Barney Frank lives out my Congressional dream

In my fantasies of what it would like to be a Congressman, I imagine myself telling stupid constituents what I really think. Barney Frank is safe enough that he can do this (and his constituent is dumb enough that she deserves this).  If you haven't seen this yet, it's great.

Me on health care

Last week on I was on WUNC's The State of Things to discuss health care reform with Jonathan Oberlander, a man who knows more about health care reform in his pinky than I do in my whole body, and Remy Coyteaux, a really interesting medical professor and family practitioner at Duke.  You can listen here.   

The polling on health care

Although I study public opinion, I spend the better part of a semester teaching students in PS 411 Public Opinion and Media, just how unreliable even the best polls can be.  The current polls on health care reform are a case in point.  From Steve Benen:

In the new NBC News poll, people were asked, "From what you have
heard about Barack Obama's health care plan, do you think his plan is a
good idea or a bad idea?" Just 36% think it's a good idea; 42% think it's a bad idea. The numbers are exactly the same as they were a month ago.

The problem, as we discussed this morning, is that Americans oppose
the idea because they've bought into several right-wing lies that are
demonstrably false. Chuck Todd raised an important point
this morning: "According to our poll, when [Americans] hear the facts,
it's another story. After being read a statement that include actual details of the Obama health care plan, a majority — 53 percent — say they are in favor of it."

"Actual details" may be my new favorite phrase.

The lesson here is important. The conventional wisdom keeps
insisting that Americans don't like the health care reform proposal.
That's not quite right. They don't like the proposal as it's been
described by Republican critics, their allies, and their cable news

Alan Reifman, a friend from back in my TTU days, has created a super-cool blog on health care reform polling.  Take, for example, the huge variety in support for the public option (high of 66 to low of 35), all depending upon how exactly you ask the question.  The big lesson in this, don't put too much stock in what "the public thinks" about health care reform.  They're not "thinking" much at all are are easily malleable. 

 A final note, I love the way Ezra Klein sums up a recent poll, "Americans hate everyone, believe everything."


Forget that last post

I'm back!  In a rough analogy of "if you love someone set them free…" I set this blog free and I realized that I needed it.  Okay, that's not the analogy at all.  Or maybe it is.  The blog came back to me.  Regardless, I just can't keep my mouth (keyboard) shut on all that's going on and posting various cogent links on facebook has turned out to be no psychological substitute for this blog.  So, now that I've scared of whatever few regular readers there were, I'm going to start up again.  It's tempting to summarize my thoughts on all the health care mess I've failed to blog about the past couple months, but you'll be hearing enough from me on health care (and other stuff).  And, hey, if you do read this, please comment some time.  Even anonymously.  I think one of the biggest reasons I gave up was the sense I was talking into an empty room (like on C-SPAN), even though the statistics said there were at least a few humans out there reading this.  Anyway…So, without any further ado, I shall resume irregularly-scheduled blogging later this evening.


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