Krugman rounds off a good week for John Edwards


I don't know what else you could call it, but a good week. The week starts with a great Meet the Press interview in which Tim Russert lobs bomb after bomb at John Edwards and he handles them all with honest and thoughtful answers. Then, his online blogging operation is attacked by the right-wing theocons, and his response is on the money - Nuts. This earns a fair story on the front page of the New York Times today. To finish off the week, we have Krugman saying "Edwards gets it right" on health care.

If I were a candidate that had planned my next in a string of announcements this weekend, I would be worried that the news cycles are begin eaten up by good stories about John Edwards.

Just a few words about the BloggerBoating:
The NYT front-page story has a great quote from Jennifer Palmieri that I'd like to highlight (this is only in print and not online):

Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for Mr. Edwards, said he had not wanted to decide without first speaking to them personally.

We took 36 hours,” Ms. Palmieri said, “because we were dealing with people’s livelihoods and careers and reputations.

Yes, despite all the kneejerk reactions around the country and the pressure to dump or keep the bloggers from both sides, they decided to do the right thing and think about it. Now, I know we are used to having a Preznit that doesn't think, so isn't that refreshing? A candidate that actually listens to what the sides have to say, weighs his own opinion, then comes out with the perfect response:

We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.

What Krugman says...

...Mr. Edwards sets out to cover the uninsured with a combination of regulation and financial aid.... Many other people are uninsured because they simply can’t afford the cost. So the Edwards plan, again like other proposals, offers financial aid to help lower-income families buy insurance....Finally, some people try to save money by going without coverage, so if they get sick they end up in emergency rooms at public expense. Like other plans, the Edwards plan would “require all American residents to get insurance,”...

But Mr. Edwards goes two steps further.

People who don’t get insurance from their employers wouldn’t have to deal individually with insurance companies: they’d purchase insurance through “Health Markets”: government-run bodies negotiating with insurance companies on the public’s behalf. People would, in effect, be buying insurance from the government, with only the business of paying medical bills — not the function of granting insurance in the first place — outsourced to private insurers.

...As the Edwards press release points out, marketing and underwriting — the process of screening out high-risk clients — are responsible for two-thirds of insurance companies’ overhead...

Better still, “Health Markets,” the press release says, “will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare.”

What Ezra Klein has to say on the matter:

Where the Edwards' plan takes a big step forward is in mandating, along with the private options, that HMs offer "at least one plan [that] would be a public program based upon Medicare." And the intent is explicit: "Health Markets will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare, but separate and apart from it. Families and individuals will choose the plan that works best for them. This American solution will reward the sector that offers the best care at the best price. Over time, the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan."

In other words, the public sector will finally be allowed to compete with the private sector, and consumers will be able to decide which style they prefer. For Democrats, this is a significant step forward.

I'm a single-payer guy, and so this is the part of the plan that I have the most hope, and worries for. If the single-payer plan is MEDICARE, then I think we are in good shape, because Seniors play too big a role in our politics for that system to have its benefits slashed. However, if it is made as a completely different and separate government insurance plan, then I think we're screwed, because the next Republican President or Congress will make it a lousy, cheap plan that only the poor will buy into and that will lead to a two-tiered system.

We need to find someway to make sure that doesn't happen.

So, all in all, a great week for John Edwards. He announced a health care plan that anyone who is anyone has endorsed as "good", and he played the right-wing BloggerBoating just right.



posted with "crossposted at BlueNC" in the Kos article.
: )

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I don't know if it's been a good week

I was raised Catholic, and some of my intrafaith friends are none too happy about the whole thing.*/concern trolling*

But to create balance in the universe I rec'd your diary at Kos.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Ask yourself this...

would they rather have someone who pays lip service to religion, or who changed the face of the debate to more closely match this:

The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:

* Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
* Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. (Verse 4)
* Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
* Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)
* Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
* Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
* Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
* Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)

Who else was running campaigns on poverty, health care, and the poor before John Edwards did? It's easy to be the second person to say you want to fight for the poor.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

but if

Christians can vote Democrat then Republicans will lose. What kind of American are you anyway?

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

You mean....if they can vote Democratic

Don't make me come hunt you down to teach you about the proper adjectival form of Democrat.

Heh....State students.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I'd like to see that plan for the poor

If Edwards joins the Sachs/Bono bandwagon I'm going to be deeply disappointed.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Most importantly? A good plan is realistic, grassroots based

From Foreign Affairs in their review of William Easterly's The White Man's Burden:

Information and initiatives have to come from many sources, including the deprived themselves (this is why studies such as Voices of the Poor are so important), and without constant searching for what the problems are and how they can be addressed, global aid efforts end up being far less effective than they could be.

Easterly's book is sometimes too bitter and counterproductive, but it's an important rebuttal to current aid-intensive views on solving poverty. A bad plan is a complete plan that claims to solve the problem. A bad plan has too many answers and not enough questions. A bad plan overestimates its usefulness.

Easterly's review of Sachs's plan to end poverty:

The danger is that when the utopian dreams fail (as they will again), the rich-country public will get even more disillusioned about foreign aid. Sachs rightly notes that we need not worry whether the pathetic amount of current U.S. foreign aid -- little more than a 10th of a penny for every dollar of U.S. income -- is wasted. Foreign aid's prospects will brighten only if aid agencies become more accountable for results, and demonstrate to the public that some piecemeal interventions improve the lives of desperate people. So yes, do read Sachs's eloquent descriptions of poverty and his compelling ethical case for the rich to help the poor. Just say no to the Big Plan.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

They should be just as concerned about

a biggot like Donohue claiming to speak for the more than 50 million Catholics in this country when his group boasts a membership of around 350,000. If your friends excuse Donohue's biggotry simply because it isn't directed at Catholics, they have far worse personal value issues (hypocrisy) to focus on and shouldn't spend time worrying about what a couple of bloggers had to say before they were hired by Edwards.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Edwards 08

I had been uncertain as to who I would back for 08, and hadn't expected to make a decision until much later. But my hat is now in for Edwards.


I think healthcare will probably be the No. 2 issue in 08 behind Iraq/(?)Iran. I know it's extremely important in my household. Even with insurance, my Mom pays close to $500 a month for prescriptions. You shouldn't have die for lack of insurance.

Agree DJ

Rumblings on the floor and from the backalleys tell me its going to be Iraq and Healthcare. Unless we actually have to take to the streets over Iran. God forbid.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Edwards's Fine Week

It's funny that some of you guys feel differently than I do about Edwards's week. I've been a staunch backer of Edwards, and I was vindicated by his strong performance a couple of weeks ago at Wake Forest, which I attended with my wife.

Since then, I've been very disappointed by several things going on with his campaign, in this order:

First, what I would consider a mixed, at best, performance on Meet the Press. I don't think he knocked anything but the war out of the park. He continues to offer the best leadership out there on Iraq. I thought his answer on the gay marriage issue was atrocious---hiding behind his Southern Baptist upbringing while advocating equal rights. How, do you achieve equal rights without some type of insitution (civil unions or marriage) as a vehicle----my wife and I can't file our taxes as "married filing jointly" UNLESS WE ARE MARRIED!

Another bad answer on MTP was his muddled mess on healthcare---it was an ominous foreshadowing of the plan he released the next day. The plan is a mess---far be it from me to challenge the genius of Krugman, normally, but here goes:
the Edwards plan fails to address the real problem in the system, which is the profiteering resluting from current system of payment for care. While the Edwards plan admirably gives the poor SOMETHING, it really just welcomes them into our already screwed system.

Finally, the Bloggergate thing. I think he handled this as best he could, but you can't brush over this and say it didn't hurt him at least a little. These last two weeks have made me question my love for Edwards as a candidate. He's got a a lot of work to do. Fortunately, there's a lot of time left.

War is over if you want it.

A couple things.

I think that he did well on Meet the Press, considering it was the most aggressive interview I have EVER seen Tim Russert do (do you remember the interview with the President, hell he might as well have asked what his favorite color was and whether he wore boxers or briefs).

As for the health care proposal, I thought that someone over at Daily Kos had a great comment about this:

Backdoor singlepayer

That's what the GOP will call his plan--which is why should support it. Edwards is gonna be dominant on domestic issues.

by david mizner on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 10:33:45 AM EST

As for the blogger thing, there was another comment at kos, from someone who had spent the day at a rally yesterday. Not one person brought up the blogger thing, health care, Iran, Iraq - all of it, not the bloggers.

So, who cared about it? Bloggers. Did he make the right decision? They seem to think he did.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

couple things

As long as we get to single payer, I don't mind going thru the back door. I've just been upset because I don't think it matches JRE's other bold stands.

How did you feel about his mess of an answer on gay marriage? He came off as a closet-bigot, which you and I both KNOW he is not. What's he trying to do---win the Southern Baptist vote for 08, if Giuliani gets the nomination?

Actually being Southern Baptists didn't work for Clinton and Gore---they won the election but not with the SBC's help. That help came from Ross Perot.
So, I don't think being a former Baptist (I think he is a United Methodist now) will win votes from folks who despise the Democratic Party.

War is over if you want it.


I guess that's just a matter of how you define terms. I thought that he was just being honest about what he sees as a conflict between his upbringing and about what his moral sense tells him today about what is right.

closet bigot

I know he's not a bigot, and I don't think he has an internal conflict about this issue. I think he agrees with me completely (he certainly hinted at it during his roundabout answer on Meet the Press), but he won't articulate this agreement. My question is why---does he think it'll keep him from winning? Does he really think that Southern Baptists will vote for him?

I just question these things because he is SO forthright on almost everything else. And I think this issue is something that our nominee must be forthright on, because the Republican nominee will more than likely articulate a forthright, bigoted position during our national debate next year.

We can't combat anything they say with muddled, dithering, inner-conflict-oriented answers. We need to be strong, and he is capable of such strength. I

War is over if you want it.

nc churches

My sister-in-law goes to one of the Charlotte churches that just bailed on the NC convention.

Actually, it doesn't bode well. It's just another purging, just like they did in the 80s with most of the moderates. These 16 churches are all that's left.

War is over if you want it.

If the SBC

goes the way of the dodo, I won't shed a tear.

Fair and well thought out response

I plan to vote for Edwards unless someone convinces me not to and I just don't see that someone out there. He would have to really screw up a lot for me to even notice another candidate.

I am very disappointed in his stance on marriage equality. I was also raised a Southern Baptist and I was raised to believe that all people are born equal under the eyes of God and that man does not have the power to change that. End.of.story. I have no scripture to quote to support this. That's simply how my church and my parents raised me. Oh....and I think it's somewhere in that unimportant document we call The Constitution of the United States of America.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The only reason this is important is because those who oppose marriage equality always seem to give a reasoning based on religion. Our nation is "one nation under God", right? God says we're all equal in his eyes. All of us. Every single last one. Red, yellow, black, white, gay, straight, lesbian, bi, trans, jewish, catholic, baptist, methodist, muslim, buddhists, wiccans, get the picture. If you can't remove your religious views from a dicussion on government, you should at least get it right. All men and women are created equal.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I agree

I couldn't agree with you more. Like you, I've had a very hard time even noticing the other candidates, because I believe that JRE has evolved so much over the last few years. His work with the poor and downtrodden among us, both at home and abroad, is the stuff that folks usually do AFTER they are president (see Carter, Clington,and even GHWB).

That's yet another reason that his gay marriage position is so incredibly lame. I'm another SBC refugee--now a Presbyterian for the various political stances taken by Richard Land and others. Like Robert P, I think Edwards most embodies the Beatitudes out of our current crop of contenders, but I think the Sermon on the Mount applies to ALL OF US, not just those among us who have sex a certain way with certain people.

I'm distressed by his lack of clarity and vision on this and healthcare, and it's making me want to shop for somebody else. There's not really a dime's worth of difference between him and Obama on most issues. So I might have to join Team Oprah if this is how things are going to evolve in this campaign!

War is over if you want it.

It's easy being second.

I would remind you on Health Care that John Edwards was the one who brought universal health care back into our Democratic Lexicon with this appearance.

At this point, Clinton had backed away from Universal Health Care and said we needed incremental changes. NOW, everyone is for UHC, but don't forget who jumped in front of the train.

The same thing with poverty and UNIONS!!!

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

i remember seeing this

a while back and it was one of the deal closers for me in supporting Edwards.

On that stage at that podium at that conference in front of a bunch of solidly middleclass mainstream moderate Americans, he reached into the political dumpster where the free-market radicals thought they had thrown single payer health care for good,

pulled it out,

dusted it off and

put it back on the middle class table

-- in front of God, all those people, and a bunch of cameras. I was sold right then and there.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


I'm not saying at all that this one issue would change my mind about Edwards. Not at all. It's just the biggest disappointment - maybe the only disappointment. We also have to remember that the legislation would be generated in Congress. We just have to rely on him to sign it. Something tells me that if Congress were to follow the will of the people, Edwards would as well, regardless of his personal religious beliefs. I don't necessarily want to change his heart....just his mind. We can work on his heart another time.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

You are correct. He did

You are correct. He did leave the door open with "I'm not there, YET."
Now, he needs to walk through it himself, publicly.

It's about leadership.

Here's how you lead on this issue:
1--accept the religious argument that marriage is a religious institution. To do this, you eliminate courthouse marriages and only let folks get married by ministers. Some ministers (UMC, PCUSA, Episcopalians) will marry both gay and heterosexual couples; while others will not, it will be up to each church's respective choice on whom to marry. Gay couples won't try to get married at gay-unfriendly churches anyway.
2--at the courthouses (or any other govt properties where folks tie the knot), you call the ceremony a civil union, whether the parties are gay or heterosexual
That way, you don't have some kind of separate but equal garbage.

3--on all tax forms, wills, etc, you change the wording to married or member of a civil union.

You'd think a lawyer could put all this together and present it coherently.

War is over if you want it.

re: Edwards' Fine Week

I agree with your assessment, Internazionale...though, for different reasons. I think so much of this week will come back to haunt Edwards during the general election, if not during the primary.

"The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." - Robert F. Kennedy

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Healthcare and Edwards

Once again Democrats are trying a hybrid healthcare plan that does not deal with a great part of the madness. The current system (Medicare and otherwise) micromanages the cost accounting of services. And thus you get $10 aspirin tablets and other containers for huge overhead costs. A single payer plan need not operate this way. A single payer plan could be annual service agreements with individual providers (individual doctors instead of massive health bureaucracies) to provide health services for the number of patients who come in during a year. The government cuts one (or 12) checks. The providers report aggregate statistics about load, diagnoses, and outcomes to the government, which become the basis of the negotiations the next year for the annual contract. Providers then negotiate with clinic PA's, hospitals, and medical systems for any office space, equipment, and supplies that they don't want to provide on their own. The government insures (or re-insures) providers for malpractice and monitors complaints.

Less paperwork; more healthcare.

Any partial private-public system does not capture these efficiencies and consequently private savings do not necessarily offset increased taxes. Trying to mediate private sector interests is what sunk Hillarycare. It's time to do what's required, not compromise with the Chamber of Commerce. I fear that Edwards plan stops short of this.

The other necessity is to take healthcare out of the hands of employers. The day is coming very soon when healthcare screening for insurance premium impact will affect a person's chances of employment. Indeed for those in self-insured managed programs, those days are already here.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Single payer

is obviously to best way to get health care to everyone at the lowest cost. As I have recently said in another forum, I much prefer the single-payer model for universal health coverage. That said, how likely is it to happen? The insurance companies will spend tons of money fighting it. Edwards' plan, as I understand it, offers a choice between private insurance and a government plan similar to Medicare. I expect the right-wing to fight this plan, calling it a back-door to single payer, and I think they will be right about that, but if it gets us to single-payer in the end, wouldn't that be better than another failed attempt to get to single-payer through the front door? Just a thought.

Robert, this is a wonderful diary and the conversation

is just what the rest of the nation needs to be joining. I am going to copy part of it and post it up at my blog and link it back here and over at Kos if that's ok with you. Another blogger put up a diary at The Pilot stating that this was the kiss of death for Edwards, check out this post, Still won't win the south (or his hometown) I need to show the other side of the debate. (The red side seems to be soooooo closed minded!)
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions My Blog at The Pilot online

good week/good posts

I echo the comment about what a great read this has been. Very useful to come to BlueNC and have the opportunity to read this discourse. I feel very hopeful about Edwards, and also worried about the "I am not there yet" talk. It is hard to keep it all in perspective. I also wonder how much the Right has been successful in poisoning our minds about Clinton. Is it what they have done to her image or is it her? Edwards will need to be very tough in order to survive what THEY do to candidates. Clinton certainly has proven capable at withstanding the x-Boating.
Thanks for the conversation.