Pam's Points: Alexanders tacks right, recall fizzles, climate change intensifies

Pam's Points: Alexanders tacks right, recall fizzles, climate change intensifies

May 8th, 2014 in Opinion Times

Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

Photo by Todd South /Times Free Press.

Alexander's double standard

BlueCross BlueShied of Tennessee holds the lion's share - 88 percent - of individual health-care policies sold to Tennessee residents enrolled through the Affordable Care Act. Company officials tout it as a wise and important investment in a new market.

But guess who's dismissing the move, along with other BlueCross numbers, such as this one: About 85 percent of those policy holders have paid the first month's premium (with time remaining for the rest to pay on schedule).

The naysayer is Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who contends the newest Tennessee Obamacare numbers are nothing to brag about.

"I don't believe you can force Americans to do something by law, and then tout the numbers who comply with it as a sign of good policy," the senator said in a statement.

This comment seems a bit disingenuous coming from the usually moderate Republican who has sided with Tennessee's GOP Gov. Bill Haslam in standing stubbornly against expanding Medicaid in Tennessee to cover another 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans. Never mind that the expansion would be completely on the federal dime for three years and mostly paid for federally thereafter.

But, wait, Alexander also has a tea party challenger in the primary, so he has to lean way, way right.

Well, that makes him doubly disingenuous: First for standing on partisanship and hurting Tennesseans just because the ACA was an Obama policy initiative, and secondly for leaning away from his own moderate stance to gain points against a primary challenger.

Recall a waste of time and money

A three-month campaign to recall Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson flopped -- as expected.

Hamilton County Election officials said Tuesday that the efforts to unseat Anderson fell about 400 signatures short of the needed 1,600.

Anderson, Chattanooga's first openly gay council member, called the effort bigotry and "a massive waste of time and taxpayer dollars." He is right on both counts.

Anderson had been in office less than a year when the recall effort began, led by a man who didn't even live in Anderson's district. When recall supporters said Anderson didn't represent them and their needs, the translation was that he sponsored the city's domestic-partner, same-sex benefits ordinance. The proposed ordinance is expected to raise the city's benefits cost only about 1 percent, or about $163,000 a year.

Trying to recall Anderson was no more reasonable than seeking to recall Larry Grohn just because you don't like older men who ask a lot of questions. Or petitioning to recall Carol Berz, the council's only woman, because you don't like women.

Recalls should be reserved for malfeasance and wrongdoing, not as an election do-over for people who don't like the personalities of their leaders.

More climate talk, no action

The 840-page National Climate Assessment -- the third edition of a Congress-mandated study -- finds that global warming and its resulting wild weather is already changing daily lives. Duh.

The report continues: We must act now to avoid the worst of climate change. Double duh.

White House science adviser John Holdren called the report, "the loudest and clearest alarm bell to date signaling the need to take urgent action." Later this summer, officials say, the White House plans to propose regulations restricting gases from coal-fired power plants. Yeah, right.

Frankly, we've heard this before, all of this. And it's past time. Let's put up, or shut up. Meanwhile, out there in reader land: Don't wait on politicians. Make sure you and your kids do your part to reduce carbon -- and make sure you have rowboats and emergency plans.