As I’ve said before, Americans have come to believe that spending government revenues on U.S. citizens here at home is usually a bad thing and should be viewed with suspicion, but spending billions on vast social engineering projects overseas is the hallmark of patriotism and should never be questioned. This position makes no sense, but it is hard to think of a prominent U.S. leader who is making an explicit case for doing somewhat less abroad so that we can afford to build a better future here at home. Debates about foreign policy, grand strategy, and military engagement — including the current debate over Obama’s decision to add another30,000-plus troops in Afghanistan — tend to occur in isolation from a discussion of other priorities, as if there were no tradeoffs between what we do for others and what we are able to do for Americans here at home.
Maybe we can set up an efficient health insurance delivery system in Iraq or Afghanistan and then import it to the States. Call it a part of our COIN strategy, get Petraeus to endorse it and then ship it home under cover of night.
You may hate Clinton with everything in your being, and that’s fine. But this kind of journalism is what’s killing our political system and what gets people like John McCain and George W. Bush elected. Clinton was repeating a story about bad health care which she heard on the campaign trail from an American citizen. She wasn’t tooting her own horn or putting down her opponent in the telling of it. She was illustrating the plight of the uninsured in this country, which even if it turns out to not be specifically correct in the details, is certainly not something that doesn’t happen every day to somebody in this country.
In fact, I suspect this particular “gotcha” is being done to degrade the argument against universal health care as much as to embarrass Senator Clinton. The Clinton Rules state that if any part of a story is proven true, the entire story is true. The corollary is that if any part of a story about a Republican is proved to be false then the entire story is false. The same concept is at work with health care here. If any detail about bad health care in the US can be shown as false, then notions that our health care system is screwed up are also false. Get ready for more of this. I don’t know if it will work, but if they can get the media to play it like this, then the subliminal subtext going out there is that Democrats are lying about health care. They don’t have to convince everybody, just a few.