Paul Krugman writes

“Suppose, for example, that Congress took the advice of those who want to ban insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history, and stopped there. What would happen next? The answer, as any health care economist will tell you, is that if Congress didn’t simultaneously require that healthy people buy insurance, there would be a “death spiral”: healthier Americans would choose not to buy insurance, leading to high premiums for those who remain, driving out more people, and so on.”

If this went on long enough, eventually it would mean no one would have health insurance. It would destroy the health insurance industry. They’d come asking for a bailout. The government could be forced to take them over. The government would now control health insurance. It would be impossible to abolish this program once created, so it would be a de-facto public option, even once the industry recovered . Ta-Da!

As John Hodgman would say, you’re welcome.

Kathleen Parker asks: “Who is likely to be the first female president of the United States?”

Well, at the moment, the most likely is Sarah Palin. But, as Parker observes, even this is not likely. And the answer to this question, naturally, goes back to the Great Male-Female Charisma Gap. Palin has some charisma, but I doubt if it’ll be enough to win a general election. And there are, it seems, precious few women who possess the charisma that is needed to win. Poor Mrs. Clinton had Nixon-esque anti-charisma. 

I’ll say this, though. I think charisma is-at least partially-a genetic trait. So, I figure the most likely candidate for first female President is probably Malia Obama.

“A restoration, if you will, of the power and authority of the president.”–Dick Cheney, on actions taken in the Bush administration. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/Bazelon-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print)  

Progressives, or Liberals, if you prefer, are shocked at the failure of Pelosi and Reid to pass a health-care bill sooner–before the election of Scott Brown all but destroyed the bill’s chances. Some of them are blaming the President. They don’t really expect Congress to be able to do this; they realize they need a strong leader to make Congress pass the thing. 

The reason I mentioned Cheney is that the Progressives went on and on in absolute terror and revulsion at his philosophy of executive power. They also claimed that the many disasters that were a hallmark of the Bush years were a result of his ideas. But I have always wondered–even when I quit supporting the Bush administration–if Cheney was right–if Congress was simply ineffective by nature, and  a strong executive is needed. 

The Obama administration, contrary to what you might hear, has taken a far less extreme position on executive power, and what has it bought them? 

A Bradley Smith  writes in the WSJ, regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling:  

“Already, 28 states representing 60% of the nation’s population allow corporate independent expenditures in state races. These states, including Virginia, Utah and Oregon, are hardly mismanaged. Rather, they are disproportionately among the fastest growing, best governed states in the country.

(Italics mine.)

By what statistic does he find they are “among the best governed”?

Today the Supreme Court ruled that businesses and unions can spend their own money on political ads endorsing or opposing a candidate. This raises a question I have long wondered about: how effective are political ads?

Do you really base who you are going to vote for on what ads on TV say? If  there are a lot of people who are that gullible, the Nation is doomed no matter what the Supreme Court rules on this issue. Seriously, I can barely remember any ads from the last Presidential campaign. And I’m fairly confident that my decision was not swayed by them one way or another.

I can’t speak for most people on this issue. And let’s face it; if you’ve brainwashed someone correctly, they’ll swear up and down they were not brainwashed. So I can’t be sure the ads didn’t affect me. 

A friend of mine was telling me that the real danger here is that corporations will disguise the ads to look like authentic news broadcasts–like is sometimes done in infomercials. This will confuse people into believing they’re watching a unbiased newscast that’s saying “Candidate X eats babies.”

I don’t buy it. The only people stupid enough to fall for that are probably already watching their favorite propaganda network (Fox news or MSNBC) anyway. Their votes are locked in. The swing voters aren’t, for the most part, dumb enough to be tricked like that.

Over at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism, Alicia Colon wonders if George W. Bush is the most reviled President ever.  She says she hasn’t done enough research yet. I can help her there.

No, he isn’t. Neither is Lincoln, as she speculates. It’s Richard M. Nixon. 

Why, you ask? Because he’s almost the picture in the dictionary next to anti-charisma.

…is fun to read once you understand the “charisma theory”. Paul Graham’s excellent essay on charisma is worth reading just for the description of how shallow most election analysis is. 

With regard to Scott Brown’s election, I’ve heard the following explanations:

  • Democrats were too Liberal
  • Democrats were not Liberal enough.
  • The economy is bad, so voters took it out on Coakley.
  • Americans are making a stand against Socialism!
  • Coakley ran a bad campaign.

The last is true, but the reason it was a bad campaign is because when you’re that uncharismatic everything you do seems to suck.

The charisma gap is, I’m convinced, the sole reason for this outcome.