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New BOW Award!

This week’s BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award comes right in between the two political conventions and in the midst of the desperate preparations for Gustav’s landfall somewhere along the GulfCoast. Whatever our differences on matters of electoral politics and policy, I know that every person in the country joins me in hoping that there are no casualties and that there is minimal property damage.
 
Perhaps because we are in the middle of the most scripted, rehearsed, canned (choose your adjective) part of the political campaign, there was far less buffoonery than usual coming from the campaign trail this week. Which is not to say there was none, but rather that one had to dig a bit deeper to find it.
 
I should note here that I will not be nominating John McCain for a BOW Award on the basis of his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Personally, I don’t think Palin is a good choice; I believe when all is said and done she’ll hurt his chances. But I’m fully aware of how wrong I might be -- it could rally his base and draw women to the campaign (although according to preliminary polling, it seems that she’s helping McCain much more with male voters -- see www.fivethirtyeight.com -- proving that it is impossible to underestimate the ability of men to base EVERY decision in their lives on sex).
 
On the other hand, there was certainly no shortage of buffoonery in the news coverage of the Democratic National Convention. The commentary from the various political “experts” on CNN was utterly ridiculous. Within two hours of the convention’s opening on Monday night, David Gergen, who I usually respect a great deal, was declaring the convention a failure because it had no narrative. Although he wound up saying that Michelle Obama’s wonderful speech had “saved the night.” That same night James Carville and Paul Begala were lamenting the fact that Democratic speakers were going too easy on George Bush and John McCain.
 
Throughout the convention the CNN storylines were “Will Democrats leave Denver united? Will Bill and Hillary do enough to make Clinton voters throw their support to Obama? Will the Clintons overshadow Obama?” Every analysis began and ended with those questions, until I was ready to pull out my hair (which is already thinning quite enough, thank you). Instead I switched to C-Span and watched much of the convention unfiltered. Occasionally I went back, of course, just to keep up with CNN’s fabricated dramas. By the end of the week, Gergen was saying that this might have been the finest convention he’d ever seen, and Carville and Begala were saying that the Democrats had done everything they needed to do. So much for drama…
 
Oh, and did any of you hear about Stuart Shepard, who works for James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, asking fellow right-wing Christians to pray for rain to disrupt Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night? He said that he was hoping for a deluge-producing, “flood-advisory rain”. Of course that didn’t happen. Turns out God might not be a Republican after all…..
 
One of this week’s nominations does come out of the Sarah Palin nomination. (This one comes to you thanks to the good people at www.crooksandliars.com.) On August 10, Karl Rove (how is it possible that this man, who ought to be in jail, who may be the most partisan man in America, who has made slash and burn politics so pervasive that such tactics are called “Rovian”, is now accorded the status of “political pundit”?) was giving his analysis of the Veepstakes on “Face The Nation”. Rove was just certain that Obama was going to choose Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as his VP (Such insight! No wonder he’s a pundit!) and so he set about savaging that choice. 
 
“With all due respect again to GovernorKaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what?I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?”
 
I wonder what Rove is saying now that McCain has chosen Palin. Kaine has been governor of Virginia nearly twice as long as Palin has been governor of AlaskaVirginia has ten times the population and nearly nine times the GDP of Alaska. Richmond’s population is twenty-five times larger than that of Wasilla, the town where Palin served as mayor before being elected governor. Talk about an intensely political choice! Talk about not being concerned with whether the VP choice is capable of being President!  I doubt though, that anyone will call Rove on this. And I doubt that Rove himself will have anything but praise for McCain’s decision.
 
But today’s BOW Award winner comes from the McCain campaign. I spotted this item in the news and later that same day received an email from my friend Linda Dunn nominating this person for the BOW. Well, Linda, here you go!
 
On August 27th, John Goodman, the president of the NationalCenter for Policy Analysis, “a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank,” according to the Dallas Morning News, said that it was misleading to speak of there being people in America who don’t have health insurance. Goodman, who helped John McCain put together his proposals for reforming health insurance (such as they are) said that, “anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has health insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort.” 
 
He went on:
“So I have a solution [to the health insurance crisis]. And it will cost not one thin dime. The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.
So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."
I thought that we’d reached the nadir of stupidity from McCain advisors when Phil Gramm said that we were in a “mental recession” and that American had become “a nation of whiners.” Clearly I was wrong.
 
To say basically that the health insurance crisis is a matter of category rather than policy, that health insurance that pays for emergencies is all poor people need, that people who can’t afford insurance don’t need or deserve preventive care or family doctors or help with prescriptions is unbelievably insulting. But more than that, it shows a complete failure to understand the way our health care system works. Emergency room-based health care increases health care expenses across the board, whereas check-ups and other preventive steps actually decrease costs for all of us. This guy is the president of a think-tank?! This is the person John McCain turned to for help with formulating his health care reform policies?!  Amazing.
 
This week’s BOW Award goes to McCain advisor John Goodman, for his unbelievable short-sightedness and insensitivity. Take a BOW there John. You’ve earned it. And I sure hope they give you a prime-time speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
madkestrel
Aug. 31st, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Wow. Good pick. I read the quotes three times (once out loud!) trying to figure out how what he said made any sense at all.

And when did illegal aliens become Americans?
davidbcoe
Aug. 31st, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a pretty amazing quote. This guy is a wingnut if ever there was one. Thanks for the comment, Misty!
hedwig_snowy
Aug. 31st, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
And that's fiscal responsibility??? No thought about the difference in cost between a well-insured public that can afford and pays for their health-care and millions being told they just do it on the Govt dime and use the overwhelmed and much more costly Emergency Room form of modern medicine.

Does give you a clue as to the intellect of what a McCain White House would look like. What? Are they hoping to be even dumber than Bush's? That would take some doing.
davidbcoe
Aug. 31st, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
And yet, they're well on their way! I think the difference is that even in the worst of times, Bush and company have been politically smart. I'm not sure McCain and his pals even have that.
lindajdunn
Aug. 31st, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I think wingnut is a good description.

I note that he has more to say on his blog and esp. about how it's not COST EFFECTIVE to do health screenings. For example, you pay for tests for five healthy people for every one potential case of diabetics found. Obviously, that's a waste of money.

Head. Desk.

What a winner!
davidbcoe
Sep. 1st, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
If McCain's elected, he'll probably make the guy Secretary of HHS....
jp_davis
Sep. 1st, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Just to harp on the Palin thing a bit, everyone is debating back and forth whether or not this woman will be an asset or a liability in the election, but very few people are stepping back from the frame of the election and noting the reality: that there is absolutely no argument whatsoever that this woman was chosen for any reason other than electioneering. There is absolutely no way to argue that there is any reason to pick her, especially over other candidates, to actually fill the job of VP and potentially president. As a political move, it may be brilliant, it may backfire, but it really shows McCain for who he is: someone who cares more about getting elected than governing once the election is over.
davidbcoe
Sep. 1st, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Agreed. And she's off to quite a start, too. Turns out she lied to us all in that first address she gave on Friday. Remember the moment when she claimed to have told Congress "Thanks, but no thanks" for funding for the Bridge To Nowhere? Not true as it turns out. She was after the funds well into 2007 and complained about it when the funds were cut. www.crooksandliars.com is all over it. Also turns out that the rift between her and disgraced Senator Ted Stevens also has been exaggerated. As late as July '08 she was praising him as a great public servant and such. She may be a fresh face, but she was vetted in a hurry and I think it's going to come back to haunt McCain and company.
tiarella
Sep. 7th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
You should have watched the conventions on MSNBC with Olbermann and the Chris Matthews. Very enjoyable. After each republican speech, Olbermann and Matthews corrected the speaker's "facts".

I'm hoping Palin's hyperbole trips her up - her grandiose statements about the bridge to nowhere vs. the truth, her statement about listing the state jet on eBay, but failing to mention that it didn't sell and was sold to one of her supporters, and then there are all the people she's fired including the entire state Agriculture Board, 5 Wasilla dept. heads, one of her aides found out he was fired when his blackberry quit working when he was traveling and called into the office to check on it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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