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Pundit Makes Blogger Cranky, film at eleven

So, what exactly is with George F. Will? I mean, I’ve never completely bought into the idea that he is the sane, clever, honest, reasonable Republican. I’m pretty sure I read an article twenty years ago where he argued against the secret ballot. And I don’t read his stuff regularly, so the odds are good that he was always like this, and I never noticed. The Hartford Courant reprints his stuff, now and then, so I have been reading it, now and then, and the man is (a) insane, and (2) dishonest.

Take, for example, The Unforgotten Man, which pushes the claim that under the now-vetoed S-CHIP extension, “states could extend eligibility to households earning $61,950… How can people above the median income be eligible for a program serving lower-income people?” This is the standard Republican talking point for S-CHIP. It’s dishonest.

At least he does use the word could, which is nearly honest. S-CHIP does not make people earning sixty grand a year eligible for federal funding, nor does it mandate that the states make such people eligible for federal funding. Nor does it allow any individual state to choose to make such people eligible for federal funding. Nor does it even allow the states to decide to make such people eligible to receive state funding through the same S-CHIP programs that take federal funding for poor people. No, what it does is it allows a state that wants to make include people up to three times the poverty line to apply to the federal government for permission to do so. Our Only President would, presumably, deny such a request, if it were made. Our Next President, whoever she may be, would likely deny such a request, too. If it were made.

And it might be, because a state may well decide that it is worth including more people for public health reasons, or because the peculiarities of that state recommend it. Frankly, I would guess that at most one or two states would be willing to cough up for S-CHIP x3 in the near future. Now, if you want to make the case that the S-CHIP law would be better with a lower limit on possible future approvals, that would be one thing. But Mr. Will is not doing so. He’s claiming that S-CHIP is not “a program serving lower-income people”, because some people who are not poor are eligible for it. Now, I’ve mentioned before that such an argument seems mean-spirited to me. But what he’s really claiming is that S-CHIP is not serving lower-income people because middle-income people may someday perhaps become eligible for it. That’s not just mean-spirited, that’s lying.

This is in a column which asserts that “the people currently preening about their compassion should have some for the English language.” By compassion for the English language, he means (he says) that people should say what they mean. He does not. In the same column, he rails against John Edwards for telling a rally in Iowa that the federal system was rigged against them. The system isn’t rigged against, them, says Mr. Will, because they receive more in federal assistance more than they send in revenue. Well, first of all, most of the assistance is not cash but the estimated benefits from various trade policies and tariffs, so it’s not a useful comparison. But fine, I’m willing to believe that Iowa is one of the states that gets back more than it puts in; there should be about 25 of those, more or less, and it makes sense that Iowa is one of them. In that sense, Mr. Will is right that the federal system is not rigged against the state of Iowa. But Mr. Edwards was not speaking to the state of Iowa. Mr. Edwards is speaking at a union hall (UAW Local 74 in Ottumwa, if Mr. Will is quoting from Eric Pooley’s Time Magazine article John Edwards Bets the Farm, which seems likely, although Mr. Edwards has used the rigged against you line more than once). Is it possible that by you, Mr. Edwards was speaking to the actual people in the actual room with him? Perhaps more likely than that he was referring to the entire state of Iowa? Here’s the quote, as Mr. Pooley provides it: “We need to take the power out of the hands of these insiders that are rigging the system against you. And I'm telling you they are rigging it. You want to know why you don't have universal health care? Drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists in Washington, that's why. We will never change America until we have a President who's willing to stand up to those people and take 'em on!” How, exactly, is this in contradiction to the fact (if it is a fact) that Iowa benefits from our crazy ethanol policies to the extent that it is a net gainer vis the feds? It doesn’t. And Mr. Will can say it does, but I’m not impressed with his compassion for the English language or anything else.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


(your LJ sign in is not working)

George Will has always been insane. At least I remember thinking so in high school, in the mid-80s, though I don't recall my exact thinking. I remember this because I went to the same very small high school of which he is an alumnus, and so we were aware of his political views, because he was a famous alum.

It is always conceivable that I was insane in high school, but there you have it.

Hm. That's odd. It isn't working, and yet Jacob was able to use it as an OpenID thing. That's very odd. Wouldn't you say that's very odd?

How much do you like the OpenID/LJ/TypeKey sign in, anyway? Do you care at all? At the moment, this Tohu Bohu doesn't care in the slightest whether you sign in that way or through filling out the fields. The sign-in won't help you avoid the somewhat random "this is comment spam" moderation queue, which you probably won't fall into anyway, although you never know. And if you did fall in, I would presumably help you out again, although you might have to wait until morning.

The question is whether it's worth making it work, or whether I should just scrap it. I'll have to think about it. The spambots have just found me, so I don't really know yet how hard I'll need to tread water...


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