Now, I understand that I’m quite late to report this, but Will Saletan points out that for the first time, there has been a discussion of health care policy at a debate that is NOT between the three (now two) fringe candidates. John Kerry and John Edwards, for the first time, discussed the differences between their two medical insurance reform packages. FYI, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton both support a utopian Canada-style single-payer system, as did Carol Moseley Braun. Gephardt backed a bloated corporate welfare system, that would cost three times as much as other plans, and provide less coverage. Edwards backs a system that does little more than add a real prescription drug benefit to Medicare and expand S-CHIP, which Lieberman and Graham also touted. Kerry, and, before he dropped out, Dean, have both pushed for allowing regular citizens to buy into the federal employees’ health pool, along with the changes that Edwards and co. back. But no candidate has touched on what really should be done: consolidation. All levels of government have completely separate and isolated health programs, from Medicare, to Medicaid, to S-CHIP, to Veterans’ benefits, to military benefits, to American Indian benefits, to federal, state, and municipal employee benefits. Just a thought: wouldn’t it make sense if all of these programs were packed together into a single federal program? That would save phenomenal amounts of administrative spending, as well as solve state and local deficit crises. I don’t have the numbers to calculate the cost, but the savings in administration alone could make the plan quite cheap. The plan is so simple, I’m amazed no one has proposed it before.
Taegan Goodard’s little “free newspaper” gimmick included a Washington Times headline that was just too juicy not to debunk: “Gay priests cited in abuse of boys” Well, I had to read on to see just how wrong the allegations were, and, sure enough, I found a huge problem: “There are ‘many outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives,’ Mr. Bennett said, ‘but … more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.'”. Newsflash: there is a HUGE difference between adult male abuse of boys and gay male abuse of boys. Just because the abuse was between two males, does NOT mean the abuser is gay. Except, the extraordinarily biased Washington Times just could not waste an opportunity to slander the gay community.
Suellentrop has a piece that basically summarizes why Kerry is winning: he steals. As himself, a patronizing, patrician Senator, he had no chance of winning. Who would vote for a candidate who condescends to them? However, for some reason, Kerry did not realize this until December 2003, and, when he did, promptly fired his campaign manager, Jim Jordan, hired his current manager, Mary Beth Cahill, and set out to steal what he thought was the core of Howard Dean’s strategy: speak out against special interests. Now, this really was not what Dean was all about, but Kerry stole it all the still, and while Gephardt and Dean were slowly hacking each other to death, Kerry rose. He has since gotten much better at his thievery, continuing to use the interests angle against Dean in New Hampshire and the February 3rd states, and succeeded grandly. With Dean no longer an issue, he decided to hit Clark by emphasizing his military experience (which, unlike Clark’s, most definitely does NOT count as foreign policy experience.) He won this battleground too, and now, with Edwards as his only, if laughably weak, serious challenger, he has stolen Edwards’ “connect with the people” strategy, which, in turn, Edwards stole from Clinton. Kerry isn’t winning this race. The rest of the field is.
Kos has launched his own little crusade against Rep. Marilyn Musgrave [R-CO], which is understandable, considering that her claim to fame is a constitutional amendment that would force states to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. She is vulnerable, and though she does deserve to lose come November, I really think the hype over the amendment is overblown. Yes, Bush endorsed it, but that was just a political stunt to try to stop former Alabama Chief Justice and professional basket-case Roy Moore from running under the Constitution Party. And yes, 100+ U.S. House members have endorsed it. But the requirements for an amendment are stringent. 290 House members need to vote for it, as do 67 senators. The Musgrave amendment doesn’t have nearly that level of support. Also, 38 state legislatures have to pass resolutions approving it. This I’m sure can be met, as 39 states have ironically titled “Defense of Marriage Acts”. But the congressional requirements are next to impossible to meet. Hopefully that’ll help you sleep easier tonight. It certainly will for me.
Well, for the first time in the last four years, I’ve found myself supporting one of President Bush’s economic policies. Despite the fact that half of the Democratic establishment is criticizing it, Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Stephen Mankiw’s statement that the outsourcing of U.S. jobs is good for us in the long run is true (!). Although a fuss has been made about the outsourcing of white collar jobs, the vast majority of outsourced jobs have been menial, and this vastly improves the efficiency of the world economy: unindustrialized nations, whose workers demand less in wages, would have physical-labor based economies, while developed nations would have economies based on cerebral occupations, like business, medicine, law, nursing, teaching, etc. This would fit an the economy to each nation’s ability, which is crucial for free trade to work. But what is also crucial, and what the Bush Administration, unsurprisingly, is not pushing for, is job training programs. If we are to have a cerebral economy, we must have a better-educated workforce, through expanding community colleges, Pell Grants, and other higher education programs. If the Bush Administration does not push for these programs, free trade will only hurt the U.S.
Well, here it is. Up at last. I just thought I’d introduce myself to all of you: I am MiniPundit. I am a New Hampshire resident with a love for politics (specifically on the left). This will be a site of political rants and ramblings, and I’ll try to limit all other topics to a minimum. So, let the show begin!