Friday, March 26, 2010


From an email to NRO's The Corner:
It’s a sad day when the President of the United States uses taxpayer dollars to travel around the country ridiculing and provoking those taxpayers with whom he disagrees, but this is what we get when the “cool” guy wins. How I long for the days of a “cowboy” President I didn’t always agree with, but always respected.
I guess respect is a two-way street.

Resistance is Not Futile

The best thing I've read on the health care debate. Former Senator Phil Gramm (R) in the WSJ.

Instead of saying "read the whole thing," here's the whole thing:

Republicans must make it clear to the American people that this is only the beginning of the debate.


For every dollar's worth of health care that Americans received last year, they paid a dime and somebody else paid 90 cents. If you bought food the way you buy health care—where 90% of everything you put in your basket was paid for by your grocery insurance policy—you would eat differently and so would your dog. We have the best health-care system in the world, but as rich as America is we can't afford it.

Any real debate about health-care reform has to be centered on solving the problem of cost. Ultimately, there are only two ways of doing it. The first approach is to have government control costs through some form of rationing. The alternative is to empower families to make their own health-care decisions in a system where costs matter. The fundamental question is about who is going to do the controlling: the family or the government.

President Obama and his congressional allies systematically excluded every major proposal to empower consumers to control costs. From beginning to end, they insisted on a government-run system. That's why compromise was never possible.

The plan signed into law by the president on Tuesday is simply a hodgepodge of schemes to expand insurance coverage and government power with no coherent program to control cost. By contrast, the old Clinton health-care bill was a plan to control costs through health-care purchasing cooperatives, standards of medical practice, and penalties for providers who violated those standards. When Americans came to understand the loss of freedom resulting from the Clinton plan, they rejected it. The Democrats learned from that experience. This time around they simply left their cost control component to be added later.

Even though the Obama bill became far more unpopular than the Clinton bill ever was, the daunting size and rigid commitment of the Democratic majority to a government-run system was such that they could override public opinion. Now the Democrats are out to make Americans like their plan—or at least get them to acquiesce to it. But as Gandhi once explained, 40,000 British troops cannot force 300 million Indians to do what they will not do.

Republicans have a job to do. They must make it clear to the American people that this is only the beginning of the debate. There will be two congressional elections and a presidential election before the government takeover is implemented in 2014.

I believe that Republicans should take the unequivocal position that if they are given a majority in Congress in November, they will stop the implementation of the government takeover. And if a Republican is elected president in 2012, they will do with Mr. Obama's health-care bill what the American voters will have done to the Democrats: throw it out. If the voters demand change in November, even the Democrats who remain in Congress will help give it to them.

If Republicans don't want America to follow Britain and Canada down the road to socialized medicine, they must change the system so that families have more power to control their own health-care costs. This will entail real changes like tax deductions for health insurance, not for prepaid medicine; refundable tax credits for families to buy their own insurance; freedom to negotiate with insurance companies; rewarding healthy lifestyles; tort reform; and reforming Medicare and Medicaid so every consumer has deductibles and copayments based on their income. This system will require Americans to make choices in health care—just as they do in every other area of their lives.

There is one more overwhelming reason freedom is so critical in health care. In the end, even the greatest health-care system in the world fails. At 92, my mother decided to stop going to the hospital, stop going to the doctor, stop taking her medicine, and to die in her own bed. It was a free choice, and she made it. For her family, it was a painful choice, but she died as she lived—proud and free. Government bureaucrats did not make that decision; she did. And that made all the difference.

Mr. Gramm, a Republican, was a senator from Texas from 1985 to 2002 and served as chairman of the Health subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Finance.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Obamacare: not the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning

Hope and change. Coming November 2010.


Democrats 1 America 0

House voted 219-212 tonight to pass Obamacare (34 Democrats joined Republicans in voting "no").

In The Atlantic, Megan McCardle writes:

"I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care. ... because politicians shouldn't feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them."

Read the whole thing.

Last week, Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen warned in the Washington Post:
Nothing has been more disconcerting than to watch Democratic politicians and their media supporters deceive themselves into believing that the public favors the Democrats' current health-care plan. Yes, most Americans believe, as we do, that real health-care reform is needed. And yes, certain proposals in the plan are supported by the public.

However, a solid majority of Americans opposes the massive health-reform plan. Four-fifths of those who oppose the plan strongly oppose it, according to Rasmussen polling this week, while only half of those who support the plan do so strongly. Many more Americans believe the legislation will worsen their health care, cost them more personally and add significantly to the national deficit. Never in our experience as pollsters can we recall such self-deluding misconstruction of survey data.


Health care is no longer a debate about the merits of specific initiatives. Since the spectacle of Christmas dealmaking to ensure passage of the Senate bill, the issue, in voters' minds, has become less about health care than about the government and a political majority that will neither hear nor heed the will of the people.

Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls.
(Emphasis added). We can hope. For change.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hope and change: hoped they could change the rules

Senate parliamentarian says they can't.

Yuval Levin at NR's "The Corner":
"Democratic leaders should be asking themselves just how they have gotten to the point that their strategy is to amend a law that doesn’t exist yet by passing a bill without voting on it. Surely it’s time to start over."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Obama and the L-Word

Matt Welch:
"The president, who promised in both word and style to usher in a 'new era' of Washington 'responsibility,' routinely says things that aren’t true and supports initiatives that break campaign promises. When called on it, he mostly keeps digging. And when obliged to explain why American voters are turning so sharply away from his party and his policies, Obama pins the blame not on his own deviations from verity but on his failure to 'explain' things 'more clearly to the American people.'

"When a politician cannot fathom opposition to his policies except as the manifestation of wicked manipulation by bad guys, remediable only by more thorough 'explanations' from the good guys, it indicates an unseemly paternalism. And if he cannot take the hint that Bush-Obama bailout-and-spend economics are deeply and increasingly unpopular, that indicates something immovable about his core economic ideology. With those two factors as backdrop, it’s hard to say which would be worse: if the president didn’t really believe what he said, or if he did."
Read the whole thing.

Monday, March 01, 2010

And now for something completely different...

A helmet-hair ventriloquist-dummy-lookalike does hideous lip-synching on a dreadful '60s set. A Soviet Lawrence Welk? "Joyful noise" in the Workers' Paradise? Cross-cultural "la-la'ing," "ho-ho'ing," and belly laughs of song! Remarkably he manages to stay in character (whatever that character is). (Reminds me of what you would expect to see on TV in the "Joe Versus the Volcano" world). Hard to believe we were terrified of these guys for about 40 years. No surprise we won the Cold War. Words fail. Enjoy. (Hat tip Ethan Clark).