1. Yesterday I noted a YouTube video in which it is claimed that Jesus foretold the name of the Anti-Christ, and that name is “baraq ubama.” The video is so paranoid that one almost suspects it was made by someone who wanted to parody or humiliate Christians who are politically conservative. Some on the Left suggest that the rise of the “Birthers” (those who believe Obama was not born in the United States) and others like them are a sign of the disintegration and ultimately the doom of the Republican party.
But Obama Paranoia Syndrome (OPS) is not essentially unlike Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS), and if people on the Left believe that the “birthers” are any crazier than the lefty “truthers” who believe that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attack, then they’re deceiving themselves. The rise of “truthers” did not presage the doom of the Democratic party, now did it? Besides, Republicans (having long been in the negative) are ahead of Democrats in a generic Congressional ballot, which essentially measures whether the American people want Republicans and their policies to prevail. The party in power will always take the brunt of the criticism when things are not going well, whether they deserve it or not.
Again we come to the inverse side of the motto of this blog: neither party has a monopoly on bad ideas or bad intentions.
2. One always has to hold the government (whichever government) accountable with its facts and figures. A good case in point. When we speak of jobs “created or saved” by the economic stimulus, we should not count “jobs” that last for 35 hours.
3. President Obama has given up on passing the health care reform bill before the August recess, and is now looking to complete the process in October. Mitt Romney, whose experience passing health care reform in Massachusetts is the most similar test-case to what the President is seeking to do, urges a more deliberative process.
4. The question of the power of the Executive branch is alive now just as it was during the Bush administration. As long as one is in Congress, one can rail against the expanding power of the executive and its end-runs around the legislature. As soon as one becomes, President, however, and faces the extraordinary responsibilities and expectations that come with that role, then expanded Executive power looks much more attractive. At least, that seems to be the lesson one can learn from Eric Cantor’s piece (though Cantor puts it in less sympathetic language) here.
5. Evidence of the Fall, Item #10: A couple who let their daughter die of diabetes, because they preferred to pray for her rather than treat her medically, is under trial right now in Wisconsin.
6. One question leading to some of the troubles in passing health care reform: whether a public option plan should fund abortion, meaning that Americans’ tax dollars would go to support what many Americans deepy and fundamentally abhor on a moral level.
7. Today’s Two-Sides. The Des Moines County Register calls for a public health care option. As they explain,
The private sector spends money on everything from lobbyists to high CEO salaries to lavish office buildings. Those are dollars that could be spent caring for people. The government isn’t beholden to stockholders, as some private insurers are. It’s beholden to taxpayers, who rightly expect government to do all it can to control health-care costs.
Ezra Klein opposes the “co-op” compromise, where, instead of a fully public option, the public and private markets cooperate to offer alternatives to fully private health care plans:
Liberals say that the private insurance market is a fatally flawed enterprise and it needs a strong, public competitor with entirely different incentives that can act, essentially, as an alternative. The idea is that the public plan introduces so much competitive pressure that it reshapes the insurance market or simply takes over. Conservatives, in contrast, say the private insurance market is, if not just fine, then simply in need of some tweaks, and we should continue to put our faith and trust and energy into it.
One of these arguments is correct…But the the co-op compromise takes two important and opposing arguments and refuses to choose between them.
On the other side, Karl Rove alleges that Obama has been exploiting the politics of fear. He concludes:
Mr. Obama’s problem is that nine out of 10 Americans would likely get worse health care if ObamaCare goes through. Of those who do not have insurance—and who therefore might be better off—approximately one-fifth are illegal aliens, nearly three-fifths make $50,000 or more a year and can afford insurance, and just under a third are probably eligible for Medicaid or other government programs already.
For the slice of the uninsured that is left—perhaps about 2% of all American citizens—Team Obama would dismantle the world’s greatest health-care system. That’s a losing proposition, which is why Mr. Obama is increasingly resorting to fear and misleading claims. It’s all the candidate of hope has left.
All the while, criticism of the Blue Dogs continues apace, though others defend them on the basis of the complications of electoral politics. Some in the media are questioning whether Obama can translate his eloquence into action. Michael Barone, one of the Deans of political commentary, says that Obama can’t quite move from his “aura” to effective legislating. Finally, Arnold King offers an interesting and brief counterpoint here.
8. Finally, an excellent article from Christianity Today on how to keep the current passion for “social justice” ministries from being a “passing fancy.”