Tag: politics

Hillary as VP?

I’ve wondered for a long time whether Hillary would be tapped as Obama’s vice president for his reelection campaign. And with women’s health issues taking a front-seat of the political stage recently, it’s making even more sense.

First off, Biden doesn’t really help Obama any more. Let’s be honest and accept that in 2008 Obama needed an old white guy to stand next to while running for president, to ease the concerns of people who, consciously or subconsciously, had a problem voting for a black guy. And it probably helped at the time. But now that Obama has an actual term as president under his belt, standing next to Biden isn’t going to change the minds of people like that any more. They’re either comfortable with a president that’s black to the point where they can judge him on his record, or they’re not.

So after helping Obama get elected, what has Biden done during this term? While I can’t say I’ve been going out of my way to pay attention to Biden’s accomplishments over the past 3+ years, it’s still the case that nothing notable comes to mind. At least nothing that doesn’t involve the words “big fucking deal.”

Now thinking on a longer time frame for the Democrats, and assuming Obama wins reelection, do they want Biden to be the heir apparent in 2016? I can’t imagine that’s the case. He is not an exciting candidate, I don’t think he’s any more palatable now than he was in 2008, and I don’t think he’ll be any better in 2016.

So Biden’s replaceable. It’s rare for a president to switch running mates after their first term, but it’s not unheard of. Looking at the list of vice presidents on Wikipedia, it’s happened a handful of times for various reasons.

As for Hillary being a good choice for Vice President, I think it’s pretty easy to make the case. A resume as first lady, senator, viable presidential candidate, and now secretary of state, is undeniably powerful. Extend that to 2016 and she could add being Vice President to the list.

Half a year later…

… and a bill has passed. While it doesn’t have a public option, it is still a good thing. Insurance reforms to make the current system better. It’s hard for me to understand how that can be viewed as a bad thing.

Some view the fact that one will be forced to buy insurance (and given subsidies if they can’t afford it) as either an infringement on our freedom or as a legislated racket controlled by the insurance companies. But so be it: assuming that in order for healthcare in this country to be effective, it would require that most people have insurance, perhaps it’s irrelevant where that insurance comes from. As long as there are rules and regulations on how healthcare is dolled out, and assuming those rules are enforced in good faith, does it really matter if it comes from the government or from the private sector? It doesn’t to me, to be honest. The end result (effective healthcare) is my chief concern.

So this bill is a good balance. It keeps the basis of our current system in place, while regulating it so that it offers a level of healthcare that approaches what a government-run system would to be. It’s good policy.

I always had faith that Obama and the Democrats would get something passed. It got scary at points, I never gave up hope on it. I hope, and believe, that this isn’t the last major success for President Obama. He keeps this up, this level of expert political jujitsu, and he will not have any problems getting re-elected in 2012. Republicans have got their work cut out for them.

A Public Option is the best plan

I understand I am most likely just playing into the degenerate rhetoric you find on the internet when it comes to political discussion, but I’ve been thinking about this health reform stuff a little too much, so I needed to write something.

All right, here goes.

You have a public option when it comes to security: the police. If their protection is not sufficient for you, you can go to the free market and hire a private security firm.

You have a public option when it comes to legal defense: a court-appointed attorney. If their defense is not good enough for you, you can go to the free market and hire a lawyer.

You have a public option when it comes to education: the public school system. If you deem that system insufficient for your child, you can go to the free market and find a school that meets your child’s needs and your needs as a parent.

You have a public option when it comes to shipping letters and packages: the U.S. Post Office. If the services they provide don’t meet your needs, you can go to the free market and find a private shipping company that does.

And with a public health insurance option, the same principle would exist. If the public health insurance option meets your needs in terms of cost and effectiveness, you can use it. If it doesn’t, you can go elsewhere in the same manner you can with all the other industries I mentioned above. All of these options help make this country stronger. None of the options (public or private) are perfect, each have their faults, and a public health insurance option would be no different in that regard. But that doesn’t change the fact that having all these options, public ones included, helps to set the bar for what’s considered acceptable for a citizen of the richest country in the world.

And for this plan to get lost in the discussion of a sea of ridiculous claims about how this plan will kill your grandmother or your baby who has Down syndrome is so, so frustrating. It’s like arguing against having a public security option (a.k.a. the police), because it will cause robbery, since allowing it to happen would be cheaper than trying to stop it. But it’s accepted that police can’t stop every crime, and it likewise will have to be accepted that a public health insurance option will be imperfect as well, and won’t be able to save everybody, or make your grandmother immortal. But, again, this goes back to the notion that if it isn’t good enough of a service for you, you can go to the free market and get something else. A public option will merely set the base standard.

And this is why a public health insurance option is the best plan we could possibly have.

A Healthy Skewering of Rush, Steele, and Bill-O

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