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The Moderate Republican: An Endangered Species

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Posted on Mar 23, 2010
Boehner and friends
AP / Haraz N. Ghanbari

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, responds to a reporter’s question during a news conference with other lawmakers on Capitol Hill last Thursday.

By Robert Scheer

Boy, the Republicans know how to make Barack Obama look good. What are they going to do now, threaten to repeal a law that forces insurance companies to cover the sick? Or block the provision that allows you to keep your out-of-work kids on your policy until they are 26? Whatever the failings of the bill—and they are real, especially in the area of cost control—its proponents will clearly have an advantage over those left bemoaning the loss of the untenable status quo. Particularly so during the first years, when its very sensible restraints on the insurance industry go into effect.

The bill that the president signed into law is limited and hardly provocative, but it unquestionably gets us over the first huge hurdle, already surmounted by every other economically advanced nation, to finally regard health coverage as a societal obligation. We already do with the rules governing admittance to hospital emergency rooms, but now that obviously humane assurance carries the majesty of landmark law. For that achievement, Obama and the Democrats who supported him have secured their marker in the nation’s history, and the Republicans, without exception, should be remembered only as wannabe spoilers.

As Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, observed correctly in holding his nose and casting a vote for a bill that is at best a work in need of much progress, it is “castor oil,” which may not do much to improve our health but certainly won’t make it worse. It’s also pro-business; that’s why the stock market boomed Tuesday in a 17-month-high rally led by a 4.1 percent rise in the value of Caterpillar, the company that claimed the bill would hurt business interests.

Quite the opposite, actually, and even the health industry will do very well. Just as the auto insurance companies benefit from the requirement that all drivers have insurance, the health industry will have plenty of opportunity to make profits off the broad new market of captive consumers with no serious threat of effective government cost controls. The public option that might have provided an attractive cost-control alternative has been banished, and it won’t take the health insurance companies long to figure out how to game those new insurance exchanges to increase profits.       

This is a bill that an Eisenhower Republican of old would have gleefully endorsed, following the lead of the American Medical Association and the hospital industry, but such moderates no longer exist in the GOP. If they did, they would have backed this bill and claimed its very limited stab at health reform as their own. Instead, they are now recast as tea party zealots and naysayers, and while that may bring a short-term electoral advantage, in the long run it defines the GOP as incapable of moderate governance.


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Watching those Republican state attorneys general pressing their states’ rights claim to overturn this bill, you had to wonder whether they were unaware that many of the 16 million now to be covered by an expanded Medicaid live in the states they claim to represent. Have they checked with hospital directors in the poverty centers of Florida and Louisiana to see if they truly don’t want the feds to help cover the uninsured poor they are now legally required to treat?

The immediate impact of the law is that, from the moment of the president’s signing, state governments will be prevented from cutting their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). Arizona just did the latter, resulting in a loss of insurance for 47,000 kids in low-income families. Since that state’s senior senator, John McCain, is so upset with this bill’s passage, will he now have the honesty to boast that Arizona may have gotten its version of health reform in under the wire before Obamacare could save insurance for his home state’s children?

For progressives, the preservation of existing Medicaid and CHIP rules until the new system is fully operational in 2014, as well as the expansion of Medicaid to an additional 16 million needy souls, should be sufficient to regard this new law as progress. It’s a pity that not a single Republican in Congress could evince a similar pragmatism, despite the stunning victory of anti-choice forces in securing the president’s sweeping executive order. Of course, the smart but evidently elusive rational political course for Republicans would have been to crow over the new law’s summary rejection of a public option and claim that as their own win.

As it is, however, the lock-step march of the Republicans in radical resistance to even the most modest proposals to heal a deeply ailing nation leaves the Democrats as the only party that matters. The Republicans are a party of incoherent rage, and while they might temporarily succeed as demagogues, they are now acknowledged strangers to fact and logic—not to mention compassion.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”

Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

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New and Improved Comments

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By Vanessa, April 3, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great resource, and excellent comments. Some far off but most great.

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By Calabashe, March 28, 2010 at 11:00 am Link to this comment


What? There’s something wrong with being parnoid about Mossad Zionists?

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By Inherit The Wind, March 28, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

omop, March 25 at 3:10 pm #

Sarah Palin’s “reload and aim” has almost claimed its first victim a Republican.

According to CNN GOP Congressman Eric Cantor’s office has been shot at.

Maybe Sara’s group is not as discriminating as Sarah is.

Maybe you should continue reading.  Police determined that the bullet had been fired by someone shooting up into the air and randomly hit Cantor’s office.

—unless there’s a conspiracy of Mossad Zionists who want you to THINK that.— I wait for the tin foil hats to show up.

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By nemesis2010, March 27, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

rant (rànt) verb
ranted, ranting, rants verb, intransitive

To speak or declaim in a violent, loud, or vehement manner; rave.

verb, transitive
To utter with violence or extravagance: a dictator who ranted his vitriol onto a captive audience.

1. Violent, loud, or extravagant speech. See Synonyms at BOMBAST.
2. Chiefly British. Wild or uproarious merriment.

[Probably from obsolete Dutch ranten.]
- rant´er noun

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992

Why is it always a rant? Where was I violent or loud or extravagant? I basically asked you a simple question: What government takeover of health care? Is it not easily inferred from your comment that you view this as a government takeover of health care? ”Those of you who talk about a government takeover of health care as a bad thing ... what about a corporate takeover of health care?”

Ironically, your comments about the evils of a corporate takeover of health care are precisely what people can expect because that is exactly what has taken/is taking place with this so-called health care reform.

The answer to your concerns—as to why they didn’t do the fix that you so astutely pointed out as all that was needed—is a simple one; because the main goal was/is to protect corporate profits.

Corporate entities control the U.S. government. That’s why there are always—without fail—loopholes in any campaign finance reform. That’s why any finance reform—such as Dodd’s bill—lacks any real reform. Any proposed legislation to check corporate power is always defeated or lacks any real checking authority. The Senate, the House, SCOTUS, and the Executive serve their masters in the corporate world.

The U.S. of A. is a fascist state. It has not been a representative republic for a very long time. The problem is that most people have images of Hitler, Mussolini, brown shirts, black shirts, and goose stepping jack boots in their heads and don’t realize that AmeriCorp’s model is different. In “The Road to Serfdom,” F.A. Hayek stated that totalitarian models would differ because of cultural histories. That’s why it’s so hard for people to recognize it here. He also stated that he’d much prefer to live in a British or American totalitarian regime rather than an Italian or German regime because of their cultural histories.

AmeriCorp’s fascist model is very different because we have a very different cultural history from Germans, Italians, and Chileans. We don’t have the goose stepping jack boots or the Brown Shirts and Black Shirts running around—with impunity—beating up the opposition. The best that AmeriCorp can muster at this time are the obese teabagger waddlers and the torn shirts and plaid shirts of the people of Wal Mart.

All that we see happening in the U.S. fits well with Spengler’s (Decline of the West) theory of a culture transitioning into a civilization.

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By CitizenWhy, March 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Face it, the Republican leadership is degenerate, lacking in decent values. They
wink at, or openly encourage, thuggery, racism, lying and hatred of the poor.

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By Calabashe, March 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Walter L. Tayes:

Thank you for your visit.

Oh Wow! Vote Right in order to wipe the smile off the Left? Drink much tea, do we?

As a Left, I can’t vote for the suspension of the Constitution or being subjugated to values and principles foreign to me, For folks like Dick Chaney setting energy policy, behind closed doors, that resulted in price gouging. I can’t vote for unbridled Capitalism that halves the value of my 401k.

As a resident of the California 8th, I’m proud of my Congressperson and all that she’s done, including her vote for. Wanna wipe the smile off my face too?

As a Progressive, this act did not go far enough – to the Left – but the Repugnants are demonstrating you can’t govern effectively from the extremes, Left or Right. Ya gotta go center in our system.

I’m not a Stupac Democrat, but I respect that he found a way to do good while protecting his legitimate concerns, a Presidential Order deal that the current law (Hyde Amendment) remains in effect. (Regardless of how I feel about that law.) That’s how its supposed to work.

I think you and your friends should put up your teacups and stop shouting my way or the highway. You too are in a minority.

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By ofersince72, March 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

The problem always was and still is

  T H E   C E N T R I S T S

who have controlled and had the most damaging effect
on policy,

both parties, the centrists,  control.
that is where our problem lies.!!!!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 26, 2010 at 3:08 am Link to this comment


You didn’t read my post, did you?  You’re so wound up in this rant that you see a “red flag” in a post and go ballistic.  I was not arguing about government vs. corporate health care.  If you read what I wrote, you would see that I was arguing for a return to a system that worked very well in the past and was very simple.  It had lots of competition and there was no need to force anyone to join.  There was a simple prohibition over covering preexisting conditions (and only preexisting conditions) for a period of time before those too would be covered.  This precluded someone from joining after finding out they were sick.  I think this is a reasonable compromise.

Of course, the best system would be ... prepare for vapor lock by every Republican/conservative in the room ... a single payer system.  Anyone with half a brain would realize that government always errors on the side of allowing too much care, not too little.  Medicare limits nothing that I know of and fails miserably to prosecute massive fraud (estimated at $60 billion/year) by hospitals and doctors.  Having a single entity, with massive bargaining power, could effectively offset the greedy behavior of corporations and doctors by giving the insurer the right to aggressively negotiate rates.  That’s how other sane governments around the world keep their costs under control.  Why should we think our bureaucrats would be any less capable of doing what Europeans and Asians do every day?  As I watch the Europeans every day from Ukraine, I can assure you they are just as incompetent and blundering as the US is.  But they somehow manage to have a very good system which works as well as (and many times better) than ours.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have Rush Limbaugh’s “best in the world” health care system at European rates of 7-8% of GDP?

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By Walter L. Tayes, March 25, 2010 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just like President Obama signed the Health Care Reform Act of 2010(HCR) under the belief that every American deserves health care insurance, in 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed the “Community Redevelopment Reinvestment Act”(CRA) under the belief that it was the right of every American to own a house.

The 1977 CRA created a housing bubble that eventually bursted and brought down the U.S. economy during President George W. Bush.

Just like today, in 1977 Republicans fought against Jimmy Carter’s CRA, and they warned about the negative consequences that the new CRA entitlement was going to bring to the country. But just like today, in 1977 Republicans were demonized by Democrats and called all kinds of names. 

Today history is repeating itself, democrats have once again created a new entitlement, and Republicans are once again warning about the negative consequences that it’ll bring to the country, but just like in 1977, Republicans are being demonized and called all kinds of names.

No person in his right mind would want to deny medical treatment or health care to a sick person, just like no person in his right mind would want to deny housing to a family. But unfortunately things cost money, medicine cost money, doctors have to get paid, nurses have to get paid, hospitals have to be built and maintain, and a society, not even the United States, can afford to provide health care coverage to every single American, it’s a mathematical equation.

It took 30 years for Jimmy Carter’s Community Redevelopment and Reinvestment Act to burst and bring down the U.S. economy. It might take that long for Obama’s Health Care Reform Act to bring down the U.S. economy, but it’ll eventually bring it down, and this time it’ll hit harder because there’ll be more money involved.

I sense that most Americans who are celebrating this new bill, are celebrating more a Republican defeat than they are celebrating the Health Care Reform, because all they talk about is Republicans, and they talk very little about the Health Care Reform itself.

With the signing of this Health Care Bill the time-bomb has been reseted and is ticking, only G-d knows how long it’ll take for it to blow up, but it will, no society can sustain this kind of entitlement.

I congratulate Democrats because they have done something that makes them happy, but I call on all Republicans to fight hard to repeal this bill, because is not about making Democrat feel good, is about the good of the country!

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By CitizenWhy, March 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

The only moderate Republican left is Barack Obama.

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By faith, March 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Send a straw !!
I encourage TruthDig readers to send republican representatives McConnell,
John Boehner, et al, a straw. A straw to suck it up !

The straw represents an end to republican whining, ranting, and raving about
the passage of the health care bill. It is time to stand up and do what is
compassionate, what is helpful, what is useful for the american public in

??I sent my straw and a polite note to John Boehner, suggesting that he needs
to just suck it up and be happy to be part of a congress that will go down in
the history books for its compassion and its positive approach to helping

You can send your straw too to: Office of the House Republican Leader?H-204
The Capitol?Washington, DC 20515

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By faith, March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

I am encouraging all readers to send McConnell, John Boehner, and every other
elected republican congressman/woman a straw. A straw to suck it up ! That
straw represents an end to republican whining, ranting, and raving about the
passage of the health care bill. It is time to stand up and do what is
compassionate, what is helpful, what is useful for the american public in general. ??I
sent my straw and my nice little note to Mr. John Boehner, this morning. I
suggested to him that he needs to just suck it up and be happy to be part of a
congress that will go down in the history books for its compassion and its positive
approach to helping americans.??You can send your straw too to: Office of the
House Republican Leader?H-204 The Capitol?Washington, DC 20515

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By Calabashe, March 25, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

“You say you want a rev-o-lution, Well-l ...”

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By mrfreeze, March 25, 2010 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

The firing of David Frumm by AEI is emblematic of where Conservatives exist today: in an echo chamber of sophism, paranoia and ignorance.

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By thinkingman101, March 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

nemesis2010 is dead on!

Stop beliving the political theatre being sold as real problem solving.

America is Fascist, and I can’t believe it.

We now have government mandated purchasing of a product. What industry product is next that the fascist will force the American people to buy?

Corporations run the government, its just too blantant now. The individual is not free anymore. We are binded with many chains and enslaved to the corporate/government/media complex.

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By omop, March 25, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Sarah Palin’s “reload and aim” has almost claimed its first victim a Republican.

According to CNN GOP Congressman Eric Cantor’s office has been shot at.

Maybe Sara’s group is not as discriminating as Sarah is.

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By nemesis2010, March 25, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

@ C.Curtis.Dillon:

What government takeover of health care? The government cannot take over their parent corporations. The Big Med corporations have secured 100% market compliance! And the people are going to pay the government to ensure that all comply with that dictate of the wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Corp —the AmeriCorp government!

That’s mercantilism. It’s fascism! This whole health care fiasco has become eerily familiar to the Boston Tea Party. The Stamp Act, The Coercive Acts; does any of this ring bells? The State has dictated that every citizen will have medical insurance whether or not he desires it and whether or not he can afford it. There’s no choice here; it’s government fiat! They are hiring—per one of the provisions in the bill—16,500 additional IRS agents to assure compliance with the new law.

While the people watched the comedy theater of the Dems vs Repugs the medical insurance companies all increased their rates knowing they had 100% market guaranteed. It’s a boon to insurance companies and a bane to personal freedom.

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By nemesis2010, March 25, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

@ PatrickHenry:

Do you have any idea what the hell socialism is? This is NOT socialism; it’s fascism. All these “isms” end up on the same road; the road to serfdom! All government and corporate entities—if not checked—grow into totalitarian entities. Jeebus on my Ritz cracker, it’s the beginning of a totalitarian corporate state, can’t you see that?

It doesn’t matter what system you implement, the corporations own it! The U.S. government was set up to handle many different and antagonistic political factions. The idea was to force all the parties to “compromise” in order to reach a majority, that way a much larger cross-section of the nation would have a voice—however small—in government. The façade of the two-party system is a corporate dream-works. There’s only one party and it exists to serve its corporate masters.

If you prefer liberty over death then educate yourself! Conservatives, corporations, the State, etc. were the Red Coats! Freedom loving liberals were the Blue Coats! The Founders were against the status quo; they were “liberal” thinkers! They weren’t a bunch of George W. Bushes!

The Boston Tea Party wasn’t only about taxes. It was about corporate monopoly. The State dictated on behalf of the British East India Company from whom colonialists had to buy their tea. That’s mercantilism, that’s the conservative “free-market” lie, that’s the State and corporations protecting markets. That’s fascism! The difference from Hitler and Mussolini’s fascist states is that in AmeriCorp’s model of fascism the State serves Big Corp’s interests and not vice versa. Your “Dear Leader” is not Obama or that village idiot W; It’s Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Media, and Big Corp! They are “the man behind the curtain!”

What you see as your 3 branches of government is AmeriCorp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of all the Big Corps!

It’s the Republican reform plan for crying out loud! Can you not see through the façade? When do Republicans favor the people over their corporate ho-masters?

Jeebus America, WTFU!

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By nemesis2010, March 25, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

@ voice of truth:

Do you really relieve that this is a death knell of medical insurance corporations? Are you a member of the Republican base?

There’s a provision in this so-called “reform” to hire 16,500 new IRS agents to assure compliance. Do you know of any government agency hiring tens of thousands of new agents to “assure” that corporations comply with the law?

This health care reform has been spun by the CORPORATE-OWNED media as socialism. It isn’t socialism; it’s mercantilism! This whole theater was about how to best protect the profits of the BIG MEDICAL CORPORATIONS; not how best to provide medical services to all Americans. Big Corp got exactly what it wanted and paid for.

You are living in a fascist state where the “Dear Leader” is not an individual but rather corporate entities.

This is not Orwell’s “1984;” It’s Jack London’s “Iron Heel.”

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By the worm, March 25, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Who let the dogs out?  The Republicans did.

They paid for them, re-enforced them, put them on cable, made them

Now, the Republicans’ puppets have started living a life of their own, an
unscripted life.

Republican Conundrum: “Ooooh. Not good. We’re all painted with the same
brush now, and the Republican overlords wont let us even pretend to
moderation! What to do?”

So, the Republicans may have to speak out against racism and hatred and fear

But, that will hurt them, because they count on racisms, fear and hate to carry
them at the polls.

.... all the way back to the Republican icon, Reagan, who acknowledged he
needed the racists, the hate-filled and the fear mongers in order to win. To
pander to them, Reagan began his Presidential campaign in the county where
three civil rights workers were murdered in the 60s, in racist Philadelphia

... a more recent Republican icon embraces another noose-related territory.
Following the announcement of Barak Obama’s win in November, a noose was
hung from one of the trees on campus. Ken Starr, a current day Republican
hero, recently accepted the job as President of that fine university, Baylor
University, in Waco Texas.

At the highest levels of the Republican Party, there is a theme and a strategy.

All Republicans know they cant distance themselves too far from the hate
mongers, racists and fear peddlers; so, what to do?  So close, yet just far
enough. On principle, you understand.

It will be fun watching.

However, if our representatives are at risk and arrests may be in order, I would
begin with the Republican head Mitch McConnell (dont know if he’s a large
puppet or the chief puppeteer - the results are the same) and slide down (if
there is a ‘down’) from there, and I’d do it quickly - given the Republican icons’
lust for places in the heart, like Philadelphia Mississippi, I’d say the arrests
should begin sooner rather than latter.

The trip from intimidation to murder, as in the place Reagan lifted up to the
nation, is facilitated and sanctioned when national leaders provoke it and cheer
it on and nothing is done about it. Such it is in ‘the greatest Democracy the
World has Ever Known’.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 25, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

Sorry I’m late to this discussion ... had to visit Poland this week to get my Ukraine registration reinitialized ... royal pain in the ass.

Do any of you think that maybe this whole thing came out just about how Obama and the congress wanted it?  If you listened to him carefully, this is what he wanted all along.  We got “reform” but corporate interests really benefited more than the consumer.

Those of you who talk about a government takeover of health care as a bad thing ... what about a corporate takeover of health care?  The free market does not exist where there is no competition.  If a single insurance company controls a market, they will do whatever they want to increase profits.  They have no conscience and no soul ... they are just in it for the money.

If we really wanted health insurance reform, the solutions are simple and easily implemented.

1) Limit any single insurance company (and its affiliates) to a certain percentage of a market ...  say no more than 20%.  Keep them from forming cartels or associations which can conspire to set rates.  Enforce anti-trust laws!  This creates competition.

2) Force them to insure all people and to put everyone into a single pool.  No cherry picking (which is the main cause of the current mess).  This creates the type of demographic that keeps prices low.  Healthy people pay a bit more to cover higher costs of sick and old.

3) No need to have mandatory participation if you put a fixed time, no coverage of pre-existing conditions limitation to keep someone from signing up when they get sick.  This is how it was in the “old days” and worked very well.

We all seem to forget that we once had a functioning health insurance system but consolidation and cherry picking of healthy consumers got us where we are today.  This is a classic example of “free markets” failing.  Private markets are nice but, all too often, a business owner will create a situation which is very good for him but fails the public at large.  Are you “free market” supporters really trying to sell us on the idea that, no matter what a private company wants, we should just bend over and take it?  Free markets only work when there is aggressive competition and a level playing field for all.  When one company gains an unfair advantage, everyone else loses.  Do you really want that to be in play when it comes to your health?  I would hope not.  And, unfortunately, only the government has the legal power and force to compel companies away from monopolistic practices.  The market will never do it alone.

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By gerard, March 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Some of you “disappointed liberals” masking as “anti-democrats” just could be “republicans” warming up for 2012, working hard to convince disappointed Democrate that the Democrats are no good any more and so don’t vote for them.  Vote for who?  Well, just not a Democrat?  Why do I think so:  Some of you are “over the top” with the repetitious complaining—nothing’s good anymore, everything is rotten—and it’s all because of Obama and the Democrats, etc. etc. You’re wearing your message out.

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By Calabashe, March 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

So what is the answer Samson? Voting Repugnant? Or maybe an off party that has no chance and only helps to elect a Repugnant?

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By Samson, March 24, 2010 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Follow the money.  The stock market booming tells you who got what they wanted from this deal.  And it wasn’t us.

If you think America should be run for the benefit of wall street, then keep voting Democrat.  If you don’t believe that wall street is the end all and be all and should get everything they want, then PLEASE STOP VOTING DEMOCRAT!

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By Samson, March 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Kucinich = traitor.

We’ve seen this for years now.  When the chips are down, Kucinich screws his supporters.  When the Dem party leadership says jump, then he jumps.  When they wanted him to endorse Kerry, there was Kucinich endorsing the Ketchup Man.  When the Dem leadership needs a vote, Kucinich is their man.

Which points to what a con game his whole ‘rebel thing really is.  Since he always does what the Dem leadership tells him to do, then you can see his fake campaigns as the cons that they were.  Kucinich is always and always has been to draw progressive enthusiasm into the Democratic party where it can be contained and slowly slaughtered.

If you want change, voting for any Democrat is not the answer.  If nothing else, that’s very, very plain today.

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By Samson, March 24, 2010 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

I’m old enough to know that the so-called ‘moderate republicans’ from back in the day would today be regarded as raving left-wing liberals and would probably be banned from the Democrat party for being too radical and to the left.

With the Democrats right of Nixon and doing everything corporate America asks, I guess there wasn’t any room left for ‘moderate republicans’.

But hey, its a stupid enough idea to write a piece about and to try to distract the Democratic base from realizing they’ve put corporate America even more in charge than back under Bush.

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By Craig, March 24, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans would be fools to support the legislation because it would mean far less money from the Insurance industry. The Dems get a lot money from them as well , the get it because they are in control of committees. The Republicans get money to derail progressive reform. The pattern is much like the tons of money which went to Republican coffers during the Clinton impeachment. They don’t have party discipline , they’re just getting bribed and are corrupt. Follow the money.

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By PatrickHenry, March 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

If we keep passing socialist measures we should adopt their style of government.

A parlimentary system would give seats in proportion to votes cast for those 1st, 2nd and 3rd parties etc, in lieu of the winner take all system we have now.

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By omop, March 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Letting more steam…..about the infatiles of the Repubs and the socalled Rogues.

.a] there are laws requiring every american to be photographed (nude) before
boarding a plane.

  b] there are laws requiring doctors, lawyers, pilots,architects, engineers et. al
to have licenses to practice.

  c] there are laws on banking practices.

  d] laws on copyrights

  e] laws on dvds

  f ] laws on travel documents.

  g] laws on requiring licensed drivers to carry insurance.

  h] there are laws on carrying guns

  i] there are laws on how public officials use their powers.

    For those worried and demonstrating against Obama’s socialism all one can
say in exasperation,,,,,Get a life clowns”.

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By BR549, March 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forget moderate Republicans. They’re no better than moderate Democrats. What
this country needs are some politicians with enough spine to stand up and put an
end to the Fed and the Patriot Act. For God’s sake, I wish they’d stop this incessant
whining and get on board with Ron Paul. Dr. Paul doesn’t want to be president,
but this country needs leadership of HIS caliber that understands that level of
fiscal responsibility. This isn’t rocket science. If they haven’t figured that out yet,
maybe they’re in the wrong career path.

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By LostHills, March 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Extinct would be a better word….

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By gerard, March 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Sheer, thanks for the critique of the Republicans. Harpers’ Magazine current issue has an interesting article for the Democrats—how they have allowed themselves to become victims of “learned helplessness” a la the political version of “extra-ordinary rendition”. 

Just a small taste:  “Republicans have stunned Democrats with absurdist attacks that have proved to be effective in garnering votes, and, more important in the long term, in hampering Democrats even when they hold the majority.  Democrats have been reduced to a state of psychological helplessness, one in which any political obstacles—ranging from the prevarications of stalking horses like Senator Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, to the plaintive cries of the tea-baggers out in the streets, to the sterner demands of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or Big Pharma—are transformed into insurmountable organic obstacles.”  from “The Vanishing Liberal—How the left learned to be helpless” by Kevin Baker. Harpers, April 2010, p. 29

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By truedigger3, March 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer wrote:
“The Moderate Republican: An Endangered Species”

Moderate Republicans, Rightist Republicans, Centrist Democrats and leftist Democrats are all the same and are all beholden to finance/corporate interests and don’t give a damn about the interests of the common people.
Sanders and Kucinich selling out proved that beyond any doubt.
Each one of them has a role and time to play it in scripted theatrical show. It is the classic good cop/bad cop routine.
Scheer is repeating the praise of the health care “reform”, and citing the so called benefits of that piece of crap of a legislation that have been debunked many times before in different threads here in truthdig.

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By browngregbrown, March 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

“The Moderate Republican: An Endangered Species”

Nonsense. They’re all Democrats now or the Democrats are all moderate Republicans now. Doesn’t matter what uniform they’re wearing. The health insurance bonanza for corporations and mandate to buy from them is pure Republicanism, yet, it is now law without a single Republican vote.

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By voice of truth, March 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

The second line of Scheer’s screed says it all….“forces insurance companies to cover the sick”.

WTF?  Since when did the government get that power?  And forcing them to cover the sick, that’s not insurance, that’s pay my bills.

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By Dave H, March 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

The Republicans framed the health care debate as if they were playing the Super Bowl, rather than rationally considering the policy implications of making changes in our health care delivery system.  Because their contribution to the process was essentially nil, they are left only with a bitter defeat.  I would not underestimate the scope of that defeat as it plays out in elections later this year.  Voters are more apt to remember that the Republicans lost and Obama won than recall details of the legislation, and they will probably be pleased with the benefits.  It will take years to find out if the legislation is fiscally unwise.  Therefore, I am convinced that Democratic losses and Republican gains will be less severe than currently forecast.  If they are smart enough to submit bill after bill aimed at fixing fiscal problems with health care and forcing the Republicans into a corner on health care reform, they could do even better.

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By TAO Walker, March 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Here’s what we’re wondering in Indian Country.  With the subspecies homo domesticus itself in imminent danger of ‘self’-inflicted extinction, what’s all this CONcern about a relative handful of fools who call their own ‘selfs’ “Republican”....or “Democrat,” or “Independent”?  It’s hard to imagine anything more irrelevant. 

“Individual”-ity is itself a symptom of the “civilization” disease.  There’s absolutely nothing in-the-way-of pharmaceuticals that will cure it, either.  It’s not even listed in the PDR.

Genuine health-care is exclusively a function of Natural Organic Human Communities….and it’s altogether FREE.


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By Calabashe, March 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

@thinkingman - Didn’t say extremist and obstructionist are one in the same. Didn’t mean to imply that either.

Look, a bill moved through process, incorporated legitimate Right concerns, eliminated legitimate Left concerns and the Republics not only walked away but still try to use games and trickery to obstruct something half theirs. That’s obstructionism.

The extremists, inspired by the likes of Boehner’s theatrics, like the Tea Baggers, are now using the threat of bodily harm to support the obstructionist.

I have concerns about a party that functions like that.

How about that Ann Coulter? She helps paint a picture that makes the Republics look scary.

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By Michael Shaw, March 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The GOP stopped being the GOP on the day Lincoln died. With a few exceptions, nearly every other republican leader followed the same mantra today’s republicans do, give nothing to the poor and downtrodden and give more to those who have it all! Now with this teabagger thing, the n word, the f word, the assassination threats, we have a different(and more dangerous) animal. Even in the 1960’s, during the Johnson era, there were actually some “liberal” republicans, enough in fact to help pass Medicare. But as we all know a liberal republican then was more like todays moderate democrat. The so called center has been shifting to the right since the so called tax rebellion started in the late 70’s, just prior to Reagan. It’s gone from bad to worse ever since. Clearly today’s so called moderate republicans exist in name only, not in reality(lest we forget George W. Bush). The sad part is even these guys, who are as far right as humanly possible without wearing swastikas and jackboots, are being led by those very groups within the irrational, bitter filled ranks of the current republican party. As Sheer points out, that irrationality continues. Where it will end is anybodies guess. My only hope is there are enough intelligent people out there to see to it these “folks” never regain power again.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 24, 2010 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know what a moderate republican is because I live in New York and whatever exists in the way of good public services came out of the administration of Nelson Rockerfeller.  To this day people are still benefitting from things that he was personally responsible for.  Where is the republican today who can point to that kind of achievement for the common good.  JFK said he was glad he didn’t have to run against Rockerfeller in 1960 because he would have lost.

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By thinkingman101, March 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

So many people here are just plain wacky. How do you see Republicans, uh, who have done nothing as extremist, but think that Democrats who pass the largest tax increase ever, that mandates the buying of a product not extreme?

Since when is being an obstructionist extreme? That’s the political process.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American conservatives are beyond the pale, totally off the political spectrum.  Churchill was a strong supporter of the national health service in England and in fact helped to get the bill authorizing it through Parliament (was he a Nazi or just your run of the mill Marxist?), but conservatives in the US are servants of corporate greed and have no regard whatsoever for the common good.  They will have to live with the hatred and hysteria they are doing everything in their power to stir up.  Good luck.

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By nemesis2010, March 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

The “moderate” republican is another façade to dupe the public into believing that the corporate stooges that occupy seats of power are possessed of enough intelligence to actually have an ideology other than to drop their pants and bend over for their corporate masters.

This so-called health care reform is nothing less than another AmeriCorp corporate monopoly ruse. It’s Big Pharma and Big MedIns maintaining—through government coercive action—their oligopoly. It’s not socialism; it’s mercantilism.

16,500 new IRS agents to “enforce” compliance to this “reform”?  WTF?

The Empire is a parasite that is in dire need of more blood and will eventually kill its host. The corporate owned world makes Orwell’s 1984 seem like a paradise in comparison.

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By Lesley Palmer, March 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ahh…the fantasyland of Republicanism. What they are really saying is, “Trust us.  Trust businesses and business leaders to self-regulate, treat employees fairly, lower business taxes and obligations (but keep personal taxes high, except for the wealthy…after all, they’re the only people that really count), and trust us to govern you like the kings, tyrants, and potentates of old.  This is what they want.  Unlimited, unchecked power over the public.  And if you don’t think that’s true, just look back over the last president’s 2 terms and you will get your answer. The fact that public policy is messy, does not mean it is wrong.  I challenge any Republican to explain to me why American corporations are being rewarded, and not penalized, for shipping millions of jobs overseas.

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By Calabashe, March 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Health Care Reform is more Insurance Reform. I wish there was a public option and there still could be in a future expansion of Medicare. I wish there was dental coverage. Insurance Companies are still going to make profits, DUH!?! HHS is empowered to make sure they don’t pull an Exxon-Mobile on US. Most important is a Patient Bill of Rights. The approved Law contains many Republic amendments and concepts.

So why piss and moan, piss and moan, piss and moan?

I’m glad the media gave it Super Bowl coverage including the campaign pep rallies and procedure conferences. (I don’t get C-Span) In the end the Republics came across as obstructionist using games and props not to mention threatening purge to any member not in lock-step total opposition to the peoples business. Consider Arlen Specter, a public servant type career politician, IMHO, long appreciated in PA.

The picture coming across is that the party is shrinking and becoming a libertarian party of those with more money than they know what to do with, who love Desperate Housewives and other shows centered on cat fights and backbiting. Who follow a Clown charged only if filling empty airwaves but actually fills empty air between too many ears. Who now freely use personal threat of bodily harm in the name of extreme ideology.

Where were the fiscal conservatives in the last 8 years? Where are those protectors of business activities that don’t rely on price gauging and exploitation?

Me thinks we live in interesting times and might be witnessing a kind of civil war from the extremist who have taken over the Republic Party.

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By thinkingman101, March 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

The Financiers win, the people loose. Fascism is in vogue, free markets are evil. America has been turned on its head.

Doesn’t anyone see the pattern? Unjust wars, police state, economic collapse, bailouts, industry takeovers.

We have an extreme growth in government and government debt. The extra IRS agents aren’t for making sure the poor get access to health care or the pre-existing conditions are covered. America is being taken over one step at a time.

The middle class is being wiped out and articles like this cheer the destruction of personal, civil and economic freedoms. Government is not benevolent; government does not help the little guy. Government is force and unlike free markets where one gets to choose freely, government is gangsterism and will severely punish all who disagree or do not comply with its will.

America is a fascist state. We are told what to do at almost every turn. If government can make individuals buy something, what else can they make us do? Can they make us eat what they want us to eat? What about wear? Or live or travel or shop?

We have been warned about this exact scenario time and time again from Orwell to Plato. We are getting turned into prisoners within our own homes. Serfs in a once mighty land.

The state may promise you a free lunch, but with empty coffers all the promises in the world are meaningless.

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By EdWatters, March 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shame on you Robert Sheer for putting an upbeat spin on this atrocious bill. First Kucinich, and now you.

“...the expansion of Medicaid to an additional 16 million needy souls, should be sufficient to regard this new law as progress.”

I might agree with that statement if there were any reason in the world to think that there will be adequate funding of the Medicaid for the “needy souls”.

The meaningful reform that you allude to was just pushed even further in to the future by this bill which does nothing but strengthen the private insurers hand.

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By NYCartist, March 24, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

P.T., not “madness” but a big lie, calling this law “reform”.  Who (besides comments) will say that the emperor has no clothes?

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By stuartbramhall, March 24, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

I am an eternally optimistic person committed to the belief that there still are moderate Republicans out there but that they are an endangered speciies (like feminists and liberals). I think it might help to rehabilitate Richard Nixon as a role model for moderate Republicans. ObamaCare is reqlly quite similar to the employer mandate Nixon proposed. Moreover people forget that Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.

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By pictishwitch, March 24, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

“The Republicans are a party of incoherent rage, and while they might temporarily succeed as demagogues, they are now acknowledged strangers to fact and logic—not to mention compassion.”

What deeply worries me is that fact, logic, and compassion are disappearing from the political process altogether.  So very many voters neither read nor think, preferring instead to listen to the demagogues.  I don’t think we can sanguinely dismiss such a disturbing trend as temporary at all.

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By ofersince72, March 24, 2010 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

those analogies ........well….....will spare you my own
i have taken enough space on this.
Don’t know what Ike would have done ..won’t speculate
either…except he never proposed any type of universal
coverage.  Time will tell about the sixteen million, we
don’t know about that yet either.
Nothing will change that it was trashy legislation thats
purpose was more to preserve a presidency than to provide
health care…which we really don’t know if it will.
It seems that the center of the spectum is where the
problem lies with our governance, it has proved through
the years to be very destructive, and to the one that
has accussed me of pseudo-intellectualism (which i claim
not to be intellectual or pseudo) maybe you could offer
an essay on this.

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By Leefeller, March 24, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

When I was growing up at about the age of 9,  my sister would make a point; as she saw it; by instituting her famous silent treatment. On many occasions it brougnt me to tears,... (of joy).

So it seems my suspicions may be substantiated, the Republicans have been getting tips on how to make a point from my sister. From what I can see, they are instituting the silent treatment to all of us. Well, with one slight difference.  I don’t know about you, but Republicans always seem to be mooning us, by us I mean the slob on the street. 

It has just been brought to my attention, I I have been mistaken,  my problem has always been that Republicans all seem to look alike to me. Several reliable sources have just informed me, we have been looking at their faces all this time.

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By ForeignAffairs, March 24, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now that Congress and President Obama have been very diligent about giving the health insurance industry what it wanted (a captive market and no public option), I hope they will be equally diligent about adding some consumer protections that are sorely lacking. 

Here is a short list of proposed countermeasures that will help to level the playing field for consumers who are now more than ever at the mercy of the insurance industry that necessitated reform in the first place:

1. Pass HR 4789, Medicare buy-in at cost (  Now that we have lost our freedom to opt out, it is not unreasonable to ask for a more competitive, and more cost-effective, menu of insurance options.

2. Stipulate that any insurance subsidies may be spent only on public option not-for-profit insurance plans – so as to maximize the cost-effectiveness of those subsidies.

3. More rigorous restrictions on rate increases, coupled with a more rigorous enforcement capability. 

4. End anti-trust exemptions for the health insurance industry.

5. Standardize insurance regulations and insurer access nationwide.  Don’t allow insurers to cherry pick the least regulated or most profitable markets, and don’t deny consumers freedom of choice in the least desirable markets.

6. Prohibit any kind of federally mandated purchases.  Let the private sector do their own marketing – that is not the proper role of government.

7. Allow drug re-importation.

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By prole, March 24, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

‘The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed’…and it’s piloted by Robt. Scheer. If, “the Republicans know how to make Barack Obama look good”, Scheer is a close second, he’s been plumping for his corporate caterer Obama since day one. “Whatever the failings of the bill—and they are real, especially in the area of” public control—“its proponents will clearly have an advantage over those left bemoaning the loss of the untenable status quo” – but they certainly won’t have any advantage over those left bemoaning both. This is the classic ‘lesser of two evils’ rationale that has bedeviled political progress for generations. “The bill that the president signed into law is limited and hardly provocative, but it unquestionably gets us” hung up on “the first huge hurdle”, exactly as intended. The race is over, the first hurdle was erected so high the runners were too exhausted to complete the course. Corporate Amerika and its cheap little politicians are slapping themselves on the back for giving the benighted public another stiff dose of “castor oil”. And fawning reporters like Scheer are busy spinning a “pro-business” bill that despite the glaring defects that “the public option that might have provided an attractive cost-control alternative has been banished, and it won’t take the health insurance companies long to figure out how to game those new insurance exchanges to increase profits”, he can still bizarrely describe as “the majesty of landmark law”. 

“This is a bill that an Eisenhower Republican of old would have gleefully endorsed, following the lead of the American Medical Association and the hospital industry, but such moderates no longer exist in the GOP”…instead, they now reside in the Democratic Party, which gives you an idea of just how far to the right the “untenable status quo” has shifted in the last fifty years and the “huge hurdles” ahead. “It’s a pity that not a single Republican in Congress could evince a similar pragmatism, despite the stunning victory of anti-choice forces in securing the president’s sweeping executive order”…and it’s a pity Scheer is so solicitous of Republicans and anti-choice forces. Why is Scheer so hung up on the fate of Republicans in the first place??!! “Of course, the smart but evidently elusive rational political course for Republicans would have been to crow over the new law’s summary rejection of a public option and claim that as their own win”…which it is and not a progressive win. But since Scheer has so much concern and advice for Republicans at risk, maybe he should hire himself out as a consultant to his Republican radical resistance movement – and take his man Obama with him. “As it is, however, the lock-step march of the Republicans in radical resistance to even the most modest proposals to heal a deeply ailing nation leaves the Democrats as the only party” in a one-party state because the Democrats have morphed into Eisenhower Republicans. “The Republicans are a party of incoherent rage” and the Democrats are simply incoherent and both “are now acknowledged strangers to fact and logic—not to mention compassion.”

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By omop, March 24, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Bet Ohio’s JB and his fellow comedians dont give a sh#t what their neighbors
in their state are out of:

Military Aid to Israel, Total FY2009-2018: $1,214,675,539.20

This money could have been spent instead to:

Provide 14,749 households per year w/affordable housing grants OR
Provide 20,164 job seekers per year w/green jobs training OR
Provide 35,915 children per year w/early reading education OR
Provide 983,702 people per year w/primary health care.

Tell your Members of Congress to spend your tax dollars wisely by clicking

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By JimMichie, March 24, 2010 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are being far too charitable to the intractable Republicans—liars all!

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By P. T., March 24, 2010 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

To mandate that the public buy insurance that costs twice as much as the same thing in other countries and then to call that “reform” is madness.

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By Krashkopf, March 24, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Upstate New York of my youth was solid “Rockerfeller Republican” country. Until I went off to college, I had only known 1 Democratic in my entire life.

You are right, Mr. Scheer, that moderate wing of the GOP, no longer exists.  The GOP is now, exclusively a party for the radical Christian right-wingers, neo-conservative war/fear mongers, and dillusional liberitarian tea-baggers.

The moderate GOPers have become DLC, and “Blue Dog,” Democrats.  In that regard, the HCR Act actually a bipartisan compromise between progressives (who used to dominate the Democratic Party) and the group that used to be the moderate wing of the GOP.

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By oblivius, March 24, 2010 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the short term, the bill may do some good and the best thing is that it may perpetuate the fact that, maybe, dems will be the majority for a long time and just maybe, through the coming years, they (we) can reform campaign finance, banks, and whatever else will loosen this noose the corporate masters have on the political process….I know wealthy people fear this most. The best the gop could hope for would a corporate theocracy.

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By Beltwaylaid, March 24, 2010 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fox News and conservative talk radio is the rope and
health care reform is the tree…. you figure out the

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By Hulk2008, March 24, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

To omop:

Please allow me to add a couple more to your list:

6.  Who supports buying insurance across state lines (with 50 differing sets of rules) but denies other commerce on the basis of “states rights” ?

7. Who demands tort reform in medical malpractice but permits states attornies general to sue the Federal government ?

8. Who wants to cap ordinary citizens’ access to compensation when medical errors and malpractice occur but want unlimited payback for their own interests, especially for business losses ?

9. Who wants to protect life only during 9 months of gestation but not protect it in war or capital punishment or assisting the indigent in the many years they endure after being born ?

10. Who supports free speech for non-living corporations and their ability to merge at will but seeks to prevent living people from forming collective bargaining units in support of their wishes ?

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By Clint, March 24, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The congressional Republicans are acting as if they aim only to win primaries, where the party’s voters are the far right base, not to win electoral majorities on Capitol Hill or to move their legislative agenda to victory.  To do more than just block legislation while the Democrats have majorities in both houses, the Republicans will have to loosen up and engage in give and take, not just resist.

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By Londen, March 24, 2010 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Completely agree with PT.

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By faith, March 24, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Great article Mr. Scheer.  And, what a sad commentary of the republican party
concerning their lack of compassion.  It is exactly what got Marie Antoinette is so
much trouble with the “let them eat cake” comment (if true)- no grasp of reality -
no understanding of what difficult times these are for america’s poor and middle
class.  How could they relate?  After all the CEOs of the insurance companies, etc.
are receiving billions in severance packages, retirements, and bonuses.  What a
concept, huh?

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By omop, March 24, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

OKay Repubs and all others.

1. Who dictates the taxes each american has to pay?

2. Who dictates the speed a car driver must observe?

3. Who dictates the age at which an american can buy alcohol?

4. Who dictates when and whom must Americans go to war against?

5. Who dictates whenan individual is qualified to drive an auto legally.

and, on and on.

What all Ameicans want is for their politicians to act/decide wisely, which
seems to be a ” mission.impossible”.

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By NYCartist, March 24, 2010 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

And one will have to look to history for “Progressive” Democrats, which as displayed by Kucinich’s “holding his nose” and voting for a bill that’s disgusting to him proves there are no more “Progressive Dems” in Congress.

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By canyon critter, March 24, 2010 at 7:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the difference here is your not forced to by vehicle insurance. the gov’t is going to force people to buy health insurance. nothing in this healthcare bill curbs the rising cost of insurance premiums. in fact this is a big win for insurance companies and when people cant afford it no worries the taxpayers will pay for it. the financing of this is new math at its finest.

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By johnnyfarout, March 24, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Marshall’s comment made me pause. Gosh, the whole purpose of this “reform” was to get more stipends from tax dollars, or more correctly money creation actually, to be directed to the insurance corporations, with few changes to their already disturbing business model? The insurance corporations know just enough about medicine to be dangerous. They have shown themselves to be incompetent as far as human health is concerned. We all know this. They know it. Their business model is not built on health, but health failures, so the huge resources of the federal government with their banker, the Federal Reserve, will direct a cash stream to them guaranteed to outpace inflation. Actually generating a churn whereby inflation will be enhanced through the “industry” of these corporations. It’s a lose/lose situation and everybody knows it. We have sops flung at us…cover your jobless kids to 26, supplement the ever rising insurance bill you get because everybody is underemployed or unemployed, always underpaid…; what about our shock troops on the Empire’s frontiers? They’ll be tearing apart other cultures looking for loot to pay to the insurance corporations for their coverage so when they get a bullet in their ass they can afford to have it removed and get some aflac for their rehab…oh and the drug use they picked up over in Afkablamastan needs $800/dium sit around and talk it out therapy too. Poor poor dears. Maybe there’s too many goddamn Americans! Good thing we can blow up the world anytime we want because it’s just too expensive anymore to live on it…work, slave and die quickly… sounds good. When’s my prozac supposed to kick in this morning…shit; I’m already half irrational with kooky thoughts and worry; we need better drugs.

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By BBFmail, March 24, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment


The editors at the Washington Times believe Obama’s nationalization of health care is bad enough on its own, but the plan’s implementation will require drastic measures that are just as troubling to those who value freedom.  Of particular concern is the bill’s expansion of the Internal Revenue Service.

A report released last week by House Ways and Means Committee Republicans estimated that the dreaded agency’s ranks would swell by 16,500.  The newly sworn agents would be charged with ensuring the public’s obedience to Obama’s health care directives.  The IRS also would enjoy the enhanced powers and budgetary authority required for monitoring the health care status of 300 million Americans on a month-to-month basis.  The total cost of the effort is likely to exceed $10 billion.

The investigations will gradually ramp up until 2016, when the individual mandate tax kicks in fully.  After that, if the O Force wins a second term, the unprecedented levy will fall upon citizens who fail to purchase health care coverage acceptable to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  IRS agents would conduct the audits and impose a fine of either $2,085 or 2.5 percent of income—whichever is greater—on disobedient households.  According to Congressional Budget Office figures, this tax will generate $17 billion by 2019.

Of course, not everyone will pay.  The Democrats carved out exemptions for two of its favorite constituencies: illegal aliens and imprisoned criminals.  Only law-abiding citizens will face the wrath of the IRS—a wrath that can be substantial.

Consider the case of Aaron Zeff, owner of Harv’s Metro Car Wash in Sacramento, Calif. Mr. Zeff paid his taxes on time and did everything he was supposed to do.  Nonetheless, a team of IRS agents descended on his business earlier this month.  “They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending,” Mr. Zeff said in describing the incident to the Sacramento Bee.  His crime?  Mr. Zeff reportedly owed 4 cents on his taxes in 2006.

That’s the type of overzealous enforcement and lousy customer service we can look forward to as IRS agents are handed more power to terrorize law-abiding Americans.  Obama’s plan moves us in the wrong direction.  We need to dismantle, not expand, the most hated agency of the federal government.  Fundamental tax reform and repeal of ObamaCare would go a long way toward restoring American freedoms.

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By The Old Hooligan, March 24, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Is it just me, or does that mirthless prick John Boehner always look like he’s sucking on a particularly juicy lemon? He reminds me of Charles Krauthammer, another Republican joyboy who looks like he’s perpetually trying to suck a golfball through a garden hose. With “friends” like those, the G.O.P. doesn’t need any enemies.

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By omop, March 24, 2010 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer would do all Americans a once in a lifetime favor by make this
commentary available in every library, high schools, colleges, universities as well
as challenge the networks to discuss the essence of his commentary.

The Republican Party has been going down the path of idiocy since the days of
Newt Gingrich and it seems that it has not reached the bottom yet.

Excellent commentary Mr. S.

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By balkas, March 24, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

It is not only the politicians [ab 99%] who deny americans some of the dearest human rights, but also the constitution and another 50mn americans.

So, that gives us 50+ mn true conservatives in america. Unfortunately for the non-conservatives, it is the 50mn true or false conservatives that rule america.

The other 200 mn have next-to-zero participation in US governance; which includes law and war making.
Other than that, everything is OK in US.

Mind u, the true-false 50+ mn conservatives are mad as hell at the 200mn who constantly want s’mthing-for-nothing from the 50 mn honest and hard working 50 mn. tnx

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By mkh, March 24, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

When the Republicans were in the majority in the House and the Senate for 10 or
12 years from about 1995 - 2006, what wonderful health care bills did they come
up with?  Other than getting rid of S-CHIP, I mean.

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By mrfreeze, March 24, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

I woke up today to NPR’s version of reality:

Basically, NPR is reporting that the Republicans have already won the mid-term elections, that health care reform will be repealed and that President Obama’s VICTORY regarding Health Care Reform is actually a DEFEAT. Yes, it’s all a narrative right out of the FOX News play book and I’m sure many who comment on this post today (P.T., Marshall, ad nauseum) will go on and on about the illegality of a mandate, the awful machinations of law making and the impending disaster of our nations bankruptcy….blah, blah, blah, blah. 

It’s all sounding like a broken record already. NO, actually it sounds like a HUGE violin playing sour grapes by the defeated who simply cannot believe that the President WON, the American people WON and it’s time to fix more of the stuff that has been broken since Ronald Reagan helped make the U.S. into a paradise for the rich by dismantling our schools, our infrastructure and our values.

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By omygodnotagain, March 24, 2010 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

All these people fretting over debt, well how about having Wall Street pay back the billions it stole, how about cutting back not increasing the Pentagon budget and the budgets for these wars. We are spending billions of dollars every week chasing a few thousand terrorists that could be done by intelligence and special forces. The bankers must be rubbing their hands with glee.

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By Mike789, March 24, 2010 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Marshall: “You don’t get something for nothing”. Fundamentally I agree, however, I cannot resist a little sarcasm here. The Bush tax cut contributed almost nothing to GDP (2%). The rich got something for which they did nothing. Most of that went to the market bubble and evaporated.

The Republicans are now touting a Constitutional challenge to the Bill. It may seem feasible to do so under the premise of a forced mandate. Nonetheless, the other side of the coin is that to deny universal responsibility effectively “mandates” that the insured pay the way for the uninsured. I think it’s a wash there.

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By tony, March 24, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You dems, or communists, whichever you prefer to be called now, are delusional and believing your own lies.  You have destroyed healthcare, intruded into private business dictating what a doctor can charge for the services he or she provides and clearly made obvious that you have absolutely no regard for public opinion, private property or the free market.

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By Marshall, March 24, 2010 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Obama smartly front loaded the bill with populist measures that would make it
difficult for opponents to object to.  But this doesn’t change the fact that the
bill will never live up to the ceremonial CBO guesstimates which contain so
many caveats as to be useless (indeed, they are meant to be only a formality
since the variables in the equation are unknowable).  And at a time when the
country is struggling with an unprecedented debt, this bill simply shifts the
cost of providing this healthcare away from the private sector and into the
public sector where it will disappear behind veils of unaccountability, fraud and
political mismanagement while inflating our nightmarish debt numbers to even
loftier heights.

You don’t get something for nothing, and the benefits Robert praises in this
article will simply come at the cost of higher premiums and other cost cutting
measures like reduced coverage.  We know the bill contains no cost
containment, the primary feature Republicans recommended, so what exactly
does this bill do?  It cherry picks the naive person’s wish list and hides the
costs by pretending the insurance market won’t respond.  It’s a political slight
of hand who’s disastrous consequences will begin kicking in after Obama has
left the building.

Since when is passing a bad bill better than making the commitment to create a
good bill?

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By P. T., March 24, 2010 at 1:39 am Link to this comment

What the Republicans need to do is what Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts did—run against the health care “reform.”

Notice that Obama made sure that most of his plan (including the mandate) did not kick in until after he runs for reelection.  Now that’s confidence in the plan.  wink

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