Tag Archives: partisan

Ironies Abound

This year’s budget impasse centers on the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.  Defunding, delaying, or otherwise sabotaging the Act was the original goal of Tea Party Republicans.  Meanwhile, we read that implementing Obamacare is a disaster, from website to database.  If the Republicans were smart, they would sit back and watch it fail.

“It wasn’t designed well, it wasn’t implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it,” said Luke Chung, an online database programmer.

If you’re responsible for this system, the impasse is a gift from God.  The president can “compromise,” buying you an extra year to fix it – and he can look statesmanlike in the process.  In fairness to the programmers, the Act is large, complex, and unsettled.

 “We have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

It’s hard to write code when nobody knows for sure what the system is supposed to do – which brings us to another irony.  According to The Economist, the law is a shambles because Ted Kennedy’s death forced the House to pass a draft bill that wasn’t quite ready.  This is cruel fate.  Not only did the liberal lion not live to see his dream fulfilled, but his very passing maimed the nascent reform.

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What Did You Expect?

Each side has its lunatic fringe.  We debunked a rightist one last month.  Here is an article from Bloomberg which traces the anti-Obamacare movement back to – wait for it – the Confederacy.  This is a clumsy  appeal to racism, and the argument is stretched so thin it actually ends up supporting the other theory of the civil war.

“There were zero Republican votes, so they are stiffed at that level,” said Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University.

Jeremiah’s own position on Obamacare is an eclectic one.  He is for the individual mandate, and against both employer and government provided insurance.   See here.

So, where was Johnson’s race card, when he pushed through Medicare and Medicaid?  The answer is that Johnson did the work.  He knocked heads, sold favors, and built a coalition.  Along the way, there was debate and a grudging consensus.  If you are going to enact landmark social programs, you have to do the work.

Jeremiah warned, back in 2009, against passing Obamacare on a strict partisan vote.  Republicans can now disavow any responsibility for the law and its consequences.  They have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from sabotaging it at every turn.  No one should be surprised at this result.

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For Your Own Protection

Here is a fun article by Jesse Walker about conspiracy theories.  The upshot of the article is that the elites overestimate the power of conspiracy theories to move the masses, and thus engage in a delusion of their own.  What caught Jeremiah’s attention was the reference to FEMA detention camps.  Walker, an expert, says that this theory has been popular since the 1980s.

For the last few decades, elements of whatever party is out of power have worried that the party in power would turn fascist.

To a centrist, the party concept is irrelevant.  What we see is a steady increase in the power of the White House, and a steady decrease in civil liberties.  So, on the day when the Rubicon is crossed and your personal definition of “fascism” is manifest – some party will be in control, and it won’t make a damned bit of difference what party that is.

We have reported this “it’s not fascism when it’s my party” nonsense before, here.  By the way, what is your personal definition of fascism?  Detention without trial?  Search and seizure?  Secret courts?  Torture?  Surveillance?  Extrajudicial killing?

Are you reading the newspapers?

See also:  NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell

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Blind Faith Majority

Returning to the NSA scandal as an objectivity test – we understand that Michael Moore (far left) and Glenn Beck (far right) have both come out in support of whistleblower Edward Snowden.  The mainstream is uniformly against Mr. Snowden, calling for him to be captured and tried for treason.

Thus, you might conclude that “the center” is pro-NSA.  Alas, that would be one dimensional thinking.  See Jeremiah’s quadrants.  Here is how we break down attitudes toward the case:

Principled support of NSA surveillance.  We must be fair to those who are acting on principle, even if they’re wrong.  This group includes the congressional oversight of the NSA – Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) – and maybe Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Most of Congress is satisfied with their level of control over the NSA.

Principled opposition to surveillance.  There are a number of congressmen calling for more disclosure and better oversight, including Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV).  You must support them in the 2014 election.  They are the only thing between you and a police state.

Blind Faithers.  We are in this mess because Republicans eagerly support a surveillance state, as long as Republicans are in charge – and Democrats feel the same way.  Yes, it’s unbelievably stupid, but there are survey results to prove it.

Pew

If you have ever been in business, you may have played this game with your suppliers.  When they call about the bill, you say, “I don’t know anything about this order, call my partner.”  Then your partner says, “Jeremiah handles all the bills, call him.”  You can run them around for sixty days or more.

Blind Faithers!  This is the game the fascists are playing with you!  Oh, no – it was George Bush.  George Bush does all the wiretapping.  You’ll have to talk to him.  Now, where did old George get off to?

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A Clean Bill of Health

Democrats in Congress need a fallback plan, to save their health-care bill in case they lose a Senate seat in today’s election.  Here’s a plan they seem to have overlooked: work with the RepublicansJeremiah wrote back in October that the only responsible way to draft this bill was to engage both parties.

Now, it is the “Democratic Health Bill” only because certain Democrats, notably House Speaker Pelosi, were too arrogant to work with the other side.  Ms. Pelosi famously declared, “We won the election, and we’ll write the bill.”  Memo to Ms. Pelosi: you didn’t win the election.  Barack Obama won the election, and he promised bi-partisan cooperation.

“Let’s remove all doubt,” she says. “We will have health care one way or another.”

That hardly sounds like the formula for sound legislation.  Democrats are now in the position of supporting just any health bill – at any cost – and this will hurt them in November.

President Obama can put an end to the madness.  He can declare that he will not sign the bill unless it passes both chambers with bipartisan support.  With this one gesture, he can prove who really leads the Democratic Party – and save it from the likes of Ms. Pelosi.  Better to have a clean health-care bill next year, than a partisan disaster this year.

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Partisan Vote on Health Reform

The Economist leads this week with an exclamation of dismay that “public option” is somehow back on the table.  This is not the National Review.  The Economist is a liberal British newspaper that endorses President Obama.  Their main argument against public option is that it does nothing to reform health care.  It merely moves the (huge) unreformed cost onto the backs of taxpayers.

The Economist also notes some features conspicuously absent from the House bill, such as tort reform and interstate competition.  Public option, most observers agree, is a Trojan horse for nationalizing the industry.  The government plan will easily run private insurers out of business.

One might wonder if this kind of “reform” is really where the House should be spending its energies, given the state of America’s economy.  The Economist finds the same explanation you have read here – craven partisanship.

By resurrecting the idea of a public plan, the Democrats are serving notice that what little chance there was of a bipartisan effort on health is gone.

The House vote ran strictly on party lines.  Check your congressman’s vote on this New York Times page.  Kudos to the few Democrats who broke ranks.  President Obama should join them.

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Veto Partisan Health Bill

There is no good reason to pass costly healthcare legislation this year, with the economy in recession and the federal budget in a record deficit.  The only reason is a craven, partisan one.  House Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, have the votes to push the bill through despite conservative objections.

Ms. Pelosi, furthermore, refuses to let go the “public option.”  She and her followers are committed to this idea because they fundamentally mistrust the free enterprise system.  Senator Joe Lieberman – an independent – said it best:

I don’t remember another case where our answer to a concern about fairness in the marketplace — in this case whether there is real competition in the health insurance business, whether the health insurance companies are being fair in their rates, et cetera, et cetera, all important, reasonable questions — I don’t remember another case where the answer to that was to create a government-owned corporation to compete with the private sector.

Right now, the only brake on the House – and their statist approach – is the Senate.  Many Senators, including Democrats, do not support “public option.”  But the House thinks President Obama is desperate, and will sign anything.  He needs to show America that they are wrong.  A responsible leader does not sign landmark legislation without bi-partisan support.  President Obama should send Ms. Pelosi back to the drawing board.

See also: Jeremiah’s four laws of public spending.

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