Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Unasked Questions

A few more thoughts on the last Democratic Party Debate.

Questions which might have been asked, but weren't:

1. Why should the American people accept a health care system that is more expensive and less effective than that of any other developed country?

Clinton didn't really answer that question.  She denigrated Sanders' health care proposals and averred that  the American political establishment is deeply divided and incapable of coming together to support a reasonable alternative to the present system.  She opined that trying to impose a single payer system would entail insurmountable complications and endanger the gains made by the Affordable Care Act.  To my dismay, Paul Krugman echoed Clinton's position in a recent column.

So, here's the thing: Clinton in her argument also misrepresents Bernie Sanders' health care proposals.  Sanders supported the Obamacare and still does.  Sanders is not saying that he will take out his magic pencil and scribble in a new health care system the day he takes office.  He is saying that there are a lot of political, social and economic reforms that are necessary to open a road to making health care a guaranteed right in America.  He is saying that a majority of American voters need to come together to create a new reality by supporting programs and candidates at all levels of government who will create a rational environment in which health care for all is achievable.  He is saying that if the American people do that, he will support their aspirations and their efforts with the power of the Presidency.

2.  Why is Martin O'Malley taking up space at the Democratic Party Debates?

O'Malley has never met a platitude he didn't like.  He spouts a liberal mantra of platitudes along with a list of accomplishments as a governor that is unsupported by facts.  He doesn't seem to have a single genuinely original idea about foreign policy.  In the last two debates, O'Malley has said he believes the big problem in the middle east conflicts is that we don't have good sources of human intelligence.  He doesn't appear to want boots on the ground any more than Sanders, but he would like to see more spies, I guess.

Well, here's the thing about O'Malley's analysis:  Reforming NSA and CIA tactics gets batted around every other election cycle by pols who are either clueless or deceitful.  America has a vast spy network that eclipses any the world has seen before.  What America has lacked are political leaders capable of evaluating the reports from their intelligence directors and putting them into a context informed by a knowledge of history and a perspective based on social justice.  The really important facts about foreign governments and political movements are not locked up in diplomats' safes; they are available in the historic record and in the daily news.

Of course, there are a lot of other questions that need to be asked and answered; questions about the environment, racial injustice, gun violence, inequality, and a lot more.  Hopefully, we'll get to them before time runs out in this election cycle.  If not, at least Sanders has pointed out a way forward.

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