• on a comment on Health Insurance Reform over 4 years ago

    But think about it this way:  The public favors some sort of public option by > 60 % or so.  So in a year or so, bring up a debate specifically about the public option.  Make people vote for or against that on its face.  I don't expect the GOP to be chastened, but it does seem like a more comprehensible debate to have rather than "this 2,400 page monstrosity" (as the saying goes).

  • You'll get no argument from me about what certainly appears to be a political agenda by the Catholic Bishops.

  • Miscarriages can be ignored because they would be considered a "natural death".  I know Catholic families that have named miscarried babies and consider them a lost child.

    I think your first and third points can be considered two sides of the same coin.  They don't focus on prosecution of women who have had abortions precisely because they recognize it as a "function of social and economic factors" and so they work to change those factors to the extent that they can.  Usually this is by advocating for laws that would make abortions more difficult to obtain.  Again, I think this is a logical approach in that they don't believe you can stop it, but by making it harder to obtain you reduce the numbers overall.  Also, I don't think it's fair to suggest that the Catholic Church is not involved fighting poverty, gender abuse, or maternal health.  They are probably the single largest charity organization in the entire world.

    The other point I'd like to make is that the Bishops represent one end of the spectrum of Catholic life.  They are a very conservative bunch and they focus (in my opinion) far too heavily on this aspect of Catholic belief.  That's a difference of opinion that I have with them.  But what bothers me is that they conveniently find reasons to oppose just about every liberal idea, while at the same time preaching a fairly radical doctrine of environmentalism, common good, and moral responsibility to help the least among us.  Maybe some of this is a result of being so close to the disasters of statism in Eastern Europe.  Maybe some of it is their own Machiavellian desire to be the big dog in civil life.  Maybe some of it is their (apparently correct) sense that they aren't welcome in the liberal tent.  But honestly, I think it's just a mindset that draws them to Conservative causes while ignoring the fundamental immorality of those causes.

  • You don't agree.  I understand.  But you can't say they aren't consistent.  That is, if you believe life begins at conception (as they do) then the intentional taking of that life constitutes murder.  Furthermore, given how many abortions are performed every year, more human lives are lost than are lost to lack of health insurance, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and DUI put together.

    You don't need to believe what they believe, but it's very difficult to accuse them of being unthoughtful or inconsistent.

    Personally, I find much more blame to be laid at the feet of "pro-life" politicians who were willing to vote against a Healthcare Reform Bill that included the Stupak Amendment just because they don't like Obama.  Those are the inconsistent ones for exactly the reasons stated above.

  • I think the Bishops sense that this is their moment to fundamentally transform the business of abortion in the U.S and they see it slipping away from them.  They like to talk about how they have been "at the forefront of universal health coverage for decades".  But I honestly can't seem to find anything suggesting that they were at all interested in pushing for action.  I can't recall a single protest of a single insurance company that provided abortions.  I can't remember any efforts to develop their own non-profit, abortion-free insurance program.  I can't remember any public statements urging any legislative action.  I can't remember this ever coming up in their endorsements of George Bush for President.

    I don't begrudge them their beliefs that abortion is murder.  I have a less stringent opinion of abortion, but I respect the consistency of their arguments.  What I don't understand is why they are basically inventing reasons to be against this bill.  Even when the House version passed with the Stupak amendment last fall, all we got were some tepid statements of "well, gee, I guess this is okay then" along with a litany of scathing op-eds by Archbishop Chaput and George Weigel.  Where was the pressure on Catholic Republicans to support this?  Where was the call for endorsements from major Catholic organizations?

    Think about it, if we got maybe a half-dozen pro-life Republican Senators voting with the supposed position of the most strongly pro-life religious organization in the country, we'd currently have the Stupak Amendment, the public option, and medical loss ratios.

    The bishops never had any interest in supporting this bill.  They were as surprised as anyone when the Stupak Amendment passed.

  • That does it.  I'm sticking to my diet of Arugula, cigarettes, and iced green tea.  I'm also planning to grow a few inches and become black.

  • comment on a post PhRMA's Final Push for Healthcare Reform over 4 years ago

    I saw Tim Kaine on the teevee this morning saying that no overhaul of healthcare has ever passed out of a single Congressional Committee until this year.  Is that true?  If so, it puts all of this into a different light.  Maybe the Professor-in-Chief isn't just a teleprompter-reading, Rahm-worshipping dolt after all.

  • comment on a post Beyond the Rampant Hypocrisy over 4 years ago

    Okay.  This is getting a little ridiculous.  The Virginia attorney general is going to sue the federal government over Healthcare Reform.  This may well turn into a Civil Rights-type issue of our time in that as the rhetoric against it becomes increasingly nonsensical and desperate, the long-term public opinion becomes more favorable.  I wonder whether an 18-29 year-old, already inclined to support Obama, looks at this nonsense and forms a lasting impression that the Republicans represent a dying philosophy.  If that's the case, I don't really think it matters whether "deem and pass" or "the triple option" or the "off-tackle power play" or the "pick and role" are used to pass this.  The long-term prospects are good.  Republicans are looking more desperate and impotent as this goes forward.  Also, as more Catholic groups and Stupakers get behind this bill, the mystique that it somehow represents a real change in abortion policy diminishes as well.  I'm feeling all hope buzzed.

  • on a comment on Beyond the Rampant Hypocrisy over 4 years ago

    because the person calling him a dictator doesn't like him.  duh.

  • comment on a post Beyond the Rampant Hypocrisy over 4 years ago

    Seriously, if this is what they want, I don't see what the big deal is.  It reminds me of the Drilling for oil in ANWAR debate of a few years ago.  Everyone rose up to defend ANWAR and so when drilling didn't end up happening, it made the Republicans look moderate, reasonable, compromising.  Meanwhile millions of acres in new oil drilling leases were awarded all up and down the Western US.  It was classic political judo.  Let's do the same thing.  Give them this teeny battle in return for the much larger (and infinitely more important) prize of Healthcare Reform.  Well, the beginnings of it anyhow.

  • I get that part of it.  But I don't think it's necessarily a wise move.  It just presents the naysayers with such a large target.

  • I'm trying to get inside the heads of House members who would prefer to do the "deem and pass" thing, but not vote on the Senate bill directly.  The reasons for resorting to this would seem to fall into two categories:  1) House members don't trust the Senate to pass the reconciliation bill; 2) House members want to be able to say that they did not vote for the Senate bill as it was.  The first reason, if anyone actually thinks this, seems to be illogical almost on its face.  The second reason holds a little more water, but also seems to open up a House member to charges that he/she voted for their own complicated, backroom deal.  So does making yourself able to say "I sent that bill back to the Senate so they could clean it up!" really outweigh the obvious talking points the deem and pass strategy provides the GOP?  The answer to this doesn't seem obvious.

  • comment on a post Hooey on Healthcare Reform from Michael McConnell over 4 years ago

    So if reconciliation fails in the Senate, does the Senate bill become law?  If so, then why take this silly approach to passing it?  Just do it the old-fashioned way.  Don't use Republicans as the guide on this.

  • comment on a post 5 Reasons the Climate Bill is Not Dead over 4 years ago

    As soon as the world economy shows any signs of life, crude oil prices will go through the roof again and, by extension, gas prices.  Gas at > $3.50 / gallon will do as much as anything to swing public opinion toward an "energy diversification bill".

  • comment on a post NYTimes: Ensign Legal and Political Woes Get Worse over 4 years ago

    for a while there.  They really have no shame about this sort of thing.  Honestly, I don't think it's a bad strategy.  First, you can only stay pissed about Sen. Ensign for so long, so if you can hang in there past the initial shock of revelation, it gets better.  Second, when people refuse to resign, the public generally takes it as a sign that they must not have done anything too bad.  People don't expend their mental energy disentagling these conspiracies and so they use the reaction of the people closest to the problem as their guide to how serious it is.

    I'm not necessarily advocating that the Dems use this strategy, but you gotta hand it to Republicans.  They know their audience.

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