As of this writing Obama has presented his plan before the American people and a joint session of Congress - A Congress that graciously begrudgingly gave him a time slot at their convenience.
The republicans are probably somewhat chastened by a brutal August among their constituents. I know for our part - New Yorkers gave Nan Hayworth little peace. The heckling started the minute she returned home and she was shadowed by angry constituents every day of her recess. One even stripped off her shirt (she was wearing a bathing suit) saying that she was losing her shirt to tea party policies. Ironic, since she was a “job creator” with her own (now outsourced) business. But I digress. It appears to have been a similar period of purgatory in other districts throughout the county. Sooooooo - doing nothing is probably not an option. But giving Obama a victory is also NOT an option.
That’s pretty much what Obama and the democrats are up against in Congress. In my previous post on hostage politics, I mentioned the tyranny of the majority had been supplanted by the tyranny of the minority. The tea party is governing from the minority and they are willing to drive the US and world economy off a cliff in the name of their warped ideology. As discussed in the Federalist Papers - it was theoretically possible for a minority faction to take the government hostage. But the question remains - how do you negotiate with a radical faction like the tea party.
As a Realtor® - I negotiate for a living. Under any kind of normal circumstances i would say that you catch more flies with honey. I encourage my clients to be honest, up-front and reasonable and I give the heave-ho to any client who plays games with a very serious negotiation. But there is one critical difference between a real estate transaction and negotiating with the tea party. In real estate - either party can choose to walk away. You have an option NOT to negotiate with any given party. This often happens when one side digs in and refuses to budge. A buyer can move on to a new house, a seller can wait for another buyer. There is no such “out” for members of Congress and the president. They have to work with what they’ve got - and what they’ve got is a brick wall. If there is one thing I have learned by being in real estate. Trying to move a brick wall is well nigh impossible.
Contrary to standard and prudent practice in real estate - this is a situation where the President and Congress must DIG IN and say “no!” when things get out of hand. They have to face the stare-down on the other side and not blink or they will be held captive to it. Here is how Stephen Colbert would handle things.
Seldom in our history has so much been given to those who already have so much. And this past week we seemed to give away the store. Welcome to Hostage Politics - and the future of the American political system if we are not careful. This is a perfect example of how a small but united faction can force their political will on Congress and the President by extortion.
Tonight I am going to a “State of the Union” party in my hometown. Several progressives decided to get together in a group and enjoy each other’s company and watch the spectacle from a wide screen TV in a rented room in downtown White Plains.
Many of my friends in this group have been bitterly disappointed in Obama’s performance over the past two years. At one meeting there was a woman crying over the fact that she was a progressive and had expected a great deal more from the Obama Administration.
The crazies are out in force these days aren’t they? No area more so than on the in the health care reform bill. This tea party movement fundamentalist - and a former nurse no less -clearly lacks the basic understanding about what insurance is supposed to be. She was particularly concerned that insurance companies not be required to insure children regardless of their health care history.
Health care reform is about covering everyone - not just the healthy…
Oh my goodness…where do you begin on something like this? The purpose of health insurance is to cover people when they are sick. They pay into the system when well in the hopes that they will lose money. To win in the insurance lottery means that you lose in the health lottery. I don’t know about you, but I would rather lose in the insurance lottery than cash in with a heart transplant. In that way, the healthy pay for the sick. Which is why the requirement to purchase health insurance is the lynchpin of health care reform. We need a large enough pool of healthy people to cover the sick. Since this same sort of mentality believes that a required opt-in is “unconstitutional” she automatically consigns children who were born with health issues to a lifetime of struggling to get treatment.
Insurers need to be required to insure and not sell snake oil…
Insurers should not be allowed to opt out if they wish to remain in the insurance business. That’s what regulation is all about. Insurance industries in particular need to be regulated because the service they provide puts them at odds with the public interest. You have to FORCE THEM to do the right thing. If you don’t, then people have what whistle blower Wendell Potter refers to as junk plans that nothing better than an expensive form of snake oil.