Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Man Doesn't Do Anything Small

FT reports that Obama has "proposed the most far-reaching overhaul of Wall Street since the 1930s."

One cannot help but wonder if Obama learned nothing from his disastrous overreach on health-care.

Of course, this over-night policy priority is an attempt to change the subject from the Dems' legislative collapse and to ride the populist wave which washed away his health-care sand-castles. It remains to be seen whether this attack on the banks will parallel and channel voter unrest or be received as a smokescreen sham imposing yet further taxes to be passed on to the public.

The answer will likely emerge after Obama features this new initiative as a centerpiece of his State of the Union speech next week. I predict Obama may be surprised that his credibility has sagged to such an extent that even his lofty rhetoric will fail to heal voter disillusionment. 

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 16 Comments

"The Man Who Doesn't Do Anything Small" - yeah, right, just like that revolutionary (duh.... Alinsky, radical, socialism, Communism, terrorism, etc.) healthcare reform that he made happen, right?

He didn't just win the public option, he nationalized the whole system!

(Nice work - don't let reality get in the way of your rhetoric)

Craig, I think you dropped your comment on the wrong blog. Oh, well, accidents happen.

Obama's whole approach to economics and capitalism seems, in recent speeches, to have an adolescent simplicity to it that is truly frightening in a president of the US. Who is advising him on this stuff? It's as if asking us to collectively hate the medical profession didn't work out, so let's fall back on calling for the collective hate of "Wall Street and Rich Bankers". He cannot really think wealth is evil; he has so many wealthy friends and backers.

Bernanke is out there trying to keep his job by saying that TARP worked as planned and that the taxpayer could get a profit off that deal. Obama is saying not so and all banks must be taxed to make up for those who failed because they are evil and should be punished.

He sounds loony to me. Has anyone besides Craig got suggestions for understanding the president's view of the economy. He's supposed to be a smart guy, so he cannot be as big a fool as he looks at the moment.

Trickle Down

When its trickle down the masses frown,
Because the rich are taking a piss
Profits are private and losses are public,
And the economy is clearly amiss.

So you better buy platinum, you better buy gold,
because to some rich bastard, it can always be sold.
The buyer’s name will probably begin with Fitz,
Who prances, dances, and cavorts at the Ritz.

"It's as if asking us to collectively hate the medical profession didn't work out..."

Kate - can you elaborate on how Obama asked us to hate the medical profession? From what I recall, he had been in favor of a public health insurance option (although the degree to which he actually fought for that seemed to be pretty limited), and that is something that 73% of doctors agree with:

I surely hope you're not conflating "the medical profession" with the healthcare (and health insurance) industry, which includes a lot more businesspeople looking to quarterly returns than it does people with actual medical training (beyond, say, first aid).

"He cannot really think wealth is evil." - perhaps that's a wild misinterpretation on your part?

I will counter your choice of poll with my own: HTML">HTML">">HTML. or this is interesting at first glance HTML. especially in what it says here, "A November 2008 ballot initiative in 10 legislative districts of Massachusetts resulted in 73% of voters saying yes to the question: "Should the representative from this district be instructed to support legislation creating a cost-effective single payer health insurance system that is available to all residents, and oppose laws penalizing those who fail to obtain health insurance?" which I say is interesting given the Scott Brown election. I think people, doctors, too, changed their minds as they began to think through the implications of government in the healthcare services industry. For example, I know many veterans who point to the government run healthcare system for themselves and imagining the whole country in that system cannot recommend it.

As to the Obamic demagoguery, at first in speeches he told us that doctors perform unnecessary surgeries, like appendectomies, just to make money, heedless of the patient and the “system”. He told us the doctors and hospitals perform unnecessary tests. He said government regulation of healthcare was necessary because the current system was rife with fraud and overspending . Doctors, hospital administrators, and pharmaceuticals were not out to help people but only to enrich themselves. This was the first rationale for a government takeover of the entire system. These people were venal and our government needed to do something about it.
There was enough “Hey, wait a minute.” Then he backed off, but that is how he begins these arguments, playing David to some Goliath. Or rather, David to something he paints as Godzilla. He is playing to people who do not say, “Hey, wait a minute.” Or perhaps he really thinks like that and I don’t know which possibility is scarier.

My attempt to adopt HTML tags is pitiful. Sorry.

Kate, did you get that Investor's Business Daily article & poll from your new pal Glenn Beck? He's used it, too. The whole thing is dodgy, at best. Notice, as well, that this directly compares the survey I cited to the Investor's survey that you and Beck cited (and, in Beck's case, misrepresented). The Investor's poll had an abysmal response rate (despite their lame excuse), and used very leading questions, as well. While it notes that the potential for leading questions also exists in the poll I cited, it highlights its much better response rate. That could mean that more doctors were actually favorably responsive to the notion of healthcare reform in a more public-oriented direction. See here:

"...In addition, the specific question asked of respondents was, "If Congress passes their health care plan, will you ... continue your practice, [or] consider leaving your practice or taking an early retirement?" This wording leaves open the possibility that respondents are saying they might simply leave their current practice to join another practice, rather than quit.

— The poll had a low response rate . According to the statistics published in IBD , 1,376 practicing physicians responded to the poll, out of the 25,600 solicited nationally. That's a 5.4 percent response rate. In one of its articles about the poll, IBD bills this as "a high rate of return, considering how difficult doctors are to get hold of." But another survey of doctors released around the same time managed to do better — much better.

That other survey was conducted by Salomeh Keyhani and Alex Federman, internists and researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who published the results in the New England Journal of Medicine . They mailed 5,157 questionnaires and got a response rate that exceeded 43 percent — nearly eight times the IBD survey's rate. In fact, Keyhani and Federman reached almost 50 percent more doctors despite sending out only one-fifth the number of inquiries. (They did not ask doctors if they would consider quitting as the other poll did.)

Does a higher response rate matter? In this case, it's hard to know for sure, said Karlyn Bowman, a polling analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute. However, she added, "higher response rates give me more confidence in results," a point echoed by other experts we interviewed.

— The sponsor was listed prominently on the survey, possibly influencing who responded . The survey was sent out on Investor’s Business Daily letterhead, and the introduction said in part, "The results of this survey will be on Investor’s Business Daily’s front page and A press release will also be prepared. This will give doctors a voice in this key issue."

This type of framing matters because IBD 's editorial page is known for its conservative stance, including opposition to the Democratic health care effort.

While it’s safe to assume that not everyone who received the survey knew about IBD 's political leanings, some respondents presumably did — and among those who did, such knowledge could have made a difference in determining who responded. Liberals might have been less likely to respond, while conservatives in tune with the IBD editorials would have been more enthusiastic about responding. In such a small sample, even a modest bias of that sort could skew the results."


"at first in speeches he told us that doctors perform unnecessary surgeries, like appendectomies, just to make money, heedless of the patient and the “system”. He told us the doctors and hospitals perform unnecessary tests. He said government regulation of healthcare was necessary because the current system was rife with fraud and overspending..."

To quote manly he-man Dick Cheney - "So??"

There's nothing really so wrong or objectionable in what (you're saying) Obama said there - it's certainly distinct from "asking us to hate the medical profession" in any case - which he hasn't done, or even suggested.
(Who's guilty of demagoguery here?)

Can you provide a quote for Obama saying that docs do unneeded appendectomies just for the $$?

More on the reality of the problem here:

Don't be silly. I got the poll by googling for something like it, which I knew would be out there. The NPR poll has a somewhat select pool of responders, too, don't you think? Bein' that it is NPR.

I suspect the wording of these polls has something to do with the results. "Are you in favor of a government-takeover of the health care system" is bound to get different results than, "Are you in favor of health insurance reform." I will go out on a limb and predict that doctors say "NO!" to the first and "Yes, please." to the second.

How could anyone miss Obama's trashing of the whole healthcare system in his summer speeches on the topic? I don't have time to go find you quotes and besides, the guy talks so darn much, who could sift through all he says every day at every possible venue? No one is doing so on the Internet as far as I can tell, although I confess to not looking deeply. (Whose got time besides you?) In addition, today's bash by Obama is always followed by balm and conciliation two or three days later. Tracking him by memory, we have the worst medical system in the world, while it is the best and the president is proud of it even though the insurers, doctors and hospitals are in such a vile collusion to reap profit from the populace that the government needs to step in and take control of the situation before we all die. But its not them, it is the system; they are only human. Of course, government regulators are not human or not human in any vile or venal ways. I digress into his unspoken implication in that latter part.

Today I read that he intends to lecture us even more on topics important to him. He'll teach us not to listen to his every word by increasing the quantity of his words. Ye gods! American media will be all Obama all the time at the rate he is going. I know, Craig, as long he drowns out Dick Cheney you'll be happy.

I guess we'll find out how much America loves Obama and his message. You write under some other post that polls show he beats out possible Republican contenders. I note a persistent whine among conservatives on these back pages that there are no credible Republican presidential contenders and were not in the last election, either. Hence we got this guy.

Kate, I don't think you read any of that very carefully; you just lapse from one error to the next... Briefly:

- There was no "NPR poll" - the one that NPR reported on was conducted by internists/researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. NPR had nothing to do with the poll other than they reported its results.

- The Mt. Sinai poll had a response rate of 43%, versus the Investor's Business Daily poll's response rate of 5.4% - the Mt. Sinai poll had a response rate nearly 8X higher than the Investor's poll.

- You ARE conflating Obama "asking us to collectively hate the medical profession" (which he never did) with Obama's "trashing of the whole healthcare system." Those are very different things, actually. Two of my own personal doctors have plenty of harshly critical words for the "healthcare system" (which includes hospital and clinic owners and administrators as well as, yes, insurance companies) - that doesn't equal disrespect for their own profession. When my doctor talks about the problem with mixing the bottom line of profit-making and quarterly earnings with helping sick people, I don't think he's asking me to hate him or his colleagues.

- I don't know why you assume I'm some big supporter of Obama. Just because your critiques are inaccurate and unfair (Obama never asked us to "hate the medical profession" - for starters), that doesn't mean that I'm a fan of the guy, by any means. He certainly won't get my vote in 2012. So let that rest, okay? You just can't seem to grasp the idea that Obama isn't a leftist (nor even much of a liberal), and that despite all of the right-wing's screeching (before and after the election) that he's some wild left-winger, the left is rather displeased with Obama (but many savvy lefties knew in advance that he wouldn't be nearly as progressive as his campaign might have led one to believe)...

- If it's Obama vs. your Tea-Partier of the Moment (maybe Cheney, or Palin-Beck?) in 2012, that will indeed be interesting, won't it?

You're right, Craig, I am not being a very good blogger. I am sorry not to be able to carry on the argument. On Friday my mother collapsed in my arms on the street. I have been preoccupied with her participation in the local health care establishment, otherwise known as hospital. There, I am finding the worst problem in "the system" to be human error and folly. My mother happened to get a room on the edge of two nursing territories on the day a new charting system began. Both RNs decided that room was in the other nurse's territory. This left my mom complaining about national health care and Republicans getting in the way of Obama improving "the system" as if passing the current bill before Congress would make all nurses more conscientious, especially her own. Where would she have been if this Republican had not been actually there to stubbornly force a resolution?

However, I do think Obama engages in something like Orwell's two minutes of hate for what he designates as public enemy of the season. In his choice of targets he certainly appears to be left-wing. He does have an unusual problem for someone with an activist's mentality in that while he talks about the "fight" over this or that establishment entity, he is the president of the United States, the ultimate establishment entity, which makes his anti-establishment pose of the campaign seem really absurd.

As some of us said during his campaign and immediately after his win, once president he will be stuck with certain realities that will make many of his campaign promises (Guantanamo?) impossible. He and his supporters were unrealistic in the extent that hope and change are possible. "He's president and he can do anything" is just not true, thank God, ever for anyone. I think Obama throws around his two minutes of hate type rhetoric because it comes naturally to him, but his position requires him to temper all of that. Maybe this is why he plays golf so much these days?

Kate - sorry to hear about your mother falling ill...

"My mother happened to get a room on the edge of two nursing territories on the day a new charting system began. Both RNs decided that room was in the other nurse's territory."

Now are you trying to get us to hate the nursing profession?

"However, I do think Obama engages in something like Orwell's two minutes of hate for what he designates as public enemy of the season."

....but Glenn Beck does what, exactly???

"He and his supporters were unrealistic in the extent that hope and change are possible. "He's president and he can do anything" is just not true, thank God, ever for anyone."

New GOP slogan - "Hope and Change: We Can't Do It, We Don't Want It, so Don't Bother Thinking About It. Actually, Just Give Up."

And I did notice, Kate, that you referred to yourself as a Republican, not the party-less "conservative" designation. (Though, to your credit, at least you're more honest than NLT/Ashbrook, which claims to be non-partisan)

"In his choice of targets he certainly appears to be left-wing."

Oh, come on. Are you living in Upside-Down World or something? Do you mean that HIS CHOICE OF TARGETS APPEAR TO BE LEFT-WING (or even just liberal)?? Again, rather than attacking Obama, you should be thanking him from the bottom of your GOP heart that he is very far from anything remotely left-wing. Now it looks like he's going to be giving you a 3-year spending freeze.

Here's a liberal (who won last year's Nobel Prize in Economics) who is most definitely dissatisfied with the president.

See, you should be thanking your lucky stars.

#1 No, just hate Nurse Helen. Got that? Helen.

#2 Yes, I agree sometime Glen Beck does the same thing. However, he's not my Big Brother or anything like it.

#3 We are all non-partisan, really, when faced with an ass of a candidate from our favorite party. Besides, I am a person and can actually vote. NLT/Ashbrook consists of a lot of people who might for any party. It can't be partisan.

#4 We'll see about the freeze. Based on prior performance, his spending freeze is liable to cost us a whole of money. Not only do I not quite believe him, I can't halp but ask, does he control spending, anyway? Only to a limited extent. Mind, I'll take what I can get, but ......we'll see.

When did Ashbrook claim to be non-partisan?

Owl - That's a good question. While I distinctly recall that the actual word "non-partisan" used to be somewhere on Ashbrook's site, I can no longer find it (although I admit my search wasn't thorough), HOWEVER, Ashbrook still clearly states on its all-important "Donate" page:

that "The John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University is a 501(C) (3) Nonprofit Organization" and so, presumably, it must adhere to the law regarding organizations that wish to be tax-exempt:

which include:

"Issue Advocacy: A 501(c)(3) organization may conduct nonpartisan public education campaigns about issues that relate to its charitable purpose, even during an election season. To remain nonpartisan the group's focus should be on the broader issues and not make comparisons between candidate proposals or positions. A 501(c)(3) should not coordinate its educational message through formal or informal channels with a candidate or political party or use issue advocacy to electioneer by implication. For example, 501(c)(3)s may not encourage people to "vote green." A disclaimer of any affiliation or preference for a candidate or political party should be included on voter education literature."


This is why, Owl, even Ashbrook had to draw the line when a GOP political candidate posted her press release (as a comment on the blog), and it was removed - this is the only trace remaining of that activity:

Owl, on the off-chance that you peruse the "Comments By Our Readers" section - rather than just clicking specific blog-post links - let me correct my previous comment. The press release from the Republican congressional candidate (in SC) appears to be back right where it was before. I can only guess that this was intentional, although I'd also guess that very few people would see it now...

In any case, this seems to fly in the face of NLT/Ashbrook's status as a tax-exempt, non-partisan group:

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