Bloggers break down Hillary's health-care plan.

Bloggers break down Hillary's health-care plan.

Bloggers break down Hillary's health-care plan.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 18 2007 6:13 PM

Hillary's Cure

Bloggers respond to Hillary Clinton's new health-care plan, wonder why a University of Florida student was Tasered at a forum featuring John Kerry, and celebrate the demise of TimesSelect.

Hillary's cure: Hillary Clinton unveiled her long-awaited health-care plan Monday, one designed to cover all Americans and yet avoid the pitfalls of her failed 1993 proposal. Is Hillary Care II just Hillary Care I rejiggered, or is it something new? Is it smart and savvy or just burdensome? Bloggers debate.

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Ezra Klein, an advocate of socialized medicine, argues that Clinton's new plan is smarter than the old one: "The rhetoric is interesting too, being entirely about 'choice.' … The first bullet point assures readers that every American will be able to keep their current coverage if they so desire. Etc, etc. This is very distinctly aimed at the criticisms of the 1994 plan, which is that it would reduce choice and constrain medical freedom." Liberal Kevin Drum at the Political Animal agrees with Klein and adds: "Edwards and Obama are going to have a very hard time making criticisms that stick. Obama, in particular, suffers because his plan is, if anything, a bit less ambitious than Hillary's even though he's supposed to be the candidate with fresh new ideas. For now, anyway, I think Hillary has outflanked him."

But lefty John Nichols at TheNation's Campaign Matters thinks Clinton's recent proposal is no better than the first: "The former first lady, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the 1990s by responding to the demand for a sane and humane system to deliver affordable medical care to all Americans with a plan to drown the ailing in a bureaucracy designed to augment the profits of the nation's largest insurance companies, is back with an equally heavy-handed and unappealing 'reform' proposal." And liberal TRex of Firedoglake, equally unimpressed, expresses the cynical point of view: "Is there anybody here who believes that this plan wasn't conceived and dictated to Senator Clinton by passels of high-end lobbyists for the insurance industry? Yeah? Well, I've got some sports memorabilia in a hotel room in Vegas that I'll sell you. No, really, it's mine."

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the doctor ... Hillary Clinton is back," quips Jim Addison at the right-leaning Wizbang Politics before slamming the concept: "Health care services are not unlimited, so offering 'universal coverage' necessarily requires price controls and rationing. Government control of the options available ensures inefficiency and costs far higher than promised." At the National Review's Campaign Spot, conservative Jim Geraghty interviews Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, who calls Clinton's plan "bigger and scarier" than statewide individual-mandate plans in Massachussetts and California. "How is she going to track whether every person in and out of employment market is covered by a plan? How will she determine if they have their plans proper level of coverage? All of that without any new bureaucracy? I don't believe it," says Tanner.

Read about Clinton's new plan.

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Taser boy: Andrew Meyer, a University of Florida student "with a history of taping his own practical jokes" was Tasered Monday after asking John Kerry why he didn't contest the 2004 election, why President Bush hasn't been impeached, and if he belonged to the Skull and Bones society.

"[T]he university police's response was totally out of proportion and brutal," finds Greg Lukianoff of the Huffington Post. "And, of course, common sense … will tell you that the threat of being tasered if you talk too much could certainly have a chilling affect on speech! Good lord. Half the people I knew in college would have been tasered routinely if this response was considered acceptable back then."

But Neocon of NeoconNews thinks Meyer got what he deserved: "Of course, police brutality exists, but I don't believe that this is a case of it. Not even close. … As for the taser use itself, I don't know about the use of the taser when he was already on the ground, but given the way he resisted, and boy did he resist, I think that it was reasonable use to subdue him." And righty Ace at Ace of Spades detects a political double standard: "Boy, that security team sure was in a wicked hurry to lay hands on someone disrespecting a Democrat, weren't they? Meanwhile protesters are allowed to menace and charge conservative speakers at will."

For first-hand accounts, try Michelle Malkin, who posts eyewitness reports from UF student sources and points out that "Andrew Meyer's milking his 15 minutes of fame. Check out his email address: famouswriterman@aol.com."

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Read more about Andrew Meyer. Watch the incident from a different angle. Check out  Slate's roundup of Taser videos.

Times' columnists freed: The New York Times announced Tuesday that it will end its TimesSelect subscription program for online content because "subscription fees cannot outweigh the potential ad revenue from increased traffic on a free site."

Not everyone is happy. "Let us pause for a moment and consider the good the subscriber wall accomplished," suggests Nick Gillespie at Reason's Hit&Run. "By making it just a teeny more difficult to access content by opinion columnists Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, and Frank Rich, it freed most of us from having to pay attention to such generally braying jackasses."

Ann Althouse, never a fan of the TimesSelect "wall," breathes a sigh of relief: "Finally, it's over. Great. Too bad it took so long. The freedom to link to everything over at the NYT ... how strange! I wonder how that will go. I have to get over the inhibition I've felt all these years, skimming the Times and deciding what to read based in part on whether I could easily blog about it." Slate's Mickey Kaus, at Kausfiles, issues a "*GLOAT ALERT*Pinch's Folly Formally FUBAR!" and then mocks the Times' spin: "You see, it's really a success story! It 'met expectations.' It's just that online ad growth was so much higher it was more profitable to not charge readers and thereby get more of them! I mean, who could have foreseen that (except everyone else in the industry)?"

Read more about the end of TimesSelect.

Juliet Lapidos is a staff editor at the New York Times.