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July 21, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Blue Dogs reject Obamacare

In Our Nation's Capital, the centrist-oriented Blue Dog Democrats have decided not to support the House version of President Obama's health care phased nationalization "reform" bill. Hooray for the Blue Dogs! This shows once again that the center of the political spectrum is where the action is these days. The news comes as the Mayo Clinic issued a report which calls into question the alleged cost savings.

[T]he proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite.

Also see As I keep arguing, any such long-term cost estimates are no more than rough guesses; too many contingencies come into play for such estimates to be reliable. The issue is not whether "we as a nation" will save or lose X amount of dollars under the proposed plan, but whether the various mandates and regulatory provisions would stifle consumer choice and undermine the quality of health care services.

On the other hand, I was not pleased with the comments of Sen. Jim DeMint, who said that defeating Obama's health care agenda could mark his "Waterloo," clearly relishing the prospect. See This, of course, provided an opportunity for the President to piously lament that "This isn't about me. This isn't about politics." I emphatically object to what Obama is doing, but I agree with him that the current system must be drastically overhauled. Anyone who tries to block the Obama health care juggernaut without making it clear that he or she is doing so on valid, sincere policy terms -- as opposed to crass partisan politics -- is doing a disservice to the country. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

McDonnell gets key endorsement

Bob McDonnell received the endorsement of Sheila Crump Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. She praised him for having "the right vision and the executive leadership skills that will guide Virginia through these challenging times." See This seems to confirm what Carl Tate has been arguing about McDonnell's potential appeal to African-American voters; see July 15.

On a related note, I happened to see on C-SPAN a hostile interchange on Capitol Hill. National Black Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Harry Alford was offended by Sen. Barbara Boxer's racially-tinged remarks during a Senate hearing on Friday. See the The same thing phenomenon of Democrats losing one of their "safest" constituent groups be happening at the national level.

Religion & local politics

The race for the 20th District House of Delegates seat got even weirder than before this morning, as Augusta County Supervisor Tracy Pyles (a Democrat) raised questions about Democratic candidate Erik Curren's religious views. Curren evidently considers himself a practicing Buddhist and Christian. (???) See the New Leader. Curren wrote Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today. People who display "Free Tibet!" bumper stickers may not be aware that the Dalai Lama is not a saint, and that Buddhism in Tibet has been politicized for many decades.

Full disclosure: I have seen Mr. Curren attending services in Emmanuel Episcopal Church a few times, but I have not yet spoken with him. Generally speaking, religion is a lesser factor in my choice of candidates, such as Mitt Romney (see August 2007, third item), not a decisive one. I find it unfortunate that local politics have become tangled up with religion. On theological grounds, I don't see how anyone could be considered both a Christian and a Buddhist. The two faiths have very distinctive creeds and metaphysical belief systems.

UPDATE: Here is my comment on the News Leader article cited above, referring to Curren's Web site:

I was taken aback by the news about Curren's unorthodox religious beliefs, but that wouldn't make me rule out voting for him, as long as his policy positions were reasonable. He should have known, however, that deeply traditional religious views prevail in this area, and that many people would regard his lack of full candor about his beliefs on his Web site as suspicious. Whether that irritates you or not, it's a political reality. Ironically, this comment thread reinforces my belief that religious bigotry is just as strong on the left as it is on the right.

Meanwhile, the local GOP committee chairs decided to hold a public forum to give prospective candidates for the 20th District seat an opportunity to speak up before making their decision. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 27, at Buffalo Gap High School. That story was in Sunday's News Leader.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 21 Jul 2009, 7: 36 PM

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