Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Reality Of Obamacare

The reality at this point is that it's just not looking like there will even be a health care reform bill. Our corporate masters have seen to that, as BooMan notes.
Never mind that it is the provision of a public option that makes the Senate bill save more money in the budget than it costs. If Lieberman doesn't change his mind, and Olympia Snowe doesn't change her mind, then there will be no public option. In fact, the Senate bill simply won't pass. Reid will have to withdraw the bill and introduce Snowe's trigger as the base bill, or he will have to give up entirely and go to reconciliation. But I am not sure anymore that the House can pass a bill in reconciliation. I am not sure that they can pass a bill with a trigger, either.
I'm not saying the battle's lost. We all knew the last mile would be the toughest. But it's now clear that the House bill will never be voted on in the Senate, and the Senate bill will not contain a public option of any type. The insurance companies own their Senators, so it doesn't matter what the people want. Just like the banks and the defense contractors know, the U.S. Congress is the best lawmaking body money can buy.

Perhaps in another 16 years America will take another shot at it. Of course by then half of us will be uninsured, but hey...government is bad.

Zandar Versus The Stupid

You know you're a Winger if any time the House passes a bill, you have to post the Youtube of Star Wars Episode 3 of Natalie Portman saying "So this is how liberty dies; to thunderous applause."


Tea'd Off

Frank Rich has another great column this morning, this time on the Hoffman Effect and the lessons the GOP will fail to learn (emphasis mine:)
But first let’s make a farewell accounting of the farce upstate. The reason why the Democratic victory in New York’s 23rd is a mixed blessing is simple: it increases the odds that the Republicans will not do Democrats the great favor of committing suicide between now and the next Election Day.

This race was a damaging setback for the hard right. Hoffman had the energetic support of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox as well as big bucks from their political auxiliaries. Furthermore, Hoffman was running not only in a district that Rove himself described as “very Republican” but one that fits the demographics of the incredibly shrinking G.O.P. The 23rd is far whiter than America as a whole — 93 percent versus 74 — with tiny sprinklings of blacks, Hispanics and Asians. It has few immigrants. It’s rural. Its income and education levels are below the norm. Only if the district were situated in Dixie — or Utah — could it be a more perfect fit for the narrow American demographic where the McCain-Palin ticket had its sole romps last year.

If the tea party right can’t win there, imagine how it might fare in the nation where most Americans live. Some G.O.P. leaders have started to notice. Mitt Romney didn’t endorse Hoffman despite right-wing badgering to do so. On Wednesday, Michael Steele dismissed the right’s mantra that somehow Hoffman’s loss could be called a victory and instead talked up the newly elected Republican governors who won by appealing to independents and moderates. Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell are plenty conservative, but both had rejected Palin’s offers to campaign for them. They also avoided the tea party zanies, the fear-mongering National Organization for Marriage and the anti-abortion-rights zealots Hoffman embraced. They positioned themselves as respectful Obama critics, not haters likening him to Hitler.

In the aftermath of this clear-cut demonstration of how Republicans can win, the revolutionaries are still pledging to purge the party’s moderates by rallying behind more Hoffmans in G.O.P. primaries from Florida to California. And they may get some scalps. But Tuesday’s loss revealed that they’re better at luring freak-show gawkers into Fox’s tent than voters into the G.O.P.’s. As if to prove the point, protesters hoisted a sign likening health care reform to Dachau at the raucous tea party rally convened by Michele Bachmann on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Should the G.O.P. avoid self-destruction by containing this fringe, then the president and his party will have to confront their real problem: their identification with the titans who greased the skids for the economic meltdown from which Wall Street has recovered and the country has not. If there’s one general lesson to be gleaned from Christie’s victory over Jon Corzine in New Jersey, it’s surely that in today’s zeitgeist it’s less of a stigma to be fat than a former Goldman Sachs fat cat, even in a blue state.
And I absolutely agree with Rich. Obama's real problem is still that the Democrats are beholden to the banking fat cats. The Republicans would be worse in every way, but corporate Dems are the ones who are going to lose, and the GOP could actually make some serious headway if they attacked ConservaDems and Blue Dogs as lackies.

They won't, because they have too much in common with the Republicans attacking them. So the Republicans will double down and go with the Teabaggers. They really have no choice. That ship has sailed, and now we get to watch it sink.

Harry Reid's Problem Strikes Back

Once again, Joe F'ckin Lieberman went on the Sunday shows to promise that he would never allow a public option plan of any kind to get a vote in the Senate.

LIEBERMAN: A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance. They’ve got a right to do that; I think that would be wrong.

But worse than that, we have a problem even greater than the health insurance problems, and that is a debt — $12 trillion today, projected to be $21 trillion in 10 years.

WALLACE: So at this point, I take it, you’re a “no” vote in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today. I don’t want to do that to our children and grandchildren.

It's getting old, frankly. Once again, Joe F'ckin Lieberman has decided that Americans just don't deserve the choice. It's unnecessary for you to have one. The status quo works fine, you see. Why can't you shut up and just accept it?

Sometimes A Flower Is Just A Potted Plant

Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg makes a good point about Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan:
It seems, though, that when an American military officer who is a practicing Muslim allegedly shoots forty of his fellow soldiers who are about to deploy to the two wars the United States is currently fighting in Muslim countries, some broader meaning might, over time, be discerned, especially if the officer did, in fact, yell "Allahu Akbar" while murdering his fellow soldiers, as some soldiers say he did. This is the second time this year American soldiers on American soil have been gunned down by a Muslim who was reportedly unhappy with America's wars in the Middle East (the first took place in Arkansas, to modest levels of notice). And, of course, this would not be the first instance of an American Muslim soldier killing fellow soldiers over his disagreements with American foreign policy; in 2003, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two officers and wounded fourteen others when he rolled a grenade into a tent in a homicidal protest against American policy.

I am not arguing, of course, that American Muslims, as a whole, are violently unhappy with America (I've argued the opposite, in fact). But I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here's a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.
And Goldberg's point is if a non-Muslim shoots somebody, religion doesn't matter. If a Muslim shoots somebody however, it's proof that all Muslims are evil and that Islam is a cult based around killing all non-Muslims, and that we should take special action to segregate all Muslims from our society, for they are all The Enemy. Maj. Hasan's religion, because he is a Muslim, is the only possible explanation for why he killed.

Substitute "black" or "Hispanic" for "Muslim" and "race" for "religion" up there and the Wingnut mind starts to make more sense.

They always need an Enemy. If Maj. Hasan the Muslim had instead been named Maj. Harris the Christian, the same people instead be talking about all the horrors of war he had heard tales of as an Army psychiatrist at the largest Army base in America.

[UPDATE 12:11 PM] Steven D over at BooMan's place is starting to sound like me, the poor bastard.

House Bill Passes

The good news, the House Bill passed 220-215, one Republican (Joesph Cao again!) voted for the measure. The bad news, so did the Stupak Amendment, 240-194.

The FDL guys sum it up:
It’s like winning a huge battle, but half of your friends were killed or wounded.

36 million more people will be insured or become eligible for Medicaid
There will be a trillion dollars raised to help subsidize this.
There will be multiple measures to help control the costs of Medicare
We will stop subsidizing private insurers in Medicare Advantage
Closes the donut hole
Allows Medicare negotiation for drugs
Includes the seeds of a public option
Prohibits denials based on prior conditions; ends rescissions except for fraud
funds more education for doctors/nurses
Begins dozens of health prevention programs, pilots, surveys
Creates entities to evaluate and recommend better treatment, cost saving
And on and on.

It’s a massive achievement, but women, mostly poor, paid a price.

And as BooMan says, the 220-215 vote means there's no wiggle room. It will pretty much have to pass as is.

Here's who I'm particularly mad at: the Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment, but who voted against the final bill anyway. Those are the Dems who are going to be in trouble come 2010. They are:

Jason Altmire (PA)

John Barrow (GA)

John Boccieri (OH)

Dan Boren (OK)

Bobby Bright (AL)

Ben Chandler (KY)

Travis Childers (MS)

Artur Davis (AL)

Lincoln Davis (TN)

Bart Gordon (TN)

Parker Griffith (AL)

Tim Holden (PA)

Jim Marshall (GA)

Jim Matheson (UT)

Mike McIntyre (NC)

Charlie Melancon (LA)

Heath Shuler (NC)

Ike Skelton (MO)

John Tanner (TN)

Gene Taylor (MS)

Harry Teague (NM)

That's 21 Dems (all male, natch) who are going to lose in 2010. You 21 Democrats, do you think your Republican opponents will applaud your voting record? Do you think they won't attack you as a liberal fascist traitor to America and the universe? Do you think Democratic voters are going to turn out en masse for the guy who voted against health care reform?

Most of all, do you know you're on the wrong side of history?

Some of them may change their minds in the final vote. I don't know. But for now? I don't know how they can sleep tonight.

[UPDATE 11:46 AM] Going over the lists thanks to uggabugga, I missed:

John Adler (NJ)

Tim Holden (PA)

Daniel Lipinski (IL)

and Blue Dog leader Mike Ross (AR).

Twenty-five Dems, again, all male. None with the balls to vote for the bill after saddling it with the the Stupak Amendment.

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