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Strange Bedfellows
December 23, 2009 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Jane Hamsher is a former Hollywood producer who now heads the Firedoglake family of blogs. Grover Norquist is a long-time conservative activist who has had some influence in conservative politics. Together, they fight... Rahm Emanuel!

Hamsher defends her stance.
posted by Halloween Jack (63 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
And sometimes Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul cosponsor a bill. I guess some people aren't happy unless the polarization of the political sphere is complete and without exception.
posted by enn at 9:48 PM on December 23, 2009


Also, I see Firedoglake misspelled "Emanuel" in the slug for the "together" link, just like everyone else. What the fuck is up with that? The guy's been chief of staff for almost a year, was a somewhat prominent congressman before that, and I still see people who should know better writing "Emmanuel" at least half the time. It baffles me.
posted by enn at 9:51 PM on December 23, 2009


Can someone who follows this type of stuff fill us in on what kind of impact this buddy cop premise will have? Will there be ripples, beyond the partisan hand-wringing?
posted by brundlefly at 9:58 PM on December 23, 2009


This is cool because I usually can't decide which annoys me more, the unrealistic whining lefties or their counterparts on the right. Now I can dismiss them both and only have to roll my eyes once!
posted by palidor at 10:02 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


The guy's been chief of staff for almost a year, was a somewhat prominent congressman before that, and I still see people who should know better writing "Emmanuel" at least half the time. It baffles me.

This guy is a fuckhead -- a failed Chicago politician, who managed to find the right coattails to ride. The damage he's doing is incredible. When (not if) Obama loses the election in 2012, it will be Rahm Emanuel who will be the leading reason why.

He doesn't give a fuck about the base -- he expects them to do what he tells them to do, which is why he failed so badly in Chicago and was forced upstairs. See, there's a fundamental deal in Chicago, which is basically "You take care of me, I take care of you, we both take care of the trash." Emanuel kept forgetting the last two parts (as has Daley in the last couple of years, which is why I think he's done as well. We tolerate a *lot* of bullshit in Chicago, but you fuck with the snow plows, the trash trucks, or the parking meters, you *will* lose, badly.)

So, what he's done is cowed the so-called progressives in Congress. What this will do -- what this is doing -- is convincing the Democratic Base that they have in fact been Fooled Again, and what they *won't* do is show up come election time.

See, what the GOP knows, and the Dems keep forgetting, is that you have to keep the base fed. You may have bad times, but if you keep your base happy, you *will* come back. This is why the GOP keeps coming back. This is why they'll be back again.

The Democrats? They keep telling the base to shut the fuck up and do what they're told. And the base says "Fine, whatever, fuck you" and gets an oil change on election day. And the Dems lose.

I guess some people aren't happy unless the polarization of the political sphere is complete and without exception.

Hello? Are you paying attention? The *sole* political aspect of the GOP right now is "Oppose whatever the Democrats propose, to make them fail." There is no compromise. There is no middle ground. If you vote with the majority on a procedural vote, you are a traitor to the GOP.

The polarization of the political sphere is complete and without exception -- because the GOP has made it very, very, VERY clear that any member of the GOP who dares even discuss a middle ground will be ostracized by the GOP. And, so, they're the minority -- a minority that votes in lockstep and shuts legislation down.

The reason progressive keep getting beaten -- and the reason Obama's administration is becoming Carter II -- is because idiots like you think that compromise is possible.

THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND. You opposition has explicitly rejected such, and they are all for causing great harm to the nation if it will cause you to fail. And until you -- and the Obama Administration -- understand that, they will continue to lose.

Come 2012, when unemployment is still at 10%, and we're looking at if it's cheaper to pay the fine for not buying a piece of shit health care policy, you'll see exactly how bad Obama has done. Unless he buys a clue and actually starts fighting for the base of the Democratic party.

Which he *will not do* as long as Rahm Fucking Emanuel has his ear.
posted by eriko at 10:08 PM on December 23, 2009 [25 favorites]


For them what does not get the reference.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:09 PM on December 23, 2009


The reason progressive keep getting beaten -- and the reason Obama's administration is becoming Carter II -- is because idiots like you think that compromise is possible.

Fuck you too. I said, of course, nothing of the kind. I was referring to Kevin Drum's bleating in the last link that the cooperation of Hamsher and Norquist on this narrow matter is some sort of betrayal on her part. I certainly don't expect any compromise out of the Congress.
posted by enn at 10:18 PM on December 23, 2009


When (not if) Obama loses the election in 2012

Want to bet?
posted by empath at 10:24 PM on December 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


As it happens, my Daily Kos diary on this development made the "rec list" there today - so I'm a bit of a proud papa.

As to what kind of impact this will have: Unless the story gets some kind of MSM traction - which I highly doubt it will, especially given everything else going on with the health care bill - I don't think it will have any at all.

For me, the amusing part was that of the 1,600+ comments in that diary, at most two or three had anything cogent to say against Hamsher's accusations. The rest were mostly witch-burning screeds against her alleged (take your pick) narcissism, counterproductiveness, malice, and/or racism.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:26 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jane Hamsher's opinion means fuck-all to the country at large. She's a hollywood movie producer with a blog that thinks her dog was buddha. Come on, get serious.
posted by empath at 10:27 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I guess neither of them got the pony they asked for. Cry me a river.
posted by unSane at 10:36 PM on December 23, 2009


Lie down with dogs, you'll rise up with fleas. Grover Norquist and Phyllis Schlafly are not people I would feel comfortable co-signing with for anything remotely political.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:40 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Norquist is the lowest piece of scum the Republican party has produced in the last 40 years.
posted by any major dude at 11:32 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


eriko - Well and perfectly said. I wish you were wrong, but barring Obama's intervention to press the Democrats to somehow get a public option in the Bill again (extraordinarily unlikely) I forsee every single thing you said coming to pass.

Me? New Zealand is looking SO good.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:41 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, I definitely share anger towards Obama for not pushing harder for a real reform bill but I think it's too early to sign his obituary for 2012. The GOP has some real lunatics lined up for the nomination that have negatives above 50%. They have no chance of beating Obama, and that's not just my optimistic side talking. Beyond that, I'm not so sure about huge losses for the Dems in 2010. There will be some, but the Teabaggers are going after any incumbent Republican, forcing them to spend hard cash on primaries that they wouldn't have pre Angry White Male uprising.

So you've got Romney who is a viable candidate, but as a Mormon he's going to get shellaced by the Teabaggers and fundies in the primary as well.

I think Obama is a pretty safe bet as a two-term president, but it also means we'll have a mediocre DINO when we were expecting an orgy of hopey-changey.
posted by bardic at 11:53 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hasn't Norquist been drowned in a bathtub yet?

The reason progressive keep getting beaten -- and the reason Obama's administration is becoming Carter II -- is because idiots like you think that compromise is possible.

*sigh* When you're right, eriko (which isn't as often as you'd probably like), you're really right.
posted by Aquaman at 12:07 AM on December 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


And sometimes Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul cosponsor a bill. I guess some people aren't happy unless the polarization of the political sphere is complete and without exception.

Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul are in different houses of congress, so I'm not sure they could sponsor a bill together. Are you thinking of Barney frank, who does sometimes sponsor bills with Paul?

Also this particular cooperation is about the Federal Reserve and bailouts, rather then Health Care. That's a really important issue that a lot of the "progressive" blogsphere has completely ignored, at the request of the Obama administration (according to Hamsher, anyway)

Still, I don't know why Rahm Emanuel would care what Grover Norquest thinks of him.
Jane Hamsher's opinion means fuck-all to the country at large. She's a hollywood movie producer with a blog that thinks her dog was buddha. Come on, get serious.
Since the article you linked to doesn't even contain the word 'buddha' I have to as, WTF are you talking about? I'm a little perplexed about why you would use someone's obituary to their dog against them. Lots of people anthropomorphize their pets.

Furthermore, This kind of 'attack by profession' thing is really weak. Why is a Hollywood movie produce worse then being a D.C. politician. Is being a politician supposed to inspire a lot of confidence in their honesty or capabilities?
Lie down with dogs, you'll rise up with fleas. Grover Norquist and Phyllis Schlafly are not people I would feel comfortable co-signing with for anything remotely political.
So if Grover Norquist got on board with Net Neutrality, for example, you would be opposed? This has nothing to do with healthcare, the petition is about the federal reserve. Are you saying it's mandatory that all democrats have a different position then all republicans on oversight monetary policy? What's your position on the Fed, or do you even care beyond "whatever Norquist is against!"?

---

I don't think that the republicans have a chance in 2012. People are unhappy, but they are for the most part not taking that anger out on Obama. But the real risk is the midterms. It already looks like the house could theoretically flip in 2010, IIRC. It's unlikely, but there's a real risk of losing seats, which will only embolden the teabaggers.

The thing is, while most democrats like Obama (I think he has an approval rating in the 80s among dems and liberals) the base is demoralized after the heathcare cluster fuck.

And saying shit like "I didn't campaign on the public option" which is really easy to rebut and actually makes him look kind of ridiculous is I think really ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 AM on December 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


which is why he failed so badly in Chicago and was forced upstairs

He got re-elected, became chairman of the DCCC and was credited with some of the success of the Democrats taking the House in 2006, so I don't understand how he failed. Can you elaborate?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:41 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


When (not if) Obama loses the election in 2012, it will be Rahm Emanuel who will be the leading reason why.

Name me one Republican who's in the running who could beat Obama. Tim Pawlenty? Bobby Jindal? Mitt Romney? Jeb Bush? Sarah Palin? I know that there's three more years to go but I can't any of those getting even close. No matter how carter-esque Obama gets, the Republicans won't be able to capitalize on the situation. Unless the tea partiers relent by then, whoever runs is going to have to go full bore loony to appeal to a base who thinks that Lindsey Graham is a RINO. All Obama has to do is to be "not crazy".
posted by octothorpe at 4:17 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Senate has passed the health care reform bill, 60-39, with no Republican voting "yea" (and Harry Reid accidentally almost voting "nay".)
posted by orthogonality at 4:21 AM on December 24, 2009


Merry Christmas, Teabaggers.
posted by stavrogin at 4:29 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


We can has watered down, but better than nothing health care soon?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 AM on December 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


He got re-elected, became chairman of the DCCC and was credited with some of the success of the Democrats taking the House in 2006, so I don't understand how he failed.

Ha. His strategy for "success" sometimes meant squeezing progressives out of races they had a good chance of winning by drying up Democratic money for them and giving it to right-leaning Dems in name only (or former Republicans who quickly switched their affiliation to Dem) who are now blocking meaningful health care reform. It's a ridiculous description of "success" in many cases, when good progressive candidates were ignored in favor of right-wing career politicians who start showing their true colors once they use Rahm's money to get into office.

Seriously, it's so obviously a completely failed strategy from any perspective but that of Corporate-Owned Government that it's difficult to understand how anyone could at this point consider it "success."
posted by mediareport at 4:41 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can you cite examples, mediareport? Not saying you're wrong or full of, would just like more info.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 AM on December 24, 2009


Brandon Blatcher: "We can has watered down, but better than nothing health care soon?"

Since people keep using "better than nothing" as ketchup to help them choke down the shit sandwich Obama has served them, I suggest they check the fine print. (After all, this is the man for whom "at least two combat brigades" adequately describes "tripling US ground forces".)

Last night, former insurance industry executive Wendell Potter appeared on Countdown, claiming that the industry could get around the requirements on the medical loss ratio through accounting tricks. To recap, under the Senate bill, the insurance industry would be required to spend 85 cents of every dollar in the large-group market, and 80 cents in the small-group and individual markets, on medical care, rather than overhead, administrative costs, salaries, marketing and profit.

An article at Smart Money magazine suggests that the insurance industry is already looking for ways to wiggle out of this requirement...

Clearly there are accounting tactics that can be used to get around the MLR. Countdown reported that Aetna had to acknowledge that they fudged their MLR numbers in the small-group market. And Potter, in his appearance, noted that insurance companies believed that they could categorize certain spending in certain areas to “live” with an 85% MLR. ....

What this comes down to is that moving to a regulatory environment to manage the health care system rather than a public-private competition environment can work, but only with an actual police force. And it’s unclear where that police force is right now.


Or put it this way. You've seen how diligent Obama is at policing his friends on Wall Street? That's the diligence you'll have to rely on for your "better than nothing".

And the insurance companies gave even more to his campaign than Wall Street did.

Best of luck to you in the New Year. You're going to need it.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:44 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Under McCain there would be zero reform and probably a bombing of Iran by now. I find it hilarious that the "OMG WE MUST GET RID OF BUSH/GOP ASAP" brigade is now the "OMG NO SOCIALIZED MEIDICINE OVERNIGHT? TRAITOR!" brigade. The left has its own teabaggers it seems.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:01 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's been Rahm's preferred modus operandi for years, Brandon - swooping in and anointing with money the least progressive candidate in the race, out of some bizarre - and completely self-fulfilling - belief that no progressive candidate can ever win a close contest. So what ends up happening is progressive candidates across the country never get a chance to even *try* to win with the money and party behind him. I'm off to work, but here's your most famous 2006 "success" story: In the race to replace sleazy Republican page seducer Mark Foley down in Florida, Rahm drove progressive grassroots candidate Dave Lutrin out of the primary by pressuring Dems to stop giving him money (and, Lutrin says, attempting to bribe him with a job). Who did Rahm replace him with? A former lifelong Republican-turned-Dem-at-the-last-minute, Tim Mahoney, who then refused to support Obama and is now most famous for losing the seat after paying off a mistress in a sex scandal of his own.

It's a completely awful strategy that ends up disempowering the Democratic Party base while increasing the number of corrupt right-wingers in Democratic seats who consistently fail to vote for anything even the slightest bit left-of-center. Hardly "success" by any means.
posted by mediareport at 6:07 AM on December 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Er, "behind him them"
posted by mediareport at 6:08 AM on December 24, 2009


Florida's 16th district leans Republican, so Rahm wanting a more conservative Democrat doesn't seem crazy or wrong in theory.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 AM on December 24, 2009


Maybe this is quite a good use of the blogosphere actually. Jane Hamsher, eriko and Joe Beese get to use cyberspace to give full range to their personal psychodramas, and meanwhile in the real world we can get on with making incremental, massively imperfect, real change for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, and I just read Hamsher defending her stance. It is jaw-dropping, this cynicism. These people are so wrapped up in themselves that the biggest social reform in modern American history isn't even earning their tepid welcome, but their active scorn. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they won't be.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:31 AM on December 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


wank wank wank
posted by edgeways at 6:41 AM on December 24, 2009


game warden to the events rhino: "incremental, massively imperfect, real change for hundreds of thousands of Americans."

Especially for those with uteruses.

"The so-called health care reform bill now before the Senate, with the addition of Majority Leader Harry Reid's Manager's Amendment, amounts to a health insurance bill for half the population and a sweeping anti-abortion law for the rest of us," NOW President Terry O'Neill said in a statement.

And union cards.

SEIU and AFL-CIO, the nation's largest group of labor unions, said Thursday that they hope to work to repair the Senate bill but that they don't support it in its current state. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the Senate bill "inadequate" because it is "too kind to the insurance industry."

But the Democratic Party won't need women or labor to win elections, right?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:52 AM on December 24, 2009


Florida's 16th district leans Republican, so Rahm wanting a more conservative Democrat doesn't seem crazy or wrong in theory.
Well, you have to close the loop on the Obama defenses. Because everyone knows that Obama really wanted public option/real reform, but he was tragically stymied by the blue dogs and other conservative democrats. In which case, either he foolishly supported politicians who would oppose him, or he knew exactly what he was doing, and he actually supports the blue dog agenda.

These people are so wrapped up in themselves that the biggest social reform in modern American history isn't even earning their tepid welcome, but their active scorn.
Biggest reform in modern American history? Seriously? The industry being ... ahem ... reformed had private off-the-record meetings with the president, and came out so happy that they lobbied in favor of the reform. The upshot being that everyone must now purchase their product, and they have a few slippery obligations imposed on them. Say what you want about the New Deal, at least it was actual reform. Or is that pre-modern?
posted by Humanzee at 6:56 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul are in different houses of congress, so I'm not sure they could sponsor a bill together.

Sanders was in the House until 2006.

He got re-elected, became chairman of the DCCC and was credited with some of the success of the Democrats taking the House in 2006, so I don't understand how he failed.

Yes, I don't know where eriko got that; Emanuel may have done a poor job but he was in no danger of losing his seat. Who was going to run against him?
posted by enn at 6:58 AM on December 24, 2009


Which he *will not do* as long as Rahm Fucking Emanuel has his ear.

I'm not sure why people think that Rahm is somehow controlling Obama, and that Obama has no personal agency in how the government is run. He's known Rahm for a long time, he personally selected Rahm for his role, and Rahm serves at the pleasure of the president. He's not doing things Obama doesn't want him to do. To say otherwise is, frankly, offensive.

See, what the GOP knows, and the Dems keep forgetting, is that you have to keep the base fed. You may have bad times, but if you keep your base happy, you *will* come back. This is why the GOP keeps coming back. This is why they'll be back again.

The GOP has been doing a lot of base-feeding lately. By picking Sarah Palin as a VP candidate. That lost them the election. By supporting Doug Hoffman in NY-23. They handed a safe seat to a Democrat. And us liberal Democrats laugh at the GOP for pandering to their fringe elements. There are tons of threads here on Metafilter about how the GOP is doomed for pandering to their tiny 20% base, how they're becoming a regional/southern party, how they're out-of-touch with the mainstream.

And yet, conversely, many of us seem to want the Democrats to make the same mistakes the GOP is making. It's baffling.
posted by mpbx at 7:07 AM on December 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Maybe on the coasts Obama looks like a sure thing in 2012, but if the Republicans get their act together and run a realistic candidate (NOT Sarah Palin, fer cryin' out loud, please), they have a good shot at the Presidency. Lots of "ifs", I know, but Obama's administration certainly is starting to look like Carter Redux.

Across my client base I come into contact with a broad cross-section of people who range from social service agencies to privately held and publicly held companies. There was such discontent with Bush and the GOP's insanity the last 8 years that Obama was a shoe-in even if he had phoned in the campaign from Chicago. However, what I'm hearing from my client base now is "if the Republicans run anyone other than Sarah Palin, I'm in." The liberals are upset that Obama has sold out, the moderates are uncomfortable and the conservatives never liked Obama to begin with.

Personally, I never bought Obama's Hope & Change rhetoric any more than McCain's "maverick" rhetoric. Obama failed the moment after the election when he brought in the Dark Side in the form of Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and Timothy Geithner. At that point he proved that his overall policies would be little different from Bush apart from a very friendly and fresh face.

Both the GOP and the Democrats are hopelessly captured by their individual interest groups and trapped in a downward spiral that is ultimately screwing us all. Until the day comes that we can break this capture we're going to see-saw between one party's interest groups to the other. Increasingly it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on, the winners are obvious: big money and big influence contributors. Goldman Sachs and General Electric stand to benefit greatly from environmental cap-and-trade policies and healthcare reform, and at this point in our political system it doesn't matter if it is Democrats or Republicans driving the legislation, parties such as those will always get their say in much to our detriment.

All of the little side shows: Rahm, Sarah Palin, Climategate, terrorism, Afghanistan, healthcare, Obama himself; these are all distractions while the standing of government is undermined.
posted by tgrundke at 7:12 AM on December 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's a coherent, sensible response to Hamsher from Ezra Klein. And a handy image/chart about the improvements for people who aren't a fan of words.
posted by mpbx at 7:14 AM on December 24, 2009


From Klein's piece:
There are also new regulations on insurers forcing them to spend between 80 percent and 85 percent of every premium dollar on medical care
I thought that provision had been dropped; am I wrong?

8% of your income in premiums is still a hell of a lot. Can someone who supported the bill explain to me the mechanism of action by which insurers are prevented from doubling or tripling premiums as soon as the individual mandate goes into effect?
posted by enn at 7:19 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


He got re-elected, became chairman of the DCCC and was credited with some of the success of the Democrats taking the House in 2006, so I don't understand how he failed.

Like I said, failed. The real power in Chicago Politics is *in Chicago*. Ever wonder why the Daleys -- nor almost any mayor of Chicago, nor any of the mayors of cities with real power -- almost never go for "higher office."

Why? Because they're in the highest office. Nobody has power like a strong mayor. Going to the House means you failed. God, it's even worse if you go to the State House. (Serious failure is, of course, going to the Big House.) Everyone know the prize in Chicago is Da Mayor's Office.

As to the inane idea that he in any way helped in 2006, he fought Dean tooth and nail when Dean was pushing 50-state, the only winning political strategy the Democratic Party has had in 25 years, no, 75. Before Reagan, the Democrats won by a strange coalition - Dixiecrats, Northeast Liberals, and California Progressives, and they could stay in power by making sure that those seats were supported and the rest could be left to rot.

Rot, they did, and when the Reagan Revolution came and flipped the Dixiecrats to the GOP, the Dems were out in the wilderness, and they stayed there, because they never fought a battle that they weren't sure they could win, and sometimes, not even then.

Dean changed that. Dean put every seat in play. A number of them lost badly -- but money the GOP could have used in an attempt to attack a moderately strong Dem seat had to be used to defend "safe" seats. The end result? A surprising number of those ignored seats went to the Democrats in 2006, even more in 2008, and holy shit, look at the results. Indeed, why is Obama president? Because McCaskill, Kaine and Hodes made damn sure they were players in every state, and Clinton decided that was dumb. Right, Madame Secretary?

50-state is a strategy that takes a while to pay off. You might get a couple of seats the first cycle, but what you get out of that is an actual organization in those states. That pays off the next cycle, and the next cycle after that, as people who never even *heard* of the Democratic Candidate now start know names, and remembering ads, and so forth. And suddenly, in a few cycles, why, you have an historic victory -- winning states and seats that haven't been in play in years. Somewhat, like, I don't know, 2008.

And Emanuel hates 50-state, and is fighting like hell against it. It's why he spent such a short time as the chair of the DCCC -- the Cool Kids in DC may think he invented sliced bread, but the people who actually won seats realized that he wasn't helping.

You want to know how much "good" Emanuel has done? His biggest move in 2006 was convincing the DNC to not support Ned Lamont, the winner of the Democratic Primary in Connecticut.

So, yeah. He's a mover and shaker, but so are earthquakes.
posted by eriko at 7:28 AM on December 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


8% of your income in premiums is still a hell of a lot. Can someone who supported the bill explain to me the mechanism of action by which insurers are prevented from doubling or tripling premiums as soon as the individual mandate goes into effect?

You have it backwards. If premiums cost more than 8% of your income, you're exempt from the mandate. Insurance companies would lose customers if they increased premiums.
posted by mpbx at 7:30 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


If premiums cost more than 8% of your income, you're exempt from the mandate. Insurance companies would lose customers if they increased premiums.

Currently, being young and healthy-ish, the premiums I've been quoted for basic individual plans are much less than 8% of my income. Why shouldn't they rise to just under 8% as soon as the plan goes through?
posted by enn at 7:33 AM on December 24, 2009


Why? Because they're in the highest office. Nobody has power like a strong mayor. Going to the House means you failed. God, it's even worse if you go to the State House. (Serious failure is, of course, going to the Big House.) Everyone know the prize in Chicago is Da Mayor's Office.

Richard J started out in the Illinois House, as did Harold Washington; Richard M started out in the Illinois Senate.
posted by enn at 7:37 AM on December 24, 2009


meanwhile in the real world we can get on with making incremental, massively imperfect, real change for hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Have you read the Senate bill? It makes changes -- massively imperfect ones -- for *millions* of Americans. The caps are weak and will soon mean nothing, the recession protection is a joke, the community rules look okay but have a few large holes that I'm afraid will be badly exploited, and the mandate is a huge giveaway to the health insurance industry. Indeed, the name "Health Care Reform" is the biggest lie -- this changes absolutely nothing about Health Care in the US. What it became is "Health Insurance Reform", and then what it became was reform in the exact sense of Welfare Reform -- oh, and for insult, we have another attack on reproductive rights. Gee, Thanks, Congress!

Yes, Social Security and Medicare started as small, ineffective programs. I would love if this did the same, but it doesn't not. What program is starting here? Where is the office? What benefits does it provide? None, actually. It claims to restrict private insurers in various ways (and we all know how regulations go in the US) and it requires you to play. It currently subsidizes the poorest, but that will help them get crappy policies that won't do anything about preventative care**, and so, it really won't control costs, and how long will those subsidies last? SCHIP was a real program. This isn't. EITC is a real subsidy. This isn't, well, not to the poor. It's a 830 billion dollar subsidy, over ten years, to the insurance industry.

What this does is entrench our current system, not start a small program that can be built into a real health care system. You know, the one that spends billions on administration alone? I actually should be glad this bill is passing in this form. It means I have a job, in a rapidly growing company that exists solely because of our insane payor system. Indeed, it'll soon be a $100M company -- something that should give you pause, because what we do, at the core, is deal with payers to get providers paid, not with making patients healthier, which is the entire point of health care.

Remember that. Health Care is about outcomes, period -- it's getting people all the care they need, when they need it, from cradle to grave. Health Insurance is about costs. And that $100M+ annual revenue? That's money *you are spending on health care* that's not making you any healthier. And we are, by far, not the only company in this position. That's the biggest accomplishment of this bill -- it'll keep a bunch of middlemen employed. While I'm all for a good jobs bill, I'd prefer one that didn't cost Americans so much.

When the public option was there -- that was a nascent program that could have been built into a real PPP or a real single payer system. But that's dead. There's no program to build up. We can't afford to have the public pay for private insurance, which is the only thing this bill does. It's what were doing now, we can't afford it, and the claimed fix is "We need to buy more of it!"

The biggest claimed savings is the "legions" of healthy people without health insurance. They do exist (and, economically, what they need is a big deductible no cap policy, for the "getting hit by a car" or "cancer" events.) But you know, there aren't legions of them. There are a lot of them, but most of them have jobs, and have insurance via the employer. So, once again, there's no there there.

So, yeah, you can claim that this is an incremental improvement. In my world -- which happens to be the health care insurance industry -- I know exactly who improved, and believe me, it was anything but incremental. What this bill does is *mandate* that you play along with the Insurance Industry. Which is why the entire industry is now a Strong Buy.

** Preventative Care: It's the single most important thing you can do to control health care costs as a whole, and in a multi payor system where you frequently change policies, it becomes very clear to the payor that paying for preventative care is a bad deal -- it makes your covered population healthier, which means there will be less claims in the future -- when, of course, most of them *will be insured by someone else.* Single payor, the incentives align, because if PM reduces later claim costs, then they'll save money in the future. Preventative Care is one of the biggest differences between a health care system and a health insurance system -- Health Care systems are *huge* on it, multi-payer insurance systems are not .
posted by eriko at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


See, what the GOP knows, and the Dems keep forgetting, is that you have to keep the base fed. You may have bad times, but if you keep your base happy, you *will* come back. This is why the GOP keeps coming back. This is why they'll be back again.

The Democrats? They keep telling the base to shut the fuck up and do what they're told. And the base says "Fine, whatever, fuck you" and gets an oil change on election day. And the Dems lose.


Uh ... Well, I generally agree with you, but isn't it the case that the Dems always come back, too? The Dems don't always lose. Hence, the situation we're in right now, with Obama as president, a supermajority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House.

But, yeah, other than that I agree with you.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:50 AM on December 24, 2009


Why? Because they're in the highest office.

If what they care about is Chicago politics, sure. But I was not aware that the Mayor of Chicago could sponsor bills in the US House of Representatives.

I.e., your critique assumes that what Emanuel cared about was Chicago politics. I'm just not getting that. If indeed you don't go higher after becoming Mayor of Chicago, then my read on Rahm Emanuel is that's an office he avoids like the plague.

That said, I have to agree with folks who say that abandoning 50-state is insane. Howard Dean won the election for Obama by forcing the Republicans to face the fiscal and logistical reality of their base-pandering strategy, and he dragged the DNC kicking and screaming into the social media era. They oughta give the guy a fucking medal.
posted by lodurr at 7:58 AM on December 24, 2009


Parker Griffith switches to GOP after voting Republican most of the time:
On May 31st, 2008, Parker Griffith received $10,000 from Our Common Values PAC (Rahm Emamuel’s Leadership PAC) and on June 27th, he received $2,000 from Rahm Emanuel for Congress.
posted by psyche7 at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2009


Since the article you linked to doesn't even contain the word 'buddha' I have to as, WTF are you talking about? I'm a little perplexed about why you would use someone's obituary to their dog against them.

from the article: "A bodhisattva, an enlightened being who foregoes entering Nirvana so they can help others to find their way. I always trusted him to guide me and protect me."

I'm sorry, she's a flake.
posted by empath at 9:00 AM on December 24, 2009


Obama is completely beatable for anyone running against him in 2012, unless they're a Republican.
posted by Mick at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2009


Just as a reminder: the Hamsher-Norquist alliance under discussion has not a thing to do with health care.

It alleges that the President's Chief of Staff is the guiding force behind a plan - the uncharitable might even call it, in the words of Stringer Bell, "a criminal fucking conspiracy" - to put $800 billion of your money into a slush fund to bail out irresponsible financial institutions with zero Congressional oversight.

Seems to me that this is the kind of thing that might angry up the blood of some folks here if the President under the discussion had an (R) after his name.

But Jane Hamsher is a doody-head, so let's not give it another thought.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:23 AM on December 24, 2009


The next Presidential election isn't for three more years. Barring Obama either (a) turning everybody's pink slips into golden tickets and walking across the Atlantic Ocean to go beat up the President of Iran before discovering the key to cheap cold fusion and ending all war forever or (b) standing by while New York gets nuked and unemployment hits 40% and then reveals himself to be the son of Satan. I think it's a bit early for any of us to be making any predictions about what November 2012 will bring us.

I don't really see any viable Republican candidates, but hell, most of the GOP candidates that showed up in 2008 were surprises.
posted by Target Practice at 9:54 AM on December 24, 2009


enn

8% of your income in premiums is still a hell of a lot.

I just calculated how much of my paycheck goes to my health insurance premium.

8.52%.
posted by Target Practice at 10:05 AM on December 24, 2009


No, wait. I divided a biweekly premium by a week's pay.

It's actually 4.26%, so I guess my point is kinda nullified. Whoops!
posted by Target Practice at 10:08 AM on December 24, 2009


It alleges that the President's Chief of Staff is the guiding force behind a plan - the uncharitable might even call it, in the words of Stringer Bell, "a criminal fucking conspiracy" - to put $800 billion of your money into a slush fund to bail out irresponsible financial institutions with zero Congressional oversight.

I'm confused. I thought it was a possibly-criminal conspiracy to obscure Emanuel's conflict of interest w.r.t. Freddie & Fannie. What you describe seems to me to be simply legislation.

If the argument is that financial bailouts in general wouldn't have happened without Emanuel's participation in a criminal conspiracy, I'm not seeing it. The criminal question seems to be whether he steered $$ to cronies. I can certainly believe that, having known a lot of people who would fit the same description as Rahm Emanuel, and knowing that they generally had a fantastic capacity for rationalizing the moral merits of their actions.
posted by lodurr at 10:14 AM on December 24, 2009


lodurr: "I'm confused. I thought it was a possibly-criminal conspiracy to obscure Emanuel's conflict of interest w.r.t. Freddie & Fannie. What you describe seems to me to be simply legislation. "

I'm confused too. It's a story with a lot of moving parts and - thanks to the WH's stonewalling - with key pieces missing.

What I am certain of is that the WH's denial of the FOIA request is a particularly cynical move from a "transparency" administration, and that this smell-test failure would not be ignored in preference to ad feminem attacks on those calling for investigation if the parties were reversed.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:26 AM on December 24, 2009


Parker Griffith switches to GOP after voting Republican most of the time

Yeah, but the GOP is already looking to find a candidate to defeat him in the next primary. He's too moderate for the party as it stands now.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:28 AM on December 24, 2009


I'm sorry, she's a flake.

How she feels about her dog and Buddhism is irrelevant to health care and the politics surrounding it, however, as well as her own intelligence and capabilities.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeh, have to admit, this is the kind of thing that makes me tired and cynical w.r.t. political process. have to say, I would welcome the sight of Rahm's tail exiting the door. Never liked the sound of the guy and like him even less, now.

as for the ad feminem, maybe -- I haven't read most of that -- but for his part, and w.r.t. health care, Ezra Klein does a pretty good job of speaking to the evidence. And she comes out looking pretty fucking cynical herself.
posted by lodurr at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2009


I'm sorry, she's a flake.

Wow, that's completely pathetic.
posted by mediareport at 3:11 PM on December 24, 2009


I've got no love for Rahm, but seriously ... Grover Norquist? The guy who was in deep with Jack Abramoff?
posted by silas216 at 4:44 PM on December 24, 2009


As a postscript:
Firedoglake » Cenk Uygur: “Are You Concerned Now, Rahm?” makes a good case for Jane's strategy of common cause with Norquist. The basic question for progressives is how do you push back? And what happens if you don't?
posted by psyche7 at 6:07 PM on December 25, 2009


>Why? Because they're in the highest office. Nobody has power like a strong mayor. Going to the House means you failed. God, it's even worse if you go to the State House. (Serious failure is, of course, going to the Big House.) Everyone know the prize in Chicago is Da Mayor's Office.

Richard J started out in the Illinois House, as did Harold Washington; Richard M started out in the Illinois Senate.


As did that Barack O guy, actually.
posted by EarBucket at 4:21 PM on December 26, 2009


Cenk Uygur makes a good case? Since when?
In steps Jane Hamsher, with a two-by-four. And she just clocked Rahm Emanuel across the head.
Any evidence that he might have even noticed?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:03 PM on December 26, 2009


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