Online commentary by the Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff

Bitter medicine

You'll take it and you'll like it!

That seems to be the attitude among the White House and Democratic congressional leaders as they try to revive a flatlining overhaul of the U.S. health-care system.

As Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson notes, the Obama administration -- and Senate and House leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- are looking delusional at this point. Some 58 percent of Americans oppose the Democrats' health care plans, and 61 percent said "start over" in a Rasmussen Reports poll.

Yet, here we go -- with a televised "summit" on Thursday between Obama and congressional leaders of both parties, an event designed to simultaneously create the appearance of bipartisan outreach by Democrats and to quell criticism that Obama long ago broke his campaign promise to put health-care negotiations on C-SPAN.

It's theater, and it's absurd.

"After a year of debate," writes Gerson, "Democratic leaders -- given every communications advantage and decisive control of every elected branch of government -- have not only lost legislative momentum, they have lost a national argument. Americans have taken every opportunity -- the town hall revolt, increasingly lopsided polling, a series of upset elections culminating in Massachusetts -- to shout their second thoughts. At this point, for Democratic leaders to insist on their current approach is to insist that Americans are not only misinformed but also dimwitted."

The thing is, they do! We all remember what Obama said about rural and small-town Americans during the campaign. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said unemployed men are essentially abusive Neanderthals. And liberal commentator Bill Maher made no bones about your I.Q. in a recent Larry King interview, when he urged Democrats to ram through health-care reform regardless of public opinion, because, "What the Democrats never understand is that Americans don't really care what position you take, just stick with one. Just be strong. They're not bright enough to really understand the issues. But like an animal, they can sort of sense strength or weakness. They can smell it on you."

He wasn't joking. Nor is it funny.

 (By the way, we all know Larry King is the media's top softball pitcher, but do you think for a minute he would have sat with chin in hand if a conservative had said Americans aren't "bright enough to really understand the issues"?)

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dichotomy
39300
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dichotomy 02/24/10 - 12:59 pm
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After the Obama dog and pony

After the Obama dog and pony show on Thursday, Americans need to bombard their representatives with phone calls and emails and then grab their protest signs and hit the streets at every opportunity. We need t kill this monstrosity (again) for the final time. The president's plan does exactly the opposite of what we were told he wanted to do. This plan RAISES the cost of healthcare for the middle class, TAXES middle class people who are currently paying for healthcare insurance. TAXES the middle class by raising taxes on insurance companies and medical device manufacturers, lowers the standard of care for seniors by cutting Medicare, and, in the final analysis, does not provide healthcare to everyone. It is nothing but a tax bill and a government grab for power and control over what kind of healthcare the government will permit you to have.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/24/10 - 06:41 pm
0
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We have 9 more months of this

We have 9 more months of this type of "political action". If there are elections in November, we'll be able to stop this mess.

Riverman1
99355
Points
Riverman1 02/24/10 - 10:02 pm
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I'm starting to look at the

I'm starting to look at the big picture. I believe it will help us more in November if the Democrats manage to pass some version of their bill using their devious methods that will wake up the American people like nothing else. If that happens it takes the focus off Republicans blocking matters.

On the other hand, if we are successful stopping the bill, it is going to slowly start to build a negative image that we are in favor of all the "wrongs" with the current health care system.

I suspect Obama and Rahm Emanuel have contemplated all this and are prepared, and even trying, to lose here, in hopes of bigger wins in Oct and in 3 years.

Petey Aitchess
0
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Petey Aitchess 02/25/10 - 01:21 am
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RM1 - An interesting

RM1 - An interesting perspective. I can't say that I disagree with you.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 02/25/10 - 04:48 am
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It's possible, with our

It's possible, with our current education level in this country, to convince the general population of just about anything by repeating a point of view over and over. However, right now it's pretty obvious that making things much worse isn't the same as improving them and that's what Obamacare represents. If both perspectives are repeated endlessly until November, neither side will be able to improve their standings. In the meantime, Obama's current "best intentions" are making things worse and worse economically. If major positive changes aren't made by the left, the best of window dressing won't save their seats.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/25/10 - 07:53 am
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Hillary and other Democrats

Hillary and other Democrats are already lining up for a 2012 run against this "Jimmy Carter" clone. Once he looked unstoppable. Now there is "blood in the water".

Riverman1
99355
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Riverman1 02/25/10 - 01:14 pm
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Score one for Lamar

Score one for Lamar Alexander. He said insurance premiums would increase, but Obama disputed it. Later Obama had to back down and admit premiums would increase. This seems to show Obama and the Democrats don't understand the magnitude and costs of their own bill.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/25/10 - 08:05 pm
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I fault the Obama

I fault the Obama administration for having its priorities wrong. In the middle of two unwinnable wars and the Great Recession, we cannot have guns and butter too. President Obama should have fulfilled his campaign pledge to end the U.S. war in Iraq and close the Guantanamo detention facility. He has done neither, and he made a fatal error in escalating the U.S. war in Afghanistan and expanding the U.S. air war in Pakistan. A study released to by Peter Bergen finds that the U.S. drone program has reached the limits of its utility and is now "counterproductive".

I also fault the liberal blogosphere for fixating on heath care reform and failing to support the anti-war / peace movement. When I brought that to the attention of Daily Kos readers I was told "we can walk and chew gum at the same time." No we can't.

United States cannot move forward with any new progressive domestic programs or expect our economy to eventually recover until it ends its war in Iraq and Afghanistan and cuts the U.S. defense budget by 50%.

corgimom
41319
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corgimom 02/25/10 - 09:07 pm
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But I notice that the

But I notice that the Republicans haven't come up with any ideas for saving Medicare from bankruptcy. Why?

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/26/10 - 07:23 am
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Where's the Republican plan

Where's the Republican plan to overhaul health care and contain or reduce costs? The Republicans are making a grievous miscalculation if they think they can ride "No to everything" to victories in November elections.

And Democrats are making a grievous error if they think they can enact any domestic programs or expect a sustained recovery without ending the costly, unwinnable U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a misguided, counterproductive war on terror.

"US drone strikes in Pakistan of limited value: report" | AFP | 6:22 pm EST Thu 25 Feb 2010 | http://z15.invisionfree.com/Augusta_Alternative/index.php?showtopic=74&s...

Riverman1
99355
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Riverman1 02/26/10 - 10:25 am
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Corgimom said, "But I notice

Corgimom said, "But I notice that the Republicans haven't come up with any ideas for saving Medicare from bankruptcy. Why?"

It's because this LBJ-Democratic conceived program can't be save by the Republicans or the Democrats. The liberal New York Times said a few weeks ago that Social Security and Medicare "have proved almost sacrosanct in political terms, even as they threaten to grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run."

Medicare spending is now16% of all spending. Only social security and the military are more expensive. It is currently spending more than it brings in. The Medicare hospital insurance trust fund will become insolvent by 2019.

What have we learned from all this? We can create programs and enjoy the fruits for a few decades, but spending more than we can afford ALWAYS catches up to us.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/27/10 - 10:39 am
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Health care reform may be

Health care reform may be "bitter medicine" for conservatives, but "really bitter medicine" awaits all Americans when this country implodes. Empires collapse at astonishing rates when unwise wars and fiscal deficits collide. We will be forced to bite the bullet by economic exigencies.

Bring all U.S. troops home now and cut "defense" spending by 50%. Russia had to do that when the Soviet Union collapsed. Russia survived and the U.S. will too if we reinvent our economy so that it is sustainable. Health care reform can wait.

TheFederalist
1
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TheFederalist 02/28/10 - 01:38 pm
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Looks like Mr. Hussein is

Looks like Mr. Hussein is asking all of congress to fall on their collective swords for him, knowing full well the consequences to anyone who is poisoned by their vote for his agenda in future elections. Mr. Hussein now finds himself in worse political straits than President Clinton faced after the Republican landslide of 1994. The difference is that Clinton was not an idealogue, so he was able to switch directions and recover his political footing by working with the GOP to actually achieve some of his greatest accomplishments. Clinton’s most significant successes in the White House were all in conjunction with Republicans: the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, welfare reform in 1996, and balanced budget legislation in 1997 that included a cut in the capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent that spurred the financial boom and budget surplus of his second term. Instead of taking lessons from history, Mr. Hussein's philosophy is to to continue to try and ram his unpopular and unfunded agenda down our collective thoats. Clinton won reelection by pulling everyone together and making compromises. Think there is any hope of Mr. Hussein grasping this concept before he becomes a "Lame Duck"? I think not. Peace.

chascush
0
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chascush 03/08/10 - 07:31 pm
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The repubs should not be the

The repubs should not be the party of NO but should be the party of HELL NO to Hussein’s socialist agenda!

Little Lamb
50764
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Little Lamb 03/11/10 - 09:38 am
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The "Senate bill," the bill

The "Senate bill," the bill that PBO wants an "up or down" vote on, contains the provision of the health insurance mandate. There is the mandate that every citizen be covered by some form of health insurance or pay a fine to the government. This would be a first in America. Can you think of any other product or service that the federal government forces you to buy just for the privilege of being a resident here? Don't you think this mandate will be a juicy lawsuit argument?

Now, if in 2011 the federal government can force you to buy health insurance, what other things will the federal government force you to buy in the future? Perhaps some of Al Gore's carbon offset credits? Might they force you to open a checking account at an FDIC bank in order to have direct deposit of all your government benefits? Might they force you to purchase garbage pickup from either a local government or a private trash hauler to ensure that your garbage goes to the right landfill? What else?

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