Liberal democrat Maureen Dowd is not exactly thrilled with her party’s impending nominee. Hey! why should we be the only ones with a crappy, hideously undesirable candidate?
[T]he email transgression is not a one off. Itâ€™s part of a long pattern of ethical slipping and sliding, obsessive secrecy and paranoia, and collateral damage.
Comeyâ€™s verdict that Hillary was â€œnegligentâ€ was met with sighs rather than shock. We know who Hillary and Bill are now. Weâ€™ve been held hostage to their predilections and braided intrigues for a long time. (On the Hill, Comey refused to confirm or deny that heâ€™s investigating the Clinton Foundation, with its unseemly tangle of donors and people doing business with State.)
Weâ€™re resigned to the Clintons focusing on their viability and disregarding the consequences of their heedless actions on others. Theyâ€™re always offering a Faustian deal. This yearâ€™s election bargain: Put up with our iniquities or get Trumpâ€™s short fingers on the nuclear button.
Now she’s complaining. I don’t exactly remember, but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Maureen Dowd was a staunch MoveOn.org supporter, back when Republicans were trying to bring Bill to justice.
The most self-important airhead of them all: Thomas Friedman
Everyone laughed on reading Maureen Dowd’s naive and self-important account of her bad experience and inability to handle the effects produced by nibbling a caramel-flavored candy bar containing marijuana during a recent trip to Denver.
What did these bozos do back when they were at college in the 1970s? we wondered.
MoDo’s hyperbolic account of her horrible ordeal, the paralysis! the paranoia! the disorientation! the failure to maintain, Man! has inspired inquiring minds on the Internet to wonder what would it be like if other self-important, windbag, journalist airheads got stoned.
What if, for instance, his emminence, the New York Times’s own Tom Friedman were to become unaccustomedly wrecked?
Sarah Jeong took on the task of imagining Tom Friedman pulling a Maureen Dowd and produced a masterpiece of satire in the haiku-like-form of a series of Tweets (happily collected at Twitchy).
The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.
Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.
What could go wrong with a bite or two?
Everything, as it turned out.
Not at first. For an hour, I felt nothing. I figured Iâ€™d order dinner from room service and return to my more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand.
But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldnâ€™t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didnâ€™t answer, heâ€™d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadnâ€™t been on the label.
I can remember, almost forty years ago, trying to introduce a nicotine-phobic conservative friend to marijuana. He absolutely refused to inhale smoke in any form, so we whipped him up a batch of dope brownies.
The trouble with dope brownies is that they taste good and the high takes forever to come on, so you invariably wind up eating all the brownies, and when your high finally arrives you get considerably more stoned than you intended.
My novice friend really enjoyed his pot high… for a while. But by the second and third days of intoxication, we were all getting really, really tired of it.
Even Maureen Dowd is getting sick of Barack Obama’s distinctive habit of striking poses of being holier-than-thou and more-intelligent-than-thou.
President Obama proved himself a great segue artist Friday, as he smoothly glided from his previously unassailable position on the matter of surveillance to his new unassailable position on the matter of surveillance.
There is no moral high ground that he does not seek to occupy. As with drones and gay marriage, he seems peeved that we were insufficiently patient with his own private study of the matter. Why wonâ€™t the country agree to entrust itself to his fine mind?
Judging by MoDo, the reek of Obama-esque sanctimony and self-congratulation has put liberals off their feed and induced a yearning on the political left for a return to the naughtier-than-thou Clintons. Dowd is already wishfully addressing Hillary as “Madam President.”
Yet while Barry is in the thick of it, the air is thick with Hillary. From the sidelines, she is soaking up a disproportionate amount of attention and energy, as though she were already Madam President.
She is supposed to be resting and off making $200,000 speeches, but instead sheâ€™s around every political corner.
The cicadas never showed up. But we canâ€™t hear ourselves think here this summer over the roar of the Clinton machine. …
Many Democrats are hungry to make history again, and they see the first woman president as the natural successor to the first black president.
But in other ways, Hillary is not such a natural successor. The Clintons are ends-justify-the-means types with flexible boundaries about right and wrong, while the Obama mystique is the opposite. His White House runs on the idea that if you are virtuous and true and honorable, people will ultimately come to you. (An ethos that sometimes collides with political success.)
Itâ€™s odd that Obama, who once talked about being a transformational president, did not want to ensure that his allies and his aims were imprinted on the capital. Instead, he has teed up the ball for Hillary. Some of the excitement about Barack Obama was the prospect of making a clean start, after years of getting dragged into the Clintonsâ€™ dubious ethics and personal messes. Yet Obama ushered in the return of Clinton Inc. and gave it his blessing.
What he doesnâ€™t seem to realize yet is that Hillaryâ€™s first term will be seen, not as a continuation of Obama, but as Bill Clintonâ€™s third term.
True Believer Maureen Dowd is unable to avoid recognizing that the Obama presidency has been a disaster, that the left is going to lose in November. She wants to win, and she can’t quite understand why the hot air, hype, and infantile fantasies that were streaming after Barack Obama’s candidacy failed to translate into glory and success.
On Friday night, the nationâ€™s capital was under a tornado watch. And that was the best thing that happened to the White House all week. …
The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters. …
Once glowing, his press is now burning. â€œTo a very real degree, 2008â€™s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012â€™s candidate of fear,â€ John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine, noting that because Obama feels he canâ€™t run on his record, his campaign will resort to nuking Romney. …
The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted heâ€™s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism. …
In his new biography, â€œBarack Obama: The Story,â€ David Maraniss writes that a roommate of the young Obama compared him to Walker Percyâ€™s protagonist in â€œThe Moviegoerâ€: an observer of his life, one step removed. …
His New York girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, told Maraniss that Obama confessed to her that â€œhe felt like an impostor. Because he was so white. There was hardly a black bone in his body.â€ …
On CNBC on Friday, Romney complained that Obama has â€œbeen more focused on his perspective of his historic legislative achievements than he has been focused on getting people back to work.â€
A president focused on historic achievements? Imagine that. But in his lame way, Romney got at Obamaâ€™s problem: The Moviegoer prefers to float above, at a reserve, in grandiose mists.
As Maraniss recounts, Obama said he liked reading Hemingway because of Papaâ€™s â€œintegrity of grasping for those times, those visions, that are ones of true magnificence and profundity.â€
Cook told Maraniss that she thought Obamaâ€™s desire to â€œplay out a superhero lifeâ€ was â€œa very strong archetype in his personality.â€
But superheroes and mythic figures must boldly lead. Obamaâ€™s caution â€” ingrained from a life of being deserted by his father and sometimes his mother, and of being, as he wrote to another girlfriend, â€œcaught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support meâ€ â€” has restrained him at times.
In some ways, heâ€™s still finding himself, too absorbed to see whatâ€™s not working. But the White House is a very hard place to go on a vision quest, especially with a storm brewing.
I think as we get closer to the Fall election and political polling increasingly accurately reflects the mood of the country, we are going to get to read a lot more examples of this kind of navel-gazing by the left-wing commentariat.
“We had a wonderful campaign in 2008. We did such an excellent job of manipulating words, images, and emotions. That is what politics is about. That is what effective leadership is. How can it be that the economy failed to recover and the American people actually resisted accepting the transformation of America into a European-style Welfare State?
Everything went wrong, and we simply cannot understand why.
There must have been some fatal flaw somewhere. Let’s comb through some more major novels and see if we can find it. Perhaps Obama was really Holden Caulfield… no, wait, he must have been Jay Gatsby!…”
Wow, a Chicago machine hack politician with enough identity shifts and name changes to make Don Draper seem like a model citizen, whoâ€™s chums with a former terrorist and a racist pastor right out of Tom Wolfeâ€™s Radical Chic and who nonchalantly admits to eating dogs in his(?) autobiography is a nihilist whoâ€™s only in it for himself. Who saw that coming?
(Almost half the country, as it turns out. I suspect that number will â€œgrowâ€ even larger in the coming years, as former Obama voters in 2008 slowly begin to do a reverse Pauline Kael on the man: Barack Obama? Nobody I knew voted for himâ€¦)
Maureen Dowd compares the prospective 2012 electoral contest between Rick Perry and normal American Republicans and Barack Obama and the coastal pseudo-intellectual elites to the rivalrous friendship of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) and Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) in John Ford’s 1962 film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”
In the film, rugged rancher and man of violence John Wayne befriends the tenderfoot, man of peace, attorney James Stewart and defends him against the outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). When the code of manhood obliges Stewart to stand up to Marvin in a gunfight. Wayne, well of aware of Stewart’s incompetence, casually plugs Marvin with his rifle from ambush at the crucial moment in the gun duel.
John Wayne chivalrously lets Stewart receive the credit for ending Liberty Valance’s local reign of terror, which carries Stewart onward into a political career ending in the US Senate. He even stands aside and allows the lawyer (who owes him his life) to marry the girl he loves.
John Ford means his film to depict his own vision of tragic Historicism, in which manly bravery and larger-than-life frontier individualism is inevitably swept away by Progress and the advance of Civilization. John Wayne’s character is obviously the better man, but he is not the man of the future. He steps aside for Stewart because he recognizes it himself.
The John Wayne character isn’t only more competent than the Jimmy Stewart character, he is wiser and nobler.
The secondary tragedy of the movie is revealed when the Stewart character who has returned in old age, covered with success and honors and still married to the girl, to the frontier town which was the original scene of events for the Wayne character’s funeral.
Jimmy Stewart tries telling the whole story of the shooting of Liberty Valance to a young reporter, and revealing that his whole career has been built on another man’s deed, and the newspaper’s editor declines to print it. â€œWhen the legend becomes fact,â€ the editor says, â€œprint the legend.”
There is no expiation in confession for Stewart. His life has been built upon a lie, and he supplanted a better man in his wife’s affections, and he knows it.
Dowd simplifies John Ford’s narrative into the conflict between the Eastern egghead and the anti-intellectual.
At the cusp of the 2012 race, we have a classic cultural collision between a skinny Eastern egghead lawyer whoâ€™s inept in Washington gunfights and a pistol-totinâ€™, lethal-injectinâ€™, square-shouldered cowboy who has no patience for book learninâ€™.
Dowd goes on to examine, and find unworthy, Rick Perry’s college grades.
Studying to be a veterinarian, he stumbled on chemistry and made a D one semester and an F in another. â€œFour semesters of organic chemistry made a pilot out of me,â€ said Perry, who went on to join the Air Force.
What a pity it is that the Egghead Barack Obama has never seen fit to release any of his college or law school grades for comparison.
The self-flattering interpretation of the political conflict between democrats and Republicans, between Maureen Dowd and the rest of the community of fashion and ordinary Americans, and potentially in 2012 between Barack Obama and Rick Perry as the conflict between the forces of book learning and the uninformed is doubtless gratifying to New York Times’ readers, but personally I think the claim of members in good standing of our establishment culture to represent learning and intellectuality has a lot of problems.
The kind of learning that most of these people boast isn’t book learning at all. It’s merely Cliff Notes summary familiarity with names and what they’re famous for.
Our establishment elite does not draw its understanding and conclusions from a reservoir of learning in the traditional Western canon. Our establishment is commonly hostile to that canon, deprecatory of its value and significance, and characteristically Philistine. Establishment judgments and conclusions come much more commonly from a consensus produced by newspaper editorials and articles in journals of opinion.
Our community of fashion is not intellectually inquisitive or critical. On the contrary, it is herd-like and conformist. And it is profoundly intellectually reactionary, being totally and entirely committed to defending late 19th century ideas revolving around Utopian ameliorism effectuated via the rule of scientific experts operating under a rubric of collectivist statism.
People who are gullible enough to believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming, people who have failed to notice Socialism’s failures, people who still think that Keynesian economics will get you out of a recession are not smart. They are dumb.
The democrat party and the American community of fashion are comprised not of Eggheads, but of pseudo-intellectuals and muttonheads.
Even liberals like Maureen Dowd have grown tired of Barack Obama’s self-important incompetence. Her final line is absolutely devastating.
The leader who was once a luminescent, inspirational force is now just a guy in a really bad spot. …
Just as Obama miscalculated in 2009 when Democrats had total control of Congress, holding out hope that G.O.P. lawmakers would come around on health care after all but three senators had refused to vote for the stimulus bill; just as he misread John Boehner this summer, clinging like a scorned lover to a dream that the speaker would drop his demanding new inamorata, the Tea Party, to strike a â€œgrandâ€ budget bargain, so the president once more set a trap for himself and gave Boehner the opportunity to dis him on the timing of his jobs speech this week.
Obamaâ€™s re-election chances depend on painting the Republicans as disrespectful. So why would the White House act disrespectful by scheduling a speech to a joint session of Congress at the exact time when the Republicans already had a debate planned?
And why is the White House so cocky about Obama as a TV draw against quick-draw Rick Perry? As James Carville acerbically noted, given a choice between watching an Obama speech and a G.O.P. debate, â€œIâ€™d watch the debate, and Iâ€™m not even a Republican.â€
The White House caved, of course, and moved to Thursday, because thereâ€™s nothing the Republicans say that he wonâ€™t eagerly meet halfway.
No. 2 on David Lettermanâ€™s Top Ten List of the presidentâ€™s plans for Labor Day: â€œPretty much whatever the Republicans tell him he can do.â€
On MSNBC, the anchors were wistfully listening to old F.D.R. speeches, wishing that this president had some of that fight. But Obama canâ€™t turn into F.D.R. for the campaign because he aspires to the class that F.D.R. was a traitor to; and he canâ€™t turn into Harry Truman because he lacks the common touch. He has an acquired elitism.
MSNBCâ€™s Matt Miller offered â€œa public serviceâ€ to journalists talking about Obama â€” a list of synonyms for cave: â€œBuckle, fold, concede, bend, defer, submit, give in, knuckle under, kowtow, surrender, yield, comply, capitulate.â€
And it wasnâ€™t exactly Morning in America when Obama sent out a mass e-mail to supporters Wednesday under the heading â€œFrustrated.â€
It unfortunately echoed a November 2010 parody in The Onion with the headline, â€œFrustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail.â€
â€œThroughout,â€ The Onion teased, â€œthe president expressed his aggravation on subjects as disparate as the war in Afghanistan, the sluggish economic recovery, his live-in mother-in-law, Chinaâ€™s undervalued currency, Bostonâ€™s Logan Airport, and tort reform.â€
You know youâ€™re in trouble when Harry Reid says you should be more aggressive.
If the languid Obama had not done his usual irritating fourth-quarter play, if he had presented a jobs plan a year ago and fought for it, he wouldnâ€™t have needed to elevate the setting. How will he up the ante next time? A speech from the space station?
Republicans who are worried about being political props have a point. The president is using the power of the incumbency and a sacred occasion for a political speech.
Obama is still suffering from the Speech Illusion, the idea that he can come down from the mountain, read from a Teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words and climb back up the mountain, while we scurry around and do what he proclaimed.
The days of spinning illusions in a Greek temple in a football stadium are done. The One is dancing on the edge of one term.
The White House team is flailing â€” reacting, regrouping, retrenching. Itâ€™s repugnant.
After pushing and shoving and caving to get on TV, the presidentâ€™s advisers immediately began warning that the long-yearned-for jobs speech wasnâ€™t going to be that awe-inspiring.
â€œThe issue isnâ€™t the size or the newness of the ideas,â€ one said. â€œItâ€™s less the substance than how he says it, whether he seizes the moment.â€
The arc of justice is stuck at the top of a mountain. [Emphasis added ] Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for.
Stunned by last week’s election results, liberal columnist Maureen Dowd turned today’s column over to her smarter brother Kevin:
As a semichastened Barack Obama appeared at the press conference following the election, he conjured up the image of the curtain opening in â€œThe Wizard of Oz,â€ revealing a little old man working the controls, not the great and powerful Oz.
The president had to wonder how this could happen in two short years. He must long for the days when the media routinely referred to him as â€œcerebral and brainyâ€ (savvy was never mentioned) and salivated over â€œMichelleâ€™s amazing arms.â€
The voters left no doubt about their feeling for his super-nanny state where the government controls all aspects of their lives and freedoms. Warning signs were up in the three elections held in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey and with the noisy birth of the Tea Party. But the president, swathed in the protective cocoon of adulation and affirmation from the media and his own sycophants, soldiered on in his determination to turn our country into just another member of the failed European union â€” France without the food.
No one should be surprised by this. The president is a devoted disciple of the teachings of Saul Alinsky and a true believer in a redistribution of wealth controlled by big government. We can see how well that is working in Greece, Portugal, Spain and France. Instead of focusing on jobs and turning the private sector loose to provide them, he insisted on giving the American people things they did not want: expensive health care, more regulation and higher taxes. He clumsily interjected himself on behalf of the mass-murdering Muslim Army major, the ground zero mosque, the civil trials of enemy combatants and the lawsuit against Arizona. His theme song could have been â€œWho are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?â€
On Nov. 2, voters across every spectrum loudly stated their preference for a return to American exceptionalism, self-reliance, limited government and personal freedoms. They delivered a message that they would demand that their representatives start reflecting their wishes. They showed their muscle to shocked elitists who had dismissed their dissent as ignorance, bigotry or racism.
Leftists characteristically avoid openly advocating their goals. They don’t call themselves Marxists or socialists. These days they even avoid the label of liberal, and prefer to speak of themselves as “progressives.” Their reliance on deception, their preference for seeking power not via an open fight, but rather by a gradual process of subversion, have made traditionally the favored zoological metaphors for leftists, not major predators like wolves, but small and sneaky vermin like rats or roaches. Winston Churchill once even described Lenin (being transported to Russia from Switzerland in a sealed train by Germany) as resembling a plague bacillus.
This morning, however, Maureen Dowd is a bit more denunciatory than usual, accusing Sarah Palin of turning back country Alaska major predator control tactics on Rahm Emanuel’s brother, medical ethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.
At the moment, what she wants to do is tap into her visceral talent for aerial-shooting her favorite human prey: cerebral Ivy League Democrats.
Just as she was able to stir up the mob against Barack Obama on the trail, now she is fanning the flames against another Harvard smarty-pants â€” Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a White House health care adviser and the older brother of Rahmbo.
She took a forum, Facebook, more commonly used by kids hooking up and cyberstalking, and with one catchy phrase, several footnotes and a zesty disregard for facts, managed to hijack the health care debate from Mr. Obama.
Sarahcuda knows, from her brush with Barry on the campaign trail, that he is vulnerable on matters that demand a visceral and muscular response rather than a logical and book-learned one. Mr. Obama was charming and informed at his town hall in Montana on Friday, but heâ€™s going to need some sustained passion, a clear plan and a narrative as gripping as Palinâ€™s I-see-dead-people scenario.
She has successfully caricatured the White House health care effort, making it sound like the plot of the 1976 sci-fi movie â€œLoganâ€™s Run,â€ about a post-apocalyptic society with limited resources where you can live only until age 30, when you must take part in an extermination ceremony called â€œCarouselâ€ or flee the city.
Painting the Giacometti-esque Emanuel as a creepy Dr. Death, Palin attacked him on her Facebook page a week ago, complaining that his â€œOrwellian thinkingâ€ could lead to a â€œdeath panelâ€ with bureaucrats deciding whether to pull the plug on less hardy Americans.
When democrats go ballistic like this, and pull out all the stops on denial, you can tell that someone has struck a nerve. For several days now, democrats everywhere have been screaming in pain over this one. Even my liberal classmates have been faithfully repeating the Gospel According to Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos: “Palin is lying about ‘Death Panels.'”
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obamaâ€™s â€œdeath panelâ€ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their â€œlevel of productivity in society,â€ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Palin was repeating a point made in a House speech, Monday, July 27, 2009 (5:18 video), by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-6th district Minn.)
Much of Michelle Bachmann’s speech consisted of her reading a July 24th column from the New York Post by Betsey McCaughey. McCaughey quoted Dr. Emanuel repeatedly:
Emanuel bluntly admits that the cuts (produced by democrat so-called health care reform) will not be pain-free. “Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change,” he wrote last year (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).
Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008). …
Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.
Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.
Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ’96).
Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.
He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).
Cornell Law Professor William A. Jacobson observes that the argument Sarah Palin quoted from Rep. Bachman certainly is important and central to the debate of proposed health care reform.
The article in which Dr. Emanuel puts forth his approach is “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” published on January 31, 2009. A full copy is embedded below. Read it, particularly the section beginning at page 6 of the embed (page 428 in the original) at which Dr. Emanuel sets forth the principles of “The Complete Lives System.”
While Emanuel does not use the term “death panel,” Palin put that term in quotation marks to signify the concept of medical decisions based on the perceived societal worth of an individual, not literally a “death panel.” And in so doing, Palin was true to Dr. Emanuel’s concept of a system which
considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had a few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern the disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses. When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly, allocating to the better-off is often justifiable….
When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.
Put together the concepts of prognosis and age, and Dr. Emanuel’s proposal reasonably could be construed as advocating the withholding of some level of medical treatment (probably not basic care, but likely expensive advanced care) to a baby born with Down Syndrome. You may not like this implication, but it is Dr. Emanuel’s implication not Palin’s.
The next question is, whether Dr. Emanuel’s proposal bears any connection to current Democratic proposals. There is no single Democratic proposal at this point, only a series of proposals and concepts. To that extent, Palin’s comments properly are viewed as a warning shot not to move to Dr. Emanuel’s concept of health care rationing based on societal worth, rather than a critique of a specific bill ready for vote.
Certainly, no Democrat is proposing a “death panel,” or withholding care to the young or infirm. To say such a thing would be political suicide.
But one interesting concept which is central to the concepts being discussed is the creation of a panel of “experts” to make the politically unpopular decisions on allocating health care resources. In a letter to the Senate, Barack Obama expressed support for such a commission:
I am committed to working with the Congress to fully offset the cost of health care reform by reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending by another $200 to $300 billion over the next 10 years, and by enacting appropriate proposals to generate additional revenues. These savings will come not only by adopting new technologies and addressing the vastly different costs of care, but from going after the key drivers of skyrocketing health care costs, including unmanaged chronic diseases, duplicated tests, and unnecessary hospital readmissions.
To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress. Under this approach, MedPAC’s recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is similar to a process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way.
Will such a commission decide to curtail allocation of resources to those who are not deemed capable of “complete lives” based on prognosis and age, as proposed by Dr. Emanuel? There is no way to tell at this point since we do not have a final Democratic proposal, or know who would be appointed to such a commission.
Harold Ickes explains to the Politico that the Clinton camp knows where it can get some reinforcements.
The campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) has begun urging party officials and news organizations to include the disputed Florida and Michigan delegations when figuring the number of delegates needed to win the nomination.
That unorthodox approach could put her in striking distance of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over the next month.
Harold Ickes, Clintonâ€™s chief delegate strategist, said in a telephone interview that the senator is likely to finish the primary and caucus season on June 3 â€œsubstantially less than 100 delegates behindâ€ Obamaâ€™s total if those two states are included.
â€œWe donâ€™t believe that this party is going to go forward into a presidential race without seating both Florida and Michigan,â€ Ickes said.
But the Democratic National Committee had declared those delegates should not be counted as punishments to the states for moving their contests so soon in the process.
So Clintonâ€™s argument depends on the actions of the partyâ€™s Rules and Bylaws Committee when it meets May 31 to consider pro-Clinton challenges that would seat those delegations.
Clintonâ€™s new magic number to clinch the nomination is 2,209 delegates, compared to the 2,025 that would be needed without Florida and Michigan.
â€œThe Obama people keep talking about 2,025, which implies they donâ€™t intend to seat Florida and Michigan,â€ Ickes said. â€œWe think thatâ€™s a mistake on the part of the party â€“ itâ€™s foolish.â€
Maureen Dowd is shocked at what a cynical politician that once sweet young Hillary has become. How dare she stand in the Left’s way?
heaven help the Democrats as they try to shake off Hillary. On top of her inane vows to obliterate Iran, OPEC and the summer gas tax, she plans â€œa nuclear optionâ€ during her Shermanesque march to Denver. Tom Edsall reported on The Huffington Post that the Hillaryites will try, at a May 31 meeting of the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee, to renege on their word and get the Michigan and Florida delegations seated. Addressing supporters here, she urged the counting of the Florida and Michigan votes, noting â€œit would be a little strange to have a nominee chosen by 48 states.â€
â€œItâ€™s full speed onto the White House,â€ she said. …
Itâ€™s hard to believe that this Hillary is the same Wellesley girl who said she yearned for a more â€œecstatic and penetrating mode of living.â€ What would that young Hillary â€” who volunteered on Gene McCarthyâ€™s anti-war campaign; who cried the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed; who referred to some of her â€œsmorgasbord of personalitiesâ€ in a 1967 letter to a friend as an â€œalienated academic,â€ and an â€œinvolved pseudo-hippieâ€; who once returned a bottle of perfume after feeling guilty about the poverty around her â€” think of this shape-shifting, cynical Hillary?
Sheâ€™s so at odds with who she used to be, even in the Senate, that if she were to get elected, who would voters be electing?
Obama is like her idealistic, somewhat naÃ¯ve self before the world launched 1,000 attacks against her, turning her into the hard-bitten, driven politician who has launched 1,000 attacks against Obama.
As she makes a last frenzied and likely futile attempt to crush the butterfly, itâ€™s as though sheâ€™s crushing the remnants of her own girlish innocence.
Maureen Dowd gives a pretty good summary of the liberal perspective on public affairs on the editorial page of today’s New York Times.
Politics, you see, is really a branch of the entertainment industry. What matters is fashion and perception. George W. Bush’s foreign policy has been opposed by the international community of fashion, and by provoking its wrath, Bush has damaged the image of the United States. The decision on whom to elect president in 2008 needs to be made on image grounds.
Itâ€™s all about the magic, really.
And whether we can take a flier on this skinny guy with the strange name and braided ancestry to help us get it back.
Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France and a strong supporter of the United States, recently observed that President Bush has done such a number on our image in the world that no one will be able to restore the luster.
â€œI think the magic is over,â€ he said.
Pas si vite, mon vieux. In terms of style, the Obamas could give Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a run for her euros. …
Obama, like the preternaturally gifted young heroes in mythical tales, is still learning to channel his force. He can ensorcell when he has to, and he has viral appeal. Who else could alchemize a nuanced 40-minute speech on race into must-see YouTube viewing for 20-year-olds?
But at several crucial points in the last year, he held back when he should have poured on, leaving his nemesis around to damage him further.
Obama has social engineering plans as ambitious, in their own way, as the Bush administrationâ€™s failed social engineering plans to change the psyche of America and the Middle East.
â€œI think the president needs to use the bully pulpit to change our culture,â€ he said Thursday, talking energy at a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser in Manhattan. â€œWe are a wasteful culture. Itâ€™s always been that way because of our history. We do everything big.â€
He wants to make government â€œcoolâ€ again. He wants to banish the red-blue culture of conflict on TV and in Washington. And he wants to make the country healthier, thinner and smarter. â€œI want our students learning art and music and science and poetry,â€ he says, in a crowd-pleasing line.
From image flows practical effect, in Dowd’s fantasy. All you have to do is elect this season’s smooth-talking democrat, and abracadabra! all over America, healthier and thinner children are learning “art and music and science and poetry.” The bitter divisions of race and class, city and country, left and right vanish overnight. Republican deer-hunters need only listen to the latest Obama speech on YouTube, and they are instantly converted into tree-hugging socialist supporters of Sarah Brady. The entire country, from sea to shining sea, is magically transformed into one super-sized version of Berkeley, California.