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One can only be glad that so many white middle-class conservatives are fairly late in life learning the joy of protest, the feeling the thrill of the barricades, and experiencing the carthartic wonders of getting involved.
Let’s face it, public protest is exhilarating. To see so many otherwise stodgy people on an adrenalin high as they shout down their elected representatives and lay siege to the very idea of a town-hall meeting as a forum for ideas, is to take one back to civil rights marches, anti-nuclear demonstrations, picket lines and construction protests.
You’ve not lived until you’ve yelled your heart out in public. Protest–even misguided protest–is good for the soul.
Day after day we see really nice respectable people giving voice to their dislike of the Obama administration, their sense that the America that has been so generous to them is changing; that it may not be as generous to their grandchildren.
Righteous anger is as good as a whole slew of martinis, and there are no calories and no hangover.
After all, this all about heat not light. You’re out there yelling in public for one of two reasons: (1)You’ve missed doing it since the days of Vietnam War, protests, or (2) It’s something you’ve never done because the beastly liberals were doing it.
These protesters want to take back America. But first, they want to wrest the joy of public protesting from the liberals. For too long these crypto-socialists have had all the fun, from free love to smoking exotic cheroots and pouring into the streets to protest every conservative initiative, social policy or war. Just think of Victor Hugo.
Begone liberals. You can’t have all the fun because now we have some of it. And if any of those crackpot, socialistic, inconveniently elected Congress types try and sell their Dr. Government health care schemes by town hall meeting, we’ll be there, golf shirts and pants with a touch of spandex freshly laundered. Protesting is no longer for the unwashed; people with Brooks Brothers suits in the closet can now head to the barricades to fight for the right.
These town hall meetings are the gift that keeps on giving. There’s really no impediment to the joy of protest for the aging guys and gals who find
retirement a yawn. Public policy activism is the tonic these people need. Get out there and let Obamacare take it on the chin. Tell them that old people are left to die in England, that rationing dominates in Canada, that the French are forced to guzzle wine in lieu of medication, and that the Japanese are falling like flies.
Isn’t this a great country in which even conservatives can have a go at hitting the bricks?
You’re the rebels now, at the baracades, standing strong against the forces of the evil reformers. Compare socialized medicine with the post office. Beat on those bureaucrats, who you claim are going to be making health care decisions instead of doctors.
Here is a quick guide for the neophyte protester:
Don’t use an out-of-state car. Don’t wear too many diamonds. Journalists don’t understand; besides they’re in the tank for Obama. Try to look like a liberal: shabby. Don’t mention daddy’s fortune, your Palm Beach pied-a-terre, or the place in France. Go forth and shout for America.
Just one more thing: Whatever you do, don’t let it out that you are on Medicare. Sadly, it’s one of the most popular government programs ever. –For the Hearst-New York Times Syndicate
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We have all heard about “too big to fail.” How about “too big to be denied?”
Step forward two commercial sectors that are certain to get in the way of President Barack Obama’s reform plans: the nation’s health insurers and its defense contractors.
The former are bound and determined to hold their lucrative position in any extension of health coverage to the uninsured. In this way, a new health agenda will be designed as much to accommodate the insurers as the patients and providers.
Likewise as Defense Secretary Robert Gates struggles to reform defense procurement and to cancel some weapons systems, he has to deal with the massive power of the defense giants. In defense, the customer is always wrong; and the vendors, through their congressional sponsors, overwhelm the department and get what they want, not what field commanders need or the national interest cries out for.
Ironically the Clinton administration strengthened the defense lobby, and its ability to push around the Pentagon, by orchestrating the consolidation of defense contractors into a few behemoths, as part of the downsizing of the military in the 1990s. Norman Augustine, chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin from 1995-97, told me that during his tenure, Lockheed Martin had absorbed 19 small contractors.
The big contractors of today–Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, BAE and the European wannabe EADS—have conscientiously scattered their manufacturing among many states. One program has components made in 44 states. That means jobs, and jobs mean political clout.
The health insurers, who succeeded in sinking the Clinton health care reform effort, are ready for some concessions, but only enough to insure their dominance. The health insurers and their conservative allies are expert in predicting the arrival of creeping socialism, unless the private insurers retain their supremacy in financing and profiting from the health care system. Ironically, they claim any larger government role in health care will lead to rationing. Yet it is the insurers who ration health care now; and if you are in an HMO they ration it severely, cruelly and sometimes lethally.
A favorite argument is that health care reform will substitute the judgment of doctors for the judgment of bureaucrats. One of the more appalling aspects of the current situation is that the insurance companies day to day substitute the judgment of clerks for that of doctors.
The health insurers will not be denied, but they feel it is reasonable to deny the evidence against them. When health care was in the operating theater in the l990s, and Hillary Clinton was poised to plunge in the scalpel, the insurers rose up against anyone who had evidence that the system was serving the companies, not medicine and not patients. They succeeded in banning from the debate what they dismissed as “anecdotal evidence.” They wanted the debate discussed on a level where they could dismiss reports of their own shortcomings, and conduct the debate in terms of capitalism versus socialism.
It is only now, with business crying out for reform, that the issue is being aired again.
My anecdotal evidence is this: I have lived under government-run medicine in England. It works well enough. The young are favored over the old there, whereas here the old are favored over the young here. Now I am on Medicare,which is remarkably like being on the National Health Service in Britain, except I am being favored over the young.
For 33 years, I ran my own publishing company in Washington. After payroll, the biggest expense was health care. To keep the cost down we changed the carrier frequently, to everyone’s inconvenience and a lack of continuity. When one employee had a rare and painful cancer, the insurance company paid for radiation and chemotherapy but denied payment for painkillers.
For years, ATT ran the telephone system and ordained that plugging in a phone could not be performed by a customer and black instruments were all that should be offered. They were, they thought, too big to be denied.
Robert Gates has shown guts in trying to deny the oligarchs of defense. Congress will need bravery in denying rent-takers in health care. Meanwhile, those who are too-big-to-be-denied are pumping dollars into Washington’s K Street, where the lobbyists carry their water.
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