Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trying to keep the faith.....

This has not been a good week so far for progressives...and it's only Wednesday.

The NY State Senate decisively turned down gay marriage today, as you may know. That's a big 'ouch'----who can I boycott now? myself?? I'm not going to lose faith that this battle will be won someday, but hand me a torch and a pitchfork and I'm ready to storm the barricades in Albany, or elsewhere. What's the definition of a loser? A NY state legislator frozen into inaction by the prospect of less than $50 million in the state treasury by year's end or one who votes to affirm second class status for a key and growing minority of its citizens? Both, I'd say.

On to Afghanistan. Barack, you are a smart and thoughtful progressive, but we need to send you to Leadership 101 seminars during the holidays. I dunno---back when I was a kid, I learned that one test of true leadership is stand up for unpopular positions, based on your bedrock values and principles. Not just to split hairs to achieve the do-able. Reagan knew that one, cold, even Bush II, in all his stupidity. Barack, is there any issue on which you will face the headwinds?

Afghanistan is a bad decision on every level---- I can't conceive of any war in history in which one side pre-announces its departure date. Obama got it completely wrong about the notion of an exit strategy: it's not about time; it's about measurable outcomes.

Try this: "Our job will be effectively done when the central government controls at least 2/3 of the territory of Afghanistan and our intelligence agencies concur that 95% of the terrorist threat in the country has been eliminated." You, dear reader, fill in the blanks with your own criteria of success. But it certainly cannot be tied to a date certain. Nor, by the way, was this a good idea in Iraq.

Finally, health care reform. OK, let's give up that idea for the remainder of Obama I. We're talking health insurance reform here, plain and simple, as long as there are no significant cost control mechanisms (e.g., the public plan) or other needed structural changes (e.g., rewards for outcomes, not $$ poured into treatments and diagnostics). The Obamites blinked, and how head-shakingly ironic that the Times leads with the story that health insurance premiums will not go up as a result of health insurance reform. This is victory??? My god, what does failure look like?


On a personal note, I am declaring that the Tiger Woods scandal will in no way impact my decision to continue to make a fool of myself on the golf course. I'm not in it for celebrities; I just like spending time with my friends in the fresh air, and, of course, the shoes and outfits.

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