We’re Number One! NOT.

This is my week for borrowing. But when someone says something so much more eloquently than I could, it’s hard to resist.

This time, it is a former student.

I keep in touch with a number of my former students via Facebook. I enjoy seeing their wedding photos, pictures of their children as they grow, and following their career paths. Most of them are truly admirable human beings, and I take a sort of motherly pride in reading their social and political commentaries.

In the wake of the House healthcare vote, one of those former students, –now a government employee who is for that reason understandably reluctant to “go public” with his critique–posted the following diatribe.

The United States has more citizens in prison than any country in the world. Even more than China, which has four times as many people. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has a public education system ranked lower than Russia. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has average Internet speeds three times slower than Romania. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has infant mortality rates nearly twice as high as Belarus. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has 2.5 million citizens without access to improved drinking water. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has a youth unemployment rate of 13.4%. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has 50 million citizens living below the poverty line. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has greater income inequality than Morocco, Jordan, Tanzania, Niger, Kyrgyzstan, East Timor, and 95 other countries. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States is responsible for nearly twice as much CO2 emissions as the entire European Union. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States has more railways than any country on Earth, by more than 100,000 kilometers, but has virtually no long-range public transportation system. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

The United States spends more on national defense than every other nation on Earth COMBINED, yet seems to be in perpetual warfare and has a barely functioning veteran-support system. Republican legislators chose to focus on eroding healthcare protections.

Next Election Day, please don’t forget this. And don’t ever let them forget it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d turn this country over to my students in a heartbeat.

Speaking of “turnover”…as a direct result of the health-care vote, the well-respected Cook Report downgraded the 2018 prospects of twenty Republican House members. As the Washington Post’s Plum Line reports

Today, House Republicans are waking up to a big set of brutal ratings changes from the Cook Political Report. In the wake of the vote, Cook has shifted 20 GOP-held seats toward Democrats. Yes, 20. ..Cook analyst David Wasserman writes.. that the GOP passage of a bill this unpopular “is consistent with past scenarios that have generated a midterm wave.”

Meanwhile, Nate Silver takes stock of the abysmal unpopularity of the bill and concludes that the vote for it could prove “a job-killer for GOP incumbents.” And Nate Cohn draws a comparison between yesterday’s vote and the 2010 vote for the Affordable Care Act that helped cost Democrats dozens of House seats and their majority. As Cohn notes, if that history is any guide, it’s possible that those Republicans who voted for the GOP bill could lose substantial support in the next election.

Finally, let me add my voice to those of Hoosier Democrats who are trying to convince Christina Hale to run against Susan Brooks in Indiana’s Fifth Congressional District. Hale would be a formidable candidate; as she displayed during her run for Lt. Governor and her prior tenure at the Indiana Statehouse, she has energy, intellect, eloquence and integrity–and she’s a strong voice for women and girls. I hereby volunteer for her campaign!

And if the Cook Report is right, 2018 will be a very good year….


  1. I will take your word for it and help put a REAL representative in the 5th Congressional District!

  2. Do you suppose they would focus on any of these other issues if they ever truly get the ACA repealed? I think we know the answer to that because they want their next focus to be on tax reform. It doesn’t sound good for the majority of us.

  3. Thank you for sharing the insight of such a bright former student of yours.

    The younger generation cannot take control of this country soon enough. Hopefully, this will happen before they can be infected by the greed of the older white male oligarchic supremacists that have been destroying our country.

  4. As a journalist, I like to point out we rank 85th for international press freedom, but 1st in Defense Spending.

    Our hope is the younger generation who rallied behind Bernie Sanders while refusing to support Hillary Clinton. 😉

    I suspect once they learn about Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, she’ll be a frontrunner for POTUS in 2020. She slammed Trump for his attacks on Syria causing the establishment democrats to attack her. ALL the corrupt politicians need to go!

    Those who’ve stolen our country will not return it easily. Look how easy Hoosiers flipped on Evan Bayh with a couple million in television ad buys. The ads were bought by Koch operatives.

  5. Note to northern Indiana residents:

    Christina Hale will be at the Knights of Columbus in Wabash on Friday, May 19th at 6 pm. If you are able to be in the area, she will be speaking and you will be able to meet her. This is a Democratic party fund raising event. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

  6. This blog brought tears to my eyes and anger to my heart; tears for the millions who have been afraid of this action against the ACA and now face the reality of losing health care plus escalating medical costs. My anger is directed at the apparent helplessness to stop the onrushing Trump destruction of America – and prevent further “keggers” from OUR beautiful White House Rose Garden. All of the issues the Republicans have swept under the rug to concentrate on destroying rather than “fixing” our health care system and giving more tax breaks to the wealthy while taxing the rest of Americans into poverty must be faced.

    I am NOT casting total blame but will repeat what I have said many times in the past; President Obama’s greatest mistake was in NOT ending Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy on the date Bush himself set. It is at the basis of many of the problems we continue to face today and the Republicans are using it to beat us further into economic decline. I CONTINUE to support President Obama and, unlike some who have commented on this blog, will not blame him for his campaign issues the Republican Congress blocked and at times held this country for ransom to get their way. Just as Trump and Congress did this past week by not shutting down the government, culminating in the disastrous vote to repeal ACA and push Trumpcare forward as the payoff. Even McConnell, a primary enemy of President Obama and the Democratic party, came forward to announce the Senate will NOT pass the bill repealing the ACA and pushing AHCA forward.

    I have my own fears regarding loss of medical care and/or escalating medical costs due to age and disability but…I am going to attempt to find a cheap, used wheelchair and someone to push me so I can actively protest what is happening to all Americans. I will protest inactive Democrats if that is what is needed to get them off their collective butts.

    Rachel Maddow reported an excellent example of American know-how last night; a gutsy move by New York Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney. The Republican Rep. Faso in the district abutting Maloney’s was questioned by a woman constituent suffering from a brain tumor regarding the possible loss of her medical care. Faso looked her in the eye and told her he would not let that happen. The next day he voted to repeal the ACA and supported AHCA. Representative Maloney stepped forward and confronted Faso who has refused to respond to questions regarding his action. Maloney began receiving phone calls regarding Faso’s actions and has offered to hold a Town Hall Meeting for Faso’s constituents to answer any and all of their questions regarding the AHCA if Faso continues to refuse. A true American in action to protect democracy.

    Ratings changes come and go; democracy appears to be going. It is up to us to fight for all Americans and democracy and to fight to stop Trump from repealing the entire Constitution – except for Citizens United, of course.

  7. I believe the Cook report has it right IF the election were tomorrow – or next month. There is still plenty of time to put lipstick on the pig. As Bill Maher has said many times, American voters as a whole aren’t too bright. And there is plenty of proof of that.

  8. When your goal is to have a government with only one job, that being to see that you and others like you are safe and secure, then the GOP is doing everything it can to proceed toward that goal. I would like to think that 2018 will be a very good year for the rest of us, but it’s wise to remind ourselves that the GOP has done unthinkable things for the past eight years and has NEVER been held accountable in an election.

    Democrats, this message is for you. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Embrace your beliefs. Don’t run re-treads like Evan Bayh. Be more creative in your use of media.

  9. Even McConnell, a primary enemy of President Obama and the Democratic party, came forward to announce the Senate will NOT pass the bill repealing the ACA and pushing AHCA forward.

    This just gives congressional weaselrats political cover for their butts. They can claim they knew the senate would block the bill and this shallow victory for Drumpf was just symbolic.

  10. Democrats should not be celebrating the supposed impending demise of the Republicans. The Democrats have projected, and analyzed in the past and have had their heads handed to them on a platter. Running candidates like John Gregg and Evan Bayh will not win elections.

    An excellent article in the Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/06/democrats-business-rejoicing-trumpcare-disaster-ahca

    Highlights below:
    While the Republicans celebrated throwing people off their health insurance with Bud Lights, Democrats had a little celebration of their own, thinking that they will be set to gain politically in 2018 and 2020 from the misery this bill is sure to cause many millions of Americans. Such an assumption ignores, of course, all the other times that Democrats thought they had it in the bag, only to suffer a humiliating defeat.

    It doesn’t end there. Nancy Pelosi was asked whether this will cause the Democratic Party to make single-payer universal health care a priority in Congress and on the campaign trail. Her answer? “No, I don’t.”

    The Democratic Party faces a stark choice: it can either be a part of an actual resistance to the ideas and politics of Trump and his merry band of reactionaries, or it can lead a stage-managed #resistance that fails to inspire anything other than an eyeroll and a deliberate sigh from most voters. As the old union song goes, Which Side Are You On?

  11. We need to repeal and replace Todd Rokita. Would be nice if he would show his face in a town hall in Lafayette/WestLafayette.

  12. Sheila’s student did a masterful job of drawing a parallel between what the Republicans should have done (oodles) and what they actually did (oodles minus multiple oodles). I’d like to see the student take the same approach that the late night political humorists are taking.

    The humorists … in a humorous way … are pointing out the frailties of the Fake President Trump and the Republican members of Congress. Republican voters are standing by their Republican politicians when the Democratic approach is serious, but they’re showing signs of wavering when the approach is humorous.

    Donald Trump has no sense of Humor. Republican politicians have no sense of humor. Republican voters (many of them) are pretty normal folks who are beginning to show signs they’re capable of recognizing folly when they see or hear it. Goodie.

  13. Paul; initially the jokes and comedic take-offs were funny, that was when we still thought Trump as president was still a laughing matter and he was harmless. We know better now and the laughter has stopped…on this side of the aisle and in the public audience who are taking to the streets by the millions. Did our laughter keep the Democratic party reined in; also believing he was a harmless joke? The situation has changed from safely watching a rattlesnake inside a glass cage, then suddenly realizing there is no glass between you and you are in a deadly dangerous situation.

  14. I agree with most of this. And I certainly am all in favor of Christina Hale! But I need to correct one point here. While yes, there are terrible problems with equity in education, and there are attacks from ed reformers that are exacerbating these problems, our country’s public schools are NOT failing! http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5894e819e4b061551b3dfe51

  15. I personally have a hard time imagining a more malignant government than what we have today. While I could go into great supporting detail most readers here already know all of the dimensions of incompetence, inexperience, wrong headedness and ignorance that constitute the malignancy.

    The fact is the if we don’t operate now, the patient will not survive.

    We need to keep that in mind when we get told that the DNC is also imperfect because if the patient doesn’t survive while we wait for perfect it’s of no value.

    Like all armies we have what we have and are what we are. Once the war starts the preparation is over and we will have to wait and see if we adequately prepared by the fact of winning or getting defeated.

    The most important preparation now is unity. The magnitude of the threat dictates the degree of compromise necessary to build the strongest force possible.

  16. I do not like to rain on the euphoria of the democrats 18 months before the election. but remember our problem is two fold. First the sources of info for too many voters are AM radio and Fox news. Second, untold amounts of money available to any Republican candidate. Nevertheless, I will donate and work as I have for almost 60 years, but I am less than sanguine for our chances. I truly do fear for our country,

  17. I do not disagree with the critique of the Repubs written by your former student,but this is just as damning upon the Democrats. The problems listed didn’t develop recently or just this past January. It’s amazing almost all of those problems exist as of 2017. Nevermind those that are not listed.

    As Louie has posted,according to Pelosi,universal healthcare isn’t even on the agenda.

    I know my comment will not go over well. This is a place for propagating group-think and cheer-leading for the DNC . Any self reflection and criticism of “The Party” doesn’t go over very well ; )

    Oh well.

  18. Connie and I are absolutely in for a campaign if Christina Hale will run against Susan Brooks. She’s smart, compassionate, well-versed on the issues and just a wonderful human being. She would make a fabulous Congresswoman. In fact, I said last year that I hope I live long enough to go to her Presidential inauguration.

  19. Greetings William. Yes, this (blog) does tend to be one sided in favor of the more open-minded liberals, but we don’t mine a critic once in awhile. Irvin BAA 🙂

  20. Greetings Kcookie. Put my name ” Irvin ” in your add. book and I will join you in your effort to elect Ms. Hale I don’t want to post my e-mail nor my phone but I live in Indianapolis. I hope you can establish a contact with me Irvin BAA 🙂

  21. Larry Buschon is the right wing House member who “represents” much of the SW part of this state. His face appeared in back of Donald Trump as he gloated about the “success” of the “healthcare” bill. As one of the physicians in the House, his hand was probably stirring the pot in this mess. In his Facebook musings, Rep. Buschon provides us with a list of rehearsed talking points about just how wonderful the bill is, but the real news is in the Comments. It is difficult to find anything positive being said about this bill or about the representative. Insults, veiled threats and feelings of deep disappointment pervade. These folks are angry, feel betrayed and I have the feeling that if they were talking face to face, Rep. Buschon would be punched. It is clear that people are beginning to understand that they were conned in November and aren’t taking it lightly. It’s pretty hard to be philosophical when you believe that someone has caused you to die or go into bankruptcy. Next week will be interesting, and perhaps significant.

    If Rep. Buschon’s Facebook comments are representative, I’d say the House Republicans are in serious trouble. It promises to be ugly. But it may be beautiful.

  22. It is nice to know that Trump wants billions more for our “defense” budget which has little to do with our security. It’s a flag-waving payoff for a defense industry who love war or the threat of it to keep the corporate welfare trough full and running under the banner of safety and security. What should happen is a reduction in the “defense” budget which would pay for substantial increases in the pay of those who serve their country, and as for safety and security, is such a status obtainable in a world of atomic weaponry and intercontinental delivery systems? Are we, relatively speaking, buying more swords and shields and other yesterday’s weapon systems in a day and age where you can run armed drones into Afghan caves from San Diego?

    As I have often blogged, my greatest fear is not Assad, China, North Korea, Putin and the other usual suspects; it is the total and complete takeover of our country and everything in it by the corporate class buoyed by political mindsets that support it with the subsequent loss of what is left of our tattered democracy. I believe we have more to fear from within than from without. We have ways and means of handling those from without but little to no defense in handling those from within, those such as Trump and Republicans who are to the right of Atilla the Hun and who are apparently following Bannon’s advice to destroy “the administrative state” (aka our government). Bannon, an admitted Leninist, should not be within 100 miles of the Oval Office, especially with a blank slate like Trump. That is real danger, not that concocted by the so-called “defense” industry to keep the flag-covered appropriations and campaign contributions spigot running at full speed.

  23. Gerald; obviously Trump has never had an unexpressed thought. Maybe he is searching for an intelligent one.

  24. Please dont make this a republican/ democrat issue it’s really a greed issue
    You can pretend that the democrats (the party of the rich that promote poverty) care but they have had power for the majority of my lifetime and our air, water and land have become more polluted. The shell corporation known as the EPA is impudent and is nothing but a waste of our money. Give the money to the states where it belongs
    The ACA was doomed from the beginning, my insurance was 300x less and expensive and 100x
    better than the policy I have now, l don’t want to hear a politician talking about healthcare, it’s my personal business and no one else’s and certainty not this government.
    Why do people trust the government with their hard earned money ?
    Would you hire a financial consultant that is bankrupt and loses money on every trade?

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