Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fair and balanced

I've been dogging Walt Minnick lately, mostly because I'm so disappointed in him. As I've said, I'm willing to give Walt's inner Republican plenty of space to operate, but I expect him to be there for us on the really important stuff, like health care.

So that not everything I say is negative, here are some quotes from an article in a recent Lewiston Tribune favorable to Walt. Thanks to Walt's commo director John Foster for the info. (And boy am I glad I don't have his job.)
"Whether we can govern effectively and govern from the middle will determine the future of Western Democrats and the fate of the country," said Minnick,
"During the years when we were organizing and broadening our party, Karl Rove and George Bush were doing their damnedest to narrow theirs," he said. "They alienated fiscal conservatives by going to war and not paying for it. They alienated the educated by subordinating science to an ideological filter. They alienated libertarians who oppose government intrusion in our bedrooms. And they alienated minorities and the poor by catering to the rich and by governing in a consistently partisan fashion."
Now, I agree with this, to a point. I'm not so sure that partisanship itself was the problem, as much as partisanship in favor of heinous policies like perpetual war, spying on Americans, torture as national policy, and structuring the economy in order to make rich people richer and richer and richer and ignore the poor and middle class.
"That's the issue that will determine whether we continue to govern," Minnick said. "Bush doubled the national debt, from $5 trillion to $10 trillion. (President Barack) Obama, under the most optimistic assumptions, is going to double it again in another eight years. If we add to that the unfunded mandates like Social Security and Medicare, we're looking at $50 (trillion) to $60 trillion in debt."

The annual interest payments on that alone would amount to $5,000 for every person in the country, he said.

"That lower standard of living is the legacy we're leaving our children," Minnick said. "If we're going to govern very long, we must acknowledge that uncomfortable fact. I told the president two weeks ago, it's essential we make a commitment, as soon as the economy is recovered, that we will craft a plan to get back to a balanced budget."
I agree with this, but what I don't get is why Walt doesn't acknowledge that health care costs have to be brought under control somehow, because they are a millstone around the neck of the economy. The economy can't get going well until we stop siphoning off so much toward health care. I guess he agrees we should get health care costs under control, but he doesn't seem to get that health care is a big part of what's wrong with our economy.
"I would argue that Idaho is perhaps the most important state for Democrats," Minnick said. "If we can craft a formula that wins in Idaho, or in Utah, then we can dominate the national political scene for the next generation."
Despite some encouraging signs, he said, it's still unclear whether Democrats will work toward bipartisan solutions to these enormous problems - and if it doesn't, "we will alienate the independents and moderates who gave us the majority we enjoy today."
As I've written, until Republicans get responsible, bipartisanship is a fool's errand. Right now, given the philosophy of the Party of No that only political advantage matters and to hell with the needs of the country, the more we cede to them, the worse off we are.

1 comment:

Dean said...

In your posts, you have often commented about health care reform. I found this City Club of Boise presentation very enlightening. I think we may be talking about the wrong problems and the wrong solutions.