Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tell me again which side is crazy

I can’t claim to be totally objective but I’ve gotta say that Harry Reid sounds like a vicious lunatic:

DANA BASH: You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials. The House is presumably going to pass a bill that funds at least the NIH. Given what you’ve said, will you at least pass that? And if not, aren’t you playing the same political games that Republicans are?

HARRY REID: Listen, Sen. Durbin explained that very well, and he did it here, did it on the floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer. What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.

BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?

REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.

while Eric Cantor sounds like a reasonable man - or at least a reasonable politician:

... over the next several days the House will pass bills to:

1. Reopen the NIH and ensure that all patients have access to clinical trials (passed 254 to 171 with the support of 25 Democrats) [snip]

These sweet-heart deals where the law [Obamacare] applies to some but not others; where unions, politicians,  and big business get special breaks but working middle-class families and small businesses are left to suffer is unacceptable.


E Hines said...

In fairness to Reid (whom I intensely dislike, so I'm at pains to try to be fair), I've listened to that tape a number of times. It seems clear to me that what was in his mind as he was uttering those words was closer to why would he want to support another House shenanigan than it was to the literal meaning of he said out loud. This also was evidenced by his calling Bash irresponsible for even asking the question.

A skilled and experienced politician certainly should have known better, but he was tired and letting his frustration and anger get the better of him.

On the other hand, there's this in summary from an upcoming post of mine. Last week the House passed a CR that funded the government for a couple of months and it included an amendment that was, essentially, the McClintock-Toomey (failed in the Senate) bill (which the House had passed in stand-alone last May, only for it to disappear into the Reid black hole) that required the government to pay the interest and principle due on the national debt first, ahead of any other spending, in the event of a govenrment shutdown.

Obama said doing that was unwise, unworkable, and unacceptably risky, and Reid, in his subtly racist way called it the Pay China First Act and stripped it out of the bill.

That isn't, of necessity, crazy, but it is wholly irresponsible.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

Oh, I knew what he meant: Why would I give an inch when the House is grand-standing? He's still a vicious lunatic. He's so sunk in his anger, hatred, political games, need to win, whatever it is that he's cruel and he's nuts.

Analogy: Man and woman get married, have a child. When the kid is 12, they get divorced. Parent A gets custody; Parent B gets visitation and is to pay child custody.

Parent B pays all child support and shows up for all the visitation granted and even asks for some extra for special events. Then Parent B stops paying child support while continuing to show up for all visitation and ask for extra. Eventually, Parent A gets mad about the money, goes to court, argues the lack of child support means Parent B shouldn't see the kid. Court agrees, visits with Parent B stop.

Kid goes into a decline: grades drop, truancy goes up, signs of depression, gets into fights, shoplifting, finally caught at school with a fifth of liquor kid stole from Parent A's liquor cabinet. School shrink talks to kid, finds out kid is miserable and angry about not seeing Parent B.

Counselor calls in Parent A, explains source of kid's problems, suggests Parent A let kid see Parent B so kid can get back to being happy, healthy kid. Parent A replies:

Why would I want to do that? I've got financial problems because of that lost child support.

Parent A doesn't mean "I want my kid to be a wreck"; Parent A means "I don't want to lose some leverage I can use to force my lousy ex-spouse to pay up." Understandable but Parent A is still a vicious lunatic - maybe not always but at this point over this issue. Parent A is so caught up in anger, hatred, fear, righteous indignation that s/he can't even hear the question asked, can't see his/her own child, can't move off his/her position even long enough to consider what the kid needs.

That's cruel and that's crazy. You don't let your own kid fall apart to get the money the court says your ex-spouse owes you, no matter how much leverage you're giving up and no matter how much you think you have right on your side.

And you don't let little kids die of cancer in order to hold your opponents feet to the fire when you can prevent it easily, no matter how much leverage is involved and no matter how right you think you are about the larger issue.

E Hines said...

Parent A also could mean "I don't want my kid in contact with a wholly dishonest, yet influentially powerful, adult like this pseudo-parent who won't honor this obligation. Yes, my kid is suffering from that lack of contact, but how much more would he suffer from learning utterly despicable, dishonest habits from this person?"

Parent Reid could be meaning "If we spend all our limited resources helping this one kid, how many others, children or adult, will we be killing from lack of resources? If I accept this House deal, we'll be consigned to exactly that lack."

Unlikely, certainly to be in Reid's mind. Vicious--probably. Lunatic--probably. Tired, bitter old man--almost certainly. Clinging desperately to his Progressivism and his status--almost certainly.

But none of it is proven.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

Well, I disagree with your logic on the Parent A issue.

As for Reid, there's nothing in funding the NIH that precludes funding other specific areas he believes are crucial. Even if there was, this is a known, immediate need and there is not assurance that failing to fulfill it will hasten the end of the shutdown.

E Hines said...

Ever dealt with divorced parents and their kids? I have, in just such a circumstance; although not with such catastrophic outcomes.

There are more facilities than just NIH that are concerned with the safety of people. Holding out for a more complete solution is completely logical to a Progressive mind. Doesn't, of necessity, make that mind vicious or lunatic, although it is a serious error.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

No matter how feckless or irresponsible Parent B is, he or she is still the kid's parent. Kids love their parents. Unless a parent is physically or emotionally abusive, the kid is going to want to see Parent B.

Parent A is choosing to inflict real, known, clear harm on the kid in hopes of warding off possible harm. A more sensible approach is to mitigate the real harm - which can be done quite easily - and work to mitigate the potential harm.

Similarly, the solution is to fund NIH, therefore mitigating the real, known, clear harm and work to mitigate other possible harm, presumably through funding other areas that are equally a matter of life and death in the short term.

Let's say we know that if the Democrats agree to fund NIH, the shutdown will last 30 days. If the Democrats refuse to fund NIH, the shutdown will last 20 days. How many deaths from the non-funding of NIH are acceptable to obtain that 10-day improvement?

E Hines said...

You'll have to ask the survivors of those who died during that improvement.

More directly, how many deaths are you (or Reid and Obama) willing to allow in order to avoid one? Or two?

Either way, it's a bit of a Sophie's Choice, and I'm unwilling to label someone a vicious lunatic because he chooses differently than me.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

As so often happens, I've let myself become side-tracked, mostly by my own analogy. So.

If Reid said:

Why would we want to do that? Saving X dying children by re-funding NIH would unquestionably [through some mechanism I cannot imagine] result in the deaths of X+Y (where Y is a positive number) children. That's irresponsible and reckless.

I would perhaps agree with him (although I would still want to know why we couldn't save both sets of children).

If Reid said:

Why would we want to do that? Saving X dying children by re-funding NIH means the shutdown will drag on and that will result in even more deaths. That's irresponsible and reckless.

I would still think he was wrong not to fund NIH but understand his reasoning.

But what Reid said was:

Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own.

I can only imagine how scary it must be to be one of those 1100 people not getting a paycheck. But you have to be very cruel and/or kinda nuts to think it's worth killing someone to get them back to work sooner rather than later.

E Hines said...

On all of that, I agree with you (is it the apocalypse?). As to what he actually said out loud, it's necessary to know both the antecedents to his remarks and what was in his head tying those to his remarks.

That's what I don't know (and in particular, I don't know that the reasonings you posited more clearly than I did weren't exactly what he was thinking as he spoke out loud), and that's why I'm unable to label him a vicious lunatic, even though I think, based on the body of his he's despicable and separately a tired, bitter old man who's exhausted his usefulness.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

It probably is the apocalypse.

I'll just point out that I didn't "label him a vicious lunatic"; I said he sounded like one. Hence the title of my post.

E Hines said...

Sounds like, label--don't quibble. Besides, all I said was that I was unwilling/unable to label him that. I never said you did.


Eric Hines

Elise said...

Well, the distinction is important for my point. Besides, I live to quibble.