Saturday, November 23, 2013

Last Call For The New Blockbusters

Zandardad flagged this article for me this morning and it's an important one.  LA Times political writer Mike Memoli discusses the critical mass of newer Democratic senators elected since 2006 who have A) only known a Senate majority, and B) only known of Republicans blocking everything they possibly could.  They feel no allegiance to the empty rhetoric of Senate comity because they've never seen it, they only have seen various occasions where Senate Republicans have weakened Democrats' legislation in return for their votes, and then House Republicans simply block it when these same Senate Republicans abandon their own positions to kneel to the Tea Party.

In other words, after 7 years, they are sick of being suckers.  And they've finally convinced Harry Reid to push the button.

"The Senate is a graveyard for good ideas," Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who along with Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon led the filibuster reform effort and won over veteran colleagues in a body where seniority was once the most valuable currency. 
This newer class of Democrats came to Washington, not unlike the tea party Republicans, with a strong commitment to their ideals and policy goals. But while the tea party rule in the House has been characterized by attempts to stifle the president's agenda, Democrats see their goal as helping to implement it. 
Thursday's action to limit the use of filibusters — seen as so drastic it was termed the "nuclear option" — shows they are willing to carve out a different path to get there. 
"There's a time to reach across the aisle and there's a time to hold the line," said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), the body's youngest member at 40, who was elected in 2012. "And I think so far this year Democrats in the Senate have done a very good job of mixing across-the-aisle compromise with some heretofore unseen spine-stiffening." 
The time has come for Democrats to take a harder stance against the tea party Republicans, he said. 
"These folks have come to Washington to destroy government from within and will use any tool at their disposal," Murphy said. "To the extent that we have the ability to take tools away from the tea party, we should do it. And one of the tools was the filibuster. Another was the belief that Democrats would cave in the face of another shutdown or debt default."

Keep your eye on Chris Murphy.  He's only a few years older than I am, and I couldn't agree with him more. When a bully punches you in the mouth and then bends the rules so he can keep doing it, you have to fight back. 

And keep in mind at various times, all of these "Republican moderates" like McCain, Murkowski, Collins, etc have voted in lockstep with the tea party to block President Obama.

Why play their game?  Good for the Dems to stand up to these assholes.

Stopped Clock Is Right Alert

Today's contestant:  Townhall's Conn Carroll, giving the most blunt assessment yet as to why Republicans have no alternative to Obamacare and won't even try until 2016:

1. Democrats Are Dying for a Villain to Run Against. President Obama is at his most effective when he has an opponent to demonize. Right now, he doesn't really have one, other than the insurance companies, and he needs them as allies or Obamacare will completely collapse. 
That is why, as The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported Wednesday, "the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is set to launch a new campaign designed to refocus the debate on the Republican position on health care, which Dems will widely label as 'Cruz Care.'" 
It doesn't matter what the actual policies in any Republican plan are, Democrats will label whatever Republicans come up with as "Cruz Care." Democrats will then tie Cruz, who is highly unpopular among independents across the country, to every Republican candidate. Why would Republicans want to help Democrats do this? 
2. Congressional Republicans are not Popular. Americans' opinion of Congress has never been lower. That will color any solution congressional Republicans present. If you are a candidate challenging a Democratic incumbent, why would you want to defend a plan created by a body with an 11 percent approval rating? 
3. Obama will veto any Republican plan anyway. Obama has already made it abundantly clear that he will veto any health care law that he believes would undermine Obamacare. The only Obamacare fixes Obama will not veto, are fixes that would expand the size and scope of the federal government. Any Republican plan that could pass the House would have to go in the polar opposite direction, shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.

You know what?  Carroll is completely correct here, which means that the Clown Hall crew is in fact occasionally capable of rational discourse.  The only people who can't run on health care more than the Democrats are congressional Republicans, who have an approval rating somewhere between "Being chained to a desk and forced to write the script for The Hangover Part 4" and "Oh boy, chewy tinfoil for everyone!"

And you know what?  I'm betting that reason number 2 there will prevent any GOP hopefuls in 2016 from presenting any plans then, either.

McCain's Modern Maverick Mania

MSNBC's Steve Kornacki argues that GOP "moderates" are really secretly happy that Harry Reid's filibuster elimination for executive and judicial nominations went through.

Republicans en masse have been denouncing and condemning the “nuclear option” filibuster reform passed by Senate Democrats on Thursday, but MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki argued on Hardball GOP senators are actually happy at the outcome because it took the pressure of the angry tea party off them and onto the Democrats
Chris Matthews argued that the real goal of the GOP is to “stop this president from being president” so that President Obama is essentially forgotten in the history books. But Kornacki thought the GOP’s breathing a sigh of relief at today’s events instead. He said, “If you gave truth serum to a lot of Republican senator, I think they’re secretly relieved by this.” 
Kornacki argued Republicans have been under pressure for years to oppose basically everything that President Obama stands for, even opposing judicial nominees just because, and many Republican senators felt boxed in between their duties to the country and saving their political hides. So basically, the fix “lets them off the hook,” as Kornacki put it, by making votes on appointments a simple majority instead of requiring 60 votes to come to the floor.

I'll go one step further.  This is not secretly wonderful for the squishy RINO set, it's 100% pure awesome. Republicans like John McCain and Susan Collins now can say HARRY REID IS SOOOOOO MEAN YOU GUYS and do whatever they want.  No, they can't block federal nominees anymore, but they sure as hell can continue to block legislation, and will happily do so.

Democrats still have to come crawling to these guys in the "middle" to get their 5-6 votes and they know it. Then the House turns around and blocks the legislation anyway.  It's Maverick City.  So when John McCain goes on a rant about how Democrats will rue the day, rue I tell you, remember that he's full of crap and loving every second of it.

It means he can extract even more concessions on Democratic legislation in the Senate and he's well aware of it.  I don't buy the threats for a second.  McCain is gleeful.

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