Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Naive Can You Be?

The White House never, ever understood the GOP Plan.
The Obama legislative agenda was built around an "advancing tide" theory.

Democrats would start with bills that targeted relatively narrow problems, such as expanding health care for low-income children, reforming Pentagon contracting practices and curbing abuses by credit-card companies. Republicans would see the victories stack up and would want to take credit alongside a popular president. As momentum built, larger bipartisan coalitions would form to tackle more ambitious initiatives.

The president stacked his administration with Capitol Hill veterans to help get the job done. Vice President Biden had served in the Senate since 1972. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had been a rising star in the House. Senior advisers Pete Rouse and Jim Messina, budget director Peter Orszag and legislative affairs director Phil Schiliro had close ties to key lawmakers.

By the end of June, Congress had sent 10 major bills to Obama, including tougher tobacco regulations, a new public service initiative, and recession-related efforts to provide mortgage relief and curb predatory banking practices.

But Republican votes never materialized -- at least not in meaningful form that the White House had in mind. The first hint of GOP obstruction had emerged in January, when Obama made an early trip to Capitol Hill to urge support for his stimulus bill.
January.  As in "within days after Obama was sworn into office."    They never figured it out.
Standing at the microphones in the Ohio Clock corridor after the closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Obama expressed hope that his adversaries could "put politics aside" and support the bill.

But even as he spoke, House GOP leaders were urging their rank-and-file to vote against the rescue package. Obama had just departed when House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) issued a statement calling the plan a "wasteful and unfocused package."

The bill received zero Republican votes in the House. Eight months later, by the time bipartisan health-care talks collapsed in September, the GOP outreach effort was effectively dead.
As I said for months now, the GOP long ago decided that there was no additional downside to unilaterally obstructing every single piece of Obama's legislation, knowing that if nothing got done and Americans saw the country was going to hell, Democrats would get the blame.   The GOP would simply play the victim card.  They never had any intent at bipartisanship.  Ever.  They were never going to come around.  They were never going to work with the President on anything.  Let America burn.  Let them all go to hell.  But let them blame the Democrats when they get there.

And at every turn the Democrats relented so that the resulting legislation was toothless and ineffective.  It assured that the Dems couldn't take credit for what did pass.  The GOP had the Dems figured out before Obama was ever sworn in, and the Dems were in the trap from day one.

They got played for fools.  And now America will pay the price for their staggering stupidity.

The Lesson Of Scott Brown

If you don't want to win, you'll lose.
Money talked in the Massachusetts special election last week that reshaped the U.S. political landscape by filling Ted Kennedy's Senate seat with a Republican.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake revealed Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate, ran no polls for several weeks in the short campaign because she lacked funding.

According to Lake, Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, asked national Democratic organizations for funding for her campaign but was turned down. Lake said Democratic officials told Coakley, "You don't need it."

By contrast, Brown ran daily field polling from Dec. 31, said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. Brown's campaign received strong backing from conservative groups and national Republicans.
And it will only get worse from here as the SCOTUS decision assures unlimited money by corporations can be spent in the final 60 days of an election.  Of course, national Republicans proved they could win an election without that benefit.  With that benefit, there's no safe seat for the Dems.  None.

Here endeth the lesson.

Keeps Getting Funnier Every Time I See It

This week's Bobblespeak Translations are up.
DeMint: we’re seeing a sudden American awakening of people alarmed that a black man has the power
to spend and build up debt

Moran: I noticed that

DeMint: incredibly Obama opposed tort reform so
we can’t take him seriously

Moran: I couldn’t help notice that Scott Brown didn’t call himself a Republican

DeMint: we’ve got to earn the trust of the American people by
saying Obama took power three years ago

Moran: anything else

DeMint: also waving posters of Obama as a witch doctor in Auschwitz

Menendez: hey stupid - George Bush blew a surplus and handed Obama a Depression

Moran: yeah but Obama wasted all his time on a health care plan ABC news doesn’t like

Menendez: he prevented a Great Depression!

Moran: I see your mouth moving but all I hear is you’re not bipartisan

DeMint: look I’ve never heard of this ‘George Bush’ you’re talking about but the American people are very angry at this black man is steamrolling them will all this spending and debt

Menendez: that Bush created

DeMint: who is this ‘Bush’ person you keep
referring to?
It hurts when I laugh because it's true.

Juggling Priorities

The hard reality is that 10.0% unemployment rate figure simply isn't counting the millions of Americans who have simply left the work force altogether, and at the state level, the picture is devastating.
In another nationwide trend, long-suffering states like California and Michigan saw their jobless rates stabilize even as they continued to bleed jobs. That's because thousands of frustrated workers gave up hunting for work and dropped out of the labor force, which means they aren't included in the unemployment rate.

California lost 38,800 jobs. But its unemployment rate was unchanged at 12.4 percent, the fifth-highest in the nation. That's because 107,000 people, or 0.6 percent of the state's workforce, gave up and stopped job-hunting.

Michigan shed 15,700 jobs, but 31,000 people left the labor force. That caused the state's jobless rate to fall slightly, to 14.6 percent from 14.7 percent. Michigan has the nation's highest unemployment rate.

Nationally, more than 600,000 people left the labor force in December, according to government data. The large exodus from the labor force indicates that "unemployment is a lot worse than the numbers suggest," Koropeckyj said.

The latest U-6 estimate for the country is 17.3%, but even that doesn't count all the people that have simply left the labor force. Millions of Americans, perhaps tens of millions, have simply given up looking for jobs at all.  The government estimates are far too low.  We're talking about a real unemployment rate in this country of upwards of 20%.  Some states are at 25% or higher,  and individual counties are topping 30% or more.

It's bad, folks.  If you're wondering why Americans are scared and angry at Obama, it's because the GOP long ago mastered playing the fear card.  It's a testament to just how bad the times are, just how effective the GOP spin masters have been, and just how wholly unprepared Obama and the Democrats were for this mess that Bush left.

The country's about to hand the whole thing back over to the Republicans as a result.  Six months ago the Dems were actually looking like they could pick up seats in 2010.  Of course, six months ago, the Dems were looking like they were going to pass health care reform, too.

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Or in the case of Democrats and health care reform, you can't get anything.
A day after former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is elevated to a more senior adviser status at the White House and the DNC, Plouffe pens an op ed in the Washington Post in which he seems to suggest that much of President Obama's promise to ban pre-existing conditions is now being jettisoned. Plouffe wrote in the op ed, which was certainly cleared with the White House, if not written by them:
Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition.
Their children? The original promise - even the bad Senate bill - protects everyone, of any age, from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Now it's just children?

And before anyone argues that Plouffe was simply using children as an example - that the legislation could still cover everyone - look at what else happened in the last two days. CBS News reported that the pre-existing conditions promise was now looking unlikely. But even worse, the NYT talked to folks on the Hill and health policy experts, and they were told the compromise package might just protect kids under the age of 19 from being denied for pre-existing conditions. No one else.

It would sure be one hell of a coincidence if Plouffe, on behalf of the White House, is now talking about kids being protected from pre-existing conditions when the growing chatter in town is that only kids may now be protected from pre-existing conditions - that the rest of us are about to get tossed under the Martha Coakley bus.
Not a coincidence at all.  It's looking like passing the "Republican health care plan" was the plan all along.  Massachusetts voters said time and time again the health care plan wasn't good enough.  The White House's response appears to be "make the plan worse and have the Republicans sign on to it too."

No bed wetting, Plouffe says, while unzipping his fly and peeing over the balcony onto the crowd below.  Pass a meaningful health care reform bill, Plouffe says, while looking to neuter it. Don't accept any lectures on spending, he says while President Obama is talking about deficit reduction. Make sure voters understand what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did for the economy when he remarks when the White House lost that battle back in February because they gave in to the GOP and made it too small.

If you guys don't pass a kick ass health care bill, you're done. It really is that simple.

[UPDATE 12:05 PM] Wisdom from BooMan:
I have to laugh.  They're still worried about provisions of a bill, when the whole bill is virtually dead.  Worry about the whole bill, for chrissakes.  This has been the problem on the left all year long.  

The Mask Slips Again

Thanks to the internet, it's much easier to catalog the incidents where Republican politicians slip and tell the truth about how they view people, particularly the least among us.
South Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Saturday he could have chosen his words more carefully when he compared people who take public assistance to stray animals Friday.

But Bauer, in an interview with The State Saturday, said a furor over his comments doesn't change this fact: South Carolina needs to have an honest conversation about the cycle of government dependency among its poorest residents.

Bauer, a two-term Republican who is running for governor, said there are parents who are dependent upon the government for food and shelter, but who are unwilling to engage in their children's education. This, he said, robs children of a chance to break out of poverty.

And as a candidate for governor, Bauer said, now is the time to start talking about something that others are unwilling to tackle. Bauer said he wants to lead that conversation.

"Why shouldn't you have to do something?" Bauer asked of people receiving food stamps, free school lunches and public housing. "In government, we are too often giving a handout instead of a hand up."

Friday, Bauer said giving food to needy people means encouraging dependence. It also gives the recipients a license to have children who will also be dependent on public aid, he said.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told a Greenville-area crowd. "You know why? Because they breed.

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
To Bauer, "an honest conversation about poverty" means "Why the hell do we have to help these people?  They're not even human."   If you think Bauer didn't choose his words carefully and said exactly what was on his mind about South Carolina's poor in a Southern state facing 12.6% official unemployment and an unofficial rate close to 20%, you're crazy.

Bauer simply spoke the truth.  And the best part is there are enough people in the Palmetto State who will agree with him and are more than willing to throw millions of their neighbors to the wolves rather than place the blame on the Republicans who got the economy into this mess (never mind the racial undertones about comparing poor people to stray animals who breed.)

Rich banks got greedy.  You had to pay to fix it.  Now let's make those who can least afford it pay you back!

Hell of a platform to run on.  But it's a winning message in 2010 for Republican candidates so far.
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