Re: Bankrupt

1

It probably wasn't worth reading anyway.

I have occasionally made the same mistake, yet I find it refreshing.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:46 AM
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A friend of mine who was an undecided voter had asked me last week me why I was voting for Obama. I promised to answer before it was time to vote, so last night composed a long-ish e-mail going through the candidates issue positions, as well as some other stuff, and talking about whose position looked better. My e-mail called every issue I discussed (which wasn't every issue there is) as either a win for Obama or a draw, except for health insurance, and even there I gave the "he'll have a more Democratic congress, so has a better chance of getting something passed, even if his proposal is less good"-line.

My friend wrote back that her three main issues were health care (Hillary slightly better), abortion (draw, though I did include my theory that as a Con Law teacher Obama is likely to appoint better Justices and the story about how the Clinton campaign tried to deceive New Hampshire voters about his record), and Israel (I actually don't know anything about what either of them have said on Israel, said that as far as I know they're both fine on it, and addressed recent attempts by some publications to smear Obama as shaky on Israel). I'm convinced, based on listing these as are issues and saying "Thanks for helping me make up my mind" that she voted for Clinton, which annoys me.

I sent the same e-mail to my aunt, who had been planning to vote for Edwards before he dropped out. She said my e-mail had indicated they were both very similar, that "want[ed] someone who can go in on the first day and unravel the mess of the past 8 years...Obama will probably have to spend the first 90 days getting up to speed on how things work...we've waited 8 years and I don't want to wait for him to play catch up," and was voting for Hillary.

Conclusion: I should not try to persuade people.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:48 AM
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nnnnnggngngnng


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:51 AM
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I know I've said this before, but Clinton is worse on health care. I know, I know, Krugman Krugman Krugman. Krugman has his head up his ass on this one.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:52 AM
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That was obviously me.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:52 AM
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4:I remember blank saying that just yesterday.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:54 AM
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I still think that except for Iraq, it's a coinflip. Hillary's high negatives are a factor too -- I do know some anyone-but-Hillary voters who might go for some other Democrats. (If the Hillary-haters were only the 30% Bush hard core, that wouldn't be an issue.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:55 AM
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nnnnnggngngnng

Is this the sound Krugman makes?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:56 AM
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I still think that except for Iraq, it's a coinflip.

Right. Except for their handling of war and foreign policy, their administrations will be more or less the same - and really, what do presidents have to do with war and foreign policy, anyway?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:57 AM
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OK, the endless Hillary/Obama flamewar threads were the only ones I was happy to see get deleted from my reader. This is not a gift you're giving me, people.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:59 AM
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Seriously.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:01 AM
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Becks, we have to heighten the contradictions in the blog in order to bring about the revolution that will make it readable again.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:01 AM
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Jroth, I think, has offered me a t-shirt if I vote for Obama, but I think I will need a little more to betray my nation. A gimme cap, Deep Ellum gimme cap would be tres cool.

Gotta wait tho, Texas could become critical and my single vote the one that determines the nominee. Holding out for that mix cd.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:02 AM
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At this point I'm doubtful of the ability of any elected President to resist the foreign policy establishment. And about whether anyone will ever be nominated or elected who really intends to do so. What I expect to see is for Obama or Hillary to go to the bench and rotate in the #2 imperialist line, like in hockey. The #1 line overreached and will have to sit out for a decade or so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:02 AM
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13: Don't think it was me. I'm a fellow Obama-skeptic. Well, maybe not "fellow," but I do have my skepticism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:03 AM
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Is this the sound Krugman makes?

No, that's the deep, guttural lowing of Pinch Sulzberger. Krugman makes a giddy, high-pitched cackling sound as he hands Arthur Junior his bowl of Tattooinian space slugs.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:03 AM
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I know I've said this before, but Clinton is worse on health care.

But boy can she sell a policy. "If people don't buy health insurance, we could garnish their wages or something." Masterful framing there. The public is going to jump right on board.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:03 AM
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10,11:Ok, ok, in the spirit of peace, harmony, comity and blackjack, if there be any HRC supporters wanna bid for my vote I will entertain offers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:04 AM
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I had assumed, after the first para, that 2 was going to be a tale of e-mail loss, and that, in the end, he had simply written "Vote for Obama or I will BURN YOUR SHIT DOWN."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:05 AM
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14: Obama might be better than the standard, and he might not be. But I know what I'm getting will Clinton, and what I'm getting is terrible. Why not try for something else in the hope that it might be slightly better?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:07 AM
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19 was not an acceptable offer


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:07 AM
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I'm caucusing for Obama, but my eyes are wide open.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:08 AM
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"Our offer is this: nothing."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:09 AM
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I didn't mean to start a flame war; I meant to complain about my failings as a person.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:09 AM
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I swear I won't participate further in this, because it makes Baby Becks cry, but:

The fact that no one who knows jack shit about health care agrees with 4 doesn't lead me to put a lot of stock in its raw assertion. But maybe if it's asserted a few more times, it'll take!

I'm getting deep insight into Obama's Concept of Governance. "Trust me, and all will be right."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:09 AM
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The fact that no one who knows jack shit about health care agrees with 4 doesn't lead me to put a lot of stock in its raw assertion. But maybe if it's asserted a few more times, it'll take!

Oh, bullshit.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:11 AM
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I'd love to declare email bankruptcy but the problem is that the emails I want to make go away are the important ones. I would lose only the fun, light-hearted contacts; the work would all respawn on its own.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:11 AM
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Back on topic:

I've read about the "4-Hour Workweek" guy (one of those mentioned in Becks's link). He's simplified his life, and you can, too! You don't have to read e-mail more than once a day!

Of course, you do have to hire people to read it for you. Fucking tool.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:14 AM
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The flame war was just sitting there.

I really don't think there's ever been a real flame war here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:16 AM
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I'm getting deep insight into Obama's Concept of Governance. "Trust me, and all will be right."

As opposed to HRC: "I knew you didn't really give a fuck about the war or civil liberties. Come to Momma."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:17 AM
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28: I heard him interviewed on NPR a few months ago and he dripped toolishness all over the place. He had a very "just outsource your job to India and rake in the profits, mofos," sort of duh-doesn't-everyone-have-personal-staff attitude that made me hate him.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:17 AM
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10,11:There are still arguments over Bobby, Gene, & Hubert. Participatory democracy is a process, not a goal. Forever,forever,forever.

Seriously, expect the codgers to be hitting each other with canes fifty years from now, even with all the testosterone gone and after they have forgotten which side they were on.

And some bean sprout will pipe up and say:"But what do those tired old battles have to do with the War in Nigeria and brain transplants? We must learn to work together to effect real change."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:18 AM
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my single vote the one that determines the nominee.

Very wise. You could be the Nader of this election. Well, you can be the other Nader.

Headline on TPM: "Bill Compares Hillary to RFK." Of course, says I, Bobby watched Jack get all the Presidential nookie, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:18 AM
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I know JRoth never reads what I write when I actually write about health care - or if he does, he doesn't remember it - but to briefly reprise what I've said before, no national health care plan containing individual mandates is going to pass into law in the United States. It just isn't. When your position comes down to "Everyone has to buy health insurance, and if you don't the federal government will use fines and collection agencies and wage garnishment to punish you," your position is going to become lethally unpopular. You can stick your fingers in your ears and pretend this isn't the case, but out there in the real world exist Republicans, who by and large are actually nastier and more vicious and less intellectually honest than even the dreaded Barack Obama, and who will take every opportunity they can to slice any national health care proposal to shreds, and it will be so, so, so easy to fearmonger against individual mandates that any plan relying on them will be dead on arrival.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:19 AM
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Let it go, stras. People will vote the way they want to vote, and, at this point, it's very unlikely that argument is going to change minds.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:23 AM
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25: On the off chance you're interested in a serious debate, hasn't Massachusetts already mandated that people purchase health care, and people have found it still in their interest not to purchase health care? What I don't like about the mandate is that it seems to put the emphasis on the wrong end of enforcement. No mandate to put out a plan that's affordable, just one that penalizes me, the end consumer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:23 AM
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There is far too much strife and discord on this blog this morning.

I must conserve my energy for the real fun tonight, when y'all are Beckstyle and I'm sober, putting me at grave disadvantage.

Naptime.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:23 AM
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Yeah, and then you link to a philosophy professor, and it'll take more !


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:24 AM
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I also maintain, as I've maintained for a while, that single-payer is not only the best possible health care system for this country, but the system that would be easiest to sell. Any plan you try to push through is going to meet with maximum opposition from the insurance industry, and any plan is going to get demagogued as socialized medicine. The political advantages of single-payer are its simplicity and its familiarity - Americans have had Medicare for decades, and don't think of it as a Communist infringement on their basic freedoms. It may be that you can't pass a dingle--payer plan in America - but if that's the case, I don't think you can pass national health care here at all.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:25 AM
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A 4-hour work week? Bush?

I heard that the US Navy will be offering a 4-day work week to sailors. The Marines think this is hilarious. Even Zoomies (plushest service out there) think this is soft.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:25 AM
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People, it's Super Fucking Tuesday. Did you really think a politics thread wouldn't spring up?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:28 AM
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I already regret 38.

Can we go back to the refreshing aspect of deleting lots of emails and RSS saved pages ? Sometimes I delete the Unfogged tab, and I say to myself, "You just saved 2 hours of your life."

----------------------

How come there haven't been any discussion of Sarkozy and Bruni ? I thought Americans loved sex and politics.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:28 AM
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41: That's Super Duper Fucking Tuesday to you.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:30 AM
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On the off chance you're interested in a serious debate, hasn't Massachusetts already mandated that people purchase health care, and people have found it still in their interest not to purchase health care?

Health insurance. Not "health care".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:30 AM
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True. Whether you can actually get health care with your health insurance is a separate issue.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:34 AM
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Yeah, sorry. I guess that just proves I'm an idiot.

You know how hard it is to get individual health insurance as a 31-year-old permanent resident in excellent health? (Why not get it through my plan? Because they wanted the next eight months' worth of premiums up front, and I don't have $2000 right now.) Kinda hard. Not really sure how a mandate does anything except ensure that I get my wages garnished while trying to find a plan that doesn't have a year-long residency requirement.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:36 AM
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Not really sure how a mandate does anything except ensure that I get my wages garnished while trying to find a plan that doesn't have a year-long residency requirement.

Community rating.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:37 AM
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Let it go, stras. People will vote the way they want to vote, and, at this point, it's very unlikely that argument is going to change minds.

I'm voting a week from now, and I still don't know who I'm going to vote for. Edwards helped me narrow my choice to one-of-two, instead of one-of-three.

On merits, I'm probably like Emerson and slightly favor Obama, except for this: I loooove Hillary for her enemies. This country becomes a better place when the Hillary-haters are marginalized.

Though even on this issue, there's a legitimate argument to be made that Obama would be better than Hillary at marginalizing these folks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:38 AM
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47: Well, as I understand the Hillary plan, it's a mandate with a government plan that will take anyone, which Mass. doesn't seem to have. Which makes matters easier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:40 AM
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27: I would lose only the fun, light-hearted contacts; the work would all respawn on its own.

This is similar to a point I repeatedly and obnoxiously make to folks in my organization who are always trying to reduce "nuisance" e-mail. It is annoying, but it is quickly and easily dispatched, it is the volume of stuff that actually requires some attention from me that I need to have reduced.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:41 AM
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47: Like I said, it hasn't worked in Massachusetts. There was an article on it in the NYT, where people said, look, I should have health insurance, but it's still out of my price range and easier for me to pay the penalty. There isn't a lot of room in the budget for wage garnishment right now, you know? (Especially since I'm not sure how my wages can be garnished for a plan I don't have... is there a default plan I'd be getting if I can't get health insurance that I can afford? Then why not let me buy into that?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:42 AM
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Hillary's enemies will be Obama's soon enough, should he win. 16 years from now all the arguments against her will be used against Michelle Obama. Hell, they're not even arguments, they're just shouted words.

But then I voted for Obama, so I suppose I shouldn't be saying this.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:44 AM
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Also, stras, did you forget this line:

"That's my family Kay, that's not me."


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:46 AM
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So stras' argument isn't that Obama's plan is "better." It's that no good plan is possible, so we should support the guy's whose plan is already bad. I stand corrected.

Since when is Brian "The Philosopher" Weatherson an expert on health care? Is health care now a subset of formal models for reasoning under uncertainty? Or did he just write something you like, and so now he's been crowned an expert? Here's a tip for you: things often work differently in the US from Australia. Although, as it turns out, the toilets do flush the same way.

BTW, snark aside, I'm completely serious about the first para. Don't go around saying that a plan is "better" when what you mean is that a plan is more pragmatic, or more Republican-friendly. All of us here have our doubts about HRC because she is seen as being those very things. It's pretty shitty to pretend to be promoting the hopeful alternative when you're really promoting the less hopeful one.

PS Nothing about your 34 justifies BO's scorched-earth attacks on mandates. AFAIC, he's doing 2 bad things on health care: his plan, which I accept as being at least a good faith offering, and his rhetoric on it, which I find utterly despicable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:49 AM
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47: I understand that issue of wanting community ratings, but there are certainly the problems that Cala talks about in 51. You're essentially criminalizing those who still feel they're too poor or don't want to wade through the paperwork even after subsidies.

I feel that community pricing will have to ultimately be enforced and sustainable through direct government subsidies, not through universal participation (which is impossible to achieve, and I've seen several estimates acknowledging as much that show Obama's plan only covering a few million fewer people than similar plans with mandates). Since this is pretty much how a single-payer system would be run and funded anyway (high-cost, high-risk individuals being subsidized out of taxes directly instead of from supposed pooling through an intermediary insurance company), I'm quite ok with it. Plus, I think we'll require a subsidy structure that corrects for individual characteristics even under a mandate, in order to stop insurance companies from structuring products to grab the best risk pools from their competitors. So pretty much, I've been brought around to the idea that a mandate means nothing so long as we're still routing health coverage through private insurance companies. Once it's single payer, paid out of tax dollars, that's a universal mandate enforced by the IRS with true universal coverage, and I'm just fine with that.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:50 AM
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But then I voted for Obama, so I suppose I shouldn't be saying this.

I previously likened my views to Emerson's, but while he is similarly disdainful of both candidates, I actually like both of them quite a lot.

Emerson in 14 rightly says that Obama and Clinton are about equally likely to rotate in the "#2 imperialist line," but to the extent that I'm offended by that gang, I still consider them a gi-fucking-gantic improvement over the first team.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:51 AM
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Why and how did this thread devolve into Obama/Clinton screeching? And what's up with the offensive new mouseover?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:52 AM
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AFAIC, he's doing 2 bad things on health care: his plan, which I accept as being at least a good faith offering, and his rhetoric on it, which I find utterly despicable.

Yeah. I voted for him, but on health care I'm relying on Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman, both of whom are clear on the mandate issue being a big thing. And the Harry and Louise flyer freaked me out. Bipartisanship is one thing, going back fifteen years to take the wrong side of a wildly important battle we lost is just terrifyingly misguided.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:52 AM
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I went to a meetup on Sunday with a doctor, former Edwards supporter, who thinks the Mass plan sucks.
1) The wage garnish is half of some default level (I think 8k per family per year, so 4k penalty?) But it doesn't go towards paying your insurance for the next year- it just is tax revenue, and you still have to pay 8k more.
2) The default plan sucks anyway, there's no requirement from the state that it has cover a lot of common expenses.
3) More tax forms to prove you were covered- I've already gotten 3 for 2007, I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do with them yet- staple them to my return? Turbotax has no suggestions.

That said, I went to the Obama rally last night, kind of sucked- poor crowd management, no TV screens, couldn't see anything, his speech kind of rambled. I took pictures from 500 feet and between the TV crews' legs of what I thought was Obama's tie, turned out it was Deval Patrick's. I guess I'm a racist since I couldn't tell the black guys apart.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:52 AM
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57: Ew, that's gross. I'm changing it now, if I can remember how.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:53 AM
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51: The way it's supposed to work is that everyone who can't afford health insurance gets subsidies so they can afford health insurance. The obvious problem here is that there's been no attempt to define these subsidies - how much they'd be and who'd be eligible for them. There's obviously going to be plenty of people who don't get those subsidies who nevertheless decide they can't afford to buy insurance, though, because that's what the mandate is for - to punish the people won't buy into the program.

Of course, if Democrats hadn't decided that single-payer was off the table, one of the major candidates could've just proposed a plan that involved signing up everyone in the country for health insurance, and then paying for it through progressive taxation. But that would be crazy.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:53 AM
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51, see 49. There are also big subsidies up to 3X (or 4X? The plans differ on that) poverty line to buy insurance; I'm pretty sure that's a much bigger subsidy than MA has offered. But the important part is that you can buy into Medicare, which doesn't turn down anyone and will cost less than pretty much every private plan, plus you will likely be eligible for some subsidy.

55: See this chart. Stras says it's bullshit, but it's from the Nat'l Bureau of Economic Research. They're no philosophers, but they may know something about numbers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:54 AM
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Why and how did this thread devolve into Obama/Clinton screeching?

Does this really qualify as "screeching"?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:55 AM
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Here is a discussion at Crooked Timber discussing Health Insurance Mandates from the perspective of the Australian experience.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:56 AM
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54: JRoth, I'd argue that using "utterly despicable" in this context is inappropriate, and best left to stras and other "idealists".

In the real world of the current campaign, tiny differences are going to be magnified, and people like you and me are already applying a magnifying glass to this stuff. Tiny things appear huge to us. If Obama wants to score a few political points, well, I wish he wouldn't, but he has to differentiate himself somehow. He's not making no-mandates a centerpiece of his campaign, and he's still a pretty good guy.

Come back to the real world. Leave it to stras to demand absolute moral purity.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:56 AM
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55: Ok, I don't mean that a mandate means nothing. But it certainly does not seem to be the central feature of a workable plan that I initially thought it might be. Plus, I do have philosophical unease with any product that people are forced to purchase from private companies.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:56 AM
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Of course, if Democrats hadn't decided that single-payer was off the table, one of the major candidates could've just proposed a plan that involved signing up everyone in the country for health insurance, and then paying for it through progressive taxation. But that would be crazy.

I'm all for that. But it doesn't have much to do with differences between the candidates we've actually got.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:56 AM
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BTW, stras, I'm not sure I agree with you that single-payer is as sellable as you think, but I do think someone should have suggested it. Maybe someone who would be really amazing at bridging divides and bringing a whole new energy to the process - not to mention bringing in millions of new, engaged voters. If only someone like that were running - that would be a perfect candidate for proposing an ambitious, single-payer health insurance plan!

Oh, well. Maybe 2012.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:57 AM
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What Po-Mo said. My worry with HRC's plan is that it seems to reify insurance companies as the way to ensure health insurance for all. (Can you imagine how happy you'd be as an insurance executive? They've just made it illegal not to buy your product.) Obama's plan looks to me like one more likely to lead naturally to a single payer plan, which is where I'd like any plan to end up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:57 AM
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And the Harry and Louise flyer freaked me out.

Another example of magnifying small differences. Who looks at flyers like that and sees Harry and Louise except for stone political junkies ?

(I mean, yeah, I see it too, but that's my point.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:58 AM
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13: Jroth, I think, has offered me a t-shirt if I vote for Obama

That was me, over in the "A Philosophy" thread. And its not just any old t-shirt, it's a "Barack Obama is my homeboy" T-shirt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:58 AM
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JRoth, I'd argue that using "utterly despicable" in this context is inappropriate, and best left to stras and other "idealists". ... Come back to the real world. Leave it to stras to demand absolute moral purity.

Let me know where in this thread I've been calling people "utterly despicable" and calling for "moral purity."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 9:58 AM
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Does this really qualify as "screeching"?
Stating preferences as if you care about them is déclassé.

I was more open to the boring and repetitive charge.

62.2: Where the Gruber paper got it's numbers.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:00 AM
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Obama's plan looks to me like one more likely to lead naturally to a single payer plan, which is where I'd like any plan to end up.

I'm not seeing this argument. Hillary's argument is that people will gravitate towards the good, cheap government plan, and the private plans will wither away -- this is utopian sounding, but possible. What's Obama's argument, insofar as it's different?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:00 AM
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57, 60: The original quote was from dsquared, and was intended ironically in a discussion of corporal punishment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:00 AM
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Plus, I do have philosophical unease with any product that people are forced to purchase from private companies.

Medicare. No one is forced into the private market.

using "utterly despicable" in this context is inappropriate

I know it's strong, but when I saw that Harry & Louise Redux ad, I felt physically revolted. What's next? An ad with a pair of male hands crumpling a rejection letter?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:00 AM
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Boy, that mouseover has been up for awhile; I keep waiting for it to change.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:01 AM
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It's gone. Sadly, I didn't have anything clever on tap to replace it with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:02 AM
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71: Interesting. Is it the JR/JP thing, or the Pittsburgh connection? Wake up, bob, and explain yourself.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:02 AM
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That was a quote from the most recent episode of The Wire, you haters! I just put it up about ten minutes ago.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:04 AM
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78: Well, it gave me brief amusement, if only because I was wondering what you'd do in absence of inspiration.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:04 AM
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BTW, stras, I'm not sure I agree with you that single-payer is as sellable as you think, but I do think someone should have suggested it. Maybe someone who has a reputation as an experienced deal-maker who wouldn't upset too many boats, rather than a newcomer who has to be worried about being seen as too radical. Someone who is more closely associated with the health insurance issue than any other politician in the United States. If only someone like that were running - that would be a perfect candidate for proposing an ambitious, single-payer health insurance plan!

I haven't decided yet if my version is more or less annoying than the original.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:05 AM
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What's next? An ad with a pair of male hands crumpling a rejection letter?

You're aware the infamous "Hands" ad was made by Dick Morris, who went on to run much of Clinton I's first term, right? But go ahead, continue being outraged at Obama for "using Republican talking points," while the Clintons continue to use actual Republicans.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:05 AM
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80: Put it back; LB was trying to get rid of the "kiss the whip" one.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:05 AM
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62: That is an interesting chart, but it conflicts with the numbers that I've seen, which I believe were based off participation data from Massachusetts. I'm going to try and dig them up again.

73: That's some pretty damning pwnage that I feel the need to bring into the thread:

Gruber's imagined Obama-like plan with a mandate achieves the feat of virtually universal coverage by ... assumption.

Gruber:

In particular I assume that 95% of those who would not voluntarily choose to insure are forced to insure through the mandate.

Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:06 AM
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they say folate deficiency triples risk of dementia


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:07 AM
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No, I was trying to get rid of the one I got rid of. I don't mouseover often enough to notice changes. And I'd rather it didn't go back up, or if it has to, slap some quotes around it and follow it with the speaker's name, maybe?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:07 AM
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Wait, LB and I simultaneously changed the mouseover, or she deliberately got rid of the Wire quote?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:07 AM
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78: This has been suggested:

After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too. After about 2-3 hours in a big room with several thousand chickens, you start to hear voices too.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:08 AM
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87 to 88.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:08 AM
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Ok, that's what I figured. No need to put it back up. Great line though.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:09 AM
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Let me know where in this thread I've been calling people "utterly despicable" and calling for "moral purity."

While I believe I could produce an example from this thread, you are the one who often complains when people don't follow your arguments from thread to thread.

Anyway, I chose you as an example because, frankly, I didn't think you'd object. Since you do object, I withdraw my citation of you in that comment. To be clear, it was JRoth who used the quoted words "utterly despicable," and him whom I was quoting.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:09 AM
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go ahead, continue being outraged at Obama for "using Republican talking points," while the Clintons continue to use actual Republicans.

I don't know how to tell you this, stras, but when it comes to rhetoric, the former is more important. Campaign ads are rhetoric; campaign workers are employees. If Saint Teresa had made the "hands" ad, it wouldn't have been OK. If Jesse Helms had written Obama's 04 convention speech, it wouldn't matter.

Anyway, Dick Morris hates HRC with a passion, so he's kind of irrelevant now, don't you think?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:10 AM
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74: I think the mandate swings it in favor of private insurance companies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:10 AM
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While I believe I could produce an example from this thread

Please do, then.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:11 AM
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If Clinton's plan really contains the idea of letting everyone default into a Medicareish thing instead of buying private insurance, it's clearly a better plan, it seems to me.

It would still be hard for me to argue with anyone in favor of anything other than single-payer.

I graduated in 2004 and four of my facebook friends from college (out of maybe 80) are already living in other countries. Maybe I should join them even if McCain doesn't get elected president.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:11 AM
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If Clinton's plan really contains the idea of letting everyone default into a Medicareish thing instead of buying private insurance

I am 98% sure it does, but I'll go check for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:13 AM
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Plan schman. Any plan coming out of Congress is going to have a high fructose corn syrup mandate just to get the plains on board.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:15 AM
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Anyway, Dick Morris hates HRC with a passion, so he's kind of irrelevant now, don't you think?

Not to me. See 48 and why I looooove Hillary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:17 AM
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98 is why I don't care much on this issue. Congress will decide what's possible. If a big Democratic sweep doesn't marginalize the DINOs (who are already starting to get organized) nothing much good can happen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:17 AM
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97: I'm 98% both their proposals have a government plan competing with the private insurers, isn't that a key point? But I guess you're checking.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:17 AM
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Here's her plan, and it does allow people to opt into a Medicare-esque public plan.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:19 AM
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82: I was completely serious. One of the reasons I've been disappointed in BO is that he hasn't made any game-changing proposals, and I think he's the one who should be. I understand the traditional calculus that says that a conservative-markered candidate like Edwards was best-positioned to push the envelope in a liberal direction, but I also thought that Obama's schtick, with the soaring rhetoric and unbelievable grassroots support (all that internet money last year), was ideally positioned to take it to a whole 'nother level. But on domestic issues, he was clearly not the most progressive. And, frankly, on foreign policy, other than having been right on Iraq, he hasn't said much to suggest that he thinks US imperialism as such is a problem. That's a huge disappointment to me.

I feel as if a vote for Obama is a gamble that he'll move to the left, not to the right. If he doesn't move at all, he's worse (to me, on domestic issues) than HRC. If he moves left, he could be amazing. If he moves right - as his rhetoric and some of his policies suggest he could - then he'd be a stunning letdown. I understand the knocks against HRC - I was badmouthing her to my wife a year ago. But, given the campaign she's run, I actually trust that her proposed policies are what she'll govern from.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:21 AM
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Dammit, what was the mouseover text that I missed? I hate you all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:21 AM
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And here's Obama's, also with a public option. I have a vague recollection that there's something in the details of the Clinton plan that's not in the Obama plan, that would make the public option more likely to outcompete the private options. But I'm not remembering what that is or why I think it, so no one listen to me unless you know what I'm talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:23 AM
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what was the mouseover text that I missed?

Bunk is chastising McNulty for having lost his way once again, and among the charges is that McNulty is "nut deep in random pussy."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:24 AM
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93:

Dick Morris hates HRC with a passion, so he's kind of irrelevant now, don't you think?

When it comes to making actual policy, Mark Penn is no better than Dick Morris. As for Morris and the "Hands" ad, Morris was hired by the Clintons, and was held in good standing with them, for years after he made that ad for Jesse Helms. What message does that send, exactly? How racist an ad would someone have had to make to not get hired by the Clintons?

And if you want to talk about using Republican rhetoric, Clinton is the one who's been using right-wing fearmongering on terror, who argued her pro-war stance makes her a stronger candidate in the general, who stood to applaud Bush's "the surge is working" line at the State of the Union. When do you start counting that against her?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:25 AM
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Hey Ogged, what was your quote? I've never seen the Wire, so don't bother if it requires context.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:29 AM
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103: I agree with all of this, except this:

I also thought that Obama's schtick, with the soaring rhetoric and unbelievable grassroots support (all that internet money last year), was ideally positioned to take it to a whole 'nother level.

Edwards, like Nixon, had some room to go to China, so to speak. Hillary and Edwards pretty much had to vote for the war to maintain political viability, and Obama pretty much has to cultivate the image of a cautious centrist seeking "change".

The electorate has more influence on the candidates than the candidates do on the electorate. (Although we can certainly be disappointed that the candidates fail to use the influence they have.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:29 AM
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106: I can't fathom why LB would change that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:29 AM
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I vote that the mouseover text be changed to "hypothetical political lyrical miracle whip"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:30 AM
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I am teh anti-sex feminists!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:31 AM
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"every village has its holy fool, but we let ours pee in the mountain laurel."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:31 AM
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JRoth, I think you're underselling differences in foreign policy rhetoric and positioning, but it's going to require me to read speeches and/or debate transcripts to prove it, which I don't intend to do.

So instead, I'm going to appeal to authority, and by authority I mean hilzoy endorsing Obama. Though it doesn't include much contrast, which some might think a problem.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:32 AM
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Hillary and Edwards pretty much had to vote for the war to maintain political viability

This seems completely off-base to me. If I had to name the single policy-based political weakness for Edwards and Clinton, it would have to be their respective votes for the war. Edwards's vote clouded his attempt to build a relatively liberal stance on the war, and Clinton's neocon-lite messaging will make a muddle of any war debate in the general - like I've said before, Clinton vs. McCain will be a reprise of Kerry vs. Bush, and Democrats will have to pray the economy overwhelms terror as a salient issue.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:35 AM
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Obama pretty much has to cultivate the image of a cautious centrist seeking "change".

See, this is what bugs me. I know this is still a racist country. I remember what The Poorman wrote* about Obama a year ago. But what's Obama running for, if not to change the game? Is the audacity of hope simply the belief that a cautious centrist African-American can be elected president, as long as he has stupendous political skills? Is history blazing on as a battle between two cautious centrists? Bah.

* Third party link, dammit. Are the archives really gone? Is that just to goose sales of The Book?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:36 AM
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103: I think it's a somewhat safe bet that Obama will be willing to move to the left, given things like his positive comments about single-payer universal healthcare in the past. What's really terrible is that Clinton put this video up as a reason to not support Obama, which seems to preclude her ever moving toward the one sensible plan.

Not having any luck finding those numbers I saw earlier. Here's someone who pulled a bunch of insured rates for car insurance in an effort to produce a semi-comparable rate of uptake on mandated insurance coverage. But it's very informal, doesn't try to control for mandate punishments, and definitely from a source with an agenda (cross-posted to Economists for Obama, apparently). I may have been imagining things.

But really, my points in 55 about the need for government subsidies of high-risk individuals even under a universal mandate to prevent companies being subject to adverse selection pressures are doing a lot of the work. That, and my discomfort with forcing people to pay for a product not universally provided through taxation, plus criminalization of the poor who decide not to pay or lose the paperwork.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:37 AM
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"the single biggest policy-based weakness," that is.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:37 AM
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Are the archives really gone?

Wayback Machine archive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:41 AM
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And insurance is really expensive if you don't get it through work. We are going with a catastrophic plan for shivbunny because he's in good health and a happy HMO plan that would allow him doctor's visits and co-pays and prescription coverage would be about a third of my take-home pay. Granted, I don't make a lot of money, and this will be easier once we've had a few months of him being employed, but this is two people in good health with no kids and no recurring costs.

Not for health care costs, just for insurance. That is fucking nuts. That is why I am suspicious of a mandate; I'll be okay in a couple years, but a lot of my working class neighbors won't, and telling them they have to buy insurance when that could cost them $12K a year? Fucking nuts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:41 AM
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who stood to applaud Bush's "the surge is working" line at the State of the Union.

Nope, no demands for moral purity here. Seems to me that we ought to allow Hillary to be publicly happy that American casualties have gone down. Applause lines are not the place to make detailed policy arguments.

As for Hillary's "pro-war" stance, she hasn't taken one for several years, and has persistently lied about the fact that she took such a stance in the first place. Maybe she should have done like Edwards, and told a different set of lies about her war vote, but Jesus, now we're really getting into the weeds in a way that has nothing to do with moral principle.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:43 AM
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114: Well, there isn't anything much about foreign policy there, but it did remind me of some things that I've liked about Obama (the taped confessions thing is awesome) that I'd forgotten about. So that was good at least.

BUt I would seriously like to know, if anyone has it handy, what, if anything, Obama has said that talks about needing to be less imperial*. My impression is that BO lets his Iraq history do the heavy lifting on that - he essentially has all the anti-imperialists on his side for that alone, so he doesn't take another step in that direction, lest he get pilloried in the general. But that impression may be wrong.

* And I mean strong stuff, not just vague things along the lines of "humble foreign policy;" we've seen how much that rhetoric is worth.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:43 AM
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Again, Hillary's mandate (and Obama's non-mandate plan) comes with an income-linked gov't plan, so your costs won't go above some reasonable percentage of your income.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:44 AM
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119: Bless you, Apo.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:44 AM
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Oh, spare me. If people want to take the war off the table as an issue, then just say so. There are fairly good arguments that there are other priorities that are more important. Moreover, no one can really stop you from putting any other interests above it. But own up to it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:48 AM
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I know a small businessman who still hates Hillary because her 1994 healthcare plan would have required her to insure her employees. She was exactly the person whom the plan would have hit hardest. She'd be a hard-core Republican anyway, but distributing the costs more broadly would have been smart. There are lots of small businessmen, and they mostly have families and friends.

Single-payer paid for by taxes would be more equitable, though plenty of people will hate that too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:49 AM
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123: Right, and I get that. I worry (perhaps irrationally, but please, it's not because of fuzzy unicorns) that the mandate tips the balance in favor of private insurance companies, and I worry about the enforcement mechanism. Practically, however, the plans are very similar (and probably hosed in Congress, anyway. We might have to move to Canada.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:49 AM
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Cala, your guy is the blowing things up guy, right? It seems to me that his next move is clear.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:51 AM
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120, 123: Additionally, there are (essentially) cash subsidies for private plans, as well. Poverty line for 2 is $13.7k; subsidies will be available for incomes up to $40k; over $50k for a family of 3. I haven't seen a chart breaking it down, but the bottom line is that the numbers Cala has looked at will no longer be the relevant numbers. Among other things, with universal coverage, you get an extra 40M people paying premiums - costs should go down, at least slightly, for even low-risk individuals (does shiv's insurance take his profession into account?).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:51 AM
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I worry (perhaps irrationally, but please, it's not because of fuzzy unicorns) that the mandate tips the balance in favor of private insurance companies, and I worry about the enforcement mechanism.

I don't mean to call you irrational, but I don't follow this at all. If the cheapest option is the gov't plan, why would the mandate tip the balance in favor of private insurance companies? (I'm seriously just not following here, which means I'm probably missing something obvious.

Worrying about the enforcement mechanism, yeah, I'm with you there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:53 AM
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imperial Obama

He was a kid, but the stint in Indonesia under Suharto may have shown him that people elsewhere will feel the consequences of thoughtless action.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:56 AM
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I think it's a somewhat safe bet that Obama will be willing to move to the left, given things like his positive comments about single-payer universal healthcare in the past. What's really terrible is that Clinton put this video up as a reason to not support Obama, which seems to preclude her ever moving toward the one sensible plan.

Interesting - I hadn't seen that, and it makes me feel better about BO. OTOH, I see the HRC ad as a basic flip-flopper attack, not a "boogie-boogie, socialized medicine!" attack. But maybe her previous line in that debate was just that. Dunno.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 10:58 AM
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Hillary's mandate (and Obama's non-mandate plan)

Their plans don't really matter. Honest. If you want to know what the outlines of the eventual package will be, look at the people on the relevant Congressional committees, because that's the sausage factory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:01 AM
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133: seconded.

The direction either Obama or Clinton moves will depend on the Congress elected. I really, really hope that the Democrats get a big enough margin that the Blue Dog types aren't necessary any more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:03 AM
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103 - We'll recall that HRC attacked him as "naive" for saying that he'd meet with the leaders of North Korea and Iran without imposing preconditions.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:03 AM
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134: See, this weirds me out. Of course whatever comes out of Congress isn't under the president's control, but the details of the plans tell us if the candidate has an accurate sense of what to push for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:07 AM
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The direction either Obama or Clinton moves will depend on the Congress elected. I really, really hope that the Democrats get a big enough margin that the Blue Dog types aren't necessary any more.

Isn't it fairly clear who will have longer coattails?


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:07 AM
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1

"I have occasionally made the same mistake, yet I find it refreshing"

How is it possible to accidentally delete all your email? Sounds like bad human factors to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:07 AM
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130: I'm having a hard time articulating it. Imagine three categories of people. Some are young, and not inclined to buy insurance at all, because they don't really think its necessary even if they could afford it. (Young people, educated, in their 20s, the most desirable category, and it's a bitch to convince them to .) Some want it, and can't afford it. And some already have it.

Under both plans, the second and third groups will get insurance, and let's say by hypothesis, there's no difference between the plans that changes how people are pushed into government vs. private.

Now let's look at the first group. Under Obama's plan, they probably don't bother to sign up. Not great, because they're a desirable group and not covered. Under Clinton's, they have to. And now the question is whether this group breaks more private, or more government. If I have the demographic right, then it's probably a group that purchases private insurance (they have the means.)

It wouldn't be enough for me to vote against Clinton, but it does seem like a situation that makes private insurance more sticky because a higher percentage of the population is covered under private insurance. And I think what the plan needs if private insurance is to wither is to make the plan not a plan just for the poor. And I think the mandate nudges it that way.

129: Nope. They didn't ask. We are pretty much in the lowest risk category. I cannot explain how terrified I am by health care costs. I probably lose mine in August. I had surgery this year, so no private insurance for me. And COBRA doesn't cover students.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:08 AM
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Oh, belatedly replying to 54:

So stras' argument isn't that Obama's plan is "better." It's that no good plan is possible, so we should support the guy's whose plan is already bad. I stand corrected.

My main argument is that of the bad plans on offer, Obama's has the only chance of passing. That's what all the "no plan with a mandate will ever pass" stuff was about. I do think his plan is actually more liberal than a Clinton/Edwards-style plan, for reasons Cala points to and reasons I've discussed before at length - that subsidies will not be enough to cover everyone who needs them, and will be vulnerable to the same "program for the poor" cuts down the line that every program for the poor has experienced in American history (see welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, home heating assistance, etc.), and that punishing those who can't afford health care with additional fines and penalties is cruel.

Since when is Brian "The Philosopher" Weatherson an expert on health care?

Since when is Ezra Klein or Paul Krugman or "JRoth"? Weatherson at least lives in a country that's actually managed national health care, and I credit that experience more than I credit the latest fad on the center left. Individual mandates were, up until two or three years ago, seen as draconian, right-wing measures by the liberal health care pundit class. I see no reason to believe that they're suddenly awesome just because some center-left think tankers decided that an endorsement of mandates would be a neat, contrarian workaround to raising taxes. At any rate, your original assertion was that "no one who knows jack shit about health care" thinks mandates are a bad idea, which is plainly not the case, as this thread and the discussion in Massachusetts shows.

Nothing about your 34 justifies BO's scorched-earth attacks on mandates. AFAIC, he's doing 2 bad things on health care: his plan, which I accept as being at least a good faith offering, and his rhetoric on it, which I find utterly despicable.

There's nothing despicable about his rhetoric. If a Clinton/Edwards-style plan magically became law tomorrow, the ultimate result would involve families who can't afford health care being financially punished by the federal government for being unable to afford health care. That's what mandates give you.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:11 AM
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129

"... Among other things, with universal coverage, you get an extra 40M people paying premiums - costs should go down, at least slightly, for even low-risk individuals (does shiv's insurance take his profession into account?)."

This makes no sense, you have 40M extra people collecting benefits also. And if the community ratings are not allowed to reflect age young people will overpay.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:11 AM
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Of course whatever comes out of Congress isn't under the president's control, but the details of the plans tell us if the candidate has an accurate sense of what to push for.

Mistake, I think. I have trouble remembering how fleshed out the Clinton UHC proposal was in 1992, but one of the lessons that we are supposed to learn from the (probably overstated) debacle is that it's a mistake to be too wedded to your own proposal.

Does anyone have a pointer to a comparison of the Hillarycare '94 and Hillarycare '08? I'm curious about what was changed.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:12 AM
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I really, really hope that the Democrats get a big enough margin that the Blue Dog types aren't necessary any more.

This will never, ever happen.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:12 AM
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139: Okay, I think I follow. That's only a problem if the gov't plan is (a) an austerity plan -- noticably worse than private insurance, so someone who can afford insurance wouldn't possibly pick it, and (b) not much cheaper -- if it were much cheaper, someone who didn't want insurance at all would pick it regardless of suckiness, as their cheapest way to satisfy the mandate. That absolutely could happen -- it's one of those devil in the details things -- but I can't see how you guard against it going in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:13 AM
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134

"The direction either Obama or Clinton moves will depend on the Congress elected. I really, really hope that the Democrats get a big enough margin that the Blue Dog types aren't necessary any more."

Additional Democrats elected will be in districts which are currently Republican and are thus likely to be Blue Dog types.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:13 AM
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If I have the demographic right, then it's probably a group that purchases private insurance (they have the means.)

I was that demographic - uninsured even tho I was doing construction - and believe me, I didn't have the means. I would have bought whatever was cheapest.

I will say this - the private insurers will work desperately to get that demo, and so will make it easy for them to sign up. They can't/won't compete on cost, but they can compete on convenience - flashy mailers, simple websites, etc.

I would add that, absent a mandate, that's a demo that will never, ever buy insurance - that's the whole point of the mandate*. Think "10M people whose health care costs are negligable." Even at a fairly negligible premium - $150/mo? - that's $18B/yr into the system. Even in a giant health care system, that's nothing to sneeze at. At a more realistic premium, it really adds up.

* Additional point of mandate - without it, you'll never get community rating, and without community rating, you can't insure the already-ill.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:18 AM
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143, 145: In which case we're really wasting our time here. They'll sabotage anything good.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:19 AM
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144: And I might be wrong. But there seems to be a deep American prejudice against public programs if there's a perception they are for Those Other People and I don't want to see that entrenched. If it's noticeably cheaper, I think that problem can be avoided, but I think the worst thing possible for a single-payer system would be people being forced into either private insurance by a mandate, or into a public system that sucked.

I should move to Canada and set up a commenter's fund.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:20 AM
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So instead, I'm going to appeal to authority, and by authority I mean hilzoy endorsing Obama.

Thanks, that article helps me a lot.

I've been on the fence for a while with my head liking Obama and my heart feeling sympathetic to Clinton (partially for the reasons pf mentioned in 48).

I find that Hilzoy piece extremely encouraging, and it makes it a lot easier to support Obama wholeheartedly.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:22 AM
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147: They probably will. The structure of the Senate alone probably fucks over any chance at real reform. This stuff doesn't happen by accident; our system has produced, naturally and over time, one conservative party and one radical right-wing party.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:24 AM
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Since when is Ezra Klein or Paul Krugman or "JRoth"? Weatherson at least lives in a country that's actually managed national health care,

OK, so just to be clear, every citizen of Australia knows as much about health care in America as people who are actually paid to study the topic. Presumably, everyone who has ever been inside a building knows as much about architecture as I do. Got it.

129: You're gaining millions of low-cost insured. Part of the reason health care is so fucked-up in this country is that at least 10M people who could afford to don't contribute until they need to take something out of it.

145 is a very good point. Additional senators is more valuable than additional representatives (for filibuster reasons).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:24 AM
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I'm sorry, is this supposed to be different from the current system, which rewards families who can't afford health care?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:26 AM
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Shit, where'd my quote go?

152 to the ultimate result would involve families who can't afford health care being financially punished by the federal government for being unable to afford health care.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:29 AM
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I'm sorry, is this supposed to be different from the current system, which rewards families who can't afford health care?

JRoth, I can't afford health care, and haven't been able to afford health care for the last seven years. But no one has been fining me or garnishing my wages because of it.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:30 AM
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My reasoning tracks that of Jim Fallows, though I'd probably state the last point a bit differently.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:31 AM
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"nut deep in random pussy."

Oh. Well, as one of the "random pussies" around here, I want to thank LB.

Clinton is the one who's been using right-wing fearmongering on terror, who argued her pro-war stance makes her a stronger candidate in the general, who stood to applaud Bush's "the surge is working" line at the State of the Union. When do you start counting that against her?

I'll probably start counting that against her--by which you mean, making it have absolute veto power, rather than being one factor among many--about the same time that liberal guys stop counting the fact that she's a woman against her while denying that that's what they're doing.

Which is to say, when all things are equal, I'll treat them as if they are. Until then, I won't, and I won't be bullied into playing fair by folks who are rhetorically stacking the deck.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:35 AM
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122: To myself, noted health care ignoramus Ezra Klein talks about factors that have swung "elite opinion" towards BO lately, and cites "When he began speaking about ending the "politics of fear" and "attacking the mindset" that led us into Iraq, he finally took, with clarity and force, a position against the politically convenient militarism which has been so deeply pernicious within the Democratic primary." No links there, but that gets to my question: he has rhetorically gone after (some of) the root causes of American Imperialism. Good good.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:36 AM
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about the same time that liberal guys stop counting the fact that she's a woman against her while denying that that's what they're doing.

Who?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:37 AM
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I'll probably start counting that against her--by which you mean, making it have absolute veto power, rather than being one factor among many--about the same time that liberal guys stop counting the fact that she's a woman against her while denying that that's what they're doing.

Oh, for fuck's sake. That's right, B., when people say they're freaked out by Clinton's hawkish tone on Iran and her continual non-apologies for her Iraq vote, what they mean is, "No fat chicks."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:37 AM
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154: And when you get needed health care, is it free? Are you healthier than you would be with health insurance? Do you magically make so much money that no subsidies would be available, yet can't afford market rate insurance?

I understand your arguments that the subsidies won't be all they're cracked up to be, but this idea that you'll be garnisheed for failing to pay 50% of your income for health care is just as unrealistic as thinking that one of these plans will become law as-is. No one thinks universal coverage can be achieved without hefty subsidies. It's pretty dishonest to claim that only the bad part will be passed. "Well, we didn't pass universal health care, but we did pass the penalties part." In what universe will that happen?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:41 AM
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Before y'all jump on B, you should read her piece on her vote today, which covers a lot of the implicit sexism of this race.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:42 AM
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Do you magically make so much money that no subsidies would be available, yet can't afford market rate insurance?

I realize you're just being pissy with stras here, but what happens at $50K for a family of four or whatever the number was when the subsidies drop out and they're mandated to buy insurance? That's a few thousand dollars, minimum, assuming they and their kids are healthy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:44 AM
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as one of the "random pussies" around here

No, no, you're very specific pussy around here.

liberal guys stop counting the fact that she's a woman against her

Sister, please. This is like saying that people opposed to Lieberman are secretly holding his Jewishness against him. There are really, really good reasons to think Clinton would be just about the worst possible person to lead the party at this moment in history and it's nothing to do with X or Y chromosomes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:45 AM
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noted health care ignoramus Ezra Klein

Klein isn't an ignoramus, he's just incredibly predictable. He more or less represents the center-left conventional wisdom on health care, and the center-left conventional wisdom on health care has been wrong for at least a decade and a half.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:45 AM
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It's pretty dishonest to claim that only the bad part will be passed.

That kind of stuff really does happen, though. EG deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. It basically bacame a cost-cutting measure and involved throwing the mentally ill out on the streets without enough support.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:45 AM
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This makes no sense, you have 40M extra people collecting benefits also.

We have that now, as Bush reminds us. People are free to go to our glorious emergency rooms and then be chased by creditors later.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:46 AM
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JRoth, take a few deep breaths and calm the fuck down already.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:47 AM
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162: Well, you're assuming that subsidies will be insufficient to avoid hardship. That's possible (see Emerson on deinstitutionalization), but avoiding it is a policy goal going in. If they fuck up a plan with mandates, it'll suck, but if they fuck up anything, it'll suck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:50 AM
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138:

I have no idea what "bad human factors" means, but I have to ask: Are you human? Who on earth talks like that?

And no, I didn't delete my email, but some saved posts in my RSS reader.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:51 AM
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165: Granted. Unalloyed bad things are a lot more likely to happen on something (relatively) small like the institutionalized than on something universal. More importantly, wasn't this pretty much 100% Reagan's doing?

162: Well, for a family of 4, you're probably looking at a $62k cutoff. You're also looking at a Medicare plan that costs less than anything currently available. But, yes, at some point, someone will have to pay for health insurance, and it will squeeze their budget.

I would note that this is a lot like what Bush has done with his tax cuts - find an atypical family that will benefit disproportionately, and pretend they're the norm. The cost for health insurance for 45 million people very well may be tens of thousands who get squeezed. The NBER study says that the cost of a mandateless plan is 20 million people not getting insured. How is that preferable?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:53 AM
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168: I'd say it's a reasonable assumption. I don't mean to sound like a small government Republican here, but this is the same number crunching that would tell that family that would miscalculate what a family should be able to afford, e.g., as a FAFSA calculation for college. Except that it's mandated, and as important as health insurance is (not care, just insurance), it's not more important than rent and transportation to work and food.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:54 AM
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What is 167 to?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:56 AM
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172: 13.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:57 AM
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169: engineers and designers?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 11:57 AM
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170: But, yes, at some point, someone will have to pay for health insurance, and it will squeeze their budget.

Yes, that was exactly my point. This is not a budget squeeze, and I did not pick a random person that would be adversely affected, because oddly enough, I thought that was right in the middle quartile and that two kids was a pretty average family.

I didn't buy into my "employer's" plan recently because I could not guarantee that doing so would not mean that I would be stuck in September not making rent. It is not helped if that is made mandatory.

Even if you assume $150 per person per month (your happy figure, not mine), that's $600 per month for your family of four? You say 20 million uninsured isn't preferable, but how is not having money to pay the heating bill because it had to go to health insurance preferable?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:00 PM
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157: This is a nice strong point. Me like.

There are really, really good reasons to think Clinton would be just about the worst possible person to lead the party at this moment in history and it's nothing to do with X or Y chromosomes.

There are good reasons to think that she is not the better of the two candidates. "Worst possible person" is hyperbole, and as such, it gets uncomfortably close to the demonizing of Hillary Clinton that's been very much a part of American discourse ever since we first heard her name.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:00 PM
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Well, you're assuming that subsidies will be insufficient to avoid hardship. That's possible (see Emerson on deinstitutionalization), but avoiding it is a policy goal going in.

I really don't see how it's avoidable. The whole point of a mandates + subsidies scheme is that the mandate exists to force people to enroll, and the only people who need to be forced to enroll are the people who aren't getting subsidies but probably need them. That is, nobody doesn't want health insurance; these are people who look at their finances and realize they can't afford health insurance. The mandate is there because it assumes the existence of a category of people for whom health insurance is prohibitively expensive, but who won't be receiving subsidies.

And obviously there's the problem, alluded to a couple times in this thread, that subsidies will be cut down the line, putting more people who can't afford to pay for health care into this group.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:01 PM
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The whole point of a mandates + subsidies scheme is that the mandate exists to force people to enroll, and the only people who need to be forced to enroll are the people who aren't getting subsidies but probably need them. That is, nobody doesn't want health insurance; these are people who look at their finances and realize they can't afford health insurance.

Huh. I thought we were worried about the young healthy "I'm going to live forever" demographic who could afford insurance, but think they'll manage without it -- me, the year before law school when I was a temp. I don't even know if I could have afforded insurance, but I could have come up with a couple of grand without too much trouble.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:05 PM
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That is, worried about them in terms of them fucking up the system, affecting the average costs by having young healthy people opt out, and then presumably opt in again only when they get sick.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:07 PM
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That is, worried about them in terms of them fucking up the system, affecting the average costs by having young healthy people opt out, and then presumably opt in again only when they get sick.

This was my experience with legal insurance. People opted in when they were about to use it, then opted out when they didnt have a need.

The model just didnt work well.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:08 PM
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the problem, alluded to a couple times in this thread, that subsidies will be cut down the line,

Assumption not proven. The reason that the subsidy goes up above median income - aside from affordability issues - is that this captures a solid majority of Americans. This makes it more like "third rail" Social Security than like Medicare/Medicaid, which is a program for the poor that has been vulnerable. To reduce subsidies for health care would be to take money out of the pockets of 60% of the country. Even granting that they are less likely to vote, that doesn't make a lot of political sense.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:09 PM
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176: "Worst possible person" is hyperbole

Well yeah, if you ignore the fact that she killed Vince Foster and all that. The "kinder and gentler" demonization of HRC by the left has been one of the most disappointing aspects of this primary season.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:11 PM
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"Worst possible person" is hyperbole

Of all the legitimate candidates. Yes, Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich or Lyndon LaRouche would be worse, but there were perhaps a dozen people with a realistic shot at the nomination and of those dozen, HRC brings arguably the least progressive record of any of them at one of the rare moments where a progressive can actually win. She, like Bill Clinton, is basically a Rockefeller Republican and has consistently voted that way her entire Senate career.

The past demonization is what it is; however unfair it has been, its lingering effect is a factor that primary voters can ignore only at their own party's peril. She'll be a drag downticket in red states; I don't see any way around it. Obama may be as well, it's a roll of the dice, but the Dem officeholders in those states appear to feel he'll be less of one, by dint of endorsements.

So I'll amend to worst possible nominee, restricting the field to actual possible nominees. The meta worries about your or anybody else's vote is being informed by racism or sexism are honestly beside the point. I expect Clinton's presidency to look like her Senate career, and that's absolutely not what the country needs right now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:17 PM
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The "kinder and gentler" demonization of HRC by the left has been one of the most disappointing aspects of this primary season.

Agreed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:18 PM
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184 posted before seeing 183, but I think there is an argument to be made that this:

I expect Clinton's presidency to look like her Senate career

May be less true of Clinton than many people.

She entered the Senate needing to prove that she could work with people and not be "divisive." This is the same pressure that, arguably, makes Obama's Senate record lower key than it would be if he hadn't been planning on running for president.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:21 PM
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Has anyone seen a comparison of the Clinton and Obama education plans? I ran a search for basically those terms last night, didn't find anything early, and gave up. It's one of a number of issues I realized I don't know much about the candidates views on, other than that they're members of the Democratic party (and some stuff about college costs).


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:22 PM
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183 is an argument I can respect. I ask only that my feeling that being asked to suck it up and not vote for the woman because teh misogynists won't let her win is a hell of a lot to ask, and that in the grand scheme of things, not knuckling under to that kind of argument is *maybe* as valid a progressive instinct as voting for Obama.

In any case, I really still am not decided. I'm actually kind of trying to talk myself into voting for Obama, but since so many of the pro-Obama arguments are rooted in anti-Hillaryism that, one way or another, shakes hands with misogyny, it's really hard to settle into a decision without feeling like one is compromising with the devil.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:23 PM
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The "kinder and gentler" demonization of HRC by the left has been one of the most disappointing aspects of this primary season.

The extension of IOKIYAR to IOKIYAClintonite, on the other hand, has been awesome.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:24 PM
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There's no numbers quoted here, but this is from HRC's actual plan:

This credit will ensure that securing quality health care is never a crushing burden for any working family. This guarantee will be achieved through a premium affordability tax credit that ensures that health premiums never rise above a certain percentage of family income. The tax credit will be indexed over time, and designed to maintain consumer price consciousness in choosing health plans, even for those who reach the percentage of income limit.
I'll note that in the intro para, she cites $40k income for a family of 4 as 200% of the poverty line, and $12k as prohibitively expensive. Also, 2/3 of the uninsured are below that 200% line.

I think that Cala's numbers aren't atypical of Americans - they're just atypical of the uninsured. There may be 50M families of 4 earning $50-70k, but only a few of them don't already have insurance.

Yes, I'm so fucking out of control that I'm reading PDFs of health care plans.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:24 PM
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This makes it more like "third rail" Social Security than like Medicare/Medicaid

Social Security is the third rail because it's universal - absolutely everyone has a stake in it, and even then we have to fight off occasional hit jobs like Bush's privatization scheme. Single-payer would set up a dynamic like that. The program you're talking about, though, will be a sitting duck for cuts. If the subsidies effectively cover the middle class, they'd produce any number of cases Republicans would cherry-pick to show off as the new welfare queens - "These people make $70,000 a year, and they're still getting your tax dollars!" - and if they stop well short of middle class, they'd only serve a constituency too unempowered to protect them from cuts in the first place.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:24 PM
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Oh, and the credits are "refundable," which means that you get the $$ even if you don't pay income tax.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:26 PM
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feeling like one is compromising with the devil

Oh, but you are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:26 PM
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187.1 is a cruddy argument, if that's what people are saying. 183 pretty neatly lays out my thoughts, with some additional folderol about civil liberties appended.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:27 PM
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I think that the hypothesis in 185--that she'll be less prone to compromise once she's in power (and if she's got a Democratic majority in congress)--is as much a gamble as gambling that Obama's rhetorical skill will pay off in real results. Maybe a little more of a gamble, given Hilzoy's post yesterday. I just wish that both the Obama camp and the Clinton camp would be willing to grant that the other side's taking a gamble and that that's okay and doesn't mean that they're hopelessly naive or stupid.

Wd, here is Hillary's campaign statement about education. Here is Obama's. I think you're going to have to do the comparisons yourself, though, b/c I haven't seen anyone giving a shit about this particular issue so far.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:27 PM
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I ask only that my feeling that being asked to suck it up and not vote for the woman because teh misogynists won't let her win is a hell of a lot to ask

I understand that. Honestly, I do. It's not so different from the Green/Nader arguments eight years ago, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:29 PM
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The "kinder and gentler" demonization of HRC by the left has been one of the most disappointing aspects of this primary season.

Hear, hear ! In 48, when I suggested that I love Hillary for her enemies, I wasn't merely talking about the nutjobs on the right.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:29 PM
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190: You're certainly right that single-payer is more untouchable. I also see it as unachievable in the short term - opinions differ. But as for your fears expressed in 190, I just feel like, at some point, you have to go ahead and make your argument to the people, and not be afraid that there's a counter-argument out there. The constituency for universal coverage is not limited to the 45M uninsured; it includes tens of millions of the underinsured and those who are shackled to jobs for the insurance.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:31 PM
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295: "not so different" except that was clear electoral suicide, whereas a Clinton vote is electorally ambiguous at worst and may in the end be a positive.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:32 PM
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192: Apo, I really love you. I thought you were gonna link to that photo of Hillary yelling that you posted recently, and I was all set to get indignant and point out that THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT HERE. But no. Kisses!!

187.1 is a cruddy argument, if that's what people are saying.

It's part of what a lot of people are saying--in essence, that she can't beat McCain because, well, people hate her so much. Even my beloved Apo was saying that that was part of the case against her in the comment to which I was responding in 187--though, as I hope is clear, I 100% believe that his reasons for supporting Obama and not Clinton are totally above board (and furthermore, I recognize that the electability issue *is* an important one, no matter how much it makes me want to start braining people with a hardbound copy of Backlash).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:32 PM
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196: And what better company could you have in your stand against nutjobs than bob mcmanus. Bonne chance.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:33 PM
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The "kinder and gentler" demonization of HRC by the left has been one of the most disappointing aspects of this primary season.

If this is too much for your tender ears, you should be thanking Great Zombie Jesus the Left seems to have settled on criticizing the Clintons for being real mean instead of remembering what they actually did when they were in the White House.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:34 PM
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It's not so different from the Green/Nader arguments eight years ago, though.

I think it's safe to say that HRC has better chances, even against McCain, than Nader did.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:34 PM
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Huckabee takes WV after a second round of voting at the state convention, according to CNN.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:36 PM
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195: Mmm, Clinton isn't exactly a third-party candidate, and she's not arguing that there's no difference between the parties and that we might as well punish the American people by letting them have a Republican in office if they can't achieve political purity.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:37 PM
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198: Sure, different candidates, different situations, but similar arguments. And I understood the Greens' objections as well. The ones I knew were basically saying, like Kucinich's supporters, that they were being browbeaten into not voting for the candidate who represented them best because the country wouldn't allow DFHs to be president.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:38 PM
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Huckabee takes WV after a second round of voting at the state convention, according to CNN.

McCain's ploy worked.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:39 PM
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200: When you're right, you're right. I don't share bob's seeming loathing of Obama, but I do share his disdain for the argument that Obama = Jesus. And like bob, I seem to hate Hillary insufficiently.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:41 PM
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201 is a case in point. "They," kemosabe?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:43 PM
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208: did Bill not say people were voting for the team back then?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:46 PM
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What you have to understand, Sifu, is that, while it's obviously laughable to think that HRC gained any experience as First Lady - going to Kosovo with Sinbad and all that - she is nonetheless fully responsible for all the bad stuff.

It's not a hard game to follow.*

* In fairness, I don't recall stras talking about the experience thing; but others here certainly have.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:48 PM
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205: I kind of see what you mean, but I think the specifics make the difference between third-party candidates and HRC major enough that the similarities in the argument are really pretty thin. Not quite as thin as "Hitler liked organic honey too," but sweeping aside the facts to point out the superficial structural resemblances between the arguments is pretty, well, sweeping.

(Shorter comment: don't call me a Nader voter!!!)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:49 PM
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201 is a case in point. "They," kemosabe?

Seriously? The entire premise of the current Clinton campaign is that it claims continuity with the previous Clinton administration. Those "thirty-five years of experience"? A lot of them come as first lady of the US or of Arkansas. If you accept this, then Hillary Clinton is responsible in some part for the actions of Bill Clinton's administration. If you don't accept this, then the "experience" argument is pure bullshit - Obama has more time in elected office than Clinton does.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:51 PM
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210: I can't imagine stras would talk about the experience thing like that, since it completely contradicts what he's been saying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:51 PM
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207: Maybe, like bob, you like the rhetoric of a radical, but you've got the soul of a sellout. It's an excellent way to make cash and keep your lefty cred. Or so people tell me.

People have different priorities, and those lead to different candidate choices. Unlike Apo, I think the electability issue favors HRC. I think it's small enough an issue, given old man McCain, that I'm putting less weight on it. I'm not sure what the other factors are that drive the pro-Clinton faction--"she's a woman" seems like a pretty good reason to me, as does "I want a repeat of Team Clinton"--but I'm sure they exist.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:51 PM
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210: JRoth, don't try to apply to me a position I didn't take. I'll give Clinton the experience she wants credit for. But that's shit experience in my book.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:54 PM
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Poor demonized Hillary, who played the race card with minimal subtlety when she thought it would help her.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:58 PM
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Shorter comment: don't call me a Nader voter!

I wasn't denigrating either argument; I was trying to say that I understand where they both come from and am actually pretty sympathetic to both. My first vote in a presidential primary was for Jesse Jackson.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 12:59 PM
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My first vote in a presidential primary was for Jesse Jackson

But can you dance?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:00 PM
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206: I guess as long as he doesn't do any push-polling about Romney's spawnkids, it's OK.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:01 PM
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I think Hillary is wonkier than Obama.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:01 PM
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Not worth a damn. Nor can I even get close to touching a basketball rim.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:01 PM
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I think Hillary is wonkier than Obama.

Run that wonky campaign, white girl!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:02 PM
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216: that was Bill, ogged, you sexist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:03 PM
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215: Jesus, who needs to take a breath now? I was being completely serious - I was outlining what I thought was a bogus, heads-I-win, tails-you-lose argument, and saying that I didn't think you had used it. If you want to embrace it, I guess you're welcome to, but fuck - I was trying to be fair and respectful (I brought you up at all because B's original comment was to you).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:03 PM
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216: We're having that discussion over at Edge of the American West, too. To which I said,

I'm not saying that I want to support Clinton because I think the sexist bullshit is Obama's fault. (While I think you're saying that one reason you support Obama is that the racist bullshit *is* Clinton's.) I'm saying that I'm working really hard to try to distinguish between my independent assessment of Clinton's merits and my realization that a *lot* of the arguments against her (as distinct from the arguments *for* Obama, but the two get conflated constantly) are at least partly rooted in sexism and should therefore not weigh in my considerations.

That is, I'm pretty confident that my desire to not vote against Clinton isn't because I'm afraid of a black president; I'm also confident most of the arguments people have given me to do so have something to do with sexism.

This is as distinct from reasons to vote *for* Obama, which are great. But "poor demonized Hillary" isn't a pro-Obama sentiment; it's an anti-Clinton one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:05 PM
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216: IOKIYAC. And you know what? It's the smart move, I think. Clinton's playing for the big prize, and the point of the game is to win, so I'm relatively sympathetic on that score. And either Obama can survive such a thing or he can't. Better to find out now.

Some of the supporter responses are disappointing. But the broad response has been heartening. Whatever. It's the silly season.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:06 PM
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Maybe, like bob, you like the rhetoric of a radical, but you've got the soul of a sellout.

No, this isn't right. I like the rhetoric of a sellout, too. This is where I part company with bob, who probably resents Obama for voting to fund a whole buncha war out of political expediency.

They are all politicians, and ought to be judged accordingly. When Edwards lies about his Iraq vote, nobody gets upset. I don't, either, because I believe that he chose lies that serve useful political ends, and my best guess is that his heart is in the right place. I believe the same about Hillary.

All things being equal, I'd vote Edwards. If, at this second you asked me, I'd probably favor Obama (maybe. I think). But the idea that he is somehow above politics, or is some kind of transformative politician ... well, it might be true ! But Hillary and Edwards both have decent cases to make in this regard, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:07 PM
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223: No, being annoyed with the Clinton campaign because of that is fair. Using it to dismiss the equal* problem of the sexist crap people have thrown at Hillary, however, is not.

*Arguably worse; I think "the media" generally saw Clinton's racist crap for what it was, and certainly most of us here did. But the media has completely pushed a lot of sexist crap into the discussion, and a lot of Obama supporters (including my own beloved husband) have floated some of it in argument.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:09 PM
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Not worth a damn. Nor can I even get close to touching a basketball rim.

So you're depending on the other test?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:09 PM
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When Edwards lies about his Iraq vote, nobody gets upset.

Umm, how is "I was wrong and shouldn't have voted that way" a lie?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:11 PM
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But "poor demonized Hillary" isn't a pro-Obama sentiment; it's an anti-Clinton one.

No, it's an anti-JP Stormcrow one. Clinton has played hardball as the primaries have ramped up, and painting her as the victim really is sexist. No doubt some of the resistance to Obama has roots in racism, and some of the resistance to Clinton has roots in sexism, but unless we're talking about specific people or specific comments, pretending that we can read each other's minds is just a a way to get everyone riled up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:11 PM
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But the idea that he is somehow above politics, or is some kind of transformative politician

Possibly that's a political lie of the kind with which I think you're OK. So then you pick your priorities and measure the records. And, hey, a lot of people did back the war.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:13 PM
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So you're depending on the other test?

I fail the paper bag test, too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:14 PM
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You say that like it's a bad thing not the whole point, ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:14 PM
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233: Judging from the beach picture, so does Obama.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:16 PM
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Not to mention that the totally mainstream worry about Obama is precisely the same as the classic racist trope of blacks as eloquent but untrustworthy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:16 PM
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don't want to wade through the paperwork

This reminds me that I haven't told Unfogged of my genius plan for attacking the Repubs' "portable" health insurance crap. (I heard Huckabee call it a "partnership between you and your insurance company." Sweet fancy Jesus.)

The Dems should insist that any candidate who endorses it give up their existing healthcare. Others have suggested this for members of Congress, though not nearly as strenuously as I'd like. Further, though, they have to go out and shop for a new, individual plan. No getting on a spouse's coverage or buying into some other group plan. And then the clincher: they have to handle every damn bit of the paperwork personally, not assign it to an assistant or even a spouse.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:18 PM
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Umm, how is "I was wrong and shouldn't have voted that way" a lie?

Edwards voted the way he did out of political expediency, and his claim otherwise is dishonest. Tell me, do you think it's possible that if the political were blowing anti-war at the time, Edwards have taken a principled pro-war stand? You're dreaming.

Hillary chose a different lie than Edwards. We can argue the merits and impact of different falsehoods, but if you are an Edwards fan, you're not in a position to argue that Hillary's war vote disqualifies her, nor are you in a position to say that the fact that she lied about her war vote disqualifies her.

(I'd argue that for political reasons, I prefer Edwards' lies to Hillary's, but that's a different argument.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:19 PM
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231: Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. You're right about painting her as a victim being sexist, but I don't think that's what Stormcrow is doing *at all*. I think he was simply agreeing with me that a lot of pro-Obama arguments get delivered in the same breath as pretty heinous anti-Clinton ones.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:21 PM
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232: Sounds like comity to me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:21 PM
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225 is right.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:21 PM
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the classic racist trope of blacks as eloquent but untrustworthy

Does it make me more or less racist that I have no idea what you're talking about? Examples, please.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:24 PM
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but if you are an Edwards fan, you're not in a position to argue that Hillary's war vote disqualifies her, nor are you in a position to say that the fact that she lied about her war vote disqualifies her.

Not the fact of it, but the nature of it. Which is, in fact, the distinction most Edwards' supporters rely on (truth or lie independent).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:24 PM
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236: Absolutely. And in a post I wrote last night which I know you haven't read, because you hate me, I figured that out. Some of the comments and links people left in that post really demonstrate that the "he's a lightweight, it's just rhetoric" argument has no basis in reality. (And I think I said here not too long ago that I worry about the "it's just rhetoric" thing, and that Apo, if memory serves, pointed out that I was wrong.) I'd go so far as to say that inasmuch as Obama's *perceived* as a lightweight it's because the mainstream media isn't doing it's fucking job, and is happily (and racistly) presenting him as the "real articulate and hip young (black) candidate." Just like they're happily and sexistly presenting Clinton as the "untrustworthy emotional overly ambitious unlikeable bitch."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:25 PM
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Not to mention that the totally mainstream worry about Obama is precisely the same as the classic racist trope of blacks as eloquent but untrustworthy.

Whoa. Nice observation. Therefore mainstream worry about Obama is racist.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:25 PM
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hip young (black) candidate

I think the HRC campaign's preferred terminology is "hip black friend." I might be misremembering that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:27 PM
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Tell me, do you think it's possible that if the political were blowing anti-war at the time, Edwards have taken a principled pro-war stand? You're dreaming.

Or maybe Edwards' thinking on Iraq evolved exactly like that of, say, Ogged or Kevin Drum or Yglesias or half the country. I don't have the telepathic powers to say. I've never said that HRC *lied* about her Iraq vote. What bothers me is that she continues to refuse to take responsibility for it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:28 PM
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243: Again, that's comity.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:28 PM
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"he's a lightweight, it's just rhetoric"

Ah. If this is what 236 meant, I get it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:29 PM
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I've never said that HRC *lied* about her Iraq vote. What bothers me is that she continues to refuse to take responsibility for it.

That bothers me, but not as much as the fact that she genuinely seems to subscribe to a much more hawkish version of foreign policy, and that she seems to think this is both good policy and good politics.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:32 PM
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Examples of smooth-talkin', untrustworthy Negroes:

Smoove B
the "eloquent" thing
a lot of criticisms of Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan for demogoguery
the stand up routines (I can't remember who's done these, but someone here will) making fun of black public figures for using fancy words (in the comedy routines, they always use them incorrectly)
the stereotype of the Uncle Tom, which is one that white liberals (e.g., critics of Clarence Thomas) are a leeeetle too happy to employ
Johnnie Cochran

That's off the top of my head. In a more literary vein, I'd offer Bre'r Rabbit (legitimately part of African American culture, but a part that's very much approved and promoted by whites--wonder why?), every fast-talking drug dealer/criminal tv character, Spike Lee's character in Do the Right Thing....

I'm sure there are a lot of other contemporary examples.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:37 PM
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251: Morris Day


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:39 PM
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Certainly some of the anti-Obama tropes are grounded in racist archetypes, but the 10-second takeaway most people have of him is "young guy [who looks even younger], got famous giving a speech 4 years ago when he wasn't even a Senator yet." Edwards got a lot of the same mistrust (to the point where his natural constituency ignored him).

Now the reality is that Obama spent a decent amount of time in Springfield, while Edwards never held other public office, but I don't think casual voters much credit statehouse experience. For a long time, Dave Barry's stand-in for "really worthless person" was "state legislator."

Of course, if John Lewis were being dismissed as an articulate lightweight, you'd know it was stone racism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:40 PM
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the 10-second takeaway most people have of him is "young guy [who looks even younger], got famous giving a speech 4 years ago when he wasn't even a Senator yet."

Right, but that's partly because of media racism (or, if you want to be "objective", media shallowness). Just like the "lightweight" charge against John Edwards was about homophobia (omg he's so vain!!1), and Clintons "unlikeability" is about sexism.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:43 PM
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I think you can go to popular TV/movies for examples of in not untrustworthy then at least inauthentic smooth talking blacks: Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince (as opposed to Will Smith); Will Smith's character in 6 Degrees of Separation, the DelaCroix character in Bamboozled .........


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:43 PM
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Well, Obama really is somewhat inexperienced, and Hillary really is a strident harpy, and Edwards really is a lightweight, which makes it very difficult to be sure that any particular criticism is rooted in a prejudice, rather than an honest assessment--thus my call for specifics.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:46 PM
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251, 255: Yeah, I get those. I was confused by ogged's particular use of "eloquent" because I don't think the folks who don't trust, say, Sharpton think he's eloquent. "Smooth talkin'" is a whole different thing in my vocabulary.

Ever notice how the Lurs use fancy words they don't really understand?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:48 PM
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By the way, since we're talking candidates: I think Hillary missed a chance to score a knockout blow on Obama in a debate (two or three debates ago) when he and Edwards rushed to say that they'd strike Pakistan without hesitation if Pakistan had been up to no good, and Hillary pointed out that of course you need to tell India first, because the region is so tense. If she'd framed that properly and made a bigger deal of it: "This is why experience matters. My opponents don't want to seem weak, but the fact is that what they just described might start a nuclear war..." it would have made Obama look terrible. As it is, it's a forgotten moment in the campaign.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:50 PM
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You know, Ogged, I'm really trying here. Don't bait me, unless you want to see what strident harpy really means.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:50 PM
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Who's more likely to push for gays in the military?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:52 PM
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I was confused by ogged's particular use of "eloquent"

Think of Jesse Jackson, who everyone thought was a hell of a speechifier, but never a "serious" candidate. And there's also the stereotype of blacks as eloquent, which isn't quite as common as blacks have rhythm, but is pretty widely believed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:52 PM
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247: I can get behind that. There is at least one contemporary account (Shrum) that supports the narrative that Edwards was acting out of political expediency, but my deeper point is that Edwards' sincerity in supporting the war is not a big factor for me.

And yes, Hillary hasn't owned up to her responsibility.

Comity.

Interesting historical fact: Not only did Edwards support the war authorization, like Hillary he also voted against the Levin amendment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:53 PM
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Ever notice how the Lurs use fancy words they don't really understand?

You know, I was just saying to Ogged in an email yesterday that I'm going to just start believing this every time he annoys me. Funny.

also, 259 to 256.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:54 PM
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169

"I have no idea what "bad human factors" means, but I have to ask: Are you human? Who on earth talks like that?"

"Bad human factors" means designing an user interface which makes it easy for the user to do the wrong thing, particularly when the wrong thing is destructive and irreversible like reformatting your hard drive or less extremely deleting everything in your RSS reader.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 1:54 PM
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Ogged revealed.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:00 PM
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eloquent, in this context, i think function very similarly to rhythm, which is primarily to say, not the same as articulate. A matter or melody over diction.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:01 PM
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Man, I can't wait for this election to be over, so I can stop spending all my free time hating a couple politicians and go back to hating everybody.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:01 PM
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Hillary is not a "strident harpy." She isn't especially charismatic, mind you, but her unlikeability is indeed partly manufactured Heathers-in-the-press corps content. However, her unlikeability also stems from some very real actions of her own: she is correctly seen as being compromised by her pro-war and pro-establishment politics, and the dirty campaigning against Obama has tarnished her personally far more than any number of articles about weepiness could have done. No matter how many times they're repeated, charges of sexism will not dissipate those negatives for Hillary. It's therefore fruitless to go on claiming that the sexism is the decisive factor. It isn't.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:02 PM
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Guys, it simply does not follow that if 'eloquent lightweight' is sometimes a racist trope, those who worry that Obama is eloquent but inexperienced are operating from racist assumptions.

Honestly.

This doesn't rule out the possibility, of course, but it doesn't prove a damn thing in the absence, as Ogged says, of specific examples.

In any case, even if the reasoning above did hold, what's the conclusion supposed to be? That we must not, may not, worry about Obama's experience, or note that he's a damned good speaker, because it's racist to note these things? Come on now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:02 PM
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179

"That is, worried about them in terms of them fucking up the system, affecting the average costs by having young healthy people opt out, and then presumably opt in again only when they get sick."

If by young you mean under 30 this would not be a serious problem as healthy people under 30 don't require expensive treatment that often.

I don't see why community rating shouldn't be allowed to take age into account which would reduce the opposition of healthy young people to mandated insurance by making it a better deal for them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:03 PM
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258: I noticed that moment, too, and was struck the same way. It was in the NH debate, I think. You're right that examples like that make the "experience" argument sound much more persuasive. (Although even the lamest collection of advisors would be able to point out that particular oversight before the nukes were launched.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:03 PM
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I'll listen to DS on this topic when he stops advocating for his own special interest candidate - Granholm.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:05 PM
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(Although even the lamest collection of advisors would be able to point out that particular oversight before the nukes were launched.)

Where have you been the last 7 years?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:06 PM
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Hillary really is a strident harpy

Hillary is not a "strident harpy."

I move that we have a six hundred comment-long discussion on whether Hillary is objectively harpyish, and what constitutes objective harpyishness.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:06 PM
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(Although even the lamest collection of advisors would be able to point out that particular oversight before the nukes were launched.)

Of course, but that's hardly an effective retort in a debate. "I'd, um, trust my advisors to advise me on that point" doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:07 PM
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Hillary is not a "strident harpy."

I thought "strident harpy" was an old Unfogged joke from the very funny craigslist ad some woman had posted. "Strident harpy seeks..." but now I can't find that old post. Anyway, it was supposed to be a joke, not that you lot--women, black, honkies; god's own refuse--would get it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:07 PM
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women, black, honkies; god's own refuse

Lur, lur, lur.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:09 PM
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I think that "likability" is a bogus trope invented to use against Gore. Nixon, Johnson, and Bush I weren't at all likable, and Carter really wasn't either. Bush II has been packaged as likable, which makes his case pretty meta. Clinton, Reagan, and Kennedy did have that personal appeal, but it isn't a requirement of office.

And most people who don't like Hillary are people who don't think that women should be boss.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:09 PM
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271: You know what's depressing? Cheney was the implicit retort to a debate gotcha along those lines in 2000. Everyone just assumed that, even if GW wanted to do something stupid, Uncle Dick would stop him.

Sigh.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:11 PM
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Oh, fuck, I remember that ad. Forget what I said, she's totally a strident harpy.

My special interest candidate is a Clinton, actually, it's just his first name is "George."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:11 PM
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264: For my part, James, I understood you, and I think your use of that expression is perfectly reasonable.

But I also think that this points out where you and I disagree as political thinkers. You see failures and attribute them to bad human factors, and I see failures and look for ways that system design could have prevented them. Bad human factors are inevitable, and ought to be addressed by sensible system design.

Your thinking (I argue) has the tendency to let bad system designers off the hook. I realize that your counter-argument is that I let individuals off the hook.

(Of course, I agree with you that you have to screw up pretty badly to delete all of your e-mail.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:12 PM
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279: What's more reassuring is that in actual situations, Barack has proved to be non-crazy and levelheaded. So he (hopefully, anyway) wouldn't be a case of "well, the advisors will take care of everything."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:13 PM
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god's own refuse

Hmph.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:17 PM
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I move that we have a six hundred comment-long discussion on whether Hillary is objectively harpyish, and what constitutes objective harpyishness.

I'm no sexist, but when she started stealing the food out of the hands of the king of Thrace as an instrument of Zeus's divine retribution, I think that settled the matter.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:18 PM
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I move that we have a six hundred comment-long discussion on whether Hillary is objectively harpyish, and what constitutes objective harpyishness.

I'm no sexist, but when she started stealing the food out of the hands of the king of Thrace as an instrument of Zeus's divine retribution, I think that settled the matter.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:18 PM
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Thou doth protest too much, snarkout.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:19 PM
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god's own refuse, and the egregious semicolon, take it a little far, no?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:21 PM
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Thou doth protest too much, snarkout.

I admit it! I am a sexist, and when she started fouling that Thracian plate... I was secretly glad.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:23 PM
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The semi-colon was an editing artifact for which I take full responsibility. My bad.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:27 PM
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268: The specifics you're talking about, though, aren't "likeability" issues; they're policy issues. "Likeability" is code for "want to have a beer with." (Or some version thereof.) (Also, what Emerson said.)

269: Deliberately, or consciously racist? No, probably not. But it's the same as the argument about sexism: the facts are that narratives that fit into preexisting stereotypes are persuasive. The "Obama's a lightweight" narrative fits into the preexisting stereotype about black job applicants; there's a reason that it's not just *some* people's worry about Obama but is, rather, a fairly common "concern."

Especially when you read what people who've actually done the digging into his record have to say.

276: There's joking, and then there's joking-on-the-square, oh Mr. "she really is unlikeable, and that really is a cackle, and I totally blame the tears."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:28 PM
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290.1: Pro-war is a policy issue, yes, but dirty campaigning isn't really a policy issue -- it's a perception issue. "Likeability" is a bullshit meme, granted. But it does go to perception of her personality as a candidate.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:30 PM
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Dirty campaigning I'll grant you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:34 PM
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Give Hillary a fork and she'd be a trident harpy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:34 PM
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251: You take that back about Mookie.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:35 PM
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231, 239: re: Stormcrows various, "anti" and unqualified.

BP is right, I am not singling out Hillary as a victim of "sexism" per se, so much as noting the tone of attacks, and how they run right along some very familiar ruts. (And the Obama ones do as well, but they are the ruts of generic attacks on blacks, Clinton's are from specific history, as well as some generic sexist tropes.)

I will just say that once public figures like the Clintons (and I will combine them for this mini-analysis) have had videotapes advertised on television by other prominent people claiming that they had 40+ people murdered for political gain, that people supporting this ridiculousness were given a half-hour extended time slot on the show of one of the major TV pundits (Tweety), after the leading financial journal in the country printed over three hundred direct atttack editorials, after the whole freaking press corps went insane over the evil that was Bill and Hillary, that one becomes somewhat hypersensitive to "ZOMG Hillary is the DEVIL!!" messages.

All of that said, for a variety of reasons, I for one do wish that she had *not* run for the Presidency this (or maybe any) election. But she did. and she is the possible/likely nominee. (And no I do not believe that she would have been some juggernaut in 2004 who did the party harm by not running.) However, I am very frustrated and resentful that some of the reasons I did not want her to run are tied up with the prior BS. And in the end the Clintons are savvy, sometime unscrupulous political people, JUST LIKE EVERY SERIOUS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN MY LIFETIME.

Bottom line: No, Hillary is not the 'victim' here, our political discourse is. As prominent politicans the Clintons own their piece of that, but theres ain't no thang compared to the press, the Repubs etc, etc.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:36 PM
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"Likeability" is code for "want to have a beer fellatio with."

Hillary's likeable enough.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:37 PM
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people supporting this ridiculousness were given a half-hour extended time slot on the show of one of the major TV pundits (Tweety)

I wish!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:37 PM
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295: eff it, "theirs ain't no thang", not "theres".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:38 PM
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297: Gennifer Flowers was part of the show I'm thinking of, so ....


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:40 PM
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299: oh, now I remember. Woo what a day that was!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:42 PM
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Wikipedia says Gennifer Flowers' current husband is named Finis D. Shelnutt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:45 PM
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294: Mookie! That's right. Hey, I liked Mookie, but you can't pretend that this "baby baby please baby baby please" thing (which was a carryover from She Gotta Have It) wasn't a bit of a joke on the player stereotype.

296: You are seriously trying to get me to put a contract out on you, aren't you?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:46 PM
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If by "contract", you mean "fellatio", then yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:48 PM
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Here you go, apo honey.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 2:51 PM
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Aha! It was an evil harpy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:11 PM
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284, 288: In my dreamworld, the dichotomy isn't virgin/whore, but siren/harpy. I mean, sure, they're both lethal, but at least it's a bit more explicit what's going on.

Also in my dreamworld: no squirrels in my attic. Fucking vermin.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:12 PM
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"I read your post, and then after picking myself up of the floor from laughing, I read it to my roomate. If I'm not enough of a doormat for you, he's very interested."

I love this man.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:14 PM
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In my dreamworld, the dichotomy isn't virgin/whore, but attic squirrel/basement rat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:14 PM
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308: Setting up my workshop the other day, I found a heretofore unknown mouse nest in a pile of old rags. They're gone, thank god. But still. Makes me want to climb out a second floor window.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:19 PM
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281

"(Of course, I agree with you that you have to screw up pretty badly to delete all of your e-mail.)"

Actually I think you may be misunderstanding me. You should have to screw pretty badly to delete all your email but with a bad design (ie a design with bad human factors) it is possible to delete all your email just by hitting the wrong key.

I was not trying to blame Becks or Voet for accidentally deleting the contents of their RSS reader instead I was suggesting the software they were using was probably badly designed.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:20 PM
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Squirrel haters may be even worse than Clinton haters.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:20 PM
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209: Mice won't hurt you, you big pussy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:21 PM
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310: Ah, I did misunderstand you, but I see it now.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:21 PM
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can't pretend that this "baby baby please baby baby please" thing (which was a carryover from She Gotta Have It) wasn't a bit of a joke on the player stereotype.

I think I know what part you're referring to, in which case I agree. Also, I just read some of the screenplay, the ending is interestingly different.

Finally, wikipedia cites an extra on the DVD for the claim:

For many viewers, one of many questions at the end of the film is whether Mookie 'does the right thing' when he throws the garbage can through the window, thus inciting the riot that destroys Sal's pizzeria. The question is directly raised by the contradictory quotations that end the film, one advocating non-violence, the other advocating violent self-defense in response to oppression. However, Lee himself has stated that only white viewers ask this question. He believes the key point is that Mookie was angry at the death of Radio Raheem, and that viewers who question the riot's justification are implicitly valuing white property over the life of a black man.
I find that surprising.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:41 PM
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Spike Lee is a nutter. And Do the Right Thing is much overpraised.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:45 PM
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315: Siskel and Ebert were among the overpraisers, but I remember they said a true thing about that flick: It's one of those rare movies that you can talk about for longer than it's running time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 3:57 PM
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I dunno about Spike Lee. His politics are something I can at least sympathize with almost always, even where I can't agree with him. His movies always seem to me to be almost great -- like, they're so close, and if he made a couple of decisions differently they would be great. But I can't think of a lot of directors I think make great movies. (The former should be read with the understanding that I am entirely uneducated about movies.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:03 PM
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His movies always seem to me to be almost great

I often used to think the same thing. Now I don't make a particular effort to see Spike Lee movies, so I couldn't tell you.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:08 PM
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Like anyone with a lengthy filmography, his work is a mixed bag, but some of it is very good, especially Do The Right Thing and 25th Hour.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:10 PM
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Yes, well, me neither. Since I had kids, I hardly ever go to the movies - it never seems worth the babysitter when you can rent them. And then I don't rent them, because anything more than an hour long on TV puts me to sleep.

I am seventy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:10 PM
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But I was very impressed by She's Gotta Have It when I saw it in high school, although I still don't know what to do with the rape scene.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:11 PM
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but some of it is very good, especially Do The Right Thing

Disagree. It's my least favorite of his earliest films. Way, way overpraised. OTOH, people are too hard on "Mo Better" and especially "School Daze."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:18 PM
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although I still don't know what to do with the rape scene

Gawd, yes. The first draft of my comment references Gotta Have It, but I couldn't figure out how to annotate it to make exactly that point clear. Just fucking brutal.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:23 PM
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My Spike Lee sleeper is He Got Game. It is uneven, as most of his films are, but it has some sweet moments scattered throughout. My favorite bit can even be viewed as somewhat relevant to some of the discussion on this thread:

[The father, Denzel Washington, explaining to his son why he named him Jesus.]

[on Earl Monroe] Jesus. That's what they called him- Jesus. 'Cause he was the truth. Then the white media got a hold of it. Then they got to call him Black Jesus. He can't just be Jesus. He got to be Black Jesus. You know, but still... he was the truth. So that's the real reason why you got your name.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:31 PM
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Mice won't hurt you, you big pussy.

Mmmm, hantavirus.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:32 PM
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I can't go vote until I figure out what to do for props 94-97. (Expansion of tribal gambling) Any Californians want to tell me how I should vote and why? The Chronicle's editorial in opposition was kind of weird.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:33 PM
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Otto, Mark Kleiman says to vote no, Kevin Drum says to vote yes.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:38 PM
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326: I voted No on all four, though I was tempted to throw one Yes in there just for giggles. I guess I think the gambling is big enough, thank you very much.

But then there's a chance that they'll all be instated anyway regardless of the way the vote goes, so don't let it hold you back.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:41 PM
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My meager google fu isn't turning up a news account, but this editorial describes what I was asserting in 328.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:48 PM
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Thanks, I think I'm ready then.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:54 PM
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251: That trope goes right back to minstrelsy. After all, it was allegedly a black man in NYC who sang:
Wheel about, and turn about,
And do just so,
Every time I turn about,
I jump Jim Crow!"

Later, the "dandy" character reappears in pop culture even after blackface minstrelsy is pretty much dead in the US. Consider the prisoner-making-phone-calls character from "In Living Color" who uses ridiculously exaggerated diction while making telephone calls. Aaaand we're right back at "articulate".

As far as Spike Lee goes, I think School Daze remains his masterpiece, and Bamboozled his flawed masterpiece. (It's great agitprop, but not as accessible to general audiences, if you ask me.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 4:59 PM
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326: No on the compacts. They eliminate labor and environmental regulations that were standard in the last round. The tribal casinos are sweatshops that aren't beholden to U.S. labor law; the previous compacts put in procedures for union recognition.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:21 PM
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Cheers also to He Got Game. Lee and Sean Penn are the only morally serious American filmmakers of our time.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:23 PM
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Jim Jarmusch.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:26 PM
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Awesome. We are going to play this game.

Ghost Dog is an aesthetic appreciation of a moral code. Nothing else qualifies. Also, isn't he secretly Norwegian?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:31 PM
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I know everyone but me thinks John Sayles is square, but tough.

(Also, I just flicked past "Casa de los Babys" on IFC, and character A asks character B if she's religious. "Not really. I put Ethical Culture on my application." "What's that?" "If you're Jewish? The last resort. Orthodox, Reform, Unitarian, Ethical Culture.")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:33 PM
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I was thinking of Dead Man.

IMDB says he was born in Ohio.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:34 PM
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I'll give you Sayles, though he gets a class of his own -- he's the only social American filmmaker of our day. That's not nearly as inflammatory a troll, but I'd still like to see counters.

Dead Man? I have to admit, my impressions are faded and mostly sensory; there's an elegiac quality to Jarmusch that makes me resist him, but I can't recall the stakes of the plot well enough to judge. Does William Blake have a whole lot to do in the movie? I remember it more as his coming to terms with existence.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:39 PM
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I love, love Dead Man. One of my favorites ever.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:49 PM
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Jonathan Rosenbaum loves Dead Man, and here's the nut from his review.

In many other respects as well Dead Man represents a fresh start, even a quantum leap for Jarmusch, in style as well as subject. (I've seen the film six times now, and each time it's grown in beauty, resonance, and visionary power; as Hoberman puts it, "This is the Western Andrei Tarkovsky always wanted to make.") The view of America offered here--not merely by Nobody but by the film itself--is a good deal darker and considerably scarier than anything in Jarmusch's five previous features. Even though the film is set in the late 19th century (Jarmusch's first foray into period filmmaking), the commentary on America in the 1990s couldn't be more pointed--and grim, enough to make some viewers uneasy. Jarmusch's meticulously researched and multifaceted approach to Native American cultures--which he respects without ever patronizing, idealizing, or otherwise simplifying--is in sobering contrast to his frightening portrait of white America as a primitive, anarchic world of spiteful bounty hunters, deranged trappers, and generally ornery individuals who regard every stranger as a moneymaking opportunity and/or object to be picked clean. Almost everything we learn about Nobody's life derives from Jarmusch's astute research into Native American cultures; what we see of white America derives from his research, poetic insight, and gallows humor.

The noblest antecedents of this disquieting apocalyptic portrait are literary rather than cinematic. Consider William Blake's poem "London":

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new born Infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

And consider this from William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch: "America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting." These passages, written a little over a century and a half apart, describe worlds in which evil and blight are metaphysical principles--the contemporary world for Blake, and a seemingly timeless one for Burroughs. In a way, Dead Man grows out of a horrified view of industrialized America compatible with the apocalyptic visions of both Blake and Burroughs, superimposed over an image of the American west haunted by the massive slaughter of Native Americans. And because it confounds much of our mythology about the western--reversing some of its philosophical presuppositions by associating a westward journey with death rather than rebirth, for example, and with pessimism rather than hope--a fair number of Americans aren't ready for it. Dead Man implicitly rejects the current staples of commercial filmmaking--the feel-good slaughterfests of Woo and Tarantino, the affectless formalism and callow merchandising of MTV, the plot-driven buddy movie--choosing instead to meditate on the relation of death to the natural world. One key occurrence in the movie is the eerie, poetic, mystical moment when Blake, lost and alone in the wilderness, curls up alongside an accidentally slain fawn.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:50 PM
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338: an elegiac quality to Jarmusch
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:53 PM
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Jim Jarmusch

Alas, I could not stand Mystery Train. One of the only films I've ever actually turned off before it was over. Dead Man I haven't seen.

"morally serious" American filmmakers? Agreed on Spike Lee and Sean Penn (though I'd not have thought of him). Lee's "choppiness" in at least his earlier work is part of the deal. Do the Right Thing is just compelling, man. Hell, I saw it in a theater in Amherst, Mass., and when it was over, the audience continued to sit there in silence for a full 5 minutes, staring dumbly at the credits, before finally getting up to leave.

The only other time I've seen that was at a screening of The Piano.

Other candidates for morally serious filmmaking (though it's just American?): Peter Weir.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 5:54 PM
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It's that exact metaphysical quality that makes me resist it. I loved it, don't get me wrong. But it is not about individuals grappling with morality. Action is not particularly dependent on individual humans; is there anything William Blake does in the movie that has much effect? The Rosenbaum suggests that the world of Dead Man is larger than individual decisions; it's not preoccupied with the human-level failure of ecocide or genocide; the social calamity and the violent culture play out against pitiless natural rhythms.

This is also why I resist Sayles; even though he does put people in serious moral situations, he decenters the individual to describe the social organism. Lee and Penn, on the other hand, are making morally serious Hollywood movies; they have human stakes in their storytelling which I find very rare. Jarmusch and Sayles are making (awesome) movies about More than People.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:01 PM
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Morally serious? That's a helluva tag to hang on some folx who just wanna make a movie, buddy. Eric Rohmer's morally serious, but that can kinda grate on you after awhile. Paul Thomas Anderson aspires to moral seriousness, but it seems to get in the way of his filmmaking more often than not. Patricia Rozema is morally playful at times, and she pretty much always gets it right. There's a certain defiant moral righteousness to exercises in bourgeoisie epatering like Kids (Larry Clark, 1995) and Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997). But morally serious? Sounds more like a literature thing to me.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:07 PM
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Sean Penn, by the way, is four for four, although I don't think many people have seen the first three, and he's not someone you think of as one of the top filmmakers of his generation because he gets more attention for picking up the paparazzi and bopping them on the head, or defending Jude Law and Iraqi civilians with the same humorless ferocity.

In 1991 he released The Indian Runner, which stars Viggo Mortensen and is based on Bruce Springsteen's "Highway Patrolman". His following two movies were 1995's The Crossing Guard and 2001's The Pledge, both starring Jack Nicholson, the latter based on a Durenmatt novel. Into The Wild feels like a departure from those three, which are wonderful in the high stakes of their compactness; the last one is of course, more rhapsodic and epic, and in my opinion equally brilliant.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:07 PM
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This is interesting. For me, one of the many things that I love about Dead Man is that there are real stakes for William Blake, and he does (to my mind) have to do several real things (though only some of them are external actions) to get to a victorious ending -- it's just that victory is explicitly a good death, and not in the usual way. Yes, the movie is about More than People, but it is also really truly, in my reading, about one person's death. And I like that the trajectory has real meaning for Nobody as well as for Blake. To the extent that Blake isn't a fully-fledged individual with individual goals and meanings, he is an interesting and actualizing experience for Nobody, a sort of Magic Whitey. I like that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:07 PM
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344: Well, that's probably why there are so few of them.

Hey, I'm not trying to ruin anyone's party. Ocean's 11 is one of my favorite-evers. The Soderbergh/Clooney one.

Rozema?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:09 PM
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Yes, I will certainly give you Jarmusch. Makes me want to see Dead Man. Stranger Than Paradise was an eye-opener for me back in the day and I have yet to get tired of Ghost Dog after several viewings.

And yes, Jarmusch is from Akron it turns out. I don't think "Akron" knows this. Quine is another relatively unclaimed native .


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:12 PM
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There's a certain defiant moral righteousness to exercises in bourgeoisie epatering like Kids (Larry Clark, 1995) and Gummo (Harmony Korine, 1997).

I think you mean there's a certain crappy, craven, self-satisfied pandering, in these cases.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:13 PM
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The original Ocean's 11 would be one of the worst movies of all time if it hadn't partially inspired Desmond Dekker to write one of his best songs. The remakes, even the last one, are miles above it. Like, dig that crazy stratosphere, cats!

Wait a sec, I'm getting called a hoser for not thinking that Winnipeg counts as a major metropolitan area, and you don't know Rozema, eh?

See When Night is Falling (Patricia Rozema, 1995).


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:13 PM
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Do the Right Thing is just compelling, man.

That's a function of the subject matter, and Lee's publicity strategy (for lack of a better term; I'm sure the thinking was sincere) re the same. It does not wear well, as I recall. Lee is (was?) an enormously talented filmmaker. And in his early films set in deeply black landscapes, are inventive, fun, and sometimes deeply shocking (I'll never quite get over the rape in "She's Gotta"). "Do The Right Thing," and to a greater extent, "Malcom X," suffer from what I think of as the Gandhi problem: IIRC, David Lean said you could not make a good film about Gandhi b/c the fix was in and you had to treat him as a saint. It's not quite the same thing with "Do The Right Thing," but it's a subject matter flick, and there was something that was almost necessarily self-conscious about responses to it that just destroy the ability to judge the film.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:17 PM
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Apparently I've been on about this before.

341: In black and white it was elegiac. Or at least fancy.

350: added to movielens queue.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:17 PM
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349: Uh, yeah, that's what I meant. Did I mention that I just saw Underworld, USA (Samuel Fuller, 1961 [although I would swear that the roman numerals on the title card denoted "1960"])? That's a brilliant movie about morality. It hews to the Production Code pretty closely, but there's some scenes that are 1,000 times as lascivious and depraved as any feverish opium dreams of Korine or Von Trier.

A moral ain't nothin' but a mushroom.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:19 PM
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How is it, Minneapolitan? I liked Pickup on South Street and his war movies, but Shock Corridor and White Dog left me cold (even though they're really admirable work).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:24 PM
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351:

but it's a subject matter flick, and there was something that was almost necessarily self-conscious about responses to it that just destroy the ability to judge the film.

I understand what you're saying, but no, in this case, no: this was a pretty early screening of the film, and people were not prepped. And they were stunned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:36 PM
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I am close to Wrongshore in movie taste, though I think I like Sayles for the same reason that Wrongshore dislikes him. I thought that Lone Star was close to a perfect little movie. I thought Do The Right Thing was a near perfect meditation on loathing of white people - hence my deeply mixed feeling for it as art, and my negative feeling for it as a polemic.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:50 PM
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Underworld, USA was exceptionally messed up. I don't know if it was "fucked in the neck like J3rry H@@f", as we used to say, but it was definitely worth seeing. You could almost, almost read it as a parody of hard-boiled crime movies. After all, it did come out post-À bout de souffle and thus after the Cahiers crowd had been rolling for awhile. The expressionistic lighting, just to name one element, is heavy to the point of kitsch. When the protagonist winds up in the penitentiary, he's shot in a medium close-up with a dark bar of shadow across his eyes, like a cat-burglar mask. There's also a great scene where a character comes to after being knocked out and the first thing she sees is image after image of gruesomely-lighted dolls at Caligari-esque angles. The viewer already knows that the babies are harmless, but for the character they're clearly supposed to serve as a surreal indictment of her life as a prostitute, which is then played for laughs.
Even in its most regimented moments, like when the anti-hero finally decides to do the right thing, there's a pretty available subtext that critiques the Code and anyone foolish enough to buy into its penny-ante "morality."
Also, the chief villain is clearly the stylistic inspiration for Marlon Brando's eponymous turn in The Island of Dr. Moreau (John Frankenheimer, 1996). Camp-tastic!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 6:54 PM
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Just back from a disappointing dinner and a great movie (Juno - have you heard about it? Really good!). Now, to defend my honor:

Mice won't hurt you, you big pussy.

Squirrel haters may be even worse than Clinton haters.

Look, the mice crapped all over my pantry (not to mention the basement where they were living) and ruined a hundred $$ worth of food. The squirrels, meanwhile, are chewing holes in my eaves and, last winter, ate the wiring off my whole house fan. I am no longer rodent-tolerant.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:41 PM
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Ah, I didn't even realized this had turned into a movie thread. Funny!

I think this is the 4th or so movie I've seen in a theater in the 3.75 yrs since daughter was born. Maybe 4 more at home. Not a movie person. I like the ones I like, but I'm never motivated to see additional ones.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-08 8:51 PM
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Other candidates for morally serious filmmaking

Ken Loach.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 6-08 12:13 AM
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