Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
So I just finished my first live chat (for the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on the topic of new business models), and one thing I learned is that before a live chat, you're suppose to prepare some canned copy that you can paste in, so the guests don't sit there waiting while you type.
And since I was invited to this chat by the great Steve Buttry, he sent me a list of possible questions in an email earlier this week. I thought they were damn fine questions, too, and since I've already answered them in preparation for the chat (which only got around to a fraction of this material), I figured I'd reconstruct it here, as an interview, for as much of an audience as cares about it.
So here's how I see the political equation around health care today:
Democrats control the White House and both legislative chambers.
Voters correctly conclude that this makes the party accountable for federal policy and governance.
Despite counting 60 senators in their caucus, the Democrats don't have 60 votes for everything the president sends their way.
This means there will have to be compromise within the party to get a health-care reform package out of the Senate.
While I'm sure there are plenty of sane Republicans out there who oppose Obama's half-measure health-care reform on pure conservative principle, the party's public campaign against the package isn't even about health care. It's about playing up dark fantasies of murderous socialist oppression being unleashed against white conservative Christian people by the shadowy armies of some terrible communist/Satanist/Nazi/minority/hippie/gay/French conspiracy.
Consequently, the goal of achieving traditional bipartatisanship on this health-care package is really just kind of a nice thought. As Paul Krugman said, these people can't be appeased.