Right-center Far right nation

I’m seeing more and more of this meme, from Bobo for example:

The Democrats have their problems too. And if anything, their problems are deeper because they are intellectual, not merely partisan. The Obama administration has sent the country off to the right. The president is creating a counter-realignment.

Voters don’t identify with the G.O.P. but the number of people who call themselves conservative is now near an all-time high.

What could be more than conservative than 60+% approval for a public option, right?

Meanwhile, Rove is pushing the “conservatives win even if they lose in NY-23” thing — the idea being that if the conservative candidate total plus the Republican candidate total exceeds 50%, then it means conservatives really won.

You know what, how about this? The teabaggers form a real third party that runs in all the elections. Their total plus the Republican total will be over 50% in a lot of races, we can all agree this means we’re a conservative country, and Democrats can actually run the country in peace.

There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always.


Update.
I can accept that in this particular universe, the sentence “everything is always good for conservatives” is true. What I’d like to know is if that sentence is true in any model where certain weaker statements about conservatives hold. Here’s what I’m driving at: is there a formal proof of the sentence “everything is always good for conservatives” using only the statement “Reagan is good” along with the usual first-order logical axioms and the “no true Scotsman” fallacy?

Update. Bob Somerby has more on Kristol’s similar claims about the conservative renaissance we are living in.






198 replies
  1. 1
    Dave says:

    Obviously, this is good news for John McCain.

  2. 2
    MattR says:

    Conservatives surround you.

    /Scary Halloween story

  3. 3

    I just posted a comment on the NY race at my own blog that essentially says that whether Conservative Party canidate Hoffman wins the race, or the race is thrown to the Dems, the Dems win. A stronger, Conservative party will throw elections to Democrats all over the country.

    You just keep patting yourself on the back Rove.

    I would not be surprised if a lot of people call themselve conservatives. Conservtive means a lot of things. Many of these people also likely support liberal polcies, but like the label conservative. To call yourself conservative doesn’t mean you politically allign yourself with the Republican or Conservative Party.

  4. 4
    Max says:

    Do we expect them to come out and say “we suck”?

    I’m glad they live in delusion-ville. As the program says, the first step is admitting you have a problem. The longer they refuse to take that first step, the further in the wilderness they will be.

    I think it will be very interesting the media spin when the GOP doesn’t take over the House in 2010 and when an Obama morning in America rises in 2012.

    O-bot, out.

  5. 5
    Sentient Puddle says:

    I still can’t believe people are touting that Gallup poll, especially with the associated graph. The trend on it is essentially stable plus noise, and then a giant swing for 2009. That flies in the face of any reasonable explanation, and should be getting people to go “Hey, wait a minute…”

  6. 6
    licensed to kill time says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – conservatism is a belief system based on faith, like a religion, and thus cannot be disproven by facts. Any fact that tends to dispute the conservative theory only makes them deny it and double down.

  7. 7
    Zifnab25 says:

    Ask not for whom the Burkean bell tolls.

    It tolls for thee.

  8. 8

    Man I cannot type or spell today. Sorry.

  9. 9
    geg6 says:

    The GOP has so perverted the conversation, that no one even understands what “conservative” means any more (witness Sully).

    People tell themselves that they are “conservative” because they think it means that they love their country, they love their families, and they want to be able to be left alone to run their own lives. And back in 1970, that might have made some sense (well, I didn’t think so, but…). But today, the party that has demonstrably embodied those characteristics best is the Democrats. So add enormous economic anxiety to all the big government interventions into peoples’ lives that the Bush years brought, and there you go. People don’t think they have changed much. They think the country got driven into a ditch by crazy neo-con, religious radical freaks who worshipped the Village Idiot and his Evil Henchman Master and think “I just want to go back to normal like it was under Clinton.” Imagine. They look back in nostalgia to the ZOMG! Blow job! Clinton years with fondness. I actually had someone say exactly that the other day. Boggled my mind.

  10. 10
    Makewi says:

    DougJ

    Do you believe that this is a center-right country?

  11. 11
    PeakVT says:

    Everything proves it always.

    I think there are two lines the conservatives put out: the news either proves that the country is conservative, or it will inevitably cause the country to become conservative because it really is conservative already and has just been fooled by VLWC for a few months. Either way, it’s BS.

  12. 12
    ChristianPinko says:

    You know what’s weird? The right-wing newspaper in Baton Rouge, the Advocate, just today published an editorial saying that the Republicans can’t afford to ignore more moderate members, and cited that NY-23 race as symptomatic of the GOP’s problems. I wonder whether genuinely conservative media outlets may be more frank about what’s happening in this country, since — unlike the NYT — they don’t have to prove that they’re not liberal. Or, I could be full of shit. But there it is.

  13. 13
    El Cruzado says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I wouldn’t go that far (for most adherents) but it certainly looks like as someone said (Rick Perlstein maybe?) Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

  14. 14
    Sanka says:

    Meanwhile, Kos Rove is pushing the “conservatives win lose even if they lose win in NY-23” thing

    The stinky poo flies from both sides…

  15. 15
    Party Purity says:

    What’s left when Newt Gingrich is no longer conservative enough for you?

    Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch over Cognac & Cigars on one of the Newscorp private jets.

    Rush: We can no longer sit back and allow Liberal infiltration, Liberal indoctrination, Liberal subversion and the international Liberal conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    OK – so I ripped off General Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove”
    it works for me : ^ )

  16. 16
    schrodinger's cat says:

    There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always.

    This proves that we have achieved wingularity, since when we approach wingularity, facts matter less and less.

    In fact wingularity is a fact-free state.

    Bad as Bobo is, NYT’s newest columnist is worse.

  17. 17
    licensed to kill time says:

    @geg6:

    Imagine. They look back in nostalgia to the ZOMG! Blow job! Clinton years with fondness. I actually had someone say exactly that the other day. Boggled my mind.

    Your whole comment is excellent; the above is interesting because it illustrates, I think, why people get all excited and distracted by issues like the blow job – it’s simple, everyone has experience with similar issues, and everyone feels their opinion has weight. It’s easier to figure out than things like health care reform and the godawful financial mess and unemployment. So the longing to go back to a time when a blow job was the Big Issue is understandable.

    (and yes, I know there are lots of jokes to be made about “experience/blow jobs” – unfortunately I couldn’t work them in because my funnybone needs warming up)

  18. 18
    jwb says:

    Why aren’t you just laughing at the absurdity of the claims rather than doing the great gnashing of teeth? Yes, the villagers have influence—but mostly among each other—and I think what’s really getting them is that people like John Cole and DougJ today have an influence that is not of a completely different order of magnitude than someone like David Brooks. Like everyone else, I saw the most recent ratings that showed how Faux News seems to be cleaning everyone’s clock—until you realize how little it actually matters because the overall audience is really quite tiny.

    And, meanwhile, the country as a whole seems, quite sensibly, to be muddling through despite an opposition party that has gone insane and a media that for whatever reason has decided that its job is to promote further insanity.

  19. 19
    Paul L. says:

    From Crooks and Liars
    Alan Grayson calls a whore a whore– Beltway whores freak out & defend Enron lobbyist working at the Fed

    From the same people who cite as an absolute authority former Enron Consultant Paul Krugman.

  20. 20
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @geg6: geg6, I was nostalgic for Clinton on January 22, 2001. Bush, et al actually made me nostalgic for Nixon! I kid you not. I began to see glimmers of human-ness in the old SOB! Compared to Cheney, he was fuckin’ Mother Teresa!

    Like I said in a post last night, PTSD!

  21. 21
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Bad as Bobo is, NYT’s newest columnist is worse.

    One could even say he is the younger, chunkier Bobo.

  22. 22

    Could you imagine how much the right (they for whom all is always great) would salivate if they could benefit nationwide from a fundamentally fucked up system like the electoral fusion we have here in NY?

    Think about it – the idea that the Conservative Party of NY is actually running its own candidate, rather than just hopping aboard the Scozzafava Express is quite unique.

  23. 23
    uila says:

    Drum put this in context… nothing has changed. Christ, nothing ever changes.

  24. 24
    Dungheap says:

    What Kevin Drumsaid. Basically, self-reported ideological identification hasn’t moved much in three decades.

  25. 25
    Stooleo says:

    but the number of people who call themselves conservative is now near an all-time high.

    Well fuck, the word liberal has been maligned for so long now, what do you expect. They might as well have used the following poll question.

    Regardless of political party, do you see yourself as

    A. Conservative
    B. Goat Fucker.

  26. 26
    licensed to kill time says:

    @El Cruzado:

    I wouldn’t go that far (for most adherents) but it certainly looks like as someone said (Rick Perlstein maybe?) Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed

    You could substitute religion for conservatism in that quote and it would be just as valid, I think. Oh, I know there are many people who self-identify as conservatives who aren’t as wacky as the Rovian Borg Collective, which is what I was really referencing. I guess I should have said Big C conservatives.

  27. 27
    BB says:

    It’s ideological whack-a-mole and nonsense theories with these people, always.

    It’s the freedom and glory of a libertarian market. It’s the torture necessary to help Bauer and Chloe disarm the nuclear device. It’s the men marrying pigs and the legally sanctioned polygamous covens. It’s the public option morphing into single payer without Congress’ consent. It’s Al-Qaeda accepting our surrender on the deck of the Reagan after drawdown in Afghanistan.

    The shit they talk about never comes to pass. Then when they finally take control and basically wreck the country, the “sophisticated” conservatives like Brooks and Noonan have to pretend they had no role in that particular parade.

    That’s what gets me the most. As soon as they are no longer electorally successful (2006), everyone suddenly realizes the Republicans weren’t conservative after all. Bobo and Peggers wonder why oh why were there no constraints on this awful liberal named Bush? Then, having ignored years of terrible policies which were readily apparent, the solemnly lecture us on where Obama’s dark road could lead. And again, we’re into theories and ridiculous speculation. But it’s okay, because America Is A Conservative Country.

    This damn Village.

  28. 28
    jwb says:

    @Bob (Not B.o.B.): Conservative identification won’t go down appreciably until it becomes a term of abuse like liberal. It’s already well on its way, due to the stupid and the conservative purity rites, which just make it all the easier to ridicule. In any case, it’s voting patterns and issue support that matter, not what people call their political affiliation, and that’s been trending left for some time.

  29. 29
    Lev says:

    Yeah, but you can also spin it that running a moderate Republican has split the centrist vote, which might allow a right-winger to temporarily hold a centrist seat. That doesn’t advance the wingnut case, but it has the virtue of being, you know, right.

    If Hoffman wins, he’s a one-termer. But if he wins, Club for Growth/Teabaggers become the most powerful forces in the GOP. Yeah, they’ll really resurge in 2010 then!

    While I think Bill Owens would make a good congressman, a Hoffman victory would have some advantages for a liberal like me.

  30. 30
    tamied says:

    @Paul L.: I just had to go to ActBlue and give that man a couple of bucks. We need more people like him in office.

  31. 31
    Jody says:

    I wish the conservatives would stop being crazy. Then we could send the Liebermans, Baucuses, and Nelsons over there where they belong.

  32. 32
    Ailuridae says:

    This isn’t rocket science. There are many reasons that Moderate and Conservative poll well but mostly its because the third option, Liberal, has been rather effectively demonized for the last quarter of a century.

    Anytime someone makes the center-right claim I suggest they dig deeper into Gallup’s polling where they ask clear, direct questions on issues of substance. Looking there, at those responses, the country is slightly left of center and trending further so with each passing year.

    More broadly, I suppose using most other industrialized nations’ left-right axis the US is probably a center-right country, and has a pretty competent center-right party in the Democrats to represent it.

  33. 33
    Ron says:

    I’m not in the least surprised that they are pushing the “even if we lose, we really won” theme. They used that idea to try to claim Clinton didn’t really ‘win’, because Perot changed the outcome despite almost every poll showing that Perot voters were mostly split as to who they would have voted for if Perot weren’t on the ticket. I love the idea of a 3rd “teabagger” party though. I’ve wondered for a while now if there was going to be a real split in the GOP between moderates and the far right and it’s starting to become more like reality every day.

  34. 34

    Now we know what happened to those obnoxious little shites who made a huge deal when they won a game of hide & go seek; wanted to change the rules when they lost; screeched NO FAIR when the other kids refused to accept their version of reality and ended most days with a 100 yard crying for mommy dash.

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    ‘Conservative’ is such a bullshit term. I describe myself as conservative. I’m cautious. I have 3 years salary in the bank and I still worry. In an earthquake, I could afford to feed my neighbors. I don’t waste things – I recycle everything. I worry about trade because I think that it’s in our national interest to be able to produce everything that we need – from food to tanks. That’s why I’m for alternative energy and conservation. I support unions because having a strong labor force that has upward mobility makes for a more resilient economy when problems crop up. I support higher taxes for the wealthy because greater income doesn’t produce greater outcomes beyond a certain point – and those that benefit most from government services (the wealthy, by far) should pay the most. I also don’t think that wasting the potential of our citizens by discriminating against them is in the best interest of the nation. Conservative means being science-based. Conservative means being evidence-based.

    I don’t see how anyone who bases decisions on the Bible or any other ‘conventional wisdom’ could call themselves conservative. I don’t see how anyone could argue that we shouldn’t ask the nation to operate within it’s energy/environmental/resource/financial means could call itself conservative. My dad is even more ‘conservative’ than I am by these measures, yet he’s even more liberal than I am by conventional measures.

    Surveying people by these terms without defining them is stupid. There is no standard definition of them, so anyone can read anything into the questions and into the results.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:

    Do you believe that this is a center-right country?

    I’m not even sure what that means.

  37. 37
    Dollared says:

    We underestimate how much we have to spend on demonizing and discrediting conservatives. We have to do this negative work. We are fools if we don’t.

    And we must do it now. They will never be more vulnerable.

  38. 38
    bemused says:

    @Martin:
    Well said.

  39. 39
    Redshirt says:

    Demographics is all that needs to be said. The GOP as it exists today is short-timing it. Don’t let the FUD distract you as their ship goes down.

  40. 40
    DougJ says:

    ‘Conservative’ is such a bullshit term. I describe myself as conservative. I’m cautious. I have 3 years salary in the bank and I still worry. In an earthquake, I could afford to feed my neighbors. I don’t waste things – I recycle everything. I worry about trade because I think that it’s in our national interest to be able to produce everything that we need – from food to tanks. That’s why I’m for alternative energy and conservation. I support unions because having a strong labor force that has upward mobility makes for a more resilient economy when problems crop up. I support higher taxes for the wealthy because greater income doesn’t produce greater outcomes beyond a certain point – and those that benefit most from government services (the wealthy, by far) should pay the most. I also don’t think that wasting the potential of our citizens by discriminating against them is in the best interest of the nation. Conservative means being science-based. Conservative means being evidence-based.

    Sorry, pal, but a real conservative in your position would have gone Galt years ago. You’re a hippie.

  41. 41
    Kevin Phillips Bong says:

    @Stooleo: I don’t know, I’ve seen some pretty good looking goats running around…

  42. 42
    Mr Furious says:

    @Paul L.: Paul Krugman served on an advisory board hired by Enron for four days. He quit in order to take his NYT job. He also fully disclosed in all related articles his relationship to Enron, and—pay attention Paul L, this is key“Krugman was one of the first to argue that deregulation of the California energy market had led to illegal market-manipulation by Enron and other energy companies.”

    Any more bullshit you want to test for stickiness?

  43. 43
    Neutron Flux says:

    @Martin: Well said, Commenter Martin. Well said.

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    @Sanka: Except that DKos didn’t say that at all.
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....ing-it-out

    You’ll notice that Markos is, at this point, basically rooting for injuries. Or you won’t, since you don’t actually read the website.

  45. 45
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Martin:

    Surveying people by these terms without defining them is stupid. There is no standard definition of them, so anyone can read anything into the questions and into the results.

    Tea leaf polls! I second bemused; very well said.

  46. 46
    JGabriel says:

    Speaking of Far Right Politicians, this – from TPM – is pretty funny:

    Back on Monday, former Republican state representative and now assistant Attorney General Roland Corning was on his lunch break when a police officer found him parked his Ford Explorer at Elmwood Cemetery with an 18 year old stripper from the Platinum Plus Gentlemen’s Club, a bag of sex toys and at least one dose of Viagra.
    .
    When the Officer Michael Wines came up to see what was shaking, Corning sped off. According to the police report, Corning “attempted to make a hasty retreat, spinning the tires in the driveway and accelerating rapidly.” But another cop soon stopped him and Wines caught up with them a few moments later. After Corning and the stripper gave conflicting stories about what they were doing in the cemetery, Wines proceeded to search the SUV and found Corning’s stash of sex toys and Viagra. To clear up any misunderstanding, Corning assured Wines he always kept them with him “just in case.”

    But we’re still a center-right nation:

    In happier days, Corning was an ardent pro-life politician best known for introducing a law in the South Carolina legislature that would have made the subdermal contraceptive device Norplant mandatory for women on welfare. Even then though he was no stranger to controversy. In 1994, during a floor debate with pro-choice state Rep. June Shissias, Corning asked Shissias whether she herself had ever had an abortion. Later he admitted the remark was “probably insensitive” but said he was “sick and tired of the women representatives in this body acting like, just because we’re men and male, we don’t know anything about women.”

    And there’s even a Family Values angle:

    As Officer Wines was investigating the sex toy mystery, Corning volunteered that he worked at the Attorney General’s office and flashed his badge.
    .
    Well, it turned out Wines’ wife Megan worked there too. And he called her to find out if Corning was legit.
    .
    But Wines’ wife didn’t leave it there. She contacted her supervisor, Deputy Attorney General John McIntosh, who passed on the word to Attorney General Henry McMaster. McMaster apparently found out early Wednesday. And by the end of the day Corning’s employment at the AG’s office had come to an abrupt end.

    So much schadenfreude, so little time…

    .

  47. 47
    twiffer says:

    i think we’re a center-center country.

  48. 48
    Persia says:

    Really, what that poll shows is that everyone thinks they’re a moderate. Which everyone already knew.

  49. 49
    licensed to kill time says:

    Sorry, pal, but a real conservative in your position would have gone Galt years ago. You’re a hippie.

    DougJ, exact same thought I had ;-) Face it Martin, your inner tie-dye is showing!

  50. 50
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @DougJ: “What could be more than conservative than 60+% approval for a public option, right?”

    Honest question: if 60% of Americans support the public option — and Democrats hold a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, a dominating majority in the House, and a president who won convincingly — why do you suppose it’s having such a difficult time becoming law?

    It seems to me that, if things really were as you describe, this could’ve been done in the first 100 days with the makeup of government being what it is. With public opinion so much behind the idea, and the votes easily in place to make it go, the rest would be just academic.

    I tend to think that a lot more people support “a public option” in the abstract sense than support it in full context. And it’s the full context that’s the problem.

    For one thing, it costs money and that money needs to be raised. But the steeper obstacle is that an even larger majority of people express satisfaction with their own health insurance and have a fear — reasonable or not — that their employer would dump their health benefit in favor of the payroll surcharge.

    Estimates vary about how many people would end up enrolled in the public option. But even the most conservative estimates are in the 60 million range.

    So how many people are there out there who support the basic concept of a public option….so long as they don’t end up in it?

    Enough to make this a political powder keg for a number of people in Congress, I suspect.

  51. 51
    pat kelly says:

    See Bob Somerby today – BoBo seems to be channeling (or just repeating) William Kristol.

  52. 52
    JGabriel says:

    Speaking of Far Right Politicians, this – from TPM – is pretty funny:

    Back on Monday, former Republican state representative and now assistant Attorney General Roland Corning was on his lunch break when a police officer found him parked his Ford Explorer at Elmwood Cemetery with an 18 year old stripper from the Platinum Plus Gentlemen’s Club, a bag of sex toys and at least one dose of Viagra.

    When the Officer Michael Wines came up to see what was shaking, Corning sped off. According to the police report, Corning “attempted to make a hasty retreat, spinning the tires in the driveway and accelerating rapidly.” But another cop soon stopped him and Wines caught up with them a few moments later. After Corning and the stripper gave conflicting stories about what they were doing in the cemetery, Wines proceeded to search the SUV and found Corning’s stash of sex toys and Viagra. To clear up any misunderstanding, Corning assured Wines he always kept them with him “just in case.”

    But we’re still a center-right nation:

    In happier days, Corning was an ardent pro-life politician best known for introducing a law in the South Carolina legislature that would have made the subdermal contrceptive device Norp1ant mandatory for women on welfare. Even then though he was no stranger to controversy. In 1994, during a floor debate with pro-choice state Rep. June Shissias, Corning asked Shissias whether she herself had ever had an abortion. Later he admitted the remark was “probably insensitive” but said he was “sick and tired of the women representatives in this body acting like, just because we’re men and male, we don’t know anything about women.”

    And there’s even a Family Values angle:

    As Officer Wines was investigating the sex toy mystery, Corning volunteered that he worked at the Attorney General’s office and flashed his badge.

    Well, it turned out Wines’ wife Megan worked there too. And he called her to find out if Corning was legit.

    But Wines’ wife didn’t leave it there. She contacted her supervisor, Deputy Attorney General John McIntosh, who passed on the word to Attorney General Henry McMaster. McMaster apparently found out early Wednesday. And by the end of the day Corning’s employment at the AG’s office had come to an abrupt end.

    So much schadenfreude, so little time…

    .

  53. 53
    Zifnab says:

    @DougJ: It’s so hard to buy that “center-right” nation crap when you’ve got Republicans gerrymandering districts, wedge-issuing all their politics, and fighting like mad to suppress voter recounts in every close race.

    This probably was a center-right nation between Nixon and Reagen, because a center-right politician could win landslide elections. But it’s like the ’06 and ’08 elections don’t mean anything to anybody right of Keith Olbermann.

    I would classify a center-right nation as one in which center-right politicians executing center-right policy get repeatedly elected. If elections can’t tell us our ideological spectrum, what the hell is an ideology anyway?

  54. 54
    JGabriel says:

    Whoops, sorry for the dupe.

    .

  55. 55
    John S. says:

    why do you suppose it’s having such a difficult time becoming law?

    Clearly you are unfamiliar with how lobbying works.

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    David Brooks is an awesome social and political scientist. In fact, if the academic publications would relax their rules a bit and not require so many facts and stuff, he’d probably have like a million academic articles published.

    And he’s also like de Toqueville reincarnated, except he only has to visit a chain restaurant every now and then.

  57. 57
    DougJ says:

    Honest question: if 60% of Americans support the public option—and Democrats hold a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, a dominating majority in the House, and a president who won convincingly—why do you suppose it’s having such a difficult time becoming law?

    There’s all kinds of stuff that 60+% of the public would support that could never become a law. We don’t have direct democracy here. And thank God.

  58. 58
    Reason60 says:

    What no one seems to think abut, in all this “everyone calls themself a conservative” meme, is the logical conclusion that an awful love of self-identified conservatives (like me) voted for Obama.
    The Rovian postulating that there is this massive army of conservatives who are awaiting the Second Coming of Sarah Palin is a crock.
    I will go out on a blasphemous ledge, and say that plenty of essentially conservative people believe there is a legitimate place for government control in the economy.

  59. 59
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Martin:

    Well put.

    The way I think of it, nobody should call themselves a “conservative” unless they can say in concrete terms exactly what it is that they are trying to conserve. I think of environmental stewardship as “conservative” in this sense, even though environmentalism is associated with left of center politics (and this despite the fact that the GOP was onboard in TR’s era long before the Dems came along). As far as I can tell the only thing so-called conservatives in this country are trying to actually conserve is a sense of white privilege and Anglo-Christian exceptionalism, of both the cultural and economic varieties, much of which is either a myth or when it did exist was very much to the detriment of the very people clamoring for it now (Irish-American Catholics, I’m looking at you).

    Using the name “conservatism” in the US for what is really a motley crew of would-be radical utopian right wing social engineers, imperialistic global hegemons, and neo-Confederate revanchists is one of the biggest piece of Orwellian bullshit since the Bolsheviks named themselves as the “majority party” when the exact opposite was true.

  60. 60
    Ailuridae says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    If you correct the outright distortions in your post someone who actually knows something about the topic of the public option (not you) might engage you. In the meantime, your post is either ignorant or trollicious.

    As a self-employed individual I would welcome a public option and sign up for it the day it becomes available. A lot of the self-employed and small business owners would immediately do the same.

  61. 61
    jenniebee says:

    @Paul L.: you do realize that he spent considerably more time devising Interstellar Trade Theory (as a joke) than he did talking to the people at Enron don’t you?

    In ’99, Enron hired a bunch of names to sit on an “advisory board” that met in Houston once a quarter for the purpose of making Enron look like a company that gave a rats ass about what people like Krugman have to say. Trying to make that sound like Krugman took part in what Enron did is pathetic.

  62. 62

    @Martin:

    I describe myself as conservative

    Your description sounds more cautious rationalist than conservative. Conservative is more about opposition to change or new ideas, new at least since 1880 and the Gilded Age or perhaps First Millenia Christianity. You don’t propose that status quo.

    I have yet to see conservative be a reference to rationality and logic.

  63. 63
    Blue Raven says:

    @Persia:

    Really, what that poll shows is that everyone thinks they’re a moderate. Which everyone already knew.

    But I self-identify as a progressive. Am I a closet moderate?

  64. 64
    geg6 says:

    All I know is that this is what is at stake:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20.....1029152252

  65. 65
    bemused says:

    @twiffer:
    Arrested development might be a better description.

  66. 66
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Ron: I’m not in the least surprised that they are pushing the “even if we lose, we really won” theme. They used that idea to try to claim Clinton didn’t really ‘win’, because Perot changed the outcome despite almost every poll showing that Perot voters were mostly split as to who they would have voted for if Perot weren’t on the ticket.

    While you’re right about 1992, this is a much different scenario. “Win” here doesn’t mean the same thing…at least, not to me. And while the best outcome for folks like me is obviously Hoffman winning, the second-best is the Democrat winning the race with Hoffman coming in 2nd.

    The worst scenario for us is Scozzafava coming out on top. Because “win” in this context is about what it will portend for influence within the GOP…nothing so much beyond that.

    Imagine if it was a mirror-image scenario with a Blue Dog Democrat, backed by an ascendant DLC, and who supported supply-side tax cuts, the war in Iraq, and privatized Social Security.

    Can you at least imagine that your primary interest would be in seeing that candidate (and thus the DLC) defeated — rather than the candidate you most prefer winning the seat?

  67. 67
    danimal says:

    @Martin: I agree with much of what you said. For conservatives, the word conservative is simply an identifier, it puts you on the same team. Conservatives swallowed without gagging at several BushCo initiatives that would have put them in apoplexy if a Dem had proposed the policy (NCLB, pills for elderly voters). Bush was the team leader, so conservatives fell in line. Conservatism is a “brand” or a “team” much more than a consistent policy position. It’s why pissing off liberals is a value onto itself; they want their team to win more than they care about specific policy details. (Exception: the money brokers care A LOT about the details, I’m talking about the rank and file.)

    Liberals don’t care if you call them liberals, progressives or moderates as long as the policy is a good one. Because of that dynamic, the label isn’t nearly as important.

  68. 68
    MattR says:

    @Ailuridae: And don’t forget that there are quite a few people (like myself) who would gladly sign up for the public option, but we wont even be given that choice since we are already “covered” by health insurance through our employer.

  69. 69
    kid bitzer says:

    okay, that first update is funny as all get-out, and if i didn’t know you were a mathematician already, i would know it now just based on that.

    also: axiom of choice, for the win!

  70. 70

    We are a center-right country led by our eternal President, Ronaldus Magnus.

    (Seriously, contemporary conservatives treat Reagan like Rastafarians treat Haile Selassie I)

  71. 71
    Svensker says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Using the name “conservatism” in the US for what is really a motley crew of would-be radical utopian right wing social engineers, imperialistic global hegemons, and neo-Confederate revanchists is one of the biggest piece of Orwellian bullshit since the Bolsheviks named themselves as the “majority party” when the exact opposite was true.

    Well said, sir, well said.

  72. 72
    Leelee for Obama says:

    awful love of self-identified conservatives (like me) voted for Obama

    Is a love of self-identified conservatives like a parliament of owls? If so, awesome word for group!

    Sorry! I’ve been good about my typese dyslexia finds lately, but this was wonderful!

  73. 73
    jwb says:

    @RW_Gadfly: “For one thing, it costs money and that money needs to be raised. But the steeper obstacle is that an even larger majority of people express satisfaction with their own health insurance and have a fear—reasonable or not—that their employer would dump their health benefit in favor of the payroll surcharge.”

    The dumping is coming whether HCR happens or not.

  74. 74
    Svensker says:

    @Buffalopundit:

    contemporary conservatives treat Reagan like Rastafarians treat Haile Selassie I

    Yeah, but do we get to see Beck, Rush, Hannity, et al, in dreadlocks?

  75. 75
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @DougJ: There’s all kinds of stuff that 60+% of the public would support that could never become a law. We don’t have direct democracy here. And thank God.

    But that doesn’t really answer my question. It’s not merely that 60% of the public supports it. You’re right that public opinion on its own doesn’t necessarily move policy.

    It’s not merely that number you cite — it’s also the breakdown in Congress and a President who has made this his #1 priority.

    But clearly there are a lot of Democratic Reps and Senators who fear they’d make themselves politically vulnerable by voting for this. Are they wrong to feel this way?

    I don’t buy the number. As I said, I can imagine that a lot of people support the concept in the abstract — with support falling away significantly as the blanks of reality are filled in.

    Some 70% or so also express satisfaction with their own private health insurance plans.

    What that suggests to me is that there are a lot of people who are OK with the idea….so long as they don’t have to end up in it. And what’s tripping passage up is the likelihood that gobs of people would through no choice of their own.

  76. 76
    DougJ says:

    Seriously, contemporary conservatives treat Reagan like Rastafarians treat Haile Selassie I

    Reagafarians?

  77. 77
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @jwb: The dumping is coming whether HCR happens or not.

    Dumping in favor of……what? Nothing?

  78. 78
    Beauzeaux says:

    @BB:

    Bobo and Peggers wonder why oh why were there no constraints on this awful liberal named Bush?

    That sounds like an exaggeration, but there are people who actually think that way. One of the most frequent participants on a non-political message board I enjoy has mentioned several times that the biggest reason Bush failed and the Republicans lost ground in the election last year is that Bush is a liberal. Pointing out evidence to the contrary will get one immediately branded as as o-bot. It’s a strange little political delusion, and I think he may not be the only case.

  79. 79
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    Dumping in favor of……what? Nothing?

    For many, that’s exactly the case. For others, higher premiums, higher co-pays, less coverage. This is the problem for those WITH health insurance. For those w/o it, it’s been a long time since that was their worst fear.

  80. 80
    Ailuridae says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    The reason that so many people express satisfaction with their health plans is because they have nothing to measure it against. At most employers there isn’t a choice except between the HMO and PPO of the insurance company the HR department chooses. They are for the health insurance they have as much as they are for having health insurance.

    If someone wanted to have a good idea of how much people enjoyed their employer provided health insurance an apt question would be something more like:

    Assuming equal cost to you would you prefer to have your currently provided health insurance or be provided with Medicare?

    I’ve never seen polling on that but there is no way that it touches 70% of people preferring their current health plan versus Medicare at the same cost.

    And the problem with health insurance as it relates to coverage isn’t in the employer provided market – its individuals and small businesses who don’t represent a large enough risk pool to cover expensive outlier events.

  81. 81
    DougJ says:

    RWG: My point is that for any poll you can find showing that the country is “conservative”, I can find one showing that it is “liberal”. Your point is vice-versa. I don’t disagree.

  82. 82

    @Svensker: At their Nyabingis, the Reagafarians smoke hypocritical self-righteousness.

  83. 83
    Ailuridae says:

    @DougJ:

    I like Reagafarians although figuring out the Japanese word that relates to following the Emperor is if he were the “Son of Heaven’would work as well.

  84. 84
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    the number of people who call themselves conservative is now near an all-time high

    Bull pucky. Complete and absolute bull pucky.

    Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. [itals mine]
    ………………..
    Gallup

  85. 85
    bemused says:

    It occurred to me that before a healthy discussion of the top issues in this country could happen between a willing Dem and R, they would have to first spend quite a bit of time defining conservative, liberal, moderate & who knows what other terminology that can mean something entirely different from one person to the next. A birther & a Lincoln Chaffee might self identify as conservative but are 2 very different animals. Same story with a Puma & a Bernie Sanders. No one knows what anyone is talking about anymore with the mushing up of conservative/liberal definitions.
    Now I am all for throwing all the birthers, teabaggers, Fox fans, etc under the “you stupid shit” label but that probably wouldn’t go over very well with my R friends & relatives.

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    @RW_Gadfly: Unlike other posters here, I don’t consider this trolling. And believe me, this is a question that has had us supporters of a public option gnashing our teeth. But the answer can be found in the previous thread on Evan Bayh. Far too many elected representatives in either party answer to their lobbyist buddies rather than their constituents, and this, we believe is what’s making the difference here.

    As for Hoffman winning in NY-23, be careful what you wish for. The GOP isn’t doing itself any favors by forcing out its moderates. Further marginalization of the party will likely be the result, both in the district and in the eyes of the general public.

  87. 87
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Ah, I should have clicked on the Somerby link. He really nails it.

  88. 88
    anonevent says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    I tend to think that a lot more people support “a public option” in the abstract sense than support it in full context. And it’s the full context that’s the problem.

    I think you’re attempting to justify why your beliefs don’t coincide with the majority. Here’s what people I talk to have to say about the public option:
    1. All it takes is being laid off and then you have no insurance.
    2. All it takes is for your employer to decide that they can no longer afford insurance and then you no longer have insurance.
    3. I know people who are out of work, have a family, and do not have insurance. They can’t even take their kids to get seen about.
    4. Without reasonably priced insurance, people are not willing to start their own businesses, which is killing job creation.
    I know you don’t like this about us, so resist the urge to project your beliefs on other peoples actions.

  89. 89
    Cat Lady says:

    Because I don’t see that anyone has pointed this out so I will, but this post gets big style points for using so many Lexicon memes- BoBo, Burkean Bells, “even The New Republic”, Halperin’s “everything is good for Republicans”, Rove’s math, Bob Somerby, Bill “always wrong” Kristol and of course St. Ronnie of Reagan. Well done!

  90. 90
    anonevent says:

    @Ash Can: As DougJ said, we’re a representative democracy, and as Cheney said, they only have to answer at election time. These days, all you can do is convince them that we’ll remember when it’s time to get reelected.

  91. 91
    Tom Betz says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    But clearly there are a lot of Democratic Reps and Senators who fear they’d make themselves politically vulnerable by voting for this. Are they wrong to feel this way?

    The only fear they have is that their present masters in the Health Care/Insurance industry would decide to finance their opponents instead of them, losing them their Senate sinecures and (in the case of Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman) their wives’ sinecures.

    It’s not fear of their electorates — it’s fear of no longer being able to manipulate their electorates as they now can, and no longer being able to enrich themselves through the legalized bribery that is their wives’ incomes.

  92. 92
    geg6 says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    I know I’d give up my so-called “gold-plated employer-provided” health care in a second if I could get Medicare for the same price. Though it’s doubtful that Medicare would require the high premiums both my employer and I pay and the coverage would be much, much, much better. I did many of my mother’s financial things before she died and I have a pretty good idea what the differences between Medicare and my “gold-plated” coverage are. And they are myriad.

    I don’t know exactly how much my employer pays into my coverage, but I can tell you that I pay over $150 a month (not counting drug, dental, or vision, that’s extra) out of my pocket in an employee pool of over 60,000. I know it’s not much for those who have to pay the full cost, but you’d think a pool that large would provide lower out-of-pocket employee premiums

  93. 93

    If you’ve seen my “Iraqi Sunnis” theory already, skip this.

    Movement conservatives are the Iraqi Sunni of American politics. For years, they’ve been propagandized by their leaders to believe that they are much more numerous than they actually are, that they are in fact a majority of the country, that they represent the one true expression of their nation’s character, and that the population as a whole supports their political aspirations and policies.

    And like the Iraqi Sunni, it’s going to take a pretty brutal series of ass-kickings before they come to appreciate the reality of their situation.

    I think we’re about half-way there.

  94. 94
    jwb says:

    @RW_Gadfly: Yup, the companies will simply stop offering health insurance coverage. Companies are only going to offer a benefit to employees so long as the cost does not exceed the benefit to the company (however broadly you define “benefit to the company”). Once the point is crossed, bye-bye health insurance.

  95. 95
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    Once again, thanks for being able to post “contrary” questions civilly.

    Hard to believe this has to be mentioned, but given some of the personalities here…well, happy to point out the standard.

  96. 96
    xochi says:

    I think it has more to do with 20 years of demonizing liberalism than anything else. When the average person hears the word liberal, they think of some bongwater-drinking, patchouli-stinking stereotype. Conservative is only beginning to have any of those negative connotations. Give Sarah Palin a couple more years in the limelight, and that should be taken care of.

  97. 97
    28 Percent says:

    Reagan is good. Everything that was good that happened during Reagan’s presidency, including the release of the hostages only a couple of hours into it, and for twenty years after Reagan’s second term was over happened because Reagan laid the groundwork for it. Everything bad that happened during Reagan’s presidency and for twenty years after it happened because Regan’s vision was abandoned, corrupted, or because the Thing that was Bad was only Misunderstood and was actually Good (see: Iran-Contra). If Reagan had been in charge instead of Bush in 2001, Bin Laden would still have hit us because there was nothing that anybody could have done to stop it (and we know this because it happened on Bush’s watch) but Reagan’s response would have been even better than Bush’s because Reagan would have done just like he did when the Marine barracks were bombed and he’d have just pulled America out of New York entirely. There are some places in the world that are just not worth bothering with, and Reagan understood that.

    Reagan did absolutely nothing to forward the religious right’s agenda during his term in office except to publicly insult and dismiss women and minorities and generally piss of liberals, and this was definitely good for conservatives because the best thing that can possibly happen for conservatives is to make the religious types happy without having to actually pass any of their agenda, which wouldn’t actually make the religious types any happier than pissing off liberals does, but it would make the moderate pro-business conservatives edgy and nervous.

    So all failure to pass socially conservative measures is good news for conservatives because very few people actually want them. And failure to get their way on economic issues is good news too, because any free market economy is bound to dip sometime and when it does, it’s always because of too much taxation and regulation. Success on either front is, of course, good news for conservatives because it proves that everybody is for them.

    On a more serious note, this is why Katrina was a disaster for conservatives, and nobody talks about it anymore because it was so unequivocally bad for one “side” that it’s considered a partisan swipe even to bring it up. Katrina demonstrated that the free market was not, in fact, only kept out of solving problems by government intervention, that the free market was frankly uninterested in saving the lives of people who may or may not have grabbed their wallets before climbing onto their roofs, and that the free market, even where it might be able to find a viable Point of Sale for its services, was even less coordinated and directed at finding evacuation and recovery solutions than the government had been in times past. But boy, when it was going on, they sure did push the story of that one Burger King that was offering hiring bonuses as proof that NOLA didn’t need any assistance to rebuild, didn’t they?

  98. 98

    @RW_Gadfly:

    ……what? Nothing?

    I guess the question is whether you have any knowledge of Health Insurance and the proportion of workers in small businesses, or not. If you know what the actual cost to employers (and directly to workers) is then you will quickly understand that “nothing” is coming for a whole lot of people at this pace w/o some form of pretty draconian reform.

    The size of my business and its income absolutely precludes offering any such benefit. Until this crash I was an average (for my area) sized construction contractor and nobody offers it. You have to look at the percentage of wage these costs represent and that moves up scale as costs increase.

  99. 99
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @geg6: I wasn’t saying they’d be dumped into PO or Medicare. That would be the perfect ending to this story. I thought the question was about employers just dumping insurance as a benefit in favor of the paying the fines. Did I miss something in the post? If so, sorry for the misunderstanding. I am all for Medicare for all, and will settle for the PO for now. I just think some people will always want private insurance, for whatever reason, and they seem to not realize, their present situation isn’t guaranteed.

  100. 100
    Jamey says:

    ‘Kay, so the country is more than 50% conservative. And one in ten persons is gay. So that means that most conservatives are gay?

    Another topic to discuss around the salad bar at Applebees.

  101. 101
    Makewi says:

    @DougJ:

    Generally it means that the largest number of people would plot themselves slightly to the right on the liberal-conservative axis, where completely moderate would represent the mid point.

  102. 102
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    @jwb:

    I just heard of a situation today where a company limited the insurance choices to just one and raised the deductible to $4500 per family member. My own employer is bracing for the fact that next year the insurance company is REALLY going to stick it to us hard. This is where companies are going to have to throw their hands up and we’ll wind up with nothing.

  103. 103
    Svensker says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t know exactly how much my employer pays into my coverage, but I can tell you that I pay over $150 a month (not counting drug, dental, or vision, that’s extra) out of my pocket in an employee pool of over 60,000. I know it’s not much for those who have to pay the full cost, but you’d think a pool that large would provide lower out-of-pocket employee premiums

    We have the cheapest insurance available in our state and it is $900/month, with a big deductible. And that does not include drug, dental, or eye.

  104. 104
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Ditto Zuzu, I’m happy for honest discussions on both sides, it’s the flame-throwing assholes that we could do without.

  105. 105
    John S. says:

    And what’s tripping passage up is the likelihood that gobs of people would through no choice of their own.

    Then what’s tripping up the circuit between your ears and brain when Obama and Democrats have repeated ad nauseum “If you like the plan you have, keep it”?

    There is absolutely NOTHING about the public option that will force anybody into it or any other plan they don’t want to be in. The fact that you and a lot of other Americans still think otherwise says more about your (in)ability to comprehend the debate than it does about why passage has been tripped up.

  106. 106
    martha says:

    Just heard from our health insurance provider–our rates will increase 13% for 2010. My small business is part of a much larger PPO buying pool. We currently pay 80% of our employees’ insurance, but cannot absorb this increase. (And we’re trying to give a minimal salary increase for great work during annual reviews…what what hand giveth, the other hand taketh away twofold…)

    Glibertarians never really own small businesses, they just talk about how neato it is.

  107. 107
    jwb says:

    @GReynoldsCT00: Yup, and really my read is that the insurance companies had better hope for reform to pass now, because there will be literal pitchforks if the dumping starts without HCR in place. On the other hand, I’m not one to sit back and say we should wait for the pitchforks to get us better HCR because really you never know where the rage will lead.

  108. 108
    John S. says:

    Generally it means that the largest number of people would plot themselves slightly to the right on the liberal-conservative axis, where completely moderate would represent the mid point.

    An axis whose center is everywhere and yet nowhere.

    Terms like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are far too subjective, so they don’t really do anything to define the range of the spectrum. And a graph that doesn’t actually define the values on the axes is absolutely worthless – much like your commentary.

  109. 109
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Makewi: OK. Now plot the midpoint on a graph.

  110. 110
    MattR says:

    @GReynoldsCT00: I just got my packet in the mail from HR regarding enrollment in health insurance for next year. As a pre-emptive stirke against employee complaints, this year they included a breakdown of how much the company pays per employee in non-salary costs (benefits, 401K, taxes, etc). I guess I am supposed to be less pissed that my health insurance premiums will be jumping from $600 (a year) for 2009 to $1440 for 2010 if I see that the company was already paying more than $3000 in premiums for me in 2009 (and who knows how much more in 2010). And I guess that it is also supposed to make me less pissed when they tell me I am getting a tiny (or zero) raise this year.

    PS. The sad thing is that even with a 140% increase in premiums, I probably still have a better deal than most Americans.

  111. 111
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    @jwb:

    They are raising premiums so they have more money to throw at the politicians to keep this thing from being passed…we’re helping subsidize the congressional gridlock

  112. 112

    The libertarians at Reason point to the situation Matt describes in order to – seriously, I’m not making this up – in order to argue that wages haven’t really stagnated in this country, because it now costs a great deal more for employers to provide the same health care benefits.

  113. 113
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    PS. The sad thing is that even with a 140% increase in premiums, I probably still have a better deal than most Americans.

    You’re right. My employer has been very honest over the last two years about the steep increases and have asked us if we’d rather look at higher deductibles to keep our payments down or pay more per month (I know, I’m very lucky, we’re small). But the bottom line is, we’re grateful we have it–even more comes out of the paycheck.

  114. 114
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Makewi: We are such a center-right country, could you please explain how it is the black marxist won the election? Did a quarter of that 40% get lost on thier way to the voting booth? Did they forget? Or was it all ACORN?

  115. 115
    Zam says:

    So I’m watching CNN right now and I have to say if Hoffman wins we are in for some hilarious days ahead. His answer to “What is the biggest local issue” was “Who we elect to congress.” Fucking epic

  116. 116
    jenniebee says:

    @jwb:

    This is true, but very few people know it. Right now, on average, group coverage premiums cost $12K/year. If you’ve hired a bunch of people at $35K each (median household income in the US is $50K, so $35K for an individual is reasonable) then you’ve got an extra 1/3 surcharge tacked onto that to provide benefits. Let’s say instead of paying all of it, you share the cost with the employee – I just signed up for a pretty bare bones plan through my employer and am paying 3K a year for my portion of the premiums. If I was making $35K, that would be the equivalent of a 10% tax on me and a 25% surcharge on my employer for hiring me.

    So much of the problem though is the way that the incentives are structured. If you were to sign up with a health insurance company for life, it would be in that company’s interest to invest in your preventative care because it’s less expensive to catch problems early. It would be in their interest to make it easier for you to find a doctor and stay with her for years, because the better a doctor knows you and your medical history, the better she’s going to be able to diagnose and accurately treat you, eliminating waste. In these and many other ways, their interests would align with yours, because they would benefit from your long-term health.

    In the system we’ve got, though, most people switch insurance companies every few years, whether they want to or not, because they switch jobs or their company switches insurance providers, so insurance companies don’t get any benefit from you being healthy long-term. They have to get what they can out of you right now, and every year. Which kind of defeats the whole point of having insurance, since, if you were sure that you wouldn’t get sick until you were old, you could take the money you’re paying in premiums and invest it or put it in an interest-bearing account and be your own insurance plan. The whole point for an individual getting insurance is to hedge against the possibility that the illness or injury is going to come sooner rather than later. If insurance companies aren’t going to pay out anyway in that event, well, what’s the point in getting insurance at all?

  117. 117
    Honus says:

    Who is this majority of Americans who are satisfied with their health insurance? Because I live in Virginia, a right to work state, and I don’t know anybody who is happy with their health insurance, except for government workers. The other people who are satisfied seem to be on medicare.
    Most couples and families I know are paying something like $8-12k per year, with high deductibles and copays. It’s possible many people have employer based plans where the cost of the insurance is less visible, but even all these people can’t be so dense that they think their health insurance is free.
    That they have sold this idea that a government option will endanger the wonderful economical and efficient private health insurance we have now if the greatest trick since Kaiser Sose disappared.

  118. 118
    valdivia says:

    Andrew Sulli just answered John’s post! Just too much you have to read it.

  119. 119
    jwb says:

    @GReynoldsCT00: That’s one problem with the health care industry’s strategy: they are still thinking primarily in terms of next quarter’s profits, instead of the long term position, which is unsustainable. What do the insurance companies think is going to happen when the big employers pull out because the cost of offering insurance exceeds the benefit?

  120. 120
    geg6 says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    Sorry, I wasn’t being clear. I was kinda riffing off what you had said and taking it further and fantasizing about single payer on the Medicare for everyone model.

    Anyway, if given a choice, I’m sure my employer would be happy to give me what it’s paying for insurance and letting me go get my own, in geg’s perfect world scenario.

    Sorry to be confusing. I should probably keep these sorts of musings to myself and only post when I have something coherent to say. ;-)

  121. 121
    turnipblood says:

    @MattR: This just makes me wonder why the fuck more business interests don’t back some kind of public option. (???) Without competition, banning discrimination based on pre-existing condition (the ONLY thing we know will get passed, at this point) will be MEANINGLESS – premiums will just continue to rise through the roof.

  122. 122
    martha says:

    @jenniebee: In 2009, ur single employees cost us $4,800/year in health premiums for low deductible/ $3,700 for high.

    Families? In 2009, $14,500 for the low deductible plan and $11,800 for the high. This is just the standard 70/90 insurance with all the co-pays etc. So they paid all their out of pocket costs, etc. and the whole “in network/out of network” BS.

  123. 123
    GReynoldsCT00 says:

    @jwb:

    Big game of chicken they are playing with our health. Like JennieBee said above, they want to get everything they can right now

  124. 124
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    What people mean when asked if conservative is that they identify with right wing patriotic jingoism, but on the actual issues it’s always, ALWAYS agree with libtards. Been that way forever, and when these professed conservatives elect the wingnuts into power, at different points along their terms, it turns in to WTF?, and they scratch their knuckle heads and put libs back in power.

    And at different points along that way, the wingers juggle their jingo some and the same idjits buy back in to the hollow rhetoric and it’s Deja Vu all over again.

  125. 125
    geg6 says:

    @valdivia:

    Ooooo. Moronic, eh?

    *grabs popcorn

  126. 126
    twiffer says:

    @joe from Lowell: hey, my employers just revamped our benefits to bring us back to being “in line with the market”. apparently, they were too generous. does this mean i just got a paycut?

  127. 127
    trollhattan says:

    OT but holy shit, Taitz gets a(nother) judicial tazer and the judge gets death threats.

    http://www.rumproast.com/index.....g_buh-bye/

    It’s a rightwing resurgence, frrealz.

  128. 128
    Xenos says:

    @geg6: “I know I’d give up my so-called “gold-plated employer-provided” health care in a second if I could get Medicare for the same price. Though it’s doubtful that Medicare would require the high premiums both my employer and I pay and the coverage would be much, much, much better.”

    You are not the only one who feels that way. My household has been switched over to a Wellpoint-based high-deductible w/ HSA plan, and the total cost, for employer premium, employee premium, and deductible comes out to 10% of our gross income, and about 16% of our net income. That may not seem like to much, but we are in the top 5% for household income. And the employer in question has tens of thousands of employees.

    That represents a shitload of cash that is being sucked out our personal economy by the financial industrial complex, at least half of which does nothing for anyone but Wellpoint executives. That is some damn expensive insurance, especially when the policy is good for just one year’s contract, and we have little health care security, and really no security for our kids as they become adults in few years.

    Would I take a 10% tax increase to never have to worry about my having access to health care, or for my kids having access, or for my neighbors and friends, ever again? What a fucking excellent deal that would be. Unfortunately, I might have to move to Canada or France to get that deal. It feels like parental malpractice to raise my kids in such a backward place.

  129. 129
    slag says:

    @Sentient Puddle: With Hitler and Mao on the liberal end and puppies and ice cream on the conservative end, the midpoint is obviously Reagan.

  130. 130
    valdivia says:

    @geg6:

    yes exactly. Not only did he call John’s take moronic but he totally did not get what John was saying. Once again Sulli fails to totally understand what these type of laws do. Is this quadruppling down?

    Also apropos of Barbie Spice, enjoy this headline and article. Ha ha ha.

  131. 131
    Leelee for Obama says:

    It feels like parental malpractice to raise my kids in such a backward place.

    Sadly, this was very well said. How we claim to be the most advanced democracy on the planet escapes me regularly. I know my oldest Grandkid ain’t buying it, and she’s only 13! These poor kids must think the nation is falling apart, and they might not be wrong. Too. Also.

  132. 132
    Makewi says:

    @John S.:
    @Sentient Puddle:

    This is just a measure of how people self-identify. If you call them on the phone and ask them which of the 3 labels that would best apply to themselves overall, which would it be. The question then is what makes people call themselves what conservative or liberal, and for that it usually boils down to the 1 or 2 most important issues to them.

    This article describes some of that. The interesting thing about this, is that these numbers have stayed fairly stable over a period of many, many decades. The other interesting thing is that they are NOT an indication of party affiliation.

  133. 133
    Makewi says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Obama did not run as a black-marxist. Ideological self identification does not map directly to party affiliation. Up until Obama was elected moderates made up the largest group, which is usually the case. The GOP in general, and the Bush administration in particular left a bad taste in the mouths of the electorate and McCain was not a thrilling candidate for many. Lastly, as a country we were more than inclined to elect a black man.

    I believe all of these played a role in the last election.

  134. 134
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    . The other interesting thing is that they are NOT an indication of party affiliation.

    They sure aren’t right now. But that says nothing really. The only reliable way to gauge where folks are on ideology is over a long period of polling on how they stand on the issues.

    And that is and has been squarely center left. And the interesting thing about this, is that these numbers have stayed fairly stable over a period of many, many decades. The only issues wingers do well at times on are the nebulous national security and tax issues, and that is mostly from studied salesmanship which the right is good at until they get in power and start dumbass wars that weren’t necessary, and kill the economy, or nearly so.

    It is not possibly to separate out generic ideological labels of conservative V. liberal with party identification over the long haul. Though at times, like now, you can because the public is really pissed at one party, and we know which one. the GOP/

  135. 135
    Tsulagi says:

    @Martin:

    ‘Conservative’ is such a bullshit term.

    I’d go with what you wrote.

    These days in common usuage “conservative” and “liberal” have cartoon definitions. And like most, when using classic more intelligent definitions, in some areas I’m conservative and in others liberal. Not sure if that averages out to be moderate.

    Prior to 9/11 I would have self-identified as center-right But after that event way, way too many took the elevators up to the pod chambers coming back down as Freedom Fries idiots echoing a ditto soundtrack. According to some of the nut converts back then, even though I had stayed the same I was now a far-left evildoer appeaser.

    These polls Kristol, Rove, and others have gotten starbursts over don’t really mean what they think they mean. But regardless they’ll never miss an opportunity to rub out a starburst.

  136. 136
    MattR says:

    @jenniebee: Another aspect of this which did not fully hit me until recently is the difference in costs for a single person compared to one with a family. If the company is paying $50K in salary for each employee as well as paying $5K in premiums for a single employee and $10K in premiums for an employee with a family. All sorts of inequities pop up since the single person is really cheaper to employ.

    Is the single employee getting screwed out of $5K per year? Is the married person less likely to be hired in the first place or more likely to be the first laid off? Then there is the third category of married people who have health insurance through their spouse. They are even cheaper than single people.

    I know this has always existed, but when premiums were lower as a percentage of compensation, these issues were much less significant than they are when the difference is 10-20% of a salary.

  137. 137
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Ash Can: Unlike other posters here, I don’t consider this trolling. And believe me, this is a question that has had us supporters of a public option gnashing our teeth. But the answer can be found in the previous thread on Evan Bayh. Far too many elected representatives in either party answer to their lobbyist buddies rather than their constituents, and this, we believe is what’s making the difference here.

    OK. But, with all due respect, you might want to give some consideration to my explanation, too. I realize that it may not be as comforting an explanation as this one — but, it might at least offer you another way to save your teeth. ;)

    Let me put it this way: I don’t think there’s a lobby anywhere that could convince a critical mass of politicians to go out and vote against the preferences of 3/5 of their constituents. Because that’s a pretty big number. And this is a pretty big issue.

    I could ask the same question another way. If 60% of Americans support the public option and the public option has been the most visible aspect of the reform, why is overall support for the reform somewhere in the mid/low 40s?

    What explains the 15-20% drop-off?

    If support for the PO were really as high as that number would suggest it is, then it would be Republicans feeling pressure to split off and support it….not Democrats feeling pressure to split off and oppose it.

  138. 138
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @joe from Lowell: The libertarians at Reason point to the situation Matt describes in order to – seriously, I’m not making this up – in order to argue that wages haven’t really stagnated in this country, because it now costs a great deal more for employers to provide the same health care benefits.

    I’m not sure I see the flaw in that assertion. Aren’t benefits (whether healthcare or retirement or daycare or whatever) just a different form of compensation?

    After all, do you think your employer cares whether any particular dollar he spends for your labor goes in the “Wages” column, the “Health Insurance Premium” column, or the “401K Matching” column?

    To them, a buck sent your way in exchange for your labor is a buck sent your way. Where exactly it ends up is immaterial to their total cost.

    I’d say that sky-rocketing health insurance premiums have been the single-biggest factor in wage stagnation. But “wages” and “total compensation” are two different things. The latter’s climbed quite well in recent decades….it’s just that most of the growth has been eaten up by healthcare inflation.

  139. 139
    Martin says:

    I have yet to see conservative be a reference to rationality and logic.

    True, but that only illustrates my point. ‘Conservative’ means different things in different contexts. You’re correct in a political science context, but most people don’t think in terms of that context.

    Again, the terms need to be defined. My definition is perfectly reasonable in my context, where the antonym of ‘conservative’ would be ‘reckless’ or ‘wasteful’. Surveys need to carefully consider the audience, and I don’t see how any such survey could have. Better to ask participants a series of specific and clear questions with responses on the desired conservative/liberal spectrum. That’s what most surveys try to do, actually.

    Personally, to me ‘Conservative’ in the political spectrum is equivalent to Christian, and Liberal is equivalent to non-Christian. That’s the simplest equivalence I can come up with. It’s bullshit, but I think that’s what the right has been aiming for and I think if you asked people, you’d get a lot of agreement on that point.

  140. 140
    RW_Gadfly says:

    Leelee for Obama: For many, that’s exactly the case. For others, higher premiums, higher co-pays, less coverage. This is the problem for those WITH health insurance. For those w/o it, it’s been a long time since that was their worst fear.

    Well, you don’t have to sell me on the concept that there are higher premiums and all that. As an employer myself, I’m acutely aware….which is precisely why I’m fully in favor of reforming healthcare (differently than what’s presently being discussed).

    It’s odd, but it seems like my dissenting views on this are often received as being a defense of the status quo. I’ve been in favor of reforming the healthcare system since the late 80s. And I’m relatively certain that neither the insurance industry nor a lot of providers would be much more enthralled with how I’d propose reforming it.

    There’s a perfectly good explanation why healthcare costs have skyrocketed: we consumers have completely ceded pricing power. And the remedy for that is to grab pricing power back.

    If we were to do that, far more people would be priced back into the market without much, if any, need for subsidies.

    We shouldn’t be looking to Canada as a role model. We should be looking to Singapore.

  141. 141
    jwb says:

    @GReynoldsCT00: I wish I believed that’s what they were doing, because it would suggest that they actually were thinking beyond the next quarter, even if they were willing to take a risk. But personally I don’t believe they are thinking ahead at all. I believe they are just looking after next quarter’s balance sheet; and the way things are set up, what’s good for next quarter is not good for the long-term prospects of the industry.

  142. 142
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    but I think that’s what the right has been aiming for and I think if you asked people, you’d get a lot of agreement on that point.

    And we should not stand in their way, and in fact help them define further the conservative brand to broaden their little tent to include, tea baggers, racists, and Ditto Heads. I know there is crossover but Gawd can sort it out.

    And that’s just to start with.

  143. 143
    Martin says:

    Who is this majority of Americans who are satisfied with their health insurance?

    I am. I think pretty much all of my coworkers are. In other words, I suspect almost anyone working in the public sector is happy. That’s not a small number of people, but then, we’re all running around with government provided health insurance of one form or another. In my case, I have a non-profit HMO, but I also have the option of going with my employer who runs hospitals and shit. My employer has ensured that the plans are competitive, so I can choose what works best for my family.

    The flipside to the whole deal is that I’m pretty much trapped in my job. My wife is a mountain of pre-existing conditions, as is one of my kids, so even moving to a new employer-provided plan is risky. I’ve got to ride out my employer to the end under the current system.

  144. 144
    jwb says:

    @Makewi: Nor evidently are they an indication of voter preference.

  145. 145
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Makewi:

    This is just a measure of how people self-identify. If you call them on the phone and ask them which of the 3 labels that would best apply to themselves overall, which would it be.

    So what we have here then is a poll that tries to measure moving targets, and presents the results as though said targets are fixed in one spot. Ergo, the results are near about useless due to how unreliable they are.

    I guess my work is done here.

  146. 146
    kay says:

    @trollhattan:

    Read the opinion, if you get a chance. He has a drier sense of humor than the last judge who kicked her claim, or he’s completely straight-up and is just very thorough, which makes it even funnier.

    The judge “wonders”, for example, why Orly included Michelle Obama, who “holds no office”.

    I can’t help but think that all this insanity is going in the History of the Obama Presidency. Does Orly think about that? She’s going to be in there. His Presidency is historic, and a lot is going to be written on the bat-shit insane reaction to it.

    The various opinions kicking Orly’s claims, read in order, will be a great way to explain birtherism, down the road.

  147. 147
  148. 148
    jwb says:

    @RW_Gadfly: No, a politician would just have to believe that fewer than 50% of his or her constituents would vote against him or her because the vote on the particular issue.

  149. 149
    Makewi says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    So what we have here then is a poll that tries to measure moving targets, and presents the results as though said targets are fixed in one spot. Ergo, the results are near about useless due to how unreliable they are.

    What are the moving targets?

  150. 150
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    What are the moving targets?

    Surely your not that dense.

  151. 151
    Makewi says:

    @jwb:

    Which would track with what I said about them not being an indication of party affiliation. In any case, the numbers themselves are only a tool for identifying a baseline feeling, as others here have pointed out they are less useful for tracking a particular specific issue.

  152. 152
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Martin: I am. I think pretty much all of my coworkers are. In other words, I suspect almost anyone working in the public sector is happy. That’s not a small number of people, but then, we’re all running around with government provided health insurance of one form or another.

    Right — but the polls I’m referencing aren’t just of public sector employees. They ask the question of all Americans.

    I can appreciate that people would be skeptical of me saying these things. But go find Stan Greenberg’s commentary on the whole matter. He asked the same questions and he’s among the more well-known and respected Democratic pollsters out there.

    It’s the great paradox of this whole thing. Anytime somebody points out that Canadians express a high degree of satisfaction in their health insurance, I’m always sure to point out that similar percentages of Americans express the same thing.

    So why the hell are both of our nations always reforming systems that are broadly popular, yet in need of policy reform?

    As I said yesterday, their system and our system are actually two sides of the same coin. We both are trying, in our own way, to chase that elusive free lunch. They put up with shortages — we put up with inflation.

    And we’re both stupid as hell for doing so.

  153. 153
    Makewi says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    But surely you are merely looking for a fight. Look elsewhere.

  154. 154
    binzinerator says:

    @Martin:

    This. Only I don’t describe myself as conservative and I wouldn’t call being science-based or evidence-based as conservative.

    Whatever you are describing, it is not people who want to sit athwart history yelling stop.

    @DougJ:

    Sorry, pal, but a real conservative in your position would have gone Galt years ago. You’re a hippie.

    What this position is, is just plain oldsanity and common sense.

    Teh DFHs were right so often they’d have been thought of as seers or oracles if they lived in another age but alas the DFHs instead are the Cassandra of our age.

    But whatever Martin’s position is called it sure as hell can’t be called conservative.

  155. 155
    Makewi says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    What is the middle ground then? How do you keep a competitive, innovative and responsive market AND keep costs low?

  156. 156
    scav says:

    sudden late-breaking thought. The only reason D’s not R’s supposedly have intellectual problems is that the R’s have apparently ditched intellect altogether. Must be their cunning plan.

    Well, getting rid of the spark-plugs certainly lowers the chance that your check engine light blinks on while driving, but it remains to be seen if they get anywhere with this E-ticket.

  157. 157
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @jwb: No, a politician would just have to believe that fewer than 50% of his or her constituents would vote against him or her because the vote on the particular issue.

    OK. Then why do you figure that Republicans seemingly feel so safe going unanimously (even boastfully) against 60% of the country’s wishes?

    Are you suggesting that 60% of people support it — but the 40% who don’t support it are just stronger in their opposition than the 60% who do?

    I’m really not trying to be a troll here. Honestly — it’s not my style. But I think you guys are kidding yourselves with that.

    I’m not saying that the polls which have found that are bogus or anything. I’m just saying that they’re considering the matter in the abstract.

    I’m relatively confident that if a followup question asked “Would you support the establishment of a public option if you knew that your health insurance coverage might be transferred t0 it?”, the support would drop precipitously.

    And that’s the reason that the Democrats are having a hard time staying unified on it — while the Republicans are sitting on the sidelines essentially daring them to do it.

  158. 158
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    But surely you are merely looking for a fight. Look elsewhere.

    Actually, I’m not. Today your wanking at least has a smattering of intellectual effort in it. Though limited as it is.

    Taking a standard question on conservative v liberal id without the nuance of how folks feel about real issues is navel gazing for pollsters, even good ones, to fit a sound bite media culture. It’s not only a moving target, but one with many definitions that change over time. The lib v. conserv. is thereby so limited in utility, as to be collective nonsense.

  159. 159
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @GReynoldsCT00:

    Yep. You’d think they’d notice the difference in the quality of discussion, but evidently not.

  160. 160
    Flugelhorn says:

    @geg6:

    People tell themselves that they are “conservative” because they think it means that they love their country, they love their families, and they want to be able to be left alone to run their own lives. And back in 1970, that might have made some sense (well, I didn’t think so, but…). But today, the party that has demonstrably embodied those characteristics best is the Democrats.

    Sorry. Just had to stop down to laugh a moment.

    Please… As you were.

  161. 161
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Makewi:

    But surely you are merely looking for a fight. Look elsewhere.

    Or, you’re doing that thing again where you blatantly miss the point of the post you cite.

    You know the thing. The one that you always do.

  162. 162
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Makewi: What is the middle ground then? How do you keep a competitive, innovative and responsive market AND keep costs low?

    Well, I don’t know if it’s “middle ground” or not. But, from my perspective, the single best healthcare financing model in the world is Singapore’s. It’s worth doing some research into.

    Best I can tell, it doesn’t suffer from the bugaboos that plague our system or the bugaboos that plague either single-payer systems like Canada’s or socialized systems like the NHS.

    It’s called Medisave — and it’s a kind of MSA. The catastrophic insurance component is fully public — everybody pays into it. But the bulk of routine healthcare expenses are paid for out of everybody’s personal MSA.

    What should appeal to folks on the left about it is that it’s resulted in universal coverage. Moreover, the catastrophic portion is fully public.

    What should appeal to folks on the right about it is that most healthcare transacations are handled by an incentivized consumer.

    What should appeal to everybody is that it seems to have produced good results, without long wait times and other shortage symptoms, and kept costs affordable.

    That’s not to say it’s a magic bullet or anything. But, from what I’ve learned about it, they’ve got the best model.

  163. 163
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    The lib v. conserv. is thereby so limited in utility, as to be collective nonsense.

    And why is this? Because the meta ideological terms of liberal and conservative have been at the top of the GOP demagogue list for decades. As well as a perpetual smear campaign that has been non-stop for the term liberal since Reagan got it going. It means nothing but pure political word candy and peoples and events that have long since been over, except as now the cheapest kind fear and smear politicking.

    Why do you think the Obama WH is now trying to turn the tables on returning the favor defining Republican/Conservative by going after Fox, Limbaugh, Beck tea baggers and company?

    Welcome to the new Democratic party?

  164. 164

    The part of the country I live in can kill you pretty quickly if you don’t behave conservatively. It can kill you economically and physically if you get stupid or reckless. The folks who live around here are pretty leery of something whose virtue is newness. I understand Martin in those terms, though keeping 3 yrs of salary in savings is not status quo.

    Try to understand this in these terms, on a summer evening I have seen an hour gap of no traffic on US26, which is a nice two lane cutting across the center of the state – the only one doing that within 50 or more miles.

  165. 165
    Makewi says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    The way in which it has utility is in the broad strokes, which for most of the population is the only level they ever go to for political or ideological issues. Most people aren’t political junkies, and are too busy or too disinterested to get into the details of a particular issue.

    For example. A self identified conservative might be x% more likely to get their news from FOX than from MSNBC and vice versa for a self identified liberal. These sort of broad trends would likely follow through regardless of any specific issue.

  166. 166
    Martin says:

    OK. Then why do you figure that Republicans seemingly feel so safe going unanimously (even boastfully) against 60% of the country’s wishes?

    Because they don’t get re-elected by 60% of the country. They get re-elected by 40% of the country. If 100% of Massachusetts residents are in favor of single payer, what does a South Carolina senator care?

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the GOP represents no more than about 40% of the public right now – and it’s very regionally partisan.

    From R2K:

    Republican Party favorability

    All 21 67

    South 48 37
    NE 6 87
    Midwest 10 78
    West 12 75

    How much of the GOP isn’t being run out of the south right now? And the numbers above are for all likely voters, so the GOP is doing VERY well in the south. I can’t find any regional polling on the public option but how much do you want to bet that most of that 40% opposition to the public option represents the majority of voters in the south?

  167. 167
    Ailuridae says:

    @RW_Gadfly:

    I’m relatively confident that if a followup question asked “Would you support the establishment of a public option if you knew that your health insurance coverage might be transferred t0 it?”, the support would drop precipitously.

    Then it wouldn’t be an option then, right? More importantly, I think you’re dead wrong and would love to see polling that effectively asked people with employer based insurance if they would prefer private insurance to a Medicare type plan if the costs were equal.

    One of the reasons the right in this country is terrified of a public option is that they, like most everyone else, realizes it would work and be wildly popular.

  168. 168
    Martin says:

    It would seem the code tag is as broken as the blockquote tag. Should have expected that…

  169. 169
    Mister Colorful Analogy says:

    @Martin:

    Hear hear, Martin. Well said!

  170. 170
    John S. says:

    Or, you’re doing that thing again where you blatantly miss the point of the post you cite.

    He’s a low information voter, ergo, a Republican.

    What more can you expect?

  171. 171
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Makewi:

    Well, there are hardcore conservatives, that I call right wingers and they are that because they are either actual believers in true conservative principles or because they just hate liberals that much. Then there are those who have bought into the smear of liberals as hating America and generally bad people, but when asked how they feel about actual issues, they list core democratic/progressive ideals.

    And I would say without the cheap politicized labels of conservative and liberal, that these people are in fact liberal, or democrats. And because most pollsters don’t calibrate their results with this in mind , we get skewed numbers favoring conservatives in too high of numbers and liberals in too low a numbers.

  172. 172
    jwb says:

    @Makewi: I don’t even think it tracks a baseline feeling. It tracks a baseline self-identification, and the constancy of that self-identification over time, if that proved real, is more a measure of the fact that people don’t easily change how they self-identify, because a change in self-identification requires an act of conversion. Consequently, it is much easier for a self-identified conservative to support liberal issues and liberal candidates than to change the idea of oneself as conservative. The liberal voting conservative will simply say, perhaps without being incorrect, the world has changed not me. (That all of this applies mutatis mutandis to the conservative voting liberal goes without saying.)

  173. 173
    Makewi says:

    @Martin:

    By this logic those who are elected Democrats should have no reason to fear their constituents, and since they have the majority in the legislature a health care reform bill should have already passed.

  174. 174
    Martin says:

    Right—but the polls I’m referencing aren’t just of public sector employees. They ask the question of all Americans.

    I realize that. But consider that most public sector employees would likely support their coverage, skewing the results, plus almost anyone who hasn’t really had a need to test their coverage. The only people that really dislike their coverage are the people that have actually tested it. We’ve tested ours. Over the last 15 years we’ve had multiple surgeries, kids in ICU, people on bedrest for months, in home nurses, pretty much the whole deal. I’d say we’re well into 6 figures in terms of costs if we paid out of pocket, and we’ve had almost no problems and had to do virtually no paperwork. Honestly, I couldn’t reasonably ask for better coverage. But how many people that haven’t done anything more than a regular checkup or a little procedure here and there would have a reason to complain?

    It’d be more interesting to see these breakdowns by public employer/private employer/individual provided insurance and also by gender/age group.

  175. 175
    Martin says:

    By this logic those who are elected Democrats should have no reason to fear their constituents, and since they have the majority in the legislature a health care reform bill should have already passed.

    Well, in a lot of cases you won’t get any argument from us. We certainly don’t defend the courage of most Democrats here.

    But beyond that, I think we have to go back to the ‘conservative’ polling again. Even Democrats approach change cautiously, doubly so when the economy is in the shitter. We can really fuck up a lot of things if we do this wrong, and even if we went to a single payer model, that’d put an awful lot of people in the insurance industry out of work. As much of a cost-savings that would be, it’s a difficult proposition to make even in a good job market.

  176. 176
    Makewi says:

    @jwb:

    I would agree that a person is more likely to simply vote a contrary way to that in which they self identify then they are to change their label, but I would add that over time people do tend to become more conservative or at the very least to change that label about themselves.

    For example, the trend towards those self identifying as pro-life has been increasing vs that of pro-choice, but the number of people who want abortion legal has remained consistent or increased. In this case, people may identify as the idealized version of the way they wish the world was (one in which no abortion took place) but act in the way they know the world is (one in which abortion is a reality).

  177. 177
    jwb says:

    @RW_Gadfly: Well, the question really isn’t the republicans, now, is it? I don’t doubt that many of them hail from districts where more than 50% of the voters support the status quo. And certainly they almost all of them at this point hail from districts where at least 50% of the GOP primary voters support the status quo. But even if that wasn’t the case, all the republican politician has to believe is that the 60% who support the public option do not do so strongly enough that they would all vote against the politician on the basis of that issue alone (for the moment this is probably a sensible assumption). Or the republican politician might believe that more than 50% of the GOP primary voters would vote against the politician on the basis of a vote in favor of the public option alone (this is almost certainly a sensible assumption). Either of those options would lead to a very rational calculation that supporting the public option was not in the politician’s political interest even though 60% of the politician’s constituents supported it.

  178. 178
    binzinerator says:

    @Reason60:

    I will go out on a blasphemous ledge, and say that plenty of essentially conservative people believe there is a legitimate place for government control in the economy.

    Conservative means there is no legitimate place for government control in the economy. And it has meant this for more than a generation. And if it’s blasphemy to say so then you are probably aware what you are saying is also what a liberal would say.

    It’s also what any non-fool would believe. It’s just sane. Jebus on a capitalist cross even Adam Smith acknowledged it.

    We need new terms here. Conservatism over the past 20 years has more than amply demonstrated it really means “fucking stupid”, even “shit-in-your-own-bed fucking stupid”. These essentially conservative people who believe as you do are not essentially fucking stupid. You need a new term to describe them. ‘Conservative’ does not and cannot do it.

  179. 179
    Martin says:

    For example, the trend towards those self identifying as pro-life has been increasing vs that of pro-choice, but the number of people who want abortion legal has remained consistent or increased. In this case, people may identify as the idealized version of the way they wish the world was (one in which no abortion took place) but act in the way they know the world is (one in which abortion is a reality).

    Actually it stems from the terms not being mutually exclusive. When polled, about 60% of the public wants abortion legal and about 60% say that abortion is wrong. It misses the 20% or so overlap that thinks that abortion should be legal even though they think its wrong. So if you give that 20% a choice between labels, which will they choose? In most cases they’ll choose the label that they feel is the most positive in the context of the survey. That is, they’ll move between the two labels freely, and as you note, the numbers of people that put themselves in the overlap is increasing.

    Makes the label pretty worthless, actually.

  180. 180
    Makewi says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    People are too stupid or afraid to self identify correctly? I’m not sure I buy it. The argument that liberal as a label has gotten a bad rap may have some merit, but you could make equal argument that the same effort has been made against the conservative label (racist, misogynist, greedy, etc.).

    It’s easy enough to find out how people feel about a particular issue, but may be trickier to align them with a progressive or conservative ideology. So, out of curiosity, which would you say are the core progressive issues? Gay marriage for sure, but what are the others?

  181. 181
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Gay marriage for sure, but what are the others?

    Gay marriage falls under the general category of human rights,, all of them.

    People are too stupid or afraid to self identify correctly?

    A few might be stupid, but by and large they are politically apathetic, like I was until the 2000 election when I quit being apathetic, and was a registered independent for that reason. The “bad liberal” demagoguery worked on me since Vietnam and Reagan.

    To keep it simple, I would say that core liberal or dem principles begin with the belief that government can do good, and should for things that people can’t do for themselves. And in the current HC debate that means the government needs to step in and fill the void of failure from the private market to measure up to the moral standards we preach, to mitigate the moral hazards that now exist from people needlessly dieing every day because they can’t afford proper hc, or that have private insurance and get screwed by profiteers when they need that insurance the most.

    And to not bomb people without a very good goddamn reason to, and maybe not even then, if other ways will work.

  182. 182
    Makewi says:

    Actually it stems from the terms not being mutually exclusive.

    Your never going to be king of the protest circuit with that attitude. The worth of the label, IMO, is determined in the context in which they are used. For example, if I am trying to get elected and I know that 85% of my potential constituents self identify as pro-choice, then running on a staunch pro-life platform will likely present me problems, all other things being equal.

  183. 183
    soonergrunt says:

    @28 Percent: This.

  184. 184
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Martin:

    I describe myself as conservative. I’m cautious.

    I am not a conservative, I’m a cynic.

    That’s why I support so many progressive policies — because I’m sure that, left to themselves, too many of my fellow Americans will happily vote us all back to the nineteenth century, out of laziness or short-term greed or ignorance.

  185. 185
    Jesse Ewiak says:

    Also, the polls with 80% people being satisfied with their health care means they’re satisfied with the quality of care they get – not the bill they get down the road.

    Plus, to be blunt, a large chunk of people who have insurance don’t use it, so they have no reason to be against it. I guarantee that if you polled people with private insurance that actually used it for a major health care crisis in the past decade, the approval of how the insurance company handled care would be Cheney-esque in it’s numbers.

  186. 186
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I describe myself as conservative. I’m cautious.

    You know what. It might be too simplistic, but I suspect when pollsters ask this question to people who are politically unsophisticated, which is a lot of people in this country, this is what they think of when hearing the word conservative and say yes accordingly.

    Just simply cautious, most folks are this, regardless of what else they may believe in.

    And liberal, Maybe reckless?

  187. 187
    briber says:

    I describe myself as conservative. I’m cautious.

    All I know is that whenever I make myself a sundae, I put LIBERAL amounts of hot fudge on it.

    yum

  188. 188
    Ruckus says:

    @RW_Gadfly:
    A high level of americans withhealth insurance/care like their plans, until they really, really need them and find themselves with pre-existing conditions or without coverage at all. Don’t have any links right at hand but have read many stories right here on BJ of people with these problems. There are many people who are under-insured, just like many without any coverage. Most of the under-insured don’t even know they are, until they need that insurance and find it’s the start of a trip to bankruptcy court.
    Those of us without any coverage because we can not afford it or because we work for a company that can/will not afford to pay for it, need, want and if fact demand better.
    And the point has been made that most politicians answer to those who bought their elections, not the people doing the voting.

  189. 189

    […] by J.D. Ryan at 8:41 pm under Uncategorized 0Digg itShorter John Cole: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win […]

  190. 190
    Anne Laurie says:

    contemporary conservatives treat Reagan like Rastafarians treat Haile Selassie

    If only we could persuade the Reaganfarians to use ganga in their ceremonies! At the very least, maybe they’d be a little less cranky and obsessive about sniffing into everyone else’s underwear drawers…

  191. 191
    Comrade Luke says:

    As far as I can tell, the only type of “country” that we are is a country that would gladly vote for any and every service possible, while on the same ballot vote for initiatives that would removing the funding for those same services.

    The only universal truth seems to be that we want everything and want to pay for nothing.

  192. 192
    MattR says:

    @Martin:

    It’d be more interesting to see these breakdowns by public employer/private employer/individual provided insurance and also by gender/age group.

    The one that interests me would be the poll numbers if you limit it to people who received more in benefits than they paid in premiums over the course of a year.

  193. 193
    MattR says:

    @MattR: Doh. Blockquote fail.

    First paragraph was Martin’s. Second is mine.

  194. 194

    […] Everything is bad news for Democrats. DougJ states the rule: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always. […]

  195. 195
    RW_Gadfly says:

    Ailuridae: One of the reasons the right in this country is terrified of a public option is that they, like most everyone else, realizes it would work and be wildly popular.

    There’s some truth to half of that, anyway. I do think that gobs of people would end up in it, most through no choice of their own. And I can also entirely envision a new public healthcare bureaucracy becoming popular in the way that Social Security and Medicare are popular.

    But how popular those things are don’t really change the fact that they don’t actually “work”.

    Both of those programs cost way more than they were ever intended to — to the point where the Social Security metrics (tax rates, retirement age, benefit scales, etc.) have already had to be adjusted about 10 times since 1935….and it’s still headed over a fiscal cliff.

    Sustainability has become a big buzz word in recent years. And it’s worth it to consider just how sustainable SS, Medicare, and Medicaid — popular programs all — have proven to be.

    As it stands, those three programs account for 8.6% of our GDP — which is already a pretty daunting number (the Pentagon’s budget is about half that, for comparison). The CBO has estimated that those three programs alone — as presently constituted — will consume 18.6% of GDP by 2050.

    Well, that’s not terribly far off from where the entire federal budget was — prior to this latest crisis, anyway.

    If this is how we define a program that “works”, then I suppose we can say that Amtrak works, too. It’s a fiscal black hole — but the trains certainly succeed at moving people from point A to point B…and I’m sure that most of them are happy with it. So I guess it “works” as long as we don’t look at its books.

    This is the primary reason I oppose this, Ailuridae. We’re already on a fiscal crash course because of entitlements run amok….the last thing we need is to add to the load.

  196. 196
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Jesse Ewiak: Also, the polls with 80% people being satisfied with their health care means they’re satisfied with the quality of care they get – not the bill they get down the road.

    Plus, to be blunt, a large chunk of people who have insurance don’t use it, so they have no reason to be against it.

    Well, there’s a lot of logical contortion going on with this particular bit of polling data. But instead of rationalizing it away, I’m hoping that somebody here can extract themselves from the heat of the current moment and take a slightly more clear-eyed look at all this.

    The numbers are what they are — I didn’t make them up. Same goes for data about support for the public option. They, too, are what they are.

    Looking at some of these numbers one-by-one can be a bit confusing. A strong majority supports the establishment of a public option…an even stronger majority reports satisfaction with their own health insurance.

    So, again, why would support for a public option be at 60% while support for the overhaul in Congress be significantly lower?

    I still keep coming back to the only plausible explanation that fits with all this seemingly conflicting data being that people are far more supportive of a public option when they feel like they won’t end up in it.

    And Jacob Hacker has spoken to this, BTW. Here’s his quote:

    We’re going to get (to single-payer), over time, slowly. But we’ll move away from reliance on employer-based health insurance as we should, but we’ll do it in a way that we’re not going to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their private insurance.

    I’ll bet if Dr. Hacker were here discussing this with us, he might agree with my take on this data. I think he appreciates that a whole lot of people don’t want to change from their current coverage…which was the driving force behind his idea in the first place.

  197. 197

    […] no matter what happens next Tuesday, “it’s good for conservatives“: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they […]

  198. 198
    RW_Gadfly says:

    @Jesse Ewiak: Plus, to be blunt, a large chunk of people who have insurance don’t use it, so they have no reason to be against it.

    One other thought on this. While you may well be right, this would just serve to show even more how screwed up we are with healthcare financing.

    Let’s assume the premiums for a typical PPO health insurance policy for a single person averages out to, say, $8000 a year or so.

    Who in their right mind would be pleased with shelling out that kind of money for something they don’t even use? Obviously, insurance is among the few things we buy that we hope to never have to use. Insurance was designed as something to be used rarely — when Murphy reared his ugly head.

    But we’re not just using health insurance as actual “insurance” — we’re using it as a mechanism to pay for virtually all of our healthcare consumption….rather than just for extraordinary expenses.

    Imagine if we did that with our car insurance….not only did we use it for major repairs, but for gassing it up, washing it, oil changes, air freshener, tires, etc.

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  1. […] no matter what happens next Tuesday, “it’s good for conservatives“: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they […]

  2. […] Everything is bad news for Democrats. DougJ states the rule: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always. […]

  3. […] by J.D. Ryan at 8:41 pm under Uncategorized 0Digg itShorter John Cole: There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win […]

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