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  • Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

    Thoughts on Obama's speech?

    My quick thoughts are that the nation hasn't seen a persuader like that in at least a generation. I admire his tenacity and persistence, especially in the face of such a storm. His predecessor did not have the political skill to take this on (though to his credit he had other more pressing issues, at least from 2001-2004). What I kept coming back to, though, is that Obama's view of bipartisanship does not seem to match the views of at least one party in our two party system. There are various explanations for that, but I am not sure why he tries so hard to address such a crowd (the 1/3 of the room to his left) that so clearly has no interest in addressing him - unless you count boos and shouts of 'you lie.' If he's going to accomplish what he seems to want to accomplish - health care reform - he's going to have to come to grips with the fact that this isn't going to happen with bipartisan support. He may already know this, but his speech acted as though he didn't.

    Congressman Joe Wilson's web site has been under a constant denial-of-service attack since his little outburst last night, whether it is an actual attack or a flood of people trying to tell him that someone of his intellectual stature and maturity doesn't belong in that chamber.

    While most of the politics surrounding this and the resulting punditry and 'gamesmanship' doesn't surprise me, it does cause my overall depression with the state of political affairs in this country to sink even further. Here we are facing a clear and present problem, one whose fixing would benefit every American, and we can't seem to overcome our petty political differences to fix it. If this is going to be our fate for the other problems we face in the coming century - not just as a country but as a species - it's hard to think we are anything but doomed to failure. Unless an asteroid takes us out as it did the dinosaurs, it will be hard for future species to argue that it was anything but ourselves that caused our ultimate demise.

    By the way, did anyone read Palin's bumbling Washinton Post Op-Ed the day before yesterday? She brought up the death panel thing again - she actually wrote 'death panels.' "Establishment voices dismissed that phrase," she says "but it rang true for many Americans." UFO's ring true for many Americans, too, Sarah, but it does not make them more real. I've read it twice, but still can't figure what she's talking about other than her hope to be recognized as anything other than a high-heeled failure - what's "market-driven, patient-centered, result-driven" health care reform? The points she brings up are for the most part either already in place or not really solutions at all. She's a mouse. She has no place among the donkeys and elephants. Obama does - as do many of the other men and women in that chamber last night (not Wilson) - we'll see if we can somehow make them all work for us.

  • #2
    Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

    People can talk politics or bipartisanship all they want, but until respected leaders of both parties step away and start speaking/voting in a manner that leaves their parties behind our system will continue to bog itself down. The day and age of politicians being "for the people" is long gone. Being a politician is job with good pay and great benefits. I do not fault any politician for being good at their job, I just become tired of the company line from the vast majority and watching the general public eat it up without question. I think the best course of action is for the government to clean up housing and food aid and allow those with low income or are disabled to use the money saved to make their own health care choices. However, the only choice politicians care if those people make is the one for reelection.

    I was watching the session, but switched to one of the discovery channels during and watched an avid fisherman masquerading as a biologist. I then realized, more people would probably benefit more from this "biologist" explaining his love of fish(ing) and how he worked hard for a University doing research(aka fishing) in exotic locations to preserve sport fishing species. If more able people took the attitude of following ones desire and seeing it through, they wouldn't need to look to the government to save them.
    |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

    XBL GT: Khan58

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    • #3
      Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

      Originally posted by AMosely View Post
      Thoughts on Obama's speech?

      My quick thoughts are that the nation hasn't seen a persuader like that in at least a generation.
      Absolutely. He talks up a storm. If I could trust him to be telling the truth, he'd probably convince even me to support his plans.

      The trouble is, I can't trust him to tell the truth. Somewhere around half of that speech was pulled out of thin air, with no basis in reality. So his "persuader" skills are more dangerous than useful, because they aren't necessarily connected to anything we ought to be persuaded of.


      What I kept coming back to, though, is that Obama's view of bipartisanship does not seem to match the views of at least one party in our two party system. There are various explanations for that...
      Allow me to offer one. Unfortunately, the right side party hasn't managed to agree among themselves what "bipartisanship" means, so you can't quite say Obama's views don't match an entire party. There are a distressing number of Republicans who agree with him. But Obama's definition of bipartisanship seems to match pretty closely with the conventional Democratic one -- we do what we were gonna do anyway, and you should vote for it even if you don't like it so people will think you are "bipartisan". As a side bonus we get political cover, and can blame you if things go wrong.

      ...he's going to have to come to grips with the fact that this isn't going to happen with bipartisan support. He may already know this, but his speech acted as though he didn't.
      If he does it without bi-partisan support, there's no one to blame when it inevitably crashes and burns, so I'll be surprised if they do it that way.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

        "Bipartisanship" should mean compromise. It isn't "bipartisanship" when a Republican/Democrat wants the opposing political party to vote for their idea whether or not they agree with it.

        As for the speech... hey, the idea is great, but why's he blowing smoke up America's ass about the federally-funded abortion deal? Is he misinformed about the "technicalities" of HR 3200?

        http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/abo...s-fabricating/

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        • #5
          Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

          Originally posted by tHa_KhAn View Post
          People can talk politics or bipartisanship all they want, but until respected leaders of both parties step away and start speaking/voting in a manner that leaves their parties behind our system will continue to bog itself down. The day and age of politicians being "for the people" is long gone.
          Politics now is about the money, so politicians are "for the special interests that line their war chests". If one really wants to understand why their elected representative votes in a certain way, that person needs to follow the money trail and look into what special interest monies that official has taken. Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 was the beginning of the end for politicians working for the people.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

            Currently down due to high traffic, according to the replacement home page:
            http://www.joewilson.house.gov/

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Wil...ential_address

            http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/....html?wprss=44
            http://joewilsonisyourpreexistingcondition.com/
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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            • #7
              Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

              The time for representative democracy is over. We have instant communications to DC, and we do not agree with our immediate neighbors. Region-based representation is a throwback to a time of communication by ships going around the Cape and mail carried by the Pony Express.

              We should get rid of Congress and vote for ourselves, or hire proxies that actually do represent us to properly research bills and vote them.
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                Originally posted by Gillespie View Post
                "Bipartisanship" should mean compromise. It isn't "bipartisanship" when a Republican/Democrat wants the opposing political party to vote for their idea whether or not they agree with it.

                As for the speech... hey, the idea is great, but why's he blowing smoke up America's ass about the federally-funded abortion deal? Is he misinformed about the "technicalities" of HR 3200?

                http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/abo...s-fabricating/
                When the entire Republican voting pool votes against something it is clear that Republicans are the ones being partisan (and vice versa), since the chances of every single member of a party disagreeing with something on a personal level is really, really low. Bipartisanship doesn't even require compromise, it requires the individuals to vote according to their own decisions. If a party all votes in favor of something that they don't all agree with, they are also being partisan. Since that is how parties are intended to work (compromise within the party, vote as a group) partisan politics are simply a nature of the political party system and not something inherently bad. The patriot act was passed by the vast majority of both parties, and could be considered partisan for each party since most people simply voted with their party, although the result was bipartisan. Griping about partisan politics is like complaining that union members all do the same thing.

                The Fact Check article questions the validity of the President's statement based on an amendment approved 16 days prior (it is possible he was not aware or forgot) or he was referring to abortions in general since the amendment involved was specific to funding for the public option he is no longer pushing for. Of course Johnson's page was misleading on it's own so this 'blowing smoke' reference should be directed at both sides in this issue, and sometimes we should consider that the process is not being done by one person and there is a possibility that Obama meant something different than what he said or he was actually unaware of an additional technicality added to the bill in the near past.

                Check out the list of articles on Factcheck, how many are about Republican/conservative groups blatantly lying about the Bill. I saw the Women's breast cancer commercial on TV and I was offended to see that kind of misleading garbage being used. The one about seniors being refused surgery because the money was spent on abortions instead was equally insulting to an educated viewer. Really, if you want to call the president out on 'blowing smoke' and using such terms make sure the comment is really blatant enough to warrant such an insulting term, those commercials deserve the term, not the quoted president's comments from the article.

                I will be happy to defend either side if they appear to be honest mistakes.
                |TG-6th|Snooggums

                Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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                • #9
                  Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                  Originally posted by Morganan View Post
                  .. the end for politicians working for the people.
                  And what is sad is how few people either realize or are willing to acknowledge that the politicians are not working in their best interest.
                  |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

                  XBL GT: Khan58

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                    I'm sure my representatives (all Democrats) think that they're voting in my best interest. "We know what's best for you."

                    What companies stands to gain from the current bill passing? Why haven't they bought any Republicans?
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                      Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                      When the entire Republican voting pool votes against something it is clear that Republicans are the ones being partisan (and vice versa), since the chances of every single member of a party disagreeing with something on a personal level is really, really low. Bipartisanship doesn't even require compromise, it requires the individuals to vote according to their own decisions. If a party all votes in favor of something that they don't all agree with, they are also being partisan. Since that is how parties are intended to work (compromise within the party, vote as a group) partisan politics are simply a nature of the political party system and not something inherently bad.
                      Following somewhat in the same theme as Snooggums idea here, but I'm gonna take a left turn:
                      Bi-partisan shouldn't really be a property of a politician. Politicians are inherently partisan, and to become bi-partisan is really just another word for becoming indecisive.

                      Rather, bi-partisan should be a property of legislation, when it is solid enough to stand on its own merits, drawing support from those with differing ideologies. If a bill draws support only from those with a single ideology, that is not a condemnation of those who stood against it as partisan; that is a condemnation of the bill itself as partisan. If the bill was properly bi-partisan, it would have got more votes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                        Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                        Rather, bi-partisan should be a property of legislation, when it is solid enough to stand on its own merits, drawing support from those with differing ideologies. If a bill draws support only from those with a single ideology, that is not a condemnation of those who stood against it as partisan; that is a condemnation of the bill itself as partisan. If the bill was properly bi-partisan, it would have got more votes.
                        On May 14 I got an email from my Congressman, George Miller (D, CA). It included this paragraph:

                        As chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, I'm writing the bill
                        to reform health care, along with the chairs of the Ways and Means and
                        Energy and Commerce committees. We are working *_together_* to pass a
                        comprehensive health care reform bill by this summer.
                        http://georgemiller.house.gov/blog/2...iscussion.html

                        Note how no Republicans were involved. Apparently his notion of "together" excludes the other party. If you're not going to bring them in as you pen the bill, how can you hope for their support when it hits the floor?

                        This was clearly going to be a bill that was going to be rammed through without inspection, in one of those midnight "here, vote for this, dont' read it, it's good for you" sessions. And then the public realized a fast one was about to be pulled on them and they called a halt while they inspected it. (This has been a favorite tactic of the Republicans over the last eight years, so it's not like this is a new thing invented by the Democrats. See the PATRIOT Act, for example.)
                        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                          Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                          I'm sure my representatives (all Democrats) think that they're voting in my best interest. "We know what's best for you."

                          What companies stands to gain from the current bill passing? Why haven't they bought any Republicans?
                          Seriously? Actually, it matters very little which party your representatives claim allegiance to, chances are they are voting in the best interests of their constituents - namely the rich and powerful. At least democrats claim to have the people's interests in mind and try to reconcile those interests with those of their financiers (if they can't, then the'll side with the financiers and blame it on republicans). Republicans seem to actually share the interests of their financiers - profit (and low taxes and small government) over people, period.

                          It's not as much as companies stand to gain from health care legislation, it's more about what they stand to lose. They already bought their way in to the White House by getting prescription drug price negotiation off the table (the same thing happened with medicare, which is the primary reason why the program is so expensive). These same companies and their lobbyists - big pharma and the insurance lobby - have bought out most of congress. This is the primary reason why you don't see a public option - which would bring these businesses to their knees - on the table. It's as simple as that. Yes, there are legitimate economic reasons for keeping these companies in business, but that has little bearing on the health care debate itself.

                          To summarize, when it comes to the health care debate and buying politicians, most Repubs say "you had me at no" and the Dems are saying "donate to my '10 campaign and I'll strike down the public option." So we're left with Obama and a handful of democratic legislators who actually seem to care about fixing this problem (provided it doesn't piss off the health care industry's wallet too much) trying to get the rest of the Dems to pass watered down legislation that probably doesn't solve much and costs too much.

                          By the way - bear in mind that the industry wants this bill to cost too much - that way, even if it passes they'll end up on the collecting end. This is why some of them have started to support it - because the stand to make billions by insuring more people and selling more over-subscribed drugs.

                          Sometimes you just can't make this crap up.

                          Scratch - regarding the above post, do you honestly think John Bahner, Joe Wilson and their ilk want to sit down and produce health care reform? If so, Wilson's got two words for you - "you lie!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                            Originally posted by tHa_KhAn View Post
                            And what is sad is how few people either realize or are willing to acknowledge that the politicians are not working in their best interest.
                            Yup, you can pick any issue, and if you follow the money trail from the politician in question to the pertinent special intrests for that specific issue you can predict fairly accuriately how that politician will side on that issue. It wont really matter what his/her constitutents think. The pharmaceuticial companies gave huge money to Obama's campaign, you can bet no matter what plan if any eventually gets passed, it wont hurt them in the least.

                            If only the insurance companies would have stepped up to the plate like the drug companies during the presidential campaign season, they would be able to sleep at night knowing their interests would be protected. Instead they took the cheaper way out and just got a few choice congressmen on the proper committees in their pockets so they could control what if anything ever got to the floor to be honestly debated. Nobody's ever said these companies were dumb. They are getting what they needed and they got it cheaper then the pharma companies did.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Obama's joint session and the health care debate/debacle

                              Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                              To summarize, when it comes to the health care debate and buying politicians, most Repubs say "you had me at no" and the Dems are saying "donate to my '10 campaign and I'll strike down the public option." So we're left with Obama and a handful of democratic legislators who actually seem to care about fixing this problem (provided it doesn't piss off the health care industry's wallet too much) trying to get the rest of the Dems to pass watered down legislation that probably doesn't solve much and costs too much.
                              If you follow the money in congress you will find out the only ones still publicly for a public option are the ones who take in less then $150k/election cycle from the insurance industry.

                              By the way - bear in mind that the industry wants this bill to cost too much - that way, even if it passes they'll end up on the collecting end. This is why some of them have started to support it - because the stand to make billions by insuring more people and selling more over-subscribed drugs.

                              Sometimes you just can't make this crap up.
                              Yup, the hospitals and drug companies love any plan that puts the insurance companies out of business, as they see a percentage of their current profits coming to them.

                              All this and the umpteen other problems just like this because the supreme court back in the 70's decided money=free speech. Anyone else find it strange that the FEC is appointed to their positions by one of the groups they are supposed to regulate? In any other circle that would be considered a conflict of intrest, but not in politics of course!

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