Friday, March 24, 2017

Health Care Fiasco

Round one of the Obamacare repeal fight goes to the Democrats, and both Trump and Paul Ryan are saying they won't even bother to keep trying. Opinions differ as to why, but part of it has to be that both men hate this issue and just want it to go away. They tried to make it go away by passing a bill, but if they can make it go away by not passing a bill they will settle for that.

I have some thoughts about this. One is that during the 2012 election, Romney kept saying that electing him was the only chance Republicans would get to repeal the Affordable Care Act. By 2016, he said, people getting coverage under the law would be used to it, and it would be impossible to take it away from them. Maybe he had a point.

Another is that governing is difficult. American populists seem to believe that governing is a moral problem, and all we need to set the government right is to elect tough, wise, folksy men of the people who will do the right thing. But governing a country is hard, and without decades of experience it is almost impossible to get anything significant done in Washington or any other capital city.

A third thought is that for all the corruption and sausage-making and interest group pressure and what all, enacting big changes is much easier when you are working toward principles that you really believe in. Reagan got a lot done partly because he passionately believed that lower taxes. a bigger military, and less regulation were what the country needed. Obama got his health care bill because he and other Democrats passionately believed that health care is a right. The latest Republican health care proposal was remarkable for its complete lack of ideological motivation. Was there, anywhere in the world, a single person who was passionate about this bill? Without passion, people are not motivated to keep working for something month after month and year after year, and they end up shrugging and walking away after one setback.


pithom said...

Good point about the passion, but this is just wrong:

"But governing a country is hard, and without decades of experience it is almost impossible to get anything significant done in Washington or any other capital city."

-Actually, governing a country is fairly easy, and Ryan needs to be term-limited so that he does not become a Republican Durbin.

G. Verloren said...


"Actually, governing a country is fairly easy..."

Said the person with exactly zero experience governing any country whatsoever for any period of time, and utterly no other credentials or expertise that would lead us to trust their word, which goes against all basic sense and logical thought.

I suppose you could try to be clever and say that merely governing a country is easy, but governing it well is another matter entirely. But we all know that isn't remotely what you were suggesting.

On that note, does it ever concern you at all that you seem to reflexively make such brazenly confident arguments about things you actually know nothing about? Does it worry you that you so frequently lie about things you have no real reason to lie about, or that your lies are so baldly obvious that they wouldn't even be convincing to a child? Do you understand what it means to be a "pathological liar", and have you ever considered even the remotest possibility that you might be one? (Or even merely that you might resemble one?)

Or do you honestly see no reason whatsoever to ever have self doubt of any kind, under any circumstances, and to question your own thoughts or behaviors to make sure they're actually correct? How far down the rabbit hole are you, I wonder?

G. Verloren said...


I'm not sure how the failure of the bill really could be attributed to the Democrats, given that the GOP controls both the House and the Senate.

I do agree with you somewhat about passion, although I think you're oversimplifying and perhaps conflating things. Often times, bringing about change requires there to be a will for change. People have to want the changes that you're proposing. You can lead a horse to water, but if it isn't thirsty, it won't drink.

Hence, with your example of Reagan, I think his personal passion isn't really the cause of the changes he was able to enact, but rather it was his ability to leverage the passions (or more accurately the desires) of Congress and the American people at that point in time. It was his ability to convince other people that they should agree to his notions - whether or not they were correct or rational notions.

Part of that was the culture and the Zeitgeist of the 80s. A bigger military was a popular notion because the Cold War was at a critical juncture. Lower taxes and less regulation were popular notions because it was a more selfish era that celebrated corporate greed, risky business ventures, and mindless consumerism.

Another part of it was Reagan's charisma. Whether his notions ended up being correct or not (which they didn't), he was able to make them sound reasonable and convince other people - even a number of people who ordinarily would be predisposed against him, and whose support he relied upon at least in part to get things done.

And of course, yet another part of it was that it was an untested notion. No one quite knew how things would shake out, and people were willing to try new things in lieu of just maintaining a status quo they already felt wasn't working well enough.

pithom said...

The people in Congress do not seem to be much smarter than I, and Ryan seems substantially dumber. Trump seems to be equally intelligent as I am, maybe less so. I'm confident I can run government better than the current administration. Ergo, governing a country is fairly easy.

G. Verloren said...


I'm utterly astounding by your monstrous oversimplification. Arrogance and stupidity in the same breath - how efficient of you!

Consider this - you're probably notably more intelligent than the average Army grunt. Do you think that means being a soldier is easy? If we just gave you a rifle and a helmet and dropped you in a combat zone, do you honestly think your "superior intellect" would amount to jack shit? Or is some "dumb" career soldier with actual training and experience going to shoot you dead in short order?

How about we look at it from the other direction? Let's say you're trapped in a burning building. Are you going to call a brain surgeon to come rescue you, because they're so smart it should be easy for them? Me, I'm gonna call on a bunch of "stupid" firemen instead, despite many of them having more brawn than brains.

Much, much, smarter people than Trump and his lickspittles have been in office before, and yet running this country has never, ever been easy for any of them. B Barrack Obama is quite plainly much smarter than pretty much everyone commenting on this blog, and he sure as hell didn't have an easy time.

If you think all a person needs to succeed is intelligence, you must not have much of your own.

Shadow said...

The republican party in the House is more a loose confederation of factions than a party. There are no leaders, only people in leadership positions. They define themselves more by their differences from democrats than by any similarities within. Given the bill they were going to pass, I suppose that's a good thing this time, but overall it is not. I wonder if it is possible to get anything done. Infrastructure improvements, tax reform, immigration may all fall to factional fighting.

G. Verloren said...

@Shadow Flutter

The Republicans were never actually going to improve infrastructure, reform taxes for anyone other than the rich, or do anything about immigration that doesn't involve blatant racism and unjust oppression.

Factional infighting is the best we can hope for short of impeachment/a new election, because it means they spend four years achieving nothing, as opposed to spending four years achieving terrible things.

And then more sensible people get voted in to replace them. It doesn't even have to be the Democrats - if some third party can manage to rally behind an actually competant and sane leadership, I say why the heck not? The biggest problem with the current pickings for third parties is that they always put forward crackpots and incompetants who don't have any actual solutions to anything.