March 28, 2007

"And people are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves."

So said Hillary Clinton the other day. I just heard it on C-Span this morning, and it really struck me.

My reaction on seeing her say it on TV: Hillary Clinton wants government to take over our lives, nagging us about what to eat. She's playing the female role and acting like she's somehow going to take care of us, but she's really demonstrating that she either won't stick to the proper role of a President or she think she can hoodwink people by talking about things that are utterly irrelevant to the position of power she's trying to get her hands on.

My reaction reading the very same quote in print: Hillary Clinton is saying that she knows the government cannot solve every problem, and that people are largely responsible for their own lives, and they need to face up to that reality.

How bizarre! Why does TV make me so much more hostile to her? Is the important message in the words or in the whole picture as experienced via television? Is this just about me and Hillary, or is this something more general about TV and print? I think I've developed a strong set of defenses against manipulation by television. For reading, I'm extremely practiced at seeing what texts mean literally, and I separate that from my critical thinking about whether the person who wrote the words has ulterior motives and so forth. It may be largely a matter of timing, that, watching TV, you have to merge the task of understanding the words and judging the speaker in an instant. If I'd had the speech on TiVo, I would have backtracked and listened to the words to see if they justified my reaction, but would rewatching have had the same effect of looking up the quote as pure text.

In law, we speak of the "cold record," the written transcript of a trial that an appellate court is forced to use, as contrasted with the live testimony at trial. This is, of course, seen as reason to defer to the trial judge and the jury.

Does that mean TV gives us better insight into political candidates? But writing down my own honest reaction to the televised performance, I see my perception of the text spoken was quite distorted. And yet which reaction, to TV or to print, seems more true? I'm fascinated by the way she got conservative on paper but came across -- to me -- as liberal on TV.

96 comments:

yetanotherjohn said...

A great deal of communication goes beyond the words spoken (tone of voice, volume, body language, etc).

"Between 55 and 70 percent of your communication is non-verbal," says Joan Damsey. "Only about 7 percent is actual words used and the rest is tone of voice, etc."
http://www3.aaos.org/education/csmp/NonVerbalCommunication.cfm

So what you are really saying is that you get one view when you have look at 7% of the communication and another view when you get much more than the 7%.

This is causing you consternation because...?

Anthony said...

I have to agree. There is much in the spoken word that tells you what the speaker means that is not present when words are printed out. And it's very dangerous to simply "read the literal meaning of the words" since there really is no such thing.

Mark said...

I think this difference in perception may be due to your disliking Hillary as a person and agreeing with the substance of her position.

Svolich said...

When you see her on TV, you know she's lying.

Two reasons. The first is, of course, all the non verbal stuff that goes on. In her case a lot of it is the pitch of her voice. It's SOOO tightly controlled, it sets off the bullshitometer.

The second is that when you read the words, at a viseral level they are just words. Whe you see her saying it on TV, at a viseral level you know it's HER saying them, and from long experience you know every word she says is a lie, including "is" and "the."

Mark said...

Svolich:

Wow, what a hatred of Clinton.
A perception of whether or not a person is lying is highly dependent on whether one agrees with her/his politics. I am 100% sure that you disagree with Clinton's politics. I, for one, agree with Clinton on most of the issues, and do not think that she's lying at all.
Similarly with Bush, I realize that I am more likely to believe that he is lying because I am convinced that his policies are hurting the country.

SteveR said...

I basically agree with Svolich. She just doesn't come off well on TV (sound wise) added to the fact that she is so tightly scripted. Yeah I don't like her and would probably only vote for her if she were running against James Dobson.

ASX said...

It's fascinating how the brain processes information differently depending on the medium. Great example.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if Hillary's body language/tone reminds you of someone you know who is either profoundly untrustworthy or really extremely liberal (the latter a distinct possibility here in Madison). Maybe you don't make the connection, but your subconscious does.

For me, it's Hillary's tone of voice. I cannot listen to her, even if the written words make perfect sense.

Jon said...

Ann,

The written word allows you to add your previous conceptions far more than a visual presentation.

Look at "We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves." It could be read as caring, i.e. "Our community suffers too much when people cause themselves to become ill." But it also could be read as totalitarian, i.e. "Since government should pay to maintain people's health, we have to regulate people to keep costs down." Which is it? Well, it depends on who Hillary Clinton actually *is*, doesn't it. When you see her, you link the words back to her more strongly and your interpretation of the words can change based on that link.

To sum up-- Ann, you probably don't like Hillary Clinton very much.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

I'm wondering about tones. I read somewhere that women tend to have a greater variety of communication skills, picking up tone and inflection that men cannot. Is that right?

Just wondering if there's an entire level of conversation amoung women that I don't get. Or perhaps that women pick up more nuanced "tells" from women that men miss.

George said...

Yesterday. NPR. State of the Nation. Report on the dangers of concussions during high-school contact sports. Interview with mom, who is a doctor, telling story of her son's football injury.

Prediction: 10-15 years from now....

Trainers will be required at all high-school and little league games, perhaps even including soccer.

Time will be spent on player education teaching kids about various health risks of their sports. Time costs money, and someone will have to be paid to do this.

Result: Higher property taxes and higher fees to play little-league type sports.

And some sports, like football, might even be banned or wither because of parental fears.

All because, as Sen. Clinton says, we cannot afford all the medical problems people bring on themselves.

(Incidentally, the boy hurt in the NPR piece was freshman playing on a special team against seniors. A recipe for injury.)

Melissa Clouthier said...

The question about Senator Clinton is what does she mean? You can't exactly tell by her text in written form but I'm sure the meaning comes across when she says the words.

Does likability matter? If Bush is any indication, I'd say yes. But Reagan was likable, had stellar oratory skills and was maligned. Ditto Bill Clinton.

Reagan was hated by the press, but you know, voters liked him. And everyone liked Clinton. So maybe what this says is that swing voters vote not on the content but the TV presence. Yes, the vapid, superficial people determine the future of America.

That bodes ill for Ms. Clinton.

Mike Rentner said...

It seems to me that when you are reading, you are projecting your own voice and your own sensibilities into the words.

When you see Clinton speaking them, you have no such luxury, and her intent behind those words is much more obvious and inescapable.

Bruce Beckner said...

This does not seem mysterious to me. It is a commonplace that tone, facial expression, modulation, diction, etc. all convey "content" in speech that goes beyond the words. That's why there's deference in law to the conclusions of the judge or jury who heard and observed the live testimony.
In Sen. Clinton's case, the consistent non-verbal message (which sometimes is verbalized) that I get from her is one of establishing her superiority over me (or any other listener). It is ironic (and perhaps the origin of the some of the "Clinton lies" comments) that Sen. Clinton, while professing to "have a conversations" and "be a listener" in fact conveys quite the opposite in the tone of her speech. The non-verbal content of her speech is "You should listen to me. I know best." I suspect that, at some point in her younger life, as a student, she decided to adopt this "professorial" tone. I put the word in quotations, because my own recollection of the best profesors whom I had in college and law school did not, in fact, affect such a tone.

But they do in the movies.

Roger said...

I am with MM: it's the tone of her voice and that's interesting to me only because I am a very strong auditory learner--anyone have any idea how that dynamic might play out?

As for the words as "cold:" sure hopes she means them!

M. Simon said...

SteveR,

I know what you mean.

Bush/Obama in '06.

Richard Fagin said...

Keep on watching her on TV, Prof. Althouse, and you may finally conclude that Sen. Clinton is just as bad as her critics believe.

Remember her, "I can't save every undercapitalized business in the country." in response to concerns that her 1993 health care plan would bankrupt a lot of small companies.

Sen. Clinton lets her veil slip enough that not recognizing her as a consumate "nanny stater" is at this point willful blindness.

DaveG said...

So, here come the mandatory calisthenics. When do we get the two minute hate? I could kinda get into that...

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm fascinated by the way she got conservative on paper but came across -- to me -- as liberal on TV.

Probably because you have not entirely bought into the fallacy that Hillary has reinvented herself as a moderate centrist. Any preconceived notions you might have about someone will probably be more apparent when you see them speak as opposed to the written word because it’s more difficult to visually identify the writer vs the speaker. For example, the following quote would probably have the anti-war crowd seething:

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.


Probably few realize that it’s the first paragraphs of President Clinton’s speech announcing Operation Desert Fox.
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html

So it’s not so much what the message is but rather who is delivering the message.

JorgXMcKie said...

I suspect that Clinton keeps a tight rein on her speech, and this leadds to some physical behaviors which can be offputting.

My study of deception shows that one way to 'deceive' (not lie, that's different) is to withhold information that the receiver might find useful in order to get the result the sender wants. Salesmen and conmen alike do this, for similar or different reasons.

For humans this deception usually requires attempts to damp down physiological behaviors. We tend to recognize this at least a little (i.e. not being provided enough 'cues' by the sender) and it makes us suspicious.

Clinton rather obviously either damps down her cues or over-emphases just some of them. Whether or not she is being deceptive, she is providing fewer cues than most people seek. Thus, those who like her accept this as part of her persona and those who don't regard her with suspicion at best.

Since there are no physilogical cues in the written word, our expectations of 'truthiness' are different.

JorgXMcKie said...

Roger, her words are not so much 'cold' as 'controlled'. If you use a voice stress analyzer on her speech, I'm quite sure you'd find much less variation in pitch and tone than in 'ordinary' conversation. This tends to come across as 'cold' and implies to many listeners (see above) of hidden meanings.

One advantage of trained actors (REagan and perhaps Fred Thompson) is that they can 'artificially' add some of the missing variation even when they're speaking in a 'controlled' fashion.

JorgXMcKie said...

Beg pardon, but could someone point out the 'hate' in this thread? Or is that just BDS projection from the Left?

RogerA said...

JorgXM: thanks for the fascinating insight; interesting how I thought I heard tone rather what you point out is really than the absense of tone!

and I thought I was too old to learn anything new!

Howard said...

Your perception about the TV version is absolutely correct. Last weekend while surfing at half time of the game, I stumbled upon CNN for five seconds. Had you read the remarks it would have been, "The Pentagon says the war in Iraq is going better;" when you saw AND heard this is how it is: The Pentagon claims that.... so as to clearly imply that they are lying and have been lying for a long time. In addition there was the "look" from the announcer. There is also a thing in acting called "sub text," a term that means, what you really mean as opposed to what you are saying which allows for inflections, pauses, and intonations all of which alter the meaning. What is written means nothing. And your "hearing" will often be vastly different than mine.

rich said...

People underestimate Hillary Clinton.

Here in NY State she's proven extremely effective in small groups where she comes across as earnest and sincere. She hasn't yet found a way to project, that is, broadcast that quality. But she may not have to worry.

First, think what you will about programs like "The View" or "Oprah" or "Dr. Phil," but she is their torchbearer. Try to watch them without reference to the setting or even specific topics.

What you'll find is an emphasis on sympathy/empathy/understanding, feeling what it's like to be in another's shoes.

I leave it to the psychologists to determine if people watching project their own desire to be understood onto these programs, but there's a large constituency out there that embraces these values and rejects words and actions that coldly and cruelly stigmatize.

That's a formidable constituency, one that's frankly weary, as many of my women friends tell me, of macho belligerence -- especially incompetent belligerence.

Second, should the subprime mortgage market seriously tank, with news shows offering nightly images of people disposessed from foreclosed homes, little children in tow, who do you think will better project the necessary understanding for the victims of a catastrohic economic storm? The nominee of the party of the Iraq War and Katrina, or Hillary?

She won't have to utter many words at all. Simply provide a reassuring presence.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

And people are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves.

I'm looking at this just as words, and not refecting on the speaker, except maybe putting these words into my HR Manager's mouth during renegotiation time with our health care provider.

Then it says exactly what liberal Hillary probably meant; that the government cannot afford to take care of those of you who refuse to take care of yourselves; your careless actions are costing me money.

Not so much a concern for your health, but a concern for the cost of your ill-health.

Fen said...

We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves.

I can agree, but I think the more direct threat to our health care system is the burden placed on it by illegals who use the ER as their primary physician. I wish she had spoken to that.

Der Hahn said...

Try this little experiment.

First, speak "We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves." out loud using the same tone of voice that you would use if you were quoting Scrooge from A Christmas Carol i.e. "...they should die quickly and decrease the surplus population."

Now say "We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves." out loud using the same tone of voice your parent's used when giving you a 'shape up or else' lecture (or you use on your kids).

Which sounds more like Hillary?

Henry said...

I realized in the 2000 elections how completely arbitrary personal reactions to politicians are. Gore came across to me as insufferably arrogant and condescending; Bush a likeable dunderhead. Friends of mine found Gore refreshingly smart and Bush insufferably smug. It left me to wonder -- what's the difference between smug and arrogant?

I'm one person who isn't much turned off by Hillary Clinton's personality. I kind of like her constrainted gestures and brittle tone. She reminds me of the first time I saw Martha Stewart on television (I don't watch television much). Martha Stewart is terrible on television. She's awkward and twitchy. It made her a much more sympathetic character to me than the omnigoddess role she prefers.

A follow-up note on JorgXMcKie's comments. Women have much more modulation in their speech than men. In one experiment, when women were asked to speak like men, they responded by speaking in monotone.

I doubt that Hillary Clinton is trying to speak like a man, but I think the attempt to speak in authoritative tones may lead to the same result.

Balfegor said...

How bizarre! Why does TV make me so much more hostile to her? Is the important message in the words or in the whole picture as experienced via television? Is this just about me and Hillary, or is this something more general about TV and print?

I don't know, but I perceive the candidates, such as they are at the moment, primarily through written media -- both newspapers and internet sources -- so possibly that's why I find myself much more positive about Hillary Clinton than about her presumptive Democratic rivals, John Edwards and Barack Obama. In the flesh, I suppose, she's a bit haggard in comparison to either of them, and much more controlled/unnatural, with an unpleasant voice. Both Obama and Edwards have good looks on their side, and Obama's voice is supposed to be a great asset for him. And in nonvisual/nonaural media, those advantages are largely nullified. (Although Obama is also supposed to be a rather good writer -- natural, I suppose, for a former EIC of the Harvard Law Review).

Re: There is much in the spoken word that tells you what the speaker means that is not present when words are printed out.

That may be true, but it can also be awfully misleading. Politicians, like actors, are trained liars, after all, delivering lines with practiced and probably affected sincerity. Unlike her husband (or Reagan, say), Hillary Clinton is just no good at the acting part. You might be able to pick up on signals and countersignals if you were talking with the candidates in person. But especially with television, their presentation is stage-managed and artificial, remote from the viewer. The visual signals are as fake as the talk, but at least talk is (or can be) substantive.

David53 said...

Mark says to svolich;

Wow, what a hatred of Clinton.

I see no hate speech in anything svolich posted. Is it no longer possible to not like someone or to disagree with them without being labeled a hater?

Mark Daniels said...

Clinton appears to be a calculated phony when speaking on television. Her body language seems to convey that. You have only her words in print.

Back in '68, Stephen Hess wrote an interesting biography of Richard Nixon. I don't have a copy of it any longer, so I'm doing this from memory. The book opens with the story of a house fire that hit Nixon's home. A picture of Nixon was snapped by a newspaper photographer that showed him, I believe, carrying items from the house in a piece of luggage. Just to make sure he had the shot, the photographer asked Nixon to re-enact the moment. Later, the photographer's editor chose to run the latter picture. It appeared more representative of the moment. Hess concluded: The real Nixon looked staged, the staged Nixon looked real.

My suspiction is that Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye so long, her persona so practiced and calculated, that even if she's giving a gut-filled conviction, it doesn't seem authentic.

She reminds me of old screen divas or pop stars from 60s music whose public personas dictate what they say in interviews. They can't or aren't willing to break out of their image boxes and be real.

Would we like "the real Hillary" if we ever saw her? Who knows? But what's sad is that she seems to have decided that we wouldn't. I suppose that everyone who vies for the presidency is somewhat insecure--some massively so. But when a person seems nine-parts artifice and one part calculation, it makes me reticent to vote for them.

Mark Daniels
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels

Parker Smith said...

Ann -

Perhaps if she spoke more often with an "urban" accent?

That seems to make her much more believable and compelling!

stoqboy said...

I've met Mrs. Clinton and found her to be warm and engaging. I've watched her on television and couldn't stand her. As Rich said, she does do better in small groups. While I disagree with her views on politics and government, if I were her consultant, I would arrange for lots of news coverage of her with small groups, rather than large speeches.

Krans said...

Some of the other posts have touched on this, but your reaction strikes me much like the difference between reading a book and seeing a movie based on it. Speaking for myself, I populate the the book and establish the tone based on my own imagination and world-view, whilst in a movie, you are constrained to somebody elses world-view. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

That being said, in this case it strikes me that the more 'gentle' reading of the text says more about you than Hillary, whilst watching her on TV, it's all her.

And for Melissa C., I guess I'll have to opt out of "everybody," at least as far as liking Bill Clinton goes.

Joe said...

I agree with the assessment that it's the non-verbal communication. In addition, there is a fine line between sounding authoritative and sounding either smug or like a twit. (Newt sounds smug, Hatch and Bush sound like a twits. Gore and Kerry sound extremely smug, condescending and every other invective I can think of.)

I've found that when female speakers, especially those with higher voices, often become shrill when trying to emphasize a point. Hillary has a tendency to sound both shrill and smug in formal settings. In informal settings, I find her much more tolerable.

Oddly, Bill Clinton had the same problem for me. When he was lying or didn't believe his position, he came off as smug, but when arguing something he genuinely believed in, he was very compelling.

Of the current candidates, off the top of my head, Giuliana and Richardson seem to have the most congenial speaking style for me. Obama sometimes veers into smug territory, but isn't bad (he has the reverse problem thought--his speeches and statements sound better than they read. I think the guy's kind of an empty suit.)

Bissage said...

I once attended a tea hosted by Ms Clinton at her home. I found her to be gracious, warm and very likeable. The cookies were excellent.

B said...

Wow, Mark (post above):

Wow, what a hatred of Clinton.

Great! Here we go again (long Charlie Brown sigh . . . ):

Bush hatred = GOOD Thinking person

Clinton hatred = deranged idiot conservative


Let's practice English for Dummies (Liberals):

Rule #1: "That word you keep using; I do not think it means what you think it means."

Practical application for Rule #1:

"Disagreement does not equal 'hatred'".

Write 100 times. Repeat whenever angry.

RogerA said...

I love the comments about Nixon: the real Nixon looked stage and the staged Nixon looked real. I have recently moved to Memphis, and lots of folks here have met Al Gore in person going back some 20 years. To a person, and irrespective of their political views, they tell me he is warm, relaxed, genial and has a great sense of humor. Something about the cameras andd large versus small groups.

B said...

Oh, by the way, I'm writing a book for liberals to rehab on the American language.

Title suggestions?

Cedarford said...

Hillary Clinton's manner of speech has always put me off. I can't explain it because she comes off well in small gatherings. Unsaid about her effectiveness - is she made considerable efforts in Upstate NY in 6 years despite having the larger winning Downstate vote in the bag, and deeply impressed people, including my cousin in Utica who met her at a gathering of business leaders. In small gatherings, she is utterly "on" and convincing.

Enough that she has won massive favor in Upstate, including my Republican cousin, who is now a Hillary booster.

Cousin said he can't believe the difference between her informal and "media" speaking style - which he said is absolutely phony, tone completely off, slowly and loudly pronouncing the syllables of her "main talking points so 70-minus IQ people, evidently, can "get it".

Bush is the same. He was once better on TV than he is now, shockingly enough. In his governor's battle with Ann Richards, there was none of the "I'm a moron emphasizing words so other morons cat get it" tenor - he was smooth and articulate.

Both I believe, are ill-served by "talk down to the lowest common denominator" media consultants packaging them. Hillary Clinton, even more than Bush. Bush sounds dumb, Hillary sounds worse - contrived and phony.

And a note on the actual message:

And people are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves."

She is dead wrong. The reverse is true. We cannot afford everyone retiring at 65 after "taking better care of themselves" and then getting 20-40 years of extensive medical services and free pay courtesy of a taxpayer footing the bill for a system orginially designed when actuaries said the average person would croak 1 year after retiring.

Someone who doesn't take good care of themselves and keels over with a heart attack at 60 or dead of lung cancer at 66 is not bringing on all the illnesses we cannot afford. They are bargains.

The real parasites are the healthy elderly consuming 30 years of taxpayer provided minor medical but expensive CAT scans, colonoscopies, hip replacements, free scooters, 3,000 a year in free prescription drugs. Or the long-lived invalided with elderly disabilities that hit medicare with 20 years of nursing home bills. Or the Alzheimer vegetatives that can last 5-15 years.

hdhouse said...

ann said "she either won't stick to the proper role of a President or she think she can hoodwink people by talking about things that are utterly irrelevant to the position of power she's trying to get her hands"

As oppposed to war, death, fear, endless government intrustion that is real and hidden?

What is irrelevant to a president looking out to the general welfare of the people? Health is a major issue. Preventative health is far cheaper than reactive health care.

Thorley Winston said...

I’m not sure I’d believe that Senator Clinton’s statement is an acknowledgement that there are some problems government just can’t solve (although I suspect she’s more interested in programs than solutions). She just voted last week to jack up the federal tax on cigarettes by as much as an additional $.61 per pack, she opposed a bill to give States more flexibility in figuring out ways to reform their State Medicaid programs, and her “fix” for Medicare Part D consists largely of having the government “negotiate” (read: price controls) with the pharmaceutical companies and limiting the number of plans available to senior citizens because it’s “confusing.” Even on the one issue I’m inclined to agree with her (making patient medical records available electronically), her every impulse on health care seems to more government control and less individual control (which is inseparable from personal responsibility) in health care.

RogerA said...

Cedarford--I gotta tell you man: I really like quite a few of your ideas, but sometimes you have the all the sensitivity of a wounded warthog: "alzheimers vegetatives"?
"croak after a year?" When Hillary is elected president and creates the Department of Nice, I will nominate you to be its head.

Fen said...

What Winston said. If we let the government control health care, we also permit "forced" preventative care.

Joe said...

Cedarfort has touched on the true third rail of politics--a big factor in driving medical costs in this country up is spending excessive amounts keeping people on death's door alive.

To illustrate, almost thirty years ago my grandfather had a heart attack and croaked. The EMTs showed up, revived him. He died several days later in the hospital. I blame my sister. Had it just been my grandmother, she would have twiddled her thumbs for a half hour then called the ambulance. Not because she was mean, but because she knew his time had come. (As a result of this she made sure EVERYONE knew she had a DNR and insisted on spending her last years at home.)

A little closer to home, my first son was born very premature. Perhaps my son could have been the first to survive from that age of gestation, but I'm still glad we didn't waste millions finding out. My wife and I honestly believed, and still believe, that to do so would have the height of vanity and even crassness.

I don't tell this story often for the simple reason that people react as though I'm a baby killing bastard as I'm sure some readers here have. I have both a DNR and a non-heroic measures order. If I'm mangled and dying, let me die for God's sake! (Just give me lots of Demerol.)

Fen said...

He died several days later in the hospital

I'm curious to what the approx hospital cost was [but if thats too personal, just ignore me].

Revenant said...

"We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves."

My first reaction: What's this "we" shit, kemosabe?

*I* can afford the illness that *I* am bringing on myself, because *I* pay for *my* health care.

If you stuff *your* face and develop heart disease that *you* cannot afford treatment for, then *you* are going to die. *I* can easily afford the zero dollars and zero cents that *I* will be contributing to your medical payments.
The problem arises only when, like Hillary does, you favor a socialist health care system where the government takes care of every boo-boo that every citizen gets. Then everybody -- or at least those of us who pay taxes -- gets stuck picking up the tab for other people's stupid lifestyle decisions. The desire to regulate people's lifestyles in order to control those costs naturally follows.

peter hoh said...

I've always wanted to hear Hillary give a talk or write a book titled "It takes a church to raise a child" just so that I could hear Dobson, et al, insist that when she said "church," she really meant something else.

Thorley Winston said...

I don't tell this story often for the simple reason that people react as though I'm a baby killing bastard as I'm sure some readers here have.

Well that all depends on whether your decision was driven at all by any religious beliefs that preclude you from using modern medicine to do everything possible to treat your kid. There are a lot of people who have no problem demanding that parents be overruled on medical decisions if they disagree with that tenant of the parents’ faith and if the child would likely die otherwise.

Yes, I realize that some wouldn’t necessarily overrule you in that case depending on the likely “quality of life” of the child (some would say that a premature baby who is likely to linger on and die is different from a kid who could likely make a full recovery). That IMO is the danger of giving government the power to second-guess family members based on what someone else thinks the “quality of life” of the patient would likely be. First its premature babies and the elderly who “want to die” and then we open the door for “mercy killers” who want to spare the families the “burden” of making that decision (which happens in about 12% of the euthanasia cases in the Netherlands) and just start assuming that “no reasonable person would want to live that way, so we don’t need to get their consent.”

Personally, I don’t know if I’d do what you did (honestly, not a backhanded criticism, I really don’t know what I’d do) but I’m 90% certain that I’d rather it was you and your wife making that kind of call than open the door for government or other disinterested third-parties to start second-guessing about who gets (has) to live and who gets (has) to die.

Joe said...

Fen,

I have no idea. I assume it was considerable since I gather they had him hooked up to all sorts of machines.

The larger point was, why not let him die? He was in his eighties and was already dying of multiple things. I still don't understand our society's bizarre attitude toward death (especially considering most claim to believe in God.)

(BTW, I'm not talking here about euthanasia; I'm talking about letting nature take its course.)

RogerA said...

Cedarford raises some points about health care cost in the last year of life. While the formulation seems intuitive, you really have to disaggregate the data to learn more about actual costs. For such an overview look at this article

Thorley Winston said...

I've always wanted to hear Hillary give a talk or write a book titled "It takes a church to raise a child" just so that I could hear Dobson, et al, insist that when she said "church," she really meant something else.
More that likely Dr. James Dobson would refer her to the dozen or so best-selling books he’s written on parenting and child-rearing and berate her for the idiotic suggestion that the responsibility for raising children should be passed onto the church, village, government, president, or whatever.

submandave said...

I think the difference in reaction tells more about you than it does Clinton.

That statement, by itself, could be coming from either side of the political spectrum. From a libertarian position it could mean "people need to be responsible for the consequences of their choices and not expect government healthcare to subsidize bad choices." From a socialist position it could mean "the government should not be responsible for healthcare resulting from bad choices, and since the government is responsible for all healthcare it needs to make sure you don't make bad choices."

In choosing to interpret the written quotion in the libertarian vein you seem to be projecting your preferred reading upon Clinton. When confronted with the reality that the comment was made by Clinton, though, you are not able to deny that the socialist interpretation is more likely the direction from whence it came. The diagnosis is simple: you want to like Hillary Clinton.

I don't know if it's the strong woman thing, your traditional Democrat tendancies, her being a lawyer, or whatever, every time I read a post about HC by you I come away saying "Anne really wants to like Clinton, but she just can't deceive herself enough to ignore the things she knows aren't right." It almost seems similar to the way Andrew Sullivan talked himself into supporting John Kerry in 2004 after he felt jilted by Bush re gay marriage. Andrew knew JK was a pompous ass, an empty shirt, a defeatist, a big-spending/no-defense traditional New England liberal, but he so much wanted not to like Bush that he eventually talked himself into believing that the GWOT would not suffer (and might even improve) under a Kerry administration.

There is noone who can so convincingly lie to us as ourselves. If you do choose to support Clinton in '08 I only hope that you will do so for who she is and not for who you wish her to be.

Joe said...

Thorley, we already have third parties making that decision and should. The affected parties are driven by emotion--when it's your kid dying, your impulse is to do everything to save him or her, even if the costs result in lack of treatment for someone else.

For example, should we fund bone marrow transplants? (Should we fund most transplants--most types aren't nearly as successful as the transplant industry has lead people to believe.) What about fertility treatments? Shouldn't we encourage adoption instead?

The fact is third-parties make life and death decisions all the time, but we as a society place irrational expectations on the medical system. (Largely, I think out of a peculiar American fear of death. For example, our medical system still insists on managing disease over pain for the terminally ill.)

Henry said...

Revenant, did you read to the end of the article:

Clinton was unusually peppy, prowling the UNLV stage, blasting insurance companies and trumpeting her new bill to end discrimination against policy holders with pre-existing medical conditions.

So if *I* have a pre-existing medical condition, *you* get to pay for it!

Actually I would be happy to pay for coverage of the uninsured, except for the politicians that demonize insurance companies for actually trying to control costs.

Thorley Winston said...

There is noone who can so convincingly lie to us as ourselves. If you do choose to support Clinton in '08 I only hope that you will do so for who she is and not for who you wish her to be.

Well put, I wrote a similar piece advising conservatives who were thinking of supporting Rudy Giuliani because of some vague comments he’s made about judicial appointments and “federalism” that based on his past history, he may not mean what they hope he means. To paraphrase the former SecDef – you go into the election with the candidate you have, not the one you wish you had.

We all have to make compromises as part of being engaged in the political process. The important thing – and for many people one of the hardest – is to make an honest assessment of what you believe and what the candidate you support believes and be willing to acknowledge and deal with those differences before you decide to support them. It doesn’t do any good to deceive yourself into thinking they’re someone they’re not and that somehow they “betrayed” you when they never promised what you wished they’d promise and ended up doing the things they said they were going to do but you hoped they wouldn’t.

TMink said...

Mark wrote: "A perception of whether or not a person is lying is highly dependent on whether one agrees with her/his politics."

While I agree with your point, I think that conflating disagreement with lying is a sign of immaturity or poor thinking skills or both. Mature thinkers recognize the difference between someone lying and a position that we disagree with.

Makes you wonder how many people are capable of mature thought.

Trey

The Ghost said...

In this case, Ann, you're almost certainly right the first time.

First of all, this is Hillary Clinton we're talking about. Exhortations to greater individual self-discipline are not part of her campaign platform.

Second, I arrived at the same conclusion both reading and seeing it.

michael a litscher said...

"And people are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves."

This needs to be put into context with Hillary's promise to implement socialized medicine, if elected.

If the nanny state is going to be your health care provider, the nanny state will have a compelling state interest in dictating what you eat, what you smoke, what you drink, how much you sleep, seat belt and helmet usage, and who you sleep with. And if you don't comply, that same nanny state might very well refuse to treat your self-inflicted illnesses.

God, please deliver us from the do-gooders.

Fen said...

The larger point was, why not let him die? He was in his eighties and was already dying of multiple things. I still don't understand our society's bizarre attitude toward death

Oh I'm not disagreeing with you. My mother-in-law is currently on the edge of a nervous breakdown from caring for her aging mother, and running through all of her savings too.

Mark Daniels said...

Mark wrote: "A perception of whether or not a person is lying is highly dependent on whether one agrees with her/his politics."

That's true. But many people I know who are in agreement with much of Hillary Clinton's politics do not support her.

Most of the women I know are in this camp. When I ask them why they're so opposed to Senator Clinton, they offer two reasons:

(1) They don't believe anything she says.

(2) They could never vote for a woman who has, apparently for the sake of politics, put up with the emotional abuse to which they believe she's been subjected in her marriage.

As a general rule, Mark, I think that your observation is accurate. We do generally attribute dishonesty to those with whom we disagree politically. But Hillary Clinton seems to be seen as inauthentic even by many of those who are sympathetic with her politics. This may account for public opinion surveys which routinely show her with a 45-51% negative perception.

I suspect that such "negatives" would be seen as politically fatal if the Senator's last name weren't Clinton and if she and her husband weren't such extraordinary fundraisers. But in today's dynastic politics, in spite of massive misapprehensions, Senator Clinton could be elected and Jeb Bush might well succeed her. Meanwhile the rest of us, those without fat wallets or connections to any of the dynasties become increasingly disenchanted with our disconnected kabuki dance politics.

That's what the celebrated Hillary/1984/Apple take-off commercial of a few weeks ago was all about. People sense they're being lied to by the royal families and their functionaries in both parties, but feel helpless to do anything about it. And those sentiments are apparent among people of both parties, of all philosophical stripes.

Mark Daniels

Fen said...

Yes. The This is our conversation banner in that ad resonated with me. Her townhall listening tours are very tightly scripted.

Balfegor said...

RE: submandave:

There is noone who can so convincingly lie to us as ourselves. If you do choose to support Clinton in '08 I only hope that you will do so for who she is and not for who you wish her to be.

I think part of what gives many people (e.g. me) comfort at the prospect of Hillary Clinton as president is that we think she's basically a cold-fish female version of her husband. That is, she's got principles and passionate political opinions and so forth, but that all those things amount to squat in the face of her overweening political ambition, which is not to do this or that, but simply to win. So we think she'll do what it takes, whether it's undermining welfare with welfare reform, or undermining the labour movement with more free trade -- a creature of expedience, rather than principle. Nixonian. The hope we have is that she'll be another Bill Clinton, without the hokey "feel your pain" rubbish and the sexual exploitation. Not the first choice, maybe, but certainly a choice we can live with.

In the case of the war in Iraq, also, in line with the Nixonian theme, she seems more likely than anyone else on the Democratic side to turn her soulless, gimlet eye on the state of affairs in the Middle East and start escalating as the situation requires. After all, just like with her husband and Somalia, the fact that you weren't in charge when we went in doesn't save you politically if the national and international humiliation of retreat comes when you're the one in command.

This is probably one of the reasons many people who share her ostensible political opinions are less than 100% keen on her actually taking power.

Daryl Herbert said...

I can only interpret her remarks in terms of socialized medicine -> the government runs healthcare -> they blame you for your own illness -> as an excuse not to take care of you

If you view Hillary differently when you actually view her, it's because she's not telegenic. She projects that she's just not a people person. I don't mind that in a pol, but apparently it disturbs a lot of people.

Internet Ronin said...

Balfegor, I really enjoyed your comment. Well written. (In fact, there have been quite a few interesting comments here that I am only now getting around to reading.) Thanks.

Internet Ronin said...

submandave: Another interesting comment that made me think. But it seems to me that Ann has had a very strong dislike of Hillary Clinton for as long as she has been posting, and I don't see much in Ann's behavior or writing that remotely resembles HRC. It makes me wonder what I'm missing that you are seeing.

Jim C. said...

There is a third experiment that you might try. Play the video, but don't watch it. Just listen to the audio.

I'm thinking of what was reported about the Kennedy-Nixon debates: that the TV audience thought Kennedy won, but radio listeners thought Nixon won.

Pogo said...

In a NY Times Magazine article in 2004 entitled Now Can We Talk About Health Care?
, Senator Clinton introduced the novel concept of “our collective health”. Citing productivity losses, health expenses and national security concerns, she endorsed legislation and national policy governing social and environmental factors to design neighborhoods and schools, “control dangerous behaviors”, and implement “required responsibility” for individual health concerns.

Her more recent statement is along those lines. Fairly classic socialism, cleaned up for a capitalist audience now warming to the idea of socialized medicine.

Just another variation of "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.", really.

Control Rat X said...

I say trust your gut when you see politicians on TV. But always read the speeches so that you're sure what is really said.

The first time my hippie leftist sister saw Bill Clinton on TV she said "He's a womanizer" and she didn't vote for him because she knew he wasn't trustworthy. (She probably voted for some fringe candidate.)

There's a lot of information in the picture that just can't be conveyed in mere text.

Hey said...

Saying that Hilary! is lying about "is" and "the" is not evidence of paranoia and obsessive clinton hatred. She went to YLS and one of the YLS grads that she is closest to is famous for saying "It depends what the meaning of 'is' is."

Given her history on healthcare, this quote should be setting off alarm bells. Socialised healthcare is the wedge for total contolr of lie by the nanny state. Nurse Bloomberg writ large, with the winning argument that such behaviour costs us all. Liberty goes out the window when you're sponging off me. Healthcare is the lever that allows the government to control EVERYTHING - see the debates in Canada and the UK, where everything is cast in terms of the cost to taxpayers from bad personal choices.

AJ Lynch said...

Hillary lacks the ability to modulate her voice to a pleasing tone. That's the whole story and bottom line. Her voice and tone are usually annoying and condescending. Ann notices stuf like that and Ann is correctomundo!
I bet Hillary is getting regular voice and debate lessons but to no avail.

As to the costs we can't afford, has anyone done a cost analysis of this theory to weigh high medical costs of unhealthy lifestyle choices versus the collective savings of early morbidity?

Lastly, was it possible Hillary was referring to unsafe sex and cost of AIDS patients?

Dr Zen said...

Ann, it's simple. You hate women who are better looking than you. If they're younger too, that's even worse. When you read Clinton in print, you cannot see her.

Best delete this one. Truth hurts and you don't deal in it.

AJ Lynch said...

Dr. Zen:

You must be a blind, lesbian if you think Hillary is better looking than Ann.

Eli Blake said...

Marshall McLuhan would have found this discussion fascinating.

I actually read the substance of what she said (I haven't seen or heard it anywhere so I only read it here) and my response is that I do think she is talking about trying to make people change their habits (they have largely been successful with smoking, so now it's 'let's see what else we can change.') The funny thing is that I consider myself a liberal and feel that Hillary has veered too far to the right (of course my take on the whole smoking thing is that while I supported making nonsmoking sections in restaurants, etc. so that nonsmokers like myself can go through life without being surrounded by it, I think at that point they should have left the smoking regulations as they were and then legalized marijuana.)

hdhouse said...

I am constantly amazed at some of this health care debate.

First, Hillary has always led the charge here..or at least for the last 15 years. More than anything, no matter what standard you use, she is correct on most points.

1. why is it that the richest country in the world has a middle 20s rating/listing in almost all health care statistics? Is that a sign of a functioning health system?

2. why do we spend more per capita than anyone else and have less to show for it?

3. medicare - the program many love to hate has a 3% overhead. Insurance companies are sometimes 5 times that and more.

What she said in the speech is a very subtle point and worth thinking about. Health insurance permits bad habits because the end result cost to the patient is covered. It isn't that insurance encourages bad habits that lead to costly care, it creates an economic self confidence that people won't be ruined financially by major health issues.

We shoot ourselves in the foot trade wise with absorbed health care costs. We have a system that reacts and doesn't proact and that is beyond dumb..."early treatment, early diagnosis" .... we have heard it for years and Hillary talks about it not as an evil but as a necessity.

I say good for her. It is a discussion worth having and if she doesn't make some people "mellow" with her speech delivery, well, its about time we listened to the meaning rather than the cosmetic and superficial.

caplight said...

Hillary is cool (I'll restrain myself from saying cold) and TV is a hot medium. Put those same words in her husbands mouth and Ann, I'd being willing to bet you'd buy it. I am as conservative as can be and I still like bill Clinton when I see him speaking on TV.

Balfegor said...

What she said in the speech is a very subtle point and worth thinking about. Health insurance permits bad habits because the end result cost to the patient is covered. It isn't that insurance encourages bad habits that lead to costly care, it creates an economic self confidence that people won't be ruined financially by major health issues.

You seem to be trying for a roundabout phrasing about "economic self-confidence," but this is just common-or-garden moral hazard. Everyone uses this concept in analyzing healthcare policy. Maybe not in public speeches -- that's why Clinton comes off as wonky -- but it's one of the basic concepts.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Joe: [re 1:33 p.m.comment] I am sorry that your little son died.

TMink said...

Have you heard of the new, bipartisan bumper sticker? It says "Run, Hillary, Run."

If you are a Hillary supporter you put it on your car's left rear bumper. If you are a Hillary hater, you put three of them on your front bumper.

Trey

hdhouse said...

Balfegor said "everyone"...

Actually not everyone. Does McCain? Gingrich? Many of the other democrats?

That particular sword isn't carried by many and frankly it takes courage to bear it. The immediate cries of "big government", "tax and spend", yadayada socialist..are difficult to drown out and it takes a Hillary, Edwards, Romney type to be non-apologetic and steadfast.

About 25 years ago I was in Stockholm and became ill and was taken to Karolinska for 4 days. My bill was about $6.00 (40 kroner). I was informed I didn't really hav to pay it.

We have a nation that uses ERs as primary care. If you are dirt poor it is free. If you have health insurance there is a modest co-pay and assignment. If you have no insurance you actually pay the most...as you are the one who pays full fare to make up for the losses of the other two.

Does this make any sense and does it make any sense that only a few are even talking about it. Hillary's voice may not be soothing mother's milk but she says good things and speaks good thoughts.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ann, it's simple. You hate women who are better looking than you.

AJ Lynch said:

Dr. Zen:
You must be a blind, lesbian if you think Hillary is better looking than Ann.


What he said.

Pogo said...

hdhouse,
Your ignorance of the real facts of Medicare are astounding. Your "facts" above are only partly true, but mostly false, as such talking points usually are.

Fact is, it's more complicated than those falsified numbers can convey. If you want to see what really happens in socialized healthcare, read more here (my paper at Heritage ...I know, I know, aaaah it burns!)

But in short, it's like this: What we've seen recently about the VA system isn't an aberration, it's what eventually happens to all socialized systems. The poor quality, inertia, long lines, bureaucratic dyscompassion, political posturing, and low funding? It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Fen said...

What we've seen recently about the VA system isn't an aberration, it's what eventually happens to all socialized systems

Which is one of the reasons I decided to leave the Marines. I didn't mind so much, but I wanted to get married and have kids - no way I would subject my family to that kind of care.

And not to knock Navy Corpsmen, they were great, but we loved to joke about how they were forced to hand out Motrin in place of effective medicines:

"Got a headache? Here, have some Motrin"

"Got the flu? Here, have some Motrin"

"Got Cancer? Here, have some Motrin"

SteveR said...

I grew up going to military hospitals and I never saw the same doctor twice. My otherwise very liberal sister, shudders at the thought of government run health care and she is not otherwise well taken care of by a secure job with good benefits.

Comparisons to Europe are deceptive, the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States and our large geographic size are some of the factors that make it uneven. Then consider the USA's expenditures in areas such as foreign aid, NATO, Cold War, etc. etc. compared to Sweeden for instance. (Sweeden, military spending as % of GDP 1.5%, USA 4.0%)

RogerA said...

I fear we are in danger of throwing babies out with bath water; ie, using the building 18 media event at WRAMC to describe the VA system is totally bogus. The VA, over the past 10 years, as become a well functioning system employing the latest technologies such as automated patient records. And my former military compatriots (the MDs) tell me that medical care at Walter Reed is still top notch irrespective of the notoriety.

When "katrina" becomes the avatar for emergency management, and Building 18 becomes the avatar for an entire medical system, some very erroneous conclusions result and do major damange to both the emergency management system in this country as well as veterans care.

It becomes a matter of making policy based on anecdotes.

From Inwood said...

Guys

Relax.

It's just satire on Hill's part. See "A Modest Proposal" by Swift, Jonathan.

From Inwood said...

Hill said

"And people are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that folks are bringing on themselves."

Does this mean that she thinks ill-Bill was less educated, less informed, less responsible than his successor?

Nah. By definition Bush is a moron.

Thorley Winston said...

1. why is it that the richest country in the world has a middle 20s rating/listing in almost all health care statistics? Is that a sign of a functioning health system?

It’s actually a sign that demographics (e.g. age, ethnicity, immigration) and lifestyle choices – things which are beyond the control of the “health care system” – have a significant impact on things like life expectancy. Also international comparisons for health care statistics are . . . misleading as countries vary in how they compile their statistics. A good example of this is the “infant mortality” canard that gets tossed out by the socialized medicine crowd in which the United States reports a higher infant mortality rates than many other industrialized countries. Of course when you realize that 40% of our “infant mortality rate” is because we count premature babies that die within a year of being born and nearly every other country doesn’t include them.

2. why do we spend more per capita than anyone else and have less to show for it?

“We” spend more because with the exception of Japan, the United States uses the latest and most advanced technology in the world. Most other countries are behind us in that regard because they wait for the US to develop something and for it to (eventually) become available there. Being the lead innovator is expensive but people in the United States have decided that they’re willing to pay that cost (although some whine about it). As far as having “less to show for it,” that’s bull**** because with the exception of treating diabetes, our health care system is the most productive in treating illness than anywhere in the world.

3. medicare - the program many love to hate has a 3% overhead. Insurance companies are sometimes 5 times that and more.

Utter rubbish. Medicare may report having a 3% overhead but people who actually understand something called activities based costing realize that’s because most of the overhead that supports Medicare doesn’t get counted in Medicare’s budget (example: their “accounts receivable” department is basically the IRS but their funding doesn’t come out of Medicare’s budget it comes out of the Department of the Treasury). Private insurance companies – who have to be accountable to their shareholders – have to allocate costs to the functions which drive them so if they report a higher overhead, it’s because they’re being more accurate than the federal government.

Roger said...

Well said, Thorley--your first point is particularly important.

If our population quit smoking, exercised more, ate less, reduced drinking and drugging, drove more safely, we would reduce the death rate among the top five causes of death by 50%. And those behavioral factors are beyond the control of health system.

Fen said...

Being the lead innovator is expensive but people in the United States have decided that they’re willing to pay that cost (although some whine about it).

I get a laugh everytime I see that AARP commericial that uses kids. "We can do better" from the Locust Generation that will stifle medical research needed to save these kids turned adults from things like Cancer, all so the seniors can pay less for their prescriptions. No shame.

nick danger said...

And those behavioral factors are beyond the control of health system....for now.

From Inwood said...

T Winston

Your Points One & Two are unfair since you won't let compassionate people whose hearts are in the right place "lie with statistics". Their figures are fake but accurate, ya see.

Your Point Three is most unfair. Why should the government have to operate under some form of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Generally Accepted Auditing Standards? And why should politicians? Again, fake but accurate.

You're going to have to take better care of your mind. We cannot afford all the trouble you VWRC people are bringing on yourselves & others!

cakreiz said...

The first thing that came to my mind was the 1960 JFK-Nixon debates, where television watchers gave the nod to JFK while radio listeners thought Nixon won.

Somewhere in the thread was a mention of Hillary's warm personality in person. Michael Medved's autobiography makes the same observation. He knew Hillary in college and found her to be decent, warm and engaging. In contrast, Medved didn't like Bill, who was nicknamed "The Arkansas Traveler". Medved thought he was, for lack of a better word, a phony. Yet on television, many see Bill as warm and Hillary as cold.

I don't know what any of this means except that not all media are created equal.

submandave said...

"If our population quit smoking, exercised more, ate less, reduced drinking and drugging, drove more safely, we would reduce the death rate among the top five causes of death by 50%."

But guess what, they'd still die eventually from something. I remember a study from several years ago that concluded that lung cancer caused by smoking actually reduced total healthcare costs since those lost to lung cancer represent a cost-savings for expensive old-age treatments that are generally paid for by public funds rather than private insurance. Money is not the bottom line here ... at least not the money spent on sick folks.