David Kirkpatrick

January 20, 2010

Teeth gnashing and hand wringing over health care reform

(Update — bold emphasis added because it seems it takes a sledgehammer to make a fiscal point right now.)

I’m sure there’s a lot of both going on behind the Democratic Party scenes. There’s a lot of both going on publicly along with plenty of finger pointing, blaming and dissembling among the left blogosphere. The simple fact is health care reform in its current Congressional form has not, and almost certainly will not, pass because of Democratic ham-fisted policy making. But the GOP is behaving shamefully and shamelessly as an opposition party with no alternative ideas and zero compromise on a very necessary evil.

Yes, health care reform is a very necessary evil. Honest libertarians can be excused from the argument, but fiscal conservatives are lying to themselves or everyone else when they deny health care reform must occur at some point in the near future. Health care as a percentage of income is becoming unmanageable and health insurance costs are killing businesses both large and small.

Without reform health care in the United States will continue to bankrupt people at higher and higher levels of income, and cause untold suffering and early death for the uninsured. And at a point in time looming very soon it will simply bankrupt the entire nation. I’m no fan of too much government influence anywhere, but after looking over the arguments (and sorting through the hyperventilated crap from both the left and the right) I am convinced reform at the federal level is now a necessary evil. Any fiscal conservative who looks at the numbers honestly will come to the same conclusion.

Some funny (interesting, not hah hah) facts about the situation on the ground now that Brown has taken over Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat: the oft pointed out irony that Kennedy’s old seat will end his signature legislation; the fact the Massachusetts electorate already has a state run plan along the lines of federal health care reform so scuttling the current reform efforts causes them no significant pain; that the new GOP senator voted for the Massachusetts plan, but has declared opposition to essentially the same plan on the federal level; the heaviest opposition to health care reform is found amongst voters who either are already in, or soon will be, the massive federal subsidy of Medicare or Medicaid and basically fear their benefits being harmed in some way. Talk about wanting to selfishly eat your children. No health care reform equals a potentially very bleak future for everyone middle aged on down.

January 19, 2010

Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat goes to GOP

Not any great surprise to anyone who’s been watching the lead-up to this special election. Scott Brown takes over Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat and deals quite a blow to any flexibility the Democrats have with health care reform. By all accounts, Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley, ran a positively dreadful campaign and even had the embarrassment of leaking a memo today while voting was still in progress with a weak sauce list of excuses why she failed to keep the Senate at 60 Democratic seats.

Another pretty weak move was to hold a press conference — also while voting was still in progress — claiming “voting irregularities” to try and get a fingernail-hold on any hope of stretching the final verdict out a bit further.

All in all the Defeatocrats got just what they deserve in this election. And given the political reality of Massachusetts Brown will likely be perfunctorily voted out of office in 2012.

From the link on the excuse list (second link), Marc Ambinder’s excellent fisking of the memo (Ambinder’s comments in bold):

Claims about Coakley’s Scant Campaigning and Miscues Were exaggerated

— Because of the failure of national Democrats to support Coakley, she was forced to devote significant time to fundraising in December. She also released a variety of plans in December and had a public event nearly every day.

[Coakley had 19 events after the primary through Sunday; Scott Brown had 66.]