Good, but not perfect, night for conservatives

In yesterday’s elections, two states that voted for Barack Obama elected Republican governors and Maine voters repealed in a referendum that state’s previously passed approval of gay marriage. The only bright spot for Democrats was in New York, where they picked up a previously Republican congressional district, turning back a conservative insurgent who drove the Republican out of the race.

What do the Republican victories mean? It isn’t necessary to see them as a repudiation of President Obama for these elections to have big political consequences.

Virginia’s Republican landslide will put the blue dog Southern Democrats on notice that their constituencies may turn against them very quickly if they perceive them as too liberal. This can only have an inhibiting effect on their support for controversial liberal proposals, such as health care reform.

The Republican win in New Jersey shows that even liberal Democrats in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic state will not tolerate corruption, constantly rising taxes, and administrative ineptness and are capable of turning against the party and electing a Republican. This sends a message to Democrats that they can take nothing for granted, and it sends a message to both parties that they had better have competent candidates who can do a good job in the offices to which they are elected.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    We want different things from different politicians. We want the President to represent idealism, lofty goals, hopes and dreams. But we want legislators and governors to actually be pragmatic, practical, realistic. It’s our own sense of checks and balanaces as voters at work.

  • Jonathan

    We want different things from different politicians. We want the President to represent idealism, lofty goals, hopes and dreams. But we want legislators and governors to actually be pragmatic, practical, realistic. It’s our own sense of checks and balanaces as voters at work.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Effects of this election:

    Should anyone have doubted it, the bloom is distinctly off St. Obama.

    The Blue Dogs will think twice about such issues as Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

    McConnell’s and Boehner’s positions are strengthened beyond what they could have dreamed in 2006 and 2008.

    The ablest of potential Republican candidates will be emboldened to come forward in 2010.

    The squishy Republican leaders, such as those who put forth the RINO, Scozzafava in NY 23, will favor real though not far-right Republicans

    The Democrats suffered a grave defeat, notwithstanding their fuzzy rationalizations today.

    Republicans and conservatives who felt a certain despair in 2006 and 2008 have reason for hope, providing they understand the overwhelming concern of Republicans and Independents about the serious economic issues of unemployment and excessive government spending.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Effects of this election:

    Should anyone have doubted it, the bloom is distinctly off St. Obama.

    The Blue Dogs will think twice about such issues as Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

    McConnell’s and Boehner’s positions are strengthened beyond what they could have dreamed in 2006 and 2008.

    The ablest of potential Republican candidates will be emboldened to come forward in 2010.

    The squishy Republican leaders, such as those who put forth the RINO, Scozzafava in NY 23, will favor real though not far-right Republicans

    The Democrats suffered a grave defeat, notwithstanding their fuzzy rationalizations today.

    Republicans and conservatives who felt a certain despair in 2006 and 2008 have reason for hope, providing they understand the overwhelming concern of Republicans and Independents about the serious economic issues of unemployment and excessive government spending.

  • DonS

    The value of these elections, as it was in 1993, prior to the 1994 Republican landslides, is to warn Democrats that the elections of 2006 and 2008 were not mandates to impose a multitude of leftist entitlement programs on the American people. Rather, they were a response by an American people weary of war and the infighting caused by the war, and of an unpopular administration. In addition, the Republican base was unmotivated, because the Republicans had been in power for over a decade and had not demonstrated a lasting commitment to the conservative values they espoused.

    Now, it is the Democratic base that is unmotivated, and the Republican base is extremely motivated because of the violence that has been done to its values over the past year. 2010 should be very interesting. The parallels between 1990-94 and 1006-10 are uncanny.

  • DonS

    The value of these elections, as it was in 1993, prior to the 1994 Republican landslides, is to warn Democrats that the elections of 2006 and 2008 were not mandates to impose a multitude of leftist entitlement programs on the American people. Rather, they were a response by an American people weary of war and the infighting caused by the war, and of an unpopular administration. In addition, the Republican base was unmotivated, because the Republicans had been in power for over a decade and had not demonstrated a lasting commitment to the conservative values they espoused.

    Now, it is the Democratic base that is unmotivated, and the Republican base is extremely motivated because of the violence that has been done to its values over the past year. 2010 should be very interesting. The parallels between 1990-94 and 1006-10 are uncanny.

  • DonS

    Um, that should be 2006-10, of course. I am not enough of a historian to have any idea of the events of 1006-10, though I know the Battle of Hastings occurred some sixty years later.

  • DonS

    Um, that should be 2006-10, of course. I am not enough of a historian to have any idea of the events of 1006-10, though I know the Battle of Hastings occurred some sixty years later.

  • Sam

    Actually, it was a very poor night for conservatives; let’s distinguish conservatives from moderate Republicans, who the conservatives are purging from the party.

    It was a poor night because the one ideological conservative, Hoffman, was defeated in a district that had been Republican for decades. Voters there said they’d rather have a Democrat than a ideological conservative, who ran the GOP candidate out of the race while he confessed to knowing nothing about local issues.

    Moreover, the victories by the GOP gubernatorial candidates cannot be considered ideological wins. Governors cannot afford to be ideological; they must be pragmatists as they deal with a host of sticky local problems as well as their legislatures. They may lean left or right, but they cannot afford the luxury of adhering to ideology, the way a member of congress or even a state legislator can. This is why no president can ever be truly liberal or conservative.

    So, the gubernatorial wins last night were Republican wins, to be sure, but hardly victories for the ideological conservative movement that is attempting to control the GOP. Let’s face it; the success of that movement, as it is led by Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, etc., will signal the end of the Republican party as a national party.

  • Sam

    Actually, it was a very poor night for conservatives; let’s distinguish conservatives from moderate Republicans, who the conservatives are purging from the party.

    It was a poor night because the one ideological conservative, Hoffman, was defeated in a district that had been Republican for decades. Voters there said they’d rather have a Democrat than a ideological conservative, who ran the GOP candidate out of the race while he confessed to knowing nothing about local issues.

    Moreover, the victories by the GOP gubernatorial candidates cannot be considered ideological wins. Governors cannot afford to be ideological; they must be pragmatists as they deal with a host of sticky local problems as well as their legislatures. They may lean left or right, but they cannot afford the luxury of adhering to ideology, the way a member of congress or even a state legislator can. This is why no president can ever be truly liberal or conservative.

    So, the gubernatorial wins last night were Republican wins, to be sure, but hardly victories for the ideological conservative movement that is attempting to control the GOP. Let’s face it; the success of that movement, as it is led by Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, etc., will signal the end of the Republican party as a national party.

  • DonS

    That was a very brave attempt at spin, Sam. But you know full well that NY-23 was a one-time deal. Yes, the Republicans handled it in a ham-handed manner, partly by nominating a left-wing barely Republican, using an out-of-step closed door party boss methodology, and then by inartfully handling the resultant outcry. Feelings were hurt, Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat because of those hurt feelings, etc. But, let’s face it, a guy who was not on the radar screen a month ago, running on a third party ticket, lost by only 4 points, with Scozzafava taking 5 points. It is easy to see how the Republicans take back that seat next year, so I think the jury is out on that one until the 2010 elections.

    As for the governorships, both Christie and McDonnell ran on fiscally conservative anti-tax platforms, the exact opposite of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid approach. McDonnell won a state that went for Obama by 6 points by the greatest margin since 1961. Christie won a state that went for Obama by 20 or so points by 4 points, even though Obama lived there for the last two months. Hard to see how this should not send some kind of re-calibration message to the Democrats running this country.

  • DonS

    That was a very brave attempt at spin, Sam. But you know full well that NY-23 was a one-time deal. Yes, the Republicans handled it in a ham-handed manner, partly by nominating a left-wing barely Republican, using an out-of-step closed door party boss methodology, and then by inartfully handling the resultant outcry. Feelings were hurt, Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat because of those hurt feelings, etc. But, let’s face it, a guy who was not on the radar screen a month ago, running on a third party ticket, lost by only 4 points, with Scozzafava taking 5 points. It is easy to see how the Republicans take back that seat next year, so I think the jury is out on that one until the 2010 elections.

    As for the governorships, both Christie and McDonnell ran on fiscally conservative anti-tax platforms, the exact opposite of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid approach. McDonnell won a state that went for Obama by 6 points by the greatest margin since 1961. Christie won a state that went for Obama by 20 or so points by 4 points, even though Obama lived there for the last two months. Hard to see how this should not send some kind of re-calibration message to the Democrats running this country.

  • Joe

    DonS – nice summary @6. Nailed it.

  • Joe

    DonS – nice summary @6. Nailed it.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don does nail it. Sam’s fallacy is distinguishing a hard line between conservatives and Republicans. Both McConnell and Deeds are moderate Republican conservatives. Also, the pundits in New York argue that had Hoffman been nominated by the Republican bigwigs in the 23rd, he would have been elected.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Don does nail it. Sam’s fallacy is distinguishing a hard line between conservatives and Republicans. Both McConnell and Deeds are moderate Republican conservatives. Also, the pundits in New York argue that had Hoffman been nominated by the Republican bigwigs in the 23rd, he would have been elected.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “It sends a message to both parties that they had better have competent candidates who can do a good job in the offices to which they are elected.”

    Why hasn’t Bryan Lindemood already laughed mockingly at this line? Is he asleep? Do I need to do his job for him? Okay, then …

    No doubt both parties will hear this message loud and clear and provide us with only the best candidates in 2010, having seen the error of their ways from the foregoing century or so.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “It sends a message to both parties that they had better have competent candidates who can do a good job in the offices to which they are elected.”

    Why hasn’t Bryan Lindemood already laughed mockingly at this line? Is he asleep? Do I need to do his job for him? Okay, then …

    No doubt both parties will hear this message loud and clear and provide us with only the best candidates in 2010, having seen the error of their ways from the foregoing century or so.

  • Sam

    DonS – you completely miss the point. You can’t claim every Republican win as a win for conservatives.

  • Sam

    DonS – you completely miss the point. You can’t claim every Republican win as a win for conservatives.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Yeah, yeah, tODD, you’ve got me. And yet again I see that you are the true conservative here, distrusting government so much, thinking all government officials are incompetent. And I’ll bet you sure don’t want these people running your health care, do you?

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Yeah, yeah, tODD, you’ve got me. And yet again I see that you are the true conservative here, distrusting government so much, thinking all government officials are incompetent. And I’ll bet you sure don’t want these people running your health care, do you?

  • Kirk

    I see what both Sam and Don are saying, but I’m not sure I’m buying it, either way.

    McDonnell ran on a fiscally conservative platform, yes, but he also shied away from his conservative moral standpoints of yesteryear and he’s more anti gun-rights. He also wants to deregulate state liquor sales (conservative, but not socially conservative), expand infrastructure, and make government more transparent

    On the one hand, his platform seems in line with what tea-party types want: lower taxes, less waste, more transparency. On the other hand, it was hardly a value voters platform. He certainly wasn’t channeling George Bush or Sarah Palin (in fact, he refused Palin’s help). So maybe it’s a victory for conservative party types, but maybe it’s a victory for moderates.

  • Kirk

    I see what both Sam and Don are saying, but I’m not sure I’m buying it, either way.

    McDonnell ran on a fiscally conservative platform, yes, but he also shied away from his conservative moral standpoints of yesteryear and he’s more anti gun-rights. He also wants to deregulate state liquor sales (conservative, but not socially conservative), expand infrastructure, and make government more transparent

    On the one hand, his platform seems in line with what tea-party types want: lower taxes, less waste, more transparency. On the other hand, it was hardly a value voters platform. He certainly wasn’t channeling George Bush or Sarah Palin (in fact, he refused Palin’s help). So maybe it’s a victory for conservative party types, but maybe it’s a victory for moderates.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ll go you one better, Veith, and distrust not just politicians, but those in the health insurance industry, as well! I certainly don’t want the latter running my health care — and this I know from experience! So, for me, it’s the devil you know (and are rather tired of) vs. the devil you don’t.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’ll go you one better, Veith, and distrust not just politicians, but those in the health insurance industry, as well! I certainly don’t want the latter running my health care — and this I know from experience! So, for me, it’s the devil you know (and are rather tired of) vs. the devil you don’t.

  • DonS

    Sam @ 5: One more thing. I am, indeed, touched by the sudden concern that liberal pundits such as Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and others (including yourself, apparently) have for the well being of the Republican party, and specifically with the so-called moderate Republicans being rebuffed by the “extreme” right wing. But how exactly is this different than what was done to Joe Lieberman in Connecticut? The tolerance of Democrats for “moderates” in their own party doesn’t seem particularly high either.

  • DonS

    Sam @ 5: One more thing. I am, indeed, touched by the sudden concern that liberal pundits such as Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and others (including yourself, apparently) have for the well being of the Republican party, and specifically with the so-called moderate Republicans being rebuffed by the “extreme” right wing. But how exactly is this different than what was done to Joe Lieberman in Connecticut? The tolerance of Democrats for “moderates” in their own party doesn’t seem particularly high either.

  • Dan Kempin

    Todd #9,

    Thanks for the chuckle. I always appreciate your wit, whether or not I agree with your point.

  • Dan Kempin

    Todd #9,

    Thanks for the chuckle. I always appreciate your wit, whether or not I agree with your point.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, given the revolving door between regulators, lobbyists, and regulated, don’t be so quick to assume that you’d be dealing with the devil you don’t know. :^)

    Besides, the insurance execs have helped us get a system where we have 200,000 fewer cancer deaths each year than if we had european style/quality healthcare. We do know the other devil, and he’s decidedly more lethal.

    Hopefully the GOP resurgence here prevents socialized healthcare from becoming any more dominant here….

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, given the revolving door between regulators, lobbyists, and regulated, don’t be so quick to assume that you’d be dealing with the devil you don’t know. :^)

    Besides, the insurance execs have helped us get a system where we have 200,000 fewer cancer deaths each year than if we had european style/quality healthcare. We do know the other devil, and he’s decidedly more lethal.

    Hopefully the GOP resurgence here prevents socialized healthcare from becoming any more dominant here….

  • Peter Leavitt

    The sort of easy cynicism that disparages politicians in general and insurance companies solves nothing. It is in fact a callous juvenile indulgence.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The sort of easy cynicism that disparages politicians in general and insurance companies solves nothing. It is in fact a callous juvenile indulgence.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, you said (@16) “the insurance execs have helped us get a system where we have 200,000 fewer cancer deaths each year than if we had european style/quality healthcare. We do know the other devil, and he’s decidedly more lethal.”

    So much specious reasoning in so little space. Where to start?

    I’m going to ignore the rather tentative connection between insurance execs and mortality rates, and focus on the real issue here: conservatives, Republicans, and those who generally favor the status quo in health insurance generally only cite the rate of deaths from cancer. Note how you (baselessly) generalized from this one rate to conclude that “European style” health care is “decidedly more lethal”.

    Mm-hmm. Except it’s not even true for cancer. Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer deaths per capita from all types of cancer than does the US: [for men] Finland, Spain, Norway, Greece, Iceland, Sweden; [for women] Austria, Luxembourg, Poland, Germany, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, France Portugal, Spain, Greece. Not to mention that Cuba did better than us for both sexes! [1]

    How about heart disease? How does the US compare to Europe there? Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer deaths from heart disease per capita than the US: Germany, Denmark, Poland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France. [2]

    How about infant mortality? Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer infant deaths per capita than the US: Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Czech Rep., Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia, UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus. (And, yes, Cuba beats us there, too). [3]

    So thanks, insurance execs, for letting more US babies die, for letting more of us die from heart disease, and, yes, for letting more of us die from cancer. Bubba says it’s all to your credit.

    [1] rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/raterisk/rates39.html Feel free to find more recent data if you want to dispute. I welcome actual data.
    [2] nationmaster.com/graph/hea_hea_dis_dea-health-heart-disease-deaths
    [3] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba, you said (@16) “the insurance execs have helped us get a system where we have 200,000 fewer cancer deaths each year than if we had european style/quality healthcare. We do know the other devil, and he’s decidedly more lethal.”

    So much specious reasoning in so little space. Where to start?

    I’m going to ignore the rather tentative connection between insurance execs and mortality rates, and focus on the real issue here: conservatives, Republicans, and those who generally favor the status quo in health insurance generally only cite the rate of deaths from cancer. Note how you (baselessly) generalized from this one rate to conclude that “European style” health care is “decidedly more lethal”.

    Mm-hmm. Except it’s not even true for cancer. Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer deaths per capita from all types of cancer than does the US: [for men] Finland, Spain, Norway, Greece, Iceland, Sweden; [for women] Austria, Luxembourg, Poland, Germany, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, France Portugal, Spain, Greece. Not to mention that Cuba did better than us for both sexes! [1]

    How about heart disease? How does the US compare to Europe there? Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer deaths from heart disease per capita than the US: Germany, Denmark, Poland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France. [2]

    How about infant mortality? Here’s a list of European countries that have fewer infant deaths per capita than the US: Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Czech Rep., Switzerland, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia, UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus. (And, yes, Cuba beats us there, too). [3]

    So thanks, insurance execs, for letting more US babies die, for letting more of us die from heart disease, and, yes, for letting more of us die from cancer. Bubba says it’s all to your credit.

    [1] rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/raterisk/rates39.html Feel free to find more recent data if you want to dispute. I welcome actual data.
    [2] nationmaster.com/graph/hea_hea_dis_dea-health-heart-disease-deaths
    [3] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But Peter (@17), surely you have no problems with “indulgences”!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But Peter (@17), surely you have no problems with “indulgences”!

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, your response in itself is rather a cynical non sequitur.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, your response in itself is rather a cynical non sequitur.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The best part of yesterday’s election was the vote by the people of Maine to rescind a law that approved of homosexual “marriage.” It is remarkable that in a liberal New England State whose legislature and governor approved a gay marriage law the people voted against it, making this the thirty-first state referendum disapproving gay marriage.

    Tony Esalen in a a Touchstone Mere Comments blogScore One for Nature writes the following money paragraph on this:

    Voters in Maine last night narrowly repealed a law granting to same-sex couples the recognition of being married. I am choosing my words advisedly here. A man can no more marry a man than he can marry a post. A woman cannot marry a woman, any more than she can marry a hair dryer or a rainbow. Yes, it is true, they can form eroticized friendships that mimic marriage, just as they can do things with their bodies (as can a man and woman together) that mimic sexual intercourse. But they cannot form the one-flesh union of man and woman that is biologically designed, when the conditions are right, to bring about a new human being. This is a plain fact. Indeed, there are biological changes that occur in both man and woman in the marital embrace that suggest that their union functions as a single organism, literally the “one flesh” that Jesus says was the Father’s will for them “in the beginning,” meaning not only before the Fall, but at the foundation of all sexual reality here and now, and forevermore.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The best part of yesterday’s election was the vote by the people of Maine to rescind a law that approved of homosexual “marriage.” It is remarkable that in a liberal New England State whose legislature and governor approved a gay marriage law the people voted against it, making this the thirty-first state referendum disapproving gay marriage.

    Tony Esalen in a a Touchstone Mere Comments blogScore One for Nature writes the following money paragraph on this:

    Voters in Maine last night narrowly repealed a law granting to same-sex couples the recognition of being married. I am choosing my words advisedly here. A man can no more marry a man than he can marry a post. A woman cannot marry a woman, any more than she can marry a hair dryer or a rainbow. Yes, it is true, they can form eroticized friendships that mimic marriage, just as they can do things with their bodies (as can a man and woman together) that mimic sexual intercourse. But they cannot form the one-flesh union of man and woman that is biologically designed, when the conditions are right, to bring about a new human being. This is a plain fact. Indeed, there are biological changes that occur in both man and woman in the marital embrace that suggest that their union functions as a single organism, literally the “one flesh” that Jesus says was the Father’s will for them “in the beginning,” meaning not only before the Fall, but at the foundation of all sexual reality here and now, and forevermore.

  • Sam

    I was merely refuting Veith’s premise that it was good night for conservatives. It was not. The Dems gained two seats in the House last night (there was another special election in CA, besides the more famous one in NY). The conservatives’ attempt in NY to run the more moderate GOP candidate off the ticket resulted in voters there choosing a Dem candidate for the first time since before the Civil war.
    As for the governors, yes, two Republicans won. One of whom refused to have Sarah Palin campaign for him. So, at most, we can say that one conservative won last night – McDonnell, though as a governor, he’s going to have to be more pragmatic than ideological. But I’ll concede he’s a conservative, and he did win.
    Given that one victory, did conservatives have a good night? Not on your life.

  • Sam

    I was merely refuting Veith’s premise that it was good night for conservatives. It was not. The Dems gained two seats in the House last night (there was another special election in CA, besides the more famous one in NY). The conservatives’ attempt in NY to run the more moderate GOP candidate off the ticket resulted in voters there choosing a Dem candidate for the first time since before the Civil war.
    As for the governors, yes, two Republicans won. One of whom refused to have Sarah Palin campaign for him. So, at most, we can say that one conservative won last night – McDonnell, though as a governor, he’s going to have to be more pragmatic than ideological. But I’ll concede he’s a conservative, and he did win.
    Given that one victory, did conservatives have a good night? Not on your life.

  • DonS

    Sure, Sam. Keep on whistlin’ in the dark. And you and the other liberals, keep on shoving bigger and bigger government and government debt down our throats. Then, in 2010 we will re-visit this issue.

  • DonS

    Sure, Sam. Keep on whistlin’ in the dark. And you and the other liberals, keep on shoving bigger and bigger government and government debt down our throats. Then, in 2010 we will re-visit this issue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “And you and the other liberals, keep on shoving bigger and bigger government and government debt down our throats.”

    Hey Don (@23), quick question: which party do you vote for so you don’t get bigger government and more debt? Just wondering.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “And you and the other liberals, keep on shoving bigger and bigger government and government debt down our throats.”

    Hey Don (@23), quick question: which party do you vote for so you don’t get bigger government and more debt? Just wondering.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, you’re using the wrong units. If I measure, say, deaths from lung cancer per capita as my metric and blame medical care for those deaths, I’ve just ignored smoking as a factor–despite the fact that smoking accounts for something like 95% of all lung cancer.

    In the same way, do we want to really analyze the issues of infant mortality without taking a look at the prevalance of low birthweight babies? Again, this is the #1 cause of infant mortality.

    You’re mixing the cause and cure, and hence you’re coming up with garbage results. The proper units for measuring the effectiveness of medicine are not deaths per capita, but rather deaths per incidence of the disease.

    And by the proper, honest measure, European and Canadian healthcare is positively lethal. To wit:

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/561737

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2318571/posts

    I’ll take what I’ve got, even if it’s spendy, over that.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, you’re using the wrong units. If I measure, say, deaths from lung cancer per capita as my metric and blame medical care for those deaths, I’ve just ignored smoking as a factor–despite the fact that smoking accounts for something like 95% of all lung cancer.

    In the same way, do we want to really analyze the issues of infant mortality without taking a look at the prevalance of low birthweight babies? Again, this is the #1 cause of infant mortality.

    You’re mixing the cause and cure, and hence you’re coming up with garbage results. The proper units for measuring the effectiveness of medicine are not deaths per capita, but rather deaths per incidence of the disease.

    And by the proper, honest measure, European and Canadian healthcare is positively lethal. To wit:

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/561737

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2318571/posts

    I’ll take what I’ve got, even if it’s spendy, over that.

  • Joe

    tODD – the conservative health care position is not status quo. Conservatives have been pushing for reforms aimed at making health care more affordable and thus more available this entire session. Paul Ryan introduced a bill earlier this year and has been introducing bills for a few years on this topic. A second bill was also introduced just yesterday. Neither of them call for the status quo to be maintained.

    “He also wants to deregulate state liquor sales (conservative, but not socially conservative)” Um – depends where you live. It is certainly not out of step with Wisconsin’s social conservatives. :)

  • Joe

    tODD – the conservative health care position is not status quo. Conservatives have been pushing for reforms aimed at making health care more affordable and thus more available this entire session. Paul Ryan introduced a bill earlier this year and has been introducing bills for a few years on this topic. A second bill was also introduced just yesterday. Neither of them call for the status quo to be maintained.

    “He also wants to deregulate state liquor sales (conservative, but not socially conservative)” Um – depends where you live. It is certainly not out of step with Wisconsin’s social conservatives. :)

  • DonS

    tODD @ 24: I will assume that your inquiry is serious. I am a conservative first, not a Republican. As you well know, we have one party (Democratic) which hates the taxpayer and has as its ultimate goal the maximum possible expansion of government. Unless George W. Bush is president, the current Democratic leadership has no apparent concern whatsoever about the long term cost of government expansion or additional government debt. We have another party (Republican) which voices concern about government expansion and debt, but all too often caves in to pressures from Democrats and interest groups and acquiesces to the growth of government and debt. I usually vote Republican because Republicans tend, as a party, to at least express concern about the taxpayer and to try to slow down the expansion of government programs and debt. But, I am hopeful that the current apparent voter revolt will last, and that sanity will take hold in Washington and other governmental centers.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 24: I will assume that your inquiry is serious. I am a conservative first, not a Republican. As you well know, we have one party (Democratic) which hates the taxpayer and has as its ultimate goal the maximum possible expansion of government. Unless George W. Bush is president, the current Democratic leadership has no apparent concern whatsoever about the long term cost of government expansion or additional government debt. We have another party (Republican) which voices concern about government expansion and debt, but all too often caves in to pressures from Democrats and interest groups and acquiesces to the growth of government and debt. I usually vote Republican because Republicans tend, as a party, to at least express concern about the taxpayer and to try to slow down the expansion of government programs and debt. But, I am hopeful that the current apparent voter revolt will last, and that sanity will take hold in Washington and other governmental centers.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@25), I see what you’re saying, in that there are some disease factors that fall outside the realm of the health care system, such as behaviors as smoking. But your supposedly superior accounting system then fails to account for variations in disease incidence. For example, why does low birthweight incidence vary between countries? Or, if it’s irrelevant that more people die from heart disease in the US than in many European countries, then why are the incidences higher in the US?

    As to your links, the first one doesn’t work for me, and the second one quotes from a City Journal article that has been discredited [1].

    Anyhow, the data on cancer incidence survival you’re referring to are probably from the CONCORD Study. And, as one site I found [2] noted:

    Another thing the CONCORD study notes is that the results for the US may be inflated. The problem is that only a part of the population is covered by the cancer registries used for the US analysis, and there is evidence that these registries have higher survival rates than the population covered by other registries and the population as a whole. By contrast, the UK cancer registries used in the analysis cover 100% of the population.

    All that said, even the CONCORD Study did not find US (5-year) cancer survival rates differing much from those of Cuba, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and France, all of which were in the 80-84% range, with different error bars.

    [1] “Gratzer got his statistics from a 2000 study by the Commonwealth Fund, a private thinktank on health care issues. The Commonwealth Fund released a statement on Tuesday contesting Gratzer’s interpretation of its data.” blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2007/10/rudy_miscalculates_cancer_surv.html
    [2] http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/7278 Please actually read the arguments made there before you judge the URL. Thanks. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, read a comment that makes the same point over at First Things, left September 13th, 2009 at 11:55 pm at firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2009/07/21/most-cancer-survival-rates-in-usa-better-than-europe-and-canada/

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@25), I see what you’re saying, in that there are some disease factors that fall outside the realm of the health care system, such as behaviors as smoking. But your supposedly superior accounting system then fails to account for variations in disease incidence. For example, why does low birthweight incidence vary between countries? Or, if it’s irrelevant that more people die from heart disease in the US than in many European countries, then why are the incidences higher in the US?

    As to your links, the first one doesn’t work for me, and the second one quotes from a City Journal article that has been discredited [1].

    Anyhow, the data on cancer incidence survival you’re referring to are probably from the CONCORD Study. And, as one site I found [2] noted:

    Another thing the CONCORD study notes is that the results for the US may be inflated. The problem is that only a part of the population is covered by the cancer registries used for the US analysis, and there is evidence that these registries have higher survival rates than the population covered by other registries and the population as a whole. By contrast, the UK cancer registries used in the analysis cover 100% of the population.

    All that said, even the CONCORD Study did not find US (5-year) cancer survival rates differing much from those of Cuba, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and France, all of which were in the 80-84% range, with different error bars.

    [1] “Gratzer got his statistics from a 2000 study by the Commonwealth Fund, a private thinktank on health care issues. The Commonwealth Fund released a statement on Tuesday contesting Gratzer’s interpretation of its data.” blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2007/10/rudy_miscalculates_cancer_surv.html
    [2] http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/7278 Please actually read the arguments made there before you judge the URL. Thanks. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, read a comment that makes the same point over at First Things, left September 13th, 2009 at 11:55 pm at firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2009/07/21/most-cancer-survival-rates-in-usa-better-than-europe-and-canada/

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@26), fair enough, but where do you explain why Paul Ryan is a good representative of all “conservatives”? From what I have seen here and elsewhere, he isn’t.

    Don (@27), I had to read between the lines there, but it sounds like maybe “neither major party” is your answer. Though the Republicans do at least pay lip service, which future generations will doubtless be thankful for.

    “I am hopeful that the current apparent voter revolt will last.” Sigh. Voter revolts only last until they get “their guy” into office. Then the revolters stop paying attention. Isn’t that obvious from recent American history?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joe (@26), fair enough, but where do you explain why Paul Ryan is a good representative of all “conservatives”? From what I have seen here and elsewhere, he isn’t.

    Don (@27), I had to read between the lines there, but it sounds like maybe “neither major party” is your answer. Though the Republicans do at least pay lip service, which future generations will doubtless be thankful for.

    “I am hopeful that the current apparent voter revolt will last.” Sigh. Voter revolts only last until they get “their guy” into office. Then the revolters stop paying attention. Isn’t that obvious from recent American history?

  • DonS

    Yes, tODD @ 29, it is frustrating. There is no question that we need more principled conservatives in leadership, like Tom Coburn and Paul Ryan, who vote and legislate like they talk, and are creatively proposing alternatives to liberal statist legislation and exposing the “conventional wisdom” on issues like energy and climate change for what it really is.

  • DonS

    Yes, tODD @ 29, it is frustrating. There is no question that we need more principled conservatives in leadership, like Tom Coburn and Paul Ryan, who vote and legislate like they talk, and are creatively proposing alternatives to liberal statist legislation and exposing the “conventional wisdom” on issues like energy and climate change for what it really is.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, you are correct that a good analysis of a medical care system will not necessarily analyze every reason for disease incidence.

    And by exactly whom has the study been discredited? By your BLOG source? Let’s try something real from Lancet.

    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba596

    Now from personal experience; my mother’s life was extended by not one, but TWO drugs not typically available in Europe and Canada, Avastin and Erbitux. I’m sorry, but the data are pretty darned clear; single payer health care leads to long waiting lines for care, denied care, and premature death.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, you are correct that a good analysis of a medical care system will not necessarily analyze every reason for disease incidence.

    And by exactly whom has the study been discredited? By your BLOG source? Let’s try something real from Lancet.

    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba596

    Now from personal experience; my mother’s life was extended by not one, but TWO drugs not typically available in Europe and Canada, Avastin and Erbitux. I’m sorry, but the data are pretty darned clear; single payer health care leads to long waiting lines for care, denied care, and premature death.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@31), it’s pretty clear you’re not reading what I write, so I’ll keep this short, as it’s largely going to repeat what I already wrote (@28).

    First, I didn’t say that “the study [has] been discredited”, I said the “City Journal article that has been discredited”, and, if you bothered to read the footnote up there, you’ll note that the very group from whom the article author got his data was the one that contested his claims.

    Second, if you actually bothered to read the arguments made by the people at one of those two blogs, instead of dismissing them out of hand because they’re on a blog (what, should I dismiss all your arguments because they appear here?), you’d realize why the NCPA arguments are cherry-picking and specious.

    But you’re not reading very closely, so I’m not sure you really want to know any of this in the first place.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bubba (@31), it’s pretty clear you’re not reading what I write, so I’ll keep this short, as it’s largely going to repeat what I already wrote (@28).

    First, I didn’t say that “the study [has] been discredited”, I said the “City Journal article that has been discredited”, and, if you bothered to read the footnote up there, you’ll note that the very group from whom the article author got his data was the one that contested his claims.

    Second, if you actually bothered to read the arguments made by the people at one of those two blogs, instead of dismissing them out of hand because they’re on a blog (what, should I dismiss all your arguments because they appear here?), you’d realize why the NCPA arguments are cherry-picking and specious.

    But you’re not reading very closely, so I’m not sure you really want to know any of this in the first place.


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