‘Mr. Health,’ &c.

Rep. Tom Price (left) and Rep. Paul Ryan


A colleague and I were talking about the current health-care drama. I said that our side, the Republican or conservative side, needed a go-to man or woman on the subject — an officeholder, I mean, not a policy specialist or adviser or writer. Our side could use a “Mr. Health.” Someone who would champion a conservative view of health policy.

There once was a “Mr. Health” — that was the sobriquet of Paul Rogers, a Democratic congressman from Florida. He served during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. For an obit on this largely forgotten figure, go here.

And who is not a “largely forgotten figure,” besides Leonardo, Beethoven, and Lincoln?

Anyway, maybe Paul Ryan could be our “Mr. Health,” although he is of course versatile. The position is vacant and could use filling, I think.

Maybe Tom Price could do this, the canny Georgia Republican who is also an orthopedic surgeon? (By the way, Price may represent a district in Georgia, but, like Newt Gingrich, he is no Georgian — not a native one, I mean. His speech is pure Michigan. I discovered this when he visited National Review’s offices one day. He is my fellow Michigander.)

In an Impromptus the other week, I mentioned that China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia had been elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Because that’s how the council rolls: the fewer democracies, the better. I now want you to know that Cuba, too, is on the council — the Castro brothers have not been left out.

Because what, or who, says “human rights” like Fidel and Raúl Castro? (I’m sure that a good portion of the American professoriate would agree.)

Before the Obama administration gave the Iranians the deal they craved, Ali Khamenei, the chief ayatollah, gave a classically temperate speech. He said that “the Zionist regime” was “the rabid dog of the region,” etc., etc. And he had particularly harsh words for the French.

The French, at that point, were cautioning the Americans not to sign a foolish deal with Tehran. So the ayatollah said the French were “not only succumbing to the United States but kneeling before the Israeli regime.”

“Kneeling before the Israeli regime”! I thought, “Sounds like some of my critics” — people who e-mail me from the left, the Buchananite right, and the Ron Paul camp. The language these types use is pretty much identical.

Maybe Khamenei will show up in my inbox?

I was interested in an e-mail that came in the other day — not from one of the above-cited camps. The e-mail reminded me of a news story I’d read a couple of months before.

Our reader says,

I once had a discussion with someone who had a Ph.D. in biology. The topic was global warming and alternative energy. I spelled out all the reasons alternative energy was not worth it. In some respects, it is counterproductive.

When I finished, he didn’t refute my points, instead saying, “But don’t you think it’s a good idea anyway?” By “it,” he meant the global-warming agenda, including alternative energy. He added, “It’s just the right thing to do.”

So, this reminded me of a news story, here: “EU policy on climate change is right even if science was wrong, says commissioner.” I will not bother to quote from this article, or the commissioner (the EU’​s climate-change czarina), but, if you have a few minutes, it’s an interesting story.

In the obituary section of the New York Times was the story of Joaquín Hernández Galicia, a union leader in Mexico. I’d like to point out just two things:

He died in Tampico, a city on the “east coast,” the Gulf of Mexico. Reagan, as you may know, was born in Tampico, Illinois. I imagine the Illinoisians got the name from the Mexicans. I never knew that.

Second, I enjoyed what the old brute, Hernández, said about the rank and file, and how they had changed: “My oil workers were corrupt, drunken, and courageous. Today the oil workers are corrupt, drunken, and absolutely servile.”


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