Good grief, yes! Differences include broadband connectivity, Internet use, well water, septic or sewer, gardens and cooking, parking, roads, public and private education, formal education, dress code, cell reception, transportation options, total miles to travel, job availability, TV reception (cable, satellite, free airwaves), hobbies, magazines, crimes, their pets, insects and other critters. They are, however, alike in dedication to religion and family, in feeling time-pressured, in disgust of the D.C. partisan tug-of-war.
As a physician, we figure you’re qualified to comment on Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. What’s your verdict?
Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. Obamacare is a huge leap forward with respect to insurance reform. Just eliminating the exclusion for pre-existing illness, outlawing premium charges based on disease risk and declaring insurance companies must spend 80 percent or more on the patient are huge gains. We have endured too many health insurance abuses. ACA still needs the public option or should move to a single-payer system. Otherwise the for-profit insurance companies and providers will just keep running up the price tag. The Independent Payment Advisory Board should not have the authority to implement cost controls. It should evaluate care efficacy and cost and make recommendations. We elect officials to determine the budgets. I wish the insurance companies in the exchanges were nonprofit.
Assuming you win, freshman members of Congress typically spend the first year acclimating themselves to the dizzying environment of Washington. It’s expensive and the demands on your time are extreme. Do you think it’s unfair that representatives only have two years to prove themselves?
Yes. Probably three- to four-year terms would be more effective.
We’ve read you’re into carpentry. What’s the most ambitious project you’ve attempted?
I am in the process of building a set of stairs up a 200-foot cliff. I paddle boat supplies to the bottom area. I divide 80-pound concrete bags into thirds and, at times, rappel them up the cliff along with the lumber and other tools. We built most of our home. My trim work for the windows was challenging.
Our next Lightning Round explores music, movies and books:
• Your favorite song—ever—is: Paul Simon’s “One Trick Pony”or The Beatles “Hey Jude.”
• The last movie I saw was: “The Hunger Games.”
• The last book I read was: “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph Stiglitz.
It’s no secret that The Pulse is a liberal-leaning, progressive paper and not-so-subliminally pro Obama. On a national level, what is your long view of how the president has performed?
President Obama is a very smart fellow with great speaking skills. The more I think about the way he created stimulus (for example, the 4.2 percent employee payroll tax) and ACA plus Medicare revenue (a progressive Medicare payroll tax), the more impressed I am with his problem solving in the face of “Just Say No” opposition. However, Mr. Obama’s listening to Geithner and Summers in the bank bail-out and the generals in advising ramp up in Afghanistan are, in my opinion, big mistakes. He is doing a good job in the midst of a societal divide, recession and bigotry.
Mitt Romney, in our view, is a self-absorbed, wealthy businessman with an inferiority complex who simply “wants” to be the president. In our view, merely wanting to be the president is not enough. So, he “hires” Paul Ryan to add some far-right substance to his ticket. But in the advanced, yet often nominal, democracy we live in, he could very well be elected. In the post-Bush years, nothing surprises or scares us. Does a President Romney send chills through your veins?