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Mixed Feelings on Obama’s Hospital Visitation Order

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:24 pm - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: Obama and Gay Issues

Yesterday, I learned that President Obama had ordered “that nearly all hospitals allow patients to say who has visitation rights and who can help make medical decisions, including gay and lesbian partners“:

The White House on Thursday released a statement by Obama instructing his Health and Human Services secretary to draft rules requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments to grant all patients the right to designate people who can visit and consult with them at crucial moments.

The designated visitors should have the same rights that immediate family members now enjoy, Obama’s instructions said. It said Medicare-Medicaid hospitals, which include most of the nation’s facilities, may not deny visitation and consultation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation,gender identity or disability.

While I’m pleased with the result, I’m concerned about the process.

First, I believe any individual should be able to designate people who can visit him when he’s been hospitalized.  I also believe private hospitals should be free to set their own policies.  And I question whether the president has the authority to do so.  And if he does, wonder what kind of precedent would this set.  Will a future president impose other such mandates on hospitals?

Here, we see a “conflict” between the freedom of hospitals to set their own policies and the ability of their “clients” to choose their visitors.  In most cases, the conflict never materializes.  But, it has; individuals on their death beds have been deprived of the company of their beloved, even after writing “‘advanced health care directive[s]'” asking for full visitation rights for” said individual.

I don’t like it when the government mandates a private institution to do anything, but I do like what this mandate accomplishes. (more…)

Left-wing Narrative At Odds With Tea Party Reality

Just returned from running a whole bunch of errands and had one brainstorm and a number of interesting experiences.  It seemed wherever I went I got excellent customer service.  And it also seemed that wherever I drove, I got stuck behind inconsiderate drivers, an inordinate number of whom decided they needed to stop in the middle of the street to deposit passengers.

An interesting contrast.  Great customer service (helping me find exactly what I was looking for in two stores) and lousy drivers (stopping, one cast, so a passenger could exit in the middle of a garage ramp).

So, perhaps it was that contrast which caused my brainstorm.  It fascinates me how the tea party narrative peddled by some of our critics — as well as many in the MSM and in Barney Frank’s caucus — is at odds with the reality of the resurgence of this grassroots movement for limited government.  I say, “resurgence,” because we’re seeing once again the rise of a cadre of conservatives concerned about the increasing size of the state.

The contrast:  we have a grassroots movement committed to what’s best with conservatism, the unifying “Reaganite” ideas, responsible for the rise of the right in the 1980s and 1990s.  And all too many on the left see the worst of conservatism, racism and exclusionary rhetoric, a “right wing” that has been in decline at least since the Reagan ascendancy.

With the Tea Parties, we see a conservatism where ideas not animosity define the right.  But, all too many prejudiced people on the left have only one template to respond to ascendant conservatism.  A template forged in the past and useless as a tool to understand present circumstances.

If Tea Party movement is racist, gay marriage movement is a hate campaign

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:36 pm - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Tea Party

As readers of this blog know, I wavered on voting “No” on Proposition 8 in the fall of 2008 in large measure because of the raft of nasty e-mails I received from opponents of the ballot measure.  They spent more time attacking the initiative’s proponents (often in vicious terms) than they did promoting the benefits of state recognition of same-sex marriage.

Fortunately, about a week before the election, I saw a happily married lesbian couple who reminded me that the opposition to Prop 8 was not all based on hate.  I voted, “No.”  While I had wanted the haters to lose, I did not believe the traditional definition of marriage should be codified in the state constitution.

Now, if we were to borrow the Barney Frank standard, we would have to define the gay marriage movement by its fringe elements — and  call it a hate movement as it includes many people who promote hatred of social conservatives and even rank-and-file Republicans, not to mention anyone who happens to believe marriage is defined by sexual difference.  (And I don’t recall leaders of the movement “differentiating themselves” from the hateful rhetoric on the movement’s margins.)

We all know that’s not true, not all gay marriage advocates are haters; many gay marriage advocates believe extending the benefits of state recognition of this ancient institution to same-sex couples will be a boon not just for gay people, but also for society at large.  And they make strong arguments in the most civil of language.

Simply put, you can’t define a movement by its fringe elements.

So, if Barney and his ideological confrères wish to tar the GOP and Tea Parties with labels which refer only to the most extreme of our fringe followers, then, fine, he’d better expect any cause he supports to be defined by its extremes.

The “Hyperpartisan” Mr. Obama

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:18 pm - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites

Those aren’t scare quotes.  Nor is that word from a right-of-center blog.  It’s from the down-the-middle newspaper whose beat is Capitol Hill:

President Barack Obama struck a hyperpartisan note Thursday, telling Democrats that he was “amused” by the Tax Day Tea Party rallies.

Despite the numerous deals the Democrat has made favoring special interests, he’s still assuming the role he played on the campaign trail, the innocent young idealist challenging the powers-that-be in the corrupt imperial capital:

“Every member of Congress is soon going to have to make a decision, but the choice is going to be very simple between special interests and the American people,” Obama said.

If Mr. Obama really wanted to unite the nation, instead of mocking the Tea Parties, he would say he appreciated the energy they bring to the political process.  “We in the White House may disagree with these folks, but I sure admire their spirit; it shows how committed my fellow citizens are to an energetic public debate.  Makes me proud to be an American.”

And then he could have reminded his fellow Democrats how back in January he had gone into the lion’s den at the House Republicans retreat in Baltimore.  And was a better man for it.

Too bad he can’t bring that same spirit to the current debate.

Some Democratic Operatives Take Tea Party Seriously

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:01 pm - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Tea Party

I had this thought as I was reading about outgoing Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s tumble in the polls.

Last month, Bob Owens reported that the people behind the Tea Party of Nevada had little to do with the grassroots movement sweeping the nation:

Though while tea party protests arose organically and simultaneously over the past year, the founding officers of the Tea Party of Nevada don’t seem to have been active in any local or regional tea party events. In fact, they don’t have any ties to the movement at all. If anything, they seem to be an odd mix of cranks and conspiracy theorists, fronted by a registered Democrat who once represented a reattached John Wayne Bobbit.

Seems these leftists understood the appeal of the tea party phenomenon and thought by getting a Tea Party candidate on the ballot in the Silver State, they could siphon off enough votes that would otherwise go to the Republican candidate and let unpopular incumbent Reid win with a plurality.

The latest polls show that Nevada voters see through this masquerade.

An Angelena Expresses Her Opinion of the Obama Agenda

Gay Patriots Welcomed at LA Tea Party

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:30 am - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: LA Stories,Tea Party

Hastily put together, the 2010 Los Angeles Tax Day Tea Party took place outside Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office at the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda in West LA.  And while we rallied in this heart of Waxman-Waters country, hoisting our signs opposing Obama’s big-government agenda and supporting free market reforms and did receive a few extended middle fingers (one through the sun roof of a red Prius), we heard even more supportive honks and witnessed numerous appreciatve thumbs up.

This crowd was most welcoming of the GayPatriot readers who showed up, 8 by my count, 2 straight women, 1 left-leaning lesbian and five gay men.  We made known our sexuality, they made us feel welcome, more welcome indeed than many of us felt when we make known our conservatism (or just plain iconoclasm) at Gay Pride events.

Two of us (two gay men, that is) even got speaking berths. I spoke very briefly, telling the crowd that Barney Frank does not speak for gay people and that many gay Americans favor small government and prefer freedom.  Wearing a “Reagan in ’80” T-shirt and Reagan ballcap, I called the Gipper the president of my youth whose ideas are the ideas of the future.  I received a resounding round of applause–which didn’t end when I, with a jovial grin on my face, said, “We’re Here, We’re Queer, We want to Repeal Obamacare.

Keep an eye on this space as I’ll be posting pictures throughout the night as I review those I took earlier today.

(more…)

We’re Here, We’re Queer, We Want to Repeal Obamacare

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:06 am - April 16, 2010.
Filed under: Tea Party

Just returned from the Los Angeles Teat Party where two of our readers hoisted signs with a slogan that came to me soon after I arrived at the corner of Sepulveda and Santa Monica in West LA.  Report to follow shortly.