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rfrobison
03-23-2010, 12:06 PM
Those of you who know me know that I am not exactly the epitome of a Rush Limbaughite, Beckian, true right-wing believer.

But I am absolutely convinced that the signing ceremony on the health care measure passed by the Democrats in Congress is a political blunder of historic proportions. By taking what is and should be an essentially technocratic issue and turning it into an exclusively Democratic, partisan program, Obama is irrevocably poisoning the well of bipartisan cooperation.

Obama is, in not so many words, accusing every Republican in the House of Representatives, and all but the one or two in the Senate who voted to move the process forward, of being callous people who, rather than being concerned about the overweening power of government over people's lives or even purely fiscal soundness, of not caring about people.

Fine. But he should not expect any help from those that he has demonized on any issue for the rest of his term.

We will all come to rue that choice, I fear, whatever our position on the state of health care in the United States.

kezboard
03-23-2010, 12:09 PM
Fine. But he should not expect any help from those that he has demonized on any issue for the rest of his term.

If he ever expected any help from them, and by them I mean the Republicans, he made the catastrophic political error a long time ago.

rfrobison
03-23-2010, 12:10 PM
And so we get four (or eight) more years of unrelenting recrimination and political rancor.

How unfortunate.

AemJeff
03-23-2010, 12:25 PM
And so we get four (or eight) more years of unrelenting recrimination and political rancor.

How unfortunate.

So far as I am able to discern, the Republicans have offered nothing helpful or serious in regard to HCR legislation. Their entire project has been to simply try to cause the effort to fail, at any cost. Their rhetoric has been over-the-top and insultingly disingenuous, and filled with base appeals to anything but their constituents better instincts. Now that it has passed and is about to be signed into law, their rhetoric has shifted to mendacious claims that the process has been unconstitutional, and the legislation is illegitimate.

I know who I am going to blame for the coming years of recrimination and rancor.

bjkeefe
03-23-2010, 12:43 PM
... Obama is irrevocably poisoning the well of bipartisan cooperation.

You haven't been following US politics for the past 14 months, have you? In this universe, I mean.

Obama is, in not so many words, accusing every Republican in the House of Representatives, and all but the one or two in the Senate who voted to move the process forward, of being callous people who, rather than being concerned about the overweening power of government over people's lives or even purely fiscal soundness, of not caring about people.

According to my teevee, he is therefore (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=155189#post155189) accusing (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=155207#post155207) zero (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=155217#post155217) (0) people.

Fine. But he should not expect any help from those that he has demonized on any issue for the rest of his term.

As, for example, on the stimulus bill (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/us/politics/29obama.html)? Or budget negotiations (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/03/politics/politico/main4915471.shtml)? Or in setting a record (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2009/08/republican_opposition_to_sotom.php) for dissent on approving a Supreme Court justice?

I will concede, though, that only 30 out of 40 Republican Senators are objectively pro-rape (http://thinkprogress.org/2009/10/07/kbr-rape-franken-amendment/). Fly, bipartisan sparkle pony! Fly!

I think it is past time for you to have your nap, Senator McCain (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=155460#post155460).

claymisher
03-23-2010, 01:29 PM
http://www.motherjones.com/files/images/Blog_Obama_Healthcare_Act_Signing.jpg

Who are the Republicans in these photos?

AemJeff
03-23-2010, 05:49 PM
The DOW is up again today. Gallup shows a nine percent plurality in favor (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/03/if-theres-bounce-will-it-hold.html) of the bill, as it was passed. The Republicans are backing off (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MjQzZDhlMzljNTQyODRlNDI1ZDZkODU2YzFlMzlmZjM=) on their overheated "Repeal!" rhetoric. Relatively unfriendly, but credible, legal observers don't seem to be hopeful that the legal challenges will be successful (http://volokh.com/2010/03/23/what-will-the-courts-do-with-the-individual-mandate/). I don't think anybody should be particularly confident that HCR will turn out to be anything but a success for Democrats.

Obviously I'm fairly certain it's also an unambiguous triumph for the American People. Even for my friend Rob, on the occasion that he ever returns to the States.

Added:
Schadenfreude alert (http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/03/23/repeal-and-start-over/).

JonIrenicus
03-23-2010, 06:26 PM
As far as I can tell, this IS the first Major legislation in recent memory that has passed with no bipartisan support.



Social Security had overwhelming support from republicans

http://www.ssa.gov/history/tally.html



Civil Rights Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964#Vote_totals


Which btw republicans were more in favor of than the Dixiecrats, but of course racism is in the dna of republican ideology.



Health Care

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/21/health.care.main/index.html




The question is why. Is it that republicans are now, in contradiction to all of American history, ultra partisan? Is it that there was a deal breaker in the bill?


We seem to be no less partisan than we ever were. I don't take the line that we were ever nice. In fact we are far nicer today.

http://www.livescience.com/history/081104-nasty-presidential-election.html


But this is definitely a shift in terms of unanimous opposition to a bill. Is it because of the cynical answer that they are following the polls?

If the polls showed support/opposition at 50/50 do you think the vote totals would have been different? That seems to be what you are claiming. Maybe it would.


In any event, let me make another suggestion. When social security passed it had large public support, as did the civil rights act.

Health Care as crafted by the democratic congress?


There is your difference. A unique combination of principle against adding large new entitlements which they believe is nothing more than a stepping stone to even more government expansion, and vast public opposition.


Nothing more, nothing less.

rfrobison
03-23-2010, 07:03 PM
To my worthy adversaries I can only say this:

I hope I'm wrong in my suspicions that the CBO tortured the numbers on the cost of the health care bill until they bled black ink.

I hope I'm wrong about the bill being a huge new burden on business--as a whole rather than for a few politically favored industries--that will end up permanently raising structural unemployment in the U.S. to, dare I say it, French levels.

I hope I'm wrong that instead of little old ladies being confronted by heartless insurance companies and turned down for needed treatments, in five or 10 years, little old ladies will be confronted by government bureaucrats doing the same thing--while the rest of us wait in line, filling out our forms in triplicate.

I hope I'm wrong that the health care bill, when it comes due, will simply hasten the day, along with our insolvent Medicare and Social Security systems, that the U.S sees its once mighty economy turned into a shadow of its former self. Argentina del Norte, as it were.

Lastly, I hope I'm wrong about the "political error" that prompted these posts. I understand the urge of all those cheering their side on to do an end zone dance. Enjoy it.

But there will surely come a time when, for the good of the country as a whole, Obama will need to overcome opposition within his own party, to achieve some important goal (c.f., Clinton and Welfare reform), say, pushing forward with the Doha round of trade negotiations, or maybe a tough vote on Afghanistan, by picking up more than a just a couple of Republican votes.

Will he get that help when he needs it? I doubt it very much after this spectacle.

Nevertheless, I do hope I'm wrong.

It wouldn't be the first time.

bjkeefe
03-23-2010, 07:38 PM
As far as I can tell, this IS the first Major legislation in recent memory that has passed with no bipartisan support.

Ah, yes, that old talking point (http://www.google.com/cse?cx=007432832765683203066%3Azj_ist-lct4&ie=UTF-8&q=first+Major+legislation+no+bipartisan+support&sa=Search&siteurl=www.google.com%2Fcse%2Fhome%3Fcx%3D0074328 32765683203066%253Azj_ist-lct4). The only question is, why are you just raising it now?

First, I'd say the Bush tax cuts qualified as pretty major -- particularly in how much money they cost -- and two of them only passed with Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, in 2003 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_and_Growth_Tax_Relief_Reconciliation_Act_of_2 003#Legislative_History) and 2005 (http://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/22/cheney_casts_tie_breaking_senate_vote). These were only two of the eight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tie-breaking_votes_cast_by_Vice_Presidents_of_the_Unit ed_States#List_of_Presidents_of_the_Senate_by_numb er_of_tie-breaking_votes) times Cheney had to exercise this authority, by the way.

Second, yes -- it has recently been easier for a Republican president and/or Republican-majority Congress to attract some Democratic support for their initiatives. One can explain this by saying the Democrats have been more inclined to try to work with the party in power when they're in the minority, for reasons either admirable or craven, or that the Democrats are more of a "big tent" party, and so their members of Congress tend to be spread along a wider ideological spectrum. I'll point out that we have a label -- "Blue Dog Democrats" -- that reflects this, that has no parallel on the other side of the aisle, and I'll also point out that "moderate Republican" is just about literally the name for an extinct species.

Third, there is no denying that the GOP, since the moment President Obama was inaugurated, has been committed being the Party of No -- to mindlessly opposing everything he wants to accomplish, even to the point of voting against bills after getting their own proposed amendments added to them. They have been trying to use their unity in delivering zero votes as a reason to fund-raise since the stimulus act, and you can be sure they're going to run on this attitude. (When they're not taking credit (http://www.dccc.org/page/content/hhof/) for bringing home the bacon for something they voted against, I mean.)

Fourth, I'll remind you that we live in a representative democracy. The voters sent sufficient numbers of Democrats to the Congress, in addition to electing a Democrat president by the widest margin a president has won in quite some time, to do something, and it's not as though reforming health care and health insurance wasn't a huge part of Barack Obama's campaign platform. There is no rule that says the party that enjoys a mandate like this is required to water down what they ran on to cut down on the butthurt of the minority party and the wingnut media.

Finally, bringing up past legislation ignores the reality that the Republican Party of today is very different from the Republican Party in decades past. The two examples you list of major legislation that had bipartisan support -- Social Security and Civil Rights -- could just as easily be held up to support an argument that at least some Republicans used to be reasonable, used to care about the average citizen, and used to care about responsible governance, and not just about getting their greedy asses back into power.

AemJeff
03-23-2010, 07:43 PM
...

Quite so. I'd like to know how the Democrats are responsible for how the Republicans voted.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/us/politics/17mcconnell.html?src=me


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2009/12/mitch_mcconnells_health-care_h.html

And this is the Senate! Who are generally far more decorous than the House.

These chumps don't get to cry about a lack of bipartisanship. They sunk that boat. (In 1998, I think.)

AemJeff
03-23-2010, 08:08 PM
Who knew that HCR would turn out to be a jobs bill?

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/03/23/90867/are-there-enough-health-care-providers.html

uncle ebeneezer
03-23-2010, 09:38 PM
So long as Republicans are only interested in preventing the Dems from doing anything (see: Brendan's links etc.) the "NOT BIPARTISAN!!1!" complaints are going to fall on understandably deaf ears. "Country First" seems to have turned into "What Country?" judging by the action (if doing absolutely nothing but trying to prevent your opponent from doing ANYTHING can be called "action) by the GOP. For a bill that was crafted only for extreme liberals, the ACA bill (excuse me) "LAW"...(thank the FSM) sure got alot of heat from FireDogLake and other hard-left sites.

JonIrenicus
03-23-2010, 11:42 PM
....

First time a major bill with greater public opposition than support passed with unanimous opposition from the other side. That is the point, not that it has been close before. And people wondering the reasons why should just look to public support as an explanation on top of some principle as opposed to statements like "the party of no." For its own sake and nothing else.


In the end it does not matter, thank you for reminding me that we live in a republic instead of a pure democracy, first time I ever learned about that.


No one said you needed public support, people have passed unpopular things in the past or supported policies that the public did not want.

Republicans and Bush (along with some democrats) did this with the surge in Iraq, the public was against the policy and Bush went along with it anyway. This is not lost on me. If it works you get credit, if not, then you get blamed.


The only difference here is that it is ALL on the dems, the credit if all is well, the blame if it is not. If you are so sure the numbers and support will work out, then you have nothing to worry about do you? People are fickle, I am not at all convinced republican chances are a done deal.

So cheer up. Let the results shut the rest of us up, not assertions. I promise I won't be as dishonest and pathetic as anti war people were when they dismissed any value to the surge even after conditions improved in Iraq simply to preserve their narrative that it could not have been related to anything WE did (in large part because it should not have been related).


Will democrats hold the house?

Will the assumptions about cost controls hold?

If these two things are answered in the affirmative, most important the latter, then you will have been vindicated. But just so you know, until that happens, your proclamations about cost mean as much to me as those of paygo.

bjkeefe
03-23-2010, 11:59 PM
So cheer up.

Among the many things you get exactly wrong in your response is this: I am not at all unhappy. You can keep whining about the bill, and keep trying to spin the idea that standing for nothing but obstructionism is something to be proud of, but don't make the mistake of trying to project your unhappiness about recent events onto me. My side won this round, we won it as fair and square as anything has ever been won in politics, I am goddam proud of us liberals for sticking together just enough to get it done, and after a while, even you may be able to grow up enough to realize it will be a win for the whole country.

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 06:33 AM
Eb,

Of course whenever one side gets whatever they want, without even tipping their hats in the direction of the other side, that's going to create rancor. Yes, both sides do it, but on something as big as this "bill" (note the double entendre) it is a political tactic worthy of that bogeyman of the left, none other than Karl Rove.

As Jon has argued in his exchange with Brendan, if this revamp is indeed the have-your-cake-and-eat-it wonder that Obama and the Democrats claim, then fine. Perhaps we can do away with the two party system altogether; it would appear self-evident to the vast majority of regulars on this site that Republicans are mentally and morally defective anyway, why bother with an opposition peopled wholly with dolts, racists, and religious fanatics?

But even if all the above is true, it does nothing to assuage my concerns that at some point in his presidency Obama will wish he'd done more than just a rhetorical reach across the aisle. His cohorts in Congress can't even be bothered with that.

Oh, well.

Florian
03-24-2010, 06:51 AM
To my worthy adversaries I can only say this:

I hope I'm wrong about the bill being a huge new burden on business--as a whole rather than for a few politically favored industries--that will end up permanently raising structural unemployment in the U.S. to, dare I say it, French levels.

Hello worthy adversary rfrobison. To your dire predictions that structural unemployment in the US may rise to French levels because of the passage of the HC bill:

1. France and other European countries have a slightly different way of calculating structural unemployment. It is not altogether fair to compare countries without going into the nitty-gritty of details.

2. A "marchť noir" (undeclared labor market) exists in France and other some other European countries that makes it difficult to know how many people are in fact really unemployed.

3. If you were to include the huge prison population of the US, structural unemployment would be much higher than the official statistics reveal.

4. As far as I know, no French economist has ever blamed the French system of single-payer universal medical care for unemployment in France. It is more common to pin the blame on high corporate taxes, high captital gains taxes, and the legal difficulties of creating new businesses. Not being an economist I am in no position to evaluate these claims.

kezboard
03-24-2010, 10:31 AM
Perhaps we can do away with the two party system altogether; it would appear self-evident to the vast majority of regulars on this site that Republicans are mentally and morally defective anyway, why bother with an opposition peopled wholly with dolts, racists, and religious fanatics?

1. Please don't play the victim.
2. The reason I'm so irritated by the Republicans right now is because a two party system has to have two rational parties to work. I'm worried about the lack of cost control in the bill. I'm not an economist, but I don't really understand why premiums won't keep going up after this. I wish the Republicans had actually argued with the Dems on this, instead of proposing a bill that was going to be even more expensive and cover even fewer people. Instead, they spent all their time ginning up fear and calling the health care reform a "government takeover", which it patently is not.

uncle ebeneezer
03-24-2010, 11:40 AM
The truly liberal dream for HCR was single-payer. IE a robust public option. We didn't get it. This was abandonded due to concerns of Republican's and the conservative part of the electorate. This is called a concession. This makes the bill far better for Republicans than it could have been. So spare us the woe-is-me, Dem's didn't give us anything line. Two words: Bart Stupak. While that concession was made for the sake of a Dem, there is no doubt that it is a concession toward the interests of many Republicans. The attempts by Republicans to claim this as an extremely liberal law are vigorous, but they are just not accurate as can be seen by anyone who knows what the hard left really wanted. The GOP showed time and time again that it's sole aim was to stop HCR entirely. When given the opportunity to help influence the shape of it, they refused. They chose to take the political gamble of digging their feet in and refusing to play ball, believing that the bill wouldn't pass. It did. Maybe it's time for them to start reassessing their typical all-or-nothing approach to politics in the Obama era. Sadly, it doesn't look like they are in any rush.

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 12:40 PM
1. Please don't play the victim.
2. The reason I'm so irritated by the Republicans right now is because a two party system has to have two rational parties to work. I'm worried about the lack of cost control in the bill. I'm not an economist, but I don't really understand why premiums won't keep going up after this. I wish the Republicans had actually argued with the Dems on this, instead of proposing a bill that was going to be even more expensive and cover even fewer people. Instead, they spent all their time ginning up fear and calling the health care reform a "government takeover", which it patently is not.

Kez:

It isn't my intention to "play the victim." I'm annoyed by the constant drumfire of condescension and contempt that I sense directed at people who, like me, don't buy lock, stock, and barrel into the Obama/Democrat vision of reality.

I'm further irked, as a (very minor) cog in the media machine, by the credulity of the media in taking the administration's arguments and CBO numbers at face value without so much as a squeak about the possible long-term effects on economic growth and employment of (to name just one thing) a new and unprecedented tax on investment and interest income to pay for an expansion of Medicaid. Where, oh where, is this vaunted media skepticism I've heard so much about? All I hear and see as a copy editor in the newsroom is talk and stories about the "historic political victory" that the law represents.

It's all very maddening.

Still, I'm more than willing to concede, for the sake of argument, that all this may be a misapprehension on my part.

As for this specific issue of health care reform, I don't even have that big a problem with much of the substance of the law. As you can see here (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=144653#poststop) I actually find a lot worthwhile in the Democrats' proposal. But they've done nothing at all to address the cost problem, as witnessed by their failure to seriously take up the issue of malpractice reform, let alone the idea of cutting the link between employment and health insurance coverage. On the contrary, they've set it in stone.

Now, I'm not a politician and I'm not so arrogant as to try and speak for the Republican party, but it beggars belief there wasn't a single Republican member of the House or Senate with any ideas on this issue worth incorporating.

There are plenty of people who will argue that half a reform (i.e., one that takes on the problem of lack of coverage for millions of people) is better than no reform at all. And I might be inclined to agree, provided that we don't throw millions more people out of work (through expensive employee health care mandates) and bankrupt the country in the process.

Perhaps I'm merely being Cassandra. But to say I'm apprehensive about the long-term financial viability of the United States is putting it mildly.

AemJeff
03-24-2010, 01:46 PM
Kez:

It isn't my intention to "play the victim." I'm annoyed by the constant drumfire of condescension and contempt that I sense directed at people who, like me, don't buy lock, stock, and barrel into the Obama/Democrat vision of reality.

I'm further irked, as a (very minor) cog in the media machine, by the credulity of the media in taking the administration's arguments and CBO numbers at face value without so much as a squeak about the possible long-term effects on economic growth and employment of (to name just one thing) a new and unprecedented tax on investment and interest income to pay for an expansion of Medicaid. Where, oh where, is this vaunted media skepticism I've heard so much about? All I hear and see as a copy editor in the newsroom is talk and stories the "historic political victory" that the law represents.

It's all very maddening.

Still, I'm more than willing to concede, for the sake of argument, that all this may be a misapprehension on my part.

As for this specific issue of health care reform, I don't even have that big a problem with much of the substance of the law. As you can see here (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=144653#poststop) I actually find a lot worthwhile in the Democrats' proposal. But they've done nothing at all to address the cost problem, as witnessed by their failure to seriously take up the issue of malpractice reform, let alone the idea of cutting the link between employment and health insurance coverage. On the contrary, they've set it in stone.

Now, I'm not a politician and I'm not so arrogant as to try and speak for the Republican party, but it beggars belief there wasn't a single Republican member of the House or Senate with any ideas on this issue worth incorporating.

There are plenty of people who will argue that half a reform (i.e., one that takes on the problem of lack of coverage for millions of people) is better than no reform at all. And I might be inclined to agree, provided that we don't throw millions more people out of work (through expensive employee health care mandates) and bankrupt the country in the process.

Perhaps I'm merely being Cassandra. But to say I'm apprehensive about the long-term financial viability of the United States is putting it mildly.

Rob, I just don't believe that some of your assertions are true. Most importantly: "the credulity of the media in taking the administration's arguments and CBO numbers at face value without so much as a squeak about the possible long-term effects on economic growth and employment." What could lead you to say that? The administration analysis is taken at face value by whom, exactly? Besides members of the administration itself and allies in Congress, that is. It's just a pointless accusation. And the CBO numbers? They're almost never mentioned in the press without at least some variation of the "garbage in, garbage out" aphorism added as a caveat. This particular CBO analysis has to be one if the most publicized and openly criticized such documents ever, in the history of the Republic. I honestly do not understand to whom you refer when you say the above. (That is, I'm sure there's more than one instance of the numbers just being passed along. But the strong pattern has been to report on the controversy, and not merely on the report's content.)

uncle ebeneezer
03-24-2010, 02:11 PM
It's also a large leap to presume that everyone who supported the bill just accepted the CBO numbers without any consideration. Many of us may have decided that even if the CBO numbers are pie-in-the-sky optimism, that HCR is still worth passing. Or that after reading many detailed analysis, that we think they are close enough to make it worth doing. There has been no shortage of analysis and opinions on the CBO and the long-term implications of this bill. That many people came to a different conclusion is not the same as them "just accepting" any one factor of the numerous factors that make up any policy decision.

bjkeefe
03-24-2010, 03:42 PM
But even if all the above is true, it does nothing to assuage my concerns that at some point in his presidency Obama will wish he'd done more than just a rhetorical reach across the aisle. His cohorts in Congress can't even be bothered with that.

Nancy Pelosi said in her remarks after the bill passed that it included over 200 Republican amendments. I haven't tried to check that, but in any case, here is a Republican already taking credit (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/grassley-look-how-great-this-health-care-bill-is.php) for some of them.

(h/t: Jim Newell (http://wonkette.com/414421/414421))

JonIrenicus
03-24-2010, 07:20 PM
It's also a large leap to presume that everyone who supported the bill just accepted the CBO numbers without any consideration. Many of us may have decided that even if the CBO numbers are pie-in-the-sky optimism, that HCR is still worth passing. Or that after reading many detailed analysis, that we think they are close enough to make it worth doing. There has been no shortage of analysis and opinions on the CBO and the long-term implications of this bill. That many people came to a different conclusion is not the same as them "just accepting" any one factor of the numerous factors that make up any policy decision.


At the end of the day this is my take on what will happen short term and long term about the republic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1fWmc1y4qc#t=5s


Like others have said, what is not sustainable, won't be sustained. So however it pans out, things will be OK, and revised.

Ocean
03-24-2010, 07:27 PM
At the end of the day this is my take on what will happen short term and long term about the republic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1fWmc1y4qc#t=5s


Like others have said, what is not sustainable, won't be sustained. So however it pans out, things will be OK, and revised.


This video brought a smile to my face. I had forgotten about that song!

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 09:07 PM
Rob, I just don't believe that some of your assertions are true. Most importantly: "the credulity of the media in taking the administration's arguments and CBO numbers at face value without so much as a squeak about the possible long-term effects on economic growth and employment." What could lead you to say that? The administration analysis is taken at face value by whom, exactly? Besides members of the administration itself and allies in Congress, that is. It's just a pointless accusation. And the CBO numbers? They're almost never mentioned in the press without at least some variation of the "garbage in, garbage out" aphorism added as a caveat. This particular CBO analysis has to be one if the most publicized and openly criticized such documents ever, in the history of the Republic. I honestly do not understand to whom you refer when you say the above. (That is, I'm sure there's more than one instance of the numbers just being passed along. But the strong pattern has been to report on the controversy, and not merely on the report's content.)

Perhaps I simply am not widely enough read to get the same sense of it as you, Jeff. We've run a lot of stories on health care in our paper: an English-language daily in Tokyo that runs major wire service stories (AP, Reuters, AFP, etc. for overseas--i.e., not Japan--news)

I can't recall a single story we've put in our paper that doesn't soft-pedal (or ignore entirely) principled, substantive objections to the health care law. The "analysis" of the opposition focuses overwhelmingly on 1. The political tactics used by the Republicans to derail the bill; and 2. "Kooky, cranky" tea partiers demonstrating outside.

Now I'm not saying that those things aren't an important part of the story, but they're hardly all there is to it. Maybe its just poor news judgment on the part of my superiors. Or maybe I've just missed it because of the daily grind of work: It's pretty easy not to see the forest for the trees when you're a copy editor.

Of course the Wall Street Journal has weighed in with objections (the usual suspects, I imagine you may be thinking). I'm sure Fox News is doing the same (can't get it here, don't like their tone anyway). I expect my "bible," the Economist, to hedge its bets--decrying the lack of cost controls, but generally praising the outcome.

In any event, it's all over but the shouting, now. I'd rather see the Republicans focus on trying to improve what's on the table through implementing legislation, rather than embarking on a fool's errand by pushing for a repeal. People won't like an effort that seems focused on undoing what's taken over a year to do, and the Democrats will have a ready-made line of attack: "The Republican bastards are trying to 'take away your health care' before you even got it!"

Given their lack of numbers and a Democrat in the White House who, as BJ is at pains to point out, was elected by a large majority last year, any alternative proposal the Republicans make won't be taken seriously and will never go anywhere.

So the Dems have their health care package and it will be the law of the land. For the sake of America's physical--and fiscal--health I do hope it's everything they say. If so, maybe the Democrats will have indeed found their FDR for the 21st century and I can look forward to seeing my preferred party stuck in the political wilderness for the next 40 years as they were in FDRs time.

A small price to pay, perhaps, if it works. I'll be watching closely and blabbing about it either way.

TwinSwords
03-24-2010, 09:09 PM
It isn't my intention to "play the victim." I'm annoyed by the constant drumfire of condescension and contempt that I sense directed at people who, like me, don't buy lock, stock, and barrel into the Obama/Democrat vision of reality.
We're a big country, with a lot of passionate, actively engaged partisans on all sides of the debate. Those are who looking for something to be offended by will always be able to find it. No matter how civil and respectful the discourse becomes in the mean, there will always be some voices that go too far. In general, though, I think our entire discourse has degraded to a point that both sides (at least among the engaged partisans) regard each other with seething contempt bordering on open hatred.

I'm sure you realize and would agree that the vitriol directed against conservatives is no worse than that directed towards liberals. I guess we all evaluate the world by where we stand within it, and what we're exposed to. If we're exposed to a limited or unrepresentative subset of reality, we get a distorted or incomplete impression of reality. It may be that for whatever reason you're unaware of the intense "condescension and contempt" liberals are exposed to every day. It exists in at least the same measure, and I would argue much greater measure, than the contempt directed the other way. I think the thing to do is ignore it. Even if we're at a low point in our discourse, what point is there is having your feelings hurt by disrespect from your political adversaries? I can think of none. It's a strange and useless fixation that too many indulge.

I will say that I understand your situtation might be somewhat more unbearable and intolerable because you are surrounded by liberals in your daily life. I hope I'm not misremembering, but didn't you once say this was the case in your newspaper office, where most of those you work with are more liberal? If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the same position but from the left: I live in a conservative town and work in a conservative company and about 90% of the people I interact with daily are Republicans. Sometimes, from where I stand and evaluate the universe in my personal life, it seems like everyone is a conservative. Fortunately the world is bigger than my little mid-Michigan community.



...the media in taking the administration's arguments and CBO numbers at face value without so much as a squeak .... It's all very maddening.
If you don't mind my saying, I think this has been ably refuted by others in this thread.



I don't even have that big a problem with much of the substance of the law. ... But they've done nothing at all to address the cost problem
A fair point, but I also think that this is due in some measure to the fact that Republicans spent millions on a sophisticated campaign of lies and deceit to make attempts to control costs politically toxic. Remember death panels? Remember all the attacks on alleged Democratic plans to ration health care? Remember your own talking points in this very thread about long lines and limited availability of care?

If the Democrats had even hinted that costs should be contained or controlled, they were immediately portrayed as Hitlers bent on extermination of the population. And no, I'm not being hyperbolic!


as witnessed by their failure to seriously take up the issue of malpractice reform
(1) The Democrats constantly offered to include tort reform in the legislation in exchange for Republican cooperation. Republicans refused, as you know, to cooperate in any way, shape, or form.

(2) Tort reform would make only a tiny, almost insignficant dent in costs.


Now, I'm not a politician and I'm not so arrogant as to try and speak for the Republican party, but it beggars belief there wasn't a single Republican member of the House or Senate with any ideas on this issue worth incorporating.
President Obama reached out to Republicans from the beginning of the process, but Congressional Republicans would not even agree to their own ideas, because they chose a strategy of total noncooperation and absolute refusal to participate from the very beginning. Republicans chose this strategy because (1) their ultraconservative, very extreme base would consider anything less to be a form of betrayal, and (2) they were determined to do everything they could to ensure the failure of Obama's presidency.

Nevertheless, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus spent literally MONTHS cloistered with his "gang of six," 3 Republicans and 3 conservative Democrats, attempting to win Republican support. Obama quite conspicuously threw his support behind Baucus's efforts to the exclusion of the House bill or the other Senate committees, because Obama, too, wanted as much Republican buy-in as possible. This was a source of great frustration to the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress by large margins, but found Obama and Baucus collaborating on the legislation in an equal partnership with Republicans.

All of these efforts were for naught, however. After months of wasted efforts, Republicans still refused to cooperate. And yet, in the end, despite the Republican strategy of total obstruction, Democrats took it upon themselves to incorporate over 200 Republican amendments in the new law.

Bottom line?

If you want to enact the Republican agenda, vote Democratic.

TwinSwords
03-24-2010, 09:16 PM
Given their lack of numbers and a Democrat in the White House who, as BJ is at pains to point out, was elected by a large majority last year, any alternative proposal the Republicans make won't be taken seriously and will never go anywhere.

You should bear in mind that Republicans are in a tough spot. They conservative base is pretty much completely unhinged (read degranged) at this point. IF Republicans were to cooperate in the manner you suggest, they would find themselves on the receiving end of the same kinds of death threats, intimidation, vandalism, and poisonous rhetorical attacks that the Democrats have been subject to since late summer of 2008, when the conservative base first started freaking out about the country being taken over by "the enemy." In fact, a great many not-sufficiently-ultraconservative Republicans have already been subject to these attacks and are are now facing the prospect of replacement by even more conservative tea party types.

I don't know how much exposure you have in Tokyo to the base of the party you've aligned yourself with. If you're living in Tokyo and reading the Economist, it may be that you really don't know how crazy the base of your party has become. I talk to a lot of people who really have no idea what's going on just below the surface of American politics, but there is a very widespread embrace of quite disturbing political extremism sweeping through the ranks of your party.


A small price to pay, perhaps, if it works. I'll be watching closely and blabbing about it either way.
Please do. It's always good to hear from you.

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 09:35 PM
Well argued, TS. Wrong, but well argued. ;-)

I take your point about not being overly sensitive to the barbs of one's political adversaries. I want so very badly for everyone to love me, I suppose...

Not having followed all the machinations that led to the enactment of the bill, I can't comment intelligently on exactly who refused cooperation with whom. I doubt there is an unbiased answer to that question. In any dispute where both sides make maximalist claims, any objections raised will be written off as simple, bloody-minded obstreperousness, taken solely with cynical political objectives in mind.

We will get a first read on what voters think in the midterms. Depending on the outcome, the Republicans will have to decide whether resistance or accommodation offers the best chance for success.

I tend to lean toward improvement rather than repeal myself, I just hope in the meantime the till doesn't get entirely emptied.

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 10:08 PM
At the end of the day this is my take on what will happen short term and long term about the republic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1fWmc1y4qc#t=5s


Like others have said, what is not sustainable, won't be sustained. So however it pans out, things will be OK, and revised.

Cute, Jon, and not a bad philosophy for us Li'l Orphan Righties to hold in the current era.

It's a hard-knock life for us/It's a hard-knock life...

rfrobison
03-24-2010, 10:46 PM
I can't recall a single story we've put in our paper that doesn't soft-pedal..

On a closer read, I see I'm guilty of a howler of a malapropism. It is, of course, soft-PEDDLE as in selling, not "soft-pedal" as in to pedal slowly (?) up the hill.

Eegads! Maybe I need to find a new line of work.

claymisher
03-25-2010, 01:05 AM
Cute, Jon, and not a bad philosophy for us Li'l Orphan Righties to hold in the current era.

It's a hard-knock life for us/It's a hard-knock life...

I wonder what Republicans will do when they're back in power. Invade Iran? Cut taxes for rich people again? I can't remember, what did McCain campaign on again?

claymisher
03-25-2010, 01:08 AM
Mark Schmitt:

Going a few years further back, the explanation for Republican decline may lie in the strategy of governing adopted when the right was in power. With a narrow majority based in the white South, and with demographic trends running against them, the Republicans pulled out all the stops and tried to wring every possible advantage from the moment, a strategy exemplified by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's "majority of a majority" rule, under which he would refuse to bring to the floor any legislation that wasn't supported by a majority of Republicans, blocking many bipartisan coalitions. Trained to govern in this desperate, high-stakes mode, the Republicans have no ability to step back into the role of a constructive minority that actually tries to collaborate in governing. They governed more like a high-flying hedge fund than an investor with a long view. In opposition, they take the same approach.


http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_mystery_of_the_right

TwinSwords
03-25-2010, 01:09 AM
I can't remember, what did McCain campaign on again?

War with Russia. And Iran.

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 01:14 AM
Nah, Clay, invading Iran and cutting taxes for rich people is so last week. I'm gonna suggest instead that the Republicans raise taxes to 100 percent on anybody named Clay--and invade your living room, drink up your beer and eat all your Doritos, belch a lot and not say "thank you."

How does that grab you?

claymisher
03-25-2010, 01:20 AM
Nah, Clay, invading Iran and cutting taxes for rich people is so last week. I'm gonna suggest instead that the Republicans raise taxes to 100 percent on anybody named Clay--and invade your living room, drink up your beer and eat all your Doritos, belch a lot and not say "thank you."

How does that grab you?

No, really, what does a moderate Republican hope to see out of a Republican-led government? Tort reform?

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 01:22 AM
Hmm, let me mull that over and get back to you. I'm hungry and haven't had lunch. Got any Doritos? ;-)

listener
03-25-2010, 01:32 AM
Let the results shut the rest of us up, not assertions.

I welcome this call for humility. I've often had similar thoughts myself. People from all sides of the political spectrum all to easily fall prey to making grandiose predictions of success or failure in order to bolster their "cause," when the fact is that all human endeavors have unintended and unknowable consequences.

listener
03-25-2010, 01:52 AM
I want so very badly for everyone to love me, I suppose...

I love you, rfrobison. I'm only being semi-facetious here. I have been reading your conversations in this thread with TwinSwords, Claymisher, AEMJeff, JonIrenicus and others, and have been impressed with the way you and all the others have handled it -- namely with mutual respect and the acknowledgment of the complexities of the situation (not painting it in black-and-white terms) and of the limitations of our own knowledge and experience in judging events and predicting outcomes. This kind of healthy debate helps us to keep each other, and ourselves, honest. Good on all of you! Carry on!

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 04:03 AM
Thanks, Listener. You, too.

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 04:42 AM
Hello worthy adversary rfrobison. To your dire predictions that structural unemployment in the US may rise to French levels because of the passage of the HC bill:

1. France and other European countries have a slightly different way of calculating structural unemployment. It is not altogether fair to compare countries without going into the nitty-gritty of details.

2. A "marchť noir" (undeclared labor market) exists in France and other some other European countries that makes it difficult to know how many people are in fact really unemployed.

3. If you were to include the huge prison population of the US, structural unemployment would be much higher than the official statistics reveal.

4. As far as I know, no French economist has ever blamed the French system of single-payer universal medical care for unemployment in France. It is more common to pin the blame on high corporate taxes, high captital gains taxes, and the legal difficulties of creating new businesses. Not being an economist I am in no position to evaluate these claims.

Florian:

Valid points, though I'm not sure about the prison population bit. That assumes that everyone currently in prison, were they not incarcerated, would be unemployed....

And you are right that there is no direct, necessary relationship between employment and health care delivery systems. Japan has had a "public option" and employer-provided health insurance--imposed by the U.S. occupation government!--since the end of World War II, while historically maintaining higher employment than the U.S.

It is also my understanding that the Netherlands, which apparently has both a vigorous private insurance market and universal coverage, compares well with the U.S. in employment.

My concern is for the indirect effects of the health care legislation as it currently stands. This requires all firms with over 50 employees to provide health insurance (and offers subsidies to smaller firms to do so).

While that goal is laudable the effect will be to, at the margin, make it more expensive to hire people, I'm fairly certain, and make the labor market less flexible and responsive to changes, technological and otherwise. That's what I meant by "French" levels of unemployment.

The Republicans should have, instead of shouting "socialism," made the case for strengthening private insurance markets. Rather than imposing ever more mandates on businesses regarding health care, a far better policy would be to free up the insurance market by allowing providers to operate across state lines (This is in the law, I understand) and providing for individual subsidies for the purchase of insurance and portability.

None of that conflicts with requiring insurance companies to offer some sort of coverage to everyone. But as long consumers of health care are completely insulated from its cost, they will have no incentive to economize. They will over-consume. This, more than anything else, is why despite spending more on health care than anywhere else in the world as a share of GDP, we still have millions of people without access to insurance.

Health care will be rationed one way or another. But given a choice, I'd rather do the rationing for myself rather than having the government do it for me, which is inevitably what will happen without further reforms. Therein lies the grain of truth in the "death panel" argument.

That's my take on it. Unfortunately, the free(er)-market approach that I'd like to see looks like a pipe dream.

Florian
03-25-2010, 06:24 AM
Health care will be rationed one way or another. But given a choice, I'd rather do the rationing for myself rather than having the government do it for me, which is inevitably what will happen without further reforms. Therein lies the grain of truth in the "death panel" argument.

I know too little to comment on your preferred free-market solutions, but I believe you are mistaken in thinking that rationing will be the inevitable consequence of government control of HC. This is certainly not the case in France, where social security (i.e. HC) is always being criticized for being on the contrary too generous in providing unnecessary drugs, treatments, therapies etc at the whim of patients and their doctors. It is true that in France doctors don't always recommend the most expensive procedures if they think something cheaper and less drastic will do the trick. (I read an interesting article a while ago on this subject in the NY Times comparing the US with France and some other countries in terms of treatments and outcomes).

Without government oversight of costs, I don't think any universal HC system can work well. That seems to be what is missing from the recently passed bill, but then as I said I know next to nothing about it.

TwinSwords
03-25-2010, 07:09 AM
...

Thought you might be interested to know how much of the rest of the country sees the Republicans. Garrison Keillor (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/garrison_keillor/2010/03/23/healthcare_in_america_landmark_bill/index.html?source=newsletter):

The Republicans fought long and hard for peopleís right to wait three hours in an emergency room for someone to take their blood pressure, and they went down to defeat, and now they should stop and rethink their Waterloo strategy. The picture of the grinning GOP congressmen holding ďKill the BillĒ posters was not an attractive one. Those guys all get excellent [healthcare] from the government, at bargain prices. If you choke on your shoe during a speech in the House of Representatives, youíll be whisked away to Walter Reed, and specialists will extract your hoof from your mouth and your head from your colon and clean you up and all for a tiny annual premium. It does not behoove men who are enjoying a huge pork sandwich to deny a few pork rinds to others and to grin in the processÖ

Lyle
03-25-2010, 09:28 AM
Paul Ryan's plan? Not serious you say?

Notably many Republicans give him a hard time too. However, Paul Ryan is popular with the people now. So expect more Paul Ryan plans from Republicans in coming years.

AemJeff
03-25-2010, 10:26 AM
Paul Ryan's plan? Not serious you say?

Notably many Republicans give him a hard time too. However, Paul Ryan is popular with the people now. So expect more Paul Ryan plans from Republicans in coming years.

I'll pretend like I believe Lyle's posts exist for a moment to play along here. In what universe were ideas like Ryan's going to make it onto the floor for a vote? Not because the Democrats happened to controlled the floor - the Republicans had had years to propose something like that. The only task the Republicans engaged themselves in seriously was maneuvers to prevent substantive HCR, from any source, to make it to the floor, and if something eventually did do so, to make every effort to kill it. If that strategy required trotting out alternatives that they were damn sure weren't going to ever get implemented, then that's what they did.

That is what "not serious" means.

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 11:35 AM
Thought you might be interested to know how much of the rest of the country sees the Republicans. Garrison Keillor (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/garrison_keillor/2010/03/23/healthcare_in_america_landmark_bill/index.html?source=newsletter):

TS: Well, you may think Garrison Keillor represents "the rest of the country," but despite his assiduously cultivated "man of the heartland" image, for my money, he's pretty much a typical lefty. Folksy persona notwithstanding, he's had it in for Republicans for as long as I can remember.

You might as well say James Carville represents the view of the Deep South because he talks with a Louisiana drawl. I bet if I looked hard enough I could probably find a Sarah Palin supporter in Greenwich Village. But that wouldn't make such a person a representative of "the voice of NYC."

kezboard
03-25-2010, 01:03 PM
I'm quite sure it is "soft-pedal", as in the soft pedal on a piano.

kezboard
03-25-2010, 01:10 PM
I'd rather see the Republicans focus on trying to improve what's on the table through implementing legislation, rather than embarking on a fool's errand by pushing for a repeal. People won't like an effort that seems focused on undoing what's taken over a year to do, and the Democrats will have a ready-made line of attack: "The Republican bastards are trying to 'take away your health care' before you even got it!"

I totally agree with you on this point, and I think the Republican leadership is with you, at least on the political unwiseness of pushing for repeal. I really don't expect to see the Republicans trying to improve what's on the table, though -- not just because the Democrats aren't interested in what they've got to say, but also because I don't think they see themselves scoring any political points by doing so at this point.

Given their lack of numbers and a Democrat in the White House who, as BJ is at pains to point out, was elected by a large majority last year, any alternative proposal the Republicans make won't be taken seriously and will never go anywhere.

At this point, I think that's definitely the case. But the Republicans, it seems, made a decision right after Obama was inaugurated that they weren't interested in proposing anything and that it was in their best interest politically to oppose all of Obama's initiatives about everything. Whenever a Republican has worked with the Democrats -- for instance, Olympia Snowe who voted for the Baucus bill, or Lindsey Graham's cap-and-trade and immigration proposals -- their party hasn't given them any support.

Had they actually tried to work with the Dems from the beginning, I think things would have worked out a lot differently. But you can't say that the lack of bipartisanship is the Obama administration's or the Dems' fault. The Obama administration knows the public wants to see bipartisanship, and has seriously pursued it ever since the inauguration. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of people on the left, this has been to the detriment of their agenda, it hasn't done any good policy-wise, and they're still getting raked over the coals for being partisan and shutting the Republicans out.

listener
03-25-2010, 01:18 PM
I'm quite sure it is "soft-pedal", as in the soft pedal on a piano.

Quite so (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/soft+pedal).

Lyle
03-25-2010, 02:46 PM
You'll pretend? What? It doesn't exist and you didn't respond to it? Haha. :)

... and "that is what 'not serious' means"... haha. To you AemJeff, only to you. Paul Ryan even sat down with President Obama to discuss the matter... yeah, so "not serious". Like you think any Republican is serious about anything "serious". Haha.

bjkeefe
03-25-2010, 06:49 PM
[...] In what universe were ideas like Ryan's going to make it onto the floor for a vote? Not because the Democrats happened to controlled the floor - the Republicans had had years to propose something like that. The only task the Republicans engaged themselves in seriously was maneuvers to prevent substantive HCR, from any source, to make it to the floor, and if something eventually did do so, to make every effort to kill it. If that strategy required trotting out alternatives that they were damn sure weren't going to ever get implemented, then that's what they did.

That is what "not serious" means.

Exactly right. And for anyone* who is not yet aware of what a crock Ryan's plan is, there are some links here (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=154005#post154005).

==========

* Anyone here, I mean. It's clear that many of the Villagers have swallowed the claim that Ryan is a Serious Thinker, just because the right-wing noise machine keeps saying he is, without looking into the plan in the slightest, as some of the links at the end of the post linked to above show.

bjkeefe
03-25-2010, 07:11 PM
I totally agree with you on this point, and I think the Republican leadership is with you, at least on the political unwiseness of pushing for repeal. I really don't expect to see the Republicans trying to improve what's on the table, though -- not just because the Democrats aren't interested in what they've got to say, but also because I don't think they see themselves scoring any political points by doing so at this point.

Agreed. I would also hazard a guess that they are talking up the "repeal" line now merely because it is a useful hook for fund-raising (e.g. (http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/88665-romney-fundraising-off-call-for-healthcare-repeal), e.g. (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/mccain-fundraising-e-mail-repeal-this-bill-immediately.php), e.g (http://dailycaller.com/2010/03/22/nancy-pelosi-other-democrats-inspiring-massive-republican-fundraising-efforts/)., e.g. (http://topics.npr.org/quote/06cu5BW9x7cbH), e.g. (http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/03/marco_rubio_launches_petition.php)).

[...] Had they actually tried to work with the Dems from the beginning, I think things would have worked out a lot differently. But you can't say that the lack of bipartisanship is the Obama administration's or the Dems' fault. The Obama administration knows the public wants to see bipartisanship, and has seriously pursued it ever since the inauguration. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of people on the left, this has been to the detriment of their agenda, it hasn't done any good policy-wise, and they're still getting raked over the coals for being partisan and shutting the Republicans out.

Quite so. If rfrobison wanted to be fully informed, he'd spend some of his newsgathering time looking at the leftosphere, where over the past year he'd have found no end of grousing about disappointment. But I guess it's easier for him just to read what's comforting, and that means reading the right-wing media, where we are shocked, shocked to find out that lack of bipartisanship is ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT!!!1!

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 08:06 PM
AIf rfrobison wanted to be fully informed, he'd spend some of his newsgathering time looking at the leftosphere, where over the past year he'd have found no end of grousing about disappointment. But I guess it's easier for him just to read what's comforting, and that means reading the right-wing media, where we are shocked, shocked to find out that lack of bipartisanship is ALL THE DEMOCRATS' FAULT!!!1!

Ouch. A man's gotta live, BJ! I could plead lack of time/interest. But I suppose I do prefer reading things I agree with to things I don't. Never fear, I get to read plenty of stuff I disagree with in my day job.

[STICKS OUT TONGUE IN DIRECTION OF ACCUSERS]

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 08:34 PM
I totally agree with you on this point, and I think the Republican leadership is with you, at least on the political unwiseness of pushing for repeal. I really don't expect to see the Republicans trying to improve what's on the table, though -- not just because the Democrats aren't interested in what they've got to say, but also because I don't think they see themselves scoring any political points by doing so at this point.



At this point, I think that's definitely the case. But the Republicans, it seems, made a decision right after Obama was inaugurated that they weren't interested in proposing anything and that it was in their best interest politically to oppose all of Obama's initiatives about everything. Whenever a Republican has worked with the Democrats -- for instance, Olympia Snowe who voted for the Baucus bill, or Lindsey Graham's cap-and-trade and immigration proposals -- their party hasn't given them any support.

Had they actually tried to work with the Dems from the beginning, I think things would have worked out a lot differently. But you can't say that the lack of bipartisanship is the Obama administration's or the Dems' fault. The Obama administration knows the public wants to see bipartisanship, and has seriously pursued it ever since the inauguration. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of people on the left, this has been to the detriment of their agenda, it hasn't done any good policy-wise, and they're still getting raked over the coals for being partisan and shutting the Republicans out.


While I'm generally inclined to agree with you that the Republicans have calculated, wrongly perhaps--the jury is still out--at least on the health care issue that there was more to gain from opposition than cooperation, I'd say their behavior is not all that unusual for a party that took a drubbing at the polls in 2008. If they play along, Obama and Democrats get all the credit for anything that passes anyway, so what have they got to gain, politically speaking? Moreover, if the Republicans are losing "middle of the roaders" then those still in the party will of course be more ideologically opposed to the other side's ideas and all the less likely to play ball.

Voters, to the extent that they approve of the changes, probably won't say to themselves: "Gee, health care would never have come to fruition without the support of Republicans." and "Gee, that tort-reform provision that Senator Lugar inserted was really awesome! Health care will be absolutely stellar now." If they think anything at all, they'll think: "Wow, Obama is a genius. I wish we could make him president for life!" From a purely partisan perspective, not a great outcome for the Republicans. Hence their dilemma.

Hyperpartisanship isn't exactly a Republican-only vice, I would point out, however. But then again, if they keep being mindlessly oppositional, as it seems everybody in this thread thinks, they'll keep losing. Which will be wonderful for you, and bad for me. I'm reasonably optimistic that even dumb people wise up after banging their heads against a brick wall a few dozen times. If too much rightwingery is indeed what ills them, repeated election losses should cure them.

Or not. Some other party will come along. Guess it's not the end of the world, though an unchecked Democratic party, would, in my view anyway, be prone to the very same overreach that the Republicans fell prey to after 2004.

Or not.

All of this is, of course, a separate question from what is actually best in terms of policy. Since I'm already on record as having said cooperation is the better choice, I won't repeat myself here.

rfrobison
03-25-2010, 08:38 PM
Hmm, you learn something every day!

Lyle
03-25-2010, 08:58 PM
How again is Paul Ryan's plan a crock? It wouldn't pay off the deficit? Really? Democrats have a plan to pay off the deficit?

kezboard
03-25-2010, 09:19 PM
The Republicans don't want to get behind it, that's why.

bjkeefe
03-25-2010, 10:56 PM
How again is his Paul Ryan's plan a crock? It wouldn't pay off the deficit? Really? Democrats have a plan to pay off the deficit?

Lyle, I just gave you a link that points to two brief analyses of it. Those, in turn, have links to considerable supporting documentation.

The short version is: Ryan's numbers are pulled from his ass (were made up by his staff, to put it politely), and the bottom line is: his plan doesn't do what's advertised. It's nothing more than a gussied-up version of the same old same old:

1. Cut taxes on the rich
2. ????????
3. Balanced budget!

I suspect you don't want to take my word for it, and I suspected that earlier, so that's why I offered the link (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=154005#post154005). Bonus: here's another (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/experts-ryan-roadmap-balloons-deficits-while-taxing-middle-class-slashing-entitlements.php) introductory analysis.

When you can convince me you understand what you're talking about on this, perhaps I'll be interested in discussing matters further.

==========

Bonus 2: In light of your laziness, I'll do you an additional service by typing out your three most likely responses. Feel free to copy and paste:

Haha.

Hahahahahahaha.

Ann Althouse is not conservative because she supports same-sex marriage. Haha.

bjkeefe
03-25-2010, 11:14 PM
Ouch. A man's gotta live, BJ! I could plead lack of time/interest. But I suppose I do prefer reading things I agree with to things I don't. [...]

Thanks for at least acknowledging the possibility. I understand the temptation -- many on the left do the same thing, and look at me with disbelief when I tell them what goes on in the minds of people who get their news from Rush, Fox, NRO, Townhall, Malkkkin, Hot Air, RedState, etc. And I still have to work against this tendency myself.

Still, if you're in the news biz, and you insist that you only have so much time, I guess I'd suggest thinking about how better to budget it. Here's something that'd probably cost you no more than 15 min/day, if that's all you had: keep your eye on the RSS feed for Steve Benen's Political Animal (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/).

If you have a few more minutes, also check in periodically with TPM (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/) and Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/).

All three of those clearly lean left, but they're honest about it, and despite what wingnuts will tell you, they're not Obots. Also, they supply tons of links, so if you find yourself disinclined to accept something one of them says, odds are, their source is right there, waiting for a click.

None of them are so far left that they indulge in "SELLOUT!!!1! OBAMA IS JUST LIKE BUSH!!!1!" hysteria, but you will get a sense of where people like me and several other commenters are coming from when we tell you that we still support Obama, but find ourselves having to swallow frustrations about his choices on a regular basis.

rfrobison
03-26-2010, 04:38 AM
Thanks for at least acknowledging the possibility. I understand the temptation -- many on the left do the same thing, and look at me with disbelief when I tell them what goes on in the minds of people who get their news from Rush, Fox, NRO, Townhall, Malkkkin, Hot Air, RedState, etc. And I still have to work against this tendency myself.

Still, if you're in the news biz, and you insist that you only have so much time, I guess I'd suggest thinking about how better to budget it. Here's something that'd probably cost you no more than 15 min/day, if that's all you had: keep your eye on the RSS feed for Steve Benen's Political Animal (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/).

If you have a few more minutes, also check in periodically with TPM (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/) and Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/).

All three of those clearly lean left, but they're honest about it, and despite what wingnuts will tell you, they're not Obots. Also, they supply tons of links, so if you find yourself disinclined to accept something one of them says, odds are, their source is right there, waiting for a click.

As Evil Universe Spock said to Kirk: I shall consider it.

Lyle
03-26-2010, 06:38 AM
Check out Balloon Juice to read violent progressive rhetoric. :)

Lyle
03-26-2010, 06:41 AM
I already said that kezboard.

However, he's now popular and a known politico. He's the only serious one among them, and people are beginning to take him seriously. So, I'm guessing, we'll be seeing a lot more support for Paul Ryan's plan/s in the future.

Lyle
03-26-2010, 06:45 AM
No, I don't take your word for it because you and your links don't know what you're talking about.

While you are at though, stick this link (http://www.newsweek.com/id/234362) in your mouth. Not sure this link (http://reason.com/blog/2009/07/30/why-cant-paul-ryan-be-the-futu) will fit in your mouth, but go ahead and choke on it too.

bjkeefe
03-26-2010, 08:46 AM
No, I don't take your word for it because you and your links don't know what you're talking about.

While you are at though, stick this link (http://www.newsweek.com/id/234362) in your mouth. Not sure this link (http://reason.com/blog/2009/07/30/why-cant-paul-ryan-be-the-futu) will fit in your mouth, but go ahead and choke on it too.

This is what you've got? An article* written by Mr. McMegan, formerly of FreedomWorks, National Review, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and now sucking at the Koch titty (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reason_Foundation#Funding), and a blog post** from some other glibertarian piglet at the next teat over?

Wow. Two pieces of PR puffery from hacks whoring for ultraconservative (http://old.mediatransparency.org/funderprofile.php?funderID=9) energy billionaires and major Republican donors (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Family_Foundations) (who I am shocked, shocked to learn would like to pay even lower taxes) doesn't come close to references to responsible analysis.

Verdict: Fail.

Ah, maybe that's too harsh. Maybe you were in a rush, getting packed for the big cruise (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=156041#post156041)?

==========

* You (okay, not you, Lyle, but other readers) might be interested in how easily Suderman's wankery is demolished. Or Mr. Destructo (http://www.mrdestructo.com/2010/03/newsweek-part-ii-what-they-talk-about.html)-ed, in this case here.

The gist here is that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is this amazing young legislator who has a great budgetary plan to fix America. Hell, itís not just a plan. Itís a bona fide Budget Roadmap. And you can tell heís for real because the author, one Peter Suderman, describes him as "energetic, wonky" and a real salt of the earth guy with a background in a family construction business. Rep. Ryan is a bright young buck, gee whiz, like golly. He smells like cookies.

You know this Roadmap could actually "work" because the Suderman writes one line saying it "could work," (at least in theory!) and because the Congressional Budgetary Office reports the Roadmap could make America deficit neutral 53 years from now, which I guess is a way of measuring "working." The Sudester never actually defines "working," and he doesnít quote anyone elseís definition of what makes budgets "work," so Iím guessing that budget neutrality is what it means for a budget "to work."

How does it "work?" Well, it slashes the hell out of Medicare and it replaces corporate income taxation with a consumption tax, which could refer to a value-added tax or a sales tax or an income tax with an investment and savings exemption ó Suderman doesnít say which, so, you know, whatever. He does say whatever this means will be simpler than our current corporate tax structure, so thatís nice. Simple things are good, whatever they are.

Going solely by the information available in the article, you may wonder how this would "work." This is not a matter of Ryanís ideas being bad or wrong. Itís simply a matter of Suderman's explanation being grossly inadequate. The two changes Suderman highlights are seemingly unrelated. One reduces spending, and the other affects tax revenue in some way Suderman doesnít bother to describe even on the level of increase or decrease. So, how do these combine to an overall reduction in the deficit? What do these changes actually mean as broad policy concerns? Who knows?

This is pure Newsweek. This article does nothing to inform the reader about what this policy proposal means, how it operates, what itís designed to do, or what it will do. The scraps of fact Suderman tosses out donít inform because theyíre presented without context necessary to provide actual meaning. A massive reduction in Medicare spending could mean anything, but Suderman doesnít even attempt to list or summarize any of the specific changes behind this reduction. An ostensibly simplifying total overhaul of the corporate tax system along new and unspecified lines is even more offensively vague.

In context, the natural assumption is that this system must increase tax revenue, because itís part of a plan to balance the budget. But that doesnít fit the overall GOP theory of taxation. So maybe itís a plan to reduce tax revenue, but spur business investment, a trickle-down sort of thing. Or maybe itís a functional, re-design thatís supposed to reduce transaction costs and tax confusion. Who the fuck knows? Does Suderman know? Is the author sitting there, hoarding facts like a smug old miser? Did he read even that precious Roadmap? What the fuck, man? Itís like describing baseball as, "A process involving a lot of men in tight pants with wood." That explanation doesnít "work."

And thatís it. Thatís all Suderman says about the actual budget proposal.


** It hardly needs saying, but maybe you (Lyle) still aren't reading past the headlines these days so I will say it: two paragraphs of gushing fanboyism and an embedded video where Ryan spews anti-HCR talking points doesn't actually count as, you know, budget analysis.

Lyle
03-26-2010, 08:56 AM
Haha... and all you have is Mother Jones and Balloon Juice. At least Suderman and Co. aren't partisans... at least not of the Republican persuasion.

Bottom line... I disagree with you. Deal with it man.

bjkeefe
03-26-2010, 09:59 AM
Quote fragments rearranged for improved accuracy:

At least Suderman and Co. aren't partisans...

Haha...