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Kiss U.S. Healthcare Reform Goodbye
January 19, 2010 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Republican Scott Brown has defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's former senate seat.

Despite the President campaigning for Coakley over the weekend, the election wasn't even close. Coakley was tripped up by Democratic complacence concerning what everyone seemed to think was a safe blue seat, an uninspiring personality, and a key Red Sox-related gaffe.

What does this mean for healthcare reform? While the House could pass the Senate version of the healthcare bill without revision, and not have to get it through the Senate again, key House Democrats say they'd rather have no bill at all than an uncompromised Senate bill. It looks like Barney Frank is right, and healthcare reform is dead.
posted by notswedish (622 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm sorry.
posted by gman at 7:16 PM on January 19, 2010


I tried.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 7:16 PM on January 19, 2010


*stares blankly at government*
posted by Burhanistan at 7:16 PM on January 19, 2010 [31 favorites]


Sigh. It's hard not to be a pessimist about U.S. Politics sometimes...
posted by Taft at 7:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Jebus.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:18 PM on January 19, 2010


Combine voter indignation with the "sausage making" of recent months with an incredibly inept campaign, and this is the result.

Quite honestly, the crowing from the Right and the anti-Obama narrative that'll predominate in the next couple of days is going to be almost as irritating as the political consequences.
posted by Bromius at 7:19 PM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


I think it's time for the Democrats to grow some testicles (or ovaries) and push their agenda through by forcing the Republicans to actually oppose them instead of merely threatening to oppose them.

No one votes for a wimp.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:19 PM on January 19, 2010 [86 favorites]


The 2010 and 2012 elections are going to be truly terrifying.

A once fired up liberal group that has been left cynical and pissed off at the business as usual Democratic party and a motivated and politically active group of utterly crazy paranoid and deluded right-wingers.

Not a good combination.

As H.L Mencken said - People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [23 favorites]


It's reassuring to know that the American voter has only a +/- 14 month memory. That helps avoid any unfortunate progress while, at the same time, avoiding the hassle of accountability.
posted by pkingdesign at 7:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [22 favorites]


And, with the revelation that the Tea Partiers are not just a bunch of fringe loonies but in fact represent a significant part of the population, the breif period of time in which the world beleived America had collectively come to it's sense closes.

Maybe once the UK gets it's tory Government you can elect a far right religious lunatic and find some communists to play games of nuclear brinkmanship with, and it can be just like the 80s again.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


My sister, who has extensive experience with MA politics, called the Coakley campaign weeks ago asking if they wanted help. They never called her back.

My mother offered to give rides to the polling places for people. She got one call at 7:40pm to give a ride to someone who was almost an hour away from where she lives.

I think that other people had similar experiences.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


Hopefully this will discourage the Democrats from putting up shitty, hand-picked, "law and order" party cronies who appeal to almost nobody.

PS I really do doubt that the Democrats will "drop" healthcare reform. I'd say we'll at least get the Senate bill, and possibly a very, very Liberal bill jammed through under reconciliation.
posted by lattiboy at 7:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

After all this talk that the Democrats make too many concessions and that they need to take direction from the Progressive wing, it's the Statists in Massachussets who stand up and reject the leftward drift. And to pour salt on the wound, it's the day after MLK Day, the eve of the anniversary of Obama's inauguration, and best of all, it's Ed Kennedy's seat, which hasn't been in Republican hands for 50 some years. Ed Kennedy! After all those decades spent laboring for health care, he died just in the nick of time. The Lord does surely work in mysterious ways!

But I don't really give a damn about health care. The country is pretty much fucked either way. This comedy though, from the Democrats is priceless. Can anyone think of a better example of defeat snatched from the jaws of victory?

Not me!

A filibuster proof majority in the Senate, control of the House and of course the Presidency, and yet still managing to fail at acheiving the top priority of Obama's domestic agenda.

My sides! They split!
posted by BigSky at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2010 [22 favorites]


Quite honestly, the crowing from the Right and the anti-Obama narrative that'll predominate in the next couple of days is going to be almost as irritating as the political consequences.

Living in Massachusetts, I can safely say that the future tense is no longer necessary there.
posted by Spatch at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let them win. The best thing that can happen for America, the environment, and the world in general is for Republicans to drive this country to ruin and plunge the world into another depression. Its the only way rid ourselves of badly executed globalization policies and slow environmental degradation. If the economy doesn't collapse we are all doomed.
posted by TheCoyote23 at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


the breif period of time in which the world beleived America had collectively come to it's sense closes.


art, if you're going to keep bashing Americans as single unit, then it might, ya know, be cool to actually not have so many grammatical errors in your post there, chap.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm Canadian, so maybe there's something I don't plug into about this, but the large dip in support for the Democrats and Obama is deeply scary.

Being dissapointed with Obama is fine, but don't Americans understand that if they don't vote for him, they have to accept the alternative? The far, far, worse alternative?
posted by Alex404 at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


My sides! They split!

Do you have insurance?
posted by gman at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2010 [110 favorites]


Hopefully this will discourage the Democrats from putting up shitty, hand-picked, "law and order" party cronies who appeal to almost nobody.

They "put up" the person who won the primary. The person the machine was supporting (Congressman Mike Capuano) didn't win.

Capuano's lack of campaigning for Coakley was noted by me. He will never get another vote from me, ever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


It looks like Barney Frank is right, and healthcare reform is dead.

Not to diminish the horrific embarrassment of the MA result, but this kind of panicky fatalism is a big part of the problem. If you're a Democrat who cares about healthcare reform, you can do your bit in the coming days and weeks by not becoming part of this all-too-familiar Democratic reaction to bad news, which involves getting so spooked by bad news as to become convinced that all is lost. Take a couple of hours to indulge in this self-pity tinged with hysteria, then for God's sake buck up and keep on fighting for what matters.

Let them win. The best thing that can happen for America, the environment, and the world in general is for Republicans to drive this country to ruin and plunge the world into another depression.

Child.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2010 [87 favorites]


and a key Red Sox-related gaffe.

Seriously? There are people who'd actually vote on that basis?
posted by weston at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Let them win. The best thing that can happen for America, the environment, and the world in general is for Republicans to drive this country to ruin and plunge the world into another depression. Its the only way rid ourselves of badly executed globalization policies and slow environmental degradation.

Sorry, but didn't this already happen? And it didn't work?
posted by Bromius at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


Hopefully this will discourage the Democrats from putting up shitty, hand-picked, "law and order" party cronies who appeal to almost nobody.

I'm sort of betting on the opposite.

But I'd also bet on the various unicorn chasers being completgely fucking useless until you are knee deep in Republicans, then denying all responsibility like the new Naderites they are.
posted by Artw at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also: This is much more about a profoundly horrible campaign and candidate than it is about anti-government resentment, right-wing resurgence. Any half-competent candidate could've carried this seat easily. The heads of the MA Democratic Party should roll through the fucking streets.
posted by lattiboy at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


Grow up, BigSky. I know it seems like a joke sometimes, but some people take what happens to the country and the job of running it seriously, and their motivations aren't guided almost solely by sticking it to the other guy and/or deliberately pissing him off like the Republicans' are.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Democrats could figure out a way to lose an election to a grilled cheese sandwich.

"We just couldn't compete with our opponent's perceived deliciousness!"

"We were thwarted by the powerful Tomato Soup Lobby!"

"Surely, we thought, people would prefer Frozen-Turd-On-A-Stick to
a tasty hot sandwich! We were misled by the polls!"

Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [70 favorites]


I'm actually not worried about this, but I expect to be worried when the Democrats act like they're unable to pass a bill with 59 votes.
posted by ®@ at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [27 favorites]


Jon Stewart's piece on this election and the Democratic party's complete lack of spine was inspired. I'm just as befuddled as how this can happen. It is time for the Democratic party to stop being such wusses.
posted by birdherder at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Does this mean we give up all hope for even a shadow of health care reform or are the MAJORITY Democrats going to do what we sent them there to do? Why in the world are they acting like they need a super majority to get this done?!

They're going to keep losing until they grow a spine and do what they said they would do.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?
posted by Dasein at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Don't kid yourselves - any health care bill at all is going to be very hard to get through under this new state of affairs.

I'm still, amazingly, shocked at how very many people are happy to think of their vote as "sending a message to Washington" and entirely divorced from any larger consequence. GD it, if you want to 'send a message', sit down and write a letter.
posted by newdaddy at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Take a couple of hours to indulge in this self-pity tinged with hysteria.
posted by jquinby at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


But I don't really give a damn about health care

Must be nice to have the luxury of being a douchebag, then. Congratulations, it's now increasingly less likely some 30 million of your fellow citizens will have something resembling health insurance. Your priorities have been noted and the judges award you no points.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


I'm not surprised. Frankly Coakley sounded like a horrible candidate. The idea that the Dems won't pass health-care because of this is ridiculous. Not ridiculous because it might not be true, but ridiculous because it just shows how fucking pathetic they are. They have 58 seats in the senate and control the house and they can't pass a already watered down version of their bill?

It's fucking ridiculous. Completely pathetic. Hundreds of millions of people are depending on the democrats and they can't be arsed to get their shit together. What the fuck is going on with these people? Blogs have already outlined how the bill could still be passed

1) The senate bill could be voted on without any modifications in the house. Since the 'final' version was going to be more like the senate version -- no public option, this is no big loss.

2) The house and senate could follow up by modifying the bill by amending it and using the reconciliation process to pass it.

There is no reason, other then the Democratic party's seeming inability to do anything whatsoever, regardless of how many seats they control.

I mean seriously using this as an excuse not to pass the already weak healthcare bill is just that, an excuse. Anyone who believes that the dems can't pass the bill because of this election are getting played. It's just an excuse, by conservative dems who don't want to pass the bill anyway -- a way to pretend like failure isn't there fault when it clearly is

--

Also, interesting PPP was right on the nose. They're one of the best pollsters out there. (Well, they're the only one who's blog I subscribe too, but they seem to do a good job)

There's pretty strong evidence that computerized polling actually works better then live person-on-person polling.
posted by delmoi at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


Quite honestly, the crowing from the Right and the anti-Obama narrative that'll predominate in the next couple of days is going to be almost as irritating as the political consequences.

I'll just paste this from the other thread:

"There is a God and he's smiling down. This feels soooooooooooo good. Call your representatives and tell them to wake up and listen!!! Keep up the good fight folks, our Country is worth it. Down with Obamamania....................he's toast!!!!!!!!!"

Because we all know that there three things that God hates:

Democrats
Overcooked pasta
The Chicago Bears.
posted by MikeMc at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

It's the lottery ethic (also described by Paul Fussell as "the rule of 99")--you're never going to lose your job and need government-subsidized health insurance; it's always going to be some other person, because you're too awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2010 [31 favorites]


Seriously? There are people who'd actually vote on that basis?

There are people that will vote for a guy because he drives a pick-up truck. Unfortunately, there are more of them in Massachusetts Martha Coakley ever suspected.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


It would have really helped if Democrats had not done things like take out the public option, which Democratic voters loved, from the health care bill. That really sapped out a lot of enthusiasm.

The centrists in the party just don't care about actually passing the bill though, they are more concerned with ideology and their own seats, especially people like "with us on everything but the war" Lieberman. Liberals compromise ideology at every turn, centrists stand firm on theirs, so here we are.

At the very least they should have waited to gut the bill until this election was over, but no one gave Brown a chance, and you can't really blame them for thinking that way.

Coakley ran one of the most inept campaigns of all time, doing virtually no campainging at all until the polls collapsed while Brown offered one of the most well run campaigns of the decade, right up there with Bush 04 and Obama 08. There will be books written about this one, it's a case study on how to win an election in unfriendly territory. The dems should take the lessons and move on as they try to flip more red states.

A crappy health care reform bill will still pass, but say goodbye to things like repealing DOMA and DADT, Cap and Trade, and stuff like that. Spineless democrats will be running in fear, assuming they have to trend right again instead of taking the lesson that when you do that you kill the enthusiasm of the base.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


The Democrats could figure out a way to lose an election to a grilled cheese sandwich.

In 2010...if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Grilled Cheese. You know it makes sense.

Mmmm...sandwich
posted by djgh at 7:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seriously? There are people who'd actually vote on that basis?

Never, ever underestimate the sheer jaw-dropping dumbfuckery an American electorate can stoop to.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


This...sucks...
posted by djduckie at 7:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


.

Can you say "referendum"?

I posted this in the grey, not knowing this thread existed at the time.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:30 PM on January 19, 2010


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

ignorance, idiocy, insanity

I've given up trying to understand.
posted by uri at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2010


It's time for Obama to start showing some leadership, take charge. He has been a tad bit too nice.
posted by caddis at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm disappointed in my state. I am however glad that there was high voter turn out. I wish more people my age (early 20s) would realize how important it is to vote. I know about 25-50 who didn't vote today because they didn't understand why they should vote.
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2010


They "put up" the person who won the primary. The person the machine was supporting (Congressman Mike Capuano) didn't win.

Capuano's lack of campaigning for Coakley was noted by me. He will never get another vote from me, ever.


The "handpicked" comment was quite off mark, sorry about that. I'm guess really upset that the Dems couldn't come up with a better candidate. I know a lot of people declined to run, but somebody at the DNC (or state party level) had to know she was going to be a weak (at best) candidate in a rough year with the possibility of an extremely critical vote in the Senate.

It just seems so insane this happened.
posted by lattiboy at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2010


An unnamed Presidential advisor speaks wise words:

“The response will not be to do incremental things and try to salvage a few seats in the fall,” a presidential adviser said. “The best political route also happens to be the boldest rhetorical route, which is to go out and fight and let the chips fall where they may. We can say, ‘At least we fought for these things, and the Republicans said no.’”

Of course, we all know that won't happen.
posted by Bromius at 7:32 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


I had hopes for Obama, but America is lost.
posted by unSane at 7:32 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Frankly Coakley sounded like a horrible candidate.

She was the candidate who won the primary--you can't blame that on the state Democratic Party, who clearly favored Capuano.

Then she ran a really shitty campaign. Really, really shitty. Incompetent? Certainly. Undermined? Perhaps.

Brown's only got two years on this term; my cynical self suggests that a lot more attention will be paid to the seat in the next round, some from people who quite notably refrained from lifting a finger to campaign for Coakley.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:33 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I voted for Coakley and almost all of my friends voted for Coakley. My girlfriend spent yesterday phone banking for Coakley. I drove my parents to the polls to vote for Coakley.

But I don't personally know anyone who was excited about Coakley as a candiate (as opposed to a 60th vote). She won the primary without contest by name recognition and then coasted into second place in the general election.
posted by justkevin at 7:34 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sen. Webb calls for suspension of voting on health care legislation until Brown seated.

/Holds up two paralyzed houses of congress... "Useless, useless"
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2010


Hopefully this will discourage the Democrats from putting up shitty, hand-picked, "law and order" party cronies who appeal to almost nobody.
They actually did have a primary, but not many people voted. She was definitely a party hack, promoted by insiders though. Her opponent was pretty good Andrew Sullivan posted a video of him castigating some walstreet goons. And Josh Marshall said there would have been no way he would have lost.

The democrats failed on multiple levels, but nominating this woman was their biggest failing.

I don't think Obama is the problem so much as these other fossils and party hacks in the senate. But their behavior and unaccountability has just been pathetic. I wish there was some organization working more effectively to change the party leadership. But of course the centrist tools is charge are just going to try to claim that the democrats have been "too liberal" and that the democratic party needs to sell out even harder.
posted by delmoi at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh I'm sorry, I forgot Americans are unique in having no collective properties.
posted by Artw at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The last two weeks of her campaign were pure mudslinging; she came up with nothing positive in any of her ads to say about herself, just kept emphasizing how evil he was- and in many ways, she really exaggerated his positions beyond reason. She started to give off a mighty stink of desperation. I'm not surprised she lost- she was a dreadful candidate.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2010


I just want affordable health care. Is that so much to ask?
posted by Weebot at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


The most irritating part of all this for me is how much has been derailed by the threat of a filibuster.

MAKE. THEM. FUCKING. ACTUALLY. DO. IT.

Make them go up there and read from the Bible or the phone book or the sports page. There's no way in hell some remarkable stupid shit won't be said in the process. Refute said shit with a press release every day. Get really cagey and schedule a few defense appropriations votes right after so they get delayed.

Then keep it up till they all drop.
posted by Cyrano at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [101 favorites]


For the Democratic Party, this is a penalty kick to the nads. A blow so obviously painful that you can't help feeling a little sorry for them.

For the rest of us, whatever. A slightly different set of corporations will be enriched. Our civil liberties will be eroded at a slightly slower or faster rate.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Obama's election was, to me, more a rejection of 8 years of George W. Bush than it was an embrace of Obama's vision for America. Frankly, the fact that you had Republicans lining up to vote for Obama to send a message to the GOP that they seriously fucked up the last eight years demonstrated that the depth of Obama's support was always rather tepid.

The interesting chatter over coming days won't be from the political analysts, it will be be from the Democrats who recently won in otherwise conservative districts. They're going to be running for cover now.
posted by tgrundke at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

The American people want change, just not so much of it.
posted by MikeMc at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010


Motherfuck.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


They should have just nominated someone named Kennedy. I HATE dynastic politics but when it is for a short term replacing someone who passes away I'm okay with it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:37 PM on January 19, 2010


She was definitely a party hack, promoted by insiders though

Yeah, no. The State party's preferred candidate was definitely Mike Capuano, delmoi.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:37 PM on January 19, 2010


I voted for Martha, but I didn't particularly like her as a primary or a final candidate. My two biggest regrets about the result are; first, all the shit I'll have to hear from all the Dumb Angry White Guys (D.A.W.G.s) who really believed that Scottie was one of them, and not just another lawyer with a nice suit; and, second, that the first United States Senator I have ever met in person turns out to be Scott Fucking Brown. The man is not the brightest bulb on the tree.

Otherwise, the nation will survive. It always does.
posted by yhbc at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Democrats could figure out a way to lose an election to a grilled cheese sandwich.

Do you mean a grilled cheese sanwich or a (wink wink) grilled cheese sandwich?

Oh, no, wait, you're right either way...
posted by pompomtom at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dasein: “What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

That they might end up paying for healthcare for someone who is lazier than they are.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


PS I really do doubt that the Democrats will "drop" healthcare reform. I'd say we'll at least get the Senate bill, and possibly a very, very Liberal bill jammed through under reconciliation.

Want to put some money on that?

Here is my favorite part of the memo tantrum from the Coakley people attempting to spread the blame around:
Democrats [sic] concerns with Obama's Afghanistan plan forced Coakley to oppose the Afghan war in the primary, which hurt her in the general.
It's like these people have never seen an election before.
posted by enn at 7:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]



The last two weeks of her campaign were pure mudslinging; she came up with nothing positive in any of her ads to say about herself, just kept emphasizing how evil he was- and in many ways, she really exaggerated his positions beyond reason. She started to give off a mighty stink of desperation. I'm not surprised she lost- she was a dreadful candidate.


This actually worked though, she picked up support late. The problem was the lack of any visible campaign at all before that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:39 PM on January 19, 2010


See, the spin now from people who don't live here is "Capuano would have been SO AWESOME it was all the state Party committee's fault for pushing Coakley" and if you lived here you would know that the machine was pushing Capuano.

Who didn't win.

He can be Sullivan's and Marshall's darling all they want, but he was the inside guy in the primary.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:39 PM on January 19, 2010


This actually worked though, she picked up support late. The problem was the lack of any visible campaign at all before that.

Agreed. Someone came to my house at 4:00 today with a Coakley flyer. Where was all of that in December?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2010


Make them go up there and read from the Bible or the phone book or the sports page.

Because the Senate has reduced the filibuster to just calling "Filibuster!" actually speaking for hours on end is way too much work. This is a professional courtesy that both parties honor.
posted by MikeMc at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also: This is much more about a profoundly horrible campaign and candidate than it is about anti-government resentment, right-wing resurgence. Any half-competent candidate could've carried this seat easily. The heads of the MA Democratic Party should roll through the fucking streets.

This.
posted by briank at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guys, state parties have more than one party hack in them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:41 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

the american people want change... Oooo Look! A shiny!
posted by MeatLightning at 7:41 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


And, with the revelation that the Tea Partiers are not just a bunch of fringe loonies but in fact represent a significant part of the population, the breif period of time in which the world beleived America had collectively come to it's sense closes.

Being dissapointed with Obama is fine, but don't Americans understand that if they don't vote for him, they have to accept the alternative? The far, far, worse alternative?


As disappointed as I am with this result - and as frustrated and burned out as I am with national politics - I find this type of hand-wringing to be completely melodramatic. Yes, the right wing is undergoing a national resurgence right now, and I'm beyond frustrated that the Dems haven't done more to capitalize on their majority.

But this was not a national election. Obama wasn't on the ballot. "America" didn't vote for anything - and has neither come to nor lost its senses. This says something very particular about an election story in one state, and almost nothing about "America" as some monolith.
posted by Salieri at 7:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


If I were Obama, I'd start spreading the fear thick about how Medicare is low on funds and could use a buy-in to save it. He then says, in plain terms, that they need to either do that, raise taxes, or kill the program. He then argues that the public option to buy in before your old offers the most choice, and thus the most liberty.

Republicans then have to either cooperate, or Obama announces that to work out this financial crisis he's turning to the nuclear option.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apparently a lot of the people I know are petulant children. The ululating on my facebook newsfeed is disconcerting to say the least. So I'll be a petulant child too, and refer to my new Senator as Nudie McCosmopants. Nyah-nyah.
posted by Biblio at 7:44 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


A real filibuster would actually be incredibly boring.
posted by Bromius at 7:44 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Guys, state parties have more than one party hack in them.

This is true--both Capuano and Coakley are insiders going way back. But my Dad is a longtime member of the state Democratic party, and Capuano was pulling more favors in than was Coakley.

The narrative being defined as "Coakley sucked" (true) "and she would have never beat Capuano without the party machine" (false) benefits only one person--Capuano. Who lost to Coakley, who lost to Brown.

Capuano probably would have run a better campaign in the general, but he didn't win the primary.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:44 PM on January 19, 2010



Apparently a lot of the people I know are petulant children. The ululating on my facebook newsfeed is disconcerting to say the least. So I'll be a petulant child too, and refer to my new Senator as Nudie McCosmopants. Nyah-nyah.


Can you imagine a woman in politics winning an election with published nude photos in her past? Double standards, sigh.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh for pete's sake.

AskMeFi: Is there a country I can move to where I probably won't be constantly disappointed by my preferred political party?

English as the main language and absolutely adorable accents are preferred.

Thank you in advance.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


They "put up" the person who won the primary. The person the machine was supporting (Congressman Mike Capuano) didn't win.
I'm kind of surprised. I thought that Coakely was the party hack candidate. I've herd her described as a Kennedy-family ally.

As far as never voting for Capuano again, get a grip. Coakely sucked. I don't live in MA but I don't know if I would have voted for her, or stayed home if I did. It's not really a big deal. It's one seat. The only reason this would actually prevent the democrats from doing anything is their own pathetic inability to accomplish anything. They can still pass healthcare if they have any balls (of course they probably don't)

Slavish devotion to the democratic party, supporting them no matter how much they fail and then using their own failure as an argument for why you should support them is one of the most annoying things about

I mean how are you supposed to rally around "We're to pathetic to do anything without 60 votes! Also vote for this shitty candidate so we can have 60 votes! You owe us! How dare you disagree with our choices! And by the way, we haven't actually done much about the recession (since the first stimulus). We only have 60 votes! what do you expect!"

Pathetic. The democratic party needs to wake up. The idiots in charge need to be replaced, seriously.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Remember how panicky right wing talk radio was about the prospect of the Fairness Doctrine being brought back by the Obama administration? Maybe they should think about that for a little bit.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:46 PM on January 19, 2010


Grow up, BigSky. I know it seems like a joke sometimes, but some people take what happens to the country and the job of running it seriously, and their motivations aren't guided almost solely by sticking it to the other guy and/or deliberately pissing him off like the Republicans' are.

Ahhh yes. You take what happens in this country seriously, and those of us who are ideologically opposed do not. How I love the liberal oh-so-serious sanctimony; it's the frosting on the cake.
posted by BigSky at 7:46 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


CitrusFreak12: No. That is all.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm kind of surprised. I thought that Coakely was the party hack candidate.

You thought wrong.

As far as never voting for Capuano again, get a grip.

I don't fucking vote for people who sabotage their own party's candidate in order to position themselves as The Great White Knight for the election two years later.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2010


This is much more about a profoundly horrible campaign and candidate than it is about anti-government resentment, right-wing resurgence.

Keep telling yourselves this. Meanwhile, both NJ and Virginia now have Republican governors.

I said this back in April:

The [bank] bonus issue is just a way to stir up populist rage, and both sides (nationalize vs. let banks fail) are using it well. The only catch is putting the tiger back in its cage once it's let loose; angry, pitchfork-wielding denizens are a tricky bunch and can turn on you at a moment's notice. I think Obama dug his own grave when he railed against bonuses because he incited an uncontrollable furor that'll be tough to control...

The Dems have lost control of their voters. You had the momentum back in March and April to pass meaningful financial regulation, and instead wasted it on a watered down healthcare "reform" which does nothing to solve the underlying problem: insurance premiums are bankrupting the middle class. So now voters are angry. No financial reform. No real health care reform. Nothing to show, for all the talk of "change".

It's too bad. The Dems really had a shot there. Here's hoping they go for broke in 2010, and either rise meteorically or crash catastrophically.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


Palin/Brown '12.

I feel it.
posted by RakDaddy at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


And by "sabotage" here I mean "do not do a thing about campaigning for the party nominee."

The other Democratic candidates campaigned for Coakley. Capuano, no. That's shitty politics.

He's a member of the House of Representatives, for Christ's sake. He knows the importance of this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010


AskMeFi: Is there a country I can move to where I probably won't be constantly disappointed by my preferred political party?

English as the main language and absolutely adorable accents are preferred.

Thank you in advance.


No, but Canada is close with a right of left of center political environment. Whoever we elect, nothing really changes, so your choice of political party is entirely irrelevant.
posted by unSane at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010


I just wish people took primary campaigns seriously. Really the turnout in primaries should be as high as in regular elections. It would be nice if we didn't have these idiots foisted on us.
posted by delmoi at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


kill the enthusiasm of the base

Done for me.
Done when they dropped the "compromise" public option.
Done when they effectively outlawed abortion by defunding it.
Done when they require the purchase of private health plans with a stick (fines) to back it up.

Done when Copenhagen turned out to be a joke.

I'm liberal but I'm not a Democrat any longer. I was persuaded by the lesser of two evils argument for a number of years, but in the end I'm tired of voting for a little less evil.
posted by dibblda at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [25 favorites]


looks like it's time to fucking do something about that filibuster rule

(oh fuck, what did you say? that takes 60 votes to change, too?)
posted by chalbe at 7:49 PM on January 19, 2010


SeizeTheDay-

NJ and Virginia now have Republican governors.

Jon Corzine is a former Goldman Sachs executive who admittedly got less done than he had wanted, and Creigh Deeds, the '09 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in VA, was a disaster. Those losses say very little about national mood.
Democrats, in fact, picked up both governorships in '01, not two months after 9/11, and nobody tried to draw any national implications from those races.
posted by Bromius at 7:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I swear, Republican incompetence in governance is surpassed only by Democratic incompetence in... everything else.
posted by rokusan at 7:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


When did anyone call Edward "Ted" Kennedy "Ed?"
posted by raysmj at 7:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can someone list Obama's achievements over the last 12 months?
posted by unSane at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe they'll wake up. Maybe they'll learn to fight. They better.

They only have a 18 seat majority in the Senate. If they can't pass anything, and the GOP can with a 6 seat majority, why should anyone vote for them?

Unless something happens -- say another party takes over for the Democrats -- history says they're they're going to do what they always do. Cower, whimper to the right, and lose more.

Here's a hint, DLC supporters. The slogan is going to be "No, You Can't" and it will *destroy* your candidates in 2010, unless you learn to fight and win.
posted by eriko at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Aw c'mon guys, cheer up, don't be sad. Look on the bright side: this isn't nearly as painful as November is going to be.
posted by mullingitover at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, what do I do? I want to pick the most good, or at least, least bad option on the ballot, and I don't want to not vote, but the Democrats have disappointed me nonstop and I disagree strongly with the Republicans. I find that I don't really truly want what the third parties offer.

Really, why is it that the Republicans can shift farther and farther to the right and get away with it, but if a Democrat takes one step to the left of the center the nation loses their shit? I mean, the Republicans will always lead so long as they're the ones moving the overton window.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:52 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Unsane: "Can someone list Obama's achievements over the last 12 months?

Sure, here's the list:
posted by mullingitover at 7:52 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


I voted for Coakley but felt like a drone doing it, acting as a well-behaved little citizen, doing as I was told for someone I knew and cared zilch about. I feel sick to my stomach at the news.
posted by Dragonness at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really want to correlate this election fact to the fact that the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers took off from Boston. Does anyone have any info on the relationship(s) of these two disasters?
posted by nutate at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm sure this has been linked to before, but goddamn, this political cartoon sums up the way I've felt for the last FUCKING DECADE. (And Jon Stewart did a pretty damn good job of summing it up as well). Though, you know what, it's the way I've felt for most of my life, because I started to become aware of the political world around me sometime around the time I realized I was gay, which was during the dawn of the Reagan era. Anyway, for whatever little it's worth at this point, because it still makes me smile: Sweet Jesus!
posted by treepour at 7:54 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really want to correlate this election fact to the fact that the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers took off from Boston. Does anyone have any info on the relationship(s) of these two disasters?

What? Is this a joke? Because it's not actually funny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:54 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]




looks like it's time to fucking do something about that filibuster rule

(oh fuck, what did you say? that takes 60 votes to change, too?)


No, it doesn't, but they would be stupid to do it anyway since they will be in the minority again someday. Just imagine how much the Democrats could have gotten done if the Republicans did it back in the day?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:54 PM on January 19, 2010


I guess King Stork is just more fun than Queen Log.

Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:56 PM on January 19, 2010


He's a member of the House of Representatives, for Christ's sake. He knows the importance of this.
What is the importance? Do you think the democrats would actually have been to coral 60 votes again on anything, even with Coakley? With Joe Lieberman and Bauccus and Ben Nelson? I doubt it.

And the senate already passed the bill. They don't need to vote again if the house passes the bill as is. Some minor improvements being done in reconciliation get lost. That's it. And those improvements can be passed by reconciliation anyway.

The only reason this "matters" is because the democrats were going to fail, and now they have an excuse. If the democrats were competent, this wouldn't matter. In fact there are a lot of them who probably want to fail.

But there is almost zero practical change in the democrats ability to pass this. In fact, if you think you are you're just exacerbating the situation, by not holding the Dems accountable for their epic failures.

There are only minor technical changes to the way that the house and senate bill can be reconciled: By passing the bill without modification, and by then using the reconciliation process to amend the bill. That means that if they were going to make changes that couldn't be passed with just 50 votes due to technical reasons, those changes can't be in the amendment. But most of the stuff -- anything having to deal with the budget (almost all of it) can be changed in this way.

And again we're just talking about changes to the senate bill. The bill already passed in the senate can be passed by the house with no changes, and then it's straight to the president's desk. No more senate votes at all.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


Sure, here's the list:

Yeah, I think you got them all.
posted by unSane at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is the point of keeping the filibuster around if the Democrats just cave all the time as the minority party and the republicans use it nonstop? It's like they're playing hot potato, but the Democrats hold the ball tenderly, and the Republicans use it to smash the Democrats' nerdy glasses. It's not a fair bargain.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


O hai. I live in Massachuestts (and voted for Coakley today)

I'm a 20-something Bostonian. Until last week I had not heard a word from Martha Coakley or, for that matter, from Scott Brown. I was aware of the primaries when they happened, but literally heard nothing of a campaign since then. No bumper stickers, no signs, nothing. There's a billboard on 93 before you get to Quincy that supports Coakley, but that's it.

In the last week I started getting mailings. Scott Brown's were all "vote for me!" Coakley's were all "Don't vote for Scott Brown; Scott Brown = Bush!" I mean, literally. There were pictures of Brown and Bush and a = in between them. Scott Brown's commercials were all happy trucking and shaking hands and saying hi to people; Coakley's were all "Scott Brown = Bush and this one time said women shouldn't get emergency contraception in hospitals if an ER staffer doesn't agree with it religiously!"

So here's what I saw: a very positive campaign from Scott Brown, with no backstabbing or dirt, and a desperate negative campaign from Coakley with no discussion of the issues and just a tired old "Bush!" argument that BARELY worked in the 2008 elections and has no business working now. One of my friends pointed out to me last weekend that not a single one of Brown's campaign materials said "Republican" on it. He didn't present himself as diametrically opposed to Coakley -- he just kind of did this "Here's who I am, gosh golly gee" kind of thing.

When it comes down to issues, Brown is really pretty moderate. He's pro-choice and supports civil unions, though he is against things like healthcare reform and, one of my personal things, Cape Wind. He was a great candidate, especially for Massachusetts. Though I don't agree with him on everything, I may have actually voted for him.

The only thing that made me vote for Coakley was the fact that the MA Senate seat would be the swing vote for a supermajority for healthcare reform. Literally the only thing. I want to see it pass. She will not be a swing vote on Afghanistan policy, so I didn't care about her dumbass Afghanistan-related remarks. She's not a swing vote on anything else, really. Just healthcare. So that's why I voted for her, figuring two years of "meh" was doable if she could actually contribute to forward momentum on healthcare reform.

But seriously, if not for that, I would have voted for Brown without much of a second thought. For better or for worse, by delaying the healthcare stuff in Congress the Republicans made this election a single-issue thing in many ways. Maybe the fact that they won does really say something about healthcare, but I think they'd have more of a mandate for moderate Republicanism if he'd been willing to support the healthcare bill and had gone on to vote for him.

As for the person who asked if people would seriously vote against Coakley for the Schilling/Yankee thing... well, yes. It shows she's completely out of touch with something that's pretty integral to the culture of the state. She didn't even bother to try. If she made an effort, even if she looked fake, then that's fine. But she was lazy and didn't even bother to look like someone who "gets" her constituency. And that gaffe was just one in a long line of ridiculous screwups. (Seriously, watch Jon Stewart's take on it from last night -- it's spot on)

What I'm hoping comes out of this is that everyone looks at Scott Brown's campaign and says "hey, maybe we should try being nice and moderate and reasonable too." I sincerely doubt that will happen, but I still wish it would. I also hope the Democrats have learned a valuable lesson about their "[Republican candidate] = Bush!" strategy, because that's just so tired and old. I'm guessing neither side learns anything and we're back to the same old bullshit this fall, but hey, one can hope.
posted by olinerd at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2010 [31 favorites]


Sidhedvil:
Just doin' the numbers:

Harvard Medical Study Links Lack of Insurance to 45,000 U.S. Deaths a Year

It's like... Massachussetts just loves ruining Tuesdays for me since 2001...

Oh right terrorism is bad and therefore cannot be made fun of... just like sexism, racism, etc.
posted by nutate at 8:00 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I'm hoping comes out of this is that everyone looks at Scott Brown's campaign and says "hey, maybe we should try being nice and moderate and reasonable too." I sincerely doubt that will happen, but I still wish it would.
You're confusing campaigning with legislating.
posted by Bromius at 8:01 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The [bank] bonus issue is just a way to stir up populist rage, and both sides (nationalize vs. let banks fail) are using it well. The only catch is putting the tiger back in its cage once it's let loose; angry, pitchfork-wielding denizens are a tricky bunch and can turn on you at a moment's notice. I think Obama dug his own grave when he railed against bonuses because he incited an uncontrollable furor that'll be tough to control...--SeizeTheDay
Okay so you're saying that Obama should have allied himself with the banks. Sounds like a recipe for success. I think I should point out that you're constantly defending the banks and arguing against people being angry at them. I don't know if you work for a bank for what. But the idea that Obama's problem is that not pro-wallstreet enough is one of the craziest things I've ever heard.

People aren't just angry at the banks because Obama actually acknowledged that the anger is out there
posted by delmoi at 8:02 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we get Dean back? The Party's been a mess since he left...
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:02 PM on January 19, 2010 [17 favorites]



What I'm hoping comes out of this is that everyone looks at Scott Brown's campaign and says "hey, maybe we should try being nice and moderate and reasonable too." I sincerely doubt that will happen, but I still wish it would.


I'm hoping candidates look at stats like this:

Coakley had 19 events after the primary through Sunday; Scott Brown had 66.


And maybe consider that actually campainging is a good way to win a campaign.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Done when they effectively outlawed abortion by defunding it.

You know what? If you actually believe that utter bullshit you just spouted -- if you are actually that completely fucking stupid -- then don't just abandon the democratic party. Abandon politics and keep your fucking mouth shut entirely. Please. We'd be better off with people who vote on who they can picture themselves having a beer with.
posted by namespan at 8:04 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to say, Obama would be a bipartisan hero if he became the guy who killed the filibuster. It might just win him the second term.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:04 PM on January 19, 2010


This fellow named Markos Moulitsas wrote something interesting in September:

If Democrats can’t deliver on good policy with strong popular support and dominant congressional majorities, then they’re too incompetent to be in power.

More recently:

Liberal Bloggers to Obama and Dems: We Told You So
posted by Joe Beese at 8:04 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can someone list Obama's achievements over the last 12 months?

There's a list on the White House home page. You can bookmark it and refer to it in the future, when all hope seems lost.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


Can we get Dean back? The Party's been a mess since he left...

If I had a time machine, I'd jump back to Iowa January 19, 2004 and rush onto the stage to put my hand over his mouth.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:05 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


nutate: too soon
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:06 PM on January 19, 2010


Brown's only got two years on this term...

Three years. This seat is "Class I" which serves until January 3, 2013.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:06 PM on January 19, 2010


Hey, way to miss the point delmoi. Once you stir up the rage, you use it to do something. Obama didn't. He rode the bandwagon of "oooh, bonuses too big, let's all get mad" and failed to accomplish any sort of meaningful regulation. I'm not saying he wasn't pro-Wall Street enough, I'm saying he riled up the natives, everyone got their pitchforks, and Obama failed to deliver someone's head on a platter.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:07 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


And Jon Stewart did a pretty damn good job of summing it up as well

"Let me see if I have this straight. You need to replace perhaps the most beloved liberal in the history of the Senate with a candidate that believes Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan. Because if this lady loses, the health care reform bill that the beloved late senator considered his legacy will die. And the reason it will die is because if Coakley loses, Democrats will only have then an 18-vote majority in the Senate. Which is more than George W. Bush ever had in the Senate when he did whenever the fuck he wanted." ... and once he's warmed up with that, Stewart then really tears into the Democrats.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:07 PM on January 19, 2010 [23 favorites]


When it comes down to issues, Brown is really pretty moderate. He's pro-choice and supports civil unions, though he is against things like healthcare reform and, one of my personal things, Cape Wind.
odd, I thought the major opponents to that were the Kennedy family. You'd think a republican would support it just piss them off (since that's usually how they operate.

Anyway, I read liberal blogs and the criticisms of brown that they came up with were pretty weak. 1) he doesn't provide healthcare to his staffers, despite the fact that MA already has universal healthcare and 2) he posed nude a couple decades ago.

There were no arguing about why he was actually bad (and the emergency contraceptive mailer was pretty disgusting, and almost totally false) Just whining about their 60th vote. Which they never even used and don't even actually need for HCR anymore.
The only thing that made me vote for Coakley was the fact that the MA Senate seat would be the swing vote for a supermajority for healthcare reform. Literally the only thing. I want to see it pass. She will not be a swing vote on Afghanistan policy, so I didn't care about her dumbass Afghanistan-related remarks. She's not a swing vote on anything else, really. Just healthcare. So that's why I voted for her, figuring two years of "meh" was doable if she could actually contribute to forward momentum on healthcare reform.
This was always BS. Yeah, it makes it a little more complicated and harder. But this bill already passed the senate. The house can vote on it tomorrow if they wanted too. It's done. The only question is whether or not the democrats are going to use this as an excuse to give up, which is what half them want to do anyway, because they seem to think that people really want to vote for politicians who never try to do anything.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we call Brown a RINO, can the Teabaggers get all huffy and hold a recall election?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:09 PM on January 19, 2010


There's a list on the White House home page.

Cash for Clunkers yaaaaay.
posted by unSane at 8:09 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, way to miss the point delmoi. Once you stir up the rage, you use it to do something. Obama didn't. He rode the bandwagon of "oooh, bonuses too big, let's all get mad" and failed to accomplish any sort of meaningful regulation. I'm not saying he wasn't pro-Wall Street enough, I'm saying he riled up the natives, everyone got their pitchforks, and Obama failed to deliver someone's head on a platter.
Don't be an idiot. The anger was out there. All Obama did was mention it. And actually they just announced some big-bank tax stuff and are planning on pushing it forward. But anyway, If Obama ignored it everyone would just have thought he was totally on their side.
posted by delmoi at 8:09 PM on January 19, 2010


I know that this makes a lot of things harder to pass, but I don't think it makes sense to try to extrapolate a national trend from two governor's races and one Senate race. The Senate Dems just went from the biggest majority since the 70's to the second biggest. They have the House and the White House. It doesn't make sense to me to assume that the shifts in '06 and '08 don't mean anything anymore because the far better campaigner in this instance was the Republican.

Republicans always want us to think that when they pull off a local victory it is the clear expression of the will of the people all across the nation; and when we win big nationwide it was a temporary delusion that has no lasting significance. Don't fall for it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


If I had a time machine, I'd jump back to Iowa January 19, 2004 and rush onto the stage to put my hand over his mouth.

And deprive the world of this?
posted by jquinby at 8:10 PM on January 19, 2010



If I had a time machine, I'd jump back to Iowa January 19, 2004 and rush onto the stage to put my hand over his mouth.


January 20, 2004
Iowa - Governor Howard Dean passed away today after the Secret Service accidentally shot the presidential candidate when a man rushed the stage in a violent attempt to choke him to death. The perpetrator of this bizarre attack claims to be from some ridiculous future in which an African American man has been elected president and a Republican senator has been elected in Massachusetts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:11 PM on January 19, 2010 [110 favorites]


I have to say, that list of achievements is more depressing than the list. His most notable achievement thus far seems to be Cash for Clunkers and delivering some really good speeches. I know he's got a bum steer of a congress, but that's just sad.

Seeing that your party is pathetic and too moderate is a hard thing. I can't just go Republican like your typical caller to talk radio, because I have too many neurons to flip all my views that quickly. Although it is tempting to be the guy who calls in to tell Rush "I'm a Republican now because I'm tired of losing."
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:12 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


More depressing than the blank, I mean.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:12 PM on January 19, 2010


It's amazing how many MeFites just don't understand that a MeFi mentality is NOT shared by every other person in the world - and that the "other" people aren't all evil, Jesus-inspired, gun-totin' rednecks in flyover states.

Reminds me of the (alleged) Pauline Kael quote about not knowing anybody who voted for Nixon.
posted by davidmsc at 8:13 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


My expectation is that this will embolden GOP obstructionism and further energize their base, causing congressional gridlock for the remainder of 2010, then more gridlock when the GOP makes gains in both houses of Congress in the midterms. In particular, I don't expect significant climate change or jobs legislation to pass in the next three years. I think the GOP is going to talk a lot about deficit reduction, and the administration will try to work with them on that, which, combined with the many other clouds threatening the economy, is going to contribute to continued high unemployment for the remainder of Obama's first term and likely beyond. Although I don't blame it on this election, I see a ton of reasons for pessimism about the U.S. economy in the near and medium terms.
posted by gsteff at 8:14 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cash for Clunkers yaaaaay

My bad, thought you might be half way serious instead of wanting to through a tantrum. Carry on with the doom and gloom party then!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 PM on January 19, 2010


Can't say I'm disturbed that I, a self-employed individual, will not be required to choose between being forced to buy health insurance that I have never in my adult life needed (gee I'm healthy what can I say?) and being threatened with criminal sanctions for failing to buy it.
posted by eltopo at 8:14 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


>
Yeah, and it really sucks that MEN WITH GUNS come to your house if you don't pay taxes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2010


gee I'm healthy what can I say

Make sure you get a "don't send me to the ER" bracelet then, cause we wouldn't want to accidentally give you Socialist Healthcare just because you suddenly get a multi-million dollar healthcare need (if you're a multi-millionaire, I retract my statement, but then whining about a few bucks makes no sense).
posted by wildcrdj at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


So which of the achievements following a landslide victory with a supermajority would you like to pick out, Brandon? Don't hold back, now.
posted by unSane at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Democrats dealt stunning blow by having only eighteen more Senators than opposition party instead of twenty.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


To add to the depressing news is that, if I understand things correctly, there is a clear path by which the Democrats should still be able to get health reform passed: if the House adopts the Senate bill, rather than going through the reconciliation process and compromising, the Senate won't have to vote again. But the second-to-last link indicates that a bunch of Democrats farthest to the left in the House will kill healthcare reform by refusing to vote for that bill, rather than accept it, since to them it is too conservative.

What is silly about this to me is that everyone knew that, in the conference that would have happened had this clusterfuck in Massachusetts not occurred, the compromise bill would have been 95% Senate bill and 5% House bill--i.e. no public option, etc. That's the only way it would have made it back through Lieberman and Nelson in the Senate.

So there's basically no difference between what the House would have been faced with after compromise and just voting for the current Senate bill, which would render Brown powerless on at least this issue--clearly the biggest issue. But there's bitter dissent in the Democratic ranks.

This is where Pelosi needs to get her act together, whip her most liberal members into shape, and force the Senate bill down their throats. I doubt she'll be able to, though.

It seems like just a few months ago everyone was gleeful about the way the Republican party was tearing itself apart, with the hard-liners driving the moderates out. Now the hard-line liberal Democrats may ultimately cast the deciding votes that doom healthcare reform. Oh the irony.

Ted Kennedy is spinning in his grave.
posted by notswedish at 8:18 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]



This is where Pelosi needs to get her act together, whip her most liberal members into shape, and force the Senate bill down their throats. I doubt she'll be able to, though.


It's too bad the idea that Reid could be the one to get his act together and force some shit down Lieberman's throat is too insane to even contemplate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:19 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


Some fun facts about Massachusetts:
1) If you look at the town-by-town stats, there's a dramatic red-blue breakdown. Good old liberal strongholds like Boston, Cambridge, and Western Mass aren't going anywhere. We're gonna keep gay-marrying our abortionist dogs on Christmas and shit.
2) We don't not care about national healthcare.
2a) We don't really have universal healthcare in any but the most conservative sense of the term. We have a mandate to buy private insurance that is just as expensive as yours unless we have low enough incomes to qualify for state-funded care. Real reform is something we care about, and that goes for Democrats and Republicans alike.
3) Coakley's campaign really was that bad. I voted for her. It was really unpleasant. Less unpleasant than her losing, though.
3a) Even so, the sky's not falling. The country's been through (much, much) worse. People are disillusioned, and they're not really in the wrong for voting against an honestly shitty candidate. Push for change in your own ways, guys; you can't always rely on us Massholes to lead the way.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:19 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


AskMeFi: Is there a country I can move to where I probably won't be constantly disappointed by my preferred political party?

Maybe not, but there are sure countries where elected majority parties do have the opportunity to actually implement the policies they proposed before the election without being screwed over by members of their own parties, and without having to dance around arcane, immature games like filibustering.
posted by Jimbob at 8:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So wait, does this mean Coakley O'Brien gets to keep the Tonight Show? Or what?
posted by Eideteker at 8:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is not depressing. This is uplifting. This is the independents in the middles finally standing up for themselves and saying enough is enough. This isn't about health care. It is about taxes, government spending, the debt we leave our children and arrogance of the democrat leadership. Stop with the special interests, the backroom deals and the partisanship.

Pass a reasonable, cost effective health care plan, get out of other people's business (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc) and focus on jobs and the economy. I think William Jefferson Clinton's folks said it best, "Its the economy stupid."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


So all that appeasing Liebermann and Snowe really paid off, eh?
posted by unSane at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


We so need a third party in this country.
posted by Eideteker at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]



2a) We don't really have universal healthcare in any but the most conservative sense of the term. We have a mandate to buy private insurance that is just as expensive as yours unless we have low enough incomes to qualify for state-funded care.


In other words, the same as the bill in congress right now, which is part of why the gutted bill offered no motivation to the liberal voters to GOTV.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is very depressing.
posted by Flunkie at 8:22 PM on January 19, 2010


mccarty.tim: ">
Yeah, and it really sucks that MEN WITH GUNS come to your house if you don't pay taxes.
"

I know the corporations own the government. But I would still prefer writing the check to the government rather than directly to the corporations.

A silly bit of face-saving, perhaps.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:23 PM on January 19, 2010


>
Let's see the teabaggers accept that policy. They HATE the threat of America pulling out. They'll then moan about how that isn't the change they voted for, when they all voted for McCain. It's not about common sense. It's about the right wing FUD machine.

Besides, we had a reasonable plan. It was the public option. It was budget neutral. It was only a threat to non-competitive plans. The blue dogs ate it from the inside.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2010


Don't be an idiot.
&
dipshit.

You've just reminded me why I've been ignoring your claptrap for several months now.

And actually they just announced some big-bank tax stuff

Here and here are analyses for why this "tax stuff" is designed to be ineffectual.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think perhaps a large portion of the American public does not see itself as Democrat or Republican. I don't think the Dems should mourn this too much nor the Republicans crow too much. People are reacting to what they see are the failings of the party in power-they reacted to Bush, they react to Obama, they will react to whoever holds the reins of power in the next administration. Too many of us out here think they are all screwed up almost past redemption with too much cronyism, rascalism, and all around general "politics" instead of statesmanship, on both sides.

If someone actually had the wherewithal to start a third party that was moderate instead of fringe (in either direction) things could probably get rather interesting.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think it's time for the Democrats to grow some testicles (or ovaries) and push their agenda through by forcing the Republicans to actually oppose them instead of merely threatening to oppose them.

Umm... that was one of Brown's main issues, opposition to the health care plan and he just got elected.
posted by Jahaza at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


>
Maybe I should have clarified: MEN WITH HAMBURGER GUNS
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This whole week has just fucking sucked.
posted by Flashman at 8:27 PM on January 19, 2010


>
Although to be fair, with no public option, that was pretty much the deal. Single payer would have been ideal, because it's what works best. But that just won't work here. Policy has to work within the confines of political reality.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:28 PM on January 19, 2010


We so need a third party in this country.

I'm not sure even that will do it. There are several potential third parties in American politics. There are the Paulites (socially liberal, fiscally conservative), the Teabaggers (socially ultra conservative, fiscally conservative kinda), the Kosites (socially liberal, fiscally liberal), and probably a few others.

Unfortunately the political system is currently set up to encourage socially conservative, fiscally liberal parties like the GOP and socially liberal, fiscally liberal parties like the Dems.

True fiscal conservatism hurts, and is only ever forced upon a country. Ron Paul is weird and has deeply hinky associations but he is at the right co-ordinates on the axes. Those who are disapointed with the Dems would do well to pay attention to him and produce their own version.
posted by unSane at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


2a) We don't really have universal healthcare in any but the most conservative sense of the term. We have a mandate to buy private insurance that is just as expensive as yours unless we have low enough incomes to qualify for state-funded care. Real reform is something we care about, and that goes for Democrats and Republicans alike.
Which is exactly what the current HCR looks like. A mandate to buy private insurance, plus some subsidies. Real reform would be good, but for MA this bill won't change much.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2010


dibblda: Done when they effectively outlawed abortion by defunding it.
Done when they require the purchase of private health plans with a stick (fines) to back it up.

I'm liberal but I'm not a Democrat any longer.


I certainly won't miss an hysterical "ally" who thinks abortion has been "defunded"- the federal government wasn't funding abortions to begin with- or doesn't understand why a mandate is needed for any serious reform that's possible in the American political environment. The health care reform that is nearly completed is an amazing, if imperfect achievement which found a decent deal for the country in between the screaming of the Idiot-Populist Right and the petulant, self-declared "savy" netroots who have displayed near total ignorance of politics, policy and process.

I was persuaded by the lesser of two evils argument for a number of years, but in the end I'm tired of voting for a little less evil.

Unless you're voting for the "Instant Runoff Elections Amendment", all your voting for is the greater of two evils and then being self-righteous about it. It's called winner take all for a fucking reason.
posted by spaltavian at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whew!
Well, I voted for Brown. I'm an old time Republican- fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I suspect in other parts of the country I'd be a Democrat, but here I'm a Republican.
Coakley ran a poor campaign and towards the end, it sounded increasingly desperate.
She deserved to lose as she seemingly felt above actually shaking hands.
I'm skeptical of Scott Brown's coattails- I honestly don't see Massachusetts becoming the next bastion of conservatism.
I do think the election shows a deep seated sense that politicians are ignoring their constituents.
posted by pentagoet at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: Yes, and in other other words, the claim floating around that Massachusetts voters didn't vote for Coakley because we already have utopian healthcare and don't care about the rest of the country is patently false.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2010


It's amazing how many MeFites just don't understand that a MeFi mentality is NOT shared by every other person in the world...

I understand it. I just don't understand why.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:30 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ugh. This feels like morphine in the gut.
posted by humannaire at 8:31 PM on January 19, 2010


Here and here are analyses for why this "tax stuff" is designed to be ineffectual.

I didn't say it was much, but it does exist.
posted by delmoi at 8:32 PM on January 19, 2010


Politicians are porcine bastards swilling from the troughs of their corporate feeders...they don't give a rat's fuck about you or me or anyone else. They've got a cushy job, that even when it ends, pays them a pension more than 4x the minimum wage. They've got insurance for life. They get a pay raise Every Single Year. They're millionaires, 90% of them...and they didn't go to Congress to get poor.

There are no "real" Republicans left, just as there are no "real" Democrats. Those are pretend flags that these profiteering carpetbaggers wave to get votes...but it doesn't mean anything.

If the health care debacle showed us anything, it is that the system is beyond broken. If the Wall Street debacle showed us anything, it was that even HopeTM had been bought and paid for.

Either we have a revolution, destroy it and start again...or we get used to the fact that we are a serf class who serve the corporation.

But all this hand wringing and pretending that politics is going to change anyone's life who actually *works* for a living? That's hopeless romanticism from a bygone era.
posted by dejah420 at 8:33 PM on January 19, 2010 [18 favorites]


gee I'm healthy what can I say?

Today you might be healthy. Or think that you're healthy. Are you really that dumb to think that you're going to stay healthy? You're never going to get sick or get into an accident? 'Cause if you do, then all the rest of us will have to pay for it because you don't have insurance.
posted by octothorpe at 8:33 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ugh. This feels like morphine in the gut.

That sounds like it would feel quite a bit better, actually.
posted by enn at 8:34 PM on January 19, 2010


Maybe I should have clarified: MEN WITH HAMBURGER GUNS

You mean all I need to do is not pay taxes and men, big strapping men, will fling hamburgers at me? Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:35 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

It's the haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be taking more out of the system than they're putting in, even on a temporary basis. It's the "I got mine, so fuck you" attitude that has pervaded America since the Reagan years.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:35 PM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


The FreeCare in MA is great! Assuming you can find someone who takes it. But hey, everyone can get it! I can't wait til we have it on a national level.
posted by Eideteker at 8:36 PM on January 19, 2010


Ugh. This feels like morphine in the gut.

Yet another thing I won't be able to afford, now.
posted by Bromius at 8:37 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eideteker: "We so need a third party in this country."

Repeat after me:
As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party.

Sorry for the repeats, but I know it's going to come up again (and again and again and again) and I want this to have some hope of sticking. It will never, ever, ever happen.
posted by mullingitover at 8:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


hahahahaha, i'm enjoying this sooo much, every lib is gonna put me on ignore. It's over losers, and Obama's done COOKED! Ha ha, and have a fantastic 2010, you twerpish failures!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by barry25 at 01/19/2010 @ 8:36pm



America won big time tonight. I might even have to look at the Repubs again. Here in COthe dems are in trouble from the Quiting Governor to the US Senators...

..... a trend has started in Boston and now with the Tea Partys. I love this country.

Posted by YourJomamma at 01/19/2010 @ 9:51pm


Hmmmm.....

Republican blowout in VA...Republican governor in true blue New Jersey....and now REPUBLICAN SENATOR IN PLACE OF TED KENNEDY.....and some lefties like METTEYYA think the Obama agenda is working and is what America wants? Heh heh...and these people think they are the country's 'intellectual and moral elite?

Helloooooooooooo...MCFLY!!!

LOL!

Posted by pontificus at 01/19/2010 @ 9:02pm
A random sampling of some of the inspiring patriotic speech being held forth by interlopers, trolls, and party hacks over on the comment boards at The Nation. Apparently, the "twerpy liberals" didn't realize they weren't fit to govern because, well, their fly was open--Helloooooooooo....MCFLY!!!

[Imagine these inspiring quotes read in solemn tones, with America the beautiful playing softly in the background...]
posted by saulgoodman at 8:39 PM on January 19, 2010


nutate: I really want to correlate this election fact to the fact that the two planes that hit the World Trade Center towers took off from Boston. Does anyone have any info on the relationship(s) of these two disasters?

and then:

nutate: Sidhedvil:
Just doin' the numbers:

Harvard Medical Study Links Lack of Insurance to 45,000 U.S. Deaths a Year

It's like... Massachussetts just loves ruining Tuesdays for me since 2001...

Oh right terrorism is bad and therefore cannot be made fun of... just like sexism, racism, etc.


It's not so much that terrorism is a sacred cow, but that you come off as a total asshole trying to make a lame, crass and unfunny joke about it.
posted by zarq at 8:40 PM on January 19, 2010


Ian Welsh:

In 2010 Democrats will be slaughtered, absolutely slaughtered, because Obama and the senior Democratic leadership does not learn.

In 2012 Obama will become a 1 term president, and a right wing populist will get into power. That populist will turn out not to be a populist, and will do even stupider things than Obama economically (and may start a war, too).

The job is to prepare for this, to get new members and leadership in in 2014. Start working on it now.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:42 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Sorry for the repeats, but I know it's going to come up again (and again and again and again) and I want this to have some hope of sticking. It will never, ever, ever happen."

What makes you think I don't support electoral reform? First-past-the-post is probably the worst thing for democracy.
posted by Eideteker at 8:42 PM on January 19, 2010


This is much more about a profoundly horrible campaign and candidate than it is about anti-government resentment, right-wing resurgence...

Those losses say very little about national mood.

Do people actually believe this or is it whistling in the dark? Here's how it works: the Republicans (who are evil, but not fearful, muddlebrained and incompetent) will take this loss and convert it into the national mood.

Of course,

Democrats dealt stunning blow by having only eighteen more Senators than opposition party instead of twenty.

They don't really need to. Even with great support the Democrats are basically failing.
posted by rr at 8:43 PM on January 19, 2010


I noticed, pentagoet, you said nothing about the issues, only about being miffed that Coakley seemed above "shaking hands" and that she ran a poor campaign. You seem to acknowledge that your beliefs are not aligned to the national GOP.

So, did you actually agree with Brown on the issues and his likely advancement of the national Republican agenda? Because if you didn't, and Brown's election causes the collapse of health care reform and of Obama's domestic agenda, would you still think you made the right decision? If it ends up giving us President Thune (or Palin), will you still feel it was important to teach a lesson to a woman who didn't sufficiently kowtow to the hoary traditions of retail politics?
posted by spaltavian at 8:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unless the economy turns around it's Palin/Scott 2012. Good luck.
posted by unSane at 8:44 PM on January 19, 2010


If someone actually had the wherewithal to start a third party that was moderate instead of fringe (in either direction) things could probably get rather interesting.

Perhaps you're familiar with a different United States than I am. I live in one that has a strong conservative party called the "Republicans" and an astoundingly stupid moderate party called the "Democrats." Oh, except if you squint at it the right way, you can see Bernie Sanders in the corner, looking grumpy. There is no meaningful or remotely effective left wing in American politics, never mind "fringe."
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [23 favorites]


It's the haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be taking more out of the system than they're putting in, even on a temporary basis. It's the "I got mine, so fuck you" attitude that has pervaded America since the Reagan years.

No, it isn't. Can we stop bullshitting ourselves?

People are nervous about government-run healthcare for all sorts of reasons, most of them especially concerned about questionable political interference by the government (BOTH parties). In the US, this has never been answered adequately. I was halfway expecting the Republicans to start talking about how the Dems would institute affirmative action for organ transplants and the like if the fight got nasty.
posted by rr at 8:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


>
Literally, democrats are thinking three failures ahead...

Seriously, what's the point of having a Democrat elected if the Daily Show is still grimly funny and I still feel demoralized? Policy changes that matter would also rock, too.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Repeat after me:
As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party.

Sorry for the repeats, but I know it's going to come up again (and again and again and again) and I want this to have some hope of sticking. It will never, ever, ever happen.
posted by mullingitover at 11:38 PM on January 19 [+] [!]


epony?

And I can only hope and pray this all gets dems nationally to step up to the plate and choke up on the bat...

I'll start the betting at $0.01.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 8:46 PM on January 19, 2010


Even with great support the Democrats are basically failing.

Well, let's be realistic here, they are Democrats. They're more or less genetically programmed to fall victim to pointless infighting and meaningless kowtowing to their ostensible opponents.
posted by aramaic at 8:47 PM on January 19, 2010


Scott Brown: And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.

I didn't know your truck was making noises contrary to stare decisis. Better get that checked out.

Boumediene v. Bush:The majority found that the constitutionally guaranteed right of habeas corpus review applies to persons held in Guantanamo and to persons designated as enemy combatants on that territory. [...] The court found that the petitioners had met their burden of establishing that Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 failed to provide an adequate substitute for habeas corpus.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


She deserved to lose as she seemingly felt above actually shaking hands.

No shit?

I mean, not only in the sense that this is the criteria with which you would select a leader (didn't we already do this happy crap with Bush?)...but it is about what she deserves and not about, like, what's happening in the real world?
posted by troybob at 8:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would have been sad if the health bill actually provided universal health care.

As it was, I was concerned that all the current plan does it feed more money to insurance companies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but under Obama's plan, everyone would be forced to pay for insurance, but the government wouldn't oversee the actual costs of health care?

I know some people say this is the step in the right direction, but seriously, Obama's plan reminded me of what a Republican would do if the people were screaming for universal health care and he/she would be forced to give it. I did not see how anyone other than insurance companies were going to win from this. Maybe I'm wrong?
posted by thisperon at 8:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


The problem with Instant Runoff Elections and the like is that the Democrat and Republican politicians are one of the few beneficiaries of the two party system. Why do you think we have such a high incumbency rate? Plus, so long as the pay and the benefits are good, they'll keep voting to stay in power over the public interest of having a more modern polling system. And they're the ones in charge of their pay.

Unless something really awful happens (like a financial collapse ten times worse), and both parties prove themselves to be incompetent to the extreme, don't expect to see a political party that works.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:51 PM on January 19, 2010


but it is about what she deserves

She is a woman, after all. Pretty much everything is about what she deserves. Clothing, popular entertainment, religious beliefs, you name it.
posted by aramaic at 8:51 PM on January 19, 2010


If someone actually had the wherewithal to start a third party that was moderate instead of fringe (in either direction) things could probably get rather interesting.

As Tomorrowful points out, you already have a moderate party - it's called the Democratic Party. They'd be center-right in most non-American first world secular democracies. There's nothing 'fringe' about healthcare, or most of the other issues America's vast army of hysterical white people is up in arms about.

This 'they're all as bad as each other!' schtick is disingenous and dishonest. There's no Dem lunatic fringe comparable in size, influence or visibility to the Republican one.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 8:53 PM on January 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


zarq, well yeah... duh! I don't have anything non-asshole to say about this. It makes me angry and scared... seeming political myopia, my own feelings of what is right, my own lungs still holding bits of dust from the WTC, my friends not having health-care, the cannot-be-unseen image of the new MA senator in Cosmo, ... What am I to make of this besides unfunny mean jokes?

It's a classic case of something completely out of my control making me feel... like I have less control.

notswedish's second comment gives me something to advocate at the House level with my representative at least.

:-/
posted by nutate at 8:54 PM on January 19, 2010


It's not a number line, Tomorrowful. A decent political party will need to abandon these false dichotomies and refuse to define themselves in such outdated terms.
posted by Eideteker at 8:54 PM on January 19, 2010


Anyone who has not understood that politics is about personality and not about policy has not thought about it hard enough.

Candidates do not win by assembling the correct laundry list of policies. Ever.

EVER.
posted by unSane at 8:55 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's no Dem lunatic fringe comparable in size, influence or visibility to the Republican one.

Which is the precisely the problem. Yep. Admit it. They're willing to go completely insane, and you're not. Guess who wins then?

Eric Rudolph, that's who.
posted by aramaic at 8:55 PM on January 19, 2010


55 to go to war, 60 for healthcare.

Democrats suck. =(

/self-hatred
posted by andreaazure at 8:57 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, I voted for Brown. I'm an old time Republican- fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

This isn't about health care. It is about taxes, government spending, the debt we leave our children

See, this is the part I don't get. Brown supported Bush 95% of the time. You remember him? The guy who spent the country into the gutter, and then helped destroy the economy? The guy who's actually responsible for the record deficit this year?

So, if you were hoping this vote would actually return us to fiscal sanity, you're a monumental fool. And an amnesiac.
posted by fungible at 8:57 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


One cannot really blame Coakley--the problems she faced in her campaign were merely those created by George W. Bush when he was president.
posted by stevenstevo at 8:58 PM on January 19, 2010


In 2010 Democrats will be slaughtered, absolutely slaughtered, because Obama and the senior Democratic leadership does not learn.

In 2012 Obama will become a 1 term president, and a right wing populist will get into power. That populist will turn out not to be a populist, and will do even stupider things than Obama economically (and may start a war, too).

The job is to prepare for this, to get new members and leadership in in 2014. Start working on it now.


Despite the question I posted in my previous post; this Chicken Little stuff is really stupid. Bill Clinton was in a much worse spot in '93/'94. The health care bill is going to a resolution, one way or another, fairly soon. Obama is going to have around two and a half years to focus on jobs, the economy and whatever feel-good stuff they want. Obama swung for the fences in his first year, and (might) come up short; that doesn't mean the jig is up.

Of course, the "lesson" Ian Welsh (and a lot of Lefties) no doubt think Obama needs to learn is a lesson that would get him crushed. In 1994, people just like Welsh were writing Bill Clinton's obituary because he wasn't satisfactorily liberal to the small group who considered themselves "the base". Clinton won reelection, and became one of the most popular presidents in history, by not following this advice.

At any rate, saying with conviction that anyone is going to get "slaughtered" nearly 3 years out is idiotic and adds nothing to the discussion. At points in their presidencies, Carter was a lock, Bush was an unstoppable war hero whose certain reelection kept big-name Dems out of the '92 primaries and Clinton was certain to lose the White House after losing Congress.
posted by spaltavian at 8:58 PM on January 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


This is sickening.
posted by Flunkie at 8:58 PM on January 19, 2010


"Unless something really awful happens (like a financial collapse ten times worse), and both parties prove themselves to be incompetent to the extreme, don't expect to see a political party that works."

The Reagan-style "lower taxes to boost growth" thing will only go so far. IF we get something like Palin/Brown in 2012, I predict failure for the same old game. Barring a new technology or the discovery of unobtanium, there's not many bubbles left to be had.
posted by Eideteker at 8:58 PM on January 19, 2010


One thing that I haven't seen mentioned here as an issue is that Coakley was, in fact, evil. Not evil in the stereotypical cackling mad megalomaniac or serial killer vein, but the much more commonplace banal way that characterizes so much of the 20th and, apparently, 21st century. Her involvement with the Amirault case meant that, had I lived in MA, I would have had a hell of a time voting for her. I think I probably would have just to preserve the 60 seat majority and health care reform but damn if I would have voted for her again in two years. At that point I would have voted for a rabid weasel if it ran against Coakley.

Coakley knowingly and deliberately consigned innocent people to rot in jail in the name of political expediency and ambition. Banal, yes. But still evil.
posted by Justinian at 9:00 PM on January 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Tthere's not many bubbles left to be had

Spoken like someone who isn't aware of the Faith Bubble.
posted by aramaic at 9:01 PM on January 19, 2010


We have one party that has not got the brains to govern. Will we now learn for certain that we have another party that hasn't got the guts?
posted by unSane at 9:01 PM on January 19, 2010


At any rate, saying with conviction that anyone is going to get "slaughtered" nearly 3 years out is idiotic and adds nothing to the discussion.

I hope you're right, but when I read quotes like -

The narrower majority will force more White House engagement with Republicans, which could actually help restore a bit of the post-partisan image that was a fundamental ingredient of his appeal to voters.

“Now everything that gets done in the Senate will have the imprimatur of bipartisanship,” another administration official said. “The benefits of that will accrue to the president and the Democratic Senate. It adds to the pressure on Republicans to participate in the process in a meaningful way, which so far they have refused to do.”

I lose any hope that they're going to fight back. We got into this mess by being chickenshit and alienating the people that elected the Democratic Majority. And they plan on getting out of this mess by being even more chickenshit.

I'm sure that strategy will work out well for them in November.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:02 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


aramaic: "She is a woman, after all. Pretty much everything is about what she deserves."

Corrente:

Coakley was doing fine until the national Dems:

1. Made her throw the base under the bus by reversing her pro-woman stance on abortion in the Dem's health insurance reform bills, and then:

2. Made the election into a referendum on a bill that not only makes failure to buy junk insurance a federal crime, but is worse than the system MA already has.

Coakley didn't help her own cause at her Versailles fundraiser with Big Pharma lobbyists, either.

posted by Joe Beese at 9:06 PM on January 19, 2010


I mean, not only in the sense that this is the criteria with which you would select a leader (didn't we already do this happy crap with Bush?)...but it is about what she deserves and not about, like, what's happening in the real world?

Oh please. The idea that we should just bend over and vote for someone regardless of how obnoxious they are because they have a D by their name is ridiculous.

It's like someone offering you a choice between a slap in the face or a punch in the gut. And you know it's like, a slap is so much less bad then a punch in a gut so you're an idiot if you don't just sit there and take it.

It's like, at a certain point you've got to consider trying to avoid getting smacked in the face over and over again.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


2. Made the election into a referendum on a bill that not only makes failure to buy junk insurance a federal crime, but is worse than the system MA already has.
THE BILL DOSN'T MAKE ANYTHING A CRIME, PEOPLE.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have one party that has not got the brains to govern. Will we now learn for certain that we have another party that hasn't got the guts?

Well then, we obviously NEED a third party, one that doesn't have the heart! Oh, and a little girl and a dog.
posted by drinkyclown at 9:11 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


delmoi: "THE BILL DOSN'T MAKE ANYTHING A CRIME, PEOPLE."

So if you refuse to pay your fine to the IRS, they're OK with that?

Or do they perhaps put you in prison?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:12 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The idea that we should just bend over and vote for someone regardless of how obnoxious they are because they have a D by their name is ridiculous.

How about the idea that who is going to be a goddamn Senator in the middle of a massive reform of healthcare is more important than who comes across as too patrician for one's taste?
posted by spaltavian at 9:13 PM on January 19, 2010


Oh, and by the way:

As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party. As long as we have winner take all voting we will never have a third party.
posted by gum at 9:13 PM on January 19, 2010


Fuck!

Nothing else to say, really.
posted by saysthis at 9:13 PM on January 19, 2010


Fuck you, Florida!!!


Wait.. what?
posted by dopamine at 9:13 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eideteker: "What makes you think I don't support electoral reform? First-past-the-post is probably the worst thing for democracy."

Nothing, and sorry if I came off like a jerk. It's just that threatening to vote third party is terribly counterproductive in our current state. Threaten to lobby your congresscritters talking about election reform.


I just have to say that this is a nice one.

“Now everything that gets done in the Senate will have the imprimatur of bipartisanship,” another administration official said. “The benefits of that will accrue to the president and the Democratic Senate. It adds to the pressure on Republicans to participate in the process in a meaningful way, which so far they have refused to do.”

Oh wow. That's not your average dry wit, that's high quality comedy right there. Yes, the lockstep march of obstructionism is going to melt away into a festival of progress now that the republicans see the pendulum of power swinging back their way. They're going to get right on that.
posted by mullingitover at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hope is not totally lost.

Reminder: Bush never had a super majority and got many, many bills passed, some of which the Democrats strongly opposed (in the press, anyway, they voted for most of'em just the same).
posted by rr at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? I'm done with this OMG ELECTION bullshit. I'm still going to vote, and I'm still going to work from the local level up. But it's time for some hardcore civil disobedience.

Frustrated by healthcare costs? Stop paying your insurance companies. All together now. It doesn't work if only one or two of us do it.

Frustrated by your tax dollars being spent on war? Stop paying your taxes. Cite (pacifistic) religious reasons if necessary. Religion is sacred bullshit in America (and here in the Godless Waste of New England, the sawx are gawd (also the Pahts)) and no one will call you on it. Trust me.

Pull out of the banking system, while you're at it. Really, why should these assholes at big banks get huge bonuses for losing money? Don't give them your money. Learn a lesson from whores; if you're gonna get screwed, YOU should be the one getting paid. And get the money up front.

They can't make us. Not all of us. Especially not if we stop paying the taxes that finance the "peace keepers" they'd send to collect us. Everybody's okay with protecting themselves for awhile, right? Exercise your 2nd Ammendment right right now, before it's too late.

Remember, there's nothing that they can take unless you give it to them.
posted by Eideteker at 9:15 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hope is not totally lost.

Reminder: Bush never had a super majority and got many, many bills passed, some of which the Democrats strongly opposed (in the press, anyway, they voted for most of'em just the same).


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, let me get my breath a moment.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!

You seem to be confusing the Republicans with the Democrats.

When was the last time you heard a GOP candidate opposing a Dem proposal in the press, then voting for it anyway?

*crickets*
posted by unSane at 9:18 PM on January 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Reminder: Bush never had a super majority and got many, many bills passed
Please also remind me exactly how many Republican Senators bent over backwards within minutes of a bad result for them to say that the majority Republican Party should stop trying to oppose the will of the minority Democratic Party.
posted by Flunkie at 9:18 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


mullingitover: "I just have to say that this is a nice one."

Let's see...

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters that Democrats will not allow the midterm elections to become “a referendum on this administration” but, instead, will force Republicans to defend the role they have played in the economic crisis.

So it seems the Democratic message in 2010 will be "It's Bush's fault you're still unemployed."

Good luck with that, guys. Let us know how it goes for you.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


People.

Get a grip. This doesn't affect anything -- except providing the democrats the excuse to fail like they actually wanted to. Don't fall for it like a chump.
posted by delmoi at 9:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it's time we realize that we simply will not have the quality or quantity of life that our parents and grandparents had.

What is it about Americans that gets them so worked up at the prospect of having health care even if they lose their jobs?

A majority of this country would literally rather watch their own children die horribly than know that someone somewhere got something that they may not have deserved.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:21 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


NYTimes:
In the wake of Scott Brown’s decisive victory in Massachusetts, House Democrats appeared to rule out the idea of quickly approving a Senate-passed health care measure and sending it to President Obama.

After a meeting of Democratic leaders as Mr. Brown’s win was being declared, top lawmakers said they were weighing their options as the Senate race had thrown the fate of the health care legislation into serious question.

Noting that the election in Massachusetts turned on a variety of different factors, Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said, “Health care was also part of the debate, and the people of Massachusetts were right to be upset about provisions in the Senate bill like the Nebraska purchase and other special deals.”

The comment was a clear indication that Democrats were recalibrating their approach on health care.

At the same time, Mr. Brown’s decisive victory appeared to ease his seating in the Senate as Democrats on Tuesday said their new Republican colleague would be sworn in as soon as he could present documents certifying his election.

“The people of Massachusetts have spoken,” Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, said even as Mr. Brown’s win denied Democrats the 60 votes needed to break Republican filibusters.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2010


CHOAKLEY, amirite

man, I haven't the heart for it today.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2010


Those who are disapointed with the Dems would do well to pay attention to him and produce their own version.

Why? So he can make the kind of primary showing Ron Paul did?

Or so the rest of the Washington establishment and media establishment can keeping playing politics as usual, exploiting the fact that our political system as constitutionally structured is designed to make it vastly easier to prevent legislative reform than to achieve it, while all the usual liberal schmucks and conservative sociopaths stand around milling their arms and pointing their fingers at whoever happens to be the most politically opportune or personally satisfying fall guy at the moment, and the majority of the electorate gets rope-a-doped along on the ride, happily voting away every single privilege and right of citizenship their great-grandparents in the original Progressive Movement fought to establish, furiously gnashing their teeth in the thrall of rumors and innuendos spun by a class of citizens whose entire existence depends on their skillful manipulation of public opinion.

I heard a political scientist on the radio recently talking about how archaic the American political system is. As a compromise to get the smaller states to join the union, the legislature was structured in such a way that each electoral vote from a smaller state counted as roughly 20 votes from a larger state. With population growth, that vote power gap has increased to the point that today, roughly 12 percent of the total US population controls about 40 senate seats. Any guesses why that might make it hard to push through legislation that even a solid majority support?

If your hypothetical lefty Ron Paul (who I'm pretty sure we've already got in Kucinich) managed to get elected, it would be just like at any other time we actually got a decent reform-minded person in the White House: He'd be bullied, undermined, and ridiculed so often and vigorously by the many, many others in Washington, the electorate, and the power establishment more broadly who are unrepentantly bad people that he'll be about as effective as Carter or any other idealistic reformer to take office. Meanwhile, the kids in the will keep playing political dress up, protesting efforts at international politics so they can feel like their helping mommy and daddy, even though in reality, they're just making everything a bigger mess.

This isn't about politics: It's about social bullies versus the Americans they consider nerds and wimps. Our politics have finally come full circle back to the playground, because we have by measures devolved into a nation of callow, willful and belligerent children.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2010 [16 favorites]


On the plus side, it will be very entertaining to watch the teabaggers turn on Brown over the next three years when he realizes that he'll have to become the male Olympia Snowe in order to win re-election.

The promise of future Republican infighting makes me feel a little better.
posted by Weebot at 9:24 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate to agree with Republicans about anything, but they are right about one thing here: it's the people that spoke - the voters.

Unless we absorb this fact, we'll forever be worse than the Republicans at playing politics.

The list of excuses is endless. And wrong.

"The Demo candidate was weak". Irrelevant - the voters didn't like what the Democrats were selling, the candidate didn't matter here.

This is the American voter, by a fairly substantial plurality - January 2010. Understand that.

We have the government we deserve. I didn't grok that for a long time - until November 2004. There was no excuse - none. I could argue with myself that in 2000 people were cheated, and many perhaps didn't know how bad Bush would be etc., etc., etc.. But in 2004 we knew - it was worse than anybody could have predicted - wars, wholesale theft from the treasury, devastated economy. And what happens? They re-elect GWB. That finally - finally - got it through my thick skull: people want this.

My message to my fellow liberals is: this is the expression of the will of the people. Accept this fact... and now let's sit down and ask: WHAT NOW? I'm not going to try pushing through my ideas, but I do think it's time we honestly started talking about a new Democratic strategy - based on reality, not our wishes, however painful that may be, and however humiliating to admit "we got the politics wrong".
posted by VikingSword at 9:25 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Obviously, the people are wrong.
posted by Eideteker at 9:27 PM on January 19, 2010


unSane: “I had hopes for Obama, but America is lost.”

CitrusFreak12: “Is there a country I can move to where I probably won't be constantly disappointed by my preferred political party?”

unSane: “Canada is close with a right of left of center political environment. Whoever we elect, nothing really changes, so your choice of political party is entirely irrelevant.”

Heh. Yeah, good ol' Canada, where nothing ever changes. Nothing like down here in the states, where every square inch of every surface in every public place in the country shifts slightly in coloration and hue every four years when we have an election.

Nothing ever changes anywhere. Politicians are liars, parties are disappointing and vague, laws are not really what they should be, and we all have better things to worry about than politics. And even amongst those who really, really care about politics, a special election for a single governmental seat in Massachusetts is not going to raze the timber to the land today or any other day.
posted by koeselitz at 9:33 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know what? If you actually believe that utter bullshit you just spouted -- if you are actually that completely fucking stupid -- then don't just abandon the democratic party. Abandon politics and keep your fucking mouth shut entirely. Please. We'd be better off with people who vote on who they can picture themselves having a beer with.

Do we need to go through it? People who cannot afford insurance need a subsidy to pay for it. If federally subsidized insurance is provided, then abortion will not be covered by it. While they can buy extra coverage to allow for it, the point is they can't afford to...if they need subsidized insurance.

You could argue that they wouldn't be able to afford it in the first place, fair enough. I would argue that defunding abortion services to avoid offending religious conservatives, a legal medical procedure in all states, is itself morally suspect and doesn't really line up with liberal values.

You can swear and tell people to shut up all you like, eventually you will be shouting at an empty room. Good luck with that.

Unless you're voting for the "Instant Runoff Elections Amendment", all your voting for is the greater of two evils and then being self-righteous about it. It's called winner take all for a fucking reason.

Actually, I'm voting my conscience. You are welcome to take the cynics angle on that if you want. Why should I give ground when the other side always refuses to do so? Once again, enjoy shouting at an empty room.
posted by dibblda at 9:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Halfheartedly read a few of these comments, and it brought me back to my original position.

I'm done with news.

The country is an irredeemably shitty place. Not fixable, ever, no matter who's elected. I express my contempt for it by actively ignoring it to the extent that I can.

I had a lovely evening before opening up the political threads out of some misplaced sense of obligation. Why did I do that? No point. The world will continue down its path to the gallows regardless of whether I make myself suffer. That's over.
posted by Epenthesis at 9:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the wake of Scott Brown’s decisive victory in Massachusetts, House Democrats appeared to rule out the idea of quickly approving a Senate-passed health care measure and sending it to President Obama.

After a meeting of Democratic leaders as Mr. Brown’s win was being declared, top lawmakers said they were weighing their options as the Senate race had thrown the fate of the health care legislation into serious question.

Noting that the election in Massachusetts turned on a variety of different factors, Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said, “Health care was also part of the debate, and the people of Massachusetts were right to be upset about provisions in the Senate bill like the Nebraska purchase and other special deals.”
God these people are pathetic. The healthcare system in MA is basically the same as what's being proposed. and they generally like their plan Maybe they didn't like the idea of paying higher taxes in some cases to pay for the rest of the country.

But look, there is no technical reason why this election should effect the HCR bill. if the democrats drop the ball now, it's because they want to fail. Don't fall for their excuses. Don't listen to their whining about hard it is to pass legislation with a 58-seat majority in the senate. God damn it! hold them accountable! don't let them get away with this perpetual failure.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Liberals compromise ideology at every turn, centrists stand firm on theirs, so here we are.

Centrists have an ideology? The very definition of centrism is compromise.

Maybe you're confusing batshit loony rightwing with centrism. Now they have an ideology that they never compromise.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:40 PM on January 19, 2010


"The Demo candidate was weak". Irrelevant - the voters didn't like what the Democrats were selling, the candidate didn't matter here.

Absurd. By that argument, no candidate matters, only the party platform and the collective voting record of the incumbents. Coakely was a weak candidate who ran a lousy campaign, against a good populist candidate who ran a good campaign. She was personally hamstrung in her candidacy by her own record in MA, and that of course had an effect.

Your larger point about general voter dissatisfaction with Democratic performance over the last year is sound, but don't pretend that machine politics in MA didn't play a part in the continual clusterfuck that is Democratic governance.
posted by fatbird at 9:44 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cyrano,
If the Republicans were to filibuster, it would require that only one Republican be in the chamber. If that Republican says. "I note the absence of quorum" 50 Democrats need to show up. In other words, "making them filibuster" would soak up a whole lot of Democrat time.

Delmoi,
You speak about the Democrats inability to pass this legislation as though this is a team that is unable to score points. Framing this as the "Democrats" inability (like Jon Stewart has) overstates the power of this organization and understates the fact that each, individual Senator is very powerful. Corralling 60 independently-minded Senators into a single voice is hard (and say what we will about Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, the reality is that if they voted very progressively, they wouldn't be in office long).

Look, I'm as disappointed as anyone else here, but denying the difficulty of this is not the answer. Blaming "the Democrats" or even Martha Coakley is not the answer. Let's aim our targets correctly...the problem is that the filibuster is being used in a way in which it was never intended. The solution lies in working towards amending the filibuster rules. Period.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 9:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


VikingSword: "it's time we honestly started talking about a new Democratic strategy - based on reality, not our wishes, however painful that may be."

Reality as I see it is that without public financing of elections, there will never be a Democrat (or Republican) who is not bought and paid for.

If you're looking for windmills to tilt at, start there. Anything else at this point will be wasted effort.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:47 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. After my initial "oh crap no!" reaction, I'm feeling strangely sanguine about this whole thing. Hearing people say that we're all doomed is making me more hopeful. I want to go back and do some reading of the times in the history of this country when we were much more close to being well and truly boned than we are here now. This right here is nothing, in the grand scheme of things.

A majority of this country would literally rather watch their own children die horribly than know that someone somewhere got something that they may not have deserved.

I see a lot of comments like this. I'm sure they contain a partial truth, but I'm a little tired of the overblown rhetoric.

So, here's my confession: I, a fairly liberal (more than some, less than others), educated person, a Democrat, am nervous about sweeping health care reform.

I want everyone in this country to have health care - health care, not health insurance (not really the same thing). I think it's a moral imperative for our citizens to be cared for in this way. The current bill makes me both upset - because it seems like it's set up to benefit insurance companies that already have way too much political power - and happy, because it seems like this is the only realistic first step our country could have taken at this time on the road to bigger and better things.

And yet I'm nervous. I'm not generally a fearful person, or one who thinks that change is bad. It's just so hard not to look at the way things are going right now - disappearing retirement funds, gutted unions, more restrictive work environments - and think, "Oh great, one more thing that will be getting worse." I know this attitude isn't entirely rational. But watching our elected leaders bicker and squabble over this makes me worried that whatever half-assed piece of legislature they'll be able to cobble together will end up hurting more than helping. I'm trying to take the long view - again, this is making me want to read some good history of the various legislative reforms in this country and how painful they were to actually achieve at the time.

(Anyone have any book recs, btw?)

Heh. It sounds pretty pessimistic, and yet I'm not. I think we'll end up working this out in some fashion, although with a maximum of angst and a minimum of efficiency. If I could have someone wave a magic wand and instantly give us European-style universal health care, I don't know that I'd do it. We're not Europe, and we have to fix this in our own way that takes into account the national history and temperament (both good and bad). I'm sure it will be two steps forward and one step back, and it will probably take years longer than I'd like, but we will get there. I don't think we're doomed to live crappier lives than our parents and grandparents. And I love this country a hell of a lot. I'm not throwing in the towel.
posted by Salieri at 9:47 PM on January 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Obligatory Downfall spoof
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 9:48 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Coakley is probaby thinking "If only Brown had offered to sell his daughters before the election! Damn!"
posted by mullingitover at 9:52 PM on January 19, 2010



Centrists have an ideology? The very definition of centrism is compromise.


Really? Liberals want single payer, compromise down to public option. Centrists don't want it, REFUSE TO COMPROMISE AND PASS THE BILL ANYWAY, so the liberals COMPROMISE AGAIN and drop that which offends the centrists from the bill. Who is doing compromise here?

Centrism is the ideology that compromise down to a muddled pile of shit that doesn't help people but is politically easy is ALWAYS the right course. That is ideology, not fact.

The habit of insisting that only the right and the left have “ideologies” and that people in the center don’t is one of the absolute most frustrating elements of conventional political discussion in the United States. The fact of the matter is that “centrist” ideological taboos have been the big story of the Obama administration. That starts with the imposition of an arbitrary cap on the size of the stimulus bill, it continues to the utterly merciless and fanatical centrist opposition to the existence of any public option, to the Fed’s refusal to undertake further monetary easing, to the unwillingness to contemplate really stern measures against bailed-out banks and their executives, and on and on and on.


The whole point of centrist ideology is to convince people that anything that ISN'T centrist is bad and just ideology, even if the centrist policy is pure crap.

The ideology of no ideology is nifty. No matter how tilted in favor of powerful interests, it can be a deft way to keep touting policy agendas as common-sense pragmatism -- virtuous enough to draw opposition only from ideologues.


posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:54 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


I can;t care about all this noise. I can't stop crying. I am ashamed of my home state.
posted by sarcasticah at 9:56 PM on January 19, 2010


sarcasticah: “I can't stop crying.”

It's like our own little Haiti, isn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 9:59 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Esteemed Offendi: "Obligatory Downfall spoof"

Downfall's director loves those, by the way.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:01 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Congratulations, Massachusetts liberals. You're about to learn the lesson that Texas liberals and progressives have had to learn over the decades since the Republican takeover started down here: how to lose, get up, and fight again. I recommend a strong drink and a book of the wit and wisdom of Molly Ivins. This is a prescription I feel like following myself.

May your new senator be only as shitty as Kay Bailey Hutchison and not nearly as shitty as John Cornyn.
posted by immlass at 10:02 PM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


On the plus side, it will be very entertaining to watch the teabaggers turn on Brown over the next three years when he realizes that he'll have to become the male Olympia Snowe in order to win re-election.

That doesn't make sense. When have the Teabaggers done anything serious to threaten Snowe? There's some occasional "RINO" namecalling, but everyone knows she's the only kind of Republican who's going to fly in Maine. I suspect they'll conclude the same thing about Brown.

Seems like wishful thinking to me, and it'd be better spent hoping that the Democrats come up with a candidate who isn't simultaneously vile, a questionable campaigner, and deaf to her would-be constituents on the issues.

Hoping for the deux ex machina of Republican self-destruction seems like a recipe for disappointment.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:03 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My rep, Michael Capuano, should've been nominated -- I said it before and I say it now that the predictable results are in. Make no mistake, this was the Democratic Party gifting a vital senate seat to a bloviating empty vessel.
posted by inoculatedcities at 10:03 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Its one candidate, folks. Its not nearly as big a deal as everyone is making it. There are totally ways to pass health care and everything that Obama wants with the current numbers. Bush did with lower numbers.

I think its been clear for months that the soap opera that is the American government is basically like an X-Men comic. The illusion of change is offered to keep you interested, but Magneto is still ultimately the bad guy and Wolverine still can't get into Jean Grey's pants even though he's the most bad-ass member of the team.

If I can wallow in cynicism for a moment (and I think I can), I think the Democratic party was scared shitless that they might actually pass healthcare and piss off their health industry cronies and supporters. This loss was the best thing that could possibly happen to them because now they can blame the Republicans for the failure of healthcare while simultaneously sucking down more sweet, sweet cash from the nipple of Big Pharma.

So, see, there's a happy ending after all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a lovely evening before opening up the political threads out of some misplaced sense of obligation. Why did I do that? No point. The world will continue down its path to the gallows regardless of whether I make myself suffer. That's over.
I know you feel that way, but stop. The democrats are perpetual failures, and a lot of them need to be replaced. But they're just using this loss as an excuse to fail. Again.
You speak about the Democrats inability to pass this legislation as though this is a team that is unable to score points. Framing this as the "Democrats" inability (like Jon Stewart has) overstates the power of this organization and understates the fact that each, individual Senator is very powerful.
There are levers that they could, but don't use. The republicans require senators to toe the line when it counts, and can punish senators who don't do it by stripping them of comittey chairs. The democrats don't do that. Why not? Perhaps because they care more about the feelings of each senator then they do about effectively governing. And they seem to be opposed to reconciliation, even though the republicans didn't have a problem using it during the bush years for things like ending the inheritance tax on millionaires.
Look, I'm as disappointed as anyone else here, but denying the difficulty of this is not the answer. Blaming "the Democrats" or even Martha Coakley is not the answer. Let's aim our targets correctly...the problem is that the filibuster is being used in a way in which it was never intended. The solution lies in working towards amending the filibuster rules. Period.
I'm totally for it.

Anyway. People, at least those of us not in the democratic leadership, need to relax. This won't actually prevent HCR from passing. That was just some bullshit peddled to help get her elected. Don't fall for it people. Don't get played. If the democrats whiff this now then they were never worth anything to start with.

Eventually things will get better in this country but it's obvious that the democratic leadership needs to change, not just the parties in power. And we need to get rid of blue dog traitors who sell their party out and then try to make up idiotic excuses (like "oh we can't do anything without 60 senators" -- bullshit)

People, vote in the primaries and pay attention to the races. You're not living up to your civic responsibility if you don't vote in both the general and the primaries. IMO.

All of this could have been avoided if a better candidate won the primary.
It's like our own little Haiti, isn't it?
People need some perspective.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


David Sirota:

There is something deeply embarrassing about Democratic voters/groups having to fight with Democratic leaders to get those leaders to even seriously try (much less pass) even the smallest, most modest shreds of their promises. Having to do that evokes feelings of genuine shame - shame in front of the other voters we told to vote for Democrats because it supposedly "mattered," and shame when we look in the mirror at a self that may have allowed itself to be unnecessarily duped. ...

And it is all but guaranteed that in typical blame-the-victim fashion, some lockstep Democratic activists and Obama supporters will find a way to blame progressives - rather than the politicians who broke their progressive promises - for the Massachusetts loss and the Democratic Party's flagging poll numbers.

posted by Joe Beese at 10:12 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Scott Brown didn't win shit today - the Dems lost, and lost hard, and earned that loss with their refusal to take the best opportunity they've ever had and will have in the foreseeable future and actually do anything with it.

Taking over for the most unpopular President in modern times, with an unpopular, ill-advised war, a broken economy, a broken health-care system, civil rights assaults against gay and lesbian Americans, and executive powers attacks on the constitution, they received the most clear-cut signal of our era to get off of their asses and fix this shit, and the almost immediate response was, "well, some people don't want those things to change. No, they weren't the ones who voted for us to get to work, but they're on FOX News all the time and they yell so we're scared of them. So while we're not going to actually change anything, we'll explain to you the petty political battles we're fighting in order to appease them, instead of fighting for you, the ones who voted for us. Until we lose everything, but at least we're still where we were when you elected us! You elected us to keep us from losing any more ground, right?"

We didn't lose anything with Brown's election, because what good is a supermajority when the people who are in control of it can't do anything with it? I'm actually okay with losing another seat to the Republicans, as long as it's Harry Reid's seat. Of all the problems in the democratic party, he is our most pressing. He is 100% useless and needs to be gone. He is killing our chance to do good.

Massachusetts voters don't go to the GOP out of caprice - they do so because the alternative can't sell the obviously right choice. The Democratic party isn't listening to me, of course, but theire not listening to any of their other members either. That's the problem. They all seem to think that voters must have been confused when they elected them, and really wanted them to act like republicans, and that if they act like Democrats that they'll be out of a job. They are wrong.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 PM on January 19, 2010 [17 favorites]


The country is an irredeemably shitty place. Not fixable, ever, no matter who's elected. I express my contempt for it by actively ignoring it to the extent that I can.

As was pointed out in the movie Slacker, "Withdrawing in disgust should not be confused with apathy."

On the other hand, we're what, exactly a year since Obama was sworn in, and you're already THAT disgusted? Must be some kind of allergy. I recommend medication.
posted by philip-random at 10:14 PM on January 19, 2010


We so need a third party in this country.

I'm not sure even that will do it.


Well, an extreme right-wing party would certainly be helpful in terms of getting Democrats into power.

The problem is that once in power, they don't seem to help much.
posted by rokusan at 10:15 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think we're doomed to live crappier lives than our parents and grandparents.

Not only is it inevitable that we lead crappier lives than our parents and grandparents, but our desperate, prolonged denial of such has made us delusional.
posted by troybob at 10:15 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


JOSH LYMAN WHERE ARE YOU?
posted by bicyclefish at 10:20 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


god, I hate that stupid, stupid TV show.
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 PM on January 19, 2010


Not only is it inevitable that we lead crappier lives than our parents and grandparents, but our desperate, prolonged denial of such has made us delusional.

Oh yeah in 50 years when the average inflation-adjusted annual income is around $200,000 a year we're going to be oh so miserable.

*rolls eyes*

Seriously people, get a grip!
posted by delmoi at 10:22 PM on January 19, 2010


Not only is it inevitable that we lead crappier lives than our parents and grandparents, but our desperate, prolonged denial of such has made us delusional.

In some ways? Maybe. But I have a job that neither my mother (most probably) nor grandmother (definitely) would have been able to have, as women. I have my own house and bank accounts, without needing a husband or father to cosign for me. If some asshat at work decides to sexually harass me, I have the backing of federal law. I have access to birth control, if I want it.

So no, things aren't perfect. But this whole bit about how it's "inevitable" that our lives are crappier? Not by a long shot. And if you'll forgive me, the types of people who say that tend to be ones who weren't historically discriminated against in the past. People who look back at the good old days aren't looking at them closely enough.

(General statement there. I know nothing about you personally.)
posted by Salieri at 10:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


This is just ridiculous. It seems like there is only one party in the United States that can get anything done.
posted by 517 at 10:31 PM on January 19, 2010


Can't everybody see that it's all part of the same worthless system that was designed to fuck you over yet
posted by tehloki at 10:38 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But this whole bit about how it's "inevitable" that our lives are crappier? Not by a long shot.

How much do you pay for healthcare?

I'm sorry. How much does your employer pay for healthcare? You'll be paying double that in a few years.

And that's a good and right thing, because some black lady somewhere has six kids and is on welfare.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


VikingSword: it's the people that spoke - the voters.

These two things are not the same thing. Here is MA local news, with the headline "High Voter Turnout For Brown-Coakley Senate Race". High voter turnout, that is, to the tune of "at 50 percent or more in many communities."

Representative democracy works when it reflects the will of the people. But our particular representative democracy doesn't reflect "the people", because most of the time, most of the people don't vote. Instead, it just reflects "the will" of the few who do vote.

It's about who cares more about the issue, and the Republicans have the edge on that even as their raw constituency dwindles. We saw this with Prop 8: more people hated "the gays" enough to vote against them, than liked them enough to vote for them. It didn't matter that gay marriage polled better than 50% because the 40% against showed up. In the U.S., winning elections is about winning along two dimensions: how much people agree with you, and how much they care about it.

So let's think about the Tea Party movement. They are definitely a marginal group in raw numbers, I don't think anyone disputes that. But what they do have is willpower. Those 8% of voters care the fuck about their vague fears of Obama and death panels and a two thousand page bill being "rammed through" congress regardless of the merits of those fears.

And let's think about another will-versus-numbers comparison: African-American support for Obama in 2008. Obama's candidacy "evaporated" most of the voter-turnout disparity between blacks and whites, and African-Americans supported Obama by a 90% margin. Let's not forget that Obama only won with 53% of the vote. Way too close for comfort, and if African-American turnout had been at historic levels then it would have been even closer.

Shall I say it again? American elections are about making people care who agree with your side. Democrats have the disadvantage because they are a coalition of progressive interests and those interests don't care about each other.

The Republicans, on the other hand, have managed to get the corporate fatcats to agree to Clean Christian Governance and the Christians to agree to heartless greedy capitalism über alles. They have the motivation to get things done, the solidarity to obstruct their opponents with emergencies-only rules like the filibuster, and no one with any credibility within their party thinks they're crossing the line.

America is not lost, but the Democrats are fighting on the wrong front. They need to make people care, and the "spinelessness" narrative is their weakness even when it's inaccurate. When people see shit like this they follow that lead; if a Democrat doesn't even support his party, then why should they?

The winning solution is to be hardasses, to show that they'll follow through on what they proclaim even if they lose at it, that they'll make fools out of themselves on national television because THAT'S WHAT I FUCKING BELIEVE AND IF YOU THINK I'M WRONG YOU'RE A MONSTER AND A FOOL.

It's worked for stupider ideas than theirs. Just ask Michelle Bachmann.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:49 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't think we're doomed to live crappier lives than our parents and grandparents.

Well, you're wrong about that, because the government has been busily spending an immense, gargantuan amount of money that we don't have. And that wealth will have to be repaid. If it's not repaid through higher taxes, it will be paid for with currency depreciation, which is much more painful.

If you actually want the future to be better than the present, you need to pay for what you're using, not consume today and demand that our kids pay the bills.

We want healthcare today, but there's no money to do it, so what a whole HELL of a lot of people on this board want to do is to steal that healthcare from our kids. They'll need healthcare too. We have no business stealing their fucking money to live a few years longer. If we can't pay for it, free and clear, we have no business starting that kind of program.

That abortion of a Senate bill is at least somewhat fiscally responsible, but it's completely reprehensible in most other ways.

I'm hoping fervently that it doesn't pass. It should die on the vine. We need to be focusing on getting our financial house in order; this will be an immensely painful process that will take at least a couple of decades. THEN we could realistically talk about universal healthcare. Not today.
posted by Malor at 10:52 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


THEN we could realistically talk about universal healthcare. Not today.

Uh... the reason we need healthcare reform is that at this rate we'll go broke without it. The financial implications of NOT passing healthcare are pretty staggering.
posted by mert at 10:58 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I regret not actually helping out in the primary campaign (although I did vote, and tried to encourage folk around me to vote, too). Coakley was an awful candidate, and yes, I wholeheartedly agree that if any other Dem had won the primary, there would be no news today.

Of course, I didn't do anything about it, because I thought, like many other people, that there was no way a Dem could lose a Mass. senate seat. Boy, was I wrong.
posted by nat at 11:00 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm not even sure that we should be categorizing the Democrats and Republicans as parties, as if they can be put into the same box, because they are clearly not the same thing. The current misconception leads people everywhere to say some damn stupid shit.

The Democrats simply have no party discipline. There is no real penalty for against the party line, which means that statements like "BUSH DID MORE WITH FEWER SENATORS" are clearly pretty misguided. The Republicans, on the other hand, have a Bloc. They can generate 40 votes at the moment on whatever they like. So calling on the democrats to "just do something" is pretty goddamn silly - when you need 60 votes to pass any legislation in the senate (and you do need 60 votes to pass legislation in the senate, because of the ridiculous rules that have been established there), there is no way that you should expect your loose coalition of 60 people to have all the votes, every time.

This situation isn't wholly the fault of the Democratic leadship, nor is it completely a problem with the Republicans. It's rooted in the ridiculous way the senate is run and organized (as in, the Constitution's idea of the senate is flawed in the modern age), as well as the American Right being (in general) ridiculous and hateful and desirous of seeing their "enemies" suffer.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:01 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


We want healthcare today, but there's no money to do it

We could get universal health care by diverting a tiny fraction of the defense budget.

Why won't it happen? Ask President Eisenhower.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:05 PM on January 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


If healthcare dies on the vine, so do hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The idea that allowing productive Americans to die pointlessly is somehow an economic bargain that will improve the economy isn't just delusional - it's evil.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:09 PM on January 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


It isn't all bad news, though. Joe Lieberman is now absolutely inessential.

I suppose that dems being dems, they still won't have the good common sense to kick his sorry ass out of all offices and committees. Lamers.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


You know, these threads bring out the very, very worst in Metafilter on a pretty regular basis. These insane proclamations of the country being irredeemably shitty are so trite and overblown it's sickening.

It's the same country you ate breakfast in this morning, it's the same country you went to work in, it's the same country you'll go to sleep in. Yes, the politics can be maddening and plain wrong, but look out your window and realize the sky isn't on fire and the world hasn't changed significantly. A shitty candidate lost to an asshole in MA.

Yes, HCR might be much harder now, but the Democrats still have FIFTY-NINE SEATS in the Senate. IF they can't get something through with that then fuck them all.

Also, could somebody tell me why the hell this bill wasn't broken up into 10 bills? Do you think EVERY Republican would vote against pre-existing condition coverage? Being able to buy insurance across state lines with stricter federal regulations? No! You'd get more than enough votes to jam through those three things TOMORROW, but apparently the liver-lipped fuck from my ol' state of Nevada thought it was better to create a monstrosity nobody understood and everybody had problems with. Way to go Harry, you fuck.
posted by lattiboy at 11:12 PM on January 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


I just posted this on my Twitter feed. Here's my decidedly Indian response: out here in India, the Indian National Congress has been forming governments with about 150 out of 545 seats in the lower house of the Parliament for about twenty years now. By-elections are just that; nobody really cares, more often than not, they go unopposed.

I'm still amazed at the notion that you need _three-fifths_ of the upper house in the US to get anything done. I do realize that HCR is a historic battle spanning many decades, that there's a lot of opposition within Big Tent Democrats towards specific policy-points, but man, three-fifths is _such_ a difficult ask in any democratic system. I mean, out in India, we reserve the two-thirds "super" majority only for really crucial legislative bits, like amendments to the Fundamental Rights, for example.

More than the loss of a single seat or the loss of "momentum" deemed so crucial in these 24/7 news-cycle-driven times, surely the fact that the Senate seems to be designed to be super-resistant to change is more critical for America?

Of course, we have a different problem when it comes to legislation in India, a lack of intra-party democracy in most prominent political parties, which has led to appearances of disenfranchisement and apathy lately. But that's a different tale.
posted by the cydonian at 11:15 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I gotta say, I wouldn't have voted for Brown if I still lived back home, but holy shit, is this Cosmo article from September '09 creepy and objectifying.

I... don't think that's the sort of equality feminism's been working towards. I hope not, at least.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:16 PM on January 19, 2010


It isn't all bad news, though. Joe Lieberman is now absolutely inessential.

This is a silver lining, along with the fact that Republicans can no longer point to a putative supermajority as a reason the Democrats should be able to get something done, but can't. Democrat accusations of obstructionism are much more plausible now that they don't have 60.
posted by fatbird at 11:17 PM on January 19, 2010


Interesting, but surely there are republican who'll vote for cloture, once the alternative is their pet military bases and projects being gutted.

Obama has the power to target individual Republican senators for a world of hurt. Does he have the will?
posted by jeffburdges at 11:23 PM on January 19, 2010


Do you think EVERY Republican would vote against pre-existing condition coverage?

Yes.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yup, that'll solve the problems. Relentless, pointless, childish pessimism. Always works!
posted by spiderskull at 11:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure you completely understand the psychology playing out here, somerepublicans will filibuster any healthcare reform bill, but now some republicans must vote for cloture to end that filibuster. A critical cloture vote will appear much more like betrayal to republicans than merely voting for the bill, probably costing that republican senator their next primary.

To pass this bill, Obama must play a very delicate and risky game of political hardball by "motivating" the few republicans that are able to vote for cloture. A useful strategy might be threatening to consolidate or relocate various military units towards the coasts.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:44 PM on January 19, 2010


I spoke to several Scott Brown-hoodied, took the bus to Massachusetts volunteers, tonight (before running into my former Obama campaign boss, now at the DNC, who with his new team, who all spent several sleepless nights trying to ensure Brown's defeat -- yes, same bar, yes I'll talk to anyone, oh god will I).

Consensus opinion among the Brown supporters: Coakley lazy, arrogant, sure of victory. More important: Coakley appeared anointed by the Suits and Unions, while Brown's supporters were regular hoodied (and fed up, angry) people.

Will get Dem response later this week, but suspect events just overtook.

Cab ride home by thirty-year veteran cabby with four kids, auto salesman, teacher, gov bureaucrat, and (his words) "street hustler" married to doctor highlight of evening.

Personal opinion: Obama either goes populist or goes home, as I explained to several Hill Rats.
posted by orthogonality at 11:47 PM on January 19, 2010


i'm from MA and I'm about 1/5th of the way thru reading all this, but...

Here are the local punchlines:

we Can still fight, as we've not begun to...

MA is only as liberal as its drugs...

Best schools, best hospitals, Menino....
(one of these things is not like the others)


Frogs grip fowl throats...we got this....
posted by es_de_bah at 11:48 PM on January 19, 2010


"Can someone list Obama's achievements over the last 12 months?"

unSane and mullingitover, while I'm sure both of you are more interested in playing this absurd negativity game rather than actually looking this up yourself, a simple Google search would have eventually led you to this tracker.
posted by spiderskull at 11:53 PM on January 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


So no, things aren't perfect. But this whole bit about how it's "inevitable" that our lives are crappier? Not by a long shot. And if you'll forgive me, the types of people who say that tend to be ones who weren't historically discriminated against in the past. People who look back at the good old days aren't looking at them closely enough.

Well NATURALLY you'd say that- you're a girl, and as such, don't count. I mean, wouldn't you really rather be back in the 80s when you could earn 59 cents for every man's dollar?

Of course I'm old enough to remember how badly things sucked in the 1970 and 80s. For one thing, I was 30 before I could really bring myself too believe I would survive to the year 2000. For another, I remember whining to my mother after the 2008 election that the nation was doomed, that abortion rights were going to be history, that everything worth fighting for was going to be swept away by a permanent Republican majority. My mother, the old liberal and activist was oddly more sanguine; she haad lived through Eisenhower and McCarthy, Nixon, and Reagan. In her personal life, she remembered when she had to do a "pregnancy resignation" from her teaching job, before the school board fired her for being a socialist. And in spite of them, the country gradually, haltingly has made progress. Sometimes 1.9 steps back for every two forward, sometimes stalled for a generation, but still moving forward. The thing to do she said, is just to keep fighting, even after the other side has won. Always keep trying for that tiny step forward.

And now twenty years later, women earn on the average 77 cents for every man's dollar...not near good enough, but better. Likewise, sexist and racist comments and actions that would have been taken as a matter of course now at least provoke opposition and discussion. Tiny, halting steps of progress, they happen.
posted by happyroach at 12:08 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


one more dead town's last parade: We could get universal health care by diverting a tiny fraction of the defense budget.

But we can't even afford the defense budget. We have to cut it TO a tiny fraction of what it is now, and then not spend any more money. We need to run at least at even keel for a couple of decades, to let the debt levels diminish. And this will require enormous cuts now, and continued and massive cuts going forward, because of the Social Security crisis.

As the boomers age and need pensions and healthcare, Social Security will stop being a money source, and will start becoming a money sink. Each month, as they have to send out more and more money, they'll be presenting more and more of the 'lockbox' bonds to Congress, who will have to then pay that money out of that year's tax receipts. The lockbox is a total fiction; it's just sleight of hand to pretend that funds exist when they don't. Instead of saving for their retirements, we blew all the money they gave us on bridges to nowhere and immense, stupid wars. We replaced the real assets with government bonds, which will have to be paid out of present-year tax receipts when they're cashed in. That means we'll have to tax the hell out of present wage earners to pay for the boomers' retirements. Social Security was supposed to be self-funding, and not have much impact on the budget, but we spent the surpluses, so we also have to fund the deficits.

And we have no business reneging on those promises, because we took their money for 50+ years, promising to invest it wisely on their behalf, and then pay for their retirements when they got old. Of all the promises we've made as a country, that should be just about last on the chopping block.

But it's gonna freaking kill us, because the outflows are going to be enormous. There isn't going to be a lot of money left over for much of anything else. Universal healthcare, when you have the budget crisis we're in, with only worse news coming for at least the next twenty years, is completely infeasible.

mert: The financial implications of NOT passing healthcare are pretty staggering.

We can just not buy the new treatments. We can accept that we all eventually die, and that most of us can't afford to live as long as we want. We can simply say, no, that's too expensive, I'm not going to take Lipitor or Viagra or whatever the drug du jour is. We can say no, that coverage costs too much, and just not pay for it.

Voila, healthcare budget problem is solved. We just don't spend the damn money, and live in a little less comfort, or die sooner than we want to. We can demand, and get, new treatments that work and cost less. But we have to be willing to say no, to draw a line and say, "this much, but no more." Until we do, prices will just keep increasing. And that will be true no matter who's footing the bill.

Government single-payer might, perhaps, save us 25% or so on overhead, once, but the inexorable 5-7% yearly growth would eat those savings by the next Presidential term. The inability to say no will swallow any temporary cost savings so quickly that they become irrelevant.

Either we learn to say no, or we go broke, and then we have to say no to a lot of stuff that we otherwise could have said yes to. It's really that simple. The mechanism by which we transfer wealth to the healthcare providers is immaterial.
posted by Malor at 12:09 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


The idea that allowing productive Americans to die pointlessly is somehow an economic bargain that will improve the economy isn't just delusional - it's evil.

Spending any amount of money required to keep people alive only works for awhile, until there's no more wealth to be had, and the system collapses. That would kill hundreds of millions of people all over the world, most of whom didn't even vaguely benefit from our spendthrift ways.

In the real world, wealth is limited. Borrowing money to keep ourselves alive, in essence spending our children's income before they even make it, is a hell of a lot more evil than letting ourselves die so that they can make their own choices about their own healthcare.

If we can't pay for it, free and clear, we've got no business starting that kind of program, period. We do not have the right to put future generations in debt for our own comfort and convenience.
posted by Malor at 12:23 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Malor: “We can just not buy the new treatments. We can accept that we all eventually die, and that most of us can't afford to live as long as we want. We can simply say, no, that's too expensive, I'm not going to take Lipitor or Viagra or whatever the drug du jour is. We can say no, that coverage costs too much, and just not pay for it.”

This is a great idea – the best I can think of, anyway – but believing it will happen in a democratically is sort of silly, isn't it? The only way I can see this working is if the government makes further diversification and monetization of health care flatly illegal. And furthermore benevolent dictatorship is pretty much the only solution I can see to a number of other problems in the US.
posted by koeselitz at 12:36 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do we need to go through it?

If you really want it, we might take the time to do the work to arrive at the inevitable conclusion that the statement you uttered earlier was at best hyperbole.

Actually, I'm voting my conscience. You are welcome to take the cynics angle on that if you want.

Sure. In fact, I'm going to vote my conscience for single-payer, and refuse to support anybody who won't go that way! The movement that follows will be glorious, and the cynics will stand in awe.

Also, could somebody tell me why the hell this bill wasn't broken up into 10 bills?

Same reason why terms like "The Nebraska Purchase" are absurd grandstanding rhetoric. There isn't a majority of any kind in the Senate on the policy nuts and bolts of reform, so you want to get anything at all done, you have to do some logrolling. Not to mention some of the policy has to go together—you simply can't force insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions in their underwriting and premiums without a mandate, and you can't have a mandate without a subsidy of some kind, and then you have to figure out how to pay for the subsidy and so you're into budgets and taxes and, oh gawd, cost control provisions, and then you're into the whole damn thicket of who thinks which cost control methods are most important, in which a lot of the common wisdom is wrong and even the experts probably don't know enough.

That is, of course, if you're the kind of person who actually thinks about the policy issues. If you're not, then everything's simple, whether it's tort reform+deregulation+tax cuts or state sponsorship.

But [Social Security] is gonna freaking kill us, because the outflows are going to be enormous.

Well, if we can fuck up health care badly enough, it's possible we can get life expectancies lower, which should help our actuarials.
posted by namespan at 12:39 AM on January 20, 2010


In the real world, wealth is limited.

In the real world, the USA spends 16% of GDP for one of the world's worst healthcare systems. They could have single payer for 10%, tomorrow.

but the inexorable 5-7% yearly growth

Is not inexorable: it's largely due to bureaucratic and Medicare expansions.... yay for endless paperwork and scooters for everyone. Demographic shift is not responsible for the explosion in American healthcare costs.

We do not have the right to put future generations in debt for our own comfort and convenience.

But we do have the right to let them die? Interesting priorities, there.
posted by mek at 12:43 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Remember, folks, it's comfort and convenience if you don't become financially and literally ruined because you were hit by a drunk driver.

We are a bankrupt society.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:10 AM on January 20, 2010


the american people would rather have someone who was wrong and seems to be governing than someone who's right and isn't governing well at all

the democrats need to realize this soon and act on it
posted by pyramid termite at 1:43 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by 0of1 at 1:54 AM on January 20, 2010


Well, you're wrong about that, because the government has been busily spending an immense, gargantuan amount of money that we don't have. And that wealth will have to be repaid. If it's not repaid through higher taxes, it will be paid for with currency depreciation, which is much more painful. -- Malor
This is wrong on so, so many levels. The first level of wrongness is that we don't have the money. Of course we do, we just have to raise taxes. And not even by that much. Something like a 10% increase in tax revenue (meaning a 3% point increase for most people) would cover the gap. It's just not a good idea to raise taxes in a recession/depression. And it's politically hard. But it's certainly doable

And number two; we can't actually borrow money that doesn't exist. It's just not possible. Someone has to have it to borrow it! And once we borrow it, then we have it!
I'm hoping fervently that it doesn't pass. It should die on the vine. We need to be focusing on getting our financial house in order; this will be an immensely painful process that will take at least a couple of decades. THEN we could realistically talk about universal healthcare. Not today. -- Malor
Listen. The HCR bill costs money. But it also raises revenue. That's right it raises revenue. In fact, it raises more money then it spends. The national debt goes down if it passes, not up!

If you're opposed to the debt, then you should support this bill.
As the boomers age and need pensions and healthcare, Social Security will stop being a money source, and will start becoming a money sink. Each month, as they have to send out more and more money, they'll be presenting more and more of the 'lockbox' bonds to Congress, who will have to then pay that money out of that year's tax receipts. The lockbox is a total fiction; it's just sleight of hand to pretend that funds exist when they don't. Instead of saving for their retirements, we blew all the money they gave us on bridges to nowhere and immense, stupid wars. -- Malor
Yeah. We'll spend more money in SS then we take in, which is why people have been paying more into it for decades. SS won't finish spending that money until 2080 or something.

You can talk about how the 'lockbox' is fiction, but that makes no sense. The government can spend all the money it thinks it has, whether or not you consider it 'fictional'
We do not have the right to put future generations in debt for our own comfort and convenience.
Future generations also inherit all our shit. I mean, if the government went into debt in the 1950s to build the national highway system, we still benefit from it. If we borrow money to pay for schools, then kids benefit.

What people mean when they say "future generations" what they mean is "future generations of rich kids". The rest of us, and our kids, will benefit from the savings. The money doesn't go away when it's spent, it goes into workers pockets.

---

You're always posting crap about how we are going to get eaten alive by the inflation monster, but you don't actually seem to understand how the government actually funds itself. Or how to apply basic math to the situation.
The Democrats simply have no party discipline. There is no real penalty for against the party line, which means that statements like "BUSH DID MORE WITH FEWER SENATORS" are clearly pretty misguided. The Republicans, on the other hand, have a Bloc. They can generate 40 votes at the moment on whatever they like. -- TypographicalError
Listen very closely. democratic senators don't have a penalty for voting against the party line republican senators do. They can lose their seniority. The caucuses have different rules, and the democrat's rules are especially stupid.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Don't worry Dims. All you have to do is imitate Pugs, carry on predecessor Pug policies, rhetorically hint around that Pugs make a lot of sense, laugh at real reform, dress Pug, walk Pug, act Pug and you can't lose.
posted by telstar at 2:50 AM on January 20, 2010


If we can't pay for it, free and clear, we've got no business starting that kind of program, period. We do not have the right to put future generations in debt for our own comfort and convenience.

The problem is that it's current programs we can't pay for. The US spends more public dollars per capita on healthcare than Canada's combined public and private dollars, and we get pretty much the same outcomes. There are fewer incentives in our current system to fund preventative care, innoculations, etc... Up to 1/3 of healthcare dollars go to insurance bureaucracies.

If you wan't to reduce our expenditures, reform of our current system is desperately needed. More accurately, the complete destruction of private health insurance as we know it is needed.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:05 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


my god, coakley ran a criminally incompetent campaign.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:44 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a bit from Brown's acceptance speech that Andrew Sullivan highlighted:
This special election came about because we lost someone very dear to Massachusetts, and to America. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tireless and big-hearted public servant, and for most of my lifetime was a force like no other in this state. His name will always command the affection and respect by the people of Massachusetts, and the same goes for his wife Vicki. There's no replacing a man like that, but tonight I honor his memory, and I pledge my very best to be a worthy successor.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 AM on January 20, 2010


Now that we definitely, definitely, definitely don't have a supermajority, can we move Lieberman's office to the basement and shut off the lights? Not much of a difference between 58 and 57 votes once that supermajority's gone. Strip him of everything. Also, if you live in MA and didn't vote for that dumbass Coakley because of some Red Sox thing, you are medically too stupid to live.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:49 AM on January 20, 2010


Also, if you live in MA and didn't vote for that dumbass Coakley because of some Red Sox thing, you are medically too stupid to live.
What if they decided not to vote for her because she was a dumbass? I mean, people in MA already have universal healthcare. No denial for preexisting conditions. Mandates. Subsidies. Same deal as the senate plan. They didn't actually lose anything. At least not for themselves.
posted by delmoi at 3:54 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


What if they decided not to vote for her because she was a dumbass?

Because Brown is a million times dumber. It's not like choosing between Cristal and Dom; it's choosing between cloudy tap water and a big fucking glass of Limbaugh nut sweat with a big raggedy-ass pube floating in it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:07 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And number two; we can't actually borrow money that doesn't exist. It's just not possible. Someone has to have it to borrow it! And once we borrow it, then we have it!

You don't understand how the Fed works, do you? They issue debt, which creates money.

If they issue large amounts of debt, they eventually devalue the dollar. The debt is reduced by either repaying it (higher taxes) or currency depreciation (everyone's savings shrink in real value, inflation, higher interest rates, possible currency crisis, inability of the government to borrow more, stagflation, depression).
posted by unSane at 4:24 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it was really more of a ceremonial filibuster-proof majority than an actual filibuster-proof majority.
posted by psmealey at 4:28 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because Brown is a million times dumber. It's not like choosing between Cristal and Dom; it's choosing between cloudy tap water and a big fucking glass of Limbaugh nut sweat with a big raggedy-ass pube floating in it.

But if Brown's that dumb then he'll lose the seat in his next election. Getting rid of a democratic lackey is different. A lot of liberals in Mass didn't want to face the prospect of new Democratic-U.S. Senator-For-Life Coakley.

Its a high price in order to pass health care with a 20-vote majority instead of a 18-vote majority. Especially considering the stripped version of reform, which not to mention Massachusetts already has.
posted by cotterpin at 4:32 AM on January 20, 2010


Also:

1-31-07 NEVER FORGET
posted by cotterpin at 4:32 AM on January 20, 2010


do you remember the closeted gay Nazi dad from American Beauty? That is literally all Republican males.

Literally?
posted by kid ichorous at 4:35 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


un. be. lievable.
posted by muppetboy at 4:51 AM on January 20, 2010


If someone actually had the wherewithal to start a third party that was moderate instead of fringe (in either direction) things could probably get rather interesting.

As Tomorrowful points out, you already have a moderate party - it's called the Democratic Party. They'd be center-right in most non-American first world secular democracies. There's nothing 'fringe' about healthcare, or most of the other issues America's vast army of hysterical white people is up in arms about.

This 'they're all as bad as each other!' schtick is disingenous and dishonest. There's no Dem lunatic fringe comparable in size, influence or visibility to the Republican one.


What I meant when I posted is that most third party attempts do seem to be rather fringey. A true third party that took the best principles from the Dems and the Republicans? Now that might actually have some legs.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:52 AM on January 20, 2010


Can someone list Obama's achievements over the last 12 months?

Right here.

Honestly, I am SICK UNTO THE BACK TEETH of people whining that "Obama hasn't DONE AAAAAAAAANYTHING" simply because they haven't gotten their own personal magic sparkly unicorn or whatever the fuck they thought he was going to do within his first day in office. The dude said HIMSELF that a) whatever he did was going to take a long time because we were in the shitter, and b) that he was not going to be able to do it alone, WE ALL HAD TO HELP, because THAT'S THE WAY THINGS LIKE THIS WORK. He said it right there in his concession speech, he said it right in his campaign speeches, he's said it all along.

Don't forget, his slogan was "Yes We Can." It was not "Yes I Can So You Just Sit There On Your Lazy Ass."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 AM on January 20, 2010 [51 favorites]


What I think is cute here is the collective hypnosis by the media and about 80% of the people that the democrats fall in popularity has anything to do with their policies. That people are against health care reform just because they say they are. Because to actually be against something you should be able to at least give the cliff notes of what it actually is.

The democrats are in trouble for exactly on reason, the economy is really bad. People don't like that. What's more people have this idea in their head, an idea that's been cultivated by politicians running against the other guy that the economy is something that the government can exercise a lot of control over. It isn't. The government can work to decrease inequality, the government can smooth things temporally, but the government can't make bad good or good bad. Well I suppose it could do the latter.

The democrats will be in trouble until they get booted out or the economy turns around. If they do get booted out the republicans will be in trouble until the economy gets turned around. When that happens whoever is holding the hot potato will get the credit. It happened to Carter it happened to the first Bush. Timing is everything.

Here's the upshot the economy won't be this bad forever, the democrats will probably end up getting credit in time for 2012.
posted by I Foody at 4:58 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey everybody, try to look on the bright side of this. Due to the polarizing nature of this campaign you can unfriend all the [Brown][Coakley] supporters on Facebook. Isn't your life better now?
posted by jeremias at 5:05 AM on January 20, 2010


The obituary for HCR is premature. The senate bill (strategically) contains the non-reconciliation eligible items like banning some insurance practices, handing out huge subsidies, the mandate, and starting a federal exchange. Just pass it. Questions about who to tax how much are things that you can revisit in the first appropriations bill. Once the subsidies are in place, the public option is a bona-fide cost saving measure eligible for reconciliation. You could quite plausibly tinker with benefits in the same framework.

Remember when Sen. Obama voted for FISA with ugly provisions because it was "must-pass" in several other respects? We're doing that now. 18 votes is enough, and preferable to me because we can forget the possibility of regular order with Joe the Asshole holding you hostage.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:06 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


After coffee and breakfast I will sit down to read all 300+ replies.

For now I will just say, ::sigh::
posted by Splunge at 5:13 AM on January 20, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: "Honestly, I am SICK UNTO THE BACK TEETH of people whining that "Obama hasn't DONE AAAAAAAAANYTHING" simply because they haven't gotten their own personal magic sparkly unicorn or whatever the fuck they thought he was going to do within his first day in office."

You know how you can tell when someone has run out of argument because they're mentioning Nazis?

Same thing with all-caps, sarcastic ventriloquism, and the word "unicorn".
posted by Joe Beese at 5:43 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Working on Beacon Hill, most of the information I got on the race was from drinking in the same places after work as the various local politicians and their staff. Within a few days after Kennedy's death, word was going around that it would be Coakley who would get Ted's seat.

They were not totally jazzed about it, but Coakley had been working on a pretty substantial warchest for a run for governor for years, just waiting for Patrick to either give up or get called up by the Obama administration. When the Senate seat became available, she let it known that she had the cash on hand and was ready to use it. Thus, she was the first to announce her candidacy. Her cash on hand made it hard for others, like Capuano who was actually waiting for a Senate run but thought he had more time, to get the donations they needed to run in a special election (the other eventual Democrat of note, Pagliuca, was a political unknown millionaire who owns the Celtics).

So having scared off most of her challenger's funding, she wins the primary. The Machine may have wanted Capuano, but they were not willing to knock themselves out for a two/three year interim appointment. So they don't feel the need to knock themselves out rallying the base to help Coakley. Coakley seems to have assumed that they would, but doesn't really fret when they don't because, hey Democrat in Massachusetts? That cah is in the Yahd.

Coakley remains tone-deaf through out the campaign. Why go out and shake hands when you can have surrogates (like my current Mayor, Kim Driscoll) talk for you? I mean, it's not like this state has a history of electing a haircut over a woman or anything. Coakley compounds her problems by seeming unconnected with the people (Yankee, seriously?) and like she is just going through the motions.

One of the worst parts of her campaign, in my mind, and a thing that just typified her entire approach was her last ditch efforts to connect with voters on a personal level. Someone must had told her that she came off as a humorless robot, so she started saying "I have a sense of humor! Just ask my husband! Or my dogs!"

Then a reporter asked her to tell a joke.

She replied that she didn't know any. And that even if she did, she was bad at jokes.

Seriously, Coakley? You don't know one joke? ONE? How can you be a politician, how can you expect to project that "common touch" and not know how to tell a single joke. You can memorize a speech, right? Then you can memorize a fucking joke like the rest of us fucking humans.

In the primary, I voted for Capuano. I lived in Somerville for years and he was both my mayor and my rep. He could have won the general election hands down without even needing to bring up healthcare. He could have just shown clips of him grilling the banks, AIG, and auto makers and gone in on that.

Instead we got a candidate who, once she realized she was not an automatic shoo-in for the job, scrambled around and came up with a campaign playbook from 2006.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:46 AM on January 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Because Brown is a million times dumber. It's not like choosing between Cristal and Dom; it's choosing between cloudy tap water and a big fucking glass of Limbaugh nut sweat with a big raggedy-ass pube floating in it.

I don't know either one, but Choakely seems pretty fucking stupid. It's a pretty low bar, and I'm not sure how many people can pass under it. And I read liberal blogs pretty closely. Frankly, I spend too much time on them. TPM, Digby, Yglesias, etc.

What exactly was so bad about Brown, beyond being a republican? Now I certainly agree that being a republican is bad. Republicans support bad policies. I agree with that. But if you don't have a problem with republican policies in general, what exactly was the problem with brown?

Here are the things I saw liberal blogs make an issue out of about brown:
1) He posed nude
2) He defended Bristol Pailn by pointing out that Obama's mother was about the same age as her when she got pregnant (this was never an attack on Obama, like some liberal bloggers tried to make it out to be)
3) He drives a truck, lol.
HCR is a big deal for the nation. But for MA it's a blip the bill wouldn't change much of anything.

Frankly I think this could be a good thing for the democrats. They needed a slap across the face, and they got it. Now they can either realize they need to fight back, or collapse into a puddle of tears and run screaming and cowering in the corner.

Frankly we all know they'll probably run screaming like little babies. But at least they'll be aware of the problem. I honestly think if they continued on the same trajectory they'd lose their majority in 2010. They need to fix things.

Pass the senate HCR and then pass some budget/jobs stuff via reconciliation, and fight about wall street. That's what they need to do.
But if Brown's that dumb then he'll lose the seat in his next election. Getting rid of a democratic lackey is different. A lot of liberals in Mass didn't want to face the prospect of new Democratic-U.S. Senator-For-Life Coakley.
Very good point. I would not have voted for Choakley if I lived in MA. Optimus, are you familiar with the Amirault case and Choakley's role in it? What's your response to that? Seems a hell of a lot worse then posing naked in '81. Frankly it's a dealbreaker for me, and it should be for you too.
The dude said HIMSELF that a) whatever he did was going to take a long time because we were in the shitter, and b) that he was not going to be able to do it alone, WE ALL HAD TO HELP, because THAT'S THE WAY THINGS LIKE THIS WORK.
This is kind of an annoying argument. The idea that somehow "We" needed to do something. Like vote for Choakley? None of us have senate seats. We can't actually do anything! And furthermore, Obama didn't actually ask for anything from his supporters. He completely failed to utilize the grass roots, working instead with Washington insiders like Dashel and striking secret deals with lobbyists to pass the bill. It was actually kind of obscene.

I mean, what, exactly should we have done differently? What did we not do?

A lot of people are angry now. I get that. I'm angry too, mainly about the obsessive defeatism on display by the national dems. They can pass HCR in the house and sign it into law tomorrow if they wanted to. They don't want too. It's very important to understand. If healthcare doesn't pass now, it's because the Democratic Party doesn’t want to pass it. Because they're too afraid. There is no legislative or legal reason why they can't pass it tomorrow. Zero.

Please, please understand. If HCR doesn't pass it's because they aren't willing to pass it, not because they can't

They are looking for an excuse for inaction. Don't let them make this into one.
posted by delmoi at 5:47 AM on January 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Sen. Sherrod Brown is so pissed right now.
posted by nowoutside at 5:55 AM on January 20, 2010


After coffee and breakfast I will sit down to read all 300+ replies.

After having just gone through all 300+, I can tell you that you're not missing much.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:57 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a classic case of something completely out of my control making me feel... like I have less control.

Like the Reid back room dealings to force a National health care bill through? Look, I think a lot people don't like the idea of paying higher taxes in some cases to pay for the rest of the country, but is that the best you can do without sitting down, and working on a bill that 75-80 Senators can agree on, without carve outs and pass offs to other states?

This isn't about health care.

Yes it is. That bill sucks. 1.5 Trillion deficit spending sucks. The vote for change is to bring spending under control that was far and away without control under Bush.

It is about taxes, government spending, the debt we leave our children.
why should these assholes at big banks get huge bonuses for losing money?

The TARP money keeps getting sent out even those in charge say that the taxpayers won't ever see it returned. Then to get the money back by proposing a new tax? Don't send it out to begin with under the guise of we're saving the economy.

I think it's time we realize that we simply will not have the quality or quantity of life that our parents and grandparents had.

If we keep running 1.5 Trillion defecits we are well on our way.

I'm not sure people realize this Senate seat was held for 57 years by one family, and seeing where it got us, maybe it is time for some different ways of thinking? Even if it is for a couple years until a worthy Democrate steps up, which I think Coakley was NOT. The changes the state legislature made to cercumvent the rules, after Kennedy died in order to appoint Kirk was a slap in the face of voters, and this was a BIG slap back.
posted by brent at 6:06 AM on January 20, 2010


After having just gone through all 300+, I can tell you that you're not missing much.

Now you tell me.
posted by Splunge at 6:08 AM on January 20, 2010


I'm very, very glad.
posted by jock@law at 6:17 AM on January 20, 2010


It's time to fight. Fighty fight fight. I'm going to find out where the next local teabagger rally is and show up to fight.
posted by angrycat at 6:19 AM on January 20, 2010


With all due respect, screaming for spending cuts and pointing at the deficit is the exactly ass-backwards approach with our economy in a hole. Shutting down spending would have the exact opposite effect the pseudo-deficit hawks think it will.

Strong economic recovery is the only effective way to lower the debt. Simply slamming the door on spending won't do it; in fact, it would be the equivalent of screeching brakes on the economy - digging the hole deeper.

You can scream that the sky is falling, but it might help to learn some history. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is high, no doubt. But it's not as bad as it has been in the past. Sure, our debt has grown - but so has our economy. In other words, the size of the debt is only important in relation to the size of the economy.

Do we need to reorganize our government spending habits? Absolutely. But we need to get out of the hole FIRST.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:21 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


So, anything I can do besides lying face down on the sofa feeling kinda sick?
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 AM on January 20, 2010


After having just gone through all 300+, I can tell you that you're not missing much.

Bullshit. There's great stuff in the links. For folks who don't want to read the whole thread, just click on the links and your time will have been well-spent.

/generally good MeFi advice
posted by mediareport at 6:28 AM on January 20, 2010


So, anything I can do besides lying face down on the sofa feeling kinda sick?

Thinking about the fact that Haiti just suffered another earthquake is helping to tamper my self-pity quite a bit. So, there's that.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:28 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


You've got to admit, it wasn't really much of a reform anyway.
I hope you have better luck with your next charismatic upstart, in 2020.
posted by Flashman at 6:29 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, anything I can do besides lying face down on the sofa feeling kinda sick?

You could call Sen. Jim Webb's office to tell him that you don't appreciate him carrying Republican water by asserting the Mass. vote was a referendum on health care reform (it's clearly not), and will never vote for him in any national political campaign unless he stops.
posted by mediareport at 6:36 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thinking about the fact that Haiti just suffered another earthquake is helping to tamper my self-pity quite a bit.

That's uh , not helping.

Guess it's time to fire up the Angry Yet Firm Phone and the Angry Yet Firm Letter. Again.
posted by The Whelk at 6:37 AM on January 20, 2010


On drudge right now:

NOW... WILL HE RUN FOR PRESIDENT?
posted by 445supermag at 6:40 AM on January 20, 2010


The most irritating part of all this for me is how much has been derailed by the threat of a filibuster.

MAKE. THEM. FUCKING. ACTUALLY. DO. IT.

Make them go up there and read from the Bible or the phone book or the sports page. There's no way in hell some remarkable stupid shit won't be said in the process. Refute said shit with a press release every day. Get really cagey and schedule a few defense appropriations votes right after so they get delayed.

Then keep it up till they all drop.
posted by Cyrano at 10:36 PM on January 19 [57 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


Wish I could favorite this more. I favorited it very hard.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:41 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


NOW... WILL HE RUN FOR PRESIDENT?

To say nothing of the Nobel prize!
posted by jquinby at 6:42 AM on January 20, 2010


For the Democratic Party, this is a penalty kick to the nads. A blow so obviously painful that you can't help feeling a little sorry for them.
For the rest of us, whatever. A slightly different set of corporations will be enriched. Our civil liberties will be eroded at a slightly slower or faster rate.


It must be nice to be Joe Beese. You get to participate in all these fun political discussions but you never actually have to believe anything, or really commit yourself to anything, because you're committed in advance to the notion that nobody who ever tries to actually do anything can ever succeed so why bother. Life is good! Not for the actual poor, or the actual unemployed, or the actual unemployed, etc, but for the readers of Firedoglake and a few diarists on DailyKos? Totally blissful.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:44 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


With all due respect, screaming for spending cuts and pointing at the deficit is the exactly ass-backwards approach with our economy in a hole. Shutting down spending would have the exact opposite effect the pseudo-deficit hawks think it will.

There is no evidence that the increased spending is accomplishing anything. Japan spent like crazy and it didn't accomplish anything other than to raise their debt to 200% of GDP with nothing to show for it.

The TARP money is not well spent -- all it is doing is prolonging the pain.
posted by rr at 6:44 AM on January 20, 2010


(or the actual uninsured, I meant to say, rather than to repeat myself)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:45 AM on January 20, 2010


brent: "I'm not sure people realize this Senate seat was held for 57 years by one family, and seeing where it got us, maybe it is time for some different ways of thinking?"

Brown may have won the election when he corrected debate moderator David Gergen by pointing out that it's not "Ted Kennedy's seat" - it's the seat of the people of Massachusetts.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:47 AM on January 20, 2010


game warden to the events rhino: "It must be nice to be Joe Beese."

The rebuttal of my assertion is coming right after this, I assume?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:49 AM on January 20, 2010


A bookmark to this thread will be useful the next time someone insists that Metafilter's community is politically neutral.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:50 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Alex Balk's take.
posted by billysumday at 6:51 AM on January 20, 2010


It must be nice to be Joe Beese. You get to participate in all these fun political discussions but you never actually have to believe anything

That seems unecessarily personal. People don't have to be in dire straits in order to grouse about the status quo.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:54 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no evidence that the increased spending is accomplishing anything. Japan spent like crazy and it didn't accomplish anything other than to raise their debt to 200% of GDP with nothing to show for it.

Tell that to the people receiving unemployment. Or Medicare recipients. Or ... ( If you think the spending is bad or ineffective, try and picture what things would be like without the spending - a solvent government and a country full of sick, insolvent, non-tax-paying citizens is not a workable solution. BTW, if our debt-to-GDP was anywhere close to 200%, I'd agree with you.)

The TARP money is not well spent -- all it is doing is prolonging the pain.

I actually agree with you here, almost. The program was not well thought out, and the recipients are ungrateful, thieving bastards who are still in a "business-as-usual" mindset - but again, what was the alternative? Let those selfish fucks take the economy over a cliff?

Why do these arguments from the right always start "We need to cut spending on social programs", and not " We need to repeal Bush's ignorant and VERY expensive tax cuts" or "Let's revisit our defense budget"?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:01 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Single-Payer By Attrition (via ;)
I'VE posted before on the perverse results that would be generated by a Supreme Court ruling that a mandate to buy health insurance would be unconstitutional. Yesterday Ezra Klein made the same point. Basically, a lot of Democrats would love to establish a single-payer system for universal health insurance, like Canada's, or a single-payer system for basic insurance with private supplementary insurance, like France's. They've shied away from attempting such a reform because it's agreed that America's private insurance industry is too powerful, and American political culture makes it easy to demagogue any national centralised system (though this rests on a mighty rock of cognitive dissonance—Americans like their Medicare and Social Security just fine).

Hence, Democrats have spent the past two years working out a private-sector universal health-insurance reform plan that's similar to those of Switzerland and the Netherlands: private health insurance with community rating and a buyer mandate. But that kind of system is impossible without a mandate; it would get ripped apart in a vortex of adverse selection. A Supreme Court ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional would mean that the only kind of universal health insurance America can have is the British, Canadian or French kind, where the government runs the whole show (for basic insurance, anyway). It seems perverse that America's constitution would mandate a more socialist approach to universal health care than the Netherlands has. It's also, as Mr Klein says, a disaster for free-market conservatives, in the long run.

But it's also worth thinking about exactly how this would play out. The clearest way to explain it is that right now, what we have already is a system that's getting ripped apart in a vortex of adverse selection. Health spending is rising at 8% per year. PriceWaterhouseCooper says medical costs will grow 9% in 2010; health insurance premiums generally rise even faster than costs. Premiums now amount to 18% of the average household's income, up from 11% in 1999. As insurance costs rise far faster than wages, unsurprisingly, the number of uninsured keeps rising too, to 46.3m in 2008. And those who aren't uninsured are increasingly insured by the government. Medicaid added 3m people to its rolls in 2008. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) picked up another 1.5m. As this process continues, federal spending on health insurance keeps climbing; it grew 10.4% in 2008. Sick people, poor people, and older people are increasingly unable to afford insurance, and many are winding up on the government's dime. As premiums rise, people at higher and higher income strata find they cannot afford them, drop out of private insurance, and end up being covered by the government or not covered at all.

This is single-payer by attrition. The health reform measure in Congress now proposes to use tax subsidies to get America's working poor into private insurance plans. If it is ruled unconstitutional, the country will face a choice: allow the numbers of uninsured to continue shooting up, or enroll more and more people directly in taxpayer-funded government insurance plans. It's not impossible that America will choose the former, and become an increasingly bimodal two-class society where the working class simply doesn't get adequate health care. But it seems more likely that, after whatever number of years elapses between health-care reform efforts, universal health insurance will be back on the agenda of some future Democratic president. And this time, it will be single-payer, because nothing else will be constitutional.
viz. national health expenditures

oh and echoing delmoi...
There's nothing about Scott Brown's victory that needs to derail health-care reform in particular, or the rest of Obama's 2010 agenda in general. But if Democrats decide to cower and hide, they can end Obama's presidency on Brown's behalf.

That said, I really wonder what the Democratic Caucus thinks will happen if they let health-care reform slip away and walk into 2010 having wasted a year of the country's time amidst a terrible recession. It won't be pretty, I imagine. If health-care reform passes, the two sides can argue over whether it was a success. If it fails, there's no argument.
cf. What Ted Kennedy would tell the Democrats - "a Democratic Party that would abandon their central initiative this quickly isn't a Democratic Party that deserves to hold power"

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 7:11 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


You've got to admit, it wasn't really much of a reform anyway.

And you're going to have to accept that the American political system (except where commander-in-chief powers are concerned) is not structured in such a way as to allow major reforms without the legislative sausage-making and political compromise so detested by tools.

Notice, many here are now acting as if it's a given the reform is dead. Well, congratulations! If even modest reform with the potential to benefit the power structure can't get through the process successfully, how in the hell do you expect to get more sweeping and politically risky reforms through? What's your game plan? You gonna genetically engineer a new race of super-pols that can't lie and don't look out for their own political interests first and primarily? Or are you going to institute some pogroms to change the character of the electorate?

It's more reform than Clinton tried. More reform than FDR tried. Truman pushed for more and failed. Nixon couldn't even push through a modest reform to require employers to provide health insurance, and this is the guy who at one point in his term, unilaterally declared a three-month wage and price freeze across the entire American private sector! Even his paltry reform measures were too much to get through the process.

And didn't you notice? There are others in this very thread (self-identified liberals) who admit being fearful of the reform because it's too major.

Ideological zeal doesn't make the world a better place. It just makes people into terrorists and assholes who suspect and plot and scheme against their own goddamn neighbors.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:15 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Very good point. I would not have voted for Choakley if I lived in MA. Optimus, are you familiar with the Amirault case and Choakley's role in it? What's your response to that? Seems a hell of a lot worse then posing naked in '81. Frankly it's a dealbreaker for me, and it should be for you too
I hadn't known about the case at first, but I first was introduced to Coakley's fervor for prosecution when I lived in Boston during the Mooninite scare. I see a common theme: a refusal to admit that the government messed up after a hysterical reaction, and the application of justice according to political winds. In a prosecutor-slash-politician I find it appalling.

After 8 years of the government claiming more and more power over its citizens, that attitude is not what we need in the US Senate.
posted by cotterpin at 7:17 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Coakley seemed hellbent on disdaining every standard act that every politician must do to win an election because, she said, it was a special election and there was "no time" to do such things -- and then she heaped scorn on Brown for doing exactly those things (like shaking hands outside Fenway Park in the cold). That told me that it would be a miracle if she won.

Her weird concession speech last night, in which she thanked her campaign staff and then lobbed a sneering offhanded "my dysfunctional campaign family" comment in as if to counteract the sentimentality of the thanks, sealed my perception that she really, really hates politicking (if it meant she actually had to do any kind of real work to get the seat that she thought was an entitlement).

Some may characterize Scott Brown as being no better than a glass of Rush Limbaugh's sweat, but he ran a smart campaign and, even after Sunday's last-minute desperate appeal from Obama himself, handily won a seat that had been safely in Democratic hands since 1952. That's more than you can say about Martha Chokeley.
posted by blucevalo at 7:24 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Arianna Huffington: Massachusetts Loss Could Be A Blessing In Disguise.
posted by ericb at 7:39 AM on January 20, 2010


A true third party that took the best principles from the Dems and the Republicans?

That is the Democratic party, which supported a center-right health care reform package centered around private insurance companies, relatively low taxes, and a "moderate" approach to war that involved limited the field of engagement to the already-existing battlefields rather than bombing Iran.

The reason most third party attempts occur on the fringes is because the parties, being fairly heavy and slow-moving, are reluctant to respond quickly to change being pushed from the edges (eg, the Democrats were never going to advocate a single-payer or single-provider health care reform plan and the Republicans are never going to adopt a flat national sales tax, nuke Mecca, and start funding "creationist studies" research). Since about the 80s, the "center of gravity" has tilted towards the right, and both parties lean in that direction.

As for Coakley, her worst moment was when she was taken to task for not campaigning enough, and she responded, "As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?" Look, I have had to stand out in the cold and the rain campaigning for candidates I was volunteering for. It was my job. The candidate needs to be willing to do the same, personally asking voters for their votes, things that we, the rank and file, do for free. Unbelievable.
posted by deanc at 7:41 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Howard Dean: The Message Of Mass. Election Is 'We Gotta Be Tougher'.
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


"After 8 years of the government claiming more and more power over its citizens, that attitude is not what we need in the US Senate."

If you think it's bad now, just wait until the Supreme Court overturns even the pathetically minimal campaign-finance restrictions of McCain/Feingold. The corporate coffers will be unleashed like shit from a goose to finance the corporate-lackey candidate of choice. Won't matter whether the candidate has a D or an R behind his/her name as long as he/she votes as the masters demand.
posted by webhund at 7:45 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude sets off my gaydar big time. Another wide-stance republican?
posted by yesster at 7:46 AM on January 20, 2010


Arianna Huffington: Massachusetts Loss Could Be A Blessing In Disguise.

Jeff Jacoby | Boston Globe: Blessing in disguise.
posted by ericb at 7:48 AM on January 20, 2010


.
posted by fairywench at 7:51 AM on January 20, 2010


The democrats are inept cowards. Hey morans, you still have 50-some seats (I don't count Lieberman, Nelson, etc) in the Senate! You can get shit done, but you need to be a little more leg-breakerish to do it. Which you should have been from day one. Huge majorities in both houses and you get nothing done except the stimulus package?!?!? This is the price.

But again, the dems still have sizable majorities and can still get things done if they stop apologizing for trying to SAVE PEOPLE FROM DEATH AND/OR BANKRUPTCY. ATTACK YOU IDIOTS!
posted by Mister_A at 7:52 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Notice, many here are now acting as if it's a given the reform is dead. Well, congratulations! If even modest reform with the potential to benefit the power structure can't get through the process successfully, how in the hell do you expect to get more sweeping and politically risky reforms through?

We're not killing reform by acting as if it's dead on a thread on Metafilter. We're acting as if it's dead because people like Barney Frank are saying it's dead in pretty much no uncertain terms.

It's more reform than Clinton tried.

Bullshit. Any provisions of this reform measure that would have made this true were amended away months ago.
posted by enn at 7:53 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love how that Boston Globe piece characterizes the healthcare reform bill as "radical." Anything to the left of Barry Goldwater is radical now?

And Obama needs to move to the center? He would have to move LEFT to move closer to the center. The fucking press has bought the Republican narrative hook, line, and sinker.
posted by Mister_A at 8:01 AM on January 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Jesus Christ, I cannot take any of you people seriously when you call her "Chokeley."

Seriously? Is this the NY Post sports page? You are grownups.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:13 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, I cannot take any of you people seriously when you call her "Chokeley."

I dunno. I chuckled at that one.

You are grownups.

I'm shocked, shocked to find juvenile humor going on in here!
posted by deanc at 8:19 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't speak for the rest of my fellow Massachusetts voters, but Alex Balk's pretty well captures the weary disgust I feel for both parties at this point.
posted by usonian at 8:20 AM on January 20, 2010


Can someone explain to me why a supermajority of 60 votes is now required in the Senate to do anything?

I always understood it was to break a filibuster, but usually that means some Republican has to speak for 19 hours or whatever, then the debate ends and they vote. Even after reading the WP it doesn't make sense to me to not let them have to speak for 24 hours a day, for a few days at least, to make them look bad (would that work? could it backfire?).

Also, Coakley and her campaign staff should all be demoted to unpaid volunteer. Based on their effort you'd think that was already their title.
posted by SirOmega at 8:32 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


nutate: well yeah... duh! I don't have anything non-asshole to say about this. It makes me angry and scared...What am I to make of this besides unfunny mean jokes?

It's a classic case of something completely out of my control making me feel... like I have less control.


Dude, I understand. I'm a big fan myself of finding comfort in bleak times with bleaker humor, and I have some of that same WTC dust in my lungs, too. But when Uwe Fucking Boll makes funnier 9/11 jokes than yours, that might be a sign to change your material.
posted by bakerina at 8:34 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


After 8 years of the government claiming more and more power over its citizens, that attitude is not what we need in the US Senate.

Bullshit. Any provisions of this reform measure that would have made this true were amended away months ago.

No, it's not. Have you ever actually looked at the Clinton health care reform proposal? Do you have any actual historical facts to support your twitching impulse to blindly reject whatever realities you don't like in the world?

The Clinton proposal was to establish a universal mandate and allow private insurers to voluntarily create regional insurance cooperatives to pool risk. That's basically all they proposed during the Clinton health care push. And that was without any legislative compromises. They handed their proposal down from the mountains and didn't allow the legislature to get involved beyond either voting it up or down (and how well did that work out?). Much less sweeping than establishing insurance exchanges, banning existing condition exclusions and rescission. Seriously: Read some about the history of health care reform in America. Here's a good place to start.

The current reform package is massive in scope compared to anything that's been tried and had even the slightest chance of passing before. You're free to argue that the reform is fatally flawed due to legislative compromises necessary to, you know, actually move it through the legally mandated process for passing legislation, but to call it insignificant or "not much" betrays a profound ignorance of the history of health care reform politics in America. The current reform might be flawed, but if so, it's definitely not because it's too modest in its ambitions.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:34 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Clinton proposal was to establish a universal mandate and allow private insurers to voluntarily create regional insurance cooperatives to pool risk. That's basically all they proposed during the Clinton health care push.

Err, yeah, that and the minor step of capping premiums, which is far more radical than anything that was proposed in 2009.

but to call it insignificant or "not much" betrays a profound ignorance of the history of health care reform politics in America

Well, then it's a good thing I didn't and you just pulled that out of your ass.
posted by enn at 8:39 AM on January 20, 2010


I'd multifave robocop is bleeding's comment above if I could--it confirms what I've suspected about Coakley as well as giving some new information, and some hope for the future. Whether or not Brown manages to stymie HCR, I don't know that he'd have anything else to do for the next two years besides voting the party line, and hopefully Capuano will still want to run then.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:39 AM on January 20, 2010


Anything to the left of Barry Goldwater is radical now?

Heck, even Mr. Conservative himself wasn't conservative enough for the Republican Party:

''We're the new liberals of the Republican Party,'' Goldwater told Dole, who was then facing criticisms from hard-line conservatives in the presidential campaign.
posted by octothorpe at 8:42 AM on January 20, 2010


On the filibuster thing, I think it goes like this.

If the Dems actually call the Repubs' bluff, the Repubs know they can win by simply talking the thing out. And believe me, they will, since they actually have some party discipline and this is handing them a victory on a plate.

They will then accuse the Dems of wasting time, since they knew they were going to lose, and the Dems will chalk up another loss to the Repubs.

I know it's a nice idea to make them talk it out, but the realpolitik of it is horrible.
posted by unSane at 8:42 AM on January 20, 2010


The TARP money keeps getting sent out even those in charge say that the taxpayers won't ever see it returned. Then to get the money back by proposing a new tax? Don't send it out to begin with under the guise of we're saving the economy.
You know, if you're going to be mad about something, you should really find out what's actually happening. TARP money went out once. And since then it's been coming back in. The U.S. government allocated $700 billion for TARP and since then most of the money has come back. Only $120 billion or so remains. And, of course it's impossible to "Don't send it out" at this point. What do you want. Tarp passed under Bush, not Obama.
I think it's time we realize that we simply will not have the quality or quantity of life that our parents and grandparents had.

If we keep running 1.5 Trillion defecits we are well on our way.
Of course not, it will be way better. Just like how our parents were better off then our grandparents.
MAKE. THEM. FUCKING. ACTUALLY. DO. IT.

Make them go up there and read from the Bible or the phone book or the sports page. There's no way in hell some remarkable stupid shit won't be said in the process. Refute said shit with a press release every day. Get really cagey and schedule a few defense appropriations votes right after so they get delayed.

Then keep it up till they all drop.
posted by Cyrano at 10:36 PM on January 19 [57 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]
Wish I could favorite this more. I favorited it very hard.
Why? You can't "make" someone filibuster outloud. All they have to do is have one single republican in the room and they don't even need to say anything. Just sit there and whenever anyone calls for a vote, request a cloture vote at which point you need 60 votes. Again, you only need one republican in the room at a time to do it, and they can trade off.
There is no evidence that the increased spending is accomplishing anything. Japan spent like crazy and it didn't accomplish anything other than to raise their debt to 200% of GDP with nothing to show for it.
You mean besides having higher GDP growth? They have a 200% deficit and... their economy isn't any worse then before. They can still borrow money at low rates.
posted by delmoi at 8:43 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Moderate Republican defeats moderate Republican.
posted by Zambrano at 8:44 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


(oops the "Wish I could favorite this more." was a quote, should have been italicized)
posted by delmoi at 8:45 AM on January 20, 2010


So no, things aren't perfect. But this whole bit about how it's "inevitable" that our lives are crappier? Not by a long shot. And if you'll forgive me, the types of people who say that tend to be ones who weren't historically discriminated against in the past. People who look back at the good old days aren't looking at them closely enough.

As a gay dude growing up in Whitetrashville, Georgia, I'm aware and appreciative of social progress. But the point is that our lives will be crappier in economic terms. We've just had a century in which one generation bestowed its gifts upon the next, which generation in turn is determined to suck it all dry before they go. The third party we don't see showing up is the third party nobody would listen to, because if they make any sense they will tell us that the game is over, that our level of comfort and expectation cannot possibly be sustained; our desperate efforts to avoid this lesson, in part with the spectacle of politics as team sport, is creating a national mental illness.

My thing is that politics in this moment is all about making the charade last just long enough for the last baby boomer to be able to turn the lights out on the way out the door.
posted by troybob at 8:54 AM on January 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Zambrano: "Moderate Republican defeats moderate Republican."

"Not a dime's worth of difference" again?

When Brown restricts access to abortion (1), he does so enthusiastically. When Coakley restricts access to abortion (2), she does so reluctantly.

(1) co-sponsored Women's Right To Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus

(2) after flip-flopping, said she'd vote for a bill including restrictions on abortion funding

posted by Joe Beese at 9:00 AM on January 20, 2010


I'll admit that I enjoy the Village Voice headline, though:

Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate
posted by troybob at 9:03 AM on January 20, 2010 [17 favorites]


Anyway, the way to get this shit done now is to go down the aisle and tell Republican Senators that you will choke the fucking life out of their benighted shit-hole states if they don't get with the fucking program. That's how you deal with this obstructionist absolutism.If they refuse to negotiate, you close their fucking military bases, cancel their highway funding, and destroy the infrastructure of their districts. THAT IS HOW THE FUCK YOU DO THIS SHIT WHEN YOU HAVE A HUGE MAJORITY AND THE OTHER SIDE WANTS TO BLOCK EVERY FUCKING THING YOU DO.
posted by Mister_A at 9:10 AM on January 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Also, you hold press conferences where you make it clear that the Republican party is committed to bankrupting the American people for the benefit of insurance companies, and that this means your grandma is going to die. THAT IS WHAT THE FUCK YOU HAVE TO DO NOW.

But the democrats are enormous pussies and won't ever do that.
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


The third party we don't see showing up is the third party nobody would listen to, because if they make any sense they will tell us that the game is over, that our level of comfort and expectation cannot possibly be sustained; our desperate efforts to avoid this lesson, in part with the spectacle of politics as team sport, is creating a national mental illness.

Yeah, what's required is the TFT (The Fucking Truth) PARTY, with a long term mandate to just show up when required and NOT LIE ABOUT ANYTHING, just calmly lay it all out with a straight face. At first, there would be no tangible results in the polling booth but slowly, over time, a groundswell might just begin.
posted by philip-random at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2010


THAT IS HOW THE FUCK YOU DO THIS SHIT

Well, exactly. I thought that was the whole point of Rahm Emmanuel and his ilk. Obama gives off this whiff of being above the fray and, quite honestly, not giving a shit whether health care happens or not. He needs to roll up his hands, put them around the balls of anyone he needs to vote, and squeeze. Stow this Brahmin shit already.
posted by unSane at 9:15 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see the sky is falling, again...
too funny
posted by a3matrix at 9:15 AM on January 20, 2010


Wow. Brown supports waterboarding? Wow wow wow.
posted by angrycat at 9:16 AM on January 20, 2010


Well, among his many non-virtues, Ron Paul at least has the virtue of telling the truth about America's inability to sustain its current levels of spending.
posted by unSane at 9:16 AM on January 20, 2010


Anyway, the way to get this shit done now is to go down the aisle and tell Republican Senators that you will choke the fucking life out of their benighted shit-hole states if they don't get with the fucking program. That's how you deal with this obstructionist absolutism.

I wonder if this is when we finally get to see Rahm Emanuel and his like let off their leashes.

Interesting days.
posted by philip-random at 9:19 AM on January 20, 2010


I wish I could take credit for this.... friends of mine on Facebook are putting it as their status:

"Chopping wood somewhere in Montana, Bill Buckner looks up and gasps as the weight of being the biggest disappointment in the history of Massachusetts suddenly lifts away...."
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know how you can tell when someone has run out of argument because they're mentioning Nazis? Same thing with all-caps, sarcastic ventriloquism, and the word "unicorn".

Better than droll "fuck it" little mouse turds of comments that don't contribute anything but make you feel like you're being all smug.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


http://twitter.com/fakerahmemanuel last night:

Fucking DNC. Watching how we operate with the majority is like watching a bunch of monkeys trying to fuck a football.

That's about it, really.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:33 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Capuano's lack of campaigning for Coakley was noted by me. He will never get another vote from me, ever.

Coakley's lack of campaigning for Coakley was noted by me. She will never get another vote from me, ever.
posted by zeikka at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


So many people in this thread seem to think that the Democrats have an interest in "winning". For the most part, they serve the same corporate masters as those across the aisle. As a party, they're interested in appearing to serve the people, not in actually doing so.
posted by cell divide at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


philip-random: "I wonder if this is when we finally get to see Rahm Emanuel and his like let off their leashes."

You mean like this?

Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, a leader of the antiwar Democrats, said the White House is threatening to withdraw support from freshmen who oppose the [2009 war supplemental] bill, saying “you’ll never hear from us again.”

posted by Joe Beese at 9:35 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least one or two monkeys would achieve spooge on the football.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact the Dems aren't killing the filibuster is sending me a strong message: they prioritize future obstruction over fixing the American people's healthcare system.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:47 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Exit Survey Of Massachusetts Voters Confirms Lack Of Enthusiasm Among Progressives Hurt Coakley
"An exit survey of Massachusetts voters confirms that 'decreased turnout among constituencies that historically have voted for progressive candidates,' combined with a strong Republican performance among independents, delivered Scott Brown the margins he needed to win."
posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


" A poll of Massachusetts Obama voters found that they didn’t think the health care bill goes 'far enough,' they support the public option, and they want Democrats to be bolder in their policy stances."*
posted by ericb at 9:49 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Proper link for "Exit Survey Of Massachusetts Voters Confirms Lack Of Enthusiasm Among Progressives Hurt Coakley."
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on January 20, 2010


do you remember the closeted gay Nazi dad from American Beauty? That is literally all Republican males.

This is literally the dumbest thing ever posted on the internet.

LITERALLY!
posted by the bricabrac man at 9:54 AM on January 20, 2010


Oh, I don't know. Did the closeted gay Nazi dad have a daughter who competed on American Idol? Did he pose nude in a women's mag in the 80s?

If not, Scott Brown is still safe at the top of the "dipshit" category.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:57 AM on January 20, 2010


Democrats always seem to get really angry and energized about 36 hours after it would have been useful.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:00 AM on January 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


"This actually worked though, she picked up support late."

As someone who was on the ground and busting my ass, she didn't "pick up" support so much as that the state Dem GOTV efforts did their job, often dragging the Coakley people behind us, if you want to know.

This is going to get a bit lengthy, I'm afraid, but I really need to express the level of ineptitude I encountered if for no other reason than for my own sanity.

Last week, I called the campaign to find out what a friend of mine who is out of state at the moment could do call-wise. This was before Organizing for America had linked up their database. No response. He called them and sent an email. No response. I got my friend set up via OFA finally, but neither of us ever heard back about the original request.

I'm a registered Democrat who votes in every single election. Before last Tuesday, I never received a single phone call from the campaign regarding my support for Coakley, ability to volunteer, etc. Since last Monday, however, I was contacted four times and asked the exact same questions. Two were from Coakley HQ, two were from the offices of other

I took the only half day of vacation I have until May so that I could help the GOTV efforts. I called the campaign HQ 40-50 times on Monday to try and offer my assistance on Election Day, and I couldn't even get a line into the building. Nothing but busy signals for HOURS. I contacted the field manager for my area by email. Never responded. I contacted an alternative suggestion in Boston, never responded. Yesterday morning I received a general email blast from the campaign saying they had a desperate need for GOTV drivers, which was puzzling since this was the precise task I'd stated a preference for. So I called the newly instated "Ride Line", they took my info down, and that was that.

A few hours later I got the first request. They wanted me to drive over 80 miles to deliver one voter to a polling place a half mile from her residence. I didn't refuse, but I mentioned this was far beyond the 30 miles I had requested to be sent and I asked that they confirm there was no one closer. Meanwhile I start hustling some of my Dem contacts in the area and find out there's a whole district Dem office of people less than 10 miles from my voter who are sitting and awaiting requests from the HQ. I tell HQ this and then arrange to have their voter picked up. They then ask me to go pick up a voter in another town right next to the one I just told them was far away from me and could be handled by the regional office.

Finally, they call me for the first ride in Worcester. I'm on the line facilitating the previous request, and so they leave me a message. I call back, they tell me it's taken care of, and while this is happening I get a call from another person at Coakley HQ asking me about the same ride. To clarify: They took a ride from me after I said I could do it, and then they gave it back to me.

Look, we Dems know how to get out the vote in MA. We have a huge infrastructure advantage in that there's tons of Dem politicians in the state with staff, phones, etc. We elected a long-shot governor in 2006 based primarily on our GOTV acumen. In this case, a lot of work never got done, a lot of work was duplicated, green troops were overwhelmed while veterans were sitting around awaiting assignments. Many of her field operatives didn't even know how to get in touch with most of the regional volunteers. This was, without a doubt, the most disorganized and unprepared campaign I have ever been a part of, and it's very representative of the entire approach Coakley took.
posted by rollbiz at 10:01 AM on January 20, 2010 [28 favorites]


Oh, and did you know that Coakley was married to Bill Buckner?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:03 AM on January 20, 2010


do you remember the closeted gay Nazi dad from American Beauty? That is literally all Republican males.

Hey now. I'm only closeted on Metafilter.
posted by jock@law at 10:13 AM on January 20, 2010


rollbiz: "This was, without a doubt, the most disorganized and unprepared campaign I have ever been a part of, and it's very representative of the entire approach Coakley took."

Begging the question of why Obama's people, with arguably the entire remainder of his term at stake, let the situation get that bad.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:14 AM on January 20, 2010


Err, yeah, that and the minor step of capping premiums, which is far more radical than anything that was proposed in 2009.

but to call it insignificant or "not much" betrays a profound ignorance of the history of health care reform politics in America

Well, then it's a good thing I didn't and you just pulled that out of your ass.


So that one single provision in your mind is far more radical than anything in the new reform proposals? Subsidizing insurance premiums for incomes up to 400 times the poverty rate (as opposed to 150% under the Clinton plan) takes the ball pretty far down the field in the same direction, doesn't it? Preventing providers from imposing preexisting condition exclusions, establishing regulated insurance exchanges, and pretty much just paying for insurance outright for anybody earning around $30,000 or less isn't radical enough for you?

Focusing on that one provision as if it's the be-all, end-all of reform is stupid. It's a lot simpler to pass a minor amendment to an existing piece of legislation than it is to pass a major omnibus plan. If reform fails now, the only way you're going to get your damn cherished premium cap into effect is to go through this entire process again, in an electoral landscape where there's one more Tea Party guy in congress and the dominant media message for the next three years is going to be one about how the Tea Party movement is gaining momentum fighting against the tyranny of Big Government, and even self-identified leftists are, in many cases, helping to advance that movement's agenda?

Hopeless. Goddamn it. Hopeless.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:19 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese: "You mean like this?

Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, a leader of the antiwar Democrats, said the White House is threatening to withdraw support from freshmen who oppose the [2009 war supplemental] bill, saying “you’ll never hear from us again.”
"

To be fair, is this a threat or a promise? The news makes it sound like Obama's been on the ground helping Coakley for weeks.
posted by graventy at 10:20 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The top-rated diary at the moment over at the Great Orange Satan says:
...the big picture, the narrative, the atmosphere and perception that brought last night's nightmare - That's all due to a terrible political system, a terrible media, and especially due to a terrible Democratic Party, divided and disloyal. Andrew Sullivan wrote last week: "I hate what the Democrats did to Obama", and i couldn't agree more.
Glenn Greenwald:
And then there is the "Blame the Left" theme from Obama loyalists, who actually claim that the Democrats' problems are due to the fact that the Left hasn't been cheering loudly enough for the Leader. I recall quite vividly how Bush followers spent years claiming that the failings of the Iraq War were not the fault of George Bush -- who had control of the entire war, the entire Congress, and the power to do everything he wanted -- but, rather, it was all "the Left's" fault for excessively criticizing the President, and thus weakening both him and the war effort.

To insist that the Democratic Party's failures are not the fault of Barack Obama -- who controls the entire party infrastructure, its agenda, the news cycle, and the health care plan -- we now hear from Obama supporters a similar claim: it's all the Left's fault for excessively criticizing the Leader.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:22 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, the imaginary "supermajority" is now completely gone. The Republicans will, guaranteed, continue to vote as a solid bloc, and will, guaranteed, continue to filibuster anything to the left of Darth Vader.

At this point I think observing that we need to get rid of the filibuster is so obvious that it doesn't really need to be said.

The Democrats, given the existence of the filibuster, now have exactly two choices until Jan of 2011 when they will have the opportunity to get rid of it [1]:

1) They can agree that this is a clear sign that America is a conservative nation, and decide that the problem is that they didn't go far enough to the right. This will result in nothing of any significance being even proposed, and the Republicans will continue to vindictively filibuster pretty much any bill that comes up just to jerk the Democrats around.

2) They can decide that this means there's no point in playing nice, use every trick they can to worm their way around the filibuster, invoke the "nuclear option" that the Bushies kept talking about, send Lieberman, Nelson, and the other traitors in the party to the basement, immediately start moving military bases and otherwise working to make the Republican senators suffer, and in general fight like rabid dogs.

There really isn't a third possibility. Either they fight, or they surrender. The instant Brown is seated the Republicans have a guaranteed filibuster on absolutely anything they want and unless the Democrats choose option two and fight like hell using every dirty trick in the book that means absolutely nothing will pass the Senate until 2011 at the absolute earliest.

Unfortunately every bit of modern history leads me to the conclusion that the Democrats in the Senate, especially Harry "the coward" Reid, will chose the first option and make a mad dash for the right.

philip-random Emanuel has been off his leash since Obama first stepped into office, the catch is that Obama is apparently only interested in aiming his attack dog at progressive Democrats, as others have observed. I confidently predict that Emanuel will not, ever, be unleashed on the Republicans.

[1] Prediction: in 2011 the Democrats will not change the filibuster in any way whatsoever. Apologists will explain that some day the Democrats might need it to save America. The fact that the Democrats haven't successfully filibusted any significant and damaging Republican legislation in the past 30 years will be completely ignored.
posted by sotonohito at 10:22 AM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


> Wow. Brown supports waterboarding? Wow wow wow.

Waterboarding Wins

"As I explain in the book, enhanced interrogation is not torture. It stopped terrorist attacks."

Who can argue with logic like that? *sigh*
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:26 AM on January 20, 2010


I'm a registered Democrat who votes in every single election. Before last Tuesday, I never received a single phone call from the campaign regarding my support for Coakley, ability to volunteer, etc.

By contrast, when I grabbed a petition list back in late spring '06 to gather signatures to put Ted Kennedy on the ballot (among many other things I was dealing with that day), I received a call soon afterwards thanking me for my support and asking me to lend whatever help I could to his (unopposed) reelection campaign.

The infrastructure is there, but it was never called upon. Very, very disappointing. There were plenty of "backstops" that were supposed to be in place to prevent this sort of disaster: eg, support from the state party, DNC, DSCC, and attention from the White House. None of that happened.
posted by deanc at 10:26 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


> There really isn't a third possibility. Either they fight, or they surrender.

Were I a betting man I would not break a sweat placing my life savings on "surrender."
posted by you just lost the game at 10:28 AM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


you just lost the game Yeah, me too. Sucks, don't it?
posted by sotonohito at 10:31 AM on January 20, 2010


Were I a betting man I would not break a sweat placing my life savings on "surrender."

Happiness hedging. I like it. The only way you lose is if you win.
posted by jock@law at 10:32 AM on January 20, 2010


> The only way you lose is if you win.

And vice-versa. It's kind of like insurance that way.
posted by you just lost the game at 10:34 AM on January 20, 2010


Ironic facebook comment from a rabid right-winger classmate of mine:

'Nick T. says the spirit of Massachusetts is the spirit of America.'
posted by spamguy at 10:34 AM on January 20, 2010


So the last 12 months were as good as it's ever going to get for U.S. lefty progressives? That is de-fucking-pressing.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 10:39 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Obama either goes populist or goes home

simon sez: Why Obama should play to populism
(also see: Please, Obama, pick a fight with the banks ;)
viz. stewart on bonuses [1] & colbert w/pitchfork [2,3]
posted by kliuless at 10:40 AM on January 20, 2010


Left loses. Right wins. Stop whining like little kids!
posted by TDavis at 10:43 AM on January 20, 2010


Obama either goes populist or goes home

Well, he's trying. "We want our money back" and all.

But it's like when Hillary tried to pass herself off to Wisconsin voters as a duck hunter. The act just isn't convincing.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:47 AM on January 20, 2010


Wow. Brown supports waterboarding? Wow wow wow.

And this is the one of only 3 Massachusetts legislators who voted to deny financial assistance to Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts while at the same time "sponsor[ing] House Bill 4423, a measure to provide a tax-subsidized bond to build a golf course in Newport, a town in his district."

Meet our new Senator [video | 10:14].
posted by ericb at 11:02 AM on January 20, 2010


Were I a betting man I would not break a sweat placing my life savings on "surrender."
posted by you just lost the game


Eponysterical? Laughing with a mouth of blood eponysterical? (Ye gods, it's all so depressing.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:06 AM on January 20, 2010


So many people in this thread seem to think that the Democrats have an interest in "winning". For the most part, they serve the same corporate masters as those across the aisle. As a party, they're interested in appearing to serve the people, not in actually doing so.
posted by cell divide

Eff Tee Eff Why.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:10 AM on January 20, 2010


It doesn't matter how populist he gets. The prevailing populist sentiment is that Big Government = Bad.

Every damn time they've tried to advance populist measures--or even considered them--the media and public backlash has been completely over-the-top.

Big government wants to put caps on salaries. More big government interference.

In order for populism to lead to progressive reforms, the populace has to be progressive. But they aren't. Americans are just too mired in ahistoricality and the politics of the personal grudge for a populist progressive. Progressive ideas, quite frankly, just aren't that popular. People don't trust the government or each other enough (and of course not without reason) to believe we can solve our problems politically. And so we can't.

Again, the rest of the country is not all that gung ho about the reforms that progressives and leftists would like to see, but the left refuses to accept that reality, and even more annoyingly, they think they have something to gain by vindictively making the situation even worse.

So now we've got another pro-waterboarding, anti-public school system, anti-tax obsessive infant in congress and I have to sit listening to acquaintances who self-identify as leftist telling me this is a good thing and will make progress easier because they "sent a message" and "now it'll get so bad, there'll have to be real change." Well guess what? it's already that bad, but the system itself isn't engineered to accommodate the kind of sweeping changes you'd like to see. This was by design, because the post-revolutionaries who drafted the constitution were more concerned with maintaining the stability of their new nation than anything else. That's why we don't have any form of popular referendum at the Federal level, and also why it takes an overwhelming majority of both chambers of congress to substantially revise the constitution.

And when you go around sending political messages, it had better be a goddamned specific one, and you better be sure you aren't contributing to the fragmentation of a political power block, because if all you've got is some vague belly-aching complaint that the body politic isn't living up to your idealized vision of how it should function, then you can rest assured that regardless of what message you intended to send, it will be reinterpreted and rebroadcast endlessly in whatever form is most useful to those seeking to increase their own political power.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:22 AM on January 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


And this is the one of only 3 Massachusetts legislators who voted to deny financial assistance to Red Cross workers who had volunteered with 9/11 recovery efforts while at the same time "sponsor[ing] House Bill 4423, a measure to provide a tax-subsidized bond to build a golf course in Newport, a town in his district."

I have a feeling that if you actually tried to bring that up in Massachusetts today, the only response you'd get would be "YANKEES SUCK" and then they would shit in their pants
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:22 AM on January 20, 2010


The fundamental problem is that the Dems lost control of the message almost the exact moment Obama entered the White House and have made no substantial efforts to get it back. Obama has been helicoptering above the fray, making the occasional vague speech and allowing Reid and Pelosi to mire themselves in pointless contortions that effectively made Liebermann and Snowe the King and Queen of America.

If you look at the way universal health care was enacted in Britain, it was done brutally. They bribed and blackmailed everyone, especially the doctors, and Aneurin Bevan never had anything remotely resembling a Plan B. They knew they had five years and a majority and my God, between 1945 and 1951 they completely transformed the country... at a time when the public coffers were completely empty and they were utterly dependent on US loans to keep the country afloat.

In 1951 they were kicked out with a vengeance, but it was far too late for the Tories to dismantle the reforms, which were on the whole enormously popular. To their great credit, they were more interested in changing things than staying in power.

There has been nothing remotely resembling this level of commitment from the Dems and as many have said upthread, it's because a large number of them do not really want it. I am afraid that saulgoodman is exactly right, and America has yet again the government it deserves.
posted by unSane at 11:34 AM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey guys, did I miss anything? How did that election go last night?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on January 20, 2010


You can't "make" someone filibuster outloud. All they have to do is have one single republican in the room and they don't even need to say anything. Just sit there and whenever anyone calls for a vote, request a cloture vote at which point you need 60 votes. Again, you only need one republican in the room at a time to do it, and they can trade off.

posted by delmoi at 11:43 AM on January 20 [2 favorites +] [!]


I'm not suggesting the Democrats push a vote so the Republicans actually die of exhaustion (although that would be an interesting side effect). I realize that filibustering is very easy, and it only requires one Republican to call for a roll call every once in a while. The point is, the Democrats need to make them do it. Do you really think the Republicans have the political capital to bring congress to a halt for a day? How about a week? How about a month? And don't tell me congress has better things to do. Let the Republican party tie a noose around its neck and hang itself on national TV. I welcome it.

Exactly how long do you think the Republicans would be able to play televised games with the healthcare of millions of constituents on the line before they start to lose popular support? I'd give them a few days before centrist republicans start to voice dissent, a week before poll numbers start to turn against the filibustering senators, maybe a couple of weeks before some of the FOX News personalities reluctantly suggest it may be time to move on.

Sure, the teabaggers will probably keep cheering the Republicans on, and Glen Beck will try to beatify them (or turn them into latter-day prophets, or whatever Mormons do), but eventually the tide will turn. If the Demoats really went for it, the Republicans would eventually cave. Sadly, it seems that the Democratic party has lost its collective will to rule. There's no point in having principles if you're willing to drop them and run at the first sign of opposition.

Fake Nelson Mandela quote:
"You're risking your political capital. You're risking your future as our leader!"

"The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead."

posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


namespan:

If you really want it, we might take the time to do the work to arrive at the inevitable conclusion that the statement you uttered earlier was at best hyperbole.

This smarmy attitude expressed here is why I cringe at being associated with Democrats and once again good luck winning people over to your point of view. Nice rebuttal to the link. I'm sure you could cite something in response with out going through all the trouble of typing it out.

Actually, I'm voting my conscience. You are welcome to take the cynics angle on that if you want.

Sure. In fact, I'm going to vote my conscience for single-payer, and refuse to support anybody who won't go that way! The movement that follows will be glorious, and the cynics will stand in awe.


By all means, continue the realpolitic voting. Continue to vote for "Democrats" who are effectively place holders for Republicans, if not Republicans themselves. You will get the Republican government you deserve. I'll vote for who I think is right and just as importantly if they will fight for it. If they don't win well that's Democracy. I don't vote based on polls, if polls are a major factor in deciding who you are going to vote for why are you voting? You know who's going to win why bother showing up?

You might also be bothered to read what I wrote, which was support for the public option, not single payer.
posted by dibblda at 11:48 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: "when you go around sending political messages, it had better be a goddamned specific one"

There is no message so specific that it can not be misconstrued by someone determined to do so. See: erotomania.

44% of the people who cast a ballot for Barack Obama in 2008 in the state of Massachusetts either (a) cast a vote for Scott Brown, (b) cast a vote for Joe Kennedy, or (c) withheld their vote. The math tells us that option (c) was the most likely of the three.

This after Obama went on the tee-vee and told them "We need you" to vote for Coakley.

To me that sounds like a pretty clear message of "We won't deliver for you until you start delivering for us."

But not everyone will see it that way...
What Obama said through Gibbs was that he was "Surprised and Frustrated" about this election.

What does that say?

"Surprised" = I wasn't listening to the voters

"Frustrated" = Don't blame me
posted by Joe Beese at 11:56 AM on January 20, 2010


and a key Red Sox-related gaffe.

Seriously? There are people who'd actually vote on that basis?


Honestly, and I hate to say it, but (speaking as a member of Red Sox Nation) it would have pained me to vote for someone who called Curt Schilling a Yankees fan. I would have done it in this circumstance, but I would have needed my in-flight airsickness bag right afterwards. Talk about not understanding one's constituents. JEEZUS. Even the Dalai Lama has enough sense to know that you appeal to New Englanders via their sports teams. The Red Sox are our Jesus.

We so need a third party in this country.

Or just a second party, really. The Republicans and Democrats at this point remind me of that episode of Ren and Stimpy when Ren is split into his two equal and opposite halves: his evil side and his indifferent side. Yeah, that's right Democrats, I just compared you to an apathetic cartoon chihuahua and I was BEING NICE.

JOSH LYMAN WHERE ARE YOU?

I, TOO, WOULD LIKE ANSWERS ON THIS.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:01 PM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Honestly, and I hate to say it, but (speaking as a member of Red Sox Nation) it would have pained me to vote for someone who called Curt Schilling a Yankees fan. I would have done it in this circumstance, but I would have needed my in-flight airsickness bag right afterwards. Talk about not understanding one's constituents.

Right.

Choice 1: Elect someone pathetically disorganized and completely, utterly out of touch

Choice 2: Elect someone mildly evil but who won't matter anyway since (a) the Senate already passed a bill and (b) Dems are afraid of filibuster-busting
posted by jock@law at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2010


Someone call me when the dems grow some huevos, go nuclear, fuck decorum and precedent, and just pass health care over the screams and wails of the Grand Old Party.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I finally got to the bottom of this thread. I must say that I started very disappointed but resigned about the election outcome, and now feel much better. Here is why.

First, the sky has clearly not fallen. Coakley struck me as a weak candidate from 3000 miles away, not least because I know from living in Massachusetts for many years that it is not actually a state that tends to vote for women. (By contrast, my current state, Washington, often prefers women.) Her gaffes blow me away -- apparently not knowing who Curt Schilling played for suggests she is clueless, as does her incredulity at the idea she might have to actually shake hands and campaign in person. From the information on this thread, it sounds as though her campaign staff were likewise arrogant, lazy and disorganized. So part of this is simply that she wasn't a good candidate. I gather from more information in this thread that she might not be a good person either.

Second, I predict that Sen. Brown will not be representing Massachusetts very long. He is just too much of a rightist wing nut for the Commonwealth.

Third, I continue to be suprised, maybe because I've never been a Democrat, at all the anger at Obama. He is one of the most hard working Presidents I've ever seen, not to mention the most articulate and intelligent, and he has been moving a very aggressive agenda as fast as politically feasible.

Fourth, as others have pointed out periodically on this thread, the reason Ds are losing the support of independent voters (the deciiders in every election) right now is that people are scared, and hence angry. The economic hard times aren't over, jobs aren't bouncing back, people know that our wars are costing us, and there is general fear and anger over the amount of money spent to bail out Wall Street, which seems to have responded by continuing to foreclose and freeze credit, paying themselves large bonuses, and again trading financial instruments that have no real value. It is about the economy, stupid, and it is also about the perennial American distrust of big government and big business. Not all of what the voters feel right now makes sense, but it is more a reflection of our current times than anything really being fundamentally broken.

Fifth, as Dean pointed out in Erich's link above, when he "warned his fellow Democrats not to engage in a circular firing squad over Republican Scott Brown winning," "the message he takes away from the election is not that voters were marshaling against health reform but instead were expressing displeasure with Washington in general."

Yes, exactly. The voters are worried and angry. They will feel a lot better if the economy turns around. Obama knows this, which is why he has put a lot of energy into the stimulus, and tried to find a solution to Afghanistan that didn't entail new (expensive) troops there.

If the economy gets better by November, including an improvement in the jobs picture, Democrats won't get too badly hurt at the polls, because (swing, independent) voters will feel better and don't like the Rs anyway. If not, Ds will get hurt, but probably will keep control of both houses of Congress. All of Obama's legislative program will continue to move slowly, because it is ambitious.

I sure hope some MeFis get a chance to breathe deeply, think about which major party's agenda you like more, and keep staying involved in politics. Because another thing that happened in Massachusetts is that the voters Ds needed didn't turn out in big enough numbers. It's all about the votes, nationally and locally.
posted by bearwife at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


mek: But we do have the right to let them die? Interesting priorities, there.

Look. National debt doesn't just go away. You would probably take on any amount of debt on a personal basis to save your own child, because the debt is extinguished when you die. Even if you had no hope of ever paying it off fully, you'd still be willing to borrow it if you could, and live in penury for the rest of your life. But would you do it if debts were transferable across generations? National debts are, and you can't think about them in the same way that you do about personal debt.

If it's going to cost, say, ten million dollars to save a cute little eight-year-old, do we have the right to do it, and then tell that kid she owes us ten million dollars, and has to work to repay it for the rest of her life? I think almost any moral person would say no, of course not; it was a gift. We don't have the right to screw up her financial future, even to save her.

So if we have a pool of ten kids, and it costs ten million dollars to get all of them to the age of 18, do we have the right to put them all in debt? Of course not; the equation doesn't change. It doesn't change if you have a thousand kids, or a million. We have no business charging them for healthcare we provided them. We especially have no business charging them for healthcare we provided ourselves.

When we take it on as national debt, we're putting kids in debt that aren't even born yet, to save ones that are alive now. If it's not ethical to even put current kids in debt to save them now, how on earth is it ethical to indebt kids that don't even exist? That's what it means when you use national debt to fund healthcare. You're stealing money from future generations to keep the present generation alive. What the hell are they supposed to do for themselves, and their kids? Do they repeat the cycle and put the next generation into even more debt to keep themselves alive? And what about the third generation? And the fourth? And the fifth?

We have to pay our own way. We can only afford what we can afford. And that means people are going to die sooner than either we or they want them to.

The fact that we're already bankrupting future generations for spending that's even more stupid than healthcare doesn't make borrowing for healthcare ethical. We're already thieves, on a massive scale. Slightly less objectionable theft is still theft.

You don't have the right to buy bigscreen televisions and monster cars, and sack your kids with the bill. That's true on both a personal and a national level. Putting future generations in debt for things that will make their lives better, like infrastructure, is one thing; putting them in debt for things they don't benefit from is wrong.

We're supposed to be thinking about the future, not just the present. We're supposed to be protecting the people who aren't alive yet, not just the ones who have already been born.
posted by Malor at 12:10 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree with bearwife; if the unemployment rate drops a couple of points between now and November, the midterm elections will not be too bad for dems; if it stays the same, it will be a bloodbath.

That said, the dumb monkeys still need to figure out how to hump that football. I mean, you have a majority right now in both houses-use it or lose it.
posted by Mister_A at 12:15 PM on January 20, 2010


In a cynical moment, I predicted that health care reform is going to become to the Democrats what repealing Roe v. Wade is to the Republicans: a great promise to make to the base that you have no intention of keeping, because it's too valuable as a motivating tool. Think about it: If abortion was made illegal today, the Republican party would lose a big chunk of their base. Maybe not lose entirely, but they wouldn't work with such zeal for the party. So now the Democrats think they have the same thing: Work hard to give us back our supermajority and we'll get it done this time, we promise! But if we gave them a 70-seat supermajority, they would still find some excuse to not get it done.

It only took 55 votes to start an illegal war of aggression against Iraq, but it takes 60 votes to save 45,000 lives a year by giving them access to affordable health care.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:26 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


This what you want...This is what you get.

Bad Life
posted by pianomover at 12:27 PM on January 20, 2010


Vibrotronica:

The problem is banning abortion is unconstitutional. They don't actually have to pretend to write legislation banning it because it can't stand anyway. They just write bills eroding it or making it more difficult which can get bipartisan "YOU DON'T HATE BABIES DO YOU?" support.

Democrats have to actually make an effort to accomplish something. Instead they should campaign on repealing the third amendment. What kind of unpatriotic douche would oppose having American Heroes living in his house?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


unSane: "If the Dems actually call the Repubs' bluff, the Repubs know they can win by simply talking the thing out. [...]"

If you were being literal about the "talking it out" part, filibusters don't work like that anymore. They haven't actually required any sort of continuous oratory for almost a century. The few times that's been done (e.g. Huey Long, Strom Thurmond), it was done purely for effect, for the benefit of the constituents at home. Since 1917, that sort of stuff has been nothing but theater. (But then again, what part of politics isn't?)

So while the minority attempting a filibuster might stand around and read their grandmother's unpublished memoir or cookbook or whatever, just for shits and giggles, they wouldn't have to. All they'd really have to do under current rules is keep one person in the room at all times (it's not clear to me if they'd even have to be on the floor), whose only job is to request a roll call when the other party tries to move forward. As long as the other party can't muster the votes for cloture, nothing happens.

So, except for that one person who needs to sit around, everyone else can just go home, far from the C-SPAN cameras. It makes supporting a filibuster pretty easy. (In a way, it makes supporting the filibuster the default; you're not actually doing anything as much as you'd just be not helping with the cloture vote.)

So there's a reason why the Democrats don't make the Republicans "talk it out" — they can't. And neither party has actually gone ahead and changed the Senate rules (the so-called "nuclear option"), despite threats, because they're smart enough to know that someday, that would certainly come back to haunt them.

Saulgoodman is, IMO, completely correct in his assessment that the system is like this by design — although the particular filibuster rules used in the Senate today date only to the second decade of the last century, the idea of the Senate as a brake on radical change is evident (or, bluntly, a check on revolutionary ideas, if not democracy in general) in its design. I see this as a feature rather than a bug, but of course that's open to debate.

Endless debate, in fact. Just like in the Senate.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:42 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? Is this the NY Post sports page? You are grownups.

If it's un-grownup to have a moment of -- yes, childish -- scorn toward a candidate who should have easily and handily won the election that Ms. Coakley all but defiantly lost, then yeah, I'm a crying, gibbering, thumb-sucking infant.
posted by blucevalo at 12:46 PM on January 20, 2010


By all means, continue the realpolitic voting. Continue to vote for "Democrats" who are effectively place holders for Republicans, if not Republicans themselves.

I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, dibblda, but realpolitik refers to a cynical form of international policy that does things like intentionally foment instability in politically sensitive regions to further national interests in those areas. It's a decidedly different thing than taking practical steps to actually try to secure the votes needed out of congress to get reform through. Or in other words, realpolitik does not mean taking a reality-based view of the nuts and bolts of how the legislative process works. It's much more cynical than simply accepting the fact that there is a formal legislative process with specific rules governing its function.

We often dismissively call it "sausage-making," but in fact, what we call sausage-making is the legislative process as defined constitutionally. There's really no way around it without going around the constitution.

Bush, as he and his advisers well understood, was exploiting the fact that the constitution explicitly offers significantly expanded executive power when the president puts on the political fig-leaf of acting in the capacity of commander-in-chief. The constitution actually grants the president virtually unlimited authority to wage war, once congress authorizes it. That's why Bush was so successful in advancing his back-ass-wards agenda. That and tax cuts are always a political gimme, because while everyone loves blaming the government for all their problems, they don't really want to have to pay what it might cost to fix them. They just want solutions to appear fully-perfected from the start as if by magic, funded I suppose by leprechaun's gold or something.

No doubt, we should work like dogs to change the composition of the Democratic party. The Blue Dogs would have all become Republicans long ago if it didn't serve their cause more to run interference from the inside.

But look what happened when the netroots pressured Dems in Connecticut to try to shake Lieberman off, handing the primary victory to a more progressive candidate: Lieberman ran as an independent and won anyway. So the voters effectively said they liked the job Lieberman was doing. You can parse it out a million different ways to suit your preferred interpretation, but that's the only interpretation with any practical effect, and with this most recent poll defeat, the take home point couldn't be clearer back in Washington: Progressives don't win elections. And voters want the pseudo-conservatives to have a say in the political process, even despite the blindingly obvious fact that the only word in their vocabulary is "No."

It's simply a fact of reality that there are hard numbers that drive what policies make it through the process. No amount of boldness or purity will change that. Hell, how much bolder do you get than proposing a national agenda to make America energy independent within just slightly more than a decade, like Carter did? Where did being bold get Carter? It was a big part of what turned him into a laughingstock because he went much further than the power establishment was willing to go. Being committed, being idealistic, and even really, really wanting to advance your agenda doesn't change the actual hard math that can make it happen. There will always be a few Liebermans in congress. And now, we've put an even more radically right-wing legislator in a position to throw up more roadblocks, so don't count on things getting any better just because you sent a message.

I'm not suggesting there's no room for criticizing the Dems. I agree: a lot of them suck. And as tacticians, they're pretty weak sauce. In some cases, it's because they're not trying; in others, it's because they're genuinely trying to be open-minded and play their job straight, trying to represent a constituency that includes those on the other side of the aisle. So yes, we should work to find better candidates. All I'm suggesting is that, if you consider yourself a leftist or progressive or pro-reform or whatever, it might be useful to you to at least do the math, count the votes, look for ways to put constructive pressure on key players and try to ground your criticisms and activism in the world of reality, to the extent that world is knowable. One thing the left really sucks at is wooing and persuading potential allies, instead of alienating them.


There is no message so specific that it can not be misconstrued by someone determined to do so. See: erotomania.


Sure, but I think there are much less confusing and more responsible ways to send the message that you want to see serious reform than electing an outspoken reform opponent with a track record that shows he considers subsidizing the development of new golf courses a reasonable use of public funds while considering publicly subsidized health care a form of tyranny.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:47 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem is banning abortion is unconstitutional.

No, not really. I mean, the remnant Warren Court said it was. But the Warren Court also thinks there's a "badges and incidents" clause in the Thirteenth Amendment.
posted by jock@law at 12:47 PM on January 20, 2010


Malor: "You don't have the right to buy bigscreen televisions and monster cars maintain a global empire, and sack your kids with the bill"

Notice how there was no discussion about the escalation in Afghanistan being "deficit neutral"?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:49 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Notice how there was no discussion about the escalation in Afghanistan being "deficit neutral"?

Afghanistan has nothing to do with imperial aspirations. They have precious few resources, and they actually attacked us. Just in case you were sick the day they taught, oh, the most important global dynamic of the past decade.

"No blood for oil!" and "No connection to 9/11!" are sooooo 2003 Iraq War.
posted by jock@law at 12:55 PM on January 20, 2010


Look. National debt doesn't just go away. You would probably take on any amount of debt on a personal basis to save your own child, because the debt is extinguished when you die. Even if you had no hope of ever paying it off fully, you'd still be willing to borrow it if you could, and live in penury for the rest of your life. But would you do it if debts were transferable across generations? National debts are, and you can't think about them in the same way that you do about personal debt.

The thing is, there's no need to ADD to the national debt to take care of this -- only to RE-ALLOT the national debt.

To continue your "you don't have the right to buy bigscreen televisions and monster cars" analogy -- say we've already signed up for the big screen TV, and subscribe to the deluxe cable package. Now we want to add Netflix. You're saying "we would add to our debt by adding Netflix," but many of us are saying, "not if we downshift to the BASIC cable package."

There are ways we can re-allot our spending in order to free up funds for what we need.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:57 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I feel for Kennedy's widow.
posted by angrycat at 12:57 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Notice how Repugnicans never bring up fiscal discipline when it comes to spending vast amounts of money to kill people? Try to spend a fraction of that money on helping them, though, and suddenly we "just can't afford it."
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:58 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


We need to be focusing on getting our financial house in order; this will be an immensely painful process that will take at least a couple of decades. THEN we could realistically talk about universal healthcare. Not today.

You talk as though America is a poor, broken country that is barely making it into the second world. You forget the reason that our fiscal house isn't in order: because every time we have money lying around, we waste it on things like tax cuts, invading Iraq, and botching Afghanistan because we figure, "heck, there's money lying around, we should blow it on coke and hookers wars!" instead of universal health care, which is comparably cheap. The problem is here that there becomes a consistent incentive, every couple of decades, to drive up the debt and screw up the budget because if we don't do that, then there's no excuse to pass universal health coverage. So the answer is to focus on the necessities: universal health coverage, public infrastructure, etc. Then those become the priorities the budget has to focus on, and we say, "after a painful process of a couple of decades, THEN we can talk about tax cuts and long term occupations of the middle east for the purposes of our entertainment."
posted by deanc at 1:03 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


jock@law: "Afghanistan has nothing to do with imperial aspirations... they actually attacked us.

You don't say.

Mohamed Atta al Sayed (Egyptian)
Waleed al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian)
Wail al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian)
Abdulaziz al-Omari (Saudi Arabian)
Satam al-Suqami (Saudi Arabian)
Marwan al-Shehhi (United Arab Emirates)
Fayez Banihammad (United Arab Emirates)
Mohand al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian)
Hamza al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian)
Ahmed al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian)
Hani Hanjour (Saudi Arabian)
Khalid al-Mihdhar (Saudi Arabian)
Majed Moqed (Saudi Arabian)
Nawaf al-Hazmi (Saudi Arabian)
Salem al-Hazmi (Saudi Arabian)
Ziad Jarrah (Lebanese)
Ahmed al-Haznawi (Saudi Arabian)
Ahmed al-Nami (Saudi Arabian)
Saeed al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabian)

posted by Joe Beese at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Afghanistan has nothing to do with imperial aspirations. They have precious few resources, and they actually attacked us. Just in case you were sick the day they taught, oh, the most important global dynamic of the past decade.

Still, though, I feel that this is a big government program that should pay for itself rather than handing over a blank check for an indefinite time whose benefits are unclear. I mean, if it can't pay for itself, what's the point, really? It sounds a lot like we're interested in blowing our money on luxury items like long term occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq that we can't really afford, and no one ever figured out how to pay for it. And yet congress just keeps voting for more and more off-budget supplemental funding resolutions to keep it going. Doesn't sound very fiscally responsible to me. More to the point, no one who's making these claims should be self-righteously waving the "how will we pay for this flag?" particularly since HCR was a program that had its own funding sources and reduced the deficit.
posted by deanc at 1:07 PM on January 20, 2010


YFWGI
posted by jock@law at 1:11 PM on January 20, 2010


So while the minority attempting a filibuster might stand around and read their grandmother's unpublished memoir or cookbook or whatever, just for shits and giggles, they wouldn't have to. All they'd really have to do under current rules is keep one person in the room at all times

The Senate Majority Leader has the power to require a traditional, "talk it out" filibuster.
posted by Cyrano at 1:12 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


deanc: I'm not objecting to the idea that cost-benefit analysis should figure into military decisions. In fact Just War theory, of which I'm something of a fan, demands it. What I'm objecting to is the radically uninformed proposition that Afghanistan operations are somehow related to an imperialist impulse on the part of the Obama Administration.
posted by jock@law at 1:13 PM on January 20, 2010


What I'm objecting to is the radically uninformed proposition that Afghanistan operations are somehow related to an imperialist impulse on the part of the Obama Administration.

Then you can go argue with that straw men elsewhere, because it wasn't being made here. It's not merely a matter of "cost-benefit" analysis that supporters of our military policies miss. It's that Afghanistan and the military in general cannot pay for itself. There are no taxes were earmarked to fund these wars. It certainly isn't a policy that "pays for itself" via its benefits, as a borrowing funds for a profit-making business would. The entire argument that we can't "afford" HCR because "how will we pay for it?" is a disingenuous false flag.
posted by deanc at 1:17 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


read/weep
posted by unSane at 1:19 PM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Awkward.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:23 PM on January 20, 2010


Brown also reached out to Kennedy loyalists. He called Vicki Kennedy , the former senator's widow, and told her that her husband's name "will always command the affection and respect of the people of Massachusetts "

The first thing Brown will do, upon being sworn in, is take a huge shit on the chair that Edward Kennedy sat in.

His whole campaign was based upon doing everything possible to prevent Kennedy's life's work (health care reform) from going forward.

So much for respect. . . .
posted by Danf at 1:24 PM on January 20, 2010


EmpressCallypygos: There are ways we can re-allot our spending in order to free up funds for what we need.

We're ALREADY unsustainable. We have to make enormous cuts, and those cuts will have a huge impact on the economy, because it's reoriented itself to serve the deficit spending and hyper-consumption. A lot of that economy, because it's based on unsustainable spending, is also unsustainable, and it needs to go away. This will be very, very painful. Making the cuts will damage the economy, but we HAVE to damage the economy. And that's going to cut down tax revenues even more, and that's going to cause more cuts, and more damage.

We're much less wealthy than we think we are, because most of the economy is being driven by debt issuance, not real growth. We need to cut FIRST, live through the pain, and find out what our stable point is. THEN we can start talking about new expenditures.

We need to do more than just rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We have to actually change course. The iceberg ahead is quite visible.
posted by Malor at 1:27 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oops, sorry, I misspelled your name. Correcting: EmpressCallipygos. Apologies.
posted by Malor at 1:29 PM on January 20, 2010


You don't have the right to ... maintain a global empire, and sack your kids with the bill.... Notice how there was no discussion about the escalation in Afghanistan being "deficit neutral"?

[Y]ou can go argue with that straw men [the proposition that Afghanistan was escalated as part of maintaining a global empire] elsewhere, because it wasn't being made here.

Read much?
posted by jock@law at 1:29 PM on January 20, 2010


deanc: The entire argument that we can't "afford" HCR because "how will we pay for it?" is a disingenuous false flag.

Bullshit. Pure and simple bullshit. We couldn't afford the wars either.
posted by Malor at 1:31 PM on January 20, 2010


Good link, unSane. Depressing, but interesting.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:33 PM on January 20, 2010


Notice how Repugnicans never bring up fiscal discipline when it comes to spending vast amounts of money to kill people? Try to spend a fraction of that money on helping them, though, and suddenly we "just can't afford it."

No, they will spend money to help people, as long as it suits their goals and priorities. It was the Republicans who bailed out the auto industry, banks and Wall Street firms. They literally spent hundreds of billions of dollars to shore up the banking, finance and automotive industries and didn't once declare that "we couldn't afford it."
posted by zarq at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


unSane: "read/weep"

The anonymous Senate staffer writes:

I simply can't answer the fundamental question: "what do Democrats stand for?"

Would they like my help?

... an army of lobbyists for drug companies, health insurance companies, and hospitals has teamed up to throw a high-dollar Capitol Hill fundraiser for Coakley next Tuesday night. ...

Of the 22 names on the host committee--meaning they raised $10,000 or more for Coakley--17 are federally registered lobbyists, 15 of whom have health-care clients. Of the other five hosts, one is married to a lobbyist, one was a lobbyist in Pennsylvania, another is a lawyer at a lobbying firm, and another is a corporate CEO. Oh, and of course, there's also the political action commitee for Boston Scientific Corporation.

All the leading drug companies have lobbyists on Coakley's host committee: Pfizer, Merck, Amgen, Sanofi-Aventis, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Astra-Zeneca, and more. On the insurance side of things, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, HealthSouth, and United Health all are represented on the host committee.

posted by Joe Beese at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Making the cuts will damage the economy, but we HAVE to damage the economy. And that's going to cut down tax revenues even more, and that's going to cause more cuts, and more damage.

That's not a formula for recovery. That's what we call a "vicious cycle" or a "downward spiral." Or some kind of puritan "we have to go back to an earlier, simpler way of life."

The United States has always been stunningly wealthy in absolute terms. Part of the problem is that we allocate our priorities quite poorly, and whenever our fiscal house starts to seem like it's in order, the table gets pushed over in part because otherwise that money would get spent on health care reform. So then when we come into the room and see that the table is overturned and the room is a mess, we hear, "well, we just can't afford to upgrade to storm windows now... look at this mess!"
You don't have the right to ... maintain a global empire, and sack your kids with the bill.... Notice how there was no discussion about the escalation in Afghanistan being "deficit neutral"?

[Y]ou can go argue with that straw men [the proposition that Afghanistan was escalated as part of maintaining a global empire] elsewhere, because it wasn't being made here.

Read much?
Yes. But Afghanistan is only a part of our overall overspending on global-empire-type projects which are pursued precisely because there's money available that would otherwise be spent on health care reform. I feel you're picking on a straw man here because the military problems go far beyond Afghanistan into Iraq and the original plan for a stronger posture in the middle east, and even Afghanistan itself has warped itself into a long-term occupation, not to mention the fact that Joe Beese was pointing out the mere fact-- Malor didn't mention what we were really spending money on and was never concerned with, for example, paying for things that don't sustain themselves (like Afghanistan). But you wanted to nit-pick a straw man. It's not even about a cost-benefit analysis. It's about the fact that we gin up military adventures and don't even bother to think of how to pay for them and then get disingenuously self-righteous about HCR or infrastructure priorities when it comes to paying for them
posted by deanc at 1:37 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, we go to war solely to burn off excess cash that would otherwise be spent on health care?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on January 20, 2010


Don't worry about the health care bill, folks, they'll figure out a way to rahm it through.
posted by mullingitover at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


deanc: Objecting to part of Joe Beese's unsupported rhetoric and not objecting to the broader points being forwarded by the rest of those of you on the far left is not a straw man. It may not be responsive to what YOU'RE trying to say. But the word to describe something that is not responsive is "non-responsive," and what you're trying to say is not what Joe Beese is trying to say. I quoted him because I was responding to him, because I object to what he actually said. Things actual people actually say are not straw men, and they do not become straw men just because they happen not to be your position. It is simply. not. true. to describe the above as straw-manning.
posted by jock@law at 1:45 PM on January 20, 2010


Anyway, the way to get this shit done now is to go down the aisle and tell Republican Senators that you will choke the fucking life out of their benighted shit-hole states if they don't get with the fucking program. That's how you deal with this obstructionist absolutism.If they refuse to negotiate, you close their fucking military bases, cancel their highway funding, and destroy the infrastructure of their districts. THAT IS HOW THE FUCK YOU DO THIS SHIT WHEN YOU HAVE A HUGE MAJORITY AND THE OTHER SIDE WANTS TO BLOCK EVERY FUCKING THING YOU DO.

A more reasonable approach would be to remove their ability to block things by changing the rules.

Well, exactly. I thought that was the whole point of Rahm Emmanuel and his ilk.
-- unSane
What!?!? The "Point" of Rahm Emmanuel has been to do that to liberals and suck up to the republicans constantly. What planet have you been living on?
I wonder if this is when we finally get to see Rahm Emanuel and his like let off their leashes. -- Philip-random
Dude, Emanuel has is the chief of staff. He's been off his "leash" the entire time. Maybe you should look at what the dude's actually been doing, rather then reading hagiographic profiles and imagining that people have the same goals that you do. Yeah, he's an enforcer. For the corporate interests. He wasn't even in favor of universal healthcare before joining the Obama team, fer chrissakes!

I can't believe how many "liberals" bought this "enforcer" shtick and thought he would be working for them, rather then against.
So if we have a pool of ten kids, and it costs ten million dollars to get all of them to the age of 18, do we have the right to put them all in debt? Of course not; the equation doesn't change. It doesn't change if you have a thousand kids, or a million. We have no business charging them for healthcare we provided them. We especially have no business charging them for healthcare we provided ourselves.
Oh yes, most people would rather be dead then in debt. *rolls eyes*. The whole idea that national debt is somehow immoral is idiotic. Wake me up when future generations start paying us back for all the stuff they inherit. Like roads, hospitals, universities, factories, etc. They inherit far stuff then they do debt. They're far better off with a functional economy with low unemployment then a shitty economy with 15% unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, bad educations, and so on.

Lets look at a real world example. Country A has 10%, whereas country B has 200% GDP debt. Which country would a child is better off growing up in? Well, country A is Haiti and country B is Japan. You seriously think a kid would be better off being born in Haiti then Japan?

Seriously, add up the economic value of all the 'stuff' kids inherit from their forefathers. It's a hell of a lot more then the debt. And frankly, when we build infrastructure with deficit spending, when we spend money on schools, and healthcare for children are doing things that directly benefit kids. They have to pay it back later, along with everyone else alive and working. But they also get a huge benefit.

You just don't understand how money works and this idea that we're somehow hurting children by letting the country fall apart so they don't have to pay taxes is insane.
posted by delmoi at 1:46 PM on January 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


We need to do more than just rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We have to actually change course.

Re-allocating our resources IS changing course. I agree with you on cutting back, but re-prioritizing WHILE we cut back would also go a long, long way.

To further abuse this analogy -- we're still paying off the TV and we're signed up for deluxe cable. We want Netflix. We could make some cuts by downshifting to basic cable, and signing up for the basic Netflix package instead of the unlimited one we had our eye on. As for the big screen TV -- we could sell it, put the money towards the debt we racked up buying it in the first place and dig out the older TV we left in the attic that still works good, but is just smaller.

We've still made some cuts -- selling the TV, downshifting the cable, taking the smaller Netflix package -- but it still works, and we've re-allocated limited resources better. All by deciding, "well, we didn't need a TV THAT big or a cable package THAT broad, so since we're getting rid of the TV, let's cut back on the cable as well so we can afford to pay for Netflix."

Swap out "TV" for "defense budget" and "health care" for "netflix", and that's kind of what i'm getting at.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on January 20, 2010


Wait, we go to war solely to burn off excess cash that would otherwise be spent on health care?

I think the initial response is to cut taxes on the upper brackets, blowing a hole in the deficit, and then doing it again until the budget screeches. But no one seems to ask, "how are we going to pay for this war?" We just borrow the money. And then when the time comes to reform the health care system, we reply, "we can't do that! we borrowed lots of money already!" We could have had a tax that paid for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. We didn't. HCR has specific sources of revenue intended to pay for itself, something that didn't occur with Iraq and Afghanistan and for which the exact opposite intent was made for the Bush-era tax cuts. And in both cases, we felt "we could." And suddenly when it comes to health care reform "we can't."
posted by deanc at 1:50 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just like to point out that while not all Tea Party supporters are racist dimwits, they have the racist dimwit vote. Why is it that the republicans are so good at the smear and the democrats so afraid? Is it the black & white worldview of the right versus the shades of gray on the left?
posted by misterpatrick at 1:52 PM on January 20, 2010


the broader points being forwarded by the rest of those of you on the far left is not a straw man.

You were ignoring the wider point of the fact that we do maintain an extensive military presence all over the world and involve ourselves in pointless wars to accuse Joe Beese of making a "no blood for oil" claim on Afghanistan. Personally, I think that Afghanistan has past the point of cost-benefit justification, and the greater point that no one bothers to ask "how do we pay for this?" when it comes to ongoing military occupations but suddenly gets all self-righteous about fiscal responsibility when it comes to having a modern health care system that prevents tens of thousands of americans from dying and then avoids responsibility for such disingenuity by cooking up a straw-man accusation against those pointing out this state of affairs is really ridiculous.
posted by deanc at 1:54 PM on January 20, 2010


Wait, we go to war solely to burn off excess cash that would otherwise be spent on health care?

Why not? After he was out of office, Greenspan once remarked on the record that it had been his administration's deliberate policy to spend as much as possible of the Clinton budget surplus, out of fear that large government surpluses would eventually lead the government to buy large stakes in the securities markets to firm up Social Security funds, which he viewed as giving the government too much influence in the marketplace. Seriously.

The Clinton budget surpluses were destroyed by design, by the self-described party of fiscal responsibility.

On more than one occasion, Greenspan unequivocally explained that the Bush tax cuts were largely intended to get us back as quickly as possible to the point of deficit spending to minimize this risk [source]:
Consider the following [Greenspan] quote:

"…But continuing to run surpluses beyond the point at which we reach zero or near-zero federal debt brings to center stage the critical longer-term fiscal policy issue of whether the federal government should accumulate large quantities of private (more technically nonfederal) assets. … I believe, as I have noted in the past, that the federal government should eschew private asset accumulation because it would be exceptionally difficult to insulate the government's investment decisions from political pressures. Thus, over time, having the federal government hold significant amounts of private assets would risk sub-optimal performance by our capital markets, diminished economic efficiency, and lower overall standards of living than would be achieved otherwise."

Based upon this reasoning that the government should not accumulate large sums of private sector assets (held as loans to the public made through financial intermediaries), the Social Security Trust Fund was allowed to lapse.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:55 PM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why is it that the republicans are so good at the smear and the democrats so afraid?

Democrats are taught that their job is to "serve the people." Republicans are taught that their job is to pass their agenda and that the people will follow. The Democrats as a consequence stay in constant fear of getting on the wrong side of vocal voters.

Look, it's simple: upset over the Republicans' focus on triviality and stonewalling of Clinton, voters responded by giving the Democrats tangible gains in Congress in the 1998 midterm elections. The Republicans responded by impeaching Clinton. Frustrated with the declining state of things in Iraq and Presidential incompetence, the Republicans faced huge defeats in the House and Senate, giving the Democrats a larger majority in the house than Republicans ever had in recent times. The Republicans responded by escalating Iraq, trapping us there for at least another decade.

If you entrench health care reform as part and parcel of the American system, it will remain in place and no one will think to oppose it. But the Democrats are so afraid to push it through because every time there are public stirrings of opposition, they think, "maybe my ideas aren't so good after all, and my job is to do what [I think] the people want."

That and there has been thirty years of conventional wisdom convincing Democrats that their ideas are inferior to the Republicans'.
posted by deanc at 1:59 PM on January 20, 2010


That and there has been thirty years of conventional wisdom convincing Democrats that their ideas are inferior to the Republicans'.

Not to mention decades of ivy league economics courses that practically teach republicanism ("unregulated markets uber alles!") as a central dogma.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2010


Is it the black & white worldview of the right versus the shades of gray on the left?

That's one way of looking at part of it, I suppose. The problem is that too many Democrats get confused in their own nuance. There's a difference between something being subtle and something being uncertain.

An example: most modern U.S. race problems are more subtle than the KKK, but their existence is certain. When presented the opportunity, Democrats will fall all over themselves focusing on the blurry parts of nuance rather than on what is certain. When Harry Reid uttered his unfortunately-phrased remarks, the Democratic Party practically imploded trying to tease out the nuance of race-related speech and make arguments why Reid's comment was or (more often) wasn't racist. They completely blew the opportunity to say what they knew for certain: (a) Harry Reid harbors no animus toward the African-American community; (b) The fact that using the neutral 1950s word for a racial group instead of the neutral 1990s word for a racial group can turn into such a debacle is a reminder of the progress made in that time period and the progress left to be made.
posted by jock@law at 2:03 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


You were ignoring the wider point of the fact that we do maintain an extensive military presence all over the world

Yes. I was. There is no rule on Metafilter that I have to engage every point that every other person makes. I am under no obligation to object to the truthful component of a post just because I object to the asininely false component of a post. Drop it.
posted by jock@law at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2010


Anyway I think we can all agree that 1) the money spent on the military would be better spent on Healthcare and 2) This thread really won't get improved by arguing over the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is only a small part of the whole military empire thing. Do we really need bases in 130 countries? Crazy-ass starwars technology that's only useful against countries that are allied with us or have nuclear weapons? i.e. ones we'll never fight?

---

TPM just published this interesting letter from a hill staffer:
...The worst is that I can't help but feel like the main emotion people in the caucus are feeling is relief at this turn of events. Now they have a ready excuse for not getting anything done. While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas. They're afraid to actually implement them and face the judgement of the voters. That's the scariest dynamic and what makes me think this will all come crashing down around us in November...
Which is what I was saying way upthread. The democrats are using this as an excuse not to get anything done. It's an excuse to fail. There's no valid reason why this should end HCR, except for validating the senate and house democrats self-loathing and love of failure.

There's no technical/legal/procedural reason why the vote can't go forward. None. But they're all talking about this as if it were a national election and that this is the end. The only reason they can fail now is because they want to fail.

But it's a little surprising to see them admit it themselves!

Then again I did complain a lot about the final bill anyway. It isn't the bill itself that I'm upset about, its the fact that the democrats are just so weak and ridiculous. We were expecting the country to be run properly after getting rid of bush, and now what do we get? This preposterous display of self pity and cowardice. Ugh.
posted by delmoi at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, at least I learned Greenspan is actually insane. I thought he was just kind of foolish before.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2010


They completely blew the opportunity to say what they knew for certain:

and (c) Harry Reid is an incompetent majority leader and should immediately face a no-confidence vote. As proof, I offer his entire record from 2007 to present.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:12 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


> if you don't become financially and literally ruined because you were hit by a drunk driver.

$250K of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covering medical costs and lost wages with no fault, costs what, $100 for 6 months?

If you are not "at fault", then the other driver's liability insurance covers you, and you can still sue her for uncovered costs.

Don't the emergency rooms accept you for treatment of an auto accident without insurance?

> for trying to SAVE PEOPLE FROM DEATH AND/OR BANKRUPTCY. ATTACK YOU IDIOTS!

What if we start a charity to buy PIP and health insurance for those who can't afford it?

Congress could uncap the charitable deduction limits for this noble cause.

This would not require the centralization of power employed by the federal health care plans.
posted by dand at 2:13 PM on January 20, 2010


Oh wow:
From the latest talking points released by senate Dems ...
"Republicans have an obligation to the American people to join us in governing our nation through these difficult times and to help clean up the mess they left behind. It is mathematically impossible for Democrats to pass legislation on our own. Senate Republicans to come to the table with ideas for improving our nation and not obstructionist tactics."
That's throwing down the gauntlet.
'Mathematically impossible'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are these people insane!!!!!!!!?????
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on January 20, 2010


Well, at least I learned Greenspan is actually insane. I thought he was just kind of foolish before.

Genuine Ayn Rand acolyte. He was actually a member of her club.
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A GOP poll finds that only 38% of Massachusetts voters said they were motivated by opposition to Obama’s policies." *
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


delmoi: And frankly, when we build infrastructure with deficit spending, when we spend money on schools, and healthcare for children are doing things that directly benefit kids. They have to pay it back later, along with everyone else alive and working. But they also get a huge benefit.

I specifically said that infrastructure spending could be a good thing. Specifically. Another word for that is 'investment'.

Debt-based consumption spending is a fucking disaster. My health care in no way will benefit kids that aren't born yet. Why the fuck should they be repaying money for their entire goddamn lives to keep me healthy? What about THEIR lives? What about THEIR healthcare money?

They have the right to healthcare TOO, and they need to pay for theirs just like we need to pay for ours: now. Borrowing from unborn people to keep ourselves alive is an abomination.
posted by Malor at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2010


Hey what a great idea. Start a charity to pay for people who've been injured in auto accidents.
posted by Mister_A at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2010


Brown’s Victory Wasn’t A Referendum On National Health Reform Legislation.
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bullshit. Pure and simple bullshit. We couldn't afford the wars either.

Yeah, but the difference is, we keep spending money on wars anyway. We keep spending money on a lot of things anyway. If health care is the one thing we don't implement until we can afford it, then it's the one thing we'll never implement, because that sort of discipline simply doesn't exist.

If we have painful decisions to make about reducing spending that we're inevitably going to put off until they're agonizing, then why not throw health care into the mix now? What's more likely in the end: that we'd cut, say, military spending to fund a new health care program, or that we'd cut it to support an existing health care program that millions of people depend on?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:19 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My health care in no way will benefit kids that aren't born yet.

A health care system that gives everyone access to coverage is a form of legal and economic infrastructure. It allows people to be more mobile with their jobs. It allows them to seek treatment they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, allowing them to keep working. It ensures that their treatment does not bankrupt them. It's a public amenity that is befitting of a first world country. And not only that, but we put mechanisms in place that would allow it to be paid for.

What about the health care of people who aren't born yet is a good question to ask. I kind of wonder why you're willing to let them go without it.
posted by deanc at 2:24 PM on January 20, 2010


'Mathematically impossible'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are these people insane!!!!!!!!?????


No, the insane generally try things and expect results.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Debt-based consumption spending is a fucking disaster. My health care in no way will benefit kids that aren't born yet. Why the fuck should they be repaying money for their entire goddamn lives to keep me healthy? What about THEIR lives? What about THEIR healthcare money?

Malor. How many times does it need to be explained that the healthcare bill passed by the senate does pay for itself in real time and actually lowers the deficit. I think I've mentioned that twice in this thread, at least. I realize it's long but would it kill you to know what you're talking about?

THE BILL DOES NOT BORROW MONEY TO PAY FOR HEALTHCARE. IT RAISES TAXES, AND USES THAT TAX MONEY TO PAY FOR CARE

So while I can understand your argument, it does not apply to the healthcare bill that's actually being debated.
Brown’s Victory Wasn’t A Referendum On National Health Reform Legislation.
I feel like there's an Onion headline out there "Brown victory vindicates everything I've said" Conservatives claim it's because the dems have been to liberal, liberals say because they havn't been conservative enough, and so on.
posted by delmoi at 2:31 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Conservatives claim it's because the dems have been to liberal, liberals say because they havn't been conservative enough, and so on.

Oops, I should have said "liberals say because they've been too conservative" but actually given the people in the senate/house right now my mistake probably made it more accurate.

No, the insane generally try things and expect results. -- XQUZYPHYR

LOL.
posted by delmoi at 2:33 PM on January 20, 2010


deanc: But no one seems to ask, "how are we going to pay for this war?" We just borrow the money. And then when the time comes to reform the health care system, we reply, "we can't do that! we borrowed lots of money already!" We could have had a tax that paid for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. We didn't. HCR has specific sources of revenue intended to pay for itself, something that didn't occur with Iraq and Afghanistan and for which the exact opposite intent was made for the Bush-era tax cuts.

What they did was horrible, and I said so very clearly and strongly at the time. Funding those unnecessary wars on debt was just as stupid as funding healthcare would be now.

But like it or not, the money is still spent. It's gone. No matter whether you agree with the reasons or not, it doesn't change the fact that it greatly weakened our position. The Medicare drug benefit was far worse... by the last numbers I saw, it will end up costing us at least twenty-five times what the Iraq war has.

We don't have the money, and all the goddamn distractions in the world don't change that. We don't have the money to fight wars, we don't have the money for stimulus, we don't have the money for any new programs at all. And bitching about Republicans versus Democrats is largely irrelevant. Republicans want to borrow money to fight wars, and Democrats want to borrow money to spend on social programs, and both things put our kids, and our grandkids, and our great-grandkids, in debt for things that largely don't benefit them. But they will still have to pay back the debts, reducing their standards of living to fund OUR lavish lifestyles.

We need to pay our own way. Our living standards will continue to decrease until we stop borrowing to fund consumption items. And it's probably not going to be a gradual thing, either... we'll keep getting crisis after crisis after crisis, because our spending is unsustainable. The crises are messages that we can't handle any more debt, but we persistently refuse to acknowledge them.

It really is that simple. We have to stop borrowing, except for things that return more than the expenditure plus interest costs. (aka, "investment".) If we fail to do this, we will go broke.
posted by Malor at 2:33 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


THE BILL DOES NOT BORROW MONEY TO PAY FOR HEALTHCARE. IT RAISES TAXES, AND USES THAT TAX MONEY TO PAY FOR CARE

WE NEED TO RAISE THE TAXES AND USE IT TO REDUCE THE DEBT, NOT SPEND IT ON CONSUMPTION ITEMS.
posted by Malor at 2:34 PM on January 20, 2010


January 20, 2004
Iowa - Governor Howard Dean passed away today after the Secret Service accidentally shot the presidential candidate when a man rushed the stage in a violent attempt to choke him to death. The perpetrator of this bizarre attack claims to be from some ridiculous future in which an African American man has been elected president and a Republican senator has been elected in Massachusetts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:11 PM \


I'm sure Fox would play Dean's death scream over and over and over and over, just in the public interest mind you.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:34 PM on January 20, 2010


Matt Yglesias:
Obama's Secret Tax cut:

...the Obama administration implemented, as a core element of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a large temporary payroll tax cut.

This seems like exactly the sort of thing that would be politically smart to do. It’s a populist-ish measure that doesn’t require the public to have any faith in government action. But it’s also Keynesian stimulus that should lower unemployment rates and help create an environment that’s more hospitable to collective action. But the Obama administration’s reading of behavioral economics literature led them to believe that the tax cut would be more economically effective if it was deliberately disguised so that people would merely perceive a bit more money in their pocket each week without psychologically focusing on the windfall.

Clever! Sort of. Unless, that is, you’re trying to show people that your agenda involves helping the middle class and isn’t just shoveling money at banks and public employees.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But like it or not, the money is still spent. It's gone.

You know, when US public debt as a percentage of GDP approaches something close to Japan's, I will worry. As of 2006, we were at 60%, which ranked us #27, far below Japan, Italy, and Belgium, but close to Canada and Germany (who we were doing better than) and Austria (who we were slightly worse than).

Saying, "We're too poor to have what other 1st world countries have" isn't a believable argument. What we do have to do is come up with ways of reducing the cost of the health-care-related services we're purchasing. Since the health care reform is a form of legal infrastructure whose costs are accounted for, I'm not as down on the idea as you.
posted by deanc at 2:45 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Senate Majority Leader has the power to require a traditional, "talk it out" filibuster.

The memo provided by Reid's office to HuffPo on the topic of filibusters seems to disagree, or at least makes it seem as though this is not the case.

I'm not necessarily contradicting you; it's entirely possible that either the person in Reid's office who wrote the memo is wrong, or is purposefully leaving something out in an effort to defend Reid's inaction -- how would the Majority Leader force a pre-1917-style filibuster?
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:47 PM on January 20, 2010


What we do have to do is come up with ways of reducing the cost of the health-care-related services we're purchasing.

More low-cost/free clinics with limited Rx powers would be nice. You shouldn't ever have had to see a doctor for antibiotic eyedrops for pinkeye. This is something that is getting better.
posted by jock@law at 2:49 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


How to lose an election
posted by telstar at 2:49 PM on January 20, 2010


WE NEED TO RAISE THE TAXES AND USE IT TO REDUCE THE DEBT, NOT SPEND IT ON CONSUMPTION ITEMS.

Well, we can actually do both. But beyond that, first you were saying it was immoral to borrow money to spend on healtcare. My point was that that wasn't happening.

And furthermore when we spend money on healthcare, it doesn't go away And unlike purchasing consumer electronics devices, almost all the money stays in the U.S, which is where the doctors and insurance companies actually are. The money doesn't "go away" it stays in the economy.

And right now, the vast majority of people have a big chunk of their paychecks taken out by healthcare premiums. They don't really have a choice unless they quit their jobs to go work somewhere with no insurance. So it's just like a tax. HCR means that more money goes into people's pockets, eventually, when you add up taxes and insurance premiums. And because of the cost controls overall the amount of money going into the healthcare system decreases (or grows less slowly)

In other words 1) No money from the future is spent on Healthcare. 2) The total amount of money taken out of people's paychecks is reduced, not increased -- with the exception of people who don't have health insurance, who will have to start paying premiums, but will get subsidies. 3) There are some tax increases, mainly on people with 'Cadillac' insurance plans, ending an implicit subsidy on rich people spending too much money on plastic surgery or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Our living standards will continue to decrease until we stop borrowing to fund consumption items.

As long as the growth of our economy exceeds the growth of our debt, this is an essentially sustainable situation. One of the goals of HCR is to rein in the costs of health care so that our rate of increase of consumption eases. I really don't know why you need to be told all of these things, since they're well known issues and things that anyone who's supposed to be concerned about these issues should know about.

That and you regard health care as a "consumption" item-- the public already consumes hundreds of billions on health care each year, both due to private and public spending. The goal is to give a group of people more access to health care than they do now while also reining in the hundreds of billions flowing out of our pockets on spending, whether spent by the government or not.

More low-cost/free clinics with limited Rx powers would be nice.

This is cute and fun tinkering around the fringes but does little if anything to bend the overall cost curve. But I agree with it. I just believe that it's a "feel good" measure that doesn't address structural issues.
posted by deanc at 2:51 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Historically, painful deficit reduction (as opposed to deficit reduction due to a booming economy) is never voluntary. It usually arises from a run on the currency, hyperinflation, or something similar.

There are only two ways out of the current fiscal mess as I see it. One is a steady increase in real GDP, which means actually producing stuff instead of buying TVs from China and oil from everywhere else, combined with notching back military spending and avoiding having to keep passing emergency budgets. This, plus a modest increase in inflation (and interest rates, I'm afraid) will vanish the deficit in a few years. It will probably mean a reduction in living standards for better-off people.

Needless to say, this won't happen.

The alternative is a more-or-less catastrophic run into a brick wall as the Fed, trying to inflate the debt away, finds itself in a currency crisis. Interest rates go through the roof, the government runs out of money, the US is ultimately bailed out by creditors who demand strict monetary controls and take ownership of sizeable chunk of the American economy (tip: learn Chinese).

This was floated as a possibility by a lot of people in 2008 but it turned out deflation was a much bigger problem... hence the stimulus. However, with a recovery underway and debt ballooning it's still there on the horizon.

These kinds of monetary earthquakes can be terribly painful in the short term but they often work miracles in the medium term. Peopel forget that the collapse of the German currency in the Weimar years was followed by several years of terrific prosperity as the German economy, unsaddled from the incredible burden of its war reparations, surged ahead (only to run into the wall of the stock market crash of 1929, which was really none of its doing).
posted by unSane at 2:55 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to lose an election

The bit about 'Recruit suckish candidates.' is kind of vapid. No one 'recruited' Choakely. She had a huge warchest and forced out the preferred candidate (source: this thread). She won a primary. There isn't anything a 'vetter' could do. There's nothing the democrats could have done about Corzine he was the incumbent And deeds also won a pretty well contested primary, against Crazy drunk Hillary campaign manager Terry Mcauliffe no less! (who got famous going on TV drunk off his ass at the end of the primary campaign)

Voting for someone in a primary isn't "recruitment" it's a regular election. But certainly agree people need to pay more attention to primary campaigns, rather then just whining about everything.
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on January 20, 2010


(by the way, I never hear anyone talk about the inflationary effect of war spending. all those billions of dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan... most of it was recycled back into the US economy... it was like a continual stimulus package during the Bush years).
posted by unSane at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2010


Afghanistan has...precious few resources...

Ah, but Afghanistan is the greatest illicit opium producer in the world...surely a 'precious resource' that is providing significant income.
"Based on UNODC data, there has been more opium poppy cultivation in each of the past four growing seasons (2004–2007), than in any one year during Taliban rule. Also, more land is now used for opium in Afghanistan, than for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 93% of the opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan.* This amounts to an export value of about $64 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords and drug traffickers.*.
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on January 20, 2010


Bold point is bold.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:06 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Afghanistan has nothing to do with imperial aspirations. They have precious few resources, and they actually attacked us.
"Official: 15 of 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia."

"George W. Bush has finally acknowledged that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were citizens of the U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia."
posted by ericb at 3:09 PM on January 20, 2010


Okay guys. I think we're a little bit beyond the point where you need to be told that whether a state is training for, funding, or otherwise responsible for an act is entirely unrelated to the citizenship of the individuals employed to carry out that act. Don't be ridiculous.
posted by jock@law at 3:11 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I blame her association with Obama.
He’s should reverse U.S. foreign policy from the past 8 years, redirect the course of the entire military industrial infrastructure in the midst of two wars, radically alter and reverse the hard lobbied powerful entrenched interests' rules for Wall Street, fix every educational system in the country, get everyone a pony, redesign the energy policy as well as the energy transmission infrastructure, reinvent health care, end homelessness and halt the plummet of jobs and the out of control national debt, restore and/or validate viciously contested basic human rights to homosexuals, stop climate change over the protests of a multitude of billionaires and the most powerful multinational corporations in the world, end the surveillance state against the wishes of alphabet soup intelligence and law enforcement agencies with bottomless budget allowances, ultimately stop two wars in progress that many powerful (and now wealthy) and extremely violent and militaristic companies and paramilitary organizations have interests in continuing, revamp the entire national infrastructure, make pancakes, revitalize the air transportation industry, diplomatically deal with China to not only avoid military conflict but monetary ruin since they hold so many of our markers, restore accountability in government and redress egregious violations of human rights over the staunch opposition from a variety of powerful, wealthy and influential individuals and organizations that are fighting not only for their own agenda and ideology but to avoid criminal prosecution in some cases with the tacit or active aid from the people they themselves installed in government positions, alter race relations that have in some cases been purposefully stagnated, stop foreclosures and predatory lending, ease the burden on a swiftly growing group of seniors, ease the burden on a greatly marginalized workforce supporting the seniors, radically alter the tax codes over fanatic and often ignorant and misinformed protest, eschew sheep fucking, end outsourcing while maintaining a commitment to globalization, halt the runaway shift in wealth from the lower and middle classes to the upper 1 percent of the very rich, end corporate welfare while encouraging research and development, change importation laws on drugs over the resistance of the multi-trillion dollar pharmaceutical industry, all while fighting against many members of his own party’s interests, misinformation, innuendo or outright lies in the media, and a completely unified and mobilized opposition party. And he’s had over a year to do it.

Not enough backbiting perhaps?

“You don't say.
Mohamed Atta al Sayed (Egyptian)
Waleed al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian)
Wail al-Shehri (Saudi Arabian) …”

You (and others) keep repeating this as though it’s true if you repeat it enough. Have you not read about the al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan? Does the concept of a international terrorist organization escape you? Or is impossible to believe sectarian religious fanaticism can transcend national loyalty and national identity.
It’s like a Seljuk Turk in Jerusalem saying the Pope has nothing to do with these centuries long series of attacks because:
Charlemagne (Frankish)
Alexios I Komnenos (Greek)
Bohemond of Antioch (Calabrese)
Sigurd Jorsalfarer (Norwegian)
Edward I (English)

What, U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs was not killed by terrorists in Kabul? Bakhrom Sodirov was Tajik and therefore had no supporters in Afghanistan? Clinton attacked Afghanistan with cruise missiles only to deflect the media from his plo-chops, because the U.S. embassy bombings happened in Kenya and Tanzania? As we all know, those six sites were all aspirin factories, not terrorist training compounds. Hey, Mohammed Atef was Egyptian so he could not have died in Afghanistan. And how could Ahmed Salim Swedan Sheikh, a Kenyan, have died in Pakistan? Pfft, people don’t leave their countries or change their loyalties.

Abdul Aziz (Imam Samudra) was Indonesian. What’re people supposed to ignore 200+ people dead after the car bomb explosion in Bali that he trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan because he’s from Indonesia and the bombing happened in Indonesia? al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Jemaah Islamiyah is spread all over Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, etc. and the people who belong to them and other such outfits don’t self-identify as nationals.

If I remember correctly one of the major beefs The Base and OBL has/had with the Saudis was King Fahd okaying U.S. troops being based in Saudi to attack Iraqi forces invading Kuwait, or did we all fucking hallucinate Osama bin Laden saying, y’know, exactly that as one of his problems and basis for the 9/11 attacks?
(Bush, hard ass that his for not caving in to terrorists, totally capitulated. Not that I disagree overall, because it's a measure of a lot of trouble and money over a lesser advantage, but I could have done without the bad-ass rhetoric)

Al-Qaeda has always had a problem with the cuddlyness with which the Saudi royal family has had with the west. As much as it was reviled in the U.S., George Bush holding hands with King Abdullah, the fanatics went apeshit over it as pretty much validating everything they’d been saying.
They don’t hate Israelis because they’re Israelis, they hate them because they’re Jews. They don’t hate Iraqis or Iranians, they hate Shiites and Sufis and non-Wahhabi Muslims. What country you’re from is far less important than the fact that you don’t believe properly (as they do).
But hey, repeat it over and over and over regardless of the history and eventually it magically becomes true.

"Wait, we go to war solely to burn off excess cash that would otherwise be spent on health care?"

No, no, no. The purpose of war is to destroy surplus wealth in order to maintain the structure of society and the status quo. To belabor (who would have been metafilter's own) George Orwell - a hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance and war is waged by the ruling class on the state's own subjects. The objective is not victory, but keeping people in a (relative) state of deprivation (much like advertising invents a need or an insecurity in order to fill it with their new, otherwise useless, product). A diminishing of options such that the threat of war shrinking economic prospects becomes a rationale for engaging in the war in the first place.

...oh, wait, so, yes.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:13 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will you people shut up about 9/11 and afghanistan.
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other words Afghanistan is not Saudia Arabia. Granted at the time Afghanistan was/hosted a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda training. After 9/11 Al-Qaeda fled to protected tribal areas in Pakistan.
posted by ericb at 3:17 PM on January 20, 2010


Will you people shut up about 9/11 and afghanistan.

Aaannnddd... back to Brown, Coakley, the Democrats, the Republicans ... and the General State of Affairs of the Current Poltical Landcape of the U.S.A.
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on January 20, 2010


Brown victory party featured flag calling for a ‘second’ revolution, tea party-inspired civil war.

Second Revolution Flags Distributed At Brown Victory Party.
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I’ll add that this is why you get Forbes calling 06-07 the richest year in human history with 178 new billionaires while the number of Americans living in poverty reached a 32 year high.

It’s something people can do something about. Unfortunately, in the case of Massachusetts, they seem to, not.
Apparently many, many people are going to become independent superstar millionaires through their apparel and piece goods merchant wholesaling job.
I dunno. I always thought working together with folks, making some small gains, building upon prior generations work and contributing to make a community was a good thing. Apparently that’s pussy bullshit for ‘conservatives’ and not real progress or not fast enough progress for ‘progressives.’
posted by Smedleyman at 3:33 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


PPP:
Here's one question that I think needs to be asked in the wake of the Massachusetts special election: did media outlets that reported at length on the Boston Globe poll showing Martha Coakley with a 15 point lead while ignoring the ones from Rasmussen and us showing a toss up really do their readers/viewers a service?

Maybe the Globe poll was correct when it was conducted but there's no question the one we put out the night of Saturday the 9th showing Brown up by a point and then the one Rasmussen put out Tuesday the 12th showing Coakley with just a two point lead gave a more accurate picture of the race. Yet some media outlets kept on talking exclusively about the Globe poll for five days, until Suffolk came out showing Brown in the lead.

For the most part this happened not because of liberal bias in the media but because some outlets are still sticking to 20th century policies against reporting automated polls, despite the fact that their predictive accuracy is proven one election cycle after another.

What was perhaps most amusing about this particular election is that several outlets, including the New York Times, actually talked about our polls and Rasmussen's in their pages generally but refused to name us or print the actual numbers. I will be interested to see if any of the outlets who gave their audiences an unrealistic picture of the race at this time last week by reporting on the Globe poll and ignoring the others out there will be transparent with their readers about why those decisions were made and either change their policies in the future or defend them in a way based on quantitative data and not just emotion or conventional outdated wisdom about what does and does not make an accurate poll.

But I'm not holding my breathe.
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on January 20, 2010


> what's required is the TFT (The Fucking Truth) PARTY, with a long term mandate to just
> show up when required and NOT LIE ABOUT ANYTHING, just calmly lay it all out with a
> straight face. At first, there would be no tangible results in the polling booth but slowly,
> over time, a groundswell might just begin.
> posted by philip-random at 12:14 PM on January 20 [+] [!]

A cartoon I cut out and saved: table in political strategy room, walls papered with posters showing candidate along with slogans like "Vote for Total Honesty!" "He Tells It Like It IS!" At the table, the candidate himself and some advisors, one of whom is asking "Couldn't you at least take out 'Frankly, none of our problems lend themselves to solution'?"


> do you remember the closeted gay Nazi dad from American Beauty? That is literally all
> Republican males.
> posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:02 AM on January 20 [1 favorite +] [!]

I support the health care bill so optimus can get back on his meds.
posted by jfuller at 4:00 PM on January 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


bakerina: exactly... that postal clip is slightly funny. i won't be bringing up the odd correlations of Massachusetts borking things at future cocktail parties... from Kerry to Coakley, etc. etc.
posted by nutate at 4:02 PM on January 20, 2010


Slate looks at all the available scenarios for passing health care reform (short version: yes, it's probably dead)
posted by angrycat at 4:10 PM on January 20, 2010


Thanks all of you, really. My entire apartment now reeks of unicorn shit.

And no, rainbow vomit is not cuter than yours. Just more sparkly.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


We are now as divided as America was in the 1860s. When two people find they can no longer communicate, while living under the same roof, they often split apart and go there seperate ways. So what if . . . we took the United States and just split it in half . . . 24 states become The United States of the Democrats and 24 states become The United States of the Republicans (including Ron Paul supporters and Libertarians etc . . .). California and New York can be split in half and go the the side they choose.

From EricB's link, an explanation of the "Revolution II" teaparty agenda.
posted by angrycat at 4:32 PM on January 20, 2010


If the Democrats would deign to take advice from a Republican President:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. --Theodore Roosevelt
posted by jock@law at 5:09 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


House leaders signaled that they had effectively ruled out the idea of adopting the Senate bill, which would send it directly to the president for his signature.

Those who've been saying that Democrats don't actually want health reform are right, and this proves it. I've never been so disgusted with the party. The Senate Bill is basically what was going to get to Obama anyways, the House has the opportunity to send that bill to the President, and for no real reason, they say no. I mean, look at it--no reason is given for Pelosi and co.'s refusal, and the media just reports on it like it's a fact that needs no questioning.

It's like if you originally planned to protect your house and belongings by preventing them from catching on fire, but then your child started a small grease fire in your kitchen, right next to your fire extinguisher, but instead of putting out the fire, you actively fanned it until it burned down your house, all the while saying, "oh well, that sucks, there goes my house and all of my belongings."

Guess what? This is beyond stupid, this is deliberate sabotage of the healthcare bill by Democrats, and the only reasons I can think of for refusing to just pass the Senate bill in the House go beyond incompetent to downright malevolent.

I normally think of myself as a pragmatist when it comes to politics, and have in the past exhibited open scorn and disdain for Nader/Kucinich voters, etc. But I've never come so close in my life to feeling like there's no difference between the two parties. It's absolutely incomprehensible, even for the Democrats, that they would show as little fight as this, so the reason must be that they don't actually want healthcare reform, and in the last couple years they've pulled a massive fast one on the American people.
posted by notswedish at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Danf: "The first thing Brown will do, upon being sworn in, is take a huge shit on the chair that Edward Kennedy sat in."

Whenever someone writes "Teddy's seat", I picture a plush leather executive's high-backed chair with a 46 year deep ass groove worn into it.

Too soon?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:17 PM on January 20, 2010


Yglesias:
I spent a lot of time yesterday going back and forth with myself about what I liked and didn’t like in Ezra Klein’s post on the end of the White House’s “inside game” strategy and the need for an “outside game” that features speaking to the country.

What I’ve come up with is that neither of these are really the crucial game. What’s been missing from Obama’s approach is what, for lack of a pithy name, I’ll call “objective political pressure.” One of the striking things about the Obama presidency is that throughout his time in office not a single Republican Senator has been in serious fear that he or she is going to lose her seat in 2010. That was true even when Obama’s approval ratings were in the high-sixties. And it’s true even though Obama won a number of seats represented by Republicans.

This is the big contrast with Bush’s first term. Democrats were less-than-resolute in their opposition to Bush’s ideas in large part because many of them correctly perceived themselves to be in electoral peril. Generating electoral peril is often equated with “outside game”—speechmaking—but there’s much more to it than that. Indeed, “mobilizing public opinion” is probably the least important part of it. It comes down to a lot of political nitty-gritty. Recruiting top-tier challengers. Raising funds. Getting the oppo done. Making sure the party committees are committed to electing new members and not just defending incumbents. Dispatching surrogates.

The Obama/Baucus theory of writing a bipartisan health care bill seemed to basically amount to “have a lot of meetings with Chuck Grassley.” A different theory would be “have Tom Vilsack run against Chuck Grassley with a nice war chest so Grassley feels it’s in his interests to strike a deal.”
posted by delmoi at 5:21 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those who've been saying that Democrats don't actually want health reform are right, and this proves it. I've never been so disgusted with the party. The Senate Bill is basically what was going to get to Obama anyways, the House has the opportunity to send that bill to the President, and for no real reason, they say no. I mean, look at it--no reason is given for Pelosi and co.'s refusal, and the media just reports on it like it's a fact that needs no questioning.
Actually, a large portion of the House Democrats who are saying that they won't vote for the Senate bill are those who, arguably, want health reform the most: the progressive wing. They say that the Senate bill is too flawed in too many ways, and they have been saying this for a long time.
posted by Flunkie at 5:24 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The democrats are going to get slaughtered in 2010.

What we need is a real progressive but also pragmatic party. Pragmatism that goes beyond "suck up to corporate interests so that they give us campaign contributions"

I think guys like Nader, Kucinich are too idealistic to get anything done but it's completely obvious that the democrats in general are too corrupt to get anything done. They're also too cowardly.

Well progressive, pragmatic, and also sure of themselves. Perhaps they could all themselves the "Git R Done" party to increase their appeal for middle America.
posted by delmoi at 5:25 PM on January 20, 2010


The democrats are going to get slaughtered in 2010.
Slaughtered? What's that? Like, they'll only have a seventeen vote majority?
posted by Flunkie at 5:31 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, a large portion of the House Democrats who are saying that they won't vote for the Senate bill are those who, arguably, want health reform the most: the progressive wing. They say that the Senate bill is too flawed in too many ways, and they have been saying this for a long time.

Well, then, they're idiots. But it's not their fault, ultimately--one of the main jobs of Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, and, yes, Barack Obama, is to whip the party into line. That they're failing so miserably places the blame more on their shoulders than anyone else.

I mean, seriously, doesn't Obama still have enough clout to tell the House, "give me the damn Senate bill, NOW"? He does, but Bush was the 'decider,' so Obama can't be that, no, he has to be the 'delegator' instead.

Well fuck that. You know what? When Bush wanted to invade Iraq, he damn well got his way.
posted by notswedish at 5:34 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: "Slaughtered? What's that? Like, they'll only have a seventeen vote majority?"

It only makes sense when you take into account that they got their lunch money stolen even with a FILIBUSTER PROOF MAJORITY.

Sorry for the blink tag, but I'm just that annoyed.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:35 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


delmoi: “The democrats are going to get slaughtered in 2010.”

The chairman of the Republican Party would respectfully like to disagree with you. Of course, this is the same chairman of the Republican Party who many 'establishment' Republicans would like to see removed as quickly as possible... but that sort of goes to the point, doesn't it?

Do not underestimate the massive split that's happening in the Republican Party right now. The Democrats have a general agreement behind them; one election doesn't change that. The Republicans, however, are splitting rapidly and violently on sectarian lines. Steele's new book - you should look it over - refers constantly to 'establishment' Republicanism, and talks about how the 'establishment' Republicans are responsible for the current conservative losses and must be tossed out. I know Republicans who just about froth at the mouth about this, Palin-loving Republicans who think the party is in the hands of crypto-socialists. In the face of all this, the old guard - ie any Republican with any intelligence at all, say for example the people at National Review (not geniuses, of course, but not Palinites either) - has no idea how to stop the hordes of angry teabaggers at the gates, who have already blasted a hole in the wall and put there man Steele in a great strategic position.
posted by koeselitz at 5:57 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come on guys, everyone knows you need 60 votes in the senate to do anything.

Unless, you know, you're Republicans.
posted by unSane at 6:00 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


... and furthermore (though I can't stand politics, lately I apparently can't hold myself back) -

The Republicans are congratulating themselves happily in this case on their ability to pick up the votes of independents who might be a little unhappy with the particular Democratic candidate being run (in this case Ms Coakley). But, though I lived in Massachusetts once and still love it, it is not the rest of the US - far from it, it's nothing like the rest of the US as far as politics is concerned. (Massachusetts is, as I recall, quite proud of this fact. So they should be.) Specifically: at some point in the next few years, the split between strong religious social-conservative Republicans and old-guard urban social-liberal Republicans is going to have to be decided. I'm pretty sure - though maybe it's just hope on my part - that we can see how that will play out: the religious, socially-conservative Republicans pretty clearly have the numbers, and they're FOX's chief audience so there's a solid feedback loop in place to keep them sure of themselves. Moreover, to a man, these religio-Republicans are firmly certain that they have a complete and absolute majority of the electorate in this country. So as they plot their complete takeover of the Republican Party, they do so with a certitude that they're doing so with a voter mandate and with their immediate election all but assured.

I say that I'm hopeful that this happens because these premises seem massively, disastrously, mind-blowingly false to me. An absolute socially-conservative religious Republican Party as these people want would drive away independents in droves – anyone gay or sexually openminded, anyone of a different religious stripe than Christian, anyone even remotely different from the party's solid core ideal will be pushed away violently. And that would be a massive coup for the Democrats. Very little would please me more than seeing the religious and socially-conservative wing of Republicanism take over the party completely, only to discover that hardly anyone will vote for them anymore. And I become more and more certain that I will get to see this happen in my lifetime.

The Republican Party originally became associated with religion and social conservatism primarily because certain Republican politicians were shrewd enough to know that shaking a preacher's hand or having your picture taken as you're going into church can win lots of votes. People like Reagan and Bush Sr. (all the way back to Nixon) were great at playing that game and forming alliances with the more corrupt amongst the churchmen, but none of them were silly or stupid enough to actually believe the pseudoreligious prattle they were spitting; at heart, they were just being smart politicians. Somewhere along the line, conservatives were stupid enough to actually begin to believe that their politicians actually were Christian; and it really, really pissed them off when some of those politicians actually turned out to be pretty tepid on the idea. Either way, they're on the war-path now, and we'll have to see how it all turns out.
posted by koeselitz at 6:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry about the use of the term "war-path" near the end, there - immediately on clicking 'post' I realized that's a pretty offensive thing to say. Above and beyond the insulting implication that Native Americans are more warlike than anybody else, likening them to angry teabaggers is beyond the pale. Sorry, all.
posted by koeselitz at 6:19 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Send a message the democrats can understand Blue America PAC is raising funds to fight off corporate democrats in primaries this year. Donating would be a good way to stick it to the sellouts (obviously you should do your own research, too) but this could be a way to fight back.

---
Actually, a large portion of the House Democrats who are saying that they won't vote for the Senate bill are those who, arguably, want health reform the most: the progressive wing. They say that the Senate bill is too flawed in too many ways, and they have been saying this for a long time.
Other then Barney Frank, which liberal democrats are now, post brown, saying they won't vote for the senate bill then amend later
posted by delmoi at 6:30 PM on January 20, 2010


Actually, Barney Frank has already flipped and supports the senate HCR bill. Liberals will get behind this now that it's the best we can get for now.
posted by delmoi at 6:35 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


(not to go into Afghanistan again and at the risk of looking like a contrarian (but I like tidier facts and I do think it's part of the broader partisan issue), Unocal was talking to the Taliban and lots of folks are interested in running a pipeline thru the region to get at Central Asian oil and gas (Bob McFarlane used to work for some people out here) so, technically they do have resources – that said – it does speak to the geopolitical and strategic resource reality Obama has to face and the interests within the U.S. that may have other, perhaps conflicting, ideas as to how to deal with those situations. Which, ultimately, is linked to jobs and the transfer of wealth and all that and so too Coakley’s, and the Democrats in general, failure to achieve a coherent narrative within the U.S. to parse many of these difficult and complex concepts in contrast to the GOP. Which, I think, was well put by the Onion contrasting Carter “Let’s Talk Better Gas Mileage” vs. Reagan “Kill the Bastards.” Fairly obvious which one is going to resonate, accuracy and usefulness and all practical realities aside.)

And I just don’t get how people can be so pissed off about what happened over the eight years of the Bush administration they vote GOP. Why not vote 3rd party? Or if you’re a hardcore Dem, why not vote in the primary for someone a little further away from the GOP?
How can anyone be ok with artificial adversity for people who aren’t materially oriented or money centric jobs? How the hell does liberty equate with economic rapaciousness? Why would putting the brakes on licentious acquisition and concentration of resources screw up some intangible ideal of individuality and whatever ‘success’ is supposed to mean?

I’ve worked with people who have absolutely disgusted me in order to accomplish a goal, but goddamn who abandons their principles at the drop of a hat because hey, the leap just isn’t far enough yet and incremental advancement and tolerance of someone who maybe isn’t totally on board with everything you’re into is just too much, so why not go with the bloodsucker who will cut your throat?

Meh, it’s not the end of the world tho. Just irritating. I will say the one problem Americans as a whole do seem to have is recognizing compromise.
Maybe because we haven’t gone through any real hardship in a long time. I don’t think we should have to though in order to remedy it. And I don’t think we should be begging for another authoritarian executive like a masochist begs for the whip in order to avoid catastrophe.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:44 PM on January 20, 2010


Other then Barney Frank, which liberal democrats are now, post brown, saying they won't vote for the senate bill then amend later
House Liberals To Pelosi: "We Cannot Support The Senate Bill. Period."
In a private meeting in the Capitol just now, a dozen or more House liberals bluntly told Nancy Pelosi that there was no chance that they would vote to pass the Senate bill in its current form — making it all but certain that House Dems won’t opt for this approach, a top House liberal tells me.

“We cannot support the Senate bill — period,” is the message that liberals delivered to the Speaker, Dem Rep Raul Grijalva told me in an interview just now.
That's from about four and a half hours ago.
posted by Flunkie at 6:50 PM on January 20, 2010


For instance, Grijalva said, why not send the Senate individual bills that would, among other things, nix the “Cadillac” tax or close the donut hole, pressuring the Senate to deal with each provision separately?

“If the Senate chooses not to close the donut hole, that’s their damn problem,” Grijalva said. “They’ve had it too easy. One vote controls everything. Collectively, we’re tired of that.”
Is that guy living on the moon? There's no way the senate will have a problem with 'filibustering' these component bills.
posted by delmoi at 6:57 PM on January 20, 2010


Flunkie: "That's from about four and a half hours ago."

Oh, then they've had plenty of time to cave since then.

I'd like to ask anyone who thinks that the Senate bill represents "incremental improvement" or is "better than nothing" to please explain to me why, once we are required by law to give, say, 10% of our income directly to for-profit monopoly-protected corporations with a lobbying stranglehold on Congress, what is to stop the law from being changed to 15%. Then 20%. Then 25%.

I'm serious. If this is ludicrous paranoia on my part, I'll be glad to be disabused of my fears. Please tell me the specific legal safegaurd, as established in the bill, and what enforcement mechanisms will be in place.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:04 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is that guy living on the moon? There's no way the senate will have a problem with 'filibustering' these component bills.
I believe that he, and several other House progressives, prefer that possibility to the unchanged Senate bill.

I should be clear that I do not agree, and that I count this as one of the many absurdities in this entire debacle that I am angered by.
posted by Flunkie at 7:06 PM on January 20, 2010


Is that guy living on the moon? There's no way the senate will have a problem with 'filibustering' these component bills.

I have a hard time seeing the senate blocking pre-existing conditions reform. It is pretty much universally supported except by the industry lobbyists.

btw, can someone please tell Olberman to shut up? He's not helping by calling everyone who voted for Brown a racist.
posted by rr at 7:06 PM on January 20, 2010


Couple of points:

a) Delay in HCR is _okay_. You guys have been trying to do this since 1910's, a few months here and there won't matter much.

b) Reform is always a _process_ not an outcome. The outcome is increased well-being.

c) Now, I dont think many progressives fully appreciate this, but _all_ legislation is a form of compromise; there's absolutely no other way to legislate in a liberal democracy, anything other than that would be a regime-change. Problem that Obama has, though, is that his bargaining points don't carry the weight of legitimacy; unlike Reagan or Kennedy or FDR, he can't quite say whatever he believes in is the main liberal plank. That's broadly where the whole experience thing comes into play; people just don't believe he's doing the right thing enough. Which wasn't really a problem for Bill Clinton, but then, Clinton wasn't expected to become the next FDR, merely advance liberal goals a trite.

It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing; to gain that legitimacy, Obama needs to champion some significantly big progressive legislation (I do believe that Team Obama is counting on HCR to be that legislation) But to get any significantly big legislation in (economically)-scary times, he needs that legitimacy. The only way to resolve chicken-and-egg issues is to change things incrementally.
posted by the cydonian at 7:10 PM on January 20, 2010


Well, we can always count on the republican crazies to be totally fucking crazy:
Beck launched into a long rant about how Brown had just put his daughters up for grabs on a "meat market" and how shocked he was that anyone could say something like that on national television. Then came that moment that differentiates Beck on the radio from Beck on the TV: he started comparing Brown to Gary Condit.
I want a chastity belt on this man. I want his every move watched in Washington. I don't trust this guy. This one could end with a dead intern. I'm just saying. It could end with a dead intern.
Glen Beck asking the important questions, like "Did Scott Brown rape and murder a 13 year old girl in 1990!?"
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on January 20, 2010


Delay in HCR is _okay_. You guys have been trying to do this since 1910's, a few months here and there won't matter much.
Exactly what do you expect to change in "a few months"?

Large scale reform proposals that flame out in Congress die for a long time before they are ever considered again. This has been the pattern even with health care reform in particular, which has several times flamed out and died for many years.
posted by Flunkie at 7:24 PM on January 20, 2010


Scott Brown Daughter Bikini PHOTO: Picture Of Ayla & Arianna

Oh huffpo. Don't ever change.
posted by delmoi at 7:29 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


That picture sorely wants a sing-a-ling cartoon crab.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:41 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, Barney frank actually took some calls from constituents, before backtracking.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on January 20, 2010


delmoi: "Frankly I think this could be a good thing for the democrats. They needed a slap across the face, and they got it. Now they can either realize they need to fight back, or collapse into a puddle of tears and run screaming and cowering in the corner."

Want me to ruin the suspense for you?

From the White House blog:

Right now there are a lot of discussions going on about the best path forward. But let's be clear that the President's preference is to pass a bill that meets the principles he laid out months ago

John Aravosis comments:

Obama's "preference" is for the "principles."

And it looks like Paul Krugman wants to know where his unicorn is.

...I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.

posted by Joe Beese at 7:58 PM on January 20, 2010


There is sort of an interesting idea being floated, most recently by Ed Rendell on TRMS, which is that the Dems should start by passing a 'no-pre-existing conditions' clause and dare the Repubs to vote it down. The insurance companies would then scream that the only way it could work would be if everone were insured, which would mean that a mandate would be passed very swiftly afterwards. And do the same with the other parts of the bill... pass the popular parts then pass the necessary parts.

This sounds like one of those solutions that is simple, easy and wrong, but I'm sort of liking it.
posted by unSane at 7:58 PM on January 20, 2010


I love how it's considered a valid argument to call somebody a child when they point out how fucked up everything is.
posted by tehloki at 8:09 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is sort of an interesting idea being floated, most recently by Ed Rendell on TRMS, which is that the Dems should start by passing a 'no-pre-existing conditions' clause and dare the Repubs to vote it down.

Wow. Democrats really are clueless, aren't they?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:28 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The long-suffering faithful at Balloon Juice are having a rought night.

He is plainly so obsessed with bipartisanship and appearing reasonable to the point that he is incapable of conceiving Republicans as deadly political enemies as opposed to “people with a different point of view.” Before this is over, I honestly expect some Republican to flat-out call him a n****r to his face in the Oval Office and for him to just chuckle and respond “well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” I look at Obama now, and I just see Dukakis in his tank. Hapless.

This sloppy messaging confirms to me that the administration not only didn’t have a contingency plan, but didn’t even bother to develop one once the really bad polls started coming out. That’s unacceptable. Heads should be rolling over this. People need to be sacked.

Oh, and if this “stripped down measure with bipartisan support” includes tort reform or malpractice reform in any way, shape or form, I will do everything I can to support a primary opponent and/or a third party candidate in 2012, and if any of you Obots want to bitch to me about “the Nader effect,” you can suck it.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:52 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re ericb's link about passing out the 2nd revolutionary war flags at the Brown victory party - sheesh, nice company Brown keeps. How are those supporters working out for you, Senator?

One of the II revolution's biggest proponents - a Tea Bagger and an Oath keeper - is currently being held in Texoma for rape. When authorities searched the home of Charles Dyer, they found a grenade launcher that matched the description of some that were stolen from an Army post in California. Check him out calling for revolution on this video.

This is being discussed in a thread on LGF, with several commenters noting that the DHS memo doesn't seem so wrong any more.

One of these days, the support that republicans lend to these crazies is going to come back and bite them in the ass hard.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:57 PM on January 20, 2010


It only makes sense when you take into account that they got their lunch money stolen even with a FILIBUSTER PROOF MAJORITY.

They never had this. They had about 57 or 58 votes and another three or two maybes that could be persuaded with large changes to the heathcare bill. Now you're going to act like Nelson and Lieberman were just regular members of the caucus?

The Left can't criticize the Democrats for to not utilizing the full power of a 60-vote majority and for the compromises on the bill. The former was entirely dependent on the latter. (And it worked, by the way, they got the votes. Then Teddy died.)
posted by spaltavian at 9:14 PM on January 20, 2010


deanc: You know, when US public debt as a percentage of GDP approaches something close to Japan's, I will worry.

You're just measuring existing debt that's actually been issued by that figure. You're not measuring the committed outflows that start in about eight more years, primarily Social Security and the Medicare drug benefit.

If you measure debt by GAAP standards, which is what we demand of our corporations, we're at least fifty trillion in debt, and probably substantially more, because of the AIG takeover and the ongoing medical bills for the soldiers in the wars. That's about five times our GDP -- and our GDP is inflated substantially by the government spending that's fueled by borrowing! The real economy part of that GDP, the part that actually has to service all that debt, is only part of that. And that part will shrink substantially when the deficit spending stops, because much of its growth has been to service the dollars being borrowed and spent by the government.

This isn't a partisan issue; every President from Carter onward has dug us deeper into the hole. The Republicans have been much worse; Bush did more damage to us than all prior Presidents combined. But everyone since Reagan has contributed. Obama's in there doing his bit as well. Regardless of who did it, we're in a VERY deep hole, and it's going to be VERY painful to get out of it.

Or, we can just keep digging, until the hole collapses.

Things that can't go on forever, don't.
posted by Malor at 9:15 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it looks like Paul Krugman wants to know where his unicorn is.

...I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.
I'm kind of annoyed how everyone is using this to make the claim that their ideas were right all along. Of course I'm doing it too. That might seem like a contradiction, but come on. Who hasn't eaten a pint of ice-cream and then felt guilty all day.
There is sort of an interesting idea being floated, most recently by Ed Rendell on TRMS, which is that the Dems should start by passing a 'no-pre-existing conditions' clause and dare the Repubs to vote it down. The insurance companies would then scream that the only way it could work would be if everone were insured, which would mean that a mandate would be passed very swiftly afterwards. And do the same with the other parts of the bill... pass the popular parts then pass the necessary parts.
Sounds like a good idea. You know what else would have been a good idea? Figuring out what the fuck they were going to do once the tracking polls went south instead of freaking the fuck out.
This is being discussed in a thread on LGF, with several commenters noting that the DHS memo doesn't seem so wrong any more.

One of these days, the support that republicans lend to these crazies is going to come back and bite them in the ass hard.
Dude, Glenn Beck just called Scott Brown an incestuous child molester, who might just kill an intern. They're shooting their seed corn in the head. I don't know what is wrong with these people but they are clearly out of their minds.
posted by delmoi at 9:32 PM on January 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


(here is the Glenn Beck thing, again)
posted by delmoi at 9:34 PM on January 20, 2010


I still don't know what to make of the Glenn Beck thing, except that that they are already planning how to replace Scott Brown with a True Believer. The schism in the GOP is going to be cracked wide open in primary season; for decades the Christianist wing has been patronized by the GOP Brahmin, then basically ignored while in office. Now the Teabaggers/Christianists have the upper hand and it's going to be bloody. I think it will be some version of Palin/Scott in 2012 but the path to the nomination will be paved with the bodies of sane Republicans.
posted by unSane at 9:41 PM on January 20, 2010


In another republican success with obstructionism today, Obama's choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name. He was named in September, but Jim DeMint blocked him because he worries that Southers would support collective bargaining rights for TSA employees.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Southers said the confirmation process made him question his willingness to participate in public service.

"I am not a politician. I'm a counterterrrorism expert," Southers said Wednesday. "They took an apolitical person and politicized my career."

posted by madamjujujive at 9:49 PM on January 20, 2010


Uh oh... Someone pushed the wrong President one step too far!

President Obama on Thursday will publicly propose giving bank regulators the power to limit the size of the nation’s largest banks and the scope of their risk-taking activities...


Gee, if Obama had let this hidden populist streak of his emerge before Tuesday's election, those pharmaceutical lobbyists who hosted that sinking-ship fundraiser for Martha Coakley might have gotten something for their money.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:15 PM on January 20, 2010


They're shooting their seed corn in the head. I don't know what is wrong with these people but they are clearly out of their minds.

I think it's pretty canny, because wild, throwaway punches like this are just the finishing touches on the public image Beck has painted: Glenn Beck, radical skeptic, rebel yell, right-wing Diogenes with a crazy, cutting light. It's only nominally a remark about Brown; couched within is the much more substantial accusation (murder) against a politician from the opposite party. It's also inconsequential. This is certainly the apex of Brown's popularity; he could not be safer if he'd been double dipped in the Styx.

In the universe next door, where Glenn Beck hawks stereo equipment instead of ideas, it might go like this:

"Look, I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to level with you here. I know that five hundred dollar model is way out of your price range anyways, so it doesn't matter (check), but you might be better off without it. It's good, don't get me wrong, but the d-to-a converters are the same ones used in a product designed by our competitors (check). They use Chinese converters, you know. Did you know that Chinese converters sometimes overload and kill interns? I've laid it all out on this flow chart, right here... anyways, stay away from our competitor.

Now, this other baby here, she may not look fancy, but she's right in your comfort zone. And she uses good old fashioned American converters. See, I've just saved you four hundred dollars! Now run along and tell all your friends about me, ol' honest Glenn. (check)"
posted by kid ichorous at 11:00 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're shooting their seed corn in the head. I don't know what is wrong with these people but they are clearly out of their minds.

Yet they're still running the country.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:22 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In related news, ...
posted by jeffburdges at 11:25 PM on January 20, 2010


In related news, ...

That's related only in the sense that nuts are related to fruits because they both grow on trees. Crazy, neurochemically imbalanced trees.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


> One of these days, the support that republicans lend to these crazies is going to come back and bite them all of us in the ass hard.

T,FTFY.
posted by genehack at 6:14 AM on January 21, 2010


Rail on and on, Malor, but the facts won't change. Implementation of a good medical system would save huge sums of money. You can argue against the Senate bill and I'm right along with you, but single-payer would be manna from heaven.
posted by mek at 6:27 AM on January 21, 2010


You're not measuring the committed outflows that start in about eight more years, primarily Social Security and the Medicare drug benefit.

Malor, part of the problem is that Medicare is pays for medical costs, and medical costs grow faster than inflation (and faster than the pace of the economy). One of the reasons for health care reform is to slow down the growth of medical care costs so that we can pay for them.

It is to be expected that we should be able to pay for the same services and public infrastructure as any other 1st world country, and universal health care, something which isn't even that expensive is one of those things. And if we get it done now, there will be less temptation in the future to go into debt on other spending initiatives.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
jock@law, why are you posting this already well-worn maxim, particularly when it is the republicans who seem hellbent on not actually doing anything?
posted by deanc at 6:38 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm serious. If this is ludicrous paranoia on my part, I'll be glad to be disabused of my fears.

Do you harbor the same "ludicrous paranoia" about mandatory auto insurance? It's not like insurance mandates are completely unprecedented.

But I'm not sure what 10% of income mandate you're talking about. If you mean the cap on annual out of pocket expenses, that's an absolute cap on the maximum you'd have to pay out of pocket on medical expenses (not coverage), since, you know, a lot of current plans still make you foot a substantial percentage of the costs through deductibles and coverage exclusions.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:38 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: "Do you harbor the same "ludicrous paranoia" about mandatory auto insurance?"

Driving is optional. Living - I would like to think - isn't.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:52 AM on January 21, 2010


Like I said, we're screwed.
posted by webhund at 8:02 AM on January 21, 2010


And now the SCOTUS has declared that corporations are free to buy elections at will. Yay.

I've said this before, but I'm gonna bring it up again because I think the time has come to enforce it:

Members of Congress should be forced to wear jumpsuits, like NASCAR drivers, with patches on them of all their sponsors. When they give speeches, they should have to say things like: "Well, the Blue Cross team did a good job getting our legislation out to the floor today...."

If our ruling class is going to be bought and paid for by the corporation, then there should be enforced honesty. Let's see who you sleep with, you craven political prostitutes.

I want jumpsuits. I want patches. I want sponsor shout-outs when they talk. Let me know who brung you to dance, as it were.
posted by dejah420 at 8:05 AM on January 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Driving isn't optional for the majority of people who drive.

And the majority of people are already insured through their employers, which wouldn't change under the current proposals.

And the unemployed, assuming they aren't independently wealthy, would qualify for subsidized coverage.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on January 21, 2010


And now the SCOTUS has declared that corporations are free to buy elections at will. Yay.

Goddamn it.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:09 AM on January 21, 2010


I'm hoping one of the saner justices will shank Scalia.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pelosi: House won't pass Sentate bill.
posted by PenDevil at 8:55 AM on January 21, 2010


TPM:
Speaker Pelosi just said "I don't see the votes for [passing the Senate bill] at this time."

In other words, plug pulled. Health care reform over.

Pelosi followed with a bunch of muddying caveats that seemed to make the statement more ambiguous. So I strongly recommend reading her whole statement word for word so you can interpret it yourself. But the other 'options' she mentions seem to be clearly impossible. So I don't think there's any way to read her comments other than to say she's ready to sweep health care reform into the dustbin for good.

She says she lacks the votes now but hopes at some point in the future she might.

Would have been nice to know back in January they didn't have the fortitude for this.
Ugh.
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on January 21, 2010


Oh well, the bill sucked. I'm just worried about what this is going to do to the democratic party. I mean, one vote from a state that already has Universal Healthcare, and they fold like little bitches? Talk about looking ridiculous. They have the rest of the year to turn this around but I kind of doubt much is going to happen.
posted by delmoi at 9:28 AM on January 21, 2010


Oh well, the bill sucked. I'm just worried about what this is going to do to the democratic party. I mean, one vote from a state that already has Universal Healthcare, and they fold like little bitches? Talk about looking ridiculous. They have the rest of the year to turn this around but I kind of doubt much is going to happen.

It was better than no fucking bill at all, which is what we are getting. I could kill the Dem left in the House. So stupid. Whining about their dumbass public option for 6 months. If they had just knuckled under we'd have the fucking bill right now. Right Now! Fucking idiots! They really think that magically the Senate is going to get the votes.

I'm so fucking pissed.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:35 AM on January 21, 2010


Driving is optional.

Maybe if you live in one of the few places in the country with comprehensive public transportation. For most people, no, it isn't.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:36 AM on January 21, 2010


I'm just worried about what this is going to do to the democratic party.
At this point, I genuinely don't understand why that matters.
posted by Flunkie at 9:40 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just sent this to Speaker Pelosi:

Madame Speaker:

Your decision today to pull the plug on health care reform is the worst decision I have ever seen made by a public servant in my lifetime. I am 41 years old.

I cannot fully express my deep disappointment in your actions today. Publically acknowledging that you cannot persuade your members to pass this bill has put the final nail in the coffin for health care reform for 8 years. That is a long time and a lot of people are going to die because they lack access to health care.

The political impact will be enormous. The American people will rightly punish the Democratic Party at the polls this fall.

How could the Party be so weak! How? I am so frustrated and upset with your actions, I can barely speak. I have never in my life been angrier at a Democrat than I am angry at you today.

For the first time in my entire life, I have to state that the Democratic Party does not stand for what I stand for and does not share my values. I am ashamed to say that it also does not share my resolve. I have donated time and money to the Party for years. Now I am frightened to see that you and the Party lack the resolve to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, this isn't merely a political issue. Thousands will die because of the lack of resolve demonstrated by you and the Party.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hate to say it, but the far left was right, the whole American system is broken. I had been convinced that the way to real progressive change was to work slowly from the inside, specifically that a flawed health care bill was still worth it since it would help some people and would provide the base for change in the future.

But I was wrong. The Republicans campaign on a pro torture and war platform, The Democratic Party is filled with cowards and corporate sycophants and the American voters are ignorant spoiled children. I live abroad, now and I don't think I am ever moving back.
posted by afu at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just called my congressman to ask what his position was, and the staffer was noncommital, still pushing the line about "He is waiting to see what comes out of the conference committee." I said, sincerely, that I do not know what the right course of action in regard to health care reform is at this point, but I do know this: The leadership has failed. From the Obama team, to Pelosi, and PARTICULARLY Reid, they have all failed. Heads need to roll.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:27 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


To be honest, the current HRC proposals were completely horrible. The whole mandates thing without a public option? Gimme a break. But even so. What really does astonish me is that the US is finding so hard what almost every other developed country in the world did years ago, with great swathes of the population *completely losing their shit* in terror of universal state-funded healthcare which not only covers everyone, but is cheaper than what the US has now.

No health care systems are perfect and I've argued elsewhere repeatedly that they are designed to be in crisis (since that's a sign that they are working efficiently... demand should always outstrip supply, since the potential demand for end of life healthcare is pretty much infinite) but it's a problem which has been, to at least a first approximation, solved in most countries.

I know US tax rates are low, but not when you add in the 17% of average income that goes on health insurance. And of course it's a larger proportion the poorer you are... a totally regressive tax.

From the outside it looks like a bunch of clowns wrestling with a pig in a bath full of oil. The rest of the world stands outside scratching their heads and wondering why the clowns don't just get out of the oil.
posted by unSane at 10:36 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaker Pelosi just said "I don't see the votes for [passing the Senate bill] at this time."

I AM ANGRY WITH RAGE AND MIGHT JUST GO REPUBLICAN BECAUSE THE MOTHERFUCKERS GET SHIT DONE. SHIT THAT I DISAPPROVE OF IN EVERY WAY, BUT G-DDAMNIT THEY DON'T WASTE AN OPPORTUNITY HAND PICKED BY G-D HIMSELF TO DO WHATEVER THE SHIT THEY PLEASE.

Ahem. I mean. This sucks.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:49 AM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Democratic Party is the most useless governing organization ever devised by human beings.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:51 AM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


“I want jumpsuits. I want patches. I want sponsor shout-outs when they talk. Let me know who brung you to dance, as it were.”

Someone who is a real maverick in congress could refer to them by their corporate sponsor instead of their ‘maiden’ name. So it would be “Mr. General Electric…” etc.

“I'd like to ask anyone who thinks that the Senate bill represents "incremental improvement" or is "better than nothing" to please explain to me why, once we are required by law to give, say, 10% of our income directly to for-profit monopoly-protected corporations with a lobbying stranglehold on Congress, what is to stop the law from being changed to 15%...”

Y’know, I actually like the incremental change idea. Sort of like the civil rights movement. You lay down the foundational principle that all men (and women) deserve the same rights and expose the fact, whether through public demonstration, organization and dissemination of images and words or cogent argument in public forums, perhaps, hopefully, engaging public figures in discussion especially those who oppose the position.
This in order to prove the validity of the idea as it can withstand the harsh light of reality and practical criticism.
This, to me, is why Goldwater was wrong, generally. Certainly correct about the constitution and so forth, and he was standing on principle – but there are meta levels to the principles in the U.S. government and when it’s time for change, it’s time for change and the lesser rules should not hold that broad based social demand back. And those kinds of movements nearly always tend toward the egalitarian.
So too with health care, except we have not reached the conceptual stage, that in principle all citizens have the right to health care.
While I might have (were I alive then ) agreed with Goldwater in terms of the constitution, I would not have supported him. I would have supported the civil rights movement. And indeed, much of the opposition to the civil rights movement asked – if we give the negroes this much – how can we be sure they won’t –‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z.’
To be clear, I am absolutely not accusing you of or attempting to insinuate you are a racist in any way. Merely that the ‘slippery slope’ idea has many applications. Indeed, I am fairly sympathetic to it when it comes to firearms.
However, each step has been negotiated and real social shifts have not yet occurred to equalize blacks and whites in the U.S. in terms of practical realities (health, school, environment, basic economics, etc.).
So too – healthcare would be a constant struggle, with the exception that we would have a foundational ideal that all citizens are entitled to it.
I’m greatly in favor of establishing that. And I think the ‘How’ of it will be so hotly contested it’s questionable whether the for-profit monopoly-protected corporations will retain their stranglehold and ask for 15 % or 2 % or 50% of our income or whether they’ll see the profit margin is too close and spend less and less on lobbying and start getting into other more profitable businesses.
Really though, I don’t know.
But I do think it’s worth trying to get the ball rolling because at the very least you’ve got inertia working for you rather than constantly having to initiate and reinitiate. Manifestly, the initiative Clinton had, for a bit, did no good for Obama since the momentum had been shut down.
By the same token, yeah, it might be a Sisyphean task . I think the question put more broadly than yours – because I think it’s going to be constantly negotiated and renegotiated as privacy rights seem to be now – is whether there has to be a sea change in the moral culture or whether we can get universal access health care on the current foundation of our existing moral culture.
As it sits at least one of the (unspoken in some places, roared loudly in others) arguments of the anti-health care bill folks is the sort of ‘screw you, I got mine’ or this individualistic go it alone attitude.
People don’t want to hear about being one lost job away from medical poverty. And the problem, at it’s core, is that people accept it as some sort of moral failing on the part of the job loser. As though cancer or a tumor was a judgment from God and they somehow deserve to lose their finances.
So on the one hand – yes, the corporations might demand more. But on the other hand, they’re already sucking as much blood as they can while convincing people that their victims are deserving reprobates.
Given the choice, I’d favor the risk of being shafted in the future as long as we recognize how much we need to cover each other as a matter of first principles.
I didn’t used to feel that way, but watching disasters and war and seeing people look the other way slowly convinced me that protecting self-interest is no virtue. Because tomorrow they’ll come knocking on your door.
That and it lends a liquidity to labor (you can move from your job to another without risking you and your family’s health) that doesn’t exist, which is staggeringly important in the U.S. right now.
Still, really, I don't know. Faith maybe. It's been my experience that the only time you lose is when you stop fighting.

“I live abroad, now and I don't think I am ever moving back.”
Thanks for abandoning folks actually working for change to the bastards. No doubt you’ll return if and when it gets better to reap the benefits of their work and say hey ‘I was always morally in support of you guys.’
In my backyard we have more openly gay people running in Illinois than ever. Dan Kairis running in the 14th congressional district survived the democrats challenging his right to be on the ballot. In fact there were more than 50 green candidates statewide in 08 (since they got 10% of the vote and were recognized). It’s slow, but it’s progressing. All it takes is hard work. Lots of people doing that hard work can use some backup if you (or anyone) has something else going on. It's not easy, people have kids, jobs, etc. But y'know, unless you try, you're not really doing anything. Not that I'm a superhero here, but I can take some pride in my own small contribution. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm invested in the fight.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2010


Ironmouth Why aren't you furious with Reid, Lieberman, Nelson, and the Senate aristocracy who killed everything good in the bill just to prove they could?

Why is it that the "right thing" to do is cram this shit bill down the throats of the left, but apparently it isn't the "right thing" to cram a better bill down the throats of the right?

Why is it, always, the left that has to eat shit?

I'm mad too, but I'm mad at the "centrist" Democrats, I'm mad at the Blue Dogs, I'm mad at Reid, and Obama, and Lieberman, and I'm furious at the fucking filibuster. I'm mad at the people who decided that, yet again as it always must be, the left has to surrender and the right must be ever victorious.

The Senate bill is, literally, worse than nothing. It doesn't improve things, it makes them worse. Passing it would be bad, defeating it is good.

No, I won't be happy with the Republican crowing about defeating the bill, but I'd rather put up with that than be reduced to being a serf owned by the health insurance industry.

Seriously, what good would the Senate bill do? Would anyone get healthcare? No, because the mandated "insurance" will have deductibles and copays so high that it's worthless. Will the situation get better? Is there a program, as with Social Security, that we can fight to improve? No.

Incrementalism is well and good, but you can't say "we eat this shit, we take this bill which does more harm than good, and somehow by magic in the next few years (without a 60 vote majority, and with a Republican party determined to end the "reform" no matter what), it'll get better."

No, it won't. This bill, right now, is as good as it will ever get as long as the filibuster is in place, and when the time comes, a few years down the line, to appropriate the money to fund the subsidies you know as well as I do that the Republican minority, with its now guaranteed filibuster, will stop the appropriations bill.

The end result will be nothing but the mandate, prices skyrocketing, and "insurance" that covers nothing. I can't take that much shit and say it's a good deal.

I'm willing to entertain the possibility that I'm wrong, but you're going to have to find actual citations from the bill that prove it. I won't and can't just accept that our spineless and filibustered Democratic party will somehow make the bill anything but serfdom to the insurance industry.

Oh, and yes, I do feel the exact same way about auto insurance mandates. If the state wants to cover something it should raise taxes and cover it directly, it should not, ever, mandate that I give my money to a for profit corporation. I'm already held as a serf by one segment of the insurance industry, I don't see any benefit in adding another master.
posted by sotonohito at 11:37 AM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If, in 2011, the filibuster is killed then incrementalism might be a valid approach. But I really don't think Reid will kill the filibuster.
posted by sotonohito at 11:39 AM on January 21, 2010


I'll add - most of the time political leaders need a popular champion to run interference and, y'know, lead, so they can look up from kissing ass and shoot the gaps the popular guy makes.
...of course 9 times out of 10 it seems the popular folk hero dies, is executed, is assassinated or is outright betrayed by the very people he's helping.
Hazard of the profession I suppose. Probably why so many people don't want the job. (Me, I'm scared the other way, bit too close to Michael Collins or William Quantrill by natural proclivity).

Is it a betrayal that so many Dems don't want to vote for this? I had hoped Obama would not be able to gather together a powerful coalition to run roughshod, but perhaps he does have the personal integrity to be entrusted with that kind of power. Lincoln was. On the other hand, look what happened to him. And I'd hate to hinge advancement, especially in a democracy, upon the nature of one man.
I agree we do need a better, less corporate fettered, congress in order to avoid having a de facto emperor.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:50 AM on January 21, 2010


"Oh, and yes, I do feel the exact same way about auto insurance mandates."
Hnh. Good point.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:52 AM on January 21, 2010


Smedleyman Personally, I favor amending the Constitution to abolish the Presidency. It's just plain a bad idea to give one person all that power and authority. Maybe direct elections of the heads of the various departments of the Executive? I don't know, but I do know that the Presidency is just plain a bad idea.
posted by sotonohito at 11:53 AM on January 21, 2010


Asked today if health care was on the back burner, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president believes it is the exact right thing to do by giving this some time, by letting the dust settle, if you will, and looking for the best path forward."

So, sane healthcare will have to wait for another generation.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:57 AM on January 21, 2010


Do you harbor the same "ludicrous paranoia" about mandatory auto insurance? It's not like insurance mandates are completely unprecedented.

This is not a particularly strong argument, for as often as it gets used. Just about anyone who's ever purchased cheap auto insurance understands that the insurance you're required to purchase doesn't protect you, it protects other people that you might run into. There's no requirement to get the automobile equivalent of health insurance -- "comprehensive" coverage -- that would cover repair to your own vehicle, or your own injuries if you drive into a tree.

People are accepting of auto-insurance mandates because they don't want some "judgement-proof" (read: broke) asshole running into their car and then being unable to foot the bill, leaving the victim with the costs of the accident.

So I'm not sure that you're going to convince anyone who's on the fence using that particular analogy.

Mandatory health insurance is more like mandatory seat-belt laws, in that it makes it unlawful to put yourself at risk, presumably because there's an assumption that in doing so, you're going to externalize costs on others. But seatbelt laws are fairly controversial, and even people in states where they've been passed sometimes resent them as an intrusion.

Maybe if you really hammer on the point about broke people going into ERs and externalizing the costs of their medical care onto others -- "those uninsured people are ripping you off!" -- you could generate support among people who already have insurance (who are the crucial swing demographic) for a mandate, but I haven't seen supporters of HCR really take that up very well.

The Democrats did not do a good job selling healthcare reform to the bulk of the public, particularly to people who already have coverage in the form of employer-sponsored plans. They certainly got people talking about the issue and brought it to the forefront of public consciousness, but then they dropped the ball and the Republicans ran with it.

I doubt this is the last we'll see of HCR; maybe next time the left will realize that the moralistic arguments about natural-law "rights" to healthcare are not particularly convincing among voters who already have, and pay for, their own healthcare, and don't really feel the need to provide it for anyone else if they can avoid it. That sort of rhetoric may sound good in speeches, but it seems evident that in the privacy of the voting booth, most Americans are totally content to say FUGM. Rather than trying to change that essential characteristic of the electorate, the Democrats would do better to embrace it, and sell healthcare as a way of protecting the public from those who are irresponsibly uninsured.

The Republicans certainly have no problem playing to the worst impulses of the public; the Democrats either need to learn to play the game, or continue getting outmaneuvered.

Or, put differently: the problem with the Democrats is that they appeal to the America that Americans like to believe they are, or perhaps aspire to be; the Republicans, to put it politely, appeal to something entirely less lofty.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:01 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It was better than no fucking bill at all, which is what we are getting.

Hey I agree, and I think the house should pass the senate bill.

I could kill the Dem left in the House. So stupid. Whining about their dumbass public option for 6 months.

Dude, are you out of your mind? I know it's fashionable to blame the failure on the people you disagree with but get some perspective. The House passed their version of the bill first. And it included a public option; obviously it was possible to include it in the house. Passing it earlier wouldn't have sped up the senate version.

It was the senate where things slowed down, because Max Baucus kept on trying to get some republican votes, for hardly any reason at all. It was Max Baucus who slowed this thing down, not "progressives in the house" who had zero control over the senate.

A couple months ago you were saying that "Obama was going to cruse to victory".

But why is it always the progressives who have to sit down and shut up. What about the corporatist whores like Liberman and Nelson? There was nothing "conservative" about what they were after, they were trying to protect corporate interests who pay for their campaigns, and that's it. The idea that we should "compromise" with a hand full of people out of 60 because somehow they're the "centrists" is absurd.

The public option fight didn't slow anything down, it was the fruitless pursuit of republican votes.

From your letter to Pelosi
How could the Party be so weak! How? I am so frustrated and upset with your actions, I can barely speak. I have never in my life been angrier at a Democrat than I am angry at you today.

For the first time in my entire life, I have to state that the Democratic Party does not stand for what I stand for and does not share my values. I am ashamed to say that it also does not share my resolve. I have donated time and money to the Party for years. Now I am frightened to see that you and the Party lack the resolve to do the right thing.
Although we disagree about the merits of the bill, I am pretty disgusted with the Democratic Party in the house right now. Yes, the senate bill sucks, but at this point it really is the best we can get. Even I can see that splitting it up won't work at all and the republicans will have no problem voting it down. It doesn't even make sense that this guy's election should change the calculus in the house. At least have a vote even if it gets voted down. So we can see who needs to get primaried out.

But now you see it. The Democratic Party in the house and senate is made up of a bunch of worthless sellout hacks. I hope you can see I was right all along :P
Asked today if health care was on the back burner, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "The president believes it is the exact right thing to do by giving this some time, by letting the dust settle, if you will, and looking for the best path forward."
Seriously, what is it with these people? They're dealt a minor (in practical terms) setback and suddenly they fucking just give up? What the hell? Pelosi and Obama just give up, like that?

What the fuck?
This is not a particularly strong argument, for as often as it gets used. Just about anyone who's ever purchased cheap auto insurance understands that the insurance you're required to purchase doesn't protect you, it protects other people that you might run into. There's no requirement to get the automobile equivalent of health insurance -- "comprehensive" coverage -- that would cover repair to your own vehicle, or your own injuries if you drive into a tree.

Mandatory health insurance is more like mandatory seat-belt laws, in that it makes it unlawful to put yourself at risk, presumably because there's an assumption that in doing so, you're going to externalize costs on others. But seatbelt laws are fairly controversial, and even people in states where they've been passed sometimes resent them as an intrusion.
Peter Orszag made the point that we want to create a 'social norm' that having health insurance is important, just like wearing a seatbelt. The problem is that health insurance is really fucking expensive and wearing a seatbelt is only a minor inconvenience.

And of course the car insurance thing, there's a huge difference. Driving a car, at the very least requires owning a car, and paying for gas, and the state needs to pay for roads and everything else. It seems obvious that people might need to buy insurance as just another cost of using the road. Car insurance is a fee people have to pay to use the roads in their car (as opposed to riding a bike or taking a bus)

On the other hand, mandatory health insurance is a fee levied on people just for being alive. Even if it's not practical to give up your car where you live, you can always move somewhere more bike friendly if you want too.
Rather than trying to change that essential characteristic of the electorate, the Democrats would do better to embrace it, and sell healthcare as a way of protecting the public from those who are irresponsibly uninsured.
You don't get chemotherapy at the ER. I think I actually went through and calculated it out and the total ER costs in the U.S. come out to about $50 a person a year, or something. According to This 1996 paper Total E.R costs came to about 1.9% of annual health costs in 1987 (obviously a long time ago, but I don't think ER costs are that high)

Obama sold HCR as a way to reduce costs, reduce premiums, and reduce the deficit, seems like a reasonable pitch to people who are happy with their healthcare.
posted by delmoi at 1:53 PM on January 21, 2010


dirigibleman: "So, sane healthcare will have to wait for another generation."

After Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, I'd say it will have to wait forever.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:22 PM on January 21, 2010


If anyone in Arizona's 7th District could contact Congressman Grijalva and tell him he's an idiot for opposing the Senate bill and assuming that the votes are there to pass via reconciliation, I'd really appreciate it.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:44 PM on January 21, 2010


Dude, are you out of your mind? I know it's fashionable to blame the failure on the people you disagree with but get some perspective. The House passed their version of the bill first. And it included a public option; obviously it was possible to include it in the house. Passing it earlier wouldn't have sped up the senate version.

They are the ones opposing passing the Senate bill. Please call your congressperson ande get him/her on board now.

Thanks
posted by Ironmouth at 2:46 PM on January 21, 2010


They are the ones opposing passing the Senate bill. Please call your congressperson ande get him/her on board now.

My congressperson is a republican. The liberals have been the most vocal in calling for other paths forward (*cough*) but there are other groups who opposed the senate bill even before the Brown victory. In particular, the Stupaks have said the Nelson abortion amendment isn't good enough for them. So without his block, passing the bill is right out. And of course there are plenty of "New Democrats" and Blue Dogs who aren't that interested in passing the senate bill in the first place.

So yeah I think Grijalva is out of his mind here, but even if the progressives get on board, there's no way they'll be enough.

I really wish they would have an actual vote so that we could actually see who supports the bill and who doesn't. The worst part of the way they organize votes is that it allows groups to kill bills anonymously.
posted by delmoi at 3:22 PM on January 21, 2010


"Maybe direct elections of the heads of the various departments of the Executive?"

Could always divide the office into domestic and foreign affairs. You'd have a butter guy and a guns guy essentially competing for funds from congress. The outside guy gets to call war but the inside guy gets to muster troops. Sort of like the Spartans. Declare war all you want, but we're only sending you one guy. (We could almost have that with a stronger SecState).
But a lot of the powers the most recent presidents enjoy have been negotiated into being. We could undo that. For a while the Speaker of the House was the chief policy maker and the more visible head of the government. Teddy and FDR (et.al.) changed that. I don't know that it's in the parties interests to have a strong congress anymore. Too much Zaphod Beeblebrox advantage with the president as distraction.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:28 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "Please call your congressperson ande get him/her on board now."

So you disagree with the President's dust-settling strategy, I take it.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:40 PM on January 21, 2010


TPM:
I've been poking around some sources in Washington, DC (and combining this with what I've heard from our TPMDC team) and my sense is that Health Care Reform is both dead and not dead. Let's say it's among the Undead. There does seem to be some continuing effort to see how a Senate bill plus amending bill deal might work -- both for what would be needed in political terms and what would be workable under reconciliation rules. But there's also a lot of happy talk about generally marginal and meaningless reforms that might be pushed through as consolation prizes. And what seems unmistakably clear is that the White House is taking an extremely hands off approach to the whole situation.
Has this guy actually fought for anything at any point?
posted by delmoi at 3:45 PM on January 21, 2010


Ironmouth I live in Amarillo TX, the person who nominally represents me is Mac Thornberry. Even if I actually supported the Senate bill, which I emphatically don't, there is no way that Thornberry will vote yes no matter what I do.

Personally, I think the Senate bill should be killed. I think its a bad bill, I think it will do more harm than good, and I don't understand how anyone can think it's worth passing.

There's nothing there but a subsidy program that will be denied money when appropriations come up, some toothless regulations, and a mandate backed by the full force of the government that I give the health insurance industry money. The only part that will survive the filibustering of the Republicans will be the last. The regulations will be ignored, the subsidized health insurance (for the brief period it exists before the Republicans kill it economically) will cover nothing, but you can be sure the mandate will survive.

Why would I want anyone to vote for that?

The only lasting effect of this bill will be that we are forced, by law, to buy health insurance industry executives yachts, I can't support that.

delmoi Yes, he (via Rham Emmanuel) threatened to end the political careers of liberal Congressmen who opposed his Afghanistan escalation.
posted by sotonohito at 4:59 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jone Walsh on Hardball was pretty good.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on January 21, 2010


the problem with the Democrats is that they appeal to the America that Americans like to believe they are, or perhaps aspire to be; the Republicans, to put it politely, appeal to something entirely less lofty

Republican identity, Democrat identity :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 5:55 PM on January 21, 2010


Hitler finds out Scott Brown won....

(single youtube Godwin)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:37 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey maybe there's a silver lining here, it looks like there might be another casualty: Ben Bernanke. Heh.

--
Republican identity, Democrat identity :P

Ugh, I hate this "Liberals are smart and and thoughtful, bla bla bla" rhetoric. It's always a bad idea underestimate your opponents like that. Conservatives are smart, they're just dishonest. And Democratic voters are just as self-interested as republicans. They support policies that benefit the poor because that's who they are.
posted by delmoi at 6:39 PM on January 21, 2010


> They are the ones opposing passing the Senate bill. Please call your congressperson ande get him/her on board now.

My congressperson is a republican.


With all due respect, why on earth is this stopping you from calling your congressperson anyway?

That's precisely what we're all supposed to be doing. This is your elected official. They swore to represent the interests of your community. They cannot do that if they do not know what those interests ARE, and that is why we call them instead of laying back in the buckwheat and say "oh feh, they're a Republican, it'd never work."

I KNOW I wasn't the only one paying attention in Sixth Grade Civics class, why am I the only person who remembers that?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 PM on January 21, 2010


And Democratic voters are just as self-interested as republicans. They support policies that benefit the poor because that's who they are.
This strikes me as just as cliche as "liberals are smart and thoughtful, bla bla bla". If anything, I'd guess that "Democrats are poor" is even less accurate than the cliche you're complaining about.
posted by Flunkie at 6:50 PM on January 21, 2010


Hitler finds out Scott Brown won

previously-er :P

maybe there's a silver lining here

speaking
of rising populism, heh!
posted by kliuless at 7:01 PM on January 21, 2010


I'd guess that "Democrats are poor" is even less accurate than the cliche you're complaining about.
Well, you'd be guessing wrong. The income/partisan correlation holds true regardless of State, demographics or even religion. Now obviously there are rich democrats and poor republicans. But the average income for democrats is lower. And that's even given that blue states over all are wealthier then red states. But even in blue states, the majority of the wealthiest people are republicans. (can't find a link for demographics, right now, though But it's definitely the case.)
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2010


oh and if i may reopen old wounds :P
Counting the new Republican Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts, the 41 Republicans in the Senate come from states representing just over 36.5 percent of the total US population. The 59 others (Democratic plus 2 Independent) represent just under 63.5 percent. (Taking 2009 state populations from here. If you count up the totals and split a state's population when it has a spit delegation, you end up with about 112.3 million Republican, 194.7 million Democratic + Indep. Before Brown's election, it was about 198 million Democratic + Ind, 109 million Republican.)

Let's round the figures to 63/37 and apply them to the health care debate. Senators representing 63 percent of the public vote for the bill; those representing 37 percent vote against it. The bill fails.
cheers!
posted by kliuless at 7:28 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? I didn't say that Democrats were richer, on average, than Republicans. I didn't even say that they weren't poorer, on average, than Republicans.
posted by Flunkie at 7:51 PM on January 21, 2010


So, yesterday I regrouped from my state of despair and decided that the only thing to do is to cheerfully fight on, any way I can, in support of policies that will save our country from itself. And if one avoids contemplating the horrors that will flow from the result of the election, there's plenty of comedy gold. So at work I was riffing on the naked Brown Cosmo thing, and someone overheard and said, "Well at least he never drove a girl into the river and let her drown."

Yesterday I might have punched the guy in the penis and lost my job. Today I waited until the guy was gone and mocked him in as many cheerily obnoxious ways as I could.
posted by angrycat at 7:58 PM on January 21, 2010


Metafilter is such an interesting microcosm of ...
posted by Rafaelloello at 8:37 PM on January 21, 2010


angrycat: “So at work I was riffing on the naked Brown Cosmo thing, and someone overheard and said, "Well at least he never drove a girl into the river and let her drown." Yesterday I might have punched the guy in the penis and lost my job. Today I waited until the guy was gone and mocked him in as many cheerily obnoxious ways as I could.”

No, no - you're doing it wrong. When somebody makes a shit remark like that, you say: "well, you know what Glenn Beck said, right? He said this one might end with a dead intern."
posted by koeselitz at 9:43 PM on January 21, 2010


And to top off our week of Democratic fail, hated comedian Jay Leno will be hosting the White House correspondents dinner.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:17 PM on January 21, 2010


And in a whistling by the graveyard moment, I give you Letterman's "Top Ten Surprising Facts about Scott Brown":

10. He's the nephew of godfather of soul James Brown.
9. Climate change is partly the result of his smoldering hunkiness.
8. His response to the health care reform crisis: "Don't blame Conan."
7. Got his start in politics by rounding up illegals to work in Mitt Romney's yard.
6. Once in state senate he cracked a walnut with his ass.
5. Purchased his first car at Harrison Ford.
4. Promised people of Massachusetts he'd bring back witch trials.
3. When his daughter was a finalist on "American Idol," he exchanged beauty tips with Ryan Seacrest.
2. His election helped GOP ratings skyrocket to 17 percent.
1. So cold in Boston today he actually put on pants.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:19 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And to top off our week of Democratic fail, hated comedian Jay Leno will be hosting the White House correspondents dinner.

Ugh. Well, the Whitehouse doesn't actually pick the comedian, the media does. Surely you don't think bush picked Colbert, right? (Unless you mean 'democratic' as in 'democracy' and not 'relating to the democratic party')
posted by delmoi at 6:03 AM on January 22, 2010


Is there a Metafilter thread about Obama's recent banking change proposals? I looked, and didn't see one, but I could have easily missed one. Thanks.
posted by Flunkie at 6:15 AM on January 22, 2010


I wrote and sent my very first sternly worded letter to my Senator, one Sheldon Whitehouse. Choice excerpt:

My political life has been admittedly short, but there has been nothing in the past eight years to make me think that the Democratic Party is worth any further support. I couldn’t disagree with the Republican base more: I am pro-choice, anti-gun, anti-war, and pro-gay rights. And yet, despite a Democratic majority in Congress, I see Republicans wielding power masterfully while the majority simply kowtows to their demands under the guise of bipartisanship. I came of age in the era of Clinton and believed that the Democratic Party could get much done in the future with the political capital he had established. The first election that I was able to vote in was 2000. Oh, how disenchanting that was! My faith in the system was immediately tested – it was hard not to believe that there was some greater power at work than the simple will of the people. In 2004, I didn’t even have hope for a Kerry victory, no matter what the numbers may have said, but I voted for him anyway. In 2008, I didn’t believe that it was possible for Obama to take the White House – even on election day, I remember saying that if he did win, it was only because the Republican party was biding its time while it regrouped to take over later.

My cynicism, it seems, is not without merit. One Republican victory in the Senate leads to the tabling of the Democratic agenda. Just one. Ironically, this victory over Ted Kennedy’s seat has meant the scraping of the very legacy that Kennedy had worked for decades to establish. My generation is losing its faith in government rapidly – more and more of my peers are coming to believe that the only power is in the hands of the Republican party and we would do best to simply lie down and give up as they will get what they want at any cost. Despite a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democrat in the White House, they claim that the “will of the people” has spoken and that it’s time to “take back” a government that was, until this year, in their own hands.

The people have already spoken. The people spoke in 2008 and demanded a Democratic government to undo the damage to our nation that was done in eight years of Republican control. And what has been accomplished? The Republican Party is setting itself up well to gain control of the reins, even if they do not represent a majority of the people. The Democrats simply can not get done with far more numbers what the Republicans have been able to do with sheer willpower. While I do not agree with their positions, their strategies are obviously effective.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:10 AM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, all you have to do to make the Republican strategies successful is stop fighting them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2010


There is something suspicious about how the Democrats bailed out on health care so fast and so meekly. So they lose one vote, down to 59. Still a big majority. If this is something you really care about, then you cajole, persuade, make deals, bend the rules, and push it through. You have the Senate, House, and Presidency. Make it happen.
posted by aerotive at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2010


Just took the wayback machine for a spin, stopped off in 2004. Happened to hear this from Mitt Romney:

Governor Mitt Romney said yesterday that the Democrats' fast- paced effort to eliminate his authority to appoint a US senator if John F. Kerry wins the presidency is a "political gimmick" that denies voters a fair campaign.

"You're creating a special deal for a friend," Romney charged, contending that the election process is rigged to help high-profile, well-financed Democrats, particularly several members of the state's congressional delegation who are eyeing a run for the Senate seat.


I think we can all bi-partisanly appreciate the irony.
posted by Rafaelloello at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2010


A well-informed source tells The Mouth Nancy Pelosi is set to announce the House will go the reconciliation route on health care reform.

Of course, that means using a budgetary procedure that requires a simple majority to pass.

It’s still unclear to us precisely what that means would be passed, but possibilities would be creating a national health care exchange and expanding Medicare or Medicaid coverage.

posted by delmoi at 5:28 PM on January 22, 2010


Hah! I'll believe it when I see it, and perhaps not even then.
posted by Justinian at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2010


From delmoi's article, which was dated January 21, 2010, 8:59 AM (and, to be fair, was posted on the 22nd):
Update 2: Several legislators tell us Pelosi wants to use reconciliation, but after the meetings today, there still is no agreement on precisely how to do that. The only certain thing is they’re not passing the Senate bill, then trying to fix that.
That update wasn't dated, but seems to partially undermine the lede.

I'm not sure anyone has a better idea of where things are headed at the moment, though. This piece (dated 1/24) from the LA Times seems to sum things up; everything seems to be up in the air.

Meanwhile, the Sauron-like eye of the 24-hour networks seems to have turned to the 'budget panel' (aka "nothing-burger"), and to the Bernanke confirmation business. That would seem to be by design of the Obama administration, but I don't know if I'd say healthcare is necessarily off the table for good. It might actually be resting, not quite pining for the fjords just yet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:59 PM on January 23, 2010


The time is ripe to push Lieberman all the way out. That f*cker screwed us all on health care, and he especially screwed Harry Reed. Now that the Dems no longer have 60 who needs him anymore. Time to yank all his committee assignments etc. The man is dead to the Dems.
posted by caddis at 6:30 AM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your Joe Liberman Voodoo doll!
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2010


caddis I agree completely, but I don't see it happening. Now it'll be "we just need to hold the caucus and get one Republican to go along, we can't alienate Lieberman or we won't be able to hold the caucus."

Expect to see Lieberman kowtowed to by the Democratic leadership until he's out of office, there is simply no way they'll ever do anything about him. Hell, he actively campaigned for McCain and they welcomed him with open arms, you think a little thing like killing HCR will change anything?
posted by sotonohito at 9:39 AM on January 24, 2010


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