- Scrap the current health care plan and go simpler. Like the lady who runs the scrap yard in Mystery Men, the only words I know in response to the current plan on offer are "Junk it!" Seriously. J-u-n-k- i-t. It's overly complicated, won't achieve much in the way of insuring the uninsured and will radically drive up costs while limiting choice. What's the upside to this bill? Health insurance reform should ideally be three things: portable, individual, and cheap. Thus, I think that a good reform policy would tie insurance to the worker rather than his job, eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions, allow rate-for-risk, eliminate restrictions on inter-state policies sales (under the Interstate Commerce and Equal Protection clauses of the Constitution), and give the tax exemption for insurance to individuals rather than companies. This policy mix would, I believe, increase real wages as employers were freed from having to budget annually for unpredictable rises in premiums, lower costs due to increased competition (why shouldn't I be able to get quotes from all 2400 insurers in this country instead of the three available in my area?), decrease unemployment, and most importantly, be fair.
- Declare victory in Iraq. The war in Iraq is, effectively, over. Bush's surge worked as advertised. Throw the right a bone by admitting that Bush did a good thing, and throw the libs one by reducing our troop presence there by 75% from the current 107,000 and celebrate that we as a country did something against our cold-hearted self-interest. We brought freedom and voting rights to a country that knew nothing of either, and did so in the heart of the most oppressed region of the world. What's not there for a liberal to like? Moreover, this would be a great place to deploy some of Obama's patented no more red/blue rhetoric. As in, "WE, the people of the United States, not Republicans or Democrats, but as AMERICANS, defeated an evil dictator, overcame an Al-Qaeda stronghold, and set free 25 million Shiites, Sunnis, and Assyrian Christians." Immediately, commentators on the right would have "strange new respect" for Obama, and libs would have something to celebrate in that our troops are coming home.
- Surge into Afghanistan. If the Afghan war is worth fighting, then it's worth winning. So let's put enough boots on the ground to win, not simply enough to look like we're doing something, and taking casualties without gaining ground.
- Reverse course on Gitmo and stop granting citizen rights to terrorists. When your own Attorney General says that Gitmo is a Geneva Conventions compliant prison, what's the rush on closing it and moving its inmates here? Again, other than allowing for liberal moral preening, what's the legal, diplomatic, and national security/strategic benefit? More to the point, during WWII, we tried German spies as foreign combatants with military tribunals and summarily executed them. Further, the Geneva Conventions only apply to those in uniform with an identifiable chain of command (i.e., ranks). Now, I am not saying that we shouldn't apply Geneva protections to enemy combatants, but why not interrogate, try in military commission, and then execute or imprison as appropriate? That's surely a more legally, morally, and security-wise coherent policy of granting full citizen due process rights to KSM and his Gitmo ilk while Hellfire missiling suspected terrorists and their families overseas.
- Radically cut spending. Don't "freeze" certain categories of spending, or cut the rate of growth. Cut real spending entirely. Remove the "baselines" for all programs and set your total budget at less than $3 trillion (which was the 2007 budget) and veto any spending that exceeds it. When we're already spending more $ than we take in at a gigantic rate, you'd get credit for balancing the budget and generating a surplus, just like Bill Clinton. Dems could claim to be the party of fiscal sobriety and a lot of the "out of touch" sentiment would vaporize overnight. Fears that we are spending our grandchildren's inheritance would diminish and consumer confindence would improve. Dems would reap the electoral benefits and the economy would breathe easier. Of course, libs like Speaker Pelosi would hate it, but she'd swallow that a lot better than Steny Hoyer being the new minority leader come next January.
Friday, January 29, 2010
5 Ways for Obama to dodge the coming tsunami
During a recent interview with Diane Sawyer, President Obama stated that he would rather "be a great one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." (I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of the quote). That dichotomy obviously leaves out a few other options, like being a mediocre or even a terrible one-term president or being a good or great two-term one. Further, as much as I'd like to help President Obama find his way to ending his administration in 2012, I think there are things he could do, consistent with his priorities, which would be both good for the country and his presidential legacy. More importantly, they wouldn't represent his current, "give 'em more cowbell, keep kicking against the clear will of the people" strategy. And while I obviously don't hold out much hope that the President of the United States will read this blog, I do think that perhaps those of us who want our country to prosper regardless of the letter after the name of its leaders will consider and perhaps support the following things in the leaders they vote for this fall: