Democrats & Liberals Archives

It Only Gets Worse From Here...

The Republicans might want to congratulate themselves if they successfully blunt the Obama Administration’s push for healthcare reform. They might, but they’d be ill-advised to do so. Much as its easy now to scare people with florid hypotheticals, the problem is, they are only hypotheticals, and the people who they successfully planted the seeds of doubt will again be hit by the reality of our healthcare crisis. Then what do they tell them?

The Republicans have been on the wrong end of any number of tipping points recently, negative shifts in public opinion. A gas crunch hobbled the notion that a freebooting energy policy meant freedom for the average citizen. A Hurricane finally brought the terror of Global Warming home for many, but also made it clear to people that a negligent approach to government could have lethal consequences.

A war that went badly awry immolated a president's approval ratings and set part of the stage for the party's fall from the majority. The laissez faire economic system that they had advocated for years took a catastrophic nosedive into economic chaos.

The Republicans made a lot of unfortunate choices, politically speaking, over the last few years. What puzzles me is why they don't play it even a little bit safer. I know I would have a vested interest myself in their being more passive, but my party's got to where it is now, power-wise, by answering the calls the Republicans in Washington refused to hear.

Or, as it has been lately, have been trying to shout down.

I get the politics of it. The Republican Party has set itself up as the Party whose purpose it is to defeat the Democrats' threats to the American way of life. That's the main message that the Party advertises itself with.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, many people have gotten it into their heads that the GOP's policies have become that threat.

Which means the Republicans have been working overtime to feed perceptions that the Democrats are all socialist wierdos. They might succeed, but there's a problem: even if they succeed at pushing a set of propaganda points for this round, what happens next?

If a really nasty flu pandemic hits, will people care about whether some Republican pundit calls healthcare reform socialism? When the next drought, high-power hurricane, or other iconic climate related-disaster comes along, and slaps people in the face, how much credibility will the contrarians the Republicans support have left?

The Republicans already have much less traction on fiscal matters than they once did. They can raise doubts about the Democrat's fiscal probity, but it becomes difficult to explain away their own contributions to record debt, which they allowed or advocated knowing that it would raise the debt level even higher.

The Republican Party Leadership is staking a lot on its party's big mouths, to be blunt, and are having to tolerate a whole bunch of rhetoric that's not exactly doing wonders for the party's image, like the BS about Obama being foreign born. He's got a birth certificate on record, and yet these people continue to push the point. Why does the Republic Party let them? Because they've peddled a narrative of the media conspiring to silence the truth from their news sources, and the Birthers have played on that to make their position politically hardened, among the folks willing to take such claims at face value, despite the evidence.

Same thing with that recent horse-hockey about funding euthanasia. The Republicans take a provision that authorizes medicare to provide you, every five years, with a person to counsel you about your rights regarding terminal care, such as your right to a Do Not Rescuscitate Order, or not to be kept alive if brain dead, with somebody mercy killing you or assisting your suicide.

Why do they do this? Because they want the dramatic effect. Looking across the way we see somebody writing an entry explicitly accusing the Democrats of wanting to knock off grandma and grandpa to relieve the fiscal burden they present. Oh, how evil these left wingers must be! Go and fight them! Go and oppose them with every ounce of your being!

Why do they want that dramatic effect, even when it's based on false premises? Because the culture among the leaders of the Republican Party regards it as justified, for the sake of opposing policy they see as immoral, restrictive, or just foolish.

But let's turn around and look at this from outside: the elites of the party believe its justifiable to lie to people to gain their support. I won't claim my party's pure of this. I'll just state that it's a bad policy. Democracy, and the cultivation of the citizens who function in it well demands that people be trusted with the truth about what they're government is doing, and also be trusted with the ability to decide things as they see fit.

The Republican elites want to build up critical masses of opposition, reasoning that they can overturn the verdict handed down in the last few elections. That much is clear. They want 2010 and 2012 to restore what the party had before 2006 and 2008 destroyed their majority They see it as a urgent mission, and feel justified in taking some of the most extreme political actions in modern American history. No Congress has seen the kind of intentional, party-line gridlock inflicted on it that the past two Congresses have.

And you know what? The Republicans could win that battle this time around. No law of physics against it. Certainly people are complex enough, that such an outcome, however unlikely, might indeed be possible.

And having won that battle, they face a public that still hungers for what they wanted from the Democrats. A public still angry with the way things are. A public who will likely see their interests continue to be undermined by Republican actions, given the way the Republicans are going.

This is how the Republican Elites plan to win the political war? This is the future the party's offering to people. This is how in 1996, they lost the Presidential race, having destroyed the previous Democratic Majority just two years before. This is how a triumphant party in 2004 was a decimated party in 2006.

The Republicans don't know, in political terms, how to win the peace when they triumph, or negotiate truces when they don't. They seem inclined to oppose scientific and economic consensus, merely because they constitute the support of liberal policy. Bit by bit, position by position, the Republicans have cut themself off from mainstream thought in America, and it seems only by brutal rhetorical tactics, a never-ending raised tone, and the application of pure will to standing firm against the Democrat's policies, have they continued to have an influence.

But there's a price to be paid. You have to motivated and be motivated to keep this kind of political warfare going. It's not easy, it's stressful, it takes it out of you. When things were going well, people didn't fight the Republicans, didn't want to fight them. Folks were hoping that the combination of the partisan streams of thought would create a better synthesis. That's why people like me did not go along with the left-wing of the party in any kind of sustained pushback against the Republicans.

Only when the stakes were raised, and one crucial crisis after another hit this country did the push back really start in earnest. The Republicans did not waste the opportunity to use the 9/11 attacks and the public's perception later on of the need to win the Iraq war to prop up their political fortunes. But the price paid for that exploited advantage was steep. They motivated rank and file Democrats, more or less, to stop supporting continued collaboration with the Republican. While this may not have changed much in terms of the Democrats in Washington in the short term, it means that folks like Obama, and strong liberals will have much more support. People are hungry for them now, in a way they weren't before. A couple of years will not come close to undoing the damage that Bush did to the party's reputation, or Republican policies did either.

So what do I suggest? Professionalism. Dignity. The triumph of reason over insanity. A reliance on fact. A willingness to head off problems before they become more serious, rather than a tendency to escalate contrarian sensibilities to the point of absurdity.

The Republicans have got to realize that they have been generating their own resistance, their own rebellion against themselves. They've been creating, bit by bit, an opposition willing not only to stand up against them, but tear the reins of power from their hands. Nothing they're doing right now puts anything they're trying to defend or keep permanent on more stable ground. At some point, we will see a critical phase shift in American politics, and if the past is any indication, the Republicans will likely continue to bear the brunt of the consequences of their belligerent style of politics.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at July 29, 2009 7:40 PM
Comments
Comment #285292

Stephen,

It took you a long time just to say the GOP is a party of self-mutilating bull-poopers…;). As I read down your column, I noticed an advertisement below your final words, it is a link to Ann Coulter…perhaps the second biggest bull-pooper of the bunch.

Posted by: Marysdude at July 30, 2009 6:21 AM
Comment #285293

If Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh had a baby the world would split open!

But your right Stephen. The only problem is that until it is certain that the voters realize this it won’t matter. Party loyalty by the voters is as strong as religious devotion in many cases. Such as the people who want Obama’s birth cirtificate released, despite it having been so several times. You and I, and all the other people who scour the internet to get the real stories about things, and to formulate our own opinions about real life see what the Republicans are, and what they’re doing. But Ma and Pa Anti-Gay couldn’t care less because “they know” the truth.

Until people start voting with their brains, and not their bibles, and pick and choose who they put into office more carefully than which fast food restaurant to grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner, nothing will cause the Republican base from abandoning the party all together.

Posted by: Mike Falino at July 30, 2009 7:35 AM
Comment #285309

Marysdude-
I wasn’t saying that they were a party of self mutilating bullpoopers. I was saying that they position themselves politically in ways where the only way they avoid running into complication, is if things operate right on their own.

Though they might be able to browbeat their way to temporary political victories, they’ve developed a political attitude that has them arranging themselves in diametric opposition to us. They even do 180 degree turns on policies they advocated or didn’t mind a few years ago, when they were the majority.

The main problem with this is that the Democrats, for whatever faults they might have, don’t waste much time suggesting a government solution for national crisises. Doesn’t mean we’re right, but people see us trying. The Republicans, on the other hand, are often busier trying to get in the way of things, and letting people know they’re getting in the way, rather than being seen handling the Country’s problems.

It’s not necessarily that we’re better or smarter than the Republicans out there. The problem is, the Republicans rarely try to do anything that brings government to bear on an issue, so when events finally do push them to it, their plans are haphazard and last minute. That, or keyed towards their corporate donors. If you never try to improve government, or use it to deal with things, you never develop the instincts and experience for how to efficiently, effectively use government.

When I was younger, and a Republican, Conservatism didn’t seem like this radical opposition of anything government related, it was more about the cautious application and extension of government powers. Nowadays, though, the GOP suffers from a critical lack of motivation and competence in their handling of government affairs. It’s not helpful for them, when they’re often clamoring for any excuse to get in the driver’s seat, that they can’t stay in their lane or stop from tailgating the other drivers.

I’d say if the Republicans want to create a stable situation for themselves, they’ve got to learn how to shrink or keep government growth minimal WITHOUT causing massive functional problems with the government, without causing people’s lives extreme disruption. That’s what kills them, really, every time. They pull a brick out of the wall, and all the bricks fall on us. And then we vote the lumps on our heads!

Mike Falino-
It my opinion it’s ill-advised to consider people as if they must be these monolithic blocks. They’re not. Folks have varied feelings and experiences.

I’m trying to make a symmetric argument here-that is, one that comes out the same for people of both sides. The argument simply is that Republicans are fighting losing fights on the more permanent policy grounds, even if they’re temporarily winning fights on short-term political items.

I think the Party Elites are draining what reserves their party has to heal with. Rather than gradually recover their clout and the trust of the people, they’re trying to force their will onto the rest of the country, with decidedly mixed results. I don’t think mixed results will be enough to save the party from the wilderness, and I don’t think most of the American people are thanking them for extending this partisan warfare they wanted done long ago.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 30, 2009 1:39 PM
Comment #285311

too bad poor people who can’t afford insurance can’t afford to match dollar to dollar tv ads. once again those who can not properly defend themselves get lost in the mire. constant negative comments on tv news shows, constant interviewing of those who oppose, constant negative light on the subject.

those who have a lot to lose are pulling out all the stops. they are not going down w/out a fight. the thought of no longer getting 100 million as a bonus will make you go out and create a group for “prosperous americans” and tell you how the elderly will die or will be killed.

just when i think these people could not get any lower, they always shock, and offend me.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 30, 2009 1:53 PM
Comment #285315

I would say the Reps have nothing to worry about. The IN party is always the more corrupt party. By the time 2012 rolls around the public mood will swing away from those horrid Dems and look to a new savior such as Sara or Huckabee or some new guy with thinestones on his collar. Ping-pong politics as usual. All the Reps need to do for the next few years is say “Bush made us do it” and they will be in shape to play the game in 12. Their first words will be about how we need to change government.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 30, 2009 2:19 PM
Comment #285317

Roy Ellis

I would say the Reps have nothing to worry about.

Yep, because the right can always blame the Democrats. That seems to be the game. Doesn’t require us to actually do much, or be ALLOWED to do much.

By the time 2012 rolls about, we’ll be on our way to economic recovery, and the deficit will likely be lower, and a healthcare program might be in place. And what will Sarah Palin be doing? Motivational speaking that William Shatner can turn into poetry? Fox News Punditry?

Bush made us do it. Right. Bush made folks fight tooth and nail, even after he was out of office, for the same policy positions.

We get the corpocracy we deserve when we do not see that our votes can invalidate any amount of special interest money. They spend money on flops and money on hits in Hollywood, and the same goes for political campaigns.

We have more power than we let ourselves dare believe. The more we accept this BS about being powerless, the more we really are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 30, 2009 2:26 PM
Comment #285327
and the deficit will likely be lower

Save cooking the books furhter, how do you figure this is going to happen exactly?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 30, 2009 4:15 PM
Comment #285338


“The more we accept this BS about being powerless, the more we really are.”

This is why the statis quo likes to come up with great political slogans like, Keeping America Safe or Change We Can Believe In.

Since the majority of voters consistently elect a center-right to right wing government, shouldn’t we assume that the voters have the government they want.

Posted by: jlw at July 30, 2009 5:37 PM
Comment #285339

Stephen:

With Obama dropping in the polls and most Americans pleased with their health care, and Obama’s health care plan getting more and more unpopular, I’m not sure the GOP is that worried right now. Polls are moving to the GOP’s way.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 30, 2009 5:37 PM
Comment #285341

Craig,
You’re dreaming. Last month the NYT poll put the GOP approval rating at an abysmal 28%.

The polling numbers on health care overwhelmingly favor the Democrats:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/nytint/docs/new-york-times-cbs-news-poll-health-care-overhaul/original.pdf

It gets worse. The electoral math in the Senate is stacked against the GOP, with seven Senators retiring. In addition, only one Democratic incumbent (Dodd) is endangered, while between four and six GOP seats are in trouble.

Posted by: phx8 at July 30, 2009 6:09 PM
Comment #285343

I think most people are just accepting that they will be screwed. According to Time Magazine:

By significant margins, survey respondents said they believe the final health-reform legislation is likely to raise health-care costs in the long run (62%), make everything about health care more complicated (65%) and offer less freedom to choose doctors and coverage (56%).
Posted by: Rhinehold at July 30, 2009 6:34 PM
Comment #285345

BTW, phx8, *WHERE* in that poll were the democrats stacked against republicans on healthcare? The only question I see, which I see Time doing the same thing, is asking if people prefer Obama vs the Republicans. I don’t think anyone is asking how people think Democrats are doing on Health care…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 30, 2009 6:43 PM
Comment #285346

Rhinehold
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible to explain anything to LIBERAL DEMOCRATS. They think their way is the only way and God help those that think otherwise. Maybe when their world comes crashing in on them, then maybe they will see that maybe there is another way. Till then all we can do is HOPE for the best.

Posted by: KAP at July 30, 2009 7:10 PM
Comment #285348


I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible to explain anything to CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS . They think their way is the only way and God help those that think otherwise. Maybe when their world comes crashing in on them, then maybe they will see that maybe there is another way. Till then all we can do is HOPE for the best.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at July 30, 2009 7:39 PM
Comment #285349

Rhinehold,
You make a good point about the way the polls phrase the debate as the Obama administration v Republicans. How else can the question be phrased? The Obama administration presents a relatively united, coherent position. The Democrats in the House are unified enough to pass the Obama legislation, but the same cannot be said of the Democrats in the Senate. The vast majority of Senate Democrats support the Obama administration; however, a handful of Democratic Senators oppose the public option. As you know, even a couple of Democratic Senators can join the GOP in blocking change.

Like I said, I would really like to see the 2010 midterms fought over health care reform. Does anyone seriously believe that issue breaks in favor of the Republicans? There’s a tremendous amount of Insurance & Big Pharma money behind the opposition, but most Americans, whether as individuals or small business owners, know enough the health care issue not to believe the scare tactics about euthanizing old people, etc.

And for anyone at this point to predict good times for the GOP in 2010, they’d have to be out of their mind. Seven Republican Senators are retiring. That’s very bad for the GOP. Only Dodd looks like a possible loser for the Democrats. Another handful of GOP Senate seats are also endangered.

The House is less predictable. Still, it would require a sea change in public thinking to change the current balance.

Posted by: Phx8 at July 30, 2009 7:43 PM
Comment #285350

Craig,

Unfortunately, I think that you are correct. It is in the short term political interests of the Republicans to oppose any changes. So long as the majority of Americans still have adequate health insurance or are too young to care, change will be very difficult.

But, it is an irresponsible tactic. There is an economic, health and social train wreck in the forseeable future. No doubt about it! The US currently is spending almost twice as much of GDP (16%) as its international competitors for an essential product no better or arguable worse. On top of that, we lead the world in health care price inflation. In the near future, we will be spending more than a fifth of our GDP on health care. It is unsustainable. It threatens our international competitivness.

So, Republicans face a choice: short term political gain vs. the long term interests of the nation. Sadly, the Republican party appears to be taking the first option.



Posted by: Rich at July 30, 2009 7:44 PM
Comment #285351

Mike
I’m not a republican. So like I said you can’t explain anything to a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. I* do vote the Democrat ticket at times.

Posted by: KAP at July 30, 2009 8:08 PM
Comment #285353
for an essential product no better or arguable worse

Sorry, but the real facts do not support this statement.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 30, 2009 8:49 PM
Comment #285355

Stephen - you say - “Yep, because the right can always blame the Democrats. That seems to be the game. Doesn’t require us to actually do much, or be ALLOWED to do much.”

What victims. Democrats control the Senate by a filibuster proof majority; they have a significant majority in the House. The president is a Democrat as are most of the journalist in the main stream media. And yet you still are not allowed to do what?

IMO Democrats should make their programs more appealing to all American, including independents and Republican. BUT they don’t have to. Democrats hold all the cards. They can do whatever they want. They don’t need any permission.

Stephen – do you blame George Bush for the bad things that happened in the last eight years? If you do, how is that possible? He NEVER had such a supermajority as Obama has now. During two of his years, Democrats controlled the Senate and during two more they controlled BOTH the House and the Senate. If you now want to let Democrats claim they are not ALLOWED to finish their programs with the super powers they now hold, you certainly must absolve Bush et al.

Democrats hold all the power today. They can choose to work with Republican and independents or not. But please stop playing the victim. You are no more victims than Henry Louis Gates is a victim. Democrats today are in the role of perpetrators.

Posted by: Christine at July 30, 2009 9:09 PM
Comment #285358

Craig Holmes-
In January, Obama had 62% approval, 15% disapproval. This month, Obama has 58 percent approval, 30 percent disapproval.

On Right Track/Wrong Track Ratings, Obama governs a country that in January was 15% to 79%. Now it’s 42% to 49%. Even now, about a third of all Americans are more hopeful, even as we face the terrible challenges ahead.

People are worried more about the economy than healthcare, according to the poll, but who do they trust to bring back the economy? Well, Obama scores a majority on the economy, his approvals on that matter down ten points from their high, but still ten points better than his disapprovals

Democrats in Congress enjoy a plurality of 47% to 42%, while Republicans are disapproved of by a margine of two to one, 61% disapproval compared to 28% approval. Or, to put another way, More people dislike or hate Republicans in Congress than like or love Obama. This has not changed since January, except to get about four points worse on the approvals.

By a wide majority, 62 to 31, people believe Obama has their priorites at heart.

Even now, a bare 4% believe Obama’s to blame for the economy, while around thirty percent blame Bush, and about the same blame the folks on Wall Street.

When asked who would make the right decisions for the Economy, 56% chose Barack Obama, and only 25% chose the Republicans in Congress.

Despite months of Republican Propaganda, twice as many people (44% to 22%) believe that the Stimulus will be a long term good as opposed to a long term evil, with about 29% saying it won’t do anything good or bad. Right now, the worse you can say is that about 60% don’t think the Stimulus has done much of anything yet. only 15% believe its done harm. Even so, 44% believe their local communities will benefit from the stimulus eventually. 53% believe it will create new jobs.

Of course, there’s not much support for a second stimlus at this point. Let me point out to you what the legacy of the Republican’s “Two Santas Approach ” is.

(That is, it’s willingness to both tax cut and increase spending, instead of using paid for increases in spending to give people what they want.)

On one hand, 53% of people are unwilling to give up services, with only about third willing to do so. On the other hand, by a 56% to 41% margin, they are also unwilling to see their taxes go up.

In case you’re thinking I’m just being partisan, let me make two things clear: Democratic Party increases in unpaid for spending this year were based on a financial crisis, where deflationary pressures were a serious threat. Neither of the two Bushs nor Regain faced Deflationary issues. Quite the opposite: inflation was a major concern with their deficit spending. They had no economic excuse for their unpaid for generosity. It was great politics, though, wasn’t it? Bash the Democrats any time they suggested raising taxes, but then raise spending or drop revenue with impunity for stimulus purposes.

49% of Americans believe that the healthcare system needs fundamental changes. A third believe it requires a complete overhaul. That’s well over eighty percent significant dissatisfaction with the system.

Who do they trust to fix the system? Obama wins this poll question by a margin of 55% to 26% That’s more than twice the people trusting the President over the Republicans in Congress.

A 52% majority favors that we fix healthcare now, a number that’s gone UP in the last couple of weeks, this over a 44% number that thinks we can’t afford it.

By a 59 to 30% margin, people believe Obama’s trying to work with the Republicans. By a 51% to 33% margin, they believe that bipartisanship is not being returned. 46% believe the Obama Administration’s working at the right pace, 13% believe they’re moving too slowly, and just 38% believe he’s going too fast.

So on and so forth. I’m not going to claim that the Democrats are doing well on everything, or that there are no declines, but this notion that somehow Republicans have come back or are triumphant is hardly the case. They’ve succeeded in dropping the poll numbers for others, not in helping themselves, and without that boost, it’s unlikely people are going to catapult them back into the majority.

The Republicans have convinced themselves that taking mister star quarterback down a notch is equal to winning. Yet they’re still sucking air when it comes to their own numbers, and on many issues, Obama still wins, and has people’s trust.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 30, 2009 9:31 PM
Comment #285359

jlw-
They didn’t elect a center-right government. They elected the Democrats to greater and greater power twice. If the pressures were center-right, this would not be happening. They would have given the Democrats a slight, not a Decisive majority.

KAP-
Is it impossible to explain, or just very difficult to get us to agree with you?

And if we’re talking about a bubbled in party, why don’t we speak of the one that has lost two straight elections, and has decided that the way back to power is to do more of what it was doing when things went wrong?

Christine-
What Victims? Hardly. If our leadership had half the aggression yours did, the Republicans would get stomped flat. But we have a much more permissive, much more accomodating majority…

…which the Republicans are wasting utterly. Think of all the legislation you could get out of them, if you were willing to play ball.

But instead of seeking the opportunity to undermine them, the Republican plan is to use the power it does have, still being seated Senators, the rules still being enforced in the chamber, to keep legislation from coming to a vote.

In formal terms, IF Democrats united, IF every one of them voted as Party Line as the Republicans, and IF Republicans were as accomodating before as Democrats were before, we would have more power.

A lot of IFs.

But really, we should have a lot more power than we do, because it should only require fifty votes, and we have way more than that. The main reason why it’s so difficult to pass legislation is that it takes 60 votes for the Democrats to bring anything to a vote. It’s not because Democratic Policies don’t necessarily have majority support.

Stop acting like Republicans are passive spectators. You’re equating being in the minority with being powerless, and in the Senate that’s not the case. You’re right that we should make better use of our majority, but the Senate was constructed under rules that were never meant to be abused like they are being abused now.

Which leads me to a rather sad coda here: what kind of precedent are Republicans setting for any majority they ever have? Are they not now encouraging Democrats, in the future, to practice the same kind of partisan obstructionism? Kind of ironic that just a few of these were enough to send the Republicans into conniptions such that they invoked the nuclear option, while Democrats have stood and taken hundreds of such votes without the mainstream leaders of the other party challenging it.

Our response is disproportionately calm to being obstructed. I wish our leaders got more pissed off. Your party’s response was to invoke the complete abolition of the filibuster over a few blocked nominees.

Now who’s the one playing victim here? Who’re the ones who were justifying outrageous countermeasures, for relatively small crimes?

And who, now, having lost power, feel that it’s justified to essentially wage an extended hissyfit of roadblock politics, just because their opinions are not being heeded by the new majority?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 30, 2009 9:56 PM
Comment #285361

S.D.
It’s hard to for anyone to agree with someone who always blames the other party for their misfortunes as you do. I cannot agree with anyone who always plays the blame game. Especially when your party holds all the aces. Democrats have no one to blame now but themselves if they cannot get things done in congress.

Posted by: KAP at July 30, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #285364

KAP-
You mean I shouldn’t blame the Republicans for maintaining a policy of forcing filibuster votes for any and all major legislation? That not mere misfortune, that’s a political strategy, and you’re damn right that I’m going to to blame and hold responsible those who employ such tactics, for an atmosphere of gridlock.

If Republicans were free on their own to vote without Reprisals from the national party, it would be a different matter. But as Arlen Specter’s case demonstrates, Republicans are not free to dissent. They seem only free to make up wild stories about the President and his policies in order to scare people away from them.

Oh, and we get plenty done in the House of Representatives, unfortunately, it’s the Senate that constitutes the main roadblock. It still is, so long as we don’t have 60 votes in hand before we attempt to push something through.

Our party is somewhat to blame. I haven’t denied that. But you have consistently denied the active political mischief done by the Republicans, the intentional, party-line obstruction, which surpassed Record levels last Congress, in favor of emphasizing the passivity of the Democrats.

The trouble is, as it is, the system has been rendered so sensitive to the slightest Democratic Party division, that we have to go to extraordinary lengths, in effect be as party line as the Republicans, in order to ensure that legislation even has a chance to come to a vote. If you’re telling me that this is a fair response to the definitive Public Mandate of two back to back election rejections of the Republican party, that this is fair to the Americans and states Represented by these people, then you have a pretty lopsided idea of what fair is.

If the Democrats were losing votes all the time when it was simply up and down votes on legislation, with the good old majority rules requirements for passage, that would be one thing. But you’re blaming us for not being able to consistently break a party-line blockade that is just at the threshold of how many members we have, and which was before beyond even that.

The Republicans get to bring the legislature to a standstill, and we are blamed for not being able to maintain absolute unity on all our issues.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 30, 2009 11:46 PM
Comment #285365

Stephen:

You are cherry picking the polls you want.

Americans now oppose Obama on health care.

Rasmussen a very accurate poll, has Obama support under 50%

Right track wrong track is right now getting worse not better.

AS for Republicans, you are correct that people do are not ready to hand the keys back.

But you are in serious political trouble. Americans do not like your health plan, and do not like your spending. The federal deficit is a much larger issue to Americans than health care.

It is iffy if Health care will pass at all by fall. I think it will as Dems are so vested in it, however it is likely to be a very watered down version. As the details are coming out more and more Americans are opposed.

Republicans do not have the power to bring legislation to as standstill. You have 60 votes. You are fully to blame if you can’t get it done.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 31, 2009 12:00 AM
Comment #285371

Kap,
I’m not a democrat. So like I said you can’t explain anything to a CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN. I* do vote the Republican ticket at times. We both need to vote 3rd party more often.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at July 31, 2009 7:49 AM
Comment #285372

Kap, just because you vote for a Dem every once in a while, doesn’t mean you’re not a Rep. And just because I vote for a Rep every once on a while doesn’t mean I’m not a Dem. I used to vote for Republicans more often, back when they had a responsible party. Now they try to tell me to vote for McCain because Obama pals around with terrorists, and I should be against reforming health care because it’s a way for Dems to kill old people??!?

As David R. Remer wrote in the red column “Republican and conservative supporters would fare so much better, I think, in sticking to their common sensical roots, fiscal responsibility, family values, law and order, and national defense and security.

As any liberal Democrat would tell you (which I’m not one) It all started with Ronald Regain. He talked about having an office in the White House for Rush. He said that Rush was right. But Rush is further right than any main stream party should be. Now all Republicans are afraid to disagree with a shock jock.

If the Reps want to see the demise of their party, they’ll stick with the birthers and the deathers.

On the other hand I’m very disappointed with the Dems. The idea that we don’t have enough money to stop the spiraling cost of heath care is a joke. We don’t have enough leaders brave enough to turn their backs on special interests and do something for the citizens.

VOTE THIRD PARTY!

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at July 31, 2009 9:08 AM
Comment #285373

Craig Holmes-
And which poll question was that? You complain about cherry picking, but if you go back up there, 56% of Americans trust Obama to come up with health policy, while only 25% trust the Congressional Republicans.

49% believe that the healthcare costs are a huge threat to the economy, while 25% believe that it’s somewhat of a threat. 53% believe that healthcare coverage should be mandated, with subsidies for those who can’t afford it. That’s actually up in the last month.

Despite a withering propaganda assault, two thirds of the country still wants a Public Option. 53% percent still want the focus to be on covering the uninsured. 55% believe that the Federal Government should guarantee health insurance to all, and out of that number, 42 percent believe this should happen, even if their own healthcare costs go up. 65% (oh, the horrors of class warfare) favor increasing taxes on the well off in order to fund healthcare reform.

Now I admit, people are very concerned about the quality of healthcare being reduced, and what they will have to pay for it. But are we talking about concerns, or solid objections? Let’s see.

If you turn the page (literally), you have 43% and 37% respectively very and somewhat concerned that the number of uninsured will rise if Government doesn’t create a universal healthcare system. 37% and 29% are the numbers for the concern that they might be one of those people in time, if the government doesn’t do something. 41%and 34% represent the people who are very and somewhat concerned that their costs will go up under the current system, if government doesn’t intervene.

76% of people approve of people being approved despite pre-existing conditions. 52% out of the number polled still say the same thing if they’re told that will raise costs.

The numbers are mixed. I’ll freely admit that! And some maybe going down. But they are where they are, and they are that way even after a sustained assault by the Republicans.

You accuse me of cherrypicking, but I think I’ve given a pretty wide array of contexts for my belief that Americans want healthcare reform, and are willing to support many of Obama’s agenda items, even at their own cost. You cite their concerns about government healthcare, but I can just as well cite their anxieties about healthcare as it currently stands.

The question is, how many people would support it, if they understood that there already is a national, government run healthcare system already functioning.

At a recent town hall meeting, a man stood up and told Representative Bob Inglis to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” The congressman, a Republican from South Carolina, tried to explain that Medicare is already a government program — but the voter, Mr. Inglis said, “wasn’t having any of it.

I’m not saying all or most people are this misinformed, but I think the Republicans have gone a long way towards misrepresenting what the plan is really about. How much of that unpopularity would go away if somebody simply clarified the facts? And is that why we have such cockamamie claims as “Medicare will fund Euthanasia!” swirling around?

I think the overall picture is that of a public that’s been somewhat confused by contradictory and sometimes dishonest claims in this debate, but which knows there’s a problem, knows they’re in the crosshairs of it, and believes something must be done.

I don’t think this is an area where the Republicans have effectively built critical mass. Not with two thirds of the country still supporting a Public Option, and most people still wanting Government to intervene in healthcare, even if they think it might cost them.

The Republicans are not benefiting from this. The party identification is at 20%. The polls clearly show that most people trust Obama more on this issue, and on others, than they do the Congressional Republicans, and they do so even now. They also show that those same Congressional Republicans are disapproved of by even wider margins than Obama is approved of. And Obama still maintains better than half the country’s approval, even after a six month campaign of ruthless character assassination.

The Republicans might win the battle on Capitol Hill, but if they win it there, and not out in public sector, I guarantee you, they’ve just given liberal groups an issue with which they can run the Republicans into the ground with. Just like they gave them the Iraq War, and the Economy. When you win the way the Republicans win, by hardball political fights in Washington against a sort of wimpy party delegation, the only thing you succeed in doing, is convincing many folks that they need people with straighter spines. You do not convince people, that once again, the Republicans are the right choice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 31, 2009 9:42 AM
Comment #285376
The question is, how many people would support it, if they understood that there already is a national, government run healthcare system already functioning.

One? There are 7. Why are we creating an 8th?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 31, 2009 11:01 AM
Comment #285380

America needed Health Care reform in 1993, Republicans defeated it. America desperately needs health care reform today if our economy and government fiscal management are to survive the future. Yet, Republicans are again trying to defeat the reforms.

If this fails, Republicans will own the failure. They apparently have not thought that far ahead, which isn’t surprising.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 31, 2009 11:28 AM
Comment #285381

That’s a stretch, David. The Dems’ control the house, senate and executive and it will be the Reps fault if the healthcare bill fails? Sounds kinda partisan to me. HHHHHHMMMMMMMMMM!

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 31, 2009 12:13 PM
Comment #285382

repubs always bend and twist things “their” way. ie - the bush administration and pelosi. that is a very common phrase used by repubs at this time. fox never uses the bush administration w/o mentioning pelosi in the same descriptive sentence.

continue being the party of no - and we will see how far you go. continue to be the “birther” party and your insanity shows thru. continue bringing up stupid, meaningless stuff instead of helping with real issues and we will see how far you go. continue to slam the president and dems for trying to help w/healthcare for the poor who vote - and we will see how far you go. by the way, how is the republican health care program going - haven’t seen it yet.

more and more people are seeing thru the republicans. americans know that this is a racial matter saying the president isn’t an american citizen. minorities vote too.

send palin out there. we will show clips of her and bush speaking non sense. really, the push is for palin? you need to go back to the drawing board. maybe she will get the witchcraft and demons exorcised from herself in a more public forum - can we schedule that for a primetime tv event? that i would watch.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 31, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #285383

stupid meaningless stuff: the president isn’t drinking american beer. that kind of stuff. though the american employees manufacturing the drink are blue collar americans.

the real issue was race relations - and republican media turns it into “see he’s unamerican down to the beer he is drinking”.

Posted by: bluebuss at July 31, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #285386

Roy, not a stretch at all. You seem to projecting lockstep Republicans with big tent party Democrats. Democrats disagree with their votes in Congress, not like Goose Stepping Republicans in Congress. I know there are a lot of horrible things in common between the two parties, and I spend a lot of time writing about those. But, this isn’t one of them. It is important to note the differences, and not let the get lost in all the similarities, in order to fairly represent reality.

Gotta quickly add however, that there are a few Non-Goose-Stepping Republicans left, like Lindsay Graham, Snowe and Collins, and 2 or 3 others. on the Senate side. Hard pressed to find any in the House, though.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 31, 2009 2:08 PM
Comment #285387

Rhinehold-
Because what are medical costs for us, are medical losses for them. Because fee for service has made it difficult for people to get better care, as opposed to more care.

Because the industries that make money off of our healthcare have a conflict of interest with doing it right, and we’re not immortal or invulnerable enough to avoid using their services.

Because it’s going to bankrupt us, at the rate it’s going.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 31, 2009 2:10 PM
Comment #285390

Stephen,

It will bankrupt us. And the solution will bankrupt us faster.

There is another solution though… though the left won’t hear of it or discuss it. Because it involves the free market and gives people choice.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 31, 2009 2:50 PM
Comment #285396

Mike
Very good. I’m disappointed at both parties, neither is really doing anything except cowtoeing to special interest groups. You try to explain that to some on either red or blue sideand it’s like trying to say something to a brick wall.

Posted by: KAP at July 31, 2009 4:12 PM
Comment #285413

KAP,
Liberal Democrats are fighting for the Public Option. People like me want universal health care. It is for a special interest group called the American people. “We the people.” It’s for everyone, every American, rich or poor. It will be run through the government, “by the people, for the people.”

Posted by: phx8 at July 31, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #285414

phx8
Sorry but most people don’t want the liberal version of universal health care and that is what’s called “WE THE PEOPLE”

Posted by: KAP at July 31, 2009 8:03 PM
Comment #285415

KAP-
Do you claim most people don’t want a liberal version of healthcare? The Public Option, certainly quite liberal: 66 percent for. Majorities support extending healthcare to the uninsured.

I could go on, but I got many supporting poll numbers already written down, further up the thread.

If you read between the lines of the polls, you’ll see that what people really don’t want, is the healthcare the Republicans describe liberals as wanting to give out.

Except, as the President has patiently explained, that’s not the healthcare we’re legislating out there, that he supports.

Rhinehold-
Enough with the “it will bankrupt us faster” meme. The proposals that are being put out there are deficit neutral for the most part, and that’s not even considering other potential savings that the CBO doesn’t quantify in its conservative projections.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 31, 2009 8:24 PM
Comment #285417

S.D.
That’s the trouble with you, you read between the lines and there isn’t anything there. Where do you get those polls from? The comic section although sometimes that’s the only section that makes sense.

Posted by: KAP at July 31, 2009 8:53 PM
Comment #285419

Christine

“Democrats hold all the power today. They can choose to work with Republican and independents or not. But please stop playing the victim. You are no more victims than Henry Louis Gates is a victim. Democrats today are in the role of perpetrators.”

the truth will set you free. the democrats, not so much.

Posted by: dbs at July 31, 2009 9:01 PM
Comment #285423
The proposals that are being put out there are deficit neutral for the most part

You made me snort Coke out of my nose with that one, Stephen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 31, 2009 10:27 PM
Comment #285445

KAP-
Where did I get the polls from? A respected news journal, that’s where. The problem is, some are more concerned with political biases than the merits of the facts themselves.

dbs-
Last I checked, you guys still held 4 out of every ten senate seats, and are still using those to block legislation with a party line filibuster when you see fit. A majority is greater power, but it’s not exclusive power by any means.

But that doesn’t simplify well to the typical erroneous right wing talking point, now does it? You guys fully support these party-line filibusters as being necessary to stop the rampaging Democrats, those damn socialist, but then turn around and say, “oh, we don’t have any power!”

Bull. You’ve got power, and you know it! You love it! You want to keep it! The Republicans weren’t holding up Al Franken’s seating for nothing.

So don’t tell me that all the power is with the majority, it’s obviously not. And then, having fed me this BS, don’t bother to talk about truth setting anybody free, especially by using the example of a man arrested for breaking and entering into his own house as an example of somebody who’s not a victim.

Rhinehold-
The bills are on record, whether one bothers to look them up or not. You might not realize it, but Democrats are doing much not to play into any stereotypes about our being spendthrifts.

Only Republicans, it seems, can spend recklessly and irresponsibly, and not be held to task for it. I didn’t hear the Republicans making half so much the outcry when it was Bush who was running up the deficit, or his people. But then, he most like was running up the debt according to Reagan’s time honored “conservative” methods: tax cuts that aren’t paid for by spending cuts, and military spending that is allowed to run out of control because it’s somehow essential to the country’s that our defense department lose money, waste it, and spend it inefficiently. And spend it on fancy weapons systems that do little to help us win actual wars.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 1, 2009 10:39 AM
Comment #285453

After reading all these posts people still DO NOT understand that the two party system of government we hold so dear simply does not work in this country or in this time in our history any longer. The dems and the reps only care about one thing YOUR money or all the money until you all wake up to this realization we are all doomed to repeat failure after failure.

If we typically vote for a centered government why do we keep voting one or the other party into power? No one in politics cares about the average person in this country any longer all they care about is the money they need to get re-elected. Money may not be the root of all evil but the love of money is. And that’s the way it is in America today it’s all about the love of money. Rich, poor and in between.

What is really necessary to make change doesn’t matter unless their is financial reward. When is the morailty that spews from both parties ever going to materialize? WHEN???????? How about our elected officials taking a pay cut have we heard that yet? NO and why? Because they love the money they are getting. Why should they continue to make the same pay or increased pay when all of America is being asked to tighten the belt? It’s about power then isn’t it, power and money will be the demise of society.

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 2:05 PM
Comment #285454

Oh and by the way I’m a registered card holding democrat who is tired of both parties BS

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 2:08 PM
Comment #285456

Victor,

It is encouraging to hear a Democrat acknowledge the fallibility of their own party. Parallel to your thinking, I became an independent voter when I realized that both parties, all parties, serve one master above all others, election and reelection. They will sell out this country, sell out its future, and sell out the voters to the highest campaign contribution bidders in order to insure their election/reelection. There are of course exceptions, but, this is the general rule for all political parties.

And it is understandable when one hears the party leadership reiterate that centuries old defense, that if they are not in power, they cannot make the changes that need to be made.

Therein lies the rhetorical and rationalized monster that has so damaged our nation’s and people’s future prospects in this country under a mountain of debt, greed, and power struggles which render our government incapable of dealing with the long term problems facing our nation; literally rendering them unsolvable for all intents and purposes.

There is however, an answer to this dilemma. But, it has to come from the voters. As more and more independent and partisan voters choose on election day to vote against their own incumbent representatives causing the reelection rate to drop from over 90% to 70, 60, or 50%, the politicians will be forced to acknowledge that the voters demands for taking care of our nation’s future is more important for insuring reelection than the wealthy special interests and corporate lobbyists who currently compromise all good legislative intentions.

Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is an all volunteer, non-partisan, political action committee devoted to just such a strategy. And their Vote Out Incumbents car window and bumper stickers are appearing in nearly every state of the union. Therein, I believe, lies the path to restoring responsible and competent representation in federal government for the American people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 1, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #285458

David

I’ve frequented this site over the last several years and have seen your comments about voting out incumbents to which I really never gave much creedence. Lately I believe it’s the only course of action we as voters can take. If anyone is tired of the pain they feel today how can there be any other alternative. Our elected officials are not interested in making real change because it doesn’t benefit them to do so. More and more I believe we need a third party but who should that be and what assures anyone they won’t end up the same. Politics is about power and money until we as human beings stop putting those things first there can never be any real change.

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 3:29 PM
Comment #285463

Victor R. Romano-
I am inclined to believe that while a third party is a great idea, it won’t solve the corruption problem. If somebody’s got power, you bet somebody is going to start talking with them to see if they can reap some benefit. The difficulties of any party getting a strong following, getting the airtime, staging the campaigns will lead to compromises, and those, at least in part, will let back in the corruption.

But corruption is not inevitable as a result, even if it’s inevitable as a problem. It is most important what we require of ourselves, not necessarily what we require of others.

Which is to say that we got to look at our local and national candidates and decide whether we’re getting the results from them that we want, not merely the promises, or the boasts of what they stand for.

The Change has to start with those who can issue these people the pink slip.

I would not mind seeing any number of pink slips given out, or at the very least see the threat made and taken seriously. I think one of the biggest problems is that we’ve gained this attitude of learned helplessness, responding to the failure of our folks to live up to their promises with a failure of our own- to lash back and make it clear that such failure won’t be tolerated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 1, 2009 4:34 PM
Comment #285467

Victor,

Stephen is iterating the right words. Politics is about power and money as you say, but, currently money controls the power, as in the many hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign donations which by lies, misinformation, and deception at election time, the majority of which goes to incumbents.

Voters can change that equation by replacing the power of money with the power of the anti-incumbent vote. If ever larger numbers of voters disappointed with the results of Congress commit to voting out incumbents, their numbers will create a power that can and will overcome the power of monied influence, not only at election time, but, during the legislative calendar between elections as well.

In other words, when voters vote based on Congressional success or failure, instead of what their incumbents tell them to think, the people will find they are in control of the Congress and not the other way around. And Congressional representatives will acknowledge the power of the anti-incumbent vote, and act accordingly to win back their support. Stephen D. is right about this.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 1, 2009 5:37 PM
Comment #285475

You’re so right victor!

The system is broken, and it’s manipulated to keep it that way. I’m afraid before we can get a third party, we need campaign finance reform. Public funding, or my favorite, An amendment to the constitution to make all campaign adds illegal. As long as our politicians are in a desperate need of lots and lots of money they will be for sale.

Either way we can VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENTS!

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at August 1, 2009 6:08 PM
Comment #285480

So Stephen, the almost 60 million who voted against the Obama do not know whats best for them, you do, and the only reason the majority of Americans do not want this healthcare reform is because they are to dumb to understand it? Oh, and because of the evil Republican ads.
There is no way so many Americans do not want govt run healthcare and no way the vast majority of Americans do not want to pay for it?

Its all because of a few hundred Republicans in the house and senate who are disregarding all who voted for them and are acting on their own? Against their constituents wishes?

Yes, it will only get worse from here, especially with so many choosing to live in such an alternate reality rather face facts.

Posted by: kctim at August 1, 2009 6:43 PM
Comment #285481

stephen

“Bull. You’ve got power, and you know it! You love it! You want to keep it! The Republicans weren’t holding up Al Franken’s seating for nothing.”

earth to stephen. thats over he’s now a US senator ( wow thats scary ). careful you’ll burst a blood vessel.

you have 60 seats in the senate. how can REPUBLICANS alone filibuster anything. you have 60 seats and you’re still bitching about the republicans. when does this become about the democrats? i don’t get much better than what you guys have now. could it be that america isn’t quite as liberal as you have been leading us to believe? i think quite possibly so.

Posted by: dbs at August 1, 2009 7:43 PM
Comment #285482

David R. Remer-
What I think we should all understand is that no matter what our position on or off the classic political spectrums, that we have a vested interest in this Democratic Republic of ours of making sure that they know that American government is a tangled hierarchy, a strange loop- a structure where the top of the hierarchy somehow finds itself under and accountable to those on its bottom.

I do not believe Democracy to be inherently better than any government, by elections alone. It is the way that the elections change both the citizens and those who govern the citizens, making the first more likely to be involved with affairs that affect them, and the second more susceptible to the shifts of opinions of those affected by their policies, that plays against human nature to allow better government to emerge.

The trouble comes from the fact that other things natural emerge from both any government, and particularly from Democratic governments like our own. You will always have people who play to the crowd, exploit the dynamics of the mob mentality, as well as those who lift themselves up as elites, and convince others they should be there.

But I also believe that on the balance, how we ourselves evolve according to these pressures can spell the difference between a people who merely hope that the best people come to govern, like subjects of a Kingdom praying for a good king to succeed the bad, and a people who actively seek out better government.

I think we’re tilting back towards more of the latter. For my part, unless I have use for somebody in Washington, unless I think they can be a catalyst for positive change, I believe they are expendable. Now where I might be criticized by you is in my insistence on the Democrats being the better party. But we all have such opinions, and the system is meant to square the difference, to offer the summation of the biases, rather than try to filter one or the other out.

If my people do not do their jobs, they will be deservedly tossed. But its not my party alone which must face this. I think people must realize that their are NO shortcuts. Reality is a more fertile parent of perceptions than perceptions of realities. The consequences of policy in the real world will always be there to subvert the claims and the ideologies of those who simply believe its enough for people to believe and persist in belief in order for something to work.

And again another strange loop rears its head. It’s almost like the heat exchanger system on a nuclear reactor, energy passed to water, which heats a separate set of pipes, which then passes the heat out to the air with another set of pipes.

We pass on our wishes to the politicians, who try and wrangle not only objective reality, but the subjective sensibilities of their colleagues. Then the consequences of all this play out in reality, and feeds back into both the politicans worlds and our own.

For me, it’s not only dangerous when this feedback loop malfunctions for the politicians, but for the people as well, and I think though conservatives are as smart as liberals, bad logic and bad information can make a fool of even a genius.

I think the problem with the conservative movement at this point is that it’s not allowing the tests of reality to carry away their more overheated ideas, to allow them to focus on the conservatism that actually works.

I think the problem with my party is that it’s been redesigned over the past three or four decades to carry away the heat of the Republicans, instead of responding to the real world as much. We’ve become defensive, become collaborators with a system that lost its ability to moderate itself.

Which is not to say that the problem is conservative influences. I’d say there’s nothing wrong with watching our budgets better, with not taking reflexively pacifistic stances. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easier on matters of religion, and not pushing our culture so bluntly.

But the moderation has to work both ways or it’s not moderation. Conservatives have to realize that especially now, that they must realize that while they can be part of the game, they can’t be the only players. The more they try to dominate the conversation, the more they will be cut out, by those who want their voices heard.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 1, 2009 9:17 PM
Comment #285483

Stephen and David

First I’d like to say thanks for more insightful thoughts on how to affect political change. I still believe that until someone gets elected that has the stones to make the change they all talk about the status quo will remain.

Fine example there is a representative in my community who talked about making changes and I emailed him asking him about his stance on term limits, campaign reform and the elimination of lobbyist or at least curtailing them.

He wrote me back sure and all he said was the same as the rest. Oh we need lobbyists, campaign reform while needed doesn’t really benefit most Americans because it limits the effectivness and the ability of the that person running for office. Term limits ha he wouldn’t even comment on that. This from a candidate that stood on a platform of “change” Sounds to me like more of the same. Needless to say he didn’t get elected but the incumbent who is just as bad did. Go figure that one.

The political system is broken and mired in backwards thinking people who have lost touch with what the mainstream of America really wants. Fairness, equity and the ability to still pursue the American dream. I have become soured by the whole of politics noone seems to really care anymore what happens to the tired, the poor or the weak. Let alone the middle class that pays for all of this.

Too bad you can’t throw them all out and start over and even that might lead to more of the same. Sure seems hopeless these days.

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 9:27 PM
Comment #285484

The only thing that really keeps me going is to listen to and read comments from people on this blog that really seem to care about what is going on. Most people I talk to are clueless as to how the political process really works. They all believe blindly in the candidate of their party. And that he really cares about them on a personal level. I’ve always been taught to be educated on all the candidates running in my district not just the ones in my own party sure wish that was the norm for us all.

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 9:39 PM
Comment #285485

kctim-
I could very well reverse the question. Are the majority, the significant majority who voted for Obama ignorant of what’s best for them? To listen to the other side, to your side for that matter, that seems to be precisely what you believe.

But this is not a pathological condition we have here. We all think we know what’s best for us. But we can’t all rule the country according to our sentiments.

The compromise is Democracy. It’s imperfect, but to get it closer to perfect, we’d have to solve the problem of who’s ideas were perfect for all of us, and that’d be considerably more difficult an argument to resolve than that of just letting the majority rule.

I do happen to think that many who stand against healthcare are misinformed. But that’s something I can prove empirically. A person who states, like some have, that Medicare is not government healthcare isn’t merely expressing an opinion, no matter how strongly they believe it. They’re making a claim, and stating a fact. We can easily go and verify that indeed, Medicare and several other programs, like the Military’s Tricare, and the Veterans Administration are indeed government run healthcare systems.

We can do the same thing with statistics about healthcare in countries where the government runs a significant part of the healthcare system- or all of it.

We remain a country that gets less healthcare value for our dollar than many countries that we belittle for their healthcare systems. It becomes a problem when we’re looking down at people from the mud at their feet. It doesn’t do much to present our glory to the rest of the world.

Who, indeed is living in the alternate world? Like any other claim of its kind, it can be verified. Question is, are you playing with verifiable claims, or are you simply spitballing whatever drives people away from what you personally consider an objectionable system?

dbs-
Yeah, that’s over. That’s why Democrats are still wrangling in the Senate over how to work things out so something gets passed. If we were as ideologically purified as the Republicans, all one sort of conservative, with barely any distinction, we might be able to complacently regard 60 as a magic number.

Democrats are anything but complacent at this point. So the question becomes, when does it become more about the Democrats? When more Republicans start voting with the Democrats, but somehow numerous Democrats defect and neutralize that. Until then, the filibusters are a result of an hardline ideological strategy that is uniting Republicans and a few Conservative Democrats in the blockade of legislation.

Believe me, Democrats are complaining, and putting on the pressure. But when you come across trying to make this purely about us, trying to shift the blame, despite the fact that it takes every Republican in Congress now to make this work, I’m not inclined to back your argument.

Or put another way, if we had three or four Republicans promising to vote for cloture, the holding of sixty senate seats would be a more secure indicator of the ability to break it. It is only the complete unwillingness of Republicans to even let matters come to a vote, to let debate come to an end that makes those filibuster threats viable with the Democrats holding sixty seats.

How can Republicans alone filibuster anything? Because their party is almost completely composed of hardliners, and they as a group have put the priority on blocking legislation, and getting a few Democrats to do the same.

The intransigence of the Republicans has absolutely nothing to do with where Americans are ideologically. Poll after poll has demonstrated that the average America is much more moderate than the average Republican.

But in the closed chambers of the Senate, it doesn’t matter where the majority of the people are, it’s where the majority of Senators are.

The real problem is, we’ve got 40 senators who are quite willing to be absolutely out of touch with the rest of the American people in order to get their way for a minority of the American political electorate. Something has got to give, and I don’t think it will give in the favor of those resisting what most people want.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 1, 2009 9:41 PM
Comment #285486

Victor R. Romano-
I think part of our problem is learned helplessness. The politicians figure that if they stubbornly keep doing things the way they are, the fervor for change must eventually die down.

So, in my opinion is, keep up the fire under said politicians asses until either well done or seasoned to taste. Our votes, our opinions represent a kind of natural selection. Either we can let their politics shape our environment, or our politics shape theirs.

Or to put it even simpler, no matter how bad it is, do not let them beat you. The victor in this battle isn’t necessarily the person who wins the most, its the person who doesn’t lose, and it’s a lot easier for a politician to be defeated by a popular movement, than a popular movement by a politician.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 1, 2009 9:53 PM
Comment #285489

Stephen

Not to worry although I may seem disillusioned by politics I know all too well my vote still counts for something, as a citizen of this great country I will do my part as best I can to vote in the right people who will do the right job for the good of all the people.

Posted by: Victor R Romano at August 1, 2009 10:27 PM
Comment #285496

Victor said: “Too bad you can’t throw them all out and start over and even that might lead to more of the same. Sure seems hopeless these days.”

All action begins with the hope that action will be effective. Hope is the prerequisite for all human behavior. Absent hope, lethargy and death follow.

When you say: “as a citizen of this great country I will do my part as best I can to vote in the right people who will do the right job for the good of all the people.” it is obvious that you are not a person without hope that we can master our future and not be mastered by it.

If our nation and her future are to improve, it will be folks such as yourself who will bring that improvement about.

The fact that registered independent voters now outnumber either registered Democrats or Republicans is a very a very positive development for American politics. If they can be organized by a common cause toward better government and future, they shall become a most potent force in American politics. There is where my hope for the future of America lies.

If the political parties are a source of the problem, and they are, then the rise of the Independent voters is a road to a solution. But, they need a common cause to tie bind them together in common action, and that is what Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is about. Not just for independent voters, either, but, for the disappointed registered Democrats and Republicans as well, who still hold to the best principles of their party but, find their Party’s leadership abandoning those principles.

Bottom line is, if we voters can’t approve of the results of our current lawmakers, we have no rational choice but to remove those lawmakers. Keeping them in office perpetuates our disappointment and disapproval. Removing them has the potential of altering their behavior and objectives and shaping the behavior and objectives of those that replace them, to accede to the demands of the disappointed and disapproving who are voting out incumbents.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is an exercise in futility.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2009 1:29 PM
Comment #285497

Stephen D., there is what those elected by Party SAY they stand for to get elected, and then there is what they actually do in office, to stay elected. And under our current system, in office they abandon the nation’s future and the people all too often in their voting and crafting of legislation to serve those who appear to be in control of their reelection, the large campaign donors, those with a megaphone to the voting public, and the corporate special interests. The nation’s long term needs and the individual voters are abandoned in the process of running government. The elected, by historical record, know that the party line voters will vote to reelect them no matter how compromised the actions of the elected, because they won’t vote for the opposition party. And they know the voters have neither the time, energy, nor education en masse to independently review their voting and legislating record, and are prone to believing whatever their incumbent representative tells them around election time.

We therefore, have arrived at a point where the nation’s future and the American people’s future are sold out to the highest campaign donation contributors and strongest lobbying pressures blackmailing representatives with threats of turning segments of special interest voters against the incumbent on election day. America is facing enormous challenges that have been known for decades to be in need of being dealt with. And they remain enormous challenges because the wealthy special interests insist their short term interests supersede the nation’s long term needs.

Health care reform should not be this difficult. The majority of Americans see the need for it, the majority of experts demand it for the nation’s sustainability going forward, and yet, health care reform remains elusive and potentially impossible to achieve politically. That clearly defines a broken political system which the Democratic and Republican parties have created in this country.


Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2009 1:44 PM
Comment #285501

stephen

sorry, but you know what they say about excuses, and at this point all you have is excuses. like i said before it appears america is not as liberal as you had hoped. IMO if the blue dogs give in to the liberal majority there will be hell to pay in 2010.

Posted by: dbs at August 2, 2009 6:20 PM
Comment #285507

Stephen
You can reverse the question if you wish, but it lacks the legs to work in the way you wish it to.
The Obamanauts know whats best for themselves, but they want everybody else to pay for it, whereas my side, as you say, want to take care of themselves.
You guys want healthcare reform your way? Then the 60 million of you are free to do it your way and you should let us 50 million do it our way. Our individual rights are protected and you guys still have somebody else paying for your healtcare. Win win for both sides.

That is compromise with respect to the US Constitution and our individual rights and freedoms. Its imperfect, but its better than majority rules democracy which infringes on individual rights.
You see Stephen, “my side” does not believe ideas can be perfect without those things, no matter how successful those ideas may turn out.

“I do happen to think that many who stand against healthcare are misinformed. But that’s something I can prove empirically.”

How can you empirically prove it when you do not understand the argument against it? I am not against healthcare reform, I am against not being able to choose and pay for the healthcare of my chosing. I am against other people forcing me to support what they believe in. I am against having my money stolen from me and given to somebody else.

“We can easily go and verify that indeed, Medicare and several other programs, like the Military’s Tricare, and the Veterans Administration are indeed government run healthcare systems.”

Contrary to the lefts armchair quarterbacks, the VA is NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread. The waiting is way to long, the customer service is subpar, the care is rationed and the most experienced do not work there.
The VA also has the benefit of only having to treat vets, how great would that care be if they were forced to treat millions instead of thousands?

“We can do the same thing with statistics about healthcare in countries where the government runs a significant part of the healthcare system- or all of it.”

Which would mean nothing to me Stephen, sorry. I can give you statistics showing that countries without firearms have zero shooting deaths, but I would never give up my right to bear arms in order to be more like them.

“Who, indeed is living in the alternate world?”

Um, those who believe it is worth giving up rights and freedoms in order to get something for “free.”

“Question is, are you playing with verifiable claims, or are you simply spitballing whatever drives people away from what you personally consider an objectionable system?”

MY claims are “verifiable,” are your’s?
Seems if less than half of Americans are willing to pay for govt run healthcare, then it is you who needs to verify the claims in order to bring them over to your side.

Posted by: kctim at August 2, 2009 11:05 PM
Comment #285508

David R. Remer-

Stephen D., there is what those elected by Party SAY they stand for to get elected, and then there is what they actually do in office, to stay elected.

I didn’t know I was ignorant of this fact. Trust me. Democrats like myself are putting on the pressure.

I think what must be done is that we make it clear that they can live without their campaign dollars, but they can’t get reelected without our votes.

I must be honest: I thought it’d be a hell of lot easier than this. I didn’t count on the GOP not learning its lesson, nor on the cravenness of some of my own party members.

But there has been some benefit of having weathered the last five years in American politics as a Liberal. We’ve faced worse than this current debate.

dbs-
It’s the Republicans that are killing the Blue Dogs. If the right were more cooperative, the Blue Dogs would have more to bargain with. But what can the Blue Dogs give their Democrat colleagues? A whole bunch of compromises that don’t get anything close to acceptable legislation?

It’s like the one guy said: in the end, healthcare is just about the only thing blue dogs will have to show for the next term. Plus, the last time they joined the Republicans in blocking something, it was that disastrous vote on the bailout for the banks. Do you really think they want to be on the losing side of history?

2010 and 2012 seem to be all the Republicans care about. What are we taking hell for, the stuff you’re doing your best to make sure never happens? Do you understand that when it is all said and done, Democrats can point to results, and Republicans can only point to their attacks on those results?

kctim-
Do not presume to cite unconstitutionality without a court case and precedent to back your opinion. It’s a cheap substitute for actually arguing the issue.

Show me the ruling that says medicare, Social Security and all the rest of the programs are no longer the law of the land. Otherwise, it’s armchair legal argumentation.

You can claim to be the only folks honoring the constitution, but that’s an easy claim to make, and easy to indulge with circular assertions of your opinion about what is and is not law.

I’m not interested.

You can verify my claim about the VA here and elsewhere.

Seems if less than half of Americans are willing to pay for govt run healthcare, then it is you who needs to verify the claims in order to bring them over to your side.

This is the kind of thinking that has us in crappy shape. That’s not what polls are for. It’s not polls or popularity that makes most things good. Many of the things the VA did to reform the system it had have been shown to work elsewhere. Many of them would likely be reforms you would welcome, if you weren’t so intent on defeating people like me.

You talk about freedom. I don’t call it freedom when you can’t go to the doctor when you’re sick, without paying an arm and a leg. I don’t call having to go to a certain doctor, or a certain hospital to get treatment freedom.

I don’t call insurance companies cutting off people when their illnesses get worse freedom. I don’t call an insurance company calling in the middle of a spinal operation to tell them to stop the procedure freedom.

We don’t have freedom here. We have money we have to pay for the mere chance to be treated, and the treatment can be straitjacketed regardless of what it does to our health.

We don’t have a system that makes sense. We have a system that makes its money by prolonging and aggravating the suffering of others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2009 12:53 AM
Comment #285509

kctim said: “Then the 60 million of you are free to do it your way and you should let us 50 million do it our way.”

Seems to me I recall the Confederacy making the same argument, (numbers were different of course). It was definitely NOT a healthy argument for our nation or her people or the economy. That argument was put to rest in 1865. Catch up and move on, kctim.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 3, 2009 1:19 AM
Comment #285511

Stephen D., as I wrote here on several occasions before the election and before the inauguration, the biggest obstacle to Obama’s successful presidency will be the Democrats in Congress, not the Republicans. Obama is shooting for pragmatic and long term solutions. Congress persons are seeking reelection the day after election, and that means subverting the nation’s interests and needs for their own political ones, which rest far more with the monied interests and lobbyists than with easily swayed constituents back home in gerrymandered districts.

I will commend some Democrats for working to end gerrymandering, as law. But, predictably, they have their Democratic and Republican opponents, so we shall see.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 3, 2009 1:25 AM
Comment #285514

Stephen,

I am glad to see you bring up the idea of politicians using scary hypothetical situations to sell their ideas in dealing with the “Health Care Crisis”. What about the hypothetical stories espoused by the Democrats? Democrats proclaim a need for Health Care Reform because, based on a 2007 Census Bureau Report, some 46 million people, or approximately 15% of the population of America, did not have Health Care.

Why don’t the Democrats cite the information correctly? The report cited identified people that did not have Health Care coverage at some point during the calendar year. The report never claimed that these people did not have access to coverage, nor did it claim that this number of people could not afford Health Care, only that at some point during the year they were not covered.

If you want a clearer picture of the truth, take a gander at Sally Pipes new book entitled, The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care – A Citizen’s Guide. You can download it free at http://liberty.pacificresearch.org/publications/the-top-ten-myths-of-american-health-care-a-citizens-guide

Sally breaks down where the numbers for the report were generated, how they are composed in reality, and what they consist of. Of course, I understand it is easier to accuse Republicans of fear mongering than to actually read and comprehend the facts.

As a side bar, you wrote,

The Republicans have been on the wrong end of any number of tipping points recently, negative shifts in public opinion. A gas crunch hobbled the notion that a freebooting energy policy meant freedom for the average citizen.>

I would point out that when the evil President Bush proposed that we tap our own energy sources, it was the Democrats that opposed him every step of the way and blocked his every effort. Obstructionism?

You also wrote,

A Hurricane finally brought the terror of Global Warming home for many, but also made it clear to people that a negligent approach to government could have lethal consequences.

I have heard all the hype. However, we experienced, as I understand it, a rise in global temperatures of .2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 20 some years. In case you have’nt noticed, there are concerns of the fact that we have experienced a cooling process over the last few years more than the previous rise. In fact, there are some circles warning of a potential ice age.

As to a negligent approach by Government, I would argue that the same people that proclaim the earth is turning into a fireball are the same people that have determined that carbon dioxide pollutant and a greenhouse gas that must be curtailed.

I guess these people have never heard of photosynthesis. Furthermore, to quote Mark Levin, who has apparently studied the subject to a greater degree than I have, and has interviewed scientists that have spent their entire careers studying the atmosphere,

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in parts per million, would be equivalent to four people in a crowded football stadium. It is miniscule, and the idea that carbon dioxide is causing global warming is not only false, but also ridiculous.

I found it particularly laughable when you wrote,

A war that went badly awry immolated a president’s approval ratings and set part of the stage for the party’s fall from the majority. The laissez faire economic system that they had advocated for years took a catastrophic nosedive into economic chaos.

I applaud you for acknowledging a war effort gone awry, especially when there has been so much support from the Democrats who backed the war when it was popular, and abandoned the effort when the winds of popularity shifted. War is a terrible thing to say the least, and requires careful and thorough deliberation before any military actions are carried out. However, once a nation commits to the act of war, it must be prepared to follow through to victory.

Have we forgotten the fact that the Democrats politicized the war in Iraq, even to the point of threatening to withhold funding? I wonder how many soldiers died due to hold-ups in Congress in financing the armoring of personnel carriers. I’m sorry; it does not have the same, catchy ring as “Bush lied”. All this effort for the Democrats in Congress to attempt to run the military. I thought the President is the Commander in Chief of the military. So much for supporting the troops.

As to “laissez faire economics”, was that not due to the collapse of the housing market, which brought down the financial industry? I recall President Bush repeatedly calling for regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beginning as early as 2003. Yet until the house of cards came crashing down in 2008, the likes of Chuck Schumer, Barney Franks, Chris Dodd, Maxine Waters, and Barack Obama touted what a great job these Government Entities were doing, rejecting any means of regulating them. Do these names sound familiarly Democratic to you?

Then of course, you go off on a mild tangent of your typical diatribe of party rhetoric, which to borrow the phrase from your friend J.R., is quite tiresome and old. You wrote,

The Republicans made a lot of unfortunate choices, politically speaking, over the last few years. What puzzles me is why they don’t play it even a little bit safer. I know I would have a vested interest myself in their being more passive, but my party’s got to where it is now, power-wise, by answering the calls the Republicans in Washington refused to hear.

Let me be the first to cede the point. Mr. D., you are absolutely correct. The Republicans have made several poor, ill-advised choices, not just over the past few years, but since they took control of Congress in 1994 with the “Contract with America” campaign. The Republicans strayed from the conservative principles that empowered them to begin with.

Instead of focusing on the promises they made that put them in power, they tried to compromise with the left. In short order, the Republicans started to resemble that which they fought so valiantly against, and began to lean toward a more moderate philosophy. The problem is, those at the grass root level of the Party do not want our party to play it safe. We want our Party to act like Conservatives. We do not want them to act in a passive fashion and allow the Liberal Democrats to force-feed socialism on our country.

You wrote,

The Republicans don’t know, in political terms, how to win the peace when they triumph, or negotiate truces when they don’t. They seem inclined to oppose scientific and economic consensus, merely because they constitute the support of liberal policy.

Here is a news flash for you, the Democrats do not need the Republicans to negotiate a truce, the Democrats have control of both houses of Congress and the White House, they can push through whatever legislation they want, and have demonstrated this ability. The only reason the Democrats want bipartisanship, is to point their collective fingers at the Republicans instead of taking ownership of their failed policies and ideology.

The proof is in the fast that Democrats look to “scientific and economic consensus” for answers. In short, they test the political winds for a popular position on an issue. One must remember that science is a system of creating a hypothesis, or an educated guess, then proving or disproving the theory. Economics is based on numbers and sound, time tested, and proven financial practices. A consensus, which the Democrats find so favorable, is simply a process of getting a number of people to agree with a theory. If the theory is wrong, so too then is the consensus.

I am all for the Democrats scientific and economical change on one condition, they need to do better than a consensus. They need only to prove their theories.

Finally, you wrote,

So what do I suggest? Professionalism. Dignity. The triumph of reason over insanity. A reliance on fact. A willingness to head off problems before they become more serious, rather than a tendency to escalate contrarian sensibilities to the point of absurdity.

To this, I profoundly agree. In doing so, I will at the same time challenge the current opinions on the Health Care debate. I have heard both sides of the issue, Democrats creating a crisis to motivate people toward Nationalized Health Care, promising to spend less when their own numbers defy their claims. Disappointingly, the Republicans bring people out to talk about what medications or services they stand to lose under the Democrats plan.

So to attempt to act in accordance with your suggestion, may I first propose that we question where Congress, under the limitations set forth in the Constitution, has the authority or power to involve itself in the decisions of Individual Health Care? We begin by agreeing that America has the BEST Health Care the world has ever known. The rest of the world depends on our innovation. The question is NOT Health Care, but rather insurance coverage.

There are too many examples of the Government failing every time they become involved in practices best left to private industry. The job of Government is to “Promote the Welfare of the Nation”, not provide it. Government is to legislate and regulate so that all citizens benefit equally from the actions of Government, not dictate the actions and decisions of the people.

I would propose that instead of a National Health Care System; why not allow each state to find their own solutions? Then, as a nation, we could conceivably have fifty different Health Care Systems to choose from, or for states to adopt. That was, after all, part of the reason for each state to maintain their sovereignty. Each state can implement practices that cater to their citizens, mimicking practices of other states, adjusting some of the practices, and creating some of their own. In time, with enough practices and policies borrowed and perfected, we will eventually create an affordable system that works, and can ultimately be adopted by all the states upon acceptance of it’s citizens. In the process however, if one state fails, the damage is limited to that state instead of a failed program bringing down the entire nation.

I know this is a radical idea, for it takes the power and authority away from Washington D.C., and places it back where it belongs, with you, the individual.

Posted by: Dave Black at August 3, 2009 6:01 AM
Comment #285519

stephen

“in the end, healthcare is just about the only thing blue dogs will have to show for the next term. Plus, the last time they joined the Republicans in blocking something, it was that disastrous vote on the bailout for the banks.”

not if we’re lucky they won’t, and not if they’re smart. seems thier constituants feel differently. democrats didn’t support bailing out the banks? you know that were to big to fail.


“2010 and 2012 seem to be all the Republicans care about. What are we taking hell for, the stuff you’re doing your best to make sure never happens?”

what were you looking towards when you were in the minority? hmmmm? like i said stephen the republicans have no power if the democrats stand united. you can’t blame it on the reps anymore. i know thats hard to let go of, but it won’t fly. if the blue dogs are smart they’ll block this piece of crap that the liberals are trying to jam down everyones throat, while lying about the cost, and who will be taxed to pay for it.

Posted by: dbs at August 3, 2009 10:27 AM
Comment #285522

I’ll pass on the download. I don’t generally trust right-wing think-tanks funded by industry groups who somehow miraculously get just the research and rebuttals they need to keep doing business as usual.

I am the last person you want to use those junk science lines on.

I have personal experience of how the healthcare system generally works, and I can tell you that what you consider ideal in your head is far from workable in reality.

I comprehend the facts from my own life, from seeing in person what insufficient coverage and care can do to people, what unnecessary or badly done operations can do to people, and the inane, bureaucratic way in which insurance companies and other kinds of health plans work.

I comprehend that we literally don’t have enough oil on our shores in order to drill our way to greater independence. I also comprehend that while we can deploy wind farms and solar plant, and photovoltaic cells now, we won’t see much of a reduction in prices until about a decade and a half from now. And then, it will be pennies on the dollar.

Global Warming’s not hype. Many of the crucial predictions made by scientists have been confirmed. Scientists are very competitive, and enjoy taking the air out of each other’s discoveries. When they all start agreeing on something, it’s worth your time to take notice.

But let me deal with that small rise. First, it’s an average, and the thing to understand with temperatures that are being averaged, is that CO2 driven global warming predicts that the heat will rise faster in arctic rather than tropical climates, will remain higher at night, higher during the winter, that times and places where heat would tend to radiate away.

And that is exactly what’s going on. We are seeing the warming of places that haven’t seen such temperatures in hundreds of thousands of years. Climate patterns that have been in place since the end of the last ice age are being disrupted.

And regarding the size of that difference: Climate Scientists found that differences in temperature much smaller were responsible for the shifts of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

Speaking of those, the research on the ice age issue indicates that it’s unlikely. When the global conveyor was shut down last, tripping an ice age, the source of the water wasn’t the ice sheets we know today, but the much more massive Laurentide Ice Sheet that once covered most of Canada. Don’t take The Day After Tomorrow to represent current scientific thought.

As for photosynthesis, yes, it can can take Carbon Dioxide out of the atmosphere, but it can only do so much at one time, and it doesn’t help that we’re destroying a lot of the plants, which not only keeps it from removing CO2, but releases the CO2 sequestered in the plant back into the atmosphere

But even without that, it’s empirically provable that CO2 levels are rising. Res ipsa loquitur- if the plants were enough to take CO2 out of the atmosphere that needed to be taken out, it would be happening already. And no, Climate Scientists probably have heard of photosynthesis, and factor its effects into the models they use. Why people persist in thinking that scientists somehow missed stunningly obvious things like solar input and naturally produced CO2 is beyond me. I would seriously love for people to do some good faith research into their objections rather than just throw such easily debunkable claims into the air in hopes that somebody’s unfamiliar enough with the science to buy them.

I found it particularly laughable when you wrote, A war that went badly awry immolated a president’s approval ratings and set part of the stage for the party’s fall from the majority. The laissez faire economic system that they had advocated for years took a catastrophic nosedive into economic chaos.

No, in all actuality, I became concerned, as did many Americans like myself, not long after we got in there. I became concerned that we had just invaded Iraq over faulty evidence, which meant that the war was a distraction from going after Bin Laden- you know, the guy who had actually recently killed a s***load of Americans.

I became concerned that we didn’t have the numbers in there to control the situation before it got out of control. This most pointedly and poignantly came about when I saw our troops, triumphant in taking Baghdad (a triumph I enjoyed, actually) unable to quell destructive, lawless looting in the capital. Call me old fashion, but I don’t believe we actually have solid control of a territory until we can impose law and order on it. From that point forward, I became concerned, and like many others voiced that concern.

I became concerned as I started seeing the Adminstration move forward with nominal milestones, instead of setting substantive goals.

The politics of the war overwhelmed the good sense for those running it. They became stubborn in their defense of their methods, and refused to do much about these situations, before they became politically hazardous for them.

My mindset has been that if you commit to a war, you’d better be prepared to do what’s necessary to win it, not screw around trying to cover your political ass. The Bush Administration was more interested in shielding itself from criticism than taking care of business.

Let me give you an example: Having taken the ill-advised step of rushing into Fallujah after the deaths of four Blackwater employees, the Bush administration pulled out of their, and spent the next six months letting Fallujah become a red zone for the insurgents, a staging area from which other places were compromised. When at last, this became politically intolerable, then and only then did they mount another assault, probably costing far more lives than if they had deal with things right the first time.

As for supporting the troops? Goddamn what an abused phrase. I supported the troops all along. I would wager that my support was considerably superior to the mere moral support the right loved to put on a pedestal. When they didn’t have enough armor, I didn’t screw around trying to blame an embarrassing question on a reporter, I was hollering for that armor. When troops were going into battle ill equipped, poorly trained, I was hollering for that. I was hollering for greater numbers long before Bush’s late-coming surge.

The support I advocated, and which I have always advocated is MATERIAL, SUBSTANTIVE support. Logistical support. Strategic support. Not sending them out with a bad plan and worse material support, and then patting them on the back and calling THAT support.

Now let me address the economy.

The system as it was set up twenty years ago would have shrugged off the collapse of the housing market. Indeed, the housing collapse would have been far less severe, because certain practices would have been prohibited already.

But you guys lead the crusade to free business from the burdens of having to remain small enough to fail, to make sure that not all our financial companies, like insurance, mutual funds, brokerages, and corporate finance weren’t all in one corporate basket, with the failures of one extending to the others.

And your people lead the charge to make it illegal to even regulate the very derivatives whose complex counterparty obligations are the real reason both that the Housing Market could get so overheated, ignoring the laws of supply and demand, and that a few failures quickly became many.

Again, I don’t deny that Democrats were involved. And no, the rank and file isn’t happy about what they’ve done, or sometimes what they’re doing. But I would hardly say that Democrats were the folks with the “ideas” that were behind these and other things.

Then of course, you go off on a mild tangent of your typical diatribe of party rhetoric, which to borrow the phrase from your friend J.R., is quite tiresome and old. You wrote,

The Republicans made a lot of unfortunate choices, politically speaking, over the last few years. What puzzles me is why they don’t play it even a little bit safer. I know I would have a vested interest myself in their being more passive, but my party’s got to where it is now, power-wise, by answering the calls the Republicans in Washington refused to hear.

Let me be the first to cede the point. Mr. D., you are absolutely correct. The Republicans have made several poor, ill-advised choices, not just over the past few years, but since they took control of Congress in 1994 with the “Contract with America” campaign. The Republicans strayed from the conservative principles that empowered them to begin with.

Let me be blunt, then, Mr. Black, for the sake of brevity. When Tom DeLay came into the House Leadership, he had a little black Book that he showed to a reporter. In that book, he had names of Republican Contributors and Lobbyists, and those who were going to be the only people who got access. So my point would be not that somehow, they abandoned conservative principles, but that they never had these ideals to start with.

The Gingrich Revolution was flawed from the start, because the real center of the Republican Party is opposition and obstruction. Only one part, a minority really, is fiscally conservative. And even that label may not be entirely accurate, because there are few Republicans willing to force tax hikes to pay for things. Most of the time, folks are content to either ask for draconian spending cuts, which constituents might raise hell about, making their actual implementation unlikely, or deficit spend, especially to pass out tax cuts that are not deficit neutral.

Republicans never felt they had to provide credentials for their fiscal conservatism. They simply stated it as a fact, a fact that flatly contradicted during the Bush term with their reckless spending and deficit creation.

In short order, the Republicans started to resemble that which they fought so valiantly against, and began to lean toward a more moderate philosophy. The problem is, those at the grass root level of the Party do not want our party to play it safe.

Fought so valiantly against? Right.

That’s your whole problem. As long as its not a Democrat doing the spending, there’s a lot of deference, not a lot of oversight. You should recall that it was only after Obama started tightening the rules on TARP and its payback that executive on that corporate welfare started to return money to the taxpayers.

As for force-feeding socialism?

Let me be blunt here as well. First, by letting Lehman Brothers collapse, and then by sabotaging a vote on the bailout, the Republicans let a bad situation get much, much worse. Recent news tells us that the Stimulus Package as already added as much as three percent GDP growth, moderating what was going to be a much worse recession. You call that socialism, I call that keeping the bus from tipping over into the ditch. It’s not something I want my government doing all that time, but I don’t want my government blowing it off like the Republicans tried to.

As for negotiating a truce? It’s not that the Democrats necessarily need that right now. No, the Republicans are driving their poll numbers down sufficiently so that we could easily be assured of relatively stable peformance in 2010. The trouble will be that little will be done for the country, and the Republicans themselves will be hard pressed to come up with a single constructive thing they did for the country since Obama took office.

Hell, they even are forced to brag about stimulus programs they voted against by voting against the stimulus!

The truth is, Republicans may be cutting the Democrat’s legislation off, but at the price of giving Democrats and everybody else very little incentive to let them put anything into the legislation.

Sooner or later, folks like the Blue Dogs are going to be disabused of the notion that there’s anything productive to be gained by the working with the Republicans.

And then what happens?

I would propose that instead of a National Health Care System; why not allow each state to find their own solutions?

I believe the Constitution takes a rather dim view of the Federal Government trying to sockpuppet the states. If we are going to create a solution at the federal level, we might as well make it work across the board, rather than try to create yet another variety of entity that is neither fish nor fowl.

Or put another way, the issue is that if such rules are state law, then you have conflicts of jurisdiction, which would enable healthcare providers to mess things around simply by shopping for the state with the worst standards and setting up shop there (which is how Delaware came to be the place for so many companies to incorporate.) The constitution forces all other states, then, to accept the state law of the home state as valid, under the Full Faith and Credit clause.

But what if it’s federal? Well then you’ve got contradictory rulemaking all over the place, all backed by the US government. You’re essentially creating fifty bureaucracies in the place of one.

We deliberately centralize some power in the federal government because that allows the federal government to make those standards broadly applicable, to keep the law simple and the enforcement manageable. We also do it because interstate commerce is a natural jurisdiction of the federal government. Arkansas can tell Wal-Mart what to do in its own borders, but it can’t tell them what to do in Texas. Making this federal leaves Healthcare companies nowhere to run to.

You speak in the conclusion of your comment about where power and authority belongs. Well I say it belongs divided among individuals, their state and local governments, and the federal government. The split is done for a reason. We tried running a country with an emphasis on the local and state governments, and even the laidback forefathers of this country realized it couldnt’ continue on as it was.

Why some people just reflexively invoke this kind of States Rights argument in a massively interconnect world like today’s is beyond me. We’ve tried your approach of laissez faire politics and economics for the last three decades, and the experiment’s failed. People have their hands full running their own lives. They should not be expected to be forced to make sure everybody else does their job.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 3, 2009 1:18 PM
Comment #285523

Adding on to Stephen’s reply to Dave Black’s comment:

It’s probably not a good idea to look at very short-term oscillations in average global temperature and extrapolate that the larger trend does not exist.

In the case of a slight cooling over the past few years, most of that is attributed to El Nina and a fractionally cooler part of the 11 year solar sunspot cycle. This summer an El Nino is building in the Pacific, and the suspot cycle is entering the warmer part of the trend. If the El Nino buiilds as predicted, the next five years will be unusually warm.

Keep in mind, the long term trend is far more important.

“…there are some circles warning of a potential ice age.”

No, there are not. There are no credible sources issuing such a warning.

Every credible scientific institution in the world agrees that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, regardless of that country’s political institutions.

By the way, C02 can be a pollutant in the scientific sense of the term. If a person wants to maintain a room filled with pure methane, and a fractional amount of oxygen enters that room, oxygen is a pollutant.

Finally, anyone using the argument that a gas measured in parts per million does not matter since it occurs in such small quantities is jerking you around. Ozone is measured in parts per ten million, yet it would obviously be missed if it disappeared from the atmosphere. Plutonium is toxic in minute quantities, yet no one would accept a daily few hundred parts per million in the air they breathe. Seriously, if Mark Levin is using an argument like that, he is not worth listening to.

Posted by: phx8 at August 3, 2009 2:32 PM
Comment #285524

phx8, good rebuttal. Here in Central Texas, we are breaking records for longest duration of above 100 degree days, and highest record temperatures tied or broken, not to mention the worst drought in memory. And NONE of this indicates, by itself, that there is global warming taking place.

It is the macro environmental and historical record trends that are the scientific probability and statistics modeling that is crucial to the evidence of whether or not global warming is underway. And the data demonstrates it is.

The second question is harder to pin down: How much of the global warming taking place is a result of earth’s and our solar system’s cycle and how much is attributable to human contribution? But, HOW MUCH is a red herring question. The evidence in controlled experiments and in the historical record demonstrate that humans are contributing to global climate change and current global warming. How much would be great if it could be knowable, but, it is not, with any reasonable certainty.

That said, any contribution by human kind from 1 to 50% is too much when weighing the consequences and costs associated with the rapid global climate change. How fast and how much expense should be pumped into reducing human contribution effects is, in the final analysis, a political and economic question for each nation individually and all of them collectively to deliberate and achieve consensus upon.

All I have said here is just another way of saying the obvious. This topic is complex, and beyond the grasp of significant numbers of people in the world today. Hence, the public discussion is full of misinformation, partial education, and outright ideological lies and deceptions. And that too is a political reality that must be contended with by the governments of the world, just to complicate the issue a tad bit more.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 3, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #285531

Stephen
Of course you are not interested in the Constitution, no surprise there. So lets just continue to disregard it and chat these other things.

“You can verify my claim about the VA here and elsewhere.

Well, since my personal experiences and those I have witnessed by volunteering, I guess you will have to visit your local VA and speak with actual vets to verify my claim that it is not the great system those with an agenda are trying to get people to believe it is.
Your link also does not address just how great the VA hospital would be if its patients increased ten or a hundred fold.

“This is the kind of thinking that has us in crappy shape. That’s not what polls are for. It’s not polls or popularity that makes most things good.”

Unless one is trying to sway people into thinking the majority of Americans want to pay for govt run health care, right? You know, see a poll saying 70% of Americans want healthcare reform and ignore the part that says less than half of them are willing to pay for it.

“Many of the things the VA did to reform the system it had have been shown to work elsewhere. Many of them would likely be reforms you would welcome, if you weren’t so intent on defeating people like me.”

I am glad the VA is trying to better itself, the vets deserve what they signed up for. But tell me Stephen, how great would the VA be if it all of a sudden had a hundred million + more patients?

I don’t want to “defeat” you Stephen, I just want to stop you from forcing me to believe as you do. I can also assure you that I will never welcome any reform which infringes on the rights of others, no matter how successful it may turn out.

“You talk about freedom. I don’t call it freedom when you can’t go to the doctor when you’re sick, without paying an arm and a leg. I don’t call having to go to a certain doctor, or a certain hospital to get treatment freedom.”

That is because with freedom comes responsibility and when one turns that responsibility over to someone or something else, they are no longer free.

“I don’t call insurance companies cutting off people when their illnesses get worse freedom. I don’t call an insurance company calling in the middle of a spinal operation to tell them to stop the procedure freedom.”

Ah, using the extreme to promote an agenda. Gotta love that.
Tell us Stephen, what will you call it when it is govt rather than insurance companies, doing such things?

Posted by: kctim at August 3, 2009 8:56 PM
Comment #285553

kctim-

Of course you are not interested in the Constitution, no surprise there. So lets just continue to disregard it and chat these other things.

Disregard the constitution? No, just amateur interpretations without the force of law.

I can understand on the count of the VA if you don’t buy it, given the fact that the VA we’re discussing was pretty lousy. However, the VA I’m describing is today’s, and that is also the one being studied.

I know that may sound like an evasion. But its actual context. Reforms were put through, after which the study was done. If you want to gainsay the results, you will have to gainsay the claim itself, within it proper scope.

As for polls? Let me give it to you plainly: if people want something, but are nervous about the price, they can be convinced with just a little work to buy into it. But the other way around? Will people just always accept a crappy situation because they don’t have to pay anything? Republicans tried to sell everybody their refusal to bailout Wall Street. How well did that work? Not at all.

I am glad the VA is trying to better itself, the vets deserve what they signed up for. But tell me Stephen, how great would the VA be if it all of a sudden had a hundred million + more patients?

A lot of the reforms are intrinsic money savers. Digital record keeping cuts down on paper and administrative costs, also prevents duplications, prevents mistakes that require additional treatment to correct, or which impose an economic penalty through death or disability.

So is preventative care. It’s empirically shown to help.

The Public Option was in fact shown to be a money saver by the CBO, because it helps shove costs downward through competition and the government’s bargaining power.

It’s certainly a better idea than what the Republicans came up with: their Medicare Advantage, where we add a layer of expensive middlemen, or the Medicare Drug Plan, where Republicans actually took the step of BANNING the government from bargaining for lower drug prices, like the VA does.

You talk about healthcare being scaled up, and not working, but you forget that we already have Medicare and Medicaid, which serve tens of millions of people, and have undershot the growth from the private healthcare industry in terms of the rise of costs. Presumably, they could go even lower, if we were able through healthcare reform to both alter Medicare’s provisions towards the better and implement the VA’s successful reforms on a national scale.

I can’t force you believe anything, so it strikes me as odd that this is the thing you try and defend yourself against. What are you afraid of, that the policy is implemented, and it turns out better, turns out to be something you like? The fact of the matter is, folks are going out of their way on your side of the debate to recapitulate the old arguments. But as they talk about rationing, Healthcare companies ration healthcare not as an extreme, but as a matter of policy. They deny coverage not as a matter of extremes, but as an everyday, standard policy. They cut off people so often, and for such cynical reasons that they actually offer bonuses to those who managed to do it the most.

And people of course, as they get older, get chronic conditions Their rates are jacked up, their options limited.

And as for that spinal surgery thing? My mother personally experienced that one. If I recall things correctly, she was the one who had to tell the insurance company that this was not going to happen.

Me and my family have personal experience of the way the system is broken. For me, these are not extremes. These are first hand experiences.

I’m not to trying to sell people this because it matches my political agenda. I’m advocating it because I’ve got no trust left in the system as it is to correct itself. It’s become centered o the profits of those who pay for the care, and those who provide it, to the exclusion of the interests of the patient. If you want to wait for reform until something catastrophic happens, or it just gets worse, fine. But like I’m basically saying in my entry, it will only get worse from here, and when people ask for healthcare reform the next time, they won’t be asking for a public option. They’ll be asking for a public system.

All projections show us a system that’s not getting better, but getting worse, and which is creating greater and greater burdens. We can take care of this now, or see inordinate economic resources go to further worse and worse care. I’d have preferred it remain private, but like many industries nowadays, they’ve been spoiled by folks in power who’ve allowed them to push their luck with the American people. All stifling healthcare reform will do now is not prevent them from pushing their luck, but just extend the time that they’re infuriating the American public.

The Republicans and Right Wingers should take heed now: they might win something in political terms by stopping this, but they will once again put themselves on the wrong side of an issue that will not go away, and will not get better on its own. Maybe Republicans should realize that they can’t solve every problem with inattention, or worse infatuation with the people they’re being asked to keep in check.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 4, 2009 7:48 AM
Comment #285674

Stephen,

Sorry to hear that you are so closed-minded as to refuse to, at least, read opposing viewpoints, especially when you can access them free. By the way, it is not only “right-wingers” that “somehow miraculously get just the research and rebuttals they need”. Welcome to modern day media. It is a practice employed by both sides of the aisle.

I was not aware of my use of “junk science lines”. I simply pointed out that science is the practice of finding facts by testing theories, and that economics are based on time tested, proven practices, based on solid mathematical formulas. It is my belief that too many theories, such as social, economical, and those of global warming are considered as “etched in stone” because Al Gore, and those like him, have a consensus. The fact remains, if the theories are flawed, which in the proclamations of “Man-Made Global Warming” (MMGW) cases they potentially are, then it does not matter how many people you get for your consensus, the ideology is still flawed.

My claim of the “MMGW” being flawed is based on the fact there are large number of scientists, who take stands on either side of the subjects. The fact is, there are too many variables in the subject, and some of the most brilliant minds in the world have not yet proven an ability to create an accurate model, by which to gain a comprehensive understanding of the environment. I believe this, at least in part, correlates with the view Mr. Remer posted.

Therefore, it is even more ridiculous to assume mankind is responsible for destroying our atmosphere, then claim that implementing restrictions on a percentage of the world’s population is going to correct the supposed problems. If the rest of the nations around the world do not adhere to the same restrictions, it would be foolish for any intelligent person expect a successful outcome.

Do not misunderstand me, I do believe we are experiencing changes in the climate; this is even obvious to a simple layperson such as myself. The one thing I do not believe we need however, is individuals who claim intellectual authority of the subject, to force supposed solutions on the masses, without credible proof of their claims.

The fact is, we cannot fully comprehend the nuances and intricacies by which our atmosphere works. I believe we will one day, and that it is a worthy cause, toward which we should continue to strive. However, we are not there yet; assuming an ability to save the world by implementing environmental laws and policies on a portion of the global community, while only seeing pieces of the picture, is worse than ridiculous, it hinges on lunacy.

We are already competing globally with, what amounts to, slave labor and outright copyright infringements. How many more obstacles would the left inflict upon the successes of American ingenuity in the name of unproven environmental policies? I am the first to agree that, as the leader of the industrialized nations, we have a duty, to not only demonstrate environmental responsibility, but to set the pace. However, I do not believe we owe it to the world to cripple our nation’s economy and ability to remain independent in the process.

As to our “ability to drill our way to greater independence”, again I am not against finding a better way, there are a number of avenues we can pursue toward that goal. However, the argument remains, why cripple ourselves in the process. There is evidence that we can harvest enough crude and natural gas to maintain our needs for a century or more, thus giving us the ability to stabilize ours, and the global needs for energy.

Like it or not, the world still runs on oil. We should continue to harvest this resource, thereby maintaining our independence, while at the same time developing new technologies through which we can again lead the world. If we do not take part in providing for the global energy needs, other nations will, and there is no arguing that the United States Oil Industry is the best in the business, not to mention the most responsible.

Mr. Dougherty, I applaud your concerns of the war, and your support of the troops. However, to address a common mistake made by liberals, my comments were not about you. I simply pointed out that the Democrats, in Congress, politicized the war. After sending our troops into harm’s way, Congressional Democrats attempted to use the funding of the military’s mission as a political weapon. Instead of demonstrating the intestinal fortitude to stand by their original support of President Bush in the use of military force, the Democrats, along with their national support groups, used every opportunity to sail along the political winds, pursuing their individual popularity.

As to your personal experiences with Health Care, join the club. The fact that there exists insufficient coverage for some individuals and anti-productive bureaucratic obstacles is evident throughout the Health Care system. Insurance companies require unnecessary tests and procedures for some patients, and refuse necessary tests and procedures for others. Your personal experience does not give you intellectual authority on Health Care; neither does your lack of faith in the system’s ability to correct itself.

Sticking to my original claim, America has the best Health Care known to the history of man. We are in a position where the rest of the world depends on our innovation and technology. Therefore, the issue, when properly identified, is with insurance coverage, not Health Care.

We must remember medical insurance is a benefit, NOT an entitlement, for if one person is entitled to it, another is compelled to provide it. Therefore, it is typically NOT an issue best resolved by Government. I do understand however, it is wrong for any company to equate the health of a nation to a commodity, allowing coverage, and/or treatment to only the few, best able to pay. Due to this belief, I recognize the need for Government Regulations. However, call it “reflexive” if you will, I still maintain the regulatory process should take place at the State level to maintain the limitations of Government under the Constitution.

Your “Conflicts of Jurisdiction” argument cannot hold water, as we already have working models of States maintaining their sovereignty through the implementation of similar laws. I would point out, off the cuff, the regulating of auto insurance policies, petroleum formulations, emissions regulations, and even the harvesting of energy products; each state has their own sets of regulations and habitually demonstrates the ability to honor other states.

The mere idea of a “Public Option” destroys competition, as opposed to bolstering it; there is no possible way for private industry to compete with the unlimited tax base used by the Federal Government. If you doubt this, look at the auto industry where we have now experienced the government backed, “Cash for Clunkers” program, and try to explain how that competes with manufacturers rebates. Before your fingers start tapping out a response, remember that the money is borrowed and will have to be repaid, and we have yet to experience the unintended consequence of “Cash for Clunkers”.

You are correct that some power and authority is centralized in the Federal Government, our “laidback forefathers” stipulated this fact by signing and ratifying the Constitution. However, approximately four years after ratifying the Constitution, the Bill of Right was ratified, and our “laidback forefathers” gave us the Tenth Amendment reserving all rights, not delegated by the Constitution to Congress, “to the States respectively, or the People”.

Again, I ask, where does Congress, under the limitations set forth in the Constitution, have the authority or power to involve itself in the decisions of Individual Health Care? The idea that some, “deliberately centralize” any power to the Federal Government, not authorized under the Constitution, presumably in an effort only to simplify the legislative process, is absolutely unacceptable as it accommodates the potentiality for the nullification of individual liberty and freedom.

The belief that “people have their hands full running their own lives”, indicates a propensity of arrogance of individuals who believe Congress has a duty to provide a “Nanny State”, that only Congress knows what is best for the People. Anyone who has taken the time to comprehend the intentions of our Founders, understands that this ideology is quite opposite from the vision the government they aspired to create. Constitutionally speaking, the people not only have a right to be involved, but rather have a duty to be actively involved; for it is through the involved shaping of our communities and our States, that we maintain a Representative Republic form of government.

As for me, I have more “faith” that I am better represented at the State level, as opposed to the representation received at the Federal level, as each member of the House of Representatives represents an average of 750,000 people, it is impossible for any member to adequately represent their entire constituency. Furthermore, with the involvement of the legislators from the fifty states, working together with their cities and county legislators, with a better understanding of the needs of their constituency, I believe we have an enhanced ability to come up with superior solutions.

Finally, the entire Congress consists of 535 individuals who demonstrate daily, just how out of touch they are with their constituency. The espousal that they, the few, can create the best solution, when most members of congress have little or no experience in the field, let alone possess a full comprehension of the severity of the consequences of their mistakes, is an absolute demonstration of pomposity.

Posted by: David Black, Sr. at August 5, 2009 7:36 PM
Comment #285679

David Black, sr-
The Pacific Research Institute was on the side of Tobacco when they were paying the bill. That tells me what I need to know about how they do their research.

I get most of my information about things outside the political media. I don’t even really seek out Democratic thinktanks. I read science magazines, I read books I check out from the library on subjects, and I cruise through wikipedia tracking down facts and relevant information.

If I am blunt, it’s because I don’t have much patience for rhetoric of this kind. It’s a betrayal of humanity to play politics with information that could determine the future of our country and civilization.

Here’s what you need to know: first, you will never get precise answers about atmospheric phenomena of most kinds. They are determined by rules and systems that are extraordinarily sensitive to small stimuli. The Butterfly Effect, and Chaos Theory was born out of an attempt at modelling the atmosphere.

So when somebody asks for precise numbers, it’s sort of like asking for optical microscope pictures of the structure of DNA Molecules.

Secondly, we are forced to model Earth’s atmospheric processes because we cannot drag the entire planet into the lab to test it and isolate variables with precision. We have to study the atmosphere in the wild, then come up with testable best guesses as to how the processes work.

As for Proof? That’s a dangerous word to swing around without caution. Proofs are nice in mathematics, where you can fit most things nicely and neatly in the abstract. Science is less concerned with proof than the validation of theory and the verification of fact.

To wit: one of the most successful theories in history is Quantum Mechanics, the standard model, to be exact. It’s torturously complicated, has several headache-inducing mathematical issues, and worse yet, you can’t really square it with Einstein’s Theories of Relativity.

But it’s good enough, for all its imperfections to allow people to make predictions about the computer screen of you, the computer chip in your system, the magnetic spin of electrons on your hard drive, and the behavior of light within the fiber optic cables that crisscross the country. For all its imperfections in some areas, it works pretty well generally.

In ten years, though, it might be replaced by something else, but that something else has to explain everything else, much better than what precedes it.

The Contrarians sow doubts, dispute theories, but have come up with no counterpart that the vast majority of climate scientists are willing to embrace.

You want a perfection you likely will never get, and for the lack of it, you reject a theory that most people who know what they’re talking about back. You would not employ this degree of contrarian logic to most of your other decisions in life, yet you’re willing to risk being wrong in such a way that if you are wrong, when you realize it, you’ll be right out of luck. This isn’t a situation we can turn back at the last minute. If we want to tackle the problem, we tackle it now, or we lose hope of tackling it at all.

As far as the politicization of the war goes, Bush was politicizing the drive to war in 2002, emphasizing the dire need and letting even a Vietnam Veteran triple amputee get smeared by the party he lead. He bet an awful lot on being right, but didn’t do enough to determine whether he was right before he led us to war.

But you know what? It took a whole lot of time to convince the leaders of my party to oppose Bush’s policies, and that really only got full steam ahead as Bush’s mistakes undermined his credibility.

As far as the Best Healthcare in the world goes, that is nowhere near objectively true. That’s a boast we held onto as medical groups practiced anti-competitive measures and insurance companies raised premiums and reduced eligibility.

At some point, we have to ask a basic question: are sick people getting well?

As far as cash for clunkers goes, I’m hearing tha it’s adding a significant boost to economic growth by itself. People are going and getting cars that otherwise wouldn’t be doing so No use talking about manufacturer’s rebates competing with government rebates, if they’re not getting any business.

I don’t believe in a nanny state, just a government that actively helps people actively help themselves. I will fight for that, because that is part of what helped make our country strong. We’re not a nation of loafers by nature. The key is not to spend money blindly, but to look out for the best points and plans of intervention.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 5, 2009 9:12 PM
Comment #285684

Stephen
All the problems with the VA are not due just to outdated administration procedures. You have tens of thousands of vets trying to get in and see a handfull of doctors and support staff. A staff which way underpaid compared to those in the real world. Appointments to be seen take months and when that day finally comes, you arrive around 0600 in order to get in and be near the top on the list. Most of the time you do not leave until around 1600 or so, if you were lucky.
That was my personal experience and the experience I have witnessed as a volunteer.
So, unless thee Obama is going to crap out a few hundred thousand doctors and staff, the exact same thing will happen under govt run healthcare.

“So is preventative care. It’s empirically shown to help.”

Of course it helps, that is why it should be at the top of everybodys list. Instead, personal indulgence is.

“The Public Option was in fact shown to be a money saver by the CBO, because it helps shove costs downward through competition and the government’s bargaining power.”

1- I honestly do prefer to keep it as my choice.
2- The CBO has only shown that IF things go according to their numbers, it will save money in the LONG RUN. I personally believe their numbers will be shown to be way to conservative and that the cost will skyrocket. Taxes will be raised on all of us and again, unless thee Obama craps out a few hundred thousand docs and staff, the care will be far worse than the free system we now have.
3- Giving people an ‘option’ to pay for two separate insurance plans or just the one they are forced to pay for, is not an option and it is definetely not competition.
4- Of course our massive govt will have more bargaining power. The pharma companies either let govt dictate what they will sell drugs for or the govt will just take them over as they are doing everything else.

I agree, the Republicans have not offered a plan of their own.

“You talk about healthcare being scaled up, and not working, but you forget that we already have Medicare and Medicaid, which serve tens of millions of people, and have undershot the growth from the private healthcare industry in terms of the rise of costs.”

And what would happen to those numbers if it were tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people being served, as it will be under a socialist style healthcare system?
The only thing being overshot are how much it will save, rather than cost, and how effective and great the care will be.

“I can’t force you believe anything, so it strikes me as odd that this is the thing you try and defend yourself against. What are you afraid of, that the policy is implemented, and it turns out better, turns out to be something you like?”

First and foremost, such a plan takes away a persons individual rights and freedoms. I do not believe that is Constitutional no matter how good it makes some feel or how much money it saves. We disagree on that and you said you were not interested in talking about rights. So, I am being open minded and trying to stick to what you seem to be interested in.

If a plan takes away a persons freedom of choice and forces them to participate, it can never be better or anything I like better.

My grandfather, father and myself all served our country. I visited the VA with my grandfather and seen what he went through.
As a military brat, I experienced ‘socialized’ healthcare first hand many times and I visited the VA with my own father more than I would ever want to.
As a vet, I again experienced ‘socialized’ medicine, suffered from it and have visited the VA.
Because of my personal experiences and my very deep respect for those who serve our country, I volunteer at the VA when I can.

I have experience on this Stephen and it is nothing like the beautiful roses you guys are trying to spread.

“But as they talk about rationing, Healthcare companies ration healthcare not as an extreme, but as a matter of policy.”

As does the govt now and will continue to do if all of us are forced under it umbrella.

“They deny coverage not as a matter of extremes, but as an everyday, standard policy. They cut off people so often, and for such cynical reasons that they actually offer bonuses to those who managed to do it the most.”

And still, the majority of Americans are satisfied with their current coverage? Come on Stephen, I have had more problems with my insurance company than I have ever had with my health insurance company.

“Me and my family have personal experience of the way the system is broken. For me, these are not extremes. These are first hand experiences.”

What makes you first hand experience more valid than mine?
Yours says our system needs reform and mine say what you are willing to accept as reform really sucks and is not worth it.
How about a real option for us all where you can have the system I do not want and I can have the one you do not want?

“I’m advocating it because I’ve got no trust left in the system as it is to correct itself.”

Which is pretty much the same reason I am fighting against govt running it.
Correct itself? SS always needs more and more money and is going to have to be bailed out, which is going to cost us dearly as a country. It is a govt run program, an abused mess and cannot correct itself and now you want to hand over our healthcare to the same entity? No way in hell my friend.

“All stifling healthcare reform will do now is not prevent them from pushing their luck, but just extend the time that they’re infuriating the American public.”

The only healthcare reform being stifled right now are the ones which socialize the system. If you really are worried about the peoples healthcare and want reform, then offer reform ALL of us can live with.

Posted by: kctim at August 5, 2009 11:11 PM
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