How low can you go?

Bob Geiger caught a GOP-on-GOP smear fest going on in California:


[A] mailer sent out by California Republican Bill Conrad, a candidate for State Assembly, attacking his primary opponent Tom Berryhill for having -- are you ready for this? -- heart surgery and promoting the idea that voters should not support Berryhill because he might die soon.
"Tom Berryhill doesn't have the HEART for State Assembly," says the mailer, which then goes on to list "facts" about the survival rates of people who have Berryhill's surgery and implores voters to consider "...the costs to taxpayers for a special election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill the duties of office."
That's low. But is it as low as Slate? -- here are the four story headlines the mag is currently offering in its righthand top column:
How Hayden Aced His Confirmation Hearing
Bush Has Good Ideas. Too Bad He Can't Explain Them.
Howell Raines, Press Critic
How Do You "Jam" a Telephone

What tempting, cutsey reads. This is self-evident decadence, right?

Last, I got a letter from Tom Adcock who chided me for suggesting in my article today that a president Hillary could mean health care for millions who don't have it. While I think it is likely that Hillary might have learned a few lessons from her failure, that she is probably a more skilled politician than she was (and that she could very well sell out even on health care if she makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania), Adcock made some really good points. Here's his letter in full (reprinted with his permission) --

Dear Jan Frel:

Your AlterNet essay this date ("Why Are Bush and Gore Polling Worse than Bush?") says of Hillary Clinton, "[M]illions of Americans may well have health care if she becomes president."

How old are you?

When Bill put Hillary in charge of crafting some manner of national health insurance back in '91, the public mood was ripe for such progress and Democrats had control of both houses of Congress; at last, the American people had come to the long-held Democratic notion that health care is a right, not a privilege of wealth or the luck of one's employee fringe benefits package. Important segments of big business and big labor were eager to shed needless responsibility for administering medical insurance in favor of a universal, single-payer system. Only the bloated medical insurance companies were opposed to abolishing the inefficiency that remains the hallmark of the American health non-system, and the engine of grotesque profit margins enjoyed by the private insurance corporations.

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