Barack Obama’s Victory Speech in South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is an important address and worth the time. I am very proud of South Carolina for voting for John McCain and Barack Obama on the last two Saturdays.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

Posted January 27, 2008 at 4:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Words Matter wrote:

As an orator, he whips McCain coming and going. I don’t agree with his politics and won’t, therefore, vote for him, but man, can he preach! grin

January 27, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
2. Bob from Boone wrote:

Joe Scarborough said on MSNBC that after the vote and Obama’s speech his blackberry lit up with messages from Republicans, he repeated, from Republicans! expressing their admiration for Obama. They also are citizens tired of the polemic, division and political water-treading, and are responding to someone who inspires one to think it is possible to change all that. I believe so too. The whole country is hungry for it.

January 27, 6:47 pm | [comment link]
3. Id rather not say wrote:

Only two things stand in the way of an Obama presidency:

1 - Hillary.

2 - John McCain.

As for 1, well, you never know in politics, but recent developments lead me to believe that The Return of the Clintons is not coming to a theater near you soon.  That the Clinton campaign would try to turn Michigan and Florida into real contests gives off more than a whiff of desperation.

As for 2, the Republicans seem determined to imitate the Democrats this year—pick a weaker candidate (in this case, Romney) for the sake of ideological purity.  Nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change.

I’m still not an Obama enthusiast, and I doubt I ever will be, but I’ll admit it’s getting harder to resist.

January 27, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
4. Christopher Johnson wrote:

It’s a walk in the park for me to resist.  A slick radical is still a radical.  And anyone who is impressed just because a slick radical can give a good speech shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

January 27, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
5. Ad Orientem wrote:

Obama is by far the most exciting candidate out there.  But alas, he and his party are married to the abortionists and that is a deal breaker for me.  If McCain gets the nomination I will probably vote for him in the general election.  If it’s Romney I will just stay home and rent a movie.

If only Hamilton had lived…

January 27, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
6. Toral1 wrote:

It was a quite impressive speech, and I watched it live and watched it again to review it before I saw this post.

What impressed me more was the electricity and elation in the audience before the speech, displayed as CNN went to their reporters in the 45 or minutes or so before Sen. Obama spoke, with the crowd as a background.  I know that audiences consisting of supporters of a candidate winning by a landslide are normally very happy.  But the electricity in that crowd *before* Sen. Obama spoke was something I don’t think I have seen for a very long time.

January 27, 7:43 pm | [comment link]
7. Oldman wrote:

If I had to pick a Democrat candidate to vote for, Obama would be my choice by far. The problem is in the way Congress works. If it is a Republican Congress or is split, it would keep the radical Democrats like Pelosi and Reid from running wild and Obama might make a pretty good, though left leaning president. However, if the Democrats control both Houses of Congress, Lord help the country if either Obama or Hillary were elected president.  At least Obama has far more principles than Hillary who is a Tamany Hall type politician.

# 5, Good point, I’ll have to think about that!

January 27, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
8. Chris Molter wrote:

I don’t think any Dem candidate in recent memory has been so gung-ho about sticking scissors into infants’ brains, dismembering them and sucking the body parts out of the mother’s womb.  So no, I’m not really too thrilled at the prospect of a President Obama, and neither should any Christian.

January 27, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
9. bob carlton wrote:

What a powerful speech that a person who understands the cynical nature of the status quo.

Long before his pres run. Obama gave a powerful speech ( in front of faith activist.  I urge you to read it.

January 27, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
10. Carolina Anglican wrote:

#8’s comments refer to actions that undermine his platitudes…the same can be said for Sen. Clinton and John Edwards.  There are also enough actions by Sen McCain that makes his words on the campaign trail suspect at least.  He acts as if he hasn’t been in Wash. as a Senator for the past years.  He has helped create the problems he pretends to offer solutions for now.

January 27, 8:34 pm | [comment link]
11. libraryjim wrote:

I can’t get excited about ANY of the Democratic candidates
Unfortunately, I can’t get excited about McCain, either, because of his alliances with Democrats over the years that would seriously hinder national security and our own freedoms.  Not to mention his betrayal of the Republican party by forming the ‘gang of 14’ which hindered serious Republican bills from passing.

January 27, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
12. hrsn wrote:

#8: I’m a Christian and I rather incline towards Sen. Obama.
Has your head exploded?

January 27, 8:37 pm | [comment link]
13. Branford wrote:

Actuallym #12m it’s the partial birth abortion babies whose heads have exploded, not to put too fine a point on it. And Obama is completely in agreement with that.

January 27, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
14. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Politics is the art of the possible.  You have to decide on what is available.  It is part of our creatureliness that we seek to avoid at our peril.

January 27, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 14
Not sure if that was a lukewarm endorsement of Obama.  I do find him rather likable.  But there are some moral absolutes in my book.  And any candidate who supports a constitutional right for a mother to kill her children at will just because they have not been born yet will under no circumstances get my vote.

If only Hamilton had lived…

January 27, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
16. DonGander wrote:

I wish Herbert Hoover was still alive.

I would leave the statement to stand alone except no one would understand my meaning.

Yes, “Politics is the art of the possible” but statesmanship is the art of the vision of the probable. My parents lived through a long-extended fiscal depression and a world war while polititians searched for the possible. How I long to vote for a statesman.

January 27, 9:18 pm | [comment link]
17. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I am not endorsing anyone as that is not my wont.  As an independent anyway, I tend to avoid such things.  But i do think that *given all the limitations and in spite of many problems with them as individuals and their positions* McCain and Obama are the best candidates running this year in each party.

We’ll see for whom the parties go later this year.

January 27, 9:50 pm | [comment link]
18. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Excuse me, but if you listen to that speech Obama didn’t, actually, you know say anything. Nothing substantive. Empty, feel-good puffery. Political candy floss, and definitely, well, PINK.

January 27, 9:50 pm | [comment link]
19. Connecticutian wrote:

Politics is the art of the possible, true enough.  But we’re still in the stage where we have a slight opportunity, perhaps even duty, to let it be known that we are fairly well disappointed in the whole lot of them.  The parties need to hear the message that we find each candidate deeply flawed, for various reasons.

Whatever happened to that movement a couple of years ago to allow a “None of the Above” entry on the ballot?  If “NOTA” won, there would have to be another try.  I’m all for that option!

January 27, 9:59 pm | [comment link]
20. NewTrollObserver wrote:

You’re watching the Tiger Woods of politics.

January 27, 10:13 pm | [comment link]
21. Hal wrote:

Right on #18.  Thanks for pointing out that Obama last night—-and thus far—-has yet to say anything other than we should all be happy, united, hopeful, and non-partisan.  It’s cute, but the power of positive thinking ain’t gonna solve our problems in Iraq, revive our economy, help people get health care, etc, etc, etc.

Count me still not convinced.

January 28, 12:36 am | [comment link]
22. Words Matter wrote:

I’ve been thinking about that teacher with a second job since I heard the speech live Saturday night. When I was a kid, my dad worked 3 jobs and mother worked part-time as well.  They had 3 kids, later 4, and somehow we all managed to make it to productive adulthood and stay out of prison.

Is it really critical to “fix” the problem of that teacher having a second job? If it is, is it the job of the president of the United States to fix it?

January 28, 12:56 am | [comment link]
23. Id rather not say wrote:

#‘s 18 and 21,

In his speech, Obama metioned withdrawing from Iraq; national health care; college affordability; ending tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas; and several other things.

What were you expecting in a 15 minute victory speech, a PowerPoint presentation on ending earmarks or expanding I-95?  You want details, read the literature or hope that Tim Russert is having a good day and doesn’t lob softballs.

January 28, 1:05 am | [comment link]
24. The Duke wrote:

Abortion is an important issue.  But so is EVERY issue that undermines the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.  That includes war, poverty, healthcare, capital punishment and ‘free-for-all’ firearms.
I wonder which is higher: the number of unborn babies saved as a direct result of policies implemented during the 7 years of GW Bush’s presidency, or the number humans (of whatever age and nationality) who have died as a direct result of his policies.  I suspect that, even though he is nominally ‘pro-life’, the latter is much higher than the former.
So, Obama and Clinton are ‘pro-choice’.  That is a great shame (to understate it).  But I suspect that when we consider ALL policies that impinge upon the sanctity of life, their ledgers would be in credit after 7 years of their hypothetical presidencies.

January 28, 9:02 am | [comment link]
25. Words Matter wrote:

3500 to 4000 babies are torn out of their mother’s wombs every day in the U.S.  Isn’t that about the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq? If they are not human beings, then why is being pro-choice a “shame”? If they are human beings, why do we tolerate in law what can only be considered mass murder? If 3500 people died in car crashes daily, or in floods, or, for that matter, in war, we would be screaming for the government to “do something”. 

Justice issues - poverty, healthcare, capital punishment, and even war, don’t matter a damn if you’re dead. But… oh, wait… you aren’t dead, are you? It’s not us, the powerful, but the helpless, voiceless, and innocent that are having the skulls punctured, their brains suctioned out, and their skulls crushed. It’s them, not us being torn apart and suctioned out of their mother’s womb. I suspect that your “suspicions” are grounded more in political animus than actual facts, Duke.  Which is a poor basis for justifying legal protection for the murder of 3500 + human beings a day.

Of course, if the fetus isn’t a human person, it doesn’t matter.

January 28, 10:45 am | [comment link]
26. KAR wrote:

It is a shrewed use of technology, this is the first political victory speech I ever watched.

January 28, 10:53 am | [comment link]
27. Sarah1 wrote:

As a conservative, of course, any candidate on the national level from the party of the Democrats is easy for me to resist.

And as a conservative, if McCain gets the nomination I will probably search for a third-party candidate.  If it’s Romney I will vote for him with joy and gladness.  I personally don’t believe that any Repub candidate will win, and that is completely that party’s fault.

January 28, 10:53 am | [comment link]
28. libraryjim wrote:

We vote tomorrow.  Pray for us in Florida! LOL

January 28, 11:46 am | [comment link]
29. cwilliam wrote:

I understand that some will not vote for Obama based on ideology. I happen to be pro-life (believe that abortion is universally wrong) and support Obama. Perhaps I’m being overly pragmatic, but here is my justification:

1. Abortion rates have declined steadily since 1980, but declined at their highest rates from 1990-1996 - yes, they declined faster during the Clinton administration than W.

2. The majority of women getting abortions are very low income. In my mind, the better the country supports the poor, the less abortions that happen.

3. The overturning of Roe is not going to happen any time soon. I think people need to think rationally about what is actually going to cause abortion rates to decrease if they care about protecting life. The answer is: support the poor, support education. I really believe that these are things that a president can actually accomplish.

Sorry for the long post…feel free to check my sources:

January 28, 12:04 pm | [comment link]
30. gdb in central Texas wrote:

Dear IRNS,
Withdrawing from Iraq - platitudes to the left, wrongheaded and setting us up for another 30 years of terrorism
National healthcare - platitudes to senior citizens, an idea whose time is past and which both theoretically and empirically empty
College affordability - platitudes to young leftists and liberal arts professors, partially a result of Sallie Mae policies
Ending tax breaks for corps that send jobs overseas - just what we need, more disincentives for companies to invest here; Michigan needs to ask why foreign manufacturers are investing in Alabama, Texas, Kentucky and the Carolinas rather

Yes, Obama is a platitude machine, and a dangerous demagogue to boot.

January 28, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
31. Chris Molter wrote:

Obama voted “no” on the “Born Alive Act” three times.  Which means to him. a baby born alive as a result of a botched abortion is not a “person”.  (I kept thinking tongue-in-cheek if he’d vote yes if the bill said they were 3/5ths of a person)

I’m sorry, but that’s monstrous and demonstrates that this man has such a skewed moral compass that no Christian ought to support him, no matter what you think of his other policies.

January 28, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
32. Katherine wrote:

We’ve been pouring money into supporting and educating the poor for a generation and more.  We don’t have “poor” in this country to any extent as genuine poverty is defined, that is, absolute lack of shelter, food, clothing, the basics.  We have relative poverty which is like a fairly comfortable existence in many of the really poor countries.

I think abortion in the U.S. comes from poverty of spirit.

January 28, 3:15 pm | [comment link]
33. libraryjim wrote:

Margaret Sanger started Planned Parenthood in an effort to control the numbers of births in the underclass and lower the numbers ‘inferior races’ being born (this was back when eugenics was the leading scientific theory on race).  From your comments, it sounds as if you approve!

(No, I’m not giving sources, as I used to tell my students, please feel free to look it up for yourself.)

January 28, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
34. Id rather not say wrote:

#30 gdb,

Of course they were platitudes.  That was my point.  Victory speeches aren’t policy speeches.  Platitudes are what’s needed.

The more interesting question is, did Obama make those platitudes sound like more than, well, just platitudes?  Some speakers can do that.  Ronald Reagan, whom I despised, could do that.  JFK could do that.  FDR could do that.  Once in a blue moon Bill Clinton could do that.  Jimmy Carter, whom I liked, was terrrible at it, one of the worst public speakers to ever sit in the Oval Office—he could make the Sermon on the Mount sound like platitudes.  W is mediocre at best.

Obama does it.  It’s a gift, hard to quantify, a combination of just the right choice of words and intonation.  It’s what every good preacher wishes he had.  And, btw, Hillary ain’t got it.

January 28, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
35. John Wilkins wrote:


I’m ambivalent about Obama, but Christopher Johnson is right.  He’s a radical.  so was Reagan.  And he is slick.  Of course, it doesn’t bother me.

Some of us think that we’ve been ruled by radicals for the last 8 years anyway.

Obama, however, had a model in Harold Washington:  someone who knew politics and beat his opponents by being smarter, more truthful and… more fair.  CJ will bring up Pastor Wright, but if he understood black politics in Chicago, he’d recognize that it is the main church for the black upper and middle class.  He can’t be blamed for that.

Decreasing medical abortions will happen when people get good education and access to all the choices.  When men work, and women have lots of contraceptives available, abortions will become less frequent.  And it is a lot cheaper than criminalizing women for murder.  That would get enormously expensive.  And I’d rather just pay women to have children then pay for the state to send them to jail.

Katherine, poverty is a relative term.  Transport someone from India into the US, and they will live better.  People do not compare themselves to people living half-way across the world.  They compare themselves to people living around them.  Further lots of people who make more than $150,000 consider themselves “middle class” and don’t think they make all that much money.

It is still a crime that people in this country are hungry and illiterate when we are the richest country in the world. 

Words Matter, wouldn’t it have been better if families could have parents be present?  As a country, we could make better economic choices than say that some people deserve to make $4 million dollars a year while your family deserve to live with parents having two jobs.

January 28, 5:05 pm | [comment link]
36. Id rather not say wrote:

Sorry to disagree, but I must object to the description of Obama as “radical.”

Radical?  National health care?  The goal of every Democratic President for 60 years.  Obama and Clinton want to do for America what Mitt Romney did for Massachusetts (and is now running away from).

Radical?  Iraq?  Ask Ron Paul, or Pat Buchanan (real radicals), or members of the commentariat such as (the obnoxious) Chris Matthews or Tucker Carlson.

Slick?  Eye of the beholder.  One man’s slick is another man’s gifted orator.  Plenty of people (like me) thought Ronald Reagan was slick. 

Sorry, but the kind of hyperbole that calls a mainstream politician “radical” is exactly the sort of thing that Obama is justly complaining about.  Not that that will stop the Republicans, no matter which Democrat is nominated.

January 28, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
37. libraryjim wrote:

please disregard my post #33.  I misread your message, and thought you were saying you thought abortion was not an issue because most of those having abortions are poor rather than well-off.  Obviously you were not saying that.
my apologies.
Jim Elliott

January 28, 5:49 pm | [comment link]
38. talithajd wrote:

This is the second time in only a few days someone has commented that there is no real poverty in America.  I would invite you to come to Alabama.  I will assure you that I can introduce you to truly impoverished people: communities of more that 40% illiterate; no indoor plumbing; no medical care; mal-nourished; etc.  We still have plenty of real, honest-to-God poverty in America.  And don’t get me started on the working poor!!!

There are two ways to close down abortion clinics: outlaw them and shut down demand.  One of those ways is one which a president can impact in the very short term, as the 1st Clinton admin demonstrated.  I want a president who cares about life in all its stages.  I’m pretty close to deciding Obama is my man.

Plus, on a purely emotional level, I saw him speak at a rally in Columbia, SC last week and I have to say: Wow!  Goosebumps, seriously!

January 28, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
39. bob carlton wrote:


it is disturbing to see someone suggest there is no poverty in the U.S.  The U.S. government reports that in 2006, 36.5 million people were in poverty.  Those under the age of 18 were the most likely to be impoverished. In 2001 the poverty rate for minors in the United States was the highest in the industrialized world, with 14.8% of all minors and 30% of African American minors living below the poverty threshold. Moreover, the standard of living for those in the bottom 10% was lower in the U.S. than in any other developed nation except the United Kingdom, which had the lowest standard of living for impoverished children.

January 28, 7:23 pm | [comment link]
40. libraryjim wrote:

While I would agree that it is foolish to suggest there is no poverty in America (I worked for a month at Jesus People USA in Chicago, an inner-city mission; and another time for two weeks with GlenMary Missionaries in Vanceburg KY, and I saw some very real poverty in both places), It has to be said that the Government data has serious flaws in their numbers, exaggerating the findings way out of porportion.  I don’t have all the details, but they should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Jim E. <><

January 28, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
41. bob carlton wrote:


I suspect that people tracking any data (from poverty to pregnancies to ASA) make some mistakes.  That said, America trails most other develoed countries in the level of poverty we have & the gap between poor & rich.

Back to topic, this is an area that Obama worked on as a community organizer in Chicago, coordinating with faith groups in some of the toughest areas of the Midwest in terms of poverty.

January 28, 7:49 pm | [comment link]
42. physician without health wrote:

I fully endorse the comments of talithajd and others re: poverty.  Anyone who doubts that there is real poverty in America is invited to visit me at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, and I will show you.  And yes, there are parts of Alabama where I have seen poverty comparable to what I have seen in rural Mexico.
I also endorse the comments of talithajd re: abortion.  The procedure is brutal and I would like to see it stopped.  The reality is that Roe is not going to get overturned no matter who is the President, and I too would like to see demand reduced.  First thing is to help women who are pregnant keep their babies.  Second is for all of us to get out there and spread the Gospel to the unreached, praying that God will use us to change hearts and thus reduce demand.

January 28, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
43. physician without health wrote:

One more thing.  In my practice I see alot of folk, especially working poor, really struggle to pay for health care.  Many are dependent on the SCHIPS program which is severely threatened at the present time, with the Bush vetoes.  Many don’t qualify for this because they already have “insurance” yet it is crummy insurance which does not cover the cost of medications.  Many have to choose between food and medications for their children.  Several years ago, the mother of one of our children with asthma died of an asthma attack herself because the family could not afford both her and her child’s medicines.  Just last week, I saw two children with severe asthma and eczema, each of whom need multiple medications to stay well.  There are two other siblings in the same boat.  The parents both work hard and combined make $45K per year.  They have crummy insurance at work, and pay out $700/month in copays for the meds for the children.  The father has gone without his heart meds for a while.  They are Roman Catholic and have always sacrificed their own needs to vote for the candidate who was pro-life.  This year they are drowning in medical debt and make have to change their vote.  I am pro-life, from conception to death.  I am choosing a candidate who will help people to afford their health care, and in the process will reduce demand for abortion.  Obama is my man.  In the meantine, as I mentioned above, I will do what I can to fight from within ECUSA the connection with RCRC, which is unconscionable, and share the Gospel with others.

January 28, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
44. Chris Molter wrote:

“Jill Stanek, who was a nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., testified in the U.S. Congress in 2000 and 2001 about how “induced labor abortions” were handled at her hospital.

“One night,” she said in testimony entered into the Congressional Record, “a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down’s Syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have the time to hold him. I couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child lying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived.”

No. I’m sorry, Mr Obama avidly and continuously supports continuing this kind of travesty.  His position on abortion/infanticide is inexcusable.  There’s nothing that he has that “balances out” this kind of monstrosity.  Not his slick speech-making or his vague-yet-hopeful plans for the future of America.

January 28, 11:31 pm | [comment link]
45. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I am choosing a candidate who will help people to afford their health care, and in the process will reduce demand for abortion.  Obama is my man.”

I agree that nationalized health care “will help people to afford their health care”—by limiting supply and decreasing quality, just like the lovely VA hospitals and Canada.

Good luck with that!

January 29, 12:47 am | [comment link]
46. Words Matter wrote:

I keep wondering when “universal health care” morphed into “universal health insurance. As it happens, my community has an excellent public hospital with a system of community clinics and a couple of specialty centers (cancer and women’s health care and maybe another).  I cheerfully pay property taxes to the hospital district, though I gripe about the wasteful public schools and the pretentious junior college district (don’t get me started on those idiots!).

The point is that anyone in this community can get health care and it’s pretty good care. Actually, in some cases it’s better care than I get through my insurance.

January 29, 1:38 am | [comment link]
47. Words Matter wrote:

Oh, and what about this obsession with the national government. Call me a Reaganite, but I would really like to see problems addressed and resolved locally.

January 29, 1:40 am | [comment link]
48. John Wilkins wrote:

#45 Sarah, the VA hospitals in this country are actually well run, when they are funded.  However, Bush has gradually defunded them.  Good for him. 

In 2002 the United States spent more than $5,267 per person on health care. Canada and Germany spent $3,000; Britain spent $2200. Yet the United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than any of these countries.  And lots of Americans have to wait for health care - or they wait because they don’t know how they are going to pay for it. 

The plain fact is that people are leaving this country for medical treatment.  I know of one person who got a hip operation in India for 1/10th the cost. 

Look, if I invested in an insurance company it would be in my interest not to pay for health care.  Thats business.  Its good business.  Bad business is paying insurance claims. 

You might want to examine what happened in Taiwan when it became a universal health care system.  Now hearly 100 percent have health care.  And it was virtually free because they weren’t paying the administrative costs that Insurance companies require. 

you’d have to establish criteria by what constitutes better health care, Sarah.  For the rich, its excellent.  But for most, its underinsurance and a lot of hassle.

January 29, 2:56 am | [comment link]
49. Branford wrote:

And let’s see what’s now happening in Britain, according to the Telegraph - “Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, doctors say” - not exactly a glowing endorsement of universal health care - I’m with Sarah and Words Matter on this one.

January 29, 3:34 am | [comment link]
50. Katherine wrote:

You don’t think it’s “the rich” who are flying to India for hip surgery?  They are having these procedures done in private hospitals beyond the reach of 70% of India’s population.  The public hospitals in India don’t offer that kind of care to the masses.  They do offer care, but it’s not great, and combined with the vast ignorance of their poor patients, it’s a bad situation.

I saw a report on the BBc yesterday about an innovative program in Mississippi which is trying to help the obese poor in the state to get more exercise and build better food habits, with the goal of improving their lives and reducing the heavy public costs of caring for the serious health problems that come from obesity.  Obesity and genuine hunger don’t go together.

National poverty rates are, by definition, as a percentage of the national average.  They mean, so many people have a certain percentage less income than the mean.

Finally, many drug companies have programs to help those who can’t afford basic medicines, and I would think this is an excellent opportunity for Christian charity also.

January 29, 3:49 am | [comment link]
51. Katherine wrote:

I agree with IRNS about orators.  Obama is gifted.

January 29, 4:41 am | [comment link]
52. Id rather not say wrote:

Health care in this country is already being rationed.  The question is whether it is being rationed fairly and effectively.  My family has been a receiver of quite a bit of medical care lately, and I think the answer is “no.”  I don’t know the specifics of the case John Wilkins mentions, so I cannot say definitively, but I can easily imagine a scenario in which someone of middling means—not poor but not rich either—would find flying to India for a hip replacement less expensive than getting it done here.

January 29, 10:50 am | [comment link]
53. Katherine wrote:

If they don’t have insurance, definitely the flight to India and procedure there would be less expensive.  My husband had a cataract replaced in India, not because of cost, but because we were there and he couldn’t see.  $1700 including exam, surgery, with the lens and gel injected in the eye coming from the U.S., disposable instruments, and after-care.  It was an outstanding job, too.  Rs. 76,500, the rupee equivalent, is two years’ salary for our driver.

January 29, 11:37 am | [comment link]
54. cwilliam wrote:

Well this conversation has gotten interesting since yesterday. I really appreciate everyone’s comments. Just a quick note on Obama and healthcare: his healthcare plan will apparently not affect the care of anyone who already has insurance - it will only lower their payments. The expanded public plan would be very similar to the plan congressmen and women get. It would also regulate the insurance companies. Personally, I think this is needed, as they have no motivation to pay out money and there is not really a true free market to choose insurance - most receive it from employers who are looking to find the cheapest plan out there.

One note - I have no idea how Obama intends to pay for this. Details at

January 29, 11:51 am | [comment link]
55. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “#45 Sarah, the VA hospitals in this country are actually well run, when they are funded.”

Flatly, no, JW.  They are not “well run” no matter how much money they have, because they are government hospitals, pure and simple.

RE: “you’d have to establish criteria by what constitutes better health care, Sarah.  For the rich, its excellent.  But for most, its underinsurance and a lot of hassle.”

Right—rather than some having BMW health care, and some having Buick health care, and some having Beetle health care, all people will be forced to have Beetle health care, which will gradually devolve into sub-Beetle health care, which will then devolve into roller-derby child’s pedal car healthcare.  But hey—everybody will have the same healthcare and we will all be able to “afford” it!  ; > )

RE: “Health care in this country is already being rationed.”

Well, if you mean by this that the free market is not allowed to lower costs and raise supply, then yes, that is certainly the case, because we are in part a socialized system.  Democrats wish to go on ahead and lock that in and expand the State’s involvement—naturally conservatives wish for that involvement to be reversed—so that more people can afford excellent health care, rather than the roller-derby health care that the VA and Canada so graciously provide.

January 29, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
56. Id rather not say wrote:


So you think that employer-based health insurance—something that came into existence only because of the denial of a free marker in WWII—is a good example of the free market?  Please.

Health care is not like buying a car.  And in any case, virtually all of the plans currently under discussion, including Obama’s, still rely on the insurance companies.

January 29, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
57. cwilliam wrote:

After reading the above-mentioned post, let me just remind people that (as far as I can tell), Obama’s plan would be nothing like the VA system or Canadian system in that it would not be creating public hospitals. It would also not “pull anyone down” and does not appear to negatively affect r&d;money for pharmaceutical companies (a major complaint with many public systems). It seems to be much more of a public/private partnership. Any rational healthcare economist will agree that healthcare is not a traditional market-based industry. There are all sorts of factors that keep it from falling into a normal supply and demand model, which is why nobody can really agree on how to fix the system. Getting the government out of healthcare altogether would be a financial disaster, and getting the government overly involved would be a nightmare. Let’s not pretend this is simple. Nobody really knows how to fix this right now on either side of the aisle.

January 29, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
58. cwilliam wrote:

Fyi, I was responding to post #55 (not 56).

January 29, 1:13 pm | [comment link]
59. physician without health wrote:

The money to fix the system is there; it is just being spent on other things right now…  I do want to say that I am under no illusions that we are electing a messiah, and fully understand that faithful orthodox Christians can have different opinions on this.  My original point here is that there is poverty in our country and alot of folks are really struggling.

January 29, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
60. John Wilkins wrote:

Sarah - pay attention to your logic.  You say, it is not well run because the government is doing it.  This seems to be an assumption rather than an argument.  It seems like a bias, to me.  Some government agencies work well, some do not.  But there are criteria one can use to evaluate such claims.  Personally, I think it depends on the culture.  In France, they can have nuclear power because it is assumed that the best and the brightest might choose to serve their country through serving the state.  In this country, we assume that if you are smart, you want to make a lot of money.  In the 1940’s a lot of talented people chose to serve the government because they believed in the good old USA.  They went into the foreign service, they served the state department, the CIA.  There used to be a lot of pride in serving the United States in institutions besides the military. 

But the VA runs more efficiently than most hospitals.  The evidence I’ve seen is that most VA hospitals to quite well with the small amount they get.  In fact, lots of the blue collar former soldiers I know don’t know what they would do without the VA.  They are thankful that its there.  Because otherwise, they’d have nothing. 

Again, Sarah, you are in the world of ideology, rather than of numbers.  I’m simply asking:  what are your criteria for excellent health care?  When someone’s son is sick with Leukemia, how does the market ration health care when the costs run in the millions?  How does an individual family, a middle class family, pay for it?  I just don’t know how it would work.

Further, you might remember that a good portion of the technology that has been developed for hospitals was funded through government investment.  Through NASA.  And through the military.  My congressional representative once told my clergy, “If I want research on breast cancer?  I go through the department of defense.”  What you ignore, Sarah, is that we do have a system of socialism.  It’s just through our military industrial complex.  And everyone seems quite happy with that.

January 29, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
61. talithajd wrote:

To second # 60, we also see amazing research coming out of NIH and CDC (your tax dollars at work), especially in pharmacology from what I understand.  I think the problem has been no one is willing to really comprimise or give any credit/take any blame.  This is where leadership cannot be replaced and a personality is going to play a huge part of that.  I think that Obama has the best chance to be a leader on issues likes healthcare. Maybe because of his lack of DC experience, he is not quite as beholden to either party.

January 29, 1:52 pm | [comment link]
62. Katherine wrote:

No, of course employer-based health insurance is not an example of a free-market system.

January 29, 2:38 pm | [comment link]
63. libraryjim wrote:

like Jimmy Carter, who had no DC experience, if Obama gets in he will probably be a totally ineffective president, like Carter, unable to get anything accomplished!

January 29, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
64. bob carlton wrote:


with that criteria (DC experience), Reagan would have been a bad bet; as is Romney

As Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Hoping DC politicians will fix a broken system is insanity.

January 29, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
65. talithajd wrote:

Wow, libraryjim.  I guess you’re right.  Maybe we just shouldn’t ever try anybody new!  Start ‘em off in the house for a few terms, then 12 years in the Senate…Let ‘em stew in those wholesome DC waters for about 20 years.  Make sure that it’s been a long, long time since they’ve held a job or gone to dinner with normal folk.  Then, and only then, will they be ready to make big changes in Washington.  Hmmm…  By that time they will be ready either for the presidency or for 7 figures lobbying their old drinkin’ buddies.

What’s the definition of insanity?  Keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

Ironically, both Bill Clinton and Bush II had little DC experience and both were able to make changes.  Now, we can certainly argue about whether they were good changes!  But changes were certainly made.

January 29, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
66. Id rather not say wrote:

It’s worth pointing out that Jimmy Carter was not all that ineffective.  The main things he was ineffective at were coercing the Ayatollah and cajoling OPEC, the two of which got him defeated.  But most of his domestic program was passed, and he produced a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

FDR’s experience was hardly exceptional, either.  A stint as assistant secretary of the Navy, an unsuccessful run for vice-president, a couple of terms in the New York State legislature, and an incomplete term as Governor of New York.  Not bad, but hardly outstanding.  And who did the Republicans put up against him?  Wendell Wilkie, “the bare foot boy from Wall Street”!

January 29, 3:36 pm | [comment link]
67. libraryjim wrote:

Ah, yes, FDR.  The man who made it necessary to amend the
Constitution to keep Presidents from becoming Pope!  LOL

And for the record, in spite of his one or two accomplishments, yes, I think Jimmy Carter was a terribly ineffective President, but who made one of the best former Presidents we ever had.

January 29, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
68. talithajd wrote:

Amen, libraryjim.  I wish we had more ex-public officials that used their risidual power to such effect.  Of course, he’s not perfect and has had some missteps.  But I think you can really see his heart for justice and for the poor.  Plus, I hear his Sunday School (still open to the public) is quite good.

January 29, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
69. libraryjim wrote:

My father-in-law had the opportunity to travel to Plains, GA to sit in on Carter’s sunday school class.  He was very impressed by his knowledge of the Bible and his handling of the subject.  He said he enjoyed attending the class very much, and was glad he made the effort.

January 29, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
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