Monday, July 15, 2013

Last Call For Cruz Control

Senate Republicans are hard at work creating jobs umm fixing inequality errm helping all Americans oh screw it they're trying to eliminate Obamacare again.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, along with 17 other Senate Republicans, has introduced the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013, which would fully defund Obamacare, in the wake of the recent string of bad news surrounding the law.

"The Administration's recent announcement to delay the onerous and unpopular employer mandate until after the 2014 election, coupled with its announcement to delay income and health status eligibility requirements in favor of an honor system for the most expensive entitlement for our generation, confirms what has been obvious from the start--this law is a colossal mistake," Cruz said in a press release.

Cruz is joined by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., who introduced companion legislation in the House. Graves has introduced similar legislation before, in March of 2013, and also in the 111th and 112th congresses.

Because of course the legislation will pass, right?   Look, considering Sen. Ted Cruz is poking around New Hampshire these days, it's important to note that this is what passes as serious legislation to GOP hopefuls.

No wonder Congress has an approval rating somewhere around scabies.

The Kroog Vesus The 2013 Hunger Games

And the GOP makes sure that the odds will ever be in their favor, not yours.  Paul Krugman discusses the House GOP's SNAP plans:

So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill

To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.” 

It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy. 

Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies

Given this awesome double standard — I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” does it justice — it seems almost anti-climactic to talk about facts and figures. But I guess we must. 

I don't think people really appreciate what's going on here:  House Republicans are literally taking money from people who don't have food to eat, and giving it to rich corporate farmers and agribusiness giants because they back Republicans.   Poor people?  Not so much.

Instead, Republicans are quoting the Bible at people and deciding that what America really has too much of is people who work 40 hours a week for crap wages and can't feed their kids.

Unfortunate.  Maybe they should give a kid away or something.

Brian's Story In 2014: Not A Happy Ending

Former Montana Dem Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he will not run to succeed Dem Sen. Max Baucus, making it almost certain to be the third open seat that Democrats forfeit to red state Republicans in 2014.  Chris Cilizza, making sense for once:

Schweitzer’s candidacy was assumed in the political world following the surprise retirement announcement of Sen. Max Baucus (D) in the spring. The popular ex-governor remains voraciously ambitious in the political arena, and the Senate seemed like a decent stop on the way to what many people in and out of the state thought might be a run for president in 2016.

The field was effectively frozen as Schweitzer made up his mind. With him not running, look for Rep. Steve Daines (R) to come under heavy pressure to make the race. And while Democrats talk about state schools superintendent Denise Juneau and state auditor Monica Lindeen, neither woman has the proven electoral record (or even close to it) of Schweitzer.

It’s worth noting that Democrats have demonstrated their ability to win in Montana — even with a national wind blowing in their collective face. Sen. Jon Tester won a second term in November despite the fact that President Obama won just 42 percent of the vote in the state. But that was a race featuring a Democratic incumbent. Montana in 2014 will be an open seat.

Nationally, Montana becomes the third problematic open seat for the party. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is a clear favorite, as Democrats have yet to persuade a serious candidate to run. In South Dakota, the two leading potential Democratic candidates took a pass while popular former governor Mike Rounds dodged a serious Republican primary challenge.

If you give Republicans those three open seats — they are favored at the moment, but the election remains 16 months away — they then need three more for the majority. Those pickups would almost certainly come from four seats, all of which are held by Democratic incumbents running for reelection — in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina.

In other words, the GOP now has a clear shot at seven red state Democratic seats, and would take back Congress with six.  Alaska would be a problem should Sarah Palin decide to run (and lose) to Mark Begich, but that still leaves six very likely pickups.  I wasn't terribly worried a few months ago about the Dems holding in 2014.

I am worried now.  Sen. Kay Hagen may be the key here in NC, given the massive GOP takeover in the state.  I'm hoping she can rally a backlash against the Republicans there, but it's going to be very, very close.

Time to get to work on 2014, folks.

[UPDATE]  That goes doubly true after Schweitzer bowing out finds Nate Silver putting the odds of the Dems keeping the Senate at best as a coin-toss.


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