Republican Party

Three Reasons Why The Dems Are in Big, Big Trouble. And One Reason Why They're Not.

What Obama-and the GOP-should learn from the Coakley defeat and slumping polls.

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Martha Coakley's resounding defeat in the Massachusetts Senate race is hardly the sort of anniversary gift President Barack Obama could have predicted. Yet there it was, wrapped in a bow and plopped on his doorstep like a flaming bag of dog poo to mark the end of his first year in office.

Among other things, Scott Brown's upset victory means that Obama, who flew up to the Bay State to campaign for the deservedly doomed Coakley in the race's twilight, is zero for three when it comes to high-profile two-minute drills for beloved causes (remember getting Chicago the Olympics and putting together a global carbon deal at the U.N climate conference in Copenhagen?).

There are at least three basic reasons, plain as the nose on your face, that the Democrats and Obama are in trouble for the near future:

1. Health care reform is not popular. An ABC News/Washington Post poll published on January 19 has 51 percent against current congressional plans and just 44 percent in favor, numbers that haven't moved in a month. Other polls show even greater percentages oppose the plan, with all the trend lines over the past year working heavily against the Democrats.

People fear the obvious: "Reform" that increases the government's role in anything virtually guarantees steadily increasing costs, lower levels of services, and ballooning federal deficits. All the special-interest carve-outs to buy votes from wavering senators and pay down objections from Big Labor didn't help either, especially on an issue that was not boiling over on the front-burner of voter concerns at a time of prolonged economic crisis.

2. The stimulus and TARP bailouts are not popular. They never were, even back when Republicans were pushing them, and are getting less and less so as it becomes clear that such policies are at best ineffective and at worst horribly counterproductive. During his first year in office, reports Congressional Quarterly, Obama got what he wanted from Congress a record-setting 97 percent of time, so it's not like he's simply muddling through with a bad hand. Yet the president (and by extension, the Dems) are tanking when it comes to handling the economy, both in terms of results and job approval. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from January 10 shows just 43 percent approving of Obama's economic policies, down from 56 percent a year ago.

Simply put, nobody believes that weatherizing vacant homes in Detroit or keeping an already bloated public sector on permanent life support is going to restart the economy.

3. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not popular. Neither is Obama's foreign policy more generally. According to Gallup, Obama's reaction (or non-reaction) to the Christmas Day bomber had a marginally positive effect on the president's marks for handling terrorism, but it remains a fact that his positions on Iraq and especially Afghanistan are at odds with most Americans. Whatever latent peacenik tendencies his supporters and detractors assumed he harbored, Obama has doubled, or even tripled, down in Afghanistan while following the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq. This may qualify as hope, but it doesn't count much as change. Especially since we've still got no real clear mission in Afghanistan, despite having been there for so long.

Obama's failure to define a coherent foreign policy is not his alone. At the end of the Cold War, the political class shrugged and almost immediately began to spend "the peace dividend" that came with a winding down of military spending as a percentage of GDP and the federal budget. Both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton cut relative military spending, as they should have. Where they, and Bush II and Obama so far, manifestly failed was in working to build a consensus of what U.S. foreign policy should be. We continue to pay for that failure in wasted dollars and, more damningly, wasted lives.

All is not ashes for Obama and the Democrats, of course. After all, a new AP-GfK poll finds that 49 percent of Americans want the Democrats to maintain control of Congress (just 37 percent are pulling for the Republicans to take charge). The GOP had its run at the top and the results were nothing less than a disaster on just about every front.

For those of us who don't paint our faces for either the red or blue teams, the tragicomedy of American politics is that each party looks pretty freaking awesome when compared to its counterpart. As bad as Bush was, Obama may well be worse. As rotten as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are, just remember Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert. Now reverse the party affiliations and repeat. In their hour of darkness, all the Dems need to recall is that they are running against Republicans. And vice versa. Independents–the only reliably growing voting bloc in an electorate long since fatigued by two-party politics–are swinging violently against Democrats after throwing the Republican bums out in 2008 and 2006.

The hangover from the first year of Obama and the afterglow of Scott Brown's stunning senatorial upset can teach the major parties some real lessons: First and foremost, listen to the voters, especially voters who are calling for smaller government despite very tough times. In a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey, 58 percent say they favor smaller government that provides fewer services rather than bigger government and more services (38 percent want that). Moving in that direction would indeed constitute change. For a change.

The way back to voters' hearts is not through boosting the size and scope of government (something else that Obama and the Dems simply filched from the Bush-era GOP) but by unmistakably trimming some sails. Health care reform, such as it is, should consist of giving individuals more options via a deregulated, non-job-based marketplace where costs are made more transparent rather than less so. It works everywhere else in the economy and will work in health care. Regarding government spending, it means freezes all around and reductions in staff sizes at all levels of government. It means starting (and winning) a debate over ridiculous public-sector retirement packages that bankrupt whole polities for the benefit of a privileged few. With foreign policy, it means thinking through a coherent set of principles that will guide our interactions, and not just our reactions, in the world, focusing on trade rather than aid and warfare. It means fighting terrorism with amply-funded intelligence services rather than the misbegotten occupation of whole troubled regions.

The 21st century has so far been a tremendous disappointment to those of us who remember the end of the 20th. We know that today's leaders are dogs, but here's hoping they are not so old that they can't learn a few new tricks. Especially since we are the ones that will continue paying for their mistakes.

Matt Welch is the editor in chief of Reason magazine. Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.tv and Reason.com.

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173 responses to “Three Reasons Why The Dems Are in Big, Big Trouble. And One Reason Why They're Not.

  1. These points laid out by Matt and The Jacket bring one thing to mind: We need a nickname for Matt Welch.

    1. Cpt. Normal

      Matt “crooked tie” Welch (That only applies when the first button undone look isn’t being rocked.)

    2. LA Matt

      Cowboy Matt (see his blog straw hat pic)

      The Fist of Welch

    3. hell with the glasses and news boy look he could be superman.

    4. “Matzee”? “Frenchie”? [Because of his wife.] “Sheep shagger”? [See, ’cause it sounds like ‘Welsh’, ha!…oh nevermind.]

  2. Why do you guys hate Hope and Change? Don’t you want Hope and Change?

    1. yeah and what about change & hope…don’t you want cjhange and hope either?

    2. Hope and change reminds me too much of puppies and rainbows ? I hates me puppies and rainbows

      1. Kittens and waterfalls for me.

        1. add unicorns and hippies to the list.

  3. Welch is a bass player.

    I say “Fingers”. Unless he’s lame and plays with a pick.

    Good article y’all.

    1. did you drop an “r”?

    2. I say Welch should stop abusing fish ? oh, I get it.

    3. Fingers and The Jacket. They sound like snitches from Barney Miller.

      1. Welch and Gillespie LOOK like snithes from Barney Miller. So it works.

    4. I am NOT a bass player. I have played bass in emergency situations (and always with a pick), but the instrument eludes me. Lousy rhythm guitarist, mostly.

      1. “I have played bass in emergency situations (and always with a pick), but the instrument eludes me.”

        Well yeah it’s because you’re playing with a fuckin’ pick! You have to FEEL the notes.

        And a lot of rhythm guitfiddle is played with the fingers.

        And actually, since fretting is done with the fingers, “Fingers” still works.

        However, since you describe your playing in a negative manner, “Sticky Fingers” could work too.

        What kind of gear do you have?

        1. I have the world’s worst (and yet most beloved) $100 Chinese acoustic guitar with pickups, called the “Sunlite.” Have actually recorded several times with it, using the same set of strings for years. Am always on the verge of either replacing my long-stolen ’63 Jazzmaster, or getting some big funny-looking hollowish body electric with lots of knobs & switches, but then I realize that I don’t have time, space, or the right zip code. Also, obviously, I’m not much of a gear-head.

          1. The fact that you used to own a Jazzmaster raises your stock greatly.

            1. An accident of history. Was shopping for my first electric guitar in 1987 or so, saw this neat-looking and very light thing, with weirdo knobs & switches and wood paneling, for just $325, and said “I’ll take that.” Only realized after it got stolen nearly a decade later that it was a coveted guitar, though I loved it very very much.

          2. That’s good actually. I’m a pretty big, used to be massive, gearhead but the bottom line is the actual playing and enjoyment is what matters.

            Wood is awesome in that every piece is different. My $400 MIM Strat beats the Fender Custom Shop and Suhr stuff I’ve played it against. And after dropping Anderson pickups in it, it’s the best sounding Strat I’ve ever heard. Inexpensive gear rules.

            And it’s funny you mention a hollow body. I dove headlong in to jazz a year ago and am in the market for one. Some of the new Japanese made D’Angelicos for about $1300 are killer guitars.

            1. Have you checked out the new Gretch line? They are great guitars for the price, about 600 bucks. I’m mainly a Gypsy jazz player so I mostly use Selmer style gits, but the Gretch is terrific for straight jazz.

              1. I’m mainly a Gypsy jazz player…

                With that nickname? Nooooo……

                1. Hey some people actually think I’m a computer geek.

              2. Haven’t had the chance but they’re on my list.

          3. My son has a 50 dollar Sunlite acoustic that has really great tone and volume. The action is very nice, low and consistant from bridge to nut. I havent played many higher-end acoustics that I like better.

      2. Everyone hates the bass player.

        “He’s balding… Spiritually.”

      3. “Lousy rhythm guitarist, mostly”

        Then “The Boss” would be a good name.

      4. The secret to good bass playing is to play off the kick drum. You can use a pick or fingers just stay on that kick….

  4. I guess things have been so bleak for so long that any good news at all seems like a really big deal, but I suspect that in the coming months we’re gonna find that our federal government, both Democrat and Republican, still completely sucks.

    It kinda makes me think of when the Democrats won that mid-term election and Rumsfeld resigned rather than having to face a Democrat led hearing? It was great to see Rumsfeld resign, but then came the bailouts, etc., and you realized that getting Rumsfeld to resign, that was fighting the last war.

    So even if healthcare is dead, what fresh hell comes next? Isn’t healthcare pretty much the only thing on which the Republicans and Democrats substantively disagree?

    1. No. This will kill card check and cap and trade as well, which is a pretty big deal.

      When you get rid of Obamacare, card check and cap and trade, what is left of the Obama agenda? Closing GUITMO?

  5. People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice….Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.

    1. Rodney King would make a better president than Barack Obama. Of course, that’s not saying much.

      -jcr

      1. I like his foreign policy.

  6. Evidently some people still

    simply cannot face the truth: George W. Bush the “conservative” is a conservator of corporate liberalism/socialism. Not raising taxes is his only break with tradition. Were Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, or even Bill Clinton the current president — heck, we might as well go and throw in the Republicans (e.g., Nixon, to belabor the obvious) — the nation would be exactly where it is today … except with higher taxes.

    It’s not a matter of only economic policy. George Bush II is no Robert Taft II. He has become — yes, in abandonment of his pre-election statements (e.g., America cannot “go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you”) — the stalwart of an aggressive foreign policy, i.e., the policy of the iconic liberals above (as acknowledged by even Spite Right firebrand Ann Coulter).

  7. We need an open thread, which reappears periodically, where we (including the writers) brainstorm a way for the LP (and other libertarians) to do something with this opportunity. Anti-government feeling comes and goes in this country, and this is one of those relatively rare times when it’s getting pretty strong.

    1. I like what you suggest. The country is in a state of mind that is very fertile for the growth of libertarianism.

      1. It is, and doing something a little more effective this time around might be a good idea. Even if all that message contained was the slogan, “Less government good; more government bad.”

        1. I see that getting changed to “Less government good; more government better.”

      2. I though you weren’t going to post here anymore.

        1. You got that list of qualifications done yet? That was the deal. Go back and reread the post if you need a reminder.

        2. Hey man, if that’s not the squirrels eating your name then grow some balls and quit hiding.

    2. Excellent suggestion Pro L.

      Make it happen Reason. It’d be cool.

    3. The constant belittling of people in my situation is one of the things that will need to be addressed before the party is palatable to the mainstream. A lack of empathy that manifests itself in derision and exclusion is death in politics.

      1. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a real lack of empathy – since a lot of us are probably in similar situations – but there is an appalling lack of successful ability to explain to people just exactly *why* the unemployment rate, cost of health care, education and other things of this nature are so high.

    4. Make a deal. The evangelicals agree to shut up about gay marriage and social issues and the libertarians agree to stop whining about the treatment of Islamists and both sides agree to concentrate on lowering the footprint of government in society. Call it the guns and freedom platform.

      1. So conservatives agree to extend rights to some groups while taking them away from others?

        1. Hey, we palled around with the Soviets to fight the Nazis. There’s common ground in making the government less scary.

      2. But Evangelicals favor big government but only when it works in their favor.

        1. Any alliances are temporary, at best. The way I look at it, we’d all get together to preserve something to fight over later.

      3. I’m not sure all Evangelicals should shut up about gay marriage… just perhaps change their argument for opposing state recognized gay marriage.

    5. The concept of small government doesn’t resonate with young people that much. I prefer to sell libertarianism as life free from undue coercion. The government is the only institution allowed to use violence to achieve its goals, but understanding that, it should wield as little power as possible, as government action is inherently synonymous with violent coercion. The left then just argues that the only people that they are trying to coerce are corporations, and they don’t count as people. While technically true, a corporation is not a person, a corporation, however, is PEOPLE. You can’t have a corporation without customers, management, and shareholders all of which happen to be PEOPLE.

  8. Any speculations why the markets are down a lot today? There was confidence last night that the DOW at least would roar upward today?

    1. The market is based on things other than one election in Massachusetts? Whatever political effects may come from this are yet to be seen.

    2. Earnings, China set to pull back stimulus

    3. They just found out about the Earthquake Gun ™.

    4. Any speculations why the markets are down a lot today?

      Pat Robertson knows.

    5. last night Matt Drudge told me markets were up at the promise of a 41st republican in the Senate. So if they are down today it must be beause of something else.

  9. It means fighting terrorism with amply-funded competent intelligence services rather than the misbegotten occupation of whole troubled regions clueless goons who frisk cub scouts then lie about it.

  10. What I find hilarious is how brief Sen Al Franken’s time as the 60th vote was. He wasn’t seated until after the fourth of July. He got six months.

    1. +1

  11. Some other things that aren’t that popular with mainstream America: 1.7 trillion dollar yearly deficits, ACORN, outright bribes for buying votes, backroom payoffs to SEIU and other unions, giving the mastermind of 9/11 the same rights as an American shoplifter, America-hating Mao-admiring communist scumbags holding White House posts, refusing to call radical Muslim terrorists radical Muslim terrorists, the list goes on and on and on.

    Honestly, what is there to like about any of this garbage?

  12. “I am NOT a bass player. I have played bass in emergency situations (and always with a pick), but the instrument eludes me. Lousy rhythm guitarist, mostly.”

    I say we start a Reason Magazine house band. I even have a name for it:

    Better Than Ezra Klien

    1. That’d be “freaking awesome.”

    2. Excellent.

      :Unicron style, not Bill and Ted:

  13. http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITI…..tml?hpt=T1

    Liberal New York Democrat Anthony Weiner predicted the Senate bill wouldn’t have the votes to pass the House.

    Weiner ridiculed House Democratic leaders for holding a meeting to brief House Democrats on negotiations with the White House on a health care bill, telling reporters, “They’re talking as if, ‘What our deal is, what our negotiators are at the White House’ — yeah, and then the last line is, ‘Pigs fly out of my ass’ … it’s just, we’ve got to recognize we are in an entirely different scenario.”

  14. In a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey, 58 percent say they favor smaller government that provides fewer services rather than bigger government and more services (38 percent want that).

    This poll always looks like this, until you start asking questions about specific programs. Cut the military? We need defense. Cut Social Security? Old people are eating dog food. Cut Medicare? Old people need their meds. About the only things that are popular to cut are foreign aid, which is a miniscule part of the budget, and “waste”, too ill-defined to be useful.

    It would certainly be good to end the Iraq & Afghanistan wars and kill the bailouts, but that still leaves us with a ton of spending that can’t really be touched.

    1. Add means-testing to Social Security and Medicare, and you’ve got a whole lot more……

      1. Assuming that means-testing actually saves money, which isn’t a slam dunk. You need more bureaucrats to determine the “need line”, to examine financial statements to enforce it, to hear appeals against it, etc. You cut fewer checks to old people and more checks to bureaucrats. Is that a win? I dunno, but I’m not sold that it is.

        1. Government could easily cut the budget if it had to. Public sector compensation now outpaces private sector compensation in every area. Decades ago, a government employee excepted less pay than they would receive in the private sector in return for job security. If you told spoecific departments to cut their budget or else, they’d find a way to make it work, same way as it happens in the private sector. When a recession hits, microsoft doesn’t continue spending the same amount just because they feel they’d really like to. They make serious and painful cuts that amount to an immediate savings that can be reinvested in more productive areas.

          I agree that politically it is difficult, and that is why I try to fight future spending, as that is the easiest to curb without a political turf war. Ever spending bill should have clearly outlined failure standards (if this program doesn’t create the desired benefit of X after three years, or cost projections continue to increase after 5 years, this program will end immediately etc etc) and a cost benefit analysis.

        2. Well, I’d prefer to simply abolish the program, but I accept that it’s just not going to happen.

          So if we can limit participation in it to people who actually NEED it, it’s a reasonable compromise, by which I mean that it has a chance of getting Democratic support.

    2. OK, But few would oppose the cutting cost of legislation. Cut congressional staffs 15%, salaries 20%, take away pensions, franking privileges, cars and drivers, planes, lunches, haircuts shoeshines, and require members to pay 8% of their health care costs. Start with the Capitol, then the White House then the Judiciary, I don’t foresee many taxpayers holding protests to save this pork. It is possible to cut the cost of governing w/o cut services provided.

  15. Welch and Gillespie wrote this together? Like Affleck and Damon? Which one types and which one drives?

  16. We need an open thread, which reappears periodically, where we (including the writers) brainstorm a way for the LP (and other libertarians) to do something with this opportunity. Anti-government feeling comes and goes in this country, and this is one of those relatively rare times when it’s getting pretty strong.

    First thing we do, is kill all the threaded comments.

    If we cannot address the multitudinous failures of the education system (Second thing we do, is kill all the Degreed Educators), we’re going to fail. As long as “our” children are inundated with idiotic bullshit about “natural monopolies” and government’s superior solutions to all the troubles of the world, we’re fucked.

    Sorry.

    1. +1

  17. Maybe “the market” is down because they listened to kindly old Grandpa Buffett on CNBC, this morning.

    Or maybe it’s old-fashioned “buy on the rumor, sell on the news” profit-taking.

    Or mayb e they’re looking at the banks’ balance sheets; or the Fed’s.

  18. remember getting Chicago the Olympics and putting together a global carbon deal at the U.N climate conference in Copenhagen?

    Obama will never see Copenhagen again. Ever.

    1. Unless he uses it as a stop-smoking aid.

      1. It’s comments like these that keep me reading Reason.

  19. The stimulus and TARP bailouts are not popular. They never were, even back when Republicans were pushing them

    Uh, the way I remember it, the Repubs (at least in the House) were fighting TARP and the stimulus.

  20. Anyone wanna venture a guess as to when Hillary resigns her SoS position?

  21. The conventional wisdom about these issues always completely ignores people who actually do want reform, but want it stronger than it is. Why the assumption that opposition to healthcare is always coming from an anti-reform position? The drop in support is in large part from people on the left who don’t like the compromises. You’re right to point out that the deal-making and corporate coddling has a lot to do with it. But watering down healthcare and stimulus further won’t change people’s minds. Strong healthcare reform was at one time very popular nationwide. The stimulus isn’t working as well as it could because a good chunk of it is useless tax cuts. A stronger stimulus would result in more jobs, a stronger health bill would have appealed to more people. Moderating these things won’t make them more popular.

    1. Let me see if I get what you’re saying, Tony. The far left is pissed off at the Dems so they decided to vote for a Republican?

      1. No. Independents did. But it’s a mistake to assume that independents automatically side with Republicans. Many independents don’t like the reform bill for the same reason liberals don’t: it doesn’t go far enough. Some, I’m sure, are convinced by the rightwing media machine that it will be “shoved down their throats” and kill granny, but I still think teabagger paranoia is a minority position.

        1. But it’s a mistake to assume that independents automatically side with Republicans.

          Uh, everyone already knows independents don’t automatically side with republicans. If they did, they would be republicans. Why the heck do you think they’re called “independent” in the first place?

          1. Yes, this should be obvious, but it’s not to DC or media conventional wisdom, who automatically assume that this is a “center right” country, and who ignored national polling that showed strong healthcare reform to be overwhelmingly popular, rather than just a pet project of the far left.

            1. My biggest problem with the bill is that as an uninsured young person, the only change in my life is that I would never see a tax refund check again, and I wouldn’t actually receive any benefits. This bill deserved to die as it stood. I agree that a lot of people want to change healthcare, but obamacare was about trying to slip in single payer care from the start. Then he tried to pretend that it wasn’t, then all the special interests got involved, and then obama fell flat on his face. He might take this as a powerful lesson and be a better president for it. One can hope.

              1. This is a long way from single payer, but why do you object?

                Your attempt to save a few bucks now guarantees that you will pay more later, especially if you get sick. No one comes out ahead in that. The adverse selection that you are demonstrating is the downfall of “free market” health insurance. Without some sort of group plan encouraged by the government, adverse selection would continue until only the very ill were left, and they were paying through the teeth.

            2. Define reform, dude. I’m in favor of reforming the regulatory morass of healthcare, especially on the insurance side. It’s a disaster. A government-mediated disaster.

              The U.S. has been largely center-right for quite some time. An aversion to Bush changes none of that, especially when Bush wasn’t exactly a free market advocate himself.

              1. Even if we are “right of center”, our health care system is off the deep end of the right wing…even if reform were to pass.

        2. “the rightwing media machine”

          Hahahahahahahaha.

          1. Yeah… Ya know, I’ve worked in and around media for about 7 years, and I have yet to see anything resembling “right wingers” anywhere except as anomalies who tend to be derided and black-balled by everyone else. The environment isn’t really very friendly to non-leftists, even as a libertarian it’s problematic.

      2. The far left doesn’t need to vote Republican, they just need to stay home and not vote at all.

    2. The beast has arrived.

    3. Japan has nearly stimulated itself into debt default, with no economic growth to show for it in 20 years. Don’t bullshit us.

      1. Don’t be fooled. Japan is secretly secreting all of its excess wealth into the design and production of robot slave girls. All of which look like someone’s exaggerated view of young American women of questionable legality.

  22. “The cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers”

    – James Madison (Federalist 63)

  23. “Strong Hypothetical healthcare reform was at one time very popular nationwide.”

    The devil is in the details.

    And, yes, many of “progressive” faithful are pissed that the Bill which actually cleared the Senate doesn’t have enough freebies. Those are probably not the people who elected Brown.

  24. Many independents don’t like the reform bill for the same reason liberals don’t: it doesn’t go far enough.

    [Citation needed, Karnac]

    1. Nate Silver was making that point awhile back, but I can’t find the link right now.

      It’s commonsense, however. “Independents” are a heterogeneous group, consisting of people to the left of the Democrats, people to the right of Republicans, and people who just plain don’t fit, like Libertarians. At least some of that group (which is larger than both parties put together) probably make the criticism that the Democrats plan doesn’t go far enough. Out and out communists, for example, I’m sure wouldn’t be happy without a wholesale takeover.

      1. And it’s not even that the plan has been watered down to appeal to more people (that obviously didn’t work). It was watered down to get more votes in Congress, especially those of members who serve as whores for industry interests.

        1. And THE UNIONS!!!!!!!

          1. The unions who favor strong healthcare reform? The unions have been Obama’s bitch on this issue. As with every issue, yes unions are an interest group. But corporations themselves are much more powerful. That’s why, you know, the power of unions has been decimated in the last few decades.

            1. The Corporations?? You mean to suggest that all corporations are unified in purpose and politics? I had no idea. Does this include LLCs and LPs, too? What about partnerships and sole proprietorships?

              1. This sole proprietorship sure didn’t like it.

            2. Give me a break, Tony. Unions favor having the government take the burden of supplying their members with health insurance off of them, which frees up their vast endowments for use in other areas, like lobbying Congress.

              They are not in favor of free-market reforms, which I would characterize as “strong reform”.

              And as for who’s the bitch, look at what Obama and the Congressional leadership did when the Unions when complaining about the “cadillac tax”. Didn’t seem like the Unions were rolling over then, did it?

  25. “Many independents don’t like the reform bill for the same reason liberals don’t: it doesn’t go far enough.”

    True, but there aren’t enough of this type to move the electoral needle. Of course, the Dems are welcome to double down on health care and take even bigger beatings at the ballot box.

    1. I disagree. The public option polled very high. I guarantee you Medicare for All (the real liberal solution) would poll at least as high.

      The reason the current bill is so unpopular is not because the majority of the country who favored reform suddenly stopped favoring it. It’s a mediocre bill crafted by unseemly legislative sausage making. So the only people left who like it are those willing to stomach such a thing.

      1. You’re delusional.

        1. Sadly, I think he’s right. My liberal friends aren’t upset so much at the cost of the proposed fix as they are upset because they thought they were going to get “Free Healthcare(tm)”…they’re upset at the prospect of having to pay for it themselves.

          “Free-as-in-beer” *anything* will always poll well.

          1. He’s not alone in his delusions. However, I strongly suspect that there isn’t a majority of Americans who want socialized healthcare. We aren’t total morons, after all. Not all of us.

          2. As Pro Libertate touches on, the majority of Americans are not self-declared “Liberals.” Tony might be right when it comes to your average Progressive, but I have doubts when it comes to the majority of Americans.

            1. I will admit to being totally out of touch with mainstream America…I grew up in DC, and lived most recently in the Bay Area.

              And now I’m in Spain. Clearly, my life is on a track of being surrounded by ever-increasing socialism.

          3. I don’t know anyone who thinks that anything they get from the government is free. Can you please find me such a person. A name and address will do.

            I think you are spouting a pure strawman.

      2. Wait the same country that has been bitching about Medicare being broken would want Medicare for All?

        1. To me, that was the fatal flaw in the push for single-payer in the first place. Those idiots can’t run Medicare right–and most people agree about that–yet they can take over the entire system? Riiiight.

          Regulatory reform is what we need. That means less government involvement, not more, for the terminally slow or fictional.

          1. Regulation is to Big Biz as briar patch is to Br’er Rabbit.

            1. That’s for damned sure. If “progressives” would only recognize the direct correlation between their big business bogeyman and the size and scope of government, maybe there would really be such things as left-libertarians.

              1. Yes, if only we could believe something so blatantly contradictory.

                Maybe it’s just that we don’t live in the alternate universe in which decreasing government power somehow results in a decrease of corporate power. It’s a wonder industry lobbyists don’t spend all their time working for more regulations, given what a boon they are.

                1. It’s unintuitive, but…if abstract thought were your forte, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

                  Now, shouldn’t you be studying up for your ASVAB or something?

                2. Maybe in an alternative universe government intervention doesn’t give the largest corporations power beyond their wildest dreams.

          2. If medicare were a model for the rest of us in terms of efficiency of delivering healthcare, it would be a vast improvement over the private market status quo.

            1. Doctors, nurses, and such tend to deliver healthcare. I thought the main goal for socializing the healthcare system was to have the government PAY for the delivery of healthcare.

      3. I guarantee you Medicare for All (the real liberal solution) would poll at least as high.

        It didn’t poll real well in Massachusetts last night.

        Now it’s your turn to explain how 22% of registered Massachusetts Democrats voted for a Republican in order to drag the Democrats back to the left.

        A fiendishly subtle plot, that. First, we bewilder the fans by scoring an own goal. Next…

        1. I didn’t know there was a poll for such.

          I think every person, at the age of 18, should get a choice: Medicare for All, or you are own your own. Let the 5% of looney libertarians eat their own crow.

          1. I’ll take it, with one condition, if I say I’m on my own I don’t pay for your coverage or anyone else’s coverage.

            In other words, if you decide to participate in the government plan, you and all the other idiots have to pay for it yourselves and the government plan can’t be subsidized by any other money and gets no special laws written for it and no special tax breaks. It has to compete on the same playing field with all the other private insurance companies.

            Give me that and you can have your government plan. And I guarantee you, I will have much better coverage at a much lower price.

  26. “It means starting (and winning) a debate over ridiculous public-sector retirement packages that bankrupt whole polities for the benefit of a privileged few.”

    If something cannot go on forever, it won’t.

    I’m in New York which is just a little less broke than CA. There is no such thing as a “public servant” here. Instead, the pols and the public employee unions who control them consider us to be the “servant public”. It happens at both the state and local levels

    Now the pols are running into the “blood from a stone problem”. They cannot afford to continue the free ride for the public employees without huge tax increases, but our taxes are already the highest in the country. The public is tapped out. We have a legislature that just buries its head in the sand.

    I don’t know what will happen, but it’s going to be very ugly. Translate that NY situation to all the other union controlled states and you have absolute catastrophe

  27. ‘today’s leaders are dogs’

    Poor dogs! (compared to our politicians by this article.) I thought dogs were our best friend. So what are you trying to say? Matt? Nick? Anyone?

    Good God. What an insult to dogs.

  28. This is a poll that was linked here yesterday in an article about americans wanting less govt. Healthcare reform questions start with #26. It is a real interesting poll and show some of the multiple personality disorder that voters have.

  29. Strangely, I think Tony has a point for once… That said, I do really think that the more government takes control over people’s lives the bigger the backlash will be severe.

  30. Messrs Welch and Gillespie:

    First and foremost, listen to the voters, especially voters who are calling for smaller government despite very tough times.

    Say what?!

    We’re calling for smaller government especially in very tough times.

  31. First and foremost, listen to the voters, especially voters who are calling for smaller government despite very tough times.

    You. Are. Kidding. Right? Democrats will never willingly reduce the size of government.

    Their very goal in life is to install a king and the Wesley Mouche underczars to carry out their wishes while they eat cake.

    Statists like Obama admire Chavez, Castro, even Ahmadinejad.

    These criminals just increased the debt limit by $1.9 trillion.

    Smaller government. Don’t make me laugh.

    1. Neither will Republicans.

      What are you going to cut? SS, Medicare, Medicaid, or defense.

      Everything else is peanuts.

      1. All of the above.

  32. The Democrats wish they were running against the GOP. But the GOP party leadership is feeling plenty of heat on its own, and from the same people who tossed Coakley out on her ass.

  33. Obama is 0 for 4…you forgot Corzine.

  34. I miss Newt being in charge of the House. Those were the days…. ah steadily shrinking taxes, steadily shrinking gov_spending/GDP ratio. Rapidly growing economy. Incredibly low unemployment.

    We need a new Newt to run the House.

  35. “The GOP had its run at the top and the results were nothing less than a disaster on just about every front.”

    If so, I’ll take ‘disaster’ over Obomunism.

  36. According to Rasmussen on the 19th, Republicans hold an 8-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, against Democrats.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.co…..nal_ballot

  37. Rasmussen: “For the previous two weeks, Republicans have been ahead by nine points — their largest lead in several years — while support for Democrats has fallen to its lowest level in years.

    “Republicans have held the lead on the ballot for several months now.”

  38. The Democrat party has been hijacked by the progressive wing. They have turned into a party that would not nominate JFK now, because he was too conservative. Now is the time to double down on OUR efforts to elect more conservatives to Congress and the Senate. While the people have spoken, it is not time to get complacent. The perfect storm of war fatigue and a wounded economy, mostly brought on by democrats is the only reason for the election results of 2006 and 2008. November 2, 2010 will mark the death of progressivism ? permanently. The people have seen it, and not only don’t like it, they are fearful of it. This is not how the founding fathers envisioned America. They founded America to get away from the socialism of Europe. They don’t want to live in a welfare state. They want accountability from their politicians. They want a fair value for their tax dollars, not bribes, pork, and payoffs.
    http://theillinoisguy.wordpres…..dent-ever/

    1. Yes, but what does “conservative” mean?

      I’ve been to 1 tea party political rally, and the first 90 minutes was spent in prayer.

      We don’t need God to save us from the progressives…we have to do that ourselves.

  39. By far the most important reform is the adoption of either Approval Voting or Condorcet Voting, which will immediately break the lock on nearly all political offices currently held by the Big Two Rotten Parties.

  40. You are ALL being fooled.

    All of you who think the Left/Right – Liberal/Conservative – Rep/Dem – conflicts are worth arguing about are all being snow-jobbed by those in power.

    You’re being distracted…intentionally. Blame the other side, call them names, accuse them of corruption or incompetence – but know that the real problem is the way BOTH sides are financing their campaigns. We have created a government of legitimate bribery – as if the transparency of knowing that your representative was financed by Industry X or Special Interest Y makes it okay. If you think politicians can keep campaign contributions from influencing policy, well I have a bridge to sell you.

    The true object of our anger is the political system itself – most people just don’t know it yet.

  41. The Politicians of both parties do not get it.

    For years we have watched our jobs being outsourced & in-sourced, aided and abide by the ruling Political class!

    On the low end Politicians have allowed the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means of Uneducated Illegal Aliens pour across our borders in direct volition of our Constitution Article IV, Section IV, the Rule of Law & their Oath of office.

    The Democrat support the invasion because a large uneducated dependent welfare class translates into Democrat votes!

    The Republicans because their paymaster in the Chamber of Commerce & Business love nearly slave labor with the benefits like Medical, Schooling, Welfare & Incarceration, Section 8 housing etc. passed on to the tax payers!

    On the high end H1 vistas to take the engineering, software jobs at low wages Etc.

    After years of seeing their standard of living deteriorate & requiring both parents working and still not able to provide a standard of living that one working did it in the past people are frustrated & angry that no one in Washington cares about working Americans or the future of this Nation!

    Obama promised Hope & Change so the voters kicked out a Elitist, Arrogant, big spending Republican party wading in the swamp of corruption!

    Now after one year of Democrat rule and total control most are realizing Obama sold them a bill of good and the Democrats are even more Elitist, Arrogant, Big spending and the swamp of corruption has now turned into swimming in sea of corruption with Acorn , Unions and Seiu, Wall street & Big banks!

    Both parties are worse than the British & King George that resulted in the American revolution and the shot heard around the world!

    Now the good people of Mass. have fired another shot. If the Politicians of both parties still refuse to change and keep thinking they are Kings & we are their Serfs & they know what is best the next shots they hear may not be as peaceful.

    It is way pass time they realize they are the servants & not our rulers and they exists to serve the American people & this Nation not Mexico, Latin American and every country in the world while ignoring and punishing Citizens by taxes, jobs and debt to support the rest of the world!

  42. >>Especially since we are the ones that will continue paying for their mistakes.

    George Washington warned us against a two party system long ago, and we didn’t listen. Now we’ve had decades of nothing but this political civil war between the two parties. And like all wars, the people pay the price!

    How I long for a day when people debate ideas, not party politics!

  43. I don’t feel alone anymore knowing Matt and Nick are also guilty of leaving flaming sacks full of dog poo on people’s doorsteps.

  44. I like that saying, thanks!
    Thanks for posting this. Very nice recap of some of the key points in my talk. I hope you and your readers find it useful! Thanks again

  45. “The GOP had its run at the top and the results were nothing less than a disaster on just about every front.”

    If so, I’ll take ‘disaster’ over Obomunism.

  46. The idea regarding compact govt won’t speak out loud by using teenagers much. POST would rather market libertarianism since living exempt from undue coercion. The federal government will be the simply organization helped to work with physical violence to obtain it has the targets, nonetheless which, the idea must wield very little energy as you possibly can, since govt motion is actually inherently identifiable by using violent coercion. That kept after that only argues the fact that simply men and women quite possibly looking to coerce tend to be businesses, and they also never count number since men and women. Even though theoretically accurate, any organization seriously isn’t somebody, any organization, nonetheless, is actually MEN AND WOMEN. In conversation with have got a organization with no buyers, supervision, in addition to shareholders which are generally MEN AND WOMEN. Finnish Lapphund

  47. The idea regarding compact govt won’t speak out loud by using teenagers much. POST would rather market libertarianism since living exempt from undue coercion. The federal government will be the simply organization helped to work with physical violence to obtain it has the targets, nonetheless which, the idea must wield very little energy as you possibly can, since govt motion is actually inherently identifiable by using violent coercion. That kept after that only argues the fact that simply men and women quite possibly looking to coerce tend to be businesses, and they also never count number since men and women. Even though theoretically accurate, any organization seriously isn’t somebody, any organization, nonetheless, is actually MEN AND WOMEN. In conversation with have got a organization with no buyers, supervision, in addition to shareholders which are generally MEN AND WOMEN. Finnish Lapphund

  48. This is a truly good article.

  49. Now we’ve had decades of nothing but this political civil war between the two parties. And like all wars, the people pay the price!

  50. Now we’ve had decades of nothing but this political civil war between the two parties. And like all wars, the people pay the price!

  51. thank you for you ,good blog. this is helpful for me with your information.

  52. Your attempt to save a few bucks now guarantees that you will pay more later, especially if you get sick. No one comes out ahead in that. The adverse selection that you are demonstrating is the downfall of “free market” health insurance. Without some sort of group plan encouraged by the government, adverse selection would continue until only the very ill were left, and they were paying through the teeth.

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