On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!


Over two centuries ago a man named Thomas Paine said: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Tom was annoyed that people didn’t seem to want to commit to a plan to do something about the abuse of power by the executive of government, at the time, King George III. Then doing something carried the significant risk of being arrested for treason and hanged, so a certain reticence is understandable.

Today we have another executive headed by a guy named George, and it is being every bit as obtrusive, but this time there is no gallows waiting for those who oppose him. For some reason the people with some power who might do something about it are, with a few exceptions, just milling around kvetching.

Yesterday one Senator led. He came back to Washington from his campaign for President and stood on the floor of the Senate prepared to talk as long as he was able to stop the loss of more rights. The two “leading contenders” chose to stay on the campaign trail and send notes saying how much they disapproved of what was happening.

Chris Dodd chose to lead, Clinton and Obama chose to avoid making a real stand. If you believe in the Constitution who is the best choice for President?

Oh, Senator Reid, Congresswoman Pelosi – why don’t you just get out of the way.


1 hipparchia { 12.18.07 at 9:48 pm }

dodd the constitutionalist, edwards the populist, kucinich the single-payer peacenik. i can has holy trinity?

2 Bryan { 12.18.07 at 10:11 pm }

Let us hope, because they all have similar traits – they fight for what they believe in and they tend to honor their word.

Who ever takes over in 2009 has multiple messes to clean up, and compromises won’t get it done.

3 Steve Bates { 12.19.07 at 12:01 am }

And yet, for reasons I cannot quite explain, it is Obama who is apparently overtaking Hillary in the horse race. Why can’t I explain it? Because both of those candidates have been less courageous than Dodd, Edwards and Kucinich in fighting the people’s battles. Those three are willing… gasp… to NOT become president, if that’s the consequence of being true to their ideals and to the American ideals of our Founders.

I’d almost include Richardson in that list, based on his virtues, but he has not succeeded in getting his name before the voting public, and if he has a signature issue (hipparchia’s trinity each have their own), I haven’t found it. I wish Richardson would assert himself more (not that the media makes it easy for any candidate who is not in their judgment a star).

4 Steve Bates { 12.19.07 at 12:05 am }

BTW, has anyone else noticed that the current George is the third American president with that given name? (Well, “preznit” not “president,” but still…) How quickly we have come full circle from George III to George 3.

5 Bryan { 12.19.07 at 12:22 am }

I like Richardson too, but he doesn’t seem to get noticed because he is just the really experienced guy who knows how to be an executive of a multi-ethnic state, an ambassador, etc. He just doesn’t seem to have a “hook,” because competence isn’t enough for the media.

The parallels are a bit strange, because in both cases the succeeding Georges were less competent and less tied to reality.

6 hipparchia { 12.19.07 at 2:34 am }

richardson [the ambassador? the lionhearted?] on the issues.

i’ve only skimmed some of them so far—

– looks good on energy, environment, and agriculture

– out of iraq immediately [yay!], redeploy to afghanistan [boo]

– demoplan on healthcare, but simpler [and my favorite version fo all the demoplans]: medicare at 55, all others have the choice of their present plan or fehbp; his willingness to expand medicare this much might signal a willingness to expand medicare to all [purely speculation on my part]

– health care for veterans: he seems to be a bit fuzzy on the differences between the va and walter reed, which bothers me a bit, but his heart is in the right place

– immigration: i haven’t decided what i’d like to do on this one as a practical matter, but philosophically i prefer the idea of open borders

7 Michael { 12.19.07 at 12:45 pm }

Richardson’s hook is energy, but it doesn’t seem to be selling as well with the voters as Al Gore’s take. I’m a little disquieted by his bobble on the question of gay rights (which, to be fair, he has since backed away from; he suggested it was a “lifestyle choice” during the Democratic debate on LOGO, the gay cable channel). Still, at least he had the good grace to apologize for that blunder and do what he could to make it right. Unlike Obama, who clung to that homophobic twit McClurkin tighter than a drowning man grasping a life preserver. I could go Dodd, and maybe Edwards. Kucinich is just too out there for my tastes.

However, I’m not prepared to see the omnibus bill as quite the catastrophe it’s being painted elsewhere in Left Blogistan. They had to get this done before the end of the year, for both practical and political reasons. And they had to put in some war funding–though like all good compromises, no one walked away from the table completely happy. The Hedgemony got less than half of what it wanted, meaning it will have to come back, hat in hand, somewhere around April of next year, begging for more. Our side didn’t get the strings attached that we wanted–but I’m not sure that was ever a realistic goal in the first place, especially with the Iowa caucuses just a couple of weeks away. From here on out until the first Wednesday after the first Monday next November, everyone’s going to be toeing the middle of the road and playing it safe, so as to hand their opponents as little rope as possible with which to hang them up with the voters.

8 Bryan { 12.19.07 at 2:52 pm }

He’s a competent person, Hipparchia, but all he can so is the job. I would hire him, but the voters seem to want a “star,” not a worker.

He isn’t a polished performer, Michael, but he has his head on straight.

They knew they wouldn’t get anything passed a veto if they didn’t clump it together, so I expected a less than stellar bill. As long as the Dems fear a smear more than voter backlash, they won’t show any spine.

9 andante { 12.19.07 at 8:45 pm }

Let me add a note to hipparchia’s health insurance point. Unless Kucinich makes a sudden surge in the polls, it looks all the other Dem. candidates basically offer a choice between some form of expanded Medicare and FEHPB for anyone.

Well, FEHPB is fine and dandy – if you can afford it.

The taxpayers (federal & state) heavily subsidize those premiums for government employees. My sister sent me a chart showing the premiums for her Fairfax County choice of plans – it shows the amount paid by “the employer” (which I would assume to be the taxpayers of Fairfax County with possibly some federal funds thrown in) – each employee’s premium is a small fraction of the total cost. No link, as it’s an internal document.

For example, the most expensive (Blue Cross PPO + Davia Vision) is $1503.00 per month for a family policy. The ‘county’ pays $1127.26 per month. The employee pays $375.74 per month. Not sure what her deductible and co-pays run; I know they aren’t much, and she also has a ‘flexible spending plan’ to cover them.

So, who is going to pick up that $1127.26 per month for me?

Not all states/counties offer the same heavy subsidies, but most come close.

It’s hopeful that given a choice, people would go for the expanded Medicare over what will surely be overpriced private policies – which is exactly what FEHBP is, you just get a choice of which one suits you…if you can afford it.

However, unless any expanded Medicare plan is fully funded from the get go – I have serious doubts it will work.

10 Bryan { 12.19.07 at 10:56 pm }

Medicare is the least expensive alternative there is for covering everyone, with an instant 30% reduction in cost by removing the insurance companies from the process.

I think Medicare needs to increase their oversight of claims, because there is too much fraud allowed, but everyone except the insurance companies will benefit from expanded Medicare coverage if they fix that criminal Part D giveaway.