Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 11, 2009

PRESIDENT MYTHBUSTER.... Towards the end of this afternoon's discussion on health care reform in New Hampshire, President Obama told his audience, "[L]et's face it, now is the hard part -- because the history is clear -- every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests fight back with everything they've got. They use their influence. They use their political allies to scare and mislead the American people. They start running ads. This is what they always do."

And with reform closer now than ever, it's what they're already doing. To that end, the president, while making the affirmative case for passing reform throughout the event, also took some time to address concerns he knows are out there.

Government-run health care:

"This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don't believe anyone should be in charge of your health insurance decisions but you and your doctor. (Applause.) I don't think government bureaucrats should be meddling, but I also don't think insurance company bureaucrats should be meddling. That's the health care system I believe in."

Rationing:

"[R]ight now insurance companies are rationing care. They are basically telling you what's covered and what's not. They're telling you: 'We'll cover this drug, but we won't cover that drug; you can have this procedure, or, you can't have that procedure'. So why is it that people would prefer having insurance companies make those decisions, rather than medical experts and doctors figuring out what are good deals for care and providing that information to you as a consumer and your doctor so you can make the decisions?

"So I just want to be very clear about this. I recognize there is an underlying fear here that people somehow won't get the care they need. You will have not only the care you need, but also the care that right now is being denied to you -- only if we get health care reform. That's what we're fighting for."

Putting insurers out of business with a private option:


"People say, 'Well, how can a private company compete against the government?' And my answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do -- then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. I mean, if you think about -- if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the Post Office that's always having problems.

"So right now you've got private insurers who are out there competing effectively, even though a lot of people get their care through Medicare or Medicaid or VA. So there's nothing inevitable about this somehow destroying the private marketplace, as long as -- and this is a legitimate point that you're raising -- that it's not set up where the government is basically being subsidized by the taxpayers, so that even if they're not providing a good deal, we keep on having to pony out more and more money. And I've already said that can't be the way the public option is set up. It has to be self-sustaining."

"Death Panels":

"The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for 'death panels' that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that we don't -- it's too expensive to let her live anymore. And there are various -- there are some variations on this theme. It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, et cetera. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready, on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything. This is I guess where the rumor came from.

"The irony is that actually one of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican -- then House member, now senator, named Johnny Isakson from Georgia -- who very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people's options. And somehow it's gotten spun into this idea of 'death panels.' I am not in favor of that. So just I want to clear the air here."

"Enemies List":

"Before you ask this question, just because you referred to it, can I just say this is another example of how the media ends up just completing distorting what's taken place. What we've said is that if somebody has -- if you get an e-mail from somebody that says, for example, 'Obamacare is creating a death panel,' forward us the e-mail and we will answer the question that's raised in the e-mail. Suddenly, on some of these news outlets, this is being portrayed as 'Obama collecting an enemies list.' Now, come on, guys. You know, here I am trying to be responsive to questions that are being raised out there and I just want to be clear that all we're trying to do is answer questions."

For the Tin Foil Hat crowd, I don't imagine this will matter. "Sure," they'll say, "the president says he doesn't want to kill my grandparents. That's what he wants us to think."

But for a more sensible skeptic, here's hoping the president's comments helped alleviate some of the irrational fears.

Steve Benen 4:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

More like this please.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on August 11, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, you know these Kenyans. Liars all day long!

Posted by: Vokoban on August 11, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about changing minds, but at least maybe we can start talking about reality again. It's like the 2008 election never happened.

Posted by: Christopher on August 11, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

obama nailed it all...pwned the crazies.
i think he knew it...that little sprint across the stage, with the turn back and wave to cheers and applause... nice touch...

the haters can just eat his dust...

Posted by: neill on August 11, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

If government-run nonprofit medical insurance has to be "self-sustaining", can we also impose that requirement on the military? So, you know, we don't "keep on having to pony out more and more money"?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 11, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

The WH needs more than solid answers. They need a national media blitz. My friends and relatives back in my small, sleepy, conservative home town nearly ALL believe in the Death Squad and Enemies List rumors. These are very compelling and entertaining lies.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on August 11, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obama finally made the point that I've been wondering about for a long time: why does anyone think it's better to have to deal with an insurance company bureaucrat to get coverage for something, rather than the government? I know the government is known for a lack of initiative -- I've been to the DMV and the post office, etc. But the crucial point is that -- unlike private insurance companies -- the government is not out to screw you to make money. They might not care about you, they might have rules that are arcane and difficult to maneuver, they might put weird doughnut-hole cost structures into place, but they aren't trying to deny you care to make a living. I personally would rather deal with indifference than malice.

Posted by: ReallyFedUp on August 11, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Given that this is "what they always do", it's a little depressing that the Democrats weren't way out in front of it.

Posted by: biggerbox on August 11, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Post Office simply bans private companies for delivering first class mail. That's how they compete. Nobody outside this blog a a few more believe him anymore. It is like watching a balloon deflate.

Posted by: Mike K on August 11, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Bailin' Palin has ramped up on the kkkrazy team, this meme is never going away. I predict that even more outlandish (if that's possible) claims will be made.

Pelosi/Reid/Obama have to do better to ramp up the rhetoric, find vulnerable points, and make fun of these asshats, AND their outlandish backwoods paranoia. ASAP. NOW would be good.

Otherwise, this current attempt at fixing health care will end up like the Clinton's. DOA. That would be sad, now that the polls are still barely on our side for reform...

Posted by: Doug W on August 11, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The post office also does all the unprofitable things that are part of a national communications system, like carrying a letter from Key West to Nome for 44 cents. Try to get Fedex to do that!

Yes there are some services that we as a society can decide are worth having even if they are not profitable (national defense and the interstate highway system are other examples). It's called civilization. A lot of us are rather fond of it.

Posted by: Virginia on August 11, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Nobody outside this blog a a few more believe him anymore"

Because they believe in Obama Death Committees, Health Care Means The Gubmint Owns Your Bank Account Access Codes and Will Kill Your Kids and Grandmaw, Plus He's a Kenyan ?

If so, that's a real accomplishment your side can be very proud of. Over here in reality, however, none of those things are actually y'know, true. But I guess if one's worldview is built out of things like the Laffer Curve the 6000-year-old-Earth, the triumph of this kind of insanity represents progress to you.

Posted by: DrBB on August 11, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I wish he would have harped more on the motivation behind a gov public option vs priv. ins. plan..."Profit". A public options is not motivated by making a profit...it's not in the equation. It would be motivated by providing the best coverage it possibly could simply for the recognition of being and doing for the good of the people.

Sociopaths can't phantom that as a motivating factor...that goodness is its own reward.

Specter should note...this is how it's done. Don't just sit there and let liars and idiots ramble out their self righteous anger...take control with the truth. DUH!

Posted by: bjobotts on August 11, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Laugh if you want but I was proud of my partners in revolution today.

Those people took Arlen Specter apart with their cogent and on-topic criticisms. They would have done the same to President Rapper except that he had jackbooted thugs to prevent them from exercising their right to rush the stage.

Posted by: Mlke K on August 11, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: "The Post Office simply bans private companies for delivering first class mail."

Ideally, we should ban for-profit medical insurance.

The for-profit insurance corporations provide nothing of value, they simply suck up money like huge bloated ticks engorging themselves on the blood of their victims, reaping huge profits by denying payment for medical care to sick and dying people whose premiums enable insurance company CEOs to jaunt around the country in corporate jets, eating gourmet feasts from gold-plated china, while their victims suffer, go bankrupt, lose their homes and jobs, and die in misery and poverty.

Those are the folks whose boots you are licking, Mike.

But don't worry. Any so-called "reform" that is actually enacted will protect their ability to get rich by ripping you off.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 11, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Post Office simply bans private companies for delivering first class mail. That's how they compete.

I hate to break it to you, but the Post Office is not making its money on 44 cent stamps.

But let's go with your complaint, and say that the Post Office has to allow private companies to deliver daily mail to your house. How is that going to work? Do you choose a company at the beginning of the year to receive all of your mail from? What if you're not happy with their service -- how do you change it? How do you communicate to your bank, your credit card company, your gas company, your water company and all of your magazine subscriptions that you have changed providers and they now all need to use your new provider?

Or maybe it's the senders who choose, so you get four or five different companies coming to your door to deliver mail every day. Plus the sender will be able to charge you whatever they like for delivery, so you get to pay an extra $50 for every magazine subscription to cover the shipping cost. That copy of Reader's Digest is going to become quite expensive.

Please, tell us what your plan is to privatize mail delivery to every private home and business in the entire United States for less than 44 cents an ounce. We'd all love to hear it.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 11, 2009 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Doug W: "Pelosi/Reid/Obama have to do better to ramp up the rhetoric, find vulnerable points, and make fun of these asshats, AND their outlandish backwoods paranoia."

I'd like to see some signs at the next townhall that say "OBAMA, STOP THE INSURANCE CO. DEATH PANELS!"

Posted by: PRKL8R on August 11, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Laugh if you want but I was proud of my partners in revolution today.

Only to fucking Republicans -- the dumbest heard of panicky animals on Earth -- would screaming in favor of the corporate status quo qualify to anyone, anywhere, as "revolution". You can't even get your idiotic 60s-speak right.

Posted by: Jay B. on August 11, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

You can't even get your idiotic 60s-speak right.

No doubt it comes more easily to an LSD-addled mind. You'd know more about that than I would.

Posted by: Mlke K on August 11, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Can we all just agree that Mike K is a tosser and move on?
As usual the President is his own best sales person but I agree with the comments which note reason & rationality is not the answer. The WH has been outflanked by a motivated opposition and if they are to win this they need to hit back hard and where it hurts...and that is just with the Democrats. The GOP knows all they can do is make Democrats afraid. Fear is their only weapon because they don't have the votes.

Posted by: Nathan on August 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard people on acid make more cogent points about the weight of sunlight and the mathematical possibility of it raining unicorns than anything you've ever written Mike.

But whatever dude. Good luck with your "revolution" of maintaining the shitty health care system! Che would be proud!

And Nathan: How does adding one more voice to say "Yeah, once again, the Democrats don't message for shit and often torpedo themselves" help anything?

Obama is slowly turning around the conversation. Ranking on idiots, frankly, is a more constructive use of my time.

Posted by: Jay B. on August 11, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K. is an interesting study. I'm guessing he has been completely brainwashed by life-long consumption of right-wing lies.

When politics becomes religion--as it did in Stalin's Russia, and in Hitler's Germany and any number of other places in human history--instead of simply "who has power and why", a society is in big trouble. And I think we're in big trouble in America because something like 30% of the voting-age population believes politics is religion, and thus believes every last lie "their side" is willing to tell. Because if you have faith, you believe it all, even if your lying eyes and ears tell you different.

It's the evolutionary-adaptation-of-religion come back to bite us, over and over. Religion was a handy survival adaptation early in human history. Now? Now it's disasterously, often fatally mal-adaptive. That's what we're dealing with here. A very large number of people who could be objectively diagnosed as mentally ill, in that they believe things that are demonstrably untrue. And refuse to give up their belief even in the face of obvious fact.

I should also note that the major reason people who have been brainwashed fight so very hard against actual, factual truth, is because then they have to admit to themselves that they WERE brainwashed, which is, on all the evidence, far more difficult to do than to continue to spout lies in the face of fact. That human fight-or-flight mechanism, our forebrains undone by our hindbrains. It happens so often there should be a name for it.

That's mental-illness, folks.

Posted by: LL on August 11, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

FYI ... this is a public service announcement.

There is an actual right-wing commenter "Mike K" who used to post Ditto-Head bullshit here a lot and still does occasionally. I believe it was the original, real "Mike K" who commented about the post office at 4:30pm.

Then there is at least one parody troll who mocks the real Mike K by posting satires of Ditto-Head bullshit as "Myke K" or "Mlke K".

It can be hard to tell them apart by the content of their similarly idiotic comments. You have to look carefully at the "Posted by" line to see which is which.

And in either case, you are better off laughing at them than getting worked up about their real or satirical idiocies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 11, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jay...it happens to be the truth. Democratic WH, 77 seat majority in the House and +20 in the Senate, the outcome of this should not be in doubt. Democrats like Baucus, Landrieu & Nelson need to have a fire planted firmly under their butts because they are the votes which can kill this. I agree reason & rationality needs to be spread far & wide but dealing with the unhinged & misinformed crowds can only go so far. The media likes to cover conflict so don't expect them to help all that much either. You have to target the votes which matter and those are Democratic votes. I have no desire to see a Democratic party as whipped into submission as the Bush WH had the GOP Congress during his administration but at some point Democrats need to start acting like Democrats and the President is the one who needs to start reminding them of what they are supposed to represent. The Mike K's of the world are just gadflies. They buzz around and irritate because that is all they are capable of doing. You either swat them down or you ignore them but when push comes to shove they don't mean anything. They are noise to be filtered out. Those Democratic votes are the only thing which matters. Once this thing is passed, if it is passed, the country will come around and they will see the world is not ending & our way of life has not been destroyed but instead made better. At that point the right wing will have moved on to the 100th next outrage du jour while we will have the change we believed in. I'm just focusing on the prize.

Posted by: Nathan on August 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with several of the posters who urge everybody to ignore the Mike K

Let him be bitter and cling to his guns. Let him believe in all his crazy libertarian shit, and all the wonderful people on Fox News and talk radio.

He doesn't realize how stupid he really is. The sad thing is that morons like him will benefit from the Health Care overhaul just like anybody else living in this country. Will they ever realize it? The probability is pretty low, but then again, we can always hope.

Ignore Mike K... he'll go back to lapping up the crazy talk at Redstate and the gospel Drudge spews.

Posted by: bruno on August 11, 2009 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

The sad thing is that morons like him will benefit from the Health Care overhaul just like anybody else living in this country.

You have no idea what you're talking about. I'm a retired surgeon. My healthcare is free.

Jealous?

Posted by: Mlke K on August 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

How does the post office ban a private company from delivering letters?

Posted by: justin on August 11, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

How does the post office ban a private company from delivering letters?

Posted by: justin on August 11, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is time to start a recovery program for the 25%-30% of incorrigibles, not unlike Mike K

Kind'a like a 12-step program for Dittoheads.

Step 1: Admit that you have a problem... A problem of the mind.

Right now they're still in the grieving process of having lost their ideal world under Bush.

As anybody dealing with grief knows: denial and anger are integral parts. What are we seeing from all the right wingers? A lot of anger and even more denial of reality.

We can only hope that they don't remain stuck in that phase and move on to acceptance, so they can heal from the brainwashing.

Posted by: bruno on August 11, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jay...it happens to be the truth.

Oh no doubt. But neither is it news that a large swatch of Democrats, which may include Obama, or may not, particularly want real reform and an even larger number won't fight for it.

You can see it by the flatfooted "response" they had to the Astroturfing. Most Dems just folded or were "shocked", but few had laid down the framework before the apes started throwing their shit.

Hell, the capitulation started way before that, alternately taking the public option off the table (before putting it tentatively back on) and unilaterally talking about getting Republicans on board.

It's been a particularly inept effort. But it's not surprising given the Democrats' long track record of ineptitude and/or lack of guts.

It's depressing, really. And to organize now is way too late to get meaningful "debate" on the next best step forward. Single-payer should have been Obama's opening gambit and it wasn't. Now were down to public option on "our" side and "death panels" on their side. And "our" side almost certainly WON'T support the public option.

For me, the last sliver of hope is to get something, just as a tactical victory over the reactionaries and shut them the fuck up.

Posted by: Jay B. on August 11, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but I can't resist this one, I have to ignore my own advice by taking Mike K's bait.

Mike K claims: I'm a retired surgeon. My healthcare is free.

Wow. What are all the options?

1) I highly doubt a surgeon would have such a simple mind. I work with several surgeons and none spew your nonsense.

2) Maybe you are a retired surgeon, but not by choice. Maybe you had too many malpractice claims and retired before losing your license?

3) FYI there is NO such thing as free health care. that is the problem with right wingers, they don't realize that just because you receive health care at no cost to you; someone is paying for it.

4) Obviously you are taking advantage of a very generous health care program, at no cost to you, but don't want the rest of the country have the same opportunity. How generous of you.

5) If you truly were in the medical field, look up the word 'cognitive dissonance.

Oh... don't give me any of your bullshit crap about having earned your FREE healthcare coverage.

It doesn't matter whether you're getting your FREE care from:
- the VA because you served in the military,
- Medicare because you're retired,
- Medicaid because you're too poor,
- other government agency because you were a government employee or,
- worse a former congress critter who obviously is not deserving.

Mike K; you should try some ear candling to clear out the ditto wax; that way you'll 'hear' when someone tells you that the above programs are run by the government.

Pretty sad to see a right winger admit that he is a leach on society.

Posted by: bruno on August 11, 2009 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday you blocked my comment. Today, the site is full of fakes posting comments I would never make. I know you only want zombies like those folks who were let into Obama's "town hall meeting" but it may be hazardous to your majority to be this ignorant of public opinion.

I'm not sure anybody can make sense of Obama's comments about the Post Office. It actually makes a pretty good argument against his bill. Who would you rather have taking care of you ? The Post Office or FedEx ?

Posted by: Mike K on August 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Either these "conservatives" are truly stupid or just plain selfish, or more likely, both. They got what they want and who gives a crap about anyone else. They believe that great myth propagated by the oligarchy that if you just work hard enough, or are smart enough, you can be rich too and if you don't/aren't then you get what you deserve. Always worried about someone getting some advantage that you didn't. Dog eat dog. Stay away from my bone.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on August 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bruno, you are reacting to the fakes that your moderator won't delete. Not my problem.

Posted by: Mike K on August 11, 2009 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Do those ear candles work? I...um, a friend of mine would like to know.

Posted by: shortstop on August 11, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Mike K: Bugger you, I'm all right, Jack.

Posted by: Virginia on August 11, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Mike, you're really unpopular here. People don't seem to think your ideas have much merit.

Posted by: TJ on August 11, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Who would you rather have taking care of you ? The Post Office or FedEx ?

After my most recent experience with FedEx, where the rep I spoke to on the phone forgot to schedule my pickup -- you know, the reason I was talking to her in the first place -- so that after speaking to four supervisors and finally getting the CATS team on the phone, they agreed to send the packages overnight at the 2-day price, and then I got my bill and it turned out that I got a princely $9.00 (yes, that's nine dollars) credit for having to spend an hour on the phone for them to explain why they screwed up?

I'll take the Post Office, thanks. At least they charge less to screw me.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 11, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

If they run the government option like the post office they might as well take it off the table.

Posted by: ScottW on August 11, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and my similar experience with the Post Office when they lost a package? I filed an electronic complaint and got a callback the very same day to let me know someone was working on the problem. The package stayed lost (it probably went to the wrong company's large mailroom), but I was able to get Amazon.com to re-send it for free because I had filed a report with USPS.

Bite me, FedEx.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 11, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

When all the publishing houses turned down my book, they used the USPS to send me their rejection letters.

When I paid my own money to self-publish it, I used FedEx to send in the manuscript, transfer proofs, etc., to the vanity press.

Who's got higher standards? Me or the bastards who criticized my book and insulted my writing? They don't even have a company budget for private shipping.

Posted by: Mlke K on August 11, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

bjobotts: A public options is not motivated by making a profit

In fact, it would run at a loss, and drive the insurance companies out of business. Then we would have the "single payer" system that Obama has said he wants, but now says is not in the bill.

The problem with Obama saying all these reassuring things is that he has not read the bills (he said so), and does not know the provisions. He does not know how the provisions would be interpreted/perverted by the government beyond what Obama says. His reassurances are less solid than Palin's warnings.

Posted by: marketeer on August 11, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, it would run at a loss, and drive the insurance companies out of business.

Because private insurance companies couldn't possibly offer a superior product to the dreaded Government Plan?

Interesting admission, "marketeer."

Posted by: Gregory on August 11, 2009 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

What is amazing to me is that people like marketeer seem to be worried about whether Obama's numbers will add up.

I wonder where all those 'concern trolls' were when Bush, with a straight face, told us that the war in Iraq would pay for itself, and it would be a cake walk, and we'd be in and out of there in a jiffy.

Sure liberals raised those concerns but nobody was listening - so much for that so called liberal media.

Now it's all about how the numbers don't compute and how we'll be spending 1 trillion over 10 years. If a conservative economist like Laffer, can't figure out that the 100 billion a year comes down to less than 1% increase over the amount of money we are already spending on healthcare; how are reasonable people to get through to the masses who believe any bullshit they're fed?

Oh... Why not ask ANY right winger if spending 100 billion a year on healthcare-for-all is worse than spending 100 billion a year on fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It actually wouldn't surprise me if they say Iraq is more important because it keeps us safe. LOL

Posted by: bruno on August 11, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hey.... marketeer I fixed one of your errors:

He does not know how the provisions would be interpreted/perverted by the Right Wing nuts beyond what Obama says.

Posted by: bruno on August 11, 2009 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

More GREAT Fact-Checking by ABC News at the top of the World News with Charlie Gibson. Seems they've dropped the 'he said/they said' coverage of healthcare.

Jake Tapper even called Obama the "Fact-Checker in Chief".

They will most certainly get slimed by the American RightWing for this.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 11, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Jay...I agree totally that Obama made a serious tactical error in not putting singer-payer on the table first as the opening gambit. I really think they thought they could work with the GOP on this issue but by opening with something they thought would be conservative friendly, they have nothing to fall back to.
And for the record, I'm not against opposing viewpoints...I just only deal with opposing viewpoints when they have something in common with reality and are factual in nature. I don't think that is so much to ask.

Posted by: Nathan on August 11, 2009 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I just only deal with opposing viewpoints when they have something in common with reality and are factual in nature. I don't think that is so much to ask.

You've been on the Internet, right?

Posted by: Jay B. on August 11, 2009 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, since 1993. I know. I know. Does not mean I have to accept trolling or buy into it by helping it along. Trolls are like children, ignore them long enough and they will cry themselves out or go somewhere else where people pay attention to them.

Posted by: Nathan on August 11, 2009 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I see more phony posts with my name so I guess the moderators, quick to delete a right wing comment, are happy with all these sock puppets. You really need to get out more among people who don't agree with you. I come over here and read what is posted to see what the left is thinking. You don't seem to want to know what the other side is thinking. Very well. You will get some surprises. The whole public reaction to the Obama policies is something I've not seen before. Public anger is really high and you folks are oblivious.

Good luck.

Posted by: Mike K on August 11, 2009 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Here are a couple of paragraphs from today's Wall Street Journal:


Different people have different objections to these proposals, almost all practical. Many loathe the status quo and advance reforms that would make health care more market-friendly and coverage more affordable—especially for the working poor. The questions they ask are likewise grounded in common sense: “What will it cost?” “How will we pay for it?” and “Is the public option a Trojan Horse for a single-payer system, just as Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank suggests?”

“President Obama says that both sides agree we need to lower costs, promote choice and provide coverage for every American,” says Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a free-market health-care think tank. “But he never confronts the simple fact that the measures he’s supporting achieve none of those goals. Instead of debating, the White House attacks anyone who raises a question.”

Up until now Obama has given very good speeches. I am not saying he won't give good speeches any more, but the task for him now is to persuade a generally skeptical public, in a political system designed to resist change, that the changes he proposes will work as he says they will. For that, it would help if he or someone oh his side had actually mastered the details of the legislation.

The legislation proposed comes up short of universal coverage; replaces one kind of "rationing" with another; glibly promises to lower costs (disputed by CBO); promises to protect choice while running a public insurance program (even as major proponents hope that a single-payer system will result); and increases taxes without lowering premiums or (there is conflict here among the laws) co-payments.

Even if it is true that opponents are irrascible and obtuse, it doesn't help the proponents that they simply deny there are any problems in the law. The government does not always do things worse than commercial enterprises, but it doesn't always do them better either.

Mike K: I'm not sure anybody can make sense of Obama's comments about the Post Office. It actually makes a pretty good argument against his bill. Who would you rather have taking care of you ? The Post Office or FedEx ?

What we want is the choice, without excessive government regulation of FedEx (UPS, Purolator, etc).

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 11, 2009 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Public anger is really high and you folks are oblivious.

The majority of the posts on this blog have been devoted to the public anger around health care, including very specific examples of the cluelessness of the nutters out there. Clearly, we are not oblivious, however: you are so stupid it hurts.

Further, the recent mob anger shows that the DHS report was correct and we were right about it being correct: the greatest threat to this country, to its people, to our political system, and to our ideals is violence from right-wing nutjobs like the ones who show up at these town halls packing guns and SS signs.

I know, I know: if only we hadn't roused their ire by electing a black man who wouldn't serve drinks to the Republicans and accede to their every whim blah blah blah.

Perhaps you should spend more time hanging around Red State and less around here.

Posted by: trex on August 11, 2009 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

"You don't seem to want to know what the other side is thinking." Mike K 9:01

There's your problem right there.

.
.

Posted by: ROF on August 11, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it is true that opponents are irrascible and obtuse, it doesn't help the proponents that they simply deny there are any problems in the law.

Agreed. Let me say that I believe this watered-down public option idea that probably won't even pass is anemic. Apparently neither Obama nor the Democrats are serious about providing health care, so they've come up with a half-assed measure that will drown in revisions and probably end up creating loopholes for health insurers to further screw Americans down the road.

The sad commentary in all this is that the right wing peabrains not only don't understand this, they're afraid that this bill that is actually a reprieve for the insurance companies is going to make all their toilet paper disappear and turn us into the Soviet Union. What utter morons.

We need a single-payer system, period. Because of the cultural stupidity of a large segment of the American populace -- and it ain't the Left -- we will probably never get it. Even stipulating that in order to achieve such a transition politically it might take steps to get there, this anemic bill is not it.

Just. tragic.

And for all the numbnuts who are bound to jump all over my remarks as self-serving, I would guess that I have better health insurance than 95% of the visitors to this blog. It is an excellent plan that is virtually impossible for most people to get. But I understand that it is sheer luck that I have it, and it could disappear at any time with a job change. And that shouldn't be the case. No one should have to play roulette with their health.

We no longer deny women and minorities the right to vote, we no longer deny people of different colors to marry, there is no reason that we cannot promote the general welfare by providing good, universal health coverage.

Posted by: trex on August 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

trex - Hear hear. I agree that without a strong public option we're being sold a bunch of (regulated) lemons. But right now the best way to make (admittedly watered down) lemonade is to GO TO THE MEETINGS. Be prepared to out-shout, out-argue, and out-maneuver the insane clown posse; be prepared with high information arguments; be prepared to marginalize the marginal with lung power, numbers, and truth. Most of all, be prepared to contribute to a civil discussion of health care reform. What we're talking about here is not just returning force with force; what's at stake is showing unequivocally that behavior which shuts down civil discourse is unacceptable and WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. So: be prepared, get out of your chair, and GO TO THESE MEETINGS.

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on August 11, 2009 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

One of the main objectives of the congressional recess is for cogresscritters to get face to face contact with their constituents. So do that - go to your Representative's and Senators' local offices and present your case why we need health care reform WITH A PUBLIC OPTION. Go as a group - it's much more powerful. Bring your family, your friends, and have your stories and arguments ready. Email your Reps and Senators with your thoughts and follow up with a phone call. Call your Rep. or Senator's office, find out when they're having public meetings, and GO TO THE MEETING.

This stuff works, folks. Democracy in action. And if the teabaggers continue to operate in a vacuum at the ground level, no amount of speechifying from the top will counter it. Bitching about feckless Dems only goes so far, and we've long since passed that point. So DO SOMETHING. Now.

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on August 11, 2009 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne

I'm with you. I love the Post Office. Quick, efficient and easy. I live in a really small town and without it I would have to drive at least twenty miles to send a package.

Oh, and my delivery man is my neighbor. He's a very nice guy. And I know his name and his kids.

And when I was growing up in LA my postman was my neighbor too. His name was Calvin.

Posted by: elouise on August 11, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, Fedex has lower customer satisfaction than the post office, actually.

We've got Mike K and Mlke K. Where's Myke K? I miss that guy.

In any case, Obama is the consummate poker player... he's made sure that his opponents are totally committed and have all their chips in before he goes on the offensive. It's kind of stunning, really, and it takes a certain level of nerve to hold back stepping into the fray until the Republicans have escalated into full-out crazy mode.... but it's impressive how he has the steely nerves to hold back until his opponents completely marginalize themselves and become known as "the crazy ones" before he steps in as the "grand reasonable reconciliator."

Posted by: Tyro on August 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

trex: We need a single-payer system, period. Because of the cultural stupidity of a large segment of the American populace -- and it ain't the Left -- we will probably never get it.

For what it's worth, Canada, Germany and Switzerland have moved away from single payer systems.

Lots of the protests have been moronic. However, there are reports of protestors who have copies of (at least one of) the bills, and have read passages from them to the representatives as background to their questions. There are reports of proponents shouting down those questions. So, there is some intelligence on both sides, as well as idiocy.

I think that the Dems are sincerely conflicted: some want a public plan in competition with the insurance companies, and some want a single payer. The Reps believe that almost any change that the Dems can agree on will be a change for the worse.

Single payer is only supported by about 1/3 of Americans. I don't think you (or anybody) could be persuasive starting from the assertion that 2/3 of Americans are morons (especially if it were true!)

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 12, 2009 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Reps believe that almost any change that the Dems can agree on will be a change for the worse.

Yeah, Marler, for their own political fortunes, as noted by Bill Kristol and Frank Luntz. You aren't selling anyone on the idea that the Republican opposition to this bill is based on genuine philsosophical differences.

It is refreshing to see that you've dropped your earlier laughably unpersuasive pretense as an honent commentator and have reverted to your usual bad faith postings.

Go ahead and chortle that the American people have been bamboozled by 15 years of Republican and corporatist propaganda, carried uncritically by a not-even-remotely-liberal media -- a campaign of dishonesty and deception that you, in your own odious way, have gleefully participated in for years.

Yeah, go ahead. The Republican embrace of crazy can mean only one thing: That the Democrats will remain the only sane alternatives, and that you don't get your sweet, sweet tax cuts.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on August 12, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Single payer is only supported by about 1/3 of Americans. I don't think you (or anybody) could be persuasive starting from the assertion that 2/3 of Americans are morons (especially if it were true!)

If 2/3 of the American people were to say, "Look, trex, here are the costs and challenges associated with single payer and there is just no way to make this a better system than one with private insurance and here's why" and we all had a little discussion about it, I'd happily change my mind based on a factual discussion.

Instead, of those 2/3 who don't support single payer, the reasons for most have everything to do with Hitler, toilet paper, and gubmint bureaucrats decidin' whosa gonna die.

Let's just tell it like it is: this is a country in which a huge population has yet to embrace education, impartiality, the common good, or the promotion of the general welfare. This just happens to benefit the Republican party, whose platform of me-firstism and oligarchy is served by it.

As for the the claim that those three countries "moving away from," single-payer are they really? Are they going to dump their universal coverage? Never.

Posted by: trex on August 12, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

trex: As for the the claim that those three countries "moving away from," single-payer are they really? Are they going to dump their universal coverage? Never.

I think that you have commingled two ideas. NO, they are not dropping universal coverage; YES they are moving away from single payer by permitting enlarged roles for private insurance. The USPS/FEDEX analogy is sufficiently accurate: the private plans are more expensive and cover more expensive treatments not covered by universal coverage.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 12, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK
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