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Tuesday, March 23, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Weeds Of Intolerance

And so it begins.  In order to show their anger with the passing of a healthcare reform package intended to help insure the health of more Americans and to end practices that profits the bottom line of the health insurers at the expense of individuals who need insurance or who may file a claim, some people are becoming violent.  When the defeat of the healthcare bill became a losing cause, many Americans went to the capital building in Washington, D.C. in a last ditch effort to sway politicians.  Lining the hallways and forming a gauntlet to the chamber where the voting was to take place, American citizens displayed their rancor by shouting racist and sexist remarks to various supporters of healthcare reform.  As protesters yelled their insults and calls for the bill’s demise, politicians that opposed the bill cheered and clapped, encouraging the protest and removing any pretense of having a respectable political discord.

I spent some time reading some of the comments left to the various news articles covering the progress of healthcare reform.  To say that many people are angry is an understatement.  The majority of the comments I read opposing the bill talked about throwing the politicians that supported the bill out.  A lot of people talked about how we’re not a fascist state or a communist state or a police state where President Obama is after people’s wallets.  Some people talked about leaving the country.  Chances are pretty good that if they carried through with their “threat” they would end up in a country that offers true universal healthcare instead of the watered down version offered in the bill headed for Mr. Obama’s signature.

A couple of people went so far as to suggest that we have nothing to worry about because Mr. Obama isn’t a citizen of the United States because he never made his birth certificate a matter of public record but instead used lawyers to fight any call for him to produce it.  Any law Mr. Obama signs is illegal.  Some people are so intent to cling to this conspiracy delusion that they forget that a birth certificate is a public document available by contacting the state in which it is issued.  Mr. Obama’s birth certificate is not a classified document.  Hiring a lawyer to block the state from issuing copies of his birth certificate doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

But what was pretty telling were all the comments that suggested now is the time for some patriotic violence.  A few people talked about breaking out the guns and taking their anger to the street in order to get their country back.  But back from who is never made clear.  I doubt if anybody walking the streets in this protester’s neighborhood is trying to hold the country away from anybody else.  Nobody really expects anybody making this kind of hateful nonsense to see the illogic of their ways.  People paraphrased the Thomas Jefferson quote about the tree of liberty being refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  Nobody ever talks about the trees of hostility that grow like an entire forest of redwoods.  Nobody ever talks about the weeds of stupidity that grow everywhere without anybody there to nurture them.  The weeds of intolerance can spoil the most beautiful garden of civility and harmony.  Nobody ever talks about that.

Any modicum of civility left in this and other political debates is quickly fading.  So many people have  become so fanatical about their position and how it is the only position that deserves to be supported with bullets and other forms of violence.  No one is threatening anybody’s freedom.  And yet, people feel moved to compare the fate of healthcare coverage for almost everyone in the country to having their individual freedom restricted to the point of being enslaved.

A lot of people are actually waking up today with the belief that using our national social collective to help assure that fewer people in America go without quality medical care, and not just the expensive band aids and cursory examinations that come with emergency room care, is akin to having our rights taken away by the federal government.  And these will be the same people who would press for a federal law to take away a woman’s right to chose by making any form of abortion illegal.  These are the same people who wouldn’t hesitate to support an amendment to the Untied States Constitution that says marriage is the union between a man and a woman.  That kind of enslavement is totally acceptable.  In fact, some people would be willing to get their guns to push these restrictions on their fellow man.  It seems that the people so concerned about the tree of liberty are a little biased about whose blood is needed and when.

The rancor is really getting out of hand.  When Mr. Obama won the oval office, people responded with threats of violence.  Now that Mr. Obama and his supporters have successfully pushed through healthcare reform, a feat that has eluded Presidents and Congresses for more than a handful of decades, people again want to talk about violence.  Eventually, this talk of violence to support political positions will boil over into the real thing and innocent people are going to get seriously hurt.

Monday, March 22, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Thoughts | 3 Comments

Healthcare Reform Passes

I have to admit to some satisfaction to the fact that the healthcare bill so furiously argued, depicted, ridiculed, attacked, defended, adjusted, compromised, and a whole lot more, passed through the House of Representatives yesterday.  This wasn’t the first hurdle.  It won’t be the last one either.  But this was arguably the most crucial moments in the healthcare reform debate.  At least this is the most crucial moment since the last most crucial moment when one of the Houses of the Congress had to do their vote on the measure with threats of filibusters and other parliamentary finagling and nonsense.

The opponents of healthcare reform pulled out all the stops.  There were talks of death panels killing old people, threats of new forms of healthcare rationing, promises that the federal government was going to get in between doctors and patients, assurances that healthcare reform would bankrupt the country, town hall sessions where people on government managed Medicare program fomented their anger towards socialized medicine, and comparisons of President Barack Obama with German Chancellor Adolph Hitler.  Nobody wanted healthcare reform.  Through a series of compromises the bill was significantly watered down to a point that a lot of its bite was purged.  Reform was seriously hampered when the public option was taken off the table.  The bill became a mere shadow of itself.

But in the end, even with all the negotiations and concessions that weakened the bill and  transformed the measure into a mere shadow of what could have been done, political opponents found it more politically advantageous to reject the measure and try to force the bill’s supporters to throw the healthcare reform baby out with the public option bathwater.

The President’s steadily dwindling poll numbers and the Senate race in Massachusetts to replace the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy that saw the Republican Scott Brown defeat Democrat Martha Coakley was proof positive that the entire country was against healthcare reform.  The conservatives generously offered to return to the negotiation table if the President and the other supporters of the bill would simply stop pushing this version of reform and start the entire process over again, pushing any reform even further down the road.  The opponents of reform would have taken their success of defeating healthcare reform into the midterm elections scheduled for the end of this year and promising more political stagnation of the entire reform process.  For all practical purposes, the whole affair would have resulted in healthcare business as usual.

A defeat of healthcare reform would have significantly derailed the presidency of Mr. Obama.  As Republican Senator Jim Demit of South Carolina suggested during the reform debate, if the Republican Party was able to stop Obama it would be his Waterloo.  If healthcare reform was something that seemed to be a benefit to the country, that line of reasoning was lost in a rather narcissistic bid to score political points by blocking any kind of progress.  The end result would have changed the political environment in favor of the conservatives.

Thankfully this will not be the case.  Despite trying to boil the whole case of healthcare reform down to an issue of whether or not the bill would kick open the door to government sanctioned abortions, another compromise was quickly arranged.  The President promised abortion opponents that he would issue an executive order that would reaffirm the long standing restrictions against the usage of federal funds for abortions.  This whole sidebar was nothing but smoke and mirrors.  The healthcare reform bill does nothing to change the abortion issue.  The whole abortion ordeal was just another one of those hurdles fabricated to provoke people’s fears.

This morning, the country is one giant step closer to making healthcare reform law.  There are a lot of disappointed people out there.  A Republican Senator promised that healthcare reform will destroy America.  Obviously, although healthcare is everything but a done deal, the rhetoric regarding is passage is just kicking into high gear.

A person’s attitude towards healthcare reform depends on his or her attitude towards social structure.  People who see healthcare as a privilege are against reform.  People who see healthcare as a fundamental right are for reform.  People who have no access to quality healthcare, other than the most expensive kind available at the emergency room that is guaranteed to be too late to nip a health problem in its early stages, are looking for help.  People who are comfortable with their relationship with their health insurance company are trying to defend their peace of mind.  Insurance companies are a health resource and some people want to protect that resource as much as possible.  Too many undeserving people in the pipe, people who can’t afford or won’t buy their own health insurance, means less healthcare may be available when somebody who can afford it needs it.

If Medicare and Medicaid are any indication we already have socialized medicine.  When people who can’t afford health insurance go to the emergency room and that bill gets passed to people who do have health insurance, we already have socialized medicine.  When we allow insurance companies to reject people’s claim for healthcare or allow insurance companies to rejects people for preexisting conditions for whatever reason, in essence we already have people facing death panels.  This bill isn’t going to make abortions more popular.  This bill isn’t a communist plot to overthrow democracy.  The bill is an attempt to correct a problem we have in our healthcare system.

People are free to believe whatever they want.  Only time will tell for sure if this will be a godsend or a curse.  But even that will depend on people’s perspective.  When we see the healthcare insurance rolls swell and see more people with health insurance getting the care they need, we might see that as a good thing.  Unfortunately, some conservative people simply won’t be able to ignore the fact that this change for the better comes courtesy of a law at the federal level.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Thoughts | 1 Comment

Who Wants Weak Leadership?

A week ago, when I heard what was happening in Massachusetts in the Senate race to replace long serving Senator Ed “Ted” Kennedy, I really had to shake my head in disgust.  State Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, was running against conservative State Senator Scott Brown.  It was in the bag for Ms. Coakley.  I think I heard an estimate that said she was leading in the polls by more than twenty points early in the campaign.  The odds of a Senate seat long hold by Democrats falling into Republican hands seemed about as likely as a snowball surviving hell.  So what did Ms. Coakley do?  She counted her chickens before they roosted.  She went on vacation while Mr. Brown continued to work and chipped away at her lead and managed to surpass.  The chances of anybody finding a more appropriate political example of the tortoise and the hare are about as likely as that proverbial snowball.

Ms. Coakley’s campaign tried to recover.  They tried to talk sports.  It was pretty obvious Ms. Coakley had no idea what she was talking about when she accused high profile Brown supporter Kurt Schilling of being a Yankee’s fan.  They tried to refocus people’s attention away from issues that highlighted Mr. Brown’s strong suit.  But too late they realized Ms. Coakley really was a poor candidate without much in the way of her own strong suits.  And then, out of a sense of desperation, they reached for the hotline and called on their big gun with seconds before midnight.  Mr. Obama flew into town with his charming smile blazing and pulling out all the stops, trying to inspire the Democratic base.  It was all too little too late.  The political landscape has changed in Massachusetts.  Mr. Brown goes to Washington.  Ms. Coakley can go back on vacation.

The Wednesday morning quarterbacks are working hard this morning.  The election is being pitched as an early glimpse of the American people’s disapproval of the Obama administration.  People are upset that terror suspects are being prosecuted in our judicial courts instead of being railroaded in a military court.  People are upset that a weak healthcare bill is being foisted on the American people.  People are upset that the Obama family chose a Portuguese water dog instead of a mutt from the Washington, D.C. humane society.  Mr. Obama’s approval rating is running just short of fifty percent instead of the nearly seventy percent he had right after the election.  We can second guess this until the cows come home.

If this is a referendum about the President and the way things are going then I’d like to add my two cents to this mix.  If Ms. Coakley had stayed on the ball, kept her eyes on the prize, had not taken her ascension into the Senator’s club for granted, everyone would be singing a different tune.  It is unfortunate that the impact of Ms. Coakley’s incompetence has such national repercussions.  At the moment, Ms. Coakley appears to be little more than the Democrat’s version of Sarah Palin.  She may not have quit her job in order to not look like a quitter, but she quit campaigning long enough to let Mr. Brown get his foot in the door.  But one could hardly say that Ms. Coakley is awful and so therefore the President’s agenda is awful.

If this translates to a wakeup call for the Democratic Party, so be it.  If this election is the defibrillator that restarts certain politician’s hearts, so be it.  From the time Mr. Obama got into office he does his best to be cerebral and appear above the fray instead of mixing it up with people who are throwing political mud.  We didn’t elect the President to be a consensus builder.  We elected the President to do the job of governing this country.  The President wants lead the Democrats and embrace people like Joe Liebermann who have publicly demonstrated their contempt for the Democratic Party.  The President will turn the other cheek when someone boldly calls him a liar and would be more likely to have a low key beer summit than openly address issues that keeps us divided.  The President is willing to compromise away the very issues he campaigned on instead of holding fast to his platform.

The conservatives are pulling out all the stops to stop the President and the Democratic Party.  These are the kind of people who’ll celebrate the fact that the Mr. Obama was unable to convince the Olympic committee to have their games in Chicago.  Too many people are operating as a collective to do anything to make Mr. Obama look bad.  The filibuster, traditionally a tool used as a last resort, has become the mainstay of the opposition arsenal, and Mr. Obama wants to act like it is business as usual and govern like people he’s working with reasonable people.  If people want to use the filibuster as a means procedural obstruction, then it’s time to put that often talked about reconciliation maneuver on the table.  If people want to act a nut, then it’s time to get nutty.  If this is a wakeup call, then hopefully people will wakeup.

One thing I do have to say about President George Bush was that he didn’t spend a lot of time appealing to people who didn’t care for him.  If somebody called Mr. Bush a liar during his administration, I seriously doubt if that person would ever be heard from again.  Conservatives know how to deal with dissension in their ranks.  When former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Mr. Obama, the conservative political machine switched into turbo mode and put the word out that Mr. Powell was no card carrying Republican.  Imagine what they would have done if Mr. Powell appeared on stage with Mr. Obama or even considered being his running mate.  That wouldn’t go over very big at all.

One thing I must say is that the conservatives don’t hesitate to get the job done.  Consensus is nice.  But in no way is it important.  What’s important are results and principles, two things that liberals seem willing to compromise on these days.  The fact that this administration’s agenda can be unhinged so easily by the minority in the legislature proves how weakly we are being governed.  With a majority in both houses of the Congress and the White House healthcare reform should not be in jeopardy.  That’s just weakness.  And who wants to be governed by a weak governor?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts | 5 Comments

To Conservatives Dismay Liberals Play Let’s Make A Deal

Healthcare reform passes in the Senate along partisan lines.  Not a single Republican Senator supported the bill.  Whatever you think of Republicans, one thing you can say is that when they smell political blood they are ready to transform into the political equivalent of a pool of sharks.  They pulled out all the stops to sink this thing.  They talked about death panels and fiscal irresponsibility and judgment day and President Barack Obama’s Waterloo and all manners of nonsense to keep this bill from becoming law.

The conservatives are trying to tell the public that they were railroaded.  The liberals took over the legislature and refused to budge on any issues.  The Republicans were locked out of any meeting to discuss the bill and therefore could not bring themselves to support any part of it.  The liberals were unwilling to negotiate and were unwilling to listen and it is the liberal’s fault that this bill passed along partisan lines.  So much for Mr. Obama’s promise to reform Washington and reach across the aisle.

At least that’s what they’re saying.  The reality is much different.  In the final stretch, the liberals were making all kinds of deals to pull this bill through its darkest hour.  Massachusetts Senator Joe Lieberman got the public option scratched.  Somebody else got stronger anti abortion measures installed into the bill so anyone who wants their insurance to cover abortion related procedures has to write a totally separate check.  And Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson was able to negotiate a deal where the people of Nebraska do not have to contribute their fair share of funding for Medicaid expansion into perpetuity.  The conservatives are upset over all the deals that were cut to keep the not a Republican majority from falling apart and succumbing to a Republican minority filibuster.  So what do the conservatives mean when they say that the Democrats were unwilling to negotiate?

From what I’ve been able to gather, it looks like the liberals were doing nothing but cutting deals.  In fact, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham wanted the South Carolina attorney general to launch an investigation to get to the bottom of all the deals that were made in the last few days leading to the historic healthcare reform bill vote.  So if the Democrats were so busy cutting so many deals, why do the Republicans insist on maintaining their claim that they were railroaded?  They can’t have it both ways.

If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was willing to give the people of Nebraska a pass on Medicaid expansion, it seems pretty obvious he was open to negotiation with anyone who was willing to negotiate in good faith for the bill’s passage.  Therefore, I can only assume that no one in the Republican camp was willing to do any negotiating to pass this healthcare reform.  To me, it appears that no conservative Senator was willing to cross that high profile line in the sand drawn by the collective conservative body.

And the idea that the majority was trying to rush something through at the very last minute is a grand example of intellectual dishonesty at its finest.  This country has been trying to reform healthcare for the past four decades.  The last great attempt during President Bill Clinton’s administration went down in flames.  The political muscle to push something through just wasn’t there and nobody has bothered to do anything about ever since.  That was fifteen years ago.

By some estimates, forty five thousand Americans die every year because of a lack of healthcare.  We are willing to wage war because of what happened on that fateful day on September 11th that wound up killing three thousand Americans.  But we are more than ready to wait and tolerate the annual death of so many tens of thousands of Americans because we don’t want to do anything to rush a healthcare reform bill through our legislature.  These people say let’s wait a little while.  Give it a few more years so we can work out something a little more agreeable.  And while we’re waiting, pay no attention to those people who continue to die because of a lack of coverage.

People know that if they defeat this bill now the political winds of change would loose their steam and would take years to gather again.  Mr. Obama would lose any political momentum on this issue and would never get another opportunity to try again.  No one is trying to rush anything through.  But the legislative process is an ungainly behemoth that is difficult enough to move when there is overwhelming support to get anything done.  It’s downright resistant when there is such solid opposition against changing the status quo.

Personally, like many other people, I don’t particularly care for this bill.  It is my opinion that too many considerations were made to protect the insurance industry making a watered down bill that is only a symbol of anything healthcare reform.  The insurance industry should have been totally removed from the healthcare equation.  Anybody who profits from denying people healthcare should not be involved with reform.  But that’s just my opinion.

Hopefully, this bill will have some redeeming value.  I am cautiously optimistic.  Anything has got to be better than the status of quo of letting the insurance companies have their way with the public.  Their lame promises to always do better sometime in the future have gone unfulfilled for so long that they stopped believing they could do it themselves a long time ago.  We’ve been taken for granted for so long that the only way change was going to happen was at the end of a political gun aimed squarely at their figurative head.

The American public needed each and every deal possible with so much organized opposition to healthcare reform.  And if the conservatives wanted to be part of the process, if they honestly wanted to participate in the reform process, chances are they could’ve cut their own deals as well.  But unfortunately, the only deals that they were interested in was the type of deal that kept the status quo.  And the status quo was no deal for reform at all.  Besides, so many people want to focus on all the backroom deals to get pass healthcare reform.  What about all the backroom deals to assure its defeat?

Sunday, December 27, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Why Not Take It Seriously?

The Democrats are a bunch of spineless pussies. With a majority of the House of Representatives combined with a virtual filibuster proof majority in the Senate giving the Democrats iron clad control of the legislature branch, topped with complete control of the White House and the executive branch, these pussies can’t get anything more than a fart passed in our federal government without at least one Republican to give his or her explicit approval. Republicans were eating the Democratic Party’s lunch when they had the majorities and the White House. It looks like the Republicans are still mugging the liberals for their lunch money.

The Democrats act like a bunch of keystone legislatures running around in oversized floppy shoes and hitting themselves in their own heads with their own batons as they try to look meaningful and try to look pertinent or try to look as if they have a purpose or try to look like they even matter.

The healthcare reform bill appears to be healthcare reform only in name. Nothing resembling reform remains in the tepid, watered down, version of the original health bill. Rumor has it the public option has been taken off the table in order to protect the insurance industry from supposedly unfair competition from the government. The insurance company wasn’t thinking about fairness as they made billions of dollars in profits by denying healthcare claims and by doing their own impersonation of the dreaded death panels and doing their best to get in between people and their doctors.

But now that the shoe might be headed to the other foot, now that the insurance companies are the ones who might be bending over and taking it up the shaft as people make the choice to go with a public option, our legislatures, the people who are supposed to represent the best interest of their constituents, think we need to protect the insurance industry by removing the threat of a public option. Now I know that there are conservatives that would do everything in their power to protect the corporate benefactors. The previous administration really did a wonderful job giving corporate America everything it wanted and then some. Lower taxes and less regulation have combined to make a one-two punch that ravaged our economy and made the average American a lot worse off than we were eight years or so ago.

And when the American people finally decided as a collective that it has had enough of the conservative agenda, the only place to turn for something different was to the conservative politician’s adversary, the liberal politician. Voting for the Democrats, some of us thought we would actually catch some slack and get cut something resembling a break for a change.

But the poor Democrats can’t compete with those big bad Republicans who are looking for a fight, any fight that would give them some kind of political victory. And healthcare reform appears to be a godsend. Like an iron curtain the Republicans are ready to just say no and thwart any threat to the status quo, leaving every single Democrat and independent left a necessity to get anything through. Knowing they don’t have the numbers to keep legislation from passing, the Republicans promise a filibuster, to talk incessantly about nothing, to keep a vote on healthcare from taking place. And the Democrats, knowing what’s at stake, want to play hardball with each other to get the party to cave to what they want.

One Democrat says he or she won’t vote for anything with a public option, another says he or she won’t vote for anything without a public option. One Democrat says he or she won’t vote for anything that doesn’t put an outright ban on any abortion benefit, another says he or she won’t vote for anything that doesn’t provide some kind of abortion benefit. One Democrat says he or she won’t vote for anything the insurance companies don’t like, another says he or she won’t vote for anything the insurance companies do like. And the differences go on and on and on.

Real meaningful healthcare reform is dead. It’s been murdered by a political machine that, for the most part, pretends to have the public’s best interest at heart but is all the while stabbing the people in the back. We can’t have real reform because too many people know that the real power is in corporate America and not with the American people. I don’t blame Republicans for this condition. They never sold themselves as anything other than streetwalkers turning tricks for their corporate pimps.

But Democrats want to keep their relationship with corporate America on the down low. They want to appear like they have more interest in the public’s welfare. But in reality, it appears that the Democrats are trying harder to steal tricks than that silly rabbit on the breakfast cereal.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter who gets in office these days. For most people in politics, there is no incentive to the right thing by the American people. It’s all just a con game kind of like the wrestling so many people are addicted to watching. We think something might change when we get the other guy in office. But at the end of the day, the two sides are really the best of friends who would rather spend the day with each other than spend a minute with the American people. In their world there is no real difference from one politician to another. To keep voting for change by voting for the same political parties is madness. One day we’ll wake up and realize it’s time to stop this crazy shit and start taking this a lot more seriously.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts | 3 Comments

You Lie Mr. President!

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President Barack Obama was trying to put the rhetoric and angst against healthcare behind him.  All of us have seen the town hall meetings with people on both sides of the issue foaming at the mouth.  Granted, one side has a lot more foaming people than the other, but there was rhetoric coming from both directions.  But the era for civility and calm conversation will have to wait just a bit longer.  In the middle of his healthcare address, South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson yelled from the floor two words, “You lie!”  This was in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that his plan for healthcare reform would not cover illegal immigrants.

Now Mr. Wilson might want to explain away his rudeness as a momentary lapse of civility based on his passion for the subject at hand.  Supposedly, Mr. Wilson is a firm opponent of illegal immigration.  He might even try to blame his emotional outburst on his latent turrets syndrome that manifests whenever he sees an authoritative black man.  But one of the television cameras in the house chamber panned over to Mr. Wilson.  He was holding a sign in his lap saying, “What bill?”  It should be obvious that Mr. Wilson came prepared to do his impersonation of a typical town hall foamer ready to cause a ruckus for ruckus sake and not ready to listen at all.

In response to Mr. Wilson’s outburst the chamber erupted in a wave of disapproving boos.  Mr. Obama held Mr. Wilson with a harsh gaze for a moment and calmly responded, “That’s not true.”  As Mr. Obama went on with his speech, both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden continued to send eye daggers Mr. Wilson’s way.  Mr. Wilson looked around at all the people giving him their own stairs of disapproval as if to say, “What?”  For the remainder of the night, his attention was focused on his Blackberry.

Mr. Wilson’s actions did much to reinforce Mr. Obama’s words.  As if prepared for a shameful display of Mr. Wilson’s caliber.  “What we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government,” said Mr. Obama.  “Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long term challenge.  And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned.  Well, the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed,” he added, to Democratic cheers.

Well, in Mr. Wilson’s own words, you lie Mr. President.  There will always be time for bickering and for lies and for mistruths for political gain.  There will always be time to put self serving political agendas ahead of what’s best for the nation.  There will always be a time for a politician to scream an improper comment from the safety of the sidelines.  There will always be time for people to be obnoxious when there is plenty to support the notion that others are ready to support and reinforce obnoxious behavior with their own obnoxiousness.

Many other Republican Party politicians expressed open contempt for Mr. Obama by tweeting during the speech, scanning their BlackBerrys, or holding up copies of Republican healthcare reform bills during the speech.  Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said that he was incredibly disappointed in the tone of Mr. Obama’s speech.  He said that he found Mr. Obama’s tone to be overly combative and believed he talked in a manner beneath the dignity of his office that will make it more difficult to find common ground.  The way Mr. Graham speaks you’d think Mr. Obama simply walked over to the Republican side of the House and just bitched slap them all, not that they and their Democratic associates, don’t deserve it.

So this morning, it’s clear that the speech didn’t do much of anything.  People on the left are still on the left.  People on the right are still on the right.  If anything, the trenches just got deeper, the heights of the stonewalling has a new layer of stone on top.  There will always be a time for entrenchment.  It seems to be the natural order of things.  If anything, it is the time that we can achieve anything that resembles reform or at the very least a bipartisan effort that looks like it might lead to reform, is what has come to past.  The idea that we can set aside differences and come together for the true benefit of the American people is a bold lie.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Lindsey Graham, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts, Universal Healthcare | | 5 Comments

For Or Against We All Have A Stake In Healthcare Reform

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I was watching Meet the Press with David Gregory with guests Joe Scarborough and Tavis Smiley discussing President Barack Obama’s failure to sell the healthcare reform plan to the American people and, consequently, to both houses of the Congress.  The popular belief is that the President took a hands off approach to making a plan and instead simply laid out goals leaving the legislature to work out the details.  Unfortunately, this left an opening for some of the President’s political opponents to take advantage of one of the President’s weaknesses.  Some of these opponents would rather work to weaken the political position of the other party rather than work to provide honest to goodness healthcare reform to the American people.

Joe Scarborough is a staunch conservative and strongly supports the Republican Party.  It was his contention that the President’s plan wasn’t succeeding because of anything the minority of Republican’s in the Congress was doing or not doing.  The Democrats in the legislature control both houses of the legislative branch as well as the executive branch.  If the Democrats honestly believed in their President, they would support his program.  Unfortunately, some Democrats, blue dogs are some of the most notable, come from districts where there isn’t overwhelming support amongst the constituents because of the fear many plant with predictions of death panels and other nonsense.  Not all the Democrats want to support their President.  Therefore, Mr. Scarborough reasoned, if healthcare reform doesn’t pass, the Republicans have nothing to do with it.

But here’s the problem with such an assumption.  The Republicans aren’t exactly walking a neutral path here.  The Republicans have a vested interest in watching the President and the rest of the Democrats lose face with the American people.  The Republicans have decided to vote against healthcare reform as a bloc and welcome each and every Democrat who joins their effort because each Democrat who turns makes it easier for the President to be defeated and increases the chances of a Republican Party revival during the midterm elections.

If Republicans really want to appear blameless against any defeat with healthcare, they would remove themselves from any vote on the subject instead of coming out as a totally negative bloc.  That way, the pass or defeat of the measure truly becomes the responsibility of the other party.  But instead, in order to pass a healthcare reform bill the Democrats have to counter each Republican vote against with a vote in favor before there can be any neutral ground.  And then what votes remain will determine the fate of healthcare reform.  That hardly makes the Republicans impartial and the passage of the bill entirely a Democrats affair.

But this is more of the smoke and mirrors of politics.  The Republican Party continues to successfully make the passage or failure of this reform plan appear to be the responsibility of the Democratic Party.  And the conservatives continue to play on people’s fear that healthcare reform is going to destroy people’s world.  Fears of death panels for the infirm and elderly along with fears of socialism because it’s such an awful concept that benefits no one and other fears like a government chomping at the bit to take over medicine and turn entire hospitals into euthanasia centers hell bent on sending people to places like Burr Oak cemetery are all distractions that keeps us from discussing the real issues of the ever escalating cost of healthcare with so many people being denied healthcare coverage while health insurance companies continue to make wonderful profits.

One fear that is real is that if Mr. Obama and the rest of the Democrats are able to reform healthcare in any meaningful way conservatives know that their impact on the political stage will continue to diminish to levels so insignificant that as a national collective they would barely influence a bond issue regarding a local library.

Real healthcare reform has become Mr. Obama’s Waterloo.  It is depicted as a decisive battle that will trigger an end to his political popularity and the resurgence of the Democratic Party.  If healthcare reform passes as a bloc the Republican Party can point the finger of fault at the Democrats and say that it is all their fault.  If healthcare reform fails, the Republicans will point a different finger to the Democrats and say that they were too disorganized and too unwilling to work with each other to be trusted with the nation’s welfare.  It’s a no lose situation for them.  Unfortunately, the real losers wouldn’t be the Democrats but the people who’s access to healthcare will continue to languish under a system geared more for making profit than for saving people’s health or life.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 Posted by | Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Life, Thoughts, Universal Healthcare | 2 Comments