John Boehner Unclear on the Concept of Elections

I am not sure if there is an Elections for Dummies because otherwise I would send him a copy but could someone please tell Congressman John Boehner that those who win elections get to control government. Speaking on Sean Hannity's radio program, the House Minority Leader seemed unclear on the concept that elections have consequences:

"Well Sean listen, there's an arrogance of power here," Boehner said of Democrats' majorities. "You've got the White House controlled by the Obama folks, you've got a big majority of Democrats in the House under Nancy Pelosi and a big majority of Democrats in the Senate under Harry Reid."

How clueless can one be? You win elections, you get to set the policy agenda.  

And then he goes on to bemoan that Democrats are even willing to lose seats in an effort to pass their agenda:

"This is the best chance they've had in 30 years to move a big liberal agenda and they are absolutely committed to doing it," Boehner said during an appearance on the conservative Sean Hannity radio show. "They even know that they are going to sacrifice some number of their members in the House and Senate with this big liberal agenda and they're still intent on doing it."

Wow. Democrats with principles. Imagine that. I'm not surprised that Minority Leader is a tad surprised. It's been awhile since the Democrats have demonstrated any backbone and have stood for what they believed in even at the expense of losing an election. Doing what's right for the American people is something that John Boehner is just never going to understand.

More at The Hill.

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A One-Two Punch of Contribution Clusters

An article published in the UK Guardian provides an overview of the lobbying effort conducted by insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals dedicated to ensuring that healthcare reform proposals don't threaten their profits. All told, these industry and interest groups have spent $380 million trying to influence healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress.

The Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics have teamed up on a collaborative investigative project that has uncovered never-before-seen webs of campaign contributions from outside lobbyists and their clients, who are all important players in the health care reform, to key members of Congress.

Their investigation identified outside lobbyists who donated to the same members of Congress as their clients. Their findings strongly suggest that special interest giving is enhanced by the K Street contributors they hire. Call it a one-two punch aimed at TKOing a public option.

Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the author of one of the  health care reform bills now being debated in the Senate, was the biggest beneficiaries of this one-two punch from the lobbyists and their clients. From January 2007 through June 2009, Senator Baucus collected contributions from 37 outside lobbyists representing PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's chief trade association, and 36 lobbyists who listed drug maker Amgen Inc. as their client. Overall Senator Baucus has received $1.5 million from the health sector towards his re-election coffers.

In all, 11 major health and insurance firms had their contributions to Senator Baucus boosted through extra donations from 10 or more of their outside lobbyists. You can see all these curious clusters of cash at Open Secrets.

Beyond the noxious effect of all that cash, the health industry has permeated the process in other ways. At Senator Baucus's side, helping to draft the wording of the Baucuscare, was Liz Fowler, a Senate committee counsel whose previous position was  as Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs of the country's largest health insurer in terms of membership, WellPoint. Ms. Fowler worked at WellPoint from May 2006 through February 2008, according to the company. She previously worked for Senator Baucus from 2001 to 2005. Something about a revolving door comes to mind.

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Senator Voinovich: "It's the Southerners"

Well, they're sure to raise eyebrows if not ire in some quarters of the GOP. In comments to the Columbus Dispatch, retiring GOP Senator George Voinovich blames the southern contingent for the GOP's demise.

"We got too many Jim DeMints (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburns (R-Ok.). It's the southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, `These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"

One Jim DeMint in the Senate is one too many. But's not let leave out James Inhofe of Oklahoma or David Vitter of Louisiana, both are an embarrassment. Until the GOP can resolve the stranglehold that conservative Southerners has on the party, it is likely to remain a regional party.

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Knee Deep in Kimchee

It is likely though not definitive that within the next two months I will be leaving the United States to teach overseas. If I told you where, you'd question my sanity and to be frank this one place I never thought I'd visit let alone live in. But there are jobs there and given my own current and disturbingly persistent underemployment the lure of income is appealing. But the deal isn't struck as yet so I won't divulge the details as yet.

Nonetheless, I am expecting a deal to materialize and thus I have begun to prepare to leave San Francisco, a city that I love, after 13 years. So tonight I went to the Wharf to indulge in an In-n-Out Burger, one the fringe benefits of life in California. Fisherman's Wharf is a part of the city few locals thread. There really isn't much there beyond tourist traps, mediocre restaurants and the aforementioned In-n-Out Burger. I needed to have a double-double animal-style before I left.

While the meal was a treat, I was also treated to listening in on the conversation of my neighboring table. Perhaps treat isn't the right word, more like suffer through the inanities of Southern conservatives on tour in San Francisco. I'm not good at pinning down accents but my guess that these three gentlemen, comfortably enjoying their golden years, hailed from Alabama or perhaps Georgia.

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Palin Slams Old Media on Facebook

A day after she announced that she would resign as Governor of Alaska at the end of this month, Sarah Palin posted a message on the social media network Facebook late on Saturday slamming the media for its coverage of her resignation announcement as "predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the 'politics of personal destruction.'" And a day after suggesting that she was resigning because she didn't want to be a lame duck Governor who "milked it," she now apparently has a higher calling.

"And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make," writes Governor Palin, adding emphatically that "it's about country."

And she was more forthcoming as to her plans. She admits that she is "now looking ahead" and to see "how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint."

Her full posting is below the fold.

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