Monday, February 11, 2008

Why you don’t pick a president by their health plan

Even if I wanted to, I could ill hide the fact that I plan to Barack the vote in the primary, the caucus and the general election. Yet I give full credit to Hillary Clinton for championing the issue of health care in America as best she could for the past decade or so. I will go so far as to say that Senator Clinton is the reason Obama and Edwards needed to make it their issue as well. The reason they were even talking about it, at times.

But here’s why the particulars of candidates’ health plans don’t matter so much when it comes to who we elect our next President. For starters, the candidates admit that they are more similar than divergent when it comes to policy. From the economy to the war to health care, the broad strokes are painted in the same bold blue. They want to curb the mortgage crisis, bring the troops home and make health care more affordable.

Lately though, Senators Obama and Clinton have been wont to point out one difference in particular. Hillary’s plan will “cover everyone”. How does she plan to do that? She will simply make everyone pay for health coverage. That’s like passing a law that everyone must eat three squares and then declaring victory over hunger.

Barack’s plan, much like Hillary’s, aims to make health care more affordable. The logic being that people who aren’t covered probably have some financial hurdles to tackle. That a mandate would necessitate some sort of penalty for non-compliance. (When pressed for answers, Mrs. Clinton had one useful suggestion to enact her plan – wage garnishing.)

So it’s not that Senator Clinton’s plan would be more affordable, or that her numbers add up better than his. It’s just that she would simply make everyone do it and call it “universal”. Very Presidential, indeed.

C’mon. We know that no matter what health plan is proposed, it will have to pass two houses of Congress. And like an embattled filet mignon, it won’t look the same coming out the other end. So let us consider the vision used to propose a plan, the leadership needed to enact it and the spirit to fight for accessible health care. But see the plans for what they are – plans. And don’t forget the other battles our next leader will have to fight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

How Texas Can Do Some Primary Penance

When I moved to Dallas two years ago, one of my reservations stemmed from the fact that Texas was Bush country. How could I live and work among the fine, proud Texans who had helped unleash the Decider upon the world?

But over the course of time, I noticed that my new neighbors were less and less proud of their association with Mein President. I began to see a hushing of the voice, a bowing of the head, when conversation turned to all things Dubya.

But a sense of vindication I did not feel. No, it was no fun to have been right about the contrived, illegal debacle going on overseas. Not when impeachment would prove to be "off the table". Not when Al Gore would sooner remove his own molars with a Swiss Army knife than run for office again. And not even now, when we've got a year left for George history-will judge-me Bush to push his agenda past a paraplegic Congress.

There is but one thing Texas can do to take responsibility for its part in this mess. That's to help elect someone who will get us out of it. I'm not just talking about ending the war. No newly elected POTUS is going to use his go-go-Gadget arm to yank every troop home by year's end. But it would be nice to elect the candidate who spoke out against this war from the start. As opposed to, say, someone who voted for it.

It would be nice for the Lone Star State to support the lone Democratic candidate who does not employ federal lobbyists or take money from special interests, who has released his tax returns to the public and made his earmark funding requests transparent.

It would behoove the now-penitent home state of G-Dub to bestow its votes upon Senator Barack Obama, who will begin to make up for our current President with his verbal acuity alone. Not to mention his respect for the Constitution, which all but hangs in tatters after eight years of misuse. Or shall we say disuse.

You and I haven't the time to recount the myriad abuses of the Bush years. But we do have time, between now and March 4th, to grab those bootstraps and pull Texas' good name out of the mud. Let's put those
Bush Wasn't Born In Texas bumper stickers to good use and elect his worst nightmare. That, friends and neighbors, is the stuff of our American dreams.