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January 22, 2010

Comments

I agree Lindsay. In general, too much panic about the Brown election and its ramifications/significance.

"People are getting way too worked up about Nancy Pelosi's announcement that she doesn't have the votes to pass the Senate's health reform bill right now."

Forget Pelosi.

Right now, it seems as if the Obama White House does not have the stomach to push this bill through.

Certainly, it seems on board with Barney Frank and Jim Webb, et. al, on waiting until Mr. Brown comes to Washington.

President Obama certainly took stock of Ted Kennedy's seat going Republican after six decades, even though he has yet to go on the record about Martha Coakley's Democratic defeat.

I don't think it was a coincidence that, the day after Scott Brown's GOP victory, that President Obama finally came out with some populist-sounding anger about Wall Street and some long-overdue get-tough talk.

I wish he had noticed long ago that Wall Street was rolling in the dough and raking in profits, benefiting from government subsidies and toothless regulation, while many of us are going broke and long ago filed bankruptcy. Fwiw, BK filings and foreclosures, now sweeping through the commercial real-estate sector, just keep rising.

So if it took Scott Brown's green GMC Canyon pickup truck with over 200,000 miles on its Made In America engine pulling up on the White House lawn for Mr. Obama to notice such things -- to see that the very Independents who put him in office are seeking other alternatives right now -- so be it.

Of course, I'd like to see some action first.

Otherwise, it's just talk.

And from where I sit and work and live, if "people are getting way too worked up about Nancy Pelosi's announcement" -- or if people are getting way too worked up about losing their jobs and homes and health care -- so be it:

Get worked up even more.

I'm not panicked at all about Brown's win. The senate goes from 60% to 59%.

However watching the idiots say it's such a good thing we can scrap it and start over from scratch (I want some of what Dean's been smoking), that it was just to ambitious for Dems to try to do anything and they should work on school uniforms, that the poor widdle senators are too tired (that's why they have big staffs), that the representatives are too scared to vote for something they've voted for once (like the commercials are going to make a distinction)- that doesn't panic me. It infuriates me.

If Pelosi is working some stupid negotiating tactic against the senate she'd better be darned sure it works because she's completely lost my respect and the dems have lost my money and my mad phone skills. They're going to have to work hard to get them back.

I think the panic here is somewhat justified and reasonably productive to boot.

Seriously, when Ezra Klein is having a freak out (in his calm, measured, Ezra fashion), then I think it's OK for us in the peanut gallery to freak a bit as well. And it's good for the feckless, douchebag, Democrats who are looking for any excuse to kill this thing to hear "PASS THE DAMN BILL" from as many people as possible.

My largest remaining cause for optimism is my qualified faith in the President and the Speaker. I find it hard to believe that Pelosi's and Obama's teams didn't have a contingency plan in case Coakley crapped the bed.

BJers are calling their Reps and their Senators, urging the Reps to pass the bill as-is and the Senators to fix what's wrong with it via reconciliation.

The problem is, doing so requires the House and the Senate to a) work together; and b) be incredibly intelligent in what they do. I just don't think they're that smart, frankly.

Bart Stupak and his intrepid band of socially conservative Democratic representatives have vowed not to vote for any bill that doesn't include Bart's House-Special Sauce Restrictions On Abortion Funding, which is not in the Senate bill.

Even if the progressive caucus folds, the House doesn't have the votes.

I find it hard to believe that Pelosi's and Obama's teams didn't have a contingency plan

I don't think they had a contingency plan for so many elected democrats wetting their pants at once. How do you plan that much craveness?

That last bit is what I was wondering about yesterdays; whether the Senate can pass legislation modifying a bill that's not yet law.

If it's true that they can, eyes should be on the Senate rather than the House; it should be trivial to get 50 votes to get some hybrid Cadillac/surtax plan and doable to switch entirely to a surtax. I think Stupak is manageable (what's the difference between his language and Nelson's anyway?) and the House already gave up on getting the public plan out of conference.

If my reading of the rules is right, such a move by reconciliation won't even trigger the Byrd rule and sunset since the changes could be made to be deficit neutral on the 1- and 10-year horizons, right?

So yeah, have Senate bean counters work something up that meets that criteria now, ship it to the CBO, and vote after Brown's seated. I don't see why everyone (especially Congressmen) see passing the Senate bill through the House and fixing it in reconciliation as being particularly different; everything that's opposed by the big industrial players is already common to both bills (aside from the public option).


Bart Stupak and his intrepid band of socially conservative Democratic representatives have vowed not to vote for any bill that doesn't include Bart's House-Special Sauce Restrictions On Abortion Funding, which is not in the Senate bill. Even if the progressive caucus folds, the House doesn't have the votes.

And they'll lose some other votes because the members have heard from their state officials that they want the same deal Nebraska got. Even without the expansions in this bill, Medicaid is slowly strangling state budgets. Look to see some small states start leaving the program in the next five or six years.


that the representatives are too scared to vote for something they've voted for once (like the commercials are going to make a distinction)- that doesn't panic me. It infuriates me.

They're being asked to vote for something they didn't vote for, said repeatedly they wouldn't (as far as last summer), probably still won't pass unless someone deals with Stupak (there's nothing worse than voting for a bill that screws your supporters to benefit some people who won't ever vote for you, unless it's voting for that and then having it fail). And all this to please the conservadems in the House of Lords with their union hatred. That's a little different.

it's dead.

and so is the Dem party, deservedly.

Thanks, joel hanes, and TJ, and others for making points I tried to last night (when publius' foot-stamping thread had already turned irrevocably to a discussion of the Supreme Court decision on corporate money in elections).

AFAICT Dean is not advocating starting over from scratch, but using reconciliation to make the Senate bill something that can get a majority of votes in the House.

Here are links to people who've made these arguments in detail.

cleek: it's dead.

and so is the Dem party, deservedly.

If this is your attitude, then you are part of the problem. If you are wrong, and it is not dead, this sort of talk will definitely help make it so. You want to throw up your hands, fine, then you are free to do so, but if so please do so and walk away, and stop trying to persuade the rest of us to do the same. In the meantime, we will call our Democratic representatives and Senators (202-224-3121) and only give up if and when this is well and truly over, not before. And it is not over yet.

I agree with Lindsay, except on one point: don't chill out, get fired up.

If this is your attitude, then you are part of the problem.

bah.

if the idiots in congress can't see what every blogger, comedian, editorial cartoonist and man on the street can plainly see, then the problem has absolutely nothing to do with me.

The "idiots" in congress are reacting in much the same way as you, throwing up their hands and saying it is impossible to drag this thing over the finish line. A lot of them are just as pissed off at each other as you are at them. But EVERYONE who walks away from this when we are so very close will be to blame for it's failure.

I'm no kind of activist, but even I can see that this is a make-or-break moment in the history of our nation.

The "idiots" in congress are reacting in much the same way as you, throwing up their hands and saying it is impossible to drag this thing over the finish line.

the difference, of course, is that my opinion is irrelevant. at best, i can voice my opinion to three of the people who will decide this. but odds are vanishingly small that, even if they hear me, they will pay any attention to what i have to say.

I'm no kind of activist, but even I can see that this is a make-or-break moment in the history of our nation.

it certainly looks pivotal. but what it turns into is entirely dependent on the egos and spines of 300-odd professional politicians in DC - none of whom give a flying fnck about me or my opinion on the matter. they've made that clear over the past year.

But EVERYONE who walks away from this when we are so very close will be to blame for it's failure.

And what, exactly, are we supposed to do? The entire point of this debacle is that the Democratic leaders, and to a large extent the Democratic Senators, do not care about their liberal constituents. There's nothing we can say or do to register as important, short of successfully mounting a primary challenge. Hell, even that looks like it failed; one can argue that the story of the 2008 elections was how liberal activists helped foment one of the greatest electoral routs in modern history, only to be discarded like used tissue paper once the Congress was seated.

So you tell me: other than calling my Senator again, and getting brushed off yet again, what the f*** am I supposed to do to get my voice heard?

If you've called your Senators and representative (where applicable--my Senators are both conservative Republicans), then you've done more than someone who already believes this thing is dead would be willing to do.

The other thing liberals can do is to knock off the doomsaying for the moment. There is still a path to some measure of success, even if it is an uphill battle. But if we just sit down on our asses and pout, failure is guaranteed. Maybe, I'm just sick of the relentless negativity from the left. Is it any wonder our legislators write us off if we threaten to take our ball and go home every time we don't get our way? The Democrats appear rudderless right now. The staffer for my reliably liberal congressman sounded like he didn't know which way was up. This might, ironically, be a unique opportunity for constituents to influence the path their representatives take.

Maybe I'm naive, but if the choice is between optimism and cynicism, I'll take the one that at least offers some possibility of a good outcome.

Is it any wonder our legislators write us off if we threaten to take our ball and go home every time we don't get our way?

Please. Our legislators write us off, period.

"Im no kind of activist, but even I can see that this is a make-or-break moment in the history of our nation."

Fareed Zakaria had a wonderful panel on his CNN show today dissecting President Obama's first-year in office.

LBJ biographer extraordinaire Robert Cairo criticized Mr. Obama's lack of a consistent message and, in essence, his lack of leadership.

Of course, comparing a novice like Obama to LBJ is harsh. But Cairo said he has seen none of the skill and leadership to influence and push significant legislation from Obama that was LBJ's hallmark.

Unlike LBJ, Obama shows no ability -- or, just as significantly, desire -- to get his hands dirty.

Obama's speeches were praised. But his inability to keep them consistent and, more notable, to follow them up with the conviction of his actions were criticized.

President Obama will deliver the State of the Union on Wednesday -- the timing of which could not be more dramatic or important, even though various Obama flaks said on the Sunday shows this morning there was no need to hit the Reset button (another sign that this White House is out of touch).

I suspect he will give a great speech.

But how he follows it up in the days and weeks to come will ultimately be telltale and decide and influence the outcome of HCR, economic recovery, the 2010 midterms and the 2012 GE itself.

Anarch: Please. Our legislators write us off, period.

Some do, some don't. Don't forget the progressive caucus are among the ones who are balking at the Senate bill because it isn't progressive enough.

So, what is your suggestion, then?

BTFB, yeah, Obama's approach has only resulted in the House and the Senate passing landmark health reform legislation, something no other president, Democratic or otherwise, has been able to do. But he's all talk.

And "reset button"? On what, health reform? Or the entire Obama Presidency?

"Obama's approach has only resulted in the House and the Senate passing landmark health reform legislation"

Perhaps all those other Presidents preferred legislation that solved the problem for a some amount of money we could afford, and rightly decided that the people wouldn't pay for it.

Seems to me, he was just about Jim Jones for the congressional Democrats who were saved by the independent voters of Massachusetts.

Thanks for your concern, Marty.

So, what is your suggestion, then?

I thought it was obvious: I don't have one.

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