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claymisher
01-18-2010, 12:23 PM
I think Coakley's going to win because the good guys are going to make some calls (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGxtp).

http://my.barackobama.com/page/-/blog/MakeCalls.jpg
(http://my.barackobama.com/CoakleyN2Nsite)
Click the big red button!

I made 20 calls yesterday. If you're nervous about it pour yourself a drink first (it sure helped me). Win or lose you'll feel better about it knowing you pitched in.

JoeK
01-18-2010, 01:15 PM
I think Coakley's going to win because the good guys are going to make some calls (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGxtp).

http://my.barackobama.com/page/-/blog/MakeCalls.jpg
(http://my.barackobama.com/CoakleyN2Nsite)
Click the big red button!

I made 20 calls yesterday. If you're nervous about it pour yourself a drink first (it sure helped me). Win or lose you'll feel better about it knowing you pitched in.

By all means make the calls, but if it doesn't work out and Coakley loses, somebody please make sure to put Michelle Goldberg and Twinswords on suicide watch.

Francoamerican
01-18-2010, 01:17 PM
I think Coakley's going to win because the good guys are going to make some calls (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGxtp).

http://my.barackobama.com/page/-/blog/MakeCalls.jpg
(http://my.barackobama.com/CoakleyN2Nsite)
Click the big red button!

I made 20 calls yesterday. If you're nervous about it pour yourself a drink first (it sure helped me). Win or lose you'll feel better about it knowing you pitched in.

Claymisher deserves a big hug from the citizens of Massachusetts, of which I am one, though I avoid the place like the plague.

Lyle
01-18-2010, 02:54 PM
Some citizen you are... haha. I bet you have to look up Massachusetts every time you spell it. Hehe. And you know things are desperate when Democrats in Massachusetts have to rely on some guy from New Jersey making phone calls to the state and an absentee voting Frenchy who avoids the state like the plague.

What I can't believe is how Democrats aren't pushing the gender issue. Massachusetts is one of the most sexist states in the Union (it has never elected a woman as governor or Senator before). If the beefcake wins, the broads lose out again. So get out you pink flags Massachusetts, say no to sexism, and just vote woman.

Interestingly, France, has never had a female head of state either... fucking red staters.

bjkeefe
01-18-2010, 05:45 PM
I think Coakley's going to win because the good guys are going to make some calls (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGxtp).

http://my.barackobama.com/page/-/blog/MakeCalls.jpg
(http://my.barackobama.com/CoakleyN2Nsite)
Click the big red button!

I made 20 calls yesterday. If you're nervous about it pour yourself a drink first (it sure helped me). Win or lose you'll feel better about it knowing you pitched in.

Might also help to read Anne Laurie's post, "Ratfucking in the Bay State (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32647)." It should move your blood, if your blood is blue.

[Added] Anne updates with an interesting observation:

ETA: There were, of course, a metric shit-ton of both Brown and Coakley ads during the local evening news. NOT ONE of Brown’s ads use the word “Republican”—he calls himself an ‘independent’ who will ‘fight for all the people of Massachusetts, Democrats and independents and others’. The anti-Coakley ads are sponsored by some group whose name I caught as Citizens-Working-for-Better-American-Democracy (probably not the exact title), but again, scrupulously avoided the R-Word. Brown is very, very wounded that Coakley supporters would call him names, but the name used most often in those ads is Republican.

Lying about who he is, in other words.

Wonderment
01-18-2010, 06:58 PM
I made 20 calls yesterday. If you're nervous about it pour yourself a drink first (it sure helped me). Win or lose you'll feel better about it knowing you pitched in.

Good job, Clay.

This is an important election for many obvious reasons. If she loses, (and it doesn't look good!) it's really bad news for progressives.

claymisher
01-18-2010, 08:33 PM
Hey folks, thanks for the kudos, but that's not the point. The point is you picking up the phone and making a difference!

http://ma.barackobama.com/callfiveMA

Lyle
01-19-2010, 02:23 AM
Keith Olbermann goes crazy (http://www.olbermannwatch.com/archives/2010/01/joe_scarborough_4.php) over Scott Brown. Lord have mercy.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 04:07 PM
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-18/coakleys-stunning-gender-gap/full/

If Martha Coakley loses Tuesday in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Democrats and progressives across the country will be devastated. But perhaps no group will be quite so disappointed as establishment feminists, who threw their weight behind the Massachusetts attorney general early on, when she faced a crowded primary field, and then watched, stunned, as Coakley’s lead disintegrated in the heavily Democratic state and her opponent, the previously unheard-of state senator Scott Brown, became a cause célèbre for disgruntled conservatives across the country.

Even as women’s organizations focus on getting voters to the polls today—asking hundreds of thousands of their members across the country to phone-bank for Coakley from home—some are looking back at the race with regret, wishing their own organizations had realized, earlier on, the threat of the Tea Party movement rallying to Brown’s side, or the extent of voter disenchantment with President Barack Obama’s health-care bill.

According to several recent polls, female voters, who tend to be more liberal, are barely more likely than male voters to favor Coakley over Brown.

JonIrenicus
01-19-2010, 04:58 PM
Don't worry, worst case scenario is that you lose a seat and the democrats are forced to quintuple down before the new senator swears in.


This stops nothing as far as I can see (in terms of getting health care through), just makes for more draconian compromises to get it through fast.

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 06:12 PM
If Brown wins in a close race, will the Democrats go full Norm Coleman (http://minnesotaindependent.com/27550/coleman-franken-court-resolution-scenarios) on him?

And if they do (being gutless, they won't (even though signs of Republican dirty tricks are already surfacing (http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/senate-republicans/fishy-ballot-in-cambridge/)), but play along), will the GOP furiously howl their furious fury about the Democrats PLAYING POLITICS!!!1!?

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 06:22 PM
... signs of Republican dirty tricks are already surfacing (http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/senate-republicans/fishy-ballot-in-cambridge/) ...

More (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/coakley-campaign-to-sound-alarm-on-reported-ballots-pre-marked-for-scott-brown.php) on this.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 06:40 PM
Dirty politics plays (http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZWQ4NTBhNzdjMTYzZTdlZWYwNmY0MWExOTI2NTdlODE=) both ways though, doesn't it?

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 06:40 PM
More (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/coakley-campaign-to-sound-alarm-on-reported-ballots-pre-marked-for-scott-brown.php) on this.

One thing about the media: they have access to exit polls that none of us get to see. So, all those talking heads on the TV know already what is probably going to happen -- assuming it's not close.

I've been home for about 30 minutes, and so far it's wall to wall gloom: they are talking about the election as if the results are already in and Brown already won. They are talking about "the reason Coakley was beaten so badly" and "what does this defeat mean for Obama," etc. So, I think it's pretty clear what the outcome will be.

Oh well: Republicans evidently decided that they didn't fuck the USA and the world up enough over the last eight years. Time to fuck it up some more!

Obama at his State of the Union speech should start by describing the consequences of the Republican effort to defeat health care: 30 million people without insurance, and tens of thousands of uncessary dead every year.

Then, with a sweep of his hand, he should indicate the Republican caucus in the chamber, and say "there's your death panel."

Fucking Republicans, killing Americans for profit and pleasure.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 06:42 PM
Aww. Please, don't jump off a bridge or tall building tonight Twinswords (assuming the result doesn't fall in your favor). After all, it's only politics.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 06:48 PM
Don't worry, worst case scenario is that you lose a seat and the democrats are forced to quintuple down before the new senator swears in.

This stops nothing as far as I can see (in terms of getting health care through), just makes for more draconian compromises to get it through fast.
I suspect you're not the least bit serious about this, and just want to come across as pouty and whiny. But you should assume that at least some people will take your remarks literally, not as a whiny screech as you intend. And those people -- the ones who think you are serious -- will come to the conclusion that you are deeply delusional and totally misinformed to believe that "this stops nothing" and that the "worst case scenario" is that HCR passes. I know you're not so overwhelmingly stupid to actually believe it, but others might not have such high regard for you.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 06:55 PM
Aww. Please, don't jump off a bridge or tall building tonight Twinswords (assuming the result doesn't fall in your favor). After all, it's only politics.

Trust me, wingut boy, I'm not going anywhere. I'd never give up trying to save the country and the human race from the depraved likes of you.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 07:01 PM
Haha... wingnut and depraved. You going to stop me from voting for same-sex marriage are you? Hahahahaha.... or Bill White for governor of Texas?

edit: By the way, the last politician I voted for is a Democrat and a lesbian. Hahaha.

claymisher
01-19-2010, 07:01 PM
Trust me, wingut boy, I'm not going anywhere. I'd never give up trying to save the country and the human race from the depraved likes of you.

The Republicans shouldn't get too excited. If Brown wins they're only down 59-41 (only 19 more to go guys!). This will just speed up the death of the filibuster.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 07:03 PM
Who's a Republican? Hahaha....

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:06 PM
The Republicans shouldn't get too excited. If Brown wins they're only down 59-41 (only 19 more to go guys!). This will just speed up the death of the filibuster.

Indeed. There's a distinct possibility that today's election will help Democrats to frame the debate and midterm elections to their advantage, much as Clinton was able to turn the tables on Gingrich after the 1994 Republican blowout.

Lyle
01-19-2010, 07:14 PM
I think you're time table is off. Bill Clinton got reelected in 1996, i.e., 2012. The 1994 or 2010 blow out has yet to happen. What this election will do is to get Democrats off their ass and prepared for battle come next fall. Which might mean a lot of Democrats have to run against Obama, and not count on his aura for victory.

I don't see Obama losing in 2012 though even if Democrats lose a bunch of seats in Congress this year.

JonIrenicus
01-19-2010, 07:16 PM
I suspect you're not the least bit serious about this, and just want to come across as pouty and whiny. But you should assume that at least some people will take your remarks literally, not as a whiny screech as you intend. And those people -- the ones who think you are serious -- will come to the conclusion that you are deeply delusional and totally misinformed to believe that "this stops nothing" and that the "worst case scenario" is that HCR passes. I know you're not so overwhelmingly stupid to actually believe it, but others might not have such high regard for you.

Boy this must be unhinging you.


My point was that even if he wins, he won't be sworn in immediately and able to be the 41st vote.

If that happened, does anyone think democrats would wait to finalize the bill? Any bill? Until after they lost the super majority vs while they still have it? However fleeting?

If you are worried about getting something passed, I am just not sure it will matter either way for health care.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:22 PM
Boy this must be unhinging you.


My point was that even if he wins, he won't be sworn in immediately and able to be the 41st vote.

If that happened, does anyone think democrats would wait to finalize the bill? Any bill? Until after they lost the super majority vs while they still have it? However fleeting?

If you are worried about getting something passed, I am just not sure it will matter either way for health care.

Like I said, JI, you're uninformed. HCR might still pass, but only a deeply misinformed fool would say that passage is assured regardless of tonight's election. I tried to pretend you were just whining without sincerely believing your "worst case scenario" BS, but now you've gone and made it clear you were serious. You should have taken the out I was giving you!



If that happened, does anyone think democrats would wait to finalize the bill? Any bill? Until after they lost the super majority vs while they still have it? However fleeting?

This is where "uninformed" comes in. Because yes, a vast number of people "think Democrats would" fail to finalize the bill if Coakley loses. You have a computer and a televison. What's your excuse for not having any idea what you're talking about?

claymisher
01-19-2010, 07:26 PM
Indeed. There's a distinct possibility that today's election will help Democrats to frame the debate and midterm elections to their advantage, much as Clinton was able to turn the tables on Gingrich after the 1994 Republican blowout.

I'd like to think that now it's perfectly clear bipartisanship is dead (good riddance too, it's a holdover from the politics of white supremacy (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/11/the-procedural-downward-spiral.php)) the filibuster is dead. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure most of rich and geriatric Senators are morons too stupid to understand even their own self-interest. Such is the power of tradition.

Anyway, Brown can't be seated for another two weeks at least (gotta wait for the absentee ballots). Unless the Democrats in Congress are world-historical idiots HCR is going to pass.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:26 PM
I think you're time table is off. Bill Clinton got reelected in 1996, i.e., 2012. The 1994 or 2010 blow out has yet to happen. What this election will do is to get Democrats off their ass and prepared for battle come next fall. Which might mean a lot of Democrats have to run against Obama, and not count on his aura for victory.

I don't see Obama losing in 2012 though even if Democrats lose a bunch of seats in Congress this year.

Lyle,
Suffice it to say you have no idea what I'm talking about, much less what you're talking about. My time table is precisely correct: The Gingrich Revolution pitted Clinton against an intransigent Congress in the period from 1994-1996, and Clinton won the showdown. The Brown victory sets up the D's and Obama for similar potential over the course of the next year.

claymisher
01-19-2010, 07:28 PM
Lyle,
Suffice it to say you have no idea what I'm talking about, much less what you're talking about. My time table is precisely correct: The Gingrich Revolution pitted Clinton against an intransigent Congress in the period from 1994-1996, and Clinton won the showdown. The Brown victory sets up the D's and Obama for similar potential over the course of the next year.

Come on, that was before he was born. How's he supposed to know about that?

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 07:31 PM
Anyway, Brown can't be seated for another two weeks at least (gotta wait for the absentee ballots). Unless the Democrats in Congress are world-historical idiots HCR is going to pass.

Wow. I suddenly realized what a big word unless is.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:36 PM
Come on, that was before he was born. How's he supposed to know about that?
http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/images/smilies/lol.gif http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/images/smilies/lol.gif http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/images/smilies/lol.gif

claymisher
01-19-2010, 07:38 PM
Wow. I suddenly realized what a big word unless is.

Three months of waiting on the gang of six ain't cause for optimism. But it sounds like Baucus and Reid learned their lesson. If they'd succeeded in peeling Snow/Collins/Grassley it'd have been worth it. Grr.

nikkibong
01-19-2010, 07:41 PM
I'd like to think that now it's perfectly clear bipartisanship is dead (good riddance too, it's a holdover from the politics of white supremacy (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/11/the-procedural-downward-spiral.php)) the filibuster is dead. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure most of rich and geriatric Senators are morons too stupid to understand even their own self-interest. Such is the power of tradition.

Anyway, Brown can't be seated for another two weeks at least (gotta wait for the absentee ballots). Unless the Democrats in Congress are world-historical idiots HCR is going to pass.


Anyway, Brown can't be seated for another two weeks at least (gotta wait for the absentee ballots). Unless the Democrats in Congress are world-historical idiots HCR is going to pass.

Correct. Which is why I'm so puzzled by Twin's abusive histrionics at irenicus upthread. If anyone is displaying ignorance, it's Twin.

I'm disappointed that the MA senate race has turned into a proxy fight over HCR. I support the health care reform bill, but were I a Massachusetts voter, I simply couldn't support someone like this:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575003341640657862.html

(note: no curt schilling related material therein.)

Lyle
01-19-2010, 07:44 PM
Haha... I don't know what I'm talking about (maybe I got the dates wrong). The Gingrich revolution happened during the first mid-term elections... and we haven't crossed that threshold yet. That's my point.

edit: Nope, my dates are accurate.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:45 PM
I'd like to think that now it's perfectly clear bipartisanship is dead (good riddance too, it's a holdover from the politics of white supremacy (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/11/the-procedural-downward-spiral.php)) the filibuster is dead.
I hope you're right, but it's my sense that this will never happen because there are always a fairly substantial number of Democrats who have been co-opted by corporate and other conservative interests, and will always join the Republicans. This is why Republicans never have the problem governing that Democrats do.

We don't really have one Democratic party and one Republican party in this country. We have 1.5 Republican parties and .5 Democratic parties, making it all but impossible to accomplish anything even when we have 1.5:1 ratio of D's to R's in the Senate.

There is another big advantage to tonight's teabag victory, though: There are so many people who don't understand the dynamics of American politics, who assume that big Democratic majorities mean Democrats should be able to pass anything they want. Tonight result will help Americans realize that Republicans are playing a meaningful role in obstructing the results the public wants. This election may substantially help to contain the bloodbath we would have likely otherwise experienced next November.


Anyway, Brown can't be seated for another two weeks at least (gotta wait for the absentee ballots). Unless the Democrats in Congress are world-historical idiots HCR is going to pass.
First of all, LOL @ Brendan's response to this. Second: You're right; I really hope they are smart enough to pass it under the wire, but I seriously doubt they will. When you figure they will still need 100% of the votes in the Senate (unless the pingpong it), it seems unlikely to pass. Lieberman is preparing to sabotage (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/19/lieberman-defend-reform/), for example.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 07:49 PM
Correct. Which is why I'm so puzzled by Twin's abusive histrionics at irenicus upthread. If anyone is displaying ignorance, it's Twin.
Do you think it's accurate to say that the worst case scenario is that HCR passes the Senate?

You're deeply stupid if you believe that. And misinformed.

Note: I gave no probabilities on HCR's chances of passage. What I did say that only a person living in isolation from actual information would claim that the "worst case scenario" is that HCR passes. You have to know almost nothing to make such a statement, and when pressed, I'm sure you won't defend it, either.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 08:11 PM
One thing about the media: they have access to exit polls that none of us get to see.

Evidently no exit polls (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575013111682315540.html?m od=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion) were taken in Massachusetts today.

claymisher
01-19-2010, 08:14 PM
I hope you're right, but it's my sense that this will never happen because there are always a fairly substantial number of Democrats who have been coopted by corporate and other conservative interests, and will always join the Republicans. This is why Republicans never have the problem governing that Democrats do.

We don't really have one Democratic party and one Republican party in this country. We have 1.5 Republican parties and .5 Democratic parties, making it all but impossible to accomplish anything even when we have 1.5:1 ratio of D's to R's in the Senate.

There is another big advantage to tonight's teabag victory, though: There are so many people who don't understand the dynamics of American politics, who assume that big Democratic majorities mean Democrats should be able to pass anything they want. Tonight result will help Americans realize that Republicans are playing a meaningful role in obstructing the results the public wants. This election may substantially help to contain the bloodbath we would have likely otherwise experienced next November.



First of all, LOL @ Brendan's response to this. Second: You're right; I really hope they are smart enough to pass it under the wire, but I seriously doubt they will. When you figure they will still need 100% of the votes in the Senate (unless the pingpong it), it seems unlikely to pass. Lieberman is preparing to sabatoge (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/19/lieberman-defend-reform/), for example.

Some of the policy sci blogs I read (and Ezra Klein) have talked about the filibuster and Senate procedure a lot over the years. The issues are complicated, but the bottom line is that the Senate makes its own rules and nobody can stop them. Officially the Senate can only change the rules at the beginning of the term but it's not like the Supreme Court or the FBI can stop them. Back in 2001 the Republicans fired the parliamentarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dove) when he wouldn't let them use reconciliation.

The way I figure it (and I may be wrong), the post-1993 60 vote filibuster world benefits the marginal Senator around 60 limit. That was Ben Nelson and Lieberman. With 59 Dems and no Reps playing ball those two are useless. So the marginal vote is 50. You need 50 to override change the rules, so the marginal Senator, if he's not too stupid to know what's good for him, ought to be for abolition.

Here are the least liberal D's in the Senate minus the MA senate seat (data from DW-NOMINATE (http://voteview.com/sen111.htm). I moved Feingold up and Lieberman down):

40 COLORAD D BENNET
41 PENNSYL D CASEY
42 ALASKA D BEGICH
43 SOUTH D D JOHNSON
44 NORTH C D HAGAN
45 WEST VI D BYRD ROBER
46 MONTANA D TESTER
47 MONTANA D BAUCUS
48 LOUISIA D LANDRIEU
49 PENNSYL D SPECTER
50 MINNESO D KLOBUCHAR
51 ARKANSA D PRYOR
52 NORTH D D CONRAD
53 VIRGINI D WEBB
54 NORTH D D DORGAN
55 ARKANSA D LINCOLN
56 MISSOUR D MCCASKILL
57 INDIANA D BAYH
58 NEBRASK D NELSON BEN
59 CONNECT D LIEBERMAN

So you'd think the folks around 50 would REALLY want to get rid of the filibuster because it would empower them.

claymisher
01-19-2010, 08:17 PM
Evidently no exit polls (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575013111682315540.html?m od=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion) were taken in Massachusetts today.

That's good news. Exit polls are the worst.

claymisher
01-19-2010, 08:23 PM
First of all, LOL @ Brendan's response to this. Second: You're right; I really hope they are smart enough to pass it under the wire, but I seriously doubt they will. When you figure they will still need 100% of the votes in the Senate (unless the pingpong it), it seems unlikely to pass. Lieberman is preparing to sabotage (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/19/lieberman-defend-reform/), for example.

The word is that if the House just passes the Senate bill the Senate doesn't have to vote again, except for the final bill. And that only takes a simple majority (you know, like it says in the fucking constitution). So if the House can live with the Senate bill, there's nothing Lieberman can do to stop it.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 08:28 PM
The word is that if the House just passes the Senate bill the Senate doesn't have to vote again, except for the final bill. And that only takes a simple majority (you know, like it says in the fucking constitution). So if the House can live with the Senate bill, there's nothing Lieberman can do to stop it.

Is this different from the ping-pong method I mentioned above? I thought that if the House passed the Senate bill verbatim, it would go straight to the president's desk -- no need to go back through the Senate.

I have to admit I'm skeptical that the House would be willing to swallow the Senate bill whole without changes, but I sure hope they do. (Unless they can strike an even better deal in negotiation with the Senate, but I find that even less likely.)

claymisher
01-19-2010, 08:33 PM
Is this different from the ping-pong method I mentioned above? I thought that if the House passed the Senate bill verbatim, it would go straight to the president's desk -- no need to go back through the Senate.

I have to admit I'm skeptical that the House would be willing to swallow the Senate bill whole without changes, but I sure hope they do. (Unless they can strike an even better deal in negotiation with the Senate, but I find that even less likely.)

You're right.

A long time ago Mark Schmitt said that the best strategy was to get the bill passed by any means necessary and tweak the parameters with a budget bill (only simple majority required). I'd bet the House leadership could make that work.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 08:35 PM
Some of the policy sci blogs I read (and Ezra Klein) have talked about the filibuster and Senate procedure a lot over the years. The issues are complicated, but the bottom line is that the Senate makes its own rules and nobody can stop them. Officially the Senate can only change the rules at the beginning of the term but it's not like the Supreme Court or the FBI can stop them. Back in 2001 the Republicans fired the parliamentarian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dove) when he wouldn't let them use reconciliation.
Wow. They didn't fuck around, did they? Honestly, why are these rules good enough for the Republicans but not the Democrats? Reminds me of what my dad said in 1981 about Carter vs. Reagan. He described Carter during the campaign as "merrily skipping down the lane, tipping his hat at Reagan and calling him 'sir,' while Reagan was down in a ditch throwing grenades and taking sniper shots for Carter's face." This has been the standard interaction between the two parties as long as I've been alive: timid vs. brazen.



The way I figure it (and I may be wrong), the post-1993 60 vote filibuster world benefits the marginal Senator around 60 limit. That was Ben Nelson and Lieberman. With 59 Dems and no Reps playing ball those two are useless. So the marginal vote is 50. You need 50 to override change the rules, so the marginal Senator, if he's not too stupid to know what's good for him, ought to be for abolition.
Very good points. If it only takes 51 votes (including Biden) to change the rules, they should change the rules. There should be at least 50 Democratic Senators willing to make this change. But I suspect there aren't. Maybe the Democrats will finally develop some backbone, but I fear tonight's result will only further erode whatever little spine the D's had. Only when the D's develop the absolute determination to win that the R's exhibit will they stand a chance.

Interesting thought experiement is how different the USA would be today if Bush didn't face a veto. For one thing, they would have seized Americans' retirement savings and given it to Wall Street bankers. (What they call "privitize Social Security.")



Here are the least liberal D's in the Senate minus the MA senate seat (data from DW-NOMINATE (http://voteview.com/sen111.htm). I moved Feingold up and Lieberman down):

40 COLORAD D BENNET
41 PENNSYL D CASEY
42 ALASKA D BEGICH
43 SOUTH D D JOHNSON
44 NORTH C D HAGAN
45 WEST VI D BYRD ROBER
46 MONTANA D TESTER
47 MONTANA D BAUCUS
48 LOUISIA D LANDRIEU
49 PENNSYL D SPECTER
50 MINNESO D KLOBUCHAR
51 ARKANSA D PRYOR
52 NORTH D D CONRAD
53 VIRGINI D WEBB
54 NORTH D D DORGAN
55 ARKANSA D LINCOLN
56 MISSOUR D MCCASKILL
57 INDIANA D BAYH
58 NEBRASK D NELSON BEN
59 CONNECT D LIEBERMAN

So you'd think the folks around 50 would REALLY want to get rid of the filibuster because it would empower them.
Interesting data. Thanks for posting it.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 08:43 PM
You're right.

A long time ago Mark Schmitt said that the best strategy was to get the bill passed by any means necessary and tweak the parameters with a budget bill (only simple majority required). I'd bet the House leadership could make that work.

That's a good idea -- and still possible. They could ping pong it to the White House then fix it in reconciliation. That's what they were talking about on FireDogLake today.

My own guess is that there will be enough Democrats who are (a) afraid to pass the legislation after tonight's "lesson," and enough Democrats who will be happy to let the bill go down to defeat so they can pin the blame on the Republicans that it will not pass.

If nothing else, at least now it can be clearly claimed as a factual matter: Republicans fought a long and determined fight to ensure the death of some 30,000 Americans per year. When they can't slaughter people overseas through their neocon wars, they can block lifesaving legislation here at home. As long as people are dying is massive numbers at their hands, Republicans can live in blissful contentment.

/slight hyperbole

JonIrenicus
01-19-2010, 08:48 PM
Like I said, JI, you're uninformed. HCR might still pass, but only a deeply misinformed fool would say that passage is assured regardless of tonight's election. I tried to pretend you were just whining without sincerely believing your "worst case scenario" BS, but now you've gone and made it clear you were serious. You should have taken the out I was giving you!


Nothing is ever assured. And no worries about my guesses. If I am way off then so be it. I just can't imagine the democrats would let passing something in some form slip through their fingers after all this.

The die is cast, they do not have to continue on, but the idea of turning back now just seems, unlikely.

TwinSwords
01-19-2010, 08:51 PM
Nothing is ever assured. And no worries about my guesses. If I am way off then so be it. I just can't imagine the democrats would let passing something in some form slip through their fingers after all this.

The die is cast, they do not have to continue on, but the idea of turning back now just seems, unlikely.

First of all, my apologies for the earlier hostility.

This is why I say that claims that "the worst case scenario" is passage of health care reform is "uninformed":

— Sen. Bayh (http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/bayh-dems-are-in-denial-about-massachusetts-senate-race.php?ref=fpblg)
— Rep. Weiner (http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/weiner-on-health-care-reform-if-coakley-loses-i-dont-see-how-we-get-this-done.php?ref=fpblg)
— Sen. Lieberman (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/19/lieberman-defend-reform/)

[Added, from TPM] Late Update: Here's an unnamed "presidential advisor" quoted in Politico who should get a promotion: "The response will not be to do incremental things and try to salvage a few seats in the fall," a presidential adviser said. "The best political route also happens to be the boldest rhetorical route, which is to go out and fight and let the chips fall where they may. We can say, 'At least we fought for these things, and the Republicans said no."

We'll make sure Americans know it was Republicans who fought so hard to ensure the ongoing death of the American people. And I have every reason to believe that's a record conservatives will be proud to run on.




.

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 09:29 PM
Wonkette threat to liveblog (http://wonkette.com/413264/413264)

Wonkette liveblog part I (http://wonkette.com/413267/liveblogging-massachusetts-connecticut-2006-general-election-fail-moment)

Wonkette liveblog part II (http://wonkette.com/413269/liveblogging-pundits-responding-to-an-election-without-exit-polls-part-ii)

Wonkette Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/Wonkette)

Why cry about it when you can laugh about it?

claymisher
01-19-2010, 09:53 PM
Interesting thought experiement is how different the USA would be today if Bush didn't face a veto. For one thing, they would have seized Americans' retirement savings and given it to Wall Street bankers. (What they call "privitize Social Security.")

If the Republicans had trashed Social Security, right before the market tanked, they'd gone forever. POOF! Of course, privatization never got out of committee, so the filibuster wasn't relevant at all.

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 10:04 PM
Wonkette threat to liveblog (http://wonkette.com/413264/413264)

Wonkette liveblog part I (http://wonkette.com/413267/liveblogging-massachusetts-connecticut-2006-general-election-fail-moment)

Wonkette liveblog part II (http://wonkette.com/413269/liveblogging-pundits-responding-to-an-election-without-exit-polls-part-ii)

Wonkette Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/Wonkette)

Why cry about it when you can laugh about it?

Wonkette liveblog part III (http://wonkette.com/413270/liveblogging-the-death-of-socialism-which-is-ted-kennedys-fault), also, too.

[Added] Wonkette liveblog part IV. (http://wonkette.com/413271/scott-brown-is-americas-naked-president)

[Added2] From part IV:

10:34 PM — What … are … they … chanting?
10:34 PM — Good god these teabaggers want BLOOD.

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 11:15 PM
Indeed. There's a distinct possibility that today's election will help Democrats to frame the debate and midterm elections to their advantage, much as Clinton was able to turn the tables on Gingrich after the 1994 Republican blowout.

Josh Marshall (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/01/fire_in_a_crowded_theater.php):

Late Update: Here's an unnamed "presidential advisor (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31629.html)" quoted in Politico who should get a promotion: "The response will not be to do incremental things and try to salvage a few seats in the fall," a presidential adviser said. "The best political route also happens to be the boldest rhetorical route, which is to go out and fight and let the chips fall where they may. We can say, 'At least we fought for these things, and the Republicans said no."

bjkeefe
01-19-2010, 11:35 PM
From earlier today (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32797):

BOSTON (The Borowitz Report) – Firing up voters on the eve of the special election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat, Republican candidate Scott Brown spoke at a campaign rally today, proclaiming, “With your help, our dream of depriving millions of health care is within reach.”

“Let’s send a message, Massachusetts!” Mr. Brown exhorted the crowd. “Let’s tell people across the country that if they want health coverage, they are shit out of luck!”

An aide to Mr. Brown said that internal polling reveals that the Republican’s anti-healthcare message may be catching on: “Right now, Scott is showing a double-digit lead among people who describe themselves as douchebags.”

Unit
01-20-2010, 12:06 AM
Looks like Intrade made a better prediction than many polls.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 03:27 AM
Correct. Which is why I'm so puzzled by Twin's abusive histrionics at irenicus upthread. If anyone is displaying ignorance, it's Twin.

From your favorite blogger:

Quote For The Day
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated," - Jim Webb (D-VA).

So Webb simply caves. Immediately.

Still puzzled, Nikkibong?

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 03:29 AM
Nothing is ever assured. And no worries about my guesses. If I am way off then so be it. I just can't imagine the democrats would let passing something in some form slip through their fingers after all this.

The die is cast, they do not have to continue on, but the idea of turning back now just seems, unlikely.

Jon,
Remember when you said the "worst case scenario" was that HCR still passes? Remember when you said it "just seems unlikely" that they would not pass HCR before Brown is seated?" That you "just can't imagine the Democrats would let passing something slip through their fingers?"

Think again:

Quote For The Day
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated," - Jim Webb (D-VA).

So Webb simply caves. Immediately.

Francoamerican
01-20-2010, 05:19 AM
Correct. Which is why I'm so puzzled by Twin's abusive histrionics at irenicus upthread. If anyone is displaying ignorance, it's Twin.

I'm disappointed that the MA senate race has turned into a proxy fight over HCR. I support the health care reform bill, but were I a Massachusetts voter, I simply couldn't support someone like this:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575003341640657862.html

(note: no curt schilling related material therein.)

I was living in Massachusetts at the time, and I remember the case quite well and the hysteria surrounding it. I remember thinking at the time that a significant portion of the citizenry of Massachusetts were no better than their Salem forebears: a stupid lynch mob.

I voted for this intellectual and moral mediocrity (absentee ballot) while holding my nose. It is really a shame that important national issues like HC are determined by quirks in the American electoral system.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 10:57 AM
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/MA_Election-thumb.png

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 11:52 AM
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/MA_Election-thumb.png

LOL! That's awesome. Though it ignores the psycological effect, which will be massive. If we were to only consider the effect on passing legislation in the Senate, you could make a strong argument that last night's election actually helps democrats, as it deprives wingnut and psychopaths a talking point. But the real result of the election, I fear, will be waves of fear running through Democratic ranks, sparking new retirements and causing the party as a whole to move to the right.

And we all know the problem with the Dems was that it was already too far to the right.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 12:02 PM
LOL! That's awesome. Though it ignores the psycological effect, which will be massive. If we were to only consider the effect on passing legislation in the Senate, you could make a strong argument that last night's election actually helps democrats, as it deprives wingnut and psychopaths a talking point. But the real result of the election, I fear, will be waves of fear running through Democratic ranks, sparking new retirements and causing the party as a whole to move to the right.

And we all know the problem with the Dems was that it was already too far to the right.

When even Barney Frank is a fucking coward it sure looks hopeless.

graz
01-20-2010, 12:27 PM
When even Barney Frank is a fucking coward it sure looks hopeless.

Why do you call it cowardice?
Frank is smart and generally fearless. Anyone care to speculate as to his rationale? "Finger to he wind" caving is possible, but what else might be at play. Of course, I may be suspecting a purpose or strategy where none exists.

Unless a case can be made for capitulating... continue caring... but why even bother continuing to fight? Seriously.

Barney Frank:
"I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process."

uncle ebeneezer
01-20-2010, 12:37 PM
I dunno. I'm torn. The principle that Frank is defending is honorable, but the principle of doing what is best for the country is more important to me. Twisting and breaking rules is the common procedure in US government and I have no question that the GOP would flinch for a moment about respecting the results of an election (see Bush v. Gore) rather than achieve their political goals.

That said, this part:

Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process."

Along with Biden's comments gives me hope that Dems might be about to take on a bigger task of eliminating the ridiculous fiullibuster that allows as little as 15% of the population to cripple any proposed legislation.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 02:08 PM
Jonathan Bernstein quoted in full
OK, so, the Democrats are now down to...one more vote than they had when they passed the stimulus (albeit with Specter, who has not been replaced on the GOP side, as far as we know). Liberal bloggers urging Dems not to panic are exactly correct, but at the same time there seems to be a lot of fatalism among liberals that, well, Democrats always panic in these sort of situations.

That's not true. Democrats did not panic, for example, over the train wreck in the winter of 1995-1996. Democrats did not panic over impeachment in 1998. Indeed, Democrats did not panic this year when Obama's ratings fell in the spring, or over the August crazy, or after the VA and NJ elections in November. Individual Democrats said some things (in all of these cases) that were off-script. But overall, Democratic elected officials did not panic. The sense some Dems have that their party is a bunch of 'fraidy-cats is mostly, if not entirely, a myth.

Odds are they won't this time, either. Sure, they'll flail around for a few days, but before long they'll realize that flip-flopping isn't going to get them anywhere, and they'll pass around this fun graph by Joshua Tucker, and they'll realize that even if they want to meet Republicans halfway on everything that it isn't an available strategy.

In other words, not only is it good advice for Democrats not to panic, but it's also good advice to Democrats not to panic about the possibility that Democrats will panic.

http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/01/59.html

I'll try!

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 02:12 PM
Jonathan Bernstein quoted in full

http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/01/59.html

Thanks, that was a nice shot in the arm.

I'll try!

Me, too! (But I reserve the right to make jokes about spinelessness about those who deserve it.)

JonIrenicus
01-20-2010, 02:15 PM
Jon,
Remember when you said the "worst case scenario" was that HCR still passes? Remember when you said it "just seems unlikely" that they would not pass HCR before Brown is seated?" That you "just can't imagine the Democrats would let passing something slip through their fingers?"

Think again:

I saw that, I was pretty off then. I had thought the mass of democrats backing health care reform actually cared about getting it passed. I was mistaken. At least for some of them. Looks like more of them are there for other reasons than purely ideological purposes.


For example the notion that taking the senate version that does not allow federal funding of abortions would so alienate some liberals in the house as to not vote for the bill, that some would prefer to take nothing at all than that, is surprising to me.

They are either ideologically blinded (bill not pure enough), tactically blinded to not see that getting anything passed with no republican votes would be almost impossible very soon, craven opportunists whos only reason for being is their being in congress, not what they DO in congress, or, perhaps some of them genuinely did not like too many large swaths of the bill at all, but because of the 60 were not able to have some excuse to temper it with what they would prefer from the other camp (such as it is).


So yes, the democrats surprised me, I thought better of their resolve. I was wrong.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 02:16 PM
Thanks, that was a nice shot in the arm.



Me, too! (But I reserve the right to make jokes about spinelessness about those who deserve it.)

I guess we're all supposed to call our Reps today (well, the Democratic Reps) to tell them to just pass the fucking bill already. Ugh. Will our labors never end? No, they won't.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 02:17 PM
I guess we're all supposed to call our Reps today (well, the Democratic Reps) to tell them to just pass the fucking bill already. Ugh. Will our labors never end? No, they won't.

Here's an aphorism that's at least 99.9% accurate: Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 02:22 PM
EK has a good post too:

The loss in Massachusetts was a terrible disappointment to Democrats. But it can be explained away. Martha Coakley was a terrible candidate. Scott Brown ran an excellent campaign. These things happen.

But the reaction congressional Democrats have had to Coakley's loss has been much more shattering. It has been a betrayal.

The fundamental pact between a political party and its supporters is that the two groups believe the same thing and pledge to work on it together. And the Democratic base feels that it has held to its side of the bargain. It elected a Democratic majority and a Democratic president. It swallowed tough compromises on the issues it cared about most. It swallowed concessions to politicians it didn't like and industry groups it loathed. But it persisted. Because these things are important. That's why those voters believe in them. That's why they're Democrats.

But the party looks ready to abandon them because Brown won a special election in Massachusetts -- even though Democrats can pass the bill after Brown is seated. What that says is crucial: Whereas the base thought it was making these hard compromises and getting up early to knock on doors because these issues are important, the party thought all that was happening because, well, it's hard to say.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/demoralized_democrats.html

That's how I feel about it. These guys ran on the issues. We got them elected. Now they've got to hold up their end of the deal.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 02:23 PM
Here's an aphorism that's at least 99.9% accurate: Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.

I got one too: only bad things happen quickly. Good things always take time. (But not this much time dammit!)

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 02:39 PM
EK has a good post too:



http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/demoralized_democrats.html

That's how I feel about it. These guys ran on the issues. We got them elected. Now they've got to hold up their end of the deal.

Yes. Tell them. (http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/)

claymisher
01-20-2010, 03:14 PM
Obama had better have a better fucking plan than this: "Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated"

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Politics/president-obama-scott-brown-massachusetts-victory/story?id=9611222

claymisher
01-20-2010, 03:15 PM
Obama had better have a better fucking plan than this: "Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated"

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Politics/president-obama-scott-brown-massachusetts-victory/story?id=9611222

Maybe Pelosi ought to get the damned bill passed and make Obama veto it.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:19 PM
Obama had better have a better fucking plan than this: "Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated"

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Politics/president-obama-scott-brown-massachusetts-victory/story?id=9611222

It could be consistent with a plan for the House to accept the Senate version of the bill as is, although that seems like a long shot.

So, I agree with you. At best, this is rope-a-dope, and I sometimes think that Obama is unaware that unlike George Foreman, wingnuts don't get arm-weary from punching.

Oh, well, we'll know for sure about his attitude about getting HCR passed in a couple of weeks. Until then, I'll reserve judgment.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:20 PM
Maybe Pelosi ought to get the damned bill passed and make Obama veto it.

What would you do if that happened? Turn into a firebagger?

(Serious question.)

claymisher
01-20-2010, 03:21 PM
What would you do if that happened? Turn into a firebagger?

(Serious question.)

I doubt Obama would veto it. :)

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:29 PM
I doubt Obama would veto it. :)

I'd bet that way, too.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 03:29 PM
At best, this is rope-a-dope, and I sometimes think that Obama is unaware that unlike George Foreman, wingnuts don't get arm-weary from punching.

I'm gonna steal that line.

I don't think Obama's an idiot or a sellout or a secret conservative spy, but if he's shooting down just passing the bill this week in favor of something else then something else had better be good.

Wonderment
01-20-2010, 03:30 PM
Obama had better have a better fucking plan than this: "Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated"

I appreciate Obama fans owning this quote. When Republicrat War Lord Jim Webb said the same thing yesterday, he was accused of going "full metal Lieberman."

IMHO, Dems., including the President, have bungled HCR every step of the way. Now it's very hard to salvage. I don't see any way to get progressives in the House to vote for the Senate bill, even if they were allowed to. Progressives in Congress are all compromised out. (Personally, I would still vote for it, but I haven't been required to scream Uncle sixty times throughout the process.)

The Dems. seem completely fucked now. If they can't pass HCR at all, they will be punished at the polls. If they pass only bits and pieces (and they may be lucky to do that), they also look bad.

I would go for the bits and pieces. If Dems. can come to the American voter and say, "We abolished "pre-existing conditions" and "We brought dramatically improved eligibility requirements to the poor," they would have a couple of accomplishments. Keep it simple.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:36 PM
I'm gonna steal that line.

Thanks.

I don't think Obama's an idiot or a sellout or a secret conservative spy, but if he's shooting down just passing the bill this week in favor of something else then something else had better be good.

Agreed. I was initially strongly attracted to him out of a belief in the sincerity of his message of healing the mindless partisan divide, but there gets to be a point where it has to be admitted that the Republicans in office have absolutely no interest in reciprocating. It is now very close to that time. There is probably some political worth in not coming out of the gate swinging the morning after the election, to let the GOP get even more unambiguously on the record about their goal of killing HCR, but I do hope this (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147215#post147215) wasn't just blowing smoke.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:40 PM
Yes. Tell them. (http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/)

And see also this (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32868) and this (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32850).

graz
01-20-2010, 03:55 PM
There is probably some political worth in not coming out of the gate swinging the morning after the election, to let the GOP get even more unambiguously on the record about their goal of killing HCR, but I do hope this (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147215#post147215) wasn't just blowing smoke.

From my perspective, hope is just to close to believing in magic. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/121760/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-the-first-364-days-23-hours#s-p1-sr-i1) (Funny...but sad and true).

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 03:55 PM
Roy has two nominees for most comical reaction (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2010/01/party-out-of-bounds.html) to President of the Universe Brown's election.

uncle ebeneezer
01-20-2010, 04:04 PM
The idea of the House passing the Senate bill would not be without precedent. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/theres_precedent_for_the_house.html)

And an idea of how to do it (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/the_other_health-care_reform_o.html).

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 04:08 PM
From my perspective, hope is just to close to believing in magic. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/121760/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-the-first-364-days-23-hours#s-p1-sr-i1) (Funny...but sad and true).

Close, but distinctly different.

But that was a great clip. Thanks.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 04:35 PM
I would go for the bits and pieces.

I wouldn't. I'd go for "One lousy vote. One lousy, stinking roll call vote." (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022012.php)

And when it comes to dealing with the voters in November, remember it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Time to jam this thing down the GOP's throat.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 04:38 PM
I wouldn't. I'd go for "One lousy vote. One lousy, stinking roll call vote." (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022012.php)

And when it comes to dealing with the voters in November, remember it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Time to jam this thing down the GOP's throat.

And when the wingnuts whine, point them here (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022013.php) (emph. added):

In 1998, voters were unimpressed, to put it mildly, with the Republican crusade against Bill Clinton. In the midterms, voters sent a message -- in a historical rarity, the party that controlled the White House gained congressional seats in the sixth year of a presidency. It was a stinging rebuke of the GOP and its excesses.

House Republicans responded by impeaching the president anyway. In fact, they did so quickly, ramming impeachment through the chamber before newly-elected lawmakers could take office.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 04:49 PM
Roy has two nominees for most comical reaction (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2010/01/party-out-of-bounds.html) to President of the Universe Brown's election.

Instaputz has a third (http://instaputz.blogspot.com/2010/01/stop-motherfucking-presses.html), but really, the GHEMRotRSTF should be ineligible, for the same reason Ann Coulter used to be off the table for any "most offensive thing said" contest.

(Yes, kids. Those were the good old days, believe it or not.)

Wonderment
01-20-2010, 04:53 PM
Time to jam this thing down the GOP's throat.

You don't really think this is going to happen, right?

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 04:58 PM
You don't really think this is going to happen, right?

It's the most realistic positive option at hand.

As to its absolute chances, ask me again in a couple of days. (Instinct to make obvious joke reined in by this (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147296#post147296).)

uncle ebeneezer
01-20-2010, 05:05 PM
It's the most realistic positive option at hand.

Agreed. I just called my representive for the first time and urged him to pass the Senate bill and reconcile later. Not gonna hold my breath, but every little bit counts.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 05:35 PM
I got one too: only bad things happen quickly. Good things always take time. (But not this much time dammit!)

I got one too! I got one too! Life sucks and then you die.

Er, wait. I'll keep trying!

Ocean
01-20-2010, 06:10 PM
I don't think Obama's an idiot or a sellout or a secret conservative spy, but if he's shooting down just passing the bill this week in favor of something else then something else had better be good.

I have the same sentiment. Better be very good... and I hope the administration gives a rationale for their actions other than giving in to Republican nonsense.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 06:42 PM
I have the same sentiment. Better be very good... and I hope the administration gives a rationale for their actions other than giving in to Republican nonsense.

The problem is that the Democrats can't be made to all act in unison, the way Congressional Republicans can. If we could somehow realistically expect all, or virtually all, Democrats to march in lockstep following direction from a Leader, like Republicans, it might be worth the energy to now demand Democrats pass health care reform. But Democrats are too "independent" for that; each one has his or her own mind; they all think for themselves. This is, of course, the strength of the liberal personality. But it tends to have certain disadvantages when it comes to coalition politics.

It's rather ironic that voters in Massachusetts who call themselves "independents" have just voted for a Republican who will be anything but independent. Scott Brown will march in unthinking lockstep following the nihilist wingnut playbook.

We just have to accept right now that health care is dead. Despite the obvious fact that letting health care die will be destructive to the party's interests, there's no changing the nature of the Democratic Party. The best we can hope for, IMO, is the "bits and pieces" strategy Wonderment described.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm surprised by all the calls from the progressive community today for the Democrats to "just do it!" and pass HCR. I don't know how they cannot see the writing on the wall: The Republican Death Panel killed health care and have realized their big wish to deny health care to the underprivileged.

Ocean
01-20-2010, 06:53 PM
The problem is that the Democrats can't be made to all act in unison, the way Congressional Republicans can. If we could somehow realistically expect all, or virtually all, Democrats to march in lockstep following direction from a Leader, like Republicans, it might be worth the energy to now demand Democrats pass health care reform. But Democrats are too "independent" for that; each one has his or her own mind; they all think for themselves. This is, of course, the strength of the liberal personality. But it tends to have certain disadvantages when it comes to coalition politics.

The Democratic Party should send a strong, clear message that there are times when independence has to be toned down to allow for coalition building. They shouldn't wait until there is this degree of chaos. It has to be a work of routine coordination. It's frustrating that they don't get it.


We just have to accept right now that health care is dead.

No, it's way too early and too pessimistic to say that.

Despite the obvious fact that letting health care die will be destructive to the party's interests, there's no changing the nature of the Democratic Party. The best we can hope for, IMO, is the "bits and pieces" strategy Wonderment described.

I wouldn't give up so soon.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm surprised by all the calls from the progressive community today for the Democrats to "just do it!" and pass HCR. I don't know how they cannot see the writing on the wall: The Republican Death Panel killed health care and have realized their big wish to deny health care to the underprivileged.

I hope you are wrong too. I'm sure you don't mind...

claymisher
01-20-2010, 07:07 PM
I hope I'm wrong, but I'm surprised by all the calls from the progressive community today for the Democrats to "just do it!" and pass HCR. I don't know how they cannot see the writing on the wall: The Republican Death Panel killed health care and have realized their big wish to deny health care to the underprivileged.

I don't think that's the case. The had 58-60 votes before and after the death panel tantrums. The best they were ever going to get was Grassley and the Mainers and while the smear campaign didn't help it didn't really make much difference.

I think just about every honest person can say Obama tried the bipartisan thing. Unless Snowe comes out as a decent person in the next day or so I think it's time to declare total fucking war on the Republicans at the state of the union address. It's that or surrender. They've got nothing to lose by fighting.

This is what Obama told the caucus back in the fall -- that we go up together or we go down together -- and it's even clearer now.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 07:13 PM
I don't think that's the case. The had 58-60 votes before and after the death panel tantrums. The best they were ever going to get was Grassley and the Mainers and while the smear campaign didn't help it didn't really make much difference.

I think just about every honest person can say Obama tried the bipartisan thing. Unless Snowe comes out as a decent person in the next day or so I think it's time to declare total fucking war on the Republicans at the state of the union address. It's that or surrender. They've got nothing to lose by fighting.

This is what Obama told the caucus back in the fall -- that we go up together or we go down together -- and it's even clearer now.

Please keep emailing those last two paragraphs to the White House until the Secret Service tells you to stop.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:15 PM
The Democratic Party should send a strong, clear message that there are times when independence has to be toned down to allow for coalition building. They shouldn't wait until there is this degree of chaos. It has to be a work of routine coordination. It's frustrating that they don't get it.
I could not agree more. The problem is that the Democratic Party is almost inherently incapable of sending a strong, clear message with a unified voice, because they really aren't all that unified.

We saw this play out over and over again throughout the 20th century: Even when the Democrats had massive majorities, the liberal coalition has always been a minority. There's a powerful illusion that the Democrats are the liberal party and the Republicans are the conservative Party. But in truth, liberals only make up a fraction of the Democratic Party, and it has been thus for a very long time.

Even at times of a Democratic majority in Congress, there is still a conservative majority in Congress. This is a big part of what so frustrates progressives, who tend not to understand the subtleties and take their rage out on the whole party, instead of trying to improve it.

The source of the problem is that corporations have enormous influence over both parties. We saw this just last year with the health care debate: Even with 60 Democrats, massive concessions to corporate interests were necessary to .... still lose.

Last night's election certainly won't change the calculus to the minority liberal coalition's advantage. It will weaken them massively, and bring the two parties closer together.

The nature of the United States is broad public support for a liberal agenda that is constantly stymied by monied interests. This is how the country was designed by the founders, and it's how it operates still.

James Madison:

The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, — when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.

We can't fix the problem until we understand it. We need to be honest about the structural impediments to democracy (http://www.amazon.com/Rules-America-Politics-Social-Change/dp/0072876255) that prevail in this nation.





I hope you are wrong too. I'm sure you don't mind...
Not at all. I always value your thoughtful insight.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 07:19 PM
The thing is that Republicans are still massively unpopular! Congressional Democratic are still more popular than they are. And Obama's popularity is still pretty high, especially considering the shitty economy. They've got the power, they just need to use it.

I see Barney's walked back his freakout, and the teaser for Obama's ABC interview was misrepresented. I feel dumb for jumping on that one. I'm the guy who's always telling people to ignore the villager bullshit ("White House abandons public option!!!11!").

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:26 PM
I think it's time to declare total fucking war on the Republicans at the state of the union address.
I'm with you 100%.

I wanted to start a thread asking you and the other smart people in this forum how they think Obama should handle the State of the Union. Should he be conciliatory? Combative?

I already said what I think he should do: List the negative consequences of the defeat of health care, including tens of thousands dead and dying of untreated disease, and then with a sweep of his arm point to the Republican coalition in the chamber and say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the real death panel."

He should just call them out right to their face as the death panel that sealed the fate for thousands of unlucky Americans.

But he won't. I'll bet 4:1 odds he'll come out being super conciliatory.

What we're about to learn now is whether Obama's bipartisan approach was a strategy, or a feature of his personality he can't change even when circumstances demand it. I fear it's the latter.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:29 PM
By the way, I'll go on the record now and predict teabagging town hall antics from the Republicans at the State of the Union. They might exercise some restraint, knowing that they're in the driver's seat*, but I expect teabagging town hall antics. I would not be surprised by chants (or signs) of "Waterloo" and other raucously demonstrative behavior.

* Village Voice headline: "Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate"

claymisher
01-20-2010, 07:50 PM
I'm with you 100%.

I wanted to start a thread asking you and the other smart people in this forum how they think Obama should handle the State of the Union. Should he be conciliatory? Combative?

I already said what I think he should do: List the negative consequences of the defeat of health care, including tens of thousands dead and dying of untreated disease, and then with a sweep of his arm point to the Republican coalition in the chamber and say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the real death panel."

He should just call them out right to their face as the death panel that sealed the fate for thousands of unlucky Americans.

But he won't. I'll bet 4:1 odds he'll come out being super conciliatory.

What we're about to learn now is whether Obama's bipartisan approach was a strategy, or a feature of his personality he can't change even when circumstances demand it. I fear it's the latter.

One thing we know is they're not out of touch. WH staffers are like everybody else -- they read TPM, Kos, Ezra Klein, etc. They know where the base is at. Another thing we know is that Obama is not dumb. And even though he doesn't use it much, he can do tough. So I'd take those 4:1 odds.

I just got a text from OFA (that's Obama HQ). Conference call in a hour "to hear what's next." It'd had better be "Nothing is over until we decide it is."

Inspired by the reports on TPM of people calling Barney Frank and getting into a back-and-forth I called my (reliably liberal) Rep today to see if he was for just passing the Senate bill. I was I was glad to get redirected from the operator to a staffer. I asked if they'd been getting a lot of calls. She said they had, today from people who wanted the bill passed but last week from people who wanted it killed because it wasn't liberal enough! She said the office didn't know where the Rep stood yet, that everything was still up in the air, and that we'll have to see what happens. I told her that our guy needs to get out and show strength and some leadership and make his safe seat good for something.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:52 PM
I just got a text from OFA (that's Obama HQ). Conference call in a hour "to hear what's next." It'd had better be "Nothing is over until we decide it is."

Dumb question probably, but how do I get in on that?

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:55 PM
She said they had, today from people who wanted the bill passed but last week from people who wanted it killed because it wasn't liberal enough!

Groan. This is one of those structural problems. The Democrats are in reality only about 1/3 — 1/2 liberal, the rest being a kind of corporate conservative. But the party as a whole runs on a liberal platform, making promises to voters that they cannot keep. We keep repeating this cycle: the liberal majority population votes for Democrats, and the Democrats don't deliver because the Congress remains dominated by a conservative majority. The repeated failure to deliver angers and disappoints voters.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 07:58 PM
Groan. This is one of those structural problems. The Democrats are in reality only about 1/3 — 1/2 liberal, the rest being a kind of corporate conservative. But the party as a whole runs on a liberal platform, making promises to voters that they cannot keep. We keep repeating this cycle: the liberal majority population votes for Democrats, and the Democrats don't deliver because the Congress remains dominated by a conservative majority. The repeated failure to deliver angers and disappoints voters.

Glenn Greenwald today (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2010/01/20/left/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+salon%2Fgreenwald+%28Glenn+Gr eenwald%29&utm_content=Google+Reader):

Democrats under Obama (and before) have been doing everything except "governing from the Left." But our political discourse, as usual, is so suffuse with blinding stupidity that this clichéd falsehood -- Democrats have been beholden to the Left -- will take root as Unchallengeable Truth and shape what happens next. That's already happening.

Sully's post that started it here (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/the-gulf.html).

The notion of an "all powerful left" is one of the most damaging myths in American life.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 07:59 PM
Dumb question probably, but how do I get in on that?

PM.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 08:05 PM
Groan. This is one of those structural problems. The Democrats are in reality only about 1/3 — 1/2 liberal, the rest being a kind of corporate conservative. But the party as a whole runs on a liberal platform, making promises to voters that they cannot keep. We keep repeating this cycle: the liberal majority population votes for Democrats, and the Democrats don't deliver because the Congress remains dominated by a conservative majority. The repeated failure to deliver angers and disappoints voters.

Yeah, I'm always telling people that too. When you've only got half a party to work with you gotta be extra smart to make it work.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Political-Ideology-Annual-Trends-1992-2009-1.gif

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 08:20 PM
I've been amazed by the sheer volume of incredibly insightful and interesting commentary on the interwebs today, most of it not written by professionals, but ordinary citizens sending email to Andrew Sullivan, TPM, etc.

But, of everything I've read today, this (http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/01/20/if-you-run-on-republican-obstructionism-you-will-lose/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignSilo+%28Jane+Hamsher+ Campaign+Silo%29) resonates most strongly:

Let me put this as simply as possible. Democrats control everything in Washington right now. They control the White House. They have a huge margins in the House and in the Senate. Democrats have larger margins in both chambers than any party has had for decades. They have zero excuses for failing to deliver. Americans will not find some nonsense about having only 59 Senate seats as an acceptable excuse for failing to accomplish anything. If Democrats think they can win in 2010 by running against Republican obstructionism, they will lose badly.

Not only will Democrats lose badly if they adopt this strategy, but they will be laughed at. Republicans never had 59 Senate seats, and that did not stop them from passing the legislation they wanted. Trying to explain to the American people how, despite controlling everything, Democrats cannot do anything, because a mean minority of 41 Republican senators won’t let them, is a message that will go over like a lead balloon. If you try to use that excuse, people will think elected Democrats are liars, wimps, idiots, or an ineffectual combination of all three.

If there's anything you read today that particularly impressed you, please feel free to share a link.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 08:31 PM
The notion of an "all powerful left" is one of the most damaging myths in American life.

Ann Althouse, fake moderate/actual wingnut, today:

The Democrats have gone way left of the American people, and they need to come back.

And:

[Obama] has been repudiated!

Wonderment
01-20-2010, 08:38 PM
Trying to explain to the American people how, despite controlling everything, Democrats cannot do anything, because a mean minority of 41 Republican senators won’t let them, is a message that will go over like a lead balloon.

This is especially ironic and poignant when you think about how things were when the shoe was (sort of) on the other foot.

In 2003 Dems. had the filibuster power (in fact they had a sliver of a Senate majority) to prevent the worst fiasco in American foreign policy history: Bush's crazed war on Iraq. Twenty-nine Dem. Senators, however, voted for Bush's War Authorization (including, of course, Clinton, Biden and Harry Reid).

Where was the filibuster when we needed it?

Guess who were among the 21 Dem Senators who said "NO" to the Iraq holocaust? Kennedy and Jon Corzine.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 09:17 PM
This is especially ironic and poignant when you think about how things were when the shoe was (sort of) on the other foot.

In 2003 Dems. had the filibuster power (in fact they had a sliver of a Senate majority) to prevent the worst fiasco in American foreign policy history: Bush's crazed war on Iraq. Twenty-nine Dem. Senators, however, voted for Bush's War Authorization (including, of course, Clinton, Biden and Harry Reid).
Yep. This proves the most important point of all: The conservative coalition is always in control, regardless of which party has a majority. The problem is that people can't understand that kind of complexity. They only understand "Democrats = Liberal, Republicans = Conservative," so when Democrats fail to be faithful to a liberal agenda, the voters become disillusioned and resentful. One of the most dangerous and ignorant things you commonly hear is "Democrats are just like the Republicans," a statement made in response to the failure of Democrats to enact truly progressive reform, but crucially overlooking the fact that half the democrats are actually pretty decent. We need to preserve the decent half and replace the conservative half -- but not with Republicans. We need to replace them with actual progressives.

Of course, this is almost impossible because in order to get elected, you need millions of dollars. And to get millions of dollars, you either need to be a member of or supported by the corporate/ruling elite.

The system is rigged.


Where was the filibuster when we needed it?

Guess who were among the 21 Dem Senators who said "NO" to the Iraq holocaust? Kennedy and Jon Corzine.
Depressing.

And every time we blindly swing our sledge hammer at the Democratic Party, we strengthen the Republicans. Our options are bad with a slight chance of improvement, and horrific. Too many progressives are willing to trade bad for horrific because they are too pure to put up with anything less than nirvana.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 10:22 PM
I think just about every honest person can say Obama tried the bipartisan thing. Unless Snowe comes out as a decent person in the next day or so I think it's time to declare total fucking war on the Republicans at the state of the union address. It's that or surrender. They've got nothing to lose by fighting.

Looks like it's not gonna happen in the SOTU. Or ever.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they say you made a strategic decision to hand over your agenda to democratic leaders in Congress.

OBAMA: Well, let me finish -- let me finish the question. The -- I think that some of it had to do with a sense that the best political strategy was to simply say no. I think part of it had to do with the fact that you've got a lot of old habits and ideological baggage in Congress that have built up over time and people just aren't accustomed to working together. I mean, the Senate is a classic example of an institution that works only if people are talking, listening to each other, giving ground...

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you make that happen?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it is my responsibility to try to reset the tone. And I'm going to have a State of the Union speech and one of my goals, I think, I spoke about this on King's birthday, the fact that I felt disappointed that we had lost some of that sense of common cause that existed a year ago and that I have not been able to change the tone here in Washington. I am going to keep on trying though. And the reason I'm going to keep on trying is, because if we can't do that, if all that's taken place back and forth between the parties is vitriol and accusations, then what's going to end up happening is that we're going to just keep on in a direction in which families are losing ground and they become further and further disenchanted with the possibilities of politics and government can solve any problems whatsoever.

I think the bipartisan tactic was the right call in 2009. If he'd picked up three or four Senate Republicans he could have cranked out the stimulus, health care, energy/climate change, immigration, and education. And driven the Republicans insane to boot. But it didn't happen. The Democrats failed to create enough home-state pressure to force the Republican moderates out (we have the right-wing to thank for Specter). It's time for plan B.

They could still divide the right on issues like banking reforms but I'd like to see this happen a lot sooner, like next week.

bjkeefe
01-20-2010, 10:41 PM
Yeah, I'm always telling people that too. When you've only got half a party to work with you gotta be extra smart to make it work.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Political-Ideology-Annual-Trends-1992-2009-1.gif

I know you know this, but just for the record ... A lot of what that chart shows is nothing more than the right-wing noise machine having successfully made "liberal" into a bad word. Fact is, by any reasonable definition of "liberal," far more people than 1/5 of the population are in favor of most standard liberal policy objectives, and further, would not dream of giving up almost any liberal policy accomplishments.

claymisher
01-20-2010, 10:46 PM
Not only will Democrats lose badly if they adopt this strategy, but they will be laughed at. Republicans never had 59 Senate seats, and that did not stop them from passing the legislation they wanted. Trying to explain to the American people how, despite controlling everything, Democrats cannot do anything, because a mean minority of 41 Republican senators won’t let them, is a message that will go over like a lead balloon. If you try to use that excuse, people will think elected Democrats are liars, wimps, idiots, or an ineffectual combination of all three.

Republicans had to use reconciliation for the 2001 tax cuts. That's why they expire this year. They couldn't get Social Security privatization out of committee. They did succeed invading Iraq. That's all the did with their power - invade Iraq and goodies for rich people. No conservative achievements at all. That's part of why their base is so mad.

Back when we had white supremacy, segregation, and the four-party system (David Broder's golden age) it was easy for cross party coalitions to form. For the first time in at least a hundred years (I don't know shit about the 1800s) we have real partisan politics. And now it's next to impossible to get anything done. In December the Senate spent a week overriding three filibusters 60-40 to pass an unemployment extension. The final vote? 97-0. This is a broken system.

But yeah, the Democrats in Congress could be doing a lot better.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 11:00 PM
Back when we had white supremacy, segregation, and the four-party system (David Broder's golden age) it was easy for cross party coalitions to form.

I agree with everything you said, but maintain that the liberal-labor coalition was always a minority, even during periods of large Democratic majorities, because it was opposed by a larger coalition of southern conservative Democrats and northern Republicans.

So - what are the four parties you're describing, and when is the timeframe that these four parties were operational? I can think of all sorts of different coalitions over the past century, but am not sure who you might be counting as the fourth party, assuming the first three are Democrats, Republicans, and Dixiecrats.

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Republicans had to use reconciliation for the 2001 tax cuts. That's why they expire this year. They couldn't get Social Security privatization out of committee. They did succeed invading Iraq. That's all the did with their power - invade Iraq and goodies for rich people. No conservative achievements at all. That's part of why their base is so mad.
Well, there was FISA, the PATRIOT ACT, the establishment of the Dept. of Homeland Security, with the crucial provision that employees of the department be denied the opportunity to join a union. There was prescription drug reform, and NCLB. All the authorizations and reauthorizations of billions for war. I've blocked most of the rest of it out.

kezboard
01-20-2010, 11:20 PM
Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, waspy Northeastern Republicans, and the rest of the Republicans?

TwinSwords
01-20-2010, 11:51 PM
Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, waspy Northeastern Republicans, and the rest of the Republicans?

Yeah, I was going to guess maybe the waspy northeastern Republicans, too. But then there's the Western libertarians. The Urban Democrats. The Labor Democrats.

Wonderment
01-21-2010, 12:35 AM
Of course, this is almost impossible because in order to get elected, you need millions of dollars. And to get millions of dollars, you either need to be a member of or supported by the corporate/ruling elite.

The system is rigged.

Campaign finance reform (aka fair elections) is arguably the most important political issue in the nation. Not only would it drastically reduce special interests' clout, but also it would give the public servants time to engage in activities besides constant fund-raising (e.g., reading the bills that become law).

Of course, nowadays it's not even remotely on the table, since we have such important things to do like HCR.

claymisher
01-21-2010, 01:07 AM
I've been amazed by the sheer volume of incredibly insightful and interesting commentary on the interwebs today

Me too.

John Cohn crystallized my thoughts exactly (http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-treatment/the-day-after):

If you’ve been a Democrat for more than two or three years, disappointment with your leaders is something that comes rather naturally. From the 1970s until well into the previous decade, the party produced presidents and presidential candidates like Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. These men weren’t lovable losers. They were just losers. Even the lone winner among them--Bill Clinton--famously and infamously found ways to disappoint.

But then Barack Obama came along. And for the first time, at least in my memory, Democrats had a leader who consistently outsmarted not just his opponents but his supporters as well. Over and over again in the 2008 campaign, those of us rooting for him would panic over his strategy. Over and over again, Obama proved us wrong. He had an uncanny ability to block out the noise and confound Beltway perceptions, to ignore the ups and downs of the news cycle in order to pursue broader goals. Even for me, somebody who generally resisted the Obama kook-aid, it was something to behold. ...

This cool demeanor became his trademark and, eventually, supporters took to emailing around a photoshop image every time political trouble appeared. If you're on a progressive mailing list, chances are you saw it a few dozen times--a picture of Obama giving a speech, with the caption “Everybody Chill the F*** Out. I’ve Got This.”

... But if health care reform is to be salvaged--and, I'll be honest, I'm not terribly optimistic right now--it will take something more. It's going to take the president showing the resolve and leadership that got him elected. The last 36 hours have made me doubt that he will. But, lord knows, he's proven me wrong before. Maybe he'll do it again.


This is the first time since January 2008 that I've had any worries about Obama's leadership.

claymisher
01-21-2010, 01:17 AM
Quoted in full from the indispensable Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32915):
Those of you who feel confident to let Democrats play n-dimensional chess on health care need to read Josh Marshall’s front page. No particular post, just scan the whole thing from bottom to top. The message from all over DC is that Dems have no idea what to do right now. They’re terrified and adrift. This idea that leaders are calmly pushing pieces around a sand table is insane.

Take Barney Frank. Last night he declared that the whole enchilada was cooked and we might as well give up. That’s like a startled alpha deer running into a tree and knocking itself out. Way to lead the herd. Frank defended himself repeatedly to baffled constituents and then he walked the story back almost a full day later. If Frank is one of our best, I hate to imagine how the rest of our caucus feels.

Don’t call a Congressperson because he or she will turn around and do what we say (if you’re new at this, they won’t). We should call because the caucus will meet tomorrow and probably a few more times after that, and then the Democratic majority will have a plan. Maybe the plan will involve fighting like hell to get HCR done before some other stupid thing happens, but it seems a little Charlie Brownish to feel confident about Dems doing anything that productive. If Reps show up buzzing about noisy supporters demanding HCR then we stand a slightly better chance than if they show up dwelling on their usual phobias turned up to eleven.

At least that’s my view. Small chance of having a meaningful impact, etc. etc.. At least it vents the frustration better than yelling at pseudonyms on an internetblog.

I called my Rep today too, and drift was definitely the vibe on the other end. Aux barricades! (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32868)

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 01:27 AM
Quoted in full from the indispensable Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32915):

... need to read Josh Marshall’s front page. No particular post, just scan the whole thing from bottom to top. ...

Which did provide a small bit of comic relief:

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 01:43 AM
Also, if you've been following Balloon Juice, you probably already saw this, but just in case not: Grown-up, making sense. (http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2010/01/20/i-have-no-leadership-i-must-scream/)

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 09:21 AM
I would go for the bits and pieces. If Dems. can come to the American voter and say, "We abolished "pre-existing conditions" and "We brought dramatically improved eligibility requirements to the poor," they would have a couple of accomplishments. Keep it simple.

I wouldn't. I'd go for "One lousy vote. One lousy, stinking roll call vote." (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022012.php)

More along the same lines, also from Steve Benen: "Reform doesn't work piecemeal (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022024.php)."

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 10:25 AM
Sometimes you just have to steal the whole thing (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/the-underpants-gnomes-theory-of-reform/):

The Underpants Gnomes Theory Of Reform

Watching some liberal members of the House explain why they won’t do what’s necessary, and pass the Senate bill, I was wondering what they imagine will happen. Then the answer came to me: it’s the Underpants Gnomes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underpants_Gnomes) business plan. In its original form this was:

1. Collect underpants.
2. ?????
3. Profit!

The current version is:

1. Reject the only bill that can be enacted any time soon.
2. ?????
3. Universal coverage!

Sigh.

(h/t: JC (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32933))

popcorn_karate
01-21-2010, 11:15 AM
Obama...can do tough..

how about 1 example?

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 11:51 AM
Lying about who he is, in other words.

Apparently, this is a chronic (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2010/01/follow-up-on-latest-lying-or-stupid.html) condition.

Wonderment
01-21-2010, 02:58 PM
Pause.... reflect.... pause...reflect

WASHINGTON (AP) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she lacks the votes to quickly move the Senate's sweeping health overhaul bill through the House, a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama's signature issue.

Pelosi, D-Calif., made the comment to reporters after House Democrats held a closed-door meeting at which participants vented frustration with the Senate's massive version of the legislation.

Her concession meant there was little hope for a White House-backed plan to quickly push the Senate-approved health bill through the House, followed by a separate measure making changes sought by House members, such as easing the Senate's tax on higher-cost health plans. Such an approach would be "problematic," she said.

"In its present form without any changes I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," Pelosi said, adding, "I don't see the votes for it at this time."

Pelosi's remarks signaled that advancing health legislation through Congress will likely be a lengthy process—despite Democrats' desire for a quick election-year pivot to address jobs and the economy, which polls show are the public's top concern.

"We're not in a big rush," Pelosi said. "Pause, reflect."

uncle ebeneezer
01-21-2010, 05:08 PM
Added From Ezra (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/did_nancy_pelosi_just_declare.html):

Did Nancy Pelosi just declare health care dead?
"I don't see the votes for [passing the Senate bill] at this time," she said. If the pressure eases now, it's hard to see the votes emerging at some later time. And if the House backs off now, it's impossible to imagine the Senate stepping in to pick up the slack.

To appreciate what's happened over the past few days, imagine if all Democrats had read from the same hymnal and responded to Scott Brown's election with a low-key "it's a shame Martha Coakley ran such a bad campaign, but health-care reform is on the 1 yard line and we're not turning back now." Brown's victory would have been as big story, but not a cataclysm for the Democrats' legislative agenda. Instead, Democrats have decided to act as if they're in the minority for the next year and will actually become the minority in 2010.

Update Reading Pelosi's comments in full, that line is being ripped out of context a bit. It reads more like she's arguing the Senate bill will need to be changed in order to pass, which is a pretty normal stance right now. "We have to get a bill passed," she said. "we know that. That's a predicate that we all subscribe to."

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 07:19 PM
Pause.... reflect.... pause...reflect

Following up on uncle eb's response (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=147502#post147502), I'll add that it's very naive to take statements like Pelosi's at face value. As should be obvious to anyone who has followed the sausage-making over the past year, it's clear that smart politicians say things like this all the time purely as a way of gaining or retaining leverage.

But speaking of p-ing (and r-ing), I urge you to read Hendrik Hertzberg's post, "Beware of Sudden Downdrafts (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2010/01/beware-of-sudden-downdrafts.html)."

cragger
01-21-2010, 08:15 PM
Republicans ... They did succeed invading Iraq. That's all the did with their power - invade Iraq and goodies for rich people. No conservative achievements at all.

All? Not counting stacking the Supreme court with idealogues, trashing what was left of the Fourth Ammendment by standardizing warrantless government eavsdropping, dumping Habeus Corpus, pushing forward the imperial "unitary executive", turning the USA into a torturing nation, establishment of the new "Department of Internal Security', or ... ?

bjkeefe
01-21-2010, 08:16 PM
All? Not counting stacking the Supreme court with idealogues, trashing what was left of the Fourth Ammendment by standardizing warrantless government eavsdropping, dumping Habeus Corpus, pushing forward the imperial "unitary executive", turning the USA into a torturing nation, establishment of the new "Department of Internal Security', or ... ?

It would be nice to think, possibly excepting the first in your list, that those are not actually conservative principles. At least, I have always thought so.

[Added] (This is why I insist on using the term wingnut: to differentiate.)

Wonderment
01-21-2010, 08:36 PM
Whether yesterday’s upset in Massachusetts turns out to be a catastrophe or merely a setback now depends largely on the grown-upness, or lack of it, of liberals in the House of Representatives.

Fantastic that "liberals" are getting blamed for the HCR debacle. No surprise, since the left has been blamed every step of the way, while the right has, in fact, ruined everything.

Republicans obstructed HCR consistently, framing the issue to inflame their rabid base with noise about abortions, "illegals," death panels and socialism.

Democrats caved in to placate the Repubs and then blackmailed the administration for pork in return for votes.

McCain-supporting and right-wing Dems. like Lieberman sucker-punched the compromisers.

Then a coalition of Republicans, Independents and wavering Dems. elected a torture-supporting non-entity to a real liberal's former seat in the Senate, at which point the Dems. all jumped even farther rightward and the Republicans declared victory.

Now it's all the fault of progressive Congress members. Yah, they really need to grow up.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 12:08 AM
Fantastic that "liberals" are getting blamed for the HCR debacle. No surprise, since the left has been blamed every step of the way, while the right has, in fact, ruined everything.

Republicans obstructed HCR consistently, framing the issue to inflame their rabid base with noise about abortions, "illegals," death panels and socialism.

Democrats caved in to placate the Repubs and then blackmailed the administration for pork in return for votes.

McCain-supporting and right-wing Dems. like Lieberman sucker-punched the compromisers.

Then a coalition of Republicans, Independents and wavering Dems. elected a torture-supporting non-entity to a real liberal's former seat in the Senate, at which point the Dems. all jumped even farther rightward and the Republicans declared victory.

Now it's all the fault of progressive Congress members. Yah, they really need to grow up.

Yes, they do. Because what happened, and what the game was like throughout, is reality. Your assessment about who's to blame is correct, but that doesn't change where we're at. The libs/progs fought the good fight, but they (by which I mean we) don't have the clout to get a better outcome. The question now is, given that what's done is done, will liberals in the House take the best that can be salvaged?

If you like, you can think of it as liberals being the only grownups in this whole sorry mess. Provided they swallow hard and vote for the bill.

NB: If you want to stand on principle and say the Senate bill is so bad that it's worse than nothing at all, fine. I don't agree with that assessment, but I won't call it childish to stand on that principle. However, I will call it not being a grownup to pretend that there's any other realistic way out of the situation we're in right now. The choice is the Senate bill, for now, or nothing at all, for a good long while. And that includes your earlier proposal that we go for bits and pieces -- the obstructionists will block anything of that form, one bill right after another, and if you want to say that some of it can be slipped through via reconciliation, then I will say pass the big bill now and tweak it using that same approach.

(This is of course based on the assumption that there aren't going to be any Senators changing from nay to aye now that Brown has been elected.)

Unit
01-22-2010, 12:54 AM
I'll offer my suggestion to the Dems: looks like going all-out statist didn't work out. What if the MA vote is a vote against big-govt? In that case, maybe try and go back to "market solutions". The GOP can't do free-markets, so show everyone that you can! (..might win some votes in Nov.)

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 12:55 AM
[...]

P.S. When even Jim Newell is being serious (http://wonkette.com/413314/413314) ...

VENTING ALERT

AN ABBREVIATED PEP TALK: “The reform campaign Health Care for America Now has taken stock of the week’s events, and have a simple message for Democrats: As leadership, and leading members and labor groups are suggesting, pass the Senate health care bill, tie it to a separate bill enacting key fixes. But more importantly: Get it done. Now.” FAP to that. Stop breaking it into complex political implications and PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM. You will lose many seats in November regardless of what you do. But right now you have the power to pass sweeping legislation that would help a significant amount of people. It is real power and it is right in front of you. Pick it up. You’ve already voted for it. Have the confidence that you can and will defend it. Anything else will just amplify the madness. [TPM (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/leading-health-care-group-to-democrats-get-it-done-now.php)]

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 01:26 AM
Journamalism! (http://www.eschatonblog.com/2010/01/journamalism.html)

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/duncanblack/metrofail.jpg

Hate to think what they'd be saying if they weren't the liberal media.

(h/t: Steve Benen (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022038.php))

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:34 AM
Journamalism! (http://www.eschatonblog.com/2010/01/journamalism.html)

Hate to think what they'd be saying if they weren't the liberal media.

Speaking of which, Hitch and Hewitt (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2010/01/jibber-and-jabber.html) apparently discussed this dead parrot (America), too.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:47 AM
P.S. When even Jim Newell is being serious (http://wonkette.com/413314/413314) ...

Which means (thanks to Journolist) that PK will be, too. Here are some excerpts.

Do the Right Thing

A message to House Democrats: This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history.

Tuesday’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election means that Democrats can’t send a modified health care bill back to the Senate. That’s a shame because the bill that would have emerged from House-Senate negotiations would have been better than the bill the Senate has already passed. But the Senate bill is much, much better than nothing. And all that has to happen to make it law is for the House to pass the same bill, and send it to President Obama’s desk.

[...]

Some are urging Democrats to scale back their proposals in the hope of gaining Republican support. But anyone who thinks that would work must have spent the past year living on another planet.

The fact is that the Senate bill is a centrist document, which moderate Republicans should find entirely acceptable. In fact, it’s very similar to the plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts just a few years ago. Yet it has faced lock-step opposition from the G.O.P., which is determined to prevent Democrats from achieving any successes. Why would this change now that Republicans think they’re on a roll?

Alternatively, some call for breaking the health care plan into pieces so that the Senate can vote the popular pieces into law. But anyone who thinks that would work hasn’t paid attention to the actual policy issues.

Think of health care reform as being like a three-legged stool. You would, rightly, ridicule anyone who proposed saving money by leaving off one or two of the legs. Well, those who propose doing only the popular pieces of health care reform deserve the same kind of ridicule. Reform won’t work unless all the essential pieces are in place.

[...]

Finally, some Democrats want to just give up on the whole thing.

That would be an act of utter political folly. It wouldn’t protect Democrats from charges that they voted for “socialist” health care — remember, both houses of Congress have already passed reform. All it would do is solidify the public perception of Democrats as hapless and ineffectual.

And anyway, politics is supposed to be about achieving something more than your own re-election. America desperately needs health care reform; it would be a betrayal of trust if Democrats fold simply because they hope (wrongly) that this would slightly reduce their losses in the midterm elections.

[...]

Ladies and gentlemen, the nation is waiting. Stop whining, and do what needs to be done.

Read the whole thing. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/opinion/22krugman.html)

P.S. Apparently, we're calling him K-Thug (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33034) now. Shrill! FTW.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 03:27 AM
A Balloon Juice comment bumped up (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=32972) by JC (emph. added):

I’m not an “activist” in the classic sense of the term, and I don’t have my own blog. I am not a bagger of any kind, Tea or Fire. I am a professional political operative in Washington DC who tries to elect Democrats for a living. I have spent many late nights and many early mornings working for people and causes I believed in, and I’ve moved to faraway cities away from my friends and loved ones for low pay in order to get people elected who I thought at the very least shared my instincts for moving the country forward.

And if the House doesn’t pass health care, modified in reconciliation or not, because Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley, I am fucking done. That is it. To see my party abandon the most important domestic goal of the past fifty-odd years right as it sits on the one-yard line because Blue Dogs took a fraidy-pee and progressives took a snit is more than I frankly can handle. It’s awful to feel as if my professional and personal commitments have been so cavalierly pissed on because of overreaction to some colossal stiff beating a shitty candidate in my home state.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 11:35 AM
But if Dems don’t pass reform, they will never have a chance to sell a completed package to the public — and to try to convince the public that they were right, and Republicans were wrong. People will never have a chance to decide that their fears about reform were unwarranted.

Not passing reform won’t stop Republicans from attacking Dems for trying to jam an unpopular bill down the public’s throat. And failure would give Republicans more ammo, not less. It would allow the GOP to take credit for blocking the proposal, to present itself as an effective and relevant opposition, and to paint Dems — accurately — as ineffective and unable to lead.

And look: It’s hardly surprising that passing reform would start to look insurmountably difficult with the finish line coming into view. Health care reform was never supposed to be easy, politically or substantively.

I'll interject to remind people of Obama's exhortation in late October -- those holding power never give it up willingly.

And now back to our blockquoting.

[...]

The choice for Dems: Either you get a thousand news articles about the new law, or a thousand news articles about how hapless and ineffective you are.

(source (http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/poll-majority-of-americans-independents-included-want-congress-to-suspend-reform/) | via (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022045.php))

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 12:36 PM
Here's another political reality (http://mediamattersaction.org/blog/201001220003) (via Adam Serwer (http://twitter.com/AdamSerwer/status/8076937848)):

According to new data released by Public Policy Polling (http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/01/direction-of-gop.html), "only 19% of voters in the country are happy with the direction of the Republican Party, compared to 56% who are unhappy with it." Among independents, a whopping 58% believe the GOP is headed in the wrong direction.

Is the GOP back? Not even close.

You think the bunnies, which is my polite name for the Dems in Congress, can wrap their heads around this?

claymisher
01-22-2010, 12:58 PM
Here's another political reality (http://mediamattersaction.org/blog/201001220003) (via Adam Serwer (http://twitter.com/AdamSerwer/status/8076937848)):



You think the bunnies, which is my polite name for the Dems in Congress, can wrap their heads around this?

That is a very good point.

JBern --

But...it's not just a time for patience. It's also a time for action, for liberals who support reform. It is absolutely critical that Congressional liberals realize that the thing to do to please liberal activists and to keep their reputation as good liberals intact is to pass the bill. Look at Raul Grijalva -- he needs to know that liberals want him to get a bill through. If he refuses, he's going to be looked at the way that liberals look at Ralph Nader in 2000, as the lowest of the low. This is a case where activists, I'm certain, can actually make a difference. Grijalva wants to be a progressive hero; activists need to tell him that the way to do that now is to cut the best deal possible in terms of assurances about a reconciliation patch, but then to accept victory and pass the Senate bill. And that's true down the line. If you support reform, this is the time to call one's Member of the House and tell him or her to get it done, to bring up and pass the Senate bill. If you have a liberal blog and support reform, put away the recriminations and the panic, and make it very clear that the House can salvage everything if they pass the Senate bill. There are lots of times where there isn't much the grass roots can do (grass roots liberals can't get Ben Nelson to act like a liberal, and have no leverage on Joe Lieberman at all). This, however, is a situation in which activism should be able to affect outcomes.

Patience and action. Yes, it's a tough week for liberals, but they should buck up and get it done.
http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/01/patienceaction.html

Pelosi pretty much has from now through December to pass the Senate bill. She can lose up to 40 Democratic votes in the House and still pass it. I'm pretty sure Pelosi really, really, really wants it. It's not hopeless.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:41 PM
Happy Friday, liberal weenies! Or should I say “suicidally depressing Friday,” because all of you are almost certainly suicidally depressed, what with the naked Republican Ted Kennedies and the coming corporate control of all elections and the bankruptcy of your precious liberal radio station! Anyway, like your liberal weenie foreparents, you will respond to this setback as you have with all others: by sulkily claiming that you’re going to move to some more enlightened Foreign country. But of course, you’ll never actually do this, because it would be hard, and involve improving on those two years of Spanish you took in high school ...

;) (http://wonkette.com/413322/revenge-of-the-wrath-of-the-return-of-the-foreigns#ixzz0dN77hAZX) (<-- linkie winkie)

(? (http://www.amazon.com/Wait-Dont-Canada-Stay-Fight/dp/1594863962/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1))

uncle ebeneezer
01-22-2010, 02:49 PM
More in this vein. (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/01/galston-onward.php)

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 02:52 PM
More in this vein. (http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/01/galston-onward.php)

Ooooo, that's a good one. Thanks for passing along the link.

Everybody else: plz reed.

Ocean
01-22-2010, 05:09 PM
;) (http://wonkette.com/413322/revenge-of-the-wrath-of-the-return-of-the-foreigns#ixzz0dN77hAZX) (<-- linkie winkie)

(? (http://www.amazon.com/Wait-Dont-Canada-Stay-Fight/dp/1594863962/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1))

Talking about foreign cartoons... (http://keyword.wikispaces.com/file/view/mafalda-bio-page-en.gif/52056739/mafalda-bio-page-en.gif)

uncle ebeneezer
01-22-2010, 05:17 PM
For the lazy people, the $ quote:

The public has views on the “Obama health care plan.” And 59 out of 59 Democratic incumbent Senators voted for the Obama health care plan. And 218 Democratic House incumbents voted for the Obama health care plan. This plan does not poll well today. And if the narrative about the plan in the media becomes a narrative of failure, all about why Obamacare went down, it will poll even worse. And this plan has unpopular elements, and it has elements that can—and will—be portrayed in a misleadingly negative light. And all this is already baked into the cake. The votes cannot be untaken. But it is still possible to (a) accomplish something for the American people, (b) at least have a chance at turning the narrative around, and (c) avoid demoralizing those people who do like the health care plan.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 05:55 PM
Hey, wait a minute. Isn't this gutless assclown (http://wonkette.com/413337/chris-dodd-has-a-great-new-terrible-idea-for-health-care) already on record as planning to flee like a bunny instead of running for reelection? Why yes he is (http://www.chrisdodd.com/blog/main/2010/01/06/my-announcement)!

So then why is he still trying his level best to kill HCR when he (1) voted for the Senate bill and (2) has nothing to lose by doing the right thing (sticking to his vote)?

He IS from Connecticut. They DO have a lot of insurance companies there. He WILL be looking for a job come next January.

In conclusion (metaphorically (http://www.icanhasmotivation.com/grenades-see-that-guy-fuck-him-and-everyone-near-him/), people, please):

http://www.icanhasmotivation.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/grenades.jpg

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 11:06 PM
From TPM (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/01/nadler_speaks.php):

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) released a statement today in which, broadly speaking, he endorses passing the Senate bill along with a separate amending bill which would pass the senate through reconciliation and passing yet another bill which would pass other popular reforms later in the year. Details and emphasis are important. So I'd recommend reading what he says word for word, after the jump ...

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued the following statement on the current status of health care reform in the U.S. Congress:

"As Speaker Pelosi has said, the House of Representatives does not have the votes to pass the Senate health care bill alone. It is clear that the great majority of the House Democratic Caucus - right, left and center - is unwilling to pass the Senate bill as it stands. But we must not let this fact, or the election results in Massachusetts, cause us to abandon comprehensive health care reform.

"We must instead negotiate an agreement with the Senate to pass a few key changes to the Senate bill through the reconciliation process so that both Houses can pass a comprehensive bill. We can then take various popular insurance reforms that cannot be passed through the reconciliation process - dealing with such subjects as pre-existing conditions, rescissions and annual and lifetime benefits - put them in a separate bill, and see if the Republicans dare to filibuster them. The alternatives - giving up on comprehensive reform or attempting to only pass small pieces separately - are either unacceptable or impractical.

"Though the process of crafting and passing health care legislation has been frustrating and disappointing for many of us, we still have a rare opportunity to enact true reform, and we must not give up."



Via Tim F. (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33112), whose post is worth a look for the updates.

Wonderment
01-22-2010, 11:35 PM
We can then take various popular insurance reforms that cannot be passed through the reconciliation process - dealing with such subjects as pre-existing conditions, rescissions and annual and lifetime benefits - put them in a separate bill, and see if the Republicans dare to filibuster them.

Smart move.

claymisher
01-22-2010, 11:37 PM
From TPM (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/01/nadler_speaks.php):



Via Tim F. (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33112), whose post is worth a look for the updates.

This is very good news.

Btw, this is the sidecar strategy Mark Schmitt was talking about back in July (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=3595). I keep telling you guys, Schmitt is the smartest guy around.

bjkeefe
01-22-2010, 11:56 PM
This is very good news.

Btw, this is the sidecar strategy Mark Schmitt was talking about back in July (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=3595). I keep telling you guys, Schmitt is the smartest guy around.

Oooo. Score. Thanks for the reminder.

bjkeefe
01-23-2010, 06:16 PM
... called your Representative yet? (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33147)

uncle ebeneezer
01-23-2010, 08:23 PM
I was just thinking this last night watching the Schmitt/Gerken diavlog about the SCOTUS decision. For someone who isn't a constitutional attorney he sure asked all the right questions. He's probably got the best overall grasp of politics of anyone here on BhTv (though I'd give slight edges to people like Kleiman, Hurlburt etc. on the policy details level.)

bjkeefe
01-25-2010, 07:55 PM
A bit of encouraging news: An update (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022085.php) from Steve Benen and B'head Mark Kleiman.

bjkeefe
01-25-2010, 08:34 PM
A bit of encouraging news: An update (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_01/022085.php) from Steve Benen and B'head Mark Kleiman.

Related. (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33315)

Note, in particular, the redirect set up from PassTheDamnBill.com (http://passthedamnbill.com/).

claymisher
01-25-2010, 09:42 PM
PTDB is pretty catchy.

If this spending freeze business is for reals (which I doubt) I'm going to lose my shit.

bjkeefe
01-25-2010, 10:58 PM
PTDB is pretty catchy.

Yes. There is also FTDBWR (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33326). Links therein worth following.

If this spending freeze business is for reals (which I doubt) I'm going to lose my shit.

I haven't had time to digest that one yet.

claymisher
01-25-2010, 11:42 PM
Yes. There is also FTDBWR (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=33326). Links therein worth following.

I haven't had time to digest that one yet.

I thought by know everybody would have heard about that George Lakoff "frames" business. When you're getting everybody thinking in terms of spending freezes you're a Republican. This is the single dumbest thing Obama has ever done by far. I don't see the triple-bank-shot/eleven-dimensional-chess angle on that at all. This is just really fucking stupid.

via DeLong:

it would be one thing to offer a short-term discretionary spending freeze (or long-run entitlement caps) in return for fifteen Republican senators signing on to revenue enhancement triggers. It's quite another to negotiate against yourself and in addition attack employment in the short term. The fact that the unemployment rate is projected to remain stable over the next year means that there is a 30% chance it will go down, a 40% chance it will stay about the same, and a 30% chance that it will go up--and whatever it turns out to do, the administration's budget has just given it an extra bump upwards.

Ryan Avent:
(http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2010/01/president_obama_concedes_defeat)
I understand the arguments from supporters of the president that this is a poltical gambit, that it won't actually amount to much but a sound talking point and a tool with which to co-opt the president's moderate antagonists. What's the difference? Seriously. How does the president move from this to any important policy goal? What room does this leave him to deal with either the jobless recovery or the long-run budget deficit?

Through bad times and good times for the president, there was one word I never associated with him and his approach to the challenges facing the country: gimmick. But this is a bright shining gimmick that advertises a lack of seriousness to both near-term economic weakness and long-run budget problems. This is decidedly not what is needed right now. If this is the best the president can do, Democrats, and the country, are in for a very long few years.

bjkeefe
01-25-2010, 11:48 PM
I thought by know everybody would have heard about that George Lakoff "frames" business. When you're getting everybody thinking in terms of spending freezes you're a Republican. This is the single dumbest thing Obama has ever done by far. I don't see the triple-bank-shot/eleven-dimensional-chess angle on that at all. This is just really fucking stupid.

via DeLong:



Ryan Avent:
(http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2010/01/president_obama_concedes_defeat)

That all makes sense, and reflects my initial instinctive reaction. I guess I would just not like to believe it's as obviously bad as it seems at first glance.

claymisher
01-26-2010, 12:03 AM
Hmm. This DeLong commenter has a good point:


diesel mcfadden said (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/01/barack-herbert-hoover-obama.html#comment-6a00e551f080038834012877124a85970c)...
This is a rehash of a previously planned initiative.
In fact, it's spending more than their previous plan!


Details here:
http://alexconant.com/?p=1599
"1) This isn’t news. In the budget proposal that President Obama submitted to Congress last year, his budget office already projected actual cuts and freezes in “non-defense” discretionary spending for the next three years. That’s in part because of the huge increase in that area of spending that the President requested (and received) for the current fiscal year. To be specific: FY2009 (President Bush’s last budget) had $589 billion in non-defense discretionary spending. That number jumped to $687 billion in FY2010 (Obama’s first budget), and then drops to $641 billion in FY2011, $622 billion in FY2012 and $625 billion in FY2013. So for the White House to now boast that it will freeze non-defense discretionary spending is hardly news. If anything, it’s backtracking on its earlier plans to actually cut that area of spending."

See page 8 of http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/summary.pdf


I still hate the rightwing framing of it. Grr.

bjkeefe
01-26-2010, 12:05 AM
Hmm. This DeLong commenter has a good point:


diesel mcfadden said (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/01/barack-herbert-hoover-obama.html#comment-6a00e551f080038834012877124a85970c)...

Thanks for that.

I still hate the rightwing framing of it. Grr.

Yeah. But whaddya gonna do? We're in a 41-59 minority now.

TwinSwords
01-26-2010, 01:57 AM
I still hate the rightwing framing of it. Grr.

I guess I'm starting to accept the fact that we have two parties in this country: A Republican Party, called "the Democrats," and a far-right proto-fascist party, called "the Republicans."

Democrats today are every bit as conservative as Republicans of Nixon's day -- with of course a couple of important exceptions on social issues that have nothing to do with politics per se, but are due to larger cultural forces.

Basically, if you're a conservative, you have to love this system, because you get conservatives no matter which party is in power.

TwinSwords
01-26-2010, 02:10 AM
Rachel Maddow and Jared Bernstein on spending freeze:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOsbsikYEO0
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmOzwM5Juxg


Bernstein needs to win an award for bullshitter of the year.

Here's what this policy proposal will do:

(1) Nothing to win over moderates or conservatives
(2) Further alienate the Democratic base.

Expect Obama's approval rating to be in the 30's within six months.

Apparently the stupid fucking Democrats have decided that they don't want an economic recovery, and the political benefits that come with it, to occur on Obama's watch. The spending freeze is practically calculated to delay economic recovery until after a Republican wins the presidency in a landslide in 2012.

Is someone paying the Democrats to play the fall guy to set up Republicans for a triumphant return to power? Because honestly, it's hard to imagine what they would do different if everything was calculated to bring maximum benefit to Republicans.

claymisher
01-26-2010, 02:19 AM
Noam Scheiber says it's old news and no big deal (http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/obamas-spending-freeze). From last month:

These same liberals and wonks rejoiced when Obama backed job creation. But there is a logic to Orszag’s gambit, which runs roughly as follows: It’s almost certain that Congress will pass, and the president will sign, a jobs bill early next year, probably in the neighborhood of $100 billion to $200 billion. Given that, and given the difficulty of doing anything about the long-term deficit next year, the administration needs some signal to U.S. bondholders that it takes the deficit seriously. Just not so seriously that it undercuts the extra stimulus.

The Orszag approach just might accomplish that. Given the amount of domestic discretionary spending in the federal budget--about $700 billion this fiscal year--we’re talking about cuts of, at most, several tens of billions of dollars if Orszag holds the line on spending (and probably less once Congress weighs in). Which means the cuts wouldn’t come close to offsetting the likely stimulus. But they just might buy some credibility in the bond market, which could defer the day when the real deficit cutting has to start. “It’s a little bit of form over substance,” says Michael Granoff, a money manager who served on the advisory council of the Brookings-based Hamilton Project when Orszag ran it. “But, if you show resolve, that you care about this stuff, it gets into the psychology of bond traders.” The laws of psychology may prove easier to finesse than the laws of economics.


Sounds like they're freezing the budget at stimulus levels. Even if that's the case adopting a rightwing frame in return for nothing is madness.

claymisher
01-26-2010, 02:22 AM
The thing I hated hated hated about the Clinton years was all the hippie-punching. The Kausism. This isn't there yet, but it's getting close.

quoted in full, So Much For Project Grown-up (http://www.donkeylicious.com/2010/01/so-much-for-project-grown-up.html)

One of the things I admired about the Obama campaign was that it held out the promise that Americans were capable of having adult conversations about what our government does, and about how our political culture ought to behave. In essence, Obama offered voters a chance to "hate the game" of Washington politics and promised to change the game to something more ... pleasant. But the more I think about this spending freeze proposal, especially in the context of Obama's responses during the Presidential debates, it seems to be that Team Obama has given up on that project. It's hard to see how we do a lot of weatherization or modernizing our electrical grid without plussing up government spending. So the health care bill, if it passes, will be the first and last major expansion of progressive policy, unless some sort of "cap-and-dividend" approach is taken on climate change.

Now, maybe I'm wrong about this, or maybe this is all kabuki and Obama doesn't expect Congress to abide by the spending freeze, or maybe this will occupy all of 30 seconds of SOTU while he spends ten minutes on weatherization. But at the moment Obama seems to have decided to cede the ideological ground gained during the late Bush years back to conservatives even if conservative governance has been discredited as an ideology that sounds good on paper but which runs square into reality in practice.

Wonderment
01-26-2010, 02:45 AM
Sounds like they're freezing the budget at stimulus levels. Even if that's the case adopting a rightwing frame in return for nothing is madness.

Dems. are experiencing PTSD. The loss of the Senate seat in MA has them all running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Obama seems to be reinventing himself (again) on the fly. Pretty weird.