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Mandatory Reading

Real world experience among politicians and mandates. Also: Conservative mission impossible. The Prius we pay. As go Ohio Republicans... Plus much more.

7.3.08

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SQUANDERED MANDATES
Re: David Catron's No More Mandate Madness:

Pick-and-choose health insurance is a great idea -- but it will eventually be undermined by attorneys. It doesn't take much to imagine a "suffering soul's" lawyer telling a jury that his "heartless" insurance company "should have covered him anyway," despite the fact that he decided not to insure whatever was afflicting him.

A couple of multi-million dollar awards later, it's back to square one.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

My company recently announced an upcoming move to "smoke-free" campuses throughout the United States. One of the major reasons used for this action was the "lowering of health-costs." While I had already used the argument that mandated coverage and stock policies raise the cost more than my smoking, the numbers provided by your articles and links are very beneficial in either forcing my company to change its policy, or at least admit the real reasons.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

I have been in the Life & Health Insurance business for 23 years in Florida. For the last ten years I have made a market selling to self-employed Realtors and have spent 95% of my time helping them, first and foremost, with health insurance. I also did a stint as member of the board of the Miami Life Underwriters Association -- a local chapter of the National and Florida groups (MALU, FALU and NALU, now called FAIFA) and first chairman of its Political Involvement Committee. At the time we had over 1,000 members in the local, over 28,000 statewide and over 140,000 nationwide. I coordinated local chapter efforts primarily with the state Association in lobbying and legislative efforts on matters of interest to our group. We represent agents, not companies, and more often than not (don't laugh) are more closely aligned with our client's interests than perhaps any other group, especially some so-called "consumer interest groups." After all, if something hurts our clients, it ultimately hurts us and our efforts were frequently at odds with those of insurance companies. I make no brief for the insurance companies for I know them far better than most and that they can certainly take care of themselves, and do, but there are some objective truths and reasonable people need to reexamine them.

I have watched and combated the "mandates" process for a long time. The last year I chaired the committee, 1991, there were over 120 proposed mandates in the legislative hopper in Tallahassee. This process has continued unabated. Maybe one or three will ever even make it out of committee each year, yet alone pass both houses and be signed into law, but the cumulative effect year and year out has been highly detrimental to the health insurance market as Mr. Catron points out. As in all government intervention it started out reasonably enough, mandated mammogram coverage, well child care, prostate exams, etc. but 20 years on it has metastasized into an ever expanding umbrella of "benefits" insurers are required to pay for. This in turn has ratcheted up the expectations of insureds to the point, speaking of interest groups, one of the more recent such calls for mandated benefits comes from an "autism activist" of Weston, FL, a very wealthy yuppie-burg in Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale area). Her demand would require all policies to pay for autism -- an open ended, very subjective and potentially very expensive type of risk. I say, fine, if a carrier wants to offer such optional coverage at additional premium that's the market at work. But why should I have to pay more on my family's policy that includes my wife and six children for an autism mandate?

What the layman doesn't understand is mandated coverage increases risk of loss across a carriers entire base of business that they have no say about. Too many citizens say, "tough, it's only a few more dollars per policy." Well, a mandate here and a mandate there and pretty soon we're talking real premium.

Who is the worst "special" interest? In my experience, the most pernicious are state politicians who love to propose such mandates for the fawning headlines they garner back in their district; they don't have to propose budgetary increases and the taxes that fund them and they get to posture as a compassionate David "fighting" for the little guy against the mean ol' Goliaths of insurance. Bet you can't guess which party loves playing that role? Mandates in a sense are just another redistribution scheme forcing some policyholders to subsidize others via insurance without the politicians having to get their hands dirty. Governor Crist recognizes this dynamic and his new plan will bring relief in the private market, but it doesn't address the group market where far more people get their coverage.

Which is the other aspect to this problem I rarely see examined and that goes hand-in-glove with the mandate process. Florida is a case study. Prior to 1997 and the passage of the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPPA) we had approximately 40 carriers offering group health insurance in Florida. For employer groups of less than 20 eligible employees, where the vast majority of employer-covered people work, the carriers had leeway in designing coverage and rates on a group due to the risk of the group (sick employees) or could decline to cover at all. Ditto for Associations, such as my agent's association or Boards of Realtors, etc. where there is no "sponsoring employer" who pays a portion of the premium -- a generally required distinction to increase broader participation of the young and old, healthy and sick, male and female in a group plan. The system worked, however imperfectly, far better than today's situation. We could almost always find a reputable carrier to cover almost any group or association at reasonable market rates because they could design the plan and rates to match the risk and nature of the particular group. For individuals who were truly uninsurable there was a state guaranteed risk pool of participating insurers with a selection of guaranteed-issue plans they could purchase similar to many other states,' no health questions asked, at higher premiums that properly reflected the greater risk of insuring them. A Democratic legislature and Governor decried this as "unfair" and so parallel to the federal HIPPA act passed legislation mandating that all group carriers issue guaranteed group plans with fixed rates on all businesses right on down to one "employee."

That's right, in Florida, it is possible for a self-employed individual or single shareholder/employee corporation to buy a "1-life group" plan that falls under full Federal protections regarding pre-existing conditions and portability just as if they had 1,000 employees and any group carrier doing business in Florida has to offer them. This oxymoron violates all cardinal principles of group underwriting. Meantime, the legislature, satisfied it had "solved" the insurability "crisis" and brought "fairness" with a wave of its magic wand, did away with the state run risk pool and crowed of its success. But what they really did was eliminate carriers' ability to assess and decide which risks they are willing to take. The immediate and predictable results, indeed predicted by us, was the exodus of carriers offering group plans in our state and rapidly rising premiums.

Oh yeah, Association plans in Florida were the first to go as they, absent the sponsoring employer's premium contribution, are generally higher risk than a typical group. Fast-forward to the present and we now have five shell-shocked and reeling carriers left standing in Florida and everybody pays through the nose. I guess that's "fairness" of a sort. The typical group plan rate for a 35-year-old employee with family coverage in S. Florida today is on average $1,000-$1,200 monthly. For those unfortunates in the 61-65 bracket those are singles' rates. Our rates are well above the national average, as is the annual percentage rate increases of 25-40%. It's not hard to fathom what impact this is all having on smaller employers in today's economy. Many are dropping their coverage because it represents hefty built-in increases in payroll every year. None of this is mysterious. If you have five companies offering plans to the same market 40 used to cover it's going to be more expensive, way more expensive.

What have mandates and group plans got to do with one another? Risk, pure and simple. Insurers cover known, or reasonably knowable risks, for a premium and in the case of health insurance seek to spread it over a defined risk pool they can properly assess and adjust for. Mandating benefits increases risk by adding and expanding conditions to all policies they must pay for. Guaranteed issue group plans with mandated benefits for any and all comers restricts their ability to properly assess and adjust for risk and ultimately even to decide whether to take the risk. Their only remaining option is to quit the market. They are the two sides of the same coin and together have dramatically increased the risk to carriers to the point they'd simply rather leave than do business on the group side, again where most get their coverage, in one of the largest and most prosperous states. And less competition and innovation in any market of any kind always means higher prices. My clients or conversationalists will invariably compare insurers to bookies at which point I reply, that's right, it's very simple really, if a bookie or carrier cannot properly assess the odds or risk of losing, they won't take it.

The measures Mr. Catron outlines, such as Gov. Crist's in Florida, along with the move to higher deductibles, health savings accounts and more all have this element of risk assessment and who gets to decide underlying them. We must allow carriers to get back to realistically assessing, charging and deciding which risks they will take. My fear though, knowing something about politicians, is the initiatives call for the thing all contemporary politicians most loathe -- to be accused of "turning back the clock," but that is what must be done for the health insurance market to work.
-- Mark Shepler
Jupiter, Florida

GRAND SMALL PARTY
Re: Peter Ferrara's The Conservative Welfare State:

Mr. Ferrara makes several solid policy points that could lower government dependency. Coupled with school choice and health-care choice and well... with personal choice, we could make this country a much better place.

More importantly; with the advancement of these ideas, being open and honest about the difference between our personal social ideals and our political philosophy, and being clear that being anti-governmental intervention doesn't make for bad governance, the conservative movement and the GOP can start winning again.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

Do the compound return math: The average auto worker extended family could have one or two retired millionaires if Democrats hadn't designed Social Security pyramid scam that -- literally -- meets the legal definitions of financial crime. Imagine where the working family could have been with a generation of personal accounts: Grandchild going to Harvard? No problem -- write the check, plenty left over. Surprise medical bills? Write a check, and buy cheap catastrophic insurance to protect against really big bills. Children laid off in middle age? No problem, grand-dad can easily carry a few mortgage payments until they're back on their feet. Unwed teen mother? Okay, the family can easily afford someone to stay home and care for the kid until she finishes school. Nobody would need Democrat's stingy, strings-attached, inefficient, soul-killing hand-outs, because they could solve their own family problems.

And imagine if Democrats had not been allowed to take away half the life savings of a working black family if Dad died young (they lose one Social Security pension). Imagine instead he'd been allowed to pass on his personal account to his kids. How much progress could black Americans have made with that stolen inheritance? Any wonder why black Americans seem to have a hard time climbing the inter-generational economic ladder?

Conservatives have not been able to illustrate the tragic opportunity cost of socialist policies to the working class -- would could have been -- because they've relied on hapless Republicans who are too busy apologizing for their brethren and sanctimoniously proving how clean their hands are of political dirt. It is woefully irresponsible for pols like Bush and McCain to fail to criticize the policy failures of Democrats loudly and constantly, and pretend you can "just get things done" and "do the right thing" and "reach across the aisle" before preparing the public by winning the argument.

That is why conservatives must never, ever agree to soften the blow of payroll taxes unless it is part of a real personal account reform. It is absolutely essential to start holding Democrats responsible for the disastrous but largely indirect and hidden effects of their policies on the working class. Democrats must be forced to take full credit for the failure of their policies, because that is absolutely the only way to illustrate for the working and voting public how conservative principles are by contrast workable when applied to public policy. Republicans will be very tempted to "just do the right thing" and cut payroll taxes. Instead they should force a clear choice between two completely different packages.
-- Eric Richter
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Misters Douthat and Salam and Ferrara all have excellent ideas, but the a priori assumption of their argument is that the federal government can produce effective programs. An investigation of the history of social programs, especially after FDR's good hearted but wrong headed New Deal, will clearly show that the central government has rarely produced highly efficacious results. The same investigation will show the programs "creep" year after year. Short term programs are never short termed; they are extended well beyond their original purposes and cost estimates. Once these programs are established, federal bureaucrats, the courts, and the general public find (create) rights for said programs to live on well past their advertised expiration dates.

The creep of these programs is understandable. The programs create jobs and are deliver pork to home constituencies. Further, the money seems to be free. The federal government prints and distributes the monies. The thinking goes along these lines, "Since the rich pay for these redistribution of income and I am not rich, who am I hurting by taking advantage of these programs? Hell, it is my right as a tax payer to receive these services." The mind set that the programs are rights is difficult to refute, no matter how reasonable the arguments that are laid down. (William F. Buckley spent his lifetime producing well-argued position papers on conservative principles.)

The Constitution lays down the mutual responsibilities of the federal government and the people; it is the ultimate Social Contract. This glorious document is often forgotten or blatantly ignored in the process of creating over burdensome tax regulations. The government, at all levels, has the right to fair taxation, but redistributing income is not part of the principles on which this country was founded. A flat tax allows the government to fund its legitimate needs without imposing morality through approving, encouraging, or conversely, disapproving and discouraging, public behavior. A flat tax is a morally neutral tax. (This change in tax regulation in no way denies the rights and responsibilities of legislatures for passing ethical and moral laws; it simply transfer culpability back to the authors of the laws from the anonymity of tax bureaucrats.)

Conservatives, such as Douthat and Salam and Ferrara , who wish to impose their morality on the people, either ignore or forget the laws of unintended consequences. The history of government programs demonstrates that these programs often mutate from their original designs into multi-headed hydras that are beyond their creators' control. Ferrara offers excellent rational for some conservative new programs, but he cannot guarantee, or even foresee, what the next generation of these programs will be and how they will be used for, or more probably, against the very people for whom he advocates.

An early lesson one learns in martial arts is that any weapon carried into battle can be used against the one who brings it. Mr. Ferrara, being a libertarian, is part of the "Leave Us Alone Coalition." The nomenclature is sincere; we are not looking for any social programming; we are asking to be left alone.

Mr. Ferrara does not trust that the people have the good sense of electing officials who will leave us alone, but then again, history is on his side.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

For the last 10 to 12 years we have seen plenty of "conservatives" spending just like the leftists, benevolently presiding over bigger and bigger government that does more and more. We've seen "compassionate conservatives" fall all over themselves to prove they "care" too. The problem is we've allowed certain people to claim they are something they plainly aren't. These two bozos aren't neoliberals..they are neocons!

The neocon crowd never had a problem with big government, just with who was running it. They are as interventionist as the left is, they just have a slightly different idea as to how and where to intervene. As far as the Republicans go, I don't think that true conservatives have ever felt that we had a happy home there. We have been more and less tolerated because we win when we are clear about our message. And the message has to be clear opposition to the other side, not trying to be more like them.

In 2006 the voters kicked out a bunch of self-serving, big spending, big government fat cats...they just happened to be Republicans.

I'm afraid we have become sidetracked. Of course we are pro-life, but that doesn't have a thing to do with conservatism. And we are pro-second amendment, but neither does that have anything to do with true conservatism. We could list many more we believe that also have nothing to do with real conservatism. To me real conservatism comes down to just one thing, the size and scope of government. If you are content with current behemoth or you want it to get bigger the only way you could be considered a conservative is if we totally redefine the word! Neocons think everything is great as long as we get a tax cut. That may help me but the real threat to our nation is plainly on the spending side of things.

And here we have a couple of clueless yahoos wanting to spend more. Anyone this out of touch doesn't deserve debating, they deserve what the Stoics said some ideas do... laughter!
-- David Luckie
Georgia

STICKER SHOCK
Re: Eric Peters's Volt of the Masses:

Hybrids and electrics are little more then a marketing gimmick that has little to do with the price of energy or the reduction in the dreaded motor vehicle produced carbon dioxide gas output. The energy must come from somewhere and the physics of it say that the most fuel efficient way to produce it comes from the internal combustion engine. Pure electric cars like the Volt or a plug-in hybrid still produce CO2 and consume some equivalent quantity of oil unless the power source used to charge the battery comes from renewable or nuclear energy source.

The Prius is the only electric powered vehicle that makes any kind of technical or economic sense. It was optimized for city/suburban driving and has limited capability for long distance high speed travel. The other hybrids cars are just for show and a way for Toyota to con people into overpaying for a car. Diesels do far better in every objective, i.e., non EPA, study I have ever seen. GM would be far wiser to invest in clean diesel engines then in wasting billions of dollars on a vehicle that will have less utility then a Prius.
-- Jerrold Goldblatt
Arlington, Virginia

The most interesting part of Eric Peters's article was this: "The Prius costs about $20k..."

Since he's comparing the Prius to the new not-yet-available Volt, I assume he's talking about the price of a new Prius, not a used or wrecked Prius.

Can Mr. Peters tell us where to buy a new Prius for about $20K? How long is the waiting list?

I guess it all depends on the meaning of "about."

Thanks!
-- KT

Your Mr. Peters discusses the future GM-Chevrolet electric car; in this discussion he assumes the electric power is there for the taking. Let us discuss the energy balance of such a car. When you put 1,000 BTU's of gasoline in your conventional car tank, you get about 200 BTU's worth of motion -- the rest is spent on motor friction, air resistance, tire friction, and the thermodynamic limitations of the combustion process. Before you plug your electric car into the power grid, you have to produce that electricity in a power station. There, when you put in the same 1,000 BTU's of whatever fuel you have -- gas, oil, coal -- you get some 300 BTU's worth of electricity. Now that 300 BTU's worth of electricity flows into the batteries of your new electric car and is turned into some 60 BTU's worth of motion. The energy balance of a perfect electric car is therefore about three times lower than that of a normal car (200 divided by 60 = 3.33) -- and forget the initial cost of such an electric car that the writer estimates at about 150% more expensive that that of a normal car. The total output of carbon dioxide ("carbon footprint") of such a combination is also 3.33 times greater than if you burned the gasoline directly. Of course, if you had nuclear power plants available for bringing you the necessary electricity to your garage plug, your "carbon footprint" would be much smaller even though the energy balance would stay about the same (3.33 times worse) -- but then our "environmentalists" have killed the nuclear power some 30-odd years ago.
-- Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

Maybe you should get your facts straight before you write an article on the Volt. GM does have a battery pack and it is being tested now. Why don't you give someone at GM a call and get the facts? It is because of an unformed media that GM has many of their problems...
-- C. R. McCaffrey

GONE COUNTRY
Re: Christopher Orlet's Louvin Feeling:

This is a great article on ol' Charlie, and I sincerely appreciate it. The writer wrote it in a "down-to-earth" style...very informative, and very readable. I thank him -- and your fine publication for printing it.
-- Bill Clark
Stilwell, Kansas

Mr. Orlet got the old saying wrong. It is a horse that will work itself to death and a mule that is smart enough to quit when he gets tired or overheated. I loved the article by the way.
-- Adam Dennis

AS GOES OHIO
Re: W. James Antle III's What's the Matter with Ohio?:

I grew up in Cleveland, and like hordes of young Ohioans in the '70s, I couldn't wait to get out of there. Stirrings of youthful adventure? Sure. But it was more than that. Ohio was one of the places Bruce Springsteen described in his songs -- all about blue collar macho and blue collar limitations: tax-and-spend government that was corruption once removed, and the social cost of steel-belt economies circling the drain. In short, a grave of hope and initiative where new ideas were kicked to death in the parking lot. (Fix YOU for thinking , you fairy!) If Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had lived in Ohio, we would still be using IBM Selectric typewriters today, and slide rules too.

Coingate and penny ante payoffs to the governor? There is no need to posit a "culture of corruption." Trust me, Occam's Razor rules south of Lake Erie. No conspiracy in needed. Sheer goddamned stupidity will do nicely. It's par for the course.

How can you tell an Ohio politician?

He's the one who throws himself at the ground, and misses!

My former home state is the personification of Mencken's theory that the voting public knows what it wants, and deserves to get it.

Good and hard.
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

The fall of the GOP in Ohio is a sad story and Antle's analysis is illustrative of why a firm foundation in conservative principles is important. Unfortunately, he fails to factor in the conservative crack-up's impact on the GOP (it was never a "crack down"). When so many "conservatives" bought into Democrat Chuck Schumer's campaign propaganda that Republicans were the "root of all ills" (despite economic growth at 3%-5%, low unemployment, a booming housing market, successful war against Muslim extremists, etc.), they insured Democrat victory not only in Ohio, but the nation.

Again, while he's correct that Ohio Democrats are doing well the people of Ohio aren't -- the only light at the end of the Democrat tunnel is a train wreck. What's interesting is how Ohio Democrats reflect the destructive nature of the national Democrats. Since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 they've successfully stalled economic growth, fostered higher unemployment, stymied a viable energy plan and destroyed the housing market. Of course, if Americans and/or "conservatives" want higher taxes, higher gas prices (Democrat guru Al Gore believes gas should be at a minimum $5 a gallon), higher pork spending, an economic recession and a nation in overall decline voting Democrat, a third party or staying home in November is the only way to go. (To understand the danger one can look beyond Ohio to Michigan and Maryland to see what a Democrat future portends for the US.)

Regarding the incessant whine about the war, give it a break. As one deployed for OEF & OIF and preparing to go downrange at the end of the month I'm tired of Americans who have sacrificed nothing complaining about the war and crying "war fatigue." This war has cost us very few casualties (less than murder victims in any combination of 3 major Democrat urban centers during the same time frame) and so degraded our enemy they're on the ropes. Of course, if "conservatives" want to join Barack Obama in handing Muslim extremists a victory and return to a pre 9/11 mentality then go ahead, but please quit claiming to what you aren't Reagan conservatives.

If this is a center-right nation we have the power to stop the Democrats dead in their tracks, but the internecine warfare must stop and we've got to return to Ronald Reagan's pragmatic big tent conservatism. If we don't the axis of evil in the U.S. (Democrats, their media stooges and their goose stepping anti-American base) will continue its march down the road to fascism and the murder of the America we know and love.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

What's the matter with Ohio? As James Antle correctly points out....Everything.

As the Medina County GOP'er also stated, "Half of our elected officials are just Democrat-lite." For many of them, there's no significant difference, just like at the national level. We also have some serious leadership problems around the state, particularly here in Summit County (Akron). Long-time party leader Alex Arshikoff is nothing more than an old-time party boss, and a minimally effective one at that. A number of younger GOP'ers, led by state Senator Kevin Coughlin, tried to unseat Arshinkoff (who had recently been thrown off the state election board) but were unsuccessful.

Blogs attacked Coughlin et al. and pointed out that "We are winning elections!" Yeah? Where? Out of 390 elected positions in the county, the GOP has only 39% of them while the Dummycrats own 50%. For the 25 years I've lived down here (after escaping the People's Republic of Cuyahoga County), I haven't seen much improvement. Even more unfortunate is the case of John Widdowfield of Cuyahoga Falls, who after considerable success in running for office, lost the last two he's tried for and just had to resign from his current position thanks to some hanky-panky centering around season football tickets for Ohio State University. Widdowfield was a Republican whom I respected tremendously, but not anymore.

The GOP in Ohio continues to shoot itself in the foot and ignores the fact that the toes and instep are gone and there's not much left of the ankles. I proclaimed myself a Republican during the recent state primaries (I registered as a Democrat at age 18 but had always supported the conservative candidate, usually a Republican, and enjoyed aggravating my Dummycrat colleagues and playing the role of cross-over voter), but now I'm really beginning to wonder why.
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

ZIMBABWE CATASTROPHE
Re: Erin Wildermuth's Dictator's Dilemma:

Erin Wildermuth is pointing the finger of blame in the wrong direction. The African Union is irrelevant. Either the United Nations is the agent of change it was instituted to be, or it is the farce it has become. Mugabe and Zimbabwe demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt the latter assessment applies.

And Mugabe knows it.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

The African dictators will not remove Mugabe from office. Just like Jimmy Carter, they help put Mugabe in office in the first place. Ian Smith was right about Mugabe all along and they don't want to admit it.
-- Michael Skaggs
Murray, Kentucky

FEAR THE REPUBLICRATS
Re: Letters under "Evilcrats" in Reader Mail's Rock On:

Here we go again. "Conservatives" are to blame for the failure of the Republican Party to hold seats in the 2006 election. It will be "conservatives" who are responsible for a Democratic win in 2008. Balderdash. It was the Republican Party and its sitting congressional members who were responsible for the Democrats wins in 2006 and it will hold responsibility for an Obama win in 2008, should one occur. Why? Because the Republicrats are in control of the Party.

What some of your readers do not seem to understand, perhaps because they are not conservatives, is that Conservatives do not vote for liberals. They did not vote in the Democratic liberals in 2006 or 2004 or 2002. What Conservatives also do not do is vote for Republican liberals. They vote for conservatives.

So, if Conservative votes are so critical to the dominance of the Republican party, it might be a good idea for the Party to run conservative candidates. Until that happens, non-conservative Republicans will have to assume the responsibility for their actions and accept life the way it is.

Now to assuage some of the angst felt by non-conservative Republicans in this election season, let me say that most Conservatives in America will vote against Barack Obama. They will not, however, vote for John McCain. Senator McCain is very possibly the worst candidate that the Republican Party could field if they wished to garner Conservative votes. The best thing that happened to John McCain and the Republican party this election season is the pending nomination of Mr. Obama. If Hillary was running in the general election, most Conservatives would probably stay home. For there would be virtually no difference between she and McCain other than their gender and party affiliation. Think about that for a moment. Scary, isn't it?
-- Michael Tobias

SULLIVAN SENT US
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Freedom and the View from Obamaland:

As respectfully as I can presently muster, Jeffrey Lord's column is a poorly researched exercise in hyperbole; not to mention, stroll down hypocrisy lane. Is he contending that the GOP hasn't tried to stifle any private citizen or group from their right to free speech under Bush, Cheney, and Rove? What a crock.

I was a life-long Reagan conservative (born and raised in the Midwest) until the Bush Administration botched everything under the sun. I mean, let's face it, if Clinton had presided over the catastrophes of the last 7 years, the GOP would have tried to impeach him half a dozen times.

If the worst that Obama does is everything Lord describes, I'll still take that every time over the abysmal era of the GW Bush years.

Honestly, there is so much hyperbole in the column, I almost thought it was in jest.

At least I can tell my friends and family where to go look for a good laugh. Thanks for that!
-- Darin S.

Thank for commissioning articles from a satirist as talented as Jeffrey Lord. He is a wonderful parodist, adept at satirizing conservative cliches at their most cartoonish. His recent article "Freedom and the View From Obamaland" had me rolling on the floor. It was the finest parody of the Conservative Apocalyptic Screed I've read in a long, long time. Keep up the good work!
-- Greer Mansfield

Truly great... Hysterical. A good time waster during lunch which had me chuckling. The satirizing of a right wing know nothing -- you know, those traitors that hide behind the flag, and are so naked in their disdain for truth and a just America -- was truly outstanding. Jeff is obviously a very talented scribbler; I mean coming across so utterly dumb isn't all that easy. Just ask Curly Howard -- if you could. Anyway, keep it up. The more laughs the better, I always say.

Thanks!
-- Gerald Cuesta

Excellent satirical piece by Jeffrey Lord on Obama as a fascist. At least I assume it's satire. Unless Lord is actually seriou... No, sorry. Forget that. It has to be satire.
-- Brian Gunn

This is the first and last time I look at your website. What a jackass.
-- Mike Hyland

Jeffrey Lord replies:
Mr. Hyland's response is tops. He understands that at least so far he has the absolute freedom to not read TAS and that (so far at least) there is a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court that protects his absolute right to call me a jackass. Bravo! A conservative in the making!

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