The Right Ronald Reagan

I am proud to be a Democrat, as I have said many times. Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the Democratic Party, at least in principle, has stood for the little guy against the big guy, even if the big guys have at times been able to get a lot of little guys to vote for the big guys’ interests.

In case you didn’t know, long before Ronald Reagan became the champion of the big guy, he was an outspoken critic of the big guy’s political protector, the Republican Party. And if you have never heard Ronald Reagan’s 1948 campaign statements supporting Democrats and criticizing, rather severely, Republicans, Lawrence O’Donnell did a great job presenting those statements on his “Rewrite” segment last night. It’s something everyone should hear:



  1. King Beauregard

     /  April 9, 2014

    God dammit, O’Donnell, you pissed me off before we could even get to the Reagan-bashing. Obama didn’t back single payer on the campaign trail; he spoke of it once before he was even running for President, but that’s not the same thing.

    You god damn hack, it’s bad enough I am cursed to wander the Internet, a broken shell of a man, trying to educate the hoi polloi of how the ACA came to be; it doesn’t help that a guy like you, who should know better, either never bothered to get informed or are giving in to a sound bite that you know your audience will eat up.

    And for the record, because people don’t know it or don’t want to know it: the House Democrats passed a version of the ACA that included a Medicare buy-in public option. The Senate Democrats tried to do the same, but even with all 58 Democrats plus Bernie Sanders in support, they couldn’t find a crucial 60th vote, which would have had to come from either one of the Republicans or Joe Lieberman. Be disappointed in the ACA all you want, but at least be clear on why you didn’t get a public option: it wasn’t for lack of support among the Democrats, it was because there weren’t enough Democrats, period.

    This is not to say that the ACA doesn’t have a workaround: individual states can build their own competing plans, provided they meet the coverage objectives of the ACA. Several states are already working on single payer plans, and naturally, “Progressives” are bitching that they’re not good enough. Give these people a pony and they bitch that it’s not a unicorn; give them a unicorn and they bitch that it doesn’t fly.


    • I admire your tenacity, my friend. We have had many discussions on the matter and I admit you have moved me some distance away from my original point, which was similar to O’Donnell’s.

      I am so sorry you are cursed to wonder the ‘net, a broken shell of a man, trying to educate the rest of us as to how we came to have such a profit-loving health reform law like ObamaCare, but goddammit, someone has to do it. 

      For the record, I like Lawrence O’Donnell, if only because there is no one like him on TV. And I would think you would like him, too, because he often criticizes liberals for complaining that they aren’t getting enough from Obama and the Democrats. O’Donnell, who used to work in the U.S. Senate, knows the reality of the situation and often tries to explain it to disgruntled liberals. Give him another look in between your broken wanderings, will ya?



      • King Beauregard

         /  April 16, 2014

        The ACA doesn’t love profit all that much, you know; the ACA caps profits, and it’s very careful about how to cap them so as to prevent chicanery. 80%-85% of all premiums collected have to go to paying medical bills or be refunded to policy holders (this has actually happened); the remaining 15%-20% then goes to rent, utilities, salaries, supplies, advertising, and finally profits. If an insurance company wants to double its profits it can’t do so by not paying claims, it has to do so by covering twice as many people and then paying twice as many claims. I don’t have a problem with that!

        Does that still offer too high a profit margin for insurance companies? Probably, by your standards and mine. But I’m less focused on that than the medical coverage end of things — people being able to see the damn doctor is a positive that far outweighs the (in)efficiency of the system. If someone asks “should people be able to see the doctor when they’re sick or injured?” my answer is not “yes but only if insurance companies aren’t profiting”. To me that feels a lot like when folks push for Draconian cuts in Medicaid to make sure nobody’s scamming the system — inefficiency happens, work against it where you can but don’t obsess over it.


        • Agreed. I think it is safe to say that the ACA is not the future, for the reason you mention: the profit motive is at least being subordinated, which is a damned good start! Eventually there will be a Medicare-like system for all and then we can completely focus on “the medical coverage end of things” without worrying about any percentage dedicated to profit-making. Good points all, my friend.


  2. Thanks for the history slice, Duane. I agree with Tip O’neal, it was clearly Reagan who changed and not the Democratic Party, and that leaves a disturbing impression: it is entirely possible that Ronald Reagan wasn’t actually being president, he was playing a role. Ouch.

    Mollie and I have just begun watching “House of Cards”, season 1, on DVD. That marvelously creative show shows the same thing about the art of politics as it has evolved in Washington. The successful politician almost never speaks (or writes) extemporaneously but always in a structured way according to plan. The mystery is, how much of the plan is designed for special interests and not for the welfare of the people?

    KB’s comment is instructive regarding the ACA’s history. I wasn’t engaged in political detail in those days. It sounds like fantasy that some individual states might actually enact their own single-payer plans but if that happened, I’m thinking it could shift population demographics.


    • King Beauregard

       /  April 11, 2014

      You would do well to picture me as a bitter little gnome of a man, hunched over his keyboard, at any given moment yelling at his screen because some other guy doesn’t understand how reconciliation works.


    • I have watched part of Season 1 so far. I like the show but I’m afraid it only contributes to the notion that all politicians are calculating and interested only in their own advancement and don’t much give a damn about the public interest. Perhaps I’m naive, but I think there are some who really do get into politics in order to contribute to the betterment of average folks’ lives. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren come to mind, not to mention Barack Obama.


      • Good point, Duane, about Brown and Warren. Frankly (pun intended), given the intensity of the personal attacks of the right and especially those from the radio nuts, it’s a mystery to me how Barack Obama maintains his composure. But he does. His skin is not only browner than mine, it’s thicker.


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