Isakson’s awkward contortions on end-of-life counseling

I like Johnny Isakson. I’ve known him since his time in the Georgia Legislature, and in those days we were often on the same side of crusades. The most memorable was probably an effort to force the hidebound Democrats then in charge to accept substantial ethics legislation. House Speaker Tom Murphy and others fought that effort, but in the end, with public support, we won.

While our political leanings may be different, Isakson has always been personable and reasonable. He has long had a reputation of being willing to work with the other side to get things done, which has led some in his party to question his loyalty.

In the increasingly bitter health-care debate, the Georgia senator seems to have become trapped in a position he doesn’t like much, and the resulting contortions aren’t pretty.

As you know, some of the criticism of the House plan centers on claims that it requires senior citizens to undergo mandatory end-of-life counseling at least once every five years. That claim — absolutely false in its own right — has then been further twisted by some on the right into a suggestion that it will lead to “death panels” condemning the disabled and elderly to euthanasia, as a way to save on medical costs.

On her Facebook page, for example, Sarah Palin suggested such panels could order the death of her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care,” Palin wrote. “Such a system is downright evil.”

And it surely would be, if such a system existed or was even contemplated. In reality, the House legislation (relevant text is here) would merely add counseling about living wills and end-of-life orders to knee replacements and other medical procedures that can be compensated under Medicare.

Under the bill, those sessions would be entirely voluntary and thus ought to be utterly noncontroversial. Such consultations allow people to make difficult decisions about their health care beforehand, at a time when they are mentally, physically and emotionally able to do so. As in the tragic Terri Schiavo case, once you are incapacitated, that opportunity is gone.

Legal and medical experts strongly endorse such counseling. So does Isakson. In 2007, he helped sponsor the “Medicare End-of-Life Care Planning Act,” which according to the Congressional Research Service proposed “to provide for Medicare coverage of an end-of-life planning consultation, including discussion of advance directives, as part of an initial preventive physical examination.” The full text of the bill is available here. Among Isakson’s co-sponsors were Democratic senators Ted Kennedy and Jay Rockefeller.

While that bill never passed, last month Isakson proposed a similar amendment to the Senate’s version of the health-care reform proposal, and his language was incorporated into the bill with strong bipartisan support.

In an interview earlier this week with Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, Isakson was asked how such common-sense ideas came to be distorted into a euthanasia program.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end-of-life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.”

So far, so good. It truly is nuts to make such a claim. So, at his health-care town hall on Tuesday, President Obama cited Isakson’s support for end-of-life planning to rebut claims that “death panels” would be convened under the plan.

“… the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready, on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything,” Obama pointed out. “This is I guess where the rumor came from. The irony is that actually one of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican — then House member, now senator, named Johnny Isakson from Georgia — who very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people’s options. And somehow it’s gotten spun into this idea of ‘death panels.’ I am not in favor of that. So just I want to — I want to clear the air here.”

That statement put Isakson into a tough position with his party, undercutting one of the most emotionally powerful arguments used by its most irresponsible members and supporters. So late in the day, his office put out a statement trying to separate himself from Obama.

“The White House and others are merely attempting to deflect attention from the intense negativity caused by their unpopular policies,” Isakson was quoted as saying. “I never consulted with the White House in this process and had no role whatsoever in the House Democrats’ bill. I categorically oppose the House bill and find it incredulous that the White House and others would use my amendment as a scapegoat for their misguided policies. My Senate amendment simply puts health care choices back in the hands of the individual and allows them to consider if they so choose a living will or durable power of attorney. The House provision is merely another ill-advised attempt at more government mandates, more government intrusion, and more government involvement in what should be an individual choice.”

The difference, Isakson’s office claims, is that his amendment “empowers the individual to make their own choices on these critical issues, rather than the government incentivizing doctors to conduct counseling on government-mandated topics.”

Isakson’s point that he had nothing to do with the House language is valid, and to the degree Obama suggested otherwise, he was wrong. However, Isakson’s effort to claim that his approach is in some important way different from the House approach is strained at best and in this context misleading. His approach “incentivizes” such counseling the same way the House bill does, by offering doctors financial compensation for conducting such sessions.

Isakson opposes the president’s health-care proposal and voted against the overall Senate version. That’s fine. Nothing Obama said suggests otherwise. But on the particular issue of end-of-life counseling, the differences between the president and the senator are very minor; in the context of bizarre claims about “death panels” and euthanasia, those differences have no relevance whatsoever.

Isakson could have, and should have, noted his opposition to the Democrats’ overall approach to health care, reiterated his support for end-of-life counseling and his condemnation of the “death panel” lunacy, and left it at that. But sometimes politics gets the best even of good people.

219 comments Add your comment

Mort Merkel

August 12th, 2009
8:47 am

Up close does he still look covered in leather and reek of cigarette smoke?

I Report/ I Am The Mob (-: You Whine )-:

August 12th, 2009
8:52 am

in the context of bizarre claims about “death panels” and euthanasia, those differences have no relevance whatsoever.

uh-huh

Randy Stroup, a 53-year-old Oregon resident suffering from prostate cancer, was covered by the state’s public option government health plan, the Oregon Health Plan. But the state plan sent him a letter refusing to pay for his cancer treatment. It offered to pay for physician assisted suicide instead. A 64-year-old woman with breast cancer received a similar letter. She is dead now. Americans don’t want to take this health care fascism nationwide.-AmSpec

I Report/ I Am The Mob (-: You Whine )-:

August 12th, 2009
8:57 am

Obama takes no responsibility for his time served in the U.S. Senate since 2004. He wants us to forget that while serving there he opposed every Bush budget because it did not spend enough. He wants us to forget that as a Senator he joined with Barney Frank to successfully oppose the Bush reforms to clean up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which did so much to cause the financial crisis. In the Congress, he joined with Frank and other ultraliberals who, along with long-time Obama ally ACORN, had long pushed Fannie, Freddie, and the nation’s banks to break down traditional mortgage lending standards, and grant mortgages to so many who ultimately failed to pay them back.-AmSpec

Where have we heard that before?

Mort Merkel

August 12th, 2009
8:59 am

Isakson’s all, “Ooooo, you got your icky Democrat germs on me!”

pd

August 12th, 2009
9:06 am

This whole thing is insane. We can’t have a legitimate discussion on whats in the bill, because we are bickering over things that aren’t in the bill.

The republicans are lying, and the democrats are being so vague, no one understands them.

George American

August 12th, 2009
9:10 am

Sarah Palin is another victim of the difficult to read 1000+ page bill. That’s alot of reading to get done.

Her confusion over an issue that could result in euthanizing her retarded child is completely understandable.

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
9:11 am

“The American Spectator is a conservative political magazine founded by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. It is most famous for its attacks on the Clinton administration in the 1990s, including the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Arkansas Project. It is operated by the nonprofit American Spectator Foundation, Inc.”

further

“The Arkansas Project is the general name of a series of investigations (mostly funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife) that were designed to damage and end the presidency of Bill Clinton.[1] Scaife gave $1.8 million “to unearth damaging information about President Clinton.”[2] Some reports and investigations connected to this project focused on questions about the suicide of Vincent Foster, the Clintons’ investment in Whitewater, and Troopergate.”

American Spectator……there’s your sign!

saywhat?

August 12th, 2009
9:14 am

And meanwhile Newt Gingrich today writes a piece in the AJC entitled “Citizens Just Want the Truth”, mere days after going on Stephanopolous’ show and lying about the whole “death panel” nonsense himself. I guess he believes citizens want the truth, he figures they just don’t want it from him.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
9:15 am

Isakson is worried about the next election. He’s torn between trying to actually do good by we the people and appeasing the party of no, the loser party, the GOP. He knows that the party of no will put up a new candidate to run against him and block him from getting as much financing and run sleazy negative ads against him, etc., if he does not toe the line. He should switch to Independent and take his chances with re-election. At least he could then maintain some integrity, if that is what he truly wants. Then again, at least I have not heard of him doing some of the utterly dispicable things that Saxby, for example, has done. Yet, the people here in Georgia chose to re-elect Saxby and they’ll probably vote against Isakson in the next election because he does not say “No” often enough or does not bow before Limbaugh or does not offer up enough tax cuts or something as equally pathetic. However, I just cannot help but be thrilled when the party of no once again eats its own and apparently without even realizing it. They likely thought that it just tasted like chicken. Good show, Sarah and you other self-euthanizing Republicans.

saywhat?

August 12th, 2009
9:16 am

George, the only thing Sarah palin is a victim of is her own stupidity and partisan hackery. You two have much in common.

stands for decibels

August 12th, 2009
9:16 am

Jay, I was thinking about Johnny’s difficult position myself, and then a light bulb went off. Here’s the key to what he’d said, and I’d missed the subtlety, earlier:

“I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it [...]”

Note—being the astute politician he is, Johnny makes sure that he is speaking about Sarah’s “death panel” sliming as something he has heard about. That gives him an out. He can always say that he hadn’t seen the full remarks in context (even though they’d been out there a full two, three days when Johnny was being interviewed about this by Ezra, and would take all of a minute to read end-to-end).

That’s why these guys make the big bucks (well, sooner or later.)

stands for decibels

August 12th, 2009
9:17 am

That’s alot of reading to get done.

Her confusion over an issue that could result in euthanizing her retarded child is completely understandable.

George American, I think I love you. So what am I so afraid of?

getalife

August 12th, 2009
9:17 am

” Deather, defined:

Main entry: deather
Function: noun
Etymology: From birther, a related conspiracy theory which holds that President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen. Inspired by the teabaggers of April 15, 2009.
Date: Mid-2009
Definition: One who believes or spreads the false conspiracy theory that the health care reform legislation before Congress would create “death panels” or force seniors and sick people into euthanasia.
Examples: Sarah Palin is a deather. Glenn Beck is a deather. Rush Limbaugh is a deather.Newt is a deather.”

64 IQ

August 12th, 2009
9:20 am

George .. Everytime I read your posts I feel so much smarter…Thanks

Normal

August 12th, 2009
9:22 am

PD: You are absolutely correct. It seems that no one “On the Hill” knows how to talk straight or talk truth

WHINER: AmSpec? You’ve got to be kidding me. They make up more stuff than The Inquirer” OMG, Bill had sex with an alien from Venus!!!
Don’t waste your time…jus’ sayin’

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
9:22 am

And meanwhile Newt Gingrich today writes a piece in the AJC entitled “Citizens Just Want the Truth”, mere days after going on Stephanopolous’ show and lying about the whole “death panel” nonsense himself. I guess he believes citizens want the truth, he figures they just don’t want it from him.

And, Newt will give these “citizens” his sponsor’s version of the “truth”, on a bumper sticker. Newt is quite well known from coast to coast, sea to shining sea. He has left his mark all over Corporate America’s bathroom stalls. For a good time, call 1-800-NEWT. He’s always available for the right price.

jokerman

August 12th, 2009
9:24 am

Sorry I’m late to the discussion…I had to drop my mom off at the social security office, file for my unemployment insurance, and take grandpa to get his new hearing aid paid for by medicare.

I don’t want no big government running my life….Death panels, and all!

Sarah Palin knows what she is talking about….Don’t she?

eagle scout

August 12th, 2009
9:27 am

Normal….The whiner has been citing the American Spector as his source of reason for many a moon.

Eweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

N.J.

August 12th, 2009
9:28 am

This is one place where I really do not fault Isakson in any way. What I do know is that Isakson has been pushing this same “end of life” counseling for a while and what he has attempted to do with the Senate Bill for health reform with regard to this issue is something he has written, sponsored and presented as separate legislation for Congress in the past, the last time being the End of Life Planning Act of 2007. The legislation quite clearly takes any possible decision making out of the hands of the government (it never was, and it is Medicaid Law that has the oldest laws that prohibit the use of public money for purposes of assisted suicide, mercy killing, and even strong prohibitions with regard to cutting treatments if they are becoming too costly, even if they will do nothing to prolong the patients life. There are fewer restrictions on private health insurers in this regard, and even the legislation that extended prohibitions against assisted suicide, mercy killing and withdrawing costly care at the end of life for reasons that it is not thought that it will extend the patient’s life into the private insurance sector, Medicare prohibitions are far stronger. They are as strong if not stronger than the prohibitions of using federal funds to provide abortions. Restrictions against the private health insurance industry doing so are not very strong and have almost no enforcement mechanism at all. The law with regard to using public funds for mercy killing and assisted suicide are rather strong, but the situation with private health insurers is at best vague. The government could step in to prevent such use rather easily, however with private insurers, civil legal action is the only real mechanism that someone would have to get an insurer to keep paying for life support care and medications, and court orders necessary. This of course is very objectionable to the private health insurance industry. They do not want to be told when they can or cannot stop treatment if they do not think it is worth the expense, or they claim it will not extend the life or add to the quality of life. In these situations, the health insurer can have their own panel of doctors override the medical care that the patients own doctors think are best, and the insurance companies want to maintain the right of their own panels to take precedence over the patients health care providers, regardless of the fact that the doctor may have been the patient’s health care provider for decades and therefore far more familiar with the case. The disrupters and the health insurance industry’s involvement in stirring up these fears are based in the health insurance industry’s desire to be the controlling party in end of life situations, primarily because the most expensive care in the entire health system is the care of the elderly. Any method by which they can minimize costs by retaining the ability of their own medical “death panels” to have the final word in end of life issues will be and is being used. The law protects any and all Americans on public health programs from such decisions. There is almost no protection from it in the private health market.

RW-(the original)

August 12th, 2009
9:28 am

I take it nobody has gone to Jay B’s link that says “relevant text is here”

I’ll give you not only the relevant text from that link but the entirety of the text.

Comments are closed.

In a way that seems to support the notion of death panels more than it dispels them, but it’s a little cryptic.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
9:30 am

In just the past three cycles, Democrats have gained a net of 374 state house seats and 68 state senate seats nationwide, moving them from slight minority status following the 2002 cycle–49.8 percent of two-party# share of house seats and 49.9 percent of senate seats; the first time Republicans had such an advantage since before the New Deal–to reasonably comfortable majority status in just six years. Democrats now control 56.8 percent of state house seats and 53.4 percent of state senate seats. — 538dotcommmmmmm

Based on current trends, I would have to conclude that the Republican plan is working out just great. Don’t change a thing. Please!

Marlboro Man

August 12th, 2009
9:31 am

I heard Isakson on NPR the other day talking about health care reform. He would have been a little more convincing if he could hav supressed his smoker’s hack a little better.

Elephant Whip

August 12th, 2009
9:31 am

WHY CAN’T WE BLOG ON NEWT?

HEY NEWT: YOU’RE RIGHT 2+2=4. UNFORTUNATELY, YOUR STRATEGY IS 0+0-1,000,000=4.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

August 12th, 2009
9:31 am

Well, I see this 60 year old guy got convicted for feeling up a girl in a Minnie Mouse outfit down at Disney World. It just goes to show there ain’t nothing safe from the good old boys anymore. There’s this Neal Horsely running for guvner that says he done You Know What with a mule and another guy that got arrested for doing You Know What with a dog and it just goes on and on. You best wear one of them metal suits if you’re going out of your house these days.

I think it’s just sinful they’re going to put all the old folk and the cripples in front of a panel that will decide whether they get to live any longer. Sure, it might could fix the Social Security and Medicare problem, but just think of all the lying it will create. We already have women that sellabrated their 39th birthday 40 times, including Sister Dusty, and now everybody will claim to be alot younger than they are just to keep from going in front of a panel. Others will just deny they’re having a birthday anymore. Heck, we’ll probly have 80 year olds trying out for the Falcons.

Anyhow, you can’t blame old Johnny for fibbing a little bit about what he had to do with putting this amendment in the health care bill. He don’t want to get blamed when the panels start traveling all over the country and all the old folk and the cripples get rounded up. A politican has got to think about getting reelected first. Everything else can wait. If this Obamacare bill gets passed he don’t want to have his name on it.

Have a good day everybody.

jconservative

August 12th, 2009
9:34 am

I just read pages 425 through 434 on the House bill. I would oppose that provision because it calls for taxpayers money to pay for the consultation. I do not object to using my tax money to pay for your annual physical. But decisions about medical care in end of life situations is personal & me/family can pay for that.

Only a brain already dead can read “death panel” into that provision.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
9:38 am

Randy Stroup, a 53-year-old Oregon resident suffering from prostate cancer, was covered by the state’s public option government health plan, the Oregon Health Plan. But the state plan sent him a letter refusing to pay for his cancer treatment. It offered to pay for physician assisted suicide instead. A 64-year-old woman with breast cancer received a similar letter. She is dead now. Americans don’t want to take this health care fascism nationwide.-AmSpec

Insurance companies actually are the ones that like to pull such tricks on individual policy holders except they go about it in a much more underhanded, dispicable, fiendish, devilish, etc., way — they wait until you actually need the insurance that you thought you had paid for all those years and after you have run up enough unpaid bills to force you to file for bankruptcy and then they send you a letter stating that you incorrectly completed your questionnaire and cite the portion of their policy that clearly states that you insurance is null and void if they send you a letter that states, for example, that you incorrectly answered a question on your questionnaire. Would anyone like to see some examples from those questionnaires. The least they could do at that point is offer a complementary end-of-life counseling session discount coupon.

Brad Steel

August 12th, 2009
9:44 am

If you find Limbaugh or Glenn Beck to be to highbrow, just cut-n-paste American Spectator. It’s drivel is refreshingly idiotic.

By the way, the German version of AmSpec reads more beautifully feels more authentic.

RW-(the original)

August 12th, 2009
9:45 am

Just in case anybody really wants to see the bill as it stands now The end of life area begins on page 424 and it sure has a lot more “shalls” than it does “mays.”

George American

August 12th, 2009
9:47 am

YOU LIBERALS HATE SARAH PALIN BECAUSE SHE SPEAKS FOR REGULAR REAL AMERICANS – NOT THE FANCY-PANTS NORTHEASTERN ELITES WITH THEIR OH-SO-FANCY AND EXCLUSIONARY DEGREES FROM HARVARD.

NRB

August 12th, 2009
9:50 am

Whatever Jay. You moron. You’re not getting your socialist health policy. So go back to being a cheerleader for the Afghan war…you know…Obama sending our troops to DIE FOR OIL.

Mr. Snarky

August 12th, 2009
9:50 am

Looks like not just old gullible people are scared…so is Isakson. I think Voldemort is behind all this deceptive “Death Panel” BS.

George American

August 12th, 2009
9:52 am

ALTHOUGH SARAH COULD TAKE A SHORT DRIVE TO CANADA TO GET FREE 2ND-RATE HEALTHCARE, SHE DOESN’T BECAUSE SHE WANTS THE GOOD HEALTHCARE HERE IN AMERICA THAT IS NOT PAID FOR BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF LIVING UP TO HER PROMISES AND A HIGHER STANDARD THAN YOUR LAZY LIBERALS!!!

jewcowboy

August 12th, 2009
9:53 am

Looks like ole George American might need some Depends looking at the diarrhea he’s spewing. Are they covered by Medicare?

jconservative

August 12th, 2009
9:53 am

Re the swastika on David Scott’s’ sign -
Maybe he did it personally. If so, it was a brilliant political move. The other side is automatically the bad guy. If he did not do it and the “other side” did, then David Scott is still the winner. The other side are the bad guys. It is a win – win for David Scott.

The losers are guys like me who oppose a government sponsored option. It is going to be hard enough to block that without some brain dead drawing a swastika on Scott’s’ sign & giving his side the free publicity & the free air time on TV.

Kayaker 71

August 12th, 2009
9:57 am

This raucous debate over the health care bill is caused by one thing and one thing only. There might be parts of it that would serve the public well. I don’t believe that a “death panel” was even suggested by anyone except Rham Emmanuel’s brother when he said that our health care dollars could be better spent on those between 20 and 50yrs of age. That’s fine if you are not 72.
Claire MacCaskill, the senator from MO received a comment from someone in the audience of her town hall meeting that said “We don’t trust you”. She stood there like a deer in the headlights, not even comprehending what the person had said. I really don’t think that these elected officials even come down to our level most of the time. They are sequestered in their own little world, worrying about the next election and the latino vote and don’t have a clue about how America feels about them. We don’t trust them, plain and simple. The light bulb had not gone on yet and I doubt that it ever will.

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
9:59 am

Don’t most doctors do this kind of thing anyway? Why do you need a specific appointment set up to discuss these matters? The last time we took the old folks to the doctor, the doctor had this kind of “talk” with all the old folks.

Harry

August 12th, 2009
10:00 am

Any death panels come near me and I’ll whip out my wand. Sectum sempre! Luckily, I’m going back to London and sensible healthcare soon.

Doggone/GA

August 12th, 2009
10:01 am

“he figures they just don’t want it from him.”

That was EXACTLY the same thought I had!

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
10:02 am

How many Republicans, in government, have refused to accept taxpayer-funded healthcare insurance, on principle, and opted for an individual policy. Stand up and be counted. Show we the people your true color. Yellow.

NRB

August 12th, 2009
10:02 am

Thankfully, militia groups are on the rise. Hopefully the idiots in government are starting to sweat…

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9A140QG0&show_article=1

Mr. Snarky

August 12th, 2009
10:03 am

Correction. Perhaps Isakson has become an old gullible person…like Gandalf, Whiner, and the rest of you right wing scaremongers. They’re gonna take away my cane!

Brad Steel

August 12th, 2009
10:04 am

jconservative @ 9:53 am postulates: Re the swastika on David Scott’s’ sign – Maybe he did it personally.

Have they looked for the spray can beside his white robes and pointy hood?

nutjob. chuckle chuckle.

USinUK

August 12th, 2009
10:05 am

Kayaker –

“She stood there like a deer in the headlights, not even comprehending what the person had said”

well, geez, Kayaker, what **can** you say to that? “I’m sorry”? “You should trust me”? “I am not a crook”??? there really is no good answer to that other than “I’m sorry you feel that way”.

Bosch –

“Don’t most doctors do this kind of thing anyway?”

if you’re going into the hospital for a procedure, yeah, they’ll talk to you. but, what if you’re a 75-year old who has a stroke out of the blue? what if you’re in a car accident? what if you don’t have family and aren’t exactly a person “of means” with an attorney??

my dad had a heart scare about 6 or 7 years ago (he was 75) – after that, he set up his living will and talked us kids through what he wanted done. before that, he really didn’t want to think about it.

me, I think it’s probably one of the best provisions in the bill (and should actually be extended to ALL Americans, not just the elderly)

USinUK

August 12th, 2009
10:07 am

nrb –

your 10:02

only a complete wanker would cheer bloodshed.

Jackie

August 12th, 2009
10:08 am

@I Report

Again, your conservative zeal does not allow you to understand what you posted concerning ACORN, Freddie and Fannie has no merit.

ACORN has nothing to do with lending and the standards put forth. If you care to remember, Dubya pushed for the new standards for housing as the Repubs thought this would be a good way to help all get into housing. Secondly, the housing crisis was brought on by the unregulated standards for financial institutions to allow the dismantlement of usury laws and business contracts. How could 4% default rate on all home loans cause a collapse of the system?

How many folks today that have home loans that are “under water” because the property they purchased is worth less than what was originally paid?

You are astute enough to realize we are in a deflationary spiral that causes much of the market turmoil.

You are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your own set of facts!

Mr. Snarky

August 12th, 2009
10:11 am

“Re the swastika on David Scott’s’ sign -Maybe he did it personally.”

He probably did. Then he trashed his house, his car, and beat up his wife so he could blame it on the opposition.

Newsflash: Not everyone is like you, jconservative.

Greg Mendel

August 12th, 2009
10:12 am

Isakson can’t afford to distract people from the Big Lie being pushed by Republicans regarding health care legislation.

The Republican solution to problems is to deny there’s a problem. (See: Katrina, economic collapse, NIEs, etc.) Conversely, they go nuts over imaginary threats. (See: Iraqi WMD, War Against Christmas, Death Panels, etc.)

The Wal-Martians love it.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
10:14 am

Wait a minute. I thought the Republicans were telling us all that all Corporate America needed were tax cuts to make tax revenues go up and to make companies come back to the USofA instead of setting up in China and India. What happened to that lie. Oh! Right! Folks found out it was a lie and so the Republicans had to scramble for a new one.

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
10:15 am

“(CNN) — Religious groups in favor of health care reform have launched a national campaign to offset the loud opposition to President Obama’s plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system, organizers announced.”

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/11/health.care.religious.groups/index.html

Can I get a big AMEN!

(or a big RAMEN! for you pastafarians)

eagle scout

August 12th, 2009
10:15 am

George what do you call a short drive? I would suggest you don’t even know where Alaska is if you think Canada is just a short drive away!

N.J.

August 12th, 2009
10:15 am

And of course the legislation that protects those on publicly funded health insurance:

Part 1 – ASSISTED SUICIDE FUNDING RESTRICTION ACT OF 1997

PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

The principal purpose of H.R. 1003, the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997, is to maintain current Federal policy by explicitly providing that Federal funds may not be used to pay for items and services the purpose of which is to cause or assist in causing the suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing of a person. The prohibition on Federal funding provided by H.R. 1003 applies to all Federal financial assistance, including the direct purchase of assisted suicide services and the involvement of Federal personnel or Federal facilities in the provision of such services. H.R. 1003 also prohibits the use of Federal funds for advocacy and legal activities that would assist in or support assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.

H.R. 1003 establishes that the Act’s prohibitions do not pertain to the withholding or withdrawing of medical treatment or care, nutrition, or hydration, or to the provision of such end-of-life care as pain alleviation. Withholding or withdrawing treatment or nourishment is generally not considered an act of assisted suicide, nor is treatment aimed solely at the alleviation of suffering that may nonetheless shorten life, unless such measures are undertaken with the specific purpose of causing death….

…Under current Federal law, policy, and practice, no Federal funds are used to provide or pay for assisted suicide. Among programs in the jurisdiction of this Committee that provide direct health care to patients, for example, the National Institutes of Health and the Indian Health Service do not permit their health care providers to assist suicide or `hasten the moment of death.’ Nor does either the Medicare or the Medicaid program pay for physician-assisted suicide. In a May 1, 1996 letter provided to the Committee, the Health Care Financing Administration stated that neither the statutory criteria of the Medicare program nor the President’s FY 1998 budget proposal provide for Federal funding of assisted suicide.

In the event that ongoing legal actions could result in the legalization of assisted suicide in various States, H.R. 1003 reinforces current policy and clarifies Federal law by establishing current practice in Federal statute. Specifically, the provisions of H.R. 1003 preserve the current interpretation of Federal law that Federal funding may not be used to pay for items and services intended to cause or assist in causing the suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing of a person. The Act does not, however, limit the availability or use of Federal funding relating to such practices of end-of-life care as the withholding or withdrawal of medical treatment, nutrition, or hydration. The Act also does not limit funding to the provision of pain management services that may increase the risk of death, so long as such practices do not have the purpose of causing or assisting in causing death.

In addition, H.R. 1003 would prohibit the use of Federal funds for advocacy to assist in or support assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing, or to bring suit or provide any form of legal assistance for assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing. The Act also specifies that Medicare and Medicaid rules pertaining to advance directives would not require a provider or organization to inform or counsel any individual about assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing. It would also clarify that Federal law does not require providers or organizations to follow the provisions of an advance directive that directs the purposeful causing of death…

*************************************************************************************

Again no federal money can be used even for the COUNSELING of assisted suicide or mercy killing, but again, there are no really clear restrictions on whether private insurers can so so with privately paid for health insurance. There are no guidelines for how, when or for what reasons private insurers can engage in such counseling. There is really nothing in law that prevents a private health insurer from counseling about assisted suicide. They simply cannot be directly involved in performing one.
In fact the private insurance sector is under no obligation through this to inform their enrollees about living wills at all. Current law requires hospitals to ask if a patient has one, is required to provide them with one and even assist them filling it out, but not about the legal or other consequences of doing so, or even if it is the best thing for them in their situation or a bad thing for them in their current situation. There is really nothing that prevents a private health insurer from tricking a person into signing one, intimidating a person into signing one outright bullying a person into signing one, or telling a person that they must sign one in order for their bills to be paid by the health insurance carrier.

There are numerous articles with regard to health insurance carriers who have attempted trick, intimidate, and even bully the elderly into switching into the Medicare Advantage program, where they often give up a huge amount of benefits, things like cancer treatments and medications, as well as doing the same with regard to living will. The current placement of counseling into the legislation was done at the behest of large numbers of elderly constitutents who have been approaching Congress for some sort of protection from these aggressive actions on the part of private insurers, the strongest request being made in in late 2006 and early 2007 when Congress heard the testimony of hundreds of the elderly about the tactics used by the health insurance industry. These included every sort of pressure including canceling the elderly patient’s medicare supplemental policies that paid the portion of medical bills that the patient was responsible for, covered medications, or raising the premiums on these policies to extremely unaffordable rates and then presenting the patient with the “Medicare Advantage” as an alternative that would be affordable, pushing living wills on them, the works, all in testimony before Congress. Every elder health advocate in the country stated that government intervention was absolutely necessary because the industry was incapable and unwilling to self police, and this included patient counseling on both care and end of life issues to make certain they had correct information and not something that would serve the interests of the insurer, standardization of the plans, including standardization of the rates of the plans, standardization of the forms for the plans as well as end of life information and documentation that the plans might provide the elderly and so on. Of course the industry lobbied hard and has successfully blocked efforts to stop them from using any and all methods to cheat and abuse the elderly in these cases, and part of the reform of the health system includes efforts to prevent this egregious abuse of the elderly by the health insurance industry that is still a daily occurrence. Of course the current fear campaign is completely designed to make certain that the private sector can continue these abuses, and that the elderly can have no one and nothing to advocate for them. The Republican Death mills at work.

NRB

August 12th, 2009
10:15 am

Notice how quiet the media and left wing columnists are being about the ’swastika’ incident….it’s because they know deep down that its most likely a phony hate crime perpetrated by the left wing.

USinUK

August 12th, 2009
10:16 am

nrb –

“Only a complete wanker would demand that the people be afraid of the government, as opposed to the other way around.”

and who exactly is demanding that, wank-boy?

only those voices in your head.

and if being in the UK means that I’m an ocean away from a-holes like you who think it’s a great idea to applaud heavily armed paranoid inbreds, then you’re not the only one who is glad I’m here.

the best thing: I STILL HAVE A VOTE.

Matilda

August 12th, 2009
10:16 am

Isakson was my Congressman before he was my Senator, and his people are always very polite and eloquent when explaining to me that JI does not give a *bleep* what I (a non-donating constituent of average means) think about any given issue. I appreciate that.

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
10:18 am

Bosch

Every time we take our MeMe into the ER….(working out to be every 2 1/2 to 3 weeks now) one of the first questions we are asked…..does she have a living will. We now carry the paperwork in the “emergency bag” we grab on our way out the door.

My dad did his and sent all 7 of us copies….

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
10:18 am

USinUK,

Yeah, I agree, with that everyone should do this [problem is, most don't - different story/topic]. Anywho, I was under the impression that most doctors that deal with the elderly, do this as routine.

Wanker. Snort. Funny.

And WHERE is Paul?

George American

August 12th, 2009
10:20 am

beagle scout, CANADA SHARES A BORDER WITH ALASKA. APPARENTLY, YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN THAT MERIT BADGE IN GEOGRAPHY!!!!

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
10:20 am

“phony hate crime” …… there’s your sign!

USinUK

August 12th, 2009
10:21 am

“it’s because they know deep down that its most likely a phony hate crime perpetrated by the left wing”

yeah … and then he put a bunch of makeup on his face and scratched a “B” in it, saying it was done by an Obama staffer …

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/17789356/detail.html

Kayaker 71

August 12th, 2009
10:21 am

USinUK,

My point is that MacCaskill doesn’t have a clue about how voters in MO and elsewhere feel about her and all of elected members of the House and the Senate. They don’t even take a look at the polls that rank them in trust below lawyers and used car salesmen. And we are going to trust them to make the “right decisions” for us when we can make those decisions very well on our own. Ever wonder why the state of California is going tit* up financially. They have the largest illegal latino population in the US, funding everythng for them except wiping their sorry a**. And we are supposed to pay for this??? Not a word from our elected officials or Bozo about the money we are spending keeping these felons healthy. And we are supposed to trust these idiots to make the right decisions about our health care? I don’t know what you have been smoking but it shows.

NRB

August 12th, 2009
10:22 am

Whatever…none of you losers…you looters…are going to get your “free” healthcare. So kiss my right-wing ass. And just you wait to see what happens in 2010 when we remove the liberals from office.

One way or the other :D

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
10:23 am

Mrs. G.,

Dang! Every 2 – 3 weeks? I don’t mean to sound nosey, but why?

Matilda,

The other Bosch could work for Isakson then. I’ve never seen anyone who is so artful at telling some to frak off or to go frak themselves, and the person being told smiles and agrees. I swear sometimes I’m married to a supernatural being.

Normal

August 12th, 2009
10:23 am

You know, This “no pay, no way” crap just isn’t on healthcare. Just got off of the phone with State Farm about my roof. I’ve had it inspected and I’m told I have hail damage causing my leak. State Farm is telling me that I can only make three claims in five years or I’ll be cancelled. It gets better…They also tell me that if they send their inspector out I have to file a claim, and whether or not I deside to use the claim, it still counts against my three claims…What kind of horse feathers is that?

NRB

August 12th, 2009
10:23 am

“and then he put a bunch of makeup on his face and scratched a “B” in it, saying it was done by an Obama staffer”

So two wrongs make a right…okay…usually people learn by the second grade that just because person A did something wrong does not make it okay for person B to follow suit.

In other words, you’re useless.

Have you lived in the UK long enough to have their teeth? They all look like they’ve been eating rock sandwiches…probably because of that awesome government dental care…

64 IQ

August 12th, 2009
10:24 am

Please George post again … with my IQ at 64 your posts only serve to bolster my ego!

Boy Who Cried Wolf

August 12th, 2009
10:25 am

Here’s something I’m sure will be reported by the un-biased AJC & Jay- AARP claims Prez lied when saying it had endorsed Health Care Plan. Also another big endorsement for Obama’s plan by U.S. Chamber of Commerce.Uhh No you say,oh well. They also start airing ads criticizing Health Care Plan today.

N.J.

August 12th, 2009
10:26 am

Yes. remember where the money for the Bush Tax cuts came from and what they promised the results would be.

The tax cuts were funded with projected Social Security Surpluses that Clinton arranged by locking away a portion of the excess payroll taxes that come in every year and prohibiting the government from using them to pay for any government programs other than Social Security or Medicare and prohibiting Social Security Surpluses from being used to offset government revenues and give tax cuts by doing so. Bush simply reversed that and took the entire 2.2 trillion and gave it away in a large tax cut.

This was one of the major issues of the 2000 election campaign season. What to do with the surpluses. Gore said put them away and keep them put away and save them to get a handle on future Social Security and Medicare needs when the baby boomer started to retire.

Bush asserted that the BETTER way of insuring the future of Social Security and Medicare was to take those surpluses and give them out in tax cuts which would stimulate the economy to such a great degree that it would put many times more money back into the Social Security trust fund that Social Security and Medicare would become completely solvent before the time the tax cuts expired.

That was campaign 2000. Of course it didn’t happen and of course NOT giving the tax cuts or at least not using those surpluses to fund them would mean that those trillions of dollars would still be sitting safely on the side to at least get Social Security part of the way towards having actual funds to make it solvent. The Republicans now basically have given the Social Security Trust Fund an additional 2.2 trillion dollar IOU. Currently the government owes the trust fund five trillion dollars. Before Bush, it only owed the trust fund half that sum.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
10:27 am

…the percentage of people covered through an employer has dropped from 64 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2007, and that decline is likely to accelerate. Why? Because, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, the average annual premium for family coverage has already increased from $5,791 in 1999 to $12,680 in 2008 — a 9 percent annual increase — and a study published in Health Affairs forecasts that national health spending will grow at an average annual rate of 6.7 percent until 2017. Arithmetically, with each year that passes, it becomes harder for companies to keep their health plans without reducing benefits, reducing wages or increasing employee contributions to health plans. – WaPo

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
10:27 am

Have y’all seen the Stephen Hawking silliness…..

He’s responded himself:

When Investor’s Business Daily attempted to scare readers away from “socialized medicine” by claiming Stephen Hawking wouldn’t be alive today if he relied on the British health care system, they neglected a couple of things. 1) Hawking does rely on the British National Health Service. 2) Hawking can speak for himself.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS,” he told us. “I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
10:29 am

Normal,

Is there some kind of government roof program going on? I’ve never in all my life heard of so many people getting their roofs replaced because of hail damage.

Oh, and don’t be dissing the State Farm home insurance peeps, they are my new BFFs.

USinUK

August 12th, 2009
10:30 am

kayaker –

“My point is that MacCaskill doesn’t have a clue about how voters in MO and elsewhere feel about her and all of elected members of the House and the Senate”

oh, honey. do you have any idea what Senate staffers do (and House, for that matter) staffers do??? in addition to working on legislation, they keep in touch with the district/state, talking with their constituents. I guarantee you that McCaskill et al know what’s going on in their district (and how they’re polling – particularly if they are anywhere near their reelection).

“Ever wonder why the state of California is going tit* up financially.”

no, it’s because the CA legislature ceded its fiscal decision-making to ballot initiatives … funny, everyone wants the services but no one will ever vote to pay for them. THAT’s why CA is in the state they’re in. (believe it or not, those illegals buy stuff, too – they contribute to the CA — and GA — economy)

as for Obama – when asked specifically about coverage for illegal immigrants, he has specifically said no.

“I don’t know what you have been smoking but it shows”

I don’t smoke – but I do read. which is, evidently, more than you can say. and it shows.

Greg Mendel

August 12th, 2009
10:31 am

“Sarah Palin is another victim of the difficult to read 1000+ page bill. That’s alot of reading to get done.”

You know you’re a wingnut if a stop sign provides hours of reading pleasure.

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
10:31 am

Mrs. G.,

I just read in the AJC where Def Leppard is coming to town and they called them “the GODZILLA of ’80s rock” – I think you may need to contact the AJC’s legal department and file a complaint.

Doggone/GA

August 12th, 2009
10:31 am

“So kiss my right-wing …”

Typical. Can’t “win” on convincing arguments, so go to name-calling and being crude. THAT’s a winning strategy alright!

Normal

August 12th, 2009
10:33 am

Bosch, just hope you don’t have to have two more claims in five years. Cut all your trees down is all I’m sayin’

Patrick

August 12th, 2009
10:33 am

Interesting that Jay provided a link to the “relevant” text of the House bill while providing full text of the 2007 Medicare End of Life Care Planning Act. It seems to me he is “recalibrating” his position carefully. Secondly does anyone trust Jay enough for him to decide what is relevant to us. I think not.

I Report/ I Am The Mob (-: You Whine )-:

August 12th, 2009
10:34 am

Meanwhile, any one of you sniveling liberals are free to dispute the commentary from American Spectator but I see that you haven’t.

Whine on brave dimwits.

~~~~~

Jackie, the only one who took a stab at it- Are you really trying to say that Barney Fwank and his buddies did not force the loosening of borrowing standards for the low income earners?

Have you ever bothered to read the Community Reinvestment Act legislation?

It’s a little like cash for clunkers, you throw out the free money and they pile on it-

A $200 back-to-school giveaway for needy kids sparked a mad rush for money on the streets of New York on Tuesday.

“It’s free money!” said Alecia Rumph, 26, who waited in a Morris Park, Bronx, line 300 people deep for the cash to buy uniforms and book bags for her two kids.

Every child between 3 and 17 was eligible for $200, which worked out to 813,845 kids across the state – including 498,866 in the city.

Mr. Snarky

August 12th, 2009
10:34 am

Actually, I think the swastika was perpetrated by a right wing group who wanted to make it look like a left wing group did it, thereby discrediting the left. Haha…the joke’s on them.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
10:37 am

George American

August 12th, 2009
10:40 am

GO AHEAD, POKE FUN AT GEORGE AMERICAN, LIBERAL ELITIST SNOBS. YOU’LL GET YOURS AT THE NEXT ELECTION!!!

Th

August 12th, 2009
10:42 am

Kayaker: glad you read what Emmanuel actually wrote rather than depend on right wing mischaracterizations of it. I’m sure you read to the end to see that he opposes euthanasia and advocates that it continue to be illegal. On the topic of trust, while only 50% of Americans say they trust Obama on health care reform, only 28% trust Republicans. So Obama is trusted almost 2 to 1 over Reps.

NRB: are you advocating armed rebellion against the US? I think there is a trial going on in Atlanta right now dealing with that issue.

Matilda

August 12th, 2009
10:42 am

George, promises promises. **Yawn!**

Normal

August 12th, 2009
10:43 am

George American

August 12th, 2009
10:40 am
GO AHEAD, POKE FUN AT GEORGE AMERICAN, LIBERAL ELITIST SNOBS. YOU’LL GET YOURS AT THE NEXT ELECTION!!!

Yes George, we will get our cake and eat it too…

Normal

August 12th, 2009
10:43 am

Matilda..High Five!!

Doggone/GA

August 12th, 2009
10:44 am

“YOU’LL GET YOURS AT THE NEXT ELECTION!!!”

yep. More Senators, more Representatives, more Governors and the Presidency too.

Taxpayer

August 12th, 2009
10:45 am

Meanwhile, any one of you sniveling liberals are free to dispute the commentary from American Spectator but I see that you haven’t.

There he goes again, trying to limit feedback to “sniveling liberals” or something equally absurd. Open your eyes and read what all the rest of us, those that do not satisfy your requirement for an invitation to freely dispute that trailer trash talk known as American Spectator, have already said.

Normal

August 12th, 2009
10:45 am

OK Jay, this thread is done. Let’s talk about something else. Whiner’s AmSpec says there was a Elvis sighting in Conyers…..

Joey

August 12th, 2009
10:47 am

Peggy Noonan has a good commentary about healthcare in the WSJ. Title: “You Are Terrifying Us”.

You should read it. My computer and internet skills keep me from providing a link here.

Yankee

August 12th, 2009
10:48 am

When I see these TEA-BAGGERS, BIRTH-ERS, AND HEALTH–SCARE individuals act like MORONS at these town hall meetings I think to myself who needs Jerry Springer?

Kayaker 71

August 12th, 2009
10:48 am

USinUK,

Ever tried to write your Congressman or Senator about an issues that concerns you? These “staffers” are the ones who answer your inquiry, usually with a form letter, signed by the elected official which does not answer your questions at all. These idiots keep track of the sentiment in their districts, alright, only to the extent it pertains to the next election. They pander to every special interest group that has money to give them… they certainly are up on how to win elections. But the sentiment of the electorate? …. they don’t have a clue.
The state of CA passed initiatives to lower their tax base because their lazy incompetent elected officials were locked in partisan debate over how much political leverage they could obtain about their positions, no unlike our national elected officials. The people of CA finally got tired of it. The American people are also getting tired of it. We don’t want them to make decisions for us that we are entirely capable of making on our own. Take another toke, it’ll do wonders for your outlook.

jt

August 12th, 2009
10:51 am

“Isakson’s awkward contortions on end-of-life counseling”

It is called “tap dancing”, Jay.

This is something that Isackson is quite adroit at doing whenever he gets caught in bed with Kennedy. Not the first time.

He campaigns as a conservative but never passes up a chance to “work” with Kennedy. I guess it works on the majority of Georgians.

Regardless, this legislation will only drive up costs for those of us that handle these decisions on our own.

It is interesting to note that this bill(and probably ANY bill being considered) pertaining to this issue, SPECIFICALLY mentions the respective “STATE BARS”.

I am SO sure that lawyers will help matters out.

Mrs. Godzilla

August 12th, 2009
10:51 am

Bosch

She’s facing complete pulmonary failure. She’s wearing out.

She’s fine for a couple weeks, then WHAM can’t breathe….we rush to ER,
they mainline some IV steroids into her, she’s visibly better almost immediately, keep her for a few days then send her home to start the cycle again.

Her living will has the DNR note. Last month, we had a real scare….
she was pretty bad off and they wanted us (and we did) gather the family to say goodbye. She refused to be intubated….then the IV steroids kicked in and she was fine.

3 groups of doctors, 15 medications and oxygen to manage…..they won’t put here on maintainance dose steroids….and frankly I don’t really trust any of those medicos.

We keep her warm, well fed and entertained….it’s truly been a blessing to have her though.

She was talking to the “zillettes the other day about men etc….told the story about some old goat coming up behind here while she was working years ago and whispering into her ear…”I’d sure like to get into your pants” and she responded (no kidding) “Why? did you shiite your own?”……we laughed till we cried.

FinnMcCool

August 12th, 2009
10:55 am

Health Care will pass in September. Then we will move on to taking your guns…..

Yankee

August 12th, 2009
10:57 am

The NEW WHITE “CONFEDERATE” racist code words “WE NEED TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK” which really means WE NEED GET THAT NEGRO OUT OF OUR WHITE HOUSE”. Where were “Y”ALL” when DUBYA was pile -driving this nation into the abyss. Why no MOB MENTALITY THEN HUH??

getalife

August 12th, 2009
10:58 am

It’s a great comedy show but the American taliban are bringing guns to the debate.

Perhaps they should keep gitmo open.

FinnMcCool

August 12th, 2009
11:01 am

Glad we have an intelligent Kenyan in the white house to clean up after the incompetent white men.

White men are now out of touch with reality…are we a minority yet?

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
11:01 am

Mrs. G.,

Well, first of all, more power to you – people don’t realize the complications involved and it’s very frustrating.

15 medications? That might be WHY she is having pulmonary failure. Good lord! That’s alot of drugs! That just doesn’t sound right.

Old people, if they aren’t grippy and ornery are quite hilarious.

Matilda

August 12th, 2009
11:02 am

Kayaker, no disrespect, but the people of California are idiots. They have referendums on absoutely everything, and vote based only on what it means their own lives, not the big picture, which is why they’re screwed. (To quote Bill Maher, they’d vote for no taxes, free gas, and va-jay-jay trees everywhere if they could.)

There’s a REASON our founding fathers set up a representative form of government: they knew not everyone would bother to inform themselves of all the facts needed to make important decisions. If you don’t like what your representatives are doing, then you should inform yourself and make your feelings known. If special interests own your reps, then you should work to change that. Bad representation is possible because citizens don’t hold their reps accountable. The ignorant we will always have with us. Equal rights: Yes! Equal weight to the opinions of the grossly mis- or un-informed: not feeling it.

Bosch

August 12th, 2009
11:02 am

Finn,

“Health Care will pass in September. Then we will move on to taking your guns…..”

And then your women.

And then we will force you all to renounce your Judaeo-Christian God and force you to marry a gay person, and legalize weed.

stands for decibels

August 12th, 2009
11:03 am

Might be a good time to re-post this link to Kathleen Parker’s attempt to sanitize Sarah Palin’s “death panel” comments, since it constitutes some awkward contortions of its own. Parker continues to be published in Townhall and in many papers (including the AJC) but, as our own Whiner can tell you, is widely loathed for having the temerity to say respectful things about our President from time to time.

Every bit as compelling as Parker’s column, of course, are the absolutely charming conservative comments that follow.