My challenge to A.B. Stoddard

This site can use a little fun, so I challenge A.B. Stoddard to the following wager: I will bet A.B. that by Christmas Day the Gallup Poll will show congressional Democrats with at least an 8-point generic advantage over Republicans for the 2010 elections. If this happens, I win. If the generic advantage for Democrats is under 8 points, A.B. wins. The winner picks the restaurant and the loser picks up the tab.

Losing faith in Obama

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll confirms the trendlines: Americans are losing confidence and faith in President Obama and the healthcare reform debate has sealed the deal.

Seniors are feeling negative — and are "more than five times as likely to believe their care will deterioriate under projected modifications than to believe it will improve," according to the Post. The level of intensity on the issue is highest, no surprise, with opponents — they feel more strongly in their criticism than supporters do in their approval. A majority finds the protests "appropriate" and independents are flocking from Obama, with nearly 60 percent of them disapproving of his handling of healthcare and only 50 percent of them approving of his job performance.

Solving the Medicare payment structure riddle

The New England Journal of Medicine released a timely article yesterday, “Building a Bridge from Fragmentation to Accountability — The Prometheus Payment Model,” which attempts to solve perhaps the most vexing problem in healthcare: How do you change the payment structure in Medicare to better incentivize healthier outcomes, while reducing costs? The current fee-for-service structure in Medicare simply encourages more tests and procedures without the guarantee or evidence these steps are in the patient’s best interest.

The lion's roar: Ted Kennedy moves to save healthcare

Ignore what you read in the papers, watch on cable television, or are force-fed by many of the pundits who don’t know what is really happening. Here is the story: If Ted Kennedy votes on cloture, there is a high probability the Democrats have 60 votes. If Kennedy cannot vote, but resigns and is replaced by a new Democrat from Massachusetts, the Democrats probably have 60 votes.

Today the greatest senator who ever served performed one of the most valiant acts in the history of the Senate by asking Massachusetts to pass a law giving the governor the power to appoint his successor. This noble move will electrify and rally healthcare supporters across the nation and provide a gigantic booster shot to advocates of the public option.

The left of the left has left

President Obama, who was going to be a transformational, post-partisan leader who could cut through the bickering, has managed to suddenly create bipartisanship — Republicans and liberal Democrats are against him as he tries to explain whether or not he really will insist on a public option.

Liberals want the public plan, Republicans are leading opposition to it, and the fate of reform lies somewhere in the middle with centrist and conservative Democrats who have had their minds made up by angry voters at town halls.

Re-enacting Waterloo

It was the summer of 1815 and French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was facing both a multinational army that included the United Kingdom and the Prussian army in what is now Belgium. The attack on the French force’s right flank was the beginning of the end for Napoleon.

By the time his army’s retreat was in full force, the center and left were also in disarray. This was the Battle of Waterloo. This was the end for Napoleon and his reign.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) used the term “Waterloo” to describe the fight over President Barack Obama’ healthcare plan. He said, “If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo, it will break him and we will show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society.”

Whole Foods and liberal intolerance

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal last week proposing several methods of healthcare reform that did not entail a public option. His commentary added constructive and rational discourse to an otherwise ideologically and emotionally charged debate on healthcare. Whole Foods is a supermarket chain that emphasizes healthy organic and fresh foods. Needless to say, many of Whole Foods’s customers are liberal Democrats. In response to Mackey’s op-ed piece, a number of liberal bloggers began calling for a boycott of Whole Foods because the CEO did not share the same left-wing ideology of its liberal customers.

Liberalism has a long and admirable history of being open-minded and tolerant. Organizations like the ACLU pride themselves on defending free speech from all sides of the political spectrum. Academics in America’s universities defend the tenure system because it enables professors to express unpopular views. The liberal media jealously defends its special role in the Fourth Estate to expose and criticize government policy because it is essential to freedom in a democracy.

Howard Dean accidentally tells the truth about Dems and public option

The hapless former Democratic National Committee chairman, Howard Dean, reads the stage directions out loud along with the script.

While appearing on MSNBC, Dean admitted/bragged/blurted out President Barack Obama's diabolical plan to shove the public option down the throats of the American people against our will. (Did another Democrat accidentally slip up and tell the truth again?) With a wink and a nudge, Democrats will temporarily remove the public option component in the Senate bill, keep it in the House bill, and then, when behind closed doors reconciling the differences in the two bills during conference committee negotiations, put the public option back in place since it takes fewer votes in conference to get it back in than it would in a regular Senate vote.

Boehner vs. Billy

It didn't seem like the healthcare debate could get any more explosive, but the House GOP leader has just decided to set off a pretty big bomb. House Republicans have never been at the table on healthcare reform, refusing to work on the issue with Democrats and pounding away with criticism every step of the way. Now their leader, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), has decided to attack the drug industry for working with Democrats to find consensus on healthcare.

In a letter to former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who now heads up the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Boehner blasted Tauzin for working with Senate Democrats and the White House on a healthcare deal.

Set theory, applied to politics

During my vacation to Chicago and then Lake Geneva, my wife insisted that I get some exercise, and so I set off on the running trail in both places, listening to an interesting little book called The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, The Kabbalah and the Search for Infinity.

It is basically a biography of one of the greatest mathematicians in history, Georg Cantor, and his efforts to prove the existence of infinity.

As the book’s cover summarized it, “The mind-twisting, deeply philosophical work of Cantor has its roots in ancient Greek mathematics and Jewish numerology as found in the mystical work known s the Kabbalah. Cantor’s theory of the infinite is famous for its many seeming contradictions: for example we can prove that in all time there are as many years as days, that there are as many points on a once one inch line as on a one-mile line. While the inspiration for Cantor’s mind-twisting genius lies in the very origins of mathematics, its meaning is still being interpreted.”