The New York Times this morning uses Georgia — who knew we were a bastion of rationality? — to describe the impact that calm, serious questioners are having on the debate over health care reform:
Montezuma, Ga. — Until Thursday evening, nothing in Bob Collier’s 62 years had stirred in him the slightest desire to take a stand — about anything — in public.
He skipped the antiwar protests of his college years, took a job as a regional salesman of paper and chemical products, and built for himself a quiet life of family and church (and hunting and fishing) in his rural hometown in southwest Georgia.
But on Thursday, Mr. Collier drove more than an hour down Route 19 to attend a health care forum in Albany, Ga., being held by his congressman, Representative Sanford D. Bishop Jr., a Democrat serving his ninth term.
To his wife’s astonishment, as the session drew into its third hour, Mr. Collier rose to take the microphone and firmly, but courteously, urged Mr. Bishop to oppose the health care legislation being written in Washington.
When a national party takes a sharp turn on public policy, people notice. From this morning’s Wall Street Journal:
The Republican Party issued a new salvo in the health debate Monday with a “seniors’ health care bill of rights” that opposed any moves to trim Medicare spending or limit end-of-life care to seniors.
Intended as a political shot at President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee manifesto marks a remarkable turnaround for a party that had once fought to trim the health program for the elderly and disabled, which last year cost taxpayers over $330 billion.
Georgia state GOP chairman Sue Everhart helped play the baby-boomer card by sending out an e-mail blast to grassroots that included these lines from national Republican chairman Michael Steele:
…We need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of “health-insurance reform.” As the president frequently, and correctly, points out, Medicare will go deep into the red in less than a decade. But he and congressional Democrats are planning to raid, not aid, Medicare by cutting $500 billion from the program to fund his health-care experiment.
The president also plans to cut hospital payments and Medicare Advantage, all of which will mean fewer treatment options for seniors.
You can’t say the health care issue is running out of steam. More than 1,000 attended U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall’s town hall meeting in Warner Robins on Monday evening. This from Georgia Public Broadcasting:
The 8th District Congressman began the evening by asking those in attendance to respect one another’s opinions. He said characterizations of some Americans as right-wing extremists and left-wing socialists were not helpful in the debate over health care….
Marshall repeatedly told the crowd he is opposed to the current House bill. That statement drew loud applause every time.
The Republican gubernatorial campaign of Nathan Deal on Monday evening hit supporters with this reaction to an AJC article that described Deal’s personal efforts to preserve a state program that benefited his private company:
The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contains a story about a vehicle salvage business that I have owned for over 20 years.
This story is based on a premise that is factually incorrect. The implication that I intervened with state officials to benefit myself is completely false, outrageous, and nothing more than a back alley, in-the-shadows attempt by one of my political opponents to damage my good name and reputation with a cheap political shot.
Publisher’s Weekly is out with the first description of a new book by former U.S. senator Max Cleland, entitled: “Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove.”
The official blurb:
[Cleland] and the nation share crises of confidence: both fall into bitter disillusionment over the Vietnam War, culture wars and political infighting, and Cleland is candid about his periods of depression and the counseling that renewed his faith in himself and his country. Concluding with a meditation on his frustration with the Iraq War—during which he helped to create, and later resigned from in protest, the 9/11 Commission—Cleland’s life seems to once again be attuned to the national mood.
Just in case you didn’t notice the airless vacuum, the race for mayor of Atlanta has lost a contestant. This from the Saporta Report:
…[A]t the end of a mayoral forum Monday evening, candidate Duvwon Robinson removed his jacket and put on a Lisa Borders T-shirt, and then he announced he was withdrawing from the race and throwing his support behind the president of the Atlanta City Council. The two then hugged.
Robinson’s withdrawal from the mayor’s race means there are now 12 people who are running for the city’s top office. Because Robinson came armed with a Borders T-shirt, it’s obvious the announcement was premeditated.
Finally, if you’re having trouble getting to the bottom of this post, you might consider having a chew. This from the Atlanta Business Chronicle:
A Colorado company is introducing a line of beef jerky with a jolt of caffeine.
“Perky Jerky” combines the usual strips of peppered beef “with an energizing additive,” the Performance Enhancing Meat Snack Co. (PEMS) announced Monday.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Workers leaving Georgia, or just the workforce? Mayor Shirley Franklin acknowledges that metro Atlanta’s gang problems are still growing. The CEO of SunTrust Bank says the worst may be over. What happens to travelers’ data after Clear’s demise? At least 190 Gwinnett County staffers take incentive to retire. Industrial businesses say Cobb River Line plan will hurt them. Cobb to cut back on new roads, sidewalks. Proposal to shorten Fulton school year tweaked. Lawsuit charges for-profit university with fraud.
Your Luckovich fix. Control health costs? Look in the mirror first. Rapid home tests stem HIV spread.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
WSJ: More Afghan candidates claim fraud. WP: Bernanke to be reappointed as Fed chairman. LAT: Swine flu could hospitalize 2 million in U.S. this winter.
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