Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Several unrelated postings for this blog :

Yesterday's strong rejection of any public health option by the Senate finance committee was obviously a very welcome event. All 10 Republicans held firm(including Maine moderate Olympia Snowe), and were joined by 5 and 3 Democrats in the respective votes. In addition to the importance of the committee vote itself, I believe it prognosticates severe difficulty for passage of a public option in by the full Senate. It is notable how strongly Red state Democrats are opposed to the idea. Democratic Senators from states such as Arkansas,Florida,Louisiana,Nebraska and others have already voiced strong concerns and/or will be under intense pressure to vote against any such plan. One poll in La. for example found respondents against a government run health option by a 2:1 margin.

Tomorrow is the opening round of negotiations with Iran. It will be interesting to watch both the tone and content of the talks. I fear the Obama administration is only interested in talking tough to the press, as opposed to the Iranians. The chance of meaningful sanctions, at least at this stage seems unlikely. I hope I am wrong.

Lastly, I would like to suggest reading Maureen Dowd's piece in the Times today. Although right thinking people would ordinarily avoid her column like swine flu, today is an exception. She wrote an insightful and touching mini-memoir about William Safire. It is actually interesting to get a glimpse of an arch liberal's interaction with and estimation of one of the great conservative writers of our time.

Paul Ratzker