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As this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing argues, Americans have much to learn from other countries in a variety of areas and healthcare is one of the most obvious. Happily, there are some small signs that maybe — just maybe — this truth is beginning to dawn on political leaders of both parties.

President Obama, of course, has made repeated allusions throughout the years to the need for America to do a better job of matching the performance of other nations when it comes to providing healthcare to the many while controlling costs much more effectively. 

Now comes word that, yesterday, his chief opponent, Mitt Romney, is embracing a similar argument. According to this article in the Washington Post, Romney heaped praise on Israel’s heavily regulated health care system — some might even call it “socialized” — for its success in controlling costs. 

Could it be that our nation’s leading politicians are finally finding some common ground on this critical issue?  It seems certain that many will portray Romney’s comments as a gaffe, but let’s fervently hope that he meant what he said and that it opens to door to further dialogue across the political spectrum on this critical issue. 

 

 

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Here is the kind of thing that was being referenced when we reported recently that the North Carolina General Assembly was starting to resemble the U.S. Congress.

According to this report, opponents of President Obama are so set on blocking consideration of any judicial appointees during the fourth year of his term that they’re even filibustering a judge with overwhelming conservative support!   

As you might recall, leaders of the General Assembly have stymied several of the Governor’s appointments to the state Board of Education (and other important state panels) in a similar and wholly political fashion.

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Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog has an interesting post today about the changing demographics of the electorate since 2008.

The article, in turn, quotes veteran Democratic author and activist Ruy Teixeira from a piece in The New Republic in which he paints an optimistic picture for Obama:

“Turning to the New South swing states of North Carolina and Florida, there have also been sizable demographic shifts over the last four years. In North Carolina, the minority share of eligible voters has gone up over 4 points, with simultaneous declines of around 2 points in both white college and white non-college eligibles. In Florida, the increase in minority share has also been about 4 points, while white working class eligibles have declined 3 points and white college eligibles by 1 point.”

Kilgore’s post concludes this way:

“Stereotypes die hard, and journalists are often surprised at the emergence or disappearance of this or that state from the electoral “battleground.” But the trends Teixeira examines may help explain why Obama could quite possibly win North Carolina while losing Iowa, which not much of anyone would have imagined immediately after 2008.”

 

 

 

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To watch President Obama’s calm, rational and pragmatic statement on the Affordable Care Act ruling is to be reminded of how and why it is the man got elected four years ago.

It also reenforces just how much the President himself embodies so many compelling and frustrating aspects of a democracy that is is in so many ways the worst possible form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.

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Raleigh’s News & Observer ran a piece today implying that President Obama was somehow unfair to Congresswoman Virginia Foxx when he took her to task for the inane comments she recently made about student loans on, of all places, the Gordon Liddy Show. (As an aside, the mere fact that a member of Congress would go on the radio with that deranged old criminal ought to be grounds enough to criticize her).

Anyway, the N&O piece criticizes Obama for, it would seem, slightly misquoting Foxx. As it turns out, however, Obama was on the mark and the article gets its facts wrong.

Here is what Obama said: “One Republican congresswoman said just recently – I am going to quote this because I know you guys will think I’m making this up. She said she had ‘ very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that.”’

Here is what Foxx really said (according to the Huffington Post):  “I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that.”

Wow! What a shocking omission! Obama left out the specific dollar amounts Foxx mentioned. Is that really deserving of a news story? And does it really then provide justification for the N&O to tack on the following paragraph about Foxx’s supposed Horatio Alger upbringing? Read More