WOULD THAT IT WERE. I fear Tom is looking deeper into the Clinton-Lieberman rally than is really needed. Word around here is that Holy Joe forced Hillary Clinton into something of a confessional on the floor of the Senate. Hillary, you'll remember, was the first major Democrat to throw Lieberman's independent candidacy under the bus, promising to back whoever the eventual nominee is. While that was the politically pragmatic move for her, it was painful to Joe and she didn't like doing it. So when he buttonholed her and asked if she could airlift in Bill to generate some good press, she readily agreed.
REALITY CHECK. So how bad are those vicious Canadian waiting times? Well, it turns out not so bad. StatCanada -- a government body somewhat similar to the U.S. Census Bureau -- just released a report on the time Canadians spend in medical purgatory, and it turns out limbo just doesn't last that long. Median waiting times for all specialized services are between three and four weeks, and 70 to 80 percent of patients found their wait "acceptable." And remember: Most everyone can receive care, and very few need to fear its affordability. Looking at this data, even though I'm no fan of the Canadian system, it nevertheless seems to offer a tradeoff I'd accept.
DID BILL STRIKE A DEAL? As we all know, Joe Lieberman called in Bill �Big Dog�
Clinton to Waterbury yesterday to help his ailing re-nomination effort. It was all hugs and kisses with the predecessor to the other president Lieberman has been known to embrace. In the Post�s report, David Broder writes:
DEMOCRATS BEHAVING BADLY. It seems to me that the Senate Democratic caucus have started playing a small-but-destructive role in our Iraq policy. It started with the demagogic denunciations of Nouri al-Maliki's perfectly reasonable amnesty plan for Iraqi insurgents. Such a plan would be a necessary component of any Iraqi national reconciliation scheme, but Democrats saw in it a good way to score political points. And they turned out to be correct, successfully pressuring Bush into pressuring Maliki to drop the plan. Which is a neat victory, except lots of people will die as a result. Today, my inbox includes this press release from Harry Reid's office:
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FRIENDLY ADVICE. "The idea," writesMatt, "that the United States or American Jews like me should support [Israel's war] out of friendship is akin to the notion that a real friend would lend a car to a drunk buddy after the bartender confiscates his keys." He makes the case that Israel's assault on Lebanon is "strategically blinkered and morally obtuse." Read the whole thing.
FREEDOM-HATING, NOW MORE THAN EVER. Cato�s David Boaz is none too happy that even Hillary Clinton and the moderate DLC proposed some new government programs that involve spending money to help people. Nor would he be much of a libertarian if he thought otherwise. But then he offers this pearl of political advice: "There are millions of libertarian-leaning voters disgruntled with the Republicans� social conservatism, soaring spending, and ill-fated war.
I was going to give this one a pass, since it's a column in the Post Outlook section, not a news story, but even opinion pieces should be able to pass the laugh test.
The basic point of the piece is that the public and media are wrong to be concerned about the fact that researchers who do research and report findings, as well as the regulators who assess them, often get money from the drug companies that stand to make billions. The article assures us that these people are dedicated professionals, committed to bettering human life, who would not let money affect their behavior.
GIVING SMITH THE BOOT. Back in 2002, I wrote a profile of Bob Smith, then the incumbent Republican U.S. senator from New Hampshire. Smith was a likeable flake who once gave an unforgettable speech on behalf of an elephant that a circus had ensconced briefly on the grounds of the Capitol. (Yes, yes, you can all make your own jokes now. We'll wait. All done? Good.) However, in 1999, Smith also had made a speech excoriating the Republican Party for moving away from its guiding principles and, for a period of four months, Smith left the party entirely. Republicans in New Hampshire, in response, threw up Congressman John Sununu against Smith in that year's primary election.
FARM SUBSIDY FREE FOR ALL. There's something very odd about the way the Doha Round of WTO talks have collapsed in an orgy of recriminations over agricultural protectionism. The essence of the issue is that poor countries were demanding that rich countries reduce their level of farm subsidies if they wanted poor countries to make any policy changes. Then the United States said it thought said subsidies should be reduced, but only if the Europeans reduced theirs too. The Europeans agreed with this position, but in reverse. Now both the United States and the E.U.
APOCALYPSE NOW? Self-identified Christocrat Rod Parsley has officially hitched his wagon to the Armageddon addicts at Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Parsley, a member of CUFI�s national leadership, was in town last week to lobby members of Congress on his zest for an apocalyptic showdown in the Middle East.