If Coakley Loses

January 16th, 2010 at 11:36 am David Frum | 76 Comments |

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The big question for Democrats: Has the time come to play dirty? To delay seating Scott Brown and push through the legislation as rapidly as possible?

Jon Chait is (so far as I am aware) the first liberal writer to argue the point explicitly.

As the likelihood grows that Republicans could win the special election in Massachusetts, it’s worth thinking again about alternatives for health care reform in case that happens. I see three, in descending order of preference:

1. Finish up the House-Senate negotiations quickly and hold a vote before Scott Brown is seated. Republicans will scream, but how could they scream any louder? It’s a process argument of murky merits that will be long forgotten by November.

Senator Tom Harkin has been toying with the idea too.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate health committee, disputed Frank’s prediction [that health reform would die if Coakley lost], saying Democrats would pass a bill.

‘Well, those are kind of apocalyptic terms. I still think there is a wellspring of support in this country for doing something about health care because people are losing their health care every day, thousands every day. All these things are out there, so the momentum is still there for getting a health care bill.”

Cramming HCR through Congress in this way may not strictly be unprecedented. Surely somewhere in the annals of Congress there must be another case of a bill that is one vote short of passage – where a special election is fought exactly on that bill – where proponents lose – and where they execute a parliamentary maneuver to enact the bill anyway.

But I’d be astonished if anybody had ever before tried to pass a law of this magnitude in a way that so blatantly tramples on election results.

I’d be astonished if it works this time either. After all, if Brown loses, panic will grip the Democratic senators. Does Blanche Lincoln want to gamble her future that her voters will forget by November that the most important domestic legislation in a generation was passed in this way? And the others on the ballot in 2010?

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76 Comments so far ↓

  • sinz54

    Chait: Hold a vote before Scott Brown is seated: It’s a process argument of murky merits that will be long forgotten by November.
    That’s what I expect the Dems will do.

    But it won’t be forgotten by November.
    Chait’s lying. He’s way too smart to believe that it could be.

    The GOP will put it in every attack ad they run.
    On Fox News, Hannity and O’Reilly and Palin won’t let their viewers forget it.
    And GOP candidates will hammer it in every debate, particularly in Red State races where the health care bill is less popular.

    I expect that Obama is going to ask Dem senators to fall on their swords: Vote for health care with the understanding that some of them will lose in November.

    And I can’t argue with that. The whole idea of representative government is that you elect representatives to use their judgment, not just follow the polls.

  • Danny_K

    Prediction: nobody will care either way. Nobody much cared about the shenanigans surrounding the Medicare part D vote, and now it’s established law, just another entitlement.

    If the Dems have the brass to do this, no one will complain except a few right wingers who already have accused Obama of being a Muslim racist socialist-fascist. But I don’t think they’ll do it.

  • sinz54

    Danny_K: Nobody much cared about the shenanigans surrounding the Medicare part D vote, and now it’s established law, just another entitlement.
    That was different.

    There you had a REPUBLICAN President pushing a new entitlement through a REPUBLICAN Congress. The Republicans gritted their teeth and supported their President–and the Dems didn’t want to be seen as opposing an entitlement, any entitlement, for seniors. So it wasn’t in either party’s interest to make an issue out of it in the elections.

    This time around, you have the GOP united against ObamaCare–and ObamaCare is already quite unpopular in the Red State areas of the country. Liberal Dems won’t have to worry about their political futures. But the “Blue Dog” Dems, maybe even Shuler (the GOP is even gearing up to take him on) are going to be in trouble.

  • mlloyd

    Danny_K has it right. The GOP has already cranked up the outrage to 11. There’s nowhere left to go.

    Voting in a hurry seems to me like it would be less objectionable than the rule-breaking and arm-twisting that went into Medicare Part D, but there could be a counterargument on that.

  • balconesfault

    Everyone should remember when the outrage meter is spinning that the long-delayed seating of Al Franken was one of the reasons this bill is still being debated, rather than being passed months ago. Dems held up portions of the process to make sure that Franken was seated to give a 60th vote for cloture.

  • franco 2

    Chait also suggests the Dems go back to Olympia Snowe to get her vote. Oh, those wascally weepublicans!

  • franco 2

    Interesting…. people are talking about the “outrage” meter. I didn’t hear any of this talk in the last 8 years. I can imagine….. Bush should invade Syria and bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. The outrage meter is already up to 11, why not?

  • teabag

    Al Franken anyone. The cynical delay,delay and more delay in concluding that election was amazing to watch.

    I hope and trust that if this is close the Dems will do exactly the same. What goes around comes around.

  • Danny_K

    People already expect politicians to be tricky. I would think the recent example of Norm Coleman drawing out his doomed challenge to the election results would give Dems cover. Al Franken didn’t whine about the delay, he let the system work. Why can’t Republicans do the same?

  • handworn

    “It’s a process argument of murky merits that will be long forgotten by November.”

    The Democrats’ self-indulgence of recent years is that they’re not just different from Republicans, but better. More intelligent, more thoughtful, more principled. To push it through in such a greasy, dishonest, mealymouthed way would axe all three. Moderates, independents and conservative Democrats would NOT forget that.

    Why have very few people pointed out the fact that the same people supporting the unpopular health care extremism, this overinterpretation of the mandate of the Democratic victories, are the same ones who screamed about Bush overinterpreting his mandate?

  • rbottoms

    Democratic US Senate candidate Martha Coakley today highlighted her differences with her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, on health insurance reform by saying that Brown does not pay for health insurance for his campaign workers, while she does.

    “We already knew that Scott Brown didn’t want to make health insurance more affordable for Massachusetts families and businesses. Now we learn that he won’t even make health insurance available for his own staff. If he won’t stand up for the people he employs, how could we ever trust him to stand up for us?” Coakley said in a statement.

    Brown initially told the Globe between campaign appearances this morning, “I don’t have any idea what she’s talking about” and directed Coakley to his lawyers. But at the next stop, he spoke with reporters, saying his 12 workers were short-term contractors who have their own health insurance and they’re happy with the arrangement.

    Cheapskate.

    I guess that I don’t understand the question crap isn’t working this time.

  • sinz54

    handworn: The Democrats’ self-indulgence of recent years is that they’re not just different from Republicans, but better. More intelligent, more thoughtful, more principled.
    Yes, and that claim is already dead, regardless of what happens to Scott Brown:

    1. The $50 billion deal that Obama cut with big pharmaceutical companies, all behind closed doors.

    2. Senator Nelson’s bribe for his affirmative vote.

    3. Senator Reid shafting Olympia Snowe–who dared to work with the Dems on health care reform–by including a public option in the Senate bill over Snowe’s objections. (After which the public option got taken out anyway)

    4. Obama’s hilarious “promise” to put the whole debate on C-SPAN.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4yFiPQZlF8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxUud3yOsSk&feature=fvw

    Thanks to YouTube, the GOP attack ads are already there.

    And this time, unlike 20o8, the Dems can’t count on a sympathetic MSM to cover for them. The MSM is starting to ask hard questions now.

  • ProfNickD

    Sinz54 is right about this — those posters who say the “outrage meter” is already high on the right forget that there is also an “outrage meter” among independents.

    Coakley is losing independents 65-30, according to the Suffolk polls from this week. Imagine if that poll reflected the national political landscape, not just Massachusetts: The Dems would lose every state in 2012.

    There’s a lot farther that the Dems/Obama could fall — using what are essentially dictatorial practices to not seat Scott Brown would increase the “outrage meter” for sure.

  • teabag

    If the outrage meter is so high among independents how come a Dem took over a Republican seat in Virginia of all places last week? You can’t win there without the independent vote.

    “Marsden, 61, a two-term delegate from Burke who switched political parties earlier this decade while serving as the head of the state Department of Juvenile Justice under both Republican and Democratic governors, won the 37th state Senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Kenneth T. Cuccinelli (R) by rallying a voter base reeling from big losses in November’s statewide and House races.

    Marsden’s victory over Republican Stephen M. “Steve” Hunt, a former Fairfax County School Board member, also expands the control of Virginia Democrats in the Senate chamber… Rex Simmons, the newly-elected chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, said Marsden’s victory would ensure Democrats would have a “seat at the table” with Republican Governor-elect Robert F. McDonnell.”

  • communists-basher

    Isn’it clear to everyone that Obama’s administration is Obama’s Socialist MAFIA?
    Even on TV the word Socialism is now used often.

    What else is there to say … Obama=Socialism, Americans=Not Stupid.

  • kevin47

    “Republicans will scream, but how could they scream any louder?”

    By attracting more voices, which will be the direct result of attempting what Chait proposes. This is a pretty stupid argument. There is a reason the Democrats have been moving so slowly on this bill, and it’s not because they aren’t worried about the Republicans.

    As for Medicare Part D, people were generally for it, and those who opposed it were divided between conservatives who did not want another entitlement and Democrats who did not like Bush.

  • balconesfault

    As for Medicare Part D, people were generally for it, and those who opposed it were divided between conservatives who did not want another entitlement and Democrats who did not like Bush.

    And yet … when key portions of the healthcare bill are polled, except for mandates, people support it. They want to end recissions and blocking of pre-existing conditions. They want government to help make insurance affordable for lower class working Americans. They actually want a public option, which they’re not going to get.

    However, the Republicans biggest success has been in screaming Socialism, like Communists-basher above (even without a public option being included, which makes the scream not only hyperbole but demonstrably counterfactual. And with half the political spectrum screaming, and media more interested in covering the controversy than explaining what the bill actually does for people, a lot of people end up opposing the plan because … well, it can’t be fair if Republicans are screaming this loud, can it?

  • balconesfault

    Oh – by the way – there were a lot of liberals who opposed Medicare Part D for very similar reasons to why many liberals oppose the current healthcare bill. Both bills did way too much to pump government money to large corporations rather than using taxpayer moneys wisely. It’s been shown that Medicare Part D HAS cost the government significantly more than government run Medicare … and of course not allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and not allowing importation of drugs from Canada, were both big giveaways to big Pharma.

    Living in a corporatocracy sucks, whether it’s Bush or Obama pushing our taxpayer dollars into corporate pockets.

  • BoolaBoola

    Actually this could turn out well for Dems.

    Remember just after the election, Dems were vowing if health-care gets defeated they will hang it on the GOP for years. But then with the intra-Dem fighting, the GOP got sort of off the hook–”It’s not our fault, the Dems had everything but they couldn’t agree”, they would have said.

    However, if Brown wins, blame for killing health care (if it dies) will once again be laid upon Repblicans. And this will hurt the GOP badly as health-care costs and disasters keep rising.

    Personally I hope Brown wins. I’d love to see the GOP squirming under the realization that they would then have the power to kill health-care, and to take the blame for doing so. Yes! No! Awk!

  • fiddystorms

    Yikes… did somebody say that no one would remember this debate in November??? Now I know why these Dems keep trudging along when two-thirds of the Country opposes this bill… they’re getting their info from the same places you people are.

    Mark my words, if there are any shenanigans getting Scott Brown sworn in, there will be large scale civil unrest, take that to the state owned bank. You cannot under emphasize the results of this election. A Scott Brown victory would be earth shattering. A republican being elected to the Senate for the first time in 30 years in a state so blue Ronald Reagan likened it to a communist state where the seat up for grabs was filled by the lion of the Senate who’s lifelong work was the very bill that Scott brown vows to defeat and ran his campaign around.

  • Barack Mugabe

    sinz54 wrote: “I expect that Obama is going to ask Dem senators to fall on their swords: Vote for health care with the understanding that some of them will lose in November. And I can’t argue with that. The whole idea of representative government is that you elect representatives to use their judgment, not just follow the polls.”

    LMAO. I love the whistling past the graveyard on this forum by oblivious leftists.

    The country is in full revolt because the left has been pissing in people’s faces all across the country, and just spent the last year doing EXACTLY what you advocate here. The people are NOT being represented, and THAT is the whole point. It’s SO bad that even the voters of freakin Massachusetts have picked up pitchforks and are ready to elect a Republican to the Senate. A REPUBLICAN, in Ted Kennedy’s old seat, in part because he promised that he would stop the fascist health care bill.

    The people have had it with the anarchy and totalitarianism coming from the arrogant, reckless, out of control left, and the clueless lemmings on here advise the radical perpetrators to floor the accelerator.

    Hilarious.

  • communists-basher

    Important!!!

    This whole healthcare fiasco is an ANORMOUS PROOF that there is a very thin line between Liberalism and Fascism. This time around, Liberals became so Radical that they used Fascist approach to advance their agenda: ram it down people’s throats! There have been demands to ‘nudge’ or ‘push’ “stupid” Americans into the socialized healthcare deal, by Intellectual elite.

    Should the healthcare pass, I would not be surprised to see re-education camps and brown shirts on the streets of Chicago, where the Liberal Fascists had planned their assault on free American Individuals.

  • jfxgillis

    “One vote short of passage” is a lie. Absolute falsehood.

    If Coakley loses, the bill will be nine votes OVER the amount needed for passage.

  • communists-basher

    balconesfault:

    Paying Fines and Going to Jail for not having healthcare is NOT Fascism?
    Paying higher tax by 50% of population so Big Labor can get their Cadillac medical plans is NOT Socialism?
    Politicians who advocate such policies are NOT Socialists?
    The Healthcare bill is NOT the Obama’s initiative?
    Obama is NOT Liberal Socialist Fascist?
    … and Michele Obama is a beauty queen and a fashion trend-setter?
    … and Global Warming is man-made?
    … and ‘Workers of the World Unite’ phrase by Big Labor’ Stern is not Socialist?

    What else you want us to believe?

  • communists-basher

    Oh my God …. Ed Schultz from MSNBC proposes to CHEAT on MA Election: ‘I’d Cheat To Keep These Bastards Out’:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/16/ed-schultz-on-ma-election_n_426068.html

    Fascists…

  • lowandslow

    Wishful thinking. Come ten o’clock Tuesday Coakley will have won and in most likely hood won big.

  • balconesfault

    Basher:
    Paying Fines and Going to Jail for not having healthcare is NOT Fascism?

    Actually, being forced to pay a fine for not giving money to a large private corporation just to live in America does smack of fascism to me. That’s why I think the bill is highly flawed without a Public Option, where someone could buy into a government plan instead of being forced to give their money to a private entity. An essential part of fascism is running government in a way to benefit private corporations.

    Paying higher tax by 50% of population so Big Labor can get their Cadillac medical plans is NOT Socialism?

    Nope. That is not socialism.

    Politicians who advocate such policies are NOT Socialists?

    No – this healthcare bill is not Socialist. If it were to have eliminated the private insurance industry, and nationalized all the hospitals and clinics and EMS services, you could call it socialist. It doesn’t really do that though, does it?

    The Healthcare bill is NOT the Obama’s initiative?

    I’m not sure about whether you’re trying to use the plural or the possessive there, given your use of “the Obama’s”. But it certainly is Obama’s initiative.

    … and Michele Obama is a beauty queen and a fashion trend-setter?

    You forgot uppity.

    … and Global Warming is man-made?

    Rapid climate change almost certainly has a strong anthropromorphic component, yes.

    … and ‘Workers of the World Unite’ phrase by Big Labor’ Stern is not Socialist?

    Anti-unionists have been attacking union slogans as Communist and Socialist ever since the movement began a century ago. Maybe you can hire some Pinkertons to go bust Stern up one of these days.

  • balconesfault

    Oops – that’s an anthroprogenic component. Ahh, for an edit feature!

  • sinz54

    The Dems will pass health care by hook or by crook, even if Scott Brown wins.

    Legally, the only legislation that can be passed under reconciliation must be directly budget-related. That would mean that the mandate that all Americans must purchase insurance can’t be passed that way. But the Dems won’t care. They’ll pass it illegally, just to be able to say they did it, knowing full well that such a provision will then be subject to a zillion court challenges that will keep health care reform bottled up for years.

    However, the loss of the Dems’ filibuster-proof majority means that they will have to negotiate with the GOP on everything else from then on.

    That’s not necessarily a disaster for the Dems. If their base weren’t so rabidly partisan, they would realize that legislation that gets the opposition party to buy in is less likely to ever get repealed, should that opposition party come to power. (But one thing I’ve noticed–with both parties–is they almost never think about the consequences for the nation if the opposition party wins the next election. That’s one reason why the nation seems to rock back and forth between political extremes these days.)

    What that means is that cap-and-trade for energy might still pass, with a few GOP votes–but only if the Dems agree to GOP demands for expanded nuclear power with nuclear reprocessing, like they do in France.

    It also means that there could be a second stimulus, but this one emphasizing tax cuts for business rather than aid for unions.

    OTOH, I can’t imagine the GOP agreeing to any type of immigration bill that the Dems could come up with.

  • rbottoms

    You know how certain mega firms, like FedEx dodge paying taxes and more importantly health care benefits by claiming workers are independent contractors? Well Scott Brown thinks that’s an excellent way of doing business.

    The campaign staffers helping Scott Brown for U.S. Senate are being paid as independent contractors rather than as employees and are responsible for paying their own taxes and, presumably, health care coverage. The contractors designation applies from the top tier to lower level staffers who appear to be doing grunt advance work for Brown events and handling volunteers and press.

    The decision to treat staffers as independent contractors could save the campaign money on taxes and benefits, experts TPMDC spoke with said, although the precise rationale for the move remains unclear.

    TPMDC reviewed campaign finance reports showing more than a dozen Brown staffers being paid for “strategy consulting,” an unusual label for low-level aides. We asked the campaign about the designation and whether they have paid payroll taxes.

  • Mandos

    sinz is dreaming if he thinks that the GOP has any incentive to cooperate with the Democrats even on the mildest reforms (such as this health care bill).

  • Mandos

    And the reality of the whole situation is revealed on this FDL thread here. Essentially, a large chunk of the Democratic base is *so* demoralized from having a Democratic trifecta that is simply unwilling to throw *any* right-wing interest up against the wall that they are willing to throw a Senate election just to send a message.

  • franco 2

    rbottoms // Jan 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    “You know how certain mega firms, like FedEx dodge paying taxes and more importantly health care benefits by claiming workers are independent contractors?”

    Here is an good example of economic illiteracy.

    When you work for an employer who “pays” for your health care in the form of insurance, you are actually paying for this insurance in the form of a reduced salary or hourly rate. Now it could be argued that an employer, especially a large employer can provide a better insurance plan per employee dollar because of the group rate discounts. However the employee is making a decision to work for this particular employer under the terms, a higher pay and fewer benefits.

    The downside of working for a company that provides health benefits is that they can more easily exploit their workers, since the workers are invested heavily in the health care insurance offerings. You work 5 -10 years in effect paying insurance and you have no control. If you leave your job you have to forgo years of investment into your own health program.

    Having differing options in the job market is also advantageous for many people. Suppose your wife is a teacher making not great money but getting great family benefits. You can then take a job that pays more and provides fewer or no benefits, and if you were to take a job that provided family benefits as well you and your wife would be getting paid less for a largely redundant benefit.

    The whole premise rests on a false assumption, that somehow more laws can force businesses to pay more for a commodity (labor) than the market will bear. The business will simply lay people off, reduce their workforce by attrition, pay them less, reduce other benefits(pensions, company picnics, whatever) or go out of business entirely.

    Lastly, I suppose that if these workers felt they were being exploited, they could get jobs with Coakely or other businesses which offer benefits if they wished. Apparently, none of them have elected to do that.

    I don’t think these workers need rbottoms as their advocate.

  • Mandos

    The downside of working for a company that provides health benefits is that they can more easily exploit their workers, since the workers are invested heavily in the health care insurance offerings. You work 5 -10 years in effect paying insurance and you have no control. If you leave your job you have to forgo years of investment into your own health program.

    Which is the argument for single-payer health care.

  • franco 2

    Mandos,

    Yes and it is also an it’s an argument for something much better than State controlled health care… it’s called… portability.

  • rbottoms

    Here is an good example of economic illiteracy.

    No, it’s an example of an employer dodging the law through semantics.

    Scott Brown’s “independent contractors” ruse is one that firms all over America use to keep from paying their employees a living wage and decent benefits. The disciples of Rand are fine with the race to the bottom of wages and benefits, but that’s to be expected from the party that celebrates being a selfish p***k as an art form.

  • franco 2

    Oh Browns poor oppressed workers! rbottoms gonna fight for ‘em! Go crusade for their rights… those poor stupid people !

    “No, it’s an example of an employer dodging the law through semantics.”

    Hahahahaha…LOL Legally illiterate as well! Call the Massachusetts Attorney General… her name is Croakley or something like that. Lodge a complaint. Explain how Fed Ex and Mark Brown are using SEMANTICS to dodge laws! Too f**kin funny!

  • rbottoms

    Explain how Fed Ex and Mark Brown are using SEMANTICS to dodge laws! Too f**kin funny!

    Ever here the admonishment to a lawyer, never ask a question you don’t know the answer to?

    MYTH: As independent “owner-operators,” contractors run their own “business” and manage the day to day operations of the “business.”

    FACT: FedEx Ground and Home Delivery misclassify drivers as independent contractors in violation of the law. The Judge in the Estrada v. FedEx Ground case found that single route drivers at FedEx Ground were employees because FedEx Ground “purposefully created controls of an employment nature” and exercised “close to absolute actual control” over the drivers. The situation at Home Delivery is virtually identical to the Ground drivers. Drivers for both Ground and Home are not free to run their “business” as they see fit – FedEx tells them when, where and how many packages to deliver, when and where to pick-up packages and at what time, how to maintain their trucks, who they can hire to help drive, and even how to dress. These are just some of the restrictions that FedEx places on contractors virtually making it impossible for the contractors to run an independent business.

    MYTH: Thousands of FedEx Ground owner operators are succeeding and growing their “businesses.”

    FACT: While there are some contractors with multiple routes that make a profit, the majority of the contractors struggle to make ends meet. Every year, FedEx increases per package and per stop settlement payments but reduces the core zone settlement payment in essence making it impossible for drivers to make more money. In addition, FedEx mandates that drivers bear all expenses and buy their truck. The average operating expenses and benefits are approximately $15,000 to $30,000 annually. Drivers take home pay is significantly less than their gross earnings. Even FedEx’s recruiting materials show that the average contractor makes between $40,000-50,000 after expenses are deducted.

    By shifting the cost of its business to the drivers and providing no benefits, FedEx Ground alone brings in $4.7 billion dollars out of a total FedEx Corporation revenue of $29.4 billion. In fiscal year 2005, FedEx Ground’s operating income grew by 16%.

    MYTH: As an independent contractor, you can only be terminated for contract violations.

    FACT: The contract is purposefully vague and the interpretation of the contract is soley in the hands of FedEx. FedEx has “almost absolute unilateral control over contract termination to the point of it being the same as termination at will” – where drivers can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.

  • ktward

    franco 2:

    Across the less-partisan ideological spectrum, it’s largely agreed that our current health care system is untenable; IMHO, on too many fronts to argue just one broken element and make a legitimately defensible case for/against HCR.

    There are, however, a few bottom lines.

    Facts is facts. Group insurance–predominantly available via employers–is currently the only means of procuring reasonably priced, comprehensive health insurance plans. Once an employee leaves that employer-provided, group-insured cocoon, they are in the Health Insurance wilderness:

    - Uninsured more than 0-60 days? Uninsurable, or pre-existing-condition clauses kick in.

    - High risk? Forget about it. No reputable company will insure you. Or if they do, premiums are prohibitively exorbitant. Adding insult to injury, the definition of ‘high risk’ is a very low bar. I myself am a prime example. (You want details, you have but to ask- for now I’ll move along.)

    - At present, there exist opportunistic ‘insurance’ companies ubiquitously marketing themselves and their ‘Dr. Visits’ product; reasonably priced premiums, yes, but offering *zero* catastrophic benefits. Crunch the numbers, and they come out reeking of horribly inflated profit stench because their policy holders don’t reap necessary catastrophic-event benefits.

    - The current ‘ER Care’ mentality (articulated by a few too many uninformed elected officials) for the uninsured/poor is absurdly expensive both short and long term, and myopically bad business.

    Free markets, I’m all for it. But health insurance competition is not tantamount to, say, tech biz competition: if I don’t have a reasonably sufficient and affordable PC, I have my public library. I have options. I have my *life*. If I don’t have reasonably priced health insurance (hence, health care), I have no options. I get cancer? Without catastrophic health insurance, I lose every single way there is to lose, and perhaps even my life.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in personal responsibility: I am in nearly all respects a healthy 48yo person: I’m not remotely overweight, I exercise, I have a rigidly healthy diet. (To my college-aged children’s consternation … ‘jeez ma, no root beer?!’)

    But like many fellow Americans, I’ve found myself involuntarily unemployed and unable to procure reasonably priced non-group insurance that will cover catastrophic events. No state funds available to assist. (No surprise there as states struggle in these budget-busting times.)

    So go ahead. You and your like-minded fellows, keep your head in the HCR sand, for perhaps your own personal circumstances are more favorable than my own and allow you to do just that with an insulated conscience. Me? I am absolutely in favor of a well-conceived public option as I have *zero* confidence in insurance industry profiteers to construct a legitimately competitive biz environment. They’ve certainly not ever demonstrated, until the current HCR nexus, that they have any interest beyond shareholder comfort. Now they’re under the microscope of potential Federal intervention and are squirmy. Too late.

    Footnote: while I’ve been unable to find a job in my profession–marketing/advertising–I’m seriously considering a part-time gig at my local grocery chain. Why? Because union efforts have long secured comprehensive health care benies for even their lowly PT employees: 6+ bucks a week from me, though I will have to pay annual union dues of $36.

    This is the very essence of ‘kitchen table’ talk among voters, franco 2.

  • ktward

    Sinz54:

    “If their base [Dems] weren’t so rabidly partisan …”

    I can’t believe you said that. You’re usually a serious sort.

    Speaking as an Indie, the Republican base is waaaaay more partisan–and influential, it seems–than the Dem base. Yes, there are far-lefties, but they have demonstrably less influence in the Dem party machine (to their consternation) than do the far-righties in the Republican machine. Indeed, the very reason this site exists.

  • balconesfault

    I can’t believe you said that. You’re usually a serious sort.

    I can’t figure out Sinz on healthcare. From what I can tell, he’s very much against recissions and denial of pre-existing conditions. He’s in favor of government helping make sure that everyone has insurance coverage. He’s for the mandate. He’s actually reasonable about whether government should be able to provide counseling to seniors on end-of-life decisions.

    He’s against the pubic option – but of course, whatever healthcare bill is likely to pass won’t include a public option.

    The only reason I can see that he opposes the current bill on a policy basis is because it will harm the Obama Presidency.

  • ktward

    franco 2:

    Across the less-partisan ideological spectrum, most agree that, for many reasons, our current health care system is untenable. IMHO, a single broken element does not a legitimate argument make, either for or against HCR.

    But there are a few glaring bottom lines:

    - Group insurance remains the only reasonably priced option, and employers are the predominant provider of group plans. Period. Once an employee leaves their employer-provided health insurance cocoon, they enter the health insurance wilderness.

    - Uninsured for 0-60 days? Forget about it. You are either denied coverage altogether, or pre-existing condition clauses kick in along with exorbitant premiums.

    - High risk? Forget about it. You are either denied coverage, or cost is, again, prohibitive. And the ‘high risk’ bar is remarkably low. I know. (Want details? You have but to ask. For now, I’ll move along.)

    - Opportunistic ‘insurance’ companies are marketing their ‘Dr. Visits’ products, but they offer zero catastrophic coverage. Holy profit windfall at the expense of their duped policy holders.

    - The ‘ER visit’ health care mentality (promoted and cited by a few too many ignorant elected officials) is ridiculously costly both short and long term. Plain bad biz, any way you cut it.

    - Health Insurance, and health care, are unlike any other free-market commodity: e.g., if I don’t personally own a PC and online connection, I can go to my library; I can make do, without significant consequence, with outdated technology; I have options. Conversely, if I don’t have catastrophic health insurance, I not only stand to lose everything there is to lose, I stand to lose my life.

    - Health Insurance companies are only active and nervous today because the microscope of potential Federal intervention is upon them. Too late; I’ve zero confidence they will ever willingly offer socially-responsible coverage outside shareholder/CEO greed. Period. For that reason, I unequivocally support a viable public option that today seems, sadly, a non-starter.

    - Like many other Americans, I have found myself involuntarily unemployed. Due to lack of jobs in my profession (marketing/advertising), I’m seriously considering a part-time gig at my local grocery store chain. Why? Because the respective union long ago negotiated a comprehensive health insurance benie for even the ‘lowly’ PT employees: $6+ a week premium, plus annual union dues of, I think, 40ish bucks.

    Perhaps you and your like-minded fellows have fared better personally than myself, allowing you to stick your head in insulated sand.

    FWIW, I believe strongly in personal responsibility: I’m not even close to overweight (despite that nagging 5 lbs), I exercise, and to my college-aged kids’ consternation, I’ve no appreciation for junk food (‘Jeez ma, no root beer?!). While my personal lifestyle may arguably offer reduced health risks, it offers zero impact on the availability of reasonably-priced, comprehensive health insurance.

    This is the very essence of kitchen-table discourse in this country, franco 2.

  • ktward

    Genuine apologies for the semi-duplicate post, franco 2. A frustrating ‘WTF’ event for me is all I can say.

  • sinz54

    ktward: the Republican base is waaaaay more partisan–and influential, it seems–than the Dem base.
    If it weren’t for the Dem base,
    Hillary would be President instead of Obama,
    and Joe Lieberman would still be a Democrat.

    The liberal “netroots” got Obama nominated. They packed the caucuses and out-organized the Hillary forces.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault: The only reason I can see that he opposes the current bill on a policy basis is because it will harm the Obama Presidency.
    This may shock you,

    but I don’t think the current bill is as awful as it could have been, if the Senate had been as liberal as Pelosi. Given that liberals are now running Washington, the bill could have been much worse from my standpoint. They wanted a public option as a first step toward a single-payer America; fortunately that’s as good as dead now.

    I’m not opposed to the bill as a way of gutting the Obama presidency.

    Rather, the remaining concerns I have about the current bill are that:

    a) contrary to Dem claims, it’s going to explode the Federal deficit upward;

    b) It spends its time finagling how insurance is paid for, without reforming the practice of medicine itself (something that RomneyCare necessitated in Massachusetts). (For example, ObamaCare makes arbitrary cuts to the providers of kidney dialysis. That makes no sense, since we dialysis patients have no alternative treatments available.)

    c) it’s totally unclear how ObamaCare interacts with states that have already passed their own health care reforms (e.g. TennCare in TN, RomneyCare in MA).

  • ktward

    Sinz54:

    (Careful. Blogs can bite you in the a**. )

    You’ve also characterized Hillary supporters as [cough] ‘liberals’. Do you have a ‘liberal’ color chart we should refer to? But let’s not go there. For sake of argument, I won’t disagree with you on any of your counts, though I’ve plenty alternative opinion to offer. Whatever. Point being, I’ve zero notion as to why you would use them as argument.

    Many (most?) of those same ‘netroots’ groups are not at all happy with Obama today. They’re quite vocal about it, in fact it’s the epicenter of ‘netroots’ drama these days; they’ve not influenced Dem Congressional votes/disposition a single discernible whit, it would seem, and that’s what they’re *most* unhappy about. (Seriously. I think they hate Reid as much as the Republicans.)

    Conversely, we’ve seen way too many embarrassing examples of the deference afforded the far-right Republican machine, a la Palin/Limbaugh/Steele et al silliness. RINO labeling/hunting has unequivocally affected Republican candidacies and Congressional votes.

    And then there’s this very blog site, created as a counter to this very problem within the Republican party.

    No, Sinz, the far-lefties can only dream of the concrete, long-term influence the far-righties actually enjoy re: Party platform and Party politics. The netroots got Obama in, yes, (and for many uniquely circumstantial reasons) but they’ve had almost zero influence on his presidency, and on a Dem Hill. (Those Dems, darn unherdable cats.)

    It occurs to me that I am not illustrating anything you don’t already know; you’re too informed for that, no?

  • anniemargret

    sinz54: I was a Hillary supporter before I was an Obama supporter. Until she started playing a bit with the race card… Bill C saying Obama would land more black folks than she would. It seemed beneath them to get to that level.

    Another reason is that Obama was a fresh face within the party. He inspired with the ‘hope and change’ banner; Hillary relied on debating issues. The country was in a depressed mood during the Bush years. Obama lifted the spirits better than she could.

    Regardless that she is always excellent in her debates, but a fresh face with a positive message, and his dig deep campaigning put him on top. Hillary also suffered from the Clinton baggage, and in many ways, I still feel sorry for her for that. She is her own woman, brilliant and forceful. But Bill C put a permanent dent in the Clinton name and like the Bush’s many folks felt this country felt the dynasty American names needed a rest.

    I’m sure there are other reasons, but they say the right person comes along at the right time . Obama was a breath of fresh air after the smirky Bush/Cheney years, and his positive ‘we can do it’ message shone through. He commanded a huge portion of the young vote. All my three young adult children (all in their 20s) and my two nephews (20s’) and their friends were solidly for Obama. He spoke to them, and they knew it.

  • communists-basher

    It’s amazing how some people on this board would try to masquerade their genuine Socialist ideas/preferences as something else … like ‘left democratic’ or ‘far-left’ or ‘netroots’ b.s. or ‘progressivism’. Those are all code names for SOCIALISM. At the same time they would try to smear conservatism as ‘right-wing’, ‘neocons’, ‘far-rights’ and so for. This is done for one reason, to avoid any discussions about Socialism vs. Capitalism. They pretend that anything what Obama does is not Socialism on a false premises that he stops short from Socialism every time. Well, then what is it if not Socialism? Half-Socialism? Oh, I got it. It’s a new type of regime, a Progressive Capitalism, a Controlled Democracy … These same people pretend to invent some kind of a new regime … just to avoid being labeled as ‘Socialists’. Clever.

    And so they go into long discussions about what is the best way to tax banks or how to structure single payer healthcare for most benefits and so for … They use witty words and ‘intellectually’ constructed sentences as they pretend to have an intelligent discussion about far-left vs. far-right.

    But in reality these people are nothing more than polit-apparatchiks hired by Obama’s politburo, as Cramer nicely put it. Hired to infest our minds with confusion: “maybe”, they want us to think, “there IS something here to think about”. HAHAHA

    Let’s make it clear. American CAPITALISM is an IDEAL REGIME for an average HUMAN. Even a slightest deviation from American Capitalism (as we’ve had it for 200 years) IS a CONSIDERATION for SOCIALISM, which in turn, is already The SOCIALISM.

    Why? Because CAPITALISM is an optimal balanced harmonic entity. Once you change it even a slightest, you change the balance, you change the harmony … you make it into SOMETHING ELSE.

    And that something else can only be SOCIALISM … because history shows that there never was ANYTHING ELSE besides CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM.

    And SOCIALISM is Evil … because it does NOT fit the God given Human Nature, just like Homosexuality does not either.

  • communists-basher

    anniemargret:

    “All my three young adult children (all in their 20s) and my two nephews (20s’) and their friends were solidly for Obama. He spoke to them, and they knew it.”

    Yes, he spoke to drug-influenced, brain damaged, uneducated (yet), ignorant, easily influenced by demagogues, young adults in their 20′s who would buy any b.s. that is nicely packaged and is fashionable at the moment (just like Abercrombie & Fitch). Just like Lenin and Hitler did.

    And this why this country is in ruins now … thanks to the millions of young adults who only voted because it was fun, and because their Intellectual parents never taught them any values.

  • RalfW

    Republicans have been playing dirty for a year, fabricating out of whole cloth things like death panels. I very much dislike the notion of sinking to the gutter level with one’s opponents, but when I think that people with pre-existing conditions (including kids with, for example type I diabetes for which they are entirely innocent as to cause and entirely dependent as to medical care) will be at great risk for another generation, I say – give ‘em hell, Harry.