no sale

I agree with Congressman Joe Wilson.  The President has misrepresented what the Democrats are proposing to do with our health care.   Unfortunately, the rules of decorum prevent Republicans from saying what they think out loud unless it agrees with what President Obama has already said.   After all, we know how well the Democrats follow the rules they impose on the minority party when THEY are the minority party, don’t we?  While I much prefer Senator DeMint’s opposition strategy and admire his restraint during the President’s speech last night,  I can tell you that there are many of my fellow conservatives who were yelling at our TVs and radios – mostly similar sentiments to those of Joe Wilson.  This doesn’t make Wilson a Super-Patriot or the next “Republican revolutionary”.  It just makes him someone who temporarily forgot that he gave up the right to challenge the President of the United States during his speech on national TV when he got elected to Congress.  AND he apologized for it.   Get over the indignation and let’s move on to what we were talking about – health care.

As far as the question of illegal immigrants getting health care under the House bill, sure the language forbids it, but when there are no explicit enforcement requirements, what guarantee is there that this won’t eventually happen? It’s happening now in the border states, especially in California and Texas. So that’s a legitimate concern.

There was nothing game-changing about the President’s speech last night. We will continue to oppose the proposals currently on the table, because these aren’t serious attempts to address the costs and inefficiencies we have with our health care system right now.

I will get to Dr. Arthur Laffer’s analysis in a future post. I have several initial comments on the subject of health care “reform” that I want to bring to the table before I get to his brilliant work.

If you want to talk about a subject that should be demanding the attention of the federal government right now (but is not) – we should be talking about jobs, not health care. Don’t know how many times I have to say this but people with jobs would be far more capable of buying their own health insurance. There are ways the federal government could encourage / support private industry development and growth, and to make it easier for the job market to improve. The Obama administration appears to be more interested in implementing big revolutionary changes in health care than to deal with bread and butter issues like jobs and the economy.

We do not have a health care crisis situation in this country. That 47 million uninsured number — offered by the uninformed and the mediots (but I repeat myself here) – is bogus.

From Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny:

“In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that there were 46.6 million people without health insurance. About 9.5 million were not United States citizens. Another 17 million lived in households with incomes exceeding $50,000 a year and could, presumably, purchase their own health coverage [1]. Eighteen million of the 46.6 million uninsured were between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four, most of whom were in good health and no necessarily in need of health-care coverage or chose not to purchase it [2]. Moreover, only 30 percent of the nonelderly population who became uninsured in a given year remained uninsured for more than twelve months. Almost 50 percent regained their health coverage within four months [3]. The 47 million “uninsured” figure used by [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and others is widely inaccurate.”

The number of Americans who are uninsured has been massively inflated to exaggerate the extent of the problems we have with the current health care system as it exists today. This is intentional. There’s no possible way the American people could possibly be talked into an overhaul of the entire health care system without being persuaded that we have a crisis that demands immediate attention. Fortunately, this massive overreach by the Democrats and by the President of the United States with HR 3200 has caught the attention of average Americans, some of whom have been doing the job our Congressmen / Senators won’t do (reading the bill). I applaud those who have attended town halls to ask the tough questions to these Congressmen and Senators. Someone has to do it. It really shouldn’t be necessary to remind my fellow conservatives not to give the media, liberal activists, Democrats and the White House any ammunition to paint our side as a bunch of raving lunatics – but I will say it again until it doesn’t need to be said.

One might interpret the previous commentary as an opinion that the American health care system as it exists today does not require any changes. We do not have a perfect health care system. With that said, the choices /options we have for health insurance are vastly superior to any system resembling single-payer or government-run health service programs. Of course it would be wonderful to get all Americans health care coverage, but what sacrifices would have to be made in order to get close to this goal? Is it even possible to spend enough money to provide all Americans coverage? Of course not. The debate here should be whether we must overhaul the current health care system to attempt to cover the relatively small number of uninsured Americans, or whether with a few small changes we can achieve the best combination of coverage and care for most Americans. The latter is my position on health care reform – we don’t need a complete overhaul, just a few common-sense changes. What changes would I propose, on the compelling suggestion of economists like Dr. Laffer? I’ll save that for a future post.

the presser

Several things crossed my mind while I was listening to President Obama’s “press conference”.  Here we go.

1) More people could afford health care if they had jobs.  That’s where the President’s focus should be right now, rather than on national / universal (whatever the term we are using this week is) health care or on sweeping new climate change legislation.  Obama is right when he says that the American people don’t care about the political games from both parties, and that they just want solutions to their economic problems.  I hope he’s wrong in assuming that Americans really want to become wards of the state by allowing the government to pay for more and more of the care and maintenance of their lives.

2) The President isn’t above picking petty fights with his political adversaries.  That should be left to his pit bulls Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod.  It’s hard to believe there’s much change in the partisan climate that’s always existed in DC when every week we hear about the evil Republicans who dare to oppose Obama’s agenda. The WH never fails to create various bogeymen for the American people to fear – the Rush Limbaugh controversy for example.

3) You can’t expand coverage AND reduce costs.  That’s never happened in any country that has government-funded health care, and it won’t happen here either.  Someone will have to make tough choices about what kinds of treatment will be paid for, and which treatments will not be covered by your plan.  Right now, if you have private insurance, the private insurance company makes those decisions.  If you have an employer-based plan, you generally know right up-front what is covered in the various plans and what is not. As others have pointed out, private insurers / hospitals / medical personnel can be shamed into doing the right thing when there is negligence on their part by the threat of bad PR.  What kind of similar negative incentive exists for a government bureaucrat?  I would suggest that there isn’t one.

4)  The members of Congress and the President must commit to ditching their own private health care plan they receive through the federal government.  If they expect us to buy into the idea of the public option, they must be willing to switch to the same plan for themselves and for their families.

5) There must be more accountability for government spending.  This is true no matter which party holds the reins of political power.  Doesn’t it make sense to find out where all the Bush / Obama bailout money went before we start spending all this money on national health care and climate change legislation?  Maybe I’m suggesting something way too radical here.

dropping like flies

Sarah Palin is resigning as Governor of Alaska.

I think the speculation that she is doing so because she’s running for President in 2012 — and that she needs more prep time than keeping a full-time job in Juneau would allow her — is accurate.  It’s fair to question the wisdom of this move, because she hasn’t even served a full term as Governor of Alaska.  Whoever is advising her to do this is doing her no favors.  Resigning before finishing a full term damages her viability as a candidate, even if she uses all that extra time to study for future interviews on foreign / domestic policy.   It’s possible to continue to build a political organization that could support a presidential bid while keeping your day job, but it must have been too difficult for Governor Palin to do both.   I can understand how the residents of Alaska might question Palin’s focus on the job she currently has,  so in that respect Palin’s decision makes sense.  Her attention has been divided between Alaska and DC, and it’s probably time for her to choose which world she wants.  I’m just not sure this is the right time to quit her day job.

BTW, I like Sarah Palin. I just don’t see her as someone who could be President.   Maybe I’m underestimating her, like everyone else. We shall see what happens in the next few years.

shut up you idiot

This week on As South Carolina Turns…

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Governor Mark Sanford calls his former (current?) Argentinian gal-pal Maria his “soulmate” but still insists he is “trying to fall in love with his wife again”. Doesn’t sound like a guy who is ready to move on and forget his past relationships. But what do I know? I’m not a marriage counselor or anything. There’s no way he saves himself by continuing those truth-serum injections, and at some point (if we are not there already) it becomes too much to absorb by the voters and citizens of this state. As I’ve previously said, politicians have extramarital affairs. It happens quite often. It happens to average people every day from the most innocent of circumstances, just the way Governor Sanford’s affair started. But this is only partially about the affair.

I still think he should resign. Not for the affair, but for his behavior before and after this affair was revealed. South Carolina isn’t like other states, in that we are one of the reddest red states still standing after President Obama’s election. This is probably one of the places left in the US where the voters would actually care about the affair as well as Sanford’s recent reckless behavior. His refusal to resign could end up costing Republicans the governor’s mansion in 2010. We could have a Democrat governor next election – in South Carolina! Hard to say what kind of Democrat could beat some otherwise strong Republican candidates, but given the right environment, it could happen. It’s time for Sanford to stop being selfish and consider the consequences of his actions to the state Republican party before he totally commits to staying on as governor.

Here’s my advice: Just shut up, Governor. Stop talking to the media. Let the investigations go forward. If you aren’t really committed to saving your marriage, then maybe you should be honest with your wife about that. If you are sincere, then you might want to act more concerned about your wife than you are about your job. It’s obvious you have created your own obstacles to staying in the Governor’s mansion for the remainder of your term. And BTW, it’s awfully convenient of you to be concerned about these things now, when it’s clear that you didn’t care much about your job and your marriage when you took all those risks and cheated on your wife. Self-sabotage? That’s for the politicos to debate. All I know is that you did a very stupid thing and you don’t seem to be sorry enough to change.

decisions

First of all, I want to make it quite clear that these opinions are my own, as a resident of South Carolina, and not as a member of any political party.   I don’t speak for the leadership or the membership of the SC GOP, although some of them may share my views on the Sanford affair.  I represent no one other than myself in taking this position, and I trust that everyone reading this will take my comments from that perspective.  With that disclaimer out of the way, here we go…

I am calling on Governor Sanford to resign.  My initial reaction to the revelation of his affair and his lies to cover his trail when he left to visit his mistress in Argentina was shock, disappointment, and frustration, as well as anger at his stupidity.  I still have all those feelings.   Watching the majority of the news coverage gave me the impression that he was sincere in his desire to reconcile with his wife, and to repair the damage he has caused to the local Republican Party as well as to his own reputation.   After reading the transcript of his press conference and watching the small clip of him during that cabinet meeting today, I am no longer convinced that he is interested in changing direction or even breaking off the relationship with the woman in Argentina.   That is a point he might want to clarify in the attempt to hang on to his job.

Governor Sanford has lost our trust.  He has lost our confidence by his reckless behavior.   There needs to be more significant consequences than the possibility of losing his marriage.   The only appropriate course of action for someone who hasn’t chosen to come clean and then fly straight is to lose his job and political future.   That’s all I have to say.

thursday news bites

Former VP Cheney provides an impassioned defense of Bush administration foreign policy.

President Obama continues to insist that Gitmo must be closed, even as the Senate attempts to block funding for his grand scheme.

Senator DeMint writes an NRO op-ed critical of government-provided health care.

And my great gov Sanford continues to fight the state legislature after they overrode his veto of most of the stimulus money.  I’m cheering him on, but I’m not sure how this will all play out in the end.  He does tend to get a little scorched-earth about the things he passionately believes in, and some supporters might be turned off by his approach.  But he’s right in what he’s doing and the people of this state who aren’t brain-dead sheep (or dependent Democrats – same diff) will support our governor.

Nothing wrong with my state…the Republican Party here in SC is alive and kicking.  We have thrived under the outstanding outgoing Chairman, Katon Dawson, and our red state status will continue with our new Chairman (chairwoman?) Karen Floyd.   However, Senator Graham still has some work to do with the conservatives in this state, who he continues to tweak, even though we decided to vote for him in spite of a couple serious disagreements we had with him.

know your role

What makes Michael Steele great on TV and talk radio makes him controversial as the RNC Chairman.   There are very few Republicans currently holding political office who could be successful pundits, and there are even fewer Republican politicians that would continue to win elections saying things that the members of their party don’t want to hear or acknowledge.   Those who have survived doing this, like Senator DeMint, most likely come from solid red states, where the base completely supports their efforts to fight the Washington mentality.  We are more likely to find honest political dialogue from those who never intend to make a profitable career out of politics than from anyone currently engaged in that pursuit.

This is the difference between Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh.  Each man has a different objective.  For Michael Steele, the goal should be to get back to basics on core principles of our party, and to regain the confidence of the country in the Republican brand — which can only be done by acknowledging where our politicians have failed and increasing the level of accountability to show that we are serious about more than just winning elections.   His job is also to present our party in the best light possible, which means he cannot continue to speak off-the-cuff when the media is now closely paying attention to every word he says and looking for an opportunity to further divide the Republican party into factions by using our Chairman’s own words against him.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, and a darn good one at that.  You don’t get paid what he gets paid without delivering the goods and the advertisers 3 hours a day / 5 days a week.  In the process of that entertainment, he shares his own opinion on the present administration and what he believes the next steps should be for conservatives who don’t agree with the direction of this country under President Obama.  Love him, hate him, or call him a drug addict — it doesn’t have any effect on the guy at all.  It might make lefties feel better about themselves to rip Rush every day, and good for them if that’s the case.  It just doesn’t do much to move the leftist/statist agenda forward.  At some point,  surely even the leftist might question the wisdom of all Barack’s free spending.  Or maybe not.  Some people are just hard-core enough that they don’t care that these bills will be paid by our children and grandchildren just as long as they get their “free government stuff”.

To Michael Steele, I offer these words of advice from former (?) pro wrestler and current Disney “star” The Rock, “Know your role”.  There’s a time to speak out, and a time to shut up.   A wise chairman knows what time it is.

expand the message

I don’t think there’s much I can add to Matt Lewis’s post on the Townhall blog.   Republicans need to stop surrendering issues like health care, jobs, and the environment to the Democrats.   This limits our ability to compete when national security and cultural issues are not the most important things on the minds of voters.  We need to recognize that our inability to challenge the common belief  that the Democrats have the best answers on health care, the economy, and the environment not only damages our chances of winning elections, it also enables bad policy to be implemented without a fight.  There are so many areas where viable conservative solutions can be discovered if we choose to compete in all arenas, not just the ones that are traditionally strong for Republican candidates.

As Matt says, this is not a call to water down our core beliefs and to become Democrat-lite.   We win converts to the conservative cause not by pandering or making easy compromises  — we do it by standing for the ideas we believe in and standing LOUD for those ideas.  In the absence of conservative alternatives, the Democrats are more than happy to fill that void with sweet-sounding promises of more government care and benefits that the working people of this country will never be able to pay for.

pulling no punches

Ah…seems that our RNC Chairman had something interesting to say about Senator Specter becoming a Democrat.  This bridge has been incinerated.  There’s no turning back now, Senator Specter.  Either way it’s going to be a tough election campaign.

Here’s Michael Steele (quoted at Politico):

Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not.

Let’s be honest-Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record.

Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.

And Steele’s not quite done yet.

CBS News:

Steele called Specter’s maneuver a “cold, crass political calculation by a senator who could not get reelected through a nominating process in the Republican party.”

“This has nothing to do with philosophy and principle and all those wonderful-sounding words.”

It’s rich of Senators Specter, Snowe, and to some extent, Lindsey Graham to accuse the Republican Party of wanting to throw the moderates overboard.  I say to them:  Where’s the evidence?  President Bush supported Specter, as did many other prominent Republicans, including the unfortunate Rick Santorum, over the more conservative Pat Toomey.  The Republican Party ultimately supports the candidate they believe has the best chance to win the contest.  In some cases,  that candidate happens to be a moderate.

Our party is more pragmatic than conservative.  That’s why we are struggling – because we value winning over any other objective.  Ideas motivate people.  Ideas fire people up and get them excited about their involvement in the party.  Where’s the creativity?  Where’s the ideas?  What does our party stand for, and how do we get back to those core values? There’s nothing wrong with being the party of NO when the current policies are wrong.  But it wouldn’t hurt us to come up with a few alternative proposals to the Democrat agenda that won’t continue to compromise our nation’s financial future.