January 11, 2012

"On social issues, Romney embraces all of the right’s litmus tests."

Writes Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation:
He pledges to repeal President Obama’s health-care reform, even though it was modeled on the plan Romney signed as Massachusetts governor.
Obamacare is a "social issue"? Am I a right-winger if I think it's an economic issue?
He favors repealing Roe v. Wade, outlawing women’s right to choose.
You don't "repeal" a Supreme Court case. You get it overturned. And a "right" can't be "outlawed." The Court would need to decide that the right doesn't exist as a matter of constitutional law, and then there would need to be a statute "outlawing," not the right, but the procedure. There's something highly spurious about the way vanden Heuvel writes about these things.
... Advised on legal matters by the reactionary crank Robert Bork, he repeatedly calls for more judges in the activist right-wing tradition of the gang of four—Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito.
Bork is advising Romney? Okay, I learned something here. I had not noticed that before. Whatever Bork is doing, Romney must at least intend to send the message that he's planning to appoint Scalia/Thomas/Roberts/Alito-type judges. I have no idea whether that means he will, but I certainly understand why he wants to send that message.

119 comments:

Robert Cook said...

Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?

The Crack Emcee said...

Obamacare is a "social issue"? Am I a right-winger if I think it's an economic issue?

No, you're a left-winger:

ObamaCare is a government power grab - that's the issue.

Speaking of litmus tests for the right,...

DADvocate said...

The issue I'm concerned about most is freedom. The nanny-state, social, equality issues have robbed us of much freedom and threaten much more. As Crack says, "government power grab." When the government has too much power, we have too little freedom.

Robert Cook said...

"ObamaCare is a government power grab"

It's a gift to the health insurance industry is what it is, and if it had been passed by a Republican president--which Obama is in all but name--it would be praised by those who stupidly now call it "socialism."

chickenlittle said...

@Crack: If you're going to link to your own blog about political litmus testing, at least give a historical overview: link :)

bagoh20 said...

The social issue is simply that: "The bigger the government the smaller the citizen." D. Prager

edutcher said...

Milton's been on the record on most of this, like all the Republicans except Paul, but it's not the only issue he has, unlike Santorum.

Robert Cook said...

Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?

No, that's the way they think at the Daily Worker.

Matthew said...

We're still Borking him!

Donald Douglas said...

'There's something highly spurious about the way vanden Heuvel writes about these things.'

Could be that Vanden Heuval's a bloody idiot.

Matthew said...

Also, "social issue" has lost all meaning and is now just a buzz word. Like "social justice," it used to have a meaning, but now, people who care about "social issues" is a euphemistic way of saying "crazy right-winger.

DKWalser said...

So Robert Bork, former Solicitor General, acting US Attorney General, Judge for the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and current law professor at Yale, is best described as "the reactionary crank Robert Bork"?

Scott M said...

It's a gift to the health insurance industry is what it is, and if it had been passed by a Republican president--which Obama is in all but name--it would be praised by those who stupidly now call it "socialism."

We disagree on quite a bit, RC, but I don't think I've ever seen you stray this far afield. Those fighting against this legislation back in 2009 and 2010, at least those I knew, were fighting it from a gut feeling reflecting a loss of liberty. Passed spuriously, all of the little details people were complaining about have turned out, one after another, to be true.

The first thing that should be asked of any legislation should be whether or not it increases or decreases personal liberty. The debate can go from there, but we must be honest up front on that foundation.

Henry said...

You could just as easily say that Romney embraces all of the left's litmus tests. He just happens to align to the rightwing viewpoint on those litmus tests.

In other words, it seems the right and left are in agreement on the litmus tests.

For those of us that have other concerns (like could the government stop spending so much damn money?), this is rather depressing.

In truth I have strong opinions on some of the litmus tests. Except for using them as litmus tests.

Calypso Facto said...

judges in the activist right-wing tradition

Huh? To be a strict constructionist is now somehow "activist"? I think Ms. vanden Heuvel likes to loosely through around terms she hears in conversation but doesn't really understand.

DaveW said...

DKWalser stole my thunder. Bork is a reactionary crank? Please. Disagreeing with Ted Kennedy - or today's reactionary statist left - doesn't make you a crank.

bagoh20 said...

So who is acid and who is base?

I guess the right is acid(red) and left is base(blue).

That little switch of colors that was done years ago by some network (NBC?) was whack. The left has always been lovers of the red, and the Dems have been left my whole life. Dems should be red on the outside like they are on the inside.

Hagar said...

'There's something highly spurious about the way vanden Heuvel writes about these things.'

"Spurious" is not the right word. Katrina vanden Heuwel is a "religious" fanatic, and that is really how she sees the world. She is nuts, but not deceitful.

The Drill SGT said...

Katrina vanden Heuvel has been in a funk ever since the USSR collapsed. The depression impacts her cognitive abilities.

Tank said...

Donald Douglas said...
'There's something highly spurious about the way vanden Heuvel writes about these things.'

Could be that Vanden Heuval's a bloody idiot.


Well yes.

But really, so many "journalists" don't know anything about what they write about. They're fed info and try to assemble it.

The way she writes about Roe is so ignorant you wouldn't know where to start to argue with her. Her whole argument (as it frequently is) is a clusterf***.

Scott M said...

Huh? To be a strict constructionist is now somehow "activist"?

Given how far afield we've gone from strict constructionalism and how firmly that straying has been entrenched and institutionalized, being a strict constructionalist makes one a revolutionary.

POWER, BROTHER!

edutcher said...

The Drill SGT said...

Katrina vanden Heuvel has been in a funk ever since the USSR collapsed. The depression impacts her cognitive abilities.

Not to mention 9/11, when everybody started waving those terrible flags and engaging in all that patriotism.

Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell said...

Correct me I'm wrong (I'm sure you will), but if Roe is overturned, abortion is not outlawed, except in states it was previously outlawed in. I mean states can still legalize it or ban it. But, abortion is NOT immediately illegal across the land if Roe is overturned. Correct?

Christopher in MA said...

Reactionary crank? Please. Bork's toe jam is smarter than anything vanden Heuvel could come up with. She couldn't last two minutes in a serious discussion of Constitutional issues with him.

DKWalser said...

...To be a strict constructionist is now somehow "activist"? I think Ms. vanden Heuvel likes to loosely through around terms she hears in conversation but doesn't really understand.

Actually, for years now the Left has been claiming it's "activist" for the court to overturn the legislature. It's their attempt to redefine the word to remove its pejorative sting. When a conservative complains about an activist decision, a member of the left will retort that the conservative doesn't care about "activism" -- the conservative just disagrees with the result and brands it activism.

That's just a long way of saying Ms. vanden Heuvel knew exactly what she was doing.

Christopher in MA said...

". . .if it [Obamacare] had been passed by a Republican president - which Obama is in all but name - it would be praised by those who now stupidly call it 'socialism.'"

Kind of like how our troops are baby-killing Nazis under a Republican president, but valiant corpsemen under a Democrat?

You'll have to do better than that, Robert. I must have missed all of those conservatives praising Romneycare - which is Obamacare in all but name. Who are they?

The Drill SGT said...

Russell, I think it would be clearer to say:

except in states it is currently outlawed in. I mean states can still ban it, but they'd have to start from scratch, since I doubt any complete anti-abortion laws still exist on the books

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I'm not sure I've ever seen the word "reactionary" -- used as a pejorative -- appear so frequently in such a short column.

On a side note, years ago they simply called me "conservative". Then it became "center-right". Then "right-wing". Then "radical right-wing". Now they call me a "radical, right-wing extremist reactionary".

Yet my political views are mostly the same as they were years ago when they simply called me "conservative". The only thing that has changed is the vileness of the language used by the left to describe their political opposition.

MayBee said...

We'll have the guy who ran for president saying he was against a mandate but signed the mandated into law, vs the guy who signed the mandate into law but is now running for president against it.

BarryD said...

To say that the writing is published in The Nation that it is highly spurious is redundant.

AJ Lynch said...

Katrina is the prototypical 24-7 angry limousine librul.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?.."

No.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... There's something highly spurious about the way vanden Heuvel writes about these things..."

That's a polite way of saying vanden Huevel just isn't very bright.

Scott M said...

"... Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?.."

A history professor I know with KMARX1 as his license plate thinks so for the obvious reason. I'm not sure what that says about RC.

Russell said...

@The Drill SGT: I think you probably have it right. Which drives home the point that vanden Heuvel is even more wrong on her statement. In other words, overturning Roe will NOT outlaw abortion.

Paddy O said...

In this context "right to choose" really does need to be more specified as "right to an abortion".

Because all the usual, "it's my body" arguments run right into the wall of Obamacare, which declares that American's bodies are not, in fact, their own to do with as they please.

With Roe v Wade continuing, women would still have the right to an abortion but not the right to make other choices about their medical care or caretakers.

Scott M said...

Because all the usual, "it's my body" arguments run right into the wall of Obamacare, which declares that American's bodies are not, in fact, their own to do with as they please.

How does the NHS handle it?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... A history professor I know with KMARX1 as his license plate thinks so for the obvious reason. I'm not sure what that says about RC...."

I've read enough of his posts to conclude he's the starry eyed idealist that a lot of the early communists were until they failed the purity test and were shipped off.

Alex Ignatiev said...

Her legal analysis is as trenchant and literate as Dahlia Lithwick's. She's the high watermark of socialist op-ed writing; a sort of gutless Mark Helprin.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... women would still have the right to an abortion but not the right to make other choices about their medical care or caretakers..."

Not necessarily. Private insurance doesn't cover everything. A woman may choose to have a boob job but that doesn't mean it will be covered.

Obamacare requires you to have insurance, however once you have it, your choices are limited to what the contract provides for. Unless of course you choose to pay out of pocket.

Scott M said...

A woman may choose to have a boob job but that doesn't mean it will be covered.

Here's hoping it won't be (wink, wink)

Hoosier Daddy said...

What the idealists for universal health care don't understand is when pointing to Europe as the
progressive template, aside from England, nearly every country has some combination of State and private insurance. So even in that social democratic utopia, the private market us still making a buck (euro).

Hoosier Daddy said...

".. Here's hoping it won't be (wink, wink).."

I always said more than a mouthful is a waste.

Jay said...

He favors repealing Roe v. Wade, outlawing women’s right to choose

How does one become so ignorant?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Can't people get it through their heads that overturning Roe wouldn't make abortion illegal? It would put the issue in the hands of the states again. 49 of 50 states have female majorities, so if women want "choice," they will most certainly have it.

wv: useache. You're telling me!

Robert Cook said...

"Kind of like how our troops are baby-killing Nazis under a Republican president, but valiant corpsemen under a Democrat?"

Exactly.

Except, the only troops who are baby-killing Nazis--no matter who is in the White House--are those are actually killing babies and other non-combatants...of which are always some, I'm sure.

The real criminals in war are the politicians who create them and carry on with them...the Beorge Bushes and Dick Cheneys and Condi Rices and Dick Rumsfelds and, yes, the Barack Obamas, et al.

Certainly, the Democrats and other "progressives" or leftists who rightly condemned the Bush Administration for the same crimes for which they wrongly excuse the Obama administration are hypocrites and apologists for mass murder and war crimes.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

Not to mention 9/11, when everybody started waving those terrible flags and engaging in all that patriotism.

No, I think it was Katha Pollitt who had a hissy fit when her daughter wanted to put up a flag after 9/11. Same zine, different writer.

wv: groric. I'll say.

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...
Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?


No. But you and your ilk have been trying to make is so for over 60 years.

The good news is that the state is collapsing under the economic weight as the programs you support are not sustainable.

Robert Cook said...

Hoosier Daddy quotes my question and answers:

"'... Most--or even all--economic issues are also social issues, wouldn't you think?..'

"No."


Wrong.

S said...

Economic issues are, in some sense, social issues - certainly, the line between them is fuzzy - but if you're using the term "social issues" that broadly, there's no reason to use the term "social issues." You'd just call them "issues."

Also, if what KvH means by "activist" is a judge who strikes down legislation as unconstitutional, I would think she should be fond of Bork. I'm not really an expert, but my understanding is that his judicial philosophy is pretty majoritarian. But I doubt she's using "activist" with that meaning as a pejorative if she is complaining that someone might "repeal" Roe v. Wade.

Robert Cook said...

"I've read enough of his posts to conclude he's the starry eyed idealist that a lot of the early communists were until they failed the purity test and were shipped off."

I am an idealist, but I'm hardly starry-eyed.

That said, one doesn't have to be an idealist to recognize that economics issues are social issues. How could they not be? The ways in which any society structures and manages its economy will have direct and concrete effects on the society as a whole and all persons in it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... That said, one doesn't have to be an idealist to recognize that economics issues are social issues..."

I suppose it depends on how you define social issues. Abortion, prayer in schools, gay marriage are all classic social issues that have nothing or at best, a nominal impact on the economy.

There is overlap to now sure but they aren't one in the same.

Bruce Hayden said...

Look. Romney had to sound almost pro-choice to be elected in MA, and almost pro-life to be nominated as a Republican. But, it really doesn't matter. At best, I can see the Supreme Court banning 3rd trimester abortions unless the choice is between the mother's life and the baby's life.

Abortion is just too well accepted these days to be banned, and most likely wouldn't be except in the deep south and maybe Utah and Idaho. And, even there, it is problematic. Worse, with the cost of air fares, it would be simple to just pop over to a state where abortion was legal.

It is just pandering by politicians in both parties. Everyone keeps concentrating on the Republicans and their required pro-life view, but there are plenty of Democratic politicians who at least tacitly accept that abortion is evil, starting with Nancy Pelosi, and working down through at least most of the Roman Catholics in that party. That church has made it clear that you cannot be a Catholic if you support abortion. Talk about the hypocrisy that is never mentioned.

Robert Cook said...

"I suppose it depends on how you define social issues. Abortion, prayer in schools, gay marriage are all classic social issues that have nothing or at best, a nominal impact on the economy."

I didn't say all social issues are economic issues, (although many of them are), but all economic issues are social issues.

Scott M said...

but all economic issues are social issues

Define "economic issues" in this context.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

When a candidate is asked what their position is on abortion the stock answer should be:

I'm glad my mother didn't have one.

Then move on to the next question.

Peter said...

It's Katrina vanden Heuvel, in The Nation. How many outside the hard, committed left still read The Nation magazine?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Define "economic issues" in this context..."

I haven't seen the definition of social issues yet.

phx said...

Romney overturning Roe v Wade by his SC nominations - that's a social issue. Or is it an economic issue?

In any case it's going to be hard to sell that one to the American public. Just concernedly trolling here.

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...

Wrong.


So persuasive.

Bender said...

Neither Roe nor Casey nor any other abortion decision took an eraser to state statutes. A federal court has no authority whatsoever to repeal a state statute. The federal courts can, and did, enter injunctions against state abortion statutes, but unless the state legislature of a given state repealed those laws, then they are still on the books.

Blue@9 said...

The stuff about Bork actually made me like Romney more. Thanks KVH!

Christopher in MA said...

"The real criminals in war are the politicians who create them. . ."

I should have known. Mentioning soldiers in response to a Robert Cook post is like yelling "Free Bird!" at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. I don't agree with you on the current or past administrations, Robert, but let's leave that for now.

I wanted to hear your response to the second part of my post. Your contention is that Obamacare is all the insurance companies (lackeys of the GOP) could want, and Republicans are only condemning it because of Obama.

Yet Romneycare is, for all intents and purposes, Obamacare's baby brother. The GOP base despises it, and it is a major millstone around Mitten's neck. Yet, according to how I read you, they should be cheering it. Why don't they?

And, please, spare me the "well, they think Romney's a douchebag RINO anyway," explanation. I expect more from you than that.

The Drill SGT said...

Bender said...
Neither Roe nor Casey nor any other abortion decision took an eraser to state statutes


While I agree with your statement, do you have any evidence that any state currently has any total abortion laws on the books.

I'm not talking about those on that margin that regulate things like
- parental or spousal notification
- late term
- minor's
- rape, incest, etc

Simon said...

Issues can be framed in a number of ways. As Cookie said above, many economic issues can also be framed as social issues. And some social issues can be framed as small government issues; for instance, you could make a case for the relevance of opposing SSM to the small government issue. The common libertarian response to SSM is to say "why does the government have the authority to bar certain people from marrying?" But one could argue it from the opposite perspective: "Whence does the government have the authority to redefine marriage so as to allow people who can't marry to do so?"

Rusty said...

Obamacare requires you to have insurance, however once you have it, your choices are limited to what the contract provides for. Unless of course you choose to pay out of pocket.


Nothing screams freedom like limiting choices.

Phil said...

Well, it would depend entirely on what grounds were used to overturn Roe. If it's overturned on 14th Amendment grounds (the fetus is legally recognized as a person), then yes, abortion would become illegal (broadly speaking). The text of Roe explicitly recognizes this possibility.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Nothing screams freedom like limiting choices..."

Well pure freedom in health care means paying your own way. Neither private insurers or the Federal government are going to give you a blank check to get any medical procedure that strikes your fancy.

The only real choice Obamacare took away was the choice not to have insurance.

Simon said...

Phil said...
"Well, it would depend entirely on what grounds were used to overturn Roe"

That's an odd way to think of it. When Roe is overturned, it will be an assertion that there were no grounds for the original decision.

"If it's overturned on 14th Amendment grounds (the fetus is legally recognized as a person)"

That wouldn't just be overturning Roe, it would break significant new ground. It's also not going to happen. (No originalist judge could support that result, and it's hard to imagine a minimalist conservative like Roberts or Alito doing so, so you would need a conservative version of William O. Douglas for that result.)

Thorley Winston said...

Correct me I'm wrong (I'm sure you will), but if Roe is overturned, abortion is not outlawed, except in states it was previously outlawed in. I mean states can still legalize it or ban it. But, abortion is NOT immediately illegal across the land if Roe is overturned. Correct?

You are absolutely correct, which is why I cringe whenever I hear a journalist refer to Roe vs. Wade as “the decision which legalized abortion.”

Thorley Winston said...

For those of us that have other concerns (like could the government stop spending so much damn money?), this is rather depressing.
I feel much the same way although since Romney came out for cut, cap and balance I think there’s room for cautious optimism should he be elected with a GOP Congress.

Robert Cook said...

"Your contention is that Obamacare is all the insurance companies (lackeys of the GOP) could want..."

It's hardly "all" (the insurance companies) could want, but it's certainly a gift to them, just as a gift to me of $1,000.00 would be very welcome, but could not be said to be "all I could want."

You have it backwards: the insurance companies are not lackeys of the GOP, the GOP (and, for the most part, the Dems) are lackeys of the insurance companies.

"...and Republicans are only condemning it because of Obama."

I'm sure there are Republicans who would condemn it from a Republican President, just as there are Democrats and leftists who condemn Obama for his continuation and expansion of Bush-era policies...but I do not believe we would have have the hue and cry over it being a "socialist" nightmare or the end of quality healthcare in America or any of the other hysterics we hear about Obamacare.

"Yet Romneycare is, for all intents and purposes, Obamacare's baby brother."

Again, you have it backward: Romneycare preceded and was a model for Obamacare, so it is Obamacare that is the "baby brother" of Romneycare.

Thorley Winston said...

The issue I'm concerned about most is freedom. The nanny-state, social, equality issues have robbed us of much freedom and threaten much more. As Crack says, "government power grab." When the government has too much power, we have too little freedom.
Agreed, I don’t see the point in trying to parse whether an issue should be categorized as an “economic issue” or a “social issue.” It’s just a form of rhetorical shorthand and not one that seems to convey much in the way of useful information.

Steven said...

If you don't know the profound differences between Bork and Thomas when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, you don't know enough to comment on the makeup of the Supreme Court, and nobody should take you seriously.

If you know the profound differences between Bork and Thomas when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, but you lump them in as a single tradition, you're too dishonest to be taken seriously.

Robert Cook said...

"The common libertarian response to SSM is to say 'why does the government have the authority to bar certain people from marrying?' But one could argue it from the opposite perspective: 'Whence does the government have the authority to redefine marriage so as to allow people who can't marry to do so?'"

Your argument begs the question; where is there any a priori definition--absent government--that defines certain people as "people who can't marry."

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... the GOP (and, for the most part, the Dems) are lackeys of the insurance companies..."

Honestly, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Scott M said...

Your argument begs the question; where is there any a priori definition--absent government--that defines certain people as "people who can't marry."

I'm still begging to know your definition of "economic issues" and "social issues", RC.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... where is there any a priori definition--absent government--that defines certain people as "people who can't marry.".."

I think it evolved into what we refer as societal norms, that is, we don't let brothers marry their sisters or marrying off your nine year old cousin, or marrying multiple partners.

Obviously these examples are allowed if not encouraged in other cultures so I suppose I should not be judgmental.

Robert Cook said...

ScottM asks:

"I'm still begging to know your definition of 'economic issues' and "social issues", RC."

To quote Marlon Brando from The Wild One:

"Whattaya got?"

Christopher in MA said...

Robert, thanks for the answer, though it really comes down to "this is what I think would be said" rather than a "this is being said." I don't agree with your thoughts, of course, but that's how I roll.

A point of order, however - I called Romneycare "baby brother" in that it is small (Massachusetts) and Obamacare is large (the USA). I am aware the one was before the other.

DKWalser said...

The only real choice Obamacare took away was the choice not to have insurance.

While on some scale this might be true, it ignores that Obamacare mandates what insurance must and must not cover. You can't buy just any old insurance policy; you must get one that provides the "proper" coverage -- neither too much nor too little. So, once Obamacare is fully implemented, you won't be able to choose to buy the policy you bought (or choose not to buy) in 2009. That policy will no longer be available.

In addition, Obamacare grants the government the authority to determine which medical procedures and drugs will be made available (with or without insurance). These are the so-called death panels and are one of the primary means through which Obamacare's proponents hope to control the nation's spending for healthcare. At some point, you won't be able to choose to have a nose job (for example) because the government will have outlawed nose jobs as a waste of the nation's scarce resources.

In theory, you could travel to India to get a nose job, but eventually the goverment would move to bar travel for medical purposes. It'll be done in the name of fairness and equality.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

To quote Marlon Brando from The Wild One:

"Whattaya got?"


@RC

You are the one making the argument that all economic issues are social issues. Please define the terms in your argument. Why is that so hard? Surely you must know what you're talking about.

Robert Cook said...

ScottM: "All" means "all."

Scott M said...

All what? All economic activity? Using what? Money only? Barter? Commodities? Crafts?

Are you suggesting that every single transaction and non-transaction is a social issue?

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie,

"    ObamaCare is a government power grab"

"It's a gift to the health insurance industry is what it is"

Sure, and carried out by means of a government power grab.

"I am an idealist, but I'm hardly starry-eyed."

Right, more like 20/200 in the left eye and 20/400 in the other.

Robert Cook said...

"...Obamacare mandates what insurance must and must not cover. You can't buy just any old insurance policy; you must get one that provides the 'proper' coverage -- neither too much nor too little. So, once Obamacare is fully implemented, you won't be able to choose to buy the policy you bought (or choose not to buy) in 2009. That policy will no longer be available.

"In addition, Obamacare grants the government the authority to determine which medical procedures and drugs will be made available (with or without insurance). These are the so-called death panels and are one of the primary means through which Obamacare's proponents hope to control the nation's spending for healthcare. At some point, you won't be able to choose to have a nose job (for example) because the government will have outlawed nose jobs as a waste of the nation's scarce resources."


DKWalser, can you point me to the specific sections in Obamacare where these provisions may be found?

Robert Cook said...

ScottM, don't be obtuse. I'm referring to economic policy, as structured, managed, and revised over time by our government or any government.

Scott M said...

ScottM, don't be obtuse.

This from the guy who answered a direct question with:

To quote Marlon Brando from The Wild One:

"Whattaya got?"


I'm referring to economic policy, as structured, managed, and revised over time by our government or any government.

You didn't say policy upthread, I believe you kept saying "issues" which is a much broader category, wouldn't you agree?

Robert Cook said...

ScottM,

I should think context would have made my meaning obvious, but there was also this other comment by me upthread:

"...one doesn't have to be an idealist to recognize that economics issues are social issues. How could they not be? The ways in which any society structures and manages its economy will have direct and concrete effects on the society as a whole and all persons in it."

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

"... While on some scale this might be true, it ignores that Obamacare mandates what insurance must and must not cover..."

Insurance is regulated by each state and state regulations already mandate what can and can't be covered.

"... So, once Obamacare is fully implemented, you won't be able to choose to buy the policy you bought (or choose not to buy) in 2009. That policy will no longer be available...."

That isn't all that different from state regulation that we have now.

"...In addition, Obamacare grants the government the authority to determine which medical procedures and drugs will be made available (with or without insurance). These are the so-called death panels and are one of the primary means through which Obamacare's proponents hope to control the nation's spending for healthcare..."

Just as an FYI but insurance companies do this right now. Look at your policy and you will find a whole section detailing what isn't covered.

Don't take this as a pro Obamacare post, it isn't. Basically what Obama has done, is set the stage to turn health insurers into quasi-governmental agencies along the lines of Freddie & Fannie Mac. Despite what Cookie thinks, its really a gift to the Federal government.

Mutnodjmet said...

KUNAT KALIFEE, BABY! If Mitt Romney is nominated, 2012 will be a Vulcan Pon Farr battle in which there is one, compelling reason to elect him.

S said...

<< "...In addition, Obamacare grants the government the authority to determine which medical procedures and drugs will be made available (with or without insurance). These are the so-called death panels and are one of the primary means through which Obamacare's proponents hope to control the nation's spending for healthcare..."

Just as an FYI but insurance companies do this right now. Look at your policy and you will find a whole section detailing what isn't covered. >>

And if you don't like it, you can get a different insurance company.

Ideally, anyway. As you point out, state laws constrain what's allowed, and our system in which there are strong incentives for health insurance to be tied to employment, it's not necessarily feasible to switch insurance companies. But there's a difference between one supplier of a service specifying limitations on the terms of that service and the government doing so (or an entrenched private monopoly, if forgoing the service isn't a practical option).

Hoosier Daddy said...

" one doesn't have to be an idealist to recognize that economics issues are social issues. How could they not be? The ways in which any society structures and manages its economy will have direct and concrete effects on the society as a whole and all persons in it."...."

I think you may be conflating social issues with societal behavior.

Most people consider social issues to be abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, etc.

Matthew said...

If social issues are anything dealing with society, everything is a social issue.

Robert Cook said...

"Most people consider social issues to be abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, etc."

Social issues that have do with economic issues (and policy) are covered under that umbrella "etc."

Simon said...

Robert Cook said...
"[Simon said that the common libertarian response to SSM is to say 'why does the government have the authority to bar certain people from marrying?' But one could argue it from the opposite perspective: 'Whence does the government have the authority to redefine marriage so as to allow people who can't marry to do so?'] Your argument begs the question; where is there any a priori definition--absent government--that defines certain people as 'people who can't marry'[?]"

Marriage is an institution created by God in which one man and one woman are joined together, see Gen 2:18-24; that definition is so a priori that it prexists human society, let alone attempts to organize such societies, of which the modern nation state is simply the most recent. Thus, it isn't that there aren't "people who can't marry," because that erroneously sees "marriage" as a verb rather than a noun, as an activity carried out by two people as they see fit rather than an institution that can be entered into or not. Any man and woman may enter a marriage, ceteris paribus, but a marriage by definition cannot comprise two people of the same gender. Such a relationship might be something else, but it is not "marriage," and while the government can attach benefits to marriage or not, it doesn't have the authority to change the definition of marriage.

Robert Cook said...

Okay, Simon, I see there's no having a serious discussion with you.

Robert Cook said...

By the way, I see under your "Stubborn Facts" that your location is Indiana. I was born in Evansville, and lived there until I was 8 years old. I still have family in Mt. Vernon. I have very fond memories of Evansville.

Simon said...

Robert, you asked. :) By "serious discussion" you presumably want to limit the available sources for such an a priori rule to "secular" sources, but that's artificial. For one thing, whence would a universal but purely secular rule derive? For another, the a priori definition that I mentioned preexists recorded history, and all recorded history has presupposed it.

I see from our weather forecast for the next two days that Indiana has fond memories of Wisconsin. ;)

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Koch said...

Althouse,

What is your brief opinion of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito as supreme court justices? Are you OK with them? Do any of them seem to be activists to you?

Simon said...

Steve, I think you'd have to specify a definition of "judicial activism." The left tends to rely on a misunderstanding of the term: They claim that "judicial activism" is the use of judicial power (paradigmatically by striking down of a statute), and on that basis say that conservatives do it as much as liberals. But that's not what "judicial activism is." Judicial activism is a judge's use of judicial power to impose their own views on the law, paradigmatically by either striking down a constitutional statute, or by upholding an unconstitutional one. By that definition—which is and for decades has been what conservatives are actually talking about when they speak of judicial activism—one would be hard-pressed to call the Chief, Scalia, Thomas, or Alito judicial activists.

Revenant said...

"The only real choice Obamacare took away was the choice not to have insurance."

While on some scale this might be true, it ignores that Obamacare mandates what insurance must and must not cover.

Exactly. For example, several of my coworkers had to downgrade their insurance policies because of the ObamaCare mandate that "children" be covered up through their mid-20s.

In another year (or two; I forget) I'll be forced to give up my high-deductable plan, because no high-deductable plan can meet ObamaCare's mandated ratio of "money for overhead" to "money for care" (most years I receive $0 in benefits from the plan; it exists to cover me in emergencies).

Anyone who says that ObamaCare took away no choice other than the choice to be uninsured is either lying or has paid no attention to the actual law.

Revenant said...

I do not believe we would have have the hue and cry over it being a "socialist" nightmare or the end of quality healthcare in America or any of the other hysterics we hear about Obamacare.

RomneyCare was receiving vociferous condemnation from conservatives and libertarians before Obama came anywhere near the Oval Office. Medicare Part D did, as well.

chickenlittle said...

Revenant wrote: In another year (or two; I forget) I'll be forced to give up my high-deductable plan, because no high-deductable plan can meet ObamaCare's mandated ratio of "money for overhead" to "money for care" (most years I receive $0 in benefits from the plan; it exists to cover me in emergencies).

That's why I've opposed Obamacare all long. I'm in a similar situation.

chickenlittle said...

If the disqualification of high deductable plans comes to pass (garage mahal insists it's not the case), it makes Obama's words "You can keep your healthcare plan" a flat out lie.

Revenant said...

garage is, small wonder, wrong.

He bases his argument on the fact that ObamaCare doesn't explicitly *forbid* the plans; this is the same logic he uses when claiming there is no "ban" on incandescent bulbs.

What the government does is establish arbitrary "neutral" regulations and requirements that make the product in question impossible to produce at a profit. So while HD plans and incandescent light bulbs are theoretically "legal", they will cease to exist.

Which is, of course, the point.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I'm amazed that, so far, no one in the Althouse commentariat finds it at all odd to talk of embracing litmus tests. I mean, I'm rather more chemistry-inclined than the average woman, but even I don't ordinarily snuggle up to litmus paper.

What was vanden Heuvel actually attempting to say there? And couldn't she, well, say it? She's paid to write. She's paid to write a hell of a lot more than I'm paid to write. But I wouldn't have written that line even in a pot-induced stupor.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Robert Cook,

Your argument begs the question; where is there any a priori definition--absent government--that defines certain people as "people who can't marry."

There are no people who can't marry. There are people who, in some states, cannot marry particular other people. Like their mothers or their fathers or their siblings. In some places, even their first cousins.

Everyone is also barred, in all states, from marrying more than one person, though many would like to. In one religious tradition, with about a billion followers, this is commonplace. But it's illegal in this country. So are we bigots, or are we not?

Revenant said...

There are no people who can't marry. There are people who, in some states, cannot marry particular other people.

That's not actually true either. You can marry whomever you like. Hell, you don't even need their permission. If I wanted to declare myself married to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, I could. What I *couldn't* do is get government approval or make legal claims on that marriage.

The debate over gay marriage isn't a debate over the right of gays to marry; they already can. It is about access to government sanction of those marriages. For obvious reasons, asking "absent government, what defines whose marriages get government sanction" is a bit silly.

Kirk Parker said...

MDT,

"So are we bigots, or are we not? "

Uhhhh, that's a rhetorical question, isn't it?

Matthew said...

"Anyone who says that ObamaCare took away no choice other than the choice to be uninsured is either lying or has paid no attention to the actual law."

Whoa now. On good authority, I have it that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.

Matthew said...

"If I wanted to declare myself married to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, I could. What I *couldn't* do is get government approval or make legal claims on that marriage."

Disagree. Words have meaning; marriage has a specific meaning, either dealing with lurve, religious partnerships, matrimony or a series of contract-like agreements because of the above. It isn't just something I can declare.

I can declare someone is my arch-rival. That's a definition that works one way; I can't just declare someone is my brother or sister. Words have meanings.

EMD said...

The debate over gay marriage isn't a debate over the right of gays to marry; they already can. It is about access to government sanction of those marriages. For obvious reasons, asking "absent government, what defines whose marriages get government sanction" is a bit silly.

The obvious answer is get government out of the marriage business entirely.

The government would have a right (ugh, that's not the correct word, but it will suffice) to recognize only civil union contracts between 2 people for legal purposes. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals would be required to have one for there purposes of determining all of the things a recognized marriage currently does, (visitation rights, custody, taxes, etc.)

Couples then could get a civil union contract for this purpose, and then marriage could remain a religious and cultural proposition, and churches would be free to discriminate against whom they would and would not marry.

DCS said...

KVH, engaging in school yard taunting, describes Bork, an appeals judge for the District of Columbia, as a "right wing crank."
How is that different from describing Obama as "the anti-Christ?"
I can't take seriously a writer who uses the tactics of a common bully.