Cindy McCain’s Half Sister Backs Obama

US Magazine reports that Cindy McCain’s half-sister is supporting Barack Obama:

“I’m not voting for McCain,” Kathleen Hensley Portalski tells Us. “I have a different political standpoint.

“I’m voting for Obama,” the Phoenix resident says. “I think his proposals to improve the country are more positive and I’m not a big war believer.”

Libertarians on Obama

While Barack Obama, winner of the Democratic Party’s nomination, would never win the nomination of the Libertarian Party, there are many libertarians who do back Obama. Others at least are finally seeing through the Republican propaganda which claims that they are pro-freedom and Democrats are universal supporters of big government and even socialism. Steve Chapman is not likely to be thrilled by any Democratic nominee writing, “Anyone partial to free markets, restrained government, fiscal discipline and light taxation approaches a Democratic nominee’s economic platform with trepidation, expecting one fright after another.” Still he finds several reasons to “hope he will be less bad than most.”

He’s liberal, but not that liberal. Contrary to the famous National Journal ranking that put him most leftward in the entire Senate, another study found he is really the 11th-most liberal. In the primaries, when Democratic candidates are under the most pressure to veer left, he insisted on hewing closer to the economic center than Hillary Clinton or John Edwards—even when it exposed him to charges that he didn’t support the holy grail of universal health care.

Obama did pander to the left’s phobia about globalization by villainizing the North American Free Trade Agreement. But as soon as he had the nomination locked up, he confessed to Fortune magazine that his NAFTA rhetoric had been “overheated and amplified.”

Organized labor howled about “corporate influence” when Obama hired Jason Furman as his chief economic adviser. Among Furman’s sins is his longtime association with Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who pushed President Clinton to emphasize deficit reduction rather than big new spending programs.

He’s open to evidence. The New York Times recently reported that Obama “likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research.” Nobel laureate economist James Heckman of the University of Chicago, who was asked for input on education policy by Obama’s advisers, told the Times, “I’ve never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows.”

That would be a change not only from more doctrinaire liberals but also from the Bush administration, which has never been exactly obsessed with real-world data. If Obama were a true believer, he wouldn’t care so much about evidence.

Boston College political scientist Alan Wolfe says, “Ideologues don’t need that information, or want it, because they know what they want to do.” Ask yourself: Is there any conceivable evidence that would cause George W. Bush to question the wisdom of tax cuts?

He’s not enchanted with the big-government model. On health care, Obama opposed Clinton’s proposal to require every American to buy health insurance, preferring to offer subsidies and then let individuals decide. He balked when she said all adjustable mortgage rates should be frozen for five years—with Obama’s campaign quoting an expert who said, accurately, that it would be “disastrous.”

He’s far less suspicious of the operations of markets than most people in his party. And when was the last time a Democratic nominee openly worried about corporate tax burdens? Furman has said that if some loopholes can be closed, Obama “would like to cut the corporate tax rate.”

Doug Mataconis responds:

Chapman does raise some good points, and some of the dire predictions coming from Republicans these days about Obama remind me of the things that were said about Bill Clinton when he was running for President in 1992. Yes, things looked bad at the beginning when he tried to ram Hillary-care down our throats, but once that failed he moderated significantly and actually became the Democratic Leadership Council-type President that some thought he would be. For the most part, the Clinton years weren’t any worse than the last eight years of George W. Bush, and there’s some reason to argue that, for liberty, the Bush years have actually been worse.

Will the same thing happen with Obama ?

As Bill Clinton said during the primary race, voting for Obama is a gamble. My bet is that Obama will not only be better than George Bush but will also be  better than Bill Clinton, both from a liberal and a libertarian perspective. This assumes that by liberal one does not mean old-style big-government liberals as obviously Obama cannot please both Hillary Clinton-style Nanny State liberals and libertarians simultaneously.

The McCain Campaign’s Solution To Increasing Number of Uninsured

Evidence that the McCain campaign has absolutely no answer to the health care crisis can be seen in this report in The Dallas Morning News in which a McCain adviser attempts to dispute the significance of statistics showing a jump in the number of uninsured in Texas:

But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

“So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

This is wrong on so many levels. It is true that an Emergency Room cannot turn anyone away. That does not mean that those utilizing an Emergency Room in this manner will not be charged. ER’s are far more expensive than other out-patient facilities, and those who are already forced to pay for their insurance out of their own pocket will have even larger bills.

Often such charges wind up going uncollected and ultimately result in the government paying more. The taxpayers wind up covering the uninsured, but in an inefficient and more costly manner. Rather than allowing such cost shifting to increase the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, it would be more efficient to apply the funds towards less costly out-patient care.

Even if there was no problem in paying for such use of the Emergency Room, this would be a poor substitute for health insurance. While ER’s do wind up providing more primary care than they should, they are not prepared to provide long term care of chronic disease or to provided preventative care. Receiving treatment from an Emergency Room is no substitute for having insurance coverage. You cannot make the problem of the uninsured go away by ordering the census bureau to stop counting them.

Update: Steve Benen points out similar problems with the McCain plan, but unfortunately makes the mistake made by many liberal bloggers with the counter-example he provides:

Of course, if we take McCain’s policy advisor at his word, and build a “socialized medicine” system around public hospitals, there’s a perfectly good model to follow: it’s called the VA system.

The McCain campaign looks very foolish for proposing ER’s as a solution for the uninsured. Unfortunately liberal bloggers who repeatedly link to this study risk looking almost as foolish. Studies of health care quality are very primitive at this point and mainly measure the ability of a health care system to input data into a computer system while revealing little of substance about actual care. The VA comes out looking good here due to its computer system, not due to the care they provide.

The risk here is that those who are aware of the very serious flaws in the VA system will realize that this is a poor model for health care nationally. If liberal bloggers who have no first hand knowledge of health care promote the VA as a model they run the risk of increasing opposition to Democratic plans among those who are aware of the VA’s deficiencies.

Neither ER’s or the VA provide a good model of either of what is desirable for a national health care policy or what is advocated by Democrats such as Obama.

Video of Kerry’s Speech


I now have the video for the excellent speech given by John Kerry at the convention last night (with transcript previously posted here.) It turns out that, according to Josh Marshall, Kerry wrote the speech himself.

During the 2004 campaign I sometimes felt that Kerry was being harmed by taking the advice of political advisers who thought they knew how to run a presidential campaign. I recall writing more than once, “Let Kerry be Kerry.” If there is any question as to what Kerry would have sounded like if he was himself, just watch the speech he wrote and imagine him taking on George Bush as he takes on John McCain.