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Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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  1. Avatar Gaelen says:

    I have a feeling that four years from now I’ll still have that random wtf moment when I remember Donald j. Trump is our president.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “Donald J. Trump ?@realDonaldTrump 26 Dec 2016
    The world was gloomy before I won – there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10% and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!”

    It’s hard to take credit for Christmas happening but, well, there ya go.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kazzy says:

      It’s hard to take credit for Christmas happening but, well, there ya go.

      For God so loved the world that he gave himself, DONALD TRUMP, that whosoever voteth for him is a bigly winner, unlike the losers who did not, who are very sad people, just very sad.Report

  3. Avatar DavidTC says:

    So a friend of mine posted a meme yesterday on Facebook, let me explain it.

    It quoted that tweet, and said:

    Notice how Trump always says “enemies” instead of “opponents.” And those who “fought me” instead of “disagreed with me.”

    His endless rhetoric of personal war and us-vs-them is what keeps America divided.

    I had to point out that’s not quite right.

    Yes, Donald’s terminology is telling, but, ‘the president should have been polite when mentioning the defeat of the other side here’ is not correct.

    If there’s some sort of policy debate, and the Democrats go to the press and say ‘We don’t like what the Republicans are doing’, it is perfectly reasonable for the Republicans to say ‘Yeah, but you lost, so, uh, tough’. Do it politely, like the meme said, yes, unlike the rudeness of Trump.

    But, if you do it politely, it’s okay to mention it when talking about whose policy gets done. (It might be a bit silly and counterproductive to do it after losing the popular vote, but whatever.)

    But the problem is…this wasn’t a policy discussion.

    This was a *HOLIDAY GREETING*.

    The president should not have talked about the other side, or at least not talked about how they lost. That is an *absurd* thing to do in a holiday greeting. It doesn’t matter how polite it is.

    Hell, that’s not just absurd *for the president*. This isn’t some presidential norm he’s tripped over here. You don’t mock losers when wishing people holiday greetings! *Normal* people know not to do that.

    Actually, you’re not really supposed to mock losers *at all*. It’s called being a gracious winner.

    But you’re certainly not supposed to do it as part of a holiday greeting.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DavidTC says:

      I’m a little disappointed he didn’t punctuate it with “Keep the change, ya filthy animal.”Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to DavidTC says:

      I seem to remember Hillary answering a debate question about her enemies and folks cheering.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to notme says:

        First, she said she was probably *their* enemy, not that they were *her* enemy. She was saying the Republicans probably thought of her as the enemy, not that she thought of them as the enemy.

        Second, you did notice I didn’t say you can’t ever call political opponents your ‘enemies’, right? I really don’t have a problem with that. It’s perhaps overly hostile, but it’s *okay* to be overly hostile at specific points in politics….and if anyone has a right to be overly hostile to anyone, it’s Hillary Clinton to Republicans. (Whether or not it’s a good thing to *say* that is something else.)

        What *I said was that a) you do not gloat over your defeated opponents (Whatever you call them) in politics, and b) you *especially* do not do it during a damn HOLIDAY GREETING.

        This tweet actually shows three very serious problems with Trump, sorta summarizing him in a nutshell:

        1) Trump cannot tell the difference between the generic situation of just saying some form of ‘Happy National Whatever Day This Is’ to *all* Americans, the sort of pointless platitudes the president is expected to do over and over…and a political situation.

        He doesn’t understand the president is often supposed to operate as ‘voice of the government’ instead of ‘a Democratic/Republican politician’. Sometimes there’s a fine line, but that line is nowhere near ‘generic holiday mention’. The president wishes everyone a good year, end of story, full stop. It is not rocket science.

        2) Trump defaults to hostility against people he sees as his enemies in *all* situations. Even in situations where *society* (Not just presidential norms, but actual society itself) demands a lack of hostility, like saying ‘Happy New Year’ to people.

        Even actual mortal enemies are supposed to be able to politely ignore each other as they walk past on the street, or even *pretend* to wish each other a good morning, or not start yelling at each other in social situations.

        3) Trump’s hostility includes gloating, something that generally isn’t acceptable in politics. Or, really, in real life either.

        Seriously, people, I mean, imagine a New Years Party, where everyone counts down, and yells Happy New Year, and then one guy keeps yelling ‘Even for that asshole Pete over in the corner, the loser who got fired from his job last week. He doesn’t even know how he’s going to pay his rent this month, what a loser! Meanwhile, I just got promoted! Sucks to be Pete! But Happy New Year anyway Pete!’

        Wait, imagine that, but imagine you’re at some local ball drop (Or whatever your town drops), and it’s *the guy MCing the thing* doing that.

        Trump not only can’t manage not doing that, he can’t manage that *impersonally on Twitter*.

        What the actual fuck? It’s becoming extremely clear we elected someone with a *serious personality disorder*.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DavidTC says:

      @davidtc

      Richard Branson said he was invited by Trump to lunch and Trump spent the entire dinner talking about how 5 people refused to help him or slighted him in some way and then spent the rest of the dinner talking about how he was going to destroy those five people.

      https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/meeting-donald-trump

      Donald Trump is an incredibly thin-skinned man who can’t let anything go. All the people who voted against him, all the people who mocked him, all the people who spoke against him, are to be humiliated again and again. The good thing about being a left critic of Trump is that he was never going to consider you for a cabinet position in the first place. But look at what he did to former opponents who decided they wanted a prize or to lackey up? He humiliated them again and again and they still got nothing. I don’t know who got it worse, Christie who was made to fetch Trump’s lunch from McDonalds or Romney.

      We will have to see what Trump can do to the opposition.

      But really this kind of rhetoric is just the logical conclusion of what the right-wing media has been doing for years. No wonder his fans cheer at it.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The thing is here — it’ll never end. Because the people Trump wants the approval of? The people he wants to acknowledge him and praise him?

        It ain’t the American public and it’s not world leaders (not even Putin, although he’s so dreamy).

        It’s Hollywood and the New York moneyed elite. The guys that stopped inviting him to parties, stopped lending him money, made fun of him AND his show even though he’s a star like them!.

        That’s why SNL gets him every time, and while Alec Baldwin can jerk his chain without even trying. THOSE are the people he wants the approval of, the people whose disdain he recognizes and is incredibly sensitive about.

        So I guess it IS liberal’s fault. They treated a tight-fisted boor of a debtor like…a tight fisted boor of a debtor, and he’s gonna show THEM.

        And for the next four years, he’s going to be the most easily trolled person on the planet — because he can’t stop paying attention. Obama’s going to keep yanking his chain just by being more popular and continuing to exist — and having the approval of the very people that reject Trump.

        And for all I can tell, they’re right to reject him. He stiffs the help, welshes on his debts, the only charity he donates to was the slush fund he used to bribe officials and pay off lawsuits, and he apparently enjoys harassing actresses.

        What sane human being would invite him to a party if they didn’t have to?Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:

          @morat20

          People have been speculating about this for a long time. Garrison Kellior probably summed it up best.

          http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-donald-trump-losing-garrison-keillor-20160831-story.html

          This is painful for a Queens boy trying to win respect in Manhattan where the Times is the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter of Who Has The Smarts and What Goes Where. When you came to Manhattan 40 years ago, you discovered that in entertainment, the press, politics, finance, everywhere you went, you ran into Jews, and they are not like you: Jews didn’t go in for big yachts and a fleet of aircraft — they showed off by way of philanthropy or by raising brilliant offspring. They sympathized with the civil rights movement. In Queens, blacks were a threat to property values — they belonged in the Bronx, not down the street. To the Times, Queens is Cleveland. Bush league. You are Queens. The casinos were totally Queens, the gold faucets in your triplex, the bragging, the insults, but you wanted to be liked by Those People. You wanted Mike Bloomberg to invite you to dinner at his townhouse. You wanted the Times to run a three-part story about you, that you meditate and are a passionate kayaker and collect 14th-century Islamic mosaics. You wish you were that person but you didn’t have the time.

          I am not sure how true this is but maybe it is true enough. I think that one thing that helped Trump is that he is from Queens and even though he grew up ultra-wealthy, he still has an outsider edge that people picked up on.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    I perversely find this sort of comforting. If Prez. DJT can’t manage this kind of low hanging fruit is speaks poorly for his ability to coordinate genuine change on things I care about.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

      I’m looking at the Overton Window. I can’t tell if it’s moving or if it’s getting bigger.

      But stuff that didn’t used to be in it seems to be in it now.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Probably too soon to tell.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

          The next six months will be crucial.Report

          • Well, at least we can start arguing that we can’t believe that someone did or said something because “it’s 2017”.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            The next six months will be crucial.

            In the sense that they are the part of time that has not been decided yet, and is about to happen next, yes.

            In the sense they will be unique, no. Donald Trump will be a problem for four years, or until impeached. It will not get any better.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DavidTC says:

              Believe it or not, David Brooks said probably the best thing about Trump I’ve heard yet. When asked about the Russia Lovefest Trump’s engaging in, he said something like (I’m putting it in my own words now…) “right now Trump and Putin are courting, and soon they’ll try to get married in terms of policy, but given that each of them have huge egos and over-react to the merest slights, the divorce will be quick and acrimonious. And given Trump’s temperament, rather than Putin’s, the inevitable angry breakup should worry us all.”Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC says:

              In the sense that making g fu.n of Thomas Friedman is always appropriate.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think Trump has made us acutely aware there were actually some *other* Overton Windows we didn’t ever notice.

        We all knew about the Left/Right Overton Window, but he’s made us aware of the Asshole Overton Window, and the Corruption Overton Window, and the Competence Overton Window.Report

        • Avatar joke in reply to DavidTC says:

          But… Trump’s approval ratings have only increased since election day. I’m trying to wrap my brain around that, but there you go (could just be that the election is over and everything is going to some kind of low energy state)Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North says:

      Maybe.

      Normally Presidents are… Presidental. They skate above things with other people (often the VP) take the role of the designated bad guy.

      Thing is, no one is under the illusion that Trump is a nice guy.
      Or that the Dems are going to take losing to him with composure and good cheer.

      I’m not sure there was any low hanging fruit there. Trump is, once again, diverting attention from things that matter (what he’s doing) to things that don’t matter (what he’s saying).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter says:

        When was the last time any party took to losing with good cheer and composure? Certainly not 2008 nor 2000 and definitely not ’92.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North says:

          Sure, but even by those standards I think we’re cutting new ground.

          Some is the whole “didn’t start mourning until after the election” bit. Most elections have the winner known weeks or months in advance. Even in 2000 both sides knew losing was at least possible. The Dems though they had it in the bag.

          Some is losing to Trump, specifically. At various points in the election there was speculation that he was a Dem plant.

          Having said all that, I do wonder if it goes further than that and speaks poorly for the long term stability of the country. If it’s actually a matter of life or death for the top guy to be yours, then every election needs to have the rule book tossed out.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

            “If it’s actually a matter of life or death for the top guy to be yours…”

            As evidenced by the hoards of roving Democrats laying siege to the land.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

              As evidenced by the hoards of roving Democrats laying siege to the land.

              How many riots did we have after the election? How many people, apparently seriously, thought that Trump’s election meant they personally were now in danger?

              The Imperial Presidency has not, yet, grown to the point where it’s a life or death matter.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I don’t recall any riots, but I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. Protests yes, there were a number of those.

                No one invaded a bird sanctuary, thankfully.Report

              • Some football players sat or knelt for the national anthem, which is pretty much like a riot.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                My argument is that this election was not a life or death matter, but that if Trump-and-Co’s vision is realized, there are many people in this country who will be substantially harmed.

                Very understandable opposition to Trump is being treated like hysterical wailing with zero basis in reality.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

                Because both sides have to be the same. If they’re not the same, you may be forced to vote against your team.

                But if they’re the same on [insert whatever issue here], then it’s a wash. Ergo, Hillary must have been JUST as corrupt as Trump, meaning Trump’s corruption couldn’t be an issue because HRC was the same.

                For the media BSDI is lazy journalism, an attempt to avoid having to get involved in complicated matters and just get a quote from both sides (and thus be “objective” which is better than anything ever).

                For pundits and a lot of voters, BSDI is necessary cover. Dealbreaking positions stop existing because both sides are the same on it which means you can ignore it and vote for your team or whatever.

                Liberal opposition to Trump must be equal — in all manner and context — to conservative opposition to Obama, because if it’s not then someone might have to change their side.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/815591048663728129

                He also has a funny one at the top of his feed right now:

                Maybe Putin is blackmailing Trump with a tape where he mocks POWs and the disabled while confessing to routine sexual assault.

                LolulzReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20 says:

                BSDI also focuses attention on the battle between personalities, like this was the Apprentice season finale, between Trump and Hillary.

                As someone here pointed out, Trump’s supporters don’t seem to have an agenda, no big policy initiatives, no change in direction for the government other than Piss Off Liberals and Stomp Hillary.

                Thus the shock and awe when they discover that there is now an incoming power center that has an agenda of its own, very different than any coal miner in West Virginia or steelworker in Ohio ever imagined.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                BSDI may be what both of you say, but in my view it’s primary function is to reduce “both sides” to exactly the same “its” which each side criticizes the other of doing. And the purpose of this is to signal an elevated viewpoint from which the “game” is being played. So, so-called “non-partisans” invoke this trick to maintain their abject and objectively justified rejection of entering into that abysmal fray, all the while advancing their own ideological views and policy positions fully accompanied by snipes at (in this case) the other side.

                From a media pov, BSDI constitutes a cover that they’re presenting the news impartially, fairly and objectively so’s to maintain street cred within the journalistic/media community. And they’re not wrong to do so, in one sense: if “both sides” reduces merely to the specific complaints Xs have about Ys (with the variables replaceable by Ls or Cs, or HRC or DJT, etc) then they’re absolutely correct. “Both sides complain about the other with equal strenuousity! Fair and balanced!”

                Of course, facts get left outa the calculus on either view. But that’s by design, tho serving different purposes in each case.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                My argument is that this election was not a life or death matter, but that if Trump-and-Co’s vision is realized, there are many people in this country who will be substantially harmed.

                Consider: Many people were already in the process of being substantially harmed to the point where they saw “disrupting the status quo” as preferable to maintaining it.

                I would suggest Chris Arnade’s work as a starting point for evidence for how this view is different from a simple “both sides do it”.

                When it comes to the media, the main thing to notice (and, perhaps, freak out about) is the whole issue of the uncertainty whether any particular criticism of Trump is grounded in aesthetics or grounded in policy given that there have been a metric buttload of aesthetic criticisms of Trump.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t know if “harmed” is the right term.

                Pissed off? Disgusted? Rejectionist? Jacksonian?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Was “substantially harmed” the right term in the first place?

                I’d be happy to use whatever we agree is the right term.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                What do you think is the right term? Kazzy’s closer to correct in the context of his usage than you are in the context of your usage of his usage.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Should I have said “were dealing with the aftermath of having been substantially harmed”?

                Is this one of those things where one of us is talking relative position and the other is talking about absolute position?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Neither. I’m talking about semantics. “harmed” means many things, but to use the word deliberately ambiguously (as I’m inclined to believe you did, given your response) seems disingenuous.

                I’m not disagreeing with what I take to be your deeper point, btw. Just the means to demonstrate that point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, how’s this:

                There are a bunch of people out there in a position where, were any of us placed within it, we would consider ourselves “harmed” to have been placed there.

                The people who are there also consider themselves harmed by being there despite perhaps not having traveled as far to get there as we would have had to travel to get there.

                It is these people who Chris Arnade is reporting on and it is his perspective that is worth considering, especially if one is hoping to avoid a “both sides do it” take on why people voted for Trump.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                and it is his perspective that is worth considering, especially if one is hoping to avoid a “both sides do it” take on why people voted for Trump.

                Man, now I’m really confused since you’re the one who introduced all this to make a “both sides do it” take.

                If you’re saying people are pissed off and feel mistreated and that’s why they voted for Trump, then say it. I’d agree.

                I just don’t think responding to Kazzy with a “the other side thinks they’re harmed too!” comment quite gets beyond the equivalence threshold. As if there was nothing at stake in this discussion other than “well, BSDI!”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Man, now I’m really confused since you’re the one who introduced all this to make a “both sides do it” take.

                I apologize for adding a “both sides do it” take to the discussion.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, now I fee like an a*****e.

                My gripe in these types of discussions is that two views can be correct: ie., that Kazzy’s view that certain types of people will experience harm as well as the view that folks who voted for Trump have already experienced harm (so that’s why they voted for him in particular) can be true.

                Are those (let’s stipulate) conflicting harms reconcilable politically? Maybe, maybe not. If they are, we ought to try to move along one path, if they aren’t we end up going along another path.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                The main thing I want to avoid is truth-independence.

                “This dynamic is going on.”
                “There is also another dynamic going on that is similar.”
                “BOTH SIDES DO IT! JESUS YOU ALWAYS PULL BOTH SIDES DO IT!”

                When “BSDI” comes out, it doesn’t even matter anymore whether there are multiple dynamics.

                The important thing is to get in the first word then, when someone else points out another dynamic, yell “BSDI!”

                And that has nothing to do with whether the dynamics exist and are the drivers behind various phenomenae.

                Are those (let’s stipulate) conflicting harms reconcilable politically?

                I have no idea.
                They very well might not be. We could easily be in a “we have to pick whose turn it is to be in the barrel” situation.

                If that’s the case, yelling “BSDI” makes a lot of sense. It pretty much does a good job of dismissing any concern that precludes fixing your own concerns.

                If, however, they can be reconciled… well, that’s why we need to make a proper diagnosis in the first place.

                Of course, at that point, it looks like we’re doing triage. And who are we to pretend to be doctors? Who are we to say “this is the guy who gets operated on”?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                This reminds me of what undermines man domestic arguments.

                “Ugh, it really frustrates me when you leave your dirty laundry on the floor.”
                “Yea, well, you haven’t done dishes in a week!”
                Now what? Both people may be right. But you can’t really argue about the laundry and the dishes at the same time.

                A far more productive approach is, after the second person tries to shift the dynamic, to say, “I hear what you’re saying about the dishes. We should absolutely deal with that. But I really need to talk to you about the laundry right now. Let’s settle that and then we can discuss the dishes, now or at a later time of your choosing.”

                If I’m understanding you correctly, you seem to be encouraging the former, highly unproductive approach. “Quick… get a counter jab in so we don’t actually have to deal with their concerns.” Am I misunderstanding that?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                If I’m understanding you correctly, you seem to be encouraging the former, highly unproductive approach. “Quick… get a counter jab in so we don’t actually have to deal with their concerns.” Am I misunderstanding that?

                Encouraging? If anything, I merely noticing it and pointing it out.

                There are a lot of dynamics and a lot of people who have been hurt and there are a *LOT* of chores that just aren’t getting done.

                Now if we’re saying that we can’t argue dishes and laundry at the same time, and maybe we can’t, I’m saying that we’d be better off taking turns discussing the chores, first you can complain about the dishes, then I can complain about the laundry than saying “I don’t even need to listen to you complain about the dishes until I have clean laundry. To the washing machine… GO!”

                Because if we’re saying that we don’t have to listen to the other people until sufficient of our concerns are met, we are going to find ourselves wondering why they are not only not doing the dishes but no longer listening to us at all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think alternating is a good approach. The problem is that people often assume the presence of their own concerns justifies tuning out others. That helps no one.

                But the thing here was… YOU raised the other concerns. In response to an expression of concerns. No one here denied that concerns exist on all sides. But your response to an expression of concerns was reminding us that other people have concerns… a reality no one here denied and which was immaterial to the concerns being expressed.

                So, yea, I’d call that encouraging the approach by employing it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                The other concerns were actual, though.

                So run with the analogy: “I worry that if Trump gets elected, people will stop doing laundry!”

                “People haven’t been doing the dishes for years.”

                “BOTH SIDES DO IT!”

                Now, is it fair to point out that the dishes haven’t been done for years in response to someone worrying about the laundry starting to not be done?

                Perhaps I should have let you continue to worry about the laundry.

                Exactly who do you think will be harmed by Trump’s election and how?

                We can look at stuff like abortion rights, employment numbers, and transgender issues. Will any of these harms be measurable?

                I think it’s important that they be measurable to some extent.

                If they’re not, we’re likely going to be able to use the exact same events to argue that these harms happened and that they didn’t because, as we said, these harms aren’t measurable.

                Let me know when you’re done.

                I think that there are other dynamics going on, measurable ones, I think that they are relevant to the debate but I want you to establish what you see as the relevant harms that you think are going to happen in Trump’s America first. We’re going to need to keep an eye out for them, after all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I definitely think the harm can be measured. We can count the number of women who wanted abortions but couldn’t get them because of barriers that were erected. Hell, we could then calculate the costs to these families and society as a whole as the result of unwanted pregnancies being brought to term.

                LGBT rights… well, we could probably count up the folks who are denied services.

                And once we get to a 1, well, we have evidence of harm done.

                The good thing is that I don’t think most of the harms — on either side — are opposite ends of a balance. As I said above, we can address unemployment in the rust belt without touching abortion or LGBT rights.

                Where things get hairy is when the avoidance of these harms come into conflict with one another. At that point, we have to put both/all harms on the table and get into the nitty gritty.

                However, I have to point out a flaw with your approach.

                You posit that the person complaining about the dishes is different than the person complaining BSDI. I contend that they are one in the same. In fact, in this scenario, it was you who did both. You raised the issue of the harms suffered by Trump supporters as if that was itself a counter argument to the harms likely to be suffered by Trump opponents because, hey, both sides were harmed.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

                There’s a certain style of argumentation that doesn’t want to get into the weeds, because once you get into the weeds you’re dealing with complex realities that are complicated, hard to parse, often heavily contextual, and basically really, really messy.

                It’s a very ideological style, very “ivory tower”.

                Because you can be pure to your ideology (or in your denunciation of one) precisely because you’re avoiding the messy details of reality in favor of intellectual constructs.

                Everyone does it to some extent. There’s always a balance between the big picture view and the detail view, but when you run into arguments where details, where data itself, is irrelevant…..

                Well, that’s generally a sign you’re talking philosophy not real world problem solving. And there’s a nasty strain of that style that loves BSDI because it frees them from those petty details (like that both sides aren’t the same) to get back to that really interesting philosophical stuff.

                (Unsurprisingly, this is often done by people to whom those details really are irrelevant. Whatever context you’re discussing has nothing to do with them. If you’re not gay and wanting to get married, you can hand-wave away gay marriage to focus on things like “Should government be involved in marriage” because the question, to you, is pretty much entirely intellectual).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Ideologically driven folks might be unwilling to look into the details regarding the policies and principles they support, but are often VERY keen on getting into the details when criticizing their opponent’s ideologically driven views. (“See this very small thing over here? The one I’m pointing at? You see it? BOOM! You suck!”)

                The devil may in fact reside in the details, but that cuts both ways. Or all ways indiscriminately. No ideologue comes out unscathed.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                To bring us back to marriage, let’s instead look at the iterated prisoners’ dilemma.

                To reframe your statement within the dilemma, you said (and this is a paraphrase) “I’m worried that the other prisoner will start defecting.”

                So when we point out that the other prisoner was a defectee multiple times in the dilemma, it is not a “both sides do it” to point out that we have defected against the person we’re worried about defecting against us.

                Indeed, worrying about them defecting against us is something that we ought to have done before we started defecting against him.

                “Both sides do it”, at that point, becomes an accurate way to describe an equilibrium within the dilemma.

                Which is different than the “both sides do it” of assigning moral culpability.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                To bring us back to marriage, let’s instead look at the iterated prisoners’ dilemma.

                *rimshot*Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                When “BSDI” comes out, it doesn’t even matter anymore whether there are multiple dynamics.

                That confuses – deliberately, in my view – the basic complaint, which is justified given you’re earlier comment: “There is also another dynamic going on that is similar.”

                Given that *in that sentence* you’re establishing an equivalence between the two dynamics (by using the word “similar”), it’s incumbent upon you, the speaker/critic, to identify in what ways the two dynamics are similar but not identical. Without that you become the person who’s introducing the BSDI equivalence, rather than, as you claim, your justifiably irritated interlocutor.

                Btw, BSDI is not an equivalence partisans make in a two sided war. That would make no sense, correct? (“We’re just the same as these guys, actually, so uh, yeah, I don’t know what we’re fighting about…”) It’s a judgment spectators of that war make to express disdain of, or contempt for the conflict (as well as signal that they’re above all that silly team-oriented, fray-based squabbling! Let’s not forget signaling theory here!).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, my “both sides do it” was not saying “man, the Republicans in congress are like the Democrats in congress” but “you’re worried about laws and policies that will harm you and yours… I’d point out that there have been multiple laws and policies passed against the people who voted Trump and they’re shaking things up”.

                It wasn’t intended to be a particularly partisan observation as much as a “defectees gonna defect” observation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Ie, instead of trying to reduce or change the meanings of descriptive terms into BSDI political terms, why not just use descriptively accurate terms?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, I thought that “substantially harmed” was an accurate enough descriptor of those who Chris Arnade refers to as “the back row”.

                Certainly not inaccurate to the point where it doesn’t describe why they weren’t willing to disrupt the status quo.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s just it, tho. Those folks may be harmed (in some sense of that word) but that’s a different type of harm than Kazzy’s talking about wrt Trump’s policies (rolling back RoevWade, Muslim registries, deportations, etc).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, Kazzy seems to be specifically carving out that he’s not talking about “life and death” harms, but other kinds.

                The people I’m talking about survived this long, that’s for sure.

                But that’s why I see them as relevant.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I agree but would argue that those people could be helped without harming many of the people Trump-and-Co are potentially going to harm.

                You can address unemployment without bathroom bills.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Further, the argument I’m seeing put forth is that liberals should sit down and shut up because Trump isn’t hanging people from the White House awning. My argument is that even if people don’t die as a result of Trump-and-Co’s policies, many people will be harmed.

                The truthiness of this seems independent of whether or not people were harmed by Obama’s policies or would have been harmed by Clinton’s.

                Here is how I’m seeing the discussion often going:
                1.) Liberals complain about something Trump says/does.
                2.) Non-liberals (or folks such as Dark Matter, however he identifies) argue that liberals ought not complain because no one is/will be dying in the streets.

                If liberals push back against that opposition, I struggle to see how a valid response is, “Well, Obama harmed people, too. And Clinton would have.” Even if that’s true (I agree that it is), it says nothing about the legitimacy of complaints about the harm caused or likely to arise from Trump-and-Co’s policy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                My argument is that even if people don’t die as a result of Trump-and-Co’s policies, many people will be harmed.

                Oh, that’s probably true. That said, it is very important to not be crying wolf here.

                There has been a lot of wolf-crying in the last… I don’t even know how long. Can we go back far enough to remember when people were complaining about how women would be treated in Mitt Romney’s America? Comparing Mitt Romney to Hitler?

                It’s certainly true that there are people who would have been harmed if Romney got elected instead of Obama getting re-elected.

                I have no doubt of this. That said, it’s a difficult thing to gauge, isn’t it? I mean, looking back now, would it have been *THAT* bad if Romney got elected?

                Would it have been as bad as those who argued against his Freudian slips in which he indicated that he saw womens’ place as being in bondage indicated?

                I submit to you: no. It would not.

                If liberals push back against that opposition, I struggle to see how a valid response is, “Well, Obama harmed people, too. And Clinton would have.” Even if that’s true (I agree that it is), it says nothing about the legitimacy of complaints about the harm caused or likely to arise from Trump-and-Co’s policy.

                At this point, it becomes important to figure out what we’re measuring.
                Because if we agree that we’re just picking who gets hurt and how bad, it’s pretty important that we demonstrate that we’re good at measuring harm.

                The harm-measuring skills of the people who opposed, for example, Mitt Romney strike me as being calibrated imperfectly.

                Wolf has been called a lot. This calls future wolf calls into question.

                This is very, very bad because there is a wolf out there and, someday, we will very much wish that we had a shepherd class worth listening to.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                2.) Non-liberals (or folks such as Dark Matter, however he identifies) argue that liberals ought not complain because no one is/will be dying in the streets.

                Oh, I’m all over the place.

                And my point is Liberals need to pick their battles. If you react every time he’s an ass, then he owns you.

                He’ll have policy proposals out there which matter, and you’ll be complaining about some outrageous tweet which is totally off topic. Trump is sucking all the oxygen away from his opposition by deliberately mis-channeling your outrage.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter

                And I contend we can fight battles on multiple fronts because there is, what 60+ million of us and (supposedly) the entirety of the media?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                And I contend we can fight battles on multiple fronts because there is, what 60+ million of us and (supposedly) the entirety of the media?

                Sounds like a good prescription for defeat in detail.
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defeat_in_detailReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Is there a point at which “we could help you without harming many of the people that your preferred politicians would harm!” evolves into a trivially true statement?

                That is, it’s true… but you never have thus far and why in the hell would someone have believed that Clinton would have offered the help that you’re talking about?Report

              • What “help” are we talking about? If it’s talking credit for other people’s actions and telling lies about bringing jobs back, yeah, she could have done that too.

                If it’s creating jobs rebuilding infrastructure, no, Clinton probably couldn’t have gotten that through an obstructionist GOP Congress. (Obama couldn’t.) Can Trump? We’ll see.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                CNN was on during dinner and the sound was off but the chyron read something to the effect of “FORD TO NOT BUILD FACTORY IN MEXICO, WILL BUILD IN MICHIGAN”.

                Followed by “CEO STATES ‘THIS IS A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN TRUMP'”.

                Now, you and I both know that there’s a lot of stuff going on with the Ford thing and it’s just as likely to have happened under Clinton.

                But that chyron… The narratives surrounding Trump seem to have lives of their own.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                What do real people think about CNN?

                I know that Fox is the “right wing” one and MSNBC is the “left wing” one and so I think they think that CNN is just the “centrist one that is a little left, but that’s just because everybody who works for it got a degree in journalism at one of those colleges that regularly has protests over whether white people with dredlocks are culturally appropriating African-American culture”.

                If that’s in the ballpark of being accurate, then even *THAT* one is pushing the Trump Saved These Jobs narrative.Report

              • I think CNN is stupid. No idea what real people think.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird

                Consider: Many people were already in the process of being substantially harmed to the point where they saw “disrupting the status quo” as preferable to maintaining it.

                Indeed they saw disrupting the status quo as preferable, but that just a subjective view, not an objective fact. There are millions of iterations of disrupting the status quo in which the disrupters will end objectively worse.

                And so far, most of the hints we have about scenarios of disruption bode quite gloomy for the disrupters, which will not see the mines reopen, or the industrial jobs come back, but might instead lose their health insurance, their Medicaid, their Medicare, and the industrial safety regulations that help keep the few remaining miners alive.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Very understandable opposition to Trump is being treated like hysterical wailing with zero basis in reality.

                Really? I see very little opposition to Trump that isn’t hysterical wailing. I think too many libs have internalized their own normalization ideas to their own detriment. I think they’d be better off if they’d treat Trump as a normal President and criticize him on that premise when the situation arises.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Koz says:

                He’s so incompetent at losing that he became president!
                Even after the “dirty tapes” got released.

                HOW is that normal???Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                Very understandable opposition to Trump is being treated like hysterical wailing with zero basis in reality.

                The very understandable opposition to Trump is being drowned out by the hysterical wailing.Report

              • He’s spoken with a foreign leader to interfere with American foreign policy while still a private citizen. Not only does that violate all norms of behavior for presidents-elect, it’s against the law.

                Yeah, I know, hysterical wailing. I’ll try to say something sensible instead.

                He’s a stealth socialist who’s going to confiscate all of our guns, send his enemies to reeducation camps, and ban religion!

                Now do I sound like a sensible conservative?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Dark Matter: The very understandable opposition to Trump is being drowned out by the hysterical wailing.

                Mike Schilling: He’s spoken with a foreign leader to interfere with American foreign policy while still a private citizen. Not only does that violate all norms of behavior for presidents-elect, it’s against the law.

                Great example. So how much time/whitespace have we spent talking about *that* as opposed to him being an ass with the X-mas greeting and proposing having his daughter as first lady?Report

              • Compared to how much time has been spent discussing whether Obama was born in the US? None.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Great example. So how much time/whitespace have we spent talking about *that* as opposed to him being an ass with the X-mas greeting and proposing having his daughter as first lady?

                It’s not how much time *we* spend, really.

                It’s how much time we can get *the media* to spend on it.

                As I said on the first lady thing, the proper response to that from people who oppose Trump is ‘Wow, that is an interesting thing Trump is doing there. Well, you’ve informed everyone of that, now how about you inform us about *rolls 20-sided die and picks reason that Trump should not be president from table* how Trump is threatening to leave our allies in Eastern Europe hanging because of his weird Putin entanglement.’

                The first lady thing was something that, correctly, was reported by the media as existing. We can’t blame them for that. The people opposing Trump could either make it a real story by (for some weird reason(1)) being upset by it, *reducing media resources*, or not make a story. (And, luckily, I think people managed to avoid the bait.)

                This tweet, OTOH, is worth mentioning, if only to add to the ‘Trump is an asshole and cannot stop being an asshole’ pile.

                ‘Look, he can’t even neutrally wish all Americans a New Year. Maybe there literally is something wrong with his brain.’

                It’s not something the media should spend a lot of time on, but it is something that should be added to the pile of evidence. Just keep talking about how Trump *cannot behave like a president*. That needs to *keep being talked about*.

                1) You know, even if the first lady thing *wasn’t* just a distraction, it’s not even slightly important and not anything the left or anyone else should be opposed to for any real reason. I mean, it’s an interesting side story, especially as this election we though we were going to have a disruption in the ‘Office’ of First Lady with Bill Clinton, and instead we get one in Ivanka Trump, and we really need to start thinking about our assumptions of all that stuff in the future, and perhaps some sort of ‘First Host’ position might make sense. But it doesn’t seem like there’s *any* reason to *object* to that situation. (Well, except Ivanka Trump also has the same foreign and domestic business entanglements Donald has.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Press Release: President-Elect Obama Calls Foreign Leaders Today
                November 18, 2008

                President-elect Barack Obama today returned phone calls to five world leaders and expressed his appreciation for their congratulations on his election. President-elect Obama spoke with:
                President Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina
                President Bachelet of Chile
                Taoiseach Cowen of Ireland
                President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan
                President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority

                One can certainly question the prudence or motivation of accepting a call from the President of Taiwan, but the complaints that it violates law or custom just isn’t true.

                Accepting a call from the Palestinian Authority was certainly a signal that interferes with the policy of the sitting president. That’s somewhat the point… signals are signals and the incoming president makes them.

                You can debate the signal as much as you want… I have no problem with that, but calling into question the right of signalling lest we “normalize” something that is normal is the wrong fight.

                It’s the 140 character twitter fight, not an actual fight over policy towards China.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Not commenting on the Logan act issue, but I think the difference is taking congratulatory calls has no relation to US foreign policy.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Gaelen says:

                I believe Mike is referring to Trump’s call to Egypt’s leader to negotiate the UN/Israel vote.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Fair enough, Egypt is different than Taiwan, perhaps… but I’m not seeing a difference in the response. Which goes somewhat to the point that is being made upthread… don’t fight every twitter war as if its the war to fight.

                I doubt the Logan Act would hold-up to a president elect, but then the good news for Trump’s downfall is that he is inept at navigating the minefield. Eventually he’ll hit a real mine. Be ready for that time.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

                http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/egypt-trump-sisi-resolution-israel-settlements-161223064418355.html

                Is there any precedent for this? Is there any wording within the Logan Act that would make Trump’s actions legal?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Depends what you mean by precedent… if you mean every president-elect who was ever president-elect started contacting foreign governments and signalling their intentions, then yes.

                President-elect doing so rather ham-fistedly on meaningless matters, then not that I can recollect… unless Regan’s negotiations with Iran count. But then Reagan had the good sense to use back-channels and retain plausible deniability. Trump? He’s using front channels… that’s the break with tradition. All you’d succeed in doing is moving everything to back-channels – which is probably a good idea, but not the object of the exercise as far as I can see.

                But that’s my follow-on point… is the Logan act the bullet you want to shoot? Because I don’t think you’re going anywhere with that shot at the President-Elect. I can’t say for sure that it wouldn’t work, but (sticking with the hunting analogy) you’re taking a high risk long-distance shot with little chance of success while your prey is on a path to enter comfortably into range if you just wait.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

                The reports indicate he explicitly negotiated with a foreign leader in direct opposition to US foreign policy as was being pursued by the federal government at the time. That seems a pretty clear violation of the Logan Act (as I understand it) and troubling because it undermines the sitting President’s (who IS the President for 17 more days) ability to do his job. Imagine there was an international incident in the next two weeks that required an immediate response from our government… would we really want foreign leaders to wonder who that response is going to come from or which one they ought to acknowledge if multiple ones come through?

                Maybe pursuing this would be a strategically poor choice but, good god, can we really not stop the partisan shit for 2 seconds and say, “Yea, he really shouldn’t have done that… that is highly problematic. We have one and only one President and that is currently Barack Obama and that will remain the case until January 20.”

                Probably not given that recent GOP shenanigans have essentially reduced the Presidency to a 3 year term with a do-nothing year tacked onto the end.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Go for it.

                I did say he shouldn’t have done that (the way he did it).

                Now, if there really was a big international response that truly required both immediate and long-term responses, the President-elect would weigh in – no matter who it was. That’s just not a constitutional crisis.

                But that’s still my larger point, Trump is unschooled in the art of governing… he’ll do many things in the next 4-years that are questionable, uncountable imprudent things, and quite possibly one or two that might be genuinely impeachable.

                I’m not being partisan… I think his actions are hamfisted and I expect his administration to be the equivalent of a corpse tumbling down a spiral staircase in slow motion.

                But President-elect getting involved with World Leaders days before his inauguration isn’t the outrageous act that will generate prison or impeachment.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

                “But President-elect getting involved with World Leaders days before his inauguration isn’t the outrageous act that will generate prison or impeachment.”

                So much for law-and-order.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Do you think so?

                Do you really think Logan would catch a President-elect? Have you gamed out the effect of a weaponized Logan on people who visit Davos for reasons other than x-country skiing? Who’s restraining whom here?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Is there a statute of limitations on Logan?

                Maybe we can finally get that Jane Fonda once and for all.

                Golly, if we start using this against celebrities, imagine the wonders we could create!Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

                Have you seen the new evidence that Nixon “monkey wrenched” peace negations between us and Viet Nam right before the 68 election. It has long been considered a possibility but notes of meeting from Haldeman suggest he actually did it.

                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/nixons-vietnam-treachery.htmlReport

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Dude… Breitbart was wondering just this – way back in 2013 – with cases for Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter and Barak Obama ready to go. Sean Penn is reading this thread in fear and trembling.

                Plus, there should be at least a tiny bit of reflective irony in that America officially abstained… And John Kerry was totally not involved in drafting the resolution.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I distinctly remember my grandfather telling my mother that he didn’t want her to go see “On Golden Pond”. The damn movie won, like, a kabillion oscars. He gave a large speech for him, a small speech by most any other measure, in which he said that he didn’t think much of Jane Fonda and that he didn’t think much of anybody who’d put money in her pocket.

                My mom, to the best of my knowledge, never went on to see On Golden Pond.

                As the jackboots kick her in the kidneys while someone in the room screams “STOP RESISTING”, I suppose I could console myself with the thought that I only care about law and order.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                …Jane Fonda…

                As the jackboots kick her in the kidneys while someone in the room screams “STOP RESISTING”, I suppose I could console myself with the thought that I only care about law and order.

                Reading over her wiki, I see *nothing* about her being physically attacked, as opposed to scorned. People think poorly of Jane because she was photographed during the war sitting on a North Korean anti-aircraft gun cheerfully clapping and applauding.

                The jackboots are imaginary, something the left tells itself to justify its actions. The anti-aircraft gun was real, and presumably killed US pilots.Report

              • Not North Korea. A different repressive autocracy.

                North Carolina.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’ve got no clue what you’re referring to. And “Jane Fonda Beaten” doesn’t show anything useful in google.

                Link?Report

              • Avatar Mark Boggs in reply to Dark Matter says:

                He means North VietnamReport

          • For Democrats, it’s life or death not to have the top guy be a vile, incompetent buffoon. For Republicans, it’s life or death not to have the top guy be someone who’d do a perfectly reasonable job but whom they’ve spent the past 25 years hating,

            Both sides do it.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter says:

            I’m probably biased but the ground seems pretty well trod. I haven’t seem the Dems suggest he’s not an American*, or that he’s a closet Muslim, or a closet communist
            yet. The year is young though.

            *Though a few of the wingier wingnuts have taken shots at his wife’s citizenship.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

      He was too big an asshole to be nominated, till he wasn’t. Then he was too big an asshole to be elected, till he wasn’t. Now he’s too big an asshole to get his way on things. Very comforting.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      @north

      Might I suggest that your nonchalant attitude towards Trump has not had the best track record so far and it could be time to reconsider.

      Trump is not in power yet so he can’t do anything against his liberal or left critics. He could put Christie and Romney through a show and make them beg like craven idiot’s without a soul. But Trump does take power in 20 days and he doesn’t strike me as the type to take it lightly if a court rules against him or Democrats actually engage in constitutionally permissible obstructionism. There is also the Sessions’ DOJ which can be turned into a partisan office for screwing and persecuting the opposition.

      What is it going to take for you to be nonchalant and blase? Forced to move back to Canada? A massive, global depression? People getting rounded up into labor camps?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Well I grant I’ve been pretty consistently wrong about Trump in terms of his ability to win the nomination and HRC’s ability to beat him in the general.

        I would ask though, if we’re screaming now about Trump when he hasn’t done anything yet (because so far all he can do is shoot his mouth off) then will that make us more or less effective once he does do something deplorable and we scream about it? Also if we’re screaming and attacking Trump now, before he’s done anything, would that make a creature as presumably malleable as Trump is more or less likely to be willing to consider liberal proposals or objections?

        I mean what’s our strategy here? Is it principled opposition or Obama era full out opposition? Something else? Because whether the goal is to try and pull Trump to the left and work with him; simply protest and try and stop him when he does something bad or ape the GOP and secretly oppose everything he intends to do yelling about Trumps outrages before he’s done any huge outrages strikes me as contrary to all of those strategies.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

          I see a lot of wishful thinking among my liberal friends, the idea that there is some magic silver bullet, a One Weird Trick that will devastate Trump and the GOP.
          I don’t think it works that way.
          There isn’t One Argument that works for all interest groups, not one big thing that will change millions of minds.

          Constant hammering of points, constant attacks from all different angles.
          A liberal attack on Trump; a conservative critique of the GOP; a religious moral argument against Trump; a economic utilitarian attack on the GOP.
          Personal stories by women who no longer have access to reproducive services; personal stories of working class people cut off from health coverage. Pocketbook issues like the minimum wage.
          Personal attacks on his Cabinet; Comparing the billionaires who loftily talk about how minimum wage workers don’t need breaks, as they themselves idle away their time on yachts.

          In the same way that “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” went from being a warm promise in 1939 to a punchline in 1979, the tropes that hold up the GOP election victories like “fiscal conservatism”; “Running government like a business”; “we can say Merry Christmas again” need to be mocked and ridiculed endlessly until people get embarrassed to say them.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Okay and assuming we grant your premise does freaking the fish out over tweets lend itself to or hinder that strategy.
            Also, I wonder if it’s possible to replicate the “I’m from the government” rebranding now that those slogans have entire infrastructures of sustaining support interconnected together through the internet.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

              I’m warming to the Berluscioni strategy of ignoring the antics and focusing on the actual harm.
              “He’s a clown” is not a bug for the GOP base, since their primary goal is to piss off liberals.
              His corruption, the swamp of Wall Street cronyism, and the pocketbook pain seem like better sources of resistance.

              I think that the “run government like a business” really is tired; for most people who have experienced downsizing, outsourcing, temping, and general fuckery by corporations, the image of the heroic CEO isn’t very powerful.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          The political science tends to suggest that the best strategy for the Democratic Party is to oppose Trump on every little thing and make the Republicans do all the work themselves rather than work with them. People tend to put all blame or give all credit to the President and punish or reward the President’s party accordingly. The Democratic Party needs to act on this strategy.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

            This’ll work so long as you are somewhat in charge of the narrative.

            Do you feel in charge?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              Exactly. Playing cynical games is not what Dems are good at. (They have no gift for strategy…) Nor does it strike as a winning play in the long game. Pretty generally across the country Dems are getting their butts handed to them, and until that tide turns at the localish level pure obstructionism will look more like petulance than an expression of power.

              And to your other point, Dems right now lack a compelling narrative, and getting one should be the first order of business.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Well sure, but freaking out over his tweets doesn’t really help that strategy. Loudly and insistently claiming that the Dems are trying to be bipartisan while refusing to cooperate is the 2008- present strategy that worked pretty well (politically) and freaking out over Trumps tweets works against that as far as I can see.

            Also, if we copy the modern GOP’s strategy on this we have to be willing to eat the cost as well: that in any area where Trump & Co get through the blockade liberals and Dems cede any influence over what shape the policy takes. I mean yeah Obama gave away a number of GOP wishlist items early on in an attempt to be bipartisan but Trump is definitely not trying to redo Obamaism.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

              One thing to maybe freak out about is how the senator with whom he has the longest relationship is the new minority leader.

              I mean, if you have any libertarian inclinations that is.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                I was gonna snark that I’d be more worried about him colluding with the Senate Majority leader and House Speaker to potentially liquidate the safety net wholesale but then I reread your comment and remembered we were looking at this from a libertarian perspective in which case those would be considered lifts.

                But yeah, Schumer, being a Senator from Trumps home state, does probably have a longer “relationship” with Trump than the others. That, of course, is relative. I’m also puzzled about what we fear the near powerless minority party leader will do, from a libertarian perspective at least?Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North says:

          I mean what’s our strategy here? Is it principled opposition or Obama era full out opposition? Something else?

          There were some people in my town arranging a protest on January 20th.

          Well, a ‘protest’. Real protests have *actual goals*. There is no possible goal that can be accomplished on January 20th. There is literally no goal listed except ‘Trump not be president’, but they don’t seem to have any idea of how to make that happen.

          So this ‘protest’ is just ‘We are going to make it clear we are opposed to this president before he’s done anything’

          Although, just to be clear, he actually *has* done a lot of stuff, and, as I’ve argue before, should not be allowed to become president because of his business entanglements and the emolument clauses. Congress needs to step up and do their job and impeach him before he takes power.

          But I *know* all that. I can make arguments to that effect, and I’ve been doing so on Facebook.

          But the people trying to do the ‘protest’ just have the argument ‘He’s an asshole, and we don’t like that he’s president’. Hell, they probably are not aware he can kept from taking office by impeachment. (Although not by starting a protest in a small Georgia town *an hour before the transfer of power*!)

          And ‘protest’ that is all people will see, and now ‘the left’ is opposed to the new president for ‘no good reason at all’, because those idiots have absolutely no coherent argument or goal.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I guess when a key advisor oversees a site that posts crap like this, what can we expect: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/01/01/2016-just-start-going-win-2017/Report

  6. Avatar Koz says:

    This seems like the same sort of thing the anti-Trump conservatives were complaining about during the campaign (and I was one of them).

    There’s a pretty clear operating double standard that just is. Trump can troll whoever he wants, but libs (or conservatives for that matter) can’t troll back. Trump can be opposed, but he can’t be trolled. I can’t even think of a way to explain it other than to say that Justin Bieber gets to have sex with groupies if he wants to but you don’t. The libs complaints about “normalization” seem to be working in reverse. I know I can’t be bothered about it.Report

  7. Avatar Stillwater says:

    He’s a Unifier, not a Divider!Report

  8. Avatar Damon says:

    If the communitariat is still talking about this type of BS 6 months from now, it’s going to be a LONG 4 or more years….Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

      Oh, it’ll be four long years. I’m just curious why you think Trump’s petulant tweet isn’t worthy of criticism. He’s the Leader of the Free World-Elect and he consistently acts like a 4 year old right before being put in timeout.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater says:

        Because if we devote our attention to every bullshit tweet he puts out (which is practically every tweet) we draw focus away from even more horrible stuff he will be doing. Everyone on our side already knows that he acts like a 4 year old. Everyone on their side already doesnt care. Immature Trump is not the angle that will win you 2020, even if it is true. Even though being president is a place where style does matter, this is still fairly characterised as elevating matters of style over those of substance. Rehtorically, strategically, dialectically, that is never a good place to be.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Murali says:

          We’re entering really perverse territory.

          “They don’t care he’s a monster so let him act like a monster. That’s how we’ll stop future monsters.”

          There are, what, 60 million or so people who voted for Hillary? Surely SOME of us can focus on his Twitter nonsense while some of the rest of us can focus on other things, right?Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

            “Surely SOME of us can focus on his Twitter nonsense while some of the rest of us can focus on other things, right?”

            So far, I’m not seeing that…not in the MSM..not here. Not anywhere. All I’ve heard and read, other than a little Russian nonsense and cabinet appointees, is how terrible Trump will be and “journalistic campaigns” for support to prevent the horrors that is “the donald”. That last one came from Slate. Maybe I missed it. I was out of pocket for the last week.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

              Maybe we live in different realities, since as far as I can tell, the exact same people who criticize his tweets also worry about and criticize his connections to Putin and Russia, his stance on NATO, his foreign policy in general, his trade policies, his domestic policies including Medicare, EPA regulations, climate change, etc and so on, IN ADDITION to his COIs.

              People are amazing things.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                What I’ve seen is SPECULATION on what his policies will be. Other than the comment about nato countries paying their fair share, I’ve seen little specific policies announced, since, you know, he’s not president nor has an admin up and running.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Since even you don’t know his policies, it’d be effing stupid for folks to write posts about what the Dems in congress should be doing, yes? I mean, what a waste of time!!Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Really? A few days after the election, I read on Slate articles about how “we must resist a trump presidency” and “don’t normalize this” type articles. That’s perfectly fine, but “here’s how the dems can shut down a trump presidency” or “what’s next for the dems” or “how the dems can take the congress/pres back in 4 years” it’s effing stupid?Report

              • Avatar joke in reply to Damon says:

                So… what is it exactly distracting us from? Not hypoetheticals, man. Give us the beef.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

                So we can’t complain when Trump’s actions show temperament and behaviors that are unpresidential and troubling for our commander in chief. We can’t complain about policies because it’s just speculation about what he is going to do. We can’t complain about the popular vote, Russian hacking, or Comey because that’s just sour grapes. Is there anything legitimate to complain about with this administration?

                Also, he has made policy proposals (not well thought out or supported, but what can you do?). He has a tax proposal, infrastructure project, withdrawing or renegotiate NAFTA, increased military spending.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

            “They don’t care he’s a monster so let him act like a monster. That’s how we’ll stop future monsters.”

            Monster? Because of a tweet which didn’t kill or injure anyone?

            At the moment he’s lacking social skills and/or deliberately manipulating people by pushing their buttons.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

            Frankly, I’d be satisfied if our media can learn not to quote Trump’s tweets in their headlines and give the impression that they’re conveying information about the real world. At this point, he seems to have figured out how to manipulate the news by making wild claims on Twitter knowing they’ll be quoted in headlines and maybe contradicted in paragraph four (as long as the writer studiously avoids outright saying Trump’s claim is untrue).Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

              At this point, he seems to have figured out how to manipulate the news by making wild claims on Twitter knowing they’ll be quoted in headlines

              (can’t remember where I read it but presumably based on a source within or close to the Trump campaign, but) it’s not something he’s recently figured out: it was pretty much the entire strategy of his campaign. Post a shocking, controversial tweet early in the morning on the predictable expectation that the media, twitterati, 24/7 cables news shows, etc, would drive his messaging for him thru the day and maybe even into tomorrow. IOW, he used his opponents hypersensitivity to PC-civility against them and (obvs) to his own advantage.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

            “They don’t care he’s a monster so let him act like a monster……”

            Are we supposed to take this as obviously true prima facie? I can think a lot of ways to describe Donald Trump, many or most of them pejorative, and I wouldn’t necessarily buy this.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

              And thus the normalization begins. He can’t wish the nation a Happy New Year without shitting on half of his constituency. Coupled with his other treatment towards anyone he perceives as standing in his way and I’m comfortable calling him a monster.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                I hate to break it to you but the normalization began a long time ago. As it stands, I think this Maginot Line in libs’ minds is a lost cause.

                The American people are thinking about managing Trump, working with Trump, minimizing the risks of his quirks and insecurities. The resistance of the refuseniks is just a means for the governing majority to simply write you out of the equation altogether.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Koz says:

                I find it hilarious, in a Peter Sellers-movie sort of way, that the most ringing defense of this Administration that can be made is to compare it to the rule of a mad and evil emperor, something that must be endured and suffered stoically.

                Combover Caligula, indeed.

                ETA: I wonder if future historians, sifting thru the ashes of once was, will conclude that the one called “Mike Dense”, was actually a sly political infighter, instead of the gibbering idiot he presented himself as, where he ascends to the throne after the fantastic despot is finally dispatched by the Secret Service.

                I, Claudius II- Electric BoogalooReport

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah, I’m not buyin’ it. For all Trump’s insecurities and foibles, it’s also a substantial opportunity to break out of the cultural and mental sclerosis we’ve gotten into, and for that an occasion of some hope.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                The part I am and remain optimistic about is breaking out of institutional sclerosis. That’s not to say that breaking down some entrenched cultural norms isn’t valuable in its own right, but I’m more interested in how well/if at all Trump can break down the deadweight institutional inertia that governs so much of our governance.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think this is much more credible as a direction of liberal thought relative to some line of defense against “normalization” that’s not going to hold anyway.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                If I’m understanding you right, I agree. It’s not about normalizing a new set of policies. Not yet anyway. It’s much more about creating a political space where the possibility of deviation from the old can reside.

                That was Bernie’s message, too, albeit from the left.

                It’ll take some time before any complaints about “normalization” make sense*.

                *Well, except wrt conservatives criticisms of liberals, anyway. They’re likely never gonna get tired of that shtick.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater says:

                If anything, it’s about creating a new set of norms that might be upheld because there’s a strong majority consensus behind them.

                Ie, so far a lot of libs want to think “Whatever happens, we have to remind ourselves and others that Trump and his baggage isn’t normal, and respond to him based on that premise.”

                And then as a consequence you have libs watch Twitter and they see that Trump tweets whatever and so they tweet back “ZOMG LOL Trump!”

                I don’t think this is going to get any traction because American people (and for that matter the political establishment) is going to interpret these things in a much different way and just ignore the refuseniks.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                What you say is possible. But Trump is still pretty widely reviled in the electorate, by Dems univocally, by GOPers by about half. His policies don’t have a lot of leeway for failure. Nor does “Trumpism.”

                Rejectionism is easy, governing is hard. He’s on a very short leash. (Or let’s say it this way: he’s got to DELIVER or the whole shebang goes “bang”.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater says:

                That gets back to one of my other comments. Trump needs to do the wall and the SCOTUS appointment. If he does he’ll have a decent-sized leash. If he doesn’t he’ll have very little.

                One other thing about the downside of Trump that I don’t think libs have internalized. If Trump does crash and burn (gets impeached, resigns, dies, whatever) I think the GOP will be able to Teflon themselves away from him pretty easily. This is a weird situation where the divisive and rancorous GOP primary will actually help in terms of perception and governance.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

                How long does he have to build the wall before he stars losing his base? Or can he play the “It’s not my fault” game indefinitely?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                It’s not so much a matter of time as much as continuous momentum toward the construction and completion of the wall. As long as the momentum goes forward, he’ll have as much time as he needs.

                “It’s not my fault” is not going to fly at all. In fact, I think that’s the biggest danger for Trump among the Trump-GOP base. If they were willing to entertain that, they didn’t have to have Trump in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                How long does he have to build the wall before he stars losing his base?

                Just make a fence, hire some drones, have Trump make up a new word (air-fence?) and call it a day. Half of illegals enter legally and then overstay their visas so it won’t matter.

                Weirdly Trump could (more or less) continue what Obama was actually doing with different rhetoric. I think Obama has done FAR more rounding up of illegals than he wanted to take credit for… thus Obama’s adventures into publically claiming he was re-writing policy.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                how well/if at all Trump can break down the deadweight institutional inertia that governs so much of our governance.

                What the hell does that mean?
                Seriously, what the hell would that mean wrt Trump’s Cabinet, and the Senate and Congress now in power?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The way defense spending is allocated; the way regulations are enforced; the way schools are funded and how; the way foreign policy is constructed; the way trade deals are made; the way the tax code is enforced; the way criminal justice is enforced; the way social programs are funded and allocations are provided; etc and so ad nauseum.

                I’m not wedded to very many of our current policies so I’m very open to their revision and a necessary part of that is breaking outa the old thinking.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                And which of his Cabinet members would improve any one of these things?
                Which members of Congress or Senate would improve any one of these things?
                For examp;e, will the defense contractors have even one bit less influence than they do now?
                Will the CEO of Hardee’s/ Carl’s Jr. make labor laws that are better in any appreciable way?
                Will our trade deals favor international corporations more, or less, than they do now?
                Will Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan make the lives of working people better by fulfilling their promise to repeal Obamacare and privatize Medicare and Social Security?

                There seems to be this thinking that any change is bound to be better. I can think of a dozen ways in which change can be awful and worse.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Chip, I’m not the type of liberal you think I am.

                I’m ready for a shakeup. I’da preferred it to be Bernie, but I’m alright with Trump. He’s gonna rattle the cage, and to be honest the cage needs rattling and Hillary wasn’t gonna do it. She’da just caged it all in even more.*

                *Or whatever you call her type of politics…

                Add: Or I’ll say it this way: the electorate wanted the cage rattled and we ended up with Trump. It coulda been someone else, for sure. But it wasn’t.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Stillwater says:

                “He’s gonna rattle the cage, and to be honest the cage needs rattling”

                There is a great deal of ruin in a nation. Giving the keys to someone who has neither interest nor experience in governance is one way to explore it.

                For deity’s sake, this isn’t a football team mired in a losing streak. Rattling cages just for the sake of shaking things up gets people killed, and possibly in large numbers.

                To return to a theme frequently explored on this blog, the Democratic solution to our country’s health care woes was to force everyone onto an insurance policy, then regulate the terms of the policy and the amount of subsidization.

                Beyond wishing that would put Peter Pan to shame, the Republican plan is essentially to force individuals to absorb more of the costs of their health care and, if they can’t, to do without. That policy approach will kill people.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Francis says:

                Beyond wishing that would put Peter Pan to shame, the Republican plan is essentially to force individuals to absorb more of the costs of their health care and, if they can’t, to do without. That policy approach will kill people.

                Every policy approach in health care kills people. Even if we had unlimited resources (which we don’t), the death rate holds steady at 100% and this isn’t going to change.

                The issue is one of resource utilization and efficiency, which is something that free markets tend to do very well and governments poorly.

                We have problems in that the markets are less than free (asymmetry of information among other problems), and various other problems but whatever.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Wait, do you seriously look at the US health care system and conclude that the only problem is that markets are less than free? This is theology, not analysis.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Wait, do you seriously look at the US health care system and conclude that the only problem is that markets are less than free? This is theology, not analysis.

                The only problem? No.

                The most serious problem? Yes.

                A lack of free markets means we’re paying FAR more than we need to, on the orders of a significant part of the GDP. If we had the ability to squeeze money out of the system then we wouldn’t be breaking budgets left and right and there’d be money to spend on other things.

                A lack of free markets also has all sorts of nasty side effects other than “money”. For example the lack of transparency means I can’t research how safe “Hospital “A”” is over “Hospital ‘B'”, which means there’s no reason for whichever is worse to improve.

                Where we get into religion is when people look at Cuba’s economic system and say “I want that”. They’re still driving cars built from before the revolution because they have no other alternative.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dude, are you even reading the other comments on this thread? We’re not looking at Cuba. We’re looking at France, and Canada, and Germany, and the UK, and Singapore, and all of the other dozens of countries that have universal access and radically lower per-unit costs. People who say we need less government are appealing to…nothing. To a fantasy, a matter of theological belief that markets are the way, no matter how clear it is that the nature of health care and the widespread moral demands around it make the normal function of a market impossible.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                …dozens of countries that have universal access and radically lower per-unit costs. People who say we need less government are appealing to…nothing. To a fantasy, a matter of theological belief that markets are the way…

                What we’re talking about is “how do we fix the current system”.

                The big options on the table are “more command and control” and “more market“. Basic economic theory has predictions for what will happen in each case, we should pay attention.

                It’s inappropriate to point to other countries’ systems and claim we can import every detail of them here. For example many of our HC issues go away if Americans become less fat, but changing that is unlikely without serious culture changes.

                Similarly, referring to “economic theory” as a “religion” is like trying to refer to the “Theory of Gravity” as a “religion”.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                it’s not that the economic theory is wrong, exactly. To my mind it’s like walking into a room full of engineers who are talking about different ways to reduce drag on an airplane and declaring that, because objects in motion remain in motion, there’s no need to do so at all. The 10,000 foot, big picture theory is not always helpful, and is often actively misleading, when you get down into a particular issue with a bunch of complicating factors.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Market efficiency is merely the matching of wealth and resources.

                If you have the money and want a toaster, you are matched with a guy who has a toaster and wants money.

                Why is this a desirable goal in medicine?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Maybe because wealthy people are more deserving of lifesaving treatments because everything, including your life, has a price?

                I dunno, of course. Just throwing that out there.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Market efficiency is merely the matching of wealth and resources. If you have the money and want a toaster, you are matched with a guy who has a toaster and wants money. Why is this a desirable goal in medicine?

                How much more efficient is the world’s best medical system than ours? Twice? Three times? And they don’t use much markets either?

                If the cost of medicine were a quarter what it actually is (look at the medical market for pets if you think that’s unreasonable), then there’d be a LOT more medicine actually available at a given price and we wouldn’t be worrying about breaking budgets.

                And to be real clear, so that there’s less of a “fantasy world” aspect to this, it means we would be letting sick people die if they didn’t have the money to stay alive.

                It also means there’d be a lot more money available for things like college, and paying for medicine out of pocket would be a lot less painful than it sounds.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If you think that being poor and diabetic should be a death sentence, then I suppose we’re not going to able to argue very productively. I’d invite you to go make that case to the public and see how many elections it wins you.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Geebus H. fellas.
                Dark is right about free markets. The way the damn markets are supposed to work is demand comes from subjective value. Let me say it again subjective value, and again, subjective value.

                Thats were the demand comes from. That is supposed to set the equilibrium for the iron triangle. Yes the iron triangle is supposed to balance out to meet the various demands of each subjective value in the system. No part of the triangle is supposed to be nailed down by any social construct.

                There, the damn thing is fully defined. You do anything to fuck around with that and the black market will start chewing holes in ass. Because black markets are just another name for your fucked up capitalism wasn’t really capitalism.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Again, it’s theology all the way down. What part of that comment is in any way specific to the problems of health care finance?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Don Zeko says:

                That’s another reason you need the market. Finance assumes you need to find the price of the subjective value. Start anywhere else, your lost, mumbling to yourself in the fog.

                Not theology, it’s just regular math, unless people are starting to think regular math is church. If that’s the case, some men you can not reach, so ya get what we had here.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Start anywhere else, your lost, mumbling to yourself in the fog.

                Mm hm.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Finance assumes you need to find the price of the subjective value. Start anywhere else, your lost, mumbling to yourself in the fog.

                Finance doesn’t assume that. Some specific theories of (normative) economics do, tho.

                For a whole slew of goods and services markets are a better mechanism to allocate resources than central planning, but health care provision isn’t one of em.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                For a whole slew of goods and services markets are a better mechanism to allocate resources than central planning, but health care provision isn’t one of em.

                Why is central planning “a better mechanism to allocate resources” for health care?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Health care is just a service. It is a important service yes, but again if you start nailing down any part of the iron triangle you instantly make the supply not match the subjective values involved. It becomes inefficient, and not in a good way, like paying for parts of the iron triangle twice, or even three times, instead of once.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                If you think that being poor and diabetic should be a death sentence, then I suppose we’re not going to able to argue very productively.

                People are currently dying because your “command and control” solution results in only one, seriously expensive, epi-pen on the market. That’s what “resource inefficiencies” mean here and the epi-pen is only going to be one example of many.

                Countries which claim “food is a right” and insist on using command/control for it typically see starvation because command/control is *that* inefficient.

                The number of people who starved to death in the US last year was effectively zero, because we use the market and market friendly policies like food stamps.

                So give the poor guy in your example a voucher for medical care and let the market work (you can attach it to his food stamp card).Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark Matter:
                And to be real clear, so that there’s less of a “fantasy world” aspect to this, it means we would be letting sick people die if they didn’t have the money to stay alive.

                It also means there’d be a lot more money available for things like college, and paying for medicine out of pocket would be a lot less painful than it sounds.

                I’m not seeing how this is consistent with this:

                So give the poor guy in your example a voucher for medical care and let the market work (you can attach it to his food stamp card).

                Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Part of that was me realizing how effective and market friendly Food Stamps are, part of it is we really do have 6 digit cures which only the rich (and/or insured) would have access to and we’d have to drop the idea that everyone can have everything.

                In any system, people are going to die because of a lack of resources. A market approach is a LOT more honest about that and skips the obfuscation that other systems try to use to hide it.

                Give everyone X dollars a year for HC. Someone is going to die because they need 2X, and the typical middle class guy with a middle class job will be able to pay it.

                Command and control tries to pretend that whatever treatment that someone needs can be reserved for him by preventing someone else who needs it less from taking it. That it also requires 0.75X be wasted through inefficiencies and unintended consequences isn’t mentioned.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                But of course there’s not a set amount of medical care to be distributed; there’s a demand curve that meets a supply curve somewhere. How much of different resources exist will depend upon our scheme to finance it.

                If we’re giving everybody a set medical care voucher, then we’ll have some people that get all of their medical needs covered by the voucher without problems, and other people who have expensive acute illnesses, chronic conditions, and disabilities. Those people still die if they’re poor and the voucher only makes a trivial difference.

                Of course I suppose you could get around that with insurance, so the costs of the very expensive sick are defrayed by the healthy, but why would insurance companies be willing to sell to people that are going to be predictably expensive to insure? You’ll have to require insurers to cover them, I suppose. But then if you do that there’s no reason for healthy people to buy insurance and the insurers will go out of business, so you’ll have to incentivize the healthy to buy insurance. Oh wait, oops, we just made the Affordable Care Act.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Those people still die if they’re poor and the voucher only makes a trivial difference.

                Yes.

                It’s also true that many of them will be able to purchase treatment because the treatment itself won’t be so crazy expensive, but I’ve already pointed out that people will die.

                One of the huge disadvantages with this system is people will die, and they’ll know who they are. The vast numbers of people helped by the system (basically everyone but the first group) will mostly have the benefits taken for granted. Worse even people supposedly harmed by this system might be better off with this system than the command/control model because there will be more treatments available/created here.

                If someone is hungry they know it, if someone is not starving to death because the system works then they don’t know it.

                You’ll have to require insurers to cover them, I suppose.

                No.

                You don’t get to buy insurance after your house is on fire. There are things we should do to make sure people can keep their insurance, but that’s probably a different issue.

                In terms of insurance reform what we probably want to do is outlaw everything but major medical. Insurance is supposed to cover big things, not the equiv of changing light bulbs.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I’m still not seeing any inkling here of why anyone should prefer this system to something like a European universal system.

                You keep repeating that yeah, folks are going to die, but it will be different folks, like that somehow a persuasive argument.

                I’m just not getting the concept here.
                Who would benefit from this?
                Why should they?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m just not getting the concept here.
                Who would benefit from this?
                Why should they?

                The European system comes with European GDP growth rates. The countries which do the best job at running their social system do so by having few people and lots of oil.

                Let’s use some US numbers to put this plan into perspective. Median household income is roughly $50k, Medical insurance for that median family is what… $15k? Average medical costs $5k? So call Medical Insurance + Costs of $20k (note the gov taxing it from you and giving it to you or someone else counts, as does your company withholding it from your paycheck).

                I’ve been assuming a handwave 4x in inefficiency, so the system in our alternative universe gives you basically the same medicine at a cost of $4k, so the other $16k goes in your pocket. That has serious effects on inequality, the general good, and so forth.

                Now lets assume you (in this universe) are persistently sick to the tune of $80k a year. In our alternative universe that’s $20k a year so in theory you’re no worse off (although yes, it’s going to suck if you don’t have access to that).

                Further, it’s strongly implied that taxes will be seriously less in this alternative universe, this should have good effects on growth rate and other good things so that median $50k is probably an understatement.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I’m more confused now than before.

                What is with the handwaving? Is that like underpants gnomes?
                How do we come up with an assertion that medical costs can be cut to a quarter of what they are now?

                And even if we accept that without question, there are plenty of people who couldn’t afford even that. And many of these are people who are elderly and sick and whose spending is easily multiple times your example of 80K.

                So again, I’m not sure who is supposed to find this attractive.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And many of these are people who are elderly and sick and whose spending is easily multiple times your example of 80K.

                And these are the same people who, if we actually go to UMC, will receive “no” votes by death panels.

                The alternative to an efficient system is NOT that everyone is covered for everything, it’s that we do a better job of obfuscating how that choice is made while also making HC expensive for everyone.

                So again, I’m not sure who is supposed to find this attractive.

                People who want lots more money in their pocket? People who care about growth? People who currently have to choose between paying for HC and paying for HC insurance? People who need epi-pens?

                There’s a lot of suffering that comes with a system as inefficient as ours. We just lack the obvious signs of people starving in the streets that we’d have if this were food. Not knowing who is suffering let’s us pretend there’s none, but all that economic damage has real world consequences even if we don’t know the details.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Which universal system currently is letting sick elderly people die? I’m not aware of any.

                Who are the people currently suffering?

                The only ones I can think of are people who aren’t covered and covering more people was the whole point of the ACA.

                I trying, and failing, to see how going towards a more market based system would decrease suffering.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Who are the people currently suffering?

                Anyone who is paying too much for medical services or insurance.

                Think about how painful it’d be to take a thousand dollars, or even ten thousand dollars, and just set it on fire. That’s basically what we’re having almost everyone do.

                That’s a *lot* of harm. It’s lost opportunities and other economic benefits, and these are big numbers so it’s a big deal. That people aren’t aware of how much harm they’re suffering doesn’t eliminate its existence.

                Which universal system currently is letting sick elderly people die?

                All of them (everyone dies).

                As I’ve pointed out, other systems are better at hiding painful realities, but they can’t function if they don’t have some way to prevent routinely spending millions of dollars on dying elderly to give them a few more weeks of life.

                Just because a treatment is available doesn’t obligate society to pay for it.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Well yes, things would be better if our health care costs were lower, as they are in every country that has implemented universal health care. And yes, every system everywhere has to at some point make painful decisions about resource allocation and accept that we are mortal. So where is your argument against UHC hiding in here? You keep asserting that if we sprinkle some free market juice on our current system we’ll suddenly get costs comparable to, errrr, the various European countries with UHC, but I’m still not seeing what evidence you have to support that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                You must have faith, comrade. Faith in the free market, and it shall deliver it’s glory unto you.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Ah… no. UHC has never “lowered costs”, which is what we need. As part of the gov taking over HC and putting into place UHC they’ve also put into place things which prevent HC growth.

                If we went totally into UHC right now we’d have to pay a lot to get UHC (which is why our politicians have flinched away from doing it) and then long term we’d get lower growth in health care. But we’re past the point where reducing the rate of growth can help a whole lot, now we actually need to lower costs. That’s going to be really painful, it means jobs will be lost and so forth.

                Actual reductions in cost mean doing to our HC system what the market did to the Steel Manufacturers and other industries. The market has a long history of being brutal on entire industries, the government really doesn’t.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                UHC has never “lowered costs”,

                No, by definition. Leaving out the sick and infirm will make the bottom line look a lot better. See, for example, US health insurance practices until recently.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well you say that, but we actually spend more per capita than many countries with UHC and don’t get universal coverage for that money.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Ahh. I was confused for a minute there.

                Yes, we don’t have UHC (well….) and our costs are higher than many UHC countries with better healthcare provision. (Point 1)

                What I took Dark to be saying is that a total cost C at T1 without UHC will increase at T2 by the addition of the previously uninsured. Which is, I think correct. (Point 2)

                Point 1 and point 2 aren’t inconsistent, seems to me. Part of UHC (singlepayer version) is that gummint leverages down prices and so on, thereby reducing costs. But merely adding high risk people onto the rolls without any other changes increases costs.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dark Matter: UHC has never “lowered costs”,

                No, by definition. Leaving out the sick and infirm will make the bottom line look a lot better. See, for example, US health insurance practices until recently.

                There are dozens of countries which have put into place UHC. Please show me a graph detailing how their costs actually went down when they did so. Not how their costs are different from someone else, how their costs *actually* *went* *down*.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                How are you defining costs? Total costs? Costs per unit care? Costs per person? The metric matters enormously.

                We could reduce our total costs by providing super gold plated care healthcare to only one randomly chosen lucky American and ignoring everybody else. Or we could raise them by instituting universal overage.

                Likewise, we could ask if computer costs are down since the 1950s. No, they’re a much larger percentage of our economy now. We each spend far more on a per capita basis as well. But we’re not purchasing the same thing. If you define computer costs as the cost per 32-bit integer calculation or megabyte of RAM, they’ve gone down enormously. But you have to come up with a sensible metric.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Total Costs.

                Various people seem to be claiming that going to UHC means we’d actually be spending *less*.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You’re making the same mistake you made earlier though–conflating comparisons across time with comparisons across borders. Two things can simultaneously be true:

                1) Countries that adopt UHC have higher total costs now than they did in the past.
                2) If we copy one of models, we will have lower total costs than we are currently spending.

                The fact that UHC health care countries spend more in total than they did in the past doesn’t imply that we’d have higher costs if we emulated them at all.

                Regarding the total costs question: Has the US gone completely off the rails because our total costs for cell phones and wireless services have gone up dramatically over the past 30 years? If not, it’s probably good to ask what you’re trying to figure out using that metric.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                If we copy one of models, we will have lower total costs than we are currently spending.

                So you’re claiming we’ll actually get lower total costs.

                Countries that adopt UHC have higher total costs now than they did in the past.

                Who cares about now? We have dozens of examples, what did total costs look like 5 years after they went with UHC?

                If I recall correctly, I looked at a graph of this years ago and the answer was “up, not down”.

                doesn’t imply that we’d have higher costs if we emulated them at all.

                We’re pulling sick people into the system who don’t get care now. We’re pulling poor people into the system who don’t get care now.

                This STRONGLY suggests UHC will be a lot more expensive than what we have now.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                So you’re claiming we’ll actually get lower total costs.

                If we did identically the same thing that other UHC countries are doing, yes. Those countries spend less of their GDP on healthcare than we do. So it shouldn’t be a stretch to say that if we do what they’re doing, we’d be spending less of our GDP on healthcare than we do. It’s actually kind of weird to think it would be some other way.

                If the question is, “Would any arbitrary form of UHC lower total costs?” then the answer is no. There are plenty of UHC designs that would raise costs enormously. Giving everybody their own MRI machine would raise costs. But doing what other countries with objectively lower costs than us do seems like it would lower costs. Why would that not be the case?

                Who cares about now? We have dozens of examples, what did total costs look like 5 years after they went with UHC?

                You’re making the same comparison mistake *again*. Your baseline is wrong. It’s producing nonsensical results. Comparing France in 1945 to France in 1950 is an increase. Comparing US 2016 to France 2016 is a decrease. We’re the US in 2016. If we became like France in 2016, the number would go down. Yes, if we were France in 1945, our costs would go up. But we’re not France in 1945.

                Going back to my cell phone example: Can you explain exactly what you’re trying to get from the total costs metric? Is it bad that we’re spending more on cell services now than 30 years ago?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                But doing what other countries with objectively lower costs than us do seems like it would lower costs. Why would that not be the case?

                Because you’re not going to:
                1) Get doctors to accept half their salary
                2) Kick trial lawyers out of the system
                3) Fire whatever percentage of test lab people don’t fit the model
                4) Implement serious gun control
                5) Have serious death panels
                6) Make Americans less fat/murderous/etc, etc, etc.

                The concept of bringing in their system in total is simply nonsense. What you want to do is implement UHC to cover people who aren’t covered, and that’s it. You’ve suggested nothing for reducing costs other than pointing to other countries which have some or all of that list (and other things besides), but you’re not going to try doing those things here so that doesn’t really help.

                Comparing France in 1945 to France in 1950 is an increase.

                So you’re admitting that UHC has *never* actually reduced costs? If so, and assuming you’re not trying anything on my list above, what makes you think we’d reduce costs here?

                Can you explain exactly what you’re trying to get from the total costs metric?

                Whether or not we can pay for it. Other countries implemented it when costs were cheap and their gov spending was a much smaller percentage of the GDP than it is now.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You’ve suggested nothing for reducing costs other than pointing to other countries which have some or all of that list

                Interestingly, none of the other, much more theoretical proposals, offer no suggestions for reducing costs either. So the question is this, Dark: if you think healthcare cost per capita GDP is absolutely outrageous and going to get worse, in particular given how shitty our overall healthcare is, then you’ve got a faith-based decision to make too. Or an ideological one, I suppose. I mean, you can stick to your guns about “free market” solutions and watch health care spending rise to 22, 25, 30% or our GDP, or you can bite the bullet and concede that the free market can’t solve this problem.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Interestingly, none of the other, much more theoretical proposals, offer no suggestions for reducing costs either.

                Oh good grief. Make HC providers post prices and give everyone vouchers so they have a reason to compare. There’s more but the root of fixing a dysfunctional market is to fix the dysfunctional market.

                So the question is this, Dark: if you think healthcare cost per capita GDP is absolutely outrageous and going to get worse, in particular given how shitty our overall healthcare is,

                Yes.

                then you’ve got a faith-based decision to make too. Or an ideological one, I suppose. I mean, you can stick to your guns about “free market” solutions and watch health care spending rise to 22, 25, 30% or our GDP, or you can bite the bullet and concede that the free market can’t solve this problem.

                As far as I can tell we’re not *trying* anything close to the free market, and that’s one huge reason why it’s expensive.

                One epi-pen, 3rd party pays, no prices posted so no comparisons possible, supply deliberately restricted, and I’m sure there’s more.

                “Faith based” is thinking one more layer of government (on top of every layer we already have) is going to make everything work even though we’re nakedly increasing demand, handing out “free” things, and can’t describe why prices will go down other than “other countries have do things we’re not willing to”.

                I can and have described ways to make UHC work with reducing prices, but the control of prices is separate from the handing out of “free” goodies aspect that you like.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Get doctors to accept half their salary

                Some number of doctors will work at any given wage. Reducing doctors’ salaries will reduce the number of doctors, not eliminate doctors entirely. Producing more doctors would also reduce doctors’ salaries. Supply and demand are curves.

                Kick trial lawyers out of the system

                Why not, exactly? I mean, I’m guessing that the thought experiment health care utopia in your head has no trial lawyers in it at all. In any case, the evidence that a large chunk of our costs are driven by lawsuits is not very compelling.

                Fire whatever percentage of test lab people don’t fit the model

                I don’t know what this means.

                Implement serious gun control

                What percentage of our GDP do we spend treating gunshot wounds, realistically?

                Have serious death panels

                I really don’t get why you think that. It’s not like our current system provides unlimited payouts. Medicare and Medicaid also have plenty of hard and fast rules that let people go without care. You seem to think that Americans are uniquely unable to put limits on benefits, and as far as I can tell you’re basing that belief on absolutely nothing.

                What you want to do is implement UHC to cover people who aren’t covered, and that’s it.

                No, that’s just a thing you’re ascribing to me because it’s easy to dismiss.

                So you’re admitting that UHC has *never* actually reduced costs?

                Mary: Hey, we should sell our Suburban buy an Accord like Joe has. Joe spends less on gas than we do.
                Mike: Nonsense. When Joe sold his motorcycle and bought the Accord, he started spending more on gas!

                If so, and assuming you’re not trying anything on my list above, what makes you think we’d reduce costs here?

                Primarily the fact that while those things are contributors, they’re not really what’s driving the dysfunction of our system.

                Other countries implemented it when costs were cheap and their gov spending was a much smaller percentage of the GDP than it is now.

                This claim makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would lower costs when they implemented it have anything to do with whether it’s affordable now? If the system didn’t work, lower costs at the start would not save it decades later.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Dark Matter: What you want to do is implement UHC to cover people who aren’t covered, and that’s it.

                Troublesome Frog: No, that’s just a thing you’re ascribing to me because it’s easy to dismiss.

                Then when I ask for how you’re going to control costs, you need to say something other than “UHC” (which increases demand and hands out free stuff).

                UHC is politically the easy part because handing out free stuff is popular. The really hard part is paying for it and structuring things so it doesn’t bankrupt the system.

                DM: Other countries implemented it when costs were cheap and their gov spending was a much smaller percentage of the GDP than it is now.

                TR: This claim makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would lower costs when they implemented it have anything to do with whether it’s affordable now? If the system didn’t work, lower costs at the start would not save it decades later.

                This is pretty important. It’s *much* easier to stop someone from getting something than it is to take it away, that’s *especially* true for things like jobs, salary, and life giving care.

                Say we look at other countries and decide *half* of all tests are medically worthless, so we the gov decide to make it a lot harder for doctors to schedule tests with the explicit goal of cutting the number in half. Those tests are people’s jobs, how they get their incomes, etc, and there’s going to be a lot of political protests and claims that what we have now is absolutely needed. Ditto if we try to prevent anyone over the age of 90 from being treated for certain types of cancer when we know that these treatments work. Ditto if we try to cut doctor’s salaries in half (or even attempt to double the number of doctors).

                On the other hand preventing the creation or import of a band new (seriously expensive) drug or technique is much easier because the people who are going to die without it don’t know that there’s an (expensive) alternative.

                When other countries introduced UMC, it increased the cost of the system, but because the gov was paying for it the gov put huge pressure on various parts of the system to lower it’s growth. At the time, per person costs were very cheap because all these fancy cures hadn’t been invented yet and we weren’t spending vast percentages of the GDP on medical care.

                Because these systems were on budgets, they needed to find ways to cut costs. However our absurd costs are already baked into the system. Lowering our GDP expenditures on medicine implies people die and lose their jobs. That’s going to be politically unpopular.

                Implementing UMC without changing anything is just applying our absurd costs to sick people we used to let die. I don’t see how we do that without breaking the budget, and thus far you’ve been unwilling or unable to say where the cost savings come from, and much more importantly, how those cost savings can work politically.

                The low hanging fruit (economically) is not paying for expensive treatments for the old and sick. Half your lifetime medical costs are in the last year(ish) of your life. However you seem to be wanting UMC for the purpose of *not* doing things like that.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Then when I ask for how you’re going to control costs, you need to say something other than “UHC” (which increases demand and hands out free stuff).

                I’ve been more specific than that. I’ve been referring to any of the systems that every other developed country has set up without the problems your thought experiments indicate will happen. We could try, for example, a single payer system where the government acts as a single giant insurance company, sets reimbursement rates, makes payments, and decides which procedures are covered. Other countries do this. In fact, we do this for the most expensive population via Medicare already.

                There are plenty of other models that result in universal coverage and all of them have objectively worked out to be cheaper than ours. Pick one that exists in reality, not one you’re concocting in a thought experiment, because those clearly don’t work as well as the real ones.

                You seem to think that I’m saying that making it universal results in savings. It’s the other way around. Adopting a better system saves enough money to make it universal.

                Lowering our GDP expenditures on medicine implies people die and lose their jobs. That’s going to be politically unpopular.

                So your complaint is not that it doesn’t work economically, but that it won’t work politically. That’s very likely to be at least partially true. Our awful system has shown remarkable political resilience against any attempt to reform it. But your objection holds for any reform that will reduce costs. Any cost reduction anywhere will cost somebody some profit. If we follow your reasoning to its conclusion, we can’t change anything and we’re stuck paying too much for too little forever. We’ll never get anything other than what we have now.

                This feels like one of those cases where my idea needs to meet political feasibility tests but yours doesn’t, even though it’s just as politically infeasible (if not more).

                I don’t see how we do that without breaking the budget, and thus far you’ve been unwilling or unable to say where the cost savings come from, and much more importantly, how those cost savings can work politically.

                Wrapped up in your economic arguments is the assumption that we’re currently getting as much as we possibly can for our money and that it is not possible to get the services for less–that there’s no excess billing or wasted administrative overhead. That if we take the $25 hospital aspirin and say, “We’re only paying $15 for that” that there will be a marked drop in aspirin delivery and we’ll all suffer.

                Results elsewhere indicate that it does not. Between the $25 coming out of your wallet and the pennies the aspirin actually cost, that money is going into excess returns that can be clamped down on. The cash that’s being extracted is far in excess of what it cost to provide the services. We know this because the same services are provided elsewhere for less.

                Basically, a big chunk of the savings would come from the same place the savings would come from in an ideal free market solution: Greater efficiency. Our system is currently maximally inefficient.

                Half your lifetime medical costs are in the last year(ish) of your life.

                I’ve mentioned this before, but we already have universal healthcare for the elderly. It’s Medicare. This isn’t even a thought experiment in our own country.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Good comment. (I wish I could’ve written it 🙂Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                You seem to think that I’m saying that making it universal results in savings. It’s the other way around. Adopting a better system saves enough money to make it universal.

                Somehow I doubt there’s *any* history of this kind of thing being put into place without large tax increases, that’s a problem right there considering how many countries have done this.

                The focus here seriously seems to be on universal with the “save money” aspect being either an afterthought or the calm assurance of ideology. So are you confident enough to do it in two stages? One to save money and two to make it universal?

                So your complaint is not that it doesn’t work economically, but that it won’t work politically.

                Oh, I don’t think it works economically with where we’re at, and I also don’t think it can work politically either (and you can add culturally to that list). The Dems had a super majority and Obamacare was as far to the left as they could bring themselves to go.

                But your objection holds for any reform that will reduce costs. Any cost reduction anywhere will cost somebody some profit.

                Markets have done this before, many times. Coal is currently coming under the ax, the Steel workers were brutalized.

                That’s in addition to problem that I don’t think *anyone* have any clue, at a detail level, what needs to happen. Do we have too many specialist doctors? Not enough?

                This feels like one of those cases where my idea needs to meet political feasibility tests but yours doesn’t, even though it’s just as politically infeasible (if not more).

                We already have vouchers around, is it really politically infeasible to force providers to publish prices?

                Wrapped up in your economic arguments is the assumption that we’re currently getting as much as we possibly can for our money and that it is not possible to get the services for less–that there’s no excess billing or wasted administrative overhead.

                Hardly. But the people you claim will step in and make $25 dollar aspirin cost only $15 are the same people who have given us a single source for an epi-pen (in the name of helping us) and allowed that $25 dollar aspirin to begin with.

                Given that we’re already dealing with regulators who have been captured by hospitals (etc), and given that providers understand how to do this, why should I expect the same group of regulators will do better in the future than an impersonal market?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You can hang your hat on that, but evidence shows that manymany singlepayer systems provide better healthcare at lower costs than the US. I think that’s the relevant data point, myself.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Great. So if you’re claiming that total costs are actually going to go *down*, then please provide justification for that, ideally examples from other countries experiences. Personally I keep remembering how our politicians keep flinching away from how much UHC will cost.

                You’re increasing demand, probably by a lot, how exactly are you going to increase supply or otherwise lower costs?

                And btw I can think of actual real-world answers for this.
                1) Really strict and broad use of death panels would do it (half your lifetime use of HC is in the last year or two of life)
                2) Really strict rationing would also do it (although we’d instantly have queues and probably a two tier system).

                But if your answer is something like “the government will do it” then you’re basically claiming magic based on an ignorance of economics.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Great. So if you’re claiming that total costs are actually going to go *down*, then please provide justification for that, ideally examples from other countries experiences.

                The justification is this: pick your model, do what they do, cost goes down. It’s not like there isn’t a solid evidence base to work from Dark.

                Now, if you’re expressing skepticism about such a system actually working in the good ole USofA, then I agree with you. But it isn’t because the models don’t work. It’s becuase of people like you who demand evidence that can’t be provided for analytical skepticism which begs the question.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                The justification is this: pick your model, do what they do, cost goes down. It’s not like there isn’t a solid evidence base to work from Dark.

                Great, so if “doing what they do” means we have to be…
                1) Less murderous
                2) Less fat
                3) Not have pockets of people who are poorly educated
                4) Have a different racial make up.
                5) Have a unified culture which frowns on abusing the government’s generosity

                How exactly do you think we’re going do that?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I think we’re making progress here Dark. Now you’re talking about the cultural problems of instituting something like an NHS singlepayer system.

                I agree, that’s a tricky one. But it’s a different complaint than the criticizing the mechanisms by which single payer works. The SP model works in a whole slew of countries. If it can’t work here, it’s not because the model doesn’t work, it’s because our culture – including people like yourself, if you don’t mind my saying so – and our politics aren’t amenable to it.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Stillwater says:

                Of course all of the market-based reforms that might have a shot in hell of reducing per-unit costs have a similar cultural problem.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Well, when it comes to political economy, you gotchyer politics and you got yer economy. Sometimes it’s important to distinguish which is which.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Stillwater says:

                Oh, definitely. But if the reason we can’t be France is that it’s politically impossible; that seems no more politically impossible than destroying employer-based coverage, deregulating the insurance market, and letting ER’s turn away indigent patients.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Of course all of the market-based reforms that might have a shot in hell of reducing per-unit costs have a similar cultural problem.

                Actually no. We already have health savings vouchers, there’s no cultural reason why hospitals (etc) can’t be forced to publish their prices.

                The nice thing about (some) market based reforms is it mostly wouldn’t be obvious who is going to be forced out of business in 10 years, nor who is over priced for what they actually do.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I would support any measures to make our pricing system more transparent. The disconnect between prices and customers is a primary driver of our cost problems.

                If you hired an evil economist and said, “Design a system that produced the worst possible cost outcomes but was still politically difficult to get rid of,” only the cleverest of economists would succeed as well as we have by accident.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I remember once we might have needed to work with a specialist for Mayo who didn’t accept our insurance. I asked them to give an estimate of what an office visit would cost.
                “We can’t do that. We have no idea what the doctor would need to do.”
                “Can you give a likely range?”
                “No.”
                “Can you tell me if it’s more likely to be $400 or $4000?”
                “No!”
                “Can you give me a list of procedures you perform and what you charge?”
                “This isn’t a restaraunt, sir! We don’t know what the doctor will need to do so we can’t say what it will cost. It just doesn’t work that way!”

                We chose not to work with them. And not just because she saw fit to scream at a potential patient/customer. We would not put ourselves in position to have our son’s medical needs exploited via a fucked up system. We found a highly regarded doc who accepted our insurance and payed a minimal copay for a visit and were done.

                That doesn’t seem like a well designed system. “You can go here and pay God knows what or you can go there and know you’ll pay $10.”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

                From recent experience, I can promise you the costs for a CT scan can vary at least 300% between providers on the same plan.

                That’s effed up.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                If you hired an evil economist and said, “Design a system that produced the worst possible cost outcomes but was still politically difficult to get rid of,” only the cleverest of economists would succeed as well as we have by accident.

                I don’t think they could, actually. No one individual, or even a team, could devise a system so entirely dysfunctional wrt the purported goals while (as you say) making it political difficult to change. It’s an example of spontaneous order which cuts entirely (by almost every objective measure) the other way.

                Same with the US tax code for that matter. No one single person could’ve designed that. Not even an evil all-powerful God.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Think about how painful it’d be to take a thousand dollars, or even ten thousand dollars, and just set it on fire. That’s basically what we’re having almost everyone do.

                My God, thats painful. The horror!

                But you know what might be just a tiny bit more painful than spending money?

                Dying of an illness without treatment, I’m guessing. Which was the reality for a lot of people before the ACA.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Dying of an illness without treatment, I’m guessing. Which was the reality for a lot of people before the ACA.

                And still is now. And will be in the future. I know people society could save (i.e. prolong the life of) if we were spend without limits.

                The problem is, in a world with limited resources, would society as a whole would be poorer for it?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Just because a treatment is available doesn’t obligate society to pay for it.

                Does the pool of insurees whose premiums cover specific individual costs constitute “society paying for it”? Cuz that’s how insurance works.

                If you don’t want people dying in the streets, and you don’t want society paying for their care, then you’re at an impasse.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                By saying that coverage needs to be extended to any given malady, we are, effectively, creating demand.

                If we are not creating supply at the same time, we’re going to deal with the fact that the price is going up. Or shortages.

                To switch to the “triage” framework, there isn’t a way to keep adding people to the triage room and put them all in the “take of of this now” pool. Not without creating more doctors/nurses/rooms in which nursing assistants take temperatures and blood pressure.

                And that’s without getting into the best way to make the US a lot more like England.

                Pre-Brexit England, I mean.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think your hyperfocus on meta analysis has reduced you to a state of paralysis, Jaybird.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s more that the stuff we need to do to fix the problem is very, very difficult and it will be easier to create twice as many new doctors than it will be to change the culture.

                And let me say that I say that statement *KNOWING* how difficult it will be to create twice as many new doctors.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’ve been thinking about this all day (yay, maintenance!).

                In practice, the difference between a thing (an actual thing) and a social construct is a nuclear war.

                If a thing is a thing, an actual thing, it would still exist after a nuclear war. So a guy with medical expertise on how to set a bone? Still just as useful after a nuclear war as before.

                A letter from the government promising that if the holder of the letter takes it to an approved HMO that the second hundred dollars of any treatment for gout will be paid for? Not useful after a nuclear war except for as paper.

                I’m in a place where I see that there are a number of things getting in the way of actual health care. Some of them are preventing actual health care (like the FDA) and some of them are having cash money poured into them rather than into actual health care (to some extent, a lot of insurance falls under here).

                We suffer from too many social constructs related to health care and from not enough actual health care.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m not sure why what-exists-after-globalthermonuclearwar is an interesting metric to get a grip on the healthcare debate, personally. What you’re effecively saying is that after meltdown there won’t be any Medicare, and because of that we should … what, exactly, I’m confused … scrap it right now?

                Will we have insurance companies after the bombs detonate? Will they still pay claims? If not, then we gotta scrap them too, right?, since they’re a social construct and all?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s not to help get a grip on the healthcare debate, it’s a rule of thumb to help measure whether what you’re calling for is an actual thing or a social construct.

                Will what you’re calling for be useful? Like, for real useful no matter what?

                Or is what you’re calling for only useful in our very specific legal and cultural context?

                If the answer is “I don’t know which it would be”, then use the nuclear war test.

                If the thing makes no sense in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then it’s not something that would help us at this point in our development either.

                If, however, you find yourself saying “man, I sure as heck would want one of those around!” if you were talking about living 200 miles east of The Glow, then it’s something that is likely to help us too.

                More adminstrators, lawyers, and coverage?
                Not going to help.

                UNLESS.

                Unless our health care problem is also not a real and actual thing but a social construct as well.

                If it’s the latter, yeah. Maybe what we need is an even bigger social construct.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can’t speak for you, obvs., but it seems that availability of medical care to treat high-temperature burns, broken limbs and bleeding would be really useful in our imagined post-apocalyptic world.

                Or am I still not playing the game right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Seems to me that you’re playing it perfectly.

                Is whatever you’re calling for something as real as medical care that can treat burns, set bones, staunch bleeding?

                A set of skills, a set of unguents/tonics/ointments, a set of splints, a set of bandages?

                All of which are medical care, without quotes.

                Is what you are calling for medical care, without quotes? If so, it seems to me that you would be calling for something that would help address the problem and get us on the proper track to having less of a health care problem.

                I mean, heck, you can start playing games like saying “But an MRI machine requires power! Would we have power after a nuclear war?”

                We can then get into stuff like engineering problems like backup power generators and redundant power and how a guy capable of running a generator would be something that would be very useful indeed after a war and, as such, an MRI running on this guy’s power would be useful, as would be the ability to run an MRI and read its results properly.

                So, hey, calls for more people capable of running backup power generators (STEM! Or TE!, anyway) would be something that would be useful in this context, assuming that one of the things we’re dealing with is a power crisis.

                Given that our medical crisis, for all its flaws, is more or less able to keep the lights on, I’d say that an engineer who is capable of running backup power is not something that we need more of *RIGHT NOW*, but it would address the “MRIs need power!” criticism of the thought experiment.

                Because, I imagine, an MRI machine and someone who knew how to use it and read the results would be useful after an apocalypse… and, as such, qualifies as something actual and real rather than merely something that is a social construct.

                Now a solution that focuses on the provision of insurance following an incident that does not involve pre-existing conditions according to sub-clause 13b (see attached), strikes me as being a lot more like a “social construct” and “health care coverage” (in quotes) rather than actual and for real health care (without quotes).

                It seems to me that the creation of newer and more social constructs is, effectively, the creation of demand.

                While the creation of actual and for real health care is the creation of supply.

                And if we are having a price problem (and, I submit to you, one of the problems we’re having is a price problem), then we need to focus more on the creation of the supply of health care (like, as you say, the ability to treat burns, broken limbs, and bleeding) than on the creation of social constructs to help us manage and categorize.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                I find this discussion delightfully surreal. Brent the survivalist living in a suitably remote place is going to move a multi-ton piece of machinery to his village, along with the replacement parts necessary to keep it running. All in a post-apocalyptic environment where effective supply lines have been shrunk from the whole globe down to a few hundred miles (depending on how vicious the bandits are that year).

                The global supply chains and international educational systems that support modern medicine are most definitely social constructs. And the CEOs whose companies deliver modern pharmaceuticals are the exact same people who lobby Congress for patent protection for their unique molecules.

                So, yes, all of modern medicine is a social construct. Without those social constructs, medicine would look a lot like medicine circa 1900.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                This is epic. Not good but epic in it’s own very special way.

                “If the thing makes no sense in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then it’s not something that would help us at this point in our development either.”

                I’m not sure comparing us to a P-AW is all that apt a comparison. But i’m guessing good analogies are just social constructs.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

                I’ll play.
                Would there be a system of property boundaries and rights in a post apocalyptic world?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                To be honest, I think the post-apocalyptic thought experiment isn’t anything new, it’s just an attempt to give a contemporary feel to an old song: Hobbesian state-of-nature deja vu all over again.

                So, no: there would be no property rights in the imagined scenario.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                But surely, in a post apocalyptic Hobbesian landscape, I can still buy my Lipitor on the free market using my Bitcoins!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Bitcoin is surging! All the smart post-apocalyptic (pre-Trump? can those two things be distinguished?) money is on Bitcoin!Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Bottlecaps, not bitcoins.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Good point. In the imagined scenario, globalthermonculeardestruction is something that happens to other people. Home brew is forever.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Let’s unpack:

                You find a cache of Lipitor in a box. Four full bottles!
                Are these worth anything?

                You find a memory stick with 17 whole bitcoin on it.
                Is this worth anything?

                As far as I can tell, Lipitor is something that is actually real and good.

                Bitcoin? Well, it’s a medium of exchange. Closer to “social construct” than not. Likely to be worthless.

                Well, the memory stick might be worth something.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                #stateofnature

                Eg: “Suppose someone in our postapocalyptic world finds a box of Lipitor. That’s a real thing, with value. What prevents another person from killing the finder in order to take that thing of value? Nothing. Nothing at all. Hence, constraints on murder are a social construct.”

                And they are!!!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes. Indeed.

                So, to use these two examples, something that creates more things like Lipitor would help us with our current crisis and something that passes more laws would *NOT* help us in our current crisis.

                If we could switch from Lipitor to Epipens for a moment, I’d point to the FDA’s approving only one Epipen to Europe’s ability to have approved eight different kinds of Epipen.

                Epipens are good. They’re health care!
                Social constructs preventing Epipens from being sold in the US to the point where the sole approved distributor can jack up prices? They’re making things worse.

                Is this one of those things where you’re trying to demonstrate how silly this metric is but I’m seeing how apt it is and we’re talking past each other?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Social constructs preventing Epipens from being sold in the US to the point where the sole approved distributor can jack up prices? They’re making things worse.

                The things the prevent generic epipens from being sold (say) over the counter isn’t “social constructs” but rather “leverage to ensure copyright protections”.

                Copyright protections may be (and in fact are) a social construct, but how they get leveraged, enforced, protected, etc, isn’t. Seems to me anyway (ie., it’s more of an “individual” “power” based construct, which at root are not constructs whatsoever).

                But I get your point. (I’m just pretty sure that the terms “social constructs” and “individual constructs” – or even etc! – don’t elucidate the phenomenon we really want to talk about. I don’t know what to call it….)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Hey, I’m just using it as a rule of thumb to help with figuring out how to distinguish between whether a thing is “supply” or “demand”.

                If it’s something that does not require context to be worth something as health care, it’s supply.

                If it requires a context to be worth something, it’s demand.

                And if we have a price problem then what we have is a situation where the rate of demand is growing faster than the rate of supply.

                And we do have a price problem.

                My solution to the price problem is to start churning out as much supply as is possible to do so. The worst case scenario for churning out supply is that, no matter what, we have something that is worth something even without context.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                My solution to the price problem is to start churning out as much supply as is possible to do so.

                I’m not sure that will reduce cost, to be honest. Here’s an example:

                Our community hospital is experiencing Real Pain (!!) because women are increasingly not opting to have conventional hospital births. Their numbers are way down, and that’s causing problems for the budget and the share holders.

                Anyway, to remedy the problem they’ve created a Midwife section of care, where specially CNMs provide global care and deliver with MD backup, if necessary.

                Fair enough. Nice market-based decision providing women with a nice market-based option. Problem is, their bill rate to carriers is exactly the same as before. So they make more money by paying CNMs their rate, which is cheaper than an OBGYN MD rate, but still bill the same.

                There is no market mechanism constituting a check on this stuff. Flood the market with MDs and the negotiated rate won’t change, the bill rates won’t change, the total cost won’t change.*

                It’s a fucked up system dude.

                *OK, that may be overstating things a bit. But I’m pretty sure that cost won’t deviate more than a few percentage points.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                btw, the “Real Pain” comment is based on Real Evidence: the CEO of the hospital had a meeting with my wife to lament how bad their numbers are and ask her what they could do to bring them back up. Which is weird (since she’s effectively the competition…) (Reminds me of Hillary, for some reason…)

                Add: and if you knew how much a hospital charges for a vaginal birth you’d understand why it’s such a big deal…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well… that strikes me as one hell of a demand spike that appears out of nowhere that, really, can’t be accounted for.

                If people want GMO-free, artisinal, small-batch health care and demand they be provided with such…

                I don’t know how to possibly deal with that.

                Well, the two tier thing, I guess. Everybody has X years ago available for cheap. If you want the latest, greatest, bleeding edgest stuff, you get to pay for it.

                But that means that some people will get better health care than other people have available to them which is, apparently, monstrous.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If people want GMO-free, artisinal, small-batch health care and demand they be provided with such…

                I don’t know how to possibly deal with that.

                Sure you do: let the market work as intended. Women get to choose a Birth Center for their maternity care and delivery and the “market” determines the price of that covered service.

                Problem is, that service isn’t “covered” by carriers for lots of women, and when it is the prices aren’t (as usual in the insurance world) determined by the market (since there is no market).

                And not to bash on insurance companies too much here, it makes sense that the “market” doesn’t determine their costs (or alternatively what we’d call “price) since they can only make projections on profitability with a high level of certainty that price (what they call “cost) is stable and predictable.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird:
                Well, the two tier thing, I guess. Everybody has X years ago available for cheap. If you want the latest, greatest, bleeding edgest stuff, you get to pay for it.

                In a sense, at least, this is the case with very many UHC systems and in the system set up by the ACA: you get a level of insurance coverage provided more or less universally, but people are perfectly able to pay for supplemental coverage on top of that if they want fancier treatments, lower deductibles, etc. It’s not monstrous; it’s the default liberal position.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Not exactly. It’s more that I think that we’ve got a price problem and that the preferred solution of the elites is to create ways to manage the price problem but the elites tend to manage the price problem in ways that subtly increase demand without increasing supply and, thus, make the problem worse.

                Sure, we can point to a group of people who are better off than they would have been otherwise, meanwhile there is another group of people who are worse off than they would have been otherwise and without a useful measuring stick of how to measure what, we’re just stuck either saying “the stuff I care about is more important than the stuff you care about!”

                If you want to hammer out a measuring stick that makes sense to you, we can discuss it.

                Without that measuring stick, though, I’m stuck looking at the price signal and how price is a function of the rate of growth of supply and the rate of growth of demand and if we seem to be in a situation where we have problems with the price going up and up and up and long lines and shortages and whatnot, I’d say that what would best address this is “more supply” and not “more demand” and if you’re having trouble figuring out whether an instance of a given thing is supply or demand, then use the nuclear war test.

                A pair of crutches? Supply.
                A letter explaining that the following treatments have the following deductables? Demand.

                Easy-peasy.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh its the “elites” talking about it. Got it. Not people, but those dastardly “elites” who are proposing all these bad solution that look like all the successful plans used in other places. You are back to your Econ 101 talk with the high falutin stuff like “price signals” and that guff. Sounds nice and elite but i don’t see how it even starts to talk about all the actual real life examples we have of how to cover everybody well.

                You want a metric; are we covering 100%. If not explain to the people who don’t get HC why that is just. Or better yet, assume you don’t get HC since you don’t have that money signal that brings HC and tell me why that is fine.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                The elites put together Obamacare. The elites wrote the law. The elites voted on it. The elites signed it.

                You want a metric; are we covering 100%. If not explain to the people who don’t get HC why that is just. Or better yet, assume you don’t get HC since you don’t have that money signal that brings HC and tell me why that is fine.

                Just?
                Fine?

                We’ve gone from talking about fixing the problem to the way things ought to be in a world that is morally proper and properly moral.

                Yeah, I’m going to need you to do more than make accusations of immorality against those who disagree with your efforts to, ahem, immanatize the eschaton.

                An appeal to the way the world ought to be is the ultimate social construct.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Now you’re just being silly. Obamacare was a negotiated solution among a broad range of interests, many of whom disagreed with each other passionately. The exact same groups are all now in DC, starting to lobby the new administration and Congress.

                Grouping all these interests into a collective “elite” conceals far more than it informs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

                Then I would like to officially withdraw the term.

                Please change

                Not exactly. It’s more that I think that we’ve got a price problem and that the preferred solution of the elites is to create ways to manage the price problem but the elites tend to manage the price problem in ways that subtly increase demand without increasing supply and, thus, make the problem worse.

                To

                Not exactly. It’s more that I think that we’ve got a price problem and that the preferred solution of the people in charge of dealing with this stuff on our behalf is to create ways to manage the price problem but the people in charge of dealing with this stuff on our behalf tend to manage the price problem in ways that subtly increase demand without increasing supply and, thus, make the problem worse.

                There.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                we’ve got a price problem and that the preferred solution of the elites is to create ways to manage the price problem but the elites tend to manage the price problem in ways that subtly increase demand without increasing supply and, thus, make the problem worse.

                Think about the world the elites live in. Money isn’t an issue for them or *anyone* they talk to. Healthcare isn’t an issue because they’re always at the head of the line.

                So we see solution after solution which expands access (at the expense of price signals) and/or shields people from price.

                without a useful measuring stick of how to measure what, we’re just stuck either saying “the stuff I care about is more important than the stuff you care about!”

                And the useful measuring stick is normally “price”, and the way to react or evaluate that is through a market.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird

                Pre-Brexit England, I mean.

                I have a red bus to sell to you. One that says “Vote Brexit and send 350 million (pounds, mind you) per week to the NHS.” (*)

                Whatever else Brexiters might have wanted (mostly never to see again another Polish plumber), Brexiters wanted their to protect their NHS.

                (*) of course, like many other things the Brexit Campaign said, this too, was a lie, which Boris Johnson sort or recognized when he said that the bus he was riding on might have said that, but he, personally, actually never did.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

                So the Faragers (Faragians?) wanted to keep their good old socialized medicine?

                There’s a leveragable opportunity here for Democrats, I think.

                I might have a way to save Obamacare…Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Personally, I’m not at all convinced that the GOP is going to repeal the ACA. I mean, they’ll go thru the motions and have a formal vote and all (make their base happyhappy!) but I’m dubious that they will change the basic structure sufficiently to call it anything other than repeal in name only.

                Additionally, Trump appears to be at cross purposes with a bunch of anti-ACA hardliners views of what happens going forward.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                One of the main things I see from over here is the Democrats giddily laughing that Donald Trump is going to make Americans pay for the wall he’s going to build.

                Without, you know, noticing that we’ve stopped discussing that building the wall is *BAD*.

                Instead it’s just “MEXICO ISN’T GOING TO PAY FOR THE WALL!!!! WE ARE!!!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!!!!”

                You know the thing where people love everything about every constituent part of the Affordable Care Act but hate Obamacare?

                Tweak it here, tweak it there, call Obamacare revoked to be replaced with Trumpcare (now with improved Medicare upgrades for states who want Trumpcare Medicare Upgrades), thus dismantling Obama’s towering achievement to be replaced by something damn near identical with a great big gilded TRUMP on the front… well, would that be a towering victory for America or would that be a pyrrhic victory that ought to be fought against?Report

              • He’s not going to build The Wall, and Mexico’s not going to pay a cent for whatever stupid, useless thing he might build.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                After reading your comment I saw this article.

                I do not know whether it is a point that makes me want to disagree with your conclusion or agree with it wholeheartedly.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                The two situations aren’t analogous, seems to me. Renaming Obamacare “Trumpcare” is good (or not) for America precisely to the extent that Obamacare is good for America.

                Building a Wall is a new horizon, going where no man (since Stalin) has gone before. I’m not sure what to think about it except that there ain’t no way in hell the Mexicans are going to pay for it!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s not that the situations are analogous, it’s the the opposition is analogous.

                If the focus of the opposition is to prevent a perceived win, then pointing out that Trump built the wall but he LIED because he said that Mexico would pay for it and they didn’t!, then that’s one thing.

                If the focus of the opposition is opposed to the wall itself, then Trump building the wall is a Trump win in its own right.

                Maybe focusing on how the US paid for it instead of Mexico allows both sides to win.

                Renaming Obamacare “Trumpcare” is good (or not) for America precisely to the extent that Obamacare is good for America.

                I agree with this 100%.

                That said, there are a non-zero number of people who would see turning Trumpbamacare from an Obaman achievement to a Trumpian deal as a dealbreaker in its own right. This is somewhat relevant insofar as a very important number of these non-zero people are in places where they could prevent the transubstantiation of Obamacare into Trumpcare.

                Which goes back to what is the goal of the opposition. To prevent the referent of “Obamacare” from going away or is it to keep “Obamacare”?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Without, you know, noticing that we’ve stopped discussing that building the wall is *BAD*.

                Is it *BAD*?

                I’m not sure that it is. Stupid, yes. Pie-eyed, for sure. But bad? Idon’t know. (It’s not like constructing false pretenses to invade a soveriegn nation…)

                I mean, I agree that the envirnomental damage alone mitigates against building the damn thing, but apart from that and the wasted cost it really isn’t going to work and at best will be something future historians and tourists write about and visit to get a first hand glimpse of Trump’s Folly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Is it *BAD*?

                Did you invoke Stalin in a non-judgmental effort to demonstrate how, with sufficient will, anything is possible?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                No. I just can’t recall anyone else building a wall more recently than HIM.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Of course they do.
                And yes there is an opportunity for Dems because a large number of people voted Trump on the condition he preserve Medicare.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                If you don’t want people dying in the streets, and you don’t want society paying for their care, then you’re at an impasse.

                Again, countries which have UHC *do* *not* have blank checks for every single one of their citizens. They let people die. By the standards of your rhetoric, they let people die in the streets because of lack of care. They’re just less honest about it than what I’m suggesting.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                There have been exposes documenting that US hospitals literally dump indigent patients onto the street, sometimes in their hospital gowns, dragging IV tubes behind them.

                So when you say that European nations ” let people die”, is that a metaphorical statement, or a literal one like the US example?

                I actually curious to know.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So when you say that European nations ” let people die”, is that a metaphorical statement, or a literal one like the US example?

                I’m saying that there are seriously expensive treatments, which could save lives, that they don’t fund.

                And because they (sanely) refuse to pay for these, people die. Of course the death rate remains 100% everywhere so paying for them would do nothing but break the budget.

                An interesting example is Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (bomber of Pan Am Flight 103). He was released from a British Prison on “compassionate” grounds, he was dying from cancer and had less than three months to live. Then he went back to Libya, and lived for years apparently with a different level of cancer treatments than he would have gotten in England.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                So your complaint against European systems is what, then?
                They ration care, which you appear to approve of, except they don’t ration by price?
                Which gets back to original question of why price rationing is better than triage rationing.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So your complaint against European systems is what, then?

                That they don’t reduce costs, and we can’t afford what they’re doing.

                They ration care, which you appear to approve of, except they don’t ration by price?
                Which gets back to original question of why price rationing is better than triage rationing.

                I don’t trust “triage rationing” to actually reduce the costs of the system (as opposed to reduce the growth of costs). To the best of my knowledge there’s no examples of it working this way.

                We can’t afford what we’re doing now so the issue is whether we go for more government or more markets for reducing costs. Markets actually *are* compatible with “helping the poor” (food stamps), but we have to lose this false idea that we’re always going to help everyone.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Maybe I missed it in all the conversation, but I still don’t see why we can’t afford a European system.
                I mean it’s not like European bodies behave differently than ours, or that hospitals operate differently. An appendectomy in Berlin is performed pretty much like in Boston.

                Politics are diffrrent, yeah, but that’s the variable were trying to change.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                To be fair, our obesity rates are higher than the worst case countries in Europe (although not by much in some cases). The estimates I remember setting the medical care cost of US obesity around 1% of GDP. But European obesity is nonzero, so that doesn’t account for an entire percentage point of difference. And it certainly doesn’t account for multiple percentage points.

                And of course, they’re still covering *everybody* instead of just most of everybody, so the disparity in cost per person covered is even higher.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Both from google:

                Obesity is responsible for 21% (ish) of our health costs
                Health spending accounted for 17.8 percent of the GDP.

                So Obesity Health costs are 3.7% of our GDP.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I was using CDC data–can you give me the reference you were using? I’m not finding any reference that goes that high–at least not a group of them that work out sensibly. The reference I can find to 21% of healthcare costs puts the dollar figure at $192B, which is not 3.7% of GDP. It’s about 1.15%. So they’re defining health care costs in a strange way that makes the calculation work out badly.

                Simpler to use per capita costs, since our system doesn’t cover everybody. Assuming $192B, that puts the obesity cost at about $600 per person. Let’s pretend obese Europeans don’t exist and we’re just going to eat that $600. World bank data on per capita spending by country:

                US: $9403
                Canada: $5292 (-$4111)
                France: $4,959 (-$4444)
                Germany: $5,411 ($3992)

                So there’s still a lot to account for here. You mentioned gun violence, which according to smartgunlaws.org (which will probably overstate the case) $8.6B per year, which accounts for another $30 of it. Even allowing for the idea that on top of those variables, those people consume 25% less healthcare than we do, they’re still beating the tar out of us. So how?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                …reference…

                As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.8 percent.https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what%20percentage%20of%20the%20gdp%20is%20health%20care

                The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States.

                https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=how%20much%20does%20obesity%20cost%20the%20us

                I’m curious as to whether those links will work for you (how personal does google make it?). If you don’t get what I do I’ll supply what it seems to be pulling from. Then to get 3.7% I multiplied one by the other.

                So they’re defining health care costs in a strange way that makes the calculation work out badly.

                That’s certainly possible. When I look at it, yes, $190B seems really low.

                Even allowing for the idea that on top of those variables, those people consume 25% less healthcare than we do, they’re still beating the tar out of us. So how?

                Two problems. First consumption of healthcare has little effect on the stats that we use to evaluate healthcare when we’re at this level of things.

                We tend to rank HC systems by things like child mortality, life expectancy, and so forth. But those sorts of things are drastically affected by things like murder, obesity, SIDS and so forth which are almost entirely cultural in the first world. For example, for all the talk about how poverty creates SIDS or makes it worse, the way to prevent infants from dying is to lay them on their backs, not their fronts.

                The 2nd problem is our spending suffers, dramatically, from things already mentioned on this board, tests/visits that are not connected to cost and are impossible to compare and so forth. Bluntly these things seem like what we should expect from “command/control” and are the sorts of things which markets clean up.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The links work for me, but I think you’re mixing and matching percentages in a way that compounds error. If we know the total dollar amount and what GDP is, we can get there directly by dividing the two, which factors out any errors in how they define what percentage of the economy is health care spending.. That’s how I did it.

                If you use the link that gives the “21% of annual spending” figure and try to backsolve for GDP using hte other, you get completely wrong numbers, so I suspect that their dollar figure is correct but they’re defining their denominator too narrowly and getting incorrectly large percentage. The highest estimates in absolute dollar figures I’ve seen are in the low $200B range, which still puts it at just over 1% of GDP.

                We tend to rank HC systems by things like child mortality, life expectancy, and so forth.

                Basically, you’re suggesting we have dramatically (like 1.5x to 2x) better health services than those other industrialized countries and we aren’t using metrics that capture that fact. I could definitely see us having better results depending on the metric, but without at least some sensible metric, that just seems to be guess work. Whatever the wrongness of the metric, it would imply an extraordinary difference in the level of care.

                Most of these things are knowable and measurable using number, so hand waving away such a large disparity doesn’t really do much.

                The 2nd problem is our spending suffers, dramatically, from things already mentioned on this board, tests/visits that are not connected to cost and are impossible to compare and so forth.

                Certainly, we do a lot of useless stuff that costs money. But it seems like the other countries with alternate systems either don’t do that or, even with that factored in, they still spend dramatically less per person than we do. So I’m not sure how this applies. You still seem to be speculating that we’d do those dumb things in a way that other countries don’t seem to be.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I think you’re mixing and matching percentages in a way that compounds error.

                Certainly a possibility.

                which still puts it at just over 1% of GDP.

                Fair enough.

                Basically, you’re suggesting we have dramatically (like 1.5x to 2x) better health services than those other industrialized countries and we aren’t using metrics that capture that fact. I could definitely see us having better results depending on the metric, but without at least some sensible metric…

                I’ve seen hints of this, very different survival rates of certain cancers, lack of queuing for important surgeries and the like. The problem is this *very* quickly gets into cherry picking.

                Ideally we’d adjust for culture (murder, being fat), which intuitively should be large, but I have no stats for that. Another strong possibility is we’re deep into “diminishing returns”.

                You still seem to be speculating that we’d do those dumb things in a way that other countries don’t seem to be.

                Oh, they do dumb things too, and because they’re not using markets either, they’re certainly subject to insane prices and so forth. However IMHO we’re further down that path than they are.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                …I still don’t see why we can’t afford a European system.

                Because these systems don’t reduce costs, they reduce the growth of costs (and even that would be difficult here). They’re also an expensive expansion of the existing system because they bring sick people who were previously untreated into the system.

                Our system is already really expensive. Expanding that expensive system onto more, often sick, people isn’t going to reduce the total cost of the system.

                I mean it’s not like European bodies behave differently than ours…

                If only that were true. If we weren’t the fattest first world nation we’d have a lot fewer sick people. Give us European bodies and many of our problems go away.

                …or that hospitals operate differently.

                Also untrue. For example many European hospitals use the “ward” model where one doctor or nurse can deal with dozens of patients at once. Ours are mostly built with private rooms to prevent the transmission of disease (and I suspect, require more doctors and nurses).

                We’re not going to burn down our hospitals and build European style ones, so we’re stuck needing vastly more people to run them.

                Politics are diffrrent, yeah, but that’s the variable were trying to change.

                Politics is a stand in for culture, and culture is one of the hardest things to change.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                So the things standing in the way of universal coverage:
                1. Americsns are fat.
                2. European hospitals are run more efficiently.

                Is that it?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No, I think Dark’s making a different point here:

                UHC is EASY since all you have to do is open the doors to everyone who currently doesn’t have insurance/access/money to pay cash. So he’s imagining a situation in which UHC is overlayed on the exact same system we have right now, and if we did that, then he’s absolutely right that costs would go thru the roof (wait a minute! costs are already going thru the roof! and they were before passage of the ACA! oh, well, that’s a different topic, so let’s let it go).

                What people are referring to as “UHC” is ambiguous to a certain extent, I think, since Dark’s restricting his conception of merely to the coverage component while others (me included) are focusing the systemic changes in pricing and absence of beuracracy (not to mention multi-layered profit motive) that such a system would entail.

                So we’re talking about different things. Hence, Dark’s insistence that advocates of singlepayer (say) present evidence that instituting an NHS-like system will actually lower costs. That data, as far as I can tell, isn’t out there. (I looked! A bit anyway.) The nearest bit of evidence to answer his question would come from Canada, I think, since they moved to a national healthcare system only in pieces, with several provinces adopting single payer at different times, which might permit an analysis of the T1 v T2 issue Dark’s worried about.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                UHC is EASY since all you have to do is open the doors to everyone who currently doesn’t have insurance/access/money to pay cash. So he’s imagining a situation in which UHC is overlayed on the exact same system we have right now, and if we did that, then he’s absolutely right that costs would go thru the roof

                This.

                Dark’s insistence that advocates of singlepayer (say) present evidence that instituting an NHS-like system will actually lower costs. That data, as far as I can tell, isn’t out there.

                Also this. We don’t have any examples of massive savings… because UHC has always been just bolted onto the existing machinery? That’s probably the political reality.

                others (me included) are focusing the systemic changes in pricing and absence of bureaucracy (not to mention multi-layered profit motive) that such a system would entail.

                If it were this easy and actually going to save money, then it should be possible at a state level. The various state level experiments have had costs go through the roof until the budget breaks.

                Next, I’m not sure how “absence of bureaucracy” gets into play here. Are we going to outlaw the hospital having a bureaucracy? We’re not going to use prices to signal anything, and presumably they’ll remain invisible (like what Kazzy found)… So why is this supposed to make anything cheaper? Is having someone else pay those insane bills going to reduce them? Are we going to micromanage the bills with a bureaucracy?

                It feels like you’re suggesting GM could save money by getting rid of it’s entire bureaucracy and sales force by simply giving way it’s cars for “free” and billing the government (or that we’re going to double down on everything that makes the system expensive). My expectation is the increase in demand makes other changes moot.

                Triage medicine has been suggested… but presumably that means deliberately not treating the old and dying because they’re old and dying. That could work (except politically), but I *think* this is what you want the system will *prevent*.

                Savings probably needs to happen by reducing demand some way. “Price” is one way, Queues or Triage/Death Panels is another.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Again, countries which have UHC *do* *not* have blank checks for every single one of their citizens. They let people die. By the standards of your rhetoric, they let people die in the streets because of lack of care. They’re just less honest about it than what I’m suggesting.

                I’ll take, Dark! We both agree that I’m dishonest about people dying in the streets and cut our healthcare costs in half.

                Is it a deal?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Chip Daniels: For examp;e, will the defense contractors have even one bit less influence than they do now?

                Mattis has a punchers chance of kickstarting getting the procurement process back into some semblance of order. (He also has a chance of failing miserably in this cause it’s not his background and the Congress in poised to write some blank checks)

                Similarly, Tillerson may possibly out realpolitik the realpolitick professionals – or he may get out maneuvered (and he probably won’t be big on international climate change management frameworks)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Everyone may be outmaneuvered. I mean, good point, but that’s the nature of the game.

                The thing I see is that all of Trump’s nominees are outside-the-institutional-box type people. So if anyone can buck institutional intertia, these types of folks have the best chance.

                And frankly I have to give Trump credit for following thru on this stuff. He didn’t cave and nominate the (institutionally) “safe” pick.

                For better or worse…Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the Sec State and Sec Def picks exactly because they’re outside the intitutional box but they are also people with serious accomplishments that I believe will take their jobs seriously.

                The people at HHS and Education and to a lesser extent Labor are ideologues with preconceived notions of what works and what doesn’t – they may do a good job, but I wouldn’t bet that way.

                I have literally no expectations about Carson and Perry, and I’m not sure if they have any either.

                The worst pick for me Sessions, due to my latent linertarianism, but he’s the guy with the greatest chance of easy Senate confirmation and the least oversight and interest from the White House. (I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re getting Messe 2.0)

                I don’t have a problem with the Treasury secretary because it’s really hard to be a bad Treasury Secretary.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Yea, I only remembered from the posters how ‘pig’ was spelled.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                For example Trump has already criticized the cost overruns on the F35. It was the sort of thing that libs and conservatives both understood but nobody really said anything about publically until Trump. And even with the cost overruns, it’s not necessarily clear what to do about it. But at least Trump is shaking some things up.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Koz says:

                Huh?? People have been criticizing and talking about the cost overruns on the F 35 and many past weapons systems for years. It’s not even a poorly kept secret. It’s been frequent and common.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                How many people criticized defense department spending after they were elected?Report

              • This is why Trump has so much military in his cabinet — because he’s going to be tougher on defense spending. You know as well as I do that he’s going to follow the standard GOP economic platform:

                1. Raise military spending.
                2. Cut taxes.
                3. A miracle occurs….
                4. Balanced budgets!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                He’s already said he wants to increase military spending (obliquely: “make our military into the best in the world” or some such), but he also wants – I tend to think he’s sincere here – cut our the Congressionally imposed bullshit spending that the military doesn’t want as well as impose a check on cost over-runs.

                Oh, he’ll do all the things you say, at least given the evidence to this point: increase military spending, radically cut taxes, huge deficit spending, etc and so on according to the standard GOP model.

                But I think he want’s to give the Generals the stuff they want rather than what some Senator from Mumblefuck wants them to have. In fact, he holds politicians in such contempt it wouldn’t surprise me if it was personal more than principled.

                Add: “If you’re going to have crime, it might as well be organized crime.”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You left out “expand government”.

                That quibble aside, yep. Fiscal conservatives typically get screwed by the GOP the moment they get the ability to spend other people’s money.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                FWIW….actually plenty of them. Lot’s of ex mil pols know how sporked up the weapons procurement system is.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                ya know, I can hear Hillary’s voice in my head saying exactly that: “And when we get to Washington, we’re gonna take on the defense contractors! Aand the Senators who get elected by pandering to them! We’re gonna put a lot of defense systems employees outa work!”

                {{Shiver}} Flashback nightmare. Sorry.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                She would have said it milder than that. Trump can babble about the F35 costing to much but large defense build up and reform the procurement system just don’t go together. Hogs to the trough time.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Milder in the sense that, in this case, none of us would have believed she was serious.

                {{OK, I’ll stop pounding on the 2016 Democratic nominee, even tho I’ll probably never really get over it…}}Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Probably a wise choice of how to spend your energy.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Certainly better than choosing to defend her. But hey, it’s water under the bridge, right?

                Are you ready to Make America Great Again!Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to greginak says:

                Well, the scale of the cost of the F35 is way over anything that I am familiar with.

                In any event, as much as people knew about the horrific cost I don’t recall anybody making a serious effort to defund it.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Koz says:

                How can it be defunded??? The AF, Navy, Marines and a few key allies are all dependent on it fill vital roles. There is no other plane to replace. All the services are stretching their current air frames just to get to keep functioning until the 35 comes on line. What are they going to do , start building Super 18’s, 15’s and 16’s again??? The 35 has to be made to work or most of our air warfare capacity goes defunct.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to greginak says:

                Well, for the first part, we don’t have any F35s. Supposedly we’re going to get them sometime Real Soon Now.

                We might be better off reopening old production lines. We might not. In fact, that’s the main reason that the F35 has cost so much as it has. No matter how bad the delays and the cost might be, there was never a clear situation where it was obvious that we had to take a few steps back to go down a different road.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Koz says:

                The problem of course is that the 15’s, 16’s and 18’s are older technology. They are all designs from th 70’s i believe. And what do the Marines use? At least that is what the military will say, all the current models are old and far from current tech. Try selling that to TPTB and the military. Heck try selling that to the public. Do you think anybody is going to be ok with building 40 year old designs so that our pilots are way out classed in tech terms. Yeah right, ain’t gonna happen. Trump wants a military to out class every other military, that means the best and highest tech. No way around it.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Koz says:

                They’ll do what they always do — buy significantly fewer than the original plans called for. As the per-unit cost for the platforms go up, there will be fewer of them, and greater reluctance to put them in actual harm’s way. This one of the reasons that I think in 25 or so years the US is a regional power for conventional warfare, not a global power.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Yup. That is the story of the F 22.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                “The resistance of the refuseniks is just a means for the governing majority to simply write you out of the equation altogether.”

                Which means, if and when the ‘refuseniks’ preferred candidate wins, we’ll have a thousand thinkpieces about how they weren’t listened to?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think your time frame is off. We just had an election, we’re not going to have another one in time for this strategy to be relevant.

                The GOP already has a tailwind in 2018. It’s reasonable that a D could win the election for POTUS in 2020 but the American people are more concerned about America and Americans doing well between now and then.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

            @kazzy

            I think Murali’s right here. The problem with even some people focusing on Trump’s tweets and jumping up and down about them is that it creates fatigue and doesn’t do anything to move the needle. We spent most of 2016 focusing on the tweets and such and this gave us Trump’s freak victory even as HRC won the popular vote by 2.84 million. There is evidence that suggests painting Trump as abnomal backfired and helped lead to the freak victory:

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/clinton-really-shouldnt-have-distanced-trump-from-the-gop.htmlReport

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

            @kazzy

            Lee has pointed to this essay before but the Italian left was not able to get rid of Bertolucci until they started treating him like a normal politician.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/opinion/the-right-way-to-resist-trump.html?_r=0

            Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different.

            We saw this dynamic during the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton was so focused on explaining how bad Mr. Trump was that she too often didn’t promote her own ideas, to make the positive case for voting for her. The news media was so intent on ridiculing Mr. Trump’s behavior that it ended up providing him with free advertising.

            Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              There haven’t been any policy issues to debate since the election. There are a handful of likely softballs the R’s are going to toss. We’ll see how it goes but the D’s do actually fight back on some issues. Also all this is twitter bs, it doesn’t really register with most people. Trump isn’t popular so needling him is always a good move. I’m hoping plenty of people on the left will needle Trump as much as possible since it brings out his worst side.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to greginak says:

                There haven’t been any policy issues to debate since the election.

                Indeed.

                You know what I think talking about his tweets does right now?

                It *keeps his approval rating low*. Trump is basically the only president who hasn’t have a honeymoon period, *exactly because* he can’t pivot from being the Republican candidate to be everyone’s new president. He simply cannot change his personality.

                And as long as we keep *talking* about that, he doesn’t get any sort of approval bounce.

                But what we need to do, *very soon now*, is stop focusing on his personality, and start focusing on what he’s doing.

                And the start isn’t even really ‘policy issues’, it’s going to be the people he’s nominated. And, yes, he’s already nominated people, and they’ve been talking about some, but the Democrats don’t officially get airtime about them yet.

                They will as soon as the hearing start.

                At the moment they do, we need *shut the hell up* about Trump’s personality. We’ve already damaged his reputation there as much as possible. (Well, *he* damaged it, we just made sure everyone could see it.)

                From *that moment on*, from the day he takes office or whenever, we need to pivot, hard, into talking about *what he actually doing*. There will be a temptation to taunt him if he does or says something pompous or stupid during inauguration…do not. From that moment on, his personality is not an issue. His policies are.

                And I say ‘we’ need to do this. Actually, what *we* need to do is figure out how to get the *media* to do this.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                It *keeps his approval rating low*. Trump is basically the only president who hasn’t have a honeymoon period, *exactly because* he can’t pivot from being the Republican candidate to be everyone’s new president. He simply cannot change his personality.

                And as long as we keep *talking* about that, he doesn’t get any sort of approval bounce.

                Au contraire, this is exactly the opposite of what’s happened. Trump’s approval was about 20 points in the hole on Election Day, now it’s about 4. The rabid nature of the opposition to Trump is the thing that’s keeping him above water politically.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Au contraire, this is exactly the opposite of what’s happened. Trump’s approval was about 20 points in the hole on Election Day, now it’s about 4.

                Dude, incoming president’s approval always goes up. The thing is, Trump is not going up *anywhere near* as well as anyone else.

                The way this is supposed to work is that the vast majority of people do not generally care who the president is.

                Someone gets elected, maybe the guy they like, maybe not, and then have three months to get used to the idea of that person being president. And, on top of that, the guy is allowed to pivot, *hard*, and start talking to everyone. He’s no longer a candidate.

                Once he gets in office and starts doing thing, the approval goes down (In fact, it goes down immediately, for some reason. I think people suddenly remember ‘Wait, he’s a Democrat/Republican, and I dislike Democrats/Republicans’.), but before that point, between the election and taking office, approval generally skyrockets.

                http://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-approval-rating-lowest-of-last-3-incoming-presidents-2016-12

                I can’t find a day-to-day poll or anything, but before Obama took office, he had a *75% approval*.

                When Bush took office, he had only *two months* for people to get used to him, *and* he became president in interesting circumstances that made a lot of people somewhat angry. And yet he had 65% approval.

                Scandal-prone Clinton had 67%.

                Trump has had much more time to move the needle, and has managed to not even break 50%. He’s basically still got…his voters. He *might* break 50% before he takes office, except he has a 48% *disapproval* rating, and it’s sorta hard to turn *that* into approval.

                Or, to look at it another way, by the time the president takes office, he’s supposed to have almost 90% of his own party approving of him, and about 40%-50% of the *other* party approving of him also.

                Trump is managing that first thing to some extent, but doing *horrifically* bad at that second thing.

                And the thing that is keeping that second thing from happening is that people keep talking about how Trump is Not Normal. (Although it’s possible that it’s *Trump himself* refusing to try to include those people that is causing the problem.)

                The rabid nature of the opposition to Trump is the thing that’s keeping him above water politically.

                I have no idea what that is even supposed to mean. How does a president elect *not* stay above water? How would we know if they are not? What even are you talking about?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                In fact, it goes down immediately, for some reason. I think people suddenly remember ‘Wait, he’s a Democrat/Republican, and I dislike Democrats/Republicans’.

                This, incidentally, is an important thing I like a lot of people are overlooking when comparing presidential ratings.

                A lot of places list the ratings when the various presidents take office. That is *not* the correct comparison. Those are like 10% lower than the *transition* ratings.

                President transitions ratings are normally really, really high. In fact, they might be highest ratings a president *ever* gets. They are basically the American people giving their max benefit-of-the-doubt to the president. And this point, *right now*, this week, close to the end but not close enough that we’re talking about how inauguration is about to happen…is the sweet spot.

                Right now, the president normally gets the approval of anyone who thinks they *could* like the president. The people that think ‘He seems like an okay guy, even if I disagree with him’. That’s *right now*. This point in time is when that happens.

                And then actual reality hits and that guy takes office and is going to *do things*, and people start thinking about him doing those things, and thus he loses 20% of the partisans on the opposite side. (10% total) Bam, it just disappears.

                I don’t know if this is going to happen to Trump or not. I think it might happen *less*, because the Democrats who might normally go ‘Wait, this guy is going to cut Medicaid’ and *change* their opinion already don’t like Trump…

                …but, OTOH, it is theoretically possible that *Republicans* start peeling off, because the GOP is talking about trying to do things that are pretty unpopular. Sure, they *win elections*, but the GOP *used* to be smart enough to not actually try to do them. (With occasional tentative movements that then electrocuted them on various third rails.)

                But they’ve lost too many of their calculating moderate politicians that could stop them.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

                Its even more acute when we look at how wildly out of sync Trump’s voters’ expectations are, with reality of what Trump can do, and the even more stark disconnect between Trump’s voters’ expectations of Congress and Congress’ own agenda.

                You’ve all seen the interviews with his voters and how they expect:
                1. That Trump will bring back good paying middle class jobs; Yet his Cabinet and Congress are both dedicated to outsourcing, cheap immigration, and lowering wages.

                2. That Trump will both “get tougher” with America’s enemies, and avoid costly messy foreign intervention;

                3. That Trump will avoid social issues like abortion and homosexuality; Yet Congress is determined to overturn Roe and find some way that allows people to discriminate against gays.

                4. That Trump will protect Social Security and Medicare; Yet Congress is determined to destroy both of these.

                5. That Trump will overturn Obamacare, but keep the parts that everyone likes. Everyone else knows this is impossible.

                All Presidents-elect have a honeymoon period, when they are still a blank slate upon which everyone can project their own desires. They immediately drop in popularity once they actually start to do stuff.

                And Congress is poised to do stuff, a lot of stuff, very rapidly, and Trump will no longer be able to evade the question; he will either sign the bills, veto the bills, or ignore them and let them become law.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                All of this is ignoring Trump’s historically low approvals leading into the election. Given that, I think things have worked out exceedingly well for him since then.

                It should be obvious but the constituency that voted for Trump and/or the GOP in other races is a governing majority.

                Therefore if the D’s want to get any traction at all from where they are they have to peel away some part of it. So in this context the tweets are helping Trump. The people who would supported Trump or might consider doing so find Trump’s tweets to be amusing or mildly annoying. Trump’s adversaries have worked themselves into a rage about something that a governing majority of America doesn’t care about.

                What they do care about is that America needs to get on the same page now that the election is over and it’s not because libs are still indulging their own sour grapes.

                Trump is staffing his Administration and doing things that Americans expect an incoming Administration to do. Libs want to throw a wrench in the works but Americans can and will blame them instead of Trump.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                All of this is ignoring Trump’s historically low approvals leading into the election. Given that, I think things have worked out exceedingly well for him since then.

                Trump started low, but his climb had been pretty damn slow, too. Slower than any other president.

                It should be obvious but the constituency that voted for Trump and/or the GOP in other races is a governing majority.

                Uh, no, that sentence is gibberish, sorry, try again.

                The *constituency* that voted for the Republicans is not a *governing* anything. The constituency who voted for Republicans are, instead, the *voters*.

                And they were not the majority of voters.

                Those voters *elected* a governing majority.

                Therefore if the D’s want to get any traction at all from where they are they have to peel away some part of it.

                And ‘traction’ in this sense means what, exactly? Some sort of revote so they can show they have gotten a majority of people? (Well, they already have that. More of a majority?)

                I’m not sure what *you* think is going on here, but what is *actually* going on is that people are pointing out ways Trump is failing at being president.

                And, yes, it’s somewhat rare to be able to do that *before* legally becoming president, but it is possible, and Trump managed it. President-elects are supposed to, at minimal, *act* presidential.

                So in this context the tweets are helping Trump. The people who would supported Trump or might consider doing so find Trump’s tweets to be amusing or mildly annoying. Trump’s adversaries have worked themselves into a rage about something that a governing majority of America doesn’t care about.

                Oh, I think *failing to act and look presidential* is indeed something that voters care about, in fact, it’s something they probably care about *a bit too much*, and we’d be better off if voters instead cared more about other things.

                But we go to the polls with the voters we have, not the voters we should have.

                And again, you’re using ‘governing majority’ in a completely nonsensical way. You seem to be using it to mean ‘a minority of people distributing in such a way they can elect the president’.

                That is not what ‘governing majority’ means. (That is not any sort of string of words that would *have* a term for it.)

                A governing majority is a *majority* of the people currently *governing*.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Uh, no, that sentence is gibberish, sorry, try again.

                The *constituency* that voted for the Republicans is not a *governing* anything. The constituency who voted for Republicans are, instead, the *voters*.

                I think you need to read a little closer because I think my comment was comprehensible enough to be honest.

                The constituency that voted for Trump and the slightly different constituency that voted for other Republicans is demographically situated to control the federal government for the indefinite future (and the state governments for that matter).

                That means, in order for the Demo’s to have a legitimate seat at the table for an arm’s length negotiation for this or that, they have to peel off some of it. Since the election, there’s been nothing that’s happened to peel away any Trump/GOP voters, and a number of things to reinforce them and maybe bring in some new voters who weren’t with them on Election Day.

                This means that the D’s in Washington aren’t at liberty to argue their own ideological point of view without reference to the best interest of America as a whole, where the American people have at provisionally adjudicated that in the Republicans’s favor.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Koz says:

                @koz

                I just got off the phone with America.

                Americans think you misread their tweet, or text, or Facebook post or something.

                Please check in with them again, because, damn.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                I’m sure you were adopting this kind of Me The People talk towards Republicans in 2008, then, right?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                “The rabid nature of the opposition to Trump is the thing that’s keeping him above water politically.”

                This is how children behave, mind you. Maybe it is a new reality that we need to deal with… but it doesn’t make the behavior any more antisocial or childish.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

                “The rabid nature of the opposition to Trump is the thing that’s keeping him above water politically.”

                Am I parsing Koz’s statement correctly? Because I’m reading that as “Trump’s only popular at all because liberals hate him so much”.

                Which seems an extension of the “liberals are to blame for everything” thought process. “Conservatives are only racist because liberals called them racist, so they became racist to spite the liberals!”.

                Basically Cleek’s law, again.

                Koz clearly has a dim view of conservatives. I mean I think they’re fully realized adults with opinions of their own, but from that — apparently they’re thin-skinned, easily led stooges that don’t actually think — just react.

                Who put them in the Skinner box, I wonder?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Morat20 says:

                The cheapshots against conservatives are pretty weak, but even more than that they’re not really relevant.

                The American people don’t have to like Trump but they want him to succeed because he will very soon be the President of the United States and they want America to succeed.

                In this context the libs are getting no traction at all. The complaints against various Cabinet people look bad enough, but the in context of sour grapes about Russia or Comey or the Electoral College it’s much worse.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                “The American people don’t have to like Trump but they want him to succeed because he will very soon be the President of the United States and they want America to succeed.”

                Just like the GOP and conservatives rallied around President Obama’s success. For the nation’s sake.

                What was the GOO Congress’s stated goal? A one-term President?

                U-S-A!

                Koz, it seems as if you expect the Dems/liberals to act like rational adulta while excusing the childish antics of GOP/conservatives. Which is cool so long as we remember that adults get to remain in charge even if all the kids vote differently.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Lib, are you completely out of your skull? The American people voted Republican in the 2016 election in large part to get rid of the corrupt and entrenched libs in the Executive Branch and other cultural power centers. And now you hope that the GOP is going to put the libs in charge anyway? Libs be trippin.

                You ought to appreciate that the GOP has more than the federal elective offices, they have a governing majority in the country as well, and that is a much bigger deal. Politically speaking, the libs aren’t going to get any traction until they peel away at least some part of it.

                And given what’s happened since the election, that’s not happened yet. For me, it wasn’t a completely done deal that I would vote for Trump until I left the voting booth. The people who I know who voted for Trump think he’s a buffoon.

                But since the election, the rationale for voting for Trump has strengthened, and the reasons to oppose him have diminished. Until that changes, you’ve got nuthin’.

                Now is the time to quit bitching about your civic obligations to America, and start honoring them.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                You’re holding liberals and conservatives, GOP and Dems to different standards. If that’s your boat, float it.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                No I’m not. The double standard is between Trump and his critics, not liberals and conservatives. Trump gets to troll you, but you can’t troll him back. I wish I could sympathize, but I can’t. Sorry I’m not sorry.

                More importantly, it’s not me who’s creating or enforcing this double standard, it’s the American people and the lay of the land. Trump’s twitter is a known star in the firmament. But now the election is over, and the American people are looking toward governance if not bipartisanship.

                So if you troll him back, you’re just a sour grapes loser, and for subverting the collective American interest, we can enforce penalties against your political and ideological interests, and I hope we do.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                You claim Dems ought to wish Trump success with zero evidence GOPers sought the same for Obama.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                You’ve mentioned several things liberals/Dems ought or ought not to do, all if which conservatives/the GOP didn’t or did do. When called to answer, you point to the scoreboard. Which is cool if you want to live in a world that rewards the very behavior you claim to reject.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Not at all. The GOP opposed Obama’s policy moves, not his appointments, and not before he took office. Without looking it up, I’m thinking maybe 20 GOP Senators voted not to confirm Eric Holder, and that’s about it. Mitch McConnell probably voted to confirm all of Obama’s nominees.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Koz:
                Not at all.The GOP opposed Obama’s policy moves, not his appointments, and not before he took office.Without looking it up, I’m thinking maybe 20 GOP Senators voted not to confirm Eric Holder, and that’s about it.Mitch McConnell probably voted to confirm all of Obama’s nominees.

                Have you been in a coma or something? Presidents get to appoint more than just cabinet officials (and Obama didn’t get all of his original cabinet picks). And when it comes to everything below the cabinet level, the GOP obstructed Obama’s appointments more than any other president in history.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Don Zeko says:

                I believe there are more than 100 judgeships left vacant because nominees were blocked.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy says:

                Including a seat on the Supreme Court! That’s on top of the blanket blockade that tried for the DC Circuit and the head of the CFPB, which is what finally prompted the Dems to go nuclear. And then there were countless undersecretaries, ambassadors, etc. I guess I get it if you want to defend all of that on the merits, although I disagree. But the idea that McConnell was cooperative on appointments is so completely alien to the facts of the matter that I just don’t know how to deal with it.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Judges are policy, not personnel appointments in the Executive Branch reporting to the President somewhere. Or more precisely, they’re a sort of grey area between executive appointments and policy, politically speaking.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                The GOP obstructed Obama’s executive branch appointments, too. Here’s a couple of the first links google produced.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                None of that is relevant to the initial staffing of the Cabinet by a new Administration.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                Keep moving the goalposts.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, you’re being dense. The key to America, or any functioning democracy really, is the peaceful transfer of power away from one party to another when the voters will it. The President is the head of the Executive Branch, and he needs people who are politically accountable to him, as opposed to the prior President representing the other party.

                This something that shouldn’t be hard to understand, and has been upheld by both parties in various times, both outgoing and incoming, including the transition from W to President Obama. Except in the current circumstance, where the Demo Establishment egged on by refuseniks such as yourself, are simply bad-faith crying wolf.

                The downside of that for you, is that the GOP can simply say, you’re bad faith crying wolf, and then have legitimate license just do what they want, when otherwise there would be some amount of accountability constraining them. I think this is currently working to your detriment. But by all means keep going if you want.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                Yep… I’m the dense one.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yep… I’m the dense one.

                Like this. I explain to you in nuts-and-bolts terms, perfectly clear enough it seems to me, exactly why your train of thought is flawed, and the best you can respond is “bounce like rubber, sticks like glue”

                It’s not that hard to just figure it out straight up, instead of trying to wedge your ideological aspirations into a place where they plainly won’t fit.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                Again… they were on a stated mission to make him a one-term President.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Koz says:

                Didn’t the Senate Dems, sometime in Obama’s first two years, exercise the no-filibuster nuclear option on appointments below Cabinet and SCOTUS because the Senate Republicans were blocking all of his appointments? Led by McConnell?Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Michael Cain says:

                It happened in 2013 when the GOP blocked every single one of Obama’s nominees to the DC circuit and refused to confirm a head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which could only use many of its statutory powers with a duly confirmed head.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                The GOP opposed Obama’s policy moves, not his appointments, and not before he took office.

                First, the GOP *did* oppose his policy moves before he took office. They said that they would quite clearly.

                However, you are correct that *normally* the cabinet is just approved.

                It’s one thing to confirm Sessions, which I don’t have much of a problem with.

                Same with Mick Mulvaney and Elaine Chao and Ryan Zinke and…possibly Tom Price, although if this was a *normal* cabinet I might question Price. But I’m fine with all that. I disagree with some of their positions, but it’s not *my* cabinet.

                And while I don’t have any objection to James Mattism but we do have the ‘should be a civilian for seven years’ rule for *reason*, so I don’t know why Trump’s trying to ignore that. There needs to be some discussion about waiving that rule before it happens.

                This leaves Scott Pruitt are basically the only *currently-in-government* person that I think is it is worth Democrats arguing against due to *policy* positions. Maybe. Maybe not, in these circumstances.

                ——-
                And right here is drawn was the line of sanity, and we are now past it. The above choices are normal choices, perhaps some bad, some good, whatever. They are choices that one or two should get some discussion of, but they basically should all be confirmed.

                Below here, are the choices that *are not normal and should be be confirmed*:

                First, the two people that have government experience, but absolutely none of it in the position they’re being tapped for. What foreign policy experience does Nikki Haley have? What qualifications does Rick Perry have to be Energy Secretary, a position that is almost already held by a *physicist*? (And Ben Carson would be here, but he just turned it down, right?)

                Those need to be dealt with with a ‘Are you serious?’.

                HOWEVER, there is a much bigger problem of the people with literally has no experience in government.

                Andrew Puzder, Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin, Linda McMahon, Betsy DeVos, these are all COMPLETELY ABSURD NAMES.

                Additionally…no one is confirming anyone without tax records and divestment of giant conflicts of interest. Period. Having to do that has long been a norm, and while Trump apparently gets to ignore that norm, none of his nominees get to do it just because he did.

                Oh, and people are going to be vetted, like normal, and some of them will probably have skeletons in the closet. And everyone will be ‘Oh, the Democrats blocked those guys’, but the actual reality is, vetting is *part of being appointed to the cabinet*, and Trump is just being a lunatic by announcing people *without* having that done first.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                It’s one thing to confirm Sessions, which I don’t have much of a problem with.

                Same with Mick Mulvaney and Elaine Chao and Ryan Zinke and…possibly Tom Price, although if this was a *normal* cabinet I might question Price. But I’m fine with all that. I disagree with some of their positions, but it’s not *my* cabinet.

                And while I don’t have any objection to James Mattism but we do have the ‘should be a civilian for seven years’ rule for *reason*, so I don’t know why Trump’s trying to ignore that. There needs to be some discussion about waiving that rule before it happens.

                This leaves Scott Pruitt are basically the only *currently-in-government* person that I think is it is worth Democrats arguing against due to *policy* positions. Maybe. Maybe not, in these circumstances.

                I haven’t heard any substantive complaints against any of Trump’s nominees. If the D’s want to complain against Ben Carson, they probably have a reasonable gripe. But so far, their method has been simply to throw a bunch of crap against a wall and hope some of it sticks. The whole thing smacks of trolling by libs, which the country has lost patience for imo.

                As far as Mattis goes, from what I’ve seen the seven year rule hasn’t been ignored at all, but it’s widely expected to be waived by Congress.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                I haven’t heard any substantive complaints against any of Trump’s nominees.

                Do you mean you haven’t heard any complaints which you view as substantive or that you haven’t heard any complaints which other people view as substantive?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater says:

                Either one really, the whole thing just looks like a bunch of trolling.

                Most of the complaints are either really weak personal accusations, like Jeff Sessions, or policy disagreements masquerading as personnel issues, eg Pruitt. If the libs had anything else, people would probably at least listen but when you make a habit of crying wolf people learn to ignore you.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                If the libs had anything else, people would probably at least listen but when you make a habit of crying wolf people learn to ignore you.

                Continuing our traipse down the primrose path, do you mean that if they had anything else people like you would listen or that since they don’t no one is listening?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater says:

                Both, really, but especially the latter. It seems to me that liberals are just throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall in the hope that something sticks. Given that, I’m not particularly paying attention to particulars and I don’t think that anybody else is either (except for those implacably opposed to Trump already).Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

                I’m not particularly paying attention to particulars

                That went without saying.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                I haven’t heard any substantive complaints against any of Trump’s nominees

                What. The. Fuck. You have just firmly crossed into trolldom.

                So, basically, you decided to take the people that *I don’t have any complaint with* (Or at least not enough of one to say they shouldn’t be confirmed, assuming vetting checks them out.) and pretend I *did* have a complaint with them, but hadn’t stated a real one.

                And you then totally ignore the list I *did* raise quite substantive complaints against, namely ‘People without any government experience at any level should not be put in charge of large government departments’, and additionally ‘People with government experience but without any *knowledge* of a subject should not be placed in charge of that thing’. I.e., someone with no international experience should not the UN Ambassador, and someone with no physics background should not be in charge of the Department of Energy, which is actually the ‘Department of Nuclear Stuff’.

                Those…are pretty clear objections. They are not confusing in any way, or partisan-based, or even have anything to do with policy. (Although some of their policy positions are *also* absurd.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Well yeah, that’s what crying wolf gets you. That’s what I’ve been trying to get at for a half dozen comments or so.

                Simply put, it’s been obvious that Team Lib is trying to prevent a normal transition from one party to the other, maybe it’s just irrelevant carping or maybe there’s serious intent, it’s hard to know for sure.

                So far, we’ve had complaints about Comey, Russia and funky business surrounding the Electoral College (the original topic of this thread obv). Then there was a bunch of whingeing about DeVos, Pruitt, Tillerson, Mnuchin, etc.

                There has simply been no recognition that the Demo’s have Got The Memo that the other team won the election, they’re going to put in their guys who are our adversaries, and we’re going to have to make it work as best as we can.

                So now, you want to say, wait a second, these couple guys here are really a problem are we have actual substantive reasons why we don’t want them, and you’re getting ignored. Imagine that! I never would have guessed.

                That’s why this normalization business isn’t working. Instead of un-normalizing Trump, you’re un-normalizing yourselves.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Simply put, it’s been obvious that Team Lib is trying to prevent a normal transition from one party to the other, maybe it’s just irrelevant carping or maybe there’s serious intent, it’s hard to know for sure.

                And this is just, flatly, delusional.

                Team Lib? Who are you talking about? Who do you think is in charge of this? Is this just you reading a bunch of blogs?

                The actual elected officials have not interfered in the transition at all. They are, *as their first objection to Trump*, making it clear they are not very happy with the cabinet nominees, although their point so far seems to be ‘Why the hell are all these people being nominated without being vetted first? Why are *we* having to do the vetting?’, and they will presumably get around to the lack of experience after that.

                So now, you want to say, wait a second, these couple guys here are really a problem are we have actual substantive reasons why we don’t want them, and you’re getting ignored. Imagine that! I never would have guessed.

                Uh, no.

                I wasn’t talking to vague amorphous blob of people, as you appear to think *you* are having a discussion with.

                You said you hadn’t heard any *substantive* objections to any of the cabinet, and I pointed out that there were some *really obvious* objections, namely, a lot of them seem to have no government experience whatsoever. (And a smaller amount of them have experience, but not in what they are being nominated for.)

                That’s a pretty substantive and entirely reasonable objection to someone getting a cabinet position.

                You not only ignored that, you weirdly quoted the *other* half of what I said and then pretended that you *still* hadn’t heard any objections.

                You. I am having a discussion with *you*. You, OTOH, appear to be having a discussion with a giant blob of liberal blogs you read that you think is somehow ‘Team Lib’. You think the American people are looking at those and going ‘Well, they’re complaining about everyone, none of those objections are important’.

                Here’s a fun fact for you to keep in mind: America does not read damn political blogs.

                They watch the media. And the media, when it talks about Trump’s cabinet, is focusing on basically what I said: That they are absurdly inexperienced. (And the media also seems to think it’s important that, as a group, they are *extremely rich*.)

                This is because, as I said, the Democrats have barely started talking about the cabinet yet. It is entirely possible they will make a poor call and start talking about Sessions and Pruitt. That seems rather unlikely, though. The one everyone seems to looking at is Tillerson, who both has no government experience and doesn’t really have any demonstrable experience in international relations.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

                A guy who refers to the people he talks to as “Lib” is engaging in a strawman? He’s lecturing imaginary groups of people, all falling to his superior ideology and arguments, rather than talking to the individuals he’s responding to?

                I’m so shocked. Where, Sir, is the fainting couch?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                And this is just, flatly, delusional.

                Team Lib? Who are you talking about? Who do you think is in charge of this? Is this just you reading a bunch of blogs

                This is not supposed to be difficult or obscure. The Left-libs in America have been attempting to groundlessly discredit the electoral victory of Donald Trump, to the point of trying to prevent him from assuming office, in a plain exercise of bad faith. Eg, here:

                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/12/opinion/the-tainted-election.html

                And if I recall correctly, you yourself was arguing in favor of preemptively impeaching Donald Trump, in this thread or another recent one.

                So let’s state a few premises that ought to be obvious. The functioning of America depends on the peaceful change of power between parties. Donald Trump will soon be the head of the Executive Branch. That means he needs the opportunity to put people who are politically accountable to him and not President Obama.

                Simply put, this is a context where libs are not at liberty to advance their ideological preferences. Simply put, they and you have obligations to America as a whole, obligations whose fulfillment should go without saying. But for now, that is not happening. Libs are either upholding that obligation in the most corrosive detrimental way possible, or outright failing at it.

                In that context, I’m not going to entertain a grab bag of complaints against Trump’s Cabinet. I don’t expect the GOP political establishment or GOP voters will either. As far as I’m concerned, the one I like the least is Ben Carson (Fwiw, from here it looks like the libs want to die at the Jeff Sessions Alamo. If your last stand is Rick Perry, it looks to me like you’re on your own there.)

                You. I am having a discussion with *you*. You, OTOH, appear to be having a discussion with a giant blob of liberal blogs you read that you think is somehow ‘Team Lib’. You think the American people are looking at those and going ‘Well, they’re complaining about everyone, none of those objections are important’.

                You’re fundamentally misunderstanding the milieu both of us are working in. There is a Team Lib who is clearly operating in bad faith in the post-election. That affects a lot of things. In fact, it would still affect a lot of things even if the bad faith didn’t apply to you, which it probably does.

                If we want to create a world where we can advance our mutual interest, it’s very very important that libs quit poisoning the well.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Koz says:

                @davidtc
                Pardon me stewardess, I speak Federalist.

                It was Alexis De Toqueville, or perhaps Sarah Palin in a Facebook shart, who noted that America is the land of laws, not men.

                Therefore, it would be entirely inappropriate, intemperate and unwise for the Senate to hold a vote on any of Donald Trump’s appointments, to his Cabinet or SCOTUS, without first consulting with the sovereign power of this nation, which are of course, The People.

                The People, as is their right, have not had a chance to weigh and thoughtfully evaluate these candidates, and express their opinion by means of the next election in 2018.

                It is imperative that in keeping with Constitutional originalism and Burkean modesty that these positions be kept open until after the 2018 elections.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                So your position is that the principle of peaceful transfer of power and respect for the democratic process demands that liberals pretend that Donald Trump won the popular vote, that he wasn’t the beneficiary of electoral sabotage by Russian intelligence and the FBI, and that his cabinet picks and policies are all just great regardless of the substance of the matter?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                So your position is that the principle of peaceful transfer of power and respect for the democratic process demands that liberals pretend that Donald Trump won the popular vote, that he wasn’t the beneficiary of electoral sabotage by Russian intelligence and the FBI,…

                No, it is my position that in the context of peaceful transfer of power between Administrations those things are bad faith subterfuges because the fact that Donald Trump won the election doesn’t depend on any of them.

                ….and that his cabinet picks and policies are all just great regardless of the substance of the matter?

                Not at all. However, most or all of them should be confirmed anyway since President Trump will be accountable for them.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Koz: No, it is my position that in the context of peaceful transfer of power between Administrations those things are bad faith subterfuges because the fact that Donald Trump won the election doesn’t depend on any of them.

                I have no idea what this means or why it matters. The Comey letter, Trump’s multi-million vote popular vote loss, and the DNC hack all matter because they reduce the legitimacy of Trump’s win and cast doubt upon the security and fairness of our electoral process. if you’re telling me that I’m not allowed to be angry about the deliberate and successful electoral interventions of the FBI and a foreign power, then I’m with @francis below: Go pound sand.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                You can certainly angry about it if you’d like, but you can’t impugn the legitimacy of the election behind it. They’re just not relevant.

                Specifically about Comey and Russia, voters vote. We can, hypothetically and depending on circumstances, audit the eligibility of a voter, and maybe the mechanics of their vote (provisional, absentee, poll location, etc), but never their motivation. The motivations of the voter are irrelevant as far as the legitimacy of the vote.

                This is mind-numbingly obvious for me. So when people talk about “hacking the election” pertaining to Russia, I find it to be either ignorant or deceptive, probably deceptive. If in fact Russia was responsible, it hacked John Podesta’s email account, which is not remotely the same thing.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Let’s entertain a thought experiment. Suppose that in 2012, Mitt Romney was leading in the polls against Barack Obama. Then, ten days before the election, he was indicted for tax fraud with a bill of indictment that more or less resembled the false claims that Harry Reid made at the time. Then, a week after the election, the indictment was dropped and it later came out that the federal prosecutor who brought the indictment knew he lacked probable cause but wanted to prevent Romney from being President. Suppose that as a result, Romney lost the election. Would it be appropriate for Republicans to object to this turn of events and consider the result in some way illegitimate? If so, what’s different? The voters voted, did they not?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Don Zeko says:

                And Romney’s tax returns were stolen from the IRS database by Chinese hackers, and leaked to the media.

                And Obama were to issue a constant stream of comments about how much he admired the Chinese leadership. And they in turn spoke glowingly about how much they wanted him to win.

                But yeah, I’m sure Fox would be totes cool with this.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                That’s an interesting one. I’d be upset for sure, but it seems to me that the main issue is prosecutorial misconduct against (presumably) the AUSA for putting Romney is false jeopardy.

                Frankly, that’s a bad thing and we should be upset about that election or no election. And in theory John Podesta ought to have access to secure email.

                But the biggest problem with Reid’s lies, indictment or not, is that they were lies. In fact I think Reid even admitted as much, which is another example of libs poisoning the well, which is especially ominous since I’ve read multiple libs (Balloon-Juice-y types) exhort to each other that Reid is a model going forward.

                The difference with Podesta’s email is that they weren’t lies, they were Podesta’s real emails. And that the contents of them were generally known beforehand anyway. It seems dubious to say that we should be upset about the failure of the DNC’s ability to maintain a consistent lie.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                You’re ignoring the Comey letter, I see.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Not at all, the Comey letter is basically the same as Russia. Voters vote for their own reasons.

                In fact, I’m even less impressed with the complaints about Comey, especially since he was involved with my own final flip towards Trump.

                Whatever’s the problem with Hillary’s lack of security, favor selling, corrupt associations and the rest of it, is not James Comey’s fault. Hillary should have simply been indicted and let the chips fall.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                You can certainly angry about it if you’d like, but you can’t impugn the legitimacy of the election behind it. They’re just not relevant.

                And it’s perhaps important to note that *no elected Democratic official is doing that*, and neither is anyone here.

                The closest you can come is Krugman, but a) The Democrats are not responsibly for Krugman, and b) Krugman is being *very careful* about how he phrases things, and has specifically said that the election *was not stolen*, but it can still be regarded as illegitimate.

                You’re trying to hang something on the entire Democratic political establishment based on a word that some random writer said.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Koz says:

                “this is a context where libs are not at liberty to advance their ideological preferences”

                Go Pound Sand.

                I am as much at liberty to advocate for my ideological preferences today as I was in late October and as I will be in early February.

                Wonder why so many liberals think that the modern Republican party is nothing more than a bunch of overly-wealthy authoritarians? It’s comments like this.

                And since I’m a Californian as well as an American, I can happily advocate for my State to serve as a model for a well-run high-tech high-tax (relatively speaking) high-benefit state.

                Just how is the economy of Kansas these days? Has it experienced the upsurge in population and business starts that Stephen Moore promised?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Francis says:

                I am as much at liberty to advocate for my ideological preferences today as I was in late October and as I will be in early February.

                No, you’re really not, in the sense of being a legitimate participant in American political culture.

                Specifically, you’re entitled to believe the same things in February that you did in October, but the means and opportunity to meaningfully leverage them in a legitimate way is temporarily gone. And I’m not just talking about the election either, though that was the most important event.

                Furthermore, what conservatives and apolitical Americans fear and anticipate is that in spite of the election and other circumstances, that your commitment to Leftism is stronger than your commitment to America. And that when the opportunity to act on those priorities in conventional ways is frustrated, that you will act destructively against America instead. Ergo, Comey, Russia, blah, blah, yada, yada.

                So from my pov, and that of conservatives, Republicans and apolitical Americans, it’s important to situate you as an American (if you intend to remain one), and insist that you honor your obligations as an American and hold your ideological preferences secondary to that.

                The obligations of Americans to American political culture are very minor and almost all negative. We shouldn’t allow those whose instincts are destructive the means to exercise their destruction.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Koz:
                Furthermore, what conservatives and apolitical Americans fear and anticipate is that in spite of the election and other circumstances, that your commitment to Leftism is stronger than your commitment to America.And that when the opportunity to act on those priorities in conventional ways is frustrated, that you will act destructively against America instead.Ergo, Comey, Russia, blah, blah, yada, yada.

                You’re using this logic to demand that we not criticize a president-elect that literally invited foreign intelligence services to hack his political opponents and a party that deprived a sitting president of a nominee to the Supreme Court. Fish off. I’m done.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Not at all. You’re at liberty to criticize Trump if you’d like, and certainly he’s given you plenty of grounds. You’re also at liberty to oppose his policy agenda as President.

                What you’re not at liberty to do is monkey wrench the process of him becoming President and the day-to-day exercise of responsibilities associated with that. Which, let’s note for David who apparently thinks it’s a red herring, is the premise of this read which has 500 or whatever comments by now.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Koz says:

                “your commitment to Leftism is stronger than your commitment to America.”

                The ninth seat on the Supreme Court is still open. Any remaining shreds of moral high ground held by the Republican party after its votes on health care, financial regulation, taxes, the debt ceiling and a few others vanished for a generation with Mitch McConnell’s little stunt.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Francis says:

                I dunno. I can’t think of anything objectionable (in theory) of any of those. Maybe you could be a little more specific.

                It’s President Obama’s corruptions of the democratic process that’s killing us. I can’t think of a single one of his major accomplishments that didn’t subvert our democratic process except Dodd-Frank and maybe the stimulus package.

                Libs have poisoned this well. Now we all have to drink from it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Koz says:

                It is the patriotic duty of all American citizens to don a tricorner hat, decorate it with tea bags, grab their gun and go out to water the tree of liberty.

                Or at least stage an armed overthrow of a bird sanctuary, or hold BLM agents at bay with an armed group.
                Or force a shutdown of the federal government. Or default on our bond obligations. Or block judicial appointments.

                Hey, we’re just being Constitutionalists here man, cut us some slack.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                This is not supposed to be difficult or obscure. The Left-libs in America have been attempting to groundlessly discredit the electoral victory of Donald Trump, to the point of trying to prevent him from assuming office, in a plain exercise of bad faith.

                The term ‘groundlessly discredit’ is doing a lot of work there. Perhaps you would like to explain which of those points made there *is* groundless.

                And after that, you can explain how Krugman is trying to keep Trump from taking office, as there was absolutely no indication of that when *I* read the article. (Note that article was written *before the EC vote*, so Krugman could have tried to appeal to them. He did not even do that.)

                And if I recall correctly, you yourself was arguing in favor of preemptively impeaching Donald Trump, in this thread or another recent one.

                Nothing I have said about impeaching Trump has anything to do with the *election* or anything to do with his policies or his personality or anything.

                It is because Trump is going to be in *violation of the foreign emolument clause of the Constitution* the second he takes office. (And the domestic emolument clause, also, but that’s a lesser issue.)

                Well, I exaggerate. Maybe not that second…more like within the hour. As soon as some foreign diplomat *pays their bill* at his hotel, Trump is in violation of the constitution.

                I am in favor of Congress informing Trump of that *before* he takes office, and also threatening to impeach him immediately before he takes office if he does not divest himself of foreign holdings.

                People receiving money from foreign powers *CANNOT BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES*. The president can get *exceptions*, but it’s pretty clear the president is supposed to get one each time, and not some sort of weird blanket exception.

                Nor is Congress just supposed to *ignore* it…if Congress wants to issue some sort of blanket exception allowing Trump to receive money from foreign sources, they have to fucking issue it, in full view of everyone.

                Libs are either upholding that obligation in the most corrosive detrimental way possible, or outright failing at it.

                And by ‘libs’, you mean ‘People you have read the blogs of and do not actually *have* any power to stop Trump.’

                How *dare* the internet fail in its constitutional duty to confirm Trump’s cabinet!

                If we want to create a world where we can advance our mutual interest, it’s very very important that libs quit poisoning the well.

                If *we* want to create that world, perhaps *you* shouldn’t have blocked voting on the nomination of the last Supreme Court Justice, and perhaps *you* shouldn’t have had eight different investigations into made up Benghazi things, and perhaps *you* shouldn’t have spent eight years calling Obama a Muslim Kenyan.

                Oh, sorry, not ‘you’. ‘Team Con’.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                And after that, you can explain how Krugman is trying to keep Trump from taking office, as there was absolutely no indication of that when *I* read the article. (Note that article was written *before the EC vote*, so Krugman could have tried to appeal to them. He did not even do that.)

                My point is that you cannot remain oblivious to the main currents in our political culture as we evaluate things like this. In this case, Krugman is clearly marinating and being marinated in a culture of rejection. In that piece he himself is taking an inch less incendiary line, that the results of the election are illegitimate, even if Trump’s victory won’t be overturned. Of course, that’s an illegitimate pov in its own right. There’s nothing illegitimate about the mechanics of the election, even if his complaints were true. But it’s much worse in the poisoned-well culture that the libs have created, where any setback is an excuse to go for ever more destructive shenanigans.

                Nothing I have said about impeaching Trump has anything to do with the *election* or anything to do with his policies or his personality or anything.

                It is because Trump is going to be in *violation of the foreign emolument clause of the Constitution* the second he takes office. (And the domestic emolument clause, also, but that’s a lesser issue.)

                This may surprise you (or may not) but in a different world I’d agree with you. But in the world we live in, the libs have poisoned that well, specifically regarding the circumstances and application of impeachment. Ie, for certain kinds of executive misconduct, the recourse is impeachment. If there is no impeachment, there is no recourse. And there is no requirement that the legislature has to impeach for anything: it’s a matter of political judgment just like anything else. I think there’s better ways of going about things, but that’s the one we have now. And because of that, I don’t expect anything involving emoluments to go anywhere, unless and until the circumstances are much different than they are now.

                And by ‘libs’, you mean ‘People you have read the blogs of and do not actually *have* any power to stop Trump.’

                You’ve tried that angle a few times now, but I don’t think it holds any water. I’m talking about you, Kazzy, Don, Chip, Morat, Balloon Juice, Krugman, etc,. who are the animating energy behind the Demo political establishment in America so I think the lines of accountability are pretty much legit there.

                If *we* want to create that world, perhaps *you* shouldn’t have blocked voting on the nomination of the last Supreme Court Justice, and perhaps *you* shouldn’t have had eight different investigations into made up Benghazi things, and perhaps *you* shouldn’t have spent eight years calling Obama a Muslim Kenyan.

                Again, the lines of accountability vary a lot between the examples you listed above, and it’s a useful exercise to figure out which is which.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                In that piece he himself is taking an inch less incendiary line, that the results of the election are illegitimate, even if Trump’s victory won’t be overturned.

                At some point, you just turn into a weird satire of yourself.

                Parts of the right wing media have, for years, been literally insisting that Obama is not eligible to be president. Which is not true.

                Now parts of the left wing media are pointing out…Trump was elected with the help of Russia and some very weird behavior from the FBI. That *is* true.

                They are not saying he is not actually president, they are saying that this taints his election.

                At *best*, you have a case for both sides do it, and thus you do not get to complain. (Of course, the left *isn’t lying*, and the right *was*. And the right *was* saying Obama wasn’t really president, and the left *doesn’t* say that about Trump…they just say his election has an asterisk beside it.)

                But in the world we live in, the libs have poisoned that well, specifically regarding the circumstances and application of impeachment.

                What the *hell* are you talking about? I honestly cannot even figure it out.

                There is one political party that has misused impeachment. It wasn’t the Democrats. The Democrats have not even come close to an impeachment since Nixon, and the Republicans were fully on board with that.

                You’ve tried that angle a few times now, but I don’t think it holds any water. I’m talking about you, Kazzy, Don, Chip, Morat, Balloon Juice, Krugman, etc,. who are the animating energy behind the Demo political establishment in America so I think the lines of accountability are pretty much legit there.

                Are you on DRUGS?

                You just listed a bunch of bloggers and a blog, and Krugman. Those of us besides Krugman are not, in any manner whatsoever, the ‘energy’ behind the Demo political establishment, and I can’t even figure out how you *think* that makes any sense.

                Also, I should point out the hilarious problem that, as far as I can see, *none of us here think the Senate shouldn’t confirm people for policy reasons*.

                In fact, I’m somewhat at a lose finding *anyone* here saying people shouldn’t be confirmed except *me* (And I’ve limited them to people clearly *unqualified*), and Don’s obviously satirical statement that we should do what the Republicans did and wait until after the next election to confirm them.

                You weirdly keep insisting that’s what people are talking about here. In reality, in this thread, people are talking about your rather odd ideas that it’s the *Democrats* that have been breaking norms. This isn’t actually a discussion on who the Senate should or should not confirm, no matter how much you want it to be. I’m really the only person who’s even *made a comment about that* (Barring Don’s satire), and I was just leaping *into* the conversation to respond to your weird claims you hadn’t heard any substantial reasons for any objections to the cabinet.

                Krugman isn’t in charge of the Democratic political establishment either, but it is at least theoretically possible he is someone they listen to. Except, uh, *he didn’t say block nominees either*, as far as I know.

                You have ludicrously promoted us to being in charge of the Democratic political establishment, and then asserted that this is proof the Democratic political establishment is taking the position that cabinet appointments should generally be blocked, when *none of us are saying that*. And if *we’re* in charge of the Demo political establishment, I think that conclusively proves the Demo political establishment *doesn’t* want that. Q.E.D.

                And while Balloon Juice has taken a position it’s a good idea to slow the nominations *until they turn over their financial data* (Which is not the same thing as opposing them), I am sad to inform you, that Balloon Juice has very little constitutional power in this country, and their role in Congress is almost entirely ceremonial.

                Again, the lines of accountability vary a lot between the examples you listed above, and it’s a useful exercise to figure out which is which.

                I don’t think that holds any water. I’m talking about you, the animating energy behind the Repub political establishment in America.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Parts of the right wing media have, for years, been literally insisting that Obama is not eligible to be president. Which is not true.

                Which parts are they? I haven’t seen that, and I’ve read a decent amount of right wing media.

                What the *hell* are you talking about? I honestly cannot even figure it out.

                Well then you should dial down the invective and read more carefully, because it doesn’t look that complicated to me.

                It originates in the partisan defense of President Clinton against his removal from office. But the worst of it is President Obama and lib strategists and their cynical attempts to goad the Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings against him with the intention of gaining political advantage in a backlash.

                The Republicans didn’t take that particular bait but it’s left its mark anyway. Specifically, for situations just like this. For the emoluments clause and other situations, the recourse to real or prospective violations is impeachment. If there’s no impeachment, there’s no recourse. The Republicans are simply playing (and winning) the game with the rules the libs made.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Koz: It originates in the partisan defense of President Clinton against his removal from office.But the worst of it is President Obama and lib strategists and their cynical attempts to goad the Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings against him with the intention of gaining political advantage in a backlash.

                Oh man, that’s a new one to me. Thanks for the laugh, dude. It’s been a rough week and I needed it.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Koz says:

                Which parts are they? I haven’t seen that, and I’ve read a decent amount of right wing media.

                Try the media appearances of our president elect.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

                But the worst of it is President Obama and lib strategists and their cynical attempts to goad the Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings against him

                What? Seriously, I read right-wing source to try to keep up, but I’ve never heard this one before. I mean, I’ve heard that Bill Ayers wrote “Dreams From My Father”, I’ve heard that Obama’s mother only liked black men because she was a Communist, I’ve heard that Obama made nice to Iran because he’s a Shiite, but this one is brand-new.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                We can only thank god Congressional Republicans are so reasonable!Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Which parts are they? I haven’t seen that, and I’ve read a decent amount of right wing media.

                Wow, you somehow literally do not know about Birtherism.

                And yet you’re asking people to interact with you on a political blog.

                Weird.

                It originates in the partisan defense of President Clinton against his removal from office.

                Oh, I see. It was a partisan *defense*. Not a partisan *attack*.

                You know, if your threshold for impeachment is basically *any crime*, if you think perjury is worth impeaching over (It’s something that is not even normally prosecuted, and there are some real questions if Clinton’s testimony even *reached* the threshold for perjury.), I would like to hear your opinions on various behaviors of recent *Republican* administrations.

                Specifically, how do you feel about the president telling people to torture, in direct violation of the law? How do you feel about the president authorizing money to the Contras, in direct violation of the law?

                You’re setting a *really low* bar here. A bar that basically every Republican president elected (I’ll give you Ford.) since Eisenhower broke. (Bush Senior broke it while VP as part of Iran-Contra.)

                A bar that exactly one Democrat has broke.

                And before you talk about *my* suggestion and the bar I’m setting…first, emoluments is something specifically mentioned in the constitution, and is thus (Along with treason) presumably more important than various random crimes. Second, the entire point of what I proposed is that Congress has to set a standard *in advance* and give Trump time to *not do it*. That Congress needs to say ‘Your current situation is not acceptable in a president, and *you must change it* before becoming president, or we will have to remove you.’.

                Admittedly, time for him to do that is running out, and whether or not Trump can do it in time *now* is questionable…but I actually started suggesting this back in early December. If someone wants to assert that Trump should be given more time, I’d be content with Congress demanding *completely open* books for the entire Trump Organization for a limited amount of time, or demanding that he turn over all profits to them, or some other temporary situation, until Trump can finish divesting.

                But *right now*, no one except some liberal writers even seem to be *talking* about the fact that the president is not allowed to receive money from foreign governments(1) without Congressional approval….and Congress *usually* doesn’t approve that anyway. (And I don’t think they’ve ever approved a straight-up cash payment.)

                So on one hand, we have a Republican Congress hounding a president with investigation after investigation, and eventually getting him to lie under oath, and attempting to remove him from office for that.

                On the other hand, we have Congress *completely ignore* actual real crimes being committed. Torture is a pretty serious crime, and Iran-Contra violated a law *specifically put in place to constraint the executive branch from doing exactly what it did*, which seems like a fact that should be somewhat important in figuring out if a president is out of control and needs to be removed.

                And the current president-elect is ready to set foot in office and *immediately* violate the constitution, in a way that’s not really a matter of dispute, it’s just that the only people who can do anything about it (Our Congress) are not bothering to talk about it.

                Yeah, it’s the *Democrats* who are using impeachment as a political tool.

                But the worst of it is President Obama and lib strategists and their cynical attempts to goad the Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings against him with the intention of gaining political advantage in a backlash.

                So you *are* on drugs.

                Just for the record, could you explain what these attempts *were*?

                Oh, oh, I know. Obamacare, right? The thing you seem to think was passed in some sort of illegitimate manner, despite you never quite being able to explain exactly how that is.

                I wonder what the difference is between vaguely asserting a *president* is illegitimate, and vaguely asserting a *bill* is illegitimate.

                1) Nor is anyone talking about how he can’t receive them from domestic sources, *period*, end of story, Congress can’t even vote to approve that. He cannot receive gifts from state or local governments. Which means that *all his state and local tax breaks* have to be canceled. No one is even bothering to talk about this, either, and I suspect people are going to *really* surprised when New York City, pissed at the amount of money they’re spending on protecting him, along with his completely fuckery of their traffic and air traffic if he keeps commuting, yank those away the moment he takes office, citing the Constitution.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Wow, you somehow literally do not know about Birtherism.

                I understand birtherism well enough, I think, but Orly Taitz and pre-Presidential candidate Donald Trump are not right-wing media. I don’t think there’s very much there (maybe Glenn Beck).Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Just for the record, could you explain what these attempts *were*?

                Sure. Most recently, and most important, the Demo’s found themselves in a situation where they were losing in the runup to the 2014 elections, so one of their strategems was to intentionally fail at or misrepresent the duties of the Presidency thereby provoking the Republicans into starting impeachment proceedings against President Obama, with the intention of politically profiting from the expected backlash.

                dailycaller.com/2014/05/11/gaslighting-the-gops/
                dailycaller.com/2014/06/18/gaslighting-the-gops-part-2/
                washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/05/09/is-a-drive-to-impeach-barack-obama-on-its-way/

                As it happens, the Republicans didn’t take that bait. Instead of maneuvering toward impeachment, they filed lawsuits instead, at least one of which they won (immigration). And coincidentally or not, they also won the 2014 election.

                But for this context, the upshot is how this affects the propriety of executive branch governance. Specifically, the Demo’s created a norm wherein the President is constrained only by what he can get away with. Don’t like it? Impeach me, and watch your political strength go down the drain.

                So by all means, have Steny Hoyer or somebody file impeachment charges in the House. Be sure to use the word “emoluments” a lot. Paul Ryan can just bury it miles deep in committee, while Bill O’Reilly and Hugh Hewitt can just go “LOL! Dems” and the Republicans can go their merry way banning unmarried women’s birth control or disparate impact voting rights lawsuits or whatever it is you’re afraid of.

                Oh, oh, I know. Obamacare, right? The thing you seem to think was passed in some sort of illegitimate manner, despite you never quite being able to explain exactly how that is.

                I wonder what the difference is between vaguely asserting a *president* is illegitimate, and vaguely asserting a *bill* is illegitimate.

                Sure. This is actually fairly important. For me at least, I never asserted that President Obama was an illegitimate President. There was several things that he did as President that were illegitimate actions.

                The most important of which was his leadership of the process to enact Obamacare. The reason that was illegitimate was that they were clearly rejected by the American people at the time (and since). That was the Rubicon singalling the start of all his illegitimate actions

                Ie, Obamacare wasn’t the only one. There was also the Iran deal, climate change, and immigration policies, all of which bypassed Congress altogether. Furthermore, for Iran and climate change, there wasn’t just a majority of Congress opposed, it was a bipartisan majority. If President Obama had submitted his agreements to the Senate as proposed treaties, the Iran deal would have gotten maybe 40 votes, and climate change Paris thing even fewer, as there were a significant number of Democrats opposed to both.

                Finally, you ought to dial down the crap about trolling, drugs, ***’s, ZOMG, and the rest of it, to actually pay attention for a minute and maybe learn something.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Koz says:

                Linking to Mickey Kaus explains a lot, actually.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                First, everyone need to be aware that the Daily Caller (and Maureen Dowd, which is weird because she literally describes the movie it is from) have no idea what ‘gaslighting’ actually means. Attempting to suggest you’re guilty of something in an attempt to get people to attack you, then proving them wrong, is not what ‘gaslighting’ is. Neither is deliberately humilating someone in a way everyone else will think is trivial and seeing if they will overreact.

                Gaslighting is, instead, continually altering the reality of someone so that they (And everyone else) believe their own memory and, eventually, sense of reality, is unreliable.

                ‘Gaslighting’ is not attempting to make people make dumbass or emotional moves.

                Anyway, incorrect terms aside, I want everyone to understand that Koz here is suggesting that the *Democrats* made up the Benghazi nonsense of the Republicans.

                His first evidence of that is…one email, that supposedly ‘seems to confirm’ their theories about Benghazi attack were true.

                This is it. This is how the Democrats are *misusing* impeachment. The Democrat have, and let me explain this carefully, abusing
                impeachment by: Carefully *framing themselves* for what the Republicans think happened with Benghazi, and expecting Republicans to take the bait.

                Here’s the fun problem with that *lunacy*, because let me rephrase that theory:

                The Democrats are carefully *framing themselves* for what the Republicans think happened with Benghazi, and expecting Republicans to take the bait, *during the time that Benghazi was happening*.

                They somehow foresaw there would be years of investigations, so said, basically ‘You know what, I bet we can get the Republicans to investigate this for *years*, so let’s do everything one way, but *put in a few memos* some lies.’

                Or something like that. Seriously, man, this theory *literally doesn’t make sense*. It cannot possible make sense. The cited email email could, indeed, prove the Democrats were lying about Benghazi. Perhaps they even *actually did something wrong*. You want to argue that, go ahead.

                But what it can’t prove is that they are somehow trying to trick *Republicans in the future* to continue their investivations over this.

                Seriously, man, ARE YOU ON DRUGS? Do you understand how *time* works? Did you actually *read* this nonsense?

                And, to continue, Koz’s *second* evidence of that is that Obama meeting with DREAMers in the White House, and that this was an attempt to drive Congressial Republicans crazy and have him impeached. *That* idea…reflects really really poorly on Congressional Republicans, that they would even possible consider that.

                ‘Obama did somethign that makes Republican mad, thus he was *deliberately courting impeachment*.’

                Basically, Koz is trying to blame the Obama administration for Republicans yelling, for years, about impeaching him.

                The problem is, his evidence is a) first something that requires time travel, and b) then something that isn’t vaguely the level of an impeachable offense, and, perhaps most importantly, c) things that happened at the end of 2014, which, uh, makes it rather hard to explain the *first* five years of calls for impeachment.

                But, wait, wait, we’ve spent too much time dealing with *this* nonsense and wandered off the original question:

                How, exactly, does this mean that *Obama* has made impeachment a political tool, and thus is at fault for Republicans being unwilling to impeach Trump?

                While the *first* ‘gaslighting’ article is nonsense clearly impossible according to the laws of physics as we know it, let’s pretend the second is true. Let’s pretend that Obama deliberately met with some people in order to provoke the GOP into calling (yet again) for his impeachment. Totally on purpose, that was the intended outcome.

                That isn’t *Obama* making impeachment into a political tool. That’s Obama, knowing that *Republicans had stupidly been making cries for impeachment for five eyars that were seen as political*, tricking *Republicans* into making more cries.

                That’s not on Obama, man. Republicans started using cries for impeachment as political tool, they continued it as political tool, and, according to you, were *once* duped into doing it by Obama, who saw their political tool was extremely stupid and counterproductive.

                That’s not Obama making it a political tool. That *Republicans*. Obama just (according to this theory) did some judo to turn their political tool back on them.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                The most important of which was his leadership of the process to enact Obamacare. The reason that was illegitimate was that they were clearly rejected by the American people at the time (and since). That was the Rubicon singalling the start of all his illegitimate actions

                It’s interesting that you seem to have all sorts of worries about people calling an *election* illegitimate, but somehow calling a duly-voted on a piece of legislation is fine.

                If the fact the vast majority of people (So you claim) doesn’t like it makes it ‘illegitimate’, despite it being enacted correctly following the Constitutional process…how is Trump legitimate, exactly?

                There was also the Iran deal, climate change, and immigration policies, all of which bypassed Congress altogether.

                *sounds bullshit alarm*

                The president has the ability to sign treaties with other nations. The Senate has the ability to ratify treaties *if they need to be*. The only treaties that *need to be* ratified are ones that *change US law*.

                The climate change thing did not do that. Literally the only thing it did was require reporting from the EPA! That’s it. The EPA has to write up some CO2 targets, and issue reports as to how well they are being met. That’s all the treaty says. The president is, of course, in charge of the EPA, and can direct them to issue reports at his will. (Barring Congress saying otherwise.)

                Likewise, the Iran sanctions were *executive* sanctions, imposed by the State Department under Jimmy Carter. He can undo them. He’s always had that power. (There are *laws*, passed by Congress, punishing US citizens who *break* the sanctions, but the sanction are a different thing than punishment for breaking them. Those laws are still in effect, there just aren’t any sanctions they apply to.)

                Both those things are *solely Executive interations with other countries*, and so asserting that Obama has exceeded his authority is complete nonsense. That is *exactly* the place where the president has near total authority, in how the US Executive interacts with other countries!

                Now, there are *ways* for Congress to limit how the president can interact with other countries, using the power of the purse, and if the president breaks those he should be impeached. (*cough*Iran-Contra*cough*). If Congress wants to bar the EPA from issuing those reports, it can. If Congress wants to pass a law making it illegal for American companies to do business in Iran *even without* the Executive branch sanctions, it can.

                Congress has not chosen to do either of those. And *barring Congress making any sort of limits*, the president can basically do whatever they want in how the Executive branch of this country interacts with other countries.

                To assert otherwise is just partisan nonsense, and has always been so. It’s claiming the executive branch has no powers at all, and any power it has is an abuse of power.

                This is insane. If the executive branch wishes *to pledge the executive branch will do something* to another country, it can.

                —-

                Nooooooow….I will admit that the immigration thing *is* pushing boundaries. Telling the government not to enforce a specific law is, in a way, a bit dubious.

                Except…that’s not actually what’s happening. Immigration law isn’t exactly what people think. People in this country illegally are not generally charged with a crime (To quote the Supreme Court in ARIZONA ET AL. v. UNITED STATES ‘As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.’), and the president has always had the power to defer deportations of anyone he wants to, or create any system to prioritize the order.

                In fact, the president even is granted the power *by law* to issue work permits to *illegal immigrants*. This is a law, 8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3). It’s weird to try to argue the president doesn’t have the power to not deport people while *that* law exists. Why would he have the power to issue a work permit for someone he’s *required* to deport?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Look, you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the frame of reference here, to the point where you’re wrong, but even when you’re right you’re still wrong.

                The point isn’t to squint and to say that if you look at it from exactly this way, then what Obama did was ok. That’s probably wrong on the particulars, but the main thing is that it ignores the pov of apolitical or moderately political Americans who are removed further and further away from having any meaningful input on governance, or even the ability to observe it for that matter.

                I’ll get back to this later but I also want to go into the weeds and address a few specific things.

                It’s interesting that you seem to have all sorts of worries about people calling an *election* illegitimate, but somehow calling a duly-voted on a piece of legislation is fine.

                If the fact the vast majority of people (So you claim) doesn’t like it makes it ‘illegitimate’, despite it being enacted correctly following the Constitutional process…how is Trump legitimate, exactly?

                Sigh….we have to have periodic elections and change of Administration. We didn’t have to have health care reform. More important than that, probably, the debate over the Obamacare bills wasn’t very close among the American people. Obama/Pelosi/Ezra Klein were gettintg their ass handed to them for the better part of a year, and still they went through with it.

                If Clinton wins the popular vote by 2% and loses the election, well them’s the breaks. But if she wins the popular vote by 20% and still loses, that’s a much different animal, and asks much more fundamental questions about whether United States can or ought to remain one country.

                The president has the ability to sign treaties with other nations. The Senate has the ability to ratify treaties *if they need to be*. The only treaties that *need to be* ratified are ones that *change US law

                *.

                No no no. Constitutionally, all treaties must be submitted and approved by the Senate by a two-thirds vote. There are such things as executive agreements, which the President can enter on behalf of the United States.

                Agreements that are intended to represent an ongoing commitment of the United States (as opposed to the policy of one Administration) should be submitted to the Senate. President Obama could have submitted his Agreements to the Senate except that he knew very well that they would be repudiated there (by a decent number of Democrats as well).

                The same with Iran, where for example, IIRC the US recognized Iran’s “right to enrich” nuclear material which was a de facto repudiation of the Nonproliferation Treaty (ie, a real one, with Senatorial approval).

                As far as immigration goes, the President’s DACA and DAPA gambits have been repudiated by the courts, with the SCOTUS upholding the Fifth Appellate Circuit on a 4-4 tie. Ie, the courts sided with the states against the Obama Administration over immigration policy, which gives you some idea of how egregious that policy was. So it wasn’t just a matter of deciding not to deport somebody.

                That’s to say, the Administration argued that its Executive Orders didn’t change anybody’s immigration status, but it created a “lawful presence” for millions of illegal immigrants, that depending on this or that gave them eligibility for drivers’ licenses, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc. We shouldn’t be surprised that the judiciary didn’t by it.

                But these are details. Like I wrote before, even if you were right, you’re still wrong. IIRC almost all of President Obama’s policy initiatives (and all of them after Obamacare) bypassed Congress.

                I remember talking with a a friend of mine (and another friend I met through him) about some drama related to their homeowner’s association.

                One of the tenants or condo owners was hosing off dog waste from his balcony onto the common area below. In fact, the common area was condo complex pool/jacuzzi/lounge area. Apparently, this person thought that was kosher because it wasn’t banned in the HOA bylaws. Of course he was full of shit. Even if that particular offense wasn’t mentioned specifically, there were any number of provisions that could used to cover it.

                But then the friend of a friend said something: it doesn’t make any difference anyway. Even if, by some miracle, spraying the dog waste into the pool was ok according to the HOA, you’d still be a pariah if you did that. More importantly, people would find ways to make that behavior unacceptable even if they didn’t exist before.

                That brings us to President Obama and the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. If the policy initiatives go through Congress with the ping-pong among the members of Congress and various personages of the Administration. people outside Washington get to see their point view being represented and have some idea of who they’re rooting for and why.

                Obama’s idea, which is basically that Congress is annoying so I have license to ignore them, just doesn’t fly in America.

                Mrs. Clinton, who respresented a continuation of the disdain for popular opinion from the prior Administration but less likeable than Mr Obama, ended up being the victim of that. Sorry I’m not sorry.

                It’s up to you to quit worming your way into advancing your ideological football. The American people may disagree with you a little bit about this or that, but most importantly they don’t trust you. It’s time for you to start paying off your negative balance of trust. Quit rationalizing how you’re going to evade your obligations and starting figuring out how you’re going to honor them.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                I feel like it’s worth addressing this independently:

                The same with Iran, where for example, IIRC the US recognized Iran’s “right to enrich” nuclear material which was a de facto repudiation of the Nonproliferation Treaty (ie, a real one, with Senatorial approval).

                You are on absolutely no factual ground here.

                The Nonproliferation Treaty gives countries the right to enrich nuclear material as long as they pledge they are not creating bombs and agree to inspections by the IAEA. That’s it.

                The only ‘punishment’ under the Nonproliferation Treaty for a country *not* following it is that other countries that signed it will not (or are not supposed to) provide nuclear material to them. That it. As we do not appear to be selling Iran any nuclear material (In fact, Obama’s deal has them *getting rid* of nuclear material.), there is no possible way Obama’s agreement could subvert the Nonproliferation Treaty.

                Meanwhile, our *sanctions* are nothing to do with the Nonproliferation Treaty. At all. The Nonproliferation Treaty is not mentioned in the law about sanctions.

                The *actual law* about sanctions, and one thinks you would have looked it up at some point in time before decided that the President violated a treaty, just a law. Moreover, it’s a law that *explicitly allows the president to remove sanctions unilaterally*.

                https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-110/pdf/STATUTE-110-Pg1541.pdf

                SEC. 8. TERMINATION OF SANCTIONS.
                (a) IRAN.—^The requirement under section 5(a) to impose sanctions shall no longer have force or effect with respect to Iran if the President determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that Iran—
                (1) has ceased its efforts to design, develop, manufacture, or acquire—
                (A) a nuclear explosive device or related materials and technology;
                (B) chemical and biological weapons; and
                (C) ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launch technology;
                and
                (2) has been removed from the list of countries the governments of which have been determined, for purposes of section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.

                Note that #2 there is talking about a list completely under presidential control, and I presume he removed Iran from it.

                Every concept you have stated about the Iran agreement, everything you are pretending it’s outrageous for Obama to do…he was *literally empowered by the law creating the sanctions* to do. By himself. He does not have to get anything authorized by Congress. (He does, however, have to *tell* Congress he’s doing it, and they obviously could pass a law forbidding it…which he did, and their law failed.)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                We didn’t have to have health care reform.

                We had a president elected on a campaign platform of providing it. Actually, even *the Republican* ran on a platform of reforming health care.

                More important than that, probably, the debate over the Obamacare bills wasn’t very close among the American people.

                You are, factually, just incorrect. The net approval of the ACA falls, and has consistently fell, about 10 points short on approval. But what is *also* consistent is about that about 20% of the people that oppose the law because it’s not liberal enough.

                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/obamacare-polls-affordable-care-act-health-care-reform_n_1380986.html

                Which is why when you ask the question ‘repeal, leave alone, or expand’, you get results closer to 38%/20%/33%.

                This is…well known, and dishonest to argue over.

                You can read those polls and, factually, stated that a majority of people were been in favor of the ACA *or a most liberal reform*. Or, instead, you can say a majority of people are in favor of *either* repealing it or making it more liberal, Or you can say a majority are in favor of repealing it or keeping it the same. You group two together, and you can phrase the other question so it loses.

                But the *honest* way to look at it is that there is three positions, and none of them had a majority, and only *one* really doesn’t like the fact the ACA passed, if you actually poll on *that*.

                The majority of Americans, if you asked them outright immediately after it passed ‘Would you rather the ACA have passed or no law at all’, say *yes*.

                Moreover…this is a totally bullshit bar to start with. Laws in the US have never required the majority of people to like them! Laws, in this country, basically get passed because a majority of the majority party in Congress likes them.

                It is perfectly valid to point out that passing a law that is *actual* unpopular (As opposed to the ACA) is a bad idea and will cause people to vote against the party that does it. It is even possible to argue this is what happened! Go ahead! The Democrats lost because of the unpopularity of the ACA! Feel free to say that! (And I’m not sure why who has an absolute majority matters there. If only 20% of people don’t like a law, and 10% of those were of the party that passed it, that party is sorta screwed.)

                But *that* isn’t what you’re arguing. You’re arguing this makes the law illegitimate.

                Now, in politics, it is entirely possible to argue ‘illegitimate’ down to ‘anything the majority of people does not like’. Fair enough. You want to argue that this nation should operate by direct democracy, well, that’s not how it does operate, but it’s an understandable position to take. (You are going to have to do a *lot* of explaining about what the *Republicans* are promising to do, though.)

                But it’s pretty insane to do that *at literally the same time* you are complaining about people arguing Trump is illegitimate.

                If Clinton wins the popular vote by 2% and loses the election, well them’s the breaks. But if she wins the popular vote by 20% and still loses, that’s a much different animal, and asks much more fundamental questions about whether United States can or ought to remain one country.

                And if she lost (Or it least it appears to have altered things) thanks to two entities (Russia and the FBI) unprecedented meddling in an election, do people not, to quote you: find ways to make that behavior unacceptable even if they didn’t exist before.

                Oh, look. People are doing the same thing to a president that you did to a law.

                And one of those two things, health care reform, is a policy that a president *ran on a platform of*, and was elected to do so, and did it in a way that was somewhat unpopular. You can whine and complain about how unpopular it was at the time, but the procedure to pass the ACA was *perfectly normal*. I mean, there is absolutely nothing I can see that’s even slightly dubious…we even know that the part standing is *constitutional*. (1)

                The other thing was…a president that was elected with outside interference. A way that actually included actual illegal behavior (hacking) and behavior that violated Federal rules (Comey talking about investigations that close to an election). The election *itself* appears legal, but, again, *as you said*, people will still complain about it.

                And, on top of that, we’ve ended up with a president that is, honestly, completely unacceptable. If we had ended up with Romney or McCain, that would be one thing. Hell, people were not happy with Bush or an election that was decided along partisan lines of the Supreme Court, but he at least was a *reasonable* person to be president, and we could live with him.

                But now, instead, we have *Trump*. Someone with actual narcissistic personality disorder, who is showing absolutely no signs he even takes the office seriously. Jesus Fucking Christ. We are at the point where it is possible to argue that the Russians have *deliberately sabotaged* the county for the next four years.

                1) And the part of the ACA that got shot down was shot down for doing something the Federal government had done plenty of times in the past, so, even if you agree with the Supremes, I think it’s understandable no one *thought* that was unconstitutional.

                No no no. Constitutionally, all treaties must be submitted and approved by the Senate by a two-thirds vote. There are such things as executive agreements, which the President can enter on behalf of the United States.

                No. Constitutionally, *for a treaty to be ratified*, it must be submitted and approved by the Senate by a two-thirds vote.

                Treaties can also just be *agreed to*, without signing. The president can, in fact, *agree to* almost anything. I could send the president a request asking the FBI to wear silly hats, and he can *agree to* that.

                You seem agree with this, but are arguing some technicality that these are called something different than a treaty. No, they really aren’t. There is a difference in them under the law, one of them is right up next to the constitution, and one of them is basically an executive order and can be overturned at any time, but they are both, indeed, ‘treaties’.

                For example, the Protocol I of the Geneva Convention is a *treaty*, created in 1977 to clarify Geneva. It is a treaty we have not ratified, and thus it is not part of US law, but it was *signed* by Carter in 1977. It didn’t magically turn into something besides a treaty because we haven’t ratified it yet.

                Agreements that are intended to represent an ongoing commitment of the United States (as opposed to the policy of one Administration) should be submitted to the Senate.

                *All* agreements are _intended_ to represent an ongoing commitment.

                If Trump does not like them, he is free to declare he is not going to follow them.

                As far as immigration goes, the President’s DACA and DAPA gambits have been repudiated by the courts, with the SCOTUS upholding the Fifth Appellate Circuit on a 4-4 tie.

                And…wrong.

                SCOTUS refused to do anything about the *preliminary injunction* against the program. So the program is temporarily on hold until the case is resolved. But the *case itself* and the constitutionality of the program has not been decided. (And probably never will be, considering that Trump will probably just agree to stop the programs.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DavidTC says:

                We didn’t have to have health care reform.

                Exactly! Just like the French didn’t need to start a war with Germany in 1914.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                You are, factually, just incorrect. The net approval of the ACA falls, and has consistently fell, about 10 points short on approval. But what is *also* consistent is about that about 20% of the people that oppose the law because it’s not liberal enough.

                This is more irrelevant coulda shoulda. There’s lots of reasons why people who may have wanted HCR collectivization in general but still didn’t support the Obamacare bills. But we know for sure that they didn’t.

                The majority of Americans, if you asked them outright immediately after it passed ‘Would you rather the ACA have passed or no law at all’, say *yes*.

                And this is the most falsifiable statement in the recent history of polling science. RealClearPolitics and other media outlets have aggregated hundreds of polls across several polling organizations and that simply doesn’t add up.

                And more importantly, it was known not to add up at the time. Before passage, and afterward. IIRC, they started drafting and having hearings in Apr of 2009 and President Obama signed the bill in Feb 2010. Before passage, there were four or so separate iterations of trying to drum up enough support in more or less conventional ways: spring, August recess/town halls, the motions to proceed, the special election of Scott Brown and its aftermath. None of them worked.

                This very important to emphasize in the context of things like your last comment. All the bullshit, the rationalizations, the evasions, the Administration and the HCR netroots advocates tried them all at the time.

                “This is just Romneycare/Heritage Foundation white paper.”

                “A third of the people who oppose this want something more liberal”

                “This was part of the campaign”

                They desperately tried to pull move poll numbers for this in a context where President Obama was still popular, and couldn’t. Finally, they said fuck it, and passed it anyway (in the worst way possible because they couldn’t amend their Senate bill any further because Scott Brown replace Edward Kennedy in the Senate).

                And then once they did that, they couldn’t run away from it fast enough. The provisions didn’t take place right away. Of the campaign ads in 2010 that mentioned Obamacare, something like 85% were opposed.

                And after that, I can’t think of another significant initiative from President Obama that successfully went through Congress.

                Which is the important part anyway. Like I wrote before, you’re wrong. But even if you were right, you’re still wrong.

                The American people don’t trust that their interests are being upheld by the Obama Administration, and they don’t like Hillary Clinton. And they had a very effective means to change that state of affairs.

                And, on top of that, we’ve ended up with a president that is, honestly, completely unacceptable.

                Unacceptable to who, kemosabe? If you didn’t want President Trump you should have put Willard in office.

                It’s perfectly acceptable to me if Donald Trump become President and brings the hammer down on the libs. What is our common interest as Americans in the age of Trump? I only have part of an answer myself. I have actually asked a couple of the libs here, and they didn’t answer. It’s a hard question to be honest.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                And Trump was about 1% short of actually being the preference of a plurality of voters.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                And this is the most falsifiable statement in the recent history of polling science. RealClearPolitics and other media outlets have aggregated hundreds of polls across several polling organizations and that simply doesn’t add up.

                49% thought it was a good thing that it passed, 40% thought it was a bad thing.

                [Edit: Somehow missed putting the link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/126929/slim-margin-americans-support-healthcare-bill-passage.aspx ]

                And this was *immediately after* the ACA passed.

                So, hey, look, I guess you’re right in that it’s not a *majority*. But it’s a plurality.

                And while there may be lots of aggregations, I point out that your claim is that it was illegitimate *because it passed without popular support*. It doesn’t matter if people soured on it *after* it passed.

                Also, I notice you didn’t address my points that you still haven’t come up with some coherent reason it’s okay for you to call the ACA illegitimate because it didn’t have majority support, but it’s horrifying and a total violation of democratic norms to call Trump’s election illegitimate, when he *certainly* didn’t have majority support. We actually had an *official vote* on Trump, we don’t have to rely on polls.

                Especially since the election of the president is supposed to, in concept, be a mostly democratic direct vote (Although it is not technically that, as we all know, thanks to archaic rules that no one likes until it makes their guy win) for *picking* a representative of Americans, whereas that’s not how legislation has *ever* worked, even in concept. (Legislation is, instead, decided by a majority of representatives we have previously elected.)

                You can’t just invent some imaginary norm where the American people somehow are in charge of approving legislation. That is not, and has never been, the norm. It might be *better* than what we have,but it is not what we have.

                You seem to think this hinges entirely on how popular the ACA was. But a bill being *slightly unpopular* with the majority of Americans when passed doesn’t make it ‘illegitimate’ anyway, unless you have defined ‘illegitimate’ down to just mean ‘unpopular’. (And guess what that says about the President-Elect.)

                Oh, and the Republicans in Congress are *literally attempting to pass majority-unpopular legislation right now*.

                So here’s another a question: If the Republicans pass a bill *repealing* Obamacare, are you going to call *that* illegitimate? Because *the American people have clearly spoken and do not not want that*. A full repeal has only *25%* support, 75% say either don’t repeal, or repeal only with a full replacement put in place at the same time.

                Right now, the Republicans are doing *exactly* the sort of thing you just spent pages insisting was illegitimate when the Democrats did it: Trying to pass a *deeply* unpopular (Way more unpopular than the ACA ever was) bill over the objection of the majority of Americans.

                I don’t think that’s ‘illegitimate’. But according to your logic, *you should*.

                Of course, I also don’t think it *is* reasonable to call the election of Trump illegitimate because he didn’t win the majority vote. And I also don’t think anyone’s doing it.

                I think it is perhaps reasonable to call the election illegitimate because of *unprecedented outside interference*, which is what various people are doing. I wouldn’t use the word illegitimate myself, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable *to* say.

                But you don’t get to call the ACA illegitimate because of lack of majority support, and then act outraged that a president-elect elected without majority support is called illegitimate! Oh noes! And then also ignore the fact that the Republican Congress is trying to currently pass legislation without majority support.

                The American people don’t trust that their interests are being upheld by the Obama Administration, and they don’t like Hillary Clinton. And they had a very effective means to change that state of affairs.

                And none of that is even *slightly relevant* to the fact you think it’s reasonable to call a duly passed law ‘illegitimate’, whereas calling a duly-elected president illegitimate is *completely outside all bounds and a sign that Democrats are totally out of control*.

                I think some readers have perhaps lost sight of why I’m talking about this. So I will quote Koz from back when this started:

                My point is that you cannot remain oblivious to the main currents in our political culture as we evaluate things like this. In this case, Krugman is clearly marinating and being marinated in a culture of rejection. In that piece he himself is taking an inch less incendiary line, that the results of the election are illegitimate, even if Trump’s victory won’t be overturned. Of course, that’s an illegitimate pov in its own right. There’s nothing illegitimate about the mechanics of the election, even if his complaints were true. But it’s much worse in the poisoned-well culture that the libs have created, where any setback is an excuse to go for ever more destructive shenanigans.

                And I pointed out he, personally, had been calling the ACA illegitimate *for weeks*. Repeatedly. I had called him out on this, even before the election and anyone using the word illegitimate in reference to Trump! He has been using the *exact word* he seems to think is wrong for Democrats to use and part of their ‘culture of rejection’. But he had taken something that followed every political rule, and called it illegitimate, for weeks, solely justified by ‘it was unpopular’!

                He seems to have absolutely no concept of the hypocrisy of that.

                And I haven’t even *mentioned* the ‘any setback is an excuse to go for ever more destructive shenanigans’ nonsense. You mean, like…how the Republicans shut down the government and threatened to default on the debt unless the ACA was repealed, almost causing a constitutional crisis when the President would be force to decide between following the 14th amendment or funding laws? Or how the Democrats in the House threatened to refuse to accept the EC votes from Trump states, almost causing a constitutional crisis when…oh, wait, the Democrats didn’t threaten to do that.

                It’s the Republicans in office that behave like absurd loons when they lose a vote. The Democrats in office behave just fine. (Which is why, as evidence of all this, Koz is forced to run around pointing to Krugman using a bad word, instead of what the Democrats are promising to do, which is basically just hold confirmation hearings.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DavidTC says:

                Don’t bother, @davidtc . Koz will shift the goalposts and change the rules mid-conversation to suit the conclusion he’s already drawn.Report

              • Avatar D-bol Dave in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy:
                Don’t bother, @DavidTC .Koz will shift the goalposts and change the rules mid-conversation to suit the conclusion he’s already drawn.

                @kazzy

                The political equivalent of my favorite kind of CrossFitter.

                To be fair, if the goalposts are heavy and he’s actually doing the work moving them, let’s cut him some slack.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                You can’t just invent some imaginary norm where the American people somehow are in charge of approving legislation. That is not, and has never been, the norm. It might be *better* than what we have,but it is not what we have.

                This is absolutely true. The “unpopularity” of Obamacare is only part of the issue. Because of the prominence of Obamacare, the people who opposed it knew themselves to be a majority and mobilized against it. This made Obamacare much different that other official acts of Washington, legislative or otherwise. The government can and does do many unpopular things. But people might ignore them, or grumble a little bit, and then move on to something else. That’s to say, it wasn’t just the numerical majority of the unpopularity of Obamacare, it was the unpopularity, its intensity and its longevity that make Obamacare illegitimate.

                Again, this was one of the rationalizations when Obamacare was a bill. We’ll just move this through the sausage factory, and people won’t care about this as much in a month or two. Well, they were wrong.

                Most importantly, this was not a crisis for Republicans (or at the very least not exclusively), but rather among Democrats and Obama voters, which fundamentally changed the landscape of American politics.

                Frankly, it never occurred to me that someone would compare this to the election of Donald Trump until you did. The complaints about the popular vote is basically a reflection of the isolation of the Demo base, and their frustration about that isolation. You can’t run up the score in California and expect that the rest of America has to care. I don’t think the other complaints hold any more water. Frankly, the ones about Comey are just embarrassing, or least they ought to be, but I guess for you they’re not.

                The repeal of ACA, if indeed that happens, will be another product of the sausage factory. I doubt that the repeal of ACA will poll at 25% for and 75% against. And if it does, I don’t think that it will be repealed. But it might. We live in a different world now post-Obamacare, where the political calculus for officeholders is different now than it was before. It if that does happen that will be why.

                That, and a number of things against lib interests, may happen in Washington now that the libs are mostly bereft of significant officeholders. There seems to be this idea that because of Comey, or Russia, or California or whatever, that libs will be getting some kind of consolation prizes from the political process.

                That’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it. Libs are going to have to prove their goodwill, or else they can just get bulldozed. And they certainly haven’t proven it during the Obama Administration. And they certainly haven’t proven it during the Trump Transition.

                You seem to think that your complaints about emoluments and whatever might serve your interests. I suggest that you may not really want to find that out.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                “This made Obamacare much different that other official acts of Washington, legislative or otherwise.”

                Of course it did. Because your argument only works if we see the ACA as different.

                Nowhere in our nation’s history has “legislation unpopular among the people” equated to “illegitimate legislation.” And nothing about the ACA changes that.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Nowhere in our nation’s history has “legislation unpopular among the people” equated to “illegitimate legislation.” And nothing about the ACA changes that.

                Because nowhere in our nation’s history has anything like ACA been done. Tbh, it frustrates me a little when I hear libs trying to pretend that the whole thing is just a talking point among Republicans. No, ACA created objective changes in the relationship between the people and Washington, and we can clearly see its concrete effects.

                Between the 2010, 2014, and 2016, the Democratic Party has been almost completely wiped out. That, like actually happened and the self-delusions among libs is breathtaking: as far as I can see they think it’s all because Obama is a black guy.

                Let’s cut the shit already. Prior Congress and Presidents would have never tried anything like ACA before. It wouldn’t matter if W could “legitimately” reform Social Security or whatever. The voters would get their retribution soon enough. It’s only under the Obama Administration where the voters don’t matter, and the Congress that represents them doesn’t matter.

                Speaking on behalf of the voters, relative to the political establishment, it’s very important to acknowledge that we sit in judgment of you and not the other way around.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                “Because nowhere in our nation’s history has anything like ACA been done.”

                Because you are narrowly defining criteria to make it apply to the ACA. I’m done with this game.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                That’s to say, it wasn’t just the numerical majority of the unpopularity of Obamacare, it was the unpopularity, its intensity and its longevity that make Obamacare illegitimate.

                So, in other words, you are asserting that Obamacare was *retroactively* illegitimate because the American people never came around to accepting it.

                First, that is not any plausible way to make something ‘illegitimate’. The *reaction* to something cannot determine legitimacy.

                Second, if the *reaction* to something determines illegitimacy…um, TRUMP. You did notice Trump, right? You did notice the reaction to him, how everyone, *including people who are normally Republicans*, are a bit freaked out by him?

                You’re trying to write the rules when the *response* to the ACA somehow makes it illegitimate…and yet you’re allow to complain about the response to Trump, of someone calling him illegitimate? Huh? What? How does that work, if we’ve already determined the response can *determine* legitimacy or not?

                But wait. There’s more. The *really* weird thing is, in all your goalpost moving, you’ve accidentally moved them right next to the truth:

                Again, this was one of the rationalizations when Obamacare was a bill. We’ll just move this through the sausage factory, and people won’t care about this as much in a month or two. Well, they were wrong.

                You are correct! Ding ding ding! You have landed on both the truth, and, what I suspect, has *actually* been the reason you think the ACA is illegitimate.

                Now, at this point, I ask: And *why* did people continue to dislike it? It didn’t even *do* anything for the majority of people for *three years*, until the exchanges in 2014. Somehow it got more during that time unpopular anyway.

                And there are all sorts of *very interesting* polls that I won’t get into, but it’s well demonstrated that Obamacare rises in popularity if you describe it as the ACA, and rises *even more* if you describe it as the state health insurance exchanges.

                Additionally, people tend to like almost every single part of Obamacare when polled on it individually. They like the parts of it *so well* that the Republicans are facing all sorts of problems when trying to dismantle it. That 25% percent goes down *even more* when you specifically ask them things like ‘So you wish to remove protection for pre-existing conditions?’

                This is, indeed, pretty unique in history: A large amount of the American people, for some reason, *absolutely loathe* a recent law, while liking most of the stuff it actually does, and, at this point, basically demanding we keep all of it. It’s an *incredibly odd* situation.

                Why did all this happen?

                Because, for the first time in recent history, the opposition party *continued to campaign against a bill* after it was passed. Normally, the opposition party shrugs, accepts it, and tries to change the parts they find offensive.

                The Republicans…didn’t do that. They didn’t try to fix the bill in any form. They didn’t try to replace bits of it with their own alternative, and in fact *completely failed* to come up with an actual working alternative!

                Instead, they continued to just basically make up stuff about it for years, and as parts of it finally came into effect and it wasn’t the horrible thing they had been describing, then proceeded to blame rising costs, narrow networks, and rising deductibles on it. (Everything that was regularly happening in health insurance for decades, and the ACA pretty clearly bent the curve downward.)

                So, yes, you are right. The ACA *is* pretty unique, politically, and it *does* indeed explain why the Democrats just lost the election, to some extent.

                But it has nothing to do with the behavior of the Democrats or how the thing was passed, and everything to do with the fact that *Republicans* threw previous norms to the wind when they figured out that demagoguing against the ACA had worked very well in 2010, so they could just *keep* doing that and it would win them election after election.

                And they were right.

                The complaints about the popular vote is basically a reflection of the isolation of the Demo base, and their frustration about that isolation.

                Pssst. You were talking about *Democratic political establishment* calling the election *illegitimate* and how that was horrible, not random voters on Facebook generally complaining about the popular vote but no one cares. You need to be a *lot* more subtle about your goalpost moving. That’s, like, on an entirely different football field.

                Frankly, the ones about Comey are just embarrassing, or least they ought to be, but I guess for you they’re not.

                You do not think it is a problem for the FBI to announce, with much fanfare, a warrant right before an election that has, really, no grounds to be issued in the first place, and not the slightest bit of evidence it would even produce *new* evidence, much less new evidence that indicated anything about a crime?

                And you don’t think that’s a problem when *we have specific guidelines about doing that close to elections* that Comey broke?

                How about *this*, then: There is evidence that Comey had to do that because FBI agents were going to leak that information. And they also hid the existence of those emails for six weeks, and *then* sprung them Comey, attempting to make it impossible to actually *finish* going through them before the election. (They technically failed at that, but it was really close.)

                That’s right. There were FBI agents hiding information about a case, manipulating the time of the reveal of that information, and threatening to leak information about an active case if FBI director didn’t reveal it. All for expressly political reasons.

                Is *that* problematic enough for you?

                You seem to think that your complaints about emoluments and whatever might serve your interests. I suggest that you may not really want to find that out.

                No, I think my complaints about emoluments are pointing out there are serious constitutional problems with Trump becoming president.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                So, in other words, you are asserting that Obamacare was *retroactively* illegitimate because the American people never came around to accepting it.

                First, that is not any plausible way to make something ‘illegitimate’. The *reaction* to something cannot determine legitimacy.

                Not at all, in fact this might be one of the bigger points of misunderstanding. The process to make Obamacare a law lasted the better part of a year, and the illegitimacy ran all the way through it.

                I don’t know where you were in 2009 but nobody who was paying attention to American politics at the time could have possibly missed it.

                Like I mentioned in a prior comment, Obama didn’t start with the playbook of ignore Congress and ignore public opinion (pen & phone). That’s post-Obamacare.

                There were four or five normal iterations of trying to get public support, or at least public acquiescence to the various iterations of Obamacare, and they all failed. Everything you’ve brought up here, all the typical liberal excuses and rationalizations, they were all brought up at the time:

                “This is just demagoguery from Republicans”

                “This is just the Romneycare/Heritage Foundation plan”

                “We campaigned on this”

                “This will be more popular after August”

                The Ameican people heard all of these attempts at justification, through several iterations, and rejected them all.

                Scott Brown campaigned in special election for a Senate seat, in Massachusetts, saying “Vote for me and I’ll be the 41st vote against Obamacare.” And he won, in a context where the libs were droning on about honoring the legacy of Edward Kennedy.

                There is no possible way that anybody can make a credible argument that the illegitimacy of Obamacare was some retroactive thing. It was basically the only topic of political culture for the better part of a year. If there were any circumstance in that process where the American people had meaningful input in the matter, Obamacare would have failed. In fact I’m kinda suprised you’d even try to argue the point.

                Now, at this point, I ask: And *why* did people continue to dislike it? It didn’t even *do* anything for the majority of people for *three years*, until the exchanges in 2014. Somehow it got more during that time unpopular anyway.

                Right, because it was something that the American people understood very well wasn’t something that we as Americans did, it was something imposed on us by Democrats. In fact, it was imposed on us by the Democrats with the specific intention of being irreversible. In fact, that’s why a number of Democrats ended up supporting it. And the resentment over that has profoundly reshaped American political culture for the worse, even though it also helped the Republicans as a byproduct.

                The other thing to emphasize is that the opposition to Obamacare wasn’t partisan, at least not in the most important ways. The key opposition to Obamacare was from Democrats and Obama voters who were very surprised to find out that they had much less purchase on the Democratic party than they thought. Here’s a hint you should think about: all those people, counties, and states in the Rust Belt that Donald Trump won, sometimes by large margins, were Democratic constituencies before Obamacare, and often represented by Democrats in Congress. Now they’re almost completely gone from the party.

                But it has nothing to do with the behavior of the Democrats or how the thing was passed, and everything to do with the fact that *Republicans* threw previous norms to the wind when they figured out that demagoguing against the ACA had worked very well in 2010, so they could just *keep* doing that and it would win them election after election.

                And for this, besides the obvious problems mentioned above, I’m always surprised what libs think that arguments like this are supposed to justify or explain. The libs told us this was fulfilling their campaign promises, that the people would like it when they had to chance to see its various components, etc, etc, blah, blah.

                What traction does the GOP get from “demagoguery”? Why aren’t the Democrats bragging about it? It’s because all their prior rationalizations are arguments were bullshit, of course, and everybody knew it at the time.

                Pssst. You were talking about *Democratic political establishment* calling the election *illegitimate* and how that was horrible, not random voters on Facebook generally complaining about the popular vote but no one cares. You need to be a *lot* more subtle about your goalpost moving. That’s, like, on an entirely different football field.

                Not at all. The netroots are in charge of the Democratic Party. In fact, that’s how Obamacare got enacted. So the idea that the Democrats institutionally can disclaim the nuttier tendencies of the netroots is something I don’t buy for one minute.

                And you don’t think that’s a problem when *we have specific guidelines about doing that close to elections* that Comey broke?

                No. Hillary should have just been indicted. The Demo’s took a bad break with the Comey letters, but I can’t be bothered about it. The one thing about that whole controversy i know for sure, is that whatever problems arose out of Hillary’s emails and the fallout from that, are not James Comey’s fault. In fact, I think that the whole subject is ridiculous and embarrassing for the libs and Demo’s.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                The process to make Obamacare a law lasted the better part of a year, and the illegitimacy ran all the way through it.

                Oh, now you’re asserting the ACA was illegitimate *before* it became a law.

                You know what, I’m done. I am officially stating, right now, that I do not know what you mean by ‘illegitimate’ From now on, when you say ‘illegitimate’, I am going to act as if you say ‘flipbilyfloop’. The word illegitimate has no meaning to me.

                So it is now up to *YOU* to define what illegitimate means. Please indicate some measure that would allow us to determine when some things are flipbilyfloop, I mean illegitimate, and when they are not.

                The Ameican people heard all of these attempts at justification, through several iterations, and rejected them all.

                And, by rejected, you mean ‘Were in favor of by +8% when it passed’.

                I’m not letting you drop that, like you dropped *every other argument* you’ve made. (I notice you haven’t responded to my point that the Iran sanctions allowed the president to stop them solely at his win, or that the horrible Paris deal was basically just ‘We’re going to publish some information’, or the courts didn’t strike down Obama’s deferred action programs.) You keep coming up with distortions of reality, and when I point that you, you just drop them.

                Well, sorry, but the ACA *did in fact have a plurality of people in favor of it* when passed. I just cited a poll back there.

                You refused to acknowledge it by diverting into ‘Oh, but it got even more unpopular’ and then attempted to divert *back* to the original claim when I pointed out that things can’t retroactively become flipbilyfloop is not something I will just ignore. Well, if we’re back at the original claim, I return to my original objection: You are factually incorrect about the level of support the ACA had when passed.

                And before you go and find some *other* poll that showed the ACA was behind +5% or something when it passed (In contradiction to the poll I cited):

                a) you better make sure it asks whether people are disliking the ACA because it didn’t go far enough, because almost all of those people, when asked specifically, were in favor of the ACA passing vs. nothing passing.
                b) I remind you again that your premise is that the ACA was *vastly rejected*, not ‘Within polling error of being equally accepted and rejected’. A slight majority in a poll disapproving of it doesn’t cut it.
                c) Whether or not a law is popular or not, again, does not determine flipbilyfloopness. Medicare Part D was +13% in the hole, approvalwise, when it passed. Still considered flipbilyfloop, as far as I am aware…the Democrats didn’t like it, and argued against it, and then it passed, they shrugged, and tried to fix parts of it, and they (With Republicans!) eventually did fix some of the problems.

                It was basically the only topic of political culture for the better part of a year.

                Being the *topic of political culture* is not the same as being *rejected*.

                The ACA was debated endlessly before it passed. There were multiple rallies held for and against it.

                And in the end…it had slight approval, on the ‘Should we do it or not?’ (Once the Democrats grumbling about Obama pre-negotiating away single-payer got on board with the law they actually had.)

                The key opposition to Obamacare was from Democrats and Obama voters who were very surprised to find out that they had much less purchase on the Democratic party than they thought.

                I have no idea what work you think the phrase ‘the key opposition’ is doing, but the vast majority of Democrats do not have a problem with Obamacare. It’s nowhere near close.

                Here’s a hint you should think about: all those people, counties, and states in the Rust Belt that Donald Trump won, sometimes by large margins, were Democratic constituencies before Obamacare, and often represented by Democrats in Congress.

                This is simply not true. Trump’s gains over, say, Romney, were almost entirely in very rural areas, places the Democrats had not carried for decades. Trump simply did *better* there than Romney, or Clinton did worse, however you want to say it.

                Moreover, you have utterly ignored the fact that the *Senate* basically just swayed back and forth (As it always does) in 2010, and ever since, and the entity that actually changed was the *House*, and the reason the House changed was not any change in political opinions…it was that the Republicans, at state level, had set out to redistrict everywhere for 2010.

                There was not some vast shift of political positions after Obamacare. If anything, the support for the Democratic party has only *grown* over the last decade…it’s just that jerrymandering and the Democrat’s nomination of a really unpopular candidate has masked that.

                Not at all. The netroots are in charge of the Democratic Party. In fact, that’s how Obamacare got enacted. So the idea that the Democrats institutionally can disclaim the nuttier tendencies of the netroots is something I don’t buy for one minute.

                The ‘netroots’ (And I would point out that random voters on Facebook are not the same as the netroots, but what’s the point?) were the Democrats *who did not like Obamacare*. They were the 20% arguing it didn’t go far enough, they wanted single party or at least a public option. They think Obama betrayed them!

                Moreover, if the netroots were *in charge* of the Demcoratic party, why the hell isn’t the Democrat party *currently saying the things* the netroots seems to be saying? How come the *elected Democrats* aren’t talking about impeachment, or how the president elect is illegitimate?

                You’re arguing that group X is in charge of group Y, when the evidence very clearly shows that group X wants group Y to do and say specific things *and Y is not doing them*. Your claim is thus utter nonsense.

                There is one party in American that responds to their base. There is one party where random thoughts and even weird conspiracy theories can start in the base and end up echoed various elected officials a week later.

                It’s *not* the Democratic party. At best, the Democrats can sometimes get Sanders (Who is not an establishment Democrat, or even a Democrat until he ran.) and Warren (Who has somehow managed to not yet get kicked out of the establishment yet.) saying some toned down version of something, a decade after the netroots started saying it.

                The Republican party, meanwhile, responses *immediately* to their base. Their base wants something, they do it, or at least *say* they want to do it but the Democrats are stopping them. Hell, they’re trapped right now because *their base wants something* (Repealing Obamacare) that is actually somewhat complicated and problematic, so they’re tap dancing around the issue and considering trying to declare victory by kicking the can down the road.

                (Note that political parties probably *should* respond to their base. I’m not criticizing the Republicans for that, although I will criticize them for teaching their base to demand stupid things that a) got them Trump, and b) backed them into a corner now that they’re in charge. Well, less ‘criticize’ and more ‘mock relentlessly’.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Oh, now you’re asserting the ACA was illegitimate *before* it became a law.

                Yeah, that’s exactly right. Or more specifically, it was the process of becoming a law that made ACA illegitimate. Or more specifically again, it was the choice of Demo the PTB at several key moments to deny the American people any meaningful participation in health care policy (outside election day, presumably).

                So it is now up to *YOU* to define what illegitimate means. Please indicate some measure that would allow us to determine when some things are flipbilyfloop, I mean illegitimate, and when they are not.

                Sure, it’s reiterating the same thing I’ve stated in other comments. You act like I’m trying to move the goalposts because you’re ignorant and not reading closely.

                Specifically, the unpopularity and illegitimacy of Obamacare is manifested in the negative margin of its approval ratings, the intensity of the opposition among those who did oppose it, and the longevity of the opposition among those who opposed it. And in that context, public polling is important, but it is only part of the information available, and looking at the whole context this is not very controversial and you have t be significantly misinformed to think as you do.

                This is why one stray poll from Gallup or whoever is irrelevant. And the thing that surprises me the most, it would have been known to have been irrelevant for anybody who had any amount of political awareness at the time. So where were you?

                Take a look at these:

                http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/obama_and_democrats_health_care_plan-1130.html
                http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

                They have sliders you can use to manipulate the dates, and it represents a wall of data reinforcing the unpopularity of ACA. Check out Mr. Obama’s approval raings trajectory for 2009. It might be the easiest numerical interpretation ever in the history of polling.

                And in addition to those numbers, the evidence for the intensity and longevity of the opposition was obvious to anybody who was there. Massachusetts Democrats weren’t voting for “Vote for me, I am the 41st vote against Obamacare.” if they didn’t want to be taken seriously.

                a) you better make sure it asks whether people are disliking the ACA because it didn’t go far enough, because almost all of those people, when asked specifically, were in favor of the ACA passing vs. nothing passing.

                This is a horrible argument, that there’s some reason that would justify continuing with ACA. It’s irrelevant even if it were true (and the support for it is weak anyway). It’s just unforgiveable how you can either not understand this or ignore it.

                “What I want is for you to be accountable to what I want, which is to stop Obamacare.”

                “But you really like the provisions of Obamacare.”

                “I’m not asking you to make judgments about that. I’m directly telling you what my expectations of accountability are.”

                c) Whether or not a law is popular or not, again, does not determine flipbilyfloopness. Medicare Part D was +13% in the hole, approvalwise, when it passed.

                This is a perfect example of what I wrote above: Medicare Part D probably had negative approval margins, but the intensity and longevity of the opposition wasn’t anywhere in the same area code as ACA. Like you said, people basically dealt with it after it had been passed. (There’s also a complicating factor that Part D was pushed by the Bush Administration, and that a lot of the opposition was from the Right, but for our purposes I think we can ignore it).

                Most things the government does are like Part D (which was a reasonably big ticket item). It’s modestly popular, modestly unpopular, or about even. The sausage factory churns, the activists mobilize as best as they can, and this is what they get. Apolitical people give some energy to this, but only a modest amount, because they have other things they want to take care of in their lives instead.

                ACA is almost unique in this way (in fact I can’t really think of another example), where people quit going to the gym or the bridge club or walking their dog or whatever to make sure that the President and Congress knew their opinions of Obamacare and had those opinions repudiated. Obama voters, Democrats.

                This is simply not true. Trump’s gains over, say, Romney, were almost entirely in very rural areas, places the Democrats had not carried for decades. Trump simply did *better* there than Romney, or Clinton did worse, however you want to say it.

                http://www.270towin.com/2014-house-election/
                elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/house/map.html

                You should look at these and compare, specifically a line from say, eastern New York to Arkansas, and sweeping up through the Rust Belt. It looks pretty obvious to me that the Democrats who left the party over Obamacare geographically foreshadows Trump’s win pretty well.

                Moreover, you have utterly ignored the fact that the *Senate* basically just swayed back and forth (As it always does) in 2010, and ever since, and the entity that actually changed was the *House*, and the reason the House changed was not any change in political opinions…it was that the Republicans, at state level, had set out to redistrict everywhere for 2010.

                The redistricting was the result of Obamacare and the 2010 elections, not the cause. Obama, Obamacare, and the implosion of the Democratic Party created the opportunity for massive GOP gains at the state level, and that’s what created redistricting. Here’s one random link:

                http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2010/09/28/election-2010-redistricting-gains-will-give-gop-lasting-majority

                I like how it mentions offhand that the Dems were tanking Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Those states ring a bell for you maybe?

                Moreover, if the netroots were *in charge* of the Demcoratic party, why the hell isn’t the Democrat party *currently saying the things* the netroots seems to be saying? How come the *elected Democrats* aren’t talking about impeachment, or how the president elect is illegitimate?

                They could. That’s what we’re trying to defeat and preempt.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Specifically, the unpopularity and illegitimacy of Obamacare is manifested in the negative margin of its approval ratings,

                That was not a *single poll*.

                That was what *all the polls* say when you break out ‘The ACA did not do enough’ from ‘disapproval’. All of them say that.

                For some reason, people only make aggregations of ‘like’ or ‘dislike’.

                the intensity of the opposition among those who did oppose it,

                I.e., Republican pols holding rallies against it.

                and the longevity of the opposition among those who opposed it.

                I.e., exactly what I said, Republicans continuing to campaign against it.

                And in that context, public polling is important, but it is only part of the information available, and looking at the whole context this is not very controversial and you have t be significantly misinformed to think as you do.

                I.e., you just *feel it in your gut* that it was somehow illegitimate.

                Check out Mr. Obama’s approval raings trajectory for 2009. It might be the easiest numerical interpretation ever in the history of polling.

                The presidential approval chart shows the literal opposite of what you want it to show. The plan for overhauling healthcare, the plan that would eventually *become* the ACA, was introduced in mid-July 2009 by the Speaker of the House.

                *mid-July*. I can’t find the exact day it was unveiled, but here’s an article: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-democrats-unveil-health-care-plan/

                That is literally the first moment anyone can have an opinion on Obama’s plan. (Which was really Congress’s plan, but whatever.) No drop in approve before that point can be attributed to the plan he wanted passed. (And before you start claiming down a ‘Well, the American people didn’t want any plan at all’, so hated him for that, I remind you again that both presidential candidates had run on having such a plan. Everyone knew he was going to do healthcare reform when elected.)

                What happened after July 2009 in that nice, handy-dandy chart you provided? Well, his already-existing drop in approval… basically flattened out. I will be charitable to your idea and assume the disapproval spike that started on the 20th is the American people’s first inkling of the plan. (Which nicely gives us exactly 7 months since taking office.)

                So, a net approval that had dropped from +43 points in the 7 months since he took office to +19, at 3.4 points a month then proceeded to drop, over the next month, to 9.4 points! A 10 point drop! 5.6 points more than expected! Oh no, maybe you’re onto something!

                But, wait. The interesting fact about August is that the Republicans spent all of their recess yelling about it. Let’s check the *next* month, after that had stopped. On Sept 20th, Obama’s net had dropped to…12.3 points. Erm, I mean, he had *gone up* to 12.3. Well, crap. Let’s continue onward…Oct 20th is a drop! Down to, well, 9.8, so not really back to where we started, but technically a drop! And then was was the disastrous Nov 20th, where he dropped all the way down to 7.2! Which is, uh, not even the 3.5 points a month he was losing before all this, and now he’s above where he would have been if the decline had just remained constant!

                I could keep on in this, but the point is, there is *perhaps* a small, 6 additional points Obama lost (In addition to just his general approval decline) *immediately after the introduction* of the ACA, in the very first month, where every GOP congressman and a third of the Senators ran home over the August recess and yelled about it. That’s it. His approval actually *stopped dropping and leveled off* at that point. Then he *possibly* had a very temporary spike when he signed it, although not really because that spikes seems to have started *before* he did that, but regardless the spike went away immediately. (And the only other approval change I can correlate to the ACA was the pummeling his approval had during the website malfunctions in late 2012.)

                And in addition to those numbers, the evidence for the intensity and longevity of the opposition was obvious to anybody who was there. Massachusetts Democrats weren’t voting for “Vote for me, I am the 41st vote against Obamacare.” if they didn’t want to be taken seriously.

                And yet you still haven’t explained how this differs from Trump, who *also* has seen unprecedented opposition (In fact, you *were specifically complaining about that*) and unpopularity, even within, yes, his own party.

                You keep harping over how unpopular the ACA is, and how it’s resulted in the Democrats losing.

                And while that is, to some extent, a wrong interpretation, and to a much later extent the result of the behavior of *Republicans*, not Democrats, the fact remains that that does not actually grant you the *next* step, where it’s *illegitimate*.

                Moreover, you have *still* completely failed to explain why exactly is it out of bounds to call Trump the same thing.

                The redistricting was the result of Obamacare and the 2010 elections, not the cause. Obama, Obamacare, and the implosion of the Democratic Party created the opportunity for massive GOP gains at the state level, and that’s what created redistricting. Here’s one random link:

                Your theory is that the *ACA* caused *state changes*? That *state legislators* were being elected to oppose the ACA?

                As opposed to, uh, being elected because of the *Tea Party* (And actually *trying*, unlike Democrats), which is the generally acknowledged reason that they won? Or just because Americans like divided governance and thus vote, at the state level, for the party not in power at the national level?

                I am not even sure what they would have pledged to *do*. As far as everyone knew in 2010, they couldn’t refuse to expand Medicaid. What, exactly, would they have said they were going to do at the state level?

                I am unaware if it is possible to prove or disprove your theory, because I am unaware of any sort of statistical survey of ‘what people promised to get elected’, but I would like to see at least *one* piece of evidence that *state* officials were running against the ACA in 2010. A single campaign ad or something.

                But, hey, let’s quote an article *you* linked to: “The 2010 state legislative elections,” the committee says, “have become a referendum on the Democrat approach to the economy and government spending at all levels.” and “In state after state, Democrat governors and legislatures responded to the economic crisis by increasing taxes and failing to cut spending, mirroring the approach so aggressively pursued by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.”

                Not a single mention of the ACA.

                I like how it mentions offhand that the Dems were tanking Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Those states ring a bell for you maybe?

                Michigan had a state legislature totally controlled by Republicans from 1999 until 2006, and then the Republicans lost *one house for three years*, and then got it back in 2008. They also had the governor before the one elected in 2010.

                Ohio had a state legislature totally controlled by Republicans from 1995 to 2006, at which point they, also, lost a single house for three years. Likewise, they *also* had the governor before the Democratic one that lost in 2010.

                Pennsylvania had a state legislature totally controlled by Republicans from 1995 to *2007*, at which point they, also, lost a single house for two years. Likewise, they *also* had the governor before the Democratic one that lost in 2010.

                Heh, literally *every single one of those* states has the exact same story: A governorship that seems to always flip back and forth between Democrats and Republicans (Pennsylvania already flipped back to Democrats.), and in 2010 it was the Democrats’ turn to lose it, and Republican controlled their Congress for *years* before the Dems snuck in for a while in one house, which they then lost in 2010.

                Man, Obamacare sure wrecked thing there, didn’t it?

                If you want to blame Obamacare for *Trump*, you possibly can. But you really can’t blame it for losing their state legislature…Democrats only temporarily had *half* of the state legislature to start with!

                Although, it sure is odd that, if Obamacare was the problem, that they voted for Obama in 2012.

                They could. That’s what we’re trying to defeat and preempt.

                But if you *don’t*, and there is unprecedented opposition to Trump and every legal means taken to try to block him and remove him from office and this continues into the foreseeable future…

                …he then *becomes* illegitimate, right? Just like the ACA?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                That was what *all the polls* say when you break out ‘The ACA did not do enough’ from ‘disapproval’. All of them say that.

                So in the face of hundreds on polls demonstrating public opposition to Obamacare, you have a methodological quibble that you can’t substantiate, which is irrelevant if you could.

                The presidential approval chart shows the literal opposite of what you want it to show. The plan for overhauling healthcare, the plan that would eventually *become* the ACA, was introduced in mid-July 2009 by the Speaker of the House.

                Not at all. There were several alternatives floating around Congress at the time, and there were negotiations between Sens Baucus and Grassley that were taken as proxies for the parties in general. Of course they went nowhere. Large numbers of Democrats didn’t trust Baucus, who was nominally representing them. They really didn’t care about the Republicans, who were opposed but didn’t really matter. The Democrats were going to get their ducks in a row and pass what they wanted.

                This was also the period where Obama cut a deal with the pharmaceuticals. Basically the health care machinations took over from spring 2009 after the stimulus package passed.

                But of course that’s also irrelevant, due to the world’s easiest poll trajectory interpretation. Whatever time you take the legislative process of Obamacare to be operating, Obama was losing popularity then.

                I.e., Republican pols holding rallies against it.

                What rallies? The major public fora for Obamacare at that time were stage-managed town hall meetings and the like during the August recess. But the Dems couldn’t even pull that off.

                I.e., you just *feel it in your gut* that it was somehow illegitimate.

                Not at all. It has to do multiple failed iterations for lack of public support. The Grassley/Baucus negotiations, the introduction of the President’s plan, the August recess, the fall, Scott Brown and the aftermath, final passage, etc. All that in addition to the mountain of public polling against Obamacare.

                And yet you still haven’t explained how this differs from Trump, who *also* has seen unprecedented opposition (In fact, you *were specifically complaining about that*) and unpopularity, even within, yes, his own party.

                This is where I get frustrated writing, because you don’t seem to read what I wrote the prior times. There’s two obvious differences between ACA and Trump re:legitimacy.

                1. You can pull the plug on a health care bill, you can’t pull the plug on a Presidential Election.

                2. Most importantly, after Obamacare we live in a different world now. So there’s a lot of things that are politically acceptable now that wouldn’t have been before Obamacare.

                There’s also a third, in that President-Elect Trump has way more credible claim to represent majority support than ACA.

                Your theory is that the *ACA* caused *state changes*? That *state legislators* were being elected to oppose the ACA?

                Absolutely, for lots of reasons that seem pretty obvious to me. One of which has to with repudiating the party that has repudiated them.

                But, hey, let’s quote an article *you* linked to: “The 2010 state legislative elections,” the committee says, “have become a referendum on the Democrat approach to the economy and government spending at all levels.” and “In state after state, Democrat governors and legislatures responded to the economic crisis by increasing taxes and failing to cut spending, mirroring the approach so aggressively pursued by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.”

                That was one of the reasons why ACA was unpopular. The
                Dems were raising taxes and cooking the books on spending to move ACA forward. Rep Henry Waxman even lost control of his own committed over this. But even though everybody knew this was out there, ACA went forward anyway.

                That’s one reason, in fact, why your bit about “ACA didn’t go far enough” is so distasteful. It alleges, without evidence I might add, “the” reason why Obamacare was unpopular without dealing with the hundred other things that were also influencing the public standing.

                And I think you’re also forgetting the reason you brought the subject up in the first place. Suffice to say that redistricting didn’t help the GOP gains in the House in 2010 like you alleged, since the redistricting occurred after the results of the 2010 election (in force from 2012-2020 minus a couple lawsuits here and there).

                Man, Obamacare sure wrecked thing there, didn’t it?

                Did you look at the maps? After 2008, the Dems were quite competitive in white Middle America. Now they’re not.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Cut out of order to build to a point:

                Not at all. There were several alternatives floating around Congress at the time, and there were negotiations between Sens Baucus and Grassley that were taken as proxies for the parties in general. Of course they went nowhere.

                …you do realize that if you move the introduction of the ACA to *later* in the timeline than July 2009, you are *undercutting* your own argument, right? If you start counting in July, you can still (wrongly) include some of the dramatic drop off that Obama started with. (Which was just a honeymoon period.) I was letting you have that for free.

                But if, instead, you start in November when the Affordable Health Care for America Act was introduced in Congress (Yes, that wasn’t the one that passed, but it contained almost the same thing as the ACA, so it demonstrated what was going to happen.) then you’re starting 8 points up for the president….which means he lost a grant total of….tada…8 points from Obamacare by the time he signed it, and then immediately bounced up 4 points.

                Start in December when the ACA passed the Senate, and Obama *actually got more popular* immediately after the ACA was introduced.

                I also feel I should mention that if you move the introduction later, you have proceeded to put it *after the elections* that you are claiming were altered by it!

                But of course that’s also irrelevant, due to the world’s easiest poll trajectory interpretation. Whatever time you take the legislative process of Obamacare to be operating, Obama was losing popularity then.

                Since *you* think it’s ‘the world’s easiest poll trajectory interpretation’, perhaps *you* would like to indicate the dates where you think the President’s approval dropped due to Obamacare. Because I see presidential approving dropping *from the start of his presidency*, and the introduction of the ACA is when that drop *slowed down* and eventually stopped.

                There are only two things on Obama’s approval that make any sense at all to relate to the ACA. The aforementioned total screw up with healthcare.gov, which really did hurt him. And the August recesses, which…maybe hurt him a tiny amount? I mean, I won’t argue it, but it’s a bit weaksause.

                And if you actually sit down and look at when movements on the charts happened, there’s not any correlation I can see between Obama’s approval ratings and the timing of the parts of ACA itself. Or are correlated with how people feel about the ACA. For example, Obama ratings started dropping May 2010 and eventually goes negative from August to December. There isn’t anything happening with the ACA at that time, and the ACA remains basically as popular as ever. (The only real move is a *drop* in disapproval for a bit.) Eventually, the ACA’s approval drops a bit in January 2011…exactly as Obama’s *goes back up*.

                You can’t just handwave at two charts and *pretend* there’s a corroboration. There does not appear to be *any correlation at all*, either between the charges, or between Obama’s approval and the ACA being passed or parts coming into effect (Except, again, the website screw-up.)

                What rallies? The major public fora for Obamacare at that time were stage-managed town hall meetings and the like during the August recess. But the Dems couldn’t even pull that off.

                …are you serious?

                Here, have a rally:
                https://factreal.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/next-tea-party-nationwide-recess-rally-august-22-2009/

                And it must be fun to suggest that the Democrats were *stage-managing* their town hall meetings, and then *failed* when protesters kept interrupting them. That’s right. Or, perhaps, you know, they *weren’t* doing that, they weren’t stage managing the thing, but honestly attempting to sell the thing, and thus got protestors. (Which, in fact, were being asked by right media and tea parties and even elected officials to do that.)

                I find it amazing that, two posts back, you were asserting it was the major thing everyone was talking about for a year (I.e., in 2009)…and now there weren’t rallies against it in 2009. I guess there were only rallies for it, then. So…I guess it was super-popular?

                So in the face of hundreds on polls demonstrating public opposition to Obamacare, you have a methodological quibble that you can’t substantiate, which is irrelevant if you could.

                You know what, I’m giving up on this dumb argument. The fact you are overselling the unpopularity is not actually relevant to my point. So here is the concession: More people are unhappy with Obamacare than are happy with it. That is a fact, phrased that way, and if that’s the fact you want to hang the world on, okay.

                The problem is…there are a *lot* of laws that are more unpopular and somehow don’t have the giant reality-distorting field you seem to think Obamacare has, and moreover, you seem to think that is some *natural* opposition instead of the opposition being something Republicans *created*.

                If it were some sort of *natural* opposition, it would be *somehow connected to the law’s effect on people*. It woud vary up and down based on what it does…it would get unpopular at tax time, or when premiums go up, it would get more popular when they didn’t. Various parts would go into effect and be reflected in the approval or disapproval. They aren’t. If there’s any change at all due to that, it’s lost to the noise.

                And it certainly wouldn’t have the completely insane polling weirdness that people like the ACA better than Obamacare.

                In reality, Obamacare is a swear word that Republicans use to indicate disapproval of the left. It’s not an opposition to the *actual ACA*.

                And this fact they did that *does not make the law illegitimate*.

                And neither does the process of passage. The American people had exactly as much impact on the ACA as they do on *any* bill…they voted for people who said they were going to do it, and those people did it. It passed using completely normal channels, and had a majority of support by the voters of the party that passed it.

                It is, by any measure, a completely 100% standard passage of a law supported by the voters that put the people that voted for it in office. (Which is how bills are decided, not by how much the public as a whole likes them.)

                And yet you somehow deeply feel, but are unable to actually put into words, that the American people *loathed* it (As opposed to being mostly divided by party lines) and that the Democrats *somehow*, you can’t quite put your finger on it, *did something horribly wrong* by passing it.

                I understand that is *exactly what the Republicans have been teaching people*, but here, we don’t accept Republican interpretative dance as an argument, and you actually have not been able to advance a real argument in this direction.

                (And note, after you *do* advance one, I will be apply it to Trump to see if it fits.)

                This is where I get frustrated writing, because you don’t seem to read what I wrote the prior times. There’s two obvious differences between ACA and Trump re:legitimacy.

                1. You can pull the plug on a health care bill, you can’t pull the plug on a Presidential Election.

                Wait, you’re saying it’s *illegitimate* because *it can be undone*? What sort of weird logic is that? Everything that cannot be changed is legitimate?

                And, uh, you *can* undo a presidential election. (In the same sense you can undo a law.) It’s called an impeachment. As I mentioned, you can actually do that even before someone takes office.

                2. Most importantly, after Obamacare we live in a different world now. So there’s a lot of things that are politically acceptable now that wouldn’t have been before Obamacare.

                As I have pointed out, basically all your examples of this behavior of Obama are nonsense…and on top of that I raise you: George W. Bush authorizing the torture of people.

                Oddly enough, there *are* actual things you could bring up about how Obama is operating in a *mostly* unprecedented ways for a president, ways that are a bit dangerous and probably should be stopped. The problem is…most of those ways started under Bush, and have to do with national security, and are mostly popular!

                Also, Trump seems to be doing a lot of things that Obama *wasn’t anywhere near doing*. I know your idea is a somewhat vague ‘Obama broke every norm with Obamacare by, uh, passing a law via normal channels. Thus no rules exist anymore!’, but Obama did not actually break every norm.

                For example, he didn’t attempt to get any of his cabinet approved without the ethics office checking them out first. (And before you say anything…he didn’t try that even *after* Obamacare.) Likewise, Obama is squeaky clean with his *finances*.

                It is possible to make the argument that *Obama* broke politics…but the stuff Trump is violating *isn’t politics*. Trump actually hasn’t *started* politics yet! (Barring completely random foreign policy stuff that he appears to have no idea he is doing via phone calls.) The stuff that’s causing concern right now are *ethics*.

                Oh, and personality. Trump, as I’ve mentioned before, appears to have an outright personality disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder fits him perfect. And I am *not* someone who just randomly accuses people of a personality disorder. I am very reluctant to do that. But, well, there really is something *wrong* with him, to quote Keith Olbermann. Normal people do not behave like him. I point *to the tweet at the top of the page*…the man cannot wish people a generic Happy New Year!

                It is possible to argue that *Obama* altered politics, that he turned it into win-at-all costs. I do not agree, I believe it was the *Republicans* that did that, and deliberately set out to do that at the start of his term.

                But let me entertain, for this paragraph only, that idea: Let’s say that Obama did, indeed, turned our friendly weekly game of D&D into a rules-lawyering nightmare, pissing everyone off when he won, although we did invite him back for another game and he only stopped coming because he moved away. So, because we were pissed, we ignored Obama’s preferred replacement and picked Donald Trump. Fair enough. And then…Donald Trump walked in screaming at people and started threatening to hit them with chairs. He double-dips the chips, he didn’t bring any of his own snacks, and he’s actually conned a few people before the game started. He seems to be a weirdly pathological liar, completely unconcerned with things said previously. Also he gave Charlie Sheen some fake cufflinks and lied about them. (Charlie Sheen is in our D&D group for some reason.) Those two things are not *quite* the same problem, and saying we can’t do anything about Trump because of Obama’s behavior does not make any sense. And *we haven’t started the game yet*.

                Even if we accept that Obama *played the game* in a way that annoyed people (Although now that I am out of that last paragraph, I will re-assert that the *Republicans* did that, and Obama was just responding to it.), Trump’s problems *aren’t even in the game*. We’re still pre-game, and there’s a huge list of problems, people angry for all sorts of reasons, and has Trump started mocking that girl’s weight?

                These not like, *normal* problems, but ‘What the hell is wrong with this guy?’ problems. Obama might have broken *political* norms, but Trump is breaking *people* norms.

                [Edit: That was the point I was building to…and then I added this bit, which is totally unrelated and not actually important. I don’t want people think I was building to a pointless discussion on state elections in 2010!]

                And I think you’re also forgetting the reason you brought the subject up in the first place. Suffice to say that redistricting didn’t help the GOP gains in the House in 2010 like you alleged, since the redistricting occurred after the results of the 2010 election (in force from 2012-2020 minus a couple lawsuits here and there).

                I wasn’t saying they were elected into 2010 because of the gerrymandering. (I can see how that was confusing wording on my part.) They were elected *to change* the maps in 2010. (Although, I guess, technically, to change the maps in 2011.) It was a deliberate attempt by the NRCC to capture as many state legislatures as possible in advance of redistricting, called ‘REDMAP’. They tracked down people to run, they spent money in places they had ignored before, they actually *cared* about state races for the first time. And succeeded.

                Their success didn’t have very much to do with Obamacare. Here, you can see a summary (The title is confusing, it’s the 2012 summary of the 2010 project.) of it: http://www.redistrictingmajorityproject.com/?p=646

                This summary, you will notice, does not mention Obamacare. OTOH, it’s arguable written by people trying to play up the success of the project, and possibly downplay other causes. So it’s not definitive.

                But I’ve never seen any real evidence that the ACA had *any* effect on state-level elections in 2010. State elections *after* that, yes, but not 2010. To oppose something at the *state* level they’d have to say what they were going to do, and *there wasn’t a bill yet* in 2010 for them to have clear opposition to it. (As opposed to congressional elections, where they could run on ‘blocking whatever bill the Democrats came up with’.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                …you do realize that if you move the introduction of the ACA to *later* in the timeline than July 2009, you are *undercutting* your own argument, right? If you start counting in July, you can still (wrongly) include some of the dramatic drop off that Obama started with.

                No, I’m saying Obamacare started earlier in the timeline, say Apr 2009. Basically, as soon as the fallout from the stimulus package wound down, the political culture shifted to health care and Obamacare, before there was an Administration bill.

                It went through several iterations, none of which was especially popular. Frankly it wasn’t that big a deal at the beginning, but became increasingly important at the end. The main thing to emphasize about all of them is the extent to which Obamacare was intended to solve a problem that wasn’t a problem.

                The ideologically motivated libs were very strongly oriented towards getting something done that created some kind of collectivized or universal health care. The rest of America had other fish to fry. That is the fundamental divide that Obamacare created (and glossed over by “this doesn’t go far enough”, etc) that has defined American politics till today.

                Since *you* think it’s ‘the world’s easiest poll trajectory interpretation’, perhaps *you* would like to indicate the dates where you think the President’s approval dropped due to Obamacare.

                Basically, my point is that you can just about pick any date you’d like (I guess that’s why it’s the world’s easiest interpretation; any answer is the correct one). President Obama lost forty points of net approval during 2009, roughly from being +43 points to being +3 points before going into the red in 2010 and stabilizing there.

                …are you serious?

                Absolutely, in fact your link is a good example why. The Tea Party at that time was to a substantial extent a group of explicitly anti-GOP Constitutional political activists.

                But in the big picture I have written several times to emphasize how much of what happened during that whatever was downstream of GOP maneuvers.

                But you’re not getting it. You’re not even disagreeing really, you’re just not getting it at all. Basically it’s important to appreciate that not everything that happens can be attributed to the results of various things the GOP does (or to a lesser extent, the Democrats). Apolitical or apartisan people can have their own acts and activism as well, and if you’re not grokking that you have no hope of understanding what happened in 2009 or since. This is especially true of the Republicans who were at that time were at their weakest point of political influence since 1934 or 1975 or something.

                In short, what happened 2009 wasn’t that the Republicans did this or that. It was that the American people brought the GOP back from the dead as a organizational vehicle against ACA since there wasn’t any other.

                The problem is…there are a *lot* of laws that are more unpopular and somehow don’t have the giant reality-distorting field you seem to think Obamacare has, and moreover, you seem to think that is some *natural* opposition instead of the opposition being something Republicans *created*.

                That first part is exactly right, but it’s ridiculous to think that this was the Republicans’ doing. In January or February of 2009, some people were legitmately expecting that the Republicans were going to disband as a major political party.

                In reality, Obamacare is a swear word that Republicans use to indicate disapproval of the left. It’s not an opposition to the *actual ACA*.

                It’s a both/and. The American people were certainly against the actual ACA but also against the direction and prioritization of health care at the time most importantly that the Demo’s and netroots were completely unresponsive and antagonistic to that.

                And this fact they did that *does not make the law illegitimate*.

                Sure it does. The norms of American political culture held for 70 years or so that you can’t legislate over that level of broad, sustained, opposition, no matter who the President is or who’s in Congress. It had to be that way. Washington wasn’t as insulated enough from the rest of America even to try it.

                And yet you somehow deeply feel, but are unable to actually put into words, that the American people *loathed* it (As opposed to being mostly divided by party lines) and that the Democrats *somehow*, you can’t quite put your finger on it, *did something horribly wrong* by passing it.

                Yeah. We know by lots of public polling that Obamacare is really unpopular. But even that understates the case. What I’ve been trying to emphasize to you, is that if you are at all politically aware, the public polling is not telling us anything we didn’t know.

                It’s confirming what we could already observe by lots of other evidence: the resurgence of the GOP both in public opinion and in election results, the repudiation of Obamacare politicians during the August recess, the election of Scott Brown, the refusal of the Democrats to acknowledge or campaign on Obamacare after it passed, the fundamental incoherence of the various iterations of it, etc.

                And, uh, you *can* undo a presidential election. (In the same sense you can undo a law.) It’s called an impeachment. As I mentioned, you can actually do that even before someone takes office.

                Yes, but you have to have a Presidential election in the first place. You don’t have to address the Demo’s misprioritization by repealing Obamacare. You never had to pass it in the first place.

                As I have pointed out, basically all your examples of this behavior of Obama are nonsense…and on top of that I raise you: George W. Bush authorizing the torture of people.

                Well yeah, that’s just basically a function of your ignorance. If you can’t or won’t see that the American people can be upset and organize politically against the idea that the accountability to them is being undermined, no matter what the actual policies turn out to be, then you can rationalize yourself into believing that whatever Obama does is ok.

                That’s good enough for now. I may or may not pick up on some of the other stuff later as the spirit moves.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                No, I’m saying Obamacare started earlier in the timeline, say Apr 2009. Basically, as soon as the fallout from the stimulus package wound down, the political culture shifted to health care and Obamacare, before there was an Administration bill.

                First of all, that is ludicrous, you can’t just pick a random point where health care reform suddenly started mattering. What happened in April that supposedly started this? But more importantly….you keep saying things *without looking at the timeline*. April literally saw an increase in approval!

                President Obama lost forty points of net approval during 2009, roughly from being +43 points to being +3 points before going into the red in 2010 and stabilizing there.

                Yes, him going into the red is all due to how he signed Obamacare…six months earlier, and had positive ratings for six months, before suddenly swinging to four points in the red in July 2010. I’m sure that makes sense somehow. (As I said, you are *completely failing to actually look at the timeline* before saying things.)

                And he only lost *25* if you start the clock *at the point you say it should be started*, in April. (It should actually be started in July, because otherwise you have the surreal problem of either claiming Americans are opposed to bills that don’t exist yet, or they’re opposed to health care reform *in general* when they literally just elected a man that ran on that platform.)

                But let’s pretend it started in April, and it was a 25 point drop. How much did Bush lose in his first months until Sept 11? Also 25 points. How much did Clinton lose in the first six months? 20 points. (Which then skyrocketed up for some reason, not bothering to look up why.)

                So it appears *new presidents enter, or at least, can enter, office with a high popularity(1) and then immediately lose it*! (And Obama, of course, also had to contend with the backlash against the bailout.)

                And you’re trying to blame that drop on Obamacare, when it is *obvious* there was a pre-existing downward slope his approval was already on, and the slope was actually *larger* before Obamacare.

                Now, it is possible to argue that the drop *before* Obamacare was just due to how it generally works, and the drop should have stopped right around the time Obamacare passed, but Obamacare *kept* it going downward. That’s me being super-fair to the concept, it is indeed possible to come up with a world in which you are correct…but the problem is, there’s no evidence of that.

                And, as an argument against that: As I have repeatedly pointed out, absolutely *nothing* in Obama’s ratings appears to be related to *anything* happening in passage of the health care law. None of it. There is not a single change in it that seems to correlate to any action of proposing or moving forward of signing the law, and there’s only a *possible* tiny drop over August. (And, again, when the ACA actually fucked up, with healthcare.gov’s problems in late 2012, it *did* reflect on Obama’s approval, really badly, and hurt him for almost a year.)

                1) Or, well, they’re Trump and enter with a low approval.

                The American people were certainly against the actual ACA but also against the direction and prioritization of health care at the time most importantly that the Demo’s and netroots were completely unresponsive and antagonistic to that.

                http://www.gallup.com/poll/121664/majority-favors-healthcare-reform-this-year.aspx

                Americans, in July, right before the Affordable Health Choices Act came out (The Senate bill that died), 13 points worth of Americans were in favor of healthcare reform passing that year.

                American political culture held for 70 years or so that you can’t legislate over that level of broad, sustained, opposition, no matter who the President is or who’s in Congress

                And by ‘broad’ you mean 10 points more people dislike it than like it, almost entirely along party lines.

                Hey, you know what else had broad, sustained opposition? The Iraq War. Just for future reference.

                In January or February of 2009, some people were legitmately expecting that the Republicans were going to disband as a major political party.

                That is a…very strange interpretation of what was going on in January 2009.

                In January 2009, the Republican party had a *coup* called the Tea Party. According to the Tea Party, they had not like the bailout, and they did not like the moderate Republicans that went along with it. (In *actuality*, this was basically just the far-right hijacking the party, but what actually happened and who lead it is not really relevant to my point, so let’s pretend that the claims of the Tea Party are true.)

                Absolutely no one at the time thought the Republicans were dead. Oh, I’m sure there were some over-excited idiots claiming otherwise, thinking that the Democrats winning was true forever!!!, but no one seriously thought that. The Republican party needed to reinvent itself, everyone knew that.

                Presenting the Tea Party as *anti-GOP* is nonsense. They were anti-GOP *establishment*…and they, mostly, won, either kicking them out of forcing them to fall in line.

                But you’re not getting it. You’re not even disagreeing really, you’re just not getting it at all. Basically it’s important to appreciate that not everything that happens can be attributed to the results of various things the GOP does (or to a lesser extent, the Democrats).

                Dude, *you’re* the one trying to do that, trying to link everything to the ACA, even what just happened!

                Opposition to the ACA helped Republicans elected at the national level in 2010, and 2012, and *maybe* 2014. It helped them elected at the local level in 2012 and 2014, and, hell, maybe 2016, I wasn’t really paying attention there. We both agree with that.

                We disagree as to the *origins* and ‘naturalness’ of that opposition, (And we disagree that it can somehow make a law illegitimate) but we both agree it really did present a platform for them to run on and they won.

                But I assert there were *other factors*. For one, after 2010, the Republicans had a huge advantage due to gerrymandering (Which is due to victories entirely disconnected from the ACA and an actual plan they implemented.)

                Likewise, the recession dragged out *much* longer that it should have.

                —-

                But, let’s stop the specifics:

                You are, I think, making a broader claim that voters felt *disenfranchised* and that started at the ACA. So it wouldn’t really matter how much they care about the ACA *now*, the claim is that the Democrats behavior *during the ACA passage* made them feel like they had no say, and that feeling has persisted since then.

                And that makes some coherent *sense*…but the problem is, you have no real evidence of that. It’s equally likely they’ve felt disenfranchised since a black man was elected president, or since Bush mislead the country into war, or since Roe v. Wade took away their ability to determine abortion law, or since the US government seems determine to pass tax cuts for rich people, or because the US government refuses to do any sort of gun control despite an overwhelming majority of people wanting it.

                Or maybe they just feel disenfranchised because *of the actual fact they have almost no say in government and never had*. (Non-rich people do not direct US policy. Period.)

                You want to make a case that disenfranchisement explains Trump, and explains the rising populism on the right *and* the left, I will completely agree with you. The American political system is *literally not responsive* in any measure to the desires of the people, unless that desire in no way interacts with their various conflicts-of-interests or what their rich friends want.

                But you’ve just randomly picked a thing and decided it was *the* problem. That it was both the start, and a major cause of it. And there’s not really any evidence of any of that, and plenty of evidence that, despite hatred of the ACA being a shibboleth on the right, almost no one actually cares about it anymore, it’s just a thing to chant about.

                How do we know this? Well, the Republicans (The people with 90% of the objection to the ACA) picked Trump. And Trump’s the Republican that is *least* likely to do anything about the ACA! He doesn’t seem to have any ideological objections to it, and he’s promised a lot of things that’s going to make doing anything about the ACA much harder. He’s not the guy you pick because you want to dismantle it.

                Meanwhile, Trump brought a *whole bunch* of grievances to the table, grievances that have, indeed, been ‘ignored’ by the political process (Because, they are, in fact, dumbass pseudo-populist gibberish combined with white nationalism) and if we’re looking for *disenfranchisement*, we might want to wander over and take a look at how people have been ‘disenfranchised’ by society frowning when they say racial slurs. Or, for a slightly kinder spin, how people feel disenfranchised that the US government doesn’t threaten and bribe companies to not ship jobs overseas, like they want it to.

                Maybe *you* think the ACA changed how the American people think about the government, making them feel disenfranchised and pissed off and still angry about it years later, because it changed how *you* think about the government, making you feel disenfranchised and pissed off and still angry years later.

                But don’t assume how you feel is how everyone feels. The vast majority of ‘angry’ people running around are pissed about completely unrelated things, and there’s no evidence it started with, or due to, the ACA.

                Hell, even if it started *at that time*, we had a) the bailout and ignoring of the foreclosure crisis, a) the recession lasting way too long, and c) hate to say it, but a black president, and not everyone was happy with that, even people who claimed they were.

                All right there to get angry at.

                (And, to bring this full circle…you know how you are insisting the American people felt about the ACA? Well…a larger amount of them feel that way about Trump.)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                In the hope that we might finally be getting somewhere after having killed a trillion pixels bewteen us, I’m going to followup a little further on your previous comment before I get to you last one.

                First of all, let me reiterate that for me at least, the vantage point behind many of your comments is woefully incomplete, so that you seem to have lost your way in the context of interpreting the Obama Administration and the Trump Transition, ie, till today. Where, even if your factual premises are correct, you’re not appreciating the situation of the arguments apply, so your understanding and expectations of the consequences tends to be wrong. Specifically, you tend to have a lot of tit-fot-tat arguments, “Well, if ACA is illegitmate, then so is Trump” and the like. So, eg Mr. Trump’s personality defects have much different consequences than the illegitimacy of ACA (again assuming both premises).

                That said, I’m hoping from what you have recently written that you are much closer to grokking things than earlier. That said,

                It is, by any measure, a completely 100% standard passage of a law supported by the voters that put the people that voted for it in office. (Which is how bills are decided, not by how much the public as a whole likes them.)

                Obviously not. ACA was supported by the ideological liberals but the Obama/Demo voting base of 2008 with significantly broader than that. Many or most of those people ended up leaving the party and are now Trump/GOP voters.

                (And note, after you *do* advance one, I will be apply it to Trump to see if it fits.)

                This is tit-for-tat, like I mentioned above, which doesn’t work. Trump and Obama are going to be holding the same office but they are not situated in the same place culturally and socially.

                I think that you are getting warmer towards the end of your comment, in being able to appreciate the difference, at least as a hypothetical.

                Oh, and personality. Trump, as I’ve mentioned before, appears to have an outright personality disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder fits him perfect. And I am *not* someone who just randomly accuses people of a personality disorder. I am very reluctant to do that. But, well, there really is something *wrong* with him, to quote Keith Olbermann. Normal people do not behave like him. I point *to the tweet at the top of the page*…the man cannot wish people a generic Happy New Year!

                I don’t know if Trump’s psychological problems are clinical, but in the main I completely agree with you, and for that matter there were a couple of other things that you could have mentioned and didn’t.

                I don’t want to minimize those things at all. They are very serious imo and I expect they will have important, unpredictable adverse consequences for the United States.

                But they are not the same problems that President Obama or the Clinton candidacy had. In important ways, Mr. Trump is more trustworthy that Secretary Clinton or President Obama. His scandals do not plausibly represent failures of governance with only one exception that I can think of.

                But let me entertain, for this paragraph only, that idea: Let’s say that Obama did, indeed, turned our friendly weekly game of D&D into a rules-lawyering nightmare, pissing everyone off when he won, although we did invite him back for another game and he only stopped coming because he moved away. So, because we were pissed, we ignored Obama’s preferred replacement and picked Donald Trump. Fair enough. And then…Donald Trump walked in screaming at people and started threatening to hit them with chairs. He double-dips the chips, he didn’t bring any of his own snacks, and he’s actually conned a few people before the game started. He seems to be a weirdly pathological liar, completely unconcerned with things said previously. Also he gave Charlie Sheen some fake cufflinks and lied about them. (Charlie Sheen is in our D&D group for some reason.) Those two things are not *quite* the same problem, and saying we can’t do anything about Trump because of Obama’s behavior does not make any sense. And *we haven’t started the game yet*.

                Again, you’re getting a little warmer here. But actually, the point is, you really can’t do anything about Trump because of Obama. Or more specifically, you can’t leverage the basic professional demeanor of Obama against Trump. And if I’m reading things right, you especially can’t leverage the outlandish crap Trump pulls as license for your own guys to do it.

                Specifically, the animating energy behind the Trump campaign was to restore the credibility of Americans to be able to talk to each other in meaningful terms without the evasions and the misdirections associated with lib governance. This is the context that makes your tit-for-tat arguments not work.

                Maybe it will help to go back to immigration for a second. Frankly, your last argument wasn’t very persuasive. You may have just been trying to shade it for polemic purposes here, but it is absolutely true that DAPA/DACA was overthrown overthrown by the judiciary. It is true that SCOTUS only upheld a preliminary injunction and did not proclaim on the merits of the case. But in order to get the preliminary injunction, multiple lower federal courts did proclaim on the merits of the case and held that DAPA/DACA would not stand up to litigation when and if the case ever went to trial. (The case against them was primarily statutory instead of constitutional btw.)

                But frankly all this is extremely tangential. The judiciary could have gone President Obama’s way on this. It was expected to. No matter what happened in the courts, the policy itself was an evasion of the ability of the American people to meaningfully participate in immigration policy. Ie, in President Obama’s world, Immigration policy is something that’s set over there by people who aren’t accountable to us and may not have America’s collective best interest in mind. The candidacy of Donald Trump is an attempt, largely successful so far, to repudiate all of that.

                There are good reasons to be wary of the Trump Presidency as you mentioned. But the post-election carping against Trump is, operationally or by intention, an attack against democratic accountability of American politics, and thereby illegitimate.

                There could be, and I suspect there will be, other attacks against Trump in the future, even calls for impeachment, that will be legitimate in this way. There’s a decent chance even imo that they will be successful. But that doesn’t change the essential meaning of the Trump candidacy and the Trump transition now.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                You have, very well, explained what *you* think modern history is. But that isn’t how I see events at all. Here’s *my* version of events. First, the ACA passage:

                1) Healthcare reform is started. Basically all groups in the entire political system is on board, if not every single person in that group. The Democrats, the *Senate* Republicans, the voters of both sides. The Senate even works on a bipartisan bill. I know some people like to quote ‘We will make Obama a single term president’, but I actually do think the political system was on board at the *start*, except maybe the Republicans in the House.

                2) The only people not on board are the same people who blew up the reform *last* time, in the 90s…conservative think tanks. Heritage, specifically, which was really ironic as the ACA was modeled on their plan. (Even the insurance companies, which were not on board last time, are on board, because if things *continue* as they are, they run the very real risk of being pitchfork-and-torches-ed out of existence.) I shall call these groups TTO for think tank opposition.

                3) The Democratic plan is introduced in July.

                4) TTO start sending out misinformation about the reform. Death Panels, etc. This started reaching Tea Party groups. This might have started before #3.

                5) Everyone goes home for August recess. Democrats plan to present this plan at town hall meetings.

                6) People start showing up at the town hall meetings yelling out gibberish about the plan. Almost none of it is true. Now, we can debate how much that opposition was *staged* by TTO and Tea Party groups and even Republican Congressmen didn’t like the bill, and how much it happened ‘naturally’ due to misinformation, but that misinformation is the cause of it. Tea Party groups even started holding their own rallies.

                7) Somewhere around this time, the Republicans Senators that had been working on this deal were informed by Republican leadership that they would not, indeed, be supporting the bill they had themselves been working on. This is almost certainly due to the leadership seeing #6, but the exact circumstances of how and when this happened is unknown. Alternately, it is possible to *not* believe this, and maybe they got cold feet on their own due to #6.

                8) Bipartisan negotiations, inexplicably, somehow continue, despite the fact that Republicans have, internally, decided that no one is going to vote for it.

                9) It becomes increasingly clear that all the negotiations are nonsense and just stalling for time. The vote is finally held.

                10) The House and Senate bills are completely different from each other, which, with the loss of the the 60th vote in the Senate, means the bill that ended up being used was the *House* bill, where Republicans had had no real input.

                11) Years later, the opposition to the ACA seems to have almost no idea what is in it, or what they object to, or what it does, or, really, anything about it. Premiums eventually went up, and that seems like a good thing to try to pin on it.

                You think this is people not getting their policy preferences, the first example of it.

                The problem is…it’s not. It’s not even *close* to that. It’s people being *deliberately misinformed* and *fed a narrative* that they didn’t get their policy preferences.

                Even if we assume that the Republican voters had some sort of different policy preference than the Democratic voters (Which is not really clear on health care to start with), the Republicans (And thus the Republican voters) ended up not having any input on the final bill *due solely to their own actions*.

                You and I completely agree that Republicans, at least, and even a few Democrats, after passage, felt like the Democrats in office had totally steamrollered over them with the bill. That is how people *felt*.

                But the thing is…I *totally disagree* that such a thing happened in the real world. In reality, the design of the ACA, at every single point, bent over backwards to accommodate the Republicans, it was extremely conservative from the start, and then the Republicans ditched at the last minute after various conservative groups started repeating nonsense and threatening their electorial chances.

                Meanwhile, the people, actually, overwhelmingly, *actually got what they wanted* out of the ACA. Republicans and Democrats! Almost all parts of the plan are popular, if actually presented to people! The mandate isn’t, but of course it isn’t, it’s a tax. And it’s not *hugely* unpopular.

                I know it’s just anecdotes, but there are plenty of stories out there of people taking advantage of the ACA while railing against Obamacare. There is the inexplicably popularity gap between the ACA and Obamacare *in the same survey*! You can fricking poll people on stuff *in the ACA* and ask if the ACA should have included those things and if it had would they support it, and they’ll say yes.

                The entire thing, the entire opposition to the ACA, is *made up out of thin air by Republicans*. It is a systematic and deliberate misinformation campaign that has operated for almost a decade. Not just about the contents of the bill, but in how liberal the bill is, and how the bill passed against popular demand. (Which is basically how all party initiatives pass…the relentless drumbeat just didn’t let it get popular, or at least let people get apathetic, later.)

                And I’m not just inventing this interpretation out of thin air:

                The Republicans, right now, are running into this fact. There’s very few things that would both be as popular as the ACA and could plausibly be argued as ‘more conservative’. There’s a reason Democrats are standing back and laughing at Republican’s complete disarray in trying to repeal the ACA. Even *while we’ve been talking*, it has basically been decided it won’t be repealed immediately. Because ‘Obamacare’ was always a demon the right made up, and not actual opposition to the actual existing ACA. (I’m actually somewhat depressed that the Democrats haven’t taken my cue and said, publicly, that they will not filibuster whatever the Republicans want to do. They won’t vote for it, but they will allow Republicans to hold a vote. This would keep the Republicans from being able to hide behind the excuse that they have something good, but the filibuster is in the way.)

                And that’s my history of the ACA. The passage of the ACA has, indeed, had mostly the effect you are asserting it had. Although I say it has mostly worn off at this point.

                The difference between us is that *you* believe the history as it has presented about it by Republicans, whereas I *do not*, and I believe the unpopularity is basically a created thing.

                And that is my summary of the ACA.

                And this is just one of the many things the Republican have done upon mostly the same lines, all the stuff they had presented to *make it look as if a large section of voters have no say in the political process*, whereas the actual fact is the Republican party is deliberately operating in such a way to make it look like that. (Which is, again, why Democrats are laughing now. Hard to do that now, isn’t it?)

                Immigration reform was another thing, where ‘amnesty’ was serving the same purpose as ‘death panels’ and the Republicans got cold feet because of various people feeding their base nonsense. Note that deferrals were already happening at that time, and Congress had a chance to do something in that regard…and Republicans backed out.

                That’s getting close to *the* major problem of the right, and what they are running into *now*: Their base has been, over the years, taught that everything the media says is a lie, and that they should accept any nonsense presented to them via the correct channels.

                This *sounds* useful to elected Republicans, but it is not. Mostly it’s *utterly terrifying*. Time and time again they’ve tried to do something, only for their base to be urged to rise up in moronic anger and demand they stop. They are completely dysfunctional as a political party.

                It’s one thing to let your base control you, political parties *should* operate that way and I wish the Democrats did. I don’t know if Sanders would have won, but I’d rather have lost with Sander than lose with Clinton. The problem is that the Republican base believes some *really fucking stupid* things, because they are automatically rejecting the ‘libtards in the mainstream media’ or the whatever. The rise of the internet news has not helped here.

                Hell, the Tea Party *itself* exists because of that. I don’t want to get into that right now, but the supposed origin makes no sense, and it was basically just created so Fox News could cover ‘protests’, and then it got co-opted into the competing media system.

                But the elected Republicans weren’t willing to do literally *anything*, no matter how scared of their base they were. The debt default, for example, was scarier than their base, so they had to back off. Likewise, their corporate sponsors restricted what they could do. (As they do the Democrats.)

                This unwillingness for them to be the totally insane, out-of-control, lunatics their base demands has resulted in the election of…well, duh.

                (I will address some points in your actual comment later, this is just my ‘history of the ACA’ post.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                And this is just one of the many things the Republican have done upon mostly the same lines, all the stuff they had presented to *make it look as if a large section of voters have no say in the political process*, whereas the actual fact is the Republican party is deliberately operating in such a way to make it look like that.

                Interesting take on things. The implication is that Trump could be a *really* good thing because of his ability to pull these people in.

                Immigration reform was another thing, where ‘amnesty’ was serving the same purpose as ‘death panels’ and the Republicans got cold feet because of various people feeding their base nonsense.

                Hardly “nonsense”, more like “unpleasant reality”. A panel of experts who decides who gets medical care and who has it priced out of reach so they don’t, can reasonably and accurately be called a “death panel”.

                Most people don’t want to die at any cost. I got a LOT of pushback *here* for suggesting we put a solid dollar number on this sort of thing.

                Deciding to forgive large groups of people of crimes they’ve committed is normally called “amnesty”. If we’re going to be serious about the law our basic options are “amnesty” or ripping apart families for the crime of existing.

                If you talk to someone who opposes amnesty (I have), you’ll find out they favor the later.

                It’s reasonable to say that they’re wrong, or being emotional, or that what they actually want isn’t reasonable or can’t be implemented. However the problem in both cases isn’t that they don’t understand the issues or the solution, the problem is that they do and they don’t agree with you.

                So politically maybe Trump is the best guy to handle both of these issues in a “Nixon goes to China” way.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                Interesting take on things. The implication is that Trump could be a *really* good thing because of his ability to pull these people in.

                I think you are *wildly* overestimating Trump’s competence. I’m actually kinda wondering if *everyone* is. Not so much that he’s incompetent per se (Although he’s not really that good at what he does.), but that he is *completely incapable* of taking any sort of advice from anyone except his family, and that is, literally, how presidents do their job.

                I mean, right now, we’re having confirmation hearings of people…who have not their finances cleared by the ethics office, and/or who haven’t passed FBI background checks. This *is* something that is going to happen, but it might, surreally, result in a cabinet member not getting a security clearance and having to resign, or cabinet member violating an ethics rule they did not know exist, or having to do something to stay within the ethics rules that they don’t want to. (Like, oh, sell a busness they own.) Normally, they get vetted *before being announced*.

                This is a stupid situation to be in, and it’s not like Trump is trying to make a point, or trying to sneak people in. It’s because he and his campaign *literally didn’t bother to get all their ducks in a row* before confirmation headings. Other presidental campaigns start vetting people before they even win, Trump just frittered away months.

                And we had the same sort of issue in that foreign leaders tried to contact Trump, and the State Department was forced to shrug. The State Department will, in fact, put through calls from foreign leaders to the President-elect, there is literally a law saying they should do that. Hell, we just *cleaned up* some of that law back in 2015, and revised it in 98 and 2000, and that law managed the 2000 transtion just fine (Which was missing a month.) Does Trump *use* any of that process? Does the campaign tell the State Department how to reach them? Nah. How about Trump just calls them on his cell?

                And we’ve got this recent thing, slightly overblown with misleading claims of Trump ‘firing’ people, but, once the stupid headlines are ignored, what is really going on is that Trump doesn’t appear to know the transition team is supposed to ask a bunch of political appointees (Who all *offer* their resignation for Jan 20th) to stay on until replaced, because, well, you don’t want to leave agencies without heads. He’s completely failed to do that…and it is currently eight days until they said they were resigning! At some point, they’re going to start considering saying ‘No’ if asked to stay on, because they had to make plans and get jobs and stuff.

                Trump is going to be wandering from disaster to disaster, all because he literally has no idea what’s going on…which is actually fine. The real problem is that he’s refusing to *talk to anyone who does*.

                The US government is a giant complicated machines with a lot of working parts, and a *lot* of people knowledgeable enough to help Trump get himself set up correctly. Instead, he’s relying on people…with no governmental knowledge at all. And, really, he’s just relying on himself. (The ‘standard Republican guy’ he picked, the person who *could* have helped with this, was *Reince Preibus*, who, while seemed a competent chair of the RNC, has held exactly one political position in his life: A member of the Wisconsin State Senate.)

                And then….and then…Trump picks a cabinet with a lot of people from outside the government. Or outside their field.

                There are situations where picking someone without government experience can be a good thing. This…isn’t shaping up to be one of them. This is exactly the place where you need a cabinet that actually knows what the hell is going on.

                Previously, I had assumed this would be a normal (Or as normal as you can be with a president with the personality of Trump) Republican presidential administration, broken up by temper tantrums and maybe a war with Congress.

                I’m having to revise some of those thoughts downward. I’m expecting bills to get not returned to Congress (And thus ‘signed’ or ‘not signed’ randomly depending if it’s in session.), I’m expecting deadlines to show up and the executive to scramble, stuff like that. I’m expecting a few, abortive attempts at weird witch-hunts which the bureaucracy refuses to play along with. I’m expecting, basically, a complete incompetence shitshow at this point, based on the transition. (I’m wondering if he doesn’t pay his bills because *he doesn’t keep track of them*.)

                HOWEVER, to get back to your point:

                I suspect the *lack of divided government* will force the Republicans to *stop trying to alienate people from the government*. To behave just like they did in 2002-2008.

                I didn’t really mention it in my post, but their behavior under Obama was really just a doubling down of their behavior under Clinton, except under Clinton they did it via scandal, whereas under Obama, because scandals didn’t stick, they were forced to demonize the entire process of the government passing laws.

                And they can’t do that anymore.

                Except there’s one problem…they aren’t *actually* in charge of the media anymore. And the media wants blood, and *there aren’t any Democrats in the water*.

                The Republicans are either going to have to regain control of their base from the right-wing media, or be eaten alive.

                Hardly “nonsense”, more like “unpleasant reality”. A panel of experts who decides who gets medical care and who has it priced out of reach so they don’t, can reasonably and accurately be called a “death panel”.

                *That* wasn’t what the Republicans were calling death panels. (Or people would have, quite correctly, realized their insurance company is running harsher ‘death panels’ than Medicare.)

                What Republicans were calling death panels, way back then, is that Medicare was going to pay for end-of-life consoling. I.e., someone will talk to people *who want to talk to someone* about their will, any medical directives, how and where they want to die, etc. *Those* were the death panels that the *Republicans* were claiming in the ACA.

                The Democrats pointed out how this was nonsense, end-of-life consoling was completely voluntary and *a legitimate medical expense that should be covered*, and how insurance companies, at this moment, *had people deciding to remove coverage from sick people* that could, much more accurately, be called ‘death panels’, and the ACA made those recensions illegal.

                Deciding to forgive large groups of people of crimes they’ve committed is normally called “amnesty”. If we’re going to be serious about the law our basic options are “amnesty” or ripping apart families for the crime of existing.

                I have no problem with calling it amnesty. I’m pretty certain Ronald Reagan called in amnesty when he made a law making a bunch of people here illegally into citizens.

                The problem is when *the right-wing media* decided to present that as the worse thing imaginable, as some sort of crazy liberal idea, instead of something that…well, we can’t *not* do. It is actually impossible to deport everyone. Some amount of the people already here are going to get to stay here, because it is *way* too expensive and time consuming to do otherwise.

                Which means, since ‘amnesty’ is now *completely unacceptable* to Republicans, there cannot be any sort of immigration bill. But that wasn’t the point. The point is the right-wing media wanted people yelling at politicians about amnesty, and got it.

                However the problem in both cases isn’t that they don’t understand the issues or the solution, the problem is that they do and they don’t agree with you.

                You seem to think of people as independent thinkers who arrive at their opinions out of thin air. That’s…not how it works.

                This is pretty easy to prove. Since Trump won the election, the percentage of Democrats and Republicans that think the economy is doing good have flipped. Totally flipped. The economy…has not changed. (Well, *now*, in January, yet another government report has come out saying the economy continues to slowly go uphill, but they were polled before that.)

                If the people that people get political news from say that amnesty is needed, people believe it is needed. If those people say it’s the worse possible thing ever, people will believe that.

                We used to have a news system where that sort of feedback was provided by a) the mainstream media, and b) the parties themselves.

                But the right has been taught, for two decades now, to ignore the media, to listen to their own private media…and even to ignore what their own party is saying if their private media says to.

                So now we have an entire subset of one party screaming dumbass things. (Which used to just be annoying, but has become slightly frightening when some of them started listening to the alt-right.)

                So politically maybe Trump is the best guy to handle both of these issues in a “Nixon goes to China” way.

                I don’t doubt a *Republican* would be the ‘best’ person to handle it, in the sense that the Republicans would find it hard to *sabotage* it.

                Trump? No. Trump is, quite possibly, not the best person to handle *any job on this planet*.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                So now we have an entire subset of one party screaming dumbass things. (Which used to just be annoying, but has become slightly frightening when some of them started listening to the alt-right.)

                Well, we’ve always had subsets of *both* parties that did that. The Republican subset would listen to the John Birth Society, and Democratic subset would listen to Lyndon LaRouche, and both of them would listen to Noam Chomsky.

                The problem is…various figures found it extremely profitable to peel off viewers from the mainstream media by presenting them with ideas *slightly to the right* of the mainstream, and sorta *lured* people in that direction by telling them to distrust the mainstream.

                The Republican party, uh, went along with it, like morons. It, admittedly, worked the first time, they got in power with Bush, and the right-wing media turned into cheerleaders, because that was what their viewers wanted *at that point*.

                And then…Obama, and somewhere in there the right-wing media turned into purity cheerleaders, and started opposing *Republicans* that were not pure enough. The Republicans, even more stupid, kept along with this, instead of just trying to disavow them at this point. They were in too deep, and that would have hurt them, so they went along, watching some of their number *cough*Eric Cantor*cough* get eaten.

                This means now, in 2016, the Republican base has the taste of the blood of Republicans, and the Republican pols are forced to repeat whatever dumbass thing that or be eaten, and have only managed to delay *doing* those dumb things by constantly distracting the sharks by pointing at the Democratic politicians safe on land.

                And then…oops. No Democrats to distract with anymore.

                And the right wing media needs ratings and page clicks.

                And it might not help that literally the first thing the Republicans have promised to do, repeal the ACA, is something that a) they have to do or will be eaten, and b) will be eaten if they screw it up, and c) is actually really complicated and they never put much serious thought in it, and d) the Democrats are standing there holding signs saying ‘free shark musk and anchors’.

                *starts playing the Jaws music*

                Oh, and please note, I don’t actually think we should conclude anything by the fact this happened to Republicans. I think Republican voters are *slightly* more trusting in certain regards, so *this specific tactic* worked better, but the Democrats have weaknesses, too.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                I think you are *wildly* overestimating Trump’s competence.

                Deservedly or not, Trump really does represent the GOP’s “excluded” base and he’s pretty clearly “not an elite”. In theory, if he reluctantly signs onto “amnesty” as a needed compromise to fix problems, then maybe he brings his base with him.

                …result in a cabinet member not getting a security clearance and having to resign…

                Trump is a lot more willing to fire people than most and views it as a cost of doing business. And yes, he was unprepared to win… just like everyone else.

                IMHO him hiring people late is a *good* thing. Back in July he would have needed to stock his cabinet with the alt-Right because most serious people would have been totally unwilling to work with him. As it is, he was brought in to roll back the gov and do reforms. He’s taking risks, some of his people choices are *not* going to work out and he’s going to need to fire them.

                The real problem is that he’s refusing to *talk to anyone who does*.

                Pence is in charge of the Transition team and is responsible for the nuts and bolts decisions on making it work. Pence doesn’t suffer from Trump’s personality issues nor his inexperience. So these criticisms are really being leveled against Pence.

                Which means we’re dealing with two issues. First, NO ONE expected Trump to win so there’s a *lot* of missing time. 2nd, the Press hasn’t yet recovered from their shock of their gal losing, and they’re magnifying every expected issue into something earth shaking.

                …except under Clinton they did it via scandal…

                Normal politicians manage to hold office without winning the lottery (via cattle futures), continually mixing their personal and public interests, or having sex with interns. Typical politicians who do these sorts of things are thrown out of office or arrested. That the Clinton way to deal with their personal failings is to deny, lie, and claim it’s politically motivated just prolongs and expands the scandal.

                they were forced to demonize the entire process of the government passing laws.

                As the gov has gotten bigger, more complex, and more intrusive, the rate of GNP growth has gone down. Lack of growth leads to social problems including discontent. Return growth to 4% and a lot of these problems go away. Growth is a rough way to measure how well the government is serving the people, and at the moment, it hasn’t been very well.

                What Republicans were calling death panels, way back then, is that Medicare was going to pay for end-of-life counseling.

                IMHO it’s fair to think UHC advocates will sneak in death panels at some point and there will be multiple layers of obfuscation to prevent notice. Socialized medicine can’t work without death panels, which is why I’ve repeatedly suggested the left learn how to sell them if they want to move forward with UHC.

                If memory serves there was supposed to be a team of unelected “experts” (carefully shielded from political interference) who were going to make decisions on what the gov would pay for and what it wouldn’t. This Bill was exceptionally (deliberately?) complex and confusing, to the point where no one knew what was in it. If the people who wrote the bill had no clue what was in it, then it’s unreasonable to expect the average person.

                A government run death panel hits a lot of people as a lot more scary than some insurance company. Movies about insurance companies killing people for profit or convenience are rare, movies about the gov doing so are common (Nazis count).

                Some amount of the people already here are going to get to stay here, because it is *way* too expensive and time consuming to do otherwise.

                This is a policy evaluation I agree with, others do not. You can call it racism or fear if it makes you feel better, but the problem isn’t a lack of understanding of the issues.

                If the people that people get political news from say that amnesty is needed, people believe it is needed. If those people say it’s the worse possible thing ever, people will believe that.

                Bring back 4% growth and all this social angst becomes manageable.

                But the right has been taught, for two decades now, to ignore the media, to listen to their own private media…and even to ignore what their own party is saying if their private media says to.

                The media is vast-majority-Dem and decades ago they dropped impartiality and fact checking in favor of becoming Social Justice Warriors pushing “narratives”. Witness the claim that Jeff Sessions is a clan supporter and “You can keep your plan” being listed at “true” by politifact while the ACA was voted in. I’m seriously pro-science, which means seriously pro-vaccination. I didn’t blink an eye at Trump putting an anti-vac guy at the head of vaccinations because my faith in the media was *that* low.

                As for “their own party”, wave after wave of GOP have been elected to roll back the gov, but once in office they’ve fallen in love with spending other people’s money and expanded the gov. If expanding the gov had increased the rate of growth, then we could argue that it was worthwhile. Instead what we’ve got is a reduction in the rate of growth.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This sentence: “As the gov has gotten bigger, more complex, and more intrusive, the rate of GNP growth has gone down.” is classic magical Republican thinking.

                Why stop at 4% growth? Why not 6%? It’s not like you have any evidence connecting the size of the Code of Federal Regulations to brakes on GDP growth.

                GDP growth comes from two sources: (a) more people working and (b) the same number of people doing more.

                So the quickest way to increase GDP is to increase the number of young immigrants and to bring existing undocumented immigrants out of the grey market so that their labor can be captured by GDP statistics (and be properly taxed).

                I know. That’s anathema.

                So the next way to increase growth in GDP is to increase productivity. And since 1980, Republicans have been talking about those damn productivity-crushing regulations, virtually never actually identifying them. It’s because they don’t exist. Just like there’s no line item for Waste, Fraud and Abuse, there is no magic regulation which, when repealed, will unleash this burst of productivity growth.

                Yes, I know what’s coming next. The damn ACA. The problem, however, with blaming the ACA is that the US healthcare system was already incredibly inefficient in 2007.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Francis says:

                So the quickest way to increase GDP is to increase the number of young immigrants and to bring existing undocumented immigrants out of the grey market so that their labor can be captured by GDP statistics (and be properly taxed).

                I think tax amnesty for overseas earnings probably is “quickest” but I accept your statement as reasonably truthful.

                My solution for illegal immigration is to give the bulk of them green cards and call it a day. Making them legal has all sorts of advantages since the only reason we have problems with them is that they’re illegal. There will be minor carve outs, the usual illegal things (other than existence) will still be illegal but whatever.

                …there is no magic regulation which, when repealed, will unleash this burst of productivity growth.

                This is like saying that since every grain of sand is individually fine, it’s impossible to suffocate if buried alive.

                I look at the tax code in all it’s inhuman complexity and think there are economic distortions.

                I look at the various companies openly fleeing the country via inversion and connect that to gov policy. Tax rates high enough to cause this also say things about where a company chooses to invest.

                I look at vast corporate bureaucracies which only exist to deal with the government’s vast bureaucracy and think that overhead needs to be paid.

                I look at various rules and results (the one-epi-pen-on-the-market being the current standout example) and see regulatory capture and deliberate use of the gov to further corporate interests at the expense of the public.

                You can add in immigration policy and an inefficient HC system but both of those also come down to gov disfunction (there’s a few others we’ll skip).

                I absolutely think we’re taking hits to our GNP growth rate because of all this nonsense. Claiming otherwise is basically saying the tax code doesn’t cause distortions, there’s no problem with one epi-pen and so forth.

                The problem, however, with blaming the ACA is that the US healthcare system was already incredibly inefficient in 2007.

                The ACA was mostly about expanding access, not about making HC more efficient.

                If we’re trying to make the healthcare system more efficient we can try for more markets, or slap another layer of gov bureaucracy on it.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to DavidTC says:

                Well, I think we’re getting closer to the point where our differences are approaching degree rather than kind, which I hope is a good thing.

                I do want to backtrack at least a little bit. Specifically, please forgive me if I’ve misled you, to the extent that I led you to believe that the animating energy behind Right populism in America and the success of the Trump campaign is due to ACA to the exclusion of all other factors. That clearly doesn’t hold water, it’s going too far.

                That said, even if we agree that Obamacare isn’t the only factor in play, I’d still say it’s the main one. Btw, here’s a useful link to check out: as a lib, it might be easier for you to grok in a context that’s not about ACA (and where the bad guys aren’t the libs).

                http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/443833/donald-trump-breaks-political-norms-civility-honesty-iraq-war-immigration-republicans-elites

                So for the most part I’ll be done with ACA, with the exception of a couple of things from your last comment.

                Meanwhile, the people, actually, overwhelmingly, *actually got what they wanted* out of the ACA. Republicans and Democrats! Almost all parts of the plan are popular, if actually presented to people! The mandate isn’t, but of course it isn’t, it’s a tax. And it’s not *hugely* unpopular.

                This just isn’t so, even just viewing ACA “purely” as policy. Check this out:

                http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/03/27/screw_you_mickey_kaus_122078.html

                You’ll have to allow for the fact that it’s Ann Coulter and therefore a bit polemic, but her experience with ACA is completely typical. Specifically, that ACA forces people to pay through the nose for health care (way beyond what they would choose to pay for themselves), and then doesn’t even deliver health care.

                And for those who still have employer provided health care, who essentially escape liability for the exchange-based subsidy for the really sick, they are bound to those jobs through health insurance even more than they were pre-ACA.

                Basically, the substance of ACA ended working to create very few winners and lots and lots of losers. And in fact, one of the little late upticks that helped Donald Trump get elected was the eye-popping ACA premium increases where the notices were mailed out in October.

                But the thing is…I *totally disagree* that such a thing happened in the real world. In reality, the design of the ACA, at every single point, bent over backwards to accommodate the Republicans, it was extremely conservative from the start, and then the Republicans ditched at the last minute after various conservative groups started repeating nonsense and threatening their electorial chances.

                This is wrong on the details but far more important than that is the fact that this assumes that there had to be some kind of general purpose (ie, besides the indigent and the elderly) collectivization for the provision of health care. In fact the American did not accept that as a necessity then, or even now really though of course now the situation is a bit complicated with ACA.

                The difference between us is that *you* believe the history as it has presented about it by Republicans, whereas I *do not*, and I believe the unpopularity is basically a created thing.

                As you might guess, I’m not buying this (or the parts of the timeline related to this). There’s lot of specific reasons for this, but more important that any specifics is that the whole explanation is prima facie not credible for reasons that seem obvious to me and that you seem to ignore.

                Your overall point is “Woe is me, that the GOP mobilized against Obamacare. What could we have done?” At that point, the Democrats had just finishing buttkicking the Republicans up one side and down the other for two successive elections. From this pov, there’s no reason why the Democrats were supposed to be intimidated by something the Republicans did or were going to do, and in fact they weren’t.

                It’s obvious for me at least, that there were a lot of largely a political Middle Americans who found out that they missed the Republicans when they were gone a long more than they expected to when they voted against them in 2006 and 2008. And that happened because of things the Democrats did (including but not exclusively PPACA), not the Republicans.

                Immigration reform was another thing, where ‘amnesty’ was serving the same purpose as ‘death panels’ and the Republicans got cold feet because of various people feeding their base nonsense. Note that deferrals were already happening at that time, and Congress had a chance to do something in that regard…and Republicans backed out.

                Again this is pretty similar to the ACA, in that the Establishment (in the case of immigration both the lib Establishment and the GOP Establishment) insists on framing the issue in a way that the American people don’t accept.

                For ACA, the animating frame for libs was lack of universal health care access, and ACA was created to address that, or at least move in that direction. In fact, the American people never accepted that as a premise.

                For immigration, the idea behind the Gang of 8 was that we had to normalize somehow the large number of illegal immigrants resident in America. The American people may not insist on mass deportations (though they may end up occurring), their immigration related concerns are much different. Specifically, they want be able to control future immigration flows, and to stop arbitrary numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border as they choose. More generally, they want immigration policy to be governed by the best interest of American labor markets and American cultural unity.

                But the elected Republicans weren’t willing to do literally *anything*, no matter how scared of their base they were. The debt default, for example, was scarier than their base, so they had to back off. Likewise, their corporate sponsors restricted what they could do. (As they do the Democrats.)

                You’re talking about 2013, instead of 2011, right? The Republicans won the debt standoff in 2011, the Demos blinked.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                Well, I think we’re getting closer to the point where our differences are approaching degree rather than kind, which I hope is a good thing.

                Actually, I think we’re getting closer to the point where we almost completely agree with what is going on, barring some disagreements about levels of blame of different things.

                The difference is, I see it as a *really bad thing driven by the right wing media*, whereas you see it as an organic (and perhaps justified) thing.

                And I think you also think it’s affecting the left, too, whereas I think what’s going on the left is almost the exact opposite. What’s going on the left is the problem politics has always had, in that politicans do not listen to actual human people, and this has eventually bitten them in the ass by causing people to say ‘Yeah, not giving you guys my vote forever if you keep acting like this’. This is not in any sort of ‘sea change’ way, just a normal ‘lost an election’, and the Democratics will soon start listening again for another decade or so before they stop.

                Whereas what I see going on the right is that their base has been conditioned to believe dumb things. And Republicans reacted by…not listening to them, like all politicans. (Not because they were dumb, but because no one listens to the voters) And those politicans got primaried out of office, and now they *do* listen.

                What happened to the Republicans back at the Tea Party needs to happen to Democrats now. (In fact, there have been some articles asserting *exactly that*, that Democrats need to take some organizing cues from the Tea Party.) It just started with the rejection of Clinton, and stuff like the anger at Booker over his Pharma vote, it will hopefully keep moving forward.

                What happened to the Republicans…isn’t really fixable in any way I can see, because the entity in control of the Republicans is the Republican base, and the entity in control of the Republican base is the right wing media, and the right wing media does not care if the Republicans win elections, and frankly would rather they not. The only real solution there is for Republican politicians to start lashing back at the right wing media, but that is a *hard position* to take.

                Btw, here’s a useful link to check out: as a lib, it might be easier for you to grok in a context that’s not about ACA (and where the bad guys aren’t the libs).

                That’s just pointing out even the mainstream media media are compete morons and treat politics as a spectacle. (Which is probably why the right wing media exists.)

                You’ll have to allow for the fact that it’s Ann Coulter and therefore a bit polemic, but her experience with ACA is completely typical.

                Ann Coulter is one of those people that *thought* they had health insurance.

                There were a lot of younger people that, because their parents nagged them into insurance, had bought the cheapest thing they could find. The problem was…they couldn’t really afford the $10,000 deductible on a salary of $22,000. What would really happen if they got cancer is that they would find themselves unable to pay the deductible, go broke, and eventually not be able to pay their insurance, and then *really* go broke.

                This is assuming it didn’t have low lifetime caps, and that the insurance company didn’t rescission them when they got sick.

                Those people, who had crap insurance, are *very sure* they are worse off under the ACA.

                Those people are *very incorrect*. They were better off when healthy, but faced backrupcty and hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills when sick. (And if ‘better off when healthy’ is how we judge insurance, they would have been better off without any insurance at all!)

                And her story is missing a very interesting statement, too: Specifically, it doesn’t say that her *old plan* covered the hospital and doctor she wanted it to cover. Odd omission, that.

                And the rest of her story is that she doesn’t know how to shop for health insurance, and apparently has never done it before. The ACA objectively made that easier, by collecting a bunch of plans she was eligable for in a single place, and providing links to covered medical providers. It used to be that you had to go to half a dozen *different websites* and try to figure out what plans you could get…and then what doctors they had…and then get rejected half the time.

                And under the ACA, you have to fill out *less information*. That complaint is almost surreal! You used to have to provide *your entire medical history*. I can’t even *imagine* how she thought that used to work.

                Specifically, that ACA forces people to pay through the nose for health care (way beyond what they would choose to pay for themselves), and then doesn’t even deliver health care.

                The ACA does not deliver health care. The ACA delivers health insurance.

                And for those who still have employer provided health care, who essentially escape liability for the exchange-based subsidy for the really sick, they are bound to those jobs through health insurance even more than they were pre-ACA.

                Approximately *a quarter* (Some studies have claimed up to half, but let’s go with a quarter.) of the US population under 65 was uninsurable in the private market. (Almost *all* the population above 65 is, which is why we don’t even try to have private companies do that.)

                This means that, for a quarter the US population, either they had public insurance, *did not have insurance*, or they were trapped at a job that provided insurance.

                I should know, I was one of them. One of the ones who could not get insurance. My place of employment was too small to provide it, and insurance companies would not sell it to me. (And I wasn’t poor enough to get Medicaid, but that didn’t matter as my state doesn’t provide it to single men anyway.)

                It is *very easy* to see the insurance universe through your own eyes. If you have employee provided insurance, you will just assume that people can walk up and get private insurance. Or if you have catastrophic coverage, to asssume that it will *help* in the case catastrophy, instead of just helping for a very short amount of time before you’re broke and can’t afford to keep paying for it.

                And people get angry when this changes, because the system was working fine *for them*.

                But insurance always works fine for people when not using it.

                This is wrong on the details but far more important than that is the fact that this assumes that there had to be some kind of general purpose (ie, besides the indigent and the elderly) collectivization for the provision of health care.

                What does ‘collectivization’ mean in that sentence?

                Health insurance is, by definition, a collectivization.

                And, of course, we had *already decided as a country* we were going to pay for the health care of everyone, collectively. It’s just we *used* to do it by making hospitals treat people for free and then subsizing them at the Federal level based on how many uninsured people they had.

                For ACA, the animating frame for libs was lack of universal health care access, and ACA was created to address that, or at least move in that direction. In fact, the American people never accepted that as a premise.

                I am not sure what you are saying there. The ACA was not really intended to give universe health care access…in theory, the American people already had that.

                The ACA was to *pay for that in a less exceptionally stupid manner*, which bankrupted people left and right, caused massive problems at hospitals that we then fixed by handing them wads of cash, caused people to not get any preventive care, etc.

                The American people *did* want to fix that. However, you are correct in that a large part of them did not accept that the ACA did that, if that’s what you’re saying. (Of course, the Federal budget says otherwise.)

                For immigration, the idea behind the Gang of 8 was that we had to normalize somehow the large number of illegal immigrants resident in America. The American people may not insist on mass deportations (though they may end up occurring)

                Deportations fast enough to remove most people here illegally in any reasonable amount of time are so expensive it is doubtful anyone would go for it. (This is why ‘self deport’ nonsense shows up, but that is mostly nonsense.) Budgetwise vs. people deported, it seems to cost ICE about ~$100,000 to deport a person, so to deport the 11 million in the US would cost….a total of a trillion dollars. Even spread out over a few years, that’s a lot of money.

                It may, indeed, happen, but it’s Iraq-war levels of budget-busting stupid. (And a war at least *helps* the economy, whereas removing ten million people does exactly the opposite.)

                their immigration related concerns are much different. Specifically, they want be able to control future immigration flows, and to stop arbitrary numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border as they choose. More generally, they want immigration policy to be governed by the best interest of American labor markets and American cultural unity.

                Yes. That is what they think.

                I think a fundamental different between how you and I see this is: I don’t really see any political beliefs as natural. I think people are *taught* these things by the world around them and the media.

                And I think, for a very long period of time, the right wing media has been teaching people very stupid things. And by ‘very stupid’ I do not mean ‘conservative’, and I don’t mean ‘things I do not believe in’.

                I mean things like completely ignoring actual facts.

                For example, mass deportations and not bothering to mention that is so insanely expensive that there is no way we’re doing it. Yelling about immigrants is fun and gts the eyeballs! Wheee!

                Or yelling about how, under the ACA, people are required to have actual real insurance, something that pretty much everyone, at every point on the political spectrum, used to accept, but the right wing media has been yelling about it for so long that the right wing pols were forced to join them.

                This is because the right wing media *does not care about politics or governance*. They care about getting people to watch them, period.

                By itself, that’s problematic enough, but they eventually got so powerful that they could challenge the Republican party, causing it to cave more and more to dumbness…

                …and eventually we got Trump.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Koz says:

                @koz
                And now responses:

                Obviously not. ACA was supported by the ideological liberals but the Obama/Demo voting base of 2008 with significantly broader than that. Many or most of those people ended up leaving the party and are now Trump/GOP voters.

                There’s no evidence for this at all.

                For one thing, Obama *won* in 2012.

                Second: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/where-trump-got-his-edge/

                ‘The demographics of Trump Country are similar to those of the places that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Romney, like other recent Republican nominees, drew strong support in rural areas, which tend to be whiter and have fewer residents with college degrees. But Trump extended the GOP’s advantages in those areas, in many cases substantially.’

                As the article points out, Trump managed to attract mostly the same voters as all Republicans…just more of them. If there’s any demographic difference, it’s that he got slightly more of the less educated.

                There’s no evidence he ate into the Dem’s voting base, vs. just having people who didn’t normally vote, vote. Turnout was, indeed, slightly in higher in places where he won.

                So Trump excited some people about politics that were not normally excited, and they voted. (Which is probably why the polls were wrong, too.) You can, if you want, blame that on long (very long) simmering anger about the ACA. But you can’t reasonably claim those were *Democrats* that were voting for Trump.

                And third: Trump won by *very small amounts*. A hundred thousand votes in three states going the other way would have changed the outcome. There was not some gigantic wave.

                And, of course, the Republicans *lost* Senate seats, and *lost* House seats.

                But I guess, somehow, Obamacare resulted in the House switching in 2010, the Senate in 2014, but the *presidency* switched in 2016 for some reason. Weird.

                I think it’s a bit more likely that Trump did, indeed, tap into something, but half of it was just general populism, and half of it was basically nativism.

                But they are not the same problems that President Obama or the Clinton candidacy had. In important ways, Mr. Trump is more trustworthy that Secretary Clinton or President Obama. His scandals do not plausibly represent failures of governance with only one exception that I can think of.

                Arguing that someone who has never been in government has never had a ‘failure of governance’ is nonsensical.

                Trump has failed at many things that he will be *expected to do* in government.

                In addition to his obvious personality flaws, he does not seem to take the advice anyone except his family, rendering him *amazingly* unable to function as president, which is 90% listening to other people tell you your options and 10% you deciding things.

                And, technically, paying contractors on time and in full is part of *corporate* governance, and Trump is pretty bad at that.

                But actually, the point is, you really can’t do anything about Trump because of Obama. Or more specifically, you can’t leverage the basic professional demeanor of Obama against Trump. And if I’m reading things right, you especially can’t leverage the outlandish crap Trump pulls as license for your own guys to do it.

                Dude, *I* can’t do anything about Trump regardless. I didn’t realize you *actually believed* I was somehow in control of the Democratic party, but, seriously, I am not. This website is not. Balloon Juice is not. Krugman is not.

                Specifically, the animating energy behind the Trump campaign was to restore the credibility of Americans to be able to talk to each other in meaningful terms without the evasions and the misdirections associated with lib governance.

                Meaningful terms like ‘So sad!’.

                You may have just been trying to shade it for polemic purposes here, but it is absolutely true that DAPA/DACA was overthrown overthrown by the judiciary. It is true that SCOTUS only upheld a preliminary injunction and did not proclaim on the merits of the case. But in order to get the preliminary injunction, multiple lower federal courts did proclaim on the merits of the case and held that DAPA/DACA would not stand up to litigation when and if the case ever went to trial.

                Courts cannot hold that a case ‘will’ win at trial…before case goes to trial. The courts have held that a) Texas will suffer irreparable harm if the program is allowed to start, and b) Texas’s case isn’t obviously bogus and has some merits. And thus, they placed a hold on the government moving forward with the program, and that hold was upheld.

                The *actual case* hasn’t been ruled on yet, and both parties have agreed to stop moving on that until after Trump takes office, because if he stops it, it doesn’t matter.

                Incidentally, for people wondering, this is not the *original* DAPA, which no one has challenged the constitutionality of. This is the expansion made (Or, rather, not made) in 2014.

                The judiciary could have gone President Obama’s way on this. It was expected to. No matter what happened in the courts, the policy itself was an evasion of the ability of the American people to meaningfully participate in immigration policy.

                And by ‘meaningfully participate’, you mean ‘Congress figures out a bill like this, Eric Cantor loses a primary, Republicans run away screaming from the bill they wrote and vow never again to do anything ever’, so Obama tries to fix things by doing a tiny fraction of the stuff.

                As I said in my other post, Republicans have become extremely scared of pissing off their own base, because their base has been trained to listen to media personalities who are only in it for ratings and tell them to point and scream when the Republicans ‘work with’ Democrats. Aka, when Republicans *govern*.

                It is *entirely possible* that this explains the behavior of some Republican voters, that they believe that no one listens to them.

                It is *not* very possible that this is a good thing, or w