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Friday Talking Points [116] -- Is It Sausage Yet?

[ Posted Friday, March 19th, 2010 – 16:51 PDT ]

If nothing else comes of it, you've got to admit that the health reform movement has given a lot of people a very detailed education about the sausage-making process in Washington. Remember when the word "reconciliation" was universally understood to mean "getting back together" instead of "open partisan warfare," for instance? The tortuous process health reform has wound in its progress from where we were a year ago to where we stand today at least provided many "teachable moments" on how things actually happen in Washington. And -- as the term "sausage making" implies -- some of it ain't pretty.

This weekend, we may get at least half a sausage from Congress, of course, as a very historic vote nears in the House. The Washington pundit class is currently channeling "The Count" from Sesame Street, as everyone throws darts at the wall, trying to fathom whether Nancy's got the 216 votes or not.

There's really only one way to tell, though. We will all know that "it's over" in the House when Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually announces when the vote will be held. Because Pelosi won't make this move until she is absolutely sure she's got enough votes in her pocket to win the vote. So, as we head into a weekend of nail-biting anxiety over the fate of the bill, the rule of thumb is that if an actual vote is officially scheduled, then health reform is going to pass the House.

The public (as well as the pundits) can be excused for feeling, at this point, like scheduling a visit with their doctors to tell them: "I'm sick. I'm sick of hearing about health reform. Either do it or don't, but please, just put me out of my misery in hearing about it." Or having to write about it week-in and week-out, and desperately searching for unused metaphors to tickle a jaded public's fancy in some way. Ahem.

As you can probably tell, I'll be glad when this is all over. Which, if everything goes as planned, should be around next week at this time, when the Senate votes on the reconciliation package the House is about to vote on. Obama will quickly sign the second bill, and Congress will take yet another two weeks off on vacation, just because. Lively town hall meetings to follow, undoubtedly.

But before that happens, we've got another frenzy of a week to get through. Democrats are currently terrified that no matter which way they vote, they're toast in November. Republicans are terrified that once health reform actually happens, people will like it a lot better than the boogeyman scenario they've been peddling all along. Spending the election campaigning on "repeal the whole bill and start over" may indeed sound like a dandy idea to Republican strategists right about now. But voters are notoriously not happy when politicians try to take something away from them -- so it may not be all that smart an issue for Republicans six months hence, when the health care sky has been proven not to have fallen. Call it the "Republican Chicken Little Moment" if you will (and feel free to insert your own "acorn" joke here, if you feel the inclination).

While the political chattering class is absolutely consumed with the politics swirling around the upcoming vote, some other important stuff happened this week. One-fourth of Senate Republicans joined with most Democrats to pass a bipartisan jobs bill and put it on President Obama's desk for his signature. The media collectively yawned.

Israel set off an enormous debate about settlements by its monumentally rude timing of an announcement they were going to build 1,600 more houses in the West Bank -- while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting. This later led to an angry phone call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new attempt at a comprehensive immigration bill. The two have been working in a bipartisan manner for a while now to hammer something out that both parties could, in theory, live with. Republican Graham will no doubt find it a tough sell to his fellow Republicans -- in an election year, no less -- but the fate of the Republican Party's future with Latino voters may hang in the balance. To cap this effort off, this Sunday there will also be a massive march and rally for immigration reform in Washington. Look for a fraction of the coverage the Tea Partiers have been getting (although, maybe not -- the Tea Party held a pathetically-small rally in Washington themselves this week, and only a few hundred (at most) turned out for it -- which the media actually took note of).

And finally, Vice President Biden went a little off-script in his Saint Patrick's Day remarks with the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen, when Biden mistakenly said "God rest her soul" in reference to Cowen's still-living mother. Biden did realize and correct his mistake almost immediately, but still. Maybe Biden should have waited to drink a Guinness until after his public remarks? No more beer summits for you, Joe! Heh.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

President Obama continues to be impressive on pushing health reform, getting out in front of live audiences, and even wading into the lions' den of Fox News. But, as we've mentioned in weeks past, while Obama's "closing rally" does indeed show some impressive leadership, we are still so disappointed that this leadership had to wait six months or more before it appeared. We just can't help imagining what things would have been like if Obama had tried such a full-court press back when Senator Max Baucus was dithering endlessly in his committee. So, by reason of being rather late to the game, we must overlook the president's fine advocacy in the past week.

Both Democratic leaders in Congress get Honorable Mentions this week, for different reasons. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wins one for showing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid how to dig into the parliamentary toolbox and remove a large procedural pipe wrench -- and then use it to beat down the predictable cries of "unfair" from Republicans who used to wield the same wrench frequently (when they were in power and had the keys to the toolbox). If Reid had been similarly supportive... oh, say, last September, when he first announced he had spied the tool in his legislative toolbox... on the idea of reconciliation to break the Senate logjam, things would undoubtedly have moved a lot faster, and we might even have a better bill as a result.

But I come here not to bash Reid, but to praise him. Because -- although little noticed by the press -- Majority Leader Reid emerged as the ultimate winner in his showdown with Republican Senator Jim Bunning at the end of last month. Bunning, you'll recall, put a "hold" on unemployment benefits and job creation, in a snit. Reid, at the time, actually did not back down in the face of opposition pressure. And this week, Reid got a jobs-creation bill through the Senate (for the second time, after differences with the House were hashed out) with a pretty beefy bipartisan vote (68-29, with 11 Republicans voting for the final bill). Of course, the media -- obsessed as they are with the concept of bipartisanship -- gave prominence to this story, right?

Well, no. Anything which doesn't fit their preconceived storyline usually winds up on the cutting room floor, as this news mostly did. But Harry Reid deserves some credit for moving so fast on this bill, and for drawing a line in the sand along the way to passage. And for getting over one-fourth of Senate Republicans to vote for it in the end, as well. Here's hoping we see more of this sort of thing from Harry's Senate in the upcoming months.

But the true winner of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is House Whip James Clyburn. Today, many of you are likely searching the online world, desperately seeking a definitive "whip count" -- which Democrats will vote for and which will vote against the health reform bill. This mostly leads to frustration, because all that is out there is rampant speculation, from one "expert" or another. There simply is no "official" number.

There's a reason for this. The reason is: you don't show your hand in poker before the betting begins. If Clyburn had a list on his website, for instance, which proclaimed "here's officially who is voting 'yea' and who is voting 'nay' on health reform," then it would make it that much easier for Republicans to try to peel those votes off. Whip counts are famously played very close to the vest indeed. And Clyburn, so far, has been doing a good job of this.

Now, Clyburn isn't the most telegenic Democrat in Congress, and some of his media appearances have been a little awkward, but this is mostly due to the nature of the job. He can't answer the question "Do you have the votes?" and still be an effective Majority Whip -- no matter how the interviewer phrases the question. And this has been a tough week for Clyburn, as it is his job to whip the votes into shape for Democratic bills. Meaning the weight of the whole health reform effort has landed on his shoulders.

But -- for the very reason that you simply cannot find an "official whip count" online for the upcoming health reform vote -- through all of it, Clyburn has shown he knows how to do his leadership job. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding on Sunday, but in the past week Clyburn has been the most impressive Democrat out there.

So we offer Jim Clyburn our congratulations for winning this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, and we wish him good luck on Sunday's vote.

[Congratulate Majority Whip James Clyburn on his official Whip contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

The far Left of our awards committee pushed hard to name Representative Dennis Kucinich the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week, for changing his stance on the health reform plan moving through Congress. Kucinich has always been very strong in his stance that if the bill didn't measure up in his progressive eyes, then he simply would not vote for it. A few days ago, he reversed himself, and announced he would, after all, vote "yea" this Sunday.

But while such is dismaying to a certain segment of the Democratic electorate, there was a much stronger contender for the MDDOTW this week -- The (Dis-)Honorable G. Thomas Porteous Jr., a federal judge in Louisiana. Because Porteous just became (OK, technically it was last week) only the fifteenth sitting federal judge to be impeached by the House of Representatives. Porteous is a judge, and judges are theoretically supposed to be apolitical, but the fact that he was appointed by Bill Clinton, and a quick glance at some of his more prominent rulings convinces us that calling Porteous a Democrat isn't beyond the realm of imagination.

The House voted unanimously on all four articles of impeachment against Judge Porteous. More bipartisanship breaking out in Congress! The Senate will begin its own investigation and trial shortly. But with neither party standing by Porteous in the House, it could be a foregone conclusion that Porteous will become one of the only federal judges ever to have been constitutionally removed from office (unless he quits, first).

This is truly a gold standard of disappointing behavior. Which is why, although I understand the Kucinich anger out there, Judge Porteous wins the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, hands down.

[No public contact information for Judge Porteous was easily available, sorry.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 116 (3/19/10)

Sadly, to fill the hours prior to the vote in the House this Sunday, the punditocracy will be obsessing over "process." This is all to the good for Democrats, because whenever either party starts obsessing over process (and they both are equally prone to this behavior, when in the minority, of course), they come off looking: (1) whiny, (2) like they're going to lose and they know it, (3) sore losers, and (4) whiny. Did I mention whiny?

Because, outside the Beltway, nobody really cares all that much about process. They do care whether something gets passed or not, and what does get passed, but the process stories just mostly bore folks outside of Washington, D.C. The Republicans are about to find this out, once again.

But they're sure going to take their best shot at hyperventilating over the process, because that is simply all they have left. Their other arguments have either been refuted or (for the valid ones) mostly bargained away anyway, so it's getting harder and harder to demonize the legislation itself. Meaning we can expect some Grade-A Prime hot air and blather from Republicans until President Obama actually signs the thing and we can all move on to impeaching Obama for not having a birth certificate, or whatever else is on the vacuous Republican agenda.

To this end, we're devoting a lot of the talking points this week to shooting down such blather. These talking points, as always, are cheerfully offered up for the benefit of Democrats everywhere, especially those holding office and facing a news camera this weekend.

 

1
   Up or down vote

Foremost in the attacks from the Right will be the House's usage of the "self-executing rule" to pass both the Senate bill (which will be "deemed" to have passed) and the House changes to it, which will then pass the Senate using "reconciliation." Look for lots of smoke and hot air (and the inevitable references to Our Founding Fathers) on this whole process. Democrats can start the conversation by pointing out a heavy irony here, no matter how the question is phrased. Start out on a light note, in other words.

"You know, the ironic thing about the Republican position on parliamentary process seems to boil down to a very simple example of doublethink. Because Republicans are simultaneously arguing that an 'up or down vote' is a good thing and a bad thing. They want to force an 'up or down vote' on both pieces of the health reform package over in the House, but they also want to prevent such an 'up or down vote' from ever happening in the Senate. Personally, I find this a little amusing, don't you?"

 

2
   One single vote

Of course, the interviewer is never going to let you get away with this unchallenged, so be prepared to back it up with a more thorough explanation of the House process. But keep it simple.

"Let me explain the House process. Rather than holding two tough votes on separate pieces of the health reform legislation, House members will have the chance to vote on the entire package in one vote. That's all this procedure does. It makes sense, because passing the Senate bill without the changes is unacceptable to a lot of House Democrats, but passing the changes without the Senate bill in essence attached to it would be kind of silly. So we've combined the legislative process into one vote. That's really all it means. The entire health reform package will get a single up or down vote."

 

3
   Used hundreds of times by Republicans

You need to be prepared for this one, because it is likely that the "journalist" won't have done his or her homework.

"I notice that you fail to mention that the last time Republicans were in the majority in the House, they used this parliamentary mechanism in an unprecedented manner -- hundreds of times. Republicans used it back then for the same reason Democrats are using it now -- to avoid politically tough votes that could be 'spun' in political ads by their opponents. There is simply no difference between when Republicans were doing it and now. It is traditional for the 'out' party to complain bitterly about the procedures the 'in' party uses when in power. But to suggest that these procedures are only allowed to be used by Republicans, or perhaps for 'things Republicans agree they should be used on' is just laughable. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. It's only fair."

 

4
   Sweeping social legislation

This will be the response to that previous one -- from someone (Republican or "journalist") using this phrase to somehow try to undermine the Democratic position.

"To suggest that any legislative mechanism is being somehow abused to enact, as you put it, 'sweeping social legislation' -- which is supposed to somehow be some sort of unprecedented event in the halls of Congress and therefore illegitimate -- is a joke. Because it all depends on how you define 'sweeping social legislation,' now, doesn't it? I remember Republicans using all sorts of legislative tricks to get their agenda passed, and I don't recall the media having a fit of the vapors over it at the time, either. To me, for instance, massive tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy which shift the American tax burden even further to the middle class is indeed 'sweeping social legislation.' And if such parliamentary maneuvers are kosher for that sort of thing, I don't see why getting 32 million Americans some health insurance is any different. Other than the difference in the people who will benefit, of course."

 

5
   Tested in the courts

If the process questions persist on the House vote this Sunday, once again, it helps to have done the homework the "journalist" should have (but won't have) done.

"The self-executing rule has been tested in the courts for almost a century. It has been found a valid and legal way for the House to conduct its business. It is the functional equivalent of a legal 'paper clip' that binds one piece of legislation to another, which is 'deemed' to have passed. Every single member of the House knows what that means -- a vote for (or against) the bill is a vote to pass (or reject) both bills. That's all it is. And if Republicans were so against its use, they would have changed the rules when they had a House majority. They didn't. They used the rule dozens and dozens of times, which were also upheld in court. So now we're in control, and we're doing exactly what they did while they held the House."

 

6
   It's all politics

If the interviewer persists (and they will), turn the conversation to the actual provisions of the legislation. Drag the conversation out of the "process" weeds.

"You know, we can sit around and talk about process forever, but it's really all just politics. Republicans wanted to run campaign ads saying 'this Democrat voted for the Cornhusker Kickback' even though they immediately voted to take it out of the final legislation. That's what this entire debate is really about -- fodder for misleading campaign ads. Republicans are annoyed at being deprived of this tactic next fall. But, as I said, this conversation is really pointless, because what we really should be talking about is what is in the bills themselves. Such as... (fill in all the previous talking points on health reform from the past year or so... sigh)."

 

7
   Bipartisan jobs bill

This one's a little off-subject, but it's meant to be interjected into the debate with lots of frustration anyway.

"President Obama is right -- the news media seem to only obsess over things that fit the current 24/7 news cycle, and not anything which doesn't fit into your preconceived storyline. Last week, the Senate sent a job-creation bill to President Obama to sign, and it passed with 11 Republicans joining Democrats to do the right thing for America. Bipartisanship exists in Washington, but it's much more fun to pretend it doesn't and focus instead on all the horserace aspects of politics. I applaud the Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for job creation with Democrats, and I hope to see more of it in the future. Congress can get things done, even in a bipartisan fashion, but you certainly wouldn't know it from watching the news sometimes."

 

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Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

36 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [116] -- Is It Sausage Yet?”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Allow me to correct the record on what exactly "Demon Pass" is and is not..

    First and foremost, it is NOT constitutional..

    Article 1, Section 7 of the US Constitution says:

    "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: "

    and

    "But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively."

    There it is in black and white... Now, of course, you can agree with previous Republicans who said that the US Constitution is just a damn piece of paper..

    But I wouldn't advise that...

    So, point one is that Demon Pass is unconstitutional. Period.

    Point #2..

    "Well THEY have done it so nyaa nyaa nyaa..."

    This is true. Demon Pass has been used before by both Republicans and Democrats..

    However, in all but TWO instances, it was done strictly as an administrative tool at the BEGINNING of the legislative journey. Sans the two examples (one in 1922 and one in 2008) it was NEVER immediately sent to the President for signature.

    In EVERY case that Demon Pass was used, it was on legislation that enjoyed complete bi-partisan support..

    In other words, both Dems and GOP agreed to break the rules for the greater good.

    Demon Pass has NEVER been used to thwart the will of the people or to impose the majority will over the minority.

    NEVER...

    Here is why Demon Pass simply cannot work..

    The US Senate cannot vote on the Reconciliation Bill unless the legislation it is reconciling has been signed into law first.

    And, constitutionally speaking, President Obama cannot sign the Health Care bill into law unless it has had an Up Or Down vote in both houses of Congress..

    Now, of course, Biden can overrule the Senate Parliamentarian, but I don't think even Biden is THAT stoopid.

    Now, IF Biden is THAT stoopid and IF President Obama tries an end run around the American People and the US Constitution, not only will the mid-term be a slaughter house for Democrats....

    "The sport ends... The massacre begins. Rihannsu has begun killing Rihannsu."
    -Field Primus T'Cael

    ..... but the GOP will force amendments of the Reconciliation bill that the Democrats will be FORCED to accept..

    This will result in the Reconciliation bill being sent back and forth between the House and the Senate for a long time to come. Thereby guaranteeing that CrapCare will be the central theme in the mid-term elections, insuring even greater GOP upsets....

    What part of MASSACHUSETTS do the Democrats not understand???

    What part of 4 out of 5 Americans do NOT want CrapCare do the Democrats not understand??

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I also understand the Kucinich anger out there.

    It is the same kind of anger that underpins the tea party set on the other end of the political spectrum and that progressives harbour for Secretary Geithner, for example.

    Of course, I could go on because there is seemingly no end to this kind of anger that is so firmly rooted in extreme ignorance and the unshakable adherence to the mantra, 'I want what I want when I want it'.

    It has all become too pathetic to watch anymore. And, certainly, too disconcerting to wonder about what will be the consequences when this gigantic tidal wave of so-called populism comes crashing down on the very groundswell of anger that produced it and, particularly, on the forces that were all too content to incite it.

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    I will accept checks written on the Third Bank of Triskelion for my 2,000 quatloos, just to let you know.

    :-)

    Heh.

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Liz -

    Wanted to apologize in advance for my gratuitous cheap shot at Biden, there.

    :-)

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    What gratuitous cheap shot would that be? Did you write something about Biden, again?

    I guess you should be the first to know that I no longer see disparaging remarks about Joe Biden. In fact, from this point onward, I’m not aware of any remarks in the blogosphere that have anything to do with Joe Biden.

    And, that goes for the light-hearted poking of fun that used to be amusing. Unfortunately, for every single example of good-natured humour on this score, there are millions of remarks steeped in ignorance and delivered with extreme malicious intent. Frankly, it has all ceased to meet my all-encompassing definition of fun, from now on.

    I don’t even hear it when Biden directs a little self-deprecating humor at himself, anymore. Get the picture?

  6. [6] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Chris, the Dems have to follow-up. HCR has to be the dambreaker on "no." If the GOP wants to spend the last six weeks of the session standing with banks over consumers and Wall Street over main street, I say let them. Wait til they see their polls sag.

    But other legislation needs to pour through the breach fast and jobs bills are a perfect example. A quick series of small wins will let the Obama administration move on other ambitions before the election -- cap & trade, financial reform, etc.

    First rule of strategy: reinforce succes and not failure.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Chris,

    I will accept checks written on the Third Bank of Triskelion for my 2,000 quatloos, just to let you know.

    It ain't over till the bald guy's collar flashes.. :D

    Have you read the latest CBO disclosure? The "Doctor Fix" that the Dems plan on doing in a few months will make CrapCare increase the deficit..

    Ergo, it won't be eligible for Reconciliation.

    Ergo, no Senate side-car bill.

    Therefore the House Democrats will be voting on the Senate bill in it's entirety, as is and it will remain the law of the land.

    I wonder how many Dems will change their YES votes to NO based on that?? :D

    I want all my quatloos in small coins... :D

    Ink,

    First rule of strategy: reinforce succes and not failure.

    Something Democrats have never learned because they never really had an real success to reinforce... :D

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    and the unshakable adherence to the mantra, 'I want what I want when I want it'.

    Sounds like Obama and the Democrats with their adherence to CrapCare, even though the American Public and many in the Democratic Party, are totally against it. :D

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    My gods, is anyone watching this CrapCare debate??

    It's all I can do not to stand up and yell, "YOU LIE" when someone says how great CrapCare is...

    And now we have reports that the Reconciliation bill will die in the Senate...

    So, CrapCare sans fixes, will be the law of the land...

    Good job, Democratic Party...

    You own CrapCare..

    Gods help you in November, because the voters won't...

    Even worse than the harm CrapCare is gonna cause this country, I am out ANOTHER 2K in quatloos...

    "Galt, rustle me up some more quatloos.. It's going to be a long summer!" :D

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i'm watching. there is definitely quite a bit of embellishment going on, on both sides.

    for the dems a bittersweet victory, because the legislation is very flawed and they know it, even as they glowingly espouse its few positives. they wanted to accomplish something, anything at all, and that's exactly what they got.

    for the republicans, it was all the sound and fury and false indignation they could muster, though i think they were smiling through their teeth. they wanted to keep the toxic status quo for their own political gain, and accomplished the next best thing.

    on a side note, i was asking myself, if the republicans are no longer the party of "no" then what ARE they the party of? john boner said it multiple times. the republicans are now the party of "hell no."

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Many MANY Democrats in the country today are ALSO of that "HELL NO" party.

    Obama DID indeed create a bi-partisan atmosphere in this country.

    Both Democrats and Republicans hate CrapCare and the Democratic Congress for passing it..

    Obama and the Democratic Party saying, "Well, we accomplished SOMETHING" is like Benedict Arnold saying, "Well, I accomplished SOMETHING."

    Who cares, if the accomplishment is so nefarious and destructive...

    Michale.....

    Michale...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have a great idea..

    Let's get all the people in this picture....

    http://mfccfl.us/temp/smilingdems.jpg

    ....back together on 3 Nov 2010 and see if they are still smiling..

    Isn't that just a grand idea?? :D

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    ""There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make 'em up as we go along."
    -Democrat Congressman Alcee Hastings

    Ya'all must be SOOOO proud of the Democrat Congress, no??

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the DEMOCRATIC members of congress have very little to be proud of, but very little is better than nothing at all, which is exactly what the Republicans have to be proud of, and exactly what they wanted to be accomplished, lest the democrats be perceived as something other than completely ineffective.

    even presupposing that you're right about the bill being terrible rather than just flawed - and i'm not presupposing that without hard data on its actual effects - that might not hurt the DEMOCRATIC congress-critters politically. the bush administration proved beyond all doubt that passing bad policy is more politically favorable than failing to pass any policy. sadly, it's much worse for an election to be seen as ineffective than to be seen as effective and wrong.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    nypoet,

    the DEMOCRATIC members of congress have very little to be proud of, but very little is better than nothing at all,

    Agreed...

    which is exactly what the Republicans have to be proud of,

    I disagree.. The GOP is on record as being against a very bad piece of crap... er.. legislation.

    Who do you think the voters are going to reward in November??

    The morons who actually voted for something that was very very bad for this country??

    Or the goofballs who opposed the piece of crap that was very very bad for this country?

    The answer is self-evident..

    the bush administration proved beyond all doubt that passing bad policy is more politically favorable than failing to pass any policy.

    Isn't it time to put away the BASH BUSH mantra?? It's old and it's tired and does nothing to enhance the credibility of Democrats..

    sadly, it's much worse for an election to be seen as ineffective than to be seen as effective and wrong.

    And, sadly, we will see exactly how ineffective the Democrat's CrapCare is going to be.. We will see exactly how damaging it's going to be.

    And, despite the fervent hopes of the Democrat leadership and many readers on here, the voters WILL remember when they go to the polls..

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The GOP is on record as being against a very bad piece of [snip] legislation. Who do you think the voters are going to reward in November??

    the gop were against it 10% because they disagreed with it, 90% because it was something the president wanted to accomplish; they're on record as being opposed to the president accomplishing anything, good or bad. conservative voters (30%) will certainly see it your way, which will energize the republican base. everyone else, however, will be a little more patient in their judgment. and six months from now (about five weeks before mid-term elections), five possible benefits of the legislation will start to kick in:

    -Employer Subsidies
    -Increased Dependent Coverage
    -No Lifetime Maximum
    -No Exclusions for Children
    -Temporary High-Risk Pool

    the jury's still out on any potential impact of those provisions, but if even one of them are perceived as moderately successful by the 70% who are not hard-core righties, that might rain on the republican recuperation this november.

    i'm not bashing bush, just using his legislative successes as a basis for comparison. by the time the majority of the public had figured out how badly his agenda crippled our country, he was already two years past re-election. what this teaches us is that people's perceptions of a policy's effectiveness tend not to find a stable home within a few years of its passage, much less a few months.

    And, sadly, we will see exactly how ineffective the Democrats' [legislation] is going to be.. We will see exactly how damaging it's going to be.

    no. sadly, i don't think most people will, even if it is as bad as you think it is.

    And, despite the fervent hopes of the DemocratIC leadership and many readers on here, the voters WILL remember when they go to the polls...

    they will remember it, but they might remember it more favorably than you think. you believe this legislation will really be disastrous, while i think it will be ever-so-slightly better than the current status quo. however, it is highly unlikely that either of us will be proven right or wrong to the majority of the public before november. the majority of the public's perception may at that time be more positive than either of our opinions.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Nearly 3/4 of the states in the US are filing suits, passing legislation or a combination of the two to stop CrapCare, to opt out of this crap legislation..

    Doesn't that tell you ANYTHING??

    Hell, with that many states, we would almost have enough for a Constitutional Amendment!!

    What part of NO does the Democratic Party not understand??

    And, when you have 3/4ths of the states opting out of the most onerous sections of CrapCare (IE the ones that costs the taxpayers money) how do you think CrapCare is going to be paid for?

    That's right, the 1/4th of the states that remain in CrapCare will fund it 100% for all 50 states...

    How long do you think CrapCare can be sustained under those conditions??

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    as of now, the count of lawsuits is 13, including pennsylvania (the AG is a conservative, but i sincerely doubt the majority of PA voters support the lawsuit). when last i checked, that's barely over 1/4, and not even close to a majority. michale, the new law is a fact, regardless of your opinion or mine, and you have your numbers reversed. until and unless the law is amended or struck down (and with the Roberts court that's a distinct possibility), "no" is simply not an option.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    You need a little help with your counting. :D

    http://www.wnd.com/images/statesonmandatoryreform.jpg

    As far as the new law being fact, the ONLY fact that is relevant is that the new law is unconstitutional on several different fronts, not the least of which is the Commerce Clause.

    NO WHERE in the US Constitution does it give the Federal Government the authority to FORCE citizens to buy something.

    NO WHERE...

    Anything not EXPLICITLY laid out in the US Constitution as the purview of the Federal Government is automatically rendered unto the States.

    Ergo, CrapCare is unconstitutional..

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here is the White House's response to the lawsuits..

    "If you want to look in the face of a parent whose child now has health care insurance and say we're repealing that ... go right ahead."

    Notice that?? The White House is arguing emotionally.

    THAT is the gist of the White House's response.

    "Forget the Law, let's play on the emotions.."

    It's even MORE moronic because there is a loophole in CrapCare that will allow Insurance Companies to refuse to cover children based on pre-existing conditions..

    Yea, CrapCare is definitely worth it, eh?? :^/
    {/sarcasm}

    Michale......

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    I stand corrected..

    There are 38 States with pending legislation to stop CrapCare...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100317/ap_on_go_co/us_health_overhaul_states

    That puts it over the top as far as approving a Constitutional Amendment.

    In other words, if stopping CrapCare was to be put to the states as a Constitutional Amendment, it would pass..

    Food for thought, no??

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Michale,

    i realize you're upset, but your arguments don't hold water legally - any more than do the president's emotional appeals. the article you cited acknowledges that the lawsuits and legislation are "largely symbolic."

    furthermore, all "legislation pending" means is that those states would consider a law directing the state AG to sue the federal government (still only 13 attempts confirmed), not that the legislation (much less the lawsuit) would succeed.

    all it actually proves is that there are some republicans in those state legislatures, as there are in all states' legislatures. The federal government already requires state taxpayers to follow directives regarding other reserved powers, such as education or *cough-cough* marriage, so there isn't much of a leg to stand on, either constitutionally or by precedent.

    this is not to say that the Roberts court won't set a new precedent, but health insurance is a sort of interstate commerce. otherwise i wouldn't be able to buy medicine in new jersey on my florida prescription plan, as i did earlier this month. none of this makes the legislation any better, but a constitutionality argument is essentially tilting at windmills.

    perceptions of a popular groundswell against the new law do not bear out in public polling either. the voters who are dead-set against it are the same 30-35% i mentioned earlier, just louder and angrier.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    i realize you're upset, but your arguments don't hold water legally - any more than do the president's emotional appeals. the article you cited acknowledges that the lawsuits and legislation are "largely symbolic."

    You think I am upset?? :D

    Hardly. Like I said, it will be swell to have ya'all pay for my kids and grandkids health care...

    the article you cited acknowledges that the lawsuits and legislation are "largely symbolic."

    That's one CrapCare supporter's opinion..

    One must look at the facts.

    And the fact is, there is NOTHING in the US Constitution that allows the Federal Government to FORCE citizens to buy something they choose not to..

    Prove me wrong..

    furthermore, all "legislation pending" means is that those states would consider a law directing the state AG to sue the federal government (still only 13 attempts confirmed), not that the legislation (much less the lawsuit) would succeed.

    The simple fact that such legislation is even being CONSIDERED, let alone "pending" should be a wake up call.

    If 38 states out of 50 had "pending" legislation that Bush should have been impeached, wouldn't ya'all be crowing about that til the cows come home??

    Sure ya would..

    The simple fact that more than 75% of the states are even CONSIDERING opt'ing out of the payment requirements for CrapCare should be a huge hint..

    The American people do NOT want CrapCare...

    Of course, time will tell who is right and who is wrong...

    I have the facts on my side, however..

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean, seriously, NYPoet22...

    Even IF such a mandate WASN'T un-constitutional (which it is), do the math..

    You have a young single person in good health..

    On the one hand, they can pay about $20K a year for CrapCare...

    On the OTHER hand, they can pay $750 a year as a fine for no CrapCare...

    What would ANY reasonable person opt for??

    Especially when said person knows that, if they DO get sick or injured, they can sign up for CrapCare then and then and CANNOT be turned down...

    So, any normal sane person will simply opt for paying a fine which is tens of thousands of dollars LESS than what CrapCare would cost them..

    So, instead of CrapCare raking in 600 BILLION dollars in revenue(20K x 30 million new customers), CrapCare will actually get only 15 million dollars in new revenue...

    Hmmmmmmm

    Now WHO do you think is gonna make up the difference, which would be... er, carry the 1 add the 2...

    Who is going to make up the other 599,985,000,000 dollars???

    You... Me... CW... Liz... Moderate... Ink... and every other American citizen...

    Great legislation ya got there... :^/

    But, am I upset?? Hell no... I don't have to pay health care for my kids and grandkids anymore.. Cuz ya'all will cover it for me. :D

    Whatta bunch of great pals... :D

    Michale....

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    a single young person NOW who is uninsured goes to the hospital and we pay the bill through our taxes. now they pay nothing at all, so any surcharge whatsoever would be a slight improvement. if they're uninsured for five years, break their leg and go to the hospital with no insurance, at 750 a year, that'd be $3,750 more than we get reimbursed now for those people who live off our debt and don't hold up their end.

    NOTHING in the US Constitution that allows the Federal Government to FORCE citizens to buy something they choose not to...

    there are quite a few things the constitution does not strictly allow that the federal government does anyhow. mandating that states are not to recognize gay marriages held in other states, mandating that schools enact standardized testing throughout the middle grades, the list of extra-constitutional precedents is extensive, so in that respect this bill will be in very good company.

    That's one [propaganda removed] supporter's opinion...

    that may or may not be true of the article's author. unless you've researched john miller's writings that extensively, i don't think that conclusion is necessarily warranted. the reporter wrote what he thought to be the case, presumably based on his own research on constitutional scholars. the author may or may not support the legislation, but i think you made an argumentum ad something-or-other without any reason other than the author wrote a fact or two that conflict with your viewpoint.

    If 38 states out of 50 had "pending" legislation that Bush should have been impeached, wouldn't ya'all be crowing about that til the cows come home??

    that would be in an alternate universe where democrats have the balls to do something like that, knowing that it probably won't amount to any tangible results. republicans on the other hand have never been lacking in the cojones department. however, back in this universe, the current precedent will stand, and (as per my initial point) the public perception will have nothing to do with whether the new law is good, bad or otherwise. welcome to reality; it's not exactly what any of us think it is.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chez-pazienza/welcome-to-the-real-world_b_510004.html

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    the public perception will have nothing to do with whether the new law is good, bad or otherwise.

    Yer kidding, right??

    Public perception is the ONLY thing that matters here..

    If the GOP is successful in convincing the public that CrapCare is evil incarnate (which is not a real stretch from the facts) then that will become the 'reality' that you tout so much...

    And that, in turn, will lead to a massacre of the Democratic Party in the upcoming mid-term elections..

    You heard it here, first..

    Michale....

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    there are quite a few things the constitution does not strictly allow that the federal government does anyhow. mandating that states are not to recognize gay marriages held in other states, mandating that schools enact standardized testing throughout the middle grades, the list of extra-constitutional precedents is extensive, so in that respect this bill will be in very good company.

    Could you provide citations in the form of laws that support your contentions..

    In the matter of gay marriages, it's my understanding that several states honor gay marriages in spite of the Federal government...

    So, that would seem to disprove your contention...

    Regardless, none of your examples support the idea that the Federal government can FORCE a citizen to purchase something, at their own expense, that they would otherwise choose NOT to purchase..

    Can you provide any support for the claim that the Federal government has this power??

    And regardless of THAT, the simple fact that the states CHOOSE to *allow* the Federal government to take certain liberties is not indicative that the states will allow the Federal government to take ALL the liberties it (the Federal government) chooses to take..

    The simple fact that there is legislation "pending" (your word) in over 3/4ths of the states against CrapCare simply shows this...

    Again, the question is begged...

    What part of "NO" does the Democratic Party not understand???

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Two things, mostly tangential. First, the "full faith and credit" clause (14th Amend?) is being broken by all the states which do not allow a gay couple married in another state to be treated as if they are married everywhere. In other words, it is the states which do not allow gay marriage who are violating the Constitution. And the feds (DOMA) are backing them up. But that debate is actually winding its way through the courts right now, so we'll likely get a Supreme Court decision on it in a few years.

    Secondly, just out of sheer curiousity: do you think a military draft is constitutional?

    -CW

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Two things, mostly tangential.

    I love it when you use big words.... :D

    But that debate is actually winding its way through the courts right now, so we'll likely get a Supreme Court decision on it in a few years.

    Our US Constitution at work..

    Don'tcha love it?? :D

    Secondly, just out of sheer curiousity: do you think a military draft is constitutional?

    Damn, that's why I like it here... Ya'all ask the TOUGH questions... :D

    If I wanted "easy" I would hang out with Taylor Marsh... :D (ooooo, I am gonna burn for that one.. :D)

    But, back to your question...

    It IS a tough issue..

    Speaking as an American soldier and veteran, not as a lawyer, I would have to adopt the Israeli perspective on this particular issue, insofar as the state protects you and yours, so you must do your part to protect the state and others..

    Now, you would have a hard time translating this into support for CrapCare... Especially since, as we have already seen, CrapCare is flawed and doesn't even begin to do the things that it says it does.

    Let me put it another way...

    If we had a "V" or "INDEPENDENCE DAY" type scenario where our very survival was at stake, I don't think you would find an American man, woman or child who would not step up and be counted if there was a "draft"...

    But, you can hardly equate CrapCare with such a scenario. CrapCare does NOTHING for the American citizen, but rather feeds the political and corporate beast...

    Why would ANYONE support such legislation???

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    i looked up your question, and it turns out to be moot. an opt-out is in the law, which states may use at their discretion, and some already are. states simply must come up with an alternate source of funding to make up the difference and insure their uninsured, so they're not being paid for by everybody else in all the other states. this is what happens when talking points get repeated over and over before they're fully researched.

    Wyden Amendment, C#8 "A State may be granted a waiver if the state applies to the Secretary to provide heath care coverage that is at least as comprehensive as required under the Chairman’s Mark."

    i already mentioned other laws that make requirements of states beyond the scope of the constitution - specifically "no child left behind," and the "defense of marriage act." others exist, but those are the most recent that come to mind. "pending" was the word used by john miller, the reporter to whom you've attributed support of the health-care bill. kucinich's bill to impeach cheney was also "pending," until it wasn't. all a bunch of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    perception is everything in the election, yes that's correct. but as evidenced in my above comments, perception and the facts of newly enacted legislation are rarely if ever the same, not even by accident. something can seem good in eight months that will seem terrible in eight years, and vice-versa.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    "And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism. "
    -Michael J Fox, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT

    I want to know what it says to ya'all that 3/4ths of the states in these United States of America have legislation "pending" that will nullify CrapCare??

    What does that SAY to ya'all???

    That those 3/4ths of the states are WRONG and ya'all are right??

    Jeeeze... and they call ME arrogant... :D

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Nypoet22,

    You miss my point..

    I don't mean to argue whether states CAN opt out of CrapCare or not..

    It's obvious that they can, one way or another..

    MY point is, what does it say about CrapCare when over 75% of the States in the country WANT to opt out of CrapCare??

    What does THAT tell you??

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    what the as yet un-passed legislation says is there are ballsy conservatives in state legislatures, who are easily able to propose legislation with or without the majority of their state or its legislative body necessarily supporting it. anyone can propose legislation, whereupon it becomes "pending." a better metric to use would be the number of states in which such legislation actually passes and the attorneys general who actually sue.

    secondly, it says that the individuals involved are trying to score political points, since they're grandstanding on a moot issue.

    as to your assertion that 3/4ths of the states WANT to opt out - this may or may not be true, but the facts you're using as evidence simply do not apply. essentially, you're holding out a handful of seeds and asking how we feel about the apples that might grow from the tree after the seeds are planted.

    Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?
    -good will hunting

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    what the as yet un-passed legislation says is there are ballsy conservatives in state legislatures, who are easily able to propose legislation with or without the majority of their state or its legislative body necessarily supporting it. anyone can propose legislation, whereupon it becomes "pending." a better metric to use would be the number of states in which such legislation actually passes and the attorneys general who actually sue.

    It would be a "better" metric for the Democratic Party and your argument.

    But you are not entitled to your own facts..

    And the FACT is that over 3/4ths of the States in the Union have pending legislation to formally bar certain provisions of CrapCare from affecting their state's citizens.

    That alone should tell you how well CrapCare is being received at the State Level...

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, since ya'all like polls so much, here is one you should consider

    Of course, my standard caveat on Polls is relevant.. :D

    Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters favor their state suing the federal government to fight the requirement in the new national health care plan that every American must obtain health insurance.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds that 37% disagree and oppose their state suing to challenge that requirement. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. …

    Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and 58% of voters not affiliated with either major party favor such lawsuits. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats are opposed. This suggests that filing a suit would be popular in Republican leaning and toss-up states but not in strong Democratic states. Of course, as with all things in the world of politics, these realities could shift over time as both parties try to spin the recently-passed legislation.

    As I said, Obama has achieved bi-partisanship..

    The hatred against CrapCare is truly bi-partisan...

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    But you are not entitled to your own facts...

    of course not, but i am entitled to interpret the existing facts as i see them. one accepted fact is that legislation has been initiated to force state AG's to sue the US over the new health care law. another fact is that most of that legislation has not yet been passed. whether we call it "pending," or some other label, it seems to me more a publicity stunt by some zealous legislators (see: kucinich's impeachment articles against cheney) than something of any real import.

    if said legislation passes in more than half of the states, then i'll acknowledge that it's something meaningful. if it passes in all of them... well, i'll wager two thousand quatloos that it doesn't. otherwise, i stand by my interpretation.

    otherwise, there are already provisions in the bill allowing states to choose a different method of insuring the uninsured, as long as they meet the same goals.

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