Sara Robinson: Ron Unz and the Initiative Process Made My Daughter's Education Worse
Scott Brown Backs Out of His Debate with Elizabeth Warren

Ezra Klein: Do Democrats Have Their Own Individual Mandate Level Flip-Flop? No.

Why am I not surprised to find Peter Suderman saying something that does not have the truth nature as he plays for Team Republican?

Peter Suderman: Democrats and liberal policy wonks took a similar turn with Medicare premium support, now championed in broad form by both GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the party’s leading policy entrepreneur, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The story is remarkably similar: The idea started out as a policy promoted by prominent liberal wonks, briefly gathered support from a handful of top-level policymakers near the end of the Clinton presidency, and is now deeply opposed by the majority of Democrats, who often refer to the idea as a plan to “end Medicare as we know it” — or occasionally just a way to “end Medicare,” period. Premium support, which would pay a flat rate toward the purchase of a private insurance plan for each Medicare beneficiary, was first developed by Alain Enthoven, a Democratic adviser who had previously served as a health policy consultant to President Jimmy Carter,  in “The History of Principles of Managed Competition” in 1993. In 1995, Henry Aaron, a scholar at Brookings who served as a senior official in President Carter’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, gave the policy its name — premium support — and suggested that it represented a Medicare reform compromise, a “middle ground” that could retains Medicare’s strengths but address budgetary challenges. In 1999, the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, which was chaired by Democratic Senator John Breaux and included Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, met to develop a proposal to reform the seniors’ health entitlement. The first item in the final proposal put forth by Breaux and supported by Kerrey was “the design of a premium support system.”

Ezra Klein:

There are a few problems with drawing an equivalence between “premium support” in Medicare and the individual mandate in health care. The first, and biggest, is simply who supported it… a few Democratic wonks, and then-Sens. Breaux and Kerrey. Of those Democratic wonks, some, like Alice Rivlin, continue to support a premium support system…. The reason the report from the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare never went anywhere is that every other Democrat on the Commission voted against the recommendations, and the Clinton White House quickly released a statement opposing premium support. There were, in other words, exactly no leading Democrats who signed onto premium support…. [T]he most significant elected Democrat to sign onto premium support is Sen. Ron Wyden, who crafted a plan with Paul Ryan earlier this year.

Compare that to the individual mandate. The mandate’s first political appearance was in a brief from the conservative Heritage Foundation. It then appeared in legislation co-sponsored by 18 Senate Republicans, including Bob Dole… Newt Gingrich… Mitt Romney… the Wyden-Bennett plan… Lamar Alexander… Chuck Grassley…. As late as June 2009, Grassley was telling Fox News, “there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates.”

To my knowledge, there are no senior Republicans who have maintained or announced their support for an individual mandate in the manner of Rivlin or Wyden.

Premium support, in other words, was once endorsed by a handful of Democratic wonks and heterodox senators, though it was, from the beginning, a policy that gained the vast bulk of its political support from elected Republicans. It never gained any serious traction within the Democratic Party. The individual mandate was a Republican idea that garnered support from a diverse array of Republican leaders and institutions over the course of almost 15 years. And unlike with Breaux and Kerrey, many of those Republican leaders and institutions — like Gingrich and Romney and Grassley and Hatch and the Heritage Foundation — are still around today.

That’s not to say motivated reasoning doesn’t happen on both sides. But premium support isn’t a very good example of it. Rather, the clearest example of motivated reasoning among Democrats probably comes in the civil liberties sphere….

Finally, on premium support, it’s not clear to me that Democrats actually oppose it…

For the record, I support premium support--if Henry Aaron, Ron Wyden, or Alain Enthoven design it. I don't think that what Paul Ryan is proposing is anything that Enthoven, Aaron, or indeed Wyden would call "premium support": it is something else.

For the record, I believe that Glenn Greenwald is correct in being absolutely terrified of the Obama administration's continued and expanded abuses of power in national security. We may all suffer someday from the failure to confirm Dawn Johnson:

Glenn Greenwalda: To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone": Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone… American media outlets dutifully… cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father…. “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”)…