Home > Politics > Why am I so stressed, Mr. President?

Why am I so stressed, Mr. President?



Why am I so stressed?  I live a pretty stress free life, between all the pot I smoke and the number of times I wax the dolphin each day.  Throw in the fact that my favorite activities are golf, tennis, fishing, and laughing and playing with my kids (not necessarily in that order) and you’d think I wouldn’t have a real care in the world.  And, for the most part, I don’t.   Yet, for some odd reason, I am totally stressed out these days.

You don’t think it could be because the President that I actively helped elect last November apparently has no negotiating acumen whatsoever, and this little omission from his skills set is likely to produce a health care reform bill that will have all the teeth of my denture wearing grandmother?  Maybe it’s because I don’t know how I can afford to keep my wife and children insured when it is costing us 34% of our total income to pay the premiums.  Or, perhaps I just need to smoke and choke a bit more.  Let’s dive a little deeper into this morass.

Even I know that, when negotiating any type of deal, you must leave yourself some “wiggle room” to bargain with; and that you always start the process at a point of reference higher than you hope to finally settle at.  Apparently, Mr. Obama has forgotten this little elemental piece of Negotiating 101 doctrine.  Instead of starting with something like “Single Payor”, which would really create major reform and change for the health industry, and ending up with something like the “Public Option”, which would at the very least lower these out of control costs, he decided to start at the latter.  In effect, he is saying that the “Public Option” is the best he can hope for and will be willing to settle for something even less than that.

Unfortunately, what is now being bantered about within the bowels of Washington, D.C. is not reform at all.  It will hardly make a difference to most people struggling to make their premium payments; will not drive down costs, only slow their ascent; and, basically creates a status quo for the health insurance industry.  Two thirds of the citizens of this country are in favor of the “Public Option”, and more than half would welcome a “Single Payor” system.  But, the folks who supposedly represent us haven’t gotten that message, or just choose to ignore it.  I’m betting on the latter since the parasitic industry lobbyists running around the intestinal halls of Congress are on the tab for $14 million a day!

So, is our President really that dense, or lacking the backbone to stand up to the full-court press presented by the HMO gang.  I don’t think so … Obama is no George Bush – he actually possesses a brain and knows how to utilize it.  I also think there is more than just the starch in his shirt holding him upright.  Rather, I am convinced that the real reason he has started from such a totally weak bartering position is fear.  Fear of failure.

There is no doubt that the failure of the Clinton’s to get any healthcare bill passed during their tenure hangs over his head like a hole-ridden umbrella.  Politically, he feels he can’t afford to come away empty handed.  The funny thing is, that he could get any bill he really wanted passed, but it would compromise his myopic olive-branch pipe dream of bipartisanship.

Bipartisanship has never worked in American politics (outside of a few major crises like World War I or II) and never will.  The American voters gave the Democratic Party a pretty clear mandate last year, yet they somehow are failing to wield that mandate with any determination to get some real change going in an area that is quickly becoming this country’s next major crisis.

Fear is no place to begin any sort of negotiation.  It is a clear sign of weakness, and the folks sitting across the table from him can smell that debility like a pack of rabid Wolves.  Fear doesn’t beget change or reform.  Fear doesn’t move this country in new and enlightened directions.  Fear only will keep us in our current predicament.  Fear will assure that we remain the only western industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee quality, affordable (or even free) health coverage for all of its citizens.

At his first inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”  What I fear is that my stress level doesn’t look to be coming down anytime soon.  Oh well, guess it’s time to go spark a doob and whittle the wood.

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  1. October 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm

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