Thursday, April 1, 2010

And the game resumes unimpeded

So the Health Care thing passed and was signed. Did that slow the endless flinging of insults back and forth? Nope. Did it even mildly lessen the exaggerated claims by both sides? Nope. In fact, it intensified them. Let's look and laugh before proceeding:

Democrats maintain that spending what will likely be trillions will somehow save us money. Right. And overdrawing my checking account will somehow pay off my mortgage. Seriously Nancy, we are not that stupid. They also continue to soft pedal the individual mandate as somehow a good thing, even though individual mandates are almost always a bad thing. Think poll tax, except bigger and badder.

Republicans continue to bray about a government takeover of the health care system. Yeah. Except for the obvious fact that the law actually props up the private health insurance industry by establishing exchanges where these private companies can sell their policies. The only difference between the New York Stock Exchange and these insurance exchanges is what is being traded. Remember NYSE determines what can be traded there.

Perhaps my personal favorite is the contention that members of congress and the president should be required to join the "ObamaCare plan." What plan? That obvious silliness aside, I happen to agree that members of Congress should have to shop the actual private health insurance market. Just like I had to.

The President of the United States is another matter. Regardless of who the president is, I want her/him to have the best of the best. As it is right now, the president has military physicians assigned. As it should be. And former presidents deserve whatever we can give them as thanks for a thankless and fairly brutal job.

OK. I am hoping this is my last piece on Health Care. We need to move on to other issues that are still pending. Other things that will affect us more directly and rapidly than the health care thing.

Like oil exploration. This one seems almost scripted just for me. A president who was opposed to offshore exploration and drilling in and near the US announces that he has looked at it again and changed his mind. Right. Obama announced that the Republicans were right about this. Not in those words, of course. Heaven forbid any politician credit the opposing party with anything. However, it seems to me that this is a lot more flexible and open to ideas than the GOP claims.

So what happens? Spitballs flung immediately and steadily. The GOP in the person of several (R) members of that disgusting body known as Congress immediately yelled "flip-flop." These are the same lame-brains that were yelling, "Listen to our ideas." Now that Obama has, they need to condemn their own ideas. Some called it a fake. Some said it didn't go far enough. And some even complained about lawsuits yet to be filed by private organizations as if Obama controlled them. Apparently, "Drill, Baby, Drill," only counts if a Republican says it.

Democrats? Oh, grow up Democrats. This is no longer the 1960's. Oil is not going away anytime soon. And like it or not, American needs oil. We can buy it from hostile Arab nations or try to use what we have here. Almost immediately after Obama's announcement, the condemnations were rolling. Seemingly adult Democrats reacting as if struck physically. And by what? by a president governing an entire nation and not just the Democrat part.

There is an old chunk of political wisdom that I learned from Hubert Humphrey - if both sides are angry, then it must be the right thing. Well, both sides are angry, which leads me to think this makes sense.

Let's look at Obama's energy stuff - nuclear power plants (long the Dems' most hated idea) and now offshore exploration. Both ideas called for by Republicans in the 2008 election and now condemned by the exact same Republicans when enacted by a Democrat president. And the Democrats? Well, they still want that magic energy solution. And nothing else. They condemned the nuclear and the oil decisions.

Democrats need to take a much firmer grasp on current reality and stop the dangerous pretense of creating a utopia by simply demanding one. The endless call for "clean, renewable energy" sounds great. Except for one thing. It does not yet exist in a form that is affordable for the average American. And Cap & Trade is just stupid right now. We can ill afford to further constrain energy companies in the fantasy name of "carbon emissions."

While research is vital and important, so is a continuing energy resource. Stopping further oil development in lieu of a not yet existing solution is crazy talk. So is condemning the idea of expanding oil exploration simply because of the party affiliation of the person who called for it.

Republicans, who have spent the last year crying that Obama didn't want to hear their ideas now complain when he does. Pick one, kids.

Both sides need to take a long time out in the corner until they learn to play well with others. That is exactly what the Congress is. 530 (as of today) kids who do not play well with others. I suggest we treat them as such.

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