1. It is disheartening to watch conservatives take up the mantle of Defenders of Medicare, even going so far as to propose a “Senior Citizens’ Bill of Rights.” It’s really tremendously frustrating and cynical. It’s a combination of fear tactics and gross dishonesty. Yes there are cuts to Medicare planned. No, conservatives should not oppose them (or at least ideologically that makes absolutely no sense). Defending one entitlement just to sink another is pretty low, even for Republicans. (see #5)
2. It is equally disheartening to see the Club for Growth go after Sen. Bennett and by extension, the Wyden-Bennett bill, which is the best piece of health care reform legislation out there. It would be so nice to stop playing this game for awhile. The status quo is horribly flawed, people are going without insurance, the costs of the uninsured are driving up the costs for everybody else – now is a good time to work toward reforms, but it’s not going to happen because winning has become more important than governing. It’s childish, which is the nicest word I can come up with to describe the Republican leadership right now.
3. I hope health care reform passes. I don’t like HR 3200, though, and therein lies the rub. I can’t make up my mind if I dislike the expensive, government-saturated health care we have now or the expensive, government-saturated reforms that are on the table more. Still, a part of me keeps rooting for reform of some sort to win just to shake things up – just to end the deception. Maybe better reforms can follow on the heels of whatever we get. Right now special interests really control and monopolize the market, and it’s going to be really difficult to ever change that.
4a. I feel like on the one side you have a lot of people who have far too much faith in government pushing for a plan that they honestly believe will help many Americans, and that whether or not they’re right, this earnest belief in doing good is commendable (though obviously there are also crooks and liars in the Dem camp who are merely shills for their own special interests); and on the other side, at least in the leadership and punditocracy, you have these people who act like they don’t have faith in government (when they’re not in power), and who are playing as dishonest and ugly a game as possible to stop their opponents. I believe some of this is good ol’ fashioned Machiavellian tactics based on honest opposition, but it’s largely just opportunism. This whole Medicare nonsense belies any ideological purity.
4b. Where are the alternate conservative plans for health care reform? They’re out there, obviously, but the leadership of the GOP isn’t touting them. They offer no meaningful alternatives. Throw the bums out, I say. We need new blood in the conservative leadership.
4c. So I’d really love to support “my team” but there really is nothing to support. No good, practical ways to implement market reforms are on the table. I can’t just support cynicism and dishonesty. (I’m sure some will think I’m being too hard on conservatives or that I’m exaggerating the cynicism present on the right, but damnitall they’ve reached a point where one can hardly take them seriously anymore, let alone trust them.)
5. Oh brother:
6. I’m also frustrated that the administration and democrats can’t seem to get on message, and even off-message can’t seem to ever talk about any of the alternative good ideas (like Wyden-Bennett) and instead, while wobbling between this or that essential part of reform, land on co-ops and play ping-pong with the public option, but never seem to achieve any coherent, overall plan that Americans can rattle off on their fingers. Give us talking points, damn you! And if you can’t, then start looking at something a bit more simple – like Wyden-Bennett. And I really feel like all this talk about cutting costs and saving money is grossly dishonest. But I know of a bill that the CBO says would cut costs and save money….
7. Part of me just wants the whole thing to happen. Let’s just reform and be done with it. As David Lindsay said a while back – we’ll get used to it. “The defeat of the current proposal would not make the matter go away. It is going to keep coming back until it happens. So it might as well happen now.” True!
8. That’s all. I’m out of thoughts, scattered or otherwise. Happy Friday.