2007/03/06

Hey Edwards...It's About Health Care, Stupid!

Snave at Various Miseries dug up what is perhaps the most breathtakingly stupid thing that has come out of John Edwards mouth in this never ending campaign season: "...keeping Iran from nuclear weapons 'is the greatest challenge of our generation.'"

Since this post is really about what the 2008 election will turn on, I'm only going to spare a few words about the so-called "Middle Eastern Bomb". Iran will probably have one if they want one, and if they do they will never...ever...directly or indirectly threaten the US with it. To do so would ensure their annihilation. If they do get one, they will never use it. To do so will ensure their annihilation. If they do get one, they will spend all of their efforts ensuring that such a device never makes it into the hands of extremists. Because if they don't, they'll be blamed for whatever happens and will run a huge risk of annihilation. This is what mutually assured destruction is all about. Nuff said.

So what is it about Edwards statement that is so stupid? The fact that Bu$hCo policy--gearing up for a war in Iran, throwing 30K more troops into Iraq despite the will of the American people--is going to guarantee that the next election is about domestic issues. When the electorate feels it's being ignored, it tends to swing the priority pendulum further to one side, the domestic side in this case, and the issue that is on the electorate's mind is health care. Consider: The MSM is filling the Internet with stories about how broken our health care system is; how millions go without insurance; how easy it would be to fix with a fraction of the money that is spent on the war. At the same time, we see daily reports about how the government is using accounting tactics to strip millions from existing health care initiatives--examples include steep cuts AIDS/HIV prevention funding and funding for research into women's health issues.

When your child is sick and you lack insurance; when you have a catastrophic illness that wipes out your savings just before your insurance company drops you because you're suddenly a 'bad risk'; when you hear that we could cover every uninsured child in America with 3 days of Iraq War spending, you rapidly lose interest in whatever it new international crisis the neo-cons are flogging.

2008 will be about health care, 'the greatest challenge of our generation', and John Edwards is a fool for opening his mouth to say otherwise.

22 Comments:

I disagree. Pointing out that Cheney has a gay daughter during a debate that he was winning (was being the operative word) was the stupidest thing he ever did.

What the exact words were that crossed his lips, I don't remember.
AMEN Froggy!!

If my child were sick, I wouldn't give a bleep how many nukes Iran had.

Until we're ready to get rid of ALL of our nukes, we are the worlds BIGGEST hypocrites for saying that other people can't have them. Plus, we're the only ones to USE ONE. What's that say about us? Who's greatest challenge are we?
Yes, Edwards opened his mouth & said something foolish. They all do. You found a good example, Kvatch. But I disagree that he doesn't think Health Care is vital. So far, I believe he is the only candidate to have posted on his website his PLAN to fix it. It includes innovative things like regional Health Markets that no one else talks about. I like Edwards.

Prague, I remember Cheney took no offence from what Edwards said about his daughter. It was Kerry in the Bush-Kerry debates that caused a big hubbub with his pointing out that Mary Cheney is gay, which caused Lynne to call him "not a good man". Like she would know one. I think it was seeing the big support she got among their base for that remark that caused Dick to pull the rifle out on Blitzer recently. ~~ D.K.
Edwards was called a faggot by the Right's favorite cartoon character. So now he has to prove he isn't, and the way he's doing that is to be Bush Lite.

During the 2004 debates, it was only Kerry who caught flak for mentioning Cheney's gay daughter. Edwards mentioned it during the vice presidential debate, and I think Cheney even told Edwards after the debate that he appreciated Edwards' sensitivity on the subject. Then Kerry says practically the same thing at the next debate, and the rightwing noise machine jumps all over him. Go figure.
Most of the candidates are still talking health coverage, not health care, so the debate is still off the mark. It should not be about how best to get more customers for the insurance companies so that the insurance companies can make a profit and refuse to cover procedures. It should be about getting health care available at affordable prices for everyone. Steve Hart at the Opinion Mill has a good posting today about how the VA actually gets tremendously high grades for its health care, despite budget cuts. Before you scream, Walter Reed Army Medical Center is NOT a VA hospital. It's an Army hospital. That's different. Anyway, Hart makes the point that government can run hospitals well if it cares to. That's what the debate hinges on: privatization versus socialization.
Perhaps you missed this, but John Edwards is the only candidate for president who has a "truly substantive detailed universal health care plan."

Randy
California Notes
I see other commenters have already pointed out that Edwards does have a plan for universal health care. That being said, I agree that this election will revolve around domestic issues. Health care, jobs, income inequality, the environment, etc., have all gone to hell in a hand basket while the Bush administration bled the taxpayers dry for his war based on a lie.

The one comment I hear over and over again from people of all political persuasions is this: It's time to take care of the issues here at home.
He needs to prove that he is a hardass with tough ideas and more than just a pretty face who talks about 2 Americas. You would think he learned a lesson in his vote on the Iraq war authorization, but he is back out there pushing the Bush agenda by proxy.

I agree that Iran would not use a bomb if they had one and may be more inclined to participate in diplomacy if they weren't afraid of being invaded or bombed.
How these stupid remarks come out of the mouths of wise people is amazing!

If anything, everybody should be concerned about the dire situation in Pakistan, which has 40 - 60 nukes with the huge number of Islamic fundamentalists. They also have the leader, Mussaraf, who is precariously hanging to power and widely precieved by the people to be Bush's pal, and that, as we know, is not good even in America.

So, what does the Bush Admin. do to help that tight rope artist, Mussaraf? They send the extra ordinary diplomat, Cheney, to kick Mussraf's ass to make him to push harder the Pashtuns and make him the target for the soon to be launched coup by the fundamental Islamists. They would like nothing better than those 40 - 60 nukes. And unlike the Iranians, they would find use for them, too.
OK...I am appropriately taken to task for not being up on Edwards's health care initiative. So I've checked it out, at least what I can find on his campaign sight, and I find the plan long on tiny little proposals, short on specifics, and not much of a change from what we do now. Though it may expand coverage, it will not do much to stem spiraling costs, and I agree with DBK that this is "coverage" focussed not "care" focussed.

Randy...no offense, but his plan is not substantive. It may be more detailed than anything else out there, but that does not make it substantive.

Finally, Edwards' having a plan has no bearing whatsoever on the monumental stupidity of his statement on Iran. Iran is not a challenge for anyone but a neo-con, not in this generation nor any other generation. Health Care is the challenge. It is profound. It eats at the heart of our values, and Edwards best keep his eye on the ball if he wishes to distinguish himself from the candidates with the money.
Doesn't matter who you put your money on, or against, this far out. The tables are going to turn twelve times before the primaries. Everyone is going to have more than enough of a chance to say something stupid.
Pekka is right -- if we're to worry about extremists godbags with nukes, my money is on a Pakistani coup, not Iran. From what I understand, the people of Iran aren't nearly as radical as their government. The opposite is true of Pakistan.

Frederick is also correct; issues will rise and fall many times between now and the election. And simply everyone will get to say something breathtakingly stupid.

But you're onto something too, Froggy. The economy is held together with wires and string right now, and with this ruinously expensive war, a destabilized oil market and slumping housing market, we're due for a big fat recession, just in time for the election. I believe it will turn on domestic issues, health care being prominent among them.

Edwards says many of the right things, but I just can't get enthusiastic about him. Sure, I'll vote for him if he wins the nomination, but like I have during every election cycle for almost as long as I can remember, I keep asking myself, "Is THIS the best we can do?" (sigh)
I hope you're right. But 1992 was supposed to be the year of health care, too. And here we are, 15 years and many millions of uninsured people later.

And speaking of Clinton's unworkable health care "compromise" (read, sellout) Edwards' plan sounds disturbingly like it with his regional "health markets."

Trying to just tweak the current system to maintain the overlapping insurance company bureaucracies isn't going to work. But very few traditional pols have the courage to fight for a workable, single-payer system.
Right now, the Israel lobby is pushing for sanctions against Iran, and Edwards statement towards this is essentially posturing to win the support of that faction (Too late: Hillary, I mean Sen. Clinton already has that vote locked).
We never will see Universal Health care under the Dems or the Repubs, because they are part and parcel of the corpocracy, of which the insurance companies are a major influence on. Don't think so? Insurance companies can dictate almost anything, the type of food that companies can serve to employees, who property can be rented to, and where you can and cannot smoke, and those not in compliance can be soaked with higher rates.
Everyone is going to have more than enough of a chance to say something stupid.

No truer words Fred, but doesn't it bother you that Edwards, by all indicators an advocate of focussing on our domestic problems, says something like this? I wasn't inclined to consider him seriously before, and this makes me less inclined.

Betty... I think that Bu$hCo is guaranteeing a focus on domestic issues.
Abi... I really have no idea if our health care system can be fixed--too many pigs at that trough to move 'em much of anywhere...as you suggest. But something's gotta give. Now...ten years from now, when another 30,000,000 have fallen of the rolls of the insured, 20 years from now. Who knows.

Lew... I fear your correct, but even insurance companies are made up of workers, lots and lots of workers. Revolution often begins in the most unlikely places.
Queen Hillary, er the completely undistinguished Senator from New York is racing Edwards to see who can get right of Bush the fastest. Ole Hilly is rattling the sabers as well.

It's election season. They'll say, and do, anything to get elected. But there is one thing you can absolutely count on: Whatever it is they say they will do for us, they won't.

Guaranteed.
It does bother me. It bothers me even more that the people that have said and done all the right things--Gravel and Kucinich come to mind--won't even be seriously considered. I am getting to the point where I am throughly disgusted with politics, and it's the Democrats that are doing this time.

I don't understand why Barbara Lee, Jerrold Nadler, Maurice Hinchey have to build support in their own party to end this farce of a war. I'm beginning to know how the Conservative base felt when they decided to sit out Bush the Elder's reelection bid.
Don't worry about teh HIV, they're sending Jenna Bush to take care of that...
I was an early supporter of Edwards, but his foreign policy is driving me away. I am thinking about this president stuff way too early
It's election season.

That my friend is perhaps the most depressing observation in this comment thread. ;-)

Fred, Graeme... See everybody's suffering from "election exhaustion" and here we are almost a year before things really get going.

Comandante... Hey! Good for Jenna--gonna stick in the religious right's craw that book will.
No Iran till you've finished your Iraq....

sheesh, politicians lie, say anything to get elected, etc etc etc -- this is a surprise?

all the talk means f$%# all. (unless Jon Stewart makes use of it that is)

sorry have taken my cynical pill, and still NOT following the election.

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