Crushing Doctors

Matthew Yglesias provides a good example of what Democrats must avoid if they are to become a majority party. He presents a graph on Medicare spending and concludes that the solution is “crushing of the doctor’s lobby” and “some kind of doctor-crushing initiative.” Fortunately he has many readers, which presumably includes liberal Democratic voters, who debunk both his argument and his framing.

The flaws in his argument are already presented by those commenting on his post so I will not bother with that other than to note that inequities in health care spending with respect to both region and specialty are well known and are of concern to many doctors. The problem could be better solved by working with them as opposed to speaking of crushing doctors. While the cost of defensive medicine to prevent law suits is often exaggerated by conservatives as a defensive mechanism to allow them to ignore all other health care problems, this is an important aspect of the situation which Yglesias presents. When there are many subspecialists in an area, primary care physicians do feel pressured to refer more often to cover their asses, and the subspecialists feel obligated to do something (and spend some money) to justify the referral to them, as well as cover their own asses. Shakespeare’s advice with regards to lawyers might make for a better solution as opposed to crushing the doctors.

Posing his argument in this fashion will obviously not earn Yglesias any friends in the medical profession. The damage goes beyond that. To many people, even if incorrect, the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats is one of a difference between the successful and failures. Some see Republicans as the party of both those who are currently successful in our economy and those who strive to become successful by virtue of their own efforts. They see Democrats as the party of those who cannot succeed without government help. Barack Obama’s numerous supporters among the affluent is ignored in promoting such stereotypes, or written off as irrelevant elitists. Regrettably a recent Democratic campaign has only served to help promote such right wing memes.

When viewed with these stereotypes, a the promotion of crushing doctors by a Democratic blogger will be seen as a personal threat by successful individuals of all professions. The gut reaction to this post from Yglesias will be that if the Democrats are going to crush doctors once they take power they might next decide to crush me. Class warfare has been a failing strategy for Democrats in the past, as well as for those who resorted to it in the recent primary campaign. Fortunately the Democrats were wise to move beyond this mindset with the nomination of Barack Obama.

Attempts to Con Jewish Voters About Obama

Although Jewish voters represent only a very small percent of the population, there certainly seems to be considerable effort to scare Jewish voters away from voting for Obama. Yesterday I noted the attempts of the Clinton campaign to use race to create a wedge with Jewish voters. There was another report yesterday from Christopher Hayes at The Nation showing how Jewish voters are being conned by an anti-Semite.

Hayes reminds viewers of research he did in the past which connected the views expressed in the anti-Obama emails to Andy Martin:

On August 10, 2004, just two weeks after Obama had given his much-heralded keynote speech at the DNC in Boston, a perennial Republican Senate candidate and self-described “independent contrarian columnist” named Andy Martin issued a press release. In it, he announced a press conference in which he would expose Obama for having “lied to the American people” and “misrepresent[ed] his own heritage.”

Martin raised all kinds of strange allegations about Obama but focused on him attempting to hide his Muslim past. “It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel,” read Martin’s statement. “His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support.”

A quick word about Andy Martin. During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a “crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

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Quote of the Day: Clinton Endorses Obama

The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.

And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.

I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I’ve had a front-row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.

In his own life, Barack Obama has lived the American dream, as a community organizer, in the State Senate, as a United States senator. He has dedicated himself to ensuring the dream is realized. And in this campaign, he has inspired so many to become involved in the democratic process and invested in our common future.

Now, when I started this race, I intended to win back the White House and make sure we have a president who puts our country back on the path to peace, prosperity and progress. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do, by ensuring that Barack Obama walks through the doors of the Oval Office on January 20, 2009.

Hillary Clinton

It is dangerous to go by memory but this most likely ranks as the strongest speech I have seen by a losing candidate both conceding defeat and urging their supporters to support the winner. Let’s hope she campaigns as strongly for Obama between now and November as she spoke today. Perhaps even Bill can redeem himself when his political talents are not influenced by the emotions of campaigning for a spouse.

Hopefully her appeals for her supporters to back Obama will carry some weight with her more fanatic supporters. Several pro-Clinton blogs continue to talk of voting for McCain or staying home. This is aggravated by their continued discussion of the false claims that Clinton won the popular vote, that Obama somehow stole the nomination, or that Clinton lost because of sexism originating from the Obama campaign. We realistically cannot expect Clinton to admit the untruth of many things claimed by her campaign but hopefully over time she can say more to reduce the harm done during the last several months. At very least, the reminders given by Clinton today of the importance of a Democrat winning will encourage her supporters to take her advice and look forward instead of continuing to look back.