Monday, March 22, 2010

Last Call

CNN helpfully gives the Democrats a direction to go from here.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 59 percent of those surveyed opposed the bill, and 39 percent favored it. All of the interviews were conducted before the House voted Sunday night, but the contents of the bill were widely known.
Well gosh, that's a disaster, right?  The Democrats are doomed?

The CNN poll also suggests that public opposition to health care will not necessarily be a boon to Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections in Congress.

Roughly one in five of respondents who said they opposed the bill did so because it was not liberal enough, and those people are unlikely to vote Republican. Take them out of the picture and opposition to the bill because it is too liberal is 43 percent.
Wait, so if you take the people who think the bill isn't liberal enough (16%) and make it better, won't the Dems win them over and they will like the bill?  If the Dems could win all those people over and combine them with the people who like the bill now, wouldn't that mean...gosh...a majority of the American people would support the bill?

Which group will be easier to win over, the people who hate the bill period, or the people who want you to improve the bill through, say, the public option?

Seems like a no brainer to me.  The further to the left this bill goes, the more people it covers and the better they are covered, the more people will like HCR.  If there's enough clear and demonstrable benefits for the cost, hey, you might even win over the people on the right, too.

Either way, the road forward is clear.  It starts with the Senate reconciliation improvements, hopefully as soon as next week.

Epic We Passed The Damn Bill Win

Echoing the sentiments of Tim at Balloon Juice, I don't think that Steve Benen has gotten nearly enough credit for his famous "Pass The Damn Bill" memo back at the end of January.  I lamented then that there wasn't any action on the bill at the time.  Almost two months later, the plan outlined in Steve's memo not only reached the desks of Dems in Congress, but the plan Pelosi, Reid, and Obama followed is basically what Steve laid out, and the ten points he made were the ones that Pelosi and Obama were talking about last night.

But Benen's best and most prescient call was the GOP response to HCR.  They too have gone right down Steve's path, walking into what he called "the repeal trap":
It often goes unstated, but it's worth remembering that the success of comprehensive health care reform puts Republicans on the defensive in ways they don't like to talk about. When GOP members urge Democrats to abandon their commitment to this issue, it's not because Republicans have Democrats' best interest at heart.

The GOP realizes that they are poorly positioned to argue in support of insurance industry excesses and against consumer protections. There is also little upside for Republicans fighting tooth and nail against a package that cuts spending and reduces the deficit. And if given a choice, the GOP would certainly prefer to run against the failure of health care reform than a majority party that delivers on the promise of a historic victory.

Also note, the Republican base has already begun demanding that GOP candidates run on a "repeal" platform — vowing to scrap reform if Republicans claim congressional majorities. This creates the potential for what I call a "repeal trap." Because some of the most popular measures of reform would kick in almost immediately, giving consumers all kinds of new protections.

It puts Republican candidates in a box. Democrats can ask GOP candidates, "Are you really going to fight to repeal protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions?" If Republicans say "no," they alienate the GOP activists who will settle for nothing but a full repeal. If Republicans say "yes," they alienate the mainstream electorate.

But the only way to set the trap is to pass the bill.
And walked into the trap they have.   They now have no choice but to run on repealing the popular provisions of the bill that will kick in now when Obama signs the legislation tomorrow.  They will look more and more like they don't care about the American people, only power.  Meanwhile, the Democrats can say "If you re-elect me or not, I accomplished something real in office.  What did the Republicans do?"

In the end, the Dems passed the damn bill.


The Party Of No Triples Down

The NY Times lays out exactly what's in the HCR bill.  President Obama plans to sign the bill into law tomorrow.  A number of benefits kick in immediately, like an end to lifetime health care limits and banning recission. 

The GOP Response:  No Obamacare for you!
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, has introduced a bill to repeal Democrats' health care reform legislation, her office announced Monday.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress "have ignored the will of the people and have chosen to ram through their trillion-dollar health care bill despite the American people's overwhelming objection to it," Bachmann said in a written statement.

Despite the long odds of repeal, several prominent Republicans - including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor - have joined the chorus of those calling for the bill to be overturned.
Of course they do.  That's what Bill Kristol commands.
Of course that can’t be the whole message in 2010 and 2012. Of course there will be other important issues. And even on this issue, the message will have to be not just repeal but also replace--replace Obamacare with sensible reforms. What’s more, working out exactly how to repeal and replace the parts of the legislation that will already be in effect is an important task, one to which I know Paul Ryan has already given some thought.

But the details of the replacing and reforming are secondary. Repeal is the heart of the matter. It should be the heart of the message. Think of it this way: This year Obama has handed Republicans a one-item Contract with America, an item a majority of the public supports--opposition to, and therefore repeal of, Obamacare.
The Party of No, with no ideas for reform, no ideas other than the same ones that got us into this mess, want to run on no change, no hope, no reform, and for the insurance companies to have their status quo back.  Sure, you can trust the GOP to fix health care, just like they fixed our foreign policy and the economy!  NO NO NO NO NO NO NO is all they are capable of, like whining children who deserve to be spanked. 

Well, last night, they got swatted on the behind but good.

Good luck with that repeal thing, guys.  "Well, we don't actually have a plan yet, but...repeal Obamacare!"

That'll work for you.  Just like in 2006 and 2008, right?

Wingnut Perry Mason Time

As expected, Florida AG Bill McCollum is filing suit against heath care reform along with 9 other states, calling it unconstitutional.
"The health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night clearly violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on each state's sovereignty," Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, said in a prepared statement announcing a news conference.

"On behalf of the State of Florida and of the Attorneys General from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alabama if the President signs this bill into law, we will file a lawsuit to protect the rights and the interests of American citizens."

Hey guys, I'mma letcha finish, but you're not going to win.  It's a simple application of the commerce clause of Congress.  If you were interested in the rights and interests of the American citizens, you'd stop wasting taxpayer money on this frivolous suit and help your states unemployment numbers instead, or maybe spend state resources to prosecute some worthy cases in the meantime.

But sure, making an empty Winger gesture to try to delay real reform to your citizens?  You do that.  Hey, are AG's elected in most states?  Looks like they are to me.  In fact, every single one of those state Attorneys General that are suing along with McCollum are elected Republican officials.  North Dakota's AG is up for re-election this year, even. You sure you want to go down that road?

Oh, you're wingnuts.  Of course you do.  Yes, any federal law enacted by Democrats is unconstitutional to a Republican state AG.  Good luck on that.

Your Tears Sustain Zandar

The Sadly, No! crew have a great rundown of the gnashing of teeth and the lamentations of the women coming from the Wingers this morning as they Kubler-Ross their way through the five stages of grief, mourning the death of their actual relevancy to American government.

My fav?  Bill Kristol quoting Karl Marx, thus polluting the minds of readers with Marxism forever.
After his 1851 coup d’├ętat, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the real Napoleon, pronounced himself Napoleon III. It was the rise to power of this great-man-wannabe that prompted the famous opening of Karl Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis-Bonaparte: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

The decade of the 1960s—the first appearance in full flower of modern American liberalism—was in many respects a tragedy. It was certainly a tragedy for American liberalism, which liberated itself from its previous (at least partial) mooring in common sense and the American tradition. It was to some degree also a tragedy for America. It took conservative politicians and policies decades to undo the damage of Great Society hubris, post-Vietnam weakness, and ’60s cultural foolishness. Much wreckage still remains.
Like an African-American in the White House, amirite, Bill?

Your tears give me more hit points, Wingers.

Meeting Of The Mindless

Larry Kudlow and Jim Cramer come to bury capitalism and lay the shovel at the feet of Barack Obama and health care reform.
My old pal Jim Cramer and I reunited last night to discuss the impact Obama-Care will have on the stock market and economy if it passes. 
According to my former co-host: “First, it is the single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher. And a lot of this has to do with what's not being talked about enough with how it's going to be paid for and also about what it will do to small business formation. This bill is a disaster for both.” 
Hey kids?  If you haven't noticed, there's bigger problems out there with a much large effect on the economy, mainly the continued lack of financial reform and oh yeah, the CRE collapse.

But that's clearly the new play:  anything bad that happens now is Obamacare's fault.  All the more reason to get serious about finishing bank reform up there, Dems.  Because the "anything bad that happens now" part?  That's still coming, HCR or not.

And Then There Were Sixteen

The crazy thing about this years NCAA men's tourney is that 9 seed Northern Iowa isn't even the lowest seed left, St. Mary's is a 10 seed, Washington is 11 and Cornell is 12.  Eight of the sixteen are not top 4 seeds, meaning they upset their way in. I don't recall that many lower seeds ever getting into the second week before.  Oh, and one of them is Xavier.

Remaining number one seeds Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse are looking over their shoulders, surely.  Here's hoping the rest of the tourney is that exciting...


The 34 Dems who voted against HCR, roll call here:

Adler (NJ)
Davis (AL)
Davis (TN)
Edwards (TX)
Herseth Sandlin

Hope you enjoyed the ride and being on the wrong side of history.  Special shoutouts to Kentucky's Ben Chandler and Zack Space for being douchebags, I'm sure the GOP will reward you in the fall.  But a big shoutout to Cincinnati's Steve Dreihaus who voted YES in a tough purple district.  You did good, Steve.

Rest of the guys on this list?  Good luck getting money in the fall.  Not a dime, DCCC.  Not a frackin, single, bent dime for these assclowns.

Barry And Nancy Rule

Obama got it done, but it was Nancy Pelosi who deserves just as much credit.

Just 15 months into Obama's term, they passed comprehensive health care legislation.  The Village pundits who said it was dead, the Republicans who said they ran Washington after Scott Brown's election, the Wingers who warned he was irrelevant, and the firebaggers who said he will fail like all the rest?  All of them wrong.

Now the battle moves to the Senate, where the Senate will work to pass the reconciliation bill the House passed last night.  The are confident they have the votes there, but the battle, even after the Senate, is far from over.

Now the long road to improve HCR truly begins.  But Obama and Pelosi got that all important first step done.  They are leaders, They are winners, and they did what nearly 4 generations of Democrats could not do.  As Alan Colmes said last night, it took an African-American president and a female House Speaker to pass HCR.

Republicans will wish to pay attention to that.

Long overdue new tag, for she has more than earned it:  Nancy Pelosi.


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