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POLICY/POLITICS: Blogging the convention

I have cable TV for the first time and I am typing away listening to the Democratic convention on CSPAN.  In general it’s pretty dull and barely anyone is mentioning the rather large Elephant in the room of the Bush presidency and Iraq.  As this is all about bringing over the wavering swing voters in swing states, the Democrats are learning from the Republicans that you need to "stay on message" .  (For more on that you should check out John Stewart here) One of the main messages is for "health care". Clinton even said one of his achievements was that his administration "produced more health care" but didn’t say what that meant.  Overall it’s unclear what that means and when you listen to veteran Ways and Means (now no longer Chmn ) John Dingell it get less clear.  He managed to say that "1 in 3 under 65 without health insurance at some point in the year" is not acceptable. He then went on to say that "health care costs more than steel in a car"  (which has been true for at least a decade) and that that too is unacceptable. Then he went on to say that health care cost 15% of GDP and that was unacceptable.  I hope the SEIU wasn’t listening!  here eventually  I assume)

Later it’s the Governor of Arizona (a woman no less–Janet Napolitano) also spent a long time on health care. She did have a quick bit about troops overseas, but then ragged briefly on the drug companies, but soon was back in the 1990s conversation about HMOs making medical decisions.  That’s an old and increasingly irrelevant argument, at least for us wonks (although apparently Michael Moore’s next movie is about HMOs). Meanwhile she’s complaining about the increasing cost of health care. Maybe if the Democrats repeat their fuzzy message enough times, they’ll seize this issue. My question is, why did they decide this is the big issue? And why are they talking about the cost of health insurance which is somewhat alien to most people and not just focusing on the cost of drugs?  I guess it just means that if they talk about it and the Republicans don’t, they own the issue.

(Transcripts will be

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