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Posts Tagged ‘green energy’

Candidate Clinton?

What an interesting week it has been in politics. First, last week’s stunning defeat of Virginia’s Eric Cantor, who lost to an unknown Tea Party candidate. Then the admission on the heels of the Romney summit in Utah that there is a division within the Republican Party and no clear Presidential candidate in sight for 2016. Today, I read rumblings that some are hoping Gov. Mitt Romney will give it another whirl. That would be interesting, especially if he decides not to be muffled by the extremists and to run on a platform similar to the one he employed in Massachusetts. It’s time for moderate Republicans to organize and he really is a moderate at heart, as evidenced by his leadership as Governor. Speak past the extremists if you do, Mitt!

Now, Hillary Clinton’s “Is She or Isn’t She?” interview on CNN. The interview was ostensibly about her book, “Hard Choices.”  I dialed in late so I don’t know if Christiane Amanpour disclosed at the outset that her husband, James Rubin, had worked on Clinton’s 2007 campaign. Amanpour was clearly a “friendly” as we say in the media but I will not slam CNN or Hillary for that given that this is one woman in politics who has had her share of harsh treatment. Interestingly, harsh was missing from the exchange. She was measured and circumspect.

I will say it was interesting that the speech bubble Amanpour held up with viewers’  impressions of Hillary had only positive messaging on it. The most visible word on there was “President.”

Highlights of the interview include her statements that she is going to move forward on immigration reform, that she would send young children back to the Latin American countries they have fled to enter the U.S. illegally (once a responsible party is identified), that the blame for not arming rebels in Syria lies with Obama, that she is going to let states decide on recreational marijuana but hasn’t smoked herself. She was her most forceful on the issue of background checks, saying polls show Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of them.

Even if she doesn’t run, her interview raised some interesting points about American attitudes towards female candidates. Of course, we should be as comfortable electing a woman as a man. And we should pay her the same as we would pay him. But when someone like Hillary Clinton is asked why she wants to run when she has a grandchild on the way, you seriously have to wonder whether people realize how inherently sexist our assumptions still are. Her answer that a lot of Grandfathers have run for public office was spot on.

I just got back from a week in Texas. I saw three Presidential libraries in a week. First, President Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas, then Lyndon Baines Johnson’s in Johnson City and finally George H.W. Bush’s at Texas A & M in College Station. I told friends my favorite thing about the trip was how each of these Presidents’ libraries allowed them to depict their legacies as they see fit. The truth is there is more room for that than ever. With partisan rancor at its worst, Americans are so unsure of what is news and what is spin, that they are turning away from politics altogether.  That is where the danger lies. Not only when it comes to an informed electorate but also for future generations.

I’m actually beginning to question whether our conventional methods of weaning out the differences between candidates, like press conferences, debates and :30 campaign spots have become obsolete. Maybe each candidate should be given weekly one-on-one, half-hour or hour long, interviews in which they are asked to focus on just one issue like education, the economy, foreign affairs or energy. Americans will at least get to choose without the constant interruptions or one liners that make for exciting television but do little to help Americans decide who is telling the truth, who has the temperament and experience to lead and who inspires them.

I would love to see Mitt Romney in a similar interview to tonight’s interview with Hillary. After all, many people believe, he was treated unfairly by the press at times, in part because he was wealthy and successful.

In the last week, I have had a bright young person tell me she no longer believes in party politics. I listened to an accountant who has voted for Democrats say he’ll vote for whoever can right the ship financially by reforming entitlements, military spending, underfunded pensions and reigning in the interest on our debts. I’ve had a green Republican admit alternative energy has to be part of the energy mix going forward because of EPA mandates to upgrade infrastructure as well as concerns about global warming and sustainability.  I read an article about how handwriting could be phased out after second grade under Common Core because “kids won’t need it.”  I signed a petition urging our Governor to veto a law that creates a 72 hour waiting period for abortion because I am outraged that the one legal provider in our state is under attack … again. (As I’ve said before, “agreeing to disagree” on social issues is fine but dialing back rights isn’t) I wondered who is going to pay for Medicaid expansion in this state, which I was originally opposed to, but am reconsidering, as hospitals lay off employees because of the unfair burden Obamacare has placed on them.

I write this a day after the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to consider whether vicious lies in the midst of political campaigns about a candidate’s criminal convictions and mental state fall under free speech or whether that should be criminal, as it currently is according to Ohio. A law like that, broadly applied, would be a game changing tipping point in politics as we know it.




H-Hour by Christine Doyle

I was going to title this post D-Day but decided that was too harsh since it refers to the day a military attack is unfurled.  Too many people, on both sides of the aisle, view Obamacare in military terms. In fact, the whole fight mentality is part of the problem. It has caused a lot of Americans to tune out exactly when they need to dial in and be informed. We need to be realistic and reasonable in how we approach healthcare reform because everyone agrees costs have spiraled out of control at exactly the time when government resources are strapped. Since we’re talking about healthcare, it seems H-Hour is a more appropriate term for this post.  The hour has arrived when Americans are confronting healthcare reform. Today is the deadline when those without insurance have to sign up or face penalties of either 95 dollars or 1% of their incomes, whichever is greater. I signed up last week, paid my first premium and am now feeling relief that I am protected in a catastrophic event. Having said that, I am far from satisfied with the outcome.

I don’t qualify for assistance (nor would I ask for it) and don’t mind paying a little more for coverage, as long as doing so opens the umbrella to those who have never been able to get it. I was willing to pay a little more but didn’t want to have to give up what was working. I did choose to go through a private insurer who knew me and my health history.

What I got is very different from what I wanted. I am happy that 100 percent of preventive care is covered (yoga isn’t but chiropractic care is) and wanted continuity of care by still having access to my same doctors.  Like many Americans, I have always chosen my doctors based on a variety of factors, including experience, referrals, professional credentials and history. Imagine my concern that I am now paying about the same in premiums but none of my doctors will be participating in my plan. And guess what? I don’t blame them. Why should an excellent doctor accept brokered payments that reduce their compensation while adding additional costs to their practices and mandates over what tests doctors should or should not be ordering? There is a reason we have the best healthcare in the world. Traditionally, we have valued good doctors.

A friend whose husband is an undeniable do-gooder (he works to promote green energy, for goodness sake!) is now paying 15,000 dollars a year to get her family of four covered. Wow. That was unexpected. A young relative, who is a gifted artist and was uninsured, is having to apply for a full-time job to get benefits after his parents got a bill for 60,000 dollars after he was treated for appendicitis.  Here in Missouri, a prominent Republican, formerly an outspoken foe of Obamacare, is now advocating for this state to expand Medicaid. That’s because hospitals, who have no where to turn when dealing with patients who have fallen between the cracks, are overwhelmed by these new costs. Personally, I recognize that the Affordable Care Act means someone like me won’t be denied coverage for run of the mill problems like high blood pressure and the occasional stiff neck and shoulder. But, states should be concerned about taking money to expand Medicaid when funding could run out, when only a 1/4 of the enrollees are young and healthy, when so many Americans, especially Latinos, seem uncomfortable trusting the Federal Government with such personal concerns as their medical histories. And so many small businesses simply can’t afford to comply with the mandate to provide health insurance.

The latest polls show only a 1/4 of Americans are happy with the Affordable Care Act as it stands. The thing that irritates them the most is the mandate or penalty if they don’t sign up. It motivated me because I didn’t want to pay 1% of my income. Most polls show most Americans like that those with pre-existing conditions can no longer be barred from coverage. Americans did soften in their opposition to Obamacare over the last couple of months but only incrementally. And fewer are in favor of an outright appeal. It’s time for Republicans to promote a reasonable response that includes an acknowledgement that something needs to be done. I don’t have the answers but I do hope we can stop short of trying to fix what isn’t broken and just fix what is.