I originally posted this on my Myspace blog on Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008.
I have been debating a liberal friend of mine about Obama v. Clinton.
I am withholding his name, but thought maybe some of you political junkies might like to chime in. It started a bit sarcastic, but then discourse prevailed.
It all started with his email:
Subject: WSJ – excellent analysis of Obama & Clinton health care plans
My sarcastic response:
Dude, you’re doing it wrong IMO.
Read Krugmans blog. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/
Hillary’s plan is superior in my judgment, and the WSJ is a right wing paper…
His thoughtful response:
Krugman is an excellent economist, but I don’t really like his political analyses. I’ve seen him several times on Real Time w/ Bill Maher, and he usually gets beat down (he’s a bit too socialist for me). Anyway, Krugman is making a huge mistake here….taking campaign promises at face value. Do you honestly believe that Hillary’s plan won’t change once she realizes mandates are unenforceable? It will have to change, and it will end up being some kind of privately run program….she’s a corporatist, just like Bill was. Not saying that Obama’s half-baked plan won’t end up being the same thing, but to fall in love with Hillary over her health care program is, to me, buying snake oil.
Personally, I don’t really give a sh** about healthcare. Costs will stop rising when we take care of the immigration issue in this country. How many illegals are taken care of in our hospitals, only to skip on the bill & leave taxpayers holding it? I’d like to see perhaps a buy-up style health care program. Take care of the poor and uninsured, but make sure those who can afford better coverage can GET better coverage without costing more than our existing plans. That said, I’m certainly not basing my vote on a single issue….particularly since I bitch about single issue voters all the time (see: Evangelicals & abortion)
This election is about one thing for me. Fresh air in Washington. I don’t want to spend half my adult life living under Bush (4 yrs) Clinton (8 yrs) Bush (8 yrs) Clinton (? Yrs). We need a president who can UNIFY this country after GWB has successfully divided it. I think it is important that the world see us as being a peaceful, progressive state again, and Obama, as a symbol, would be very powerful. Do you think the leaders of the middle east are more likely to listen to a woman or to Obama? Hillary is about as divisive a candidate as you’ll find. Look at poll numbers for Hillary vs McCain and Obama vs McCain….
Forcing me to rebut without sarcasm:
Okay, first of all, I enjoy the correct usage of analyses. The only reason Krugman gets beat down on Maher, is that he won’t yell over Tucker Carlson like Carlson will to him. This is what happened last time I saw him, and Krugman was making logical points, while Tucker was channeling Ann Coulter.
His point, in past blogs and columns, is that it will be a knock out drag down fight to get universal health care–or anything even close to it–even with the will of the people. At the root of his arguments, is that we must start with the ‘universal’ goal before letting it get whittled away (as it probably will). As in when negotiating, and you throw out the first number, if you are selling, make it high.
He feels (and I agree that ) Obama is starting out with a whittled away position. Additionally, allowing people not to buy in initially, but then to buy in subsequently when they sicken, will raise premiums for everyone else. This would also deteriorate ‘volume discounts’ that the population could receive as a whole.
A privately run program equals subsidies to insurance companies, in my mind, so avoiding that becomes the apparent goal.
Bill was not a very liberal president, and I cannot argue against you saying that she is a ‘corporatist’. But remember, I would have chosen Kucinich, Biden, Richardson, and Edwards before her. At this point, in my mind, as a super liberal, she is the lesser of two evils.
I think you are off a bit on the illiegal immigration issues. Americans pay 30% more (read: bureaucratic costs from the current inefficient insurance structure) than other developed countries.
I think we need to unify against the big business and their shills, and I think Hillary is the best man for the job.
Also, regarding the middle east, I think they respond more to power and diplomacy than the sex or the race. Remember, at that level, we are dealing with the often western educated plutocrats in the middle east, not the ghetto suicide bombers.
Your last point is well taken; Obama is currently beating her in the general ‘versus McCain’ poll, but not significantlyl. However, at this point, I am happy to support my candidate of choice based on policy. As time goes forward, I very well may revise my choice. The last thing I want, as you do, is a Republican in the White House.
Obama gives the best speech recent memory, and his charisma is undeniable. I get tingly hearing him speak some times (not the ghey). However, I believe that I have heard more hype and rhetoric from him, and less policies with which I agree, than from Hillary.
He was right on Iraq initially though. Although I think Kucinich is the only one that I can think of that stood tall and voted against the funding of the Iraq genocide each time.
P.S. I am going to post this discourse on my myspace blog, with your name excluded. I think it may spur some interesting discourse with other political junkies. Feel free to identify yourself if you wish.
Here’s to hoping I start a massive political thread here, with minimal flaming and trolling!