Obama Has Team of Rivals for Health Care

The Plank has an item on Obama’s health care team, noting that these are people who mean business about health care reform. This doesn’t mean that they all agree on the specifics. While there are benefits to be gained from information technology, I think that some people outside of health care overestimate the potential cost savings, as I’ve discussed here. There is disagreement over this even among Obama’s health care team:

Here’s one interesting storyline to watch, for those of you who care about substance: The Obama health plan includes a substantial up-front investment in better information technology. Cutler has long argued that the resulting efficiencies could save substantial sums of money in the long term. But many experts have been skeptical of this claim–not least among them, incoming Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Cutler and Orszag share the same goals; both are absolutely committed to health care reform. But they don’t agree about how to read the data. So I’m sure they’ll go a few rounds on that.

Of course, that’s precisely how an administration should make policy: By putting the best minds in the same room and letting the sparks fly.

Including advisers with diffuse views is one of Obama’s strengths. At least they will not be making policy how the Bush administration attempted to: by asking what the Bible would say about the subject.

Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and Conservative Talk Radio

The Chicago Tribune has spoken to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What he had to say doesn’t really matter. It never did. What this does bring to mind, as a few conservative blogs are once again ranting about how evil Obama must be because of what he allegedly heard Wright say in church all those years, is another insight into the conservative mind.

Most liberals (other than a few rabid Clintonistas who I never considered to be significantly different from conservatives anyways) were never concerned about what Obama may or may not have heard Wright say in church. What we are concerned about is Obama’s views, not Wright’s views. Besides, the same conservatives who were upset by what Obama might have heard Wright say never seem to have paid any attention to the relatively conservative economic advisers Obama has had when making up their ridiculous claims that Obama desires to redistribute the wealth. If one believes that Obama should be judged by the people he listens to, it isn’t kosher to pick and choose which people you point out when assigning the views of others to Obama.

This all makes much more sense when I think back to this post which considers the role of talk radio in the conservative fantasy world, relying considerably on this post by Nate Silver. The rants by Reverend Wright are very similar to the rants on conservative talk radio, except from a different ideological extreme. The key difference is that, while liberals can listen to such rants and think for themselves, many conservatives cannot. While conservatives listen to Rush Limbaugh and others on conservative talk radio and go on to repeat his nonsense, they just might not realize that non-conservatives can listen to nonsense without having their own beliefs be influenced.