Last week was an interesting week in presidential politics, sort of. The long drawn out process of the American presidential election can turn into a real yawner. Many other countries allocate four to five weeks for their election process while we allocate four to five years. Each of our elections provides not only the candidates themselves, but those “rising stars” that we expect to have an impact not in the upcoming election, but the following one.
So we sit, mired in the dribble of the campaigns, trying desperately to find something, anything, of significance. If we can’t find anything, the campaigns themselves or the media make up something for us.
Last week was no exception. The Democrats had a debate that departed from the love fest of the previous ones. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders actually got into it with a lively debate about health care. Sanders pushed for a single payer system that he has always championed. He lectured us on the fact that it is the most efficient and equitable system and the one that exists in most western developed countries. Clinton countered that single payer is too drastic a change and that Obamacare is working and can always be improved incrementally.
The light bulb never clicked on for either of them. Neither spoke of incorporating single payer within the existing system. This sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. When ObamaCare was being formulated, it was intended to have what was referred to as the “government option,” This meant that the government, through the expansion of Medicare (a single payer system), would compete with the private sector. Republicans, of course, would have no part of it and this option died in the process.
So the two Democrats spent the week fighting it out. Too bad Martin O’Malley didn’t or couldn’t step up to the plate on this one and settle it. Thank goodness, also, that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz limited the number of Democrat debates to six.
The Republicans didn’t fare any better. The big news there was that Donald Trump (“The Donald”) was endorsed by both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. So what does Trump get out of it? Beats me. Palin is, unquestionably, one of the most dimwitted persons ever to appear in American politics. Her speech endorsing Trump was totally incomprehensible. So much so that Tina Fey had to make a hasty return to Saturday Night Live. Palin’s political career surpasses even that of comedian Pat Paulson, who decades ago repeatedly ran for president on the slogan “We Can’t Stand Pat.” Palin is like a bad penny, she just keeps showing up. I have written previously that she has a following that is drawn to her because they feel she is just like them. I have to agree.
Bachmann, the anti-government former Representative from Minnesota, who spent her whole life feeding at the government trough, carries even less weight than does Palin. Bachmann’s most notable legislative achievement was the introduction of the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” which would allow Americans to buy energy inefficient light bulbs. Even the light bulb industry, which had already started producing more efficient bulbs, didn’t support her.
So, where does all of this get us? Well, maybe closer than we think. Donald Trump had always been an advocate for a single payer health care system. Running now as a Republican, he has no need to tell the truth about this or any other issue. He just tells us he wants to get rid of our nonwhite president’s program. If he really intends to replace it with a single payer system, I’m all for it. So, who knows, maybe The Donald and I will have the last laugh.