The conventional wisdom of late has been that Harry Reid won’t let the repeal of health care to come to the floor of the Senate but as with most conventional wisdom, it isn’t usually very wise, just group-think really. Well now it looks like ole’ Harry is going to call their bluff and might say, “bring it on.” I hope this is true and that it signals a new strategy for the new dynamics in Washington. Back in the day, when I used to spend time watching C-Span, it seemed like both parties would use every rule and loophole to their advantage. In recent years, the Democrats have been getting rolled and taking the high road too much for my tastes. Politics is a dirty business, get dirty people. Steve Benen clues us into what may be in the works in the Senate, let’s hope…
Kevin Drum had a creative take yesterday, arguing that Senate Dems’ instincts may be backwards — don’t ignore the House bill, embrace it and make the most of it.
They should bring the House bill up for a vote quickly, let Republicans speechify about it for a bit, and then vote it down, 53-47. End of story, time to move on.
But wait! With Republicans in control of the House, it’s not like the Senate can really get much done anyway. So what’s the harm in wasting a bit of time and making this a knock-down-drag-out fight? After all, the House leadership got a nice, clean repeal vote by bringing up the bill under a closed rule and allowing no potentially embarrassing amendments and virtually no debate. In the Senate, by contrast, Democrats control things, and they can bring up all the amendments they want. So maybe they should play along, hold hearings, and force Republicans to vote on, say, an amendment to the repeal bill that would keep the preexisting condition ban in place. And another one that would keep the donut hole fix in place. Etc. etc.
Jonathan Bernstein, who had a generally positive take on this, noted some of the risks of the amendment strategy, and Senate Dems would be wise to consider them.
That said, as of this morning, it appears there’s some fluidity to the Democratic strategy in the Senate. Whereas the plan earlier in the week was to simply ignore the House Republicans’ repeal bill, there’s apparently a fair amount of interest in pursuing a plan very similar to what Kevin wrote about yesterday.
Please, oh please make those Republicans get on the Senate floor and tell us why pre-existing conditions should be repealed and why all those senior citizens should pay back that $250 they got. Republicans are losing their minds and we ought to help them do it. Give them a nudge…or maybe a body block. :)
As a veteran political observer…damn near 40 years now…I’ve seen all sorts of strategies and tactics used by all political parties. Republicans certainly know how to gather support however they can and they understand and perpetuate the cynicism in politics. They don’t see any downside to being hypocritical and as Rachel Maddow says, they are shameless. They divide and conquer, they pit one group against another….but they understand completely that when it comes down to election time, they can get all their people in line. Usually it entails sending out racist dog whistles, abortion, immigration, and they throw in a little socialism, fascism, communism and all those salivating dogs coming running home.
The latest manuever that everyone sees through and is just a symbolic gesture, red meat to the base…is the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” that they are playing with in the House of Representatives. Steve Benen has been all over this over at the Washington Monthly, this is from one of his posts…
After a week-long break, House Republicans will get back to work today, renewing their admittedly-pointless effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The vote, which will likely come tomorrow, isn’t hard to predict — the House will easily approve the repeal measure — but even supporters know the bill will promptly fade into oblivion soon after.What’s more interesting is how little Republicans’ ostensible allies are doing to give them a hand. (thanks to reader V.S. for the tip)
The health care industry’s biggest trade groups have remained uncharacteristically neutral on the Republican effort to repeal the health care reform law, choosing instead to save their political capital for smaller, more targeted changes that have a chance at becoming law.
America’s Health Insurance Plans lobbied against much of the health care overhaul when it was passed in Congress, but it is not supporting the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. The heads of Aetna and Cigna, members of AHIP, have publicly said they do not support efforts to repeal the law. [...]
The pharmaceutical industry, which spent months cutting deals with Democrats to protect its interests, has remained mum on Republican repeal efforts.
Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a leading opponent of the Democratic reform law, is on record formally supporting the Republican repeal bill, but isn’t at all interested in investing any time or energy into the GOP push.
When your allies turn their backs on you and ignore your symbolic bullshit, you know you are wasting everyone’s time. But I suspect that it will be plenty of red meat for the base to keep them satisfied until the next batch is thrown out to them. Democrats will of course use it to their advantage too. The big difference is that Democrats will be using it to appeal to moderates, some of whom are in the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions. So it is kind of a win-win for both parties, right?
I really try to avoid anything Jane Hamsher writes, says or does. She has become a sad person who has let her hatred overwhelm what common sense and intelligence she had, which upon looking back at her really wasn’t much to begin with. She is very much like Arianna Huffington in that they both have made careers out of playing on people’s populist outrage, whether it is at George W. Bush…they both launched careers out of attacking the guy with the biggest target on his back or now with the economy in the dumps, inherited by the Obama administration, they are both playing into that anger. It isn’t much different than how so many made money off the 9/11 tragedy. So I click on a link at Booman’s Tribune and end up at a Jane Hamsher post. I start reading her snarky post titled “Axelrod Stabs Rahm, Runs From Wreckage of Health Care Bill” and of course, didn’t get very far before coming across a blatant lie. Here is what I came on…
But it’s also clear that the race is on to unload responsibility for the extremely unpopular health care bill. And Axelrod wants to make sure he doesn’t get the blame:
“Extrememly unpopular” health care bill…..really, maybe in the circle of bloggers that you have surrounded yourself with, but in the general public, let’s look at some numbers. From The Hill, August 3rd…
a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows opposition dropping to 35 percent from 41 percent in the last month, and 50 percent of the public had a favorable view of the law, up from 48 percent. Support and opposition tend to be partisan, but the trendline is certainly heading in the Democrats’ direction.
Now wait a minute, I thought Janey said it is “extremely unpopular” and of course Axelrod is running from the wreckage of….a bill that has a 50 favorable and a 35 unfavorable. This is a perfect example of Ole’ Janey preaching to the choir that gather at her blog. She likes to continue feeding the hungry haters at her site with the raw meat they like, whether it is true or not. When I do lose my mind and click over to her blog, I usually get hit right up side the head with a blatant falsehood, outright lie and certainly a lot of negative spin on anything the Obama administration has on its plate. She has become a joke, resorting to the same tactics as the Tea Party folks who she has reached her hand out to on a few occasions. Remember how Ole’ Janey found time to go on Fox News, join hands with Grover Norquist and go skipping off into the horizon. She continues to marginalize herself and there is no coming back from it, she will fade away into the background, screaming out “it should have been Hillary, it should have been Hillary, it should have been Hilla…….”. [Fade to black]
Steve Benen covers this subject very well, go read it here or enjoy an extended piece below. I, for one, understood all along that these provisions alone made the Health Care Reform bill worthwhile. I am still angry at the people who attempted to undermine this compromise bill for their own selfish reasons, not giving a shit about the children who benefit, the people with pre-existing conditions and those young Americans 26 and under who can’t afford to buy insurance on their own. This is monumental and will go down in history as a crowning achievement for President Obama and his administration, long after the critics are forgotten about. Real people benefit from this, that is the bottom line. Now I’m sure the haters and nitpickers will jump all over this post and spout the same bullshit they did during the battle, but it won’t change the fact that real people are going to benefit starting today. Hooray for President Obama!! From Benen…
The New York Times‘ Kevin Sack noted that a number of the new law’s “most central consumer protections take effect” this very day, and the list includes some very popular reforms. Starting today, for example, insurers won’t be able to exclude children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Rescission, which led to many Americans losing their coverage when they needed it most, is forbidden. Young people can now stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Preventive care — including colonoscopies, mammograms, and immunizations — must now be covered without co-payments.
Republicans intend to take all of this away, of course, and will fight tooth and nail next year if voters reward them with a majority.
But in the meantime, the Affordable Care Act has begun making life better for some struggling Americans who need a break.
Joe and Mary Thompson had agreed to adopt Emily before her birth in 1999, and it never occurred to them to back out when she was born with spina bifida. But that same year, their residential remodeling business in Overland Park, Kan., went under, prompting job changes that left the family searching for health coverage with a child who was uninsurable.
The insurers were willing to cover the Thompsons and their older daughter, but not Emily, who was later discovered to have mild autism as well, or her 13-year-old brother, who had a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.
Starting Thursday, the insurers will not be able to do that, as the new health care law prohibits them from denying coverage to children under 19 because of pre-existing health conditions. In 2014, the change will extend to people of all ages.
More change is coming people, as long as Republicans don’t lie their way into power in the congress. VOTE DEMOCRATIC AND ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME. My recommendation to fire you up, go look at a Youtube clip of George W. Bush as a reminder of what Republicans brought us for 8 long, painful, horrifying years.
Change has come to America. I want to personally say to Jane Hamsher and the rest of the “Firebaggers”……FUCK YOU!
Guest Blogger Staci
My Mother and the Doctor Factory
This whole saga began about 16 months ago. It started simple enough. My mother felt like she was losing her peripheral vision in her right eye. She described it as seeing a black spot that would move in and out of her field of vision. Since that time, we’ve seen four eye doctors (two ophthalmologists), two internists, a neurologist, a rheumatologist and the doctor that looks at your intestines.
The first guy gave her drops to use, but said nothing was wrong. He pretty much said it was all in her head. He also threw in that she was 78 years old (at the time) and vision loss is normal as you age. We dumped him and went to a second doctor that was recommended by a nurse friend. This guy is the head of his department in the hospital where he works. We wasted eight months with this guy before he suggested she see another doctor he was affiliated with because he couldn’t find a reason for the problem (which at this time was getting progressively worse). Her “treatments”, as I could see were that he would dilate her pupils on each visit, and he prescribed a different eye drop from the first doctor. The third doctor continued with the dilation of her pupils on each visit, which at this time was about once per month. She would see doctor number two on one week and doctor number three on a successive week. Each time, each doctor would dilate her pupils, but they could find no reason for the deteriorating vision. Wouldn’t you think at this point they would have stopped dilating her pupils and proceeded on to other testing? Finally, after 11 months of these treatments with no noticeable results, a MRI was ordered. I’ll never forget. It was Wednesday, April 28, 2010. A tumor was found on her pituitary gland that was pressing on the optic nerve. She was almost totally blind in her right eye at this point. She was ordered into the hospital that day with surgery scheduled two days later.
It sounds like this story should end here, right? The problem had been identified, and the solution should be clear.
There are two options for this type of surgery. The surgeon can either go through your nose, or he can go through your skull from the back. Considering my mother’s age, we opted for the first one. The surgery was done on Friday and lasted over four hours. Immediately after surgery, when they got her back to her room, she was in incredible pain in her left foot. The neurosurgeon that had performed the surgery called in an internist. He couldn’t figure it out, so he called in a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist decided it was the effects of gout and prescribed Colchcine. Now, my mother had never for a day in her life had gout and the pain didn’t present like gout, but that was his diagnosis. I really would have rather he said he didn’t know. For the next two days, she was treated for gout but she was still screaming from the pain. My mother is fairly stoic, so for her to be complaining was really telling for me. She got no relief from the pain using this drug. On the third day, Neurotin was prescribed. This is a medication that was approved by the FDA as an anti-seizure drug, but it has a secondary use for nerve pain. Finally, they had hit upon a drug that seemed to help. The pain was manageable, but amazingly, the source was still being diagnosed as gout. The gout medication didn’t work at all while in the hospital, but they still sent her home with a prescription for Colchcine . Our first post-hospital visit was one week after discharge. By that time, I had done tons of research into the symptoms my mother described to me, and it sounded a lot like neuropathy and nothing like gout.
continued after the fold, click “More”
Here is a part of President Obama’s speech yesterday in Portland, Maine. Republicans have to be reconsidering whether they want to run against the health care bill, if they have any brains left…..oh wait, nevermind.
Wow, another Morning Joe that had a clear “propoganda agenda”… to equalize the hatred and rhetoric coming from the Republican leaders, trying to say that both sides are doing it. It just blows me away that there are so many defenders of violent extremists. Pat Buchanan did his part to justify it by reminding us all of the riots after the Rodney King verdict, hmmmm, why would he refer to that, which wasn’t a political issue, but rather a social justice issue. Why would he pit this primarily racial issue against what is going on today? What could be his reason, hmmmm?
Mika tried desperately to equate the death threat on Eric Cantor with all the violence and violent rhetoric coming from the right. She actually attempted to say it is worse, because she hasn’t heard the same type of threats from the right. WHAAAA? Did she miss the whole Stupak phone message story last week? Did she miss the fact that the nut who threatened Cantor also threatened Obama, Pelosi and Reid? Or did she conveniently forget those minor details in an effort to pretend like they all do it. I haven’t seen anything about that nut that says he is on the left, he appears to just be a nut.
Bob Cesca posted about this morning show too, here is a bit from it…
I can show you dozens of incidents on the right for every one incident on the left (I’m being generous). Find me an A-list politician on the left who is referring to Republicans using firearms lingo, as Sarah Palin has. Find me groups of protesters on the left who are waving racist banners, or carrying signs threatening gun violence. Find me someone on the left who has violently lashed out.
I heard a show on NPR, On Point, that took on this subject yesterday. The Republican defender of violence they had on was trying desperately to equate the rhetoric during the Bush years as similar to what’s going on today. He could only come up with a couple of instances, one being hanging Bush in effigy. Now how he equates a radical at a protest with an outrageous prop to the leaders of the Republican Party stoking violence, using weapons language, tyranny, armageddon, the end of freedom, reload, arm yourselves, rise up….this certainly is quite different than a protester carrying a crazy prop. The other example this guy had was the left calling Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld war criminals. If they shoe fits, wear it. The major difference here would be liberals were calling for investigations, you know, using the legal system to punish wrong doing. I don’t remember those crazy liberals calling for arming themselves or calling for insurrection. We mobilized voters and took over the congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008. Of course the Republican response to that is to delegitimize his presidency, block every bill, use every procedure to stop anything from happening.
I have to believe that this tactic that the Republicans and their defenders are using is going to turn off a lot of moderates. It may play with the base who have bought the right wing bullshit from the talkers, but I doubt that all those moderate folks agree with them on this issue. Let’s hope they aren’t buying, anyway.
The holier than thou Republicans are showing their true colors with their latest violent actions and rhetoric. Here is a clip from Countdown with Keith Olbermann, hosted by Larry O’Donnell.
What is wrong with this picture when people who supposedly value the “sanctity of life” hurl death threats and wish death upon people because of a vote to help mostly poor people get access to health care. Are these “good Christians” saying this shit? Religion in this country has become so bastardized, especially since they’ve infiltrated politics, that they actually seem to justify their violent actions and rhetoric with their religious beliefs. Gihad anyone? These are the real terrorists within our country. Let’s lock them up and waterboard them, give them a taste of their own medicine. Arghhhhhhhhh.
Nancy Pelosi has shown that she is perhaps the best Speaker of the House this country has ever had. If you look at what she accomplished in the face of the most organized and well funded campaign to both kill the bill and mislead the American people with blatant lies, exaggerations and misrepresentations. She was taking arrows from both the right and the left, but she kept on going, kept on pushing and delivered the votes to pass the most comprehensive reform of health care in our history. Sure it isn’t what us liberals wanted, but it is a vast improvement over the status quo and it lays a foundation that can be improved over time.
I’ve been observing politics since 1972 when I was 10 years old, working for George McGovern passing out flyers and stuffing envelopes. I learned most of what I know about the process from my late, incredible mother who I plan to introduce to readers of this blog in the future. She was the greatest mother in the history of the world and a C-Span junkie after she semi-retired as a probate specialist in my step-fathers law firm. We used to watch the House of Representatives together and talk politics. I remember being very impressed with Nancy Pelosi back then, I joked to my mom that she was pretty hot too. :) My mother was too cool for words, I miss her terribly but know she’s with me everyday. She would be so proud of Nancy Pelosi both as a woman and an American.
The awesome Booman has a post up about Nancy and below is an excerpt, go read the whole thing, Booman never disappoints.
However, truth be told, the one person who deserved the vast bulk of the credit that health care reform of any kind was passed, and who gives us the best chance of future changes to improve those reforms will be implemented is our nation’s first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
When nearly everyone else in the Senior Democratic leadership (i.e, the males for the most part, including Obama, Rahm, Reid, Hoyer, etc.) were wavering and back-tracking in the face of the relentless opposition by Republicans and right wing talk show hosts, the disinformation about reform spread by industry lobbyists and our gutless so-called liberal news media, the ham handed intimidation tactics of the “Tea Party” town hall protests and the opposition of faithless Blue Dog Democrats, it was “the woman” who held fast and kept pushing for reform.
I have to add that another thing that makes me know that Nancy Pelosi is very effective and powerful is the hatred that Republicans have for her. She must be doing something right. I particularly like the idea that because she is a woman, that makes those white, misogynistic, republican males crazy. Nancy never backs down to them and in fact, stands up to them and beats them down. Kudos to you, Nancy, you will go down in history as one of the great Speakers in our history.
It’s a light blogging Tuesday for me, it’s my busy day in the real world. Watching the Republicans hyperventilating is pretty fun. They brainwashed themselves into thinking all sorts of untruths about the Health Care Reform bill, don’t believe yourself, you lie. I can certainly understand simple people who allow themselves to be brainwashed by Rush and Glenn and the gang, but normally thinking people who are educated, can read and even think a little bit are buying into this bullshit. Some of it is politics, of course, but it seems like some really believe what they are saying even in the face of evidence that is contrary. It is some sort of mental illness, really. I frequently find myself feeling sorry for these people, it must be rough not being able to hold two thoughts in your head or to be in denial when presented with the facts. The “dumbification” of America is proceeding nicely. More in future posts about the moronic Republican Party.
We got a preview on Morning Joke today about how the Republicans and Lawrence O’Donnell (who is bitter that he couldn’t get HCR passed during the Clinton years) think they can still kill the bill. It is based on the rule regarding reconciliation where it can’t have an impact on Social Security. Well, apparently the boneheads think that because people’s health care insurance premiums will go down, they may actually get a raise in their incomes and therefore will pay more FICA taxes. That is one flimsy connection between the bill and Social Security. Heaven forbid people’s incomes would go up, I’m sure they would rather their incomes stay flat just so they don’t have to pay more FICA. :) Now I guess the tea partiers may go for that reasoning, but I tend to doubt that the parliamentarian in the Senate will. And even if he does go for it, Vice President Biden has the final say on the matter. Lawrence likes to throw out, but it has never happened in the history of the Senate……there’s no time like the present, right. This health care battle has revealed all sorts of “it never has happened” and I really doubt that the administration is going to let a minor detail or a senate rule derail this bill now. Onward!
Lee Papa, The Rude Pundit often says it better than anyone and he nails it on the head again with this piece about the future of the Tea Party. Here is my favorite part of his excellent post.
Here’s what’s going to happen after the vote on the reconciliation bill in the House on Sunday: Almost every Tea Partier who was out there protesting will go the fuck away. They will devote whatever energy they have left to posting comments on blogs and Facebook pages. Their leaders, desperate to still be relevant and still draw a paycheck, will try to come up with some other phantom issue to whip up enthusiasm. But once it passes, no one will give a shit except the people it helps. The Civil War won’t be re-fought. The Constitution won’t be shredded. One or two states might try to force their misinterpretation of the 10th Amendment. Soon, Beck and Hannity and Michele Bachmann and Steve King will discover another Republic-ending crisis, probably immigration reform, and we’ll start the magical cycle all over again.
Meanwhile, those poor, ignorant bitches and bastards in the photo up there will shuffle home, curse the process, and, like good corporate tools, continue to suck down fast food and sodas and buy shit they don’t need because it’s cheaply made in China and sold at Wal-Mart and proudly drive gas-devouring vehicles and keep their children stupid and tell themselves that they aren’t the problem, no, they are the solution, wondering how to fill the desperate couple of hours between the end of Limbaugh’s radio show and the start of Beck’s TV rants, despising those who are attempting to do something for them and their neighbors, wondering where their country went, when, after all, this is where it’s gone.
Is immigration the next issue to get the racist, hateful, unpatriotic tea partiers riled up? Seems like a good fit for their agenda.
Congratulations and thanks to President Obama, Nancy, Steny, Jim, John and the rest of the gang!