One of the Democratic advisers told CNN there is fear within the party that the president’s signature issue is “on the rocks” because of dramatically high cost estimates for separate bills being drafted by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts and Max Baucus, D-Montana.
The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate for the Kennedy bill — that it will cost $1 trillion and yet leave millions of Americans without health insurance — has given Republicans strong political ammunition to charge reform may be too expensive at a time of massive federal deficits.
Um…yeah…it’s gonna cost LOTS of money plus reduce choice for the average buyer — obviously we must rush this brilliant idea through Congress. If even some of the Democrats are balking at these costs, you know there’s serious money being discussed here. 😉
Here’s a few things we might want to know about this new and fabulous grand government scheme, more commonly known as a national health care plan. Reason Online breaks it down here.
First, that the proposed national health care plan won’t cover everyone.
Second, that the subsidized lower plan premiums on a government-run / public plan would provide an almost irresistible incentive for employers to switch their employees’ coverage from private plans. This doesn’t exactly promote or support the promise of increased choices for people, and it can be fairly assumed that any private insurance companies left competing with the feds for customers will have a difficult time making it profitable to stay in business. The solution is not, and is NEVER, more government control or federal tax dollars to support a system that doesn’t operate as efficiently and effectively as it should.
*I’m not at all saying that there aren’t fixes and solutions that we can implement to make the current system work better for patients and those in the medical field. I just think that President Obama has the wrong fix to what ails our health care system.*
The most important point is that it will become harder and harder to keep private health care plans. The linked Reason Online article actually predicts that the ability to opt out of public health care will eventually disappear, because the private insurers will be out of business. I’m not going to go that far here, but I do think it’s something we should be very concerned about, because once there is only one choice of health care plan and it’s the government plan, we all lose.
We need to consider carefully the next steps in any possible reform of health care in this country. This isn’t something Congress should rush through and pass without reading it first and thoroughly discussing all options and alternatives. Yes, the Democrats gained power and have the ability to pass whatever junk bill they support, but I believe that this requires more care and attention that any other piece of legislation they will ram through Congress this year. Make no mistake about this — once the American people start to figure out what’s happening to them (and there are a few encouraging signs that this is the case), the support for many of President Obama’s grand schemes could end up backfiring on the Democrats.
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.
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.
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.
Lets be honest-Senator Specter didnt 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 dont do it first.
And Steele’s not quite done yet.
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.
Senator Arlen Specter finally makes the decision to leave the Republican Party and officially join his fellow Democrats by running for re-election as a Democrat. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about this news. His motivation for doing this doesn’t really matter to me. It does open up more options for challengers like Pat Toomey…or it could lead to a different Democrat replacing Specter, because there’s no guarantee that he gets the Democrat nomination without the other candidates pulling out of the contest. I do think that his announcement was self-serving, and it failed to acknowledge those Republicans, such as President Bush and VP Cheney, who supported him against Toomey the first time. The national Republican Party hasn’t thrown Specter under the bus. He chose this path for himself. When he votes the way he does, he should expect conservatives to loudly oppose those votes. But the Beltway Republicans have a far different agenda than the rest of us — they would have us go further to the left and abandon social conservatism or any pretense of fiscal accountability / responsibility.
It is not the agenda of the leadership of the Republican Party to weed out the moderate / liberal elements of its membership. If you need evidence of that, witness our presidential nominee, John McCain. He agreed more than he disagreed with Barack Obama on domestic policy, although I suspect he would have embraced keeping more tax cuts than President Obama has. Our party supported Arlen Specter, even though he hasn’t done very much to merit our support. We don’t even consider challenging Snowe and Collins. So our far-right takeover hasn’t occurred yet, and my guess is you won’t see that until we can recruit much stronger candidates to challenge the Republicans already in the Senate and House.
There’s much about this move that I can be happy about. Allowing the Democrats a 60-vote majority means they take full responsibility for anything they screw up. On the other hand, I’m not sure I am willing to accept the consequences of the Democrats passing whatever laws they want to pass, no matter how crazy or misguided those laws may be — and I’m certainly not optimistic that all the damage done would be reversible. Once we all get national health care, there’s no going back. Look at Britain. If you even hint at NHS (national health service) reforms that would assign some responsibility back to the recipients, don’t expect to win any national elections. That’s the danger here. We need to keep a close eye on what’s happening in Washington, and raise awareness of how all this will affect our lives in the long run, because we might only get one chance to keep this country from absorbing some big mistakes made by the politicians.
After spending part of my weekend with my fellow right-wing extremists from the York County Republican Party, the experience left me feeling more reflective on the current direction of the national party rather than energized about the good stuff happening on the local level. I’m going to try to put those impressions into words, but it may not all make sense. I’m still trying to work through what I believe the next steps should be for the Washington Republicans, but I’m going to suggest a few things and throw them out there for discussion.
So here goes…
Step #1: Recognize and acknowledge your own failure to live up to the standards you set when running for office. For the Party itself, acknowledge the deviation from what we claim as our core values — limited government and a commitment to fighting wasteful spending. It also wouldn’t hurt to find strong candidates to replace any corrupt Republican survivors in our Congress.
There is so much criticism of Democrats and President Obama (most of it well-deserved) about their agenda and the outrageous sums of money that will be spent by this administration. Republicans (and especially fiscal conservatives) are correct to be concerned about that. What Republicans fail to recognize is their own culpability in the wilderness state than our party now finds itself in. We did start this fiscal irresponsibility, and a few folks in our party are in fact corrupt. Failing to admit that continues to damage our credibility, and it prevents my party from becoming a viable alternative to the President and the Democrat party.
Admitting there is a problem with the lack of direction / leadership in our party is not the most painful part of this recovery process, however. We must make a choice to change our behavior — not so much to attract the independents and moderates, but to regain lost credibility on the issues we used to own over the Democrats. You can’t win elections without the base, and moving left loses that base for the Republicans.
Taking this first step won’t automatically fix our problems. There may be a few more lost elections in the current future of the Republican Party. But we can accelerate the process of regaining what we have lost if we start by admitting our mistakes and making a clear break from our past failures. Then when we attack the Democrats for wasteful spending and President Obama for his entire agenda, people might actually start listening to what we have to say.
Well…at least it was around the world of MLB. For the rest of the country, the discussion was about tea parties and the annual rite of passage for taxpaying citizens to fund wasteful government programs for all Americans. Another April 15th has come and gone, but nothing really has changed. The tea parties, while meaningful and important because of the message the participants delivered (no on Washington and the wasteful spending), will not sustain whatever momentum could have been gained from these events. For a political protest to have any staying power in the long run it requires some kind of ongoing commitment to the cause for those who are involved in that protest. Many of the participants have that kind of commitment — to keep fighting for limited government, lower taxes, and reduced government spending — and they will stay involved locally and hold their local politicians accountable in these areas. That would have been true without the tea parties. The success or failure of Tea Party Day should be measured by what happens next. Will this spark lead to more involvement in the political process by those who are disconnected from both parties as a result of finding common cause with these protesters? Or will we all go back to our own lives and forget all the great things that happened today?
Future results are TBD.
The funniest gag of the day (although I wasn’t fooled) was Jonah Goldberg’s description of President Obama’s visit with the Queen of England.
From the Corner:
Diplomatic jaws dropped across the continent yesterday when it was revealed that U.S. President Barack Obama had, once again, fumbled a routine protocal of international statecraft: finding the right gift for a foreign leader or head of state. In a private ceremony with Queen Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness bequeathed to the Obamas one of the earliest known copies of William Shakespeare’s Henry V. She also presented him with the framed orginal sheet music of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” To the Obama daughters, the Queen gave a dollhouse-sized replica of Windsor Castle with a functioning train station in the year of the compound. They also received a prize Shetland pony. Mrs. Obama was given a ruby ring commissioned and worn by Queen Victoria.
The Obamas, unfortunately, did not seem prepared for the occasion despite the row set off by the exchange of gifts between Prime Minister Brown and the U.S. President barely a month ago. Mr. Obama rather unceremoniously handed the Queen a shopping bag from the Duty Free shop at Heathrow airport. It contained a signed paperback copy of Dreams of My Father, purchased at the WH Smith shop at the airport, a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch (black label), a CD of the Swedish band ABBA’s greatest hits (still in shrink wrap with a 2-for-1 sticker on it) and ten bags of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them.
The Queen responded in a rather flat: “How delightful.”
I really don’t understand why people actually believed this was true. After all, the Obamas are much more thoughtful gift givers than that. I’m sure they would have at least wrapped all those lovely gifts. Apparently, the Queen received at least one really cool gift — a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. (She digs show tunes…and really..who doesn’t?) Oh yeah — and a personalized iPod full of videos of her US visit. Inquiring minds want to know. What kind of iPod was it? If you really want to impress with Apple-related swag, everybody knows that you buy the MacBook. Or a 24 inch iMac. That’s fancy technology right there. After all, we are talking about the Queen of England, not some run-of-the-mill peasant.
Do we really need to point out that taxes aren’t optional? Tax issues have hampered yet another Obama nominee — the one who might have been our VP — Kathleen Sebelius. In her case, she’s only paying a little over $7000 in back taxes, chump change to the other Obama nominees. If Democrats hate paying taxes so much, why don’t they LOWER them so that EVERYONE pays less? It would benefit the middle class as well as the poor (the ones who actually make enough money to pay taxes). Ah…but that would make sense.