Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Responsible for 750,000 Dead Americans

This is a true story. A friend of an adult son of mine died because of Hillary Clinton and her egotistical power grab in 1993 when she was in her first year as First Lady.

As First Lady, she had not been elected to any office. She had no power nor authority. Yet she appointed herself to write a health insurance bill to cover America's uninsured. 

She then blew it big time.

First of all, no self-respecting member of Congress was going to quietly hand over the lawmaking powers of Congress to an unelected First Lady. Arguably such would have been a violation of the Congressional duty to uphold the  Constitution. Drafting a bill certainly comes within the lawmaking powers of Congress. It wasn't even as if she was merely scribbling down some ideas on the back of an envelope, nor was it merely her husband proposing some measures through her for Congress' consideration. She was taking over the whole show, even to holding hearings. From the moment she appointed yourself to write the bill, she had guaranteed it would never pass Congress. 

Worse, the ill-begotten hearings were in private, behind closed doors, by Hillary's invitation only. One thing Americans do not like are secret meetings. What in the world does a mere First Lady think she is doing by convening closed-door hearings about an issue of such incredible importance to the American people?

No wonder the TV ad couple Harry and Louise, sponsored by the insurance industry, were quickly able to rattle the American public and turn them against the very idea of a federal program to insure people.

Hillary's health insurance program was DOA—dead on arrival. She killed it by her ineptitude and her incredible arrogance, abrogating to herself a role in government which lacked any lawful basis. As a lifelong Democrat, a lawyer, and a person with a lot of experience with legislators and their prerogatives, I was appalled at the time by her conduct. I had struggled raising six children without health insurance and desperately wanted that bill. I watched Hillary with horrified dismay. I was further appalled that her abuse of power—more correctly, her abuse of non-power—was attempted by one who had  been a junior attorney on the team of House attorneys that prepared for the impeachment of Richard Nixon, another stunningly arrogant person who certainly abused power. Is this kind of thing contagious? Of all people, Hillary should have known better about crossing the lines.

Because of her egotistical grab for power, Hillary caused the death of 750,000 Americans in the course of the 17 years between her colossal flop and the actual enactment of health insurance coverage in Obama's term. The figure of 750,000 is based on a study published by Harvard University and the Cambridge Medical Group in 2009. It places the annual death rate at 45,000 for lack of insurance necessary to get care.

Among this number was my son's friend. He had health insurance but, when he got cancer, the treatment exhausted his insurance benefits up to "the cap". Then he used up all his own funds. He was supposed to go back for a crucial follow-up but had no money. How I wish he had asked us! I would've mortgaged my house. I would've done this even for a stranger. But he didn't ask. And when he subsequently got the funds to go back, it was too late. He died a few months later in his early 40s. Because of Hillary Clinton.

After her fiasco, President Bill Clinton never tried again to get a health insurance bill. For six of his eight years, he had a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Why didn't he try again? A couple of reasons come to mind. First, had Hillary's errors so poisoned the well with Congress and with the public that President Clinton thought it a waste of time to try again? 

Or, how about this:  Hillary forbade his trying again. After all, if he got it passed without her involvement, she would be deeply humiliated.  It would be clear that the original failure was her fault.

Is Hillary the kind of person we want as president? Okay, I grant you that arrogance in leaders is not unheard of. Nor is grabbing for power. In fact I would be suspicious of a proposed leader who wasn't interested in power. What is actually the big bad mark from the sad 1993 incident is Hillary's obvious ignorance of legislative politics and her icy indifference to the feelings and prerogatives of her fellow human beings. 

And don't tell me that a few years in the Senate have changed her. She still smells of arrogance and inability to relate to people. Just watch her. She pretends. She pretends to like people, to be one of the gang. One who pretends, to the extent she does, actually insults us. She doesn't think we can tell. 

No, Hillary hasn't changed. She still doesn't respect other people. Politics is the art of getting along with other people including those you disagree with. Harry Truman put it best: "I sit here and push a button and nothing happens." Except to issue pardons and authorize a nuclear attack, the president has little outright authority.

All a President has is the opportunity to persuade and the platform from which to do it.

Hillary Clinton still doesn't realize this and still doesn't have the skills to do the persuading.

She's inept for this super-critical job she seeks. She is just not the person to hold the most important job in the world. As a woman, I am sorry to say this about her, but my being a woman doesn't make me want a woman president at the price of keeping quiet about what I know. 

All my experience in politics and government, all that I have witnessed, impel me to tell this sad truth about Hillary: she is not fit to be president. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Where Are We Now for 2016?

It's only four-plus months until the Iowa caucuses. It doesn't matter that the general election is far more distant at 14 months away. The Iowa caucuses are almost on us, and they count big-time. Winning in Iowa means a lot.

So how do things look as we near Iowa? Because of the large herd in the Republican contest it's hard to tell who is the strongest at this point. Donald Trump is the flavor of the month but like ice cream on a hot day he will in due course melt away. If however he decides to run as a third-party candidate, he will thereby hand the election to the Democrats. I have doubts as to whether he'll run as a third party candidate, mainly because he has very little staying power. I think he'd get bored with a real campaign. After all there's a lot more crazy things to do in life that he hasn't tackled yet. Like jumping off one of his hotels with a bedsheet for a cape.

From the GOP debates this past week, we learned that previously supposed-leader Jeb Bush is "wallpaper", as commentator Mark Shields so aptly puts it. (The Irish have such a gift for putting people away.) I think we see now, why Jeb's own mother said that there have been enough Bushes in the White House. I'll bet she remembers Georgie beating up on Jeb a lot. She wouldn't want a wuss to be president. Not Barbara. And Jeb is—well, he's wallpaper.

On the other side, Bernie Sanders continues to pick up momentum. I like Bernie and I'm in his corner,  but I would not be honest if I didn't watch the numbers. The best way to watch the numbers is, as you long time readers of my blog know, by following Nate Silver. This guy knows numbers. He made his mark by revolutionizing baseball's  method of evaluating players. They made a movie sort of based on him called "Moneyball". In 2008 in Daily Kos and in 2012 in the New York Times, he pegged Obama as virtually a sure winner, calling virtually every state correctly. He ranks the polls according to their reliability based on their track record. Then he averages these according to a formula and comes up with his sound predictions. I love him.

I had not seen until now Nate Silver's current numbers on Bernie and Hillary. They indicate she is still way ahead in "favorability" with Democratic voters. Previous figures from the Wall Street Journal etc. blared that Bernie was leading Hillary. But they had the wrong numbers. They were polling everybody. Everybody doesn't vote in Democratic primaries. Only Democrats do. So Nate's numbers are the ones that count.

We are left with the puzzle of why all these Democrats like Hillary. I think it's in part because she's been hiding. She is now doing campaigning by just appearing before small groups, sort of a "listening tour" such as she first used in her initial Senate race. When you have an unappealing candidate who has a high name recognition, this is a good campaign strategy. I first saw it used in 1975 in Jerry Brown's  campaign for governor of California. People had loved his father, Pat Brown, so Jerry's poll numbers were good in the beginning. But the longer he campaigned, the more the numbers went down. He was an arrogant brat and very cold. (I worked for him in his first administration. He treated me well but I found him to be an arrogant stick.) His arrogance and coldness came across on the platform. So his campaign staff put him under wraps in the closing weeks of the campaign, his numbers stopped bleeding, and he squeaked across the finish line having been denied the opportunity to shoot himself in both feet.

It's possible Hillary will remind people eventually that she is very unappealing. She is cold, stiff, and a very bad speaker. She doesn't know the meaning of the words "authenticity" or "spontaneity". Sooner or later she will have to take off the brown paper bag and let people en masse see the "real" Hillary, i.e. the phony who is Hillary rolling her eyes. Her numbers among Democratic voters may then go down. About that time, however, Ol' Bill will likely show up to save her bacon. Can he? Can he on-stage make castor oil taste like ice cream?

Meantime the other big issue is: what are the two campaigns doing now about the caucus states? Winning in the caucus states gave Obama the nomination in 2008. Amazingly enough the supposedly mighty Clinton machine failed to do anything about the caucus states. That was a dumb mistake, and Hillary's people will not make that mistake again. Can Bernie's people get it together to win those caucuses? Winning caucuses takes real skill and experience.

Well, as we used to say in rural Illinois, "We shall see, God willing and the crick don't rise."

Meantime, I really like Bernie Sanders. I really liked Obama in 2008 and 2012. Obama beat Hillary in 2008, and in 2012 he beat the recession. You may not remember but he had to confront an unemployment rate of over 8% in 2012. Against the odds he made it. In reality Nate Silver didn't make anything happen or not happen in those years. He merely had the guts to perceive that Obama was pulling off the impossible. If Bernie begins to pull off the impossible this time, Nate Silver will let us know.

It can happen. Let's keep watching. And for those of us who like Bernie, let's keep helping.