I finally watched the political comedy thing that John McIntire (and others) does last night and of course there was Jack Kelly this morning. In Re McIntire, there was comedy including McIntire repeating bits from his blog (with a few wince worthy moments), a perfectly fine and funny Gab Bonesso (except for a questionable Jerry Seinfeld imitation) and then a panel discussion, first with John Steigerwald and Sean Collier, and then also with the two Political Junkies. And that is when it went down hill. Although, I suppose, as Dayvoe said later, it makes for good theatre …
Steigerwald just took the straight line, simplistic conservative position. Which really bothers me. I probably won’t do him justice, but he started with something about how it was interesting that about the death panels part of “the bill” was taken out thirty minutes after the story hit the news (as if there is only one bill, instead of the at least five in congress right now). The conversation followed his accusations that the Public Option would create socialism. I believe someone asked whether he wanted Medicare around (a reference to the Public Option) at which point I believe he said no. I know someone said “Medicare works” at which point he said “It does?” and went on about the 80 percent reimbursement rate and how someone has to make up the twenty percent. It was the sort of thing where I could feel myself getting dumber (and if you don’t understand the 80% thing, go look it up or something). He said that if your insurance company dos something you don’t like, you can
This was not a debate, this was a conservative throwing out inflammatory points and not having them batted down. Which is a real shame, first because I would have enjoyed seeing that bullshit dealt with, but also because there are things conservatives could say that might well make a difference, help the reform we need to have. For example, the issue of pre-existing conditions ought to be treated in shades of gray, not just black ad white. I mean, sure, there are a lot of anecdotes of health insurance companies cancelling policies right before expensive treatments because they found some unrelated issue not reported on initial insurance applications. But I suspect we could find some examples of outright fraud as well. Pre-existing conditions probably needs a more complicated treatment itself, involving maybe a panel of doctors to judge cases and penalties like being transferred to the public plan with higher premiums if the panel rules in favor of the insurance company. And that’s just one example, we could also talk about what to do about physician’s salaries, how much reform will cost under various scenarios, how to maintain innovation in medicine and particularly in pharmaceuticals. Yet none of that receives any attention if people just yell socialism. If you don’t want to talk about the details, then clearly you think you current system is good enough. Can we say ostrich?
As for Jack Kelly, he starts by stating that the country has abandoned Obama, and moved to the right, citing particularly a Gallup poll. But I am told that the ideologies people list (conservative, liberal, what have you) don’t necessarily determine their party ideology. To realize that, one need only think of Reagan Democrats, or the pretty conservative Democrats who run this city and the conservative Democrats who vote for them. Kelly then states (vaguely) “Polls show that -- mostly by large majorities -- independents oppose Mr. Obama's health-care plan, his cap-and-trade energy bill, his nationalization of the auto industry and his $786 billion "stimulus."”. Of course, we aren’t allowed to know which polls.
Kelly complains about a cross section of Congressmen, media people and entertainers all trotting out the “race card”. Which, by the way, is not one allusion, but several. Janeanne Garafolo suggested the Tea Parties were about “hating a black man in the White House” while a Congressman (James Clyburn) said he seen crowds like the ones at the Town Hall’s before, at protests against Civil Rights. He also likened health care/insurance reform to a civil right, which considered the wretched record of health care for African Americans does not seem unreasonable.
Look, conservative commentators whip up conservatives with ridiculous scare tactics, and Kelly gives them a pass. Let the liberals respond, and suddenly the liberals are the unreasonable ones. Meanwhile, the clock ticks on health insurance/care reform, and Mr. Kelly can smile because he’s got his, and what does he care about the uninsured?