Free Markets, Free People


The Political Hazards Of “Health Care Reform”

The NY Times tells us this morning that we’re likely to get health care reform whether we want it or not.

Frankly I’m not sure why that should be a surprise to anyone. Democrats know that they have to pass something or they’ll effectively, to use Howard Dean’s phrase, “kill the presidency” of Barack Obama.

So it should come as no surprise, really, that Democrats are finally talking about whatever is necessary, to include completely ignoring Republicans, to get a bill through both houses of Congress for the president’s signature.

But the exclusion of Republicans doesn’t mean smooth sailing for Democrats. Numbers-wise they certainly have the majorities they need in both houses to pass legislation. This particular legislation, however, has become fraught with political danger. Many Democrats are very wary of it because of the demonstrated unhappiness of their constituencies and the probable 2010 impact that may have. This is especially true of more conservative Democrats, even those is primarily Democratic districts. And “Blue Dogs” who managed to win in historically red districts are terrified.

Certainly by cutting out the Republicans, they can write the legislation as they want it. But certain parts, such as the so-called “death panels” and “public option”, have little public support. And, in general, polls continue to make the point that a majority of Americans want this present attempt scratched and want Congress to “start over”.

On top of that, it appears the majority of Americans do not agree that “something” has to be passed quickly. Instead, it appears, the public wants an extended debate and believe that such a debate is just beginning.

That sets up the conflict of political interests the Democrats face. They believe, now that they’ve brought it up and the president has made it one of his signature issues, that unless they pass it (or something they can call “health care reform”) they’ll have set him up for failure. However, they are also coming to realize that passing something now despite a majority of Americans saying slow down and start over could be hazardous to their political health – and majorities.

As they finally did with George Bush and the Republicans, I believe Americans are again realizing not just the benefit but the necessity for divided government to keep both sides “honest”. Government needs a bit of competition too. And if Democrats ram health care reform legislation through, whether with our without Republican support, they’re most likely to see such “competition” become reality in 2010.

~McQ

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27 Responses to The Political Hazards Of “Health Care Reform”

  • If I were a Republican Senator, and the Dems tried to pass this crap through the mechanism of “reconciliation,” I would go to the White House and lay down the law to The Clown™: if you do that, if you use “the nuclear option,” if you cut us out of the negotiations, the following will happen: we in the GOP will block everything in the US Senate from here on out. Until you leave office, be prepared that nothing will get done. Second, and most important, under “reconciliation” (which only is supposed to apply to budgetary issues, not health care baloney), the changes are not permanent – they have to updated every few years. I would tell The Clown™ that we in the GOP will make it a point that when – not if, but when – we get back in the majority in the US Senate, we will undo all of the changes you make. I don’t care if this costs me my seat, my party ever being in the White House again, or any of that crap. If you think you can ram this down the nation’s throats on a partisan basis, you will effectively end any chances you have of doing anything else for the rest of your time in the presidency.

    I would tell The Clown™ that that is it, end of subject. If he wants a fight, he will get one.

  • I hate to hog the place, but I have a plane to catch in two hours, and I will be gone for the rest of the week. So, one more comment before I pack and head out the door:

    A word about Robert Novak:

    I was on a plane about three years ago, when I was sitting next to an avowed liberal and Bush-hater who literally spent their every waking moment hating George W. Bush. Bad weather? Bush is responsible. No money in his account? Bush did it.

    I said to him how amazing it was that Valerie Plame and her husband continued to believe that they were targeted by anyone in the White House when her name was released to Novak. This liberal pinhead said to me, in so many words, “You do realize that Karl Rove was behind all of that.”

    I said to him, “No, Rove wasn’t. It was proven that Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, mentioned it in passing to Novak during an interview.”

    Now, the liberal in him came out: “No, you are wrong. Some court proved that Rove did it, with Scooter Libby.”

    “No,” I said. “Scooter Libby was asked whether or not he spoke to a reporter afterwards, and when he allegedly lied, he was indicted. But he did not release the name of Valerie Plame to Novak – Richard Armitage did.”

    The blood vessels in his head looked like they would burst. “You are wrong. Who is Armitage? I remember that Karl Rove was implicated.”

    “Implicated how? Was he indicted?”

    And, here, we come to the big problem with liberalism: “I think Bush pardoned him before he could be indicted.”

    So, that leads to another section from The Liberal Playbook, this time highlighting Rule #6:

    “Liberalism can best be defined as holding onto, and repeating ad nauseum, the facts that liberals wish to believe, despite the fact that reality proves that what they believe is wholly not true.”

  • There was a Democrat congressman who said that Obama was willing to sacrifice a second term to get health care reform passed. I think the congressman did not quite understand. Health care reform is likely to pass, and will probably lead to a lot of turnover in CONGRESS, yes. But since much of it doesn’t kick in until after 2012, the 2012 presidential campaign will run on “see? We passed health care reform and none of the nightmare scenarios happened!”

    Which could, depending on a number of other factors, be enough to get Obama that second term. Not so for the senators and representatives who lose their seats to a furious electorate. So yeah, Obama is willing to sacrifice a second term… YOURS. It’ll be a small price to pay to stick us with another massive government entitlement program just before the USA really *does* run out of money (in the government sense).

  • With what we have for Republicans, a divided government isn’t all that divided.

  • McQ“[democrats] believe, now that they’ve brought it up and the president has made it one of his signature issues, that unless they pass it (or something they can call “health care reform”) they’ll have set him up for failure. However, they are also coming to realize that passing something now despite a majority of Americans saying slow down and start over could be hazardous to their political health – and majorities.”

    Well, SOME democrats believe this. I suggest that quite a few senior democrats, confident that the same very liberal districts / states that
    have relected them for years (if not decades) will continue to do so, really don’t care what the “majority” of Americans want. Quite aside from the possibility that many of them actually believe their own propaganda that health takeover opponents are a tiny fringe of crazy racist astroturfed shills in the pay of the insurance industry, they couldn’t care less what people who CAN’T vote for them think. Hence, SanFran Nan feels perfectly comfortable in suggesting that her opponents are nazis because she knows that the liberal potheads in her district either agree with her or else are so stoned that they don’t care.

    The dems are also doubtless counting on the wholehearted efforts of MiniTru to provide them cover. Just as MiniTru has faithfully pulled out all the stops to portray opponents of health care takeover as “extremists”, they will inundate us with stories about eeeeeevil health insurance companies, poor folks who were (gasp!) denied coverage for preexisting conditions, how wonderful nationalized health care is in other countries, how ObamaCare will reduce the deficit AND cure cancer, etc, etc. If / when ObamaCare passes, all will be sweetness and light: people will be healthier, happier, the deficit will “disappear”, etc. Look at how the wars have been covered – or NOT covered – since TAO was elected. Look at how MiniTru is valiantly spinning economic news as uniformly good even as unemployment continues to bump against double digits. Is there any doubt that they’ll try the same con job with health care takeover?

    Will it work?

    Stay tuned.

  • Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus told the Tuscaloosa News: “Social Security could face default within two years.

    The date that Social Security outlays exceed revenues has moved up due to the recession. It was supposed to be 2017.

    For years, Progressives have been telling us that this date was meaningless because there is a file full of T-bills in West Virginia which were the IOUs the government has been issuing in lieu of spending the “excess” Social Security revenue as part of the budget.

    Well surprise .. surprise .. the date is not meaningless.

    This was mentioned in the past, but some were proud to do nothing (go to 0:54)

  • Ultimately the Democrats have to simply pass this. If they have to cut out Republicans and risk seats in 2010, so be it. Caving on this would be riskier, and opposition is very vocal from a tiny minority, but quite thin in most — the Democrats have time to make their case. But given the dishonest behavior by the Republicans on this, I think they’ve proven that they have no intention of doing anything but war. So the Democrats need to use their majorities while they have them. Caving will do them more political harm than good.

    And, ultimately, most people won’t vote against their Congressman on this issue. More troubling for Obama is the on going and deepening recession. This is structural, it can be blamed on both parties, and it is, no matter who is elected in 2010 or 2012, going to create a severe decline in the American standard of living for future years, especially as baby boomers retire, social security, medicare and medicaid become unsustainable, and the US is forced into massive budget reorganization. Having health care costs under control will be a necessity. I think a lot of people still don’t realize how bad the situation is.

    • Scott, you have to blind to claim “tiny minority”. The polls clearly show it is a majority who are opposed.

      Your second argument that people won’t vote against their congressman over health care, is tenuous at best. I claim any “blue dog” congressman or Senator from a usually red state who votes in favor will lose their seats over this. If the Democrats push this through the House solely with Democratic votes, it is very possible Pelosi will lose her majority.

      All those fans of reconciliation need to understand that it will take 60 votes if the health care plan adds to the deficit. The CBO is there to keep them honest. So, not only will the Democrats have to get a program through, it will have to be deficit neutral.

      • Rick, read carefully. A tiny minority are vocally and strongly opposed. Most who answer a poll sway this way or that. As I note in my blog today, the Democrats have to be Machiavellian now. For Obama to cave would be political suicide. They have the ability to do this without subjecting the bill to filibuster, they should. The public will be in a quite different place with different things on their mind a year from now.

        • Ultimately the Democrats have to simply pass this. They have tempted us delusional socialists for far too long! If they have to cut out Republicans and risk seats in 2010, so be it. After all, those pesky polls that I keep denying exist (which I admit existed when Obama was high in the polls) say that 59% of the people oppose this being jammed through by Democrats only. The Democrats have lost their way in making their case, but, then again, so has my Glorious President, who I feel is making the right arguments but no one in the right-wing dominated media is listening to. Darn them! And given the dishonest behavior of the Democrats, as well as the White House, on this, I believe that what we should first do in the Congress is make Republicans illegal. Once they show up we can arrest them and, with 100% of the Congress in our glorious socialist hands, we can finally do what Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Bless Her!) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (Bless Him!) want us to do. Ignore the polls. They are only being done by right-wing groups like Gallup, and Pew, and Rasmussen. The DailyKos 2000 poll shows that 99% of the American people “love Obama more than God,” and that 89% “want the public option shoved down the right wing’s throats.”

          Damn to anyone who resists the march to our glorious Socialist paradise. Resist them, America. We are coming to help you. Your government will make you feel better. Just keep watching, and praying. You voted for change, and change is what you will get, no matter how many people try to resist it.

          Onward to Socialism!

        • Rick, read carefully. I know that’s hard for you dense righties, but at least try to understand. A tiny minority are vocally and strongly opposed. I decree it. There just can’t be very many. And, no, I don’t have to give any evidence in support of that. I decree it, and that’s all there is to it. Don’t you understand the rules when you debate with me? I get to decide what’s true and what’s not because of my advanced degrees and godlike powers of political science. Suck on it.

          Most who answer a poll sway this way or that. Of course, when the polls are in favor of my position, I sing a different tune about how the public supports us, but that’s because of the holy writ of post-modernist politics. We get to decide when the public really believes something, based on whether they support leftist dogma or not.

          As I note in my blog today, the Democrats have to be Machiavellian now. And there’s nothing the least bit unethical about that. Not for leftists. We are allowed to be dishonest or deceptive, because our hearts are pure and we always want the best for everyone.

          For Obama to cave would be political suicide. We absolutely can’t have that. It would ruin our march to glorious leftist salvation. They have the ability to do this without subjecting the bill to filibuster, they should. When it comes to getting leftist programs through, all’s fair in love and war. Of course, if Republicans did the same thing, it would be a form of tyranny, but that’s not either a contradiction, so stop saying that.

          The public will be in a quite different place with different things on their mind a year from now. Our comrades in the media will make sure of that. They tried to divert the whole healthcare thing by obsessively focusing on Michael Jackson, and I’m sure they’ll come up with even better diversions for the common folk, who don’t really need to have any input into this process anyway, by a year from now.

        • As I note in my blog today, the Democrats have to be Machiavellian now

          ***

          In other words “The ends justify the means”

          Thanks Erby! And I hope you keep repeating that mantra when the system decrees that your family members die rather than get costly treatments.

          • Geez, Shark, that kind of paranoia is so silly and absurd that you make yourself look ignorant. Most of the industrialized world has health care systems like the kind the Democrats are talking about. The people in those countries don’t want to give those up. There aren’t “death panels.” Do you really believe that wild rhetoric? Sheesh. You’re way out of touch.

    • Ultimately the Democrats have to simply pass this. How can we possibly move towards the glorious salvation of leftist control of society otherwise?

      If they have to cut out Republicans and risk seats in 2010, so be it. The risk is tiny anyway, as our comrades, uh, colleagues in the media will work overtime to give coverage to those enlightened Democrats who vote for our march to glorious socialist salvation.

      Caving on this would be riskier, and opposition is very vocal from a tiny minority. And don’t start with those polls showing a majority oppose it, just don’t start! It’s a tiny minority, I decree it! Here in the faculty minority, it’s so tiny I can’t even see it, and I’m sure that all enlightened Americans agree with us.

      But given the dishonest behavior by the Republicans on this, I think they’ve proven that they have no intention of doing anything but war. And stop asking me for links or support over the charge of dishonesty, just stop, do you hear! I’ve explained before that some things are simply axioms of post-modern holy writ, and one of them is that Republicans are dishonest. So don’t start up with any of that supposedly non-partisan CBO stuff! Just don’t start!

      So the Democrats need to use their majorities while they have them. That way, they’ll put programs in place that allow them to exert threats on the people that Republicans will take stuff away after they’re addicted to it, ensuring that we wise leftists will control things permanently. Caving will do them more political harm than good.

      And, ultimately, most people won’t vote against their Congressman on this issue. And for goodness sake, don’t start with the 1994 comparisons! More troubling for Obama is the on going and deepening recession. This is structural, it can be blamed on both parties, though it’s primarily Republicans as I’ve said many times before, going back to Reagan as the main source. And it is, no matter who is elected in 2010 or 2012, going to create a severe decline in the American standard of living for future years, especially as baby boomers retire, social security, medicare and medicaid become unsustainable, and the US is forced into massive budget reorganization. And you libertarians just shut up about how you’ve been predicting exactly that for decades! It’s an original insight with we pragmatic post-modern leftists, and it’s somehow all the fault of the Republicans even though they didn’t create any of those programs. It just is, I tell you! Stop laughing!

      Having health care costs under control will be a necessity. And I decree that Obama’s program will control costs. So shut up about the CBO stuff! And stop talking about all the things wrong with the Canadian system! It’s much cheaper than ours, and it’s better, and you really, really need to shut up about the long waits and all the people that come across the border to flee the Canadian system for their treatment! They’re just mean righties like the ex-military basket cases that post here, and they ought to share in the communal, wonderful healthcare environment that wise leftists have decided Canada should have, and forget all this individual responsibility stuff.

      I think a lot of people still don’t realize how bad the situation is. Why, if we don’t pass this, Obama might not be able to get all the rest of his wise leftist programs enacted. What a disaster that would be! After we all worked so hard to elect him and remove the Bush regime. We deserve for our dreams of glorious socialist salvation to come true, and we’re certainly not going to let a bunch of dense righties stop us!

  • The problem with Bush and the Republicans was that they passed laws similar to the Democrats. No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug thing, etc.

    I’d like to see a real Republican majority and President who had balls and actually pushed a Republican agenda.

  • Look for the dems to pass this pile of crap.

    Right after the elections next year and the dems lose quite a few seats if not their majorities look for them to push through adding 2 seats to the Supreme court so that they can keep their agenda “constitutional”.

  • I forgot who coined the phrase so I can’t give proper credit, but someone described this as a “self-inflicted wedge issue” and it couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people.

  • to keep both sides “honest”.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I hope thats the worst lie I see today.
    There’s nothing honest about any of those a$$holes.
    In fact, dishonesty has gotten them to where they are.