And I’m sure Edward Teller is doing disapproving somersaults in Gehenna, where he no doubt resides at this moment.
On Friday, I was at DePauw University in Indiana debating former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. It was two days after Barack Obama’s big speech before a joint session of Congress and Mr. Dean is a strong advocate for his party’s agenda and a medical doctor, so I expected him to defend the president’s idea of adding a “trigger” to health-care reform to ease its passage and thereby guarantee a government takeover of our health-care system.
But Mr. Dean turned out to be tougher on triggers than I was. He called them a “terrible” idea.
It’s now becoming clear that Mr. Obama’s speech failed to rally voters and failed to inspire Democrats to follow their president’s lead.
Nice try, Turd Blossom.
As noted here, the reason Dr. Dean opposes “triggers” (en route to a “government takeover of our health care system” – waaay too funny) is because they’re “a means by which politicians kick the policy can down the road—maybe forever, and end up, ultimately doing nothing” (actually, David Sirota points that out here). It’s not because Dean opposes health care reform – quite the opposite, actually.
And as far as whether or not Obama’s speech was a failure, this Gallup poll from today tells us that “Obama’s approval ratings on the economy (46%) and healthcare (43%) are holding steady over the last two months.”
And if you want to read something REALLY funny, check this out…
Those Democrats will soon notice that seniors are worried about Mr. Obama’s proposed Medicare cuts and that Hispanics–the fastest growing part of the electorate–are slipping away from the president. Gallup polls reveal his support among Hispanics fell 14 points to 67% over the summer.
And now, for the reality point of view (here)…
The Latino vote comprised 9 percent of the electorate nationwide in 2008, a figure that totals over 11 million voters. This turnout represents a jump of over 3 million voters since 2004, when 7.6 million Latinos cast ballots, and is approximately double the Latino turnout of 2000. Ominously for Republicans, the Latino vote broke overwhelmingly Democratic in 2008. After supporting Democratic candidate John Kerry by a 56-44 percent margin against George W. Bush in 2004, Latinos gave Democratic candidate Barack Obama their support at a 67-31 percent margin against John McCain. As the New York Times showed, Latinos’ movement towards Democrats was one of the biggest demographic shifts from 2004 to 2008.
The reason behind this shift, according to political pundits and strategists of both parties, was the Republicans’ tarnished brand related to the issue of immigration. As Latino polling expert Sergio Bendixen stated, “the debate over immigration started driving Hispanic voters toward the Democratic party, and the economic black hole clinched it.”
Can the Dems take any voting bloc for granted, particularly for next year and 2012? Of course not (and though I’m glad to see Obama step up immigration enforcement among employers hiring illegals, that could have a “blowback” if not combined with some common-sense immigration reform, a subject upon which the Repugs also played “kick the can” when they were in charge).
But any non-partisan individual would have to be muay loco to think that addressing health care reform would be negative in any way towards Hispanics in particular (of course, Rove doesn’t have a non-partisan molecule in his body).
There are few things in politics more annoying than the right’s utter conviction that it owns the patent on the word “freedom” that when its leaders stand up for the rights of banks to be unregulated or capital gains to be untaxed, that it is actually and obviously standing up for human liberty, the noblest cause of them all.
Equally annoying is the silence of Democratic Party leaders on the subject. They spend their careers hearing this fatuous argument from the other side, but challenging conservatism’s claim to freedom seems to be beyond their powers. Or beneath their dignity. Or something.
Today they’re paying for that high-mindedness. While Democrats fussed with the details of health care reforms, conservatives spent months telling the nation that the real issue is freedom, that what’s on the line is American liberty itself.
Any increase in the size or duties of government, the right tells us, necessarily subtracts from our freedom. Government is, by its very nature, a destroyer of liberties; the Obama administration, specifically, is promising to interfere with the economy and the health care system so profoundly that Washington will soon have us all in chains.
With that in mind, I’d like to propose some of my own personal “freedoms” that, I think, coincide with much of what I try to do here online and elsewhere to support the Democratic Party and promote reasoned, informed discourse:
I have the freedom to speak out against right-wing (and occasionally left-wing) demagoguery masquerading as fact, whose sole purpose is to obfuscate, misinform and/or propagandize, in as respectful a manner as I can (though the occasional bad word may slip through – I should allow some “wiggle room” here). I have the freedom to do this at social networking sites such as this one, as well as through any other means of electronic communication using the most up-to-date technological tools at my disposal (I’m not real big on the idea of Twitter, for example, but I suppose I’ll have to “get with it” at some point). Pursuant to that, I have the freedom to disregard comments expressed in response to my stated opinion that only serve to denigrate me personally, as well as comments that do not apply to my stated position and only serve to obfuscate, misinform and/or propagandize on an unrelated topic. I also have the freedom to communicate my point of view in print media and also in conversations with others in an attempt to inform and possibly influence their opinion. I also have the freedom to venture to other online sites or forums where opinions contrary to my own are expressed in an attempt to inform others, in the hope of influencing their opinions as well. In the event that the exercise stated above leads to personal attacks, I have the freedom to thoroughly defend myself against any aggressive act which results from respectfully voicing my opinion. I also have the freedom to listen to respectful voices of dissent and allow for the possibility that my own opinion may be influenced by the reasoned attempt of others to do the same as I would do.
I can’t think of any others at the moment. If anybody else wants to chime in, feel free to do so.