In his weekly column, David Leonhardt tells readers that the problem with the U.S. health care system is not waste, rather we are getting what we pay for. I'll leave it to others to assess the value of good health and longer life expectancies, I'll simply point out that everyone else seems to get much more for what they pay. As I've noted before, every other wealthy country enjoys longer life expectancies than the United States and they pay on average less than half as much per person.
LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. I always find it helpful to exit the world of progressive electoral prognosticators and head over to John McIntyre's RealClearPolitics which, while right-leaning, offers a rather dispassionate aggregation of poll information and political predictions. This week's forecast is particularly interesting:
DEWINE LOOKING FOR DIVINE INTERVENTION?Mike DeWine may be able to distance himself from his fellow Ohio Republicans' ethical scandals, from Ken Blackwell's God-centered politicking, and even, just maybe, from Bush, but will he distance himself from the Armageddon hunters?
DEMOCRACY BUILDING AT HOME. I was going to let the Clinton interview pass, if only because the green fields of Wingnuttia are so alive these days with natives reliving the spirited days of their feckless political youth. But, watching it again, and sliding through the endless grinding of Chris Wallace into potato salad, I noticed that the former president said this, long after everything had settled down some:
I think the question is, what's the best way to do it? I think also the question is, how do you educate people about democracy? Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power. And there's more than one way to advance democracy.
GETTING RATHER-IZED. Did Chris Wallace get Rather-ized on Sunday? According to reporting by Norah O�Donnell on the NBC's Today show yesterday:
Liberals and conservatives alike are buzzing about whether Mr.
Clinton outfoxed FOX News by planning this attack. One of Mr. Clinton�s advisers admitted to me that, �We didn�t go into it looking for a fight, but we had our lead pipe ready.�
ASYMMETRIC ISSUES. This article on Democrats using free trade as a cudgel against their Republican opponents is an interesting one. In the abstract at least, free trade enjoys broad support. But trade, like abortion or taxes, is a voting issue. While "fair trade" isn't the most broadly agreed upon policy -- unlike the minimum wage or Canadian drug reimportation -- for the fraction of voters affected or unnerved by globalization, it moves them to the polls.
LISTEN UP.Mattnotes that Democrats actually held an unofficial oversight hearing on the Iraq War yesterday. "Naturally," he writes, "the press more-or-less entirely ignored this event, since people only report on the Democrats to mock them for being in 'disarray.'" True. Remember the Roll Call story from a couple days ago that Democrats were going to cease mentioning national security and the Iraq War and focus entirely on economic issues? That becomes a bit self-fulfilling if the press refuses to report Democratic events on national security and the Iraq War.