Sunday, January 29, 2006


Shorter Matt Bai in The New York Times Magazine:

The inadequacy of Bush's health-care policies shows that he's a true visionary -- just not enough of one.

Yeah, Bai's article is a real critique. He tells us Bush's policies aren't good enough, but, heck, Bush still has gumption, dammit:

Unlike most of his Democratic detractors, Bush has shown the vision to rethink time-honored orthodoxy, even at his own political peril; no matter what his critics may say, it took no small amount of courage to ask if Social Security could be stronger than it is or if the tax code could be simpler and less punitive. He recognizes that government should be more flexible and more consumer-oriented.

Oh, is that what led to Bush's Social Security scheme and talk about overhauling the tax code? "Courage"? And here I thought it was hubris born of a misreading of the rather close '04 election as a "mandate," combined with a cynical belief that he could take advantage of most Americans' inability to understand complex financial matters in order to use Social Security and the tax code to line the pockets of the rich. Guess I was wrong, hunh?

And I love the last part. Yes, a Medicare prescription drug benefit with a bewildering array of plans, all of which include different formularies of covered and non-covered drugs, with some patients assigned to plans at random whether or not those plans cover expensive drugs they're already taking, while all patients are left at the mercy of inadequately staffed insurance-company and government phone lines when they don't know what the hell's going on regarding their benefits -- oh, that's really "consumer-oriented," isn't it?

And, of course, no Democrat who's ever proposed universal coverage for Americans is "rethink[ing] time-honored orthodoxy" -- only the Mighty Bush gets credit for that.

Matt, I think there's still some shoe polish on your tongue.

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