In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Ben, Ben and Chez discuss the president's fix to the ACA, Richard Cohen's racism and changing one thing in our lives.
1. Am I seriously the only one who sees a brilliant tactic in Obama's "capitulation" on the ACA? Has nobody thought he came up with this idea BECAUSE he knew it wouldn't work? In fact it has only one real, substantive effect: it takes the burden off Obama's back and puts it on insurance companies, where it belongs. He allowed them (not required) them to extend the policies, knowing that most would and will refuse... and now they can't blame him. Neither can the Republicans.
Ben: I'm not seeing it Mike. Sorry. I think he did it as an absolute last resort to take some pressure off the disastrous roll out of the Affordable Care Act. He's taking an absolute beating and he had to do something. Even though I've been pretty critical of how this has been handled by the Obama Administration, I do think everyone is forgetting the true villains here - the health insurance companies themselves. They have shitty plans that don't live up to the new standards laid out by the ACA, and most people haven't done enough research to understand this. Even if you like your plan, why the hell wouldn't you want a far better one? It's mind blowing to me the way the debate is being framed.
Chez: Obama's a stellar political tactician but honestly who the hell knows whether this is an intentional play or not. He's being eaten alive in the press so I'm inclined to say that unless he gets some very obvious, public results he's not going to reap much of a benefit from any kind of canniness here.
Bob: I don't know. State health insurance commissioners were given the option whether or not to go along with the president's fix and already Washington state will allow the cancellations to continue. But publicly, for the most part, it's preventing a direct linkage between the cancellations and the ACA -- not to mention the White House.
2. Richard Cohen got hammered for that article her wrote this week. Is he a racist or not? Just misguided? What?
Chez: I think he has some very deep-seated issues with race. I'm not sure it comes from a place of actual malice, but I also don't think it would make it any better either way. Also, he's still a pompous hack who should've been fired a long time ago.
Bob: The thing about the dry-heaving was totally racist. Not only that, it was the kind of lazy, cynical writing that a lot of these career old-media columnists indulge in.
Ben: I've read the article and I can't really tell whether he was being his usual, racist self, or it was just sloppy writing. Cohen has some really, really serious issues with race so it doesn't really matter. The guy is still a gigantic asshole who shouldn't be writing for a serious publication like the Washington Post. For all the hateful things he has written, I really would like to see his career ruined whether or not he did anything racist this time around.
3. If you could go back in time and do one thing differently in your life what would it be?
Bob: Good question. My life is really great right now, so I'd worry that any changes would disrupt the space-time continuum. In a purely hypothetical sense, I would probably be smarter with money during the dot-com era. Either that or I would actually apply myself in high school. Oh, and there are quite a few hair styles I could've done without. That's three. I should stop now.
Chez: I'd give a better answer to this question.
Ben: I once had the chance to train with Sugar Ray Leonard at his gym. I had a prior engagement that I couldn't really flake on, so I didn't. Looking back however, I should have flaked on it. It was Sugar Ray Leonard for Christ's sake. In a more general sense, there isn't much I would do differently. Sure, I would have liked certain things to turn out differently, but not to get all Tony Robbins on you, I guess I've always felt that you try to learn from disappointments and turn them into positives. Maybe I'd go back and change some of the ways I handled relationship stuff, but then again, it's all part of growing up.