I dimly remember that sometime during the Clinton Administration, pre-Monica, the righties trotted out a “Clinton is irrelevant” talking point to bring him down. I don’t recall why they said he was irrelevant, and I can’t remember any point in his presidency in which Clinton was, in fact, irrelevant, but I do remember the television talking heads droning on about how Clinton was irrelevant.

Well, guess who’s irrelevant now? Dan Froomkin writes,

Is anyone paying attention to the president anymore?

Consider today and tomorrow a test of presidential relevance, as the White House tries to get the nation to turn its attention to the topic of health savings accounts.

At a White House meeting this morning, and then in a so-called “panel on health savings accounts” in Connecticut tomorrow afternoon, President Bush is trumpeting the accounts as a free-market antidote to the nation’s health care crisis.

But with war raging in Iraq and pandemonium breaking out in Congress, Bush is having a harder time than usual making himself heard. And in this particular case, even if people do pay attention, it doesn’t mean they’ll buy his argument. Much like Bush’s failed attempt to restructure Social Security, the argument for health savings accounts is, on its face, problematic.

I’m not up to discussing health care right now; Froomkin wrote about HSAs here.

Given that even the blogosphere mostly ignored Bush’s recent, much-ballyhooed series of Iraq speeches, if the HSA effort goes down like the lead balloon it is, it’ll be official — Bush is irrelevant.

BTW, good quote in yesterday’s Froomkin from blogger Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

Bush is to public discourse as Three Card Monte is to card game. …

…Bush doesn’t really talk to us. When it’s advantageous or required, he’ll go through the motions of talking to us; but that’s all. What it “means” is that he either has to do it, like the State of the Union speech; or he wants something from us, like votes; or he’s tossing out a string of words calculated to endear him to some fraction of the citizenry, like “manned missions to Mars” or “Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.” He doesn’t care what he’s saying, and afterward he doesn’t consider himself bound by what he’s said.

12 thoughts on “Irrelevant

  1. Doesn’t Bush realize that us 45 million un-insured are un-insured because we can’t afford to pay the premiums for health coverage..It’s not like we don’t want coverage. I suspect that all those who are un-insured are living hand to mouth and struggling to make ends meet. And even if we could manage to save extra cash for health savings accounts..the cost of medical care is astronomical and unaffordable to bear on an individual basis.

  2. Card Games-

    The Old Maid – Remember the card game where everyone prayed that they wouldn’t get the Old Maid in the deck? Bush is The Old Maid!

  3. You should put this in the “What Goes Around, Comes Around” files.

    Karma is hitting these assholes hard. Finally.

  4. Swami, I think there may be at least one blessing in disguise in not having health insurance.
    The medical care system has become a huge profit-making industry. Any profit-minded industry wants a steady stream of customers, repeat customers, and customers who ‘need’ lots of expensive ‘services’ and ‘tests’, customers who, by virtue of having insurance plans, are good for automatic payment.
    I have watched a number of people who have really good insurance get sucked into that system……to the detriment of their health and lives. I am saying that having insurance also carries risks!
    Too, I know many health service providers who are saying they are constrained by ‘business policies’ that frustrate their giving the best attention to the sick or injured. A friend of mine who is an MD laments that the health field has been turned upside down because, “some insurance clerk with a high school diploma, working within the designed programming of an MBA, effectively decides how long my patient can stay in the hospital….. that person, not I as the doctor, decides ‘what the insurance will cover’ which ties my hands as effectively as handcuffs.”
    Catastrophic insurance makes more sense to me than ‘full coverage’ that would insidiously steer me and/or my doctor away from making individual decisions about my health.

  5. The full circle irony, Donna, is that we’ll all be using our catastrophic plans to finally check in, at the last moment, to handle major problems, that could’ve been more easily handled when they were still minor, but weren’t covered by the catastrophic plan. Either way, we lose.

    HSAs are like Social Security privatization, are like everything this mis-administration tries to foist on the public. After awhile you see this loser salesman coming up the driveway once again with this year’s snake oil, and you shut the curtains and don’t answer the door.

    Please, God. Make them go away.

  6. Alyosha, your point is well taken.
    Imagine a health system where wellness clinics [not tied to the ‘industry’] provide care for minor problems, much as wellness clinics for pregnant women have offered the same.
    Imagine a health system as in which care providers are paid only if the patient stays healthy, as was true of early Chinese medicine.
    Imagine an cultural milieu that accepts death as a natural event, just as pregnancy is a natural event [Maha recently posted on the subject].
    Imagine end-of-life hospices set up in beautiful natural settings of woods, lakesides, mountain-tops…….
    Seems to me that the health industry has followed the projectory of ‘consumerism’ as a great cash cow that grows by creating demand for more and more stuff, even to the point of pretending that death itself is not natural and should be overcome with highly priced procedures that ‘take’ the dying person for all his/her remaining resources.

    I know that my ‘imaginings’ are very far from today’s realities. But I do love to think and live outside the box. My only health insurance, which I have been paying into for thirty years with joyful labor, is my organic garden.

  7. The sad part about bush is that he has brought so many of his enablers into government and positions of influence and they mean us no good. also there are the fanatics and leeches he has enabled to get megaphones and belly up to the trough he has provided. A self serving circle jerk

  8. Thinking that the most worrisome problem with our health-care system is that it may give unnecessary treatment to well-heeled patients is a luxury reserved for people who are both well-off and in good health. Hint: that’s not actually a big problem. If they’re really concerned, they can go to another doctor and get a second opinion. In a pinch, they can Just Say No — medical care is voluntary, and they’re presumably grownups.

    Access to health care, that’s an issue. Health care costs for people on low or fixed incomes, that’s definitely an issue. Health insurance for people with low or fixed incomes, or who are self-employed, damned well ought to be a major issue.

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