My Favorite Thing

Because we have nothing better to do and because I know this will make EEMOM scream, I think my favorite Sullivan reaction to the Ryan plan was his attempts to control the debate from the confines of Tina Brown’s HUFFPO:

This is the kind of politics Obama swore to avoid in the campaign. We have a serious and flawed plan to get the debt under control – and the Democrats’ immediate response is to go into total opposition. The president has been more muted in his response. But the onus is on him now to provide a plan that matches the impact on the budget that Ryans’ does, with different emphases.

So where is that plan? Or does the president have none?

That was from a post called “Obama Chooses Politics over Policy.” Like I said, there was so much to choose from regarding Sullivan that this was a close call- every one of his worst traits was out in force. Whether it was him flat out lying about me, or his constant fluffing of people like Weisberg (who has now apologized for being wrong, don’t hold your breath on Sully acknowledging that), the mathematical freak show that DougJ has outlined over and over again, his flashback to the Gulf War days and the decadent left- calling every piece of opposition to the fanciful plan “the hard left,” his unwillingness to link to serious economists and thinkers while floating links to National Review and McMegan, or his insistence that the Ryan plan was serious when it was clear it was a cruel joke.

But that one is my favorite. First, he seems unwilling to realize that the decision to gut medicare to reward the super rich is both a policy and political issue, so one simply can not choose to address one aspect and not the other. Protecting medicare from the Republicans is both a policy preference and a political issue, period. Democrats elect people who promise to protect medicare. Republicans elect people who promise to gut social services and reward the rich. These are both political and policy issues. They can not be separated.

But on top of that is the arrogance- deciding that Paul Ryan can go out and propose wild-ass crazy things, but the Democrats are just out of line if they react. No, to Andrew, when the Republicans propose gutting one of the central tenets of the Democratic party, the preservation of a social safety net for the American people, the only appropriate response is for Democrats to propose alternate things to cut. Anything else would not match Sully’s test for seriousness.

Can you imagine an alternate universe, in which the Democrats said “Everyone over 250k will be taxed at 50%, everyone over a million at 90%, everyone over 10 million at 99%, we are changing the estate tax to 75%, capital gains increasing to 35%, transaction taxes for stock sales, carbon taxes, medicare age limit lowered to 45, and abolishing the military.” Anyone here think Sullivan would then say “Republicans better not politicize that…”

*** Update ***

I should note that while Sullivan refuses to realize this is both a policy and political issue, the voters sure recognize it. That is why all the Republicans, who just six months ago were running adds about the Democrats wanting to cut 500 billion from Medicare are now catching fresh hell from their constituents for voting for the Ryan plan to end Medicare.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






103 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade DougJ says:

    First, he seems unwilling to realize that the decision to gut medicare to reward the super rich is both a policy and political issue, so one simply can not choose to address one aspect and not the other.

    Very well put.

  2. 2
    p.a. says:

    He’s been kinda/sorta walking things back a bit on Medicare without of course admitting any errors. Always Late Andy.

  3. 3
    Uloborus says:

    I have observed something about your torrid and abusive love affair with Sullivan. I think it actually has a purpose.

    Sullivan is worth talking about because he is the pinnacle of the Reasonable Conservative. By talking about him you get to address all of their most jackass stunts and then turn around and say ‘And this is the BEST they have, folks.’

    He is an efficient microcosm of conservative logic. He can be used in substitute for their entire system.

  4. 4
    sublime33 says:

    Wow – well put. And why don’t the Democrats push for a transaction tax which virtually every other First World country employs? If you want to lower your transaction tax bill, quit churning your stock portfolio. I’m sure the financial services lobby doesn’t have anything to do with the transaction tax never being brought up by any politician of either party.

  5. 5
    mclaren says:

    Sullivan serves as a kind of living laboratory for all the pathologies and dysfunctions of the punditry.

    He’s just credible enough that people who don’t know better take him seriously; he’s just serious-sounding enough that people who don’t examine the numbers think he’s being reasonable.

  6. 6
    mclaren says:

    @Uloborus:

    Exactly. I should’ve just shut up because you said it better. But apparently we posted the same thing at exactly the same time.

  7. 7
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    No, to Andrew, when the Republicans propose gutting one of the central tenets of the Democratic party, the preservation of a social safety net for the American people, the only appropriate response is for Democrats to propose alternate things to cut.

    Obama did that. Or do Republicans not hear it when black people talk?

  8. 8
    Uloborus says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:
    …well, no. Duh.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …he seems unwilling to realize that the decision to gut medicare to reward the super rich is both a policy and political issue.

    It’s neither, It’s simply Nature. The Way Things Ought To Be.

    Sully’s a Tory. His world is divided — and it’s nothing like a 50-50 split — into those born booted and spurred and ready to ride, and those born saddled, and ready to be ridden.

    And the latter had bloody well better know the difference.

  10. 10
    Turgidson says:

    I see that we are gradually reclassifying Sullivan as someone who is monitored and mocked as needed. That’s all I ever wanted. :)

  11. 11
    Jack says:

    What was the GOP response to any kind of health care bill?

    Not just no, but, “Hell NO!!”

    And where exactly was Sullivan then decrying the GOP for doing nothing but “playing politics”? Sullivan who benefits every day from government spending on anti-HIV medication research that was far out of proportion to the number of people affected relative to other medical issues?

    Sullivan who is happy now to throw everyone else under the bus since he’s got what he needs?

    Sullivan’s hypocrisy knows no bounds, and I can no longer read him without my head exploding.

  12. 12
    mclaren says:

    Another great insight that Cole has in this post is the fact that policy IS politics.

    Sullivan’s entire title “Obama choose politics over policy” is word salad. It makes no sense. No sense at all.

    All policy is politics. There’s no such thing as purely economic policy decision by the numbers. Every policy proposal derives from basic assumptions about how society should work, and that comes down to political beliefs in the end. One group of people will want people in a society to behave one way (savage competition without regard who starves, if you’re a follower of Ayn Rand) while another group of people will people in a society to behave in a very different way (social safety net for the poor and people with serious medical conditions, if you’re a liberal).

    You can’t justify these policy choices with numbers or statistics alone. In the end, which public policy you advocate comes down to a set of political beliefs.

    All policy is politics. So Sullivan’s entire premise is fundamentally dishonest. He tries to create a distinction where there can be none.

  13. 13
    harokin says:

    The kind of people who say they don’t want policy issues to become political are the kind of people who would happily prefer to be ruled by an oligarchy of disinterested Asimovian supermen, usually envisioned by today’s pundits as a “Gang of [fill in the blank].”

  14. 14
    freelancer says:

    Next week, on Intervention…

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    Parent: Child, wake up, it’s time to go to school.
    Child: I do want to go to school, I want to go get ice cream!
    Parent: No, you’re going to school.
    Child: You don’t have a serious argument to address the ice cream problem! You’re more interested in politics than in *getting me ice cream*!

    (Yea Bob Mould!)

  16. 16
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    Sure, it’s debate framing. If the debt is genocide, nuclear proliferation and climate change all rolled into one, then anything other than deep, painful flensing is just symbolic and not serious.

  17. 17
    shaun says:

    Hey, John:

    Love your blog, love your politics, but your Sullivan ankle biting is getting tedious.

  18. 18
    Comrade Mary says:

    No it isn’t. I live for the days when I load up this blog and can envision tiny, perfect indentations just above Andy’s sagging socks.

  19. 19
    OzoneR says:

    That is why all the Republicans, who just six months ago were running adds about the Democrats wanting to cut 500 billion from Medicare are now catching fresh hell from their constituents for voting for the Ryan plan to end Medicare.

    You call THAT fresh hell? I caught worse hell from the five year old nephew when I sent him to bed

  20. 20
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    I’m just glad that Sully gave us the ability to say “Serious. Bold.” as a joke.

    Also, Sully in the link was pointing to a POLITICO story (with unnamed sources of course) about how the plan was good for democratic fundraising.

    So, A democrat somewhere said something about how good Ryan’s plan was for democrats, and automatically Sully jumps to “WHERES YOUR PLAN, OBAMA!”

    God this guy is a clown.

  21. 21
    JonF says:

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    I think that Uloborus was slightly wrong about that. They don’t want to hear what Obama’s alternative cuts would be. They want to hear Obama’s plan to kill Medicare. That’s the only conversation that they will listen to.

    Obama could talk himself hoarse between now and when the budget is due and the pundits will only focus on his refusal to cut Medicare, as though our entire deficit rests on implementing the Ryan plan.

  23. 23
    TheYankeeApologist says:

    @Comrade Mary: I have to agree with Mary here, Shaun. You can’t fix stupid, but you can and should FIGHT it wherever it rears its head. Cole, Levenson, and DougJ all have their own personal bugbear, but they are fools worth flogging.

  24. 24
    mrami says:

    @shaun: If someone lied about me in a public forum like that, I’d be exactly as pissed as John is. I used to read Sully on a fairly regular basis over the past year or so – after that post, I gave him a day to retract it. He’s gone now. Disagreement’s one thing, but I will not risk letting disingenuous players pollute my thoughts.

  25. 25
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @mclaren:

    @Uloborus:

    He is an efficient microcosm of conservative logic. He can be used in substitute for their entire system.

    May I suggest a new tag:

    Synecdoche Sullivan strikes again!

  26. 26
    Turgidson says:

    Getting restrained boos at a town hall is probably the most the GOPers will get. Not only do we not have the astroturfing chops of the right wing financiers behind us, but any attempt to aggressively disrupt GOP events with the facts would just be met with “and here’s the unhinged left in all its anger and venom – those DFH’s are at it again, ready the national guard” coverage from the media.

    We don’t have snappy slogans like “get govt out of my Medicare” or “ZOMG SOCKULISM AND DEATH PANELS” either.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    “Obama Chooses Politics Over Policy” goes into the False Dichotomy Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

    Unless you win politics, you don’t get to make policy. Of all people, one would expect an unreconstructed Tory to understand that.

  28. 28
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Obama could talk himself hoarse between now and when the budget is due and the pundits will only focus on his refusal to cut Medicare, as though our entire deficit rests on implementing the Ryan plan.

    Kind of mirrors their conversation with the world at their doors in general.

    Muslim Americans spent a decade screaming themselves hoarse condemning 9/11, and are rewarded with deafening chants of “why won’t they condemn 9/11? why won’t they condemn 9/11?” Obama cuts taxes and cuts them again, and they respond by forming a movement called “Taxed Enough Already.” Unions agree to take pay cuts and virtually all of Walker’s demands, and he responds by pontificating about their greed and unreasonable demands. Etc, etc, etc.

  29. 29
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Comrade DougJ: In the run up to the election, the Wingularity will continue to deform the political topography, Sullivan will be pulled increasingly rightward. That is why he went to the Beast, it is more “populist” than that snooty elitist Atlantic.
    Eventually all conservative and libertarian sites will be pulled into the dense matter of the Wingularity as the specific gravity of the accumulated bulshytt achieves critical mass.

  30. 30
    Turgidson says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This, also too.

    It’s not about the deficit, but we already knew that. It’s about using the deficit to scare enough people into shredding programs these assholes have hated and targeted for destruction since day 1.

  31. 31
    Silver says:

    You saw this today, I assume?

    The asshole links to this:

    http://allbleedingstops.blogsp.....umers.html

    and then says the following:

    I don’t want to believe this, but its logic is hard to counter. Any offers? The conflict comes home to me in an acute way. I’m a fiscal conservative with HIV. It’s little wonder that this question stumps me.

    Italics are his, by the way. He’s even more of a selfish shallow asshole than I thought he was, and I didn’t think my opinion of him could get any lower.

  32. 32
    Tom65 says:

    We have a serious and flawed plan to get the debt under control

    Yes, much the same way that the Argentine plan to conquer the Falklands was “serious and flawed”.

    Fuck you, Sully. I got your “fifth column” right here.

  33. 33
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Because we have nothing better to do and because I know this will make EEMOM scream

    Well, come on then, Cole, and do the post about the Bradley Manning activists who interrupted the President with their little protest song already.

    No sense half-assing things. When it comes to pyrotechnics, bigger is better.

  34. 34
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @harokin: Gang of….thieves? libertarians? freemarketeers?
    same same.

  35. 35
    Rarely Posts says:

    “Republicans elect people who promise to gut social services and reward the rich.”

    Correction:

    “Republicans elect people who promise to gut protect medicare and reward the rich, but who THEN vote to gut medicare and reward the rich.”

    It’s truly astounding how unwilling Republicans are to run on their major domestic policy initiatives. Compare how much the Democratic primary revolved around healthcare reform versus how Republicans never mentioned this medicare voucher program in their campaigns.

  36. 36
    kt says:

    But the onus is on him now to provide a plan that matches the impact on the budget that Ryans’ does, with different emphases.

    So, according to Sully, Obama must come up with something that “matches the impact” of Ryan’s fantasy? The fact that Ryan’s numbers were pulled directly out of his ass have no bearing on the matter, it is now up to Obama to somehow craft real policies that add up to these fantasy projections. Nice little intellectual scam that.

  37. 37
    Chris says:

    @Rarely Posts:

    It’s truly astounding how unwilling Republicans are to run on their major domestic policy initiatives.

    Not at all. The last time Republicans ran on policy was 1964. You remember how that turned out. You can hate them for running on bullshit, but it’s difficult to blame them.

  38. 38
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Silver:

    I’m a fiscal conservative with HIV.

    What does this even mean?!

  39. 39
    jayjaybear says:

    @Rarely Posts:

    It’s truly astounding how unwilling Republicans are to run on their major domestic policy initiatives. Compare how much the Democratic primary revolved around healthcare reform versus how Republicans never mentioned this medicare voucher program in their campaigns.

    If Republicans were forced to run their campaigns on a strict definition of “fact” and “truth”, they wouldn’t be able to be elected to Student Council, let alone real government.

  40. 40
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    Given that the German word for policy and politics is politik, I can only imagine that Sully the Pooh would be very confused were he German.

    Hey you can learn alot from a German.,

  41. 41
    fhtagn says:

    My personal preference is that the other person be carrying a gun, if they are going to rob me. Sullivan appears to be armed with a water-pistol, floppy shoes and How To Be An Ignorant Selfish Prick For Extreme Dummies (McArdle Press). Time for some Kochsucker punching, and if it makes AndyPandy pout and snivel, so much the better.

  42. 42
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy:

    Hey you can learn alot from a German.

    Yes, but are overestimating your own capabilities and outrunning your supply lines really such valuable skills?

  43. 43
    Sentient Puddle says:

    This is the kind of politics Obama swore to avoid in the campaign. We have a serious

    WILL YOU QUIT FUCKING USING THAT WORD ALREADY?

  44. 44
    p.a. says:

    @Midnight Marauder: It means he’s against gummint aid but will accept it. This may be prelude to his announcing a run for governor as a Republican, or a prelude to a proposal of marriage to S.C.(R) Sen. ‘$50,000 Huckleberry’ Graham.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Wiesman says:

    I should probably know this, but what is EEMOM?

    I even tried the Lexicon, but no dice.

  47. 47
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    That LeftTurnInABQ: You misspelled synecdouche.

  48. 48
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Wiesman: EEMOM is the screen name of one of the BJ commenters.

  49. 49
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Turgidson:

    I see that we are gradually reclassifying Sullivan as someone who is monitored and mocked as needed. That’s all I ever wanted. :)

    That is such a long overdue event for this blog. We are talking about someone in Sullivan who is so fucking intellectually obtuse that he could write a statement like this and actually mean every word of it:

    Amazingly, Drudge touting Corsi’s book rocketed it to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

    REALLY?! THAT SHIT IS AMAZING TO YOU?! IN 2011?!

    Fucking clown.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    So where is that plan? Or does the president have none?

    Oh, this is good. This is very good. Early on, the Republicans would wave a blank piece of paper around and mumble, “We’ll get back to you on that,” when asked where their plans were for financial regulation, health care, and other issues.

    Now they just release crazy ass shit and then ask, “Yeah, our stuff doesn’t make sense. But that doesn’t matter; where is the president’s plan?”

    Another attempt to control the agenda and to deflect the voter’s attention from the intellectual bankruptcy of the modern Republican Party and their new Tea Party People masters.

    And the Beltway punditry is falling for this shit, hook, line and sinker.

    Dopes.

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Last week DougJ said he wanted to move the link to the proper category but didn’t know how.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Silver:

    I’m a fiscal conservative with HIV.

    I’m pretty sure that means that he wants the government to pay for his HIV meds but not anyone else’s, but he has at least a dim awareness that it’s an assholish position to take so he’s trying to justify it by painting himself as a “fiscal conservative.”

  53. 53
    jl says:

    I have an brilliantly simple libertarian plan to eliminate government, which will unshackle the creative abilities of our people, and with all the advances in modern electronic and nano technologies, soon towel lint and pet dander will be transformed into prime rib, orbiting colonies for millions, and the poor will be able to move into a vast rainbow and gumdropland with unicorns (for a small fee).

    My analysis is backed up by a think tank report, written by a think tank whose analysis is so up to date and current, they change the numbers every day.

    I hope none of the humanicidal communists here play politics by slinging wild charges that I am nuts. That kind of paleoliberal union thug thinking will not produce a Very Serious Compromise.

  54. 54
    MikeB says:

    Sullivan also trotted out the classic canard about the selfish oldsters living
    an unrealistically luxurious lifestyle on the backs of younger folks
    (like him) who will never receive such bountiful benefits in the future.

    It is amazing to me that our social safety net is the portion of the federal
    budget universally labeled “unsustainable”, while our absurd military
    empire/adventurism expenditures remain essential to our “national security”.

    If Sullivan and the rest of the punditry started applying the “unsustainable” label to
    defense, they might wind up with better future benefits than we present day oldsters could imagine.

  55. 55
    mclaren says:

    When Sullivan says “I am a fiscal conservative with HIV,” this means:

    “Cut off the HIV meds for all those poor people who don’t have insurance by slashing medicare — I don’t give a shit, because I’ve got a sweet job with nice insurance and I’ll still be getting my meds.”

  56. 56
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MikeJ:

    Last week DougJ said he wanted to move the link to the proper category but didn’t know how.

    I firmly believe that if DougJ spent 1/10 of the time and effort he spends stalking Bobo’s inanity, instead researching how to put Sullivan in his proper place, he could figure that shit out in, like, 40 seconds.

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    So, according to Sully, Obama must come up with something that “matches the impact” of Ryan’s fantasy

    A simple declaration that property is theft should meet that criterion nicely….

  58. 58
    Misamericanthrope says:

    Just curious-I have yet to see this proposed. Can a bill be offered that requires that if the Ryan plan is to go through, that the name of the program has to be changed? If Politifact is requiring Dems to add “as we know it” to their claim that Medicare is being abolished, why should the name remain? Just cut through all the crap around misleading semantics and force them to come up with an alternate title for his voucher program. Has this even been considered?

  59. 59
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @mclaren:

    When Sullivan says “I am a fiscal conservative with HIV,” this means:
    __
    “Cut off the HIV meds for all those poor people who don’t have insurance by slashing medicare—I don’t give a shit, because I’ve got a sweet job with nice insurance and I’ll still be getting my meds.”

    You may very well be correct.

    But after your performance “reinterpreting” President Obama’s speech the other week regarding the Ryan Plan, you are the last person I have any faith in to be accurate regarding these matters.

  60. 60
    Mike in NC says:

    Not sure why it took so long for me to figure this out:

    Andrew Sullivan + Paul Ryan = Andrew Ryan, founder of Rapture!

    They want us looters and moochers at the bottom of the ocean.

  61. 61
    Bill Murray says:

    So, according to Sully, Obama must come up with something that “matches the impact” of Ryan’s fantasy

    doesn’t Ryan’s Hope add like $6 billion (or trillion) to the deficit over its first 10 years? I think a plan to do that is eminently doable.

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:

    @MikeB:

    Sullivan also trotted out the classic canard about the selfish oldsters living
    an unrealistically luxurious lifestyle on the backs of younger folks (like him) who will never receive such bountiful benefits in the future.

    Did he really? This stuff is too funny.

    What happened to the old lie that if people were just allowed to fund their own pension plans, they would be sooooo rich when they retired that they wouldn’t need government money?

  63. 63
    HyperIon says:

    @Midnight Marauder asked

    When Sully wrote “I’m a fiscal conservative with HIV”, what does this even mean?!

    Maybe it means that half of him wants the other half dead.

  64. 64
    Brian H says:

    Don’t know if this has been linked to elsewhere, but Sullivan is the Best. Blogger. EVAR.

    http://harvardmagazine.com/201.....r?page=all

    Please shoot me now.

  65. 65
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @HyperIon:

    Maybe it means that half of him wants the other half dead.

    lol

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @MikeB:

    Sullivan also trotted out the classic canard about the selfish oldsters living
    an unrealistically luxurious lifestyle on the backs of younger folks (like him) who will never receive such bountiful benefits in the future.

    Was that before or after he defended a budget plan that excluded the above-55 crowd from the Medicare privatization to be carried out?

  67. 67
    maus says:

    @kt: This is pretty much why I’ll always have issues explaining progressive reality to my mother. She wants the Beck rapture-esque fantasy, she wants her talk radio heads to emotionally sway her and wrap her up in a great story, I just want transcripts and facts and as dry a set of information as possible. I do not want shit that’s been digested three times over by the time it’s come to me.

  68. 68
    MikeB says:

    @Brachiator: Yeah, he did, here’s the link
    I should have included with my post:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedaily.....eeper.html

  69. 69
    Sly says:

    @Silver:
    Adverse selection has been one of the most studied phenomena in economics for the past 50 years, beginning with Ken Arrow’s foundational paper in 1963 (which, incidentally, used medical care as the best example of it), and Sullivan doesn’t want to believe in it?

    Look, I’m not that big of a fan of Milton Friedman. But I don’t get to not believe in the Natural Rate of Unemployment because I think the guy who came up with it was a dick.

    This is what happens when a person’s basic (and flawed) assumptions on how the world works gets smashed in the face by someone else who did their homework. The rational person accepts that they were wrong and moves on. The dogmatist fights like the Devil against a perceived attack on a pillar of their faith. Since Sullivan has demonstrated both faculties in the past, I really have no idea how this will be resolved.

    And I’m not really all that interested in the outcome, to be honest.

  70. 70
    uptown says:

    Can you imagine an alternate universe, in which the Democrats said “Everyone over 250k will be taxed at 50%, everyone over a million at 90%…

    Yes I can. Something like that is coming and the super rich have only themselves to blame for supporting the right wing nuts for so long. They just couldn’t settle for the great deal they had going.

  71. 71
    SteveinSC says:

    @shaun:

    Love your blog, love your politics, but your Sullivan ankle biting is getting tedious hilarious.

    And elegant I might add. This was great fun and brilliant. And the “Sully Game” does offer just the tee’d up balls to hit a lot of targets.

  72. 72
    bemused says:

    Sully said there’s a big difference between choosing to be one’s brothers’ keeper and being required to by the government.

    There sure is. People chose not to be their brothers’ keepers before the New Deal and millions of people were starving and dying. What an obtuse moron or maybe he has no problem with living in a third world country.

  73. 73
    HyperIon says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead wrote:

    lol

    yeah, my comment DID have a JSF ring to it.

  74. 74
    jl says:

    @Sly: I am very sorry that Sullivan is stumped, though I do not see why. Fiscal conservatism and better health care at lower cost can go together, with free markets even: Switzerland and the Netherlands are examples.

    Yes they are different from US. But so is every other country on earth. Switzerland has three (or is it four?) official languages, so more diverse in its own way.

    Maybe some day, economic theory and practice will figure out a way to provide good health care to a country’s population as a whole in a loosely regulated free market. Unfortunately today is not that day.

    Let us count the ways:
    Adverse selection plus imperfect and asymmetric information about health states means that standard notions of market equilibrium may, probably don’t apply to health insurance. Add contracts that are costly to write and enforce, and it is the unhealthy who bear the burden. The existence of a standard market equilibrium (by which I mean, competitive, or oligopolistic with competitive fringe) has been an open problem in economic theory for over thirty years. Some solutions have been proposed, but not sure they apply to health care (like for instance, potential losses can be broken down into several relatively independent components, like fire, flood, earthquake, damage for home insurance). That won’t work in health where risks for major health problems are highly correlated.

    There is the problem of risks of loss of life and limb that are far in excess of anything most people experience in other parts of life, and there is little economic theory and no data to tell us how people should or do act.

    Then the problems of market power held by hospitals and other providers.

    Life insurance was also dysfunctional in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and for awhile had a reputation as a scam. But it became a highly regulated industry, which produce prestige and relative stability and success for a financial market. But economic theory, and evidence, and practice, and political influence peddling and political corruption have advanced to such a high state of development, that we cannot manage a similar fix for health care and health insurance now.

    The whole national debate on health insurance and health care has been a disgrace, and I have been thinking that for my own self preservation, I should start looking into working in another country.

    But Sullivans magic social decision making beans (FREEDOM!, MARKETS!) fail him for health care and he admits befuddlement and defeat. Perhaps he is at least making some progress.

  75. 75
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @HyperIon:

    yeah, my comment DID have a JSF ring to it.

    *blush*

  76. 76
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @jl:

    Maybe some day, economic theory and practice will figure out a way to provide good health care to a country’s population as a whole in a loosely regulated free market.

    It is EMPIRICALLY OBVIOUS to some of us that “loosely regulated free markets” DO NOT WORK. FOR ANYTHING in America.
    Since “freedom and liberty” in the marketplace EMPIRICALLY do not lead to any improvement in the human condition (except in the human condition of the richies), is it not time to toss free market theory and the entirety of libertarianism into the trash bin of history?

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: Maybe, but I am trying to appeal to as many opinions as possible, including those that have some faith in loosely regulated free markets being good for something or other somewhere sometime. Thus my framing.

    If you want to dencounce any and all unregulated free markets anywhere for anything, fine by me, that’s your opinion.

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:

    @MikeB:

    Yeah, he did, here’s the link

    Wow. Thank’s for the link. He really is stuck in moron mode.

  79. 79
    kt says:

    @Bill Murray:

    doesn’t Ryan’s Hope add like $6 billion (or trillion) to the deficit over its first 10 years? I think a plan to do that is eminently doable.

    Indeed!

  80. 80
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @jl: isn’t it empirically obvious that loosely regulated free markets simply do not work, do not improve the human condition, do not deliver jobs or equality in America at least? LR markets seem to just deliver cartels and rigged markets and more inequality. LR markets brought us the Econopalypse.

    Wouldn’t it simply be more efficient to acknowledge that? Sure, LR markets don’t seem to work for healthcare or education– but do they work for anything?

  81. 81
    kt says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    is it not time to toss free market theory and the entirety of libertarianism into the trash bin of history?

    Ironically, the free market will kill itself eventually. Due to it’s never ending drive for efficiency and profit, more and more jobs will be mechanized and automated. Blue collar jobs got hit first, but plans are in the works for automated white collar jobs like engineering, scientific research, medical diagnosis, automated vehicles, etc… When these projects reach maturity, whole segments of the economy will collapse and the very concept of work for pay will require rethinking.

    These efforts are still a few decades off, but when they arrive, we’re going to need to take a hard look at the whole structure of our economy because vast swaths of the job market will be completely wiped out.

  82. 82
    Triassic Sands says:

    Sullivan writes:

    And giving elderly consumers some level of choice in their healthcare is precisely the kind of mechanism that could control costs.

    Giving the elderly choice — between, say, paying for increasingly unaffordable health care (as health care inflation rockets ahead of general inflation) and paying for food and housing is the kind of choice Republicans offer.

    The reason the Medicare/Medicaid problem is so difficult in the United States is because of American expectations and immaturity. Other countries — none of them The Greatest Country in the History of the Universe — somehow manage to deal with these issues much better than we do. And until the American people grow up (not gonna happen) these issues will continue to pose insurmountable problems.

    (PS I’m pretty sure if Sullivan had been born in 1953 instead of 1963, he’d be singing a different tune now.)

  83. 83
    fhtagn says:

    @HyperIon:

    It means irresponsible bastard who shows no concern for other people.

  84. 84
    BTD says:

    I am the anti-eemom.

    I demand even more Sully bashing.

    Never stop.

  85. 85
    rikyrah says:

    I enjoy your bitchslaps of Sully.

    he went all in about calling Ryan’s FRAUD – serious.

    so, fuck him as he was exposed, with the rest of the clowns, who pushed the ‘ RYAN IS SO SERIOUS’ meme.

    no, he’s a lying fraudulent clown who would throw our Seniors and most vulnerable to the WOLVES to get permanent tax breaks for the rich.

    and, I don’t give a shyt how much Sully pouts– that’s the bottom line.

    and if the Dems, including POTUS…don’t beat the fucking SHYT out of the GOP over their vote on this issue…

    then, they deserve to lose in 2012.

    I’d be running political ads morning, noon and night.

    FUCK BI-PARTISANSHIP

    BURY these mofos.

    no more tying our hands behind our backs.

    pummel them mercilessly.

    period.

  86. 86
    kt says:

    Sullivan:

    And giving elderly consumers some level of choice in their healthcare is precisely the kind of mechanism that could control costs.

    Choice is overrated. See:

    Barry Schwartz on paradox of choice
    Dan Gilbert on what makes us happy

  87. 87
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @kt: but….why when anyone claims to be a libertarian don’t we all just point and laff?
    like this…i will illustrate.
    /points and laffs at Jason Kuznicki
    YOU NAKED! and your junk is really, really small.

  88. 88
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @rikyrah: i liek your style.
    fuck those mofos up.
    ;)

  89. 89
    Mike Furlan says:

    As has been previously mentioned here, the final word on any topic:

    “But we talk about it today because it is a principle of free market. That’s a Biblical principle, that’s a historical principle, we have all these quotes from Ben Franklin, and Jefferson and Washington and others on free market and how important that is to maintain.”

    Joe Barton FTW

    Republicans right, Obama wrong.

  90. 90
    Quiddity says:

    Given that the Democrats had a crappy 2010 election year, it’s completely understandable that they’d seize on Ryan’s plan for political advantage. Maybe after 2012, if they do better and hold more seats, then they can throttle back on the politics.

    Sullivan’s obtuseness is, frankly unbelievable. Either that or he’s losing his mind.

    I think it’s important to keep this topic, Sullivan and other knaves (e.g. David Brooks), alive because they really stepped into it this time and their reputations should suffer as a result.

  91. 91
    Mike Furlan says:

    @Quiddity:

    Don’t know about Brooks, but has Sullivan had any “reputation” since his “Bell Curve” days?

  92. 92
    Turgidson says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Agree with you – and further, Sully’s quote:

    And giving elderly consumers some level of choice in their healthcare is precisely the kind of mechanism that could control costs.

    is the dumbest thing ever typed. Krugman had a column about this today. Getting health care isn’t like fucking buying cereal. Seniors aren’t going to “shop around” for their goddamn colonoscopies, prescriptions, and so on. They’re going to go to the doctor they trust or the surgeon that the doctor they trust referred them to. or they’ll be going to the hospital in an ambulance and won’t get to “choose” a damn thing.

    Choice. Fuckin’ a. There are retarded possums who think of smarter shit than that.

    and I renounce Stalin.

  93. 93
    Cerberus says:

    Yeah, the various Ryan fluffery was a bizarre frothy mix and especially insulting to anyone who has a memory past last thursday (seriously, the Republicans and their fluffers thanks to recent history seem to believe that the past is a fictional concept and nothing can be compared to a historical record).

    Moderate watered down, old Republican plans chosen for “compromise” and “putting party difference behind us” to pass something anything that were then watered down even further to win over Moderate Assholes who felt this was an appropriate moment for grandstanding, got us no end of screeching, whining, full-assault bullshit from every moderate and conservative pundit out there about how liberals were passing the most extreme bill they could ever pass and for the sake of seriousness should immediately give up and flagellate themselves in penance for ever having considered barely almost addressing critical problems with 80% public support for more radical solutions (yes, I know social support and political support differ and that’s a huge problem leading to a lot of conflict where what is socially supported and what is seen as politically possible are light year’s away).

    And now we were supposed to forget that bit of obscene offensive water-carrying that was continued into the 2010 election and now treat Republican wish list ideas that are borderline anti(small-d)-democratic in their implementation as serious ideas that require full surrender of from the Democrats and should only be responded to by accepting the made-up assumptions and responding in kind (but not to target actually overbloated departments, because that would be unserious).

    In a sane world, this would end the career of every so-called professional moderate and so-called sane conservative.

  94. 94
    RinaX says:

    I have to say, polls be damned, the deficit speech is probably the most effective one President Obama has ever given in terms of negative ripple effects for the GOP. No, we can’t reach all of the crazy, but if even a small percentage of them are grasping the “Vouchers replacing medicare” theme, that’s a huge step.

    And as I never “got” Andrew Sullivan or understood why people were so enamored with his writing, I have no problem with the bloggers ripping him on a regular basis, primarily because the comments on these articles tend to be pretty funny.

  95. 95
    Short Bus Bully says:

    I was/am a huge Sully fan even after divorcing him during the run up to Iraq and then creeping back to watch him eat crow and pull his shit together. This is great work JC is doing exposing the hyposcrisy and bullshit inherent in Sully’s writing as well as the rest of the puditocracy.

    /blogospheric navel gazing

  96. 96
    maus says:

    @Quiddity:

    Sullivan’s obtuseness is, frankly unbelievable. Either that or he’s losing his mind.

    He’s snotty and privileged. I suppose you could consider privilege a form of extreme myopia, obtuseness, willful ignorance.

  97. 97
    Karen says:

    What I’ve noticed about Sullivan and other GOPpers is that they seem to feel that they have the G-dgiven right to beat up Obama and other Dems but Obama and the Dems don’t have the right to fight back.

    GOpper (The Abusive husband): You stupid bitch! You better lose fifty pounds, never work and let me have sex with women in front of you or I’ll kill the kids!

    Obama/Dems (The abused wife): Not this time! The kids are safe, you’ll never find them and the police are coming, you’ll never beat me again!

    GoPper: No fair! You’re supposed to be my supportive wife!

    I think that sums it up. The GOP/Obama and Dems interplay is just one big Jerry Springer episode.

  98. 98
    Cerberus says:

    @Karen:

    Well yeah.

    It’s also the same dance that bigot groups play with any minority group. Southern police setting dogs and firehoses on civil rights workers = keeping the peace and why are you getting upset, you damn hippies whereas pretty much any civil rights march no matter how civil was called a roving band of thugs with no respect for the law.

    Bigots and conservatives, being one and the same, really view resistance as equivalent to oppression because they see the status quo (of conservative or dominant-group hierarchal dominance) as natural (as in the proper and basic way the world works) and thus any attempts to say “what the fuck” as a direct attack not only on their authority and person but God and nature themselves.

    Being the scumsuckers that they are, they’ve just moved these actions to being just the default while talking about gays, women, blacks, latinos, muslims, the poor, etc… to being the main form of interaction for white middle class folks and the elderly as well.

    In some ways, I envy them for having so few real issues in your life that the people you oppress saying “Oh, I do say” feels like oppression and in some other I pity the raw emptiness one’s life must be that this would seem at all worth spending one’s time being obsessed about when there is real evil needing to be combated. And in most others, I just despise them because it’s usually me and mine made to suffer in their “but I deserve to rule, MOM-EE” temper tantrums.

  99. 99
    LosGatosCA says:

    I’ve posted it the last time this happened, I’m posting it now, and I’ll post it the next time it happens – Andrew Sullivan is an intemperate, uninformed, unserious ass.

    Also, a self-loathing Catholic, too. With bad hair, beard, and a bad accent.

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    meh.

    Yer losing yer mojo there, Cole.

  101. 101
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    /yawn
    Sullivan is a conservative shill, amirite?
    Who does he approvingly link at balloonjuice to go with his linkage to Conor and McMegan?
    Not Master Troll DougJ, mistermix, Kay, ABL or Levenson or Denis G.
    He only links Cole for beatdowns.
    Nah, Sullivan links Freddie and EDK.

  102. 102
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @LosGatosCA: nah. he is a conservative shill that fakes being objective.

  103. 103
    Joey Maloney says:

    @mclaren: So Sullivan’s entire premise is fundamentally dishonest.

    Simplifizzled for your convenience.

Comments are closed.