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Voting for Gridlock in Washington: First, Do No Harm

Inauguration Day

Presidential election seasons are always exciting times for Americans. Read the newspaper any day for a reminder of how much we take for granted here. Every four years we have the opportunity to hire, rehire and fire a commander-in-chief. Of course, our system is not perfect, and is often downright maddening. But, most of us would not trade our system for another.

The presidential election year is especially exciting when you can share it with your kids. I cannot calculate or even recall how many dinnertime discussions we had where all of us would debate the issues and evaluate the candidates. It was great fun to watch the kids engage in the electoral process. While I lean toward the political right, I tried to be a fair (and balanced) moderator during these dinnertime debates. My prediction is that 3 of the 5 will be Democrats, 1 will be a Republican (but doesn’t know it yet) and the 5th kid could go either way.

As we know, one’s political affiliations tend to change as one’s life and circumstances change. Folks tend to protect their own interests, and these interests change as they enter different phases of life. College kids, taxpaying parents raising children and senior citizens likely have different political and economic interests and may vote differently. While some folks, such as presidential candidate Ron Paul, have maintained their political views throughout their lives, most of us modify our views over time.

Remember the joke that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged?

The 4 remaining GOP presidential candidates all profess to be true conservatives. One is mocked as being a moderate, as if this is a scarlet letter shaming the former Massachusetts governor. Wouldn’t most of us want a president to be moderate? One is accused of espousing a dangerous nihilistic foreign policy. One is referred to as an erratic time bomb. And one is labeled as not ready for prime time.

All four compete as to who would repeal Obamacare the fastest.

“When I take the solemn oath at the Capitol, I will place my left hand on the bible and raise my right hand. And, in that right hand I will be clutching a pen so that the moment after my swearing-in, I can sign the repeal as the Chief Justice who upheld Obamacare looks on.”

Which candidate made this pronouncement?  Don’t bother Googling. I made it up.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare next month. Most of us expect that the core of the plan – the individual mandate – to slip through. However, just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

While Romney wants us to accept the inevitability of his nomination, he hasn’t closed the deal. Anything can happen. Who would have predicted that a one term senator from Illinois would prevail over the Hillary Clinton machine to become the Democratic nominee for president?

If President Obama is reelected, which I expect, then brace yourself for Obamacare on steroids. The hope of those like me who think that Obamacare is bad medicine is that the GOP maintains control of Congress. Why would I actively support gridlock? Because as a physician, I subscribe to the principle, Primum non nocere, First, do no harm.


  1. Good post, keep on going.



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