort at getting feedback in a civil discussion, they can't. Do the protesters think they can't win the battle without resorting to such foolishness as they are?

Anonymous said...

As to the effect of health care reform on the economy as a whole, if health care costs are not contained then for certain health care expenses will be becoming a larger and larger drain on the economy as a whole, and if we just merely keep on going with the status quo then it's a guarantee that that is exactly what will be happening. The U.S. does not even have the best health statistics in the world or is even in the top 10. So it simply is not possible or acceptable to say that the current system works. It doesn't. Nevertheless it's a valid point that the majority of people are covered in some way be it through their private insurance or through Medicare and don't want that touched. Still, we can do better and we need to. The difference is in administrative costs and in how insurance companies are shafting the people, denying coverage and so on. People are scared to death of a government bureaucrat telling them what procedure that they can get but not of an insurance company doing the same (not that what's been proposed is a government take-over of health care even in spite of how many times that the right wing keeps repeating that lie)? We already DO have socialized medicine. It's called "you need treatment badly enough, you go to the emergency room where they can't turn you away even if you can't pay" and then the hospital passes that cost onto the people/insurers who can pay and then the insurers in turn pass that cost onto the policy-holders. In France, people see their own doctors, the doctors still hold the authority to decide on treatment (not some bureaucrat), there are still private insurers but their costs are much lower and their health statistics are the best in the world. Ergo, health care in the U.S. is both worse than in France and more expensive. Now, the only thing that conservatives say is "tort reform." True, in France malpractice insurance is much lower for doctors (but has any Republican congressperson even introduced a bill to do anything rather than remain the party of pure "no, no, no?"). What the French do is to have review boards that a patient who wants to make a claim has to see and determine whether and how much compensation is in order and pay that compensation from a national fund. However, if there is to be "tort reform" then that is what it needs to be rather than just a blanket elimination of peoples' ability to make a claim at all which is what Republicans probably want. We have to cut back on administrative costs somehow and costs overall and if more people are going to clinics for treatment rather than only to the most-expensive-option emergency room that's possible. Insurance companies (with whom the GOP is very much in bed?) will have to make a sacrifice (but if everyone has to have coverage, as the proposal calls for, then there's a windfall for private insurers, to be sure) and that's the bottom line, basically. But there'll be no reform and no slowing down the drag of health care costs on the economy if all we do is to do nothing. Now, anyone can be a screaming protester anytime. That takes no great skill. How about contributing something constructive to the dialogue or at least being civil enough to get out of the way and let those who want to have a civil discussion have it?