Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS: Health Care

With the SCOTUS decision, Obama is politically in a better position since the burden of proof now lies with the Republicans -- they have to prove they have something better. The Constitutionality issue was the biggest hurdle. The GOP had successfully painted Obama's reform as contrary to the Constitution, un-American, creating doubt in his leadership (he is a Constitutional law professor after all). Removal of that doubt will peel off a small number of anti-Obamanites from the Tea Party-led herd. The Republican base will be a hotter group but also a smaller one.

Mitt Romney's "Repeal and Replace" is going to be a very hard sell because he doesn't have a workable plan. The free market can't provide health care for everyone. It can provide health care for everyone that can afford it -- damn good health care. But it can't provide health care for everyone. A free market is competitive, which means Tiffany's health care for some and pawn shop health care or none for others. That's what we have now. It's not humane; as humans, it fails to meet our expectation of compassion.

Note the emphasis on "Replace" in Mitt's new slogan. The Republican camp realizes that voters are more united on this point: a majority want health care for everyone.

As to the Obama law itself: It doesn't do a damn thing to limit drug costs. It's confusing enough that I really don't know how it will pan out for the currently uninsured -- a lot of people who labor to get health care to the poor are happy about the law, for what that's worth. Big health care corporations are way too happy.

The budget numbers being tossed around on both sides don't make a whole lot of sense -- I suspect all of them are a fiction because the reality is too complex and messy to nail down, let alone fit into a campaign speech.

But it is a first step. The president and lawmakers have established the first universal health care system. We've never done that before. Probably it will suck. Hopefully it won't suck worse than what we have now. Hopefully we can keep hammering away at it until we get it right.

But flawed as it is, I think voters are not going to want to give it up, now that they have it.

Romney will make this a central campaign platform until he realizes it's a mistake, and by then it will probably be too late.

Thus, my takeaway from the SCOTUS ruling and subsequent hoopla: Bye-bye, Mitt.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

OperaNJ in Asbury and Red Bank Jazz Cafe

OperaNJ is launching its summer season at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra members in the pit. Those two productions, H.M.S. Pinafore and Il Travotore, will be coming to Asbury Park's Paramount Theater later in July. Check out the group's website for more information.

The Jazz Arts Project presents its Summer Jazz Cafe at Two River Theatre starting 8 p.m. July 6 and 7 with the Mauricio Zottarelli Trio. Claudio Roditi is the special guest Friday and vocalist Fabiana Masili is the guest soloist Saturday. For more information check out the Jazz Arts Project website.