Strong opinions, weakly held

The bottom line

The problem here is that the Republican strategy of holding out for total surrender is working just fine. They had an interesting theory that if you refuse to cooperate with efforts to make the country better, things won’t get better and the out-of-power party will benefit. The theory appears to be true.

Matthew Yglesias hits the nail right on the head.


  1. This ABSOLUTELY disgusts me. You receive historical power in congress and the presidency, and what do you have to show?

  2. This line of thinking is very dangerous for the Democrats.

    The president said he made a mistake in assuming that if he focused on policy decisions, the American people would understand the reasoning behind them.

    President Obama and Stephanopoulos

    “That I do think is a mistake of mine,” Obama said. “I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we’re making a good rational decision here, then people will get it.”

    It’s pretty amazing the arrogance on display. Exempting Nebraska from having to pay that state’s share of medicaid expansion is not rational. Forcing every American to buy private health insurance or face the wrath of the IRS is not rational. Buying the University of Conn a $100 million hospital is not rational. Buying the vote of Landrieu for $100-300 million is not rational. Exempting unions from the Cadillac tax is not rational. Raising $60 billion in taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers and expecting that to lower costs is not rational.

    People looked at the two bills that emerged and said this will not fix anything and they did it after looking at the facts. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Union deal on Cadillac plans was the final straw that gave the victory to Brown.

    There can only be so many back room deals, so many special exemptions before people will feel at a gut level that this thing isn’t on the straight and level.

    Rafe, we’ve both agreed in the past that these bills do very little to get at the root cause of this health care crisis. The cost of health care as delivered to the patient, that is what doctors and hospitals charge for services. Until folks start addressing that issue, everything else is just politics and won’t fix anything.

    I believe that the people in MA have done this country a great favor by making sure this current bill was never signed into law.

    Don’t forget the old saying, “The House proposes and the Senate disposes.” Legislation should be hard. We could have used some Democrats with backbone during Bush’s first term, they had all the same tools they were just afraid to stand up for what they believe. The country would be better today if they’d challenged President Bush a bit more often.

  3. I don’t agree with your list of things that aren’t rational. Has a large piece of legislation ever passed without lots of lame compromises involved? I find a number of those compromises exceedingly lame, but that doesn’t mean it’s not rational for the President to accept them in service to passing a larger piece of legislation.

    And the individual mandate is necessary if you want to create an insurance system where coverage of preexisting conditions is mandatory.

    But of course health care reform is just one piece of legislation. Lots of people agree that the White House messaging has been insufficient across the board.

  4. The bottom line? The bottom line, for me, is that the health care system in this country is horribly broken and has been for some time. I am soon facing a situation where paying for health insurance for my family of three is going to cost upwards of 25% more per month than a typical mortgage payment on a small house in northern New Jersey. Think about that for a second. If my mortgage payment is $1500/mo, then my health insurance is more than $2000/mo. It’s outrageous.

    I feel like I am being forced to go back to working for a large company simply so I can get subsidized health insurance from them under a group plan. It makes my dreams of working for myself nearly impossible without doubling my rates, which in turn makes me unaffordable to most of my clients.

    I am in favor of a government-managed health care system that is affordable to everyone. I don’t care about the back-room deals or the politics or even the money. All I care about is that a group plan be available to anyone who desires it, at an affordable rate, without pre-existing condition restrictions or fear of recision.

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