Friday, October 11, 2013

Last Call For Getting The Shaftan

Just in case anyone still thought Republican Steve Lonegan had any realistic shot at upsetting Democrat and Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey Senate next week, the answer to that question is "Lonegan just fired his senior staffer over a massive gaffe".

Republican New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan said Friday he planned to fire his senior staffer Rick Shaftan after Shaftan made several several profanity-filled remarks about Lonegan's opponent, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, earlier in the week.

"Mr. Shaftan's comments are not reflective of my views or that of my campaign," Lonegan said in a statement through his campaign spokesman. "His comments are distasteful and offensive, and his contract as a vendor for my campaign will be terminated immediately."

Shaftan gave an interview to TPM on Thursday in which he described Twitter messages Booker sent to an Oregon stripper as "weird" and "like what a gay guy would say." A spokeswoman for Booker's campaign described Shaftan's remarks as "disgraceful and demeaning."

Republicans can't run away from the Pretty Hate Machine they've constructed, and America is sick of it. The federal shutdown is going to hand Cory Booker a huge win (Terry McAuliffe too in VA for Gov) and the goal now is to remind everyone that this is the GOP and will be until the Tea Party is expunged.

The Punishers Continue

Meanwhile, the Indiana GOP's response to "Obamacare is raising health insurance premiums on working-class families!" is apparently "We're suing the feds to stop health insurance premium subsidies for working class families!"

This week, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) challenging its authority to fund Obamacare’s insurance subsidies for individuals and enacting penalties against public employers (such as state and local governments) that don’t meet the health law’s minimum worker coverage requirement. If successful, the challenge would prevent Americans from receiving the government assistance that makes Obamacare’s insurance marketplace plans affordable in the first place. 
Zoeller claims that the health law doesn’t permit people living in the 36 states that have refused to set up their own Obamacare marketplaces — including Indiana — to qualify for federal insurance subsidies. He also says that local government employers which don’t meet Obamacare’s requirements cannot be penalized under the law to help fund those subsidies.

Yes, let's ignore the Supreme Court and keep suing until they give us the outcome we want.  Never mind the practical upshot of the suit is to make health insurance unaffordable for people.

The argument is based on a technical ambiguity in the law that state-level GOP officials and congressional Republicans have previously seized on in an attempt to undermine the ACA’s consumer assistance. The IRS has issued regulations saying that the law permits and intends the agency to extend subsidies to Americans in all 50 states. 
“The fact that many citizens lack health insurance is an issue for policymakers, and my office takes no position regarding the congressional debate over funding the ACA. I never complain when private plaintiffs file lawsuits to challenge the state authority that my office defends; but now our role is reversed and Indiana has initiated this lawsuit asking the court whether the IRS has exceeded its federal taxing authority over state governments,” said Zoeller in a statement. “This respectful challenge is an appropriate role for the Office of the Attorney General to vigorously assert the ability of the State and its political subdivisions to manage their workforces in our American system of federalism.”

And yet Indiana takes federal money for all sorts of federal services.  This one is somehow illegal, despite the IRS and SCOTUS ruling on it, because, well nobody seems to have a good argument, but we're more than happy to waste taxpayer money suing over the bad ones.

But that's today's GOP for you.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender...OK We Surrender!

Given Thursday's abysmal NBC/WSJ poll for the Republicans, it now looks like surrender is in the cards for the Crazy Caucus.

President Barack Obama and House Republicans clashed in a meeting Thursday afternoon over how soon the government can be reopened, even as the GOP offered to lift the debt limit for six weeks, according to sources familiar with the session. 
House Republicans told Obama at the White House that they could reopen the federal government by early next week if the president and Senate Democrats agree to their debt-ceiling proposal. A GOP aide said they would seek some additional concessions if they advance a government funding bill next week.

As I said last night, now we dictate the terms of the GOP surrender, what it will include, what face-saving measures will be used, etc, but Obama's just won this fight.

Having said that, I dealt some cold reality on Twitter last night:

Something to keep in mind.


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