The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Who is trying to get their own way without compromise?

An interesting post was made on The Federalist.com site by David Harsanyi, dated October 2, 2013, called “Guess What? History Didn’t Begin The Day Obamacare Passed: Trying to erase the past to dictate the future.” It deserves reading, and I quote it:

Hitting legend Stan Musial once allegedly declared that the “first principle of contract negotiations is don’t remind them of what you did in the past; tell them what you’re going to do in the future.” That neatly sums up how liberals would like to treat these budget /debt ceiling showdowns. Take for example: (from Greg Sargent @ThePlumLineGS 8:06 AM - 2 Oct 2013)

Serious Q: Has any R explained cogently *why* Ds should give Rs unilateral concessions in exchange for funding gov at sequester levels?


Now, if history had kicked off five minutes ago this would be a reasonable question, but since politics is a continuum and Obamacare doesn’t exist in a vacuum it’s a misleading one.

In reality, the only characteristic of the Affordable Care Act that’s “unilateral” is the manner in which it was passed; without consensus and without the minimal compromises that would have rendered long-term Republican opposition to Obamacare untenable. If Democrats had, back in 2009-2010, capitulated on one or two conservative objectives – out-of-state insurance markets or tort reform, for instance – this moment would be impossible.

Today, left-wing pundits wring their hand about partisan inflexibility and conventional wisdom of the media has coagulated around the “hostage taking” storyline. Back then, they were less concerned the health of Washington. Any alleged concessions made by the Administration in 2010 were aimed at corralling wayward Red State Democrats, resulting in the removal of the public option and the adding of bogus guarantees on abortion funding. And any concessions on bringing the price tag below a trillion dollars – a claim that was a specious even then – was necessary to try and close the deal with the public. When one party dictates every term of a massive reform effort, the inevitable result is what we’re seeing today.

Which bring us to a related talking point: Embedded in one of the most painful misinterpretations of the Federalist Papers you may ever read, James Downie of the Washington Post writes:

Here are the facts, Republicans: The legislative branch passed the Affordable Care Act. The executive branch signed it into law. The judicial branch upheld it as constitutional. The American people voted to reelect the president who championed it. Since the act was passed, Americans who favor and/or want the law expanded have consistently outnumbered those who oppose the law. And now Americans are already clearly opposed to Republicans’ shutdown tactics. If this were a game, we’d call the result a blowout.


No doubt many of you may quibble with Downie’s assertion about the law’s popularity, but generally speaking he’s right — and none of it matters.

DOMA passed with a 342–67 margin in the House and a 85–14 margin in the Senate, yet it was consistently challenged in the courts and by politicians. Citizens United was found constitutional and almost immediately the president attacked the Court. (As you know, some decisions are more sacred than others.) Americans twice elected a president who championed the Iraq War and yet progressives never stopped opposing it. In 2001, No Child Left Behind passed the House by a 384–45 and the Senate 91–8 margin. Yet, almost immediately liberal groups, and soon after elected officials, began their attempts to dismantle it.

Democrats had every right to engage in those pursuits. In fact, it’s healthy that they did. Health-care legislation isn’t chiseled into stone tablets and it’s not enshrined in the Constitution. The entire Obamacare legislation was a “concession” by conservatives. So even if Republicans tactics are unwise politics, trying to renegotiate and undo the majority’s will is not unprecedented. And to argue about what’s going without perspective is unrealistic.


It's a valid point. And one worth keeping in mind during this budgeting impasse.

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