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August 17, 2009


the bishop

We have a party which is writing a health care strategy premised on denial of care to seniors, and Douthat says take it easy, take the red pill


A vision not a plan--excellent,TM. And that airy fairyness explains why the press luftmenschen who've never managed a lemonade stand think it's grand. (Or--You can flummox Lawrence Tribe with b.s., American voters not so much.


Douthat's political advice amounts to "Let's me too Obama on the unpopular parts of his program." This is sort of political wisdom that has Walter Mondale telling the world proudly that he's going to increase taxes. And, frankly, because there is a big nattering nanny aspect to Obama and Pelosi's variety of helathcare reform, I'm not sure why the GOP needs to sign off on the castor oil portions of the presiden'ts plan. The one thing the GOP should never be -- and it's something that both folks like Douthat and the folks on the religious right need to learn -- is a proponent of the Federal government as nag.


I agree with that article. It's a little bit ironic that the ones supposedly opposing government interference the most are really underneath mostly concerned about preserving their own government benefits.

And I also agree with Tom that not having a plan is a problem. Obama should scale it down as much as possible and make it simple, and then sell it.

People who might object to scaling it down however are people like Obama's personal Chicago doctor. When I saw him on Huckabee, he said he was worried that Obama would sell out the plan, and set back health care reform for decades. So Obama has people on his left fighting the small scale approach.


Obama exists for the "vision narrative". It's his bread and butter. It's what "yes we can" and" hope and change"were all about. The nitty gritty details have him flummoxed.It's why he can make contradictory statements in the same sentence.



Looking at it from the left's point of view, the massacre of Hillarycare in '94 and Obamacare in 2009 would probably mean that there will never again be a movement to change the healthcare marketplace. Because, with that lesson, no Dem politician will ever again risk his Presidency over the issue.

So I can see the left being antsy. Problem is, they aren't going to get what they want. The best they'll get is nationalized Romneycare.


The devil is in the details and when Obama tries to explain the details he needs to get TOTUS back.

I'm beginning to wonder if the One was turned down by some evil insurance company to get his foot-in-mouth disease treated.


"The best they'll get is nationalized Romneycare"

Hey I'm cool with that. I was sort of a Romney supporter. And contrary to some other posters opinions around here, I think RomneyCare doesn't seem to be doing that badly. Anyway, the jury is still out on that because it hasn't been around that long. We need to give it at least a couple more years before we can judge.

And yes the left is ansty, but I think they should take what they can get. We are going to need a stepped approach to this, experiment and test things out as we go along. Better small changes than none at all.

the bishop

Yeah the administrations of Landon, Wilkie and Dewey are clearly testament to that. What do you mean that never happened. Next thing you'll tell me is the depression lasted 12 years,


Put me down for none at all as opposed to any bill coming out of a committee headed up by Henry Waxman. All I need to know to vote no.


And contrary to some other posters opinions around here, I think RomneyCare doesn't seem to be doing that badly.

"Other posters opinions" meaning people who actually live under RomneyCare and experience it first hand? But no doubt you know better than they would, sylvia.


If this can be killed -- and I mean down in flames, no compromise -- and the Republicans either take over or pick up enough seats in the House and Senate in 2010, they can introduce real reforms that even seniors will like, and which will help.

My fear is that they'll let the Democrats up off the matt with some sort of bipartisan compromise, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory instead. I hope I'm wrong about that.

The problem the Democrats have with a compromise is that it might fix some of the stuff they've been complaining about. That would be bad news, because they need those issues alive in order to get what they really want. If the real problems get solved without also passing single-payer, they'll never get single-payer, and they know that. So there really is a chance that nothing will get done at all.

Which 54% of voters say is a good thing.


For years, it has been said that the US, under the aegis of NATO, allowed European countries the luxury of having low defense expenditures.
Can the same be said for health care ?

Will US health care reform be a foreign policy nightmare ?


I print out Whole Foods CEO Mackey's health care plan which brilliantly counters Obamacare, then I give to those who have little time to pay attention to details.

That said; I feel sorry for people who have convinced themselves that "well-being" and "prevention" will somehow keep disease and death from ever entering their lives. It is no no wonder health freaks are spastic.

Particularity those who consume 'organic'; as if eating organic will somehow delay deterioration of their body, an organic substance which is as organic as the plant consumed.

I find it disturbing that neither these two approaches "well-being" and or "prevention" take into account the primary cause of most all disease, that being, genetic predisposition.

I can eat all the bark and do all the yoga in the astral universe however none of this stuff will alter genetic disposition.

I aspire to be like the oldest tenant in my building, he's 90 years old and every day he walks to his favorite bar, drinks a couple beers, eats a burgers, smokes a couple of cigarates, converses with his friends; I do not recall one time over the last the 18 years I have lived in my building seeing that man without a smile on his face.

In other words, Being a health nut freak will kill you.


I'm at a loss to understand why anybody cares about anything Ross Douthat says or thinks. He's the right's version of Matthew Yglesias, for crying out loud.


I would also advise them that one of Obama's major problems is that he is promoting a vision, not a plan

I agree with clarice. That is fabulous.

Now, Obama chose that path in order to avoid what Dems have decided was a major failing of the cramdown approach taken by HillaryCare.

I disagree.
Obama chose that path because it is all he knows how to do.
He isn't a take responsibility for specifics kind of guy, unless it has to do with choosing a name for a Post Office.


The best they'll get is nationalized Romneycare.
And even that only until 2013, when the next administration oversees the gutting of it.


My fear is that they'll let the Democrats up off the matt with some sort of bipartisan compromise, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory instead. I hope I'm wrong about that.

I share your fear.

William Teach

Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, BC.

The Republicans are correct in staying on the periphery, allowing the Democrats to implode. They have quietly announced plans, and will have those at the ready when Obama is sitting in the WH perfecting his face palm, watching his approval ratings collapse.


It sure seems like "We The People" have lost control.

Via Drudge.

Representative Eric Massa (D- NY) addressed an intimate group of Netroots activists during their annual Netroots Nation gathering in Pittsburgh this weekend. Mr. Massa reiterated his support for a single payer health care bill. He discussed the risks he takes for wanting to support such a measure in his "right wing Republican district."

According to Swing State Project, Mr. Massa won his 2008 race by two percentage points. The district's voting pattern index (PVI) is a Republican +5 seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has the upstate New York congressman in their sights for 2010 along with 69 other House Democrats as reported by Politico. The transcript is below, and check out the corresponding video above.

MASSA: I’m not going to vote for 3200 as it’s currently written. Step one, I will vote for a single payer option or a bill that does have a medicare coupled public option, which we don’t have right now. If my town hall meetings turn into the same media frenzies and ridiculousness, because every time that happens we lose, We lose another three million people in America. They see that happening and negate us.

PARTICIPANT: It changes America.

MASSA: Every time that occurs. So what happens in my town hall meetings frankly is important, because I am in one of the most right wing Republican districts in the country, and I’m not asking you guys to go back to wherever and send people to me. This is a generic statement of what can I do? Well that’s one thing we can do.

PARTICIPANT: So if we got your meetings to sixty forty, you’d vote…and there was single payer in a bill you would vote for it?

MASSA: Oh absolutely I would vote for single payer.

PARTICIPANT: If there was sixty forty sentiment in the room?

MASSA: Listen, I tell every audience I’m in favor of single payer.

PARTICIPANT: If there was eighty twenty in the room?

MASSA: If there was a single payer bill?

PARTICIPANT: And there was a single payer….

MASSA: I will vote for the single payer bill.

PARTICIPANT: Even if it meant you were being voted out of office?

MASSA: I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful.

(inaudible participants' comments regarding the "interests" of the district statement from Mr. Massa)

Massa: I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them.


, the massacre of Hillarycare in '94 and Obamacare in 2009 would probably mean that there will never again be a movement to change the healthcare marketplace.

I disagree. Reagan spoke out against socialized medicine in the 60's. The Prog's just keep recycling and recycling and recycling and sooner or later they get things passed just by wearing everybody down. This ain't about to go away, and that is the crux of the problem. Progressivism doesn't seem to ever be truly beaten.


So will this be known as the "AARP Schism" ?

You have to wonder who will claim the seniors are "astroturf"-ing ?


If this is so, you really have got to wonder how thing would have been different if the economy hadn't imploded ? ... there would have bee more tax revenue to work with and all that talk of taking $500 billion from Medicare would never have happened.

George W. Bush ... that glorious bastard.

Chimpy Nuts

OT but worth a look

Burt Rutan: engineer, aviation/space pioneer, and now, active climate skeptic


I think both parties are in a very precarious position.

The Dems have been taken over by impractical fools who are sacrificing their party on an idealogical altar.

But the Repubs can never retain the idea for long that the winning strategy is a principled, methodical and incremental policy of rolling back of the worst of the last 80 years of leftist crap.
They have spent that entire time offering a more spendthriftian version of whatever prog monstrosity is being advanced.
The constant proposals from righties (the latest Forbes for instance) advocating a carbon tax instead of cap and trade being a perfect example.

The Dems risk riding their idealogy into the sunset.
The Repubs risk riding their lack of one right alongside them.


Once this bill gets defeated in all its iterations, someone on the right should propose a bill that will allow people to buy insurance across state lines.

Someone else should propose a bill that limits malpractice liability.

Each bill should be no longer than 2 pages.

The republicans would be back in office in a heart beat,

Captain Hate

Who is Ross Douchehat and why should I care? He gets everything at least half wrong in the second part of what TM quoted. Is that squish purportedly on our side? Does he have Steele's ear, because that would explain a lot.

Chimpy Nuts

Telling Grandma ‘No’

And if you think reform is tough today, just wait. We’re already practically a gerontocracy: Americans over 50 cast over 40 percent of the votes in the 2008 elections, and half the votes in the ’06 midterms. As the population ages — by 2030, there will be more Americans over 65 than under 18 — the power of the elderly and nearly elderly may become almost absolute.

In this future, somebody will need to stand for the principle that Medicare can’t pay every bill and bless every procedure. Somebody will need to defend the younger generation’s promise (and its pocketbooks). Somebody will need to say “no” to retirees.

That’s supposed to be the Republicans’ job. They should stick to doing it.


The Dems risk riding their idealogy into the sunset.
The Repubs risk riding their lack of one right alongside them.

The Mayans said that every 16 years the party out of favor must offer a "Contract With XXX (insert nation name)". Alright, maybe they didn't say that, but it would be of much use if a GOP House member could motivate the party and the nation, going into the 2010 elections, with solid, creative ideas expressed articulately. Surely this has occured to some of them...


See, the statists knew what they were doing when they put granny on medicare 40 years ago--locked up a large minority of the population. Social security works the same way. Once you establish an entitlement, it's untouchable, even when it's unsustainable.


"... This ain't about to go away, and that is the crux of the problem. Progressivism doesn't seem to ever be truly beaten."

No. It's our version of the EU Referendum.

It must be beaten every time it comes up, or they will succeed in passing it someday.

Fresh Air

Ever since Henry Clay, every damn senator in this country wants to be the damn "grand compromiser." This is the problem with the GOP senators (see McCain, John). Between the dupes in the middle getting rolled by the Media and the dipsticks like the Maine Twins, it's hard to even maintain a semblance of opposition together. Two, two-page bills like Jane said, one limiting malpractice awards and another allowing insurance pooling across state lines would do wonders for the GOP.

But what Ross Douthat adds to this is beyond me. Isn't he another one of these 29-year-old Ivy punk types? Aren't those supposed to all be lefties? Maybe he's a spy, like Brooks and Frum.

Cecil Turner

That’s supposed to be the Republicans’ job. They should stick to doing it.

Last I checked, Democrats had both houses of Congress (including a supermajority in the Senate), the Presidency, and most all the bureaucrats (and MSM, academia, Hollywood, yada yada . . .). Asking the Republicans to shill for 'em is just a bit rich, dontchathink?

Fresh Air

Just want to second that Burt Rutan piece linked above. It's fantastic. Kim, please check it out.


Obama as the Etch a Sketch President..turn it over and erase yesterday's meme!


Sara (Pal2Pal)

Somebody will need to say “no” to retirees.

This may well be very true, but you cannot do it to someone who is now in their 70s, 80s, 90s. Retirees who have planned for their retirement based on systems in place at the time they were still earning and paying into the system and who have factored in the system for their own well being and needs.

No one of any age appreciates having the rug pulled out from under them and this continuing threat against senior retirees feels exactly like that.

Independent seniors and responsible adults plan for years for their retirement. Any plan will have to grandfather in a certain segment whose retirement plans have been set for several decades if they want support. More so since the majority of Medicare recipients had no choice but to go into the system at 65. Yes, they could purchase supplemental, but even military retirees are switched over to Medicare from the Deers system at 65. This isn't a choice, so there is no wonder that those who had to plan and factored in the Medicare as part of their planning would not take kindly to having the system degraded in midstream.

Cecil Turner
Medicare’s price tag, if trends continue, will make a mockery of the idea of limited government. For conservatives, no fiscal cause is more important than curbing this exponential growth.
Utter nonsense. If single payer is implemented, it'll have all of Medicare's unsustainability in a larger program. How that can possibly be viewed as an improvement is beyond me (and it certainly ain't conservative). Democrats are not going to curb entitlement spending. Get used to it. Stopping them from expanding the system is a cause worth fighting (in the metaphorical sense usually reserved for our brethren on the left) for.

I don't think that we need to worry about being more powerful, because with all this power we'll still be a group of stupid people, or at least some of us. That still has not gotten over the fact that we still have not over come racism........we can be as powerful all we want we will still be disliked..




"we can be as powerful all we want we will still be disliked.."

You can be as weak as you like and still get sand kicked in your face.

the bishop

Biko died 32 years ago, we get it now. BTW, more brilliance from the NR brain trust:

Dave (in MA)

| Matt

Thomas Collins

Via Instapundit, see LUN for an interesting summary of the federal constitutional issued posed by the proposed ObamaCare implementing legislation.

bio mom

Respect your elders. It's a commandment.


Little reporting and has all the appearance of the editors completely taking over the content of the NYT now.

I picked up the Sunday NYT for the first time in several months.

Truly, the days are counting down if it doesn't change.


I'd prefer to be liked. But I know that won't always happen.

So, if I'm not liked, I'd then prefer to be respected. But again, I know this won't always happen, either.

Thus, if I'm neither liked or respected by friend and foe, then I'd prefer to be feared.

Feared enough that my enemies won't attack me because they know that I have the strength and will to destroy them if they do.


"we'll still be a group of stupid people, or at least some of us"

Thanks for self-identifying.

Charles Rinehart

A great blog. I certainly enjoyed. All the best.

E. Nigma

What the Republicans need is a coherent economic view and philosophy through which reforms in the "health care market" can be made, which are tranparent in their intent and solve the two main problems facing us that have not changed in years:

1) access by the uninsured and under-insured

2) slow down the spiral of cost increases that are faster than the cost of living

In the larger sense, this country is in deep economic trouble, long term. We have piece-meal fractured our industrial base, which is how basic wealth is created; turning raw materials into something of value.
The government (at all levels) has grown too big and expensive. We can't afford Obamacare (or whatever it actually is), and we can't afford the status quo.
First, we've got to stop using the semantics of the Left, and calling it a "health care system". It is nothing of the sort, and shouldn't be. It's a market, like any other market for goods and services. The government has introduced a whole series of perverse incentives to counter act normal market mechanisms. The Republicans have got to illuminate a method to restore natural market forces, which will control price, not limit access or choice.

Amen. It's a prayer for something that will never happen.


Remember, these are the same beauracrats we supposedly want in charge of our health care.

Three weeks into the government’s CARS program, dealers say they are overwhelmed with clunkers but haven’t yet seen the cash.

The Cash Allowance Rebate System, also called "cash for clunkers," kicked off with a bang more than three weeks ago, but most area dealerships are still waiting to be reimbursed for the rebates they extended to buyers.

Garvey Huyndai in Queensbury is on the line for about $500,000 in clunker rebates. As of Monday, the dealership had submitted 104 applications, and received eight rejections and no refunds.

"We are getting perfect paperwork rejected," said owner Marc Garvey. "There’s no rhyme or reason."

Glens Falls Toyota is floating about $190,000 in federal rebates for 45 clash for clunker trade-ins.

Owner Howard Lebowitz said dealers were originally told applications would be approved or rejected within one to three days of submittal, and payment would take 10 days from the time of approval.

It’s been about three weeks since he sent the first application, and Glens Falls Toyota hasn’t seen a single approval, let alone a refund.

About 15 applications were rejected due to clerical errors, which Lebowitz says adds to the delay in payment.

bad to the bone

Clever program Po. Dealers are 95% republican. Rahm's thinking, why not screw 'em?


I had not thought of that, bad.


Three years into Romneycare, the program's cost has tripled, it's had a marginal impact on the number of uninsured, and the emergency rooms are still flooded with people with minor ailments and no insurance. (I live in Massachusetts). Using that as a standard, we can expect Obamacare to cost $3 trillion dollars over 10 years, and otherwise have little impact on anything related to health care.

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