Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dr. Krauthammer's Wrong Prescription

Charles Krauthammer - the conservative commentator - recently wrote, “Republicans lost the election not because they advanced a bad argument but because they advanced a good argument not well enough.”  According to Dr. Krauthammer’s prescription all that the Republicans have to do is be a little more accommodating to Hispanics on immigration policy and the Republican Party’s future will be bright.

He also wrote, “… this doesn’t mean the country needs two pro-choice parties either.”  Should Republicans be against a woman’s right to have an abortion just because the Democrats support this right?  If the Democrats are against slavery should the Republicans be for it?  No, the Republican Party should be for what is right.  I am confident that most Republicans do not think that the government should be able to seize  a man's internal organs even to preserve the life of another citizen.  Similarly, the Republican, limited-government, position should be that the government should not be able to seize control of a woman's internal organs to prevent her from having an abortion.

Dr. Krauthammer is as wrong about his prescription as the Republicans were about their estimation of their prospects of success in this past election.  Republicans catered to older white men; they lost overwhelmingly among youth, women, blacks, Hispanics, as well as Asians.  Angry old white men constitute a declining demographic group that does not provide a basis for future success.

The Republicans lost because they promoted anti-science, anti-liberty, theocratic, homophobic, misogynistic, divisive policies as well as economic policies proven to yield disastrous results.  Fortunately, the majority of the electorate did not buy what the Republicans were selling.

The Republican Party has become hostage on the one hand to the theocrats who promote social policies of maximum government intrusion into other people’s lives and to plutocrats who wish to protect their business interests at the expense of the common good.

My proposal for the Republican Party is to adopt a libertarian perspective of minimal government interference in the private lives of citizens and evidence-based prudent governmental policies.

Here is my draft of a new Republican platform:

•    A most basic civil right is the right to control one’s own organs – in particular women should be free to make their own decisions regarding contraception and abortion.
•    The government should not interfere with the right of two consenting adults to marry each other.
•    Everyone is free to believe whatever he/she wants to believe, but not free to impose those beliefs on others. The government also should not impose the religious beliefs of some of its citizens on other citizens.
•    Free markets are the engine of economic growth.  However, government regulation of free markets is also required to protect the public from abuses.  Government regulations should be regularly reviewed to determine that they are both necessary and appropriate.
•   The proper role of government is to maintain those functions which are not served adequately by free markets, e.g. roads, self-defense, courts, police, environmental protection, basic research, education, health care, social safety net, etc.
•    Government programs and policies should, wherever possible, be subjected to prospective testing.
•  Competition often has been found to improve performance and competitive mechanisms should be considered where appropriate in formulating government programs.
•   All US citizens should receive basic health care. Evidence has shown that the US health care system has performed poorly; compared to other countries it provides worse outcomes at a multiple of the cost.   Thus the Republican Party will support implementation of universal health care, learning from approaches that have been implemented in other countries. 
•   The Republican Party will support tax reform with the objectives of fostering economic growth as well as  a fair distribution of the tax burden.  In order to foster economic growth marginal rates should be set as low as possible by reducing or eliminating deductions and exemptions that have been written into the code by a bevy of special interests.  High income individuals should not pay a smaller fraction of their income in taxes than individuals of modest income.
•   Tax and spending policies should be adjusted to put the country on a course towards a balanced budget.
•  Climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels is scientific fact and the government should promote cooperative international policies to limit it and domestic policies to deal with its consequences.
•   Evolution is scientific fact and should be taught in public schools as such.  Creationism is not science and should not be taught in public schools as being science.
•   The ultimate civil right is the right not to be killed and the availability of guns should be controlled to protect this right.
•  The war on drugs focusing on criminal enforcement has been an abject failure - promoting violent crime, filling our prisons, enriching drug lords and corrupting  public officials while illegal drugs remain freely available. The government should henceforth focus on education and treatment to limit use of harmful drugs.

The Republican Party could adopt such a platform and succeed nationally.  Alternatively, the party could remain trapped in its own echo chamber.


  1. Looks a bit like a Democratic Party Platform...

    1. Warren at ewp.rip@sbcglobal.netFebruary 28, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Indeed it does! His stand on gun control would be enough to doom the whole package. Anyone proposing such a platform would get about 15% of the liberal vote.

    2. Huh?!?! That the ultimate right to life should be subordinated to the "right to bear arms" would get probably 85% of "the liberal vote." What am I missing here? Perhaps the Republicans would find this plank distasteful?

  2. ...and an excellent platform it is!!!

    1. Sounds like socialisim to me

    2. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    3. Anonymous is right. Whoever wrote this junk should be watched closely for further signs of mental illness. Keep him/her/ it away from sharp objects and fire arms.

    4. Please look up "ad hominem", then contemplate why it is considered a fallacy.
      While Mr. Cohen's "Republican platform" is probably too good to be true, most of the planks are solidly sensible policy positions that resonate with voters (who elected a Democrat president because he holds most of those positions), and the Republican Party would be well served to adopt them to avoid their spiral into irrelevance.

  3. Mr. Cohen: There is no science behind Man made global warming. Review heartland.org...6 yearly Internat Conferences on Climate Change--all hundreds of academics refute C02 induced climate change. Check out www.solarvariabilitydeterminesclimatechange.wordpress.com/.
    follow co2science.org. Please inform yourself of science before you opine on this subject.

    Bob Dillon, M.D., Atlanta

    1. The overwhelming majority of scientists in the field are convinced by multiple lines of evidence that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. (For example, see the 2012 US National Research Council report on Climate Change. http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/files/2012/06/19014_cvtx_R1.pdf) At this point in time, opposition to this conclusion is being driven primarily by political or religious beliefs or economic interests and not by scientific evidence.

      Just this past summer the US suffered the hottest July on record and experienced devastating drought and wildfires. Also, this past summer Arctic ice was at its lowest level since we started monitoring it by satellite 33 years ago. This year hurricane Sandy became the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history and devastated the northeast of the US on the heels of hurricane Irene the previous year. It is likely that these events are not unrelated to the climate change that the earth is undergoing.

      The imperative now is to implement global policies to limit climate change by reducing emissions of green house gases and to implement plans to deal with the consequences of climate change.

    2. "...opposition to this conclusion is being driven primarily by..." - the facts sir. The models have failed. The predicted warming in correlation to rising CO2 has not occurred. You point to weather events as evidence CAGW is happening. Yet the weather events you point to are normal, even though they aren't frequent. Why do you falsely state hurricane Sandy became the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history? You surely know that is not true. Truth will carry the day. Global warming isn't happening as predicted. Until it does you don't have a single fact to support your assertion. Religious sentiment is driving the debate!!? Do tell; got any evidence? Where have you observed this?

    3. Mr. Cohen, your claim of "scientists in the field" is criminally misleading. Geologists are "in the field" they're not historical climatologists.

      NASA recent mission concluded that current climate models "vastly overestimate the effect of CO2 on warming," and "vastly underestimate Earth's daily heat loss." I find it laughable that anyone can say any science is settled when they're proven to be "vastly" wrong.

      The average global temperature over the last 570,000,000 years is (given that scale) a virtual straight line 72F, barring the 4 major global freezes. Curiously, it's currently 56F, as we're in the midst of coming out of a global freeze. Guess what happens after a Global Freeze? It gets warmer, because 56F AGT isn't "normal."

      Current CO2 levels of approximately 385ppmv are at historic lows over the last 570 Million years. True that CO2 levels were as low as 150 - 180ppmv during the recent global freeze, but CO2 levels typically drop during such climates. What's important to know what's "normal" is to look at the time frame prior to the global freeze. During the 145 Million year period prior to this recent 3 million year freeze, CO2 levels averaged between 900 - 3,300 ppmv, peaking as high as 4,000 ppmv. Even evolution proves that plant life is used to much higher CO2 levels. Current plants reach maximum photosynthetic performance when exposed to CO2 in the 1,000 - 1,500 ppmv range. Again, Laughable to suggest that 560ppmv is a "drop dead" number when greatest proliferation of life on the planet had 3 - 8 times that amount.

      Try and spin as you want, but facts prove you to be laughable.

    4. Tom Genin,
      We don't really care what the climate was like 570 million years ago because there were no humans then, or coastal cities, or even mammals. Oh: and the only reason you know what the climate was like then is because of the work of scientists "in the field" of climatology; so it is unbecoming to espouse their findings and ridicule their findings, all in the same paragraph! Not criminal; just misguided or disingenuous..
      Global warming is unequivocal, as you admit. What's causing it? The answer that the scientists who study climate have agreed on is principally increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Global temperatures are increasing at a rate that is historically very rare and very frightening; it is the rate of temperature increase that is stressing the biosphere more than the absolute temperature. Let's see if you are laughing when Florida is under water and Colorado is on fire..

  4. Anonymous, Bob Dillon, I am surprised that you can sign with an "MD" title. Please check your facts. There is ample science behind global warming, and no serious or independently collected evidence of the opposite.
    Socialism looks like a four letter word for you because it is is against your beliefs. Have you ever tried to understand socialism? By the way the armed forces around the world (including the US) have a structure that is even worse than socialism, they all operate in a communist-like system! (shocking, is it?)
    You seem to have some education, but it looks like your thinking is driven by dogma. Please remember that we are a successful species on earth because we have a brain, and because our ancestors used it. Why don't use your brain instead of the primitive instinct relying on belief? As an alleged MD you should know better!

  5. How dare you critique Count Chocula!

  6. Mr. Cohen, I agree, the ulitmate civil right is the right not to be killed. The problem with "gun control" is it takes guns out of the hands of good and honest people, and leaves them in the hands of criminals who could care less about the law. Do I not have the right to preserve my life, my "ultimate civil right" as you put it, if faced by an attacker that is physically stronger than me, and intent on doing me, or my family harm? Shall I run, make a call to 911, and hope in the 3 or 4 minutes it takes for the police to respond my attacker doesn't overtake me? Shall I hope I find a secure place to hide so my attacker can not get to me while the police set up a perimeter, a command post, call out SWAT, K-9's, air support, evacuate surrounding residences, and make multiple announcements to the criminal over the PA to surrender to the nearest officer? My hiding place better be good for an hour in that case, otherwise, when SWAT does find me, I am already dead , and my family has been slaughtered. You seem to be okay with mine, and my families demise. Guess that means we took one for the team! Thank goodness I wasn't able to triple tap my attacker so their "ultimate human right" to live, and continue to destroy other people's "ultimate civil right" has been preserved. Funny thing about Liberals. They scream "civil rights" until they track down their stolen smart phone, then they want the police to break down the doors of every residence within a 5 mile radius of the GPS location they tracked their phone to in order to recover it. Oh, by the way. 1 day after passing a law allowing recreational use of marijuana in Washington, there was a murder at a marijuana dispensory. Stop harshing my mellow!

    1. To Anonymous 12/19/2012:
      How many innocent human beings will you kill with your gun when you perceive yourself to be threatened? How many members of your family/friends/visitors/children will accidentally die by your gun? You and people like you are a menace to our civil society. I hope you are not my neighbor. By the way, don’t say that you would be careful and responsible – you were not even accurate enough to post your comment in response to the correct blog post.

    2. How many babies will die in the womb today because they are a "burden"

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. In my laboratory I have been testing the effects of gun shot wounds and the damage they can deliver. For over 48 years, I have a fully loaded and cocked AR-15, a Glock 17 9mm and a Mossberg 12 gauge Shotgun aimed at various targets with camera's ready to capture the event. As of this memo, none of the guns have FIRED and thus no evidence of damage. I guess we should conclude that guns don't fire by themselves.

    In addition to health care, I think fully funding, food, clothing and housing are also fundamental rights that the Government should provide by taxing the rich. That should provide care for our society about 3-5 years, after which there will no longer be rich people to tax.

    Your proposed Republican platform is not the US Democratic platform but the main Socialist platform of Greece's Liberal Democratic party.

    1. Bruski which communist line are you following? You certainly do not sound as if you favor life, liberty and the pursute of happiness. Have you ever noticed that "the rich" disappear as soon as your suggestions are implemented? As Ms hatcher said "Socialism works well until you run out of other peoples money". Your theories have bee tried over and over and always fail.

  8. You ignore the fact that in some places, quite a few in fact, votes that were counted were more than 100% of voters registered. All for Obama, of course.

    I don't think one can say,and I think it's ridiculous to claim here, that the vote count was accurate or represented fairly what real legally registered voters wanted.

    1. Seeing as how Romney lost by 3.5 million votes, which was about 3% of the electorate, well, yes: we can claim that the vote count was adequately accurate and represented fairly what real legally registered voters wanted. (Certainly way more so than when Bush LOST the popular vote in 2000, but was elected president anyway..)
      What evidence can you provide for your claim of "quite a few places" where votes exceeded 100% of registered voters, and were "all for Obama"?
      I can provide this:


      You should do your homework before posting such nonsense....

  9. You know what...let's dispense with all the nonsense and just grant citizenship to anyone that applies.
    In essence we are taking from our productive citizens...giving our lazy citizens no reason to work ... and then we are rewarding law breakers...
    great job...
    even in backwards countries they place a premium on their sense of national pride and citizenship...
    here we are just to dumb...Obama's Reverend Wright was correct .... "Damn America"...cause we are too stupid...we worry more about gay rights than single fathers...

  10. Mr. Cohen presents a platform that I DEFINITELY would support if it was ever presented by any political party - regardless of what they call themselves.

    As much as I thought Romney would go a long ways towards balancing this nation's budget I could NOT bring myself to vote for a Republican ticket because of all the Looney Tune baggage a Republican administration promised to inflict on an undeserving nation:

    - Lunatic fringe, ultra-right wing, religious zealot groups thinking they were about to be empowered to ram their dogmatic beliefs down everyone else's throats. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they wanted to station a cop in every bedroom in America to make sure the sex that took place was in accordance with their own narrow views. Have any of those anti-abortion people ever adopted an unwanted child?

    -A seemingly endless string of Presidential candidates displaying jaw-dropping ignorance on science and basic biology left me wondering what underground bunker they've lived in for their entire lives.

    -A tax code already tilted heavily to the ultra-weathy that promised to become even more tilted if Paul Ryan had his way as VP. I and a number of my coworkers are willing to have our taxes raised provided that it go 100% to helping reduce the deficit and NOT to cover yet another tax loophole created for mega-corporations and billionaires.

    -On a personal level, I rankled at Romney being portrayed as a "giver" without any proof he's ever created a single job although there's plenty of proof he's eliminated thousands of them.

  11. Global warming/cooling climate change is caused by the sun and is affected by solar events. It is also effected by seismic events as well. Man-made greenhouse gasses are far behind. Agriculture creates more than double the amount of greenhouse gasses than all other greenhouse gas producers combined. Water is the most relevant greenhouse gas and its production is largely not man-made.

    Heathcare in the US has been drifting towards socialized medicine for the last 75 years, especially since the Foran Bill. More and more, doctors and their patients have been giving up their privacy and rights to insurance companies, lobbies and now the government. Along with tort and government restrictions, this has made Heathcare cost truly onerous. Dr. Ben Carson and many other have proposed HSA's and high deductibles to bring down the cost and more importantly to put more power in the hands of doctors and their patients.

    The poster, Cohen, is wrong on these two issues and could be wrong on the others.

    1. Sorry anon: just about every climate scientist disagrees with you. Of course the sun affects climate; but the 11 year cycle of solar activity shows up very weakly (if at all) in the continuous warming that has been observed over the last hundred years or so. What does correlate very closely is the amount of CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere, and is now leaking into the oceans! As other related feedbacks kick in (loss of albedo, release of more methane, deforestation), further warming is predicted by the scientists who study the climate, regardless of small variations in solar activity.
      Not sure how you think Cohen is wrong on health care. His "plank" is accurate and commendable, though probably not supportable by the standard issue Republican unfortunately. As a civilized country, we make sure we have universal education. Why does it not make sense, then, to have universal health care?

  12. I am hard pressed to find a plank in Mr. Cohen’s platform to criticize. There are a few points he made that I would like to expand upon.
    • Health care: Life is a protected right under the Bill of Rights. But in fact it is only truly protected for the fortunate citizens with access to health insurance. Hence the US ranks 28th in the world in life expectancy and 49th in infant mortality (behind Cuba in each case). “Socialistic” programs to made one of the world’s finest health care delivery systems available to more folks have not been the cause of run-away health care costs. I strongly recommend Steve Brill’s article “Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us” in the March 4, 2013 issue of “Time”. His exhaustive research lays the blame at the feet of the providers who are under no obligation to justify what they charge you while they have you at their mercy. One of his many examples is a $199.50 charge for a troponin blood test administered to an uninsured emergency room patient. Since Medicare only reimburses on a cost plus reasonable profit basis, they would be billed $13.94 for the exact same test. A CT scan cost the uninsured $2,179- Medicare $275 (the patient in the example received 3 during her $9,418 emergency room visit). This is typical of why health care “costs” are out of control.
    • Gun control: The second amendment extends the right to own guns to private citizens. Our society pays a high price for this freedom, but with about 1/3 of our households owning guns the majority should not retract this right. The NRA likes to point out, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” In the wrong hands guns, like automobiles, can be deadly. So society should take steps to keep guns and cars out of the hands of the people who forfeit that right through their actions. Drunken driver lose their license to drive. Felons and the mentally ill are not allowed to own guns. To enforce this we license and keep a registry of drivers. We regulate the operation of cars. And we arrest those you don’t act like these laws apply to them. But 40% of all guns sales are done anonymously. This precludes society from protecting itself from the folks we all agree should not be packing. Does this mean that law abiding citizens have to register and get their name in a data base- it sure does. The constitution grants the right to own a gun, not freedom from inconvenience. If it did we would have done away with the DMV a long time ago- tempting but probably not a good idea. For those who worry that this is the first step towards a police state, if you have health insurance, I suggest you seek professional help.

    Had the Republican Party employed Cohen’s “common sense” I never would have left its ranks.

  13. You can't save the Republican party by becoming the Democrat party!