Tag Archives: Congress

My Healthcare Day Dream…In All of its Most Likely Unconstitutional Glory.

Here is my dream healthcare plan (it’s most likely unconstitutional, practically impossible, doesn’t address really any of the nuanced issues, and is highly unorthodox). Regardless, I do believe that it represents the greatest use of democratic principles:

Step 1: Design a strong public healthcare option in Congress. Forget about the rest of it, just make sure the public option is everything that it should be (“Socialist” or not). 

Step 2: Figure out how to set aside a chunk of money to pay for the public option. When Blue Dogs and Republicans get upset, just let them talk.

Step 3: Declare that we believe each state should have the right to decide whether or not to adopt this public option. Those who don’t want it, don’t have to have it. How can those who believe in States Rights not accept this? Let the advertising and mudslinging, state by state, begin!

Step 4: Put it on the ballot, state by state, and allow the citizens to vote on it.

Step 5: Those states where the proposition passes will have the public option implemented in their state (which will not take away the right to keep current coverage for those who are happy already), and will receive the necessary federal funding (as well as any other funding being provided by other elements of the healthcare industry).

Everybody (or at least a voting majority) gets what they want!

Epilogue: Two things might happen in this scenario- a) the vast majority of states could pass the prop, thus taking the decision making out of the politically motivated hands of their clearly incompetent representatives. This would be extremely bad news for Republicans. Or, b) the measure passes in some states (perhaps those that light up blue), but not others. If this happens, I foresee massive migrations over the next decade to states that offer a public plan, thus cutting down populations in some states and adding to others. This of course will have a major effect on the number of representatives allotted to a state, etc, but at least these states will be able to save themselves from what they perceive to be Socialism. 

Of course this is a pipe dream. But, then again, what would be so wrong with letting each state decide? Wouldn’t that be extraordinarily democratic? It would certainly serve to diffuse a lot of the political pressure on Congress. Then perhaps they could put together some legislation that will actually work.

UPDATE: I don’t believe that only those who are poor and uninsured would migrate to states with a public option. Rather, I think it would be a major selling point for businesses who would no longer have to pay for their employees’ healthcare, as well as for anybody with domestic help who pays for healthcare for their employees (ie upper middle class+).

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Senator Sessions Look-Alike?

I happen to like Sen. Jeff Sessions. I think he’s a thoughtful politician who, I believe, will be a much more tempered leader during the Sotomayor hearings than Chuck Grassley would have been. BUT (and there’s always a caveat), it’s quite possible that his astonishing resemblance to another American icon may confuse and fluster viewers at home:

 

Senator Jeff Sessions  Keebler Elf                                                  VS.

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GOP: The First 50 Days

Craig Crawford over at CQ’s Trail Mix put together this great video highlighting the GOP’s first 50 days of the new political term:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

more about “GOP: The First 50 Days“, posted with vodpod

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John McCain Gets a Reality Check, or (alternately), Stay Out of South Carolina, Sen. McCain!

As a twitter follower of Senator John McCain (twitter name SenJohnMcCain), my text message box has clearly noticed that the Arizona Senator has started regularly sending out a Letterman-style top 10 list of  that day’s 10 worst earmarks from the Omnibus bill. Granted, as a supporter of superfluous things like science, the environment, and the arts, I generally don’t agree with him, but this is his schtick and has been for a long time so I’m not at all surprised to see him list something like beaver management in North Carolina as an extraordinary luxury that the federal government shouldn’t have to foot the bill for. Has John McCain ever seen a North Carolina beaver? Has he ever looked into their beady little eyes? They’re like gremlins. Greatest national threat (besides bears) in my opinion. 

In a Friday opinion piece from the Myrtle Beach newspaper The Sun News however, it appears that there are some who do not have my sense of understanding (and let’s be honest, rightfully so. John McCain! Get your act together!): 

#6. $950,000 for a Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, SC

– Tweet from Sen. John McCain.

Sen. John McCain, the 2008 GOP candidate for president, has been having fun with his twitter.com account lately. He (or perhaps an aide) scrutinizes the $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill under consideration in Congress for earmarked projects that strike him as silly, then publishes daily “pork” lists on the micro-blogging Web site. Among the projects that made one of McCain’s Wednesday list is $950,000 for expanding the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The purpose of this pork-identification exercise, apparently, is to make congressional earmarks a political wedge issue for the Republicans (even though 40 percent of the earmarks in the bill are attributable to Republicans). Demonize earmark-backed projects as pork of socialistic nature attributable to President Obama and the Democrats, and perhaps you can re-energize the tattered GOP base.

Twitter is made to order for such political misdirection. As readers familiar with the service know, it limits messages to 140 characters – the perfect format for context-free political zingers. McCain has more than 143,000 followers on Twitter, so his zingers reach a large audience. And considering that McCain’s true believers share his “tweets” with others (that’s how we found out about it), the senator’s audience might run in the millions. Regardless, readers of McCain’s Convention Center tweet are now invited to think – without the inconvenience of critical reflection – that the Myrtle Beach Convention Center project has no value.

Wrong. The project has huge potential for the long-term creation of wealth and jobs here on the Grand Strand, and the $950,000 infusion advances that goal.

The proposed expansion of the Convention Center to include space for larger trade shows got a lot of ink a few years back. Larger shows in an expanded center would fill up local hotels at the times of years when occupancy is low while energizing restaurants and retail establishments in the during typically slow times of year, building jobs and economic activity for the entire region.

Equally important, larger trade shows could acquaint new visitors with decision-making authority with our communities. In tandem with an aggressive, well-run local economic-development outreach effort, trade-show visits could become an important recruitment tool for nontourism diversification of our local economy.

To that end, the S.C. General Assembly two years ago approved a

$7 million grant toward land acquisition for the expansion project – money that must be spent by 2011 or lost. The total estimated cost of the expansion is $70 million – a price that local, not federal, taxpayers will pay. The new $950,000 in earmark money will go into the city’s land-acquisition kitty.

The irony in all this: In bad-mouthing the project on Twitter, McCain threw Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., his supposed close pal, to the wolves.

It was Graham, long a supporter of Grand Strand economic-development projects, who inserted the Convention Center earmark into the appropriations bill. Our counter-tweet to McCain:Graham deserves praise, not mockery, for this earmark. The money in question won’t be wasted.

Just one word: BOOYAH. This editorial gives the kind of legitimate explanation that exists for many of the earmarks that are being ridiculed: creation of jobs, infrastructure, and investment in the future of the local economy. As much as we may theoretically hate the idea of specific legislators marking specific money for their own state projects, it is a) a big part of what we actually elect our Congressional representatives to do, and b) not inherently evil. Clearly the system needs an overhaul, as the number of earmarks in the Omnibus is exorbitant, but to say that this money will definitely go to waste, rather than pumping necessary capital into local communities and potentially creating jobs/ tourism/ various other revenue streams, is simple and silly. So if the states desperately need money, and we know that they do, and Republicans want smaller government, less taxes, more state control, etc., why are earmarks not the solution instead of the problem? And in all seriousness, if not earmarks, is there a better means of appropriating the necessary money to the states that need it without creating greater bureaucracy? 

*60% of earmarks in the Omnibus come from Democrats, 40% from Republicans. That essentially represents the make-up of Congress so this is definitely a bipartisan issue.

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Jack Cafferty Woos Michelle Obama Via Web Blog

Jack "The Jacktor" Cafferty

Jack "The Jacktor" Cafferty

Jack Cafferty seems like a pretty dry fellow. His commentaries are generally fairly interesting but always slightly “Droopy the Dog,” which isn’t necessarily bad when you have Campbell Brown running around. But his piece today entitled “My Crush on Michelle Obama” is just plain bizarre. Has he been exposed to the same Love Potion no. 9 as Chris Matthews? WARNING: the essay, nay, poetry below is practically Shakespearian and may thus make children and small animals swoon:

I think I am developing a crush on America’s first lady. Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He’s good, but she’s utterly fascinating.

Mrs. Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It’s like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows.

It’s the people’s house, and Michelle Obama totally gets it. So much so that she has taken to inviting people in from the streets to see her home. Nice touch — one completely lacking in her recent predecessors.

Watch her when she visits a local school and you see the warmth and affection she instantly triggers in people. Kids are pretty much totally honest with very good BS-detectors. If they sense you’re a phony, forget it. But around the first lady, they want to hug her and laugh with her and tell her stories.

You can see the same qualities these kids recognize in her daughters. She is the consummate mother as evidenced by the poised, polite smiling children she and her husband are raising. I have four daughters, and trust me — they don’t turn out like the Obama children without devoted parents.

New to the Washington neighborhood, Michelle Obama has taken it upon herself to go around and introduce herself to the people in the various agencies of government. When’s the last time a first lady did that? I don’t ever remember it before. And during her visits she listens rather than lectures. And people respond to her.

She was raised on the south side of Chicago by blue-collar parents. She went to Princeton University, and Harvard Law School. But in many ways she’s still a kid from the south side of Chicago, and that’s what makes her special. She knows exactly who she is.

The Obamas bring a humanity and humility to their tasks which sets them far apart from the run-of-the mill phonies who populate Washington. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered for this wounded nation.

Michelle Obama’s unassuming, but dead-on, sense of style has the fashion press gushing all over itself.

Her arms are becoming the stuff of legend. Who appears sleeveless on the cover of Vogue, let alone in front of a joint session of Congress while her husband delivers one of the most important speeches of his life? And the reviews were rave.

Cindi Leive, the editor of Glamour magazine gushed, “Oh my god! The first lady has bare arms in Congress in February at night!” If she keeps it up, Seventh Avenue will soon stop making women’s clothes with sleeves.

Ok, I admit it. When it comes to the first lady, I’m smitten.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jack Cafferty.

Her arms? Really? You, Jack Cafferty, think that’s newsworthy?


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