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Subject: Mr. Obama- Take Control of Your Party! rss

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William Boykin
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Pres. Obama's numbers on his policies are falling. While he remains popular personally, support for his policies are increasingly going south.

I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that Obama is not the real head of the Democratic Party- no matter how popular he might be.

WAAAAY back in January, during my black out period where I was playing wait and see about the new President, a friend of mine asked me if I thought that Obama would be more like a Democratic Ronald Reagan or a replay of Jimmy Carter.

I think we're seeing the answer play itself out with Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.

The fact that the President passed on taking a leadership role on Health Care, I feel, is a terrible mistake. Health Care, so important in Mr. Obama's campaign rhetoric, should have been HIS bill.

And its not- we've got Pelosi's bill, we've got Reid's bill, we've got Olympia Snow's variations on Reid's bill, we've got Blue Dog Democrats hemming, and liberal Democrats hawing, and the GOP rabble rousers trying desperately to seem relevant by just yelling 'Socialism'.

This is going to be a disaster- Blue Dog Democrats are already starting to back out of supporting the bill because one of the key reaons for doing this- to make Health Care LESS of a drain on the Federal Government- has been ignored by the Pelosi plan as they just pass off the costs onto small buisnesses while not reforming the system on whit. If Obama can't even keep Moderate-Conservative DEMOCRATS on board, he's not going to win ONE Republican- and the bill is dead.

Pres. Obama cannot afford a major failure on health care. Better for him to make a tactical retreat, forgo getting a bill out in August, and take CHARGE of the situation. He should have had a team working on this when he got elected, and had his OWN bill put out to the Hill, rather than letting Congress dither.

David Brooks, in a great piece from July 21st, says this about Obama and his relation with the Democratic Congress.

Quote:
Machiavelli said a leader should be feared as well as loved. Obama is loved by the Democratic chairmen, but he is not feared. On health care, Obama has emphasized cost control. The chairmen flouted his priorities because they don’t fear him. On cap and trade, Obama campaigned against giving away pollution offsets. The chairmen wrote their bill to do precisely that because they don’t fear him. On taxes, Obama promised that top tax rates would not go above Clinton-era levels. The chairmen flouted that promise because they don’t fear him.

Last week, the administration announced a proposal to take Medicare spending decisions away from Congress and lodge the power with technocrats in the executive branch. It’s a good idea, and it might lead to real cost savings. But there’s no reason to think that it will be incorporated into the final law. The chairmen will never surrender power to an administration they can override.

That leaves matters in the hands of the Blue Dog Democrats. These brave moderates are trying to restrain the fiscal explosion. But moderates inherently lack seniority (they are from swing districts). They are usually bought off by leadership at the end of the day.



David Brooks- "Liberal Suicide March", New York Times, July 21st, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/opinion/21brooks.html

So, back to my friend's question of whether or not Obama is Reagan or Carter.....

IF Obama isn't able to take control, and get his party to work FOR him, this is going to be a failed Presidency. Losing Health Care would be bad- but even worse will be four years of a President that is unwilling to defy the Congress to try and implement his agenda. The Liberal Left of the Democrats will overreach, Obama will look weak, and the GOP will be left off the hook that they deserve to squirm on for at least one more election cycle.

And you won't be able to blame Bush or the GOP for this failure. It will all be Mr. Obama's fault.

But this can be averted- by showing that he can do more than just give a good speech. IF there is something underneath his polished exterior, he needs to show it- soon.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:


Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.


Who Hasn't?
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True Blue Jon
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I like it when presidents and congress work independently. I think that's how our founders wanted it to work.
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William Boykin
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MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:


Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.


Who Hasn't?


Yes, but I thought that this President was suppossed to be the 'Smart' guy, who would rule from the "Center" to get things done.

Are you saying that you agree that Obama is a disappointment?



Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:


Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.


Who Hasn't?


Yes, but I thought that this President was suppossed to be the 'Smart' guy, who would rule from the "Center" to get things done.

Are you saying that you agree that Obama is a disappointment?



Darilian


I'm saying Obama made a promise to push Universal Health Care, which is one of the few things he promised I believe in, and he is.

Is he a disappointment that the rest of Washington hasn't got on board with the idea? uh no.

"Ruling from the center" and "universal health care" is an oxymoron in DC.

I commend him for at least making the effort. Did I think it would traverse the gauntlet to begin with. Not really.
 
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William Boykin
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MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:


Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.


Who Hasn't?


Yes, but I thought that this President was suppossed to be the 'Smart' guy, who would rule from the "Center" to get things done.

Are you saying that you agree that Obama is a disappointment?



Darilian


I'm saying Obama made a promise to push Universal Health Care, which is one of the few things he promised I believe in, and he is.

Is he a disappointment that the rest of Washington hasn't got on board with the idea? uh no.

"Ruling from the center" and "universal health care" is an oxymoron in DC.

I commend him for at least making the effort. Did I think it would traverse the gauntlet to begin with. Not really.


So its better for him to try and fail? Even if it costs him a ton of political capital? Why not focus on something he COULD have gotten passed?

I mean, I understand where you're coming from on wanting him to pass this bill and admiring him for it, but...

...He hasn't really been serious about it. He's been jetting all over the world, delegating this, what he called the MOST important piece of legislation he wanted to get passed, over to Congress to pass.

I'm sorry- thats not leadership, its dilletantism.

Really, I WANT Obama to succeed (on some things). If he really IS a Moderate-Conservative 'Blue Dog' Democrat- and brought the Party in line with those principles- I could see myself going back to the Democratic Party. But instead, I'm seeing what drove me AWAY- the hubris of the Democratic liberal elite that just doesn't give a damn, just as the Social Conservatives of the GOP didn't give a damn about anything outside of their interests either.

This is not good. Not good at all...

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:


So its better for him to try and fail? Even if it costs him a ton of political capital? Why not focus on something he COULD have gotten passed?

This is not good. Not good at all...

Darilian


Well as an Obama voter, it hasn't cost him any political capitol in my mind. That's one.
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One would have thought that the Obama administration would have learned this from the Clinton administration. Health care is a monster of a topic and it almost destroyed Clinton's first term, until he abandoned the grandiose notion and got back to just leaving everything alone and "letting the country ride".

As Dar points out, this will take concerted effort to get anything that is worth passing passed. No one will be fooled if lipservice is paid but no substance is passed. Obama should be running point on this and using political capital now to pass it, which would result in gaining more political capital later.

And to counter Chapel, this is one cautiously optimistic Obama voter who is now just cautious.
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William Boykin
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MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:


So its better for him to try and fail? Even if it costs him a ton of political capital? Why not focus on something he COULD have gotten passed?

This is not good. Not good at all...

Darilian


Well as an Obama voter, it hasn't cost him any political capitol in my mind. That's one.


Its costing him...

1) Time. As President, you only get a honeymoon period ONCE. Then you've left it, and you're back to the 'rubber chicken circuit', raising money for other party members to secure your nomination and build up the war chest for the next election. Not to mention, the Mid Term elections for 2010 are coming up. He's going to lose the attention of Congress soon as well.

2) Popular Support. One of the key weapons that the President had was his great rapport with the American People. However, the numbers are starting to go south. This can be built back up, but only by success. Success gives popular support, which allows for more success. But if you have an early failure- and look 'weak'- you lose this tool, and you and your party are put on defense.

3) Allies. Obama NEEDS allies in Congress to push forward his agenda. But if he's not able to come through- ie, WIN- they won't help him. Which is why his allowing Reid and Pelosi call the shots is NOT good- he's helping them with his popularity and NOT getting what he needs out of it- a bill that helps the American people. And Obama will lose a lot of allies in Congress who otherwise would be supporting him if he becomes a political pariah- ie, a failure.

Americans HATE 'failure'. If Obama allows himself to be tarred with the 'Carter' brush, its going to destroy his Presidency- and it will be his own damn fault.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
The fact that the President passed on taking a leadership role on Health Care, I feel, is a terrible mistake.


It's way too early to see what leadership role he's going to take.

If you actively made calls to encourage people to support John McCain, perhaps you aren't the best judge of what Obama supporters are going to be happy with.

Quote:
This is going to be a disaster


We'll see. I think everything that you describe is a strength. The Blue Dogs are helping by pushing back against the natural tendency of Congress to spend rather than confront the special interests who benefit from that spending. And Obama is backing them up. I think the process is working. I know people who are more pessimistic, though. Only time will tell.

Quote:
He should have had a team working on this when he got elected, and had his OWN bill put out to the Hill, rather than letting Congress dither.


I personally think his actual approach is a million times better.

Quote:
Last week, the administration announced a proposal to take Medicare spending decisions away from Congress and lodge the power with technocrats in the executive branch. It’s a good idea, and it might lead to real cost savings. But there’s no reason to think that it will be incorporated into the final law. The chairmen will never surrender power to an administration they can override.


This is your prediction, too? This will "never" happen? That's a concrete testable prediction. We'll see if Obama and I are right, or you and Brooks are right.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Darilian wrote:
The fact that the President passed on taking a leadership role on Health Care, I feel, is a terrible mistake.


It's way too early to see what leadership role he's going to take.

If you actively made calls to encourage people to support John McCain, perhaps you aren't the best judge of what Obama supporters are going to be happy with.

Quote:
This is going to be a disaster


We'll see. I think everything that you describe is a strength. The Blue Dogs are helping by pushing back against the natural tendency of Congress to spend rather than confront the special interests who benefit from that spending. And Obama is backing them up. I think the process is working. I know people who are more pessimistic, though. Only time will tell.

Quote:
He should have had a team working on this when he got elected, and had his OWN bill put out to the Hill, rather than letting Congress dither.


I personally think his actual approach is a million times better.

Quote:
Last week, the administration announced a proposal to take Medicare spending decisions away from Congress and lodge the power with technocrats in the executive branch. It’s a good idea, and it might lead to real cost savings. But there’s no reason to think that it will be incorporated into the final law. The chairmen will never surrender power to an administration they can override.


This is your prediction, too? This will "never" happen? That's a concrete testable prediction. We'll see if Obama and I are right, or you and Brooks are right.


In turn...

1). I'm an American first, before I'm a McCain supporter. And the poll numbers among Independents are what are slipping, not the party faithful.

2). If Obama can't get a bill passed, its a disaster. The rhetoric he used during the campaign is such that he will NOT get off the hook by just blaming the GOP on this, when its pretty self evident that its his own fault. And he's going to deserve the gutting he will get.

If you give your enemies a sword, don't be surprised when they gut you with it.

3). David Brooks prediction. Yes, its a good one. Personally, I think that he's right on this.

We will see.

Darilian
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Jim C
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MWChapel wrote:
Darilian wrote:


Obama's struggles to get a bill together on Health Care.


Who Hasn't?


Lyndon Johnson
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Oh,and to pre-empt those who are going to insist that Brook's analysis is just more 'GOP partisan sniping', the man actually does admire Pres. Obama, and want him to succeed- IF he goes forward on the Moderate Left position that he was elected for.

Case in point- a piece he did just a few days before the one I just quoted, where he praises the President for his plan to increase funding to help Community Colleges- a KEY element that we need to help Americans get new skills to help drive the economy.

Quote:
What’s important about the Obama initiative is that it doesn’t throw money at the problem. It ties money to reform and has the potential — the potential — to spur a wave of innovation.

People who work at community colleges deserve all the love we can give them, since they get so little prestige day to day. But the fact is many community colleges do a poor job of getting students through. About half drop out before getting a degree.

Most schools have poor accountability systems and inadequately track student outcomes. They have little information about what works. They have trouble engaging students on campus. Many remedial classes (60 percent of students need them) are a joke, often because expectations are too low.

The Obama initiative is designed to go right at these deeper problems. It sets up a significant innovation fund, which, if administered properly, could set in motion a spiral of change. It has specific provisions for remedial education, outcome tracking and online education. It links public sector training with specific private sector employers.

Real reform takes advantage of community colleges’ most elemental feature. These colleges educate students with wildly divergent interests, goals and abilities. They host students with radically different learning styles, many of whom have floundered in traditional classrooms....

It’s a reminder that the Obama administration can produce hope and change — when the White House is the engine of policy creation and not the caboose.


David Brooks- "No Size Fits All", New York Times, July 16th, 2009.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/opinion/17brooks.html

The last is the key- Obama can succeed in making good policy- when he wants to.

The fact that he has not harnessed the talent pool he has in the White House to address Health Care, SERIOUSLY, when anyone who has read a newspaper in the last 20 years can tell you how divisive this could be, is just bizarre.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
The fact that he has not harnessed the talent pool he has in the White House to address Health Care, SERIOUSLY, when anyone who has read a newspaper in the last 20 years can tell you how divisive this could be, is just bizarre.


That's not a "fact". It's not even true. I know a whole lot about what the White House is doing to pass health care reform. The idea that they are sitting around with their thumb up their ass is absurd.

You don't think he's chosen the best political strategy for achieving the result. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion. But he did manage to get elected, when no one gave him much chance. It's always possible that his judgment is actually better than yours.
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Drew1365 wrote:


Have we ever had a President who, day after day, proves how completely unprepared he is to hold the office he holds? Not even George Bush was this much of a neophyte.


No one wants to make this thread about W. that man was a still a neophyte when he LEFT office.


I do agree that Obama is running the white house too much by consensus and commitee. The big problem now is that "blood is in the water".


The heathcare reform act of 2028 that abolished our current system of government and replace it with a HMO review board will fix everthing.
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rcbevco wrote:
I do agree that Obama is running the white house too much by consensus and commitee.


It's funny. I was just on a phone call where people were talking about how many more decisions are being made at the top, by Obama personally, than in past administrations.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Darilian wrote:
The fact that he has not harnessed the talent pool he has in the White House to address Health Care, SERIOUSLY, when anyone who has read a newspaper in the last 20 years can tell you how divisive this could be, is just bizarre.


That's not a "fact". It's not even true. I know a whole lot about what the White House is doing to pass health care reform. The idea that they are sitting around with their thumb up their ass is absurd.

You don't think he's chosen the best political strategy for achieving the result. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion. But he did manage to get elected, when no one gave him much chance. It's always possible that his judgment is actually better than yours.


There's an easy test- Can he get the bill passed?

If he can, good for him! He has more savvy than I gave him credit for.
If he can't, he's political road kill- and worse than I thought during the election.

Mostly, I'm pre-empting what I KNOW will happen 'if' this turns out to be a disaster- blaming the GOP for the failure. *LOL* But if they try to do that, it will backfire, horribly- too much is riding on this for the Democrats and the President to come out unscathed. (This is unless the GOP does something INCREDIBLY stupid when the Democrats are about to hand them a major political defeat for the President on a silver platter.)

What is at stake is the 'meaning' of the Obama Presidency-
Is it 'Yes, we can!"?
Or is it, "Well, we tried..."?

We shall see!

Darilian

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Obama is the BEST* president we've ever had.





*In ranking of publicity appearances and interviews.
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Darilian wrote:
There's an easy test- Can he get the bill passed? If he can, good for him!


You aren't going to turn around and criticize what gets passed?

Quote:
Mostly, I'm pre-empting what I KNOW will happen 'if' this turns out to be a disaster- blaming the GOP for the failure. *LOL*


I think everyone on the left knows that (1) the GOP is the problem, and (2) politically, it makes no difference whose 'fault' it is, we have to pass something.

I'll give you long odds they will pass something.

You haven't forgotten about reconciliation, have you? I guarantee you that Barack hasn't. That is the (not so secret) weapon.
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David Broder talked about that earlier in June- that Obama needs to get GOP Moderates on board in order to pass a bipartisan bill. All of his major legislative successes required a few GOP members to switch and vote for him- he needs to get their support, now, more than ever.

The GOP should be part of the SOLUTION- but they aren't just going to rubber stamp a bill because Pelosi tells them to. You have to give them something- its the way politics works.

BUT- if he can't even keep the Blue Dog Democrats on task, I'm not sure how he's going to get any GOP congressmen.

Now, about the particulars-
When I actually see what the Bill is going to be, then you'll get my barbs about the particulars. No point in going nuclear now, however- no one really knows what the bill is going to look like. There are some good ideas out there, some terrible ones.

What I promise you, though- if all he gets passed is a tiny little band-aid and tries to make it out that was what he intended all along, I WILL be disappointed and cry out long and loudly- as will many Americans.

Darilian
 
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I think the whole thing is out of control. We spent $750 billion dollars on a stimulus package that nobody read because of hundreds of pages added in the last 48 hours that turned out to be mostly political payback. Obama is redoing the bank industry (he owns it now), the energy industry, the car industry (he owns that too) and now the health industry. It's almost like Obama and congress are in a state of panic.
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DaviddesJ wrote:


I'll give you long odds they will pass something.



What odds are you offering? And what will they pass?

Darilian
 
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I can't believe I didn't post this joke earlier:

It's his party and he'll go AWOL if he wants to!
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Darilian wrote:
David Broder talked about that earlier in June- that Obama needs to get GOP Moderates on board in order to pass a bipartisan bill. All of his major legislative successes required a few GOP members to switch and vote for him- he needs to get their support, now, more than ever.


All of them? We're talking about one data point, right? Involving three Republican senators, one of whom is now a Democrat. And getting the two Maine senators to vote for health care reform is looking reasonably possible. I think they are easier than some of the Democrats.

But you totally glossed over the main point that we can pass health care reform with 50 votes in the Senate, if necessary. That threat is most powerful as a tool to get to 60 votes.

Quote:
The GOP should be part of the SOLUTION


80% of the GOP Senators are fanatics. There's no point in pandering to them. It's bad enough that we have to pander to the centrist Democrats.

If a few of them want to compromise, and trade their support for some minor changes, that's a fair deal. If they don't want to, they get the goose egg they deserve.

I would be surprised if you see more than two Republican senators vote for the final bill.

Quote:
BUT- if he can't even keep the Blue Dog Democrats on task, I'm not sure how he's going to get any GOP congressmen.


Huh? The Blue Dogs are more in line with Obama than Nancy Pelosi or Henry Waxman are.

Quote:
What I promise you, though- if all he gets passed is a tiny little band-aid and tries to make it out that was what he intended all along, I WILL be disappointed and cry out long and loudly- as will many Americans.


This is my point. Whatever happens, you're going to bitch about it. If a bill doesn't pass, you'll bitch that Obama didn't get anything done. If a bill does pass, you'll bitch that it's not the right bill. There's zero chance you're going to approve of whatever comes out of the process, so there's zero point in worrying about whether you're happy with the process.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Darilian wrote:
David Broder talked about that earlier in June- that Obama needs to get GOP Moderates on board in order to pass a bipartisan bill. All of his major legislative successes required a few GOP members to switch and vote for him- he needs to get their support, now, more than ever.


All of them? We're talking about one data point, right? Involving three Republican senators, one of whom is now a Democrat. And getting the two Maine senators to vote for health care reform is looking reasonably possible. I think they are easier than some of the Democrats.

But you totally glossed over the main point that we can pass health care reform with 50 votes in the Senate, if necessary. That threat is most powerful as a tool to get to 60 votes.

Quote:
The GOP should be part of the SOLUTION


80% of the GOP Senators are fanatics. There's no point in pandering to them. It's bad enough that we have to pander to the centrist Democrats.

If a few of them want to compromise, and trade their support for some minor changes, that's a fair deal. If they don't want to, they get the goose egg they deserve.

I would be surprised if you see more than two Republican senators vote for the final bill.

Quote:
BUT- if he can't even keep the Blue Dog Democrats on task, I'm not sure how he's going to get any GOP congressmen.


Huh? The Blue Dogs are more in line with Obama than Nancy Pelosi or Henry Waxman are.

Quote:
What I promise you, though- if all he gets passed is a tiny little band-aid and tries to make it out that was what he intended all along, I WILL be disappointed and cry out long and loudly- as will many Americans.


This is my point. Whatever happens, you're going to bitch about it. If a bill doesn't pass, you'll bitch that Obama didn't get anything done. If a bill does pass, you'll bitch that it's not the right bill. There's zero chance you're going to approve of whatever comes out of the process, so there's zero point in worrying about whether you're happy with the process.


80% of the Democrats are also fanatics.

And when I mean bi Partisan, I'm not saying that you're going to get all of the GOP onboard. They won't. But they might let some individuals switch over easier if there is a quid pro quo that helps them on some issues or filling up some positions with their appointees in the Federal Bureaucracy.

Worked for Johnson...

If Obama can get about 3-4 Republican senators on board, that would be a pretty big accomplishment.

And yes, the Dems can pass a bill with only 50 votes. Can they get the votes, however?

Given that Obama is NOT writing this bill, the fact that the Blue Dogs are starting to look for political cover in order to bolt is telling. Yes, they want to support the President- but they aren't going to if they feel the bill is poison.

Finally-
I think you have me confused with DW Tripp, David. If you'll remember, I've actually had a couple of threads where I've commented on some things I thought that the President has done well- mostly in foreign policy. So I'll kindly ask you to back off on telling me what a partisan 'whack job' I am, thankyouverymuchforplayingseeyoulaternowbye.



IF Obama can pass a good bill- one that significantly cuts costs on Health Care for BOTH the individual 'average joe' AND helps reduce Federal Expenditures on Medicaire, I'll be the first to admit that I underestimated Pres. Obama. I just don't think that the plans coming out of Congress are going to do EITHER, however.

Darilian
 
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