Settling for half a loaf

Backing Barack. Plus, the utilities’ power play, and shoveling some snow musings.
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  December 22, 2009

I’m sure you will recall that your superior correspondents were early and ardent supporters of our president, Barack Obama. And indeed, we still have no doubt that we elected the right person in 2008. We will admit that there is some disappointment in how things have gone so far. How much of this has to do with Obama, however, is debatable.

The great health care initiative has been stymied by a band of Republicans (who want no reform at all) and powerful interests (insurance and pharmaceutical companies, etc.) who, despite their empty claims of wanting to change things, are quite happy with the status quo.

Here at Casa Diablo, we wanted the full loaf — single payer, a “socialized” (if you prefer to call it that) national health care plan. We are among those who think that matters of life and death, like national security, have no business being just another function of the marketplace.

Facing such incredibly powerful opposition, it is not surprising that the corporate special interests put billions into hiring far right butt-boys like Dick Armey and a full-court press ad campaign to confuse the American public and try to convince them that there’s nothing wrong with our broken system, nothing wrong with paying far more than any other country on earth to maintain a second- rate health system based on the enrichment of scumbag insurance companies.

So now that push has come to shove, should we settle for half a loaf, as a starting point and a foot in the door, as President Obama has suggested, or reject the whole thing, as Howard Dean proposes? P&J would sure like to know the answer to this dilemma.

Likewise the morass in the Middle East is another example of half-a-loaf politics. President Obama has decided that it would be far too risky to abandon Afghanistan at this point, despite the fact that he must know that this is not a situation that is “winnable.”

Yet despite some of these basic disagreements with the President, in a much larger sense, he’s the person we trust. He has revived the reputation of the United States of America as a positive force in the world after the callous and malignant reign of George W. Bush. He has revived a Keynesian economic perspective after too many years of ignorant Milton Freidman bullshit (kiss our ass, Cato Institute). And he has championed the idea of international dialogue.

Yes, we need to talk to Iran and any number of other countries in the world. Dialogue does not imply caving in (as boneheaded chicken hawks like Bush and Cheney would like you to believe). Those clowns were the weak ones — too cowardly to talk to our adversaries. If Bush and Cheney were right then Gandhi, George Marshall, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were all full of shit. We think not.

So we are willing to hang with the President, with our fingers crossed, hoping that his health care and Afghanistan policies will prove to be successful. And even if they’re not, we still elected the right guy.

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