Thursday, September 24, 2009

Compassionate Conservatism

As I write this I'm watching our President chairing a United Nations Security Council meeting, the first American president to do so, the agenda being to reduce worldwide nuclear proliferation and national weapons stockpiles. You could say he's taking a hands on approach to one of our most pressing problems.
Of course the Republicans will claim, as the neo cons like John (Mustache Boy) Bolton has already done, that Obama is being weak on national security, and the country faces imminent attack for suggesting that fissionable material be closely cataloged and guarded.
The Security Council unanimously approved a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
Barack Obama is also the first sitting U.S. President to be a guest on the David Letterman show, apparently because they told him Megan Fox would be there, and his desire to see "that heart-shaped potato." Go figure. 7.218 million viewers watched our President chat, the largest audience David has received in 4 years.
There are a few good things to report in the news today. The Station Fire that has been raging north of Los Angeles for 2 days shy of an entire month, and which has destroyed about 160,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Wilderness, is expected to be fully contained by this evening. Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has appointed former Democratic Party Chairman, Paul Kirk to the vacant Senate seat of Edward Kennedy, stating issues before Congress are "too important to Massachusetts for us to be one voice short." At last a vaccine has been developed that helps prevent HIV infection in 31% of those studied during it's initial trials. And the floodwaters are beginning to recede in the southeastern section of the country, especially Georgia and Alabama, that has caused at least $250 million in damage and taken the lives of 9 people, one a 2 year old boy that was swept from the arms of his father in the raging flood waters.
Reading the news accounts of this flooding during the week I noticed that most of the fatalities occurred when people attempted to drive through flooded areas, only to have their vehicles swept away. I passed the recommendation to not drive in flooded areas along to my dear friend, Shannon, who for some reason actually lives in Alabama. She was kind enough to send me back a big, "Duh!" in reply.
Republicans serving on the Senate Finance Committee, which is currently attempting to markup it's version of the health care reform bill before full Senate debate, want to take their own sweet time about doing it. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine stating, "If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks...What is the rush?"
She obviously has not heard of the new study conducted by Harvard University which states 45,000 citizens died in 2005 due to lack of medical care, more than which died in automobile accidents. Between 2005 and now this problem can only have gotten worse. I wonder if Senator Snowe would be so complacent and willing to wait two more weeks if she were facing a serious health problem like a cancerous tumor that was spreading rapidly throughout her own body, rather than someone else's who does not have health insurance or access to medical care.
This is what I call a perfect example of "Compassionate Conservatism," the fake doctrine made most popular by Presidential candidate, George W. Bush in the 2000 election (not a little suspicious as Bush when Governor of Texas allowed 153 executions to take place, at an average of 1 every 9 days, more than any Governor in the history of that state).
What is the stated tenets of compassionate conservatism? Wikipedia tells us: "Compassionate conservatism has been defined as the belief that conservatism and compassion complement each other. A compassionate conservative might see the social problems of the United States, such as heath care or immigration, as issues that are better solved through cooperation with private companies, charities and religious institutions rather than directly through government departments."
By this definition compassionate conservatism is best achieved by privatizing compassion. As long as the government doesn't have anything to do with it everything is okay.
Another way Republicans define compassionate conservatism is expressed below by Myron Magnet, the former editor of City Journal:
"Compassionate conservatives offer a new way of thinking about the poor. They know that telling the poor that they are mere passive victims, whether of racism or of vast economic forces, is not only false but also destructive, paralyzing the poor with thoughts of their own helplessness and inadequacy. The poor need the larger society's moral support; they need to hear the message of personal responsibility and self-reliance, the optimistic assurance that if they try – as they must – they will make it. They need to know, too, that they can't blame "the system" for their own wrongdoing."
Compassionate conservatives do not wish the poor to be lulled into a false sense of despondency even if it is true that vast forces are aligned against them, and that of course, everything is their fault, but they must continue to try to be good, with the conservative assurances that they will some day, some how make it.
In other words compassionate conservatism offers absolutely nothing to the people of this nation, except assurances to the elite that they will not be bothered by the riff raff.
Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) has stated recently that he believes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "is in another world," if she thinks aggressive behavior demonstrated at townhall meetings lately may lead to violence. He has seen no indications of that, he says. Maybe that is because he has not hosted or attended any townhall meetings on the subject of health care reform during the last two months, except over the telephone.
In any case he attended one yesterday at the Richmond Times-Dispatch where he answered questions from his own constituents. A Patricia Churchill asked about a close relative who had just lost her job:
"I have a very close relative, a woman in her early forties, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home and is a real contributing member of society. She lost her job. Just a couple of weeks ago, she found out that she has tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation. Her doctors told her that they are growing and that she needs to get this operation quickly. She has no insurance."
Cantor's response: "First of all I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program. Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to be addressed."
Compassionate conservatism. Keep government out of the health care business so insurance companies can continue to leach off of the citizens of this country providing nothing in return, while making billions in the process. And if you're not poor enough to be eligible for low income programs that the Republicans were also against, then try to seek help through charities, be at the mercy of charities, if you can find one.
True this relative may be able to extend her employer based health insurance through the COBRA program (if she's still eligible), or she could mortgage her home to pay for the care that she needs, hopefully winding up cured and healthy, but with that nagging little problem of homelessness to look forward to.
Asked about Cantor's response, Churchill stated, "it was helpful in a sense, but of course nowhere near as helpful as having this health care reform bill passed so that we could know that she could definitely go and get taken care of."
Representative Cantor today called for the "scrapping," of the President's public option insurance program.

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