Wall 1 - Insurance companies need to cover everyone.
Wall 2 - To make sure that rates don't go up too much, you mandate that everyone has insurance.
Wall 3 - In order the ensure that people can afford insurance, you provide subsidies.
Wall 4 - You control costs somehow. The options are: a public option, clearly the most sane and effective way; the exchanges, not pittance, but not the public option; or, medical loss ratio standards, seems like a good idea but heavy-handed and especially prone to fraud or watering down.
Pop the roof on it and it's done. Negotiate any of the walls away and what's the point of having a house in the first place?
I actually think the more we hear from Huckabee, the better off we'll be. You can say a lot of things about Mike Huckabee, but one thing he is not is a corporate shill. That goes a long way these days. If Democrats feel they need to take more populist stances to compete, so much the better.
I saw a prominent Geophysicist give a talk about a year ago looking into the "peak oil" situation. I'm not sure how much of this I buy at the moment, but he made a pretty strong case that we have passed peak oil and that it's all down hill from here. The main point of his presentation is that there just isn't enough oil (or coal) for us to double atmospheric CO2 concentrations again and that the IPCC should take this into account in their assessment of future climate. If that is really true, it makes sea-level rise look like child's play. The modern economy is not equipped to handle a massive shortage in fossil fuels.
People know this is the right thing to do. In a sense, the "Overton Window" (if you believe in such things) has already shifted on it. From the Republican perspective, it went from "HCR is dead" in January, to "Start Over" in February, to "No Fair!!" in March. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that you'd get a few Republicans to vote for it in the end a la the jobs bill.
The energy bill seems harder. Just as a practical matter, the timing is pretty bad. At the most mundane level, it has been a cold winter on the East Coast and that has emboldened the Global Warming skeptics. The "climate-gate" email thing only adds to that. I think unless they can sell this for what it will ultimately be - an energy-security and diversification bill - and not as a Global Warming-combatting bill, then it will not pass. I think there's a lot of hay to be made bringing up two salient points about the energy bill 1) jobs, jobs, jobs; 2) fossil fuel pollution leads to smog, mercury and lead emissions, PCB pollution, acid rain, among others.
You're right. I probably shouldn't be so cynical. But it seems like the Repubs are in the midst of badly overplaying their hand and the Dems don't seem to be capitalizing on it. I'll concede that Democratic strategists are probably a lot smarter than me about these things. Then again, one of these geniuses decided to have John Kerry come out and say "Reporting for duuuuuty!" in the 2004 Convention. Even I could tell that was a mistake.
What part of that statement isn't true? The danger to the Repubs is that they pull them too far to the Right. My money is still with Perry in Texas, but in many states being that looney has real electoral consequences. I'm not trying to be pollyannish, but this whole Tea Party thing seems blown enormously out of proportion.
about this alleged hoax is that the best thing for scientists is for the world to do nothing and to "study the problem", as they say. Think about it, the typical academic scientist gains nothing from cap-and-trade, Clean Air regulations, or the Kyoto Protocol. I guess you could make the argument that keeping the issue alive is their bread-and-butter. But what better way to keep an issue alive than to cultivate a controversey?
What will be most interesting to me is if any Republicans end up voting for it. It looks right now like the answer is "hell no", but they know this is going to be a good bill. At least a few of them need to jump on board for their own political skins. We saw six repubs vote for the "jobs" bill after voting against cloture. It wouldn't surprise me if the Dems picked up a handful of Repubs on HCR - completely unexpectedly and completely after the fact.
But if they waited six months to do this, no one would've even noticed (outside of CA) and the prospects for HCR would still be quite dead. It's like they intentionally brought the issue back to life. I tend not to believe in conspiracies, so if you discount the possibility that they've wanted HCR all along, the only other reasonable explanation is that the ship was sinking fast.