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August 04, 2007

Eight Years on Priority One

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

During today's debate at YKC2K7, Hillary Clinton ... and I'm paraphrasing here ... said universal health care would be her first priority as President. At February's AFSCME Presidential Forum, when asked about the feasibility of universal health care, Clinton said "I want universal health care by the end of my second term." Now, perhaps there's a position change that's occurred, but the voters deserve to know just how willing Clinton is to go to the mattresses for health care reform. This followed on half-truths—repeated again at this debate—relating to "ending the war". Again, Clinton is not the only politician to engage in this game of half-truths, but it's really something the world could do without, and that the press ought to call them on. To tie it in with the "Blogs and the Mainstream Media" panel, the words candidates say are news, but it's perfectly within bounds for news outlets to asses the truth value of those words.

August 4, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

At the end of her second term is dog whistle for she's not going to do anything on healthcare to rock the boat of lobby supporters. They call the second term lame duck for a reason. You don't do this kind of effort in your last term. You do it in your first when Congress is more likely to know you are going to be around for a while.

Posted by: akaison | Aug 4, 2007 5:10:52 PM

It might just be that she thinks it will take a really long time to get a real system into place. Considering all the established interests arrayed against it, I think I agree. Some things take a lot of time, even with great political will, and "by the end of my second term" does not mean "will ignore until the last minute-" merely that she thinks that would be when it would be done by.

And yes, half-truths suck.

Posted by: Fnor | Aug 4, 2007 5:22:31 PM

what are the half truths by the other candidates and why do i never see them mentioned

Posted by: Phil | Aug 4, 2007 5:57:14 PM

Well, there's a half-truth on taking money from lobbyists, as Obama will take money from the spouses of lobbyists. But Obama acknowledges that the "no money from Washington lobbyists" bit is an imperfect solution to the corruption problem.

Edwards: I'm sure there are half-truths, maybe on foreign policy in other countries. And Republicans have their own set of half-truths.

I guess I don't mention the other Dem candidates because they don't dissemble as much on the big issues: Iraq, health care, taxes.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Aug 4, 2007 6:23:48 PM

An inconvenient truth: Hillary will loose if she is the Democratic candidate.

She is unapologetically pro-nukes, pro-lobbyist money, pro-war, and pro-status quo. She promises to enact health care reform and end the Iraq mess, but only if we elect her twice. I am sure Mark Penn thinks the nomination is wrapped-up. Hence, her comments indicate that she is positioning herself for the general election. Hillary will run to the right of the GOP nominee in the general. Thus, she will loose. We all have seen horrible movie before.

Posted by: jncam | Aug 4, 2007 11:25:45 PM

jncam--
Yep.
2008: The plainest example of democratic candidates becoming less electable as they move from left to right. I've just got my fingers crossed for someone else to jump in.

Gore? Clark? Bueller?

Posted by: RW | Aug 4, 2007 11:32:49 PM

At the end of her second term is dog whistle for she's not going to do anything on healthcare to rock the boat of lobby supporters.

Are you a dog? All I hear is that it won't be universal until the end of her second term. That's more that Obama has promised, and I don't know how long Edwards' plan will take to fully implement--more than four years, I'd expect. She doesn't say she's waiting till her second term. We'll know more when she releases her plan.

what are the half truths by the other candidates and why do i never see them mentioned

Obama's also been tagged for the "universal coverage" claim for what's actually universal access to coverage.

She is unapologetically pro-nukes, pro-lobbyist money, pro-war, and pro-status quo.

Whatever that means.

She promises to enact health care reform and end the Iraq mess, but only if we elect her twice.

She hasn't said that.

Hillary will run to the right of the GOP nominee in the general.

Baloney.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 5, 2007 12:47:42 AM

RW,

I support John Edwards. He did great at the forum today. You might want to check out the video.

I think we are fast approaching the point of no return regarding an Al Gore candidacy.

Sanpete,

You tried to refute most of my points. You broke a sweat. I have earned my bacon.

Posted by: jncam | Aug 5, 2007 1:02:48 AM

Jncam

Bacon is murder. And bad for your heart.

Posted by: RW | Aug 5, 2007 1:36:05 AM

Sanpete

Baloney is murder. But probably better for you than bacon.

Posted by: RW | Aug 5, 2007 1:36:39 AM

Baloney is murder. But probably better for you than bacon.

Posted by: RW | Aug 5, 2007 4:57:23 AM

A few thoughts on jncam v. Sanpete:

1) When's the last time a Dem Presidential nominee ran to the right of the GOP nominee? IOW, when have we seen this movie before?

2) Regardless of whether Rudy, Fred, Mitt, or McCain gets the nomination, I expect it'll be next to impossible for Hillary to run to their right.

3) I don't see anywhere where Hillary's said she'd push universal healthcare legislation during her first term. So I think that assuming she won't push that legislation until her second term is taking her AFSCME comments at face value.

4) ISTM that Hillary's half-truths are bigger and more substantial than the others'. Take her "If Bush won't end the war, then I will" remark.

The sense of the phrase is that she thinks GWB ought to end the war before she takes office, so if he doesn't do that, she'll move quickly to bring the troops home.

But if you parse it literally, all it means is that she'll end the war sometime during her Presidency, which could mean a looooong wait. And if she's ever said anything that seemed to foreclose that possibility, I sure missed it.

We've had a President for the past 6.5 years who's been extremely good at this game - for instance, saying "Saddam" and "9/11" in the same sentence so that people would think he was saying Saddam was involved in 9/11 - but being able to say later that no, that's not what he literally said, so there.

We don't need another President who routinely plays this sort of rhetorical game.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist | Aug 5, 2007 9:15:11 AM

I'm sorry to sound harsh, but it seems you are wantonly misinterpreting what the candidate said about the issue; you've ignored her history on the issue; and then you pretend that her stance is the opposite of what all evidence indicates.

She says that she learned from her previous attempt to achieve universal health care that there needs to be groundswell support from Americans to make it happen. There are probably a bunch of other factors (like the balance of Democrats in congress). It's not possible to know how long it will take to achieve universal health care. She obviously is very committed to it, and her differences in timing are probably an estimation of when she thinks she would have the best likelihood of achieving it. She failed once and she appears to be committed to being successful on her next attempt. If she were so much under the thumb of the medical lobby, then why does she make it such a big issue on hillaryclinton.com - including harsh criticism of the current system and specific ideas for how to change it.

On this urban myth that she's pro-war, my memory is that the vote before the invasion was designed to put limits on Bush's ability to go to war (trying to force him to not go to war before UN inspectors were done).

It's one thing for the right to demonize Democrats unfairly, but come on... One commenter says she's "dissembling". What I see is careful, responsible talk on the issues. That's what I want in a candidate.

Posted by: Ruth | Aug 5, 2007 11:52:12 AM

Well, we see this all the time with campaigns to legalize pot. Polls consistently show that 60-70% of the public thinks it should be legal. But every time an initiative makes it onto the ballot the big guns are rolled out to defeat it.

Today the Bush people have made every Federal agency a 'rotten borough'. Republican moles in all these agencies will oppose universal single-payer. Hillary is certainly realistic in assuming this job will take years and require a massive effort at every level.

As for a state-by-state approach, that would simply take 50 times as long. Every state has a state supreme court that will rule that universal care is not allowed by the constitution of that state, and if the voters don't like it, they need to amend their state constitutions.

Of course, the prospects for health care reform might get considerably better if the prospects for something else, like the economy, got considerably worse.

Posted by: serial catowner | Aug 5, 2007 12:28:55 PM

"Hillary is certainly realistic in assuming this job will take years and require a massive effort at every level." - Posted by: serial catowner

And since Hillary isn't going to putting out any effort "massive" or otherwise until her second term, her position of healthcare matches Bush's on Iraq...let my successor solve it.

Meanwhile business innovation is stymied, because older workers with enough capitol to start business's can't justify risking their family's lives to pursue their dreams.

Posted by: S Brennan | Aug 5, 2007 2:33:15 PM

I don't see anywhere where Hillary's said she'd push universal healthcare legislation during her first term. So I think that assuming she won't push that legislation until her second term is taking her AFSCME comments at face value.

I take them at face value, which is that universal coverage won't be achieved until the end of her second term. There's no ground to read more into them. She'll eventually be asked about this directly and will have to clarify. If she really wants to wait till her second term to start, that's crazy. Any plan of any complexity (and they'll all be complex) will take more than a few years to get fully up and running.

I actually see Clinton's concession to reality in Iraq as a positive, but I'm in a small minority here. She has said what she means by "ending the war"; it isn't a secret.

We don't need another President who routinely plays this sort of rhetorical game.

Unfortunately, we may not be able to have any other kind, since presidents need to be elected.

And since Hillary isn't going to putting out any effort "massive" or otherwise until her second term

She hasn't said that, and it's highly unlikely.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 5, 2007 2:39:38 PM

On this urban myth that she's pro-war, my memory is that the vote before the invasion was designed to put limits on Bush's ability to go to war (trying to force him to not go to war before UN inspectors were done).

That Ruth, was indeed the siren song that many responded to. It was a fairy tale designed to give political cover to those voting aye should things go wrong. Triangulation at its worst.

Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 5, 2007 6:20:58 PM

Maybe triangulation, maybe not. I believed Kerry was sincere in his explanation along those lines, and I don't doubt that some others were too. That doesn't imply they weren't also swept along in their sincerity by the popular sentiments, just as they are now.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 5, 2007 9:18:26 PM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 11, 2007 8:04:39 AM

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