Althouse, Dowd & the Toxic Card of Racism – UPDATED

Legal Insurrection:

The increasingly hysterical use of the the race card by liberal columnists, bloggers and politicians reflects the last gasps of people who, being unable to win an argument on the merits, seek to end the argument. While the false accusation of racism is not a new tactic, it has been refined by Obama supporters into a toxic powder which is causing damage to the social fabric of the country by artificially injecting race into every political issue.. . . .The effect of these accusations is poisonous. Race is the most sensitive and inflammatory subject in this country. By turning every issue, even a discussion of health care policy, into an argument about race, liberals have created a politically explosive mixture in which the harder they seek to suppress opposing voices, the harder those voices seek to be heard.

I’ve got a long piece being featured on the main page of First Things, picking up from where Ann Althouse left off on Maureen Dowd’s bigoted NY Times column. An excerpt:

Whether subconsciously racist or not, Maureen Dowd does, in fact, betray a glaring bigotry in her piece, when she immediately declares that she heard a “You lie, boy,” beneath Joe Wilson’s inappropriate shout. She betrays a mind prejudiced against white Southerners, content to know nothing about them beyond the stereotypes we have all explored with distaste for the last forty or so years, aided in our imaginings by the condescending white racist sheriff of In the Heat of the Night and countless other films. Dowd does love her movies and pop culture, after all. The popular culture is the wellspring from which all of her deathless prose is watered.

We have moved, as neoneocon says, from “truthers” to “birthers” to “racers”.

Also, since I’m talking Althouse, she has quick thoughts on the New York Times reportage on ACORN. What jumps out at me is the sneering headline and the way the paper managed to minimize almost-out-of-existence the president’s long association with that organization. What jumps out to Duane Patterson is everything left out or distorted.

Jimmy Carter, who cannot avoid a toxic fray, puts his presidential seal on the One may only disagree with Obama if one is a racist meme. He adds: “”The president is not only the head of government, he is the head of state,” he said. “And no matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect.”

Well, I happen to agree with that, but I just find it remarkable coming from Jimmy Carter’s lips, since he spent the last 8 years dissing the American President, even when overseas. This was the man, recall, who gladly (pathetically) accepted a Nobel Peace Prize even after folks in Oslo said they were basically giving it to Carter as a “kick in the legs to George Bush.”

Ed Morrissey wonders:

If Jimmy Carter believes that the “overwhelming” portion of criticism towards Barack Obama is due to racism, does he also believe that the overwhelming portion of criticism towards Israel is anti-Semitic? Wouldn’t that apply to a man who hangs out with people who target Israeli citizens for terrorist attacks? After all, Hamas regularly issues anti-Semitic harangues and smears, and yet Carter has no problem cozying up to them and claiming that their criticism of Israel is legitimate.

Althouse again:

Racism is revolting, but so is the notion that we aren’t allowed to criticize a President! Jimmy Carter’s supremely sleazy accusation requires a solid, sound rebuke. It is an effort to place the President of the United States beyond criticism.

Academia joins in on the refrain. You can’t reasonably disagree with Obama without being a racist. Period. And no, it doesn’t matter that Pete Stark called Bush a liar, twice, from the floor of the House. That was different. Why? Because it just is.

A while back I wrote about racism and psychic duality. I think we’re seeing another sort of psychic duality, now, and it’s being played out mostly (not exclusively, but mostly) from the side of the liberal white elites; they cannot bring themselves to criticize a president who is the head of their party (and follows a most-hated president from the opposition side, so he must be loved with equal disproportion), but they also cannot honestly discuss the weaknesses in his policies because they’ve decided to paint any and all dissatisfaction with those policies as “pure racism, straight up”. They fear being slapped with the very brush they’ve loaded up for all these years.

Here and there, a note of sanity:

What Wilson did was boorish and offensive, but it wasn’t racist. You don’t do anything to highlight genuine bigotry, which is still aloose in the land, when you accuse everyone who offends you of racist sentiment.

Funny, I said something like that a week or so ago and someone demanded that I provide evidence that the overplaying of the “racist” cry was in any way negatively impacting those who are dealing with genuine racism. Because common sense was not, apparently, convincing enough.

Victor Davis Hanson:

Obama himself wisely called West a “jackass” and accepted Wilson’s necessary apologies, but the larger question is why the Left is now nearly unhinged about criticism of a black liberal president, when it was silent . . . about the racial implications of the constant and vicious anger directed at Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, not to mention the rather personal, condescending attacks on Alberto Gonzales. For that matter, the ubiquitous Pete Stark once said some particularly unkind and racist things about former health and human services secretary Louis Sullivan (who is black).

Also don’t miss Krauthammer on Wilson/Obama

Public Secrets wonders: The “racism corollary” to Godwin’s Law?

Brutally Honest:

It is not only time for black Americans to stand up and throw off the shackles of self serving and hustled racism, but it is also the time for white Americans to stand up and let it be known that the old dog eared brand of racism has no place in the present discussion and they refuse to be saddled with it.

Glenn Reynolds: How does the attractive female factor play into all this?

Disenchantment grows, like mighty oaks from ACORNS.

Now THIS is interesting, from the WaPo: As Right Jabs Continue, White House Debates a Counterpunching Strategy:

The White House officials are eager to avoid the perception that the president is directly engaging critics who appear to speak only for a vocal minority, and part of their strategy involves pushing material to liberal and progressive media outlets to steer the coverage in their direction, senior advisers said.

When critics lashed out at President Obama for scheduling a speech to public school students this month, accusing him of wanting to indoctrinate children to his politics, his advisers quickly scrubbed his planned comments for potentially problematic wording. They then reached out to progressive Web sites such as the Huffington Post, liberal bloggers and Democratic pundits to make their case to a friendly audience.

That’s one thing that struck me about Obama’s speech to the school children: how nothing he said seemed to bear any direct relation to the problematic teaching materials which had been released in anticipation of the event. I suspected, then, that the speech had been re-written into utter banality in order to make the conservatives who objected to the speech seem like paranoid nutters. This seems to confirm that. And it’s a brilliant tactic; were I in the WH, I’d have done the same thing. Ah, and it seems Ace has come to the same conclusion.

James Pethokoukis: Obama risks trade war to help union allies

Frank Fleming wonders
Why are the Liberals still so angry?:

But now we can see the problem. After Barack Obama was elected, he started doing specific things. Liberal things. No one voted for that, so Obama’s approval ratings have dropped faster than those of any president before him. And you can see why liberals are so frustrated. They had a charismatic liberal overwhelmingly elected with Democratic majorities, and even he is utterly failing to sell liberalism to the American people.

Obamacare: Here come the “big, big tax increases.

Obamacare: Here come the doctor shortages

While Democrats are in Power:
The Press will not report on these 20 things

She didn’t kill her husband: they just have matching restraining orders

Save the Planet by getting rid of the people also, Embryos are just a handful of cells. How ’70′s.

We’re for religious liberty,
we just can’t admit it in public

Oh, by the way, Sarkozy says Iran has nukes

UPDATE: Twitter is aflutter with people quoting Rush Limbaugh, who says this “raaaaacism” meme could be ended in a heartbeat by the president, if he would only speak up. Yes, well, I wrote a long time ago that the odious “Obama is Messiah” narrative could have been quickly ended, if Obama -a professed Christian- would simply have said, “hey, guys, love you too, but I’m not the messiah.” I personally do not think Obama likes all of this race-playing. But I do wonder if he tolerates it because it serves a purpose. Jules Crittenden says, time to work on that post-racial legacy, Mr. President!

James Taranto has an extensive look at the long relationship between ACORN and President Obama

WELCOME: Instapundit readers! – thanks, Glenn, for the link!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Roz Smith

    The left are increasinly like the boy who cried wolf. According to the latest Rasmussen poll
    “Twelve percent (12%) of voters nationwide believe that most opponents of President Obama’s health care reform plan are racist…. 67% of voters disagree, and 21% are not sure.”

  • EJHill

    As to Roz’s quoting of the Rassmussen poll:

    Twelve percent of voters see racism.
    Percentage of blacks among the population as a whole: 12.85% (Source: CIA Fact Book)

    Can’t anyone see how dangerous it is to play to fear and paranoia? I am afraid that all of this race baiting is going to explode. The Democrats are treating their opponents like the Nazis used the Jews in the Thirties, like they were some dark and sinister force that stands to stab the heroic leadership of the nation in the back (or worse) and prevent the proper ascent of the enlightened.

    Every setback is blamed on these shadowy racist figures. They are going to stoke these fires until it bursts into a flame that they can not control. Then God help us all.

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  • Zipity

    Wonder if a Freedom Of Information request might turn up the original draft of the school speech? Although I suspect Rham Emmanuel is smart (evil) enough to burn any hard drives it might have been on….bastards.

  • RNB

    Sadly, Cynthia Tucker’s “note of sanity” did not last long. This is from her signed editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A quote: “Many commentators… share [Ga. Rep. David] Scott’s view that some part… of the right-wing assault on Obama’s reform plans stems from a deep-seated racial antagonism toward the president. Count me among them.”

  • tatterdemalian

    Worse than that. These are experiments to determine the best way to shut down communication between groups of people in the US, so they cannot effectively organize. When the data is all collected, the first sign most of us will have of it will be that our friends and family, often people we’ve known all our lives, will suddenly start cutting off communications, citing “extremist” views that we’ve never believed in. They will be convinced that we do believe in them, though, because the news reports will be frightening them with horrible conspiracies directly aimed at whatever their worst fears are, as determined by Obama’s research teams, and that each of us exhibits far too many signs of being members of these conspiracies to be just a random happenstance.

    Then the Denouncement phase begins, with laws being put into place to theoretically limit the “violent extremists” but in practice used to silence all dissent.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    As for Carter, calling on America to respect the president. . . when he says things like this, it makes me want to cue in the old 50′s laugh track.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    I think it’s time for a South Park episode.

  • http://owlishmutterings.mu.nu Owlish

    Wait a minute, I had the same thoughts on the President’s speech to schools a while back, but then the White House [or someone, I need to find the link] claimed that no changes had been made. Hmm.

  • http://www.erud-awakening.blogspot.com Gina

    And we haven’t even gotten to the immigration debate yet!

    As I’ve told lefty friends, race baiting should be just as unacceptable in public discourse as racist language. Those most concerned about actual racism should be out in front telling the race baiters to shut up and think straight, because all the blanket, false accusations will have the effect of making people calloused to charges of racism.

    This is a political tactic, of course, and I’m sure it’s more or less being orchestrated from the top, from Rahm and Axelrod if not directly from Obama. Try to cut off the squishy middle from joining the opposition by making the opposition look toxic. As with most examples we’ve seen of the Dems overplaying their hand lately, I believe this is going to backfire.

    If only the left could apply some its own vaunted “tolerance,” like the nuance they wish applied to Islamic terrorism (“it’s not all Muslims, just a few extremists”), to their own opponents on the right.

  • Roz Smith

    EJ Hill.

    Are you implying all blacks think alike? The details in Rasmussen paint a different picture than the one you seem to be trying to paint based on a mere coincidence in unrelated statistics.

    A whopping 35% of those who strongly support Obama see racism in the opposition to Obamacare as compared to only 27% of African American voters in general and 22% of all Democrats. 48% of African Americans say they are undecided on this issue, as opposed to 39% of all Democrats who say they are not sure. Only 33% of those who strongly support Obama are unsure whether opposition to Obamacare is because of racism. In other words, the more heavily invested one is in promoting the agenda, the more one is likely to see opposition to that agenda in racist terms.

    That a large plurality of blacks are undecided suggests that while blacks may still be wary of many whites, they want far better evidence than name calling by the usual suspects before they are willing to consider a person who may merely be in disagreement with them a racist.

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  • http://sherryantonettiwrites.blogspot.com Sherry

    Dowd heard “boy” where none was said. They used to call hearing voices not spoken insanity.

  • Jack B. Nimble

    I hope that liberal Democrats understand the extent of resentment they are provoking among that great majority of Americans who are presently committed to the notion of equal opportunity and racial harmony. Resentment, if it builds (and it seems to be) will quickly erode this committment along with the extensive progress in race relations we have made to this point. The constant drumbeat of racism as an explanation of opposition to this president’s policies may have its political purposes, but its consequences for America portends no small degree of tragedy. President Obama would do well to go before the nation (as he is wont to do) and strongly reject the race card and emphatically criticize those who would use it as reason for criticism of his administation and and its policies.

  • EJHill

    Roz – The groupthink pressure is higher in the black community than anywhere else. Ask Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and especially Clarence Thomas.

    And these exit poll numbers tell a not so pretty story about the black vote in America:

    1984 Mondale 90%
    1988 Dukakis 90%
    1992 Clinton 83%
    1996 Clinton 84%
    2000 Al Gore 90%
    2004 John Kerry 88%
    2008 Obama 96%

    That’s darn near monolithic.

  • Bender

    I don’t remember the 1976 campaign, but I remember the 1980 campaign, and Jimmy (Barack I) has been a mean, hateful, spiteful, obnoxious jerk since 1979 at least.

    [Hey, I voted for that mean, hateful, spiteful obnoxious jerk! (I was a liberal Democrat, at the time...) -admin]

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  • Bender

    Hey, I voted for that mean, hateful, spiteful obnoxious jerk!

    Yes, but you have done sufficient public penance for that. You are forgiven.

  • Bobfan

    “I hope that liberal Democrats understand the extent of resentment they are provoking among that great majority of Americans who are presently committed to the notion of equal opportunity and racial harmony. Resentment, if it builds (and it seems to be) will quickly erode this committment along with the extensive progress in race relations we have made to this point.”

    In other words, if Democrats keep crying wolf, a lot of decent Republicans are going to start acting like wolves. Jack, you crack me up.

  • Bobfan

    “I wrote a long time ago that the odious “Obama is Messiah” narrative could have been quickly ended, if Obama -a professed Christian- would simply have said, “hey, guys, love you too, but I’m not the messiah.”

    The Left doesn’t call Obama the Messiah, the Right call him the Messiah to mock him.

  • Joseph Marshall

    That’s one thing that struck me about Obama’s speech to the school children: how nothing he said seemed to bear any direct relation to the problematic teaching materials which had been released in anticipation of the event. I suspected, then, that the speech had been re-written into utter banality in order to make the conservatives who objected to the speech seem like paranoid nutters.

    I think this is known as a double bind. If Obama says something political, he is obviously indoctrinating the children, if he says nothing political then he is obviously trying to avoid appearing to indoctrinate the children even though he wanted to.

    Either way Obama loses. Of course he should lose because he’s a schmuck. Right?

    This is what I mean by a free-floating affect that keep people from attacking him effectively. You lost that battle and you did end up looking like paranoid nutters. Get over it.

    As to why Liberals are angry with Obama, as far as I can tell the only reason is that he appears to be so nice to you guys. They’d much prefer that the White House lash back in the style of the last two Presidents. This liberal, however, is pleased as punch about it.

    Somebody goes off the reservation and heckles Obama as a liar in a speech before a joint session of Congress. He was a fool. This was the perfect opportunity for the press to point out that this was the sort of thing paranoid nutters do. Which they did.

    It was also an insult to Congress as an institution. Whatever low opinion Americans have of Congress nobody wants Congress or the people in it to lose their dignity and start acting like backbenchers in the House of Commons. Or to start throwing teabags at each other, the Speaker, or the Majority Leader. Or to behave like commandos in Operation Rescue.

    So, he apologizes to the White House and the White House accepts the apology and acts as if the whole matter is settled. After all, following such a gracious action by the President, only paranoid nutters would keep stirring it up.

    The White House operation is the slickest I’ve seen in decades. Nothing comes out of it that isn’t approved of first. Nobody panics at a setback and frantically tries to be a spin merchant. And everything is geared to keep up the message that Obama is really a nice, reasonable, responsible, amiable, and approachable guy–the sort of fellow who’d like to shoot a few hoops with you if he wasn’t so busy being President.

    And, after all, who would say bad things about a guy like that but someone who was hopelessly prejudiced for some reason or other?

    No wonder you all end up constantly looking like paranoid nutters. And every fuss you continue to make about that ["Don't play the foul and horrid race card!"] merely makes you look worse.

    The White House has complete control of Obama’s narrative. And they have time on their side. Rahm Emmanuel’s phone comments to a reporter that what he intended to do about the Town Meeting protests was to go back and catch more fish was extremely telling.

    The Town Meeting stuff has vanished into the day before yesterday’s news cycle, like the tea bags before it. And all that remains in the public’s mind is a fading memory of the out-of-control way you guys behaved in the 30 seconds of film that appeared in the TV news.

    You have given the White House control of your narrative, too.

    Now a health care bill has finally emerged from committee in the Senate. And the net message that all the uproar has created is that most of the people who didn’t vote for Obama, as well as Republicans in Congress, wouldn’t like any bill at all and don’t particularly want the problem solved.

    Really? And your point is? No wonder Rahm went back to fishing.

    Count yourself lucky. You now have an actual bill to attack. You can do that without giving the impression that you don’t care about the issue and you will stop at no silliness or aggressive, impolite, and out-of-control tactic to prevent passage of anything Obama and a Democratic Congress might propose, whether it’s good for the country or not.

    The people running the White House have figured out that direct engagement of opposition by spin merchantry lost its luster a long time ago. Unlike the last Democratic Administration, they now have proxies in place on the net and in the real world to do the confrontation, and unlike the last Republican Administration, they are bright enough to use them subtly [no "swiftboating"] rather than coarsely. Subtlety neither wastes the resources by being too obvious nor telegraphs the next punch.

    If you want to see the proxy system in action, follow the campaign to destroy Glenn Beck’s advertising revenue on Fox News.

    Now don’t go fulminating off on me about the Dastardly News Media aiding and abetting all this. Be realistic. Short of a wholesale turnover in employees there, that will remain an immovable feature of your political landscape. Take note of the dismal failure of Pyjamas Media, started with the intention to take it apart, to have any impact on it at all.

    You need to take back control of your narrative and stop being made to look like paranoid nutters by giving your opponents all the opportunities to paint you so.

    [Joseph, I know you say you're not putting words in my mouth, but in no way did I say Obama was a schmuck, and furthermore, I said it was a freaking brilliant tactic that I would use, myself, were I in the White House. It's not a "double bind" it's just what things are. The speech, which I read, could not really be related to those widely disseminated teaching materials, and it was the WaPo who talked about the speech being reworded, so you know...ask them if they think he's a schmuck! :-) Also, you're ranting about Wilson, but I have always said his outburst was inappropriate. Inappropriate is not "racism" and I am astounded that you seem to think it is perfectly okay for that toxic card to be played and overplayed. I am also surprised that you admire this "slickest White House" you've ever seen. I should think its cynicism would repel you, as it does me. The last WH, which was by no means "slick" and rarely had control of its narrative (and let's face it, Joe, Obama is HELPED to remain in control of his narrative thanks to a bendover press) did repel you...this one does not. Increasingly, I find all of it repellent. -admin]

  • Bobfan

    The only change to the speech was that the line suggesting students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president” was amended to “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short‐term and long‐term education goals.”

  • dry valleys

    Why are liberals angry?

    Well, we certainly don’t sit around waiting for change to fall into our laps, we don’t expect the government to give us everything on a plate. We know right-wingers don’t give up: we’ve seen that with the 9/12 Project, the lobbyists, the politicians, the grassroots getting themselves out & objecting.

    This is of interest from one of my favourite journalists. He is a bit more left-wing than me, but he is strong on secularism, & I agree with this bit.

    “the unquestioning faith in Barack Obama of the past year – now slowly dispersing – has been as disempowering as despair. Both ask nothing of you. In reality, Obama will only be a good President if ordinary people pressure him to be one – if they shove him away from his errors (like aerial bombardment of Pakistan) and push him to pursue his good goals more vigorously (like building universal healthcare at home).

    Trusting him to do the right thing is a basic misunderstanding of how progress happens in a democracy. You choose the best leader available within the power structure – which Obama undoubtedly was – and then you pressure him like Hell.”

    Glenn Beck knows this, the libs don’t seem to have found out, but when they do it might make for uneasy times on the right.

    I would definitely say that too many of those who got Obama elected have simply thought “great, job done” & gone home. But getting your man into that chair is only the beginning of the work. The liberals should be out there making their voices heard, getting support for this Obamacare & everything else they want. Because if they don’t lobby the President, someone else will.

  • Maggie45

    Bobfan said:

    The only change to the speech was that the line suggesting students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president” was amended to “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short‐term and long‐term education goals.”

    That wasn’t part of the speech, but part of the “lesson plan” or “teaching materials” that were sent out the week before the speech.

    Do feel free to google for references to what I said. (smile)

  • EJHill

    Joseph – Some of your remarks lack a comprehension of the facts. You say, “Count yourself lucky. You now have an actual bill to attack.” First of all, A health care bill has moved from A committee in the Senate. There are more hands to be placed in the pot. And HR 3200 is an actual bill, too.

    You should count yourself unlucky then. You have only had to defend some vague hopey-changey ideal. Now you have to defend the devil in the details. So far you are losing that debate.

    As for your assertion that the liberal media “will remain an immovable feature of your political landscape” must be coming from someone who doesn’t read the financials or the trade papers. Headlines like “NBC Seeking News Staff Buyouts” (close to 500 employees are targeted) and “Chicago Tribune Files Bankruptcy” ($13B in debt) does not convey a sense of permanence.

    As for the success of your proxy war against Glenn Beck, the trade papers beg to differ. Of the sixty-some advertisers Color of Change claims to have supporting their cause only 2 had actually been in the show to begin with. Most cable ads are bought ROS (that’s Run of Schedule for those of you in Rio Linda) and most of them already limit their runs to non-opinion shows. It works the same way at MSNBC, too, where advertisers avoid Olbermann’s hour as well.

  • Jack B. Nimble

    Saint Bobfan:

    “If Democrats keep crying wolf”….(Amazingly, you got that part right). “A lot of decent Republicans are going to start acting like wolves”…. (but as expected, went downhill real quick…Republicans? wolves? what about elephants, Whigs, dominoes, and geekos… I don’t know, just whatever you want to use as content to express whatever argument you are trying to make.)

    Last time with you in the valley of the trolls. Bye, bye smiling bob…er St. Bobfan. If that’s ad hominen, so be it.

  • Bobfan

    Maggie, read this:
    here from Fact Check.

  • Joseph Marshall

    The last WH, which was by no means “slick” and rarely had control of its narrative (and let’s face it, Joe, Obama is HELPED to remain in control of his narrative thanks to a bendover press) did repel you…this one does not.

    This may have gotten lost in the shuffle, but my frank opinion of the last Administration was that its philosophy was explicitly anti-American: GWB consistently asserted either directly or through his staff that the President of the United States had the powers of an absolutist king and that the office was essentially above the law. As an educated American citizen [and not a "subject"] I reject that categorically and I did every thing I could to get the man who asserted it out of public office.

    It was precisely the equivalent of Louis XIV’s L’etat c’est moi. This seemed to pass you by. All anyone from the Bush White House had to do was wave around the word “democracy” and you were satisfied. But the record is perfectly clear. They said that and they meant it. Repeatedly, openly, and blatantly. And they acted on it. Repeatedly, openly, and blatantly. They were the greatest internal threat to real American freedom since John Adams and the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Moreover, I think that the last occupant of the office not only lost the “War On Terrorism” but also made it impossible for anyone else to undo the damage.

    Osama Bin Laden is still around and sending open messages to President Obama. His organization has essentially diffused across the entire Muslim world with no more hope now of being eradicated than America has hope of getting rid of the English Sparrow.

    Afghanistan is slowly slipping back into the control of the Taliban, Iraq’s future is still open to question once we cease to prop it up with our troops, and Iran still possesses the same nuclear capability that it openly had when GWB was so hot to destroy phantom Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

    We have fought the two longest shooting wars in America’s history, together and side-by-side. We are still doing it. We have lost the decisive strategic presence in the Middle East that GWB’s father managed to shrewdly arrange for us in the early 90′s. And we have never recovered the same state of military readiness that GWB inherited in 2001.

    All of this was simply and solely the result of a concatenation of bad military decisions by the Bush Administration. Period. At every step of the way, if there was a wrong choice, he made it.

    The first wrong choice was the gullible belief peddled to him by the neo-Conservatives that the world’s biggest military force would permit him to succeed in doing absolutely anything he wanted to internationally.

    Just like the President could do absolutely anything he wanted to domestically, because the office was above the law.

    Finally, we very nearly lost the entire banking system of the United States and maybe that of the whole world on his watch. Why? Well, for once, not due solely to him. But he was just as much the champion of markets being freed from government regulation and therefore from reasonable safeguards as any of his fellow Republicans.

    Markets do not regulate themselves. Period. Left to themselves they generate wild speculative bubbles that burst and leave all but a handful the poorer for it. Period. We’ve just watched it happen.

    He did everything he could to change the law to permit people to invest their Social Security in the Stock Market. God help us if he had succeeded. I don’t think that any action by anyone could have prevented a banking collapse and another worldwide Great Depression if so many ordinary Americans had lost so much retirement capital at the same time. They could have lost almost all of it, had their Social Security been invested in this market.

    I opposed the Bush Administration for real reasons of eight years of flat out bad public policy, reprehensible government philosophy, military failure, and chronic political failure to advance even the agenda of his own Party despite the nearest thing to absolute philosophical control of all three of the branches of Government this country has ever seen. Franklin Roosevelt did not have this. Lyndon Johnson did not have this. And they are the only ones who even come close.

    Those are real reasons. I challenge you to show any such list of real reasons to be “repelled” by the Obama Administration. At the very least it should be self-evident that Obama simply has not had time to do anything particularly boneheaded. We are exactly at the same point in his administration as September 11th in the Bush Administration. None of the decisions or the results I listed above had even happened by September, 2001.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    “And, after all, who would say bad things about a guy like that but someone who was hopelessly prejudiced for some reason or other?”

    So, Joseph, you admit that the White House is deliberately manipulating the use of the racism card to its advantage.

  • Maggie45

    Bobfan
    September 16th, 2009 | 5:52 pm
    Maggie, read this:
    here from Fact Check.

    They’re saying just what I said. The lesson plan that was sent out the week before the speech, was changed. The speech was given on September 8. It was released to the media on September 7. Nobody knows, except the people in the White House, whether the speech was changed, or not. But definitely the lesson plan was changed from the original. Your original post said that the speech was changed. I was just helping you by making things clear. (smile)

  • Joseph Marshall

    You should count yourself unlucky then. You have only had to defend some vague hopey-changey ideal. Now you have to defend the devil in the details. So far you are losing that debate.

    There is no such thing as a debate about issues that one side simply makes up out of whole cloth. I have no doubt that whatever the failings of the real bills no one will be as paniced by them as the Conservative “hypothetical situations” and projective fantasies that have been kited out in the absence of specifics over the last few months.

    Without that fantasy induced panic, I think you’ll win only if a fillibuster can’t be broken. And you will certainly lose if you don’t shift gears and start attacking the actual bills.

    Headlines like “NBC Seeking News Staff Buyouts” (close to 500 employees are targeted) and “Chicago Tribune Files Bankruptcy” ($13B in debt) does not convey a sense of permanence.

    The liberal bias in media is not systemic or institutional. It has to do with the fact that the all of the people who work in it are far more likely to be Democratic/Lean Democratic than Republican/Lean Republican.

    Media people have no more capacity for self-criticism than the rest of us. Who among us does not consider themselves fair and impartial if their impartiality is never challenged? When the entire newsroom is Democrat/Lean Democrat, who is going to say, “I think we’re letting private politics interfere with our news judgment.”?

    Media people largely come from Journalism Schools in Universities. As far as I know, none of these are placed to have much access to, or influence by a Conservative philosophy and point of view.

    Until the people change the bias will remain, because most of them are unaware that it is even there.

    As for the success of your proxy war against Glenn Beck, the trade papers beg to differ.

    I was not talking about the “success” of it, I was talking about the tactics of it. Organizations pushing it, such as True Majority, simply didn’t exist in the Clinton Administration. Frankly, the Democratic Party itself hardly existed outside of the DNC back then.

    It’s a different world now. And the importance of the campaign against Glenn Beck is not how well it succeeds, but who has been targeted. Prominent Conservative media figures have have largely been left alone up to now, whatever they said, because the Republican Party had far more prominent and important targets. They clearly will be no longer.

    Who would bother to systematically attack John McCain, or even Sarah Palin, now? And who else is there among the professional politicians?

    But the last few weeks have made clear that the vanguard of Conservative opposition is now its talk show hosts and its more prominent bloggers like Michelle Malkin. And I think you will see much more direct challenge to all of them than there has been in the past.

    This is what I meant by subtle. Whatever degree the White House may or may not be involved with it, the benefits to the Obama Administration of this are largely indirect, but real and important. And it all takes place completely outside the frame of reference of Obama’s narrative and right in the middle of yours.

  • Bobfan

    Maggie, I stand corrected. But when you write that “nobody knows, except the people in the White House, whether the speech was changed, or not,” it sounds like you’re suspicious that they did. The White House has always maintained that the speech was intended to motivate kids to study hard and stay in school. When the Right is suspicious of even that, when even after the speech with that unobjectionable and positive message was released many parents still objected, the White House would have been nuts to to try to get a political speech accepted. And as Anchoress, admits, they aren’t nuts, they’re slick. At worst, they did indeed foresee the speech as a way to draw out the wingnuts — and the wingnuts fell for it.

  • EJHill

    Well, Joseph, the difference between you and I and our opinions of journalists is that I have worked with them everyday for more than 25 years. And yes, it is systemic AND institutional.

    Look at the cross-pollination between Democratic politics and the press. For every one Roger Ailes, there are a dozen on the other side. Can you trust Chuck Todd to give you the truth when his wife is running DNC campaigns? They call it gate keeping. I call it selecting information based on political goals.

    The problem for traditional media is that they can no longer monopolize the tools of journalism. You don’t need a big physical plant for distribution or broadcast. Google and Lexis-Nexus has replaced the research staff. And digital video allows everyone the ability to library the things politicians say.

    And I don’t know how old you are but you must be pretty young if you believe boycotts are new or that outside organizations doing the DNC’s bidding is a new development. NOW, the AFL-CIO, NARAL, Emily’s List and dozens of other like-minded organizations have been around for years.

  • Joseph Marshall

    So, Joseph, you admit that the White House is deliberately manipulating the use of the racism card to its advantage.

    To the degree that its opponents give them the opening, certainly. And people like Glenn Beck clearly gave them the opening. So you will see his remarks repeated over and over.

    More importantly, however, is that they are manipulating their opponents to emotional excesses of all types that contrast plainly with Obama’s rationality and lack of excess.

  • Joseph Marshall

    And I don’t know how old you are but you must be pretty young if you believe boycotts are new or that outside organizations doing.

    I’m old enough to know better and still young enough not to act on it. And I think you miss my point. It is the who and not the how. Who is doing the attacks, who is behind them, and who they are attacking.

    The effective opposition to what Obama is trying to do [not the ineffective opposition to who Obama is] comes from the more prominent Conservative media figures, and anyone with eyes can see this. At the moment they are really the only serious targets, and probably will be until the Republican Party shakes itself back into shape.

    The WaPo article upstairs gives us a pretty clear glimpse of who will be behind them and at least some of who they cultivate, and, for whatever reason, they clearly want the newspaper reading public to know it–”senior advisers” don’t leak, they background brief, and they don’t do it just to show how much they know.

    The problem for traditional media is that they can no longer monopolize the tools of journalism. You don’t need a big physical plant for distribution or broadcast. Google and Lexis-Nexus has replaced the research staff. And digital video allows everyone the ability to library the things politicians say.

    The problem for everybody else is using those tools effectively. First, they have to actively solicit and cater to a broad audience, and not, like Pyjamas Media, degenerate into mere bloggers who have the same views as the only people who are reading them.

    Second, they have to cover news. If they don’t do this they will end up with only likeminded readers. And to do that they have to develop a sense both of what is news and which news is the most important. News sense is a talent and it’s rare even in most news organizations if one goes by the content of what they print.

    Third, they have to have a sense of fact. And this is by far the most important. Without this they miss half the evidence about something and misinterpret the other half.

    Have you seen any new alternatives outside of regular news organizations that can regularly use these fine resources, and use them effectively? I’m always looking for something new and interesting to read.

  • EJHill

    Joseph – I’d love to know where you get the notion that “senior advisers” do not leak. The ship of state is the only ship that leaks from the top.

    And the idea that news organizations have never shaped their news to fit their readership is bizarre as well. There was a time in America when every city had multiple dailies and most had a profound tilt.

    My favorite lines from “Yes, Prime Minister” is Jim Hacker complaining about the press and their readers: "Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers:

    - The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country;

    - The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country;

    - The Times is read by people who actually do run the country;

    - The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country;

    - The Financial Times is read by people who own the country;

    - The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country
    ;

    - And the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

    Come to think of it you could probably exchange the names of a few American networks and newspapers and come up with a pretty accurate description of what’s going on now.

    By the way, are you a Brit or just pretentious with your spellings?

  • Donal

    Joseph how can you type this “More importantly, however, is that they are manipulating their opponents to emotional excesses of all types that contrast plainly with Obama’s rationality and lack of excess.” and not be repeled by it? What you are essentialy saying is that this WH belives that the only way they can get their policies enacted is to portray their opponents as crazy people rather than argue the merits of their proposals. I assume you agree with many liberal positions how do you feel that this WH has so little confidence in arguing policies based on their merits?

    Try this little exercise that I use to help me rationally view politics. I sit down and ask myself how would I view such a decision by a politician from the opposite side. So look at what you typed about Obama and replace his name with Bush. Then ask yourself why what you typed seems repellent to those of us from the conservative side of the aisle.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Most of my private reading was in British English when I was growing up and it has left my spelling and my diction inconsistent for the last half century. In attitude and beliefs, though, I am as American as shoo-fly pie or greens and beans.

    Such pretensions as I have are primarily these: that when I have thought sufficiently clearly and stayed close enough to verifiable fact and evidence, I have a right to say what I think without apology, even if what I think happens to be wrong. For even when wrong it will not be so wrong that I need be embarrassed by that fact.

    This seems to bother you, which is a shame. But you’re just going to have to be bothered by it. It ceased to be choice and hardened into character long ago.

    As to breadth of readership in news organizations, I’ll defer to your superior knowledge, though I grew up in a midwestern town whose major daily had a strongly Republican slant and whose minor daily had a mildly Republican one. Most local Democrats regularly read these papers, and they had more in them to read than an editorial page.

    By the way, would your list of who reads what papers or watches what television news happen to include any news outlets located west of the Appalachian Mountains? The buildings of Manhattan are tall, but not so tall as to see farther than Jersey.

    And I will ask the question once again, who do you know outside of organized news gathering and distribution who actually uses the wonderful new resources effectively to cover news as well as buttress opinions?

    There are not so many materially different opinions out there that I need to go to any special source to find them. I do have to work harder to find real news.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Well Donal, excess is as excess does. The behavior of the partisans opposed to “Obamacare” in those Town Meetings was not very close to rational debate on the proposal’s merits. And “Obamacare” itself has more in it of angry rhetoric than rational argument. Nor did that fine South Carolina representative shouting “You lie!” in the halls of Congress contribute materially to the rationality of the debate.

    As far as I can see, these things are deliberate and essentially intended to make rational debate on issues impossible. And I think they have been so at least since the Soreloserman taunts of the election of 2000, if not further back than that.

    I would also remark that the Bush Administration took especial care to make sure that our fine ex-President never even heard a dissenting view or saw anyone who held one. His rallies were packed to the gills with his cheerleaders, and no one else, and even his motorcades were carefully routed away from the “free speech zones” where people who opposed him were forcibly confined.

    So I don’t think the cases of Obama and Bush are in any way comparable.

    Neither Obama nor the Democratic Senators and Representatives who went to those Town Meetings availed themselves of any such luxurious insulation from dissent. And they came prepared to make the rational case for a health care bill.

    They were largely met with debate halting excess.

    Under such circumstances I see no reason not to draw the unfavorable comparison between the excess, the boorish behavior, and the disingenuous rhetoric of those who oppose the health care bill with the calm demeanor and unexceptional behavior of those Democratic public officials who cared enough about “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” to personally attend such assemblies and attempt to give an accounting of their views.

    Until the excess stops no rational discourse is possible and you cannot argue the merits of anything. I have no qualms about taking a realpolitik attitude toward stopping it by making sure it does not interfere with the passage of health care legislation even if the legislation suffers from the lack of argument for its merits.

  • EJHill

    Joseph – My “pretentious” dig stems from your persistence in writing “Pajamas Media” with a “y.” It kind of indicated that you may have been one of QEII’s subjects at some point. It was just an aside, really.

    But perhaps here is where we part company. I’ve seen the news business from the inside. When you say that you have “stayed close enough to verifiable fact and evidence” I say your facts and evidence aren’t as verifiable as you think.

    The late Michael Chrichton put it this way, “Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    “In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

    The media is full of frauds and charlatans. And they give each other awards for it. Walter Duranty set the standard in 1932 by winning a Pulitzer telling lies for Stalin. To this very day the Pulitzer committee and the NY Times still stand behind him.

    On the other point as to who will successfully rise to replace the old, legacy media organizations, the answer is no one. Old media will, however, fall back to meet the level of the new.

    The boon for the consumer, choice, is the bane of the producer. Success is measured in smaller doses now. Today if a show pulls a 4.5/11 in the ratings it is a success. Fifteen years ago that wouldn’t have justified a second airing. So anything that comes along now will never be as big or as dominant as the old legacy media organizations once were.

    So we need to measure new media’s success in how they win battles, not wars.

    One of the reasons Big Media loves Big Government is that they are currently rigging the system on their behalf. Without FCC interference three quarters of 234 basic cable channels would simply cease to exist. They get by because the FCC forbids ala carte pricing and the consumer is compelled to purchase hundreds of channels he’ll never watch.

    And that’s why it is such a laugh when the Democrats perpetuate this lie that the Republicans are in the corporate’s pockets. It’s hard to have one political party in your pocket while your head is up the rear of the other. General Electric is foursquare with Obama because his policies rig the game in their favor. Rules and regulations stifle the up and comers.

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  • Donal

    Joseph my point wasn’t whether Bush or Obama are compareable its more of a “how would I react if x policy was purposed by a president I disagree with” Its a way to step back and view policies as dispassionately as I can manage. For example would you feel that Bush would have been ok to ram thru legislation without at least attempting to address concerns about it and saying the reason is that people are upset so why bother?

  • Joseph Marshall

    We do seem to be talking at cross purposes. My vantage point is purely that of the consumer and what I want as a consumer is news. I don’t care about much else.

    News is what happened, where it happened, how it happened, and who it happened to.

    I do not assume that any given news report is perfectly accurate or free from editorial bias. But I do say that the resources at my disposal to cross-check and correct errors are the best of all time. And these resources are of far more benefit to me than to any producer, old or new.

    From my vantage point, this is a golden age of news, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is RSS, and the spillover from the pot of gold is the Bookmarking function in my browser.

    In my aggregator right now sit 15 RSS feeds that no single current media source, old or new, can match for world-wide comprehensiveness of news coverage. And in my bookmarks are about 20 more sources either for in-depth coverage of my interests or as meta-links for localized coverage.

    And, as far as I can see, no one makes a dime off me from it.

    What I was hoping you could alert me to is a new media outlet that could save some of my time and labor keeping my list current.

    Such rhetoric as “being in corporate pockets” means little to me. What means a great deal to me are unsupported generalities like, “The boon for the consumer, choice, is the bane of the producer.” and “Rules and regulations stifle the up and comers.” Both of these are true in some cases but not true in others. And both are used more often as a substitute for thought than as a stimulus of it.

    For example, somebody watches the “three quarters of 234 basic cable channels” you speak of. If they disappear those consumers do not gain choice, they lose it.

    Choice on the television dial is not just a matter of what you must pay for, it is also a matter of what you want to watch among the things you have paid for. That particular choice is supported by the FCC regulations, not inhibited by them. And my experience, at least, is that on the viewer’s side of the television set what is available to watch is by far the more important choice. Without the variety induced by regulation, I strongly suspect that the consumer base of the entire enterprise would greatly contract, perhaps even to unprofitablility.

    When markets consist of relatively evenly matched producers playing on a level field, then, yes, “Rules and regulations stifle the up and comers.” But most markets do not stay that way for very long unless rules and regulations are in place.

    Rules and regulations or no, the ill-capitalized up-and-comer remains at a tremendous disadvantage to the well-capitalized corporation already in possession of a huge chunk of the market they both share. Well-capitalized large corporations are very much better insulated from the effects of non-profitability in the short term so they can afford to drive smaller competitors out of business by selling at loss. And they very often do.

    The bigger and more capitalized you are, the less the so-called “law of supply and demand” restrains you. [the "law of supply and demand" is another one of those gilttering generalities that substitute for observation and for thought] Of all the parts of Howard Hughes’ empire, only one was actually profitable, The Hughes Tool Corporation. Everything else ran at a loss with no serious economic consequences whatever for Hughes the owner. He was essentially immune from market forces everywhere but in the tool business.

    I care little whether or not Republicans are “in corporate pockets”. I care a great deal when they attempt to run the country on such gilttering generalities unchecked by observation or by thought. Their attempts to do this over the past 28 years have utterly destroyed the country I grew up in.

  • Joseph Marshall

    For example would you feel that Bush would have been ok to ram thru legislation without at least attempting to address concerns about it

    Nobody has tried to “ram through” anything. The Senate bills [which are the ones that will make the difference] have barely gotten out of committee, for heaven sake. They won’t get to the Senate floor and a final vote for quite a while yet. In the interval, they’ll get very thoroughly discussed, and not just by the Senators.

    One of the most destructive things about the past ten years is that everybody seems to have forgotten how representative government is supposed to work, largely because the President and the Congressional majority party really didn’t want it to work, and stopped it from working virtually every chance they could.

    There are two separate questions I would ask you in order to listen to you: Should we even have a health care bill at all? And if we should, what should be in it?

    If the answer to the first is “no”, then there is nothing for us to discuss. There really not that many choices of how to sit and do nothing. And if there are genuine and specific answers to the second question floating around the Conservative blogosphere, I have yet to hear them.

  • EJHill

    For broadcasters unprofitably is already there. The mandate to digital conversion and the manner is was implemented has severely crippled a once mighty industry.

    That is why health “reform” gives me the chills. I don’t care what your intentions are. The one law that the Congress cannot rescind, the President cannot veto or the Courts overturn is the “Law of Unintended Consequence.” The foreseen consequences of these regulations are chilling enough. The fact that the math doesn’t work is enough. But virtually everything the politicians touch end up creating more problems than existed before they “helped.”

  • Joseph Marshall

    But virtually everything the politicians touch end up creating more problems than existed before they “helped.”

    Can Congress make bad law? Certainly. Can these create tremendous problems? Of course. But, as I have said elsewhere on these comment pages, if the defeat of any health care bill at all leads to you obtaining more coverage at less cost for more care, then I will certainly celebrate these results with you. As I will celebrate if such a defeat results in a greater percentage of people being able to finally obtain coverage who do not have it now.

    But we have done nothing for decades and we now have less coverage, costing more, for less care, for fewer people. We also have interesting little changes in our culture in the process. When I was growing up, it was rare and startling to see someone in public with missing teeth. Now it is commonplace. I really don’t think this is a fashion statement, like piercing or tattooing.

    So we know what doing nothing does. If such things satisfy you then there is not too much more to say.

    It has been my experience that most of us really don’t understand how much our government does for us rather than to us. Since it is timely and pertinent, it would be a very good thing if more people in the health care debate boned up on accounts of the 1918 influenza epidemic.

    It is a little glimpse into a totally unregulated America, what I call The Conservative Garden of Eden. What happened then is exactly what would happen now with the current flu season were it not for the presence of the government, and its regulations, in the business of health care.

    And anybody can get the flu.

  • EJHill

    Joseph – You say, “… if the defeat of any health care bill at all leads to you obtaining more coverage at less cost for more care, then I will certainly celebrate these results with you.”

    I ask you to define cost. If you want to reduce your life and your liberties to the dehumanizing level of numbers on a ledger then here’s to you. When the Feds start paying the tab then there is more incentive for them to meddle in your everyday life. If the local “health authority” thinks you don’t exercise enough, there will be visits. If they suspect your diet isn’t healthy enough, there will be visits. In the UK they have even begun to install closed circuit cameras in homes to monitor how people raise their children. And when they decide that the “quality and quantity” of your life isn’t worth the expenditure, then the price really goes up.

    The monetary price of health care may go down but the cost of liberty goes up. I’d rather die a free man than well cared for slave.

  • Donal

    Joseph the President tried to get a vote on a health care bill before the August recess which would have been barely a two month sfor deliberation on a bill that would change how the entire health care industry. IMO that is ramming a bill thru. My question remains: if Bush tried that tactic would you feel the same?

    As for your questions. Yes there should be a health care bill. What should be in it? Allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines would be a good start. Tort reform. Tax credits for poor families to purchase health insurance.

    I don’t want a bill that provides health insurance for the young and mostly healthy at the expense of our elderly and disabled thru medicare cuts. Or one that mandates the purchase of insurance.

  • Joseph Marshall

    I ask you to define cost. If you want to reduce your life and your liberties to the dehumanizing level of numbers on a ledger then here’s to you. When the Feds start paying the tab then there is more incentive for them to meddle in your everyday life.

    This is exactly what I mean when I talk about projective fantasy rather than fact.

    I’m on Medicare/Medicaid. I know exactly how the government paid health care already works in America. It is nothing like the Brits and it will be nothing like the Brits. They don’t have 300+million people deal with and they don’t have to meet the constitutional standard of “interstate commerce” to justify federal action. So hospitals and private doctors are going to remain private since none of them operate across state lines. And if the Feds try to do it any other way, the courts will smack them down.

    Our government doesn’t give two hoots about me as a patient and how “healthy” my lifestyle is or isn’t. They basically want to know two things: Am I still poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and am I disabled enough to qualify for Social Security Disability. In fact they are less invasive of my privacy than private insurance companies, because they aren’t trying to impose a pre-existing condition clause. So they don’t ask for medical history.

    The State of Ohio asks me for proof of income and living expenditures every six months, because the final income standards for Medicaid are set by the states, not the Feds. And the Feds ask for a medical reevaluation of my disability every few years. They also mandate that I tell them if I’m doing any work and how much it pays me. If somebody else is paying me, they don’t want to. That’s it.

    As a taxpayer I’m sure you don’t want them to stop asking me this. And as a taxpayer [yes, I still file taxes on an $8.4 k yearly SSDI income] I don’t want them to stop asking it of anybody else.

    Other than that, they aren’t interested in me in the least.

    Medicare/Medicaid is insurance coverage, not care. Any equivalent for more people that comes out now will be insurance coverage, not care. The government is not going to take on healthcare professionals on the Federal payroll or nationalize hospitals.

    Nor are the Feds going to set up an insurance adjustment operation. They will do the same thing with their “public option” as they do with Medicare and contract the work back out to the private sector. It’s far cheaper to pay for skills and organization already in place than to try to start from scratch.

    In fact this is the case for a tremendous amount of Federal work–the so-called “bloated, wasteful bureaucracy” is there to do the purchasing, monitor the quality of the privately purchased product, dump the appropriated money back into the private sector, and keep an eye out for possible fraud. And there is barely enough of them to do that. I know. I’ve worked off and on in government service, both State and Federal since 1973.

    They won’t be paying extra attention to the people getting the care because they will be as busy as they can be riding herd on the people doing the real work. And those people won’t be on the payroll.

    None of my EOB’s and none of the evaluations of medical charges for allowable expenses are done by the Feds themselves.

    Certain of the smaller companies in the private sector will actually make more money with more stability running the Federal stuff than they would trying to do private coverage.

    But the fantasy that something like the Brit or the Canadian system will be imposed on us is eternal and lives forever.

    It is horse hockey.

    Our constitution bears no resemblance to the British or Canadian governments and it’s standards have to be met first. Their systems come nowhere close to meeting those standards.

    I get real frosted at conservatives who know nothing about how the U.S. Government actually works. I get even more frosted at conservatives who clearly wish to remain ignorant about it so they can continue to indulge in these projective fantasies.

    If you want to know what the U.S. government is actually proposing to do about the problem, read the bills or read the summaries of them that you can easily obtain with all this new virtual research capacity you speak of.

    And if you want to know what the US government is actually allowed to do, brush up on how the courts have interpreted the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. The Feds will do nothing that is not in the laws that are finally passed as interpreted by the courts. Nothing.

  • Joseph Marshall

    As for your questions. Yes there should be a health care bill. What should be in it? Allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines would be a good start. Tort reform. Tax credits for poor families to purchase health insurance.

    Good. Now let me review how representative government works when it does work. If you are Republican Senator Whosis and are really serious about wanting this, and I’m Democratic Senator Whatsis and I want more than this or different than this, we get in a private room together and hammer out a compromise. You give on tort reform, I give on any attempt to rework Medicare. Then we bring a bill out of committee that a majority can pass.

    The President isn’t involved in this. The compromise has to be worked out between you and me, and the bill has to be passed by you, me and a majority of everybody else. He can’t be involved in this in any way unless we ask him to broker our negotiations.

    The President can fly all over the country making all the speeches he wants that the health care bill should be passed ASAP. They don’t mean in the least that the bill will be passed ASAP. And what is truly ASAP in Congress bears no resemblance to what the President would like. He can’t make this any different.

    Then the whole negotiation process has to start over again in Conference Committee between the Senate and the House.

    Outside of Congress, we can’t possibly deal with the real bill in any way until it comes out of committee. And we have plenty of time to give our input to our Representative and our Senator about what should be in the bill once it does come out of committee.

    And it can get changed if enough of us care enough to actually do this.

    But for all this to happen both you and I have to be negotiating in good faith. If all you want is to bring out a phony alternative so you can fillibuster what comes out of committee without admitting that you really don’t want a health care bill at all, all I can do is get together with my fellow Democrats and attempt to break the fillibuster.

    This is what actually has been happening. The Republican alternative is phony and they have been “negotiating” in bad faith.

    The more cain is raised about being “rushed” to evaluate a proposal that no one can evaluate because it doesn’t even exist yet and won’t exist until compromise is attempted and the bill leaves committee, the less incentive the Republican Senate has to negotiate in good faith.

    Further if enough people are pumped up to raise cain about what might be in the bill based on free-floating fantasies about what could be in the bill, or, even worse, fantasies about things that can’t possibly be in the bill because the constitution prohibits it [see my little reply to EJ Hill above], the Republican Senate doesn’t even have to negotiate in bad faith. They can merely wait and fillibuster.
    With better chance of success at blocking any bill at all.

    This is exactly what has been happening.


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