I’m A Political Junkie, But 2016 Has Burned Me Out

I've been something of a political news junkie for 40 years now. This year has burned me out.

2016 Election Buttons

If there’s anyone to blame for the fact that I turned into a “political junkie” as someone once called me, it would be my Third Grade teacher Miss Williamson. I started Third Grade in the fall of 1976 and she spent much of our time on what used to be called “Civics” and which schools by the mid-70’s had started calling “Social Studies” by teaching about how a President is elected and what elections were all about by using news from the campaign between President Ford and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter as examples. Before long I recall that I was watching news about the campaign on the nightly news — Walter Cronkite on CBS most of the time since my Grandmother, who was living with my parents and I, liked him the best — and while I can’t say I fully understood everything that was going on I enjoyed the fact that I could go to school the next day and be part of the classroom discussion. Of course, the Yankees were in the World Series that year so there were some distractions, and the fact that I was only eight meant I never did get to see the debates between Ford and Carter, or the Vice-Presidential debate between Bob Dole and Walter Mondale, but by the time Election Night came I was hooked. I also wasn’t able to stay up late enough to learn who won the election but, considering that the 1976 elections weren’t officially called until about 3:30am Eastern time Wednesday morning, I probably wasn’t alone in that respect. We spent several days after the election learning about what happened, and about what having a new President meant, and when Inauguration Day came on January 20, 1977 we got to have a television in our classroom so we could watch it. (For the younger generation, having a television in the classroom was quite uncommon when I was in public school even in the 1980s so this was a treat). That was the first Presidential Inauguration I’d ever seen, or at least that I could remember.

In any case after that, I soon found that I was really interested in politics and in what was going on in the nation. Unless I was doing something outside the house, I watched the nightly news almost every night and remember watching several Presidential speeches that President Carter gave throughout his time in office, especially after the Iranian Hostage Crisis began. By the time we got to the 1980 election, I was four years old, had more liberal rules about how late I could stay up and that gave me a chance to follow the race among Republicans to take on President Carter. The older I got the more my interest grew. I still remember staying up late on Election Night that year, and then again in 1984, watching as state by state fell into Ronald Reagan’s column in his races against President Carter and Walter Mondale. (At some point during the 1984 campaign, I asked my parents if we could get a subscription to The New York Times. I’m sure they looked at me wondering what the heck I was thinking). After that, my involvement in politics became more direct. I volunteered on local campaigns, helped stuff envelopes at campaign offices, went door to door with candidates for Town Council and other local offices and the like, all before I was old enough to vote myself. When I turned 18 in 1986, I made sure to get up early so I could vote before my first class that at Rutgers. In the years that followed, I interned at a Congressional Office over the summer, spent the better part of the summer of 1988 working on a re-election campaign, worked on a campaign for New Jersey Governor and, when I moved to Virginia to go to Law School, a campaign for Congress. After Law School, the lack of as much free time as I used to have and the lack of a desire to pursue a career in politics meant that I ended up being mostly a spectator to the politics of the Clinton Era, but that was more than enough and one of my favorite activities was hanging out with a circle of friends who shared my interest and talking politics, usually while imbibing adult beverages. It was only natural, then, that when I finally got bit by the blogging bug that I would end up in the world of political blogging. Over the past eleven years, I’ve written more about campaigns, elections, and the mess on Capitol Hill than I ever thought I would, and the fact that my interests have extended beyond the United States to elections in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Israel in recent years doesn’t really surprise me very much.

I go through this introductory if only to make clear the extent to which political news, politics, and the day-to-day fluctuations of something as large scale as an American Presidential Election has been a part of my life. It’s also to put in context what I’m about to say, which is that the 2016 Presidential election has soured my opinion of politics more than any other election since I began following them some forty years ago from a desk in Miss Williamson’s classroom. Even with a week to go, nothing before this has done more to make me feel depressed for the future of the country, questioning the motives and integrity of many of my fellow of Americans, and genuinely concerned about the fact that we appear to be stuck in something of a rut where both sides do nothing but shout at each other, investigate each other, make horrible insinuations about opposing candidates, and accuse each other of being a ‘traitor,’ or a ‘racist,’ simply because of which candidate they are supporting. This sense has been building for some time now, to be honest. The visceral reaction that many conservatives I knew had to the Clinton Administration was probably the first time I really had a negative reaction to the direction the country was moving, but I was still generally a Republican back then so I didn’t let it bother me too much. Once the impeachment crisis rolled around, it seemed as though a lot of people had gone off the deep end, though, and the fact that I had generally become more of a libertarian by then meant that I gradually felt less and less at home in the GOP. I still followed elections, and polls, and all that fun stuff, but my investment in whether the red side or the blue side won was already starting to wane by the time the 2000 elections rolled around. When the September 11th attacks happened, there was a time for awhile when it seemed like the partisan hyperbole had gone out of style, but that didn’t last long. The Bush Administration’s foolish push for a war in Iraq, combined with a Congress that seemed more concerned with pursuing a far right social agenda than governing, made it easy to fall back on cynicism. Despite that, I kept eagerly following elections, especially at the national level, and when the chance came to write about the subject on a regular basis I found that becoming something of an analyst rather than a cynical GOP expatriate was perfect for me. Then, 2016 rolled around.

Without question, it has been the entry of Donald Trump into the race that has done the most to turn me off this time around. Having grown up in the New York City tri-state area, the Donald Trump sideshow was something that I’d become rather used to by the time he had ‘reinvented’ himself as the host of a reality show on NBC, but the idea of someone like him being a serious candidate for President was so bizarre to me that I simply dismissed the idea as ridiculous. When he was teasing the media about running for President in 2012 by going around the nation raising the ridiculous notion that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States it seemed clear to me that, as he had many times in the 80’s and 90’s, he was trolling the media in an effort to draw attention to himself and his television show. When it became clear that this wasn’t the case this time around, and that he was actually resonating among Republican voters, I found myself getting more disheartened with every poll result and every primary victory. Why couldn’t people see what this guy was really about? Why didn’t any of Trump’s rivals attack him more directly? Why was the media giving him all of that free air time when he just kept saying the same thing over and over again? And, most importantly, who were these people who showed up at his rallies and cheered at everything he said no matter how venal, xenophobic, or quasi-racist it actually was? On the Democratic side, there’s a party stuck on advocating policy ideas that have as little basis in reality and a nominee whose judgment leaves much to be desired based both on her record and on repeated indications that electing her would likely mean a continuation of foreign policy ideas that have been failing for a decade now and one of the least transparent Presidencies in recent memory. Indeed it seems as if, for many people, the only reason they can come up with for why they support Hillary Clinton is the fact that they don’t support Donald Trump. Those of us who don’t support either one of them, meanwhile, are accused of being irresponsible because we’ve decided that neither one of these candidates deserve our support.  Yes, I will admit that I will be happy if Donald Trump loses, especially if that loss turns out to be massive enough to send a message to the party that nominated him to stop playing with fire. However, the prospect of four or eight years of Hillary Clinton, which likely means four to eight years of more gridlock, Congressional hearings on topics that have already been covered by previous hearings, and failure to do any of the things that could get done if the people only Capitol Hill stopped letting themselves be manipulated by the fringe elements of their party doesn’t give one much to look forward to, especially when it means that our problems will only get more serious as time goes on. Now, here we sit with one week left before Election Day, the polls are tightening, and the media at least is acting as if there’s still either one of these candidates could win even those it seems apparent that isn’t the case. It’s enough to make anyone sick, even someone for whom following these elections has been second nature for the better part of forty years.

Make no mistake, I’ll still be following the polls this week, and I’ll be watching on Election Night as the results pour in, but the excitement just isn’t there anymore and this past year has been the main reason why.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Facebones says:

    Make no mistake, I’ll still be following the polls this week, and I’ll be watching on Election Night as the results pour in

    Well, then you’re part of the problem.

    If you object to how the media has covered the race, and you object to the candidates the parties have offered, but you are still going to visit a hundred political blogs a day and watch the cable news, why should they change? You’re paying for a ticket for the circus.

    If you got rid of cable, and steered clear of all political blogs and instead binged on Netflix shows, you’d at least not be contributing to the media circus. (And that Luke Cage show is really good!)

  2. CB says:

    Amen, brother.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Hear, hear…

  4. Lit3Bolt says:

    Don’t worry Doug, things will pick up in a few years with multiple Constitutional crises and our nation’s first military coup, followed closely by World War III. What will the polls and the media have to say about THAT?!

  5. Pch101 says:

    Why was the media giving him all of that free air time when he just kept saying the same thing over and over again?

    Because the right wing won’t tolerate anything otherwise. Correcting factual misstatements is considered to be partisan; the only acceptable alternative is to get some other guy to offer a different statement, which then provides the appearance that the false statement is merely a different (and better) point of view, not a lie or mistake.

    This is why right wingers claim that they want to have a “debate” — making everything slippery is the first step to blurring the lines between facts and fiction. If everything is debatable, then anything can be “true”, even when it isn’t. Goebbels would be impressed that all of this was made possible without firing a shot.

  6. CSK says:

    Nice memoir, Doug.

    But this isn’t going to be over on the evening of November 8, I fear. Trump really has managed to convince his loony-tunes fan club that if he loses by a landslide or in a squeaker with the popular vote, it will be because the election is rigged.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve been something of a political junkie since 1964, albeit less active than you. Most guys put a fair amount of time into following sports. I follow politics. It’s like sports, except that it actually matters who wins.

    I don’t share your antipathy toward Hillary and I find it fascinating that those who do have difficulty articulating why without dipping into wingnuttery. In the face of R advocacy of supply side econ and AGW denial I’d have trouble agreeing with your claim that Ds advocate “policy ideas that have as little basis in reality”, but I appreciate that this column departs from bothsidesdoit and throws more blame on Trump than Hillary. I’d be happier with some sign you realize the R’s problems go a whole lot deeper than Trump, but on the whole, a good column.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    Because the right wing won’t tolerate anything otherwise. Correcting factual misstatements is considered to be partisan; the only acceptable alternative is to get some other guy to offer a different statement,

    I wish it were this simple. But FWIW, I think it is a revenue issue for media. Here’s what I mean. If say, the Washington Post, writes that Trump says he was against the Iraq War before it started but that is not true, Trump is lying, then hundreds of pro-Trump subscribers will cancel their subscription. But if they say “Hillary Clinton said he is lying”, then those same subscribers simply get mad at Hillary and leave the WP out of it.

    In your scenario good journalism could overcome the problem. In mine, good journalism will simply doom the paper/TV station to oblivion.

  9. @kckitty says:

    Awesome post. Pretty much mirrors my venture into politics. I was an intern for Senator Bob Dole, and a cousin was a moderate Republican governor of Kansas.

    So now we get to choose between a nut-job and a war monger for President? UGH.

  10. Dumb Brit says:

    I agree with many of your sentiments but can not fathom out why you would not see that whilst both candidates have significant character flaws, one of them is fully qualified and able to be Presidential and trusted with the nuclear deterrent, whilst the other could not be trusted to tie his own shoe laces or be left alone with a teenage daughter. If you do not vote, you are enabling a potential megalomaniac and allowing Putin to gain further power.
    The sole reason that Clinton would be unable to govern would be the completely obstructionist Republican Congress. I don’t get to vote, so please turn out and vote on the behalf of the rest of the free world to keep us all safe and to ensure that Obama is a three term president (It will make a Mitch McConnell sooooooo happy!)

  11. Gustopher says:

    People act like this is unprecedented, but I don’t think it is.

    Are the Republicans doing anything more with the attacks on Hillary Clinton than they were in 2008 with attacks on Obama? We had him being a secret Muslim who went to an anti-white Christian church, born in Kenya, palling around with terrorists and doing Saul Alinski political judo. 2004 had the Swift Boat Liars for Thuth. 2000 had Al Gore wearing earth tones, sighing a lot and lying about everything under the sun (whether he did or didn’t). And, beforemthat you have Bill Clinton murdering Vince Foster to cover up the drug flights in Arkansas.

    2012 was a bit more genteel since it was hard to reconcile the Obama we had seen for 4 years with the racist, Muslim, atheist, Kenyan, anti-colonial man the Republicans had been trying to portray.

    The only difference is that this year the Republicans have nominated someone who is actually as bad as any charicature of evil corrupt racist politician on either side of the aisle. Take the usual crap coming from the Republican Fever Swamp, add in honest reporting on Trump, andnthat doubles the disgusting.

    But it’s hardly unprecedented.

  12. Bokonon says:

    The fact that the election of Hillary Clinton would mean Congressional gridlock and confrontation and endless investigations of BS topics would be primarily driven by dynamics within the GOP.

    Hillary Clinton gives the GOP plenty to work with – but as Obama’s administration has shown, the GOP is perfectly glad to make things up and create fake controversies (while abdicating oversight or ignoring real ones – like a real overview of federal agencies, or the nation’s foreign policy).

    Right now, in our current national culture, the GOP would do this to ANY President who does not belong to their party, and share their party’s social and economic agendas. It has been their only mode of governing. Given their bitter internal divisions and disagreements, and the demands of conservatives for total opposition, this may be the only way that the GOP can PRETEND to govern. And if the GOP isn’t going to win the Presidency, then they will at least assure that their enemies will lose.

    And yeah … the only way to stop the collective punishment that the GOP is inflicting on the nation is by giving them power. At which point they may try and turn the entire nation into a version of the Kansas experiment.

    The cycle of radicalization inside the GOP isn’t the Democrats’ fault.

  13. Bokonon says:

    The fact that the election of Hillary Clinton would mean Congressional gridlock and confrontation and endless investigations of BS topics would be primarily driven by dynamics within the GOP.

    Hillary Clinton gives the GOP plenty to work with – but as Obama’s administration has shown, the GOP is perfectly glad to make things up and create fake controversies (while abdicating oversight or ignoring real ones – like a real overview of federal agencies, or the nation’s foreign policy).

    Right now, in our current national culture, the GOP would do this to ANY President who does not belong to their party, and share their party’s social and economic agendas. It has been their only mode of governing. Given their bitter internal divisions and disagreements, and the demands of conservatives for total opposition, this may be the only way that the GOP can PRETEND to govern. And if the GOP isn’t going to win the Presidency, then they will at least assure that their enemies will lose.

    And yeah … the only way to stop the collective punishment that the GOP is inflicting on the nation is by giving them power. At which point they may try and turn the entire nation into a version of the Kansas experiment.

    The cycle of radicalization inside the GOP isn’t the Democrats’ fault.

  14. Davebo says:

    @Gustopher: You’re right of course.

    It seems every election for the past 20 years have been UNPRECEDENTED! That said, Trump has made this one hilarious.

  15. Davebo says:

    On the other hand, a good read from Jim Wright

    I don’t expect it to sway moderate Republicans like James mainly because I don’t think they can be swayed.

    And if this election doesn’t do it, nothing will. Still Wright should be someone James could relate to.

  16. Pch101 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The issue is one of appearances. If you correct Trump without correcting Clinton to the same degree, then it will appear to be biased.

    The fact that Clinton doesn’t make the same number of misstatements makes no difference. The B students and F students are treated as if they are the same.

    This is an extension of the “both sides do it” mentality. The reality is that both sides don’t do it, but perpetuating that falsehood is depicted as being fair when it only perpetuates another lie.

    Media outlets use third parties to provide the corrections. But as noted, that approach creates the veneer of a debate, when it is a matter of one group getting it right and the other group getting it wrong.

  17. Senyordave says:

    @Bokonon: Hillary Clinton gives the GOP plenty to work with – but as Obama’s administration has shown, the GOP is perfectly glad to make things up and create fake controversies (while abdicating oversight or ignoring real ones – like a real overview of federal agencies, or the nation’s foreign policy).

    Dead on! The GOP no longer acts like an opposition party, they act like they believe they are the party who should be in control of the entire government. When they are not in total control, they spend most of their time trying to delegitimize the Democrats. Throughout Obama’s entire presidency they have abdicated their role in actually governing. The Garland nomination is a perfect example of this. The worst part is they never pay a political price.

  18. Tyrell says:

    I am burned out too and I will be glad when this mess is over.
    The whole process has been too long. All they do is try to dig up dirt on each other. Real issues are ignored: the health insurance crisis with monthly rates increasing 50 – 100%*, Russia and Europe edging toward war, earthquakes in Italy, China expanding military, economy heading into crisis. The news networks have gone haywire: no real news reporting anymore; just the latest sleeze gossip and polls. All these polls should be done away with – they all should have to use the Gallup Poll.
    *health monthly premium increasing 70% ! On a teen ! Come on. Are health costs really going up that much ? What is behind this ? Congress needs to investigate!

  19. Tyrell says:

    I am burned out too and I will be glad when this mess is over.
    The whole process has been too long. All they do is try to dig up dirt on each other. Real issues are ignored: the health insurance crisis with monthly rates increasing 50 – 100%*, Russia and Europe edging toward war, earthquakes in Italy, China expanding military, economy heading into crisis. The news networks have gone haywire: no real news reporting anymore; just the latest sleeze gossip and polls. All these polls should be done away with – they all should have to use the Gallup Poll.
    *health monthly premium increasing 70% ! On a teen ! Come on. Are health costs really going up that much ? What is behind this ? Congress needs to investigate!

  20. Davebo says:

    @Senyordave:

    Dead on! The GOP no longer acts like an opposition party, they act like they believe they are the party who should be in control of the entire government. When they are not in total control, they spend most of their time trying to delegitimize the Democrats the government in general.

    FTFY

  21. Davebo says:

    @Tyrell:

    Those admittedly large increases could affect about 4% of the population and of that 4% the vast majority will see no increase due to subsidies.

    It’s not all that complicated.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    earthquakes in Italy

    What do you feel the liberal and conservative positions on earthquakes in Italy should be? I’m personally against them, but I don’t have a realistic plan.

  23. Slugger says:

    The Cubs are in the World Series. The sky is the deep blue of late fall. I have already voted. Life is good.

  24. dxq says:

    Richard Burr just signed on to blocking SCOTUS nominations for the next 4 years. Maybe Doug just realized he’s burned out defending assholes.

  25. NW-Steve says:

    @Davebo:

    That said, Trump has made this one hilarious.

    Unfortunately, I can’t enjoy it as the pure entertainment it should be. If he managed to get elected (which to my astonishment isn’t absolutely inconceivable) the effects would not be even slightly hilarious.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    Change a few dates and resume data and my experience mirrors yours Doug and I’m burned out also.

    Its interesting that state government seems to work moderately well and the Federal bureaucracy seems keep things going on a national level, but Congress and the politics around the Presidency is F__’d.

    Your wrong though about the habit of congressional hearings and investigations would go away if the Dems nominated someone other than Clinton. The Democrats could have nominated St. Peter and Repubs would have held hearings on why he wasn’t at the tomb before Mary Magdalen.

  27. Pch101 says:

    @gVOR08:

    What do you feel the liberal and conservative positions on earthquakes in Italy should be?

    The left will want the damage to be distributed fairly.

    Establishment Republicans will claim that the poor deserved it, but that the affluent are being unfairly targeted because of their success.

    Breitbart will blame progressive policies for causing it.

    Social conservatives will claim that God is punishing us for gay marriage and abortion.

    Trump will blame the Muslim Mexican ISIS terrorists — a “total disaster!” — and claim that we should be more like Putin, who is obviously doing something right because He doesn’t have earthquakes.

  28. Jen says:

    I’m not even sure the Congressional hearings and investigations would go away if *Trump* wins. Bottom line on that horrific possibility is that he would then be the face of the party, and he has a variety of problems of his own pending, not to mention his steadfast refusal to disengage from his businesses (any more than to say he’d hand them over to his kids, which is NOT disengaging in any meaningful sense).

    Were Trump to win, it would be in the party’s best interest to get him out of the picture, quickly. We’d end up with a President Pence in fairly short order, either because Trump would quit the moment he realizes that he doesn’t actually have total control, or he’d be impeached by his own party. They couldn’t afford to keep him around for very long.

    I’m burned out on this cycle too.

  29. Hal_10000 says:

    The political blog I write for has been going for something like 15 years, 8 of those with myself as primary author. And I think I’m done. This election has exhausted me and watching the GOP fall into this abyss is the most disheartening thing I’ve witnessed in politics.

  30. SKI says:

    While I appreciate the personal angst you are going through, Doug, I think that your definition of reality appears to be gravely flawed. I have no idea what policy ideas you are thinking about or referring to with this:

    On the Democratic side, there’s a party stuck on advocating policy ideas that have as little basis in reality

    Pretty much every policy idea that Obama ran in and HRC is running on have detailed white papers explaining exactly how they would work and would be paid for.

  31. Andy says:

    You’re tougher than I am – I burned out a year ago. I haven’t watched any cable news in a couple of months (excepting Hurricane Matthew coverage). That you’ve been able to put a post or two up just about every day is frankly amazing, especially given the comment section here. (BTW, given your output compared to the others, consider renaming this this blog “Doug & Friends.”)

  32. michael reynolds says:

    Politics has always been my spectator sport. I played around the edges for a cycle but decided I just really didn’t want to spend my life around those people. I looked into an abyss of meetings and loud guffawing in cigar bars and making small talk at cocktail parties and thought, no, I’ll hang myself after six months, let’s go back to writing.

    But I do enjoy the game. The problem this cycle is that it’s not a game. It’s like you’re watching baseball and suddenly you realize the ball’s a grenade. It is dark and dangerous this year. We’ve already taken more damage internationally than we have since Vietnam. This isn’t one bad policy or even a war, the world expects us to screw up from time to time. What they don’t expect is for us to stop being us. The free world is invested in our democracy. We are frightening the children. It’s not fun. It’s sickening.

  33. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Because the right wing won’t tolerate anything otherwise.

    A few years ago, I might have agreed with you. But we now know what the right wing will tolerate and it’s been pretty shocking, hasn’t it?

    Of course, I’d say this, but it’s the left that’s going to need to be more “tolerant.” Especially if Hillary wins the election. There are things to do, and we’re going to need the right’s help.

  34. Loviatar says:

    I don’t think Doug is burned out on politics per se, I think he is burned out on defending the goonish assholes who are the Republican party. He has spent his whole life justifying and excusing republican policies and politicians with a both sides do it mentality because Republicans were able to dog whistle and code word their bigotry, hatred and disdain for their fellow Americans. With Trump and his Breitbart cadre as the face of the Republican party the party no longer whispers their bigotry and hatred, they yell it directly from the podium. Doug has lost his plausible deniability, so he is claiming to be “burned out”.

  35. rachel says:

    @Hal_10000:

    …watching the GOP fall into this abyss is the most disheartening thing I’ve witnessed in politics.

    The abyss they began walking toward in the 70s and have been teetering on the edge of since the 90s? That abyss? well, it’s not like they weren’t warned.

  36. Tyrell says:

    @Andy: I had trouble trying to find much of anything about Hurricane Matthew on the news networks because at that time they were preoccupied and obsessed with the latest scandal or mud wrestling involving the candidates. I finally had to go to the weather channel and local tv. I am thinking about getting an amateur radio set up to get the real news.
    I would recommend PBS: real reporting on various world and national events instead of just slanted opinion and sleeze. Also local tv and radio – for a different perspective and scope.

  37. Senyordave says:

    @Tyrell: I had trouble trying to find much of anything about Hurricane Matthew on the news networks because at that time they were preoccupied and obsessed with the latest scandal or mud wrestling involving the candidates.

    I can’t be alone in calling BS on this one. CNN had hours and hours of coverage on Matthew, they do for any hurricane these days. I know MSNBC had less coverage but it was still there. Can’t speak for Fox since I vowed to never watch it as long as Murdoch owns it.

  38. To be fair, my girlfriend(That does not speak English) complains when I´m watching an American newscast or when I´m watching CNN or something like that. She says that I´m only watching to Trump, and that I´m obsessed with him. No wonder: if you watch any American Newscasts, chances are that you are going to watch a lot of Trump in it.

  39. Monala says:

    @Davebo: Good point. I was already planning to share my civics class story when I read your comment. In 9th grade, my civics teacher asked us on the first day, “Why should we even have a government?” and then spent the next three days showing us the movie Lord of the Flies in class. On the fourth day, he revisited his question from the first day, but now with the added background of us having watched what happens in a society where there is no government.

  40. Argon says:

    In my lifetime the Democratic party has delivered the first Catholic President, the first African American President and very likely, the first woman President. That’s not too shabby.

    In contrast the GOP gave us Nixon, Ford, Reagan and a couple Bushes. Plus the Southern strategy and voodoo economics. It’s depressing they’ve held for so long.

  41. Monala says:

    I listen to NPR during my commute, and they have focused continually on Trump voters. To see how much, I Googled NPR and [candidate] voters. In just 2 pages of results, there were stories about Trump voters in 3 different states, and several demographic groups. Clinton had stories about 2 individual voters: a gay man and a Republican woman disgusted by Trump. But by and large, stories about Clinton were about how different voters don’t like her. Stein had stories about how she is attracting some millennials and disaffected Sanders voters. There were no stories about Johnson voters.

  42. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Davebo: You have a strange sense of humor.

  43. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Monala: I noticed that about NPR too. I actually started turning off the talks with Trump folks stories. Tedious.

  44. Terrye Cravens says:

    Doug, I know how you feel. Exactly.

  45. Monala says:

    @Terrye Cravens: Even coming home today, they were previewing one of tomorrow’s stories: about Brexit voters and Trump voters, and how many concerns they share in common.

  46. DrDaveT says:

    @SKI:

    While I appreciate the personal angst you are going through, Doug, I think that your definition of reality appears to be gravely flawed. I have no idea what policy ideas you are thinking about or referring to with [both-sides-do-it comment about unrealistic Democratic policies]

    I think you underestimate just how harsh the cognitive dissonance is for long-time Republican partisans at this point. For them to admit that (for instance) Democratic economic policies are sensible and supply-side theories are made of unicorn tears, they would have to admit that they have been actively supporting destructive policies out of misguided ignorance for decades now.

    Nobody wants to admit that. It hurts too much. So they try to hold onto a shred of superiority somewhere. For every Republican theory of How Things Work that is shown to be untrue, they cling that much harder to the remainder. The Democrats have to be factually wrong about something, right? And then we can say (all together now) Both Sides Do It.

  47. Mister Bluster says:

    I started Third Grade in the fall of 1976 and she spent much of our time on what used to be called “Civics” and which schools by the mid-70’s had started calling “Social Studies”

    After a year of Kindergarten, I started 1st grade at Iroquois School in Irondequoit NY in the fall of 1954. I do not recall ever attending a class titled “Civics”. I finished Second Grade at Webster Central School (NY) after the family relocated. Attended Fourth through Seventh Grade in the same school district. It was “Social Studies” from 1954 through the 8th Grade (1962) in Illinois.
    I do remember my dad saying it was “Civics” when he went to High School
    (Class of ’34)

  48. Guarneri says:

    Everyone tired, eh? About stuff like this?

    “She will say anything and change nothing. Hillary can’t be trusted and isn’t qualified to be President.” ”

    Trump really shouldn’t say stuff like that……………….so Obama did it for him.

    You guys hero does tell the truth sometimes, just not about health insurance or easily hackable servers run by one stupid and crooked Secretary of State.

    Tiring.

  49. SKI says:

    @Davebo: great link to a really, really good piece.

  50. SC_Birdflyte says:

    There are two kinds of politics: the politics of electing and the politics of governing. Since the advent of CNN and the rise of media-savvy politicians (e.g.,Newt Gingrich), the politics of electing (political theater) has prevailed. The politics of governing, when done well, is a source of profound boredom. That’s why it doesn’t stand a chance nowadays.

  51. cian says:

    Make no mistake, I’ll still be following the polls this week, and I’ll be watching on Election Night as the results pour in, but the excitement just isn’t there anymore and this past year has been the main reason why.

    Be honest here, Doug. It’s not the past year that has exhausted you, it’s years of excusing the party that has led us to this point, where our democratic system is now in jeopardy. Serious gridlock began in 2008 when republican leaders got together and decided that an Obama presidency (our first African American presidency) must fail no matter what. He was to have no legislative victories and to hell with the consequences.

    That you have only now become depressed for the future of the country is an extraordinary revealing statement. Trump is nothing, just the head of the pimple. The pus has been building for years, and for year’s you defended the republican party, not wholeheartedly, not without criticism, but regularly, and always pushing the ‘they all do it’ line.

    The vast majority of TPM commentators understood where republican politics was taking us, could see what was happening when the Tea Party formed and took over the republican primary process, nominating one bomb thrower after the other, holding the country to ransom and refusing to stand up to the growing racism within their party.

    And get ready to lay your pen down for good, because if you are depressed now, wait until you see what comes next. What has been threatened for years, but you were too politically blind to see, has finally arrived. The bomb throwers now own the republican party, and the Bannons and Bossies of this new Republican reality are hunkered down in their bunkers planning for the next stage.

  52. Tyrell says:

    @Davebo: Yet millions are stuck. They don’t qualify for the government plan and are facing these huge rate increases, which the insurance companies are blaming on the government health care program. Some states are going to be left with no insurers as the companies are cutting their losses and getting out. The President and Congress are ignoring this problem. Most people I know are seeing huge rate increases. One relative is
    does not qualify for the government plan, so is having to fork out $1200 for 2 people ! I don’t buy the 4% number. Everyone is complaining about it. Are these companies having to raise rates to pay for the subsidies that some people are getting ? Is that how it works ? That isn’t right. Explain how BC/BS is going up 70% ! That is what I would like to know. And that is for everyone in the state who is covered by them: an average of 50%+ increases.
    I will continue to investigate this issue. It has been in all the local news.

  53. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But I do enjoy the game. The problem this cycle is that it’s not a game. It’s like you’re watching baseball and suddenly you realize the ball’s a grenade.

    And if a certain one of the teams wins, both teams get shot.

    This isn’t one bad policy or even a war, the world expects us to screw up from time to time. What they don’t expect is for us to stop being us.

    In the past I’ve had a lot invested in politics and Presidential elections, but never before have I actually feared the results if a given candidate won. Sure, I’d vote for X and really hope X would win, but if Y won instead, I didn’t think it was an actual risk to the nation. We’d accept the results, adjust, and move forward. Even G. W. Bush, with the horrors he inflicted, wasn’t an existential threat to the bedrock principles upon which our Republic stands.

    Donald Trump has made many, many statements that indicate he is such a threat. And he doesn’t even have to be elected. His candidacy by itself has done incalculable and lasting damage to American politics and society.

  54. Davebo says:

    @Tyrell:

    Explain how BC/BS is going up 70% ! That is what I would like to know.

    That’s easy. BC/BS is not going up 70%. You really should find another source of news besides your Facebook feed.

  55. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    *health monthly premium increasing 70% ! On a teen ! Come on. Are health costs really going up that much ? What is behind this ? Congress needs to investigate!

    Please provide proof that this is just not another of your fantasies.
    What state are you in, etc.
    Sounds like the typical Tyrell made up nonsense to me.

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Rates are going up an average of 22%, which is far better than the increases everyone experienced prior to Obamacare.
    Your state may be different because your Republican lawmakers have fought Obamacare for purely ideological reasons at the expense of their constituents wallets.
    Stop voting against your interests.
    I promise you that Trump is only going to make this worse.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Tyrell:

    Yet millions are stuck. They don’t qualify for the government plan and are facing these huge rate increases,

    I don’t even know what to say to this. First off, under the old system these people and millions more wouldn’t have any insurance at all. Second, there is no government plan. The Dems wanted one but gave that up in the foolish hopes that they would get some Republican support. And yes, the law, like most complex laws need to be adjusted but the Repubs have no interest in that.

    So basically you are saying that a) Obamacare sucks because some people who wouldn’t have had any insurance without it might still not have insurance, and b) your source for this analysis is bemoaning that the “government plan”, which doesn’t exist because the Republicans killed it, doesn’t cover these people. I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that your source is a Republican.

  58. Franklin says:

    @Bokonon: You don’t appear to have posted to OTB much, but welcome to the discussion. More importantly, what a great name!

  59. Franklin says:

    Forgot to mention, great post Doug. It was good to hear stories from your childhood!

  60. Jen says:

    RE: Obamacare increases…some are going up a ton. The reasons are complicated, but not a conspiracy.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2016/11/01/where-obamacare-prices-are-rising-dramatically/

    We need to fix the program, not abandon it. The short answer is that the penalties don’t seem to be working (to get younger healthy people to buy coverage instead of “going bare”). Other factors include premiums that were too low to begin with, etc.

    Going without coverage is irresponsible, IMHO. When I was in my 20s, I had an individual policy through BC/BS that was bare-bones (basically catastrophic coverage), and it STILL cost me nearly half of my monthly take-home pay (this was 20+ years ago, when women were charged more just because they “might” have babies). The entire system, from the fact that doctors have no idea what procedures cost to people demanding the newest meds based on advertising to the for-profit motives of hospitals and insurers, needs a total overhaul. That will TAKE TIME. It’s nearly 1/7th of the economy, IIRC. You can’t change it overnight.

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    The short answer is that the penalties don’t seem to be working

    They’re not working because they’re essentially impossible to enforce / collect unless one already has an incoming federal payment from which to extract the penalty or they just voluntarily write a check.

    These can’t be collected by means of levies, liens, etc. and there are no criminal penalties, so there is little negative incentive for those opposed to participation to just opt out.

  62. al-Ameda says:

    Now, here we sit with one week left before Election Day, the polls are tightening, and the media at least is acting as if there’s still either one of these candidates could win even those it seems apparent that isn’t the case. It’s enough to make anyone sick, even someone for whom following these elections has been second nature for the better part of forty years.

    After this cycle there will be momentary post political campaign stress syndrome (PPCSS), yes it will be short-lived. Millions of people will bemoan the seemingly endless and permanent campaign – doesn’t it feel like this campaign began in earnest on about January 24, 2013? Then, on or about January 24, 2017, the next presidential election campaign will begin in earnest.

  63. Joe says:

    @Gustopher: In previous election cycles, about half of Americans really didn’t want the person who was elected President to be President. But only the wingnuts thought that his election would compromise the core principals of American Constitutional Democracy. This year about half of us (hopefully a little more than that) don’t want to see one candidate elected, but only the wingnuts don’t see that his election would compromise the core principals of American Constitutional Democracy.

    It’s one thing to contemplate getting up the day after the election to deal with the fact that your candidate lost. It’s a wholly other thing to to contemplate getting up the day after the election to deal with the fact that your form of government is now at risk.

  64. C. Clavin says:

    @Jen:

    Going without coverage is irresponsible, IMHO.

    Which is why you have scum-of-the-earth, like Jenos, free-loading on the system.
    The hooting and hollering about personal responsibility.

  65. al-Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Of course, I’d say this, but it’s the left that’s going to need to be more “tolerant.” Especially if Hillary wins the election. There are things to do, and we’re going to need the right’s help.

    Yes, perhaps this go-round Mitch McConnell will deign to NOT obstruct everything that a Democratic president does.

    There is a way to break the partisan gridlock, and caving in to (I meant, ‘agreeing with’) the demands of the Right is certainly one way to do it.

    I suspect that if Hillary’s nominations to the Supreme Court are ideologically aligned with Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas that she will have no problem getting them through. Same is true with ACA – if she agrees to repeal ‘Obamacare’ she can count on the Right to support her in this.

  66. Pch101 says:

    @Jen:

    Obamacare is fundamentally flawed in many respects. The essential problem is that it is an insurance program, not a healthcare program, and giving people access to insurance doesn’t alone address the underlying issues of what makes American healthcare so expensive.

    Politically speaking, it was poorly designed. Ironically, Tyrell stumbles upon the reason inadvertently: Insurance is such a complex product that it is unreasonable to expect the average grunt to understand why Obamacare is an improvement over the cowboy system that we had before.

    Healthcare in America was outrageously priced before the ACA and it still is, but now the idiots are blaming Obamacare instead of the systemic problems that were there long before there was an Obamacare. It’s no wonder that there is so much whining about Obamacare — most people have no clue what it really is, and they never will.

    ACA is better than what it replaced, but it’s still not great. More efforts should be made to expand the supply of healthcare (such as increasing the use of nurse practitioners and expanding the role of pharmacists), there should one national pool instead of individual pools at the state level, and insurers generally should get out of the business of building networks and setting prices.

    Given how politics work in these dysfunctional United States, Obama should have just expanded Medicare to cover all or most people (perhaps lowering it to the age of 40 would have been a workable compromise) and rammed it through Congress with minimal debate while Teddy Kennedy was still alive. This would have been easier to explain and the result would have been more palatable to the average person who will never comprehend the complexities of insurance or healthcare policy.

  67. SenyorDave says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Maybe the answer is to get rid of this:

    The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that requires anyone coming to an emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, but since its enactment in 1986 has remained an unfunded mandate.

    The ACA has avenues to purchase insurance. If someone absolutely refuses to buy insurance maybe society shouldn’t be responsible when they get sick. It might be necessary for some people to die in the parking lot of hospitals in order to solve this problem.

  68. Joe says:

    On a happier note, my introduction to electoral politics was a massive mock convention a few months before the actual 1976 conventions. High school Civics teachers from across Central Illinois put together a Democratic Convention at the University of Illinois where every school came as a State with the actual number of State delegates. (My school came as Ohio.)

    We got to see strategies and shenanigans. (Based on strategies coming into the election, we had signs for favorite son John Glenn for whom we voted in the first round, which we then peeled away to reveal our surprise turn to Ted Kennedy.) After a strong showing by still little known Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, Morris Eudall won the convention on the 4th ballot. Eudall phoned the convention hall and gave an acceptance speech, which was more of an attaboy speech to the process.

    That was a great event! Still appreciate those teachers.

  69. Mikey says:

    @SenyorDave:

    If someone absolutely refuses to buy insurance maybe society shouldn’t be responsible when they get sick. It might be necessary for some people to die in the parking lot of hospitals in order to solve this problem.

    Too many Americans have already died from lack of health insurance. Why would you want to add to that number? That’s not the society, or the country, we should want to be.

  70. Eric Florack says:

    The real issue here is the quality of both candidates. Hillary Clinton we have someone who is most likely the worst candidate for the office of president in American history. Of course the GOP didn’t help Itself by desperately trying to avoid being conservative and thereby letting Trump steal the show.

    One or the other may actually win but I can’t imagine the overall voter participation rate is going to be anything to write home about. I get the impression from chatter on the street that John Q public shares your discussed with the whole process, Doug

  71. SenyorDave says:

    @Pch101: I believe there was a deal to lower Medicare age to 55, and Joe Lieberman backstabbed the Democrats at the last second? His wife being a lobbyist (unregistered) for drug companies more than likely played into that.

  72. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Hillary Clinton we have someone who is most likely the worst most qualified candidate for the office of president in American history.

    I can only assume your voice recognition software screwed up again, so I fixed that for you.
    You are a disgusting ignorant racist ba$tard.
    Everyone should log onto Florack’s website and do a search for the n-word and see how many entries you find.

  73. Hal_10000 says:

    @SKI:

    Pretty much every policy idea that Obama ran in and HRC is running on have detailed white papers explaining exactly how they would work and would be paid for.

    Yes, just like they had white papers showing Obamacare would work flawlessly. Clinton is pushing forward a lot of policies that have no basis in reality, principally free college, expanded healthcare, expanded Social Security all to be paid for by taxes on “the rich”. The math does not work out. To pay for the spending we are *already committed to* is going to require big taxes increases on the middle class. If you look at the European welfare states, you’ll find their tax systems are actually less progressive than ours with huge middle class taxes, especially in the form of VATs. Promising the world and saying the rich will pay for it is no more realistic than promising a wall and saying Mexico will pay for it.

    That’s just one policy. I could do this all day.

  74. reid says:

    Doug, I share your pain. This is the worst election in my lifetime, in terms of candidates, election, media. I thought GWB and Sarah Palin were lows, but we’ve managed to dig even further. As others have mentioned, the rightwing has led this, and it shows in their candidate. I hope for the best outcome on election day, but in the longer term, I don’t have high hopes that we will be able to right the ship. So much damage has been done.

  75. MBunge says:

    1. The latest Real Clear Politics polling average has Hillary up by 1.7%, confirming what I pointed out many months ago. Donald Trump has an entirely credible chance at winning the race and the stubborn refusal to except that is a symptom of our bigger issue.

    2. It’s easy to dismiss a post like this as a “First World Problem.” I’m sure the people in Syria feel real sorry for Doug. But there is something going on. I just got back from the grocery store and saw a copy of last week’s Time magazine at the checkout. The cover was a playoff of the “meltdown” cover of a cartoon Trump face back in August, but the face was completely melted with the title “Total Meltdown.” The people who decided on that cover, who are supposed to be some of the most plugged in an up to speed members of our world, had to have made that decision no more than a few days before it came out. So, less than two weeks ago, the people at Time were convinced that the utter political failure of Donald Trump was an accurate picture of what was going on in America.

    Or look at the NFL. A backup quarterback protests during the national anthem and our entire media and cultural elite, sports and otherwise, applaud his actions and applaud the NFL for allowing his protest to go on. Now NFL ratings are measurably down and there is legitimate evidence that people are turning it off because they are unhappy with the anthem protests and how they have been supported.

    We’ve faced worse conditions in the past, but I’m not sure we ever faced them with our politics, our culture, our very system in such a state of dysfunction.

    3. If you think Donald Trump is a threat to our Constitutional Order, you are part of the problem. We didn’t get to this point because Trump is a super-villain who used his mind control powers to zap nearly half the population. It’s never truly that last straw which breaks the camel’s back.

    Mike

  76. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Hillary Clinton we have someone who is most likely the worst candidate for the office of president in American history.

    You misspelled “Donald Trump.”

  77. JKB says:

    @Jen: When I was in my 20s, I had an individual policy through BC/BS that was bare-bones (basically catastrophic coverage), and it STILL cost me nearly half of my monthly take-home pay (this was 20+ years ago, when women were charged more just because they “might” have babies).

    Well, under Obamacare, just catastrophic/hospitalization coverage is illegal. And that is what insurance is for, to cover things that “might” happen. And when those things are more likely, you pay more, especially when they are the likely outcome of an activity members of that group engage in. Thus women paid more because they “might” have a baby.

    And that is the problem with Obamacare, it took the actuarial reasoning out of healthcare “insurance” and substituted in a buying club program.

    And if you jack up the “penalties” then you run the risk of making the whole program unconstitutional, even beyond the ability of Chief Justice Roberts to save.

  78. barbintheboonies says:

    Thank You Doug. This is what I`ve been feeling for so long. I was Democrat all my voting years, but now I don`t know what I am. I tend to be right square in the middle, but left on social issues. I never was a political junkie, but became obsessed in 2008. Since that time the country changed dramatically. We were fed so much BS we never knew what was real. Our media giggled through any important issue as they pushed even more BS on us. We had to search out elsewhere for some truth. I thought of those who take all this as truth, like older people who will not even use a computer. I realize now how we all really need each other. We need to balance each other. We cannot be radical right or radical left. We seem to get along when we work together. These two candidates are not the right fit for what this country needs. I am afraid for us all.

  79. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey:

    but if Y won instead, I didn’t think it was an actual risk to the nation. We’d accept the results, adjust, and move forward. Even G. W. Bush, with the horrors he inflicted, wasn’t an existential threat to the bedrock principles upon which our Republic stands.

    I felt the same way when W was elected. OK, another country club Republican, He’ll raise my taxes while cutting his and grow the deficit while talking about fiscal responsibility, but we’ll get through it. Then he blew up the Middle East. Nixon left us the long list of crimes uncovered in Watergate and the Southern Strategy. Reagan deliberately caused a huge recession and then gave us Iran-Contra, Except for being an accessory to Reagan and providing the US Army as Janissaries for the Saudis H. W. seemed competent, but I keep fearing something will show up. The moral of my 50 years of political awareness seems to be that no matter how bad you think Republicans are, you’ll eventually learn they were worse. As bad as Trump looks, he’s probably worse.

    And who’s next? Ted Cruz, who either is, or effectively plays, a religious nut case? Little Jebbie who seems to be a clone of his twit brother? Scott Walker who even WI is sick of? Ted Cruz, who turned out to be as dumb as he looks? At least Christie’s probably a bridge too far. I guess James can hold out hope for Kasich, who hides his religiosity and venality better than the rest.

    Sorry, need to vent occasionally. And I appreciate James providing a venue.

  80. SKI says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Yes, just like they had white papers showing Obamacare would work flawlessly.

    Yeah, that isn’t real and is a bad faith argument.

    First, the Obamacare that got passed was different than the one laid out in the policy paper. THe dynamics in the House and especially the Senate changed it.

    Second, no policy paper ever claims that something will work flawlessly. Every program, heck every human endeavor, needs tweaks, changes and adjustments. Claiming it said that is simply lying.

    Clinton is pushing forward a lot of policies that have no basis in reality, principally free college, expanded healthcare, expanded Social Security all to be paid for by taxes on “the rich”. The math does not work out.

    Actually, economists say the math does work out. Even economists who are defgiict scolds with a fetish for the National Debt. See, for e.g., here: http://www.crfb.org/papers/adding-secretary-clintons-campaign-proposals-so-far

    To pay for the spending we are *already committed to* is going to require big taxes increases on the middle class.

    Again, nope. The math – as validated by actual economists says you are wrong. Here as a different analysis on the impact of Clinton’s plans on the overall economy: https://www.economy.com/mark-zandi/documents/2016-07-28-The-Macroeconomic-Consequences-of-Secretary-Clintons-Economic-Policies.pdf

    Their conclusion: “the upshot of our analysis is that Secretary Clinton’s economic policies when taken together will result in a stronger U.S. economy under almost any scenario.”

    Want to try again with some actual facts?

    More links:
    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2015/08/11/the-economics-of-hillary-clintons-higher-education-plan/
    http://taxfoundation.org/article/details-and-analysis-hillary-clinton-s-tax-proposals-october-2016

  81. wr says:

    @SenyorDave: Yes, and people who can’t afford to buy food should be forced to starve to death in the streets, along with their children. Then we will truly have the Republican paradise.

  82. stonetools says:

    I understand why someone like Doug might be burned out about this election. After all, a core belief of Doug is his trust in Conservative Economic Ideology. The main tenets of CEI are:
    1. Free Markets are wonderful, self regulating systems that work without any need for government intervention and support,
    2. The only government intervention allowed is what Doug calls “tax reform”, i.e. tax cuts for the rich.
    3. Those tax cuts will pay for themselves in the form of vigorous economic growth.

    The Bush Administration was virtually a “proof of concept” model of CEI-and it didn’t work.

    1. The tax cuts didn’t produce rapid economic growth , and didn’t pay for themselves.
    2. The unregulated financial markets led to the financial catastrophe of 2008, after which the financial system was saved by ( you guessed it) massive government intervention.

    Following that disaster, the Obama Administration came in and has largely restored the economy through application of those liberal Keynesian policies that conservatives have traditionally so abhorred ( Doug, Hal and most conservatives resist this conclusion , but most economists agree about this. I’m not going to bother arguing facts any longer with people who want their own facts).
    CEI also failed at the state level when as a result of the Tea Party backlash, Republican governors took over in Kansas and Louisiana ands tried it out. Kansas is now a fiscal disaster with little economic growth to show for it, ands Jindal’s policies proved so unpopular that a Democrat was elected to follow Jindal in a Deep South, hard Republican state.
    The result of CEI”s failure is that the rubes no longer buy this stuff, which led to the rise of Trump. Trump at last tore the mask off the fiction of the Republican coalition. The fiction was that the Republican Party at its core was a part of CEI believers , with an unfortunate fringe of racists and social conservatives. Trump showed that Republican Party was at it’s core racist, with a fringe of believers in CEI. Those believers might write the National Review, staff the think tanks, and run for office, but they no longer represent the thinking of the base, if they ever did. To the extent the Republican base bought into CEI, it was only as a way of stopping the government from directing money to and helping Those People.Trump won the loyalty of the base by shouting what Republican candidates only dog whistled, while touting such heresies as protection of Social Security and Medicare-government programs that mostly benefitted the base. And on his way to winning he crushed an opposition made up of a whole team of CEI believers.
    So I understand Doug’s angst. Not only is it clear that CEI has lost the allegiance of the base of the conservative party, but the result of that loss of allegiance is that the racist , misogynstic demagogue has captured the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party . And the only one keeping him from the Presidency? Why, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a person who Doug has been taught by right wing propaganda to hate with the ferocity of a thousand suns.
    Doug has to contemplate doing the right thing and voting for Clinton over Trump. Since he lives in Virginia ( a swing state) he can’t pretend his vote doesn’t matter. So he knows what the right thing is.But he sure doesn’t like it. Hence the angst.

  83. dxq says:

    if my favored political party nominated Donald J. Trump, I’d be feelin pretty ill too.

    Humiliated and ashamed, also.

  84. barbintheboonies says:

    @gVOR08: It is okay to vent and if walls could talk I`d be put away in some crazy house. The thing is we just escalate the problem by slinging crap at each other. I believe this is just a ruse on the government`s side to keep us busy hating each other while they take everything away from us, including rights. Eventually we all will have nothing that resembles the America we knew and loved. Most of the changes that happen now are at the benefit of the rich. We are told we are going to get better, and then we get, sorry, we were blocked again. So next time comes and we get the same pitch. It`s insanity falling for the same old crap. Let`s face it we were lied to before and we are still being lied to. In a country this size, this is what we get to choose from.

  85. Monala says:

    @Jen:

    The entire system, from the fact that doctors have no idea what procedures cost to people demanding the newest meds based on advertising to the for-profit motives of hospitals and insurers, needs a total overhaul.

    I highlighted part of your quote, because I have encountered that a lot. When people say that the solution is for ordinary people to become smarter consumers of health care, they don’t seem to realize how impossible that is. Before going in on several occasions, I have contacted the doctor to ask what something will cost, and they have no idea. And my insurer also has no idea – while the insurer has a general idea of costs of certain procedures, they always say they don’t know specifically what my treatment will cost, because they don’t know what the doctor might order, what complications will come up, etc.

  86. David M says:

    @Hal_10000:

    watching the GOP fall into this abyss is the most disheartening thing I’ve witnessed in politics.

    Yes, just like they had white papers showing Obamacare would work flawlessly.

    You don’t need to look any further than this to see why the GOP ended up with Trump. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and exactly the type of mindless garbage that results in the GOP refusing to consider Democratic Supreme Court nominations and nominating Trump.

    Obamacare is not perfect, but refusing to be honest in evaluating it is the standard Republican response. I know I’m being a little harsh, but I’m unspeakably frustrated with so-called moderate or reasonable conservatives going along with abject stupidity from the GOP, and normalizing the radical and dangerous political environment that enabled Trump.

  87. michael reynolds says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    It’s not the government, it’s business, specifically the profit-seeking media, and it’s voters who are too dumb to empty sand out of a boot with the instructions printed on the sole. We have a fascist, racist, misogynist, mentally-unbalanced, ignoramus who is endorsed by the KKK and the American Nazi Party and advocates sexual assault on the one hand, vs. a very well-qualified woman who has occasional lapses in judgment regarding classification of emails on the other.

    This is the easiest choice in my lifetime. It’s not a choice that makes me or most people happy, I’d rather have someone more inspirational and less tainted by her husband, but that’s beside the point. My fantasy candidate is not on the ballot. Neither is yours. The fact that a large number of Americans have a hard time making this exceedingly easy, even self-evident choice, is on the voters. In a democracy the blame is always on the voters.

    So, no it’s not the ‘government’ it’s us, the voters. We did this. We are entirely to blame. We the voters are failing democracy. We the voters are abandoning our core principles.

  88. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Yes, just like they had white papers showing Obamacare would work flawlessly.

    There is literally no liberal that I know who thought that Obamacare would “work flawlessly”. Every liberal that I have ever communicated with thought that a single payer system was best, but that Obamacare was best that we could hope to pass, given fervid right wing opposition to any heath insurance expansion at all.
    Heck, one of the big problems with Obamacare is that liberals don’t want to defend it. They know it’s not the best option, so they spend more time wringing their hands and sniping at Obamacare than they do defending it.
    However, it is crystal clear that Obamacare is better than what went before. It has brought insurance coverage to millions of people who would not have had health insurance coverage and in places where it has been fully implemented like California, it has worked quite well. Not surprisingly, the places it hasn’t worked that well are places with Republican governors and legislatures. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

    If you look at the European welfare states, you’ll find their tax systems are actually less progressive than ours with huge middle class taxes, especially in the form of VATs

    Ah yes, European hellholes like Germany, a country with one of the strongest economies in the world and which took in a million refugees last year. As for the math, conservatives have been saying that the math doesn’t work out since the days Social Security started in 1935. They were certain that Social Security would collapse within a few years. They are still certain of that 80 years later. You know which math doesn’t work out? Tax cuts paying for themselves math. Solve that math problem, and maybe we’ll listen to you on anything else.

    That’s just one policy. I could do this all day.

    Yep, I am certain you could spout economically incorrect right wing talking points all day too.

  89. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    Given how politics work in these dysfunctional United States, Obama should have just expanded Medicare to cover all or most people (perhaps lowering it to the age of 40 would have been a workable compromise) and rammed it through Congress with minimal debate while Teddy Kennedy was still alive.

    The notion that passing Medicare-for-all or Medicare-for-most was politically possible in 2009 is pure fantasy. The GOP would have opposed any bill he put forth, and he needed every Democratic vote in the Senate to get it passed, including all those Blue Dogs who would never have gone for such a progressive reform. The fact is that he barely managed to get Obamacare passed, and it depended on some good fortune falling his way just enough to have 60 Senators to break the GOP’s filibuster (the party switching of Arlen Specter, the very narrow victory of Al Franken and his belated seating in mid-2009).

    Paul Krugman understood all this in 2007. While arguing that single-payer was ideal, he advocated a program very much like Obamacare (he didn’t use the name, but he did mention that it was more or less what candidates Obama and John Edwards were advocating, and that it was similar to the program enacted in Massachusetts and what then Governor Schwarzenegger was trying to pass in California). He described it as the most progressive reform that had a chance of passing should Dems win control of the presidency and Congress the following year.

    Any discussion of the politics of health-care reform is incomplete without considering the history. FDR wanted to enact single-payer but privately scrapped a plan–twice!–out of fear of a backlash by the medical community. Truman tried to enact single-payer and failed after a real backlash from the medical community (as well as Southern Democrats). A couple of generations later both Nixon and Clinton attempted far more conservative versions of health-care reform and failed. Even LBJ, whom many liberals today hold up as some kind of ideal warrior for progressive causes (ironically, given how much the left came to hate him), only passed health-care for the elderly and poor when in theory he could have pursued single-payer. It just wasn’t in the works politically at the time. (A little known fact is that the term “Medicare” originated in Canada, where it referred–as it does today–to a single-payer program for the entire populace. The US borrowed the term but narrowed the concept.)

    When Obama became president his basic strategy for health-care reform was to avoid repeating the mistakes Bill Clinton had made 15 years earlier which led to the bill’s collapse. He took a largely hands-off approach, leaving a lot of the details to Congress and making many concessions to the insurance companies, avoiding the massive anti-HCR campaign that was mounted against Clinton in 1993. Ted Kennedy was a big advocate of what Obama was doing and he went out of the way to say that one of his biggest mistakes was rejecting Nixon’s proposal in the 1970s.

    I’m open to the argument that Obama might have managed to push through a more progressive bill if he’d maneuvered things a little differently. The death of the public option wasn’t necessarily inevitable. But the general outline–that it was a program relying mostly on existing insurance companies as well as Medicaid to expand coverage–was always going to remain the same. And the fact is that the bill still very nearly suffered the same fate of Bill Clinton’s one in the ’90s. The bill he got passed has a lot of problems, but it is almost certainly more or less the best deal he was going to get.

  90. James Pearce says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Yes, perhaps this go-round Mitch McConnell will deign to NOT obstruct everything that a Democratic president does.

    Point taken, but consider this: Republicans in safe Congressional districts may think they can comfortably obstruct responsible governance for a decade or more, but their voters know better.

    That’s why they turned to Trump.

    @MBunge:

    Or look at the NFL.

    The NFL became a political football looooooong before Colin Kapernick decided to disguise his apathy as a righteous protest.

    Surely you remember all the liberals who so bravely turned away from the NFL because of its “toxic masculinity” and how it’s “awful to women,” not to mention concerns over CTE.

    Now the right has decided there are political reasons to hate football. They’re wrong too.

  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen:

    We need to fix the program, not abandon it.

    And there you have, in a nutshell, the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Democrats know what the goals are, have implemented policies/programs to help accomplish them, see that they aren’t working right, and therefore want to fix them. Republicans come in two flavors:
    1. The kind that disagrees about the goals, and so wants to sabotage the means (and uses their current imperfections as an excuse to do that)
    2. The kind that agrees about the goals in principle, but has been sold a homeopathic remedy that they are clamoring to use in lieu of actual medicine, because medicine tastes bad

  92. Blue Galangal says:

    @Mikey:

    In the past I’ve had a lot invested in politics and Presidential elections, but never before have I actually feared the results if a given candidate won.

    Exactly. Even if Romney or McCain had won, you could still see that there would be governing of a sort happening. You could see the safety net being shredded some more and more tax cuts on the rich, and no health care reform. But what you couldn’t see was a wholesale rejection of our form of democracy, a gleeful and irresponsible trashing of our Constitution and our rights, and, probably, a glowing crater in Iran before all’s said and done.

  93. Hal_10000 says:

    @SKI:

    So your response is to link to white papers from the same people who said the economic stimulus would work. OK then.

    Meanwhile, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that she would at least $200 billion onto the deficit. That’s in addition to the $10 trillion the CBO currently expects to be added to the debt. So yeah, keep trying with the Keynesian garbage. It’s very entertaining.

    Ah yes, European hellholes like Germany, a country with one of the strongest economies in the world and which took in a million refugees last year. As for the math, conservatives have been saying that the math doesn’t work out since the days Social Security started in 1935. They were certain that Social Security would collapse within a few years. They are still certain of that 80 years later. You know which math doesn’t work out? Tax cuts paying for themselves math. Solve that math problem, and maybe we’ll listen to you on anything else.

    This paragraph is deeply silly. No one claimed SS would collapse right away. And Social Security is current running a deficit with the “trust fund” due to run out by 2034 at best. And you’ve basically conceded my entire point which is that a welfare state can only be sustained by taxes on the middle class. Germany’s taxes are WAY less progressive than ours. Higher, mostly on the middle class.

    Bernie Sanders was at least semi-honest about this, proposing tax hikes on everyone. Clinton is being dishonest, claiming that this can all be paid for by taxes on the rich. It can’t be.

    (And I have never said tax cuts pay for themselves. I have specifically said they don’t. Quit arguing the point you wish I was making and argue the point I’m making.)

  94. Rafer Janders says:

    @Hal_10000:

    So your response is to link to white papers from the same people who said the economic stimulus would work.

    Hey, don’t knock down that strawman — you might need him to help you move those goalposts down the field.

  95. stonetools says:

    @Kylopod:

    The notion that passing Medicare-for-all or Medicare-for-most was politically possible in 2009 is pure fantasy.

    Well, not if you use the Green Lantern power ring that’s in the White House basement. Then it’s a snap.
    I remain impressed at the total inability of liberals to see that their pet ideas simply do not command popular support, no matter logical and supported by the evidence they appear to be.
    There were ways to pass a stronger Obamacare bill. But it would have involved a different Obama, a different Democratic majority, and an ability to see into the future. I don’t think there is a single political pundit that I can point to who would thought that scorched earth opposition to Obamacare would have been the focus of Republican opposition to Obama ( and indeed Obama’s successor ) in 2016.
    I think we will eventually get to something like single payer. But as in Europe, it will be a stepwise process involving expansions to Medicare and Medicaid over a couple of generations. I note that the public has been much happier with Medicaid expansion where expansion, and I think it will be only a matter of time before its evened to all 50 states. I think Medicare buy-in before age 55 will also happen- but not till after 2020 redistricting and a Democratic House majority and indeed, not for a while after that.

  96. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: RE: the stimulus. Ezra Klein did an analysis a few years back.

    Did the stimulus work? A review of the nine best studies on the subject

    There’s a lot of information, but generally speaking most of the studies come out on the side of either “it worked well” or “it worked somewhat.” But Klein links to the studies and does his own analysis so you can read it all and judge for yourself.

  97. stonetools says:

    Sorry , edit didn’t work.Last paragraph:

    I note that the public has been much happier with Medicaid expansion where expansion was allowed, and I think it will be only a matter of time before its extended to all 50 states. I think Medicare buy-in before age 55 will also happen- but not till after 2020 redistricting and a Democratic House majority and indeed, not for a while after that.

  98. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    those liberal Keynesian policies that conservatives have traditionally so abhorred

    That’s not entirely true. Republican administrations have been OK with Keynesian stimulus, including W’s. Opposition to Keynsian stimulus only became an eternal verity for conservatives when Obama wanted him some.

  99. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: There was a national medical insurance plank in the Progressive Party platform that Teddy Roosevelt ran on as a Bull Moose in 1912. Progressives and liberals have been fighting for this for a century. Obama got it done. Warts and all, as Biden put it, a big fwking deal.

  100. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    He took a largely hands-off approach, leaving a lot of the details to Congress and making many concessions to the insurance companies, avoiding the massive anti-HCR campaign that was mounted against Clinton in 1993.

    And that is precisely what turned Obamacare into a political football, so it was actually a terrible idea. Instead of ramming through, the GOP took every opportunity to snipe at it during the process.

    The ideal approach to a Medicare expansion effort was not even pursued: It should have been pitched to industry as a tool for getting employers out of the healthcare business while spurring entrepreneurship.

    Decades ago, providing healthcare benefits used to be a helpful tool for recruiting workers, but now it’s just a horrendous cost burden. Part B plans for all would be much cheaper. That isn’t particularly liberal, unless you think borrowing from Costco’s business model (buying in bulk and passing on the savings to the consumer) is some sort of Bolshevik wet dream.

  101. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    So your response is to link to white papers from the same people who said the economic stimulus would work. OK then.

    According to overwhelming majority of economists, the stimulus DID work. It wasn’t the end of the history and paradise, but it did start the economic recovery that has continued to this day. You resist that, for the same reason that creationists resist the theory of evolution ( it contradicts your ideology), but that doesn’t mean that the scientific consensus isn’t correct.

    No one claimed SS would collapse right away. And Social Security is current running a deficit with the “trust fund” due to run out by 2034 at best.

    Conservatives have been arguing that Social Security would inevitably collapse from day one.It won’t collapse in 2034 either, so long as relatively modest tax increases are passed. Guess which party opposes those increases.

    nd you’ve basically conceded my entire point which is that a welfare state can only be sustained by taxes on the middle class. Germany’s taxes are WAY less progressive than ours. Higher, mostly on the middle class.

    I would like to see a link for that, especially in light of this. But so what? Germany is not the US, and it’s entirely possible to raise more revenue by raising taxes on the rich, without us becoming some kind of socialist hellhole. Again, Germany is a pretty good model to emulate, if we have to go in that direction.

  102. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: I don’t know what frightens me more. If you honestly believe that or you’re playing up to something. You couldn’t possibly be more wrong. She is the single most unqualified person ever to attempt the office. And I strongly advise you sit out the next several elections

  103. Eric Florack says:

    @Mikey: as I have suggested before the list of qualifications between the two of them so close as to not matter.

    I want neither one of them anywhere near the White House

  104. barbintheboonies says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael I know between the Two Hillary is better, I do not need convincing. Now what do we just suck it up, and for how long? Will things get better or worse? There will be a time when we have to decide enough of the BS already. We disagree how we got to this place, but we do agree it`s not good, and things need to change. I am sorry but I had to vote for a 3rd party candidate. I know everyone here will attack me for it, but I just could not vote for Clinton or Trump. I am so sick of the hating.

  105. gVOR08 says:

    @barbintheboonies: If, presented with a need to choose the lesser of two evils, you decide to abdicate, you’re part of the problem.

    (Not to imply I accept your premise that Hillary is evil. Can you articulate why you think so without descending into wingnutery?)

  106. michael reynolds says:

    @barbintheboonies:

    I don’t know how it gets better. Somehow we need to drain the hate swamp. What we lack are institutions that bring us together – public schools, churches, civic organizations, the draft and military service, public transportation – all the things that used to level us and push us together with people unlike ourselves. What we have instead are ad hoc media and social media groups, which are self-selecting by ideology and thus magnify division. Everyone is in a bubble and it takes deliberate action to step outside of it. Very few people have the will or awareness to curate the data they take in and screen for bias.

    Alternately we just wait on demographics to slowly but surely grind down the spiteful old white men who are doing their level best to ruin this country for their children and grandchildren. Essentially a war of attrition which we are likely to win in the end as the nation grows more educated and more brown, but is not the preferred path for me or for anyone who loves this country.

    I share your disquiet. Politics hasn’t been this nasty since 1968, and that is not a year to be proud of.

  107. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    And that is precisely what turned Obamacare into a political football,

    Obamacare would have been a political football, no matter what approach was used.
    As the rest of your post, it’s an appeal to logic.The Republicans don’t do logic anymore. They would have opposed Medicare expansion no matter what, and so would conservative Democrats like Lieberman and Nelson.

    Going forward, the only way we improve the health insurance situation is incremental improvements to Obamacare. Let’s focus on what we can do now, and move on from wondering about what might have been.

  108. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack:

    as I have suggested before the list of qualifications between the two of them so close as to not matter.

    That is so wrong it’s actually ludicrous.

    In Mrs. Clinton we have someone who has served both as a Senator and U. S. Secretary of State. We have had plenty of Presidents who have neither of those on their CVs. She has detailed plans–whether you agree with them or not, she has them. She has demonstrated a calm and articulate demeanor even under extreme stress. She is quite obviously very intelligent.

    Absolutely none of the above is true of Donald Trump. Equating them is like equating Albert Einstein to a flatworm.

  109. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    You keep conceding my point and thinking your winning. I’m arguing that Clinton’s plans (and the Left’s general support for a big welfare state) will need larger taxes on the middle class. You’re saying, “No, you’re wrong! A big welfare state will need larger taxes!”

    There’s a lot of information, but generally speaking most of the studies come out on the side of either “it worked well” or “it worked somewhat.” But Klein links to the studies and does his own analysis so you can read it all and judge for yourself.

    Mathews, actually. And five years ago. And it consists of nine studies that claim stimulus worked while ignoring studies like Taylor and Cogan that said it didn’t. And ignores that the early studies predicting a MUCH bigger effect. And this was written right before austerity failed to wreck the economy.

    It won’t collapse in 2034 either, so long as relatively modest tax increases are passed. Guess which party opposes those increases.

    And a reformulation of Social Security to decouple earnings from taxes. But here’s the thing … so you’re going to use that revenue to pay for Social Security. Then where is the rest going to come from to pay for Medicare, Obamacare, free college, etc.? Because with social security and medicare taxes and state taxes, you’re moving marginal rates for “the rich” to very high levels. You’re maxing out what you can take from “the rich”. You can’t use that revenue for Social Security and for everything else at the same time.

  110. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    There isn’t a need to win over Republicans when you have 60 votes in the Senate and a House majority.

    Obamacare almost certainly contributed to the loss of that House majority, so again, the strategy that would used to get it done was actually a poor one.

    If Medicare expansion would have been rammed through, then tens of millions of Americans would have had immediate experience with it. They would like it and would resist efforts to have it taken away.

    Instead, we have a bunch of people who are complaining about Obamacare even though they have no experience with it at all or don’t understand what it really is.

    What we see happening now is that every change that is happening to healthcare plans at work is being blamed on Obama even though Obama had nothing to do with it. Most people have no idea what their healthcare costs or how it works.

    Obamacare’s efforts to preserve as much of the status quo as possible may have appeared to make it easier, but it has actually made things more difficult. Few people have any real investment in it since they have employer-base plans, anyway.

  111. Monala says:

    @Pch101: I don’t know that there wouldn’t be complaints about Medicare for All. Seniors pay a premium – it’s low (about $100 a month), but they pay it (it’s deducted from their Social Security). IIRC, Medicare covers about 80% of health care costs. That’s why seniors buy into Medicare Parts A, B-whatever – to bridge the gap in coverage for doctor’s visits, medication, etc. So Medicare for all would cover everyone, but people would still be paying premiums and deductibles, and those costs might still be burdensome on many people. Not to mention the disruption to the folks working in the insurance industry, most of whom aren’t wealthy.

  112. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds: @barbintheboonies:

    I don’t know how it gets better. Somehow we need to drain the hate swamp.

    I think one way to drain the swamp is to get rid of one of the things that led to the swamp in the first place-the information silo. When liberals allowed the fairness doctrine to be abolished in 1987, they did so because they had the high minded view that voters would get their information from several sources, and would seek out opposing points of view. They were wrong. They didn’t foresee the rise of the propaganda channel that served up one point of view 24/7365, and didn’t foresee that people would get their info from that channel and reject info from anywhere else as biased and unreliable.
    One example of this is that what you see as a simple choice, Michael , is not so simple if your propaganda channel in Fox News. Thanks to right wing propaganda, Hillary is portrayed not simply as a left of center politician with some hawkish tendencies who will nonetheless run a competent shop. No, she is virtually Satan Incarnate-a kind of Bond Supervillian who eats puppies for breakfast and who murders her enemies for fun and profit. Some of that has seeped into the liberal media, which is why probably why barb didn’t vote for her. After all, she has heard repeatedly how corrupt and dishonest she is because there is a liberal appetite for this anti Clinton stuff too.

    I’m not sure how we get the toothpaste back into the tube, but insisting that radio and TV channels present opposing POVs would be a start. I sure would like to get back to a place where we agree on the same facts, if not the same opinions.

  113. Pch101 says:

    @Monala:

    Most employers would probably end up paying for the Part B, providing more choice to their employees while saving money to boot.

    Meanwhile, those of us who buy ACA plans without subsidies would see our costs drop.

    There could be subsidies for those who can’t afford the Part B, which should also be cheaper than the current Obamacare subsidies because a Medicare-style system would be securing larger discounts thanks to this new pool with a couple hundred million people in it.

    I’m sure that some hard-right wingnuts would find something to whine about But the horror stories would carry less weight when more Americans have the plans and see that the complaints don’t match their own experience.

  114. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Doug Mataconis

    If there’s anyone to blame for the fact that I turned into a “political junkie” as someone once called me, it would be my Third Grade teacher Miss Williamson. I started Third Grade in the fall of 1976 …

    Doug – Timing is everything. For you to become politically aware in 1976, it explains why you are a conservative, and then (with the later history of the GOP) a libertarian.

    As for me, born in 1960, my first “woke” political imprint was the Vietnam War, the 1967 Detroit Riots (at the end of my block), and the 1968 elections. (OK, and the ’68 World Series)

    With Wallace and Nixon running, I could not understand how Humphrey could not lose! Color me a liberal optimist right from the get go.

    And yes, I am still proud to be one.

    Of course, today we find that Trump is running the combined platforms of Nixon and Wallace, and this time the uneducated white folk are threatening riots.

    How some things never change.

  115. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    There isn’t a need to win over Republicans when you have 60 votes in the Senate and a House majority.

    Would you still defend this principle if Republicans had 60 votes?

  116. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    There isn’t a need to win over Republicans when you have 60 votes in the Senate and a House majority.

    Ah, but you didn’t have 60 votes for Medicare expansion. What you had was:

    60 votes for Obamacare
    55-58 votes for Medicare expansion
    Maybe 50 votes at best for single payer.

    You make the typical liberal mistake of thinking that all Democrats would or should vote for most liberal option. That was not the case in 2008.
    Now I think the current Democratic caucus is more liberal and would go for Medicare expansion. But 2016 isn’t 2008.

  117. Mister Bluster says:
  118. Monala says:

    @Pch101: Hey, if we could have policy discussions like this regarding MfA, I’m all for it. So often the single payer now! folks seem to think that MfA would mean no one pays anything, all health care costs are covered, and there’s not disruption to one of our largest employment sectors.

    If some liberal think tanks want to work on this, I’d love to see it. How do we cover the costs of MfA? What out-of-pocket costs would consumers pay in terms of premiums and deductibles, and how do we reduce those costs? What changes would have to be made to the health insurance sector, and how do we make sure we don’t end up with a huge new pool of unemployed people? How would employee benefits change? Would there be any health care costs not covered? (eg. dental, eyecare, etc) – and what do we do about it? If single payer advocates hammer out these issues, I’d be more supportive.

  119. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s not a principle, it’s a mathematical reality.

    At this stage of the game, efforts to work with Republicans on wedge issues are exactly what costs Democrats in the first place. The GOP’s primary mission is to make Democratic presidents fail, not to cut deals. You would have better luck befriending a saltwater crocodile.

    Instead of placating wingnuts, the Dems should win over voters with programs whose benefits are easy to appreciate. Obamacare was sure to confuse the voters, not to earn their loyalty.

  120. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    You make the typical liberal mistake of thinking that all Democrats would or should vote for most liberal option.

    I made exactly the opposite point. Create a cost savings for industry, and you’ll have business lobbyists demanding the Medicare expansion effort. How leftist is it to prioritize ways to save companies money?

  121. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000:

    And it consists of nine studies that claim stimulus worked while ignoring studies like Taylor and Cogan that said it didn’t.

    If you want to be pedantic, and I know you do, you should at least have read the piece. It analyzes five studies that said the stimulus worked well, two that it worked somewhat, and two that it didn’t, so it didn’t ignore studies that said the stimulus didn’t work.

    Oh, and one of those that said it didn’t work? Taylor’s. He didn’t ignore it at all.

  122. Pch101 says:

    @Monala:

    Your healthcare costs are high because your medical providers have too much pricing power.

    This “how are we going to pay for it” stuff is nonsense. We have problems paying for it now because the US government fails to harness the bargaining power that would come from allowing or denying access to a unified pool 300+ million consumers.

    We’re paying Ferrari prices for Chevrolet healthcare. We’re allowing the corner liquor store to determine the pricing model instead of learning from Costco. It isn’t that tough.

  123. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Well, I’m not buying your ipse dixit that Hillary’s plan won’t work. You can link to some analyses if you want. Even if you are right, your fear mongering that ” We will be like Germany!” cuts no ice with me, although I’m sure it’s a winner in libertarian circles.

    Mathews, actually. And five years ago. And it consists of nine studies that claim stimulus worked while ignoring studies like Taylor and Cogan that said it didn’t. And ignores that the early studies predicting a MUCH bigger effect. And this was written right before austerity failed to wreck the economy.

    That’s already nine studies in favor against two against by your count.Since that five years ago, the consensus that the stimulus worked has only grown. I’m sure you can find a handful of right wing economists that will insist that the stimulus had no effect (Everyone has to make a living, and those right wing think tank papers won’t write themselves).But the scholarly consensus is clear, as it is in evolution and AGW. You will find dissenters in those areas too.
    No, austerity didn’t wreck the economy, and not even Krugman predicted it would. He did predict that it would retard economic growth and employment, and so it has. Note that the austerity boosters predicted that austerity would in fact boost growth sharply, because the business community would have confidence that governments were serious about deficit reduction. Wrong again, Bob. Krugman:

    On the other side of the ledger, the benefits of improved confidence failed to make their promised appearance. Since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity. In late 2012, the IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, went so far as to issue what amounted to a mea culpa: although his organisation never bought into the notion that austerity would actually boost economic growth, the IMF now believes that it massively understated the damage that spending cuts inflict on a weak economy.

    Meanwhile, all of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited. Widely touted statistical results were, it turned out, based on highly dubious assumptions and procedures – plus a few outright mistakes – and evaporated under closer scrutiny.

    It is rare, in the history of economic thought, for debates to get resolved this decisively. The austerian ideology that dominated elite discourse five years ago has collapsed, to the point where hardly anyone still believes it. Hardly anyone, that is, except the coalition that still rules Britain

    And libertarians here across the pond, apparently.

  124. Monala says:

    @Pch101: I agree, but you still didn’t answer my multiple questions. I am asking whether there have been detailed plans made for how to make this transition. In the long run, it will save us money. In the short run, we have a lot of questions to answer, about how to make the transition without causing a lot of pain.

  125. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    It’s not a principle, it’s a mathematical reality.

    It’s a recipe for bitterness and political gridlock.

  126. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    The ideal approach to a Medicare expansion effort was not even pursued: It should have been pitched to industry as a tool for getting employers out of the healthcare business while spurring entrepreneurship.

    They could have pitched it any way they wanted. It would still have faced a massive backlash from the medical lobby and would have had basically no chance of winning over conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson. It would have been dead on arrival.

  127. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s a recipe for bitterness and political gridlock.

    Right, because we don’t have any bitterness or gridlock now.

  128. Pch101 says:

    @Monala:

    You’re fretting over an idea that would be cheaper and less complicated.

    The question that you should be asking is how a system that is as overpriced and convoluted as the US system can be expected to function. The house is on fire, and you’re acting as if preserving the blaze is preferable to putting it out.

  129. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    If healthcare had been rammed through while Ted Kennedy was still in office, Ben Nelson would not have mattered.

    The approaches that you support empowered Ben Nelson. But that’s what you get when one indulges this futile pursuit of consensus building with a group that has absolutely no desire for consensus.

  130. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    Dude, maybe time to cool off. You think that Medicare expansion could have passed in 2009 if pitched the right way. Let’s agree to disagree on that point.

    Going forward., I think Medicare expansion should be part of the Democratic Party platform.I think the economic case can be made , and we can flesh out with some good economic analysis, (Maybe there is a Clinton white paper that’s already done so).
    Politically, we are far away from passing it now, and my hope is that we will be ready for it in a few Presidential cycles. Right now, any push for Medicare expansion looks hopeless-but then again , if you had told me in 2008 that marriage equality would be the law of the land in 2016, I would have laughed.

  131. Monala says:

    @Pch101: Cheaper and less complicated — in the long run. Not in the short run.

    Your analogy doesn’t work. The U.S. healthcare system isn’t on fire. It’s more like an old house that has a lot of issues that are costing a lot to repair. Your solution is, “Just tear it down and build a new one! It’ll be cheaper!” I’m saying, “Yeah, it will be cheaper after it’s built, but building it will cost a lot of money, and where will we live in the meantime?”

    ETA: I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying figure out all the costs and how to deal with the issues that will arise, rather than just plowing forward.

  132. stonetools says:

    Here is a discussion of Hillary’s Medicare for More Health care plan.

    Here is Hillary’s Medicare page. It’s sparse on details, but it does enunciate her goals.

  133. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:

    Politically, we are far away from passing it now

    That’s why Obamacare is the Conservative solution. It works within the existing system instead of burning the system down.
    Unfortunately Republicans are no longer Conservative…they now wish to burn the entire fwcking house down.

  134. Pch101 says:

    @Monala:

    Every year, medical providers are pitched by insurers, and they pick and choose which plans that they will accept.

    What would happen with this sort of reform is that the providers would have a different menu of choices. As it happens, those choices would be better for the consumer because the price setting mechanism would be driven by the buying power of Medicare.

    With much larger pools, providers will be largely forced to accept plans that they would otherwise reject now. That’s what happens when you use bulk buying.

    The consumer ends up with more choices, not fewer, as the networks become less relevant. The insurer acts more like an administrator and less as a price negotiator, so it becomes more consumer-oriented instead of trying to please the provider with higher fee payments that drive up the cost of care.

    Supplement this with ideas for expanding healthcare supply such as giving pharmacists more authority to issue prescriptions, and even more downward pressure would be created on pricing. Instead of involving doctors with every minor ailment, your corner drugstore can handle much of it at a fraction of the price, freeing up doctors to do more important work.

    The current system is a mess, and there is no reason to fight to keep it. But we had a short window for change that shut when Ted Kennedy left office, so now we’re stuck with it.

  135. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Right, because we don’t have any bitterness or gridlock now.

    Do you want more?

    Or could we do with a little less?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing for capitulation. I’m arguing for compromise.

  136. Monala says:

    @stonetools: From your first link:

    With no knowledge of premiums or subsidies yet, a Medicare buy-in might just be too costly for those uninsured adults above 50 who have low incomes but are ineligible for Medicaid because of state rules. For those in private plans, Medicare has a distinct number of cost disadvantages, including a 20 percent cost-sharing requirement, no lifetime cap on out-of-pocket expenditures, and drug benefits that are generally less generous. Also, it is unclear if people under 65 could qualify for the Medicare Advantage plans that help fill in gaps in coverage. Sicker elderly adults regularly run up against the limits of Medicare, and it is hard to envision cases in which Medicare would make more financial sense for near-elderly adults with serious chronic illnesses than medium-cost marketplace plans.

    But Medicare has always been a good deal for those who don’t use many health-care services, and it might beat out low-cost marketplace plans for healthy adults between 50 and 65 with few health problems. Medicare provides access to one of the broadest networks of physicians, providers, and benefits possible, and consumers value continuity. A buy-in at 50 could allow people to remain on the same insurance coverage with the same providers for the rest of their lives. Also, while Medicare has not been shown to have a serious effect on health trajectories for uninsured adults who become enrollees at age 65, at age 50 it might provide services early enough to change outcomes.

    So, both pros and cons to expanding Medicare to middle-aged people. I’d like to seriously explore this, and figure out how to mitigate the problems and then promote it. It just bugs me that single payer advocates seem to ignore any potential problems and assume it’s a panacea for all our healthcare issues – and Pch101’s responses on this thread have not disabused me of that view.

  137. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    The hard right is already on maximum overdrive. They do not want to compromise at all, as they see that as being weak RINO behavior.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take some of you to understand that this is a full-blown culture war and that the only option is to defeat them. Being nice to them only earns their contempt; it has the opposite effect of what you claim to want.

  138. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    If healthcare had been rammed through while Ted Kennedy was still in office, Ben Nelson would not have mattered.

    What in holy hell do you mean by this phrase you keep using, “rammed through”? You’re talking as though it’s an alternative method of passing bills that doesn’t require actual, you know, votes.

  139. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s a recipe for bitterness and political gridlock.

    Well, thank god we avoided that, then.

  140. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    The Dems had 60 votes in the Senate and a House majority for eight months. An opportunity lost.

    You keep talking about Ben Nelson, yet you obviously can’t remember why his vote mattered.

  141. dxq says:

    Now the FBI is releasing Marc Rich documents?

    WTF????!?!?!?!?!?!

  142. dxq says:

    Conservatives are just scum.

  143. stonetools says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think what Pch101 is worried about is that Clinton will try the Obama approach of seeking Reasonable Bipartisan Compromise with Republicans instead of “passing the bill ” if they have the necessary votes. A lot of liberals faulted Obama for his “softly, softly ” approach when he had 60 votes and the House majority in 2009. ( Heck, I was one of those liberals for a while). I now think that given the kind of man he was and given his options, he did the best he could. I can imagine different scenarios in which he could have passed a better ACA, but that’s water under the bridge ( Pch101 pines for Medicare expansion: I would have been happy with the House bill). But whatever.

    What I’m certain of its that given anything like Obama’s options, Hillary will “ram through” any bill can pass the moment she has the votes, without anything more than a gesture towards RBC. Now RBC is the Holy Grail of Beltway media, and there will be much pearl clutching if Hillary doesn’t try to “reach across the aisle”, etc. PCH 101 is pretty much done with that crap.
    All of this doesn’t mean much, since a Democratic House majority isn’t in the cards any time soon, any way.

  144. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    I don’t know what it’s going to take some of you to understand that this is a full-blown culture war and that the only option is to defeat them.

    How are you going to “defeat” your neighbors, co-workers, and the people stuck in rush-hour traffic next to you?

  145. Monala says:

    @Pch101: They didn’t have 60 votes for 8 months. They had it for about 2 months – for 6 months, Al Franken wasn’t seated because his opponent contested his seat. Two months after Franken was seated, Kennedy died.

  146. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    More like 72 days, really. And Nelson would have still been one of the 60. And Lieberman. And Lincoln. And Bayh.

  147. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    The Dems had 60 votes in the Senate …. You keep talking about Ben Nelson, yet you obviously can’t remember why his vote mattered.

    He mattered because he was one of those 60 votes in the Senate!

  148. al-Ameda says:

    @dxq:

    Now the FBI is releasing Marc Rich documents?

    Conservatives are just scum.

    I would say that they’re more (perhaps the better term is ‘less’) than ‘just scum.’

    Perhaps Trump was right after all – the election is, de facto, being rigged, albeit in slow-motion, by a Republican appointee in the Obama Administration.

  149. the Q says:

    Doug, old boy, I feel your pain. Now, try following elections since 1936 and multiply your angst by another 40 years.

    The problem? Simple, the wingnuts lost their minds 20 years ago. This year, the Gen X and boomer liberals joined them.

    I have commented on here to much condemnation about the total sellout of the modern Dem “liberal” which has presided over the greatest diminution of Democratic Party influence in the last 100 years.

    The GOP has more Senators, Congresspersons, Governors and State houses since my Dad was born in 1908. The Dems have been horrible in responding to the legitimate concerns of white male high school blue collar workers and low wage employees. And they are proud of it!!!!They will go to war over vacuum tubing a 9 month old fetus, but will not do a thing about the surplus labor pouring in from other countries which have reduced wages of the lower class by 14% the last 9 years.

    And then, when we could actually have a democratic socialist candidate, most libs went for the thoroughly corrupt hillbilly grifters from the Ozarks, who use gov’t service to generate obscene amounts of personal wealth.

    Go ahead schitt birds, flame away as we watch that lunatic Trump maybe win. As if 30 years of Clinton mud wasn’t enough to warn you about this totally predictable slime fest.

    Just as the W slurpers couldn’t admit the insanity of the Iraq war, libs just can’t admit the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the Clinton machine and the remnants of the DLC who follow her.

    Look in the mirror RINOs, Trump is a narcissistic lunatic, unfit for office and Hillary is just a tad better. And the allegations keep coming so who knows.

    When libs start using the “russia card” its over. I saw the red baiting used by unhinged GOPers in the 40s and 50s and 60s, even into the 70s, so to see a “liberal” accuse Trump of being Putin’s puppet was revolting.

    But, I know on this blog, the modern libs applauded this non sense.

    And now you know the rest of the story.

  150. Matt says:

    @SenyorDave: I cannot afford the few insurance options I’m given here since I make too little to qualify for subsidies. Texas along with some other states rejected the medicare expansion so I have no options when it comes to health insurance. Last time I looked the cheapest plan for me was about 1/3rd of my monthly income…..

    Your “brilliant” idea would leave even more people dead including potentially me. Could you imagine how a car accident would go? “Sorry ma’am we can’t send you an ambulance because we cannot confirm that you or your husband has health insurance”. Police would check for a pulse then check for health insurance before calling the EMTs or fire department to extract the victims.. It’s a stupid idea beyond stupid…

  151. the Q says:

    PS, no way is Bernie statistically tied with a moron chimp if he is the nominee. Instead we would be talking about TPP and jobs and war and Wall Street constraints. Not pussy and graft.

    You brought it on yourselves sellouts!!!!

  152. Matt says:

    @stonetools: Lieberman really? The guy that was almost the vice presidential nominee for THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in 2008 was going to vote for single payer?

    Lieberman was one of the biggest problems with getting the ACA through at all. He killed the public option way early in the process and was a constant thorn in the Democrats side. Probably because of the state he was representing and the business interests of his wife….

    You’re delusional..

    He wasn’t even the only so called Democrat who seemed intent on sabotaging anything resembling the ACA.

    @the Q:Okay I’m calling bullshit on your earlier claim of having watched presidential elections for so long. There is no way you could of been watching the last few presidential elections let alone decades worth and still make that kind of ridiculous claim.

    While I’m far more aligned with Bernie’s plans and would of been FAR more happier to vote for him I cannot ignore reality. Bernie would of been toast by now. His primary campaign was amateur hour galore and that’s why he lost.

  153. Monala says:

    @Matt: I think stonetools is in agreement with you. His point was that certain members of the so-called “filibuster proof 60” were hardly reliable votes for health care reform.

  154. Matt says:

    @Monala: It’s hard to tell with all the back and forth. If so then I retract the delusional comment.

  155. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Monala: @the Q: Trump and Sanders have the same policy on TPP. Go far enough right, you end up left. In truth, there is no way of knowing what Sanders would have done in a general election. My guess is he would have been in roughly the same position as Hillary…for different reasons. I do think Clinton will probably win however.

  156. Barry says:

    Doug: “… both sides do nothing but shout at each other, investigate each other, make horrible insinuations about opposing candidates, and accuse each other of being a ‘traitor,’ or a ‘racist,’ simply because of which candidate they are supporting.”

    I’ll take ‘investigations for $800, Doug. What did the Democrats do comparable to the Clinton witch-hunts?

  157. Barry says:

    @Hal_10000: “So your response is to link to white papers from the same people who said the economic stimulus would work. OK then.”

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  158. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “Would you still defend this principle if Republicans had 60 votes?”

    It would be irrelevant.

  159. stonetools says:

    @Barry:

    The “Both Sides Do It ” is strong with this one.

    Doug is trying to argue that “Clinton and the Democrats” are just like “Trump sand the Republicans” so he can avoid the logic of voting for Clinton. After all, if both sides are equally bad, he can just stay home or vote third party with a clear conscience.
    Not sure he’s convincing even himself , though.

  160. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “How are you going to “defeat” your neighbors, co-workers, and the people stuck in rush-hour traffic next to you?”

    Right back atch’a.

  161. Tyrell says:

    @Davebo: Thanks for your comment.
    My source for the 70% increase is not the local news feed, or any news station. It is a family member’s notice from BC/BS that they got in the mail concerning the increase which amounted to a whopping 2/3 over last year’s rate: I read it myself. It also had increased some last year, but not anywhere near this much. This is not the government plan or employer family health plan. This is a private policy. It used to be that health insurance on a child or teen was very low. I don’t know what has happened with that.
    This could be the first wave of problems that was forecast years ago: an increasing base of older people needing lots of health care that has to depend on a smaller group of young, healthy people paying for it. And it could continue to get worse as more baby boomers get into their 70’s. Maybe that is part of the problem. Along with high paid ceo’s and the pharmaceutical complex.
    My wife used to have the BC/BS Advantage plan. It started going up every year, but not 70% or so. She is now going on my company plan, which is a lot cheaper. It used to be the other way around.
    I don’t know. As Bill Clinton said, “It is just crazy”.

  162. the Q says:

    Matt,

    You are example A of the problem. Sorry, but I call bullschitt on you. I am sickened by the betrayal of the Clinton DLC types who undermined 50 years of progressive New Deal policies in their lust for money. Argue that away if you can. The hillbilly grifters made a quarter of a billion dollars the last 20 years by using their public service for cash. Its fellow idiot libs like you who totally gainsay the graft as if its a trivial affair. And that horrible enabler Donna Brazile????? Leaking questions?

    If i want an azzhole like George Will who stole Jimmy Carter’s debate book, I’d join the wingnut party. But since a lib did essentially the same thing – CHEAT – wads like you won’t condemn the same behavior. Hence, my assertion that both modern libs and wingnuts have gone insane. And I have a lot more history behind my opinion than all of you.

    I guess you forgot who signed Bliley Leach Gramm Act. And who didn’t allow derivatives to be regulated. And the Clinton machine who did yeoman work to make sure Bernie had to fight twice as hard to gain ground than otherwise in a fair election.

    Again, thanks Matt for being the poster child of the Hillary slurpers, just completely unable to condemn the dirt when you see it. You all are no better than the trump thugs who do the EXACT SAME THING.

  163. Tyrell says:

    @C. Clavin: In this case it is not the government health plan (Obama Care, or the Affordable Health Care Act: or whatever ). The source is not Fox, CNN, CNBC, or Yahoo News.The is a letter a family member received from BC/BS that informed them of the rate increase: the policy is on her teen daughter. I saw it, I read it, and I am going to look into this more.
    I agree with most of what you have said about this and upvoted your comment about Republicans not being conservative.
    I have long favored opening Medicare up to who ever wants it, with options as far as coverages and deductibles. Back around 2004 Pres. Bush expanded the Medicare prescription plan. The Republicans did not seem to have a problem with that (well maybe some did, but it soon went away). Medicare, while not perfect, already has an existing structure, suppliers, and a website. It just makes sense to me. I know the Republicans would not have gone along with that. I don’t know why. The Southern Democrats would have been okay with it.
    I have not had time to research all of this in depth to try and see what is going on. Halloween activities took up my time recently (decorating, shopping, giving out candy, trunk and treats, taking a group of teens through two “haunted trails”).

  164. barbintheboonies says:

    @gVOR08: I disagree with you too. I choose to do something different. I am not calling you out, because I do not know if you are wrong. Now we have others in the race and if they were close to me and I voted for them would I be wrong? I like the person I voted for is that bad? I feel it in my bones that Hillary Clinton will win, and I will accept that. I do not think you are stupid or anything bad. I have my opinion and you have yours.

  165. An Interested Party says:

    The latest Real Clear Politics polling average has Hillary up by 1.7%, confirming what I pointed out many months ago. Donald Trump has an entirely credible chance at winning the race and the stubborn refusal to except that is a symptom of our bigger issue.

    Don’t forget to be here and prepared to nibble on a murder of crows on election night, sweetie…

    @the Q: It must be so nice to be so righteous and so pure…however, it is the height of delusion to think that Sanders would be doing so well in a general election…but hey, at least that helps you justify your CDS…

  166. James Pearce says:

    @Barry:

    Right back atch’a.

    I think you intuit what I mean, even if you don’t really want to agree with it.

    Put in other words: You know that idea where one group of people thinks they’re going to get their way and the other group is just going to have to sit there and take it? That idea sucks.

  167. Eric Florack says:

    @Mikey:

    And what exactly were her accomplishments in those rolls? She had the titles, but what did she do with them?

    And of course there are a large number of her actions that disqualify her from the office.

    She is the most unqualified in American history

  168. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    He mattered because he was one of those 60 votes in the Senate!

    He mattered because the vote was cast after Kennedy was dead.

    in any case, the failure to create a package that would be widely touted by business interests also impacted the vote.

  169. Eric Florack says:

    As for the reactions of The Usual Suspects I can’t help but Ponder Field Buckley’s observation that while liberals like to tell us that they are open to other points of view they seem forever amazed that people actually have other points of view

  170. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    How are you going to “defeat” your neighbors, co-workers, and the people stuck in rush-hour traffic next to you?

    Perhaps you should lecture them about their desire to defeat me instead of imploring me to not fight back.

    As was the Bruno Gianelli character of The West Wing, I am sick to death of liberals who think that it is appropriate to roll over and behave like pansies, particularly when their opponents are eager to destroy them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCSMyFWTjRc

  171. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    Can’t happen, not so long as this internet thing exists. People can continue to essentially create their own reality. It’s one of the great strengths of digital data isn’t it? It can be so easily customized? My Facebook is not yours, your Twitter is not mine. We see what we want to see, and it’s as irresistible to humans as sugary treats.

    It’s one of the very scary outcomes on the internet age. We’ve had this explosion of data beside which the Gutenberg’s revolution was nothing, and the outcome is people who know less? Talk about unintended consequences. Did William Gibson get any of this?

    We are entering very strange territory here.

  172. stonetools says:

    @Pch101:

    He mattered because the vote was cast after Kennedy was dead.

    That’s not how arithmetic works.

    in any case, the failure to create a package that would be widely touted by business interests also impacted the vote.

    Actually, Obama got a lot of buy in from Big Pharma and the insurance companies for his bill. (Indeed, the bill was excoriated by many liberals because of its concessions to those interests. Remember Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake calling on liberal Senators to “kill the bill” back in December 2009?)

    I guess we remember different 2009s.

  173. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    I wasn’t referring to the insurance industry, but to employers large and small that would probably love to reduce their exposure to the healthcare business if given the opportunity.

    Instead, ACA did the opposite by expecting employers to provide healthcare plans, which is just doubling down on the wrong approach.

  174. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack: There are plenty, but one stands out: while Secretary of State she was a prime mover in the decision to conduct the raid into Pakistan and kill bin Laden. Without her it very well might not have happened. Biden and Gates were opposed and the President undecided. Hillary worked tirelessly to convince them, and she was right.

  175. dxq says:

    anybody here remember the right wing complaining that obama was wearing the wrong clothes when he had bin laden killed?

    Simpler times.

  176. Modulo Myself says:

    From a piece on Politico:

    If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list.

    We’ll have Trump in control of foreign policy and the cultural conservatives with degrees in Natural Law Biology from St. Thomas Aquinas College in the government plus the endless GOP dream of destroying any form of American public life. Bankrupt the government in four years and then blame liberals when the gun-nuts don’t get their SS checks, all so mediocre legacy pledges like Paul Ryan (the type of people who can’t compete in NY or LA or SF so they have to suck conservative d–k) can finance their dull worthless and never think they’re as poor as everybody they can disenfranchise and force to grovel at their feet, all of which has been the basic point of GOP domestic policy in the past thirty years. The deluded have clung to it because they–like Paul Ryan–have huge inferiority complexes when it comes to liberals, but that’s the truth. So when people talk about now vs then they are lying.

  177. An Interested Party says:

    As for the reactions of The Usual Suspects I can’t help but Ponder Field Buckley’s observation that while liberals like to tell us that they are open to other points of view they seem forever amazed that people actually have other points of view

    Oh please…other points of view are one thing, but to argue that Hillary Clinton is the most unqualified candidate in U.S. history is completely ridiculous and deserves whatever scorn is directed at such a nonsensical idea…

  178. michael reynolds says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Eric doesn’t live in our reality. Shhh! Careful not to wake him. He needs his sleep so he can wake up and be a real, live boy.

  179. Matt says:

    @the Q: Clearly you’re so much better than all of us. I cannot believe someone so amazing and enlightened would bother wasting their time with us heathens.

    Go f@ck yourself. That’s all I’ve got for your delusional existence. I hate the Clinton DLC types more than you can imagine. NAFTA destroyed my home town and Bill’s other “moderate” policies were shit. The thing is though Bernie ran his campaign like a complete amateur and it showed in loss after loss that really should of been his. Bernie isn’t even a Democrat so I don’t get why you think the DNC should of bent over backwards for him. Bernie himself has said he received the same questions so just stop being stupid please…

    Thanks Q for being the poster child of misinformed self righteous asshole..

  180. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    He mattered because the vote was cast after Kennedy was dead.

    My only guess as to why you’re not getting the point is that you’ve misremembered how many seats the Dems actually held in 2009. As mentioned previously, the exact number changed throughout the year. They started out with 58 seats. Then Arlen Specter became a Democrat in April, bringing it up to 59; then Al Franken won his seat in June, bringing it up to 60; then Ted Kennedy died in August, bringing it back down to 59 again; then Paul G. Kirk was appointed to Kennedy’s seat in September, bringing it to 60 once again; then Scott Brown nabbed the seat in January, killing off the Dems’ filibuster-proof majority for good.

    At no time in this period did Dems hold more than 60 seats. At the points in which they held exactly 60, Ben Nelson was always one of the 60. That was the case before Kennedy’s death as well as during the period after Kennedy died in which Paul Kirk held the seat. Therefore, the Dems absolutely depended upon Nelson’s vote at all times that year. They could not have passed health-care reform without his vote.

    Do you get it now?

  181. barbintheboonies says:

    @stonetools: Hey if you just want to make up something about me at least make it something worth saying. I voted for who I thought was best, not for someone I don`t like. I said it before and I`ll say it again, I do not go along to get along. I looked at a lot of facts, and I have said many times the media is not to be trusted, so I dug and weighed the good, with the bad. This is how I came to my decision, I followed the dirty money trail, and I decided I could not vote for either Trump or Clinton. Otherwise I would have felt as dirty as that money.

  182. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Ted Kennedy was a champion of ACA, and his absence in the sales and arm-twisting process was felt.

    Ted Kennedy was due to be replaced by Scott Brown, which boxed the Dems into a corner and gave Nelson more leverage, thanks to the short timeframe and the eminent prospect of the Dems losing the chance for 60 votes.

    Kennedy’s death and the nature of his replacement changed the dynamic of the haggling. I don’t expect you to understand the implications of this.

    In any case, the point that you miss is that my version of the bill and the messaging that I would have employed to sell it never happened, so you are attempting to count votes for something that was never on the table. It is lost on you is that the business community could have been a useful ally if we had a healthcare plan that was positioned as a pro-business cost-cutting measure instead of a touchy-feely effort to aid the minorities who the GOP loves to hate.

  183. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBunge:

    Or look at the NFL. A backup quarterback protests during the national anthem and our entire media and cultural elite, sports and otherwise, applaud his actions and applaud the NFL for allowing his protest to go on. Now NFL ratings are measurably down and there is legitimate evidence that people are turning it off because they are unhappy with the anthem protests and how they have been supported.

    You’ve been listening to the “Lord of the Dittoheads” haven’t you?

  184. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    Ted Kennedy was due to be replaced by Scott Brown

    In fact the election of Scott Brown caught the Dems completely off guard. Their failure to see it coming was one of their biggest blunders. The final bill would almost certainly have been more progressive if they’d won that election. Instead they ended up with a Senate bill they had planned to alter further in the conference committee at a time they took their filibuster-proof majority for granted. After that privilege very suddenly disappeared they had no choice but to send the bill to the House in its present form. They passed a separate bill through reconciliation (making it immune to filibuster) to make a few tweaks to the law, but this was definitely not how they had planned to craft the law in the first place. It was a last-minute, emergency measure designed to save the bill after Brown’s upset win.

    which boxed the Dems into a corner and gave Nelson more leverage

    The point of contention is your silly statement that Nelson’s vote didn’t “matter” while Kennedy was alive. It mattered as long as he was part of the Democrats’ razor-thin cloture vote, which was the entire year, both before and after Kennedy’s death. You really are veering into green-lanternism here, with your implication that a Senator’s power can just be swatted aside by a formidable enough personality. Ironically, Kennedy himself had long abandoned single-payer as politically unrealistic, and he called his refusal to accept Nixon’s proposal in the ’70s one of the worst mistakes of his career. He had been instrumental in the series of reforms that led to Obamacare, including Mitt Romney’s bill in Massachusetts.

    if we had a healthcare plan that was positioned as a pro-business cost-cutting measure instead of a touchy-feely effort to aid the minorities who the GOP loves to hate

    You must have been asleep in 2009 if you seriously believe the bill was ever sold that way. The Dems consistently framed the bill in terms of two basic goals: getting most of the population covered and reining in costs. Did you ever bother to watch or read Obama’s 2009 address on the subject? He talked at length about bringing costs down and helping businesses. There was not one word about aiding minorities.

    Furthermore, the biggest obstacle to health-care reform in the United States hasn’t been “business” per se but the medical lobby. It’s what killed the attempted reforms by FDR, Truman, Nixon, and Clinton. It’s no coincidence that Obamacare was the first major health-care overhaul to be endorsed by the AMA (which had even opposed the creation of Medicare)–but not with a public option. As they said in 2009:

    “The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.”

    the point that you miss is that my version of the bill and the messaging that I would have employed to sell it never happened

    Your “version” of the bill has actually been proposed over and over and over again in this country. It has just never caught on widely and has met with fairly united opposition whenever it has come up. And your belief that this situation can be changed through the “messaging” shows a poor understanding of how politics works.

    so you are attempting to count votes for something that was never on the table.

    So let me get this straight: you are entitled to speculate that a vast Medicare expansion would have passed Congress, but I am not entitled to speculate that it would not have?

    And for the record, I happen to have read extensively (including several books) about the history of health-care reform in the United States. One thing that’s absolutely clear to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the subject is that the last century has been one unceasing record of failure by US presidents to pass reform. Obama is literally the first president in history to succeed–and people still have this pathological need to second-guess him on this accomplishment and dream up imaginary scenarios that bypass all the messy politics that in the real world did stymie such attempts in the past. Now that’s confusing.

  185. Pch101 says:

    @Kylopod:

    I can appreciate that you like to read political material, but you don’t seem to know a damned thing about the art of negotiation.

    Nelson’s leverage came from the fact that 60 was about to become 59. Were it not for that, then he could have been punished by the party for his failure to play along with the then-new president’s agenda. as the failure of the law would have been entirely on him. And Ted Kennedy would have put his heart and soul into turning him had he been around to do it.

    But with time fleeting and the prospects of the legislation dying permanently due to the GOP gaining a seat, Nelson was empowered. It is fair to surmise that he behaved differently because of those circumstances.

  186. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Perhaps you should lecture them about their desire to defeat me instead of imploring me to not fight back.

    I’m not telling you to roll over. I’m saying don’t act like a tyrant.

  187. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101:

    I can appreciate that you like to read political material, but you don’t seem to know a damned thing about the art of negotiation.

    If I don’t know anything about negotiation, then you know someone else who didn’t? Edward M. Kennedy. His view on the politics of health-care reform was identical to my own.

    As he put it, while reflecting on the early Jimmy Carter years, when Democrats enjoyed larger majorities in the House and Senate than they ever did under Obama:

    “My staff and I worked hard to craft a plan that would be capable of having broad-based support. Specifically, we negotiated long and hard in 1977 to persuade Lane Kirkland, the secretary of the AFL-CIO, to compromise on their strong commitment to a single-payer system…and agree instead to support a plan built on our existing system of private insurance provided that coverage was mandatory and universal. I had personally supported single payer in the past and understood the benefits of it, but I also knew that it would be politically impossible to pass.”

    Kennedy’s view on this matter hadn’t changed by 2009. Indeed, he wrote the above words around that time (in his posthumous memoir True Compass). And nowhere during the entire health-care proceedings under Obama did he propose single-payer. The Dems did briefly propose a Medicare buy-in for people aged 55-64 (it was essentially killed by Lieberman), but that was after Kennedy’s death.

    Nelson’s leverage came from the fact that 60 was about to become 59.

    It’s strange you still seem to be under the impression the Dems anticipated the election of Scott Brown, after I specifically explained to you that they did not.

    And Ted Kennedy would have put his heart and soul into turning him had he been around to do it.

    In addition to the above-mentioned fact that you’re arguing Kennedy would have accomplished something that he himself had concluded was politically impossible, you’re also attributing to him virtually unlimited powers of persuasion, something he did not demonstrate on any of the previous occasions over health care (including crucially in the early ’70s when he was negotiating over single-payer).

  188. barbintheboonies says:

    @Tyrell: I just don`t get how the increase varies state by state. My friend in Mass. said she pays nothing and she is collecting disability of over 2000 a month. Plus she has other money. My mother in RI. only collecting SS very little, still pays and she is on Medicaid. Then I hear Arizona is getting the largest hike of all. If this is a federal plan, why so many differences?

  189. al-Ameda says:

    All the above discourse concerning ACA, Teddy Kennedy, Scott Brown, Ben Nelson … please …
    Bottom line on ACA =
    Republicans liked the underlying principles of exchanges and its ‘Romney Care’ incarnation until a Democratic president wanted to make this a legislated federal program.

    Given the state of the Republican opposition then, and what we now know with 20/20 hindsight, how could we have possibly ended with a different ACA?

  190. wr says:

    @the Q: “I saw the red baiting used by unhinged GOPers in the 40s and 50s and 60s, even into the 70s, so to see a “liberal” accuse Trump of being Putin’s puppet was revolting.”

    I realize that this is incredibly difficult for you to understand, but calling Trump a puppet of Putin isn’t red-baiting because Russia hasn’t been a Communist country in decades.

    Maybe you and Tyrrell should compare notes, since you both seem to be living in your own fantasy 1973.

  191. barbintheboonies says:

    @al-Ameda: I know many people from Mass. and that was where Romney started Mass. Health plan. All of my friends and family there on Mass health loved it. So when President Obama wanted the same for all, I was all in on that, but what happened? Why does it differ from state to state. I live in Wa. State and my premiums have gone up so much, and my coverage has gone down so much. Why should I feel happy about this. I`m hearing this from people all over the country. Then I look around and it kind of makes sense, the insurance companies hi jacked our health care. Maybe this is why all the non profit hospitals have change their names. Here it went from ST John`s to peace health or from St. Vincent’s to peace health, and every week a new clinic with the with a cookie cutter name pops up. They all have quota`s to fill so do not expect much in the way of care. Expect deductibles to soar, because they got you in the door now, as they put real heath care in the toilet.

  192. wr says:

    @Pch101: “Nelson’s leverage came from the fact that 60 was about to become 59”

    You keep harping on Nelson, as if he was the only obstacle. But the Democratic senate also included Joe Lieberman, who refused to vote for a government option apparently out of spite for not being worshipped as the most wonderful man in America, Evan Bayh, Max Baucus, Blanche Lincoln and other conservadems who made it clear they were not voting for a more liberal bill.

    What you’re talking is pure fantasy. Any one of these prima donnas could have torpedoed the bill at any time as long as the Dems needed the entire caucus to pass anything.

  193. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    I’m not sure how reducing the healthcare burdens of business would have been a “more liberal” bill. It’s odd how some of you are so eager to buy into the belief that healthcare=liberal, when a law that reduced healthcare burdens on business could have been embraced by the Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to try that.

    In any case, Ted Kennedy was a master negotiator who was able to cajole, prod, browbeat and schmooze both sides of the aisle in order to get what he wanted. Politicians don’t operate in a vacuum and some of them are better at the game than others. Kennedy knew how to play the game, and his absence hurt the Obamacare process.

  194. MBunge says:

    1. As of 13 minutes ago, fivethirtyeight was giving Donald Trump a 34% chance of victory.

    2. The suggestion that McCarthyism isn’t McCarthyism if it’s about fearmongering anything except Communism is one of the stupider things I’ve heard this campaign, and that’s saying a lot. And what makes the semantic sophistry even more contemptible is that most of the people making it FUNDAMENTALLY AGREE with Trump that our current posture toward Russia is a mistake, though likely for different reasons.

    Mike

  195. the Q says:

    Russia is not a Communist country? And calling ANY candidate Putin’s puppet isn’t red baiting?

    Like I said, we all know the wingnuts are lost in delusions, now the libs have joined them.

    And this gem, ” it is the height of delusion to think that Sanders would be doing so well in a general election…”

    Yeah, like it was the height of delusion for libs to completely ignore the slime that was sure to come with a Hillary election? That the emails wouldn’t be a total distraction and may even end with charges brought against her.

    And thanks Matt for pointing out your moral bankruptcy supporting the DNC’s actions to unfairly
    rig the election for Hilllary.

    Just goes to prove my point, the modern Dem lib is really a middle of the road Republican circa 1975 and except for gay rights hasn’t really done schitt to move the needle to the left despite your protestations of righteousness (Matt thats you).

    The fact that an unhinged, misogynist lunatic has a good chance of beating our nominee should be a friggin wake up call to most of you libs. But no, vote thumbs down. Flail away. sorry to bug ya.

  196. al-Ameda says:

    @the Q:

    And this gem, ” it is the height of delusion to think that Sanders would be doing so well in a general election…”

    That seems to me to be a valid observation. Not a “gem”, not flashy, but based on knowledge of the American electorate, such as a it is.

  197. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    Russia is not a Communist country?

    It is. I know because I went there last year, on a vacation that also included stops in Yugoslavia, East Germany, and the British colony of Palestine.

  198. Tyrell says:

    @Kylopod: Did you get to see the Berlin Wall ?

  199. anjin-san says:

    @Bokonon:

    in our current national culture, the GOP would do this to ANY President who does not belong to their party

    This is the crux of it. The GOP’s unstated but core position is that the only legitimate path to power flows through them, and that a Democratic President will be opposed at every turn and subject to relentless attack. If they can’t win the White House, they sure as shit will try to neutralize it.

  200. MBunge says:

    @anjin-san:

    Hey, you may gone into a coma eight years ago and just come out of it 30 seconds before posting that, so I thought I’d fill you in on a relatively important fact.

    WE’VE HAD A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT THE LAST EIGHT YEARS AND IT REALLY HASN’T BEEN ANYTHING AT ALL LIKE IT WAS WHEN BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT.

    It hasn’t been great, to be sure, but removing the Clintons from the equation seems to have dramatically improved the overall situation.

    Mike

  201. Jen says:

    @barbintheboonies: Massachusetts is one of the healthiest states in the country, it’s generally in the top 5 of those rankings. It also has a reasonably young population, and it is the third richest state in the country by per capita income (health tracks closely with income). Health care reform was primed to work there. The problems are not solely with the insurers. It’s the whole system, how it is set up and how we ended up where we are. Again, this is complex. Throwing out Obamacare won’t improve anything and it will hurt a lot of people. We need to demand that Congress FIX IT. Not get rid of it.

  202. Grewgills says:

    @wr:

    Maybe you and Tyrrell should compare notes, since you both seem to be living in your own fantasy 1973.

    I think you are at least a decade off. Tyrell lives in Mayberry circa 1953 to 1963. Q appears to live in a distopian present and just pines for fantasy version of the 60’s when poorly educated white men lived comfortable middle class lives by virtue of being white men. He is distressed that progressives have broadened their focus to include the rights of women and minorities and seems to believe that the lot of women and minorities are as bad or worse now as they were in his golden past.

  203. the Q says:

    Yeah, you’re right, the CPSU is about as relevant in Russia as the Democratic Party is to blue collar working class Americans.

    Also, this constant “trump would beat Bernie” bullshit certainly was not manifested in any polls which showed him doing much better against Trump than Hillary would – and those polls turned out to be prescient when it comes to the hag almost blowing this election and basically statistically tied with the orange chimp right now.

    So, cling to your warped bullschitt about how much easier the nag could beat Trump as she very well could lose this one.

    Oh, one last thing slurpers, Bernie had nowhere near the unfavorable ratings of these two which means nothing to you delusional modern libs. See the country destroyed under the incredible incompetence and banal leadership of the boomer libs. Just look at this election as turning off millions to the process. Congrats idiots!!!

  204. An Interested Party says:

    This is the crux of it. The GOP’s unstated but core position is that the only legitimate path to power flows through them, and that a Democratic President will be opposed at every turn and subject to relentless attack. If they can’t win the White House, they sure as shit will try to neutralize it.

    This is absolutely correct as we see in the proof of GOP senators openly talking about denying Hillary Clinton the option to have any of her Supreme Court nominees even having hearings, much less being voted on…

    It hasn’t been great, to be sure, but removing the Clintons from the equation seems to have dramatically improved the overall situation.

    Oh please…that’s a rather specious argument that the Clintons are somehow more radioactive to Republicans in Congress than any Democratic president…the way they’ve treated Obama has been disgraceful and is an obvious illustration of how they feel about Democratic presidents…

    Also, this constant “trump would beat Bernie” bullshit certainly was not manifested in any polls which showed him doing much better against Trump than Hillary would…

    Hardly bullshit, as Republicans/conservatives directed all their animus at Hillary and barely said anything about Bernie…obviously that pattern would not have continued if he had become the Democratic nominee…they would have been merciless against him and he would have suffered…

    …and those polls turned out to be prescient when it comes to the hag almost blowing this election…

    Tsk, tsk, let’s not let the mask slip too much and show off the misogyny…

    Congrats idiots!!!

    Do be sure to take some tranquilizers on Tuesday night…you, as well as a lot of Republicans/conservatives/Trump supporters, are going to need them…

  205. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    Bernie had nowhere near the unfavorable ratings of these two

    That is correct. His ratings are about 54% favorable, 37% unfavorable. That isn’t bad.

    But you know one potential candidate from a few years back who had even better favorability ratings, around 66% favorable and just 29% unfavorable? Wouldn’t you agree that such a candidate would be even more formidable than Bernie against the Trumpster?

    The person I’m referring to is named Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/154742/hillary-clinton-maintains-near-record-high-favorability.aspx

    The point is, favorability ratings can change.

  206. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @barbintheboonies: Barb, I’m calling a foul now. I’ve lived in Longview, WA off and on since 1994 when I taught in Clatskanie, OR. The health service that runs St. John’s Hospital changed its name from Providence to Peace Health in 1995. I was there; my doctor worked in the clinic at the hospital’s medical center. You’re talking about stuff that happened when my students were freshmen in high school and they’re almost 40 now.

    If you don’t like the coverage that your insurance has, do what I did last year on Obamacare–switch to another provider for $10 less per month.

    Game Over!

  207. Gustopher says:

    @the Q:

    Also, this constant “trump would beat Bernie” bullshit certainly was not manifested in any polls which showed him doing much better against Trump than Hillary would – and those polls turned out to be prescient when it comes to the hag almost blowing this election and basically statistically tied with the orange chimp right now.

    If there is a surprising Trump victory, one of the silver linings is that he will have the BernieBros ground up for cat food within the first 100 days. Literally, that’s what he is planning to do. No FEMA Reeducation Camps, just grinding people into cat food. The transition team will have a lot of work cut out for them getting enough meat processing plants ready to handle human flesh, but my cat will be eating fine.

    There is nothing to suggest that a pleasant old man who has never run a hard, dirty campaign would have fared well against Trump. Maybe he has some abilities he never had to use before, but maybe not. We have no way of knowing.

    My dream candidate would have been Barney Frank.

  208. KM says:

    @An Interested Party:

    …and those polls turned out to be prescient when it comes to the hag almost blowing this election…

    Tsk, tsk, let’s not let the mask slip too much and show off the misogyny…

    The constant use of the word “slurper” as their insult of choice wasn’t a dead give away? Granted, Bush the Second et al got tagged with it up-thread but it doesn’t change the fact that its a very gendered slur. Male-related insults would have “suck” or “blow” attached for fairly obvious reasons. Kinda like calling a man a “p*ssy” or a “c*nt”- it’s extra demeaning because of the implied femininity.

    (Yes, I know Trump’s greatest contribution to the internet this cycle was making p*ssy uncensorable. Still, manners must….)

  209. barbintheboonies says:

    @Jen: Yes Jen it needs to be fixed I agree. If you are saying the rich states are getting a better deal, then poor Miss. the poorest in the nation, must be paying a fortune. I`m in Wa state not too much poorer than Mass., and I do not like what I have. Mine is private insurance, and these companies are saying we have to go up because of Obama Care. Now, you have to think why these insurance companies would go around bashing this great windfall of theirs. I remember a group of medical doctors speaking on some PBS program. They wanted to create a plan kind of a co op to care for people. I`m not to sure of how because it was a few years ago, and Obama care was still on the table. Well these Doctors said When insurance companies control health care there is a conflict of interest. The doctors would not have the power to do what they can, because insurance companies would have the power to deny them. I am seeing this now. My primary care doctor looks like she has ran a marathon by the time she gets in to see me in the late afternoon. I am told that the clinic has kind of quotas to fill. With just a check up each year I have been paying close to 400 a month. Plus a deductible and co pay. How are young people going to pay this with a family and sky rocketing rents etc. I want what you want Jen health care for all, but I do not want to lose my house over it. My good friend retired at 62 because of health problems. She is going without insurance and pays the penalties every year because to get a plan would cost a small fortune, and she said she would rather play the odds. She has a doctor that charges her a hundred dollars a visit to get her prescriptions and she hopes for the best.

  210. barbintheboonies says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: So what It is still the same thing It went from a non profit to a for profit hospital and that is when things started to change. I do not ever remember ST John`s being providence at all. The only Providence hospital I know was in NE Portland Or.

  211. barbintheboonies says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I am on my husbands plan form work. Every year I am forced to change, because his company wants a better deal, because old plan has gone up again (cannot blame them there). If this is the best deal at a group rate, what is the worst. Since you mentioned the 90s I`ll tell you what I had then I paid 80.00 a month with no deductible and a 10.00 co pay I never had to pay anything out of pocket unless I went to a out of plan Dr. or hospital. This included my husband and my son. How does it make sense that in 20 years we have went up more than 4 times and get so little. It is just my husband and me now, and he makes more money, but not 4 times as much I actually make less than I did in the 90s Every where the greedy bastards go they destroy. Insurance companies do not have the largest buildings being good to people.

  212. Pch101 says:

    @Gustopher:

    There is nothing to suggest that a pleasant old man who has never run a hard, dirty campaign would have fared well against Trump.

    Sanders would have been cast as a tax-hiking socialist, and Sanders would have responded by essentially agreeing with them. That would have boosted GOP turnout and turned many independents into pocketbook voters.

    There is a reason why the Republicans were hoping that Sanders would win the nomination, and it wasn’t because they love socialism.

  213. barbintheboonies says:

    @barbintheboonies: I am correcting myself I said Peace health was a for profit hospital and I was wrong. I do believe that things did start to change in the late 1990s and it has snowballed out of control since. Everything has though. We are a nation of GREED. I know I will get everyone here saying get over it, times have changed. I say yes it has, and most of you here complain everyday about it too. You want health care for all, me too. I do not care if I am to pay a little more, but I worked too hard to give away what I earned working hard all my life, to these changes. We are forced to pay government workers salaries and health care, and we can`t afford to buy our own. Some are making over 200.000 a year. These same thugs tell grandma making 800.00 a month we need you to pay more towards your health care, and by the way the cost of living has not changed, so no raise for you. If this does not piss you off well you `re all much stringer than me.