• comment on a post puny change means nothing over 4 years ago

    So I am not optimistic.

    The Senate is broken by design and further hobbled by tradition.  The Republicans have given Democrats several opportunities to at least break with tradition - they've filibustered popular legislation and blocked inoffensive, important nominees - but the Democrats have refused to use them to their advantage.  Even now, I read they can't begin debate on what they claim is their priority - the jobs bill - because they can't secure 60 votes to proceed. 

    The Republicans and conservative Democrats are comfortable with a filibuster of a jobs bill when unemployment is at 10%.  Such impunity is the product of a caucus that allows Max Baucus, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln to chair committees in spite of their incompetence and obstruction.  If that isn't evidence that the caucus has put comity before competence and accomplishment, I don't know what is.

    Meanwhile, Obama's commitment to bipartisanship has gone from idealistic to misguided to pathological.  I've begun to wonder if it isn't Freudian, like his mother's divorces produced an irrational desire to unite any division, and I hate that shit.  In any case, he seems willing to sacrifice everything, even good government, for bipartisanship.

    Well, he'll have it, in the same way that Clinton did: the government will be bipartisan by necessity when the Republican Party wins Congress.

    The worst of this is that the Democrats least responsible for this mess, the House, are the most likely to suffer for it.  If they lose, the lesson that they'll learn is that they can't fight the Senate, and the result will be to yeild more power to the least competent.

    I'd like to think that the threat of defeat will put the fear of God into the President and the Senate, but more and more I don't think they care if they lose; they both seem to have other priorities.

     

  • comment on a post Obama Threatens Recess Appointments over 4 years ago

    Any nominee not rejected by a committee or by the Senate as a whole within 6 months of appointment will be appointed during the next recess.  It gives the Senate a reasonable time to deliberate, respects their wishes if they reject the appointment, but does not allow them to leave the post vacant more than 6 months after the President offered a nominee for the post.

  • comment on a post Bayh is a toss-up; lets go after McCain's seat over 4 years ago

    Iowa is the bluest state with a Republican incumbent this year, it would be foolish not to go after it, no matter how popular Grassley is now.

    Otherwise, I'd do everything in my power to keep the Republican Party out of deep blue states like Illinois, Deleware, and Pennsylvania, then focus on swing states.  Reid will have to work magic in Nevada, but New Hampshire, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri seem better.

    I'd leave Lincoln, Bayh, and Meek to fend for themselves.

    If I were to go after a red state, I'd go with Alaska.  Murkowski is very popular, but she's a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil and gas industry; she even has their lobbyists write her legislation.  An Alaska Democrat would be relatively moderate, and the cost of the seat would be relatively low. 

    Another alternative is Georgia.  Isakson is a relatively unpopular freshman with a reputation as a moderate; normally, I'd say that's a plus, but he might not be able to rally the base.  Georgia has been run by the Republican Party for the past six years, they recently lost the Speaker of the House to a corruption scandal, and the leading Republican candidate for Governor has distinguished himself by his ability to run campaigns funded entirely by the insurance industry.  The leading Democratic candidate for Governor has a shot, and a good Democratic candidate for Senate could benefit from his coattails.

    Overall, if we're gonna lose seats, we should be smart about which ones we lose.  If we lose ND, AR, and IN but gain NH and OH, it makes for a smaller majority, but perhaps a more cohesive one, too.

  • comment on a post Transparency for corporate and labor money over 4 years ago

    I mean, really, these are the same people who thought the state had a legitimate reason to ban "bong hits 4 jesus."

    But yes, transparency would be good.  I don't understand why we bother with the current method of disclosure, where you report your contributions and expenditures. 

    Why not require that contributors give their money to the FEC who will then disburse it to the designated candidate for a designated reason?  It would eliminate the dependency on candidates to disclose honestly - good for us - and eliminate the need for them to track their contributions / expenditures - good for them.

  • on a comment on Bayh vulnerable? Probably. over 4 years ago

    The only way it works is with a government run HC.

    That's false, and as an aside, there is a fundamental problem with the message that a mandate is evil . . . unless it is accompanied by a public option, in which case it's necessary.  It's either evil and should never come to pass or it's necessary and should.

  • on a comment on Bayh vulnerable? Probably. over 4 years ago

    I'm fine with this:

    <blockquote>Bring things up for a vote, and start losing on them.</blockquote>

    When the question of what will win and what will lose is clear.  But I don't think that works well for many issues.

    <blockquote>I don't get the mentality that thinks we should pass bad bills (which HRC is) just to do something.</blockquote>

    Here's the thing: you think health care reform is "bad" because it includes "political baggage" like a mandate.  Yet everything I've read says that health care reform will not work without a mandate.  So when you say that, you tell me that any health care reform you support would be destructive but popular.

    I don't get that.  It would seem even less sensible than passing a constructive but unpopular bill.  At least that bill would solve a problem, rather than ignoring it and creating a new one.

  • comment on a post Bayh vulnerable? Probably. over 4 years ago

    Otherwise, "some things that can get Republican votes."  Ha!  Like a unicorn.

  • comment on a post Brown favored to win over 4 years ago

    Either, can you?

    Honestly, I am disappointed in the willingness of the Democratic Party to be captive to its right, but I'm no less disappointed in the stupidity of the remainder: it's as if the past eight years never happened.  They've returned to the view that defeat is victory and that victory is defeat. 

  • Because this tax does not apply to all banks, only those that accepted TARP funds, they cannot effectively pass it off to consumers or workers, because if they try to do so, consumers and workers will move to banks that did not accept TARP funds and are not subject to this tax. In general, it is bullshit to say that every tax on any business will be borne by someone other than the business. It's no more sensible than arguing that every tax on any worker will be borne by someone other than the worker. It really depends on the market, so unless the opponent can show that the market is such that the tax will fall on someone else, it's best to assume that the opponent is full of shit.
  • comment on a post Rep. Parker Griffith Bolts to the GOP over 4 years ago

    You meant that people who had never supported the Democratic Party's agenda would . . . continue to not support the Democratic Party's agenda.

    Huh.

    I nevertheless look forward to the entertaining series of posts that will expound on how this and future events are "Jacksonian" in nature.

  • on a comment on The mandate is a poison pill over 4 years ago

    The government can never effectively regulate anything, because the government can never do anything properly.

    Right?

    You should join the Republican Party if you really believe that.  You should be opposed to the public option if you really believe that.  Yet you don't.  Strange.

    Talking points indeed.

    We'll have more power over insurance companies because the reform gives the government greater power over insurance companies than it has ever had.  If you feel that is insufficient then you should argue for stronger regulation, not weaker regulation.

    Honestly, the public option would be good, but it isn't and never was a substitute for a well-regulated private insurance industry.  The fact that no one seems to have cared about that until now leads me to question whether their newfound concern over the ability of the government to regulate insurers is sincere.

  • on a comment on The mandate is a poison pill over 4 years ago

    Unless everyone contributes, the system will fail.  It's as simple as that.

    It's not necessary that the system consist wholly of private insurers, but it really doesn't matter whether it does or doesn't; whether you have a wholly public or a wholly private system, everyone still has to contribute.

    It really doesn't matter what people have a "problem" with; the fact that people have a "problem" with a mandate doesn't change whether it's necessary, any more than the fact that people have a "problem" with gravity will somehow change whether it exists.

    I've read a lot of blather about whether the regulations are sufficient, but honestly, I find the arguments difficult to take seriously because NONE of them are made in the service of strengthening the system: it's not as if Daily Kos or MyDD or Firedoglake is writing front page posts about how absolutely necessary it is to strengthen the regulatory framework to protect consumers from industry abuses.

    Nope, they've taken it as a given not only that the regulations will fail, but that any regulation will fail.  Because government cannot work.

    Unless we get a public option.  In which case it will suddenly work.

    It's a bunch of contradictory bullshit.  And the only possible outcome will be a public so opposed to any sort of mandate to buy insurance - public, private, or otherwise - that any reform will be impossible.

  • on a comment on The mandate is a poison pill over 4 years ago

    Has nothing to do with consumer protection laws, as far as I've read.  A mandate is necessary because if everyone doesn't pay into the system it will become progressively more expensive for those who do, until such time as . . . you have exactly the system we have now.  A failure.

    No matter which health system you prefer, it will require that everyone who is able to contribute does so.  If you argue that such a requirement is evil, then you might as well embrace the death panel claims, because the end result is the same: you will never have universal health insurance.

  • on a comment on The mandate is a poison pill over 4 years ago

    The mandate is necessary for any health reform to work.  Reform without a public option, reform with a public option, Medicare For All, anything.  It doesn't matter whether a mandate is "popular" or "unpopular" - it's necessary.  So why undermine any reform by attacking what is necessary for every reform.  It's fundamentally destructive.

    This reform will subsidize the purchase of insurance for millions of Americans, establish strict regulation of insurers to protect all Americans, and will serve as a foundation for a better health care system in the future.  I do think that improvement sells itself.

    But if both the right and the left are willing to attack it in ways that are either deceptive (MANDATEZ OH NOES - except when it's attached to my reform) or dishonest (DEATH PANELS OH NOES), then it really doesn't matter.  Lies stick.

  • on a comment on The mandate is a poison pill over 4 years ago

    You can decide for yourself which is worse.

    We tried a system where you only buy insurance if you want to.  It didn't work.  It will never work.  And not a single person on this thread actually supports such a system: everyone here prefers a system where you still have to pay.  They prefer a system where you pay another entity, or through another means.

    Guess what?  Argue against a mandate now, and you'll never see your preferred system come to be, either.

    This bill may not be what I would have liked, but I think it's laughable to call this a "right-wing plutocrat's wet dream." But hey, if you want to enable a real "right-wing plutocrat's wet dream," continue down this path.  You'll get exactly that.

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