Winners, Losers and Butters Graham

7 Aug


The Thunder Awards

clinton-NKWinner of the Week: Bill Clinton, this one was pretty easy. The former President vaulted himself back to the international stage in a convincing symbolic display. But of course it was mostly symbolic as the adminstration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former VP Al Gore did the lion’s share of behind the scenes negotiating. What President Clinton possessed was both international respect and gravitas (which the North Koreans wanted), without actually representing anything official (which is what the US needed).  

But President Clinton’s trip has taken on much broader significance and potentially reopened North Korean-US talks on the big issue of Nuclear Arms Control. This idea has partially come from North Korea’s chief nuclear arms negotiator being the first person to greet the President upon arrival, as shown in the picture to the left. Also an interesting point from the picture, note that President Clinton never smiles for photos with North Korean officials intimating through the media the gravity and seriousness of the situation; Bill brought his A game this trip.  

Loser of the Week:  I’ve thought a lot about who really lost this week and it’s one of two people. Hillary, through no fault of her own, seems to once again have content_cartoonbox_slate_combeen relegated to second tier status by her husband. It’s like the political gods want her to be involved, but to get no solid PR time of her own. Sorry Hill, but you kinda needed the photos of you not smiling next to a grinning like a fool Jim Jong Il.

Or, it could be the President. His numbers are settling where most President approvals fall, at around 50%. I think everyone knew the 60% time was crazy soft and this is just coming back to Earth…rather than a real referendum on the President’s term in office. (It’s only been 200 days people, calm the F down). Even successful stimulus initiatives like Cash for Clunkers wasn’t able to give him a boost this week because the spin has become about spending, not economic recovery or stimulation. The President’s caught in a bit of a PR mess at the moment.

That being said, he’s losing ground on the health care reform that is real and substantial, i.e. can’t be brought back via campaigning around the country. I think the President needs to start talking less and listening more. If you want to have true change, you need to start with a solid plan…not rushed legislation to satisfy the liberal wing of the Democratic party. We need health care reform. But it needs to be done right, not quickly.   

Valid Point of the Week:  “Expanding access to health care is a worthwhile goal. But equal or greater focus should be placed on containing costs for the vast majority of Americans who already have insurance. Those costs will not be contained by a massive expansion of federal programs.” – Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Finally, a Republican pointed out the real opposition to the President’s health care plan: universal access versus universal health care. Everybody is for universal health care, as it means everyone being on a health care plan and getting the coverage they deserve. One way to ensure universal health care is the Democratic plan which is concerned with care access, meaning ensuring that everyone has a plan in some form. By looking at health care as an issue of access Democrats rightly look towards a public option as a means of ensuring access. 

But another way to look at health care reform is to promote universal coverage by regulating private industry in such a fashion as to make plans affordable across the board; potentially using a public option as a safety net plan to catch a difficult to cover population. This should be the alternative Republican plan, but they seem to be satisfied with just being the opposition party…thus continuing the cycle of annoyance and inaction that is Congress. 

Comparison of the Week:Senator Linsey Graham of South Carolina and Butters. I really like Sen. Graham, I think he’s the future of the Republican party. But he does go a little butters for John McCain. Hence this week’s comparison, I’ll let you decide.



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