The Dow just hit another all-time high.

The American Ebola death toll remains zero.

Gas prices are down.

Unemployment claims are down to a level not seen in 14 years.

And the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%.

Governor Romney promised to get it “down to 6%, or perhaps a little lower,” by January, 2017 if we elected him.

Had he achieved that, does anyone doubt that Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh, Reince Priebus, and all the other straight shooters we look to for leadership would be praising his achievement?

That the President got us there in less than half the time will, of course, be ignored.  “By any standard,” Mitch McConnell told voters just weeks ago, “Barack Obama has been a disaster for our country.”

And you can trust Mitch to tell it like it is . . .

. . .  just as so many voters trusted Bush 43 when he told them, repeatedly, that “By far the vast majority” of his proposed tax cuts would “go to the bottom end of the spectrum.”  A knowing, multi-trillion-dollar lie.

. . . or when he told us we would go to war with Iraq only if we truly had to as a last resort to protect our country, never mentioning that he had been planning war with Iraq from the first days of his presidency.

And so I again commend to you Wednesday’s press conference.  The President’s answers, as always, struck me as thoughtful and candid.

Not to say that in nearly six years he has never said something that, with hindsight, might have been edited.

> Campaigning in 2000, he told the LGBT community he would be “a fierce advocate” for our equality.  For years, many activists ridiculed that characterization.  And yet the overall notion — that he was on our side — seems to have been accurate.  And most would now agree enormous progress has been made.

> In selling the Affordable Care Act, he was overly broad and categorical in promising that “if you like your current care you can keep it.”  But however that happened, it was not an attempt to shift vast wealth to the already wealthy, many of them his friends.  Or to start an unnecessary war.  Quite the opposite, it was an attempt — after 80 years’ trying — finally to bring health care security to anyone who might someday suffer from a “pre-existing condition” . . . which is to say all 320 million of us . . . finally to help tens of millions obtain affordable care . . . finally to begin solving the structural problem that has put American manufacturers at a sharp competitive disadvantage.  (And it’s working — see below.)

There may be other examples — I count on you not to be shy in reminding me of them — but those are actually the only two I can think of.

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Our Republican friends are casting last week’s election as a mandate to repeal Obamacare.

But was the 2012 election, when far more people turned out to express their views — and when the law’s namesake (Obama!) was specifically on the ballot — a mandate to keep it?

Could the 880,000 negative ads run after the law’s passage have distorted the public’s view?

Should we heed the Kentuckians who like KYnect — or the same Kentuckians who hate Obamacare?  KYnext and Obamacare are, after all, just two names for the same thing.

Our Republican friends  are casting the election as a mandate to stop Obama.  But on the issues, the polling among Americans generally, not just the third who turned out to vote last week, heavily favor the things the President has long sought to do: like raising the minimum wage; putting people to work rebuilding our infrastructure; requiring universal background checks for gun purchases.

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How do you get 70% of those who voted to reelect George W. Bush to believe Iraq played a role in attacking us on 9/11?  How do you get people to believe that the scientific consensus on climate change is a hoax?  Or that the wealthy are “the job creators” (we’re not) — and won’t hire workers they need to make more profits if the tax rate on those profits goes up?  (Or will hire workers they don’t need if the tax rate on their profits goes down?)

Some clues to the required techniques were laid out here, by a Republican lobbyist:

“We run all this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity,” Berman said. “People don’t know who supports us. We’ve been doing this for 20-something years in this regard.”

Berman also referenced a tactic that’s often used by climate deniers: framing a certain situation as a debate.

“You get in people’s mind a tie,” he said. “They don’t know who is right. And you get all ties because the tie basically insures the status quo.”

OBAMACARE IS WORKING

Health care inflation hasn’t been so low in ages, even as the percentage of Americans who lack coverage has dropped dramatically after just the first open-enrollment period.  (The second beings November 15.)  Want to learn more?  Check out Zeke Emanuel’s just-published Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System.

One big picture way of looking at Obamacare is that it shifts tens of billions a dollars a year from wealthy people to make health care affordable for low income people.  That’s TERRIBLE if you are wealthy, short-sighted, and selfish.  But pretty great if you’re near the bottom of the economic ladder – or if you or someone you love has or might someday develop a preexisting condition. (Which is to say: everyone.)

There’s a lot more to like in the Act than just that — read Emanuel’s book — but for me, at least, that explains a lot.  It’s not some dubious “free lunch.”  It’s tens of billions of dollars raised largely from a 3.8% surtax on investment income above $250,000 going to improve the lives and health and security of every American and helping American manufacturers compete.  Not something that I think most people — if they saw 880,000 ads explaining, rather than disparaging, it — would want to repeal.

Have a great weekend.

 

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