“Don’t Remind Us. We’re Trying to Forget!”

I would seem some conservatives are all up in arms* over the commercial Chrysler aired during the Super Bowl halftime.

Karl Rove does not like it.

Rush Limbaugh does not like it.

Why? One reason.

Obama saved Detroit. If not for Obama, there would be no Chrysler to air that ad. There would be no GM. And there is a good chance there would be no Ford.**

Obama took control and saved the domestic auto industry. At little or no cost to the taxpayer (or maybe a profit…final tally is not yet in), Obama saved the domestic auto industry. The Chrysler ad subtly references that fact.

While I watched the ad, I half wondered if it would turn out to be a political ad, clearly pro Obama (though I was expecting it to be a Chrysler ad since it is so in keeping with many of their ads of late).

Romney says he would have allowed GM and Chrysler to fail.  Obama saved them.

This is not just bad news for conservatives politically, it is bad news ideologically. Obama accomplished the “impossible.” Many conservatives said it would be a disaster. “Socialism!” was the cry. Government cannot intervene and expect a good outcome.

But government did intervene. Things did improve. Detroit was saved!

This commercial reminds us of that fact. Conservatives want us to forget it. Maybe more importantly,  conservatives want to forget it themselves. Facts that contradict their worldview are intolerable.

Do you think Chrysler is enjoying the notoriety of the ad? I’m sure they planned on it.

** If GM and Chrysler went under, many of their suppliers would have gone under, too. Many of those suppliers also made parts for Ford. Ford would have been in a world of hurt with no source for parts with which to build cars.

Hat tips to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has a nice quick take on the ad, and Ann Althouse.


Data Driven, or Not

When The Weekly Standard began publishing back in 1995 they initially gave the subscriptions away for free.  I received an offer for the free subscription and I gladly accepted.  I assumed that they bought the mailing list from The New Republic to which I was a long time subscriber.

My memory is that the free subscription continued for two years, but maybe it was only one.  At any rate, there was a decent length of time where I was reading both The New Republic and The Weekly Standard on a weekly basis.

I was struck by one difference in particular between the two magazines.  Articles in The New Republic, even when labeled “opinion”, were almost always data driven; articles in The Weekly Standard were rarely data driven.

Over the years I have come to think that this may be one of the defining differences between liberals and conservatives.  Conservatives stand on principle, consequences be damned.  Liberals are interested in results and are prepared to make changes when the results are unacceptable.

And yes, the above is not true for every conservative and liberal.

But it may well be true for Texas Governor and candidate for president Rick Perry.  This post at The New Republic has a wonderful video of Perry trying to square his principles with reality.

Those Damn Socialists!

I am currently having to spend a few minutes each day driving my van which lacks an FM radio.  The pickings on AM radio are rather slim, so I sometimes end up listening to conservative talk radio (or “conversation radio” as the host called it today).  I have no idea whose program I was listening to today (but not Rush or Beck…does Beck still have a show?).

Anyways, the guy was going on at great length about how the Obama socialists were setting things up in the Affordable Care Act.  He was keying in on the business mandate.  Any business that has more than 50 employees is going to have to include health insurance in the employee  benefit package.  If the business fails to do this, the fine will be $2,000 per employee.

The host makes the point that any business (including ones that already offer health insurance)  would look at the choice and choose to pay the fine.  After all, it is much cheaper!  This will force all the employees into the Socialist Health Care that Obama set up…and then “they” (the Socialists) will have “them” and come election time the Democrats will say of the Republicans “They want to take away your health care!”

Where to begin.  Well, in the first place, if a business is today offering health care to its employees, why would it suddenly stop when there is a fine added to the costs of stopping?  Why not just stop now?   There is no fine today!  Hmmmm, could it be that there are reasons beyond government mandates why businesses supply health insurance?

But some businesses will not offer insurance.  Most of these are probably not offering insurance today.  So none of the employees will be forced into the Socialist Health Care that is ObamaCare.  No, they will be buying insurance from a private company just as they are doing today!  Only they will get a subsidy if they do not make enough money.

And if the individuals do not buy a policy?  They will be fined:

Impose an annual penalty of $95, or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater, on individuals who do not secure insurance; this will rise to $695, or 2.5% of income, by 2016. This is an individual limit; families have a limit of $2,085.[44][45] Exemptions to the fine in cases of financial hardship or religious beliefs are permitted

and they will not have insurance.  They will have to rely on charity and emergency rooms just like today!  (at least, I think that’s what happens.)

But wait!  What about the Socialist Health Care that is ObamaCare?  People have to buy private insurance with a subsidy if they qualify.  Jeepers, how much more socialistic can you get?

Finally, there is the host’s point about how the Democrats will use the Health Care to retain/gain power.  How DARE they try and use the policies they favor to curry favor with the voters!   This would be like a Republican saying he or she will cut your taxes to retain/gain power!

Remember, “the Republicans want to take away your Health Care!”

This is an admission that people will like the Affordable Care Act once it is fully implemented in the same way Tea Partiers protested with signs that read “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”  Damn those Socialists creating Medicare!    Oh wait!  The Tea Partiers are voting for Republicans!

Well, it was on the radio.  It must be true.

Indoctrination Camps

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly has a post up about the Republicans who want to do away with public schools.  He quotes Rick Santorum talking about Mussolini’s Fascist Italy.  His uncle

used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good little fascist….I don’t know, maybe they called it early pre-K or something like that, that the government sponsored to get your children in there so they can indoctrinate them.

The upshot here is that there are several Republicans who are increasingly willing to talk about doing away with public schools altogether.  This amounts to a willingness to do away with universal education (since they would eventually want to cut the vouchers to less than what schools charge).

What’s funny here is when have the schools not been about indoctrination as well as education? When I was in school, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (“under God”) every day.  What is that if not indoctrination?

Conservatives have lost the battle over control of the indoctrination message and their final last ditch effort is to do away with public education altogether in hopes that the vast majority of private schools will indoctrinate the way the Conservatives want.

To recap:  when the complaint is that the schools are indoctrinating, they mean the schools are indoctrinating the wrong thing.

When they want to do away with public schools, they want to do away with universal education.


Who Puts a Value on a Life?

I am not sure (but I think so) if it made it into Health Care Reform, but there is no denying that many liberals want what the right referred to as “death panels”.   Of course, not death panels, but a method of determinating what treatments are not effective, including treatments that give little value for a high price.

Conservatives continue to insist that the first Health Care Reform that should be passed is malpractice reform including limits on jury awards.  Presumably, such limits would include cases where death was the result.

Who wants to put a dollar value on a life?

I Can’t Stand It

There is a very old Peanuts strip that I am reminded of lately.  In the strip, Lucy is walking with Linus and explaining to him the origin of telephone poles.  She says something along the lines of “The telephone pole is actually a tree specially developed by the phone company to grow without branches.”

Charlie Brown over hears this lecture, drops his head against one of the phone poles and says “I can’t stand it.”

President Obama plans to deliver an address to the nation’s school children that “will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.”

Conservatives are up in arms that the President wants to indoctrinate the nation’s school children with his “socialist agenda.”

So working hard, setting educational goals, and taking responsibility now constitutes a socialist agenda?

I can’t stand it.

Justice Confirmation Hearings

I had a chance to actually watch a lot of Tuesday’s hearings for confirmation of Sotomayor.  The hearings should probably be called posturing hearings.  It does seem that much of what is said by the senators has as much or more to do with shaping their own image as it does with trying to learn about the nominee.

The Republicans, understanding that Sotomayor’s confirmation is a forgone conclusion, have their only hope of preventing her confirmation by catching her in an error.  They return to the same subjects over and over waiting for Sotomayor to make a mistake.  Sotomayor has handled all the questions with aplomb.

Sotomayor was correct to walk away from her “wise Latina woman” comment, but she walked too far away.  It is not true that a wise Latina woman will make a better decision than a white male.  It is true that a wise Latina woman might make a different decision that is just as good as the white males.  And it somehow never gets mentioned that for 180 years all of the Supreme Court Justices were white males and in the next forty years all but four Justices have been white males.

To watch the hearings is to enter a fantasy world where white males are the standard for objectivity.  Where white males are never influenced by their life experience as a white male.  But, of course, a Latina woman is going to always be influenced by her life experience as a Latina woman (even though she has a lengthy record of not favoring minorites).

The truth is that any justice is going to be influenced by his or her life experience.  That’s the way it is, the way it has always been, and the way it will always be.

It is also the way it should be.

It is also that case that every judge should be able to empathize with the people who will be affected by decisions.  This repeated mantra of “fidelity to the law” is not meaningless.  Fidelity to the law should be the guiding principle, but the law is not complete.  If it were, there would be no need for judges.  Conservatives are happy to have empathetic judges, just as long as the judge is a conservative.  Google “Alito empathy”.

Finally, an “activist judge” is a judge with whom the speaker does not agree.

Confirmation hearings should turn on one question only:  Is the nominee qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.  This is determined by asking the nominee about various issues that the Court has dealt with and likely will deal with.  If the nominee can intelligently discuss the subtleties of the various issues, then the nominee is qualified.

Sotomayor is clearly qualified.

My Time to Waste