Debunking GOP Talking Points on Reconciliation

Andrew Romano of Newsweek debunks seven arguments against using reconciliation to pass the revisions to health care reform. The fact that reconciliation is being used not to pass health care reform itself (which already passed in both houses of Congress) but to make revisions after the House passes the Senate version, is the second item on his list.

Besides debunking the GOP arguments against using reconciliation, he warns that they could have one valid argument–reconciliation can only be used for budget-related matters. Of course health care affects a large part of the budget and there already is plenty of precedent for using reconciliation to pass health care legislation (which is the third item on his list).

Craig Crawford Finds MSNBC Unfriendly Towards PUMAs

Craig Crawford is leaving MSNBC. His comments have received some interest:

Can’t tell ya how hard this choice was to make. I’ve had a difficult time with MSNBC since the presidential primaries, should have pulled the trigger long ago. but my scotch-irish blood keeps me loyal long past the bitter end, which has long past, sadly…

i simply could not any longer endure being a cartoon player for lefty games, just gotta move on to higher ground even if there’s no oxygen

It is understandable that many conservative blogs would find the criticism of “lefty games” to be amusing. Before they see this as criticism of all of the left they want to agree with, they should keep in mind that Crawford’s real problem is with Obama supporters over die hard Clinton supporters. Part of this came from Crawford defending the Clintons for playing the race card during the primaries, or from his perspective:

have never and never will forgive Chris for calling me a racist after the West Virginia primary (the last time I will ever go on air with him). Probably should have resigned then and there, but better late than never.

Having followed Crawford on Facebook, where he is probably more open with his personal views than he might be in acting as an on-air analyst, it is clear Crawford is a die hard Clinton supporter to the point of continuing PUMA-like opposition to Obama. The “lefties” at MSNBC either backed Obama or at very least lack such PUMA attitudes towards Obama. (PUMA is an acronym used by some Clinton fanatics standing for Party Unity My Ass as they opposed Obama in reaction to Clinton losing the nomination).

Obama Maintains More Confidence On Health Care Than Congress

I’ve often noticed the trend that support for health care reform tends to increase the more Barack Obama is involved. This is consistent with today’s Gallup poll which shows that Obama retains more trust than Congress on health care reform:

Americans remain more confident in the healthcare reform recommendations of President Obama (49%) than in the recommendations of the Democratic (37%) or Republican (32%) leaders in Congress. But these confidence levels are lower than those measured in June, suggesting that the ongoing healthcare reform debate has taken a toll on the credibility of the politicians involved.

It is a good sign that the American people trust the Republicans the least in light of how they have offered no serious answers and now oppose ideas which have been backed by Republicans in the past. Unfortunately their attacks based upon distortions of what is in the bill, along with seeing the process in public for the past year, have reduced overall confidence in the politicians involved.

Obama is getting far more involved in personally promoting health care reform which should increase the chances of passage. It is understandable that Obama would want to handle health care reform different from how Hillary Clinton handled this in 1993. Putting out a plan developed in secret with no willingness to compromise doomed her plan. In retrospect, a middle course would have been better with Obama taking more of a lead but showing a willingness to accept some input from Congress and other groups. Sticking to his opposition to the individual mandate would have also helped maintain popular support for health care reform with the mandate now fueling much of the opposition from both the left and the right.

Doctors continue to have the greatest credibility on health care reform. Receiving considerable support from doctors has been one factor which I believe has kept the current push for health care reform alive when previous efforts have failed.

The Democrats need to do even more to publicize the evaluation of health care reform by medical organizations such as the American Medical Association. For example, after passage of the House plan the AMA sent out a fax which debunks the whole Republican argument that health care reform is a government take over of health care. The fax included this response to that argument:

Preserving the power of patients and their physicians to make health care decisions–rather than insurance companies or government officials–is of paramount importance to all physicians and to the AMA. While H.R. 3962 includes a number of new government oversight bodies, the AMA has not identified any new authority that would overpower the relationship between patients and their physicians. Furthermore, expanded coverage and choice should help empower patient and physician decision making.