Part II: Ukraine
In Part I of this blog, which dealt primarily with the Islamic State, we urged readers to take their own look at the National Security Strategy (NSS). In Part II, addressing Ukraine (and the Russian threat to Eastern Europe and the preparedness of NATO), we renew that suggestion although the portions of the document relating to the issues discussed here are relatively brief. Indeed, it is one of the most notable features of the NSS that Ukraine, the broader Russian threat and NATO are given surprisingly little attention.
Two years ago, Bobby Jindal, the Republican Governor of Louisiana notably, and wisely, observed that Republicans had to “stop being the Stupid Party.” Since then Republicans have reminded themselves of Jindal’s advice from time to time, but more often have chosen to forget or ignore it. Recent days are replete with examples. Continue reading
Part I. The National Security Strategy and The Islamic State
We believe that the assaults by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and by Russia and its proxies in Ukraine, represent clear and present dangers to the national security of the United States. The circumstances in each area of conflict are obviously quite different, but they have in common the absence of any clear strategy on the part of the Administration for dealing with them. Indeed, despite routine expressions of disapproval, and sometimes condemnation, the concern of the Administration more often seems to be one of almost studied nonchalance. That is clearly the tone of the National Security Strategy (NSS) issued on February 6. Apart from vague references to coalitions and partnerships, the emphasis seems more on what we will not do than what we will do. The NSS received relatively little attention in the media when it appeared, and the members of the public who have actually read it could probably fit without crowding into a rather small stadium. Yet it is an important document that should be read, if not in its full 28 pages, at least for the 2 page personal Introduction by the President. It is available here. Continue reading
In Blog No. 55, on December 20, we discussed the objections to the Omnibus Spending Bill raised by opponents of the President’s executive action with respect to immigration. We wrote:
We too have objected to the President’s action, but have noted that as a practical matter there is likely little that Republicans can – or should attempt to – do about it. (The omnibus bill funded the Department of Homeland Security only through the end of February so as to present another opportunity at that time for budgetary mischief inspired by Obama’s immigration initiative.) We are hopeful that cooler heads will again prevail in February.
Our view has not changed, but we are still waiting—and hoping—for the cooler heads to take control. Continue reading
There had been enough written about the plight of Brian Williams that further comment here had seemed unnecessary. Yet three items in today’s New York Times suggested that there might something else to be said. The first was a column by David Brooks, “The Act of Rigorous Forgiving,” the second, an column by Tara Parker-Pope, “Was Brian Williams a Victim of False Memory?” and the third an article entitled “Brian Williams Loses Lofty Spot on a Trustworthiness Scale.” Then, having gathered our thoughts, NBC announced this evening that Williams had been suspended for six months without pay. We do not ordinarily try to deal with breaking news, but this seemed an occasion to make the attempt.
Here at RINOcracy.com we tend to write in a serious vein, but occasionally the impulse for something a little lighter seems irresistible. So it was with the song below, dedicated to Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul and with apologies to the Gershwin brothers and Ella Fitzgerald.
(A Duet for Chris Christie and Rand Paul)
You’ve got to understand,
Made us make a boo-boo.
What a mess we’re making
The pundits want to know
Why measles left us shaking
Like two men with Voodoo.
Each morning we get up with the sun -
Never stopping -
It’s what you do when you run.
We know that
Once it didn’t matter -
But now we’re doing wrong;
When we start to patter
It makes our teams unhappy.
Can’t we take a day off?
Escape from Jeb and Marco
Somewhere far away off.
And make it snappy!
Oh, how we long to be the men we used to be!
Won’t the press stop picking on you and on me?
A couple of years ago, Jeff Bauer and I and our wives shared a nightly dinner on a transatlantic crossing and became friends. Jeff and I stayed in touch and exchanged thoughts on various subject, including healthcare, a subject on which he is an expert and I am not. I was impressed by his expertise and intrigued by his perspectives on that challenging issue and I talked him into doing a guest blog. I believe that readers of RINOcracy.com will find it both informative and thought-provoking. ~ DMP.
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Redirecting Health Reform: A Real Republican Opportunity
By Jeffrey C. Bauer, Ph.D.
The intensely partisan debate over repairing or repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a waste of everyone’s time. Democrats begrudgingly admit that Obamacare is flawed, but they refuse to modify its core goal of reducing the number of uninsured Americans. Meanwhile, Republicans keep voting to repeal the law without offering a viable alternative for solving the serious problems of our medical care system.
Expanding access to a dysfunctional system will only make the situation worse, but returning to the pre-ACA marketplace will not make things any better. As I argue in Paradox and Imperatives in Health Care: Redirecting Reform for Efficiency and Effectiveness (CRC Press, 2015), it’s time to start from scratch. A new approach to reform is sorely needed to extract us from today’s lose-lose confrontation between defenders of a poorly crafted law and opponents who would return us to the failed marketplace that Obamacare attempted to address. Continue reading
The beginning of 2015 has seen not only a blizzard on the East Coast but a blizzard of activity among potential Republican candidates for 2016. Some observers have seemed as unenthusiastic about the political blizzards as most snow bound residents were for the natural variety: “Oh, no. Do we really need this much, this soon?” The PBS NewsHour has identified no less than 17 individuals who have indicated that they’re “interested” or “actively exploring” a presidential bid. In alphabetical order: John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker. Just this morning the NewsHour list had one addition and one subtraction. Mitt Romney announced that he had abandoned any plan to run, while Senator Lindsey Graham took the initial step of forming a PAC. Other prominent figures who have made no announcement but are thought to be waiting in the wings include Governors Bobby Jindal and Mike Pence.
On the day of the President’s State of the Union address, a writer in The Washington Post was moved to wonder “Do we even need a State of the Union address anymore?” It is unlikely that the writer’s doubts were assuaged by the President’s performance that evening. The President assured us on the one hand that everything was really quite splendid both at home and abroad, but also insisted that our domestic tranquility requires a lengthy and expensive set of initiatives. Indeed, listening to the address, one had the feeling that it might have been titled “No Proposal Left Behind.” In fact, however, the President declined to renew many of the proposals that he had presented a year ago and which had been largely ignored by the 113th Congress. (A PBS NewsHour analysis indicated that out of 18 proposals urged in 2014, only 2 rather minor ones had been adopted.) Now that Republicans control the Senate as well as the House, and enjoy an even larger majority in the House, the President’s prospects for legislative achievements are hardly brighter. Continue reading
In the wake of the murderous assault on Charlie Hebdo and other attacks in Paris, President Obama was been robustly criticized for his failure to attend the rally of solidarity in Paris, or even to send a high level representative. We believe that the criticism was justified. Indeed, even the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, acknowledged that a mistake had been made, a remarkable admission for a White House from which mea culpas do not escape easily. Earnest, however, did not offer any credible explanation of how or why the mistake had been made. It may be plausible to claim that adequate security for the President could not be provided on short notice, but presumably the security needs of Vice President Biden could have been satisfied by the arrangements put in place for forty world leaders. And one of the more curious footnotes was the unexplained failure to attend even by Attorney General Holder who was already in Paris. Continue reading