August 21, 2009

"[T]he inspiring figure progressives thought they had elected comes across, far too often, as a dry technocrat..."

"... who talks of 'bending the curve' but has only recently begun to make the moral case for reform. Mr. Obama’s explanations of his plan have gotten clearer, but he still seems unable to settle on a simple, pithy formula; his speeches and op-eds still read as if they were written by a committee."

That's Paul Krugman. He's arguing that "progressives are now in revolt," that Obama took them for granted and needs to win their trust back. Obama also has a big problem with moderates. Basically, Obama has a big problem. He got lots of people to trust him, chiefly by doing exactly what Krugman now complains about: speaking in vague generalities. It only works from a distance.

106 comments:

John Stodder said...

And he's making "the moral case for reform" in the way Hymie the Robot would do it: Convening a bunch of clergy and roboticly reading passages from their religions back to them.

elHombre said...

No truth.
No compromise.
No competence.
No transparency.

Welcome to Obamaland.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Its too bad Krugman and folks like him are just now figuring out what the other 48% of the electorate figured out a long time ago:

There is no there there.

elHombre said...

Irresistible.

WV liesses (+ off) - Obama and friends do this when folks get all wee-weed up.

AllenS said...

He was just asked if illegal immigrants would be receiving healthcare under his plan, and he more or less answered, yes and no. That's his problem. He can't make the sale. The more he talks, the worse he sounds.

This morning I made two trips to the salvage yard. Very slow. Tin prices are $70 per ton.

traditionalguy said...

What Barack Obama still reminds me of the most of any public figures I have encountered is HAL 9000 from the 2001 Space Odessey movie. It is only since Palin's Facebook posting that everybody else sees it too. I can hear Obama pleading "Dave, don't disconnect me". Peggy Noonan wrote that we need to give HAL 9000 a Republican Congress to steer him back away from his mission to Destroy our private lives and private property guaranteed to us by our Constitution.

Roger J. said...

Exactly what Obama needs to do: listen to Paul Krugman's political advice! More and faster please.

AJ Lynch said...

How ironic is it that Joe The Plumber had Obama pegged way before the esteeemed punditry.


wv = perel

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

He needs the Roman columns.

That's Obama's problem these days - no styrofoam props.

Or maybe he take to wearing a lab coat and sling a stethoscope across his neck.

Something – anything – to get that old mojo going again.

“You should have seen it William, the crowds cheered like I was a God.”



wv - torba, the love child born to Madame Hortense after the night of passion in Crete.

Mark said...

AJ, it isn't ironic at all. Small business operators deal with con men and other shifty types all the time.

Easy to spot unless you really want to believe that your email address has won a lottery in the Netherlands.

Maguro said...

Well, Obama is a dry technocrat of the Dukakis variety and would've been completely unelectable if he had been born white. Now we get to see how the Dukakis presidency would have turned out.

Kirk Parker said...

There was a time when Krugman could at least still write reasonably about economic matters. No longer:

"Experience with Medicare suggests that a government-run plan would have lower costs than private insurers"

Dude, that's because Medicare quite often sets its reimbursement rates below the actual cost!

Montagne Mointaigne said...

You know what technocrats are good at? governance.

tim maguire said...

Obama's problem is that he sounds like a dry technocrat? That's a new spin.

No, that's not his problem. His problem is that he sounds like a con man whose con is slipping away, saying anything to try and salvage the deal.

Remember Albert Brooks in "Lost in America" after his wife blew their nest egg at the craps table, trying to use his PR skills to convince the casino manager to give him their money back?

"That's the Campaign!"

That's Barack Obama.

Although you're right, Maguro. If Obama were white, we'd never have heard of him.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

his speeches and op-eds still read as if they were written by a committee."


That's because he IS a construct of a committee. There is no there there. He is a puff of smoke.

Actually I envision him more like a muppet with Rahm Emanuel's hand up his butt making Obama's lips flap.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You know what technocrats are good at? governance.

Guess that means Obama is incompetent.

Der Hahn said...

Am I glad I didn't have a mouthful of coffee when I read that, Monty.

The phrase 'comes across as' is usually understood to mean that the person does not possess the attributes that would qualify them to actually be what the speaker is calling them.

In other words, Obama is not a technocrat. He just plays one in front of a teleprompter.

AJ Lynch said...

If Obama has lost the John Stodders, he has lost the country. :)

AJ Lynch said...

Obama wants to give all of us small, subpar, defective allotments of everything.

Is there any natioal figure left with a big vision for America?

PatCA said...

Yes, they fell for the glittering generalities.

He is indeed the rock star they hailed four years ago, but now they want FDR. Sorry.

bearbee said...

Saw a recent show with author Jim Collins on his book How The Mighty Fall

He lists 5 stages:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Remind you of anyone one?

wv - snall: a size-pace that politicians need to more often consider when proposing legislation.

Joan said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, I just couldn't help cracking up reading Krugman.

I guess it's about now that "I told you so" would start wearing out its welcome if it had one.

JD said...

You know what technocrats are good at? governance.

Governance, no. Management, maybe. Leadership? forget it. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton were no technocrats, but, regardless of your political leanings, there is little question that these men could lead.

If Obama is such a great technocrat, he should get himself a job as a civil servant.

WV ronsixes: A fifth of Bacardi, with a little extra added.

Montagne Mointaigne said...

Bearbee-- the GOP 2001-2008? just a thought.

John Stodder said...

If Obama has lost the John Stodders, he has lost the country. :)

I see myself reflected in the polls of independent voters. Over the past year: Beguiled, intrigued, hopeful, watchful, unpleasantly surprised, concerned, bemused, annoyed, stunned, opposed.

I'm open to new initiatives from Obama, as any American should be. But he's lost me on health care and his handling of the recession. And those are pretty big, administration-defining things, snares I don't see him escaping from politically.

Paddy O. said...

Bearbee-- the GOP 2001-2008? just a thought.

No, I'd say the GOP 1996-2006.

They were pretty much on the defensive after 2006. I think Tom Delay's leadership pretty much defines this rise and collapse as much as, maybe more, than GWB.

It's not a partisan thing to say government is untrustworthy and out to line their pockets. The GOP under Delay (and others) defined this, and the shocking thing is that instead of change, the Democrats continued the same exact attitudes. Which is really more than shocking. It's sad and it's embarrassing.

Hubris indeed.

WV: ancows

Yeah, them too!

bearbee said...

@MM
Unfortunately fits the pattern of many politicians including the current WH occupant.

former law student said...

Obama's an intellectual as well as a lawyer, so he can always see the plusses and minuses of every position. Who was the executive who wanted to hire a one-handed lawyer.

An ignoramus like Palin can naturally speak in concise sound bites: "death panels," etc. She doesn't have to woory about being caught making shit up.

former law student said...

I see myself reflected in the polls of independent voters. Over the past year: Beguiled, intrigued, hopeful, watchful, unpleasantly surprised, concerned, bemused, annoyed, stunned, opposed.

Funny, I always saw Stodder reflected in the polls of Republican voters. Over the past year: Opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed.

Methadras said...

Hey Krugman, what's it like to finally see the polish come off of that turd, eh? You besotted piece of crap.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You know what technocrats are good at? governance.

Obama's already passed Carter like he was standing still. Now he's taking aim at Hoover.

Old Dad said...

Americans expect a certain amount of bullshit from our pols. We expect them to lie frequently, but with some modicum of skill. But when it comes to trillions of dollars of spending, we expect them to, at a minimum, make sense.

That's Obama's problem. He speaks in platitudes. He's no technocrat. He clearly doesn't understand his own policy proposals, basic economics, or history.

One example, he claims that the public option--read national health care--will reduce costs. Americans know that's unsupportable. Said another way, that's a lie. Medicare adds to cost and sticks it to doctors. Reimbursements are too often at or below cost, not counting the increased administrative costs. Who eats the short fall? You and I bro'.

Obama is simply full of ahit.

former law student said...

he claims that the public option--read national health care--will reduce costs. Americans know that's unsupportable.

So why oppose it? If the public option proves worse than private options, the public option will wither and die.

Big Mike said...

You know what technocrats are good at? governance.

I hate to pile on (no I don't -- I love it!!!) but wasn't Herbert Hoover the top technocrat who ever held the presidency? How'd his term in office work out?

The trouble is, I think Old Dad is right (good thing I checked before I posted -- you're making me edit again, you Old Dad, you) in saying that Obama is not a technocrat? Maybe an autocrat, yes, but not a technocrat. As I've mentioned in the past, just before the election Nancy Pelosi was up front about her expectations that she and Reid would provide the leadership and direction via the legislative branch under an Obama administration. This was on the PBS Charlie Rose show, so my wife can't be the only person who saw that.

And so it has come to pass. If Obama was a technocrat his fingerprints would be all over HR3200 (or some other bill) and would have been all over the alleged stimulus package (that so far has stimulated nothing). The fingerprints aren't there because the man isn't there.

Big Mike said...

So why oppose [the public option]? If the public option proves worse than private options, the public option will wither and die.

Maybe because few of us are limousine liberals like you and can't afford to the taxes that will inevitably be required to get it off the ground and to keep it going?

AlphaLiberal said...

I am entirely on board with what Krugman is saying. Obama is still making a priority out of being a transcendental bipartisan.

But the reality is that the Republicans do not want health reform, they want the status quo. Republicans will continue to lie about the proposals and to move the goal posts anytime the proposal moves closer to their position, as Krugman notes.

Republicans do not want compromise. They regard bipartisanship as "date rape."

They've come out and said they cannot be appeased. Nothing short of complete abdication or dropping dead will please Republicans. But Obama and Rahm and Baucus are obsessed with being bipartisan and they're crapping all over their own base.

I've already started telling Dem Party Committees who call me with fundraising requests to get my contribution from Chuck Grassley.

The Drill SGT said...

Obama has been trying to please all the people all the time.

Now all of them have discovered he has been lying.

The President ultimately has one resource, his credibility.

Obama has lost lots in 6 months, soon it appears his domestic policy agenda will collapse.

I predict that then, he'll become interested in his foreign policy legay, the same as all failing POTUS.

Expect the Israeli's to get hammered by Obama soon, while the Iranians get a love fest.

AlphaLiberal said...

The main worry for Republicans in this debate is that some insurance company may not be able to skim massive profits off of the top of our health care expenses. Again, they protect the rich.

Rep Anthony Weiner raises a very good question, which I paraphrase:

"what value-added do these insurance companies provide?" Really, what use are they to use?

Any status quo defenders care to address that question? It completely stumped Joe Scarborough.

Peg C. said...

Non-Obama voters to Obama voters: We told you so.

Paul Zrimsek said...

For people who don't see any use in insurance, these DeltaMinusLiberals sure do seem to get exercised about people not having it.

AlphaLiberal said...

Paul, I guess you couldn't figure out an answer to my simple question either. So you resort to bearing false witness.

Liberals are concerned about people not having health care. The insurance is secondary.

Try again, tell us what value these insurance companies provide in health care delivery to account for their share of the health care budget.

Strayhorn said...

"Morals" is one of those words, like "culture," that generally make me reach for a revolver.

Roger J. said...

"Try again, tell us what value these insurance companies provide in health care delivery to account for their share of the health care budget?"

Ans: they pay for their health care their subscribers receive. Since about 9 in 10 people get their health care insurance from employers the insurance companies keep absenteeism down and productivity up by keeping employees healthy. Those are at least two points that come to mind.

Gina said...

I really don't understand why people could not see this before the election. To me it was obvious. Soooo obvious. I don't get it, but I'm glad people are waking up, because I was starting to look for the pods.

PatCA said...

Was Bill Clinton in this much trouble in his first year? I know the Dems lost a lot of seats, but maybe the protest didn't seem as loud in the pre-cable and pre-blogosphere days.

Florida said...

You want to know what Obama's problem is:

It's his ideas.

He thinks it's a good idea to give medical care to illegal aliens.

He thinks it's a good idea for the federal government to give 15-year-old girls abortions.

He thinks it's a good idea to tell a grandmother you can't have a hip replacement because the federal government says it's too expensive.

He thinks it's a good idea to take people's guns away from them so that when they're accosted by four criminals in broad daylight in Harlem, you're defenseless.

He thinks it's a good idea that ethicists help decide how old you are allowed to be before we stop treating your diseases.

He thinks it's a good idea to cast policemen as evil racists.

He thinks it's a good idea to hand out $4,500 welfare checks to millionaires like Bill Frist so they can buy new cars - as long as his union thugs are getting paid off.

He thinks it's a good idea to bring pinky-ring-wearing 320-pound SEIU union thugs to provide "protection" to Democrats during town hall meetings with blue-haired senior citizens.

Barack Obama's ideas suck.

That's why smart Democrat rats like Krugman are abandoning ship now.

They see it sinking.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I passed Weiner's ever so difficult question along to a Harvard professor I know in the Dept. of Obviousness, and he told me that what the insurance companies provide is, in fact, insurance. He also wanted to know if Weiner needed his help with any other medical questions-- warning lebels, that sort of thing. He sounded worried.

AST said...

Alphalib: "Liberals are concerned about people not having health care."

Fine, they should start some charitable organizations to raise money for those people. It is not my job to provide health care for my neighbor and it certainly isn't the government's job. I may have a moral obligation under my religion to help the poor through personal service and sharing of resources, but that is not assignable and for the government to undertake that responsibility is to assume a religious obligation, not a governmental one.

As for the disappointment with Obama, I can only say caveat emptor. When someone says he's a political organizer, you ought to find out what that tells you about him.

mrs whatsit said...

alpha, of course, the value that health insurers -- like all insurers -- provide is risk management. Individuals and businesses can plan for known expenditures rather than trying to handle complete uncertainty. If you don't understand why that's valuable, you've never made a family budget or run a business.

Marcia said...

Alpha Liberal -- If you don't think health insurance is valuable, go without.

No one is forcing you to have a health insurance policy -- yet.

AlphaLiberal said...

Mrs Whatsis, they manager their risk, but increase the risks of people whose premium payments they cash.

They take our money and then try to deny health care.

The best way to manage risk is to have a larger pool of insured. And the best, and cheapest, way to do that is by having Single Payer. Then we don't have to support massive executive salaries and legions of analysts whose job it is to deny coverage to their customers.

Win-win-win.

AlphaLiberal said...

It is not my job to provide health care for my neighbor and it certainly isn't the government's job. .

Yeah, we're all in this alone. Everyone for themselves and Devil take the hindmost.

At this point I've listened to enough conservatives to know that approach rather well.

Stephen Snell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

Please explain what is it about the current health care system in the US that con's like so much? ... Is the rationing of health care that has led over 45 million Americans without coverage?

-- DeltaMinusLiberal, who really and truly doesn't care whether people have that worthless insurance.

AlphaLiberal said...

Rush Limbaugh voices the conservative heartlessness on health care: If you can't afford health insurance, don't get sick.

That's what passes for a Republican solution.

Ralph L said...

Obama's an intellectual
proof, please?
as well as a lawyer, so he can always see the plusses and minuses of every position. Who was the executive who wanted to hire a one-handed lawyer[?].

That was Truman and economists.

Clinton was in just as much trouble his first year, but the stakes were lower, since he was weakened well before Hillarycare raised its ugly head. Also there were less than 60 Dem senators.

mrs whatsit said...

Oh, yes, of course, Alpha, I forgot that once we have single payer the government will never ever ever deny a single treatment or test that anybody's doctor anywhere might think they need. And of course it won't hire any bureaucrats to turn down some of their claims (what? The government has legions of them already doing it for Medicare and Medicaid? Hush! They do not! You liar!)

I'd be curious to know, alpha, just how many claims YOUR insurer has ever turned down for you and just how much it has cost you. I'm betting not many beyond, maybe, forcing you to take the generic rather than the proprietary version of some drug.

mrs whatsit said...

"they increase the risks of people whose premium payments they cash."

This is the single most nonsensical thing I have ever read in all the nonsensical comments I've ever read from you, AL.

Seven Machos said...

Who was the executive who wanted to hire a one-handed lawyer.

Truman wanted a one-handed economist. Also, lawyers are supposed to see the other side only so that they can argue against it.

Jesus, Former. Can't you get anything right in that muddle that is your brain?

BJM said...

fls @12:10

An ignoramus like Palin can naturally speak in concise sound bites: "death panels," etc. She doesn't have to woory about being caught making shit up.

The VA has an end-of-life planning manual; it's known internally as the "death book".

"Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices." [my bolding]

Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living." "

Not much of a stretch to care allocation panels/commissions is it?

spunky said...

Um, say, AL? Your side won. Republicans got nothing. Pass the damn thing or quit your bitchin'.

RebeccaH said...

Obama is nothing more than a marionette, whose strings are pulled behind the scenes by a cadre of left-wing Chicago radicals. That's why everything he says, as The Professor said, comes with an expiration date.

First, 2010. Then 2012, people.

Seven Machos said...

If the Democrats can't pass whatever bill they want despite having the presidency and solid House and Senate majorities, Republicans are to blame. Specifically, that lying evil demon Rush Limbaugh.

Don't you people know how to play this game?

Seven Machos said...

Obama is no more of a marionette than Bush was, Rebecca. That line of argument is conspiratorial and stupid.

Don't be like silly leftists were.

AJ Lynch said...

As I predicted, the competence question is now all the rage.

Give it a week or two and I now predict a couple "late Friday afternoons resignations at the White House". You know where "they want to spend more time with the family". As if.

Robert said...

Alpha Liberal said: "Nothing short of complete abdication or dropping dead will please Republicans. But Obama and Rahm and Baucus are obsessed with being bipartisan and they're crapping all over their own base."

I've never posted here before, but the laughable assertions by "Alpha Liberal" need to be held up to the light and mercilessly discredited.

The Dems and Obama aren't obsessed with bi-partisanship, THEY WANT POLITICAL COVER. If this Obamacare monstrosity becomes law and fails miserably, "well, we tried, and it was a bi-partisan effort, so you can't only blame the Dems."

The demonstrably false argument that the Dems are too hung up on bipartisanship also gives Congress (and the insane Left) cover: "those evil neokkkon Rethuglicans wouldn't vote for our bill, so we can't pass it, so the country's health care has been completely fucked by those right wing Nazis."

Honestly, people who are advancing this "bipartisan" straw man have taken leave of rational thought. Therefore, I give Alpha Liberal the benefit of the doubt and conclude he is actually a Republican "false flag," trying to discredit Obamacare by making absurdly stupid and illogical arguments.

kcom said...

"what value-added do these insurance companies provide?" Really, what use are they to use?

Besides having an obvious answer (other commenters have covered that above), the whole premise of the question is flawed. In a free market system, which we have and have had since our founding (and long may it continue), it's not the government's role to decide which companies or industries are useful. That's the market's job. And it certainly is not the government's role to destroy the ones it doesn't like.

Buying insurance is a business transaction between a buyer and a seller. If the seller doesn't have value, his business will fail. That's what determines its worth. Do you really think it ought to be the government's job to go around picking out companies and industries to destroy if they don't pass an arbitrary "what's it good for" test? You don't think that's a prescription for abuse and dictatorship? Because unless you are woefully naive (which is not entirely unlikely) you will understand that pretty soon whoever controls the lever of political power will start deciding this or that business is useless based on principles that are ever more arbitrary. Do you really want an American Putin destroying entire companies because the leaders of those companies are on the opposite side politically? Do you really trust government that much? And if you do, to paraphrase the Joker, why so naive?

wv: bledm - He bledm dry and it's been all downhill since. You get one guess who the He is, and note that it's capitalized. But now I can't remember, does the partner with God (you know Jesus II) get a capital pronoun also?

Seven Machos said...

The theory that Alpha Liberal is a very clever conservative satirist has been suggested here before.

AJ Lynch said...

Kcom said:

"it's not the government's role to decide which companies or industries are useful"

How true.

Give them this power and where would they stop? Frowning on or even forbidding you to pay top dollar for sports car or music event?

PatCA said...

I get the feeling that the lack of passion is because his is sort of a meta-presidency, not a presidency. He is all about the abstraction of a leftist, minority person acting as president. It's about this particular man, this set of ideas, as President, not any particular issue.

Seven Machos said...

Pat -- I disagree. I believe that Obama really believes the tripe of the far left, wants to legislate it, cannot understand why it doesn't work, and cannot comprehend why the lesser educated clingers are opposed to these brilliant ideas, which are simply common currency on the left.

kcom said...

"So why oppose it? If the public option proves worse than private options, the public option will wither and die."

This is one of those questions that warrants the "Exactly what planet do you live on?" response. I just questioned AlphaLiberal's naivete but this is an order of magnitude of greater on the naivete scale. Nothing in Washington, D.C. withers and dies. Nothing. Because it's not a free market and that's the point. It's a political market and political markets don't run with rational ideals, or at least, not economically rational ones. The run to meet political goals.

So even if the public option fails and deserves to wither and die, it won't. More money will be poured in, more rules will be tweaked to "fix it", more unions will throw their weight around to preserve it and in the end it will continue on, whether it serves any rational economic purpose or not. That's the difference between a fee market and a political market.

wv: vingra - this one is too obvious. It's even written in blue, although maybe not the same blue as that little wonder pill. Perhaps Obama's health care reform, oops I mean health insurance reform, will serve as a dose of vingra for the Republican party. Or maybe not.

Roger J. said...

AL: I am glad that liberals want Americans to have health care. You should be happy. They currently have it. I will not suggest that getting your health care in an emergency room is a good thing--it isnt, and that is one aspect of the current system that needs fixing--but it isnt a crisis.

Going to a single payer will simply let rich americans buy all the health care insurance they want from boutique medical practices. All this will do is make the gap between the very rich and the rest of us even greater.

As long as you continue to conflate health insurance with health care, you do not even understand the basics of the argument.

bearbee said...

I get the feeling that the lack of passion is because his is sort of a meta-presidency, not a presidency. He is all about the abstraction of a leftist, minority person acting as president. It's about this particular man, this set of ideas, as President, not any particular issue.

He has a cold brute-like mentality.

Insecure. Driven to power, any kind of power.

He does not understand America, her roots, people. the American psyche, her genius.

He seems a man without a country.

Ralph L said...

Give it a week or two and I now predict a couple "late Friday afternoons resignations at the White House".
Not likely, they're the true believers, they'll just bring in additional saviors. I wonder how many times David Gergen has called people at the WH?

Matt said...

Obama is still much, much better than Bush. Although that's not saying much I suppose.

But presidents always speak in generalities. Reagan, Clinton et al were great at getting people excited about generalities.

A president is essentially a cheerleader. Work is done by those in his cabinet and [naturally] by Congress. If they want to get things passed - like health care - they have to cheerlead and get the right people to get it done.

And, yes, we will get it done. Hopefully with a Public Option since that is the only way to get actual reform.

Just Lurking said...

"So why oppose it? If the public option proves worse than private options, the public option will wither and die."

This is closer to reality:

"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth! "
-Ronald Reagan

Seven Machos said...

A president is essentially a cheerleader.

Truly a hilarious statement, though I guess you got one of the best in the business in Obama (and even though Bush actually did time as a cheerleader).

Effective presidents and governors are exactly the same as effective CEOs. They implement strategies to get things done. They don't speak in generalities. It's the opposite. They boil the complex down to simple statements that people can understand.

Obama cannot do these things. This is why he is ineffective. This is why his administration and our little corporation are stagnating.

jr565 said...

Alpha Liberal wrote:
But the reality is that the Republicans do not want health reform, they want the status quo.

No, they do not want what Obama is proposing via health care. You liberals seem to constantly suggest and Obama keeps making the same refrain that unless you stand for exactly what liberals stand for then you stand for not doing anything.
For example, republicans for the longest time have been pushing tort reform as a means of controlling costs, for health savings accounts etc etc etc. Those are not status quo arguments.
Republicans are simply not for a public option total takeover of health care by an inefecient govt that can't handle Medicaire now which has the govt rationing care and driving up the cost of private health care to the point where it drives it out of business.
And republicans think Obama is frankly talking out of his ass. Even the CBO suggests that this plan will drive up costs not lower costs. Perhaps they are on to something.

Seven Machos said...

I would propose my own version of health care reform right here at Althouse, but I'm too afraid that silly leftist utopians intent on taking over the mans of production in health care would boycott my organic food chain.

jr565 said...

"So why oppose it? If the public option proves worse than private options, the public option will wither and die."

If it's a bad idea up front why would we want to implement the bad idea wait years accruing all the bad effects of said bad idea, when we could instead not implement the bad idea in the first place and ignore the negative consequences up front. Being able to say I told you so is certainly nice, but compare that to having to deal with the consequences of a failed health care system for a decade and suddenly it doesn't seem as fulfilling.

Seven Machos said...

So why oppose it? If a government takeover of the means of production proves worse than a free market, socialism will wither and die.

And the great thing is there will be human costs whatsoever. No liberty lost. No deaths. No misery. And since this kind of thing has never been tried before, how will we know if it will fail? Who are we to say?

The Ghost said...

@Robert:

That's a point that hasn't been made enough since the days (or day, anyway) of the Stimulus Debate.

Republicans aren't holding anything up. They're not obstructing anything. Responsibility for Congressional action or inaction borne by Republicans: Zero.

Democrats have 60% of the Senate, 60% of the House, and 100% of the Presidency. Only nutroots like Alphalib actually think that any significant number of them could give two shits about reaching a "bipartisan agreement" with Republicans. The truth is harder for Kossacks to stomach: moderate Democrats don't want any part of the March of Progress unless Republicans are signed up to share the blame for when it goes horribly, inhumanly wrong.

PatCA said...

I agree, SevenMachos, that he believes in what he says. But he has no historical or emotional underpinnings for it. It's an abstraction. In a way, bearbee is right: he just doesn't live here, you know?

John Clifford said...

Alpha Liberal, you're not being honest when you report that Weiner 'stumped' Scarborough.

The fact is, Joe got Weiner to admit that he wants to eliminate private health insurance, because HE sees it as unnecessary and exploitative.

Private health insurance plays a key role in the affordable availability of health care in America today. You may not like this, or believe it, but you have only to look at how much health care costs for those folks who CAN afford it but do not have insurance.

I work with people who have extensive experience with advising insurance companies on policy costs. Insurance companies actually walk a tightrope; if their policy prices are too high they don't sell any, and if they're too low they lose money. The insurance market is VERY competitive. All of this flies in the face of Weiner's assertion that the insurance companies "make too much money."

The problem with believing that people have a right to something means that you impose an obligation on others to provide that something. However, needing something does not make you entitled to that something; we all need to eat, so are we entitled to food? If not, then why are we entitled to health care?

If you DO believe we're entitled to health care, what you are really saying is that you believe the government should be taking money from some people and giving it to others. Why not for food, then? Or other necessities?

Dark Eden said...

This is becoming like a bad Three's Company Skit. Obama tried to get away with taking two dates to the party, now they both want to know what's what. Libs think he told them he was a big lib. Moderates think he told them he was a big moderate. How will he get out of this one!

Pogo said...

Paul Krugman is an idiot.

I mean, chrissakes, the Nobel economist didn't even notice that the 'Cash-for-Clunkers' money shit-hole is a basic economic fallacy first recognized 150 years ago.

Goddamned moron. It's like a supposed art critic not knowing who Picasso is.

holdfast said...

Republicans would certainly prefer the status quo to the Obamamare sh*t sandwhich being served up.

Most Republicans would not be adverse to meaningful tort reform, increasing competition among insurers, creating tax incentives like better HSA and even finding other ways to help the 15 million or so legitimately uninsured to obtain insurance.

They/we don't want you to turn a multi-trillion dollar industry into a giant government system.

Bruce Hayden said...

I work with people who have extensive experience with advising insurance companies on policy costs. Insurance companies actually walk a tightrope; if their policy prices are too high they don't sell any, and if they're too low they lose money. The insurance market is VERY competitive. All of this flies in the face of Weiner's assertion that the insurance companies "make too much money."

Oh no. That can't be true. I was just assured by several of the liberals here that insurance companies make obscene profits by denying health care to old people, orphans, and widows.

Interesting WV for this discussion: "rating" Anyone in favor of ObamaCare wish to discuss?

AJ Lynch said...

I guess I was a little off with the late Friday news prediction about resignations.

But Obama and Co. has announced it has increased the annual deficit by $200 Billion or $2 Trillion over the next 10 years.

Can anyone hear envision Obama supporting a "wealth tax"?

conf of champions said...

Hey Alpha, if liberals are driven by a higher moral authority to take care of those without (ie, uninsured) than us conservatives then how come private charity donations by conservatives dwarf those from liberals?

I imagine it would be very comforting for most liberals to know that the productive of society (ie, not them) pays for their moral indulgences. I wonder what type of moral sensibilities I would have if I could simply rely on others to pay for it all.

George said...

"what value-added do these insurance companies provide?" Really, what use are they to use?

Poor Alpha Liberal so confused in a complex world.

Insurance companies pool risk. Each of us is at risk for catastrophic health problems. By pooling our money, we help the unfortunate person who does grow seriously ill.

D'oh, here's one for you zeta liberal. Why don't we have haircut insurance?

elHombre said...

Interesting WV for this discussion: "rating" Anyone in favor of ObamaCare wish to discuss?

You will draw a blank on that one. It isn't in the talking points.

Methadras said...

AlphaLiberal said...

The main worry for Republicans in this debate is that some insurance company may not be able to skim massive profits off of the top of our health care expenses. Again, they protect the rich.


Their job is to be profitable, not to be charities. You hate profit, therefore you hate those that enrich themselves from that profit. It's their insurance companies and they operate them within the guidelines set by government on how they have to operate within the insurance codes legal framework, no? So why all the typical classist bullshit about profits. Haven't your canards broken yet under the weight of spew you shovel?

Rep Anthony Weiner raises a very good question, which I paraphrase:

"what value-added do these insurance companies provide?" Really, what use are they to use?


Anthony Weiner is an idiot. One of the values an insurance company provides is choice in product. The second is that it's not government telling them how to insure me. The third is that it's simply not government being the provider.

Any status quo defenders care to address that question? It completely stumped Joe Scarborough.

There is nothing wrong at the moment with status quo and just because you uphold Joe Scarborough as being incapable of answering the question is only a testament to his working with leftist dullards at CNBC. It's diluted his ability to critically think. Besides, trying to uphold Scarborough as a conservative thinker is like saying Sean Hannity is an astrophysicist. While they may represent a large cross-section of their like minded populace they aren't the brightest bulbs in the conservative batch. Then again you never were either.

elHombre said...

..."what value-added do these insurance companies provide?" Really, what use are they to use?

My God! I was wondering where all that came from. I was reading bottom to top.

I believe that is close to the stupidest thihg I have ever heard a congressman say and easily the dumbest thing posted here today. And that is saying something!

If this represents the perspective of the lefties in Congress and the moonbats who support them, it is really no laughing matter.

These folks are beyond stupid, they are terrifying.

PatCA said...

Obama got a $500K advance five days before he took office for a children's book he is yet to write.

Is that "making too much money"? I think we should have the White House Compensation Czar take a look at it. After all, we are all equal, aren't we?

Book Advance.

Synova said...

"Obama got a $500K advance five days before he took office for a children's book he is yet to write."

You're kidding.

Two days before because... it would be illegal while he was President?

How could could that be *anything* but a pay-off?

If he doesn't deliver he defaults on the advance but if the publisher doesn't take him to court for it it is a gift, free and clear.

Methadras said...

AlphaLiberal said...

Paul, I guess you couldn't figure out an answer to my simple question either. So you resort to bearing false witness.

Liberals are concerned about people not having health care. The insurance is secondary.


Why? I'm concerned with a lot of things too and at certain inequities in the world also, but I don't go sticking my nose into other peoples business and then trying to advocate that government be the solution to the problem. That's the distinction between a do-gooding nosey leftist like you and a conservative who goes about solving his own problems with the least amount of governmental involvement as possible. Even to the point of rallying against government to stop them from involving themselves into our lives any further. You want government be the one-stop shop for all good if not services and frankly you are just wrong and always have been. Why you don't see this isn't my problem, but it is my duty to see that your idiocy and bankrupt ideology are stopped, eviscerated, and wiped out.

Try again, tell us what value these insurance companies provide in health care delivery to account for their share of the health care budget.

Go hear and see the value. It's called options. What is your government plan offering?

http://www.sharp.com/rees-stealy/insurance-plans.cfm

Your argument is vapid.

Methadras said...

PatCA said...

Obama got a $500K advance five days before he took office for a children's book he is yet to write.

Is that "making too much money"? I think we should have the White House Compensation Czar take a look at it. After all, we are all equal, aren't we?

Book Advance.


OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY TALKING POINTS!!! WILL NOT LISTEN!!! MUST... NOT... SUCCUMB... LALALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!

Methadras said...

Hey Alpha, did you happen to say this on Atrios?

"To publicly lecture people on such personal choices as how to live with life-ending diseases is to treat them with disrespect. It's an insult.
AlphaLiberal | 04.12.07 - 1:49 pm | #"

Shaky Barnes said...

So he's lost the left, the center, and the right? Well. At least everyone else is still sticking by his side.

dick said...

AL,

if you like Weiner so much, please take him. He is my congressman and I am ashamed of him every time he opens his mouth.

As to Obama, I guess you had to be an intellectual to believe what he was selling. The rest of us saw it coming a mile away.

gbarto said...

The value added in private insurers is that it provides multiple actors looking for the best way to ration care in a way that doesn't piss off too many people, thus keeping costs as low as they can without leaving people generally dissatisfied with their levels of care. The beauty: if one of them screws up, you can go elsewhere. If you go with single payer, or have the government define too tightly what "private" insurers offer, you'd better hope the government gets it right. And right about now, I don't have a lot of confidence in our political class getting it right.

jr565 said...

You'd think that for a technocrat Obama would at least show some degree of competence, as I assume being a technocrat assumes a high degree of knowledge about various fields over which you govern. And would technocrats be so off in their numbers that their projected surplus would be off by 2 TRILLION dollars?
Yikes, some technocrats in the administration might want to brush up on their basic math. Maybe Obama could put some stimulus money into some community college for the "technocrats" in his administration!
So leave out the technocrat part and what is left is a dry, arrogant, stiff.

Iapetus said...

@AL at 1:59 pm "The best way to manage risk is to have a larger pool of insured."

Yeah, that was the whole idea behind Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). So how did that work out for us?