President Bush has “killed the Republican brand”

It’s been a bad week for Republicans

It started with the loss last weekend of the seat held for two decades by former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). It got worse when Republicans lost potentially strong challengers to Democratic senators in South Dakota and New Jersey, and failed to field anyone to oppose the reelection bid of Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

The latest blow came with the revelation that the former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had allegedly diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars — and possibly as much as $1 million — from the organization’s depleted coffers to his own bank accounts.

If Republicans needed any more evidence of how difficult this fall may be, the past week had it all, analysts said. The Illinois race demonstrated new levels of disaffection, the party’s efforts to go on offense elsewhere were thwarted by recruiting failures, and the NRCC scandal will divert campaign resources and could frighten off badly needed contributors, they said.

And where did the elephants go wrong?

“It’s no mystery,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). “You have a very unhappy electorate, which is no surprise, with oil at $108 a barrel, stocks down a few thousand points, a war in Iraq with no end in sight and a president who is still very, very unpopular. He’s just killed the Republican brand.”

Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan analyst of congressional politics, said: “The math is against them. The environment is against them. The money is against them. This is one of those cycles that if you’re a Republican strategist, you just want to go into the bomb shelter.”

Oh, there are so many snarky things I could write, but why bother? When it comes to making the GOP into a laughingstock, Republicans are doing a fine enough job on their own.

Comments

  1. 1

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    All good points, but the Dems are doing a pretty good job of fucking-up, too. All this shit with Hillary and Obama looks like a self-destructive binge to me. If those people don’t get their act together, they will lose in November to Bob Dole II.

  2. 2

    "Bulldog" Guckert spews:

    Without Republicans in charge, what’s a hard working fella to do?

    Some may laugh, but “trickle down” always worked for me!

    I’ll miss those good ‘ol days of late night oil wrestling and sleep overs at the White House.

  3. 3

    spews:

    It’s almost been as bad a week for Republicans as it has been for Obama.

    Speaking of Obama, does everyone know that his biological father fathered eight children by four different women. He also abandoned Barak and his mother when Barak was two. What a disgusting human being.

  4. 4

    Lily spews:

    The people are finally noticing that everything the goopers touch turns to shit. They’ve stopped listening to what goopers say and are looking at what they do.

    It’s going to take a long time to clean up the republics mess, but that’s what Democratic administrations do.

  5. 5

    K spews:

    Troll- So Obama is all the more impressive for rising above what was a very difficult start.

    Are you trying to imply the son is responsible for the sins of the father?

  6. 6

    YLB spews:

    3 – Gee the wingnuts couldn’t hang Obama with Wright, now they’re going for the dad.

    They are sooooooooooooo desperate!

    LMAO!!! This is a total joyride!

  7. 7

    spews:

    No, I like Obama. It’s just the more I hear about his father, the more disgusted I am by him. And yeah, I know he’s dead now.

    Getting back to the topic, things really do look bad for Republicans overall, but I still think things look good for McCain in November, especially if Obama is the nominee. Obama, I think, is the only one who can restore this nation’s reputation, but I think he’ll have a tough time beating McCain. Clinton, I think, would stand a better chance. And I think she will be the nominee. I think this Rev. Wright deal is not going to go away, and will only become more of an issue in the months to come.

  8. 8

    Luke Esser [not the real Luke Esser, FYI -Eds.] spews:

    Look Troll. Just give it up.

    This shit you guys are coming up with is weak. If you really mean business you got to bring it.

    Get us the pictures of Obama fucking a pig. Photoshop rocks!
    Go hire some toothless skank down on Cicero to swear she shot heroin with him.
    Fake up some medical records or arrest records.
    Plant some chicken porn in his airport luggage.

    I mean what the fuck? What happened to you guys, really? You were never competent at governing shit, but you really used to be able to fight dirty. Where the fuck are the Dirty-Ol’-Bastard-Republicans of yore? Have you guys really all turned queer on us?

  9. 9

    tensor spews:

    I seem to recall how we liberals issued repeated warnings: about the selection of an unelected president by his father’s appointees on the Supreme Court; about the total deference shown to this illegitimate president by the Republicans in Congress; about the relentless secrecy shown by this illegitimate president’s administration; about the administration’s abuse of 9/11 for partisan political gain; about their rush to war against a country which had not attacked us and had not threatened us; about their lies, later revealed, which fueled our war mentality; about the deification of this self-described “war president” by entire swaths of our elite media.

    Now, all of our warnings were shown to be valid, and all of the abuse heaped upon us for giving those warnings has been fully revealed as the sycophantic bloviations of stupid, opportunistic, worthless human beings. (True to form, they care much for the damage he’s done to their precious Party, and nothing for the damage he’s done to our once-great country. Patriotism, to them, is nothing more than a refuge for scoundrels.)

    I do like seeing a Republican parrot Glenn Greenwald’s line, about Bush destroying the Republican brand (“A Tragic Legacy”). Rep. Davis, your man Bush had a lot of help in his destruction of your image; to assign blame, I direct you to the nearest mirror. Have at it! (Just pretend you’re facing a disabled veteran opposing war, a tax-paying homosexual, or a woman who’s had an abortion.)

  10. 10

    spews:

    Luke, if you really think Obama would have an easy time of beating McCain, you overestimate the American voting public.

  11. 11

    Upton spews:

    Republicans needn’t worry, fascism and those that would adhere to it’s principles will be around for a long time.

  12. 12

    J. Kane'ala spews:

    Luke, I agree with Troll. Fear will control, the last thing we will see before we vote will be the Wright video, it’s fear. It’s all about electability, this is a major blow to the Dems in the general election.

    Al Gore, help us.

    Al Gore: Shove it.

  13. 13

    Daddy Love spews:

    It won’t be a bad week for Republicans every week, but we can enjoy the ones we have.

  14. 14

    Jim, (a genuine musician) spews:

    “Bad week” for Republicans? Hah!

    More like “bad generation.” Bush stink will last a very long time, kind of like when you run over a skunk. Car stinks for months.

    The Pianist
    (never operated a bagpipe assembly and never will)

  15. 15

    correctnotright spews:

    All of those Bush loving, war supporting republicans have gone underground. Where is Dori Monson droning on about the terrible threat of Sadaam and how the President has the best intelligence and who are we liberals to question it.

    The amazing thing is how many bush supporters:
    1. Won’t admit they supported bush
    2. Won’t admit they were wrong
    3. Are still hoping the failed surge that lasts forever will be their savior – even when petreus says it won’t and the american commander in the field RESIGNS!

    Between the war, gas prices and the economy no amount of republican BS will get to Obama. When clinton finally awakens to the idea she has lost – then Obama can start attacking the mirage that is John McCain. side by side debates – McCains experience will look pathetic as he tries to defend the war and just gives up on the economy.

    McCain will have to defend his lobbyist advisors, his votes for torture after saying he was against it, his war rhetoric on Iran, his numerous quotes about how “easy” the war was going to be and his close asscoiation with GWB.

    Obama will rip inot him on the war the way Clinton never could…his supposed experience will look pathetic as his judgement is shown to be questionable at best.

  16. 16

    cmiklich spews:

    Let’s see…

    Do we vote for the gal who was absolutely HUMILIATED by her wannabe pornstar husband/president but was too weak and de-feminized to leave him?

    Or the “hate-America-first” black guy who has ZERO personal moral credibility, especially in the face of the racist hate speech he has worshipped for the last 20 years?

    What a choice.

    Actually, I do support Bush as far as the War on Terrorism goes. He has done a terrible job controlling our borders. He has been horrible about controlling spending (do we really still give people money to stay home, do drugs and make babies? That should have gone out w/ LBJ!!)

    But. The economy is still decent. Everything is still plentiful (including gas, not like under Carter). Tariffs and anti-NAFTA will shut this country down worse than FDR did.

  17. 17

    correctnotright spews:

    Speaking of republicans gone bad….check out whackynation and Lou ” I think I am a scientist ’cause I read a book once” Guzzo.

    The intense cheerleading over there is for…..PCB’s and DDT. It was all a “librul” environmentalist hoax – these toxins are actually good for you and should be included as a part of a healthy breakfast! a quick look at my Toxicology text or the government toxics web site disproves pretty much every idiotic thing they write.

    Not to mention the ever-present Mark “ice cube” Gardner who thinks global warming is a hoax because ice cubes float (this was his pathetically stupid analogy of why the sea level won’t rise during the global warming that won’t happen).

    Of course, these characters have never even met the actual scientists who work on these problems – they have their own scientists who – of corse – have NEVER published in this area.

    Hint to Mark Garner: The Greenland ice cap melt alone is predicted to raise sea levels.

    Republican brand: STUPID

  18. 18

    correctnotright spews:

    Of course, the far out environmentalists who burn down houses or the UW buildings (because they were too stupid to know that the genetic research on trees was NOT genetic engineering) – just make the reasonable envoronmentalists jobs harder.

    I prefer to argue the scientific case – burning things down to protest global warming is stupid and counter-productive.

  19. 19

    correctnotright spews:

    Here is the link to Lou Guzzo and his piece on how great PCBs are and how dem “vironmentalists” are screwing everything up.

    http://www.whackynation.com/20...../#comments

    Read and enjoy! See free enterprise would bring us lots of advantages – with all the endocrine mimics our kids would be over 10 feet tall and would easily bring back the Olympics basketball title and restore our nation to greatness!

  20. 20

    Daddy Love spews:

    Wrong, Troll and JK.

    Fear worked in 2002. Fear worked in 2004 (barely). Fear was reliably trotted out again by every good Republican and it got its ass kicked in 2006.

    But, good. Run on fear again. I love how a Republican will always cling to a strategy that his ideology tells him should work even though the facts on the ground say otherwise.

  21. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    16 c

    Yes, let’s see…

    Do we vote for the woman voted among the top 100 female lawyers in America, who was in integral part of the husbad-wife combination who won the Arkansas governorship four times and the presidency twice, who has served well and ably in the US Senate for more than one term and has traveled the world extensively for political causes all of her career?

    Or the young and popular candidate who has dedicated his life to public service, particularly in inner city comminuties, smart-as-a-whip former editor of Harvard Law Review and professor of constitutional law, mover and shaker in his state legislature and voted into the US Senate overwhelmingly, who is the most charismatic and inspirational candidate on the political scene since Robert Kennedy?

    Or, we chould choose the hot-tempered, violent, unfaithful-and-twice-married, last-in-his-class failed pilot and rudderless Republican who all but bolted his party in 2000 because he was so piqued about losing the race, and who wants us in Iraq for 100 years?

    Yeah, what a choice.

    The economy is still decent.
    I like that. We are losing jobs for months on end, crude oil’s over $100/bbl (gas is “plentiful,” but can you afford it?), the entire financial services industry is going bankrupt, and economists say we’re headed for the worst recession in fifty years. Decent.

    Tariffs and anti-NAFTA will shut this country down worse than FDR did.

    Yes, we must avoid anything that would resemble taking us out of the Great Depression and into a postwar boom. That would be terrible.

  22. 22

    Daddy Love spews:

    Hey, when is John McCain going to release his tax returns? One candidate has. Oh my goodness, it’s Barack Obama.

  23. 23

    Daddy Love spews:

    The greatest humanitarian failure in the current world is not Darfur, but Iraq, where John McCain wants us to stay and keep murdering them for 100 years.

  24. 24

    Daddy Love spews:

    I suppose I should have mentioned the 2 million Iraqi refugees fleeing our violent occupation.

  25. 25

    Hannah spews:

    How long do people think it will take to restore our economy and get out of Iraq once Obama takes office? Seems like it took the last 2 years to destroy the economy (well especially this last year) so will it take only 2 years to restore it? And Iraq, how long does everyone think we will really be in there?

  26. 26

    Hannah spews:

    Actually looking at the Dow average it’s really only been dropping since Oct/Nov of just last year, after a steady climb from Sept ’02….so any hope it can regain back as much in 4 months?

  27. 27

    My Left Foot spews:

    cmiklich says @ 16:

    Let’s see…

    Do we vote for the gal who was absolutely HUMILIATED by her wannabe pornstar husband/president but was too weak and de-feminized to leave him?

    Or the “hate-America-first” black guy who has ZERO personal moral credibility, especially in the face of the racist hate speech he has worshipped for the last 20 years?

    What a choice.

    Actually, I do support Bush as far as the War on Terrorism goes. He has done a terrible job controlling our borders. He has been horrible about controlling spending (do we really still give people money to stay home, do drugs and make babies? That should have gone out w/ LBJ!!)

    But. The economy is still decent. Everything is still plentiful (including gas, not like under Carter). Tariffs and anti-NAFTA will shut this country down worse than FDR did.

    I would like some of what this guy is smoking. I am not going to comment on this delusional rambling, just copy and paste and let it speak for itself.

  28. 28

    Lily spews:

    Ooooo, a baby troll, talking about things that happened long before he was born.

    The economy is still decent. Everything is still plentiful (including gas, not like under Carter).

    The economy sucks, wages are stagnant, mortgage foreclosures have skyrocketed, and oil is $110 a barrel. It was $36 when Little Boots got into the White House.

    The oil shortage of 1973-74 was under Nixon and Ford. OPEC embargoed any oil going to the US, and Carter had nothing to do with it, since he didn’t become president until Jan. 1977.

    Carter was right that we needed to import less oil and conserve energy. That’s why he had solar panels installed on the White House. If Reagan had kept Carter’s energy plan in place, we’d be in much better shape now.

  29. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I have a couple things to say on this topic. I posted last fall that top GOP strategists have written off 2008 and are looking ahead to 2012. It’s easy to understand their recruiting problems; as the party’s financial fortunes have waned, they’ve become even more dependent on wealthy candidates who can self-finance their campaigns. But these people can’t help but worry their money will go down the tubes if the brand is so impaired that even money won’t buy House and Senate seats anymore.

    Finally, Republicans’ greatest handicap of all is they’re oblivious to the source of their self-inflicted troubles. They seem intellectually and emotionally incapable of either acknowledging that they destroyed themselves or learning anything from the experience. There’s another website I sometimes visit which is full of wingnuts who are as unreconstructed and unrepentent as ever. They won’t back off an iota from their confrontational politics or failed policies or flawed ideology; it’s business as usual for them. The most you can expect to get from them is blathering that the GOP’s troubles are all a result of liberal conspiracies. That’s why there’s no hope for the GOP, nor any possibility of a Republican recovery; the party is doomed because it lacks both the will and ability to heal itself. The gangrene of rigid neocon ideology will rot away the party’s flesh and blood until there’s nothing left of the party but bleached bones.

  30. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “All good points, but the Dems are doing a pretty good job of fucking-up, too.”

    Dems have been fucking up since the first day there was a Democratic Party; but nothing remotely approaching the scale or destruction of Republican fuck-ups.

    Democracy doesn’t produce ideal or even rational politics; it produces consistently produces the lowest common denominator of both leaders and policies. If the public believes a lie, then in a democracy that lie will govern. Every once in a while you get a Lincoln or a Truman or a Gregoire, but these exceptionally able leaders come to power despite, not because of, the democratic electoral system.

    Republicans appear to hold human nature in such low regard that they believe there’s no limit to what they can get away with if they master the black arts of misinformation and manipulating people’s emotions. Unfortunately, they are right to a considerable extent; after all that has happened over the last 60 years, it’s incredible they still have as much support as they do. That’s not a good testimony for the intelligence, maturity, education, or judgment of a substantial segment of the American voting public. The unfortunate reality that millions of people still support (and vote for) these GOP scumbags should give us sober pause. I used to believe that a Hitler movement could never happen in this country, and that Americans would never do the things the Nazis did; but I no longer believe that.

  31. 31

    Reformed republican spews:

    @26: Hannah
    It doesn’t look good for the economy. The only reason things have been going OK until now was that oil prices hadn’t gone through the roof and the housing market was still strong.

    Ther are some major problems in the economy:
    1. We don’t make anything anymore – all the jobs that make things have been outsourced.
    2. Our trade deficit is almost half our economy – and our dollar is going down the drain.
    3. Our budget deficit is bigger than many nations economy and bush has given us the new record for budget deficits – after a surplus with Clinton.
    4. We are draining even more money on Iraq – 13 billion a month (minimum) and even more will be spent helping the military recover and the soldiers recover.

  32. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 “Some may laugh, but ‘trickle down’ always worked for me!”

    I assume you’re joking and we’re supposed to laugh, so I’m laughing.

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

  33. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What makes capital so valuable that capital should get all the money and labor should be worth almost nothing?

  34. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t know the answer to #33, but I do know that America’s economic system is heavily stacked against workers. From early childhood we’re taught, “If you work hard, you’ll succeed.” That’s a goddamn lie, and always has been. Bosses take advantage of hard work by giving employees who work hard even more work. But not more money, not more responsibility, not promotions. I learned that the hard way by holding countless jobs through the 45 years I worked, and the experience was always the same: Whether you own, not how hard you work, determines how you’re treated in our economic system.

    So I became an owner! =:-D As a Stockholder, I get part of the profits, one-third the taxes, and best of all, no work! Working is for suckers and saps. Why anyone would work in a system that places value only upon owning is beyond me. I think everyone should be an Owner! I worked for 45 years to become an Owner so I don’t have to be a Worker anymore! It’s working out well for me. Of course, it would have worked out a lot better if I’d had rich relatives so I could have gotten my capital without working for it and completely tax-free! It’s hard to accumulate capital when the government takes 35% to 40% of it, and of course the Capitalists want it that way, because they don’t want Workers to become Owners. However, some people are lucky enough to be born rich. For example, a childhood friend was the only child of a sister of a childless widow of one of the Hershey brothers. Guess who ended up with the money? This guy has never worked a day in his life because he was destined to be an Owner from the day he was born. He does the same thing I do, he sits on a computer all day pushing the same money in circles in the stock market, buying and selling and rebuying and reselling the same stocks over and over, producing absolutely nothing except dividends and tax breaks. Except he’s been doing it since age 21 whereas I worked for 45 years. It just took me longer to become an Owner because nobody gave it to me and I had to work for my capital, that’s all. But the end result is the same: Now that I’m an Owner of Capital, I get more of the economy’s output and pay less of society’s taxes. If my investments pay off big, and I end up with a shitload of capital, I’ll get even more of the economy’s output and pay no taxes at all! This sucks for the Workers, and I feel it’s wrong and the system should be changed, but I didn’t create this fucked up system so I’m just going with the flow.

  35. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Mrs. Rabbit brought home a DVD copy of “Sicko” and I watched it last night. This is the first time I’ve seen this Moore documentary. It sure has a lot of eye-opening stuff in it. Above all, it definitively lays to rest the Republican lie that Canadians and Europeans hate their health care system.

    The way Moore proved this is a lie was simplicity itself. He simply went to Canada and Britain and France and asked people there what they thought of their health care system, and what they think of ours. The bottom line is none of them would trade places with us. In fact, they can’t understand why we tolerate our health care system.

    The highlight of the film is when Moore takes 3 boatloads of 9/11 rescue volunteers to Cuba for medical treatment. After getting no response from the U.S. Navy facility at Guantanamo Bay except a wailing siren, the ailing volunteers are welcomed by the Cubans with open arms and free (and effective) medical care.

    Sure, it was a stunt, but a highly effective one and Moore couldn’t have pulled it off if he had arranged it himself. He didn’t have to. Our Republican-run government did it for him. They lied about the air hazards at Ground Zero; and they denied medical help to the thousands of 9/11 volunteers who dug through the rubble with bare hands for possible survivors. Our Republican-run government took their hard work, didn’t pay them for it, and when they got sick from the asbestos and other toxins at Ground Zero that our Republican-run government insisted weren’t there, our Republican-run government tossed them aside like useless rag dolls. This wasn’t an aberration; this is how Republicans treat decent and well-meaning citizens, and they’ll do it to you every time.

    I simply don’t understand why anyone still votes for these Republican assholes. Someone must have blackmail on them.

    Moore’s film also features interviews with doctors and claims processors who received bonuses and promotions for denying policyholder claims on shaky or nonexistent grounds. “Sicko” correctly portrays American health insurance as a gigantic swindle.

    The film also tells us that a former CEO of Humana, one of the nation’s largest health-care insurers, collected over a BILLION DOLLARS in salary and bonuses. The only way Humana could do that was by defrauding their policyholders of money that was supposed to pay for medical treatment when they needed it.

    As videotaped interviews in “Sicko” with real people shows, the health insurance industry’s greed doesn’t just defraud policyholders, it kills them. Moore offers more than one example of people who literally died after being refused treatment by the insurers who took their premium money.

    The wingnut trolls who decry “socialized medicine” are sick bastards who want to continue imposing this crooked and murderous insurance scam on all of us. Never forget that, and never let them forget it. Our differences with the Republican trolls aren’t merely differences of opinion; they’re supporting and enabling people who are stealing from us and killing us. This may still be politics but it’s damned close to war and they’re the enemy. Never forget that! I sure as hell won’t.

  36. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m not so mean and coldhearted as to wish that any of the trolls here on HA doing their bit to obstruct health care reform in the U.S. should suffer the fate of the people depicted in “Sicko” who lost their homes, their savings, and even their lives because of our rapacious health insurance industry.

    I don’t have to.

    All I have to do is sit back, do nothing, and wait for it to happen. Because I know that being Republicans won’t protect them from getting financially raped by Republicans. Republican greed is boundless and grants immunity to no one, not even their own supporters and enablers. If they get sick, they will get denied treatment like everyone else, and they’ll get financially raped by the billing department like the rest of us. And they WILL get sick because of all the shit their Republican friends are spewing into the environment. It isn’t just Ground Zero that’s toxic; when Republicans run our government, the whole fucking country is toxic!

    And when it happens to them, I won’t shed a crocodile tear for them. Not one. Not because I’m a mean, coldhearted bastard — I’m not, even though they’ve got it coming. I won’t because I have no tears of any kind left. After 7 1/2 years of Republican misrule, I’ve already shed them all. Republicanism has left me so numb I can’t even cry anymore. Not even for the filthy, greedy, lying, unpatriotic, fascist scumbags who created the monster that is going to devour them, too.

  37. 37

    Rabbit Kemo Sabe spews:

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

    Your sticky keyboard’s stuck again, Rabbit.

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

    Fix the fucker.

  38. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In his documentary movie “Sicko,” Michael Moore discusses the large role played by Edgar Kaiser in creating the HMO system that is looting the middle class and killing people by denying them the medical care they paid for.

    I met Edgar Kaiser once.

    He’s dead now, and has been for years; Edgar Kaiser died in 1981. Years before, in 1968, I was at Bellingham’s airport one day when Edgar Kaiser flew in on the company jet. The Kaiser family had a nice place in the San Juan Islands, but the jet couldn’t let there, so he transferred to a small amphibious plane at the Bellingham airport, whose 6,000-foot runway could accomodate Kaiser’s Lockheed JetStar. I didn’t shake hands with him or talk with him, of course, as shmucks like me can’t get close to Great Men like him. Even in those days, they had security to make sure Workers never got within handshaking distance of Capitalists.

    In those days, the JetStar was the largest, heaviest, loudest, and most expensive private jet operated in and out of Bellingham; the other one was owned by Georgia Pacific and ferried company executives including CEO George Pamplin to the company’s pulp mill in Bellingham. In those days, the planes were still engined with turbojets (of all the bizjets on the market in ’68, only the Falcon was equipped with turbofans), and they were louder than hell. You could hear these planes all over Bellingham when they landed and took off. They were as loud as today’s F-15s at full throttle.

    How this didn’t impair the hearing of the passengers and crew is beyond me. It probably did. I had to talk kind of loud for the pilots to understand what I was saying. I told them I liked airplanes, liked to watch them take off and land (that’s why I was at the airport), and Edgar had a really impressive plane. Well, sometimes flattery gets you somewhere in this world, and that day it got me aboard Ed’s plane. They let me board, and pointed out all its features. The seats were upholstered in red leather, had fold-up tables and individual cup holders, and the cabin had an 8-track stereo system which I assume was useful only at cruising height and speed when most of the noise was behind you and passengers heard little more than the rush of air against the fuselage. They couldn’t and didn’t take me up for a spin, of course, but just being aboard the plane was a thrill in itself and I could imagine myself cruising along above the clouds at 425 knots in one of those.

    It’s a primitive plane by today’s standards, as these things go, and most of the JetStars still in service are now overseas or grounded. The FAA is implementing new altitude separation rules to cram more traffic into a fixed amount of airspace, and these rules will effectively ground what’s left of the early-generation bizjets. Retrofitting them is just too expensive, and anyway, by today’s standards these planes are too slow and fuel-hungry to operate. I don’t know where Ed’s JetStar is today, but it’s almost certain it’s either in a Third World country (owned by a dictator or an oil sheik) or, far more likely, was melted down for aluminum cans and tinfoil long ago.

    Still, it was impressive for its day. I wanted one. I could see myself living the life of Ed Kaiser or John Wayne or Red Adair. All of these guys had JetStars. I just didn’t have the bank balance to support that kind of obscene consumption in a world where children die because the health insurance their parents paid for didn’t honor the policy contract, that’s all.

    And, knowing now what role Ed played in creating the system that does that to our citizens, having been aboard his plane is almost like having been a guest on Goering’s yacht — an illicit black thrill. By the way, the last I heard, that yacht now has a Seattle owner and was berthed on Lake Union as of the early 1990s.

  39. 39

    Kemo Sabe Rabbit spews:

    “(Y)ou overestimate the American voting public.”

    No ‘Crat ever lost an election by underestimating the American voting public.

  40. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    At some point in life — quite a while ago now — I realized how you treat people matters far more in this life than what possessions you have. I outgrew my lust for airplanes and yachts years ago; all I want now is simple decency among ourselves. Which, unfortunately, remains an elusive goal. There’s still too many Republicans standing between us and simple humanity to our fellows. The Rapture will take care of that, but it’s taking too long to get here.

  41. 41

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    The economy sucks, wages are stagnant, mortgage foreclosures have skyrocketed, and oil is $110 a barrel. It was $36 when Little Boots got into the White House.

    I would take the economy of 2008 over the economy of 2000 any day. The economy of 2000 really sucked, but I can understand why you dems forgot. You donks can’t even get a news story straight from two weeks ago let alone remember something that happened eight years ago.

  42. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 “No, I like Obama. It’s just the more I hear about his father, the more disgusted I am by him. And yeah, I know he’s dead now.”

    So what? You’re father obviously was a child abuser, but I don’t judge you by that. I judge you by what YOU are.

  43. 44

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    Of course there were certain sectors of the economy that were doing great in 2000. If you were a flight instructor teaching how to take off but not land in a Boeing 757 you were making bank.

  44. 45

    We Call Him Flipper! Flipper! spews:

    Stock-flipper Rabbit sez: “Every once in a while you get a Lincoln or a Truman or a Gregoire …”

    The little bugger’s the new Mort Sahl. The new Lenny Bruce. The new improved Buchwald … improved because Buchwald’s dead and Rabbit’s more-or-less alive.

    No second acts in American life? Hell, every Pelletizer pellet is a second act, and each one comes back as farce.

    Give the little bugger a Pelletizer Prize. Or a Pulitzer.

  45. 46

    Hannah spews:

    @35 Roger…question…hasn’t our health care system been like this for decades? I remember reading many stories in the late ’90’s of people being denied care by the HMO’s. I totally agree with Michael Moore in Sicko but I find it hard to blame either party, dem or rep, for the entire mess. I think it’s been a long time coming and has been in our face for decades. We should have had universal health care done by the mid ’90’s and it’s now 2008 and still nothing.

    Although, I have neighbors from Australia, who could tell you some horror stories about universal health care. The wife couldn’t get a knee replacement, had to go on a 4 year waiting list, hence the Husband transferred jobs here to the US, within 6 months of being on company provided medical, she had her knee surgery.

  46. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Nowadays, a top-of-line corporate jet costs north of $50 million and costs thousands of dollars an hour to operate, yet there’s so many of these things they have traffic jams at the general aviation airports. I read in the papers that 81 private jets are based at Boeing Field, and I know there’s over 10,000 in the U.S. You have to take an awful lot of money from an awful lot of people to support that lifestyle, and you can bet your ass a lot of personal use is put on those planes that isn’t reported to the IRS. It’s supposed to be, because all of those planes are deducted as business expense, and personal use is taxable income under the IRS Code. So, when some CEO flies to Aspen aboard his Gulfstream Chariot for a weekend of skiing and apres ski, he’s committing tax fraud. If you try to deduct a bus fare to work on your Schedule A, they’ll throw you in jail. And Republicans want us to believe this is the greatest economic system in human history?

  47. 48

    Proletarian Stock Flipper spews:

    “I do know that America’s economic system is heavily stacked against workers.” – Vladimer Ilyich Ulyanov Rabbit

    A neocon economist said: “The Achilles heel of socialism was the inability to link the socialist goal with the provision of incentives for efficient labor and the encouragement of initiative on the part of individuals. It became clear in practice that a market provides such incentives best of all.” Who was the neocon economist?

    [] A. Uncle Milton Friedman
    [] B. Ludwig von Mises
    [] C. Friedrich Hayek
    [] D. Ronald Reagan (Eureka College economist)
    [] E. Sarah Jeglum (Dub Daily editor, whose paper has twice identified ‘Freakonomics’ as a novel)

  48. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @46 Are you for real? (No; we’ve dealt with that issue before on this blog, but I’ll skip over it for now.)

    To answer your question, no. Health insurance didn’t use to cost $1,000 a month for a couple. Health insurance companies didn’t use to deny payment on flimsy excuses. They didn’t use to refuse to sell coverage to anyone with even a slight health history. At some point in time — I thought in the ’80s but as Moore points out in “Sicko” this really started back in Ed Kaiser’s and Nixon’s time — the health insurance industry stopped insuring people and started defrauding them.

    Health insurance now consumes 25% of our health dollars while adding no value to the health care system. Their only function is making money hand-over-fist for insiders by collecting premiums and denying claims. The industry has changed from being an insurance provider to burglary.

    As has been pointed out before, you’re a wingnut stalking horse, and your assertion that Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for the mess is wingnut bullshit. This is the standard, tired, trite, and thoroughly false ploy of Republican crooks and liar: When caught with their fingers in the cookie jar, their defense is “Democrats do it, too.”

    No, they don’t.

  49. 50

    Hannah spews:

    IRS fraud by CEO’s has been going on forever! This is nothing new. Just no one in government, EVER, has cared enough to go after the big man for tax fraud, but they sure as hell will go after the little man. the fact is alot of politicians themselves, use company owned planes and vehicles, for personal use.

  50. 51

    Proletarian Stock Flipper spews:

    [] F. None of the above: Correct answer is paleo proletarian Mikhail Gorbachev

  51. 52

    Hannah spews:

    @49-so it has been going on for decades as I thought. But no one has ever decided to change it, between both reps and dems? What’s the hold up? Is someone getting paid by the big insurance devils and we as Americans just haven’t uncovered that yet? There has got to be more to this than meets the eye…somebody or a lot of somebodies are getting their palms greased by the insurance industry!

    Now I’m glad R67 was passed here in Washington.

  52. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    How to reform health care is a no-brainer. You eliminate the middleman, period. You take the 25% that insurance companies are stealing from us and use it to (a) cover the uninsured and (b) give everyone a rate cut. The sums being skimmed by the insurance crooks are so vast you can do that and still have plenty of money left over to pay doctors well and give seniors prescription benefits and long-term care. Today, that 25% is totally wasted. It delivers no care, and doesn’t make us healthier; it only makes us poorer. We don’t need to spend it. Medicare operates with administrative costs in the range of 1/2 of 1%; why should we tolerate a private, for-profit, system that charges us 50 times that much for an administrative system that refuses to pay our medical bills and forces us to lose our homes, our life savings, and even our lives?

    It’s obvious what needs to be done. The government should take over the collection of premiums and payment of bills, and the private, for-profit, Nigerian-scam health insurance industry should just go away. Just fucking disappear. No one will miss them or even notice they’re gone.

  53. 54

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    From the anti war protest at the Tacoma Mall:

    As Nathan Bowling, a Tacoma middle-school teacher leading the anti-war protest, began reading off the list of deceased soldiers, he was pelted with catcalls from George Bentley and others.

    “You will not defile their names,” yelled Bentley, a 45-year-old Navy veteran. “Defilers!”

    First of all this Middle school teacher should be on a watch list on what he says in classroom. If he says anything political… fire his ass or protest until they close the school.

    Anti war types are free to use the names of our fallen soldiers but real Americans have the right to call them for what they are…. defilers.

  54. 55

    Hannah spews:

    @53 – it does sound so damn easy…why the hell has nothing been done about this in all these insurance scamming years? My grandma whom I care for, has private (Group Death) insurance from my Grandpa’s pension (United States Postal Service) and fortunately that costs less than my health insurance (about $200/mo) But I still believe it’s a rip-off, I pay $360/mo and I see the doc maybe twice a year.

  55. 56

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    Former Army Sgt. Deondrai Ramsey, who served two tours in Iraq before being medically discharged, watched the fracas from behind the support-the-troops crowd. He said he wouldn’t begrudge the anti-war protesters if they had served in Iraq, but he suggested at the very least they should spend a month in a third-world country, to appreciate U.S.-style freedoms.

    “You know what, that’s what we fight for,” Ramsey said, pointing to the anti-war crowd. “I just ask that they respect me.”

    Any day,hour or minute you donks want the active military to elect the next president I am in… just as long as you dems are not counting them. hehehehehehe

  56. 57

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    That exchange, moments into the two-hour protest, set the stage for a bitter exchange between a group of about 40 anti-war protesters and a slightly larger group…

    This is liberal speak for there were twice as many (or more) American patriots there than scummy anti-war protesters.

  57. 58

    Edsel Rabbit spews:

    “I learned that the hard way by holding countless jobs through the 45 years …”

    No shit. Countless. You think greedy employers would have learned that Big Ears wasn’t worth the trouble.

  58. 59

    Sicko Rabbit spews:

    The doktor @53 is out. Far out.

    The insurance scam is a trifle compared to the impending doom of Medicare and Bush’s Medicare drugs.

    See open-thread comments about unfunded liabilities. Unfunded means central-planning promises made for which there are no funds. Liabilities means we’ve hit the bureaucrat-Goldycrat Bush-lite Democrat wall.

  59. 60

    Fatso Rabbit spews:

    If Rabbit and Michael Moore lost some lard, much of our health-care “crisis” would cure itself.

  60. 61

    spews:

    @53 Roger Rabbit Roger Rabbit says:

    Sorry Roger but you are way too simplistic. Reforming healthcare is not only not a “no-brainer, ” it may be in some sense impossible.

    For example, you propose eliminating the “middleman..(then) take the 25% that (goes to) the insurance companies,,,and use it to (a) cover the uninsured and (b) give everyone a rate cut.” Cutting I*nsurance Co,. overhyead is a good idea, BUT it is a one time fix to a problme that keep increasing. Even if the cut of 25% is valid (and it may be) the real porblme of inflation will remoan. Within a very few years we would be back in the same deep doo doo.

    The much harder issues ar what to do about the hUIGE costs of medical labor? Unlike almost everything else in our society, medicine is already near ots maximum efficiency in terms of the tome of Docs, Nurses, labs, etc. Moreover, many parts of the labor pool are very underpaid, including some parts of the MD pool. Our system today survives partly oin the backs of nurses aides and technicians paid worse than teachers.

    A further issue is the inevitable cost increase do to preventive medicine. The cheapest diseases to treat are the one that kill suddenly or on yut .. these are also the most preventable. The costs of prevention are sky high ANDS all they achoeve is more old and expensive patients … a luxury to our society but not to the individuals.

    Finally, our ability to address cancer and heart disease is increasing at a huge rate BUT it is also costing us more and more money .

    Bottom line, the only likely fix is a rationed system XOR a socialized one.

  61. 63

    spews:

    Roger @35

    Hope all this writing means you are feeling better?

    Sicko. like any polemic, is amixture of great truths and hyperbole.

    The Canadian system is doing fairly well … but is subsidized to some extent by the US system. E.g. they benefit from drugs whose development is funded here. Probably more importantly. our system buffers their rationing by allowing well to do folk to buy care here. Also. like many other Canadian enterprises, the health care system is subsidized by the State’s assumption of health care costs and education costs. Finally, Ca has provincial systems that vary quite a bit between them.

    The Birits are in real trouble,. They really do have a doctor drain and the system is way in the red. That said, this is a managable issue since total costs are a half of ours so there is room to improve. Still, given that 35% of our costs are blown on administration (a point you have made), the Brits would only have a cushion of 70% or so to fix their system.

    One huge difference between Canada and Britain vs the US is the cost of medical education. We charge young doctors 100,000s of dollars. This means they have huge debts and are driven to drive prices up to pay those debts.

  62. 64

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Hey mutt, don’t confuse us with dirty-ass anarchist hippie scumbags and Greenies. Patriotism INCLUDES the right to protest, and oddly enough, most soldiers I know are sympathetic to all but the zaniest protestors. I oppose the war and all the monsters who are profiting from it, But this anti-war fourth-generation Democrat would’ve given his left nut to be in Tacoma to laugh at the hippies, maybe even try to pick a fight with them.

    Goldy: yes, I called them scum. Deal with it. If you had two kids that have risked their lives in that idiotic quagmire, maybe you’d feel the way I do. If you sat and listened to your daughter-in-law as she drove herself crazy every night wondering if she’d ever see her husband again, maybe you’d feel the way I do. Honestly, I ENJOYED watching those idiots get the shit beat out of them at the Port of Olympia and the Port of Tacoma, and I’m actually kinda disappointed that the TPD didn’t wade in and thin out the shallow end of the gene pool. The right to protest does not include the right to damage public or private property, or to risk the safety of others, whether they’re shoppers at the mall or soldiers half a world away.

    And for those of you out there reading this: go ahead and protest, if that is your wont. Hold up your sign, sing your song, whatever. Better yet, make yourself useful and vote the bastards who started this out of office, then make damn sure that the people you vote to replace them have the Tyrant and his minions arrested and tried on charges of crimes agains humanity and war-profiteering! But cross that line, take up ‘direct action’ against The Man (so inefficient a weapon, so inadequately aimed, as we’ve seen time and time again, from the WTO riot to Sea Sphincters……er, Shepherd threatening my friends up in Neah Bay), and watch me cross that line. Protest all you want, but don’t you dare threaten my friends and family.

  63. 65

    Broadway Joe spews:

    BTW, great reference by Lily @ 28. Dubya as Caligula. One thought popped into my mind, though: would Malcolm McDowell play Dubya as well as he did Caligula?