Daily Archives: April 14, 2010

Not surprising that country is divided on Obama, Bush

bushmissmeNearly as many people wish President Bush were still in office as favor President Obama, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling. The results likely are more a reflection of a politically divided country and frustration with Obama than a rehabilitation of Bush’s image. Not surprisingly, the surveyed Republicans overwhelmingly now prefer Bush, while the Democrats overwhelmingly prefer Obama. Independents favor Obama over Bush by 12 points.

Obama-like health care reform has Kansas GOP roots

doleFormer Kansas GOP Sens. Bob Dole (in photo) and Nancy Landon Kassebaum co-sponsored a bill in 1993 that was similar to the recently passed health care reform law. And in 2007, former GOP gubernatorial candidate and current 1st Congressional District candidate Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, asked that a similar plan developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation be introduced in the Legislature. But now, many Republicans are blasting as a “government takeover” the reforms that their party leaders once described as “market-based, consumer-driven” solutions, including the individual health insurance mandate. That puzzles Len Nichols, director of the George Mason University Center for Health Policy and Ethics. “I’ve now read the bill three times, and I can’t find the government takeover,” he told the Kansas Health Institute News Service. “If it is a government takeover, why is private insurance at the core of it? Why are rules designed to make markets work at the guts of it?” Rather than trying to get the attorney general to sue, Kansas lawmakers should make sure that Kansas exercises the flexibility that exists in the new law, Nichols said. “The lesson to me is clear: Work together and make this work and stop trying to claim it is something it is not.”

Open thread 4/14

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Looking in Sabato’s crystal ball

SabatoUniversity of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato (in photo) predicted Barack Obama’s 2008 victory within one Electoral College vote. Included in his political forecast during a Friday speech at Southwestern College in Winfield, according to the Winfield Daily Courier: Republicans will pick up 27 to 38 seats in the House in November, short of the 40 they need to take control. By 2050, “minorities will be 50 percent of the voting population, and Texas will actually be a Democratic state,” because of Hispanic population growth. And “retirement age will have to go up to 70” for even an eroded Social Security to function. Forced to name a GOP presidential nominee for 2012, Sabato said he wasn’t sure, then said Mitt Romney.

Well-rounded curriculum a necessity

schoolbandSpeaking last week to the Arts Education Partnership in Washington, D.C., Education Secretary Arne Duncan related his experiences as a drummer in middle school and argued for a well-rounded education, even in lean times. “For decades, arts education has been treated as though it was a novice teacher at school, the last hired and first fired when times get tough,” Duncan said. “But President Obama, the first lady and I reject the notion that the arts, history, foreign languages, geography and civics are ornamental offerings that can or should be cut from schools during a fiscal crunch. The truth is that, in the information age, a well-rounded curriculum is not a luxury but a necessity.” According to Education Week, though, arts educators have concerns about whether Duncan’s policies reflect his words, especially a proposal to consolidate nine federal funding programs spanning arts, American history and foreign language education.