Saturday, September 12, 2009

Plan 9 from Outer Space

By Capt. Fogg

Mention ACORN to a Republican and watch him start to hiss and twitch. Some are still telling me that because a few ACORN workers registered fake names like Micky Mouse, the will of the majority was overturned and Obama managed to sneak in the door. Of course, Micky never actually showed up at the polls -- for obvious reasons -- and Obama won by 10 million votes, but reality never has stood in the way of any Republican belief system. They're still out in the streets with signs shrieking about Obama and corruption and ACORN. They have to, since the Marxism thing, the birth certificate thing: the death panels, the death book, and the other accusations have succeeded at best at looking like the ad hoc plot of an Ed Wood movie.

The silly symphony probably won't drop the theme now that the government has decided not to use that organization to collect census data in the interest of avoiding the appearance of impropriety. They'll take it as an admission that the Pod people from planet Zorchtron did indeed rig the election, but maybe it will weaken the inevitable claim that the government is using the census to round up Republicans to feed them to brain eating zombies in a secret cave underneath Philadelphia. Maybe not. The chances of someone leaving a comment arguing that there are insane Democrats, that I've rewritten the popular vote margins (like all lefties do) or that any mention of the unprecedented, gun-toting madness out in the streets is all part of plan nine from outer space to smear the sacred name of George W. Bush.

Wait for it.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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The dogs do bark

By Capt. Fogg

This is not some kind of radical right-wing group,

said Senator Jim DeMint to the Times today.

Sure it is, although to DeMint the definition of radical right might be a bit idiosyncratic. "Thousands Rally in Capitol" reads the headline, although the picture shows at most a couple of hundred white, middle aged people carrying all sorts of signs ranging from the inexplicable to the ridiculous. A huge photo of Nancy Pelosi with a thought bubble saying "Nazis" has the word Astroturf!!! under it. Another claiming that

Jesus Christ is the messiah and not Obama

is there to reinforce the idiotic idea that Obama supporters think he's chosen of God and perhaps to help us forget the glaring fact that Bush was widely portrayed as God's right hand.

Just say no to Chicago Style Politics,

brays another, doubtless setting off thousands of WTF alarms in the Windy City - often referred to as the city that works.

Obama's nuts, that's why he's involved with ACORN

reflects the inexplicable obsession with that organization the less mentally organized Republicans seem possessed of.

Trade freedom for security... you will have neither,

says a large sign approximating a Ben Franklin quote that would have been very much appropriate for the previous administration: so appropriate to the gang who gave us the Patriot Act, ignored the law and told us blowing up Iraq was necessary to preserve "our freedoms."

In fact, the fact that not only were these marionettes not in display in Washington a year ago but also that the Bush administration routinely bussed protesters out to remote and fenced-in enclosures while Bill O'Reilly called them "loonies" certainly speaks better for Obama and worse for Republicans than anything else. It certainly doesn't speak well of the silly people, the stupid people, the petty people who see these choreographed parades as anything but bought and payed for advertising: bought and payed for with our country's future.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Reaction in Review (September 11, 2009)

By Carol Gee

A week's Reactions that deserve a second look:


By J. Thomas Duffy: "Rebecca Solnit: How 9/11 Should Be Remembered" -- Duffy posts one of the fine pieces that should be center stage on the Anniversary of 9/11/01.

By Carl: "Eight Years on" -- Carl's beautiful post spot lights much that is at the psychological center of the meaning of 9/11, and reminds us that it is our opportunity for participation in the National Day of Service.

By Capt. Fogg: "Limbaugh's Lament" -- Rush Limbaugh gets lambasted for his hate-filled lies about President Obama, and the issue of illegal immigrants and the proposed health care reform legislation (with interesting comment debate).


By Carol Gee: "Obama speech reactions -- a roundup" -- This post summarizes a number of well known pundits and others for their takes on the President's great speech to a joint session of Congress.

By Frankie Sturm: "Energy policy and national security clearly linked" -- A guest post with great links is by one of the good folks at the Truman Project; it concludes, ". . . climate change is a threat to our national security. . . we need to keep [that] in mind. . . we need a new energy policy this year."


By Michael J.W. Stickings "The Speech: Obama defends health-care reform before joint session of Congress" -- Michael's analysis is insightful and his conclusion is spot-on: "Indeed, what Obama and the Democrats need to understand -- and I realize this is hard for Democrats -- is that they actually have the upper hand here, and that they need to take advantage of the historic opportunity that has been presented to them."

By Carl: "Baby, you're a rich man" -- this piece should be required reading for Beatles fans who loved the boys and their music just as it was, and for all others just because Carl is such a great writer.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Sarah Palin, mostly loathsome" -- Michael's analysis of Palin's (?) op-ed in the WSJ exposes why most of the piece is "the sort of drivel you'd expect. . . still the same old right-wing claptrap."


By Carl: "Knee jerks" -- Focused on the UK trial and conviction of three British would-be bombers, Carl reports on the frustration felt by the British at ex-Veep Cheney's nervousness that prematurely blew the cover of the Brit's original plot investigation.

By Mustang Bobby: "Reaganites vs. the GOP" -- With a hat tip to Andrew Sullivan, Bobby's wonderfully written rant is just great: "There's a part of me that chortles with maniacal glee when I see the once-mighty-and-bound-for-permanent-majority GOP circling the drain; it's just desserts for their disastrous and vengeful leadership during their stint in the Congress after the 1994 elections which led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the election of George W. Bush."

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Obama and health-care reform" -- Michael's fine post explores the evolution of his own thinking, saying that "there is nonetheless the possibility that Obama retains 'a strategic cunning,' in Sullivan's words, that will actually lead to more substantial change over the long haul."

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Education indoctrination: Obama speaks to the children" -- This very thorough and good analysis concludes that Republicans, ". . . in situating themselves against a profound statement of American values like this address, all they've done is exposed their own partisan priorities, not to mention their personal and ideological insanity."


By J. Thomas Duffy: "Happy Labor Day!" -- Duffy's ebullient post is a full-to-the-brim toolkit of items that helped us have a good holiday: fun illustrations, a video, links to lots of great music and Wikipedia's history of the holiday. Yeah!

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Why 60?" -- Michael wonders aloud why Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) continues to pine for bipartisanship to pass health-care reform legislation.

Creature featured on health care: Quote on Baucus; The big speech; The morning after; A heckle too far.

(Cross-posted at Behind the Links.)

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Rebecca Solnit: How 9/11 should be remembered

By J. Thomas Duffy

It was nearly two-years ago that we highlighted Rebecca Solnit, and, on this specific day, we are compelled to have her return.

Over at TomDispatch, Ms. Solnit has a fantastic post, an excerpt from her new book, that should be read by one and all:

How 9/11 Should Be Remembered -- The Extraordinary Achievements of Ordinary People

For this eighth anniversary of that terrible day, the first post-Bush-era anniversary, let's remember what actually happened:

When the planes became missiles and the towers became torches and then shards and clouds of dust, many were afraid, but few if any panicked, other than the President who was far away from danger. The military failed to respond promptly, even though the Pentagon itself was attacked, and the only direct resistance that day came from inside Flight 93, which went down in a field in Pennsylvania on its way to Washington.


We failed, however, when we let our own government and media do what that small band from the other side of the Earth could not. Some of us failed, that is, for there were many kinds of response, and some became more radical, more committed, more educated. Mark Fichtel, the president of the New York Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange, who scraped his knees badly that morning of September 11th when he was knocked over in a fleeing crowd, was helped to his feet by "a little old lady." He nonetheless had his Exchange up and running the next day, and six months later quit his job, began studying Islam, and then teaching about it.


Far more people could have died on September 11th if New Yorkers had not remained calm, had not helped each other out of the endangered buildings and the devastated area, had not reached out to pull people from the collapsing buildings and the dust cloud. The population of the towers was lower than usual that morning, because it was an election day and many were voting before heading to work; it seems emblematic that so many were spared because they were exercising their democratic powers. Others exercised their empathy and altruism. In the evacuation of the towers, John Abruzzo, a paraplegic accountant, was carried down 69 flights of stairs by his coworkers.


Many New Yorkers that day committed similar feats of solidarity at great risk. In fact, in all the hundreds of oral histories I read and the many interviews I conducted to research my book, "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster", I could find no one saying he or she was abandoned or attacked in that great exodus. People were frightened and moving fast, but not in a panic. Careful research has led disaster sociologists to the discovery -- one of their many counter-stereotypical conclusions -- that panic is a vanishingly rare phenomenon in disasters, part of an elaborate mythology of our weakness


New Yorkers triumphed on that day eight years ago. They triumphed in calm, in strength, in generosity, in improvisation, in kindness. Nor was this something specific to that time or place: San Franciscans during the great earthquake of 1906, Londoners during the Blitz in World War II, the great majority of New Orleanians after Hurricane Katrina hit, in fact most people in most disasters in most places have behaved with just this sort of grace and dignity.


After the 9/11 storm struck, the affected civilians in New York were seen as victims; after Katrina, those in New Orleans were portrayed as brutes. In both cities, the great majority of affected people were actually neither helpless nor savage; they were something else -- they were citizens, if by that word we mean civic engagement rather than citizenship status. In both places ordinary people were extraordinarily resourceful, generous, and kind, as were some police officers, firefighters, rescue workers, and a very few politicians. In both cases, the majority of politicians led us astray. All I would have wanted in that September moment, though, was politicians who stayed out of the way, and people who were more suspicious of the news and the newsmakers.


The dead must be remembered, but the living are the monument, the living who coexist in peace in ordinary times and who save one another in extraordinary times. Civil society triumphed that morning in full glory. Look at it: remember that this is who we were and can be.

September 11th may never become the holiday, or day of remembrance, it should be, chiefly due to the dwarf, finks, phonies, and frauds of The Bush Grindhouse, and all the cronies -- the Flying Monkeys of the Right Wing Freak Show, and the cheerleading Corporate Media -- how they exploited the tragedy for the masturbation of their own warped ideology (ironically, killing hundreds of thousands more).

It takes ordinary people -- like Rebecca Solnit, and many, many others -- to put it in the right perspective.

Go read Rebecca Solnit's "How 9/11 Should Be Remembered - The Extraordinary Achievements of Ordinary People", and leave a comment, if you were able to keep your eyes dry while absorbing it.

And you can go here to purchase her book: "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster".

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)


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Eight years on

By Carl

For once, the weather matches the mood of the city: somber, remorsefully raining. Not hard, yet, but a constant reminder of the color grey.

And rain helps keep things quiet and creates reflections everywhere. We have mirrors and glass, of course, which give accurate representations in reverse of the things in front of them, but rainwater allows for the pockmarks and scars of injuries long-healed to reveal themselves in distortion.

This September 11 has been harder than any previous since the first anniversary when grief was still so strong. We could rightly be angry at a president who failed us in the most critical moment of this nation's history: the first civilian casualties of a war undeclared since 1993, a tragic loss of life we can only begin to fathom this close to the moment. A terror attack on a scale unlike any before or thankfully since.

This year, we do not have that focus of anger. We do not have the lens of hatred of a failure of a President. We have no distraction. We have no one to blame any longer.

May we now heal. But that healing requires that we pause and remember that which injured us, that which challenged us, that which awoke us from the fantasy that large oceans could protect us from such horrors.

And that makes this anniversary so much harder. It's like having a broken leg and a hangnail. You may notice the hangnail more because your fingers are more sensitive, you are more aware of it, but once the hangnail is cut, the leg throbs worse than before.

In President Obama, we have someone who has rightly reconnected us to the Muslim world, to show a face that for eight long, grueling years, was hidden behind a cowboy mask of bravado and bullshit.

In President Obama, we have someone who has challenged us to dig a little deeper in ourselves and come up with that uniquely American spirit of service not to our country, although that is part of it, but service to our neighbors.

For 150 years, this nation had no real formal structure in place to take care of the indigent, the needy, the sick. We relied on private foundations, churches, neighbors and family to see to those who needed help. And for 150 years, we saw that this system was deeply flawed, with actual starvation going on in rural America, elderly dropping dead in our streets, evicted for back-rent, sick and dying already for lack of healthcare, the poor without a safety net resorting to begging on the streets.

As recently as the nineteenth century, nearly 75 years after independence was declared in fact, poverty in the United States included a
feudal system, with poor tenant farmers paying rent to work a lord's land.

Even today, even with government programs, about 15% of people are living in poverty, and about 12% need assistance securing food every day. That's more than 30 million people. Unsurprisingly, that's roughly the baseline of people who simply cannot afford medical insurance (another 20 million, mostly young, don't want to pick insurance up). If you can't afford food, you sure as hell aren't paying for insurance.

It's going to take more, and it's going to take private works, hand-in-hand with public works, to make this happen. And that's where we come in.

The National Day of Service, passed by Congress under Bush and signed into law by Obama, is today. September 11. And while the temptation is to mourn and grieve, a higher calling awaits us:
to channel that anger and grief to help others. To remember that one of the hidden tragedies of September 11 was how little we truly care about our fellow man until tragedy strikes.

You don't have to go hand the homeless guy on the corner a twenty. You can do good by doing what's right for you to do, even if it seems insignificant in the greater scheme of things. Make the world a little better, a little easier, and it all gets paid forward.

For instance, let's say you like football. You can find opportunities (that website I referenced two paragraphs earlier has a searchable database) to coach impoverished children.

Doesn't sound like it will change the world, but if it keeps one kid motivated to finish school and go to college on a football scholarship, that's one more kid who stands a pretty good chance of not ending up in a soup kitchen, meaning that soup kitchen can feed someone else even more needy.

You can become a mentor if you have mad coding skillz. Or you can take your camera and record the good deeds done by others and give them desperately needed exposure.

This isn't hard. This is easy. This isn't a thousand points of light, but millions of beacons lighting the landscape and bringing those in the dark of poverty and hunger and homelessness into our family. It's a welcome to those who struggled to get here and struggle here, and yes, maybe a few who got here under the radar benefit but so what? Those people die too, and would you rather bury the body or help them get back home, or better, get a real legitimate life here to contribute to society unquestioningly?

We don't have to be such an angry nation. We don't have to give into the venom of the right and the far left. We here in the mushy marshmallow middle can change the world, and fuggedabout those jerks who stand athwart history crying "STOP!"

We'll pave them into the field of daisies we'll plant.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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September 11, 2001

By Mustang Bobby

9/11/01 by Art Spiegelman for The New Yorker


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Limbaugh's lament

By Capt. Fogg

My first thought was, he lied in every word

- Robt. Browning -

When the man behind the curtain speaks, Republicans listen. Others become speechless. It's all too predictable that Limbaugh would support Joe Wilson's outburst and not surprising that he claims to have been squealing "you lie" himself throughout the entirety of President Obama's health care speech.

He is lying, President Obama is. From the moment he opens his mouth until he ends the speech,

he grunted on his radio show yesterday. Of course, and as usual, no discussion of how or about what he actually lied ensued. Boss Hogg said he lied, that's enough, and Wilson never should have apologized and his colleagues shouldn't have pressured him to do so.

It reminds me of the first time I heard his radio show. I was driving through Georgia, in the days before satellite radio, and I decided to give him a minute to see what he was about.

[Rush] "I mean, the guy (President Clinton) just makes me sick."

[caller 1] "Ditto Rush! I see him and I want to vomit."

[caller 2] "Ditto, ditto -- oh ditto? Rush, everything about him is disgusting. He makes me sick, sick!"

The call and response chorus went on and on until I turned it off and I've only heard him a couple of other times in all these years -- I mean he makes me sick, but I can usually tell you why without inventing things.

That no plan offered by anyone provides health insurance for illegal residents of the U.S. isn't hard to determine, but Rush isn't about facts, he's about emotions -- hate, for the most part. It's easy for him to say that Obama is plotting:

to completely tear down the institutions and traditions that have made this country great.

It's impossible, however, to make a case for that without lying. In fact, his attempts to preserve some of those institutions are the basis for other Limbaugh anger crusades. I'm at a loss to understand what American institutions made America great and are now in peril from the concept of making insurance available to everyone, unless stupidity, dishonesty and perhaps insanity are institutions. I'm at a loss to understand just how:

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

means the opposite of what it says without subscribing to Limbaughian logic. In fact, it proves that Rush is a liar, something all to easy to do, but one thing Rush knows is that the more absurd and preposterous the claim the less effective is the irrefutable proof of its falsity.

Rush knows and Rush profits and Rush keeps on lying and Republicans keep on following in his wake, terrified to disobey. It's not so much that he makes me sick but that he is the sickness.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama speech reactions -- a roundup

By Carol Gee

Playing off of Michael's (9/9/09): "The Speech: Obama defends health-care reform before joint session of Congress," it is an excellent analysis, with good points about the pros and cons of the speech. Later Michael called the speech, "Obama at his finest" (9/10/09). This post is a compilation of reactions gleaned form the folks I follow at Twitter.

"Aim of Obama Health Speech: Reigniting a Presidency," is by Adam Nagourney of the New York Times (9/9/09). The reason we all read the NYT is because of its ability to analyze the news in a sophisticated and insightful manner. This piece leads my post today because Nagourney so effectively hit the make on President Obama's address to the joint session of Congress. See also, "Obama's Health Care Plan Builds on Others' Ideas," by Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes (another of my favorites) in the Money and Policy section of the Times.

"The Obama Health Care Speech," is a quick take by Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine's Swampland Blog (9/9/09), concluding with this key question, "Within the House Chamber, he has provided the guidance that lawmakers have been begging for. But the real question is this: Has Obama provided the reassurance it will take to bring back the rest of the country?" Tumulty's Tweet said poignantly, "Grief on Vicki Kennedy's face is enduring image of this speech."

"Obamacare 2.0," is by John Dickerson of Slate Magazine (9/9/09). One of my favorite reporters takes a rather skeptical look at the President's speech, but gives some credit where it is due. His cleverly compares the daunting task that Mr. Obama faces, that of putting health care in place, with the "ease of installation" that Steve Jobs provides with a his brand new Apple application. Also, Dickerson Tweets the link to the new White House health care plan website: "The Obama Plan: Stability & Security For All Americans."

"Morning Fix: First (and Second) Thoughts on Obama Address," is by Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post (9/10/09). Cillizza notes that Rep. Joe Wilson's unruly outburst will provide a much needed foil for the President. He also reported that the reaction from Blue Dog Dems is "more muted." See also, "First Thoughts," which is more expansive (9/9/09).

"A Passionate Appeal to Salvage the Impossible," is by Mike Lillis at The Washington Independent (9/9/09). This excellent article features quotes from the President's speech combined with tight little bits of background clarification. For example:

Early signs, however, indicate that the Republicans are ready to continue fighting the Democrats’ plans. When Obama took on the GOP myth that the Democrats’ proposal would cover illegal immigrants, for example, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) screamed, “You lie!” Responding for the GOP afterward, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), a physician who’s accepted more than $1.2 million from health and insurance interests in the past five years, blasted the president’s vision with the popular conservative criticism that it proposes a government takeover of the nation’s health care system. And, most importantly, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), an influential member of the Gang of Six, issued a statement afterward saying she “would have preferred that the [public plan] were taken off the table.”

"Analysis: Obama speech to Congress unlikely to be game changer," is by Sam Youngman and Bob Cusack at The Hill (9/10/09). This piece was very heavy on characterizing the President's speech as offering nothing new and noting that Congress did not find a clear path in the speech as to how to proceed. The Hill's Mike Soraghan said that "Congress had its own rowdy town hall Wednesday," devoting his entire piece to the congressional audience reaction.

"My Take on Obama's Speech," is by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News (9/9/09). Stephanopoulos provided one of the best posts so far, including a thorough explanation of the specifics of the administration's plan, along with a nod to the very emotional tone of the President's address.

"Obama Shows His Progressive Spine," is by Katrina Van Den Heuvel at The Nation Magazine (9/9/09). Her analysis fits well with my own and concludes,

In many ways, it was Obama's fullest, most eloquent and formal defense of liberalism and the clearest exposition of his view of government's role. It was not the full-fledged antidote to Reagan's decades of government-is-the-problem conservative narrative. Yet Obama spoke eloquently of a new and progressive role for government. We must build on it.

There is work ahead to fulfill the promise of shaping a more humane and healthier future. But on the evening of September 9th, eight years after President George W. Bush spoke to a joint session of Congress, President Obama has set us on a path we must seize in the critical days and weeks ahead.

Twitter post script -- "Biggest disappointment of evening, the total lack of respect shown by one member for the President.Never acceptable to behave like a jerk;" a Tweet by Senator Claire McKaskill illustrates why I follow this fine legislator. Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Correspondent, does Twitter posts that offer a unique here-and-now writing style that has become an important part of my news scan every day. Click on his name to read his fascinating thread of news bites during the speech. Chris Hayes of The Nation Magazine blogs, "Does Joe Wilson Believe the President Was Actually Lying?" To quote the gist of his post:

(Quick review: deft explanation of the policy, a few unnecessary political concessions, extremely aggravating lefty-bashing, and genuinely fantastic inspirational finish). . . fascinating. There's been a ton of viral emails floating around the right-wing making the claim that the bill covers illegal immigrants, and talk radio has been whipping up the fervor as well. Wilson clearly thinks that is, indeed, the case. . . . that sums up the House GOP caucus. By and large it's made up of absolute and total wingnuts, people who are in ideology disposition and even function much more like talk show hosts or RedState commenters than they are legislators.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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A heckle too far

By Creature

I don't really want to get weighed down by Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling the president last night. The story is healthcare, not this ass. However, his 2010 opponent, Rob Miller, has raised over $200k ($25 of which is mine) and that's an incredible number. It's good to see that heckles have consequences.

You can donate to Rob Miller here.

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Energy policy and national security clearly linked

Guest post by Frankie Sturm

Frankie Sturm is communications director at the Truman National Security Project and a free-lance journalist.

The debate over climate change and energy legislation is becoming a debate over America's national security. And this is just where the debate belongs. As nearly 150 veterans gear up to visit Washington to ask their senators to take serious action on climate change, Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily reported on the new dynamic that national security is adding to the fight for new energy policy:

In the face of conservative attacks on climate-change legislation as a "job-killing energy tax," this is a welcome and potentially effective experiment in the politics of addition. We are not talking here about indulging tree-huggers or endangered species, or even about protecting the Earth. We are talking about protecting America. The argument is tough and double-barreled: We need to stop pouring money into oil-producing countries that are hostile to our interests, and we need to take global warming seriously as a threat to our national security -- because the military sure does.

From Operation FREE and the CNA report on the national security effects of climate change, to former Republican Senator John Warner and the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate, the article gives a bird’s-eye view of why climate change is looming large in the minds of those who take national security the most seriously. As Politico reported, it's also having an effect on public opinion:

Respondents were best persuaded [to support energy legislation] by an America-first national security argument -- the notion that "over-reliance on oil from hostile nations hurts economy, helps enemies, and puts security at risk."

But as this avenue of debate develops, it's important to remember that messaging is not the motivator here. The plain truth is that climate change is a threat to our security. That's what we need to keep in mind, and that's why we need a new energy policy this year.

(Cross-posted from Operation FREE.)

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Quote of the Day: Michelle Cottle on Glenn Beck, "the shiniest star in the conservative firmament"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Cottle, one of my favourite writers/bloggers, nails this with pin-point accuracy:

Beck is an absolute hysteric, prone to fits of on-air weeping and end-of-the-world blathering more befitting a deranged televangelist than a political pundit. Like many professional bomb throwers, he spews plenty of hateful, divisive bullshit, but the man doesn't seem to have ideological convictions so much as a nervous condition. You get the sense that this whole Obama presidency has deeply disrupted his mental and emotional balance, rendering him as unstable as a case of aging dynamite.

In many ways, this makes Beck the ideal standard bearer for modern conservativism. Forget the tough-as-nails swagger and smirking self-regard of Dick Cheney or the naked Machiavellianism of Tom Delay: Today's Right is increasingly characterized by whiny paranoia, unfocused rage, and panic-striken hyperventilation stemming from a spiraling persecution complex.


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The morning after

By Creature

My post-speech healthcare speech reaction is similar to my pre. I'm very glad the president has not dropped his support for a public option. I wanted more, but the speech should be enough of a tell for progressives to keep fighting for it. I was impressed that Obama defended liberalism as well. As for his continued bipartisan shtick, it's clear Obama has been reading the polls. The people would like both parties on board. Absent that, the president's lip service to Republicans--well, that, and the despicable child-like GOP reaction, should be enough to bring a wavering public to his side.

Overall, the president did what he had to do. Now the question is whether the divided Democrats will play along? As of this morning, I think they will. But, as the speech fades, I fear the wavering Democrats may still choose fear over practical policy.

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The heckling of a president (sort of)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you've probably heard by now, Obama was heckled at one point during his speech to Congress last night.

Although "heckled" may be a bit too strong a word. What actually happened was that Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted out "You lie!" as Obama was talking about illegal immigrants.

It was classless and embarrassing -- and Wilson has since apologized:

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill.

While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.

I was going to make Wilson our Craziest Republican of the Day, but he recovered nicely. (Though he's still politically and ideologically crazy, of course.)

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Obama at his finest

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This was the best speech I've heard Barack Obama give as president -- possibly the best since January of 2008. Unlike his inaugural address, or even his convention speech, this one really soared and inspired by the end.

I second that -- despite some mild objections to some of the content.

(Well, not quite. I wouldn't go back as far as January 2008. His speech on race was pretty impressive, after all, as were some of his primary-night victory speeches, as was his election-night victory speech, though that had a lot to do with the magnitude of the moment.)

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama and the individual mandate

By Michael J.W. Stickings

On the policy front, President Obama tonight endorses, clearly and unambiguously, a requirement that everybody obtain insurance -- that is, an individual mandate. He has not done that before, not this explicitly.

As Jon Stewart put it a while ago, if you're required to have insurance for your car, why not for yourself? (Right, because, in America, cars are important.)

Check out Cohn's full post for more "news in the speech." (Yes, Obama did make some.)

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The Speech: Obama defends health-care reform before joint session of Congress

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, but it was close... close enough, I suppose.

Alas, President Obama left open the possibility that his preferred public option -- which, in my view, should be non-negotiable (see also Krugman on this) -- could be replaced with some other alternative to private insurance, such as a non-profit co-op system or a "trigger" (which would kick in a public option were insurance companies unable or unwilling to provide adequate coverage), but at least he criticized the fearmongering "scare tactics" of the other side, emphasized choice and the need to regulate the insurance industry, and spoke directly not just to Congress but to the American people about his plan.

It was what needed to be done... and what needed to be said. Let it be the start of a new chapter in the fight for equitable health care in America. Let it be the start of a public awareness campaign to make sure that Americans understand the truth about the plan without being misled by the distortions of its opponents. Let it be the start of a concerted effort on the part of Democrats to pull together to get this done.

Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action.

Then go for it, Mr. President.

Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.

Fine, but you do realize that the "best ideas" of the Republicans involve lies and misrepresentations, right? Sure, I know there are some conservatives who do talk seriously about health-care reform, but the Republican Party is a party of obstructionism and opposition to reform. You may be able to work with one or two of them, or perhaps just one of them (Snowe), but that's it. The point should not be to bring the two parties together, as if somehow a state of equality exists between them and what they espouse, but to bring Democrats together. (Ambinder thinks that Obama's intended audience was "the 100 or so liberal Democrats who have threatened to oppose a bill that doesn't include a public option," and he may well be right. But I think he was also speaking to those who oppose the public option and are leaning Republican. Yes, he needs those liberal Dems, but, if somehow he ends up with what so many of us want, namely, a bill with a robust public option, he'll also need some of the skeptics to come back into the fold.)

It's time to deliver, yes, but it's not time to compromise to the point where whatever bill is passed is so watered down that meaningful reform is avoided, and it's certainly not time to agree to concessions just to win over a few Republicans. Ultimately, we may have to settle for an alternative to a public option, but, at this point, there is no reason not to push for more extensive reform.

Indeed, what Obama and the Democrats need to understand -- and I realize this is hard for Democrats -- is that they actually have the upper hand here, and that they need to take advantage of the historic opportunity that has been presented to them. They have one of their own in the White House to go along with two huge majorities in Congress. At long last, reform is there for the doing.

So do it.

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Baby, you're a rich man

By Carl

It's 09.09.09, and that means one thing will dominate the news cycle: The Beatles.

EMI is re-releasing the entire Beatles catalogue in two versions: as recorded (meaning the earliest albums are in monoaural) and one digitally remastered in stereo.
Nearly every fawning review has mentioned the beauty of the new recordings.

In addition, The Beatles: Rock Band videogame is being released. Again,
the reviews are almost saccharine.

Now, I love The Beatles. When Sir Paul was at Citifield in July, I sat second row. I mourn every December 8 and November 29, despite the proximity of the dates. And Ringo is Ringo.

I have all the albums on vinyl and all the original releases of the CDs.

So please don't take the tone of this column as being curmudgeonly, altho I am certainly known for that. This is not about hating The Beatles.

This is about hating the money-making machine around them and the dilution of the artistry that is The Beatles.

According to the press releases and reviews, the intent of the dual-release was to capture a whole new market of fans for Beatles music: Millenials who might not have known Beatles' music. The idea is, play the game, buy the catalogue.

The catalogue has been remastered and from all accounts, the sound has been sharpened and honed to a finer edge.

And there's my beef.

Those original "records" were played by kids on "turntables" that were barely moving at 45 rpm (the speed of a single for you youngsters out there), with "needles"...yes, they touched the "record"...usually weighed down with a nickle (or a few pence for my Brit readers). Or we'd listen on an "AM radio" in monoaural with all kinds of static and cross-signal interference, and would lose the station in a car passing under a bridge.

My point being, the way we heard these records was not in soaped-up distinct digital form, but in sloppy ugly tinny crappy boxes and cans.

And we went nuts! I remember standing in front of a mirror for hours, mimicking Paul and John's playing style, and George's solos, trying to get John's singing posture...a turtle on his hind legs is the closest short description...or Paul's goofy smile and whipping of his head and hair just right.

I knew the lyrics to every Beatle song from With The Beatles to Revolver within a week of getting my hands on the album. After that, I was so blown away by the artistry of Sgt. Pepper's or Magical Mystery Tour or The White Album that it took a little longer.

All on crappy Denon turntables and Tandy cassette players and Westinghouse radios!

To release these albums completely remastered without that part of the experience, actually trying to hear the music, work out the chords, follow the baseline, is to deprive the listener of the thrill of discovery. Yes, maybe that squeak of the piano seat at the end of
A Day In The Life now blasts thru the earbuds at full volume with so much detail you hear the farts of McCartney, but that treat on the vinyl was buried in the track that signaled the record player to pick up the needle! What a joy it was to find!

And I don't need to hear Paul's fingers slide down the neck of his Hohner to appreciate the baseline in

This event, this stunt, speaks to me more of milking a cash cow, like the Anthology release of twelve or so years ago, than of bringing this music to a whole new audience. Which, by the way, was represented very nicely at the concert in July. At least the Anthology had the charm of bringing us two new Beatles songs, albeit in a really creepy fashion.

But this, this is pure piracy on the part of EMI.

So I guess I have to go buy it. But not Rock Band. I don't have room for a four-piece band...

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Refurbished Hubble telescope yields spectacular images

By Carol Gee

It was worth the wait! NASA has posted the first new images released by the Hubble ERO folks, following the refurbishment of the space telescope. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) had the honor of presiding at this long awaited unveiling. With the help of Digsby, Twitter, and NASA's award winning website, I was able to grab one of several wonderful images for your viewing pleasure. The image above is called "Stephan's Quintet -- Galactic wreckage."

STS-128 has completed its mission to the International Space Station, exchanging members of the ISS Expedition 20 team, and resupplying the space station. With good weather in Florida, the crew will land early Thursday evening.

Supplemental links -- Hat tip to my regular contributor, Jon, for the links marked with a (#):

Links in boldface are important new elements to the NASA stories to be explored in a subsequent post. The links indicate the Augustine Commission's recommendations to the Obama administration regarding the future of U.S. space flight, jeopardized by a lack of money. I highly recommend the NPR article (below) as a first look at the panel's findings. And here is the intro to the Augustine Commission's Summary Report. To quote:

Summary Report
A summary of the report from the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee was provided to the Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and NASA Administrator on Tuesday, September 8. The summary's text is consistent with presentations made during the committee's final public meeting on Aug. 12. The summary has been posted on this website for the public.

Transmittal Letter for Summary Report (pdf, 32K)

Download a copy of the Summary Report. (pdf, 152K)

For media questions regarding the Summary Report, contact Dr. Edward Crawley at MIT at 617-253-7510.

The full Final Report is still being prepared and will be released when complete. NASA is working with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other representatives of the Executive Office of the President to plan the next steps leading to a decision by the President about future U.S. human space flight policy.

Additional news links:

(Cross-posted at Southwest Progressive.)

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The future of health-care reform

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Preparing for Obama's HCR speech tonight, make sure to read TNR's Jon Cohn's excellent overview of where the debate currently stands. Key passage:

Somehow, though, health reform is not dead. Despite all of the setbacks and all of the missed opportunities -- despite this train wreck of a month -- the situation remains remarkably similar to what it was before the recess. Significant health care legislation is likely to pass, particularly if Obama manages to give a good speech on Wednesday night. And while the possibilities for what that legislation might accomplish have certainly diminished, mostly for worse, it's not clear how much they have diminished -- and to what extent progressives may yet have the power to change that fact.

And, yes, reconciliation is still an option:

But the greatest risk with reconciliation is that the process produces a weak bill, an incomplete one, or, in the very worst case, a counter-productive one -- not that it fails to produce any bill at all. The Democratic Party isn't necessarily the bravest. (If it was, it'd have passed reform already.) But it’s also not the dumbest. Failing to pass a bill when they have the numbers would be politically suicidal, just like it was in the 1990s. Having committed themselves to passing legislation, they now must follow through. They knew that before August. Knock on wood, they still know it today.

Democrats have no excuse not to do what is right for America.


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Hypocrisy; or, why Saxby Chambliss should just STFU

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has some advice for President Barack Obama: show some "humility."

In his health-care reform address tonight, "I think he's gonna have to express some humility based on what we've seen around the country this August and that's not his inclination."

Really? Actually, I find Obama to be a deeply humble man. He's incredibly intelligent, yes, not to mention deeply charismatic, but he also knows that there's a lot he doesn't know, that life is itself a learning process.

Well, he's certainly more humble than, oh, say, Saxby Chambliss, who, you may remember, attacked decorated Vietnam War vet and then-incumbent Max Cleland, a Democrat, for not being tough enough on national security. Yes, Max Cleland, a decorated war hero who lost both legs and an arm. Even Republicans were appalled. John McCain called one of the ads in question "worse than disgraceful" and "reprehensible," while Chuck Hagel called the ads "beyond offensive."

How humble one must be to attack a real American hero like Max Cleland for personal political gain.

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Sarah Palin, mostly loathsome

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Not everything in Sarah Palin's op-ed in the WSJ yesterday was awful. She did, for example, say this:

Some 45 years ago Ronald Reagan said that "no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds." Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us.

Actually, that's about it. The rest is the sort of drivel you'd expect. More coherent, perhaps, than her Facebook entries -- and probably also ghost-written by her minions -- but still the same old right-wing claptrap.

Of course, Reagan did nothing to help those who were "denied medical care because of a lack of funds" -- and Palin is no different. She may talk the talk, but her solution, less government, is actually the problem. The private sector has had it's chance, and it doesn't work except for a select few who can afford whatever care they want. More of the private sector, more of the market, that conservative Deity, isn't going to solve the problems of the existing system: inadequate and even non-existent coverage for tens of millions, spiralling costs. What is needed, of course, is a robust public option -- in the absence of a full-scale single-payer system like the kind we have in Canada, which would be preferable -- that offers Americans a choice. You want private coverage? Great. You don't, or can't afford it? Then here's guaranteed care provided through a government-run plan.

Not that Palin cares. By paragraph six, early on, she's already in full wingnut mode: "Common sense tells us that the government's attempts to solve large problems more often create new ones." You know, like, I don't know, like winning two world wars, or putting a man on the moon, stuff like that -- all failures, of course. It's funny how conservatives put down government except when they themselves are in power. Cheney certainly didn't oppose government attempts to address, say, the problem of Islamist terrorism, did he? And the neocons certainly didn't object to the huge ramp-up of American military might under Reagan, did they? Conservatives think Reagan won the Cold War. Even if that were true, how could he have done it without government?

Anyway, before long, Palin brings up those "death panels" again, and, really, there's no point going on. Sure, she backtracks a bit, if barely, suggesting that the lie "rang true for many Americans," as distinguished from those "[e]stablishment voices" who apparently know nothing, but, as we know, the lie "rang true" only because Republican propaganda was so noisy, and, with those inclined to accept such propaganda as truth, so effective.

Alright, that's it. I've spent enough time, and expended enough energy, on Sarah Palin today. Just remember that, however wrong she may be, to put it nicely, she's hardly alone. This is the sort of outright insanity, combined with extremist right-wing ideology, that we face.

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The facts vs. Joe Lieberman

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Joe Lieberman says that a public option is "not attainable."

Joe Lieberman says that there won't be 60 votes, or "significant reform with bipartisan support," unless the public option is "off the table."

Joe Lieberman says that the American people do not support "a government-run health insurance plan."

The facts say that Joe Lieberman is wrong, and that the Democrats can achieve "significant reform" without GOP support, and that they don't need 60 votes to pass it.

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The big healthcare speech

By Creature

While I'm going to withhold all judgments on Obama's speech tonight until after he gives it, the fact that the WSJ is reporting that he "will press for a government-run insurance option in a proposed overhaul of the U.S. health-care system" is encouraging. However, the fact that he is still leaving the door open for "better ideas" is disappointing. I'm not sure what the point of the speech will be when it sounds like he is in the same exact place as he's been all year. Bright lines are needed and I'm not getting the sense that I should wear my sunglasses tonight.

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The WaPo, as fair and balanced as ever

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A lot that appears in the pages of the increasingly right-leaning Washington Post infuriates me, including this awful piece on Obama's upcoming speech by staff writers Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery. The bias is clear from the start: What is needed is "broad consensus" on health-care reform, that is, Republican support. But, of course, there is no Republican support for it. The piece neglects to mention that each Democratic overture has been met with resistance and opposition, and obstructionism, highlighting instead the recent achievements of Max Baucus, which essentially amount to crafting a compromise bill that no one likes, including especially the GOPers in the Gang of Six. The piece eventually turns its attention to Obama, but, by then, the point has been made, and it's just the sort of point you'd expect from a media outlet that, on this issue especially, seems to have become an organ of the Republican Party.

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Craziest Republican of the Day: Jean Schmidt

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Michele Bachmann may be the craziest Republican on Capitol Hill, but she's got some stiff competition, including from fellow Congresswoman Jean Schmidt of Ohio, who, at a tea party near Cincinnati this past weekend, said this to a Birther with whom she was having "a heated conversation":

I agree with you, but the courts don't.

As Think Progress notes, back in July, Schmidt announced that she "may not agree with [Obama's] politics but there is no doubt he is our President and has [her] full respect as such."

Seems that was a lie. She's a Birther Sympathizer, and, as such, certifiably crazy.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009


By Creature

I snapped this outside my local high school. I guess the speech worked. Go figure.

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Knee jerks

By Carl

Well, it turns out that, in addition to jeopardizing our fighting men and women by playing loose and fast with torture rules, Dick Cheney put innocent American civilians at risk as well.

As part of the recent trial of
three would-be bombers held in England (convicted on all counts, no thanks to Dick Cheney), it was revealed that the Bush administration, at the direction of Dick Cheney's need to glorify his ego, nearly let the bombers off the hook:

Dick Cheney, the former US Vice President, nearly destroyed Britain's efforts to bring the airline bomb plotters to justice, police and intelligence experts said today.

By ordering the early arrest of Rashid Rauf, the bombers' link man in Pakistan, Washington forced British police to detain the suspects in the UK before all the evidence had been gathered, it was claimed.

Yesterday three British Muslims - Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Tanvir Hussain and Assad Sarwar - were finally convicted of plotting to blow up seven transatlantic airliners in mid-air in a co-ordinated attack intended to surpass the horror of 9/11. But the plotters were arrested before they had bought the airline tickets that would have been the ultimate proof of their intentions. Police fear that several key figures of the plot have remained free.

Andy Hayman, who was the Metropolitan Police's Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations at the time of the plot, said he believed that the White House had grown jittery as the British updated them of the mounting evidence of a plot targeted at American cities.

Brave Sir Rob-- I mean, Dick Cheney! Not wanting to see American cities attacked once more on his watch, he decided to arrest one of the linchpins of the attacks, thus blowing the cover of an in-depth undercover investigation.

The anti-terror chief of Scotland Yard all but
calls Cheney a coward in an op-ed piece in today's London Times:

Fearful for the safety of American lives, the US authorities had been getting edgy, seeking reassurance that this was not going to slip through our hands. We moved from having congenial conversations to eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations.
We thought we had managed to persuade them to hold back so we could develop new opportunities and get more evidence to present to the courts. But I was never convinced that they were content with that position.
In the end, I strongly suspect that they lost their nerve and had a hand in triggering the arrest in Pakistan.

(emphasis added) As it was, it took two trials and one acquittal as well as one plotter receiving a reduced conviction and a "controlled release" (meaning he's under British surveillance constantly) before anyone was convicted of actually trying to bring down a plane headed for either Chicago, Toronto, New York, Washington, San Francisco, or Montreal.

Seven transatlantic airliners were targeted, according to Hayman. That calculates to something on the order of 3,500 people or more, exceeding the death toll on September 11, as well as the 7/7 bombings in London's Underground and buses.

You may remember the original alert...I sure do...because this was the plot that forced us starting in August 2006 to carry less than 3 oz of any liquid on board a plane, in a one-quart sealed bag.

Al Qaeda seems determined to use our airlines as weapons in their jihad. Of course, neither Cheney nor Bush will admit their fear created a dangerous situation.

But we will, and we will remember.

(crossposted to
Simply Left Behind)

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Reaganites vs. the GOP

By Mustang Bobby.

It's rare that I agree with someone who calls himself a Reaganite, but Bruce Bartlett has a very good take on the state of the GOP nowadays in a piece called Why I Am Anti-Republican.

I still consider myself to be a Reaganite. But I don’t see any others anywhere in the GOP these days, which is why I consider myself to be an independent. Mindless partisanship has replaced principled conservatism. What passes for principle in the party these days is “what can we do to screw the Democrats today.” How else can you explain things like that insane op-ed Michael Steele had in the Washington Post on Monday [August 24]?

I am not alone. When I talk to old timers from the Reagan years, many express the same concerns I have. But they all work for Republican-oriented think tanks like AEI and Hoover and don’t wish to be fired like I was from NCPA . Or they just don’t want to be bothered or lose friends. As a free agent I am able to say what they can’t or won’t say publicly.

I think the Republican Party is in the same boat the Democrats were in in the early eighties — dominated by extremists unable to see how badly their party was alienating moderates and independents. The party’s adults formed the Democratic Leadership Council to push the party back to the center and it was very successful. But there is no group like that for Republicans. That has left lunatics like Glenn Beck as the party’s de facto leaders. As long as that remains the case, I want nothing to do with the GOP.

There's a part of me that chortles with maniacal glee when I see the once-mighty-and-bound-for-permanent-majority GOP circling the drain; it's just desserts for their disastrous and vengeful leadership during their stint in the Congress after the 1994 elections which led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the election of George W. Bush. The GOP is being redefined by birthers, deathers, tenthers, and whatever lunacy that can be dreamed up on the internet and under the tin-foil hats. The hounding for the firing of Van Jones this weekend and the crowing by the right wing over his scalping prove Mark Kleinman's point: "If you want to say batsh*t-crazy stuff and still be treated as a respectable participant in the national debate, you'd better be a Republican." For a while I thought the solution was to do our best to make fun of them and hold them up to as much ridicule as possible, but now that we're ass-deep to a tall Swede into insanity with people carrying loaded firearms within shouting distance of the President of the United States and demanding to see his "real" birth certificate, it's not really all that hilarious. It's getting to the point where even comic geniuses like Mel Brooks and the Marx Brothers would give up.

Not that it's any of my business, but I really wonder who the Republicans think they can get to run in 2012; someone who can appeal to the base as well as the independents like Mr. Bartlett, and the old-style Republicans who dared label themselves as "moderate." Perhaps the best thing the GOP can do in 2012 is run Sarah Palin, let her get shellacked by losing 49 states like Walter Mondale did in 1984, and then really have an epiphany to come to the center. But based on their past behavior and the lessons they didn't learn after 2006 and 2008 (abetted by the spineless response of the Democrats), I doubt that will happen. If anything, they'll go further over the edge and drive a lot of good people away...if they haven't already.

HT to Andrew Sullivan.

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Obama and health-care reform

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From The Times:

I remain convinced Obama will win this fight. Not totally; not without political cost; but win it he shall. And the strategy is really very simple. The most popular elements of the bill will be kept in and the most contentious left out.

The fundamental issue of costs will be deferred. A bill that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses; that creates healthcare exchanges, where people can buy their own insurance policy subsidised by the government; that brings agreed price reductions by the drug companies in return for all these new, previously uninsured clients: this will pass and be popular. How could it not? The option of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private ones will be either dispensed with or held in reserve. If, after a few years, health costs keep soaring and the private companies have not mended their free-spending ways, it could be brought back.


So, tactically, Obama is on the defensive. Strategically? Again, he is stronger than he now appears. When the health insurance bill is passed and elderly Americans are not rounded up into concentration camps and granny isn't subjected to euthanasia, and when many uninsured people gain a peace of mind they have never felt before, and people become able to change job without fearing loss of insurance, the Republican scare tactics may come to seem absurd.

Well, the Republican lies are absurd, we know that already, but they likely will "come to seem absurd" to more and more people as time goes on. Overall, while I continue to stress that a public option ought to be an essential element of any reform package (and while Josh Marshall may be right, even through hyperbole, that a bill with "no public option or competition with the insurers" would be "pretty much a catastrophe for the Democrats in political terms"), I think that Sullivan's prediction makes a lot of sense. Even if we don't get quite what we want, namely, a robust public option, there is still the possibility that a compromise package (with the "most popular elements"), if passed, would be the thin end of the wedge leading to additional reform down the road.

This, I suppose, is my fall-back position, and I think it's one we need to prepare ourselves for. Obama still ought to push for a robust public option, as he may in his speech this week (and may behind close doors, attempting to pull Democrats together), and I still think Democrats ought to consider going it fully alone on reform (or with one or two Republicans), even with less than 60 votes in the Senate, but some reform may be better than no reform if the reform that is actually passed addresses some of the most pressing problems of the current system -- such as the huge numbers of uninsured and inadequately insured -- in a serious and meaningful way.

Okay, I sound like I'm backing down. I'm not. The fight for reform needs to continue. But there is nonetheless the possibility that Obama retains "a strategic cunning," in Sullivan's words, that will actually lead to more substantial change over the long haul.

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