Despondent…

Earlier today, I wrote a post on RightOSphere going after Democrats for not supporting the DC Opportunity Scholarship. It was sharp- though, perhaps backwards in style from the proper inverted pyramid- sincere and hard-hitting. However, it was a struggle to get it written and posted.

Partly, it’s the awful allergies wracking my body. Partly, it’s the fact that I’m tired of not having a job. Partly, it’s the fact that I don’t have a regular schedule, so I’m going stir-crazy. Partly, it’s that I haven’t slept well or much for the last four or five nights. Mostly, though, it’s the fact that the health care bill passed on Sunday and signed by the president today is going to sink this country into even more debt that it will never pay back.

Some are optimistic- we can turn this thing back, repeal it, etc. However, I think David Frum’s opening points here, and Mark Steyn’s entire column earlier this month, are more accurate. Namely, this is going nowhere, and it will badly hurt this country.

Please tell me I’m wrong. Please tell me that fighting against cap-and-trade, burdensome financial regulations, working on the Hill for the conservative movement and fighting to save the unborn is worth it. Because right now, it seems hopeless. As Steyn put it:

Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (Let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative”).

The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

And later:

Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A bigtime GOP consultant was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

The left has ruined this country and, along with it, created an environment where a center-right country like America can’t even slow down our rampant red ink and dependency, never mind end it. 2012 is conservatism’s last shot. Should it fail, should we fail, we might as well kiss America goodbye.

The Call List To Stop More Government In Health Care

Laura Ingraham has a call list on her website of 18 Democrats who voted “No” on health care reform last year but may vote “Yes” this time around. The list is below. Please contact these offices and tell them to vote against Democratic health care reform.

DC office numbers and links to office e-mails:

John Adler, N.J.
202-225- 4765
EMAIL

Jason Altmire, Pa.
202-225- 2565
EMAIL

Brian Baird, Wash.
202-225-3536
EMAIL

John Barrow, Ga.
202-225-2823
EMAIL

John Boccieri, Ohio
202-225-3876
EMAIL

Rick Boucher, Va.
202-225-3861
EMAIL

Ben Chandler, Ky.
202-225-4706
EMAIL

Lincoln Davis, Tenn.
202-225- 6831
EMAIL

Bart Gordon, Tenn.
202-225-4231
EMAIL

Tim Holden, Pa.
202-225- 5546
EMAIL (Must be a constituent)

Suzanne Kosmas, Fla
202-225-2706.
EMAIL

Betsy Markey, Colo.
202-225-4676
EMAIL (Must be a constituent)

Jim Matheson, Utah
202-225-3011
EMAIL

Scott Murphy, N.Y.
202-225-5614
EMAIL

Glenn Nye, Va.
202-225-4215
EMAIL (Must be a constituent)

Ike Skelton, Mo.
202-225-2876
EMAIL (Must be a constituent)

John Tanner, Tenn.
202-225-4714
EMAIL

Harry Teague, N.M.
202-225-2365
EMAIL

New York Times Is Off By A Bit

Following the tradition of liberals nationwide, The New York Times editorial- which I found thanks to a link on Daily Kos- this morning encouraged Democrats to push for health care reform through any means possible. It did a fair job of tackling how reconciliation would work, and how Republicans are using sound bites against it that are not entirely accurate. However, there are a few misnomers that should be addressed.

First, the editorial says this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix health care in this country. Beyond the ideological/philosophical disagreements, health care reform could take place without the misleading “once-in-a-generation” label and political risk therein and still be incredibly effective. Tort reform, insurance purchasing across state lines, getting rid of the insurance monopoly exemption, cutting fraud/waste/abuse and, most importantly, beginning the ideas of payment reform proposed by the Dartmouth Atlas Group. These are relatively simple reforms that would decrease health care and health insurance costs; decrease the number of unnecessary, expensive and sometimes harmful tests done to protect doctors and increase profits at the expense of the patient; create quality of care incentives as opposed to quantity of care incentives; and provide higher coverage through the simple idea that less cost has a direct proportion to higher insurance. (Since Democrats constantly argue- correctly- that higher costs decrease coverage, I assume they will agree with me.)

Secondly, the Times seems to be okay with making the final bill budget-neutral by raising taxes. That may end up being the case- doubtful but possible- but why not make changes that won’t raise taxes many billions of dollars? THAT would be a true budget-neutral situation.

Thirdly, the editorial says the Senate and House bills are outrageous violations of a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. I don’t need to explain why this is a detestable and ridiculous point of view- abortion is not a right. LIVING is a right.

The editorial accurately portrays Republican talking points about reconciliation a bit overreactive, and largely about politics. This is the state of Washington, where the parties argue for political reasons as much as to help the country (though I think most Democrats and Republicans are saying what they are about health care for the latter reason as well). Why do we want to centralize more control of health care in Washington, where politics, not efficiency, are the standard? Secondly, as someone wrote last year (I forget who), there hasn’t been a free market in health care in America for over 40 years. If we say health care is too expensive, should we blame the market…or the government that is colluding with insurance companies and has created a horrible payment system in Medicare that permeates our entire medical system?

My Semi-Random Open Thread on the Health Care Summit

We all know this “summit” is a crock, but it’s technically newsworthy, so I am going to be commenting on it throughout the day. I do have other things going on, so it won’t be an every-minute-update thing, but I’ll do what I can. You can watch the crock of a summit at C-SPAN here.

A few minutes ago, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke very well about how reconciliation should be off the table, and quoted Senators Reid, Obama and Byrd going after reconciliation. Byrd did it last year, and Reid and Obama did it during the Bush administration. He also noted that cost should be the primary concern, as lowering cost would bring higher coverage.

One thing that really ticked me off- President Obama called Alexander, Reid, Obama House Speaker Pelosi and Senator John McCain by their first names. What is it with this guy and demeaning those around him? We all know he’s arrogant- certainly not the only one in summit; as my father put it, the people in Congress are “certifiably narcissistic”- but this is just too much. Show a little respect.

10:54- Obama says one of the goals is to see where “we agree” and disagree, and where we can bridge these differences. See my earlier post today quoting Major Garrett about how the White House does NOT want to reconcile Republican and Democratic issues.

10:55- Obama says they should not worry about the process, but just worry about the substance. So…we shouldn’t worry about reconciliation? Give me a break.

10:57- Obama quotes the CBO as saying premiums will be lowered by exchanges. What he ignores…Alexander interrupts him! Obama calls Alexander a liar- should be an interesting exchange. (This is almost as exciting as…curling?)

10:59- Obama is quoting the CBO at length. Obama calls Alexander Lamar again, as Alexander tries to defend his points.

11:00- Obama is still rambling. Will he ever let the bipartisan part of the summit happen? Yadda, yadda, yadda, we have used every cost containment out there, yadda, yadda, yadda. Calls Republicans stupid. He won’t let Alexander get his point across. He wants Alexander to compliment his bill, because he was too critical before. *Aw…*

11:02- Alexander, RESPECTFULLY disagrees with Obama on the CBO- but instead of taking advantage of the opening, says other people should talk first. Oy. Come on, Senator- OOH! McConnell wants Coburn to take the lead on cost containment. *Chuckles evilly* (For the record, exaggerated responses are that way on purpose. I’m not really THAT excited about this stuff.)

11:03- Coburn takes off with a cautionary note. Goes right into a medical analogy- treating the symptom not the disease. 1/3 of dollars don’t help people get better or prevent sickness in America. 60% of American health care is government-directed. Why does it cost so much? COST is the biggest issue.

11:05- All people will get treated, and will get labeled with a pre-existing condition. Preventing acute asthma (example) is not well done in America. How do we lower the cost? 10% of the cost is fraud. Someone else Coburn quotes says 15%. That’s $150 billion dollars. We could cut costs by 7.5% tomorrow. A large portion of ordered tests are because of the lack of tort reform.

11:07- Thompson-Reuters says $625 to over $800 billion of health care costs annually are wasted. That fits with Dartmouth Atlas numbers of about 1/3. Coburn talks about philosophical differences. Says we can cut costs by 15% tomorrow. What would happen to access to health coverage? It would go up.

11:08- We don’t incentivize prevention. Management of disease is not encouraged. We encourage bad lawsuits.

11:09- Pay people who do a good job of prevention. Change the food stamp programs to incentivize, and lunch programs to incentivize, less diabetes and better health. We create diabetes through school lunch and food stamp programs. Let’s look at medical malpractice, incentivizing through states, elimination of fraud- private rate of fraud is 1%- we haven’t gone where the money is.

11:10- Let’s go after the 1 in 3 dollars. Let’s create rewarding incentives. Compliments Obama’s bill where it’s good.

11:19- I took a break to talk to my friend RJ, before I fell asleep watching this. House Majority Leader Hoyer is speaking about how incentivizing care needs to be done. Talks about the public option and how it would open up access and competition. He mentions the Donut Hole in Medicare Part D. He says the House bill covers the Donut Hole. He also says Americans are watching the summit, which is a laugh.

11:21- Obama calls Senator Baucus and Senator Coburn “Max” and “Tom.” Demeaning again. He compliments Coburn on cutting fraud and abuse, and compliments the First Lady on trying to lower obesity.

11:22- Obama tries to sound normal- “hearin’”- before talking about the public option, and asks to hear the Republican opposition to it. He says it provides a larger group that will have more “purchasin’ power” for insurance. He says some Republicans have supported public options in the past.

11:23- A Republican from Maryland- I didn’t catch his name- talks about incremental reform and small business. He says half of the uninsured work for small businesses or depend on someone who does. He supports small businesses banding together to get the advantages of larger businesses, which helps by lowering administrative costs, among other advantages. He says small businesses have been asking for this for years, and he says this is better than the exchanges.

11:25- Obama is controlling this event very well. Kudos to him, no kudos to Republicans.

11:26- Senator Baucus say “we are very close” on this. He thinks the gaps are not that great. *CoughBS* Oh, pardon me.

11:27- Baucus says Democratic bill allows insurance across state lines and says Secretary of HHS Sebelius is working with states on lawsuit abuse. Says HSA expansion is not bad, but they don’t help the poor as much.

I’m done for now- I have stuff to do that’s way more important than watching this.

Update: Turns out I was an hour behind on all of my original posts- they are updated to the accurate times.

12:36- HHS Secretary Sebelius is talking about pre-existing conditions, and says having insurance companies segregating the healthy and unhealthy is- darn, I forget the exact quote- the worst part of our health care system. Something like that. I think she’s forgetting about abortion…

12:38- Rep. Cantor is talking. He is boring, and is doing the party-line thing about how both sides care, yadda, yadda, yadda. Okay, here he goes- Republicans and the people don’t care for the Democratic bill. But he has to get off the talking points. Fast.

12:39- If Washington gets to define benefits, that’s bad. But let’s assume Washington COULD decide what is most essential well…first- GREAT job, Cantor, hitting Obama on the lack of a CBO score- there are big taxes. It will hurt small businesses.

12:41- Cantor quotes the CBO saying the construct of the Senate bill would cause people to lose insurance. Risky, Cantor- they said those people would go to the public option, I believe, NOT lose their insurance.

12:42- Cantor says to start over. The structure we can’t agree on, but there are areas of agreement.

12:43- Obama mocks Cantor’s change of coverage numbers and compares them to the huge number of people in the country. Can we do that when he talks about individual stories that “prove” his point. Now he’s mocking Cantor more about page numbers. *Yawn*

12:44- He is now comparing meat inspectors and food cost to health insurance. Drug prices, same thing. We already have way too many regulations, Mr. President, on health care. (Barack?)

12:45- Obama says Republicans don’t believe in getting rid of regulations- darn, he’s back to the individual stories- now he says Republicans agree with him on having regulations. He keeps talking about insurance reform, NOT health CARE reform. Big difference.

12:47- He called Sebelius Kathleen…oy. He talks about the page numbers so much, my goodness.

Done again. I can’t stand this anymore. My afternoon meeting was canceled last-minute, so I’m watching “Gladiator.” I’ve never seen it before. (Republicans are letting Obama dominate this too much, anyway. They need to hammer him on abortion, the CBO non-scoring, etc. COME ON, people.)

12:50- Ooh, Cantor is talking about how we can’t afford this, it’s not a perfect world and we should go step-by-step. Good for him. He says to set aside the mandate, and go back to things we can agree on.

12:51- VP Biden is making a stupid argument- he says either have government or don’t. NO MIDDLE GROUND. What a moron.

12:51- Cantor vs. Obama is good, actually- he has Obama stuttering and pausing and avoiding questions.

Back to the movie…

Update: Gladiator is overrated. Back to the health care “summit.”

2:33- Rep. Marsha Blackburn is talking about Anthem raising costs- and talking about interstate insurance buying. She must have read what I posted yesterday on Daily Caller.

2:34- “Care delayed” and…options?…delayed are care and options delayed. Something like that. Really good. State legislatures and governors should be given more control.

2:35- He called her Marsha. AUGH! Now he is agreeing with interstate insurance purchasing.

2:36- Obama is saying the unemployed are leaving insurance because of costs. He’s right. This, as he is explaining, causes those who need insurance to keep it at more cost. The answer, he says, is to broaden the pool. How about getting people JOBS?

2:37- Bridge the gap- national exchange with minimum standards.

2:38- He used to be against the mandate- now he’s for it. (He said “sayin’”- really pushing that average person thing, huh?) Independent economists support something he is talking about…unnamed, of course. Shall we take his word for it?

2:40- STOP CALLING PEOPLE BY FIRST NAME!

2:40- Blackburn is responding- she says Obama wants to let (he just interrupted her) companies in, she wants to let people out. He is so rude.

2:41- Stop talking and let her talk. You rude man. He just said “I want to finish this, guys” when BLACKBURN, a woman, tried to finish. Come on, great communicator. Get the gender right, at least.

2:41- He didn’t let her finish. He moved on. What a tool.

2:42- He called Biden “Joe.” Now Biden is talking about the impact on the deficit. He admits to not knowing what Americans want- he’s been in DC too long. How about polls, town halls and voting?

2:43- Comparing this debate to Social Security mandates. Both are immoral. Plain and simple. (My take, not Biden’s.) Biden almost swore. *Chuckle*

2:44- “We all agree” that costs have doubled in a decade, costs have huge waste, and America has the best doctors. Biden needs to be quiet now- he’s yakking randomly. He is all over the place. He sounds like Olbermann.

2:45- CBO has scored the various plans regarding bending the cost curve, says Biden. He says the Senate bill cuts costs, but it does not. He is forgetting that the CBO looked at ten years to 2019, but expenditures only go out from 2013, so the calculations are wrong. Not CBO’s fault- it’s the fault of the people in DC. What a bunch of narcissistic buffoons, almost all of them.

2:47- He hasn’t breathed in three minutes. Be quiet, Biden.

2:48- He is still talking- but he is talking about not overpaying insurance companies in Medicare Advantage and getting rid of waste. WHAT ABOUT PAYMENT REFORM? That’s the biggest issue. Biden is still talking. Oy. His voice is almost as annoying as Obama’s…

2:49- He said he wants to make another point…but he hasn’t made one yet. He says he wants to bend the cost curve- no, really? WOW! Does he say anything of substance?

2:50- Rep. Ryan is starting off strong. Go Ryan! He is now quoting Obama as saying he won’t sign a single dollar to the deficit, and says no CBO score for the Obama bill, but compares it to the Senate bill. He says it will not lower the deficit, and is now going through it. GO RYAN!

2:52- Gimmicks and smoke and mirrors- GO RYAN! He says the bill costs $2.3 trillion, not the less than $1 trillion Obama claims. Now he is going through, line-by-line, and is citing that part of the bill is a Ponzi scheme.

2:53- He says the bill cuts Medicare to make new program, not help Medicare. Says the chief actuary of Medicare says businesses will go under, and it will hurt people. According to Ryan, cutting out the gimmicks, it’s a huge deficit, and the most cynical gimmick is leaving the Doc Fix out. YAY! GO RYAN! WOO-HOO!

2:54- “Hiding spending does not reduce spending.” Where is the cost curve going? It’s going up, says the Medicare actuary.

2:55- “We agree the status quo is unsustainable.” This is not the answer, and the analysis we get proves that. Ryan says “we represent” the people, and if Biden does not know what they think, he’s not listening to what the people are saying.

2:56- Obama is stu-stutt-stuttering…again. :o )

2:57- “Your side,” Obama? What about post-partisanship?

2:58- Obama is talking about Medicare Advantage. No comment, as I don’t know enough about it to say anything.

2:59- Ryan looks very composed, and unlike Obama kind of confident and relaxed.

3:00- Senator McCain is saying why should Florida be a special case about Medicare dollars? HAHAHAHAHA! Go McCain.

3:01- Coburn is saying do we want to leave more debt for our kids? Seniors don’t want that. (Oh, no- now he is talking about Oklahoma. Don’t do that. Stay on the nation…) Say we are broke, Medicare is broke, let’s not add new benefits, and let’s make sure current benefits are spread more fairly.

3:02- Obama seems to be confident about Medicare Advantage, or rather, his take on it being bad for 80% of seniors. DON’T CALL COBURN TOM! Call him “Dr.” or “Senator” or something respectful.

3:03- Obama said “previous Congress on Medicare Advantage,” but it happened under the previous administration, NOT the Congress. He apologizes for breaking decorum…but he keeps doing it. Over and over.

3:04- Rep. Becerra is saying there needs to be a referee on the field. Do we believe CBO or not? Good point. He’s hammering Ryan- gentlemanly- for supporting CBO over the years and is now saying they are wrong.

3:05- Ryan is interrupting. Good for him. He’s now clarifying- Becerra is finishing. He is doing well, but he is manipulating what Ryan said. Becerra is quoting CBO regarding deficit, and is saying they say the bills will lower deficit in the second decade.

3:06- Becerra is talking about overutilization. Good. He at least recognizes the issue exists.

3:07- My prediction…Obama won’t let Ryan respond to Becerra’s manipulation of what Ryan said. Watch. I’ll be right.

3:08- Follow-throughs on care. Becerra knows his stuff. Yup. Coordination of care will lower costs dramatically. He is right. Let Ryan speak, though. You can do it…

3:09- Darn…they didn’t let Ryan talk. McConnell didn’t let him talk. Darn. Senator Grassley is reading the statute for Medicare Advantage. He needs to stop talking now. Let Ryan talk. Please. I ask you, Senator…

3:10- Grassley is reading some letter. LET RYAN TALK! Grassley has an awful voice for this stuff. He also is not a dynamic thinker, and sounds like a partisan hack. (Obama called him “Chuck.”)

3:11- He sounds like Biden. Oy…

3:13- Grassley needs to stop talking. Now. Let Ryan talk. Now. Be quiet. Please…Ooh, never mind. He’s going after the mandate…never mind. He’s going on a rant now about grassroots.

3:14- Grassley needs to stop talking. He needs to retire. Stay on focus, man. Come on. Don’t talk about your state, you sound like a buffoon.

3:15- Good point- no cuts will happen, as hospitals will close. CBO grades what’s in front of them versus the reality of future Congresses. He’s right, but could have said it much more succinctly. Now he keeps being a buffoon, and says he learned about health care last year. He sounds like a buffoon.

3:16- Obama is talking about hard decisions- we’re in big trouble if nobody will make those decisions. He’s right. Which is why DC needs to be taken over by people who aren’t politicians, and are business people and not DC-ers.

3:17- But…but…SPEAK, Mr. President. You can do it. Ooh, hitting insurance companies for making a lot of money. True? I don’t know. Average is 3%. I don’t know about Medicare Advantage.

3:18- Grassley is taking 30 seconds to respond- he’s doing well thus far. He is saying the cuts won’t happen. He’s right.

3:19- Obama is saying MA (Medicare Advantage) is going to insurance companies. He called Senator Conrad “Kent.”

3:20- This should be interesting. Conrad is a smart, effective moderate Democrat. Medicare is going to go broke in eight years.

3:20- Do we want to endanger benefits for Medicare recipients? If so, do nothing. Period. So, together, we can work together. Coburn left? What? Darn.

3:21- Let’s look at those who are chronically ill. 5% of Medicare beneficiaries use 50% of the Medicare dollars. Chronically ill people. Multiple serious illnesses. He commends Coburn regarding care and coordination of care. He’s right. Right on, Senator Conrad.

3:22- A study of 20,000 chronically ill people- 16 kinds of pills on average, they cut out eight. Thousands of dollars were saved. Coburn’s back. YAY! I think Conrad is referencing Dartmouth Atlas.

3:23- A doctor told Conrad that uncoordinated care was being caused, for Conrad’s deceased father-in-law, by chaos. We have a system that is chaotic. It is characterized by chaos. He’s right.

3:24- He prays we come together to work on this stuff. Obama called Beohner John…Beohner agrees with Obama’s premise of why the meeting happened- so he agrees with Obama’s lie? Come on, Leader Beohner. Please…

3:25- Ooh, he mocked Obama. “Let me explain why” people want health care reform to start over.

3:26- We are talking about “A new entitlement program that will bankrupt our country.” A dangerous experiment? We may have problems, but we have the best health care system in the world. He is using talking points, not policy. LET RYAN TALK!

3:27- $500 billion in new taxes in the bill he brought with him, as well as major Medicare cuts. We need to find savings, and use those $ to keep Medicare going. That was already said, Beohner. Move on. Okay, individual and employer mandates are bad. Good, keep going. Wal-Mart likes the mandate, because it can afford it but competitors can’t. (This last part is me, not Beohner.)

3:29- GO BEOHNER! Abortion! All right! Punch him in the kidneys! GO GO GO! WOO-HOO! President’s bill allows federal funding of abortion. Let’s start over, Obama. Let’s do a step-by-step approach. Bring costs down, expand access. Beohner is saying why can’t we agree on tort reform, medical malpractice, insurance buying between states, etc.?

3:30- Obama is now avoiding responsibility. Again. Calls Beohner a liar. He won’t go after agreement because…huh? I don’t get it.

3:31- He wants to stay on certain points, and now wants Jim Cooper to speak.

3:32- Rep. Cooper is a Blue Dog. This should be interesting. He quoted Ryan, and is now supporting competition about cutting deficits, and is saying let’s vote how we talk, when the cameras are gone. He is supporting McCain, Ryan and Coburn. Talk tough, but not vote tough, this is not good enough because of the costs. This is not good enough.

3:33- Conrad-Gregg bill for commission was voted down. He is right to blame Republicans for switching sides, but the commission is not a good way to address the deficit. It lets Congress avoid its responsibility. (My take.)

3:34- Our fiscal problem stinks. Badly. Really badly.

3:35- Tough votes aren’t there. Goes after Republicans for Medicare Advantage costs, and he’s right. Nobody’s hands are clean on our debt. Go for more savings if you don’t like the current bills. The American people will be watching after the cameras are done.

3:36- McCain is speaking- says to start over on the bill. Special deals are bad, and they are more than offensive. Medical malpractice reform. McCain is talking about California and Texas with malpractice reform. (What about Mississippi? They have a good one.) Lawsuit filings are down, defensive medicine increases costs by 10%. Recruitment for physicians is up. Licenses are up. (McCain knows his numbers.) 35% premium slashes by largest malpractice insurance company. All we have to do is enact this into legislation. BAM! Go McCain!

3:39- He is going after Reid for reconciliation. McCain has traction here, as he helped stop the reconciliation modification a few years ago. He is defending the filibuster, and says if reconciliation is done on an issue of this magnitude, it would harm the country and the institution (the Senate, I assume).

3:40- Obama wants to use reconciliation. YES WE ARE INTERESTED, YOU MORON! We want a vote. Not the reconciliation vote. He doesn’t know America at all.

3:41- Obama fairly goes after Beohner for being wrong on claiming tort reform as the biggest deal in health care reform. He says he cares about it, but only put a (relatively) tiny amount of money, $20 million, last year after his September speech.

3:42- Obama compliments Coburn on incentivizing states on medical malpractice reform. He says there is a contradiction with Republicans on respecting states in some ways. (Abortion? Who knows?)

I’m done for the day, everyone. Have a good one. I hope I was able to help.

3:44- Okay, never mind. I’m staying- Senator Durbin is right. Tort reform is not as big as Republicans say it is.

Now I’m bored. Bye.

Originally posted at www.race42012.com.

Media Holding Democrats Accountable on Transparency

Over the last few weeks, there has been talk of not having the traditional “conference” to meld the Senate and House health care reform bills. I laughed off such thoughts, as transparency is something this administration and congressional leaders have been hammered for over the last several months. However, it appears I was wrong. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) are setting things up so they will not have to have the conference, and instead get the “conference” bill without a conference.

This is bothersome. However, a number of media sources are doing their job and calling for the Obama administration to open the melding process to the public. (H/T to The Heritage Foundation’s “The Foundry.”) Let’s make our voices heard in support of C-Span’s efforts and make certain Democrats know they should have full transparency in this debate or face the wrath of the voters come November.

Best of thelobbyist 2009

Thanks to all our readers for making 2009 a great year for thelobbyist.? Below you will find the top post from each month during the 2009 calendar year.

January – 8 days until EPA annihilation of America?Stop Them! – nick r. brown

FebruaryPseudo-Scientists Kill Possum (Not to be confused with Opossum) – nick r. brown

MarchConservatives Just Don?t ?Get It? – nick r. brown

AprilPay for Performance Act of 2009: An Encroachment of a Free Society – sam theodosopoulos

May – ?I?d Pretend I Was One Of Those Deaf-Mutes.? – nick r. brown

JuneFox News Presents Obstacle For NH GOP Opportunity – sam theodosopoulos

July – Tie: The Personal Democracy Forum Doesn?t Help Conservatives & Personal Democracy Forum: The Future of the Conservative Movement – nick r. brown

AugustThe Moore You Know About Obama? -? tom qualtere

SeptemberConservatives Are Right On Gay Marriage – dustin siggins

October - We?ve Never Begged For Money? – nick r. brown

NovemberAn Actual Solution To Health Care Reform -? nicholas j. rohrhoff

DecemberPro-Life IS Pro Health Care Reform – dustin siggins

-nick

The Party of ?No, But Here?s A Better Idea?

Since the election of President Obama, the Democrats have been very effective at portraying the Republican Party as the ?Party of No.? Depending on your political persuasion, this could be completely true, completely false or somewhere in the middle.

In the last couple of weeks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been hammered by Erick Erickson of RedState and Michelle Malkin for not fighting to the very finish on the recent Senate passage of a health care reform bill. On the one hand, these criticisms are of delaying tactics would only have slowed the vote by twelve hours, which would have done nothing in the halls of Congress but would have, as Ed Morrissey points out, given the media less time to cover the vote?s aftermath. On the other hand, if the Republican leadership had held firm on the many opportunities they had to slow things down, for example by following Senator Judd Gregg?s (R-NH) advice, and Senator Tom Coburn?s (R-OK) wish to read every part of the Senate bill, among other tactics to slow the bill, senators would have had to go home for Christmas a) without a bill, and b) to face their constituents, the majority of whom dislike the Democratic versions of health care reform and whom are increasingly against them as time goes on.

Senators Gregg, Coburn and Jim DeMint (R-SC), among many others, have been vilified for their articulate and unyielding opposition to health care reform and other Democratic measures. However, they are also the poster children for what Republicans should be about- namely, being the party of ?No, But Here?s A Better Idea.? All of these senators, along with other Republicans, have jammed the Democrats but also offered their own solutions to the various issues facing America. They have also worked with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion on a case-by-case basis.

When it comes to dispelling the myth that Republicans have been, and are being, merely obstructionists, let’s start with Senator Judd Gregg. On the one hand, Gregg voted for Secretary Geithner?s nomination, nearly accepted a position as President Obama?s Commerce Secretary, offered support for the bipartisan Wyden-Bennett bill and has worked with Democrat Kent Conrad (D-ND) on a debt commission. On the other, Gregg has hammered Obama on debt, passed around a virtual handbook for Republican obstructionism and taken the lead on opposing Democratic reconciliation. Additionally, however, Gregg has offered his own bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposals.

Senator DeMint is probably most famous for his Waterloo statement and his numerous delaying tactics on health care reform (see here and here for examples). However, he has also worked with self-declared socialist Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on halting the Bernanke nomination and bringing transparency to the Federal Reserve. As a representative of the Party of ?No, but here?s a better idea,? he too has put forth a health care alternative to the Democratic proposals.

Lastly, we have Senator Coburn. Coburn has slid in two gun amendments this year to two Democrat-supported bills, halting the DC voting bill in its tracks. He has also held up funding for veterans because he wanted to use unused stimulus funds for the benefits and loudly opposed the stimulus package. He also forced a reading of Senator Sanders? single-payer amendment to the Democratic bill. However, at the same time, he has maintained a friendship with President Obama, pushed a transparency bill with then-Senator Obama (D-IL) into law in 2006 and sponsored a Republican alternative to the Democratic health care bills on, of all places, Huffington Post. In fact, he wrote on Huffington Post not once but twice. This is a guy who clearly wants his message to get out to all Americans, not just his constituents or fellow conservatives.

Other ?No but here?s a better idea? Republicans include Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), the numerous Republican co-sponsors of the Wyden-Bennett bill and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The fact is that Republicans are trying to stop a very bad makeover of a massive portion of America in ways that swing from bad policy to unethical to unconstitutional. For an example of the latter, with respect to David Frum?s recent piece supporting the individual mandate?s constitutionality, he is wrong- an individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. Other bad components include the Senate bill’s abortion funding, the House bill’s public option and the lack of legitimate tort reform in either bill.

Personally, I think Republicans should have fought tooth-and-nail for a post-Christmas vote on the Democratic health care reform bill in the Senate. They should have offered amendments, yes, as Frum has said- but they have a responsibility to stop the bill first and foremost. That is what the minority is supposed to do with a bill as bad as this one, with as little power as Republicans and conservatives have right now- stop the legislation cold and start over with a bill that includes conservative and free market principles and ideas. Some Republicans are just being the Party of No, but sometimes saying?saying?’no’ is necessary, despite what some Democrats may say.

Change The Filibuster?

Robert Creamer makes a good case over at Huffington Post for changing the filibuster rules. He critiques, offers multiple solutions and then defends against some of the more popular counters against his idea.
I am not a constitutional scholar, nor a scholar of congressional history, but Creamer misses several points:
1. He claims liberal policies become popular. I’m not sure popular is the right word- perhaps entrenched? Enforced by the heavy hand of law, despite public opinion?
2. “Change” is a word used heavily by liberals, and one of Creamer’s claims is that the filibuster is used to prevent change. Since he thinks Republicans hate change, the filibuster is a bad thing in its current form since it allows opponents of change a powerful weapon. However, it depends on what one thinks “change” is. Gun control and abortion are less popular than ever, so what say we change those for the better? Let’s also see what traction a flat tax or the Fair Tax could gain with a different filibuster. That’s “change” I think Americans could easily support, and change Creamer probably wouldn’t like.
3. We are not a democracy. We are a democratic republic. Hence why we have elected officials and not nationwide votes on every issue.
4. The will of the people, Mr. Creamer, is not with you on health care reform.

Tom Coburn for President?

I’m saying it after reading this piece about Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Coburn might just be the guy who kills the health care reform bill in the Senate.

Coburn, as I understand it, is a pain to everyone on both sides. It’s awesome to see. Coburn even killed a guardrail in his own state that he considered waste, and held up paying for some veterans’ benefits because he wanted the money to come out of unspent stimulus funds. (This last one is controversial, for obvious reasons, but I blame the other senators for not initially wanting the funding to come from the stimulus funds. I think an argument could be made they were playing politics, not Coburn…) He has also put forth a health care bill, albeit one that misses the boat on payment reform and other issues, in addition to decrying the Democratic bill.

This is a guy I can like. Anyone else?

Update: Daily Kos had a very fair criticism of Coburn’s holding up voting on military funding that ends tomorrow evening. However, it looks like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has dropped his single-payer amendment, and Coburn’s demand to read the entire amendment through is no more. This should lead to a normalization of Senate business, and get the military funding issue done.

Update: The military bill was passed.

Update: A buddy sent me a link with this article showing Coburn really standing up for the troops and provide them the best rifle around. This also shows his true dedication to the free market and how competition improves quality.

Pro-Life IS Pro Health Care Reform

A few months ago, I wrote on Townsend?s Newsweek opinion supporting abortion and other non-Catholic beliefs. Now, she?s at it again, this time saying that the American bishops are ignoring health care over what she makes clear are minor concerns over abortion.

I don?t understand pro-choice Catholics. The Church has been against abortion since time unknown, and these Catholics want it to compromise? Why not join the Church in helping the poor, the homeless, orphans, preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place?and couples with marital problems? By helping the Church do these things, Townsend would take away much of the ?need? for abortions, as poorer, single woman who become ?unintentionally pregnant? tend to have a higher number of abortions than married, affluent women.

Townsend clearly doesn?t understand the Church?s view on abortion, as is made clear when she writes the following:

Why is it that the bishops are more concerned with restricting millions of American women from making health care decisions that are best for them and their families than they are with ensuring that millions of Americans ? women, men, children, immigrants, the poor, the middle class ? get much-needed health insurance?

As a Catholic, I dare say it?s because the Conference of Catholic Bishops has lost its way. For example, in Missouri, the Catholic Conference issued an e-mail alert urging ?those who are opposed to health care reform but are also pro-life? to ?stay focused on the abortion issue and get the Stupak-like amendment adopted in the Senate.?

Really? As Catholics, are we so laser focused on the issue of abortion that we are willing to join tea partiers and the like to bring down the health care reform bill? And at the enormous expense of millions of Americans who suffer every day because they can?t afford to get checkups, because they must choose bankruptcy in order to save the life of their loved one?

There are at least three major flaws with Townsend?s statements above. First, pro-life stances?are pro-healthcare reform. After all, the Church believes abortion is murder, and if health care reform is to be about improving life, health, happiness etc., than the Church?s position is 100% pro-health care reform.

Secondly, note what the Church did and did not do in the Missouri example Townsend uses. First, it asked people against the current health care reform efforts to support getting a pro-life amendment in. Essentially, the Church was asking its more conservative members to support saving the lives of unborn children by helping to?pass health care reform, despite those members? opposition to the latter. Secondly, the Church did not say- again, according to the limited information Townsend provides- that it wanted health care reform to fail. Instead, it specifically said it wanted the amendment included to pass health care reform.

Thirdly, the Church will never support abortion policies within our lifetimes. However, since it is clearly willing to give its substantial endorsement to a Senate bill that includes pro-life policies, perhaps Townsend could open her eyes to this fact and realize that by compromising on abortion, Democrats would already likely have a bill nearing completion in the Senate. As much as I dislike giving advice to Democrats, in this case it seems to be a no-brainer. Pass a pro-life amendment, you likely pass health care reform.

Unfortunately, it seems that Democrats didn?t get the memo. The Nelson/Hatch amendment mirroring the House Stupak amendment was tabled- essentially killed- yesterday. Also unfortunately, AllahPundit thinks Nelson left himself some wiggle room on filibustering a final Senate bill if it does not include the amendment. Let?s hope not, for the sake of millions of helpless unborn children who are currently at risk from this bill. Let?s contact the offices of Senators Nelson, Casey, Conrad, Pryor, Dorgan and Bayh, the six Democrats who voted for the amendment, and make certain they kill any bill that does not get the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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