With a re-ignited American Civil War already underway, it is important to remind folks that we do not have to exaggerate, or oversimplify, or categorize all people of one ‘type’ as automatically friends or enemies. Let me start with a couple of telling examples.
1) I had been waiting and hoping for a person like this to arrive. A smart and scientific conservative with deep, heartland values, who can communicate with Red Americans that their Christianity and conservatism do not have to automatically align with anti-science stupidity. I figure millions are ready for the message — that they can pick and choose, and maybe escape the simplistic narrative being crammed down their throats by hate-media. That was the hope! An lo — here is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, married to a pastor, living in conservative West Texas, and widely regarded as a top-notch climate scientist, actively engaged in weaning heartland folks off of anti-science dogmatism. Liberals, too, should study this person and shuck their own preconceptions. She will appear on the Showtime’s new documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which will explore humanity’s impact on climate change.
2) One of the moderate conservative members of my blog community went to public records — Forbes 400 list and Opensecrets.org — to provide the following summary of rich Americans and where they contribute their political largesse. Give it a look over and I”ll comment.
1 (D) Bill Gates $54 B 55 Medina, WA Microsoft
2 (D) Warren Buffett $45 B 80 Omaha, NE Berkshire Hathaway
3 (D) Larry Ellison $27 B 66 Woodside, CA Oracle
4 (R) Christy Walton & family $24 B 56 Jackson, WY Walmart
5 (R) Charles Koch $21.5 B 75 Wichita, KS Diversified
6 (R) David Koch $21.5 B 70 New York , NY Diversified
7 (R) Jim Walton $20.1 B 63 Bentonville, AR Walmart
8 (R) Alice Walton $20 B 61 Fort Worth, TX Walmart
9 (R) S. Robson Walton $19.7 B 67 Bentonville, AR Walmart
10 (D,I,R) Michael Bloomberg $18 B 69 New York , NY Bloomberg
11 (D,I,R) Larry Page $15 B 37 Palo Alto, CA Google
12 Sergey Brin $15 B 37 San Francisco, CA Google (Politics unknown)
13 (R) Sheldon Adelson $14.7 B 77 Las Vegas, NV casinos
14 (D,R) George Soros $14.2 B 80 Westchester, NY hedge funds
15 (R) Michael Dell $14 B 46 Austin, TX Dell
16 (R,D) Steve Ballmer $13.1 B 54 Seattle, WA Microsoft
17 (D,R) Paul Allen $12.7 B 58 Mercer Island, WA Microsoft, investments
18 (D) Jeff Bezos $12.6 B 47 Seattle, WA Amazon
19 (D) Anne Cox Chambers $12.5 B 91 Atlanta, GA Cox Enterprises
20 (D,R) John Paulson $12.4 B 55 New York, NY hedge funds
Which political party they donated to: D = Democrat, R= Republican, I= Independent (presented in order of giving amounts)
The crux, it all which pretty much perfectly matches my past assertions. With the exception of Michael Dell, nearly all the self-made tech billionaires donate democrat. They invest in the diamond shaped society that made them and that engendered the engineers and scientists whose skills got them rich. In their public statements, they mostly profess faith in positive sum games and several have explicitly said “my taxes ought to be higher than they are.”
Those who — in contrast — mostly-inherited their high position, or exploited sweetheart deals to extract resources from public lands, or got it through gambling or cable monopolies… pour their largesse into the Republican Party. (With Anne Cox Chambers a noted exception.)
This list leaves out Rupert Murdoch and the Saudis and foreign sovereign wealth funds, all of who are lavish in support of the GOP.
Also not listed… the Hollywood types who — though rich — fall below this top twenty. They tend to side with the Silicon Valley moguls. While another clade — the WallStreeters and top CEOs… well, you know…
Which leaves us with the most telling and indicative of them all. The smartest man in the world, whose wholesome, down-to-Earth values are also an example to us all. Warren Buffett. People who bet against him have always, always proved themselves to be just plain old dumb.
== When will the GOP proclaim “It was our idea all along!” ==
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its latest Obamacare report card (pdf), and for supporters of the law, the news is good: The CBO now projects that over 10 years the law will cover more people—25 million, up from 24 million—and cost a lot less—$104 billion less—than it had previously forecast. Combine this with the fact that, since the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, health care costs in the U.S. have risen at their slowest pace in decades.
All of these results would presumably have been even better, had the GOP spent the last 4 years working to negotiate improvements and fix flaws, instead of railing and passing futile House gestures (fifty of them) to repeal the ACA.
Indeed, ironies abound. Let’s be clear: moderate and reasonable democrats never wanted the proposed “health care system” that became Obamacare! It was always viewed as a miserable, halfway option that catered to insurance companies and is far more complicated and less effective than, say, the far simpler and less costly Canadian system. Obamacare essentially saves and extends the ancient U.S. system of private insurance and its positive effects were achieved using market forces… a fact that quintuples the irony, since the ACA originally was the REPUBLICAN PARTY’s own damn plan.
Crafted by The Heritage Foundation and the AEI, sealed into several GOP platforms, enacted in Massachusetts by Governor Romney to huge Fox News fanfare and jubilation, and yes, indeed, all of those versions were almost identical to the ACA. (See the comparison.)
That fact bears reiterating, repeating and pounding home, in order to make clear that four years of heated theater and political rigor mortis were entirely unnecessary.
In fact, if the tide of good news continues, you can be sure that the GOP will veer tracks and start proclaiming “It was our own plan, all along!”
== Follow the sequence of events. ==
Obama & the Dems only settled on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after having all of their own plans shot down by the most disciplined party of opposition the nation has ever seen. Hence, in what they thought would be a clever judo move, the Dems put forward the GOP’s own plan, in the weirdly optimistic hope that Republicans would thereupon negotiate in good faith over their own plan… working as legislators engaged in deliberation and compromise to find flaws and correct them and produce a proper bill.
What naiveté. Hey, I never said the democrats were sane. They are a loopy as jay birds.
Naturally, as soon as liberals proposed it, the GOP suddenly declared their own plan to be “communism!” Refusing to negotiate or find flaws and fix them, they instead followed the openly-declared Hastert Rule, to never, ever ever cooperate or negotiate with their opponents, over anything. Ever. Instead, their sole aim has been to ensure that their own plan would fail.
What’s next, now that the plan is working? The GOP congressional caucus has finally offered its alternative to Obamacare, which amounts to… tiny tweaks and a few small changes to what was originally their own damn plan. Really?
Oh, in case it slipped by, let’s make that core point one more time. Obamacare was their own damn plan.
Moreover, if it works, they will start proclaiming it from the roof tops. “It was our plan, all along!”