Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Blank Sheet of Entitlement

The short of it (I will get to the long of it) is that Republicans want things done their way, all the time, even when everybody else says otherwise. They will cite polls when convenient, ignore them when not. Otherwise, how could they not support a Public Option, or Medicare Buy-In. They don’t care about policy in particular, they have decided that if they’re not in control, that’s the problem that needs to be solved.

The Republicans don't want to start over. They don't want to start at all. If they don't have the Presidency, nothing the President says or does, unless it gives them full control.

They want Democrats to give up on all ideas they couldn't or wouldn't agree with. That's their bipartisanship. But have you heard what Republicans would willingly agree with Democrats on? What they would admit to agreeing with the Democrats about? Next to nothing. As such, they could either stall the whole thing, or reduce healthcare to just what they want, and take credit for creating the sensible policy alternative, even if it does next to nothing to actually solve the problem.

I mean, really: are we faced with an incrementally expanding problem with healthcare, or are we actually dealing with a runaway problem? The recent trouble in California indicates that it's just out of control double digit increases don't come from lawsuits. There's no increase in jury awards or the price of actual care to justify it. This is just what some folks figure the market will bear. And no, the surveys have not found that the increase in costs are justified by an increase in quality of care. We're not getting the best healthcare in the world because of the costs we're paying. In fact, many of us are not getting much healthcare, much less the best. The costs themselves do not correlate with better quality. Letting the costs spiral out of control has not made immortals out of the average American. Letting insurance companies dump people unceremoniously when they get sick hasn't reduced that cost to the average American. They still have to pay, or go bankrupt not paying for their medical care if they want to live. Nor do you, the healthcare consumer avoid paying for those who lack healthcare. You pay for their emergency care instead.

The system is broken, not just in one place or another, but in several places at once. This is a problem that emerges from dozens of problems conspiring together to make things worse, compounding each other's negative effect. The Republicans, if they want change at all, want us to try and fix the engine one part at a time, when none of the problems in particular are responsible for the problem. Would you accept your mechanic fixing your car that way? You might rightly think they're trying to get more reward for dealing with the problem than they deserve, if you even believe they're really trying to solve the problem at all.

Moreover, for Republicans and who they represent, this might not even be a crisis. If you're an insurance company, the real crisis is the possibility that your profits might be cut into. If you're a Republican, the real crisis is that people might end up grateful to Democrats for the reform. Republicans already face a future in which the Democrats dominate the younger age group, as the Republicans did during the eighties and nineties. Their only hope is to stomp out that generation's will to push change forward.

They want everything reset back to neutral. They want every advantage cancelled out, taken away. They want people to simply accept the status quo, no matter how unsustainable or unsavory it is. They want to remain in power despite having failed catastrophically on just about every front. They failed to run their wars right, despite the reputation they cultivated as the party that excelled at defense. They failed, despite their fame as the fiscally level-headed bunch, to rein in their spinning and keep revenues at a level where our prosperity was paid for. They were supposed to be the party of economic growth. They ended their last tenancy in the White House with one of the worst economic collapses in more than half a century.

This is the sheet they want blank. So how do they do it? Help solve the problem? Put aside their partisan ideology and do what it takes to save the country? No. Instead, they block four-fifths of what comes out of the House of Representatives, literally hundreds of bills. The Democrats have been far from lazy, but the Republicans want the Democrats to seem like they're doing nothing, levelling the playing field by bringing Congress's ability to legislate to a standstill.

I'm not going to write paeans and odes to the Democrats in the Senate or House. I think there was a great deal of wasted effort, and way too much submission in the face of the intimidation of the Republicans. But I want the Republicans and Democrats to be judged on their policy, not rewarded for political manuevering and point scoring. I want Congress to do its job. I want the focus to be on the practical elements of governance, because that's what the hell we send them up there to do. Some folks call politics sports for nerds, but as a nerd myself, I can say that the games of politics can have more far reaching consequences than a Stanley Cup hockey game, a Super Bowl, or the upcoming March Madness. People will live or die, enjoy prosperity or suffer ruin based on what Washington, D.C. politicians do.

The Republicans are twisting what should be a competition to serve the American people best around into a competition to see who can trash the other side most corrosively. Never mind whether they've redeemed themselves on policy, they want back in power. The whole point of Democracy, if nothing else, though, is to take those who have this kind of excessive sense of entitlement to power, and put them to the test. And if they fail? Take the power from them.

Republicans have brought this country to brink of ruin, yet they want to be at the top of the heap. They want power because they think they know best. Well, everybody thinks they know best, to a certain extent. The question is, who has done best?

Republicans want a blank sheet, because that is an implicit admission by the Democrats that the policies they've worked and battled each other this last year is inferior to what the Republicans could produce, if only they had the chance to set the agenda. And asking for the blank sheet is setting the agenda.

But the blank sheet represents something else. It represents what the Republican alternative to current and past efforts to reform the healthcare system has been: nothing.

The insurance companies are supposed to provide a service: pay premiums to us, and we'll make sure that the inevitable needs of healthcare do not break you.

Well, they break us anyways. Most bankruptcies are medical, and most who go bankrupt are covered by insurance.

Somebody is not doing their job. The insurance companies are not covering people, for their premiums, well enough to prevent medical bankruptcies. Healthcare is a need, so people will pay what they have to pay to get some coverage, some possibility of coverage.

But they're not the only ones failing. We have to ask ourselves, what is a government for?

From time immemorial, if somebody cheated you, you appealed to the judgment of your leaders, your tribal elders, your king, or whoever ruled over you. They would judge the situation, and award the resolution of the dispute according to the facts, according to the evidence at hand, and according to the law. Hell, some of the first laws recorded in history concerned workmanship.

We live in homes. Why is it outrageous to demand a minimum level of workmanship in them, so they don't fall on our heads in an earthquake, or disintegrate in a storm? Of course, it is not.

Is it outrageous to decry lead showing up in our toys, much less suffusing itself in our environment, when this is a known neurotoxin? Is it outrageous for a nation that lives mostly on the coasts to consider global warming a problem.

Some folks want to exist like their world is a blank sheet of paper, as if they can write and rrewrite their destinies in isolation with no care about what they do to anybody else. No society has accepted such hubris and survived. Sooner or later, we all suffer the consequences when a few are privileged to be reckless with the fates of us all. I know what the Republicans would say: the Democrats are being reckless with the fates of us all.

Here's what I'd say: Americans have a remedy to that. Unfortunately, you're going to push things, play on all the old tricks and junk that you tried before to get what you want. And maybe you'll succeed, sadly enough. But if you do, people are going to expect you to solve the problems they can't solve themselves, and healthcare will be one of them.

And when they come to you, they won't come to you with a blank sheet. They will come to you with a myriad of abuses and rate hikes like this one.. They will still have problems, like this and others. And if your response is the same old stuff, why do you expect them not to throw you right back out?

Democrats aren't waiting for this next election to take advantage of the Republican's unwilingness to face American's problems. Either the Republicans find a way to reconcile doing something with their political viewpoint, or sooner or later they will find the blank sheets of paper in their offices with a pink slip stapled to it.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2010 9:09 AM
Comments
Comment #296359

Stephen -

There’s a fine line between passionate discourse and a ranting diatribe; sadly, you chose the latter.

Your essay reveals your anger and emotion. Unfortunately, because of this tact, and not in spite of it, you make numerous grammatical faux pas in your article.

I found it difficult to read, even incoherent at times. You’ve written a lot of articles in the past minus the run-ons, fragments and even missing phrases from sentences (see: second paragraph, third sentence).

I would hope that you would edit your article before posting it here. We all make small mistakes and I’m no exception. However, it is always best to use our thoughts and words as a vehicle to express our philosophical ideas and opinions in such a manner that we actually prove our point, not make our point weaker because of displaced emotion.

I enjoy your passion - but for some reason, the above article doesn’t show that quality. Our goal as writers and opion-makers is to inform, and in many cases, elicit feedback in the form of comments about the topic at hand, not the mechanics itself.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 27, 2010 1:50 PM
Comment #296360

Murphy’s Law is alive and well - I failed to spell’opinion’ fully!

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 27, 2010 1:53 PM
Comment #296365

Kevin: Perhaps you come a little close to attacking the poster rather than the idea posited in the post? How about responding to what the post is about instead of attacking a valued author in this forum. Frankly we have seen passion and anger in all three columns in this forum and will probably continue to do so.

I find myself concurring with Stephen’s posted idea, and find myself just as angry. I have watched as the Republicans have told lies about the healthcare bills and firmly believe it has affected what people know and/or believe, and wrongly so. I’m not letting Democrats escape, they have not been as forthcoming with the truth of things as I would like, but it is much less egregious.

Death panels. I burned up over that having just had to go through that with my elderly parents, who are both now gone. It was a valuable experience for me and for each of them. Death panel indeed.

I’m so tired of the spinning of the truth from both sides, but I’m more tired of the Republicans digging in and claiming that everything about the bill is wrong, that they had no input and that they have a better plan. Where the hell was their plan when they were the majority? It is just this kind of Republican stance that has made me a lifelong Democrat. It would take a much different Republican party to ever win me over, in spite of all the Democrat’s warts.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 27, 2010 4:49 PM
Comment #296366

Kevin L. Lagola-
I’ve made a few revisions. I can understand the need for clarity.

That said, I am angry, and I am on a bit of a rant here. For me, it’s not merely a matter of fairness to my party. For me, there is a firm belief on my part that your party screwed up policy, and needs to reformulate their approach to policy. They don’t have to give up on their principles, but we should see the Republicans recognizing how bad their screw-ups had been.

Both for the sake of accountability, and for the sake of simply not having our government commit those mistakes again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2010 4:52 PM
Comment #296369

I make so many typos etc myself that I dare not criticize others on that account. The anger, however, is not so good.

Democrats have overwhelming control over the levels of government. I am sorry for them that they cannot make the machine work unless Republicans help them, but if you want/need Republican help you have to do something other than threaten.

Democrats have three big options. They can play super tough, pass their legislation and suffer the consequences with the people. They can make concessions to Republicans that convince enough of them to come along (as in the jobs bill) or they can continue to be wimps and weenies and whine about how they cannot get anything done. I think they will choose option three, although they will talk about option one.

I was glad that President Obama sponsored the theater of boredom (summit). Although Republicans had only 1/3 of the time to talk, they laid out their plans. I have been watching the polling data. Many Americans had believed that Republicans had no suggestions. Now they know that they do.

Posted by: Christine at February 27, 2010 5:10 PM
Comment #296374

I think the question for the democrats is do they want to live by the sword of reconciliation knowing that later they will die by the same sword.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 27, 2010 5:42 PM
Comment #296378

Craig, I don’t think that is the question, at all.

The question is, can their party survive failure to pass some kind of reform, before their majority is diminished in Jan. 2011? And I think that question is now being put, and the answer for all but a few Democrats will be NO! The writing is now on the wall, and reluctant Democrats can no longer ignore it, and be assured of reelection as Democrats, conservative or otherwise.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 27, 2010 6:37 PM
Comment #296379

Craig Holmes-
I think they don’t care at this point. We defended the filibuster, only to see your people abuse it beyond all historical precedent. As for the damage that could be cause by use of reconciliation to pass legislation? Well, you folks passed the Bush tax cuts, which cost 2.5 trillion dollars in lost revenues. So, what’s your point then?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2010 6:54 PM
Comment #296382

Christine-
You define power in terms of numbers. But Democrats are operating with diluted power, since those numbers are nowhere near as ideologically pure as the Republicans. Democrats are just beginning to turn the tide of Republican power back, in terms of their influence.

Visualize it like this: Democratic party majorities are emerging ones, pushing themselves into new territory. Not all that territory is fully with them just yet. Republicans have plenty of solid territory, but they’re really pulling back towards it, maintaining a solid hold on the South, having traded places with the Democrats of long ago.

That’s the Republican’s problem, really, and why this may be a poor time to keep pushing their political agenda to its limits.

The power they gain, they gain only because people stay home, not because more people are on their side. The Republicans make advances at the pleasure of a Public that their policies are still having a negative effect on. If they prove unwilling or unable to exercise the political will themselves to change things for the better, you will see them out of office just as quick.

That is, unless they moderate themselves. Unfortunately, the Republicans can’t moderate themselves without conceding their political losses, which many won’t do.

The Republicans no longer have a stable power base, and whether they lose it slowly by a long, tendentious battle, or quickly by catastrophe, they’re on their way down. You can fall from power gracefully, and prepare the way back, or you can continue your last decades’s deficit of dignity.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2010 7:22 PM
Comment #296383

Stephen

Just do it. Do it then. I don’t think the Democrats are up to it. They like being victims too much. Nancy cannot get the Senate bill through the House and Reid cannot get the House bill through the Senate. I mean, he cannot get 51 votes, forget the Filibuster.

What they can do is get a few iterative changes done. That is what they should do. The Democrats’ delusional, dream is done, smashed up against the shoals of reality and their own lack of leadership capacity. You all should have dumped Harry and Nancy before you had important work to do that required brains, courage and charisma.

Posted by: Christine at February 27, 2010 7:27 PM
Comment #296386

Stephen, et al,

In the future, I will temper criticism of typos. I appreciate your honesty with the ‘clarity’ comment, however.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at February 27, 2010 7:59 PM
Comment #296389

Christine-
You will see a bill passed in the next two months, mark my words. The Democrats know how bad it gets for them if they fail. They know their voters will hold them accountable.

Iterative changes. You had a decade and a half to do that! But what did you do? Nothing. You don’t have a plan, you have a gimmee to the malpractice insurance people, who have not lowered their premiums in response to tort reform yet.

Truth of the matter is, all these nice industries you’re helping in the name of letting the market carry out the change are screwing you, the minute it seems safe. They are making liars out of you. Look at that Blue Cross thing in California. That could not have been timed any [freak]ing worse for your people. But why shouldn’t they turn around and do that? That’s what they’re used to doing, when they get the chance.

As for our delusional dream? You cannot be serious. You think Obama’s ray of hope was all there was to this whole Democratic resurgence? If Harry Reid is dumped, it’s because he was fairly hopeless in forcing confrontation with your people. Democrats are monumentally frustrated with him, and they’d love to have somebody else in charge, somebody who will willingly take the fight to the Republicans.

That, rather than the centrist to conservative Democrat Harry Reid has been. God, it’s such a cliche to hear Reid and Pelosi mentioned, portrayed as Svengalis who could wrangle the wills of the whole of Congress towards being ten times more Liberal than they’d naturally be.

It’s even more hilarious to hear claims of such hypnotic powers be followed by critiques of the ability of those leaders to get their people in line. Hell, if they were so damn effective, it would have been game over long ago. The real problem is that the current leaders can’t count on enough party discipline to hammer at the Republicans.

And that problem? Most Democrats are looking to fix it, not surrender to the Republicans.

You underestimate, seriously underestimate how badly Democrats want the taste of this kind of humiliation out of their mouths. Now they might stay home on election day this time around, but if you show them a Democrat with real strength, who takes it to the Republicans… hell, you will feel fear in your guts that day.

Don’t you understand? This is a generation of Democrats who have seen their country go out of control, into the ditch under the Republicans. They have seen their people all too often cooperate in carrying out those policies. They have seen their party humiliated and savaged again and again, and the endless Senate Blockade has only added humiliation and outrage to what was already a boiling pot of resentment.

Here’s what makes it really bad: these people make up a large part of your future electorate.

You’ve got the seniors angry and fearful, but you have the young pissed off. The young, not to be too blunt about it, are going to be around longer.

They aren’t going to encourage their candidates to come to the bargaining table. They’ll encourage them to ram things down your party’s throats. And why not? What have Democrats gained in the last year by trying to be bipartisan, by letting the Republicans have a chance to shape legislation. Being a centrist nowadays is thankless, and in some ways useless. Thanks to your neverending obstruction, they’ve become a detriment to the Party’s ability to pass legislation, not an aid to it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 27, 2010 8:35 PM
Comment #296390

Stephen

I am optimistic that the Democratic - or more precisely the liberal - juggernaut is stopped. There will be a bill that is very much stripped down. Democrats will be forced to do things the iterative way.

The Democratic plan would have given us European levels of care at American prices. It was worse than nothing and we have managed to beat it back.

After November that Democrats will be weaker. They will not have the temptation of trying to go it alone (something they are not capable of doing anyway, BTW) They will have to do more than “include” Republican idea that they like. They will have to make a bipartisan bill, which is appropriate for such a big change.

I suppose the liberal Democrats will be angry, but frankly we have learned that doesn’t matter. Play time is over and next year the serious people can get to work.

Posted by: Christine at February 27, 2010 8:52 PM
Comment #296393

Stephen:


I think they don’t care at this point. We defended the filibuster, only to see your people abuse it beyond all historical precedent. As for the damage that could be cause by use of reconciliation to pass legislation? Well, you folks passed the Bush tax cuts, which cost 2.5 trillion dollars in lost revenues. So, what’s your point then?

You are comparing apples and Oranges. The Reconciliation process is for budget issues. The Bush tax cuts were well within the rules. The rules specifically state that tax cuts can only be considered if they do not impact the budget over 10 years in advance.

Basically the difference is that Bush used the reconciliation process for the purpose that it was intended.

Clinton wanted to use this same process. Senator Byrd strongly objected, just as he is doing now.

Here is Byrd’s letter.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2009/04/byrd-i-support-the-byrd-rule.php?page=1

You are correct that reconciliation was not intended to be used for budget cuts. However, it is an unintended consequence as long as the budget cuts expire within 10 years.

What is happening now is simply making the reconciliation process of no effect. The rule might as well be scrapped.

What this means is that when Republicans take over with a Republican president, they can eliminate any program they want to!! Social Security Medicare etc!!!

I just think your side should be very careful because the reconcilation process you are destroying protects many of the programs you support. It also allows majorities of short duration to drastically change our system. Wow can a majority get a lot of change through in two years if all they need is 51% and a President signiture.

It’s your funeral!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 27, 2010 9:23 PM
Comment #296396

Craig,

umm yeah, that’s the way it works.

I mean other than saying “so are you” what are you offering?

I think this is the misread by Republicans. They think that Americans won’t notice their do nothing collusion with the rich and powerful HC industry robbing them. In a time of floating boats rising, that may be true. That time, like that Republican slight of hand, is in the past.

This is also true of Democrats who ignore legislation to reform Wall Street.

Shay’s rebellion and the Whiskey rebellion came about in times of economic hardship. BS becomes a much harder sell during economic downturns.

Posted by: gergle at February 27, 2010 11:12 PM
Comment #296401

Christine-
You’ve read my writings. Have I gotten calmer or angrier? And I’m level-headed. The Liberals I know out there are not calling for submission to the Republicans. They’re itching for a fight, and hoping to see somebody, anybody who will take that fight to the Republicans in Congress.

You are fundamentally misjudging where you have the Democrats. Sure, we’re stalled, but only because the full weight of the Republican Party is resisting the up or down voting of most of our agenda.

Any failure, any crack in that voting block, any event that makes it politically impractical to obstruct the majority, will make the Republican strategy a disaster.

Then comes the real problem. 1994 started the Republicans off with a IT and internet driven bull market what would help to cushion the consequences of their policy changes on the economy. The Republicans come back right into the mess, the economy downturn that their rules and regulations helped create.

1994 started Republicans off in a peacetime environment where America was the sole triumphant superpower, and straight off the triumph of the Gulf War. Now we’ve had almost a decade worth of continuous war, neither of which the American people have much stomach to continue for much longer.

1994 started Republicans off with the Clinton Tax hikes combining with Clinton’s various reforms to close the deficit down. Now The Republicans deal with the aftermath of a tax policy that was as undisciplined as it was impractical Their final budget year for the White House broke all previous records, including their own, for budget deficits.

The Republican will sit themselves down in the ashes of their former triumphs, and hope not to get dirtied by them.

What’s the bloody point of the Republicans winning back the majority? Do they plan on actually governing with it? Will they solve any problems? Will Americans like their policies anymore now than before, after the pressure is off, and the Republicans are crowing again?

God, it just has to be the most useless political movement I could think of. You’re basically defending the policy legacy of one of the worst presidents of modern times. You win this election on that, and try to bring that BS back, and you might not even place in the next few elections. Did you guys learn nothing from 2008? The last thing people want is a return to the Bush years, and that is all you have to offer policy-wise!

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2010 12:20 AM
Comment #296403

Craig Holmes-
That’s a letter from a year back. Even if he hasn’t changed his mind, I doubt he has much heart to oppose it now.

But for your information, the Democrats have a much better chance of fulfilling the Byrd Rule’s purpose, since our policies are rated to be Deficit reducers. Besides, we’re not passing the bulk of the actual bill through that, just the corrections to what will be in the Senate Bill.

The irony of the use of the reconciliation measure to pass the tax cuts is that budget reconciliation, that is measures meant to prevent deficits, are the main aim of this kind of legislation. This is meant to help pass tough, not nearly so popular, deficit reducing measures.

The Bush Tax cuts, you should concede, are not the world’s best example of deficit cutting measures.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2010 12:26 AM
Comment #296404

Craig Holmes-

To wit, on Robert Byrd:

A tired Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) set the tone for the event. When the clerk called out his name, Byrd broke with protocol. Instead of calling out his vote, Byrd shouted “Mr. President, this is for my friend, Ted Kennedy. Aye.”

If you think Byrd will actually stick to that principle, rather than help get Healthcare passed, I think you misunderstand the man.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2010 12:34 AM
Comment #296406

Stephen:

There isn’t anything to debate. The Senate rules don’t matter anymore. It’s just straight power over the wishes of the American people.

It’s just ugly.

For me it’s one of the darkest periods of time,no thee darkest period of time I can ever remember in politics.

What a power grab.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 28, 2010 12:46 AM
Comment #296408

Stephen

Newt balanced the Budget as much as Clinton. In 1994 things were not so good. It wasn’t until Clinton moved to the center, under pressure from newly ascendant Republicans, that things improved.

Maybe Obama will benefit similarly.

As I have written many times, the Democrats can do what they want. They hold all the power - much more than Newt did, much more than Bush did, much more than Reagan did. But I don’t think they will use it. They know that what they are proposing is unpopular with the American people and they fear the popular wrath in November.

So we get back to this. If Democrats think they have the people behind them, they should go ahead and push through. presumably they will be rewarded with even greater majorities in November. But we both know they won’t because we all know they don’t.

Re policy - the Republicans made some proposals during the “summit”. The polling I have seen shows the American people think they are okay. I know you enjoy pounding Bush, but he is gone. Deal with the new proposals. The voters will.

Re Senator Byrd - you sort of described Democrats when you proudly assert that he will not stick to principle rather than help a bill get passed. I am afraid we do NOT misunderstand the man or the Dems.

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2010 12:51 AM
Comment #296414

Newt balanced the budget? Is that the one that shut down the government?

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2010 8:30 AM
Comment #296417

Marysdude

Yes - it took a dramatic gestures, like a government shutdown among other things, to get the job done.

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2010 9:44 AM
Comment #296418


Christine, Clinton signed NAFTA. Clinton negotiated the Chinese Trade Agreement, opening our borders to invasion. Clinton deregulated the financial markets. Centrist? What a joke.

The Canadians are centrists. The Western Europeans are centrists. Clinton is a corprocrat and so is the rest of the Democratic Party’s leadership.

Here is my prediction:

If Obama is reelected, and possibly before, the Democrats will privatize Social Security. They will call it something like
The Social Security Reinvestment Act. That is what centrist will get us.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2010 10:26 AM
Comment #296420

jlw

So in your opinion Bill Clinton was a dangerous right-winger?

I don’t believe in the line of right to left. It is just too complicated for that. But let’s take the simple version just to get your perspective.

If Clinton is moderate right and the Europeans (I know there are very different systems in place in various European countries, but let’s also simplify that) are centrist, who are the moderate left? Are we talking Robert Mugabe? Fidel Castro or Kim Jong il?

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2010 11:37 AM
Comment #296421

Newt didn’t shut the government down, Clinton did, in order to stop the stupidity from the right. It is too bad he did not do something along those lines to stop NAFTA and GLB. He will always be a failed president because of GLB, but NAFTA was to happen sooner or later anyway.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2010 11:46 AM
Comment #296422

Marysdude

GLB Senate 90-8, House 362-57.

Clinton negotiated the NAFTA agreement. Why would he want to shut down government to stop either?


You consider Clinton a failed president. Has there been any president in your lifetime that was NOT a failed president, just so we know the standards.

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2010 12:33 PM
Comment #296432

Truman…JFK to a lesser extent.

Ike gave us the Military Industrial Complex
Johnson gave us Viet Nam (just as dishonorable as Iraq)
Nixon gave us criminality
Ford saved Nixon
Carter gave us spiraling inflation
Reagan handed us to China, and gave us criminality
BushI gave us criminality and turned the ‘thousand points of light’ out
Clinton gave us GLB
Cheney/Bush is a never ending story of abuse, error, misguided nonsense and killed strangled what was left of the middle class, and used our Constitution as a dousche wipe

Clinton negotiated NAFTA, and I regret it, but his failure was in not forcing Republicans to over-ride on GLB. NAFTA was a foregone conclusion because of our historical relationship with Canada and without which other nations (the EU) would have moved in, to our South, in a heartbeat. His veto would not have stopped GLB from going forward, but it would not have stunk up his administration, and future generations could have understood more clearly who wreaked all the havoc they will ultimately have to pay for.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2010 2:54 PM
Comment #296456

Craig Holmes-
How do you reconcile talking about what a majority of Americans want, as if a majority matters, and then saying that it is within the minority’s right to block four-fifths of all legislation on their prerogative?

In the past, I have spoken out in favor of limited filibusters, filibusters meant to draw attention, perhaps bring negotiation. But not a comprehensive sabotage of the Senate’s majority power. If the Framers wanted the minority to have that kind of veto, they would have enumerated such a right in the constitution. The filibuster, in real terms, is actually a mistake, a loophole, exploited by generations of Senators, and kept in the back pocket to be used occasionally.

Your party has turned it into strategy of legislative sabotage, and has done so in spite of two things.

The first thing was the 2005 controversy over the filibustering of judges. You folks howled about a handful of judges being blocked. Now you’ve blocked about sixty or seventy Obama appointees. This apparently reconciles well for you, but you’ll have to explain to me what feature of your philsophy allows for such a sudden turnabout of justification.

The second thing is the two intervening elections since then. When your party first became the minority, your party started a campaign of Obstruction that reached record proportion, resulting in 112 filibuster threats, when all was said and done. That’s almost twice the previous record. And if that hypocrisy isn’t enough, the next election knocked your party back even further. Obviously, the American people were not on your side then. Yet, still, you decided it was rightful and righteous to continue, even escalate this blockade. You didn’t have many favorable polls, those have come after the fact, and after months and months of nothing but your party’s negativism.

Why should I believe anything you say about majority support for this BS? Why should I let you have the satisfaction of having basically taken a technicality of the Senate rules, and blown it far out of former proportion, and come back to you begging for forgiveness for my party’s abuses. You party seems capable enough of looking after it’s own interests, without needing my help.

When are you going to understand that unless you respect majority rules whether or not your party is the majority, nobody’s majority is going to be able to do the will of the majority of the people? Do you folks think that far ahead anymore, or are you just stuck justifying the latest thing your party’s done?

Power grabs. We EARNED our power. You’re grabbing it, not bothering to ask the American people to vote your folks back into a majority first, before you decided that you were the ones to dictate terms and policies in the Senate. I don’t want to hear your complaints until you let this country have its Senate back in working order. This country doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to all of us, and your majorities only enjoy working power if ours do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2010 8:35 PM
Comment #296459

Christine-
As I recall it, the benefit that your party rendered unto Clinton was an impeachment trial over oral sex in the overall office.

And what else? Shared blame in the laws that destroyed today’s economy? Gee, thanks. You seem to think that the best thing Democrats could do politically is collaborate with you folks.

Two problems: first, your party’s no longer interested in bipartisanship. It blocks eighty percent of what passes the house, basically every major bill, even the ones the centrists negotiate with you on. Second, the voters take a look at Democrats giving the insurance companies what they want, like the Republicans are wanting them to, and they take a hit, politically speaking. Folks aren’t in a kind and forgiving mood for the kind of free-market philosophy that was popular in the nineties. They just aren’t.

People want a government that pays attention to their needs, rather than perpetually helping those who can help themselves quite fine on their own. Democrats in my party up in Washington are grudgingly finding out that they’re not going to be all that popular, if they continue down the road of backing the old policies of the last two decades.

If your party does make gains, it will only be because of dissatisfaction, artificially created through filibuster, and naturally created through adverse reactions for the Democrats to corrupt dealings. But your party will have a problem in that underneath the populist rhetoric, your party will still push the old policies.

I wouldn’t count on that fact being unnoticed.

And Democrats? Look, if you slammed the door in my face for most of my proposals, using parliamentary manuevers on a constant basis to undermine my image and popularity, would I be in a mood to help you? And what right would your party have to demand that a majority rules in legislation, given all you’ve done. We can cite polls and justify obstruction on those grounds just as well as you. And I might like to do that!

But I hope it doesn’t come to that. Because our country needs a responsive government more than it needs my party as a winner. The majorities that should matter are the ones that elect people. Polls are evanescent, ambiguous, and easy to twist. Elections count the actual will of the voter, when they make their decision.

Democrats resisted using reconciliation for a long time, because we didn’t want to have to deal with its restriction. However, Republicans have set the state so that nobody can pass legislation without getting one of theirs on board. And they punish those who part from the party line.

So what are we supposed to negotiate with? If we want to act like the majority, it seems we’ll have to abuse the system just as much as your party has, simply to function. If you don’t like that, call your Congresscritters, your Republican leaders, and tell them to stop the filibustering, because they are the ones pushing things willingly to these extremes, rather than simply resorting to them out of political necessity.

I mean, you keep on taunting us to use our majority as we were supposed to, yet, now you complain? You can’t have it both ways. Either the Democrats do their best to rule as a majority, as they are expected to by voters, or they will be seen as weak, and face oblivion. You can’t expect Democrats to commit political suicide to do your party’s will, not now of all times.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 28, 2010 8:53 PM
Comment #296464

Gergle

You are significantly older than I am if you remember Truman. I vaguely remember JFK.

Re GLB - It looks like a majority of Democrats voted for these things. Senate 90-8, House 362-57 is a really big majority.

Stephen

If you guys don’t like the “obstruction” do something about it. You have overwhelming power.

Republicans keep on calling the Democrat bluff and you keep on backing down all the time crying about the unfairness of it all and threatening dire retribution. You must excuse Republicans if they don’t take this seriously anymore.

Posted by: Christine at February 28, 2010 10:37 PM
Comment #296469

Stephen:

I read a good article that explained health care from the far left’s perspective. It was actually very good.

Basically, for the far left, universal health care is almost like an article of faith. It’s a once in a lifetime moment that is worth risking congress over. What they mean by that is that if you gave the far left the choice of loosing congress and passing health care, they would pass health care because congressional majorities come and go, but expansion of the government’s footprint of this size comes around only once a generation.

That explains to me the irrational approach of taking on health care in the middle of this recession. A rational person would try to look at what the voters highest priorities and solve them. Of course health care is not at the top of the list for most americans, jobs are.

From the right, where health care is important but not number one, you look crazy. It’s the economy stupid. They even used religious terms. I know the far left (except african americans) are not regular church goers, but this is about as close as it gets.

So there isn’t much need to argue because it’s nearly a religious convictions. Just take the votes. But you are cramming your values on the rest of America who believe you should be focused on jobs, and cutting the deficit.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 1, 2010 12:18 AM
Comment #296486

“But you are cramming your values on the rest of America who believe you should be focused on jobs, and cutting the deficit.”

Is it not true that the greatest economic and fiscal problem facing the US is health care? Whether the Democratic proposals adequately address this problem may be debatable, but it appears disingenuous to claim that Democrats are ignoring fiscal and economic problems by focusing on health care. It is the elephant in our fiscal house.


Posted by: Rich at March 1, 2010 8:55 AM
Comment #296488

Rich
Without jobs, IMO, is far more important then HC, for without jobs HC will still be a drain on the economy.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 10:17 AM
Comment #296490

Craig Holmes-
You read a terrible article if it makes that assertion. This is not a matter of religious faith. This is a matter of function.

First, the costs are out of control. The rate hike in California illustrates that well.

Second, the care people are getting for that added cost has not improved proportionately with the cost, so we’re not really defending value by defending costs.

Third, we are suffering economic costs on several levels for this dysfunctional system.

We are paying for those who are forced to seek emergency care at the last moment in emergency room costs, not to mention their lost productivity.

We are paying for those who suffer medical bankruptcies, and who’s ability to spend on anything else but settling their debts is undermined.

We pay for those whose policies are rescinded, for employees who can’t continue productive careers because nobody will insure them, or pay for the physical therapy to get them back on their feet.

It’s like those old car commercials: pay me now, or pay me later. Healthcare is not a privilege or a right, it’s a need, a necessity for long and productive lives. It’s maintenance for human beings. Just like it would be unwise to run a high performance engine without maintenance, it’s unwise to push our society as hard as we do without a functional healthcare system. People WILL get sick, WILL get old, WILL get injured.

We cannot afford a system that puts timely, necessary care beyond the reach of the average individual, that encourages people to suffer in silence. I have had experience with a healthcare system that encourages such neglect, and have seen the consequences in my own life. We cannot let the healthcare system ruin so many lives, and not expect consequences to follow from that.

But also, incrementalism? Are we at a point here where incrementalism will pull the brakes on this system fast enough? If we were talking fifteen years ago, maybe incrementalism would have worked. But it won’t. You’ve let the problems confound each other too much, so the system has to be addressed as a system, policies balanced against each other. Comprehensive problems need comprehensive solutions.

KAP-
Without HCR, many jobs will be figments of the conservative imagination. Healthcare costs will drain employers of the ability to create those jobs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2010 11:59 AM
Comment #296494

Craig,

For the seventy-second time:

There can be NO economic recovery without health care reform, and without economic recovery there will be no appreciable increase in job openings, and pay will continue to stagnate. All of our future is tied to health care reform, and conservatives think by lambasting health care reform, we will somehow come out on top?

Republican talking points just get older and odder as time progresses.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 1, 2010 1:58 PM
Comment #296495

S.D. & Dude
BULLS__T we need jobs first then we can worry about HC reform. How do you propose to pay HC for those who do not have jobs? By taxing the hell out of someone else, which seems to be the way of the democrats. How is HC reform going to produce those jobs, by expanding government I suppose by hiring more incompetent paper pushers.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 2:18 PM
Comment #296496

S.D & dude
By the way we have enough incompetents in government now. They’re called Democrats and Republicans.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 2:22 PM
Comment #296499

Marysdude/Stephen:

For the 1000ths time, the current health care bills do not address your issue of economic reform except at the margin.

Here is Warren Buffet’s comment on this:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/03/warren_buffet_health_care_bill.html

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 1, 2010 3:16 PM
Comment #296504

KAP-
Where are the Republican jobs bills? Where are their brilliant plans for bringing back the economy?

They aren’t there. Anti-government paranoia is a feeling, not a solution. The Republicans play on it to get people to vote for them. It’s easy enough. They just got to be against everything the Democrats want. They don’t need to explain all the billions they funnel to their contractors friends, the deficits they run. They’re against government. Yet they rush in to be part of it, and to bring home the bacon.

You want to know why that is? Because the reality is, when you can’t claim credit for something big and burnish your credentials, you make up a bunch of small things you can take credit for. And that’s called porkbarrel spending.

Craig Holmes-
If you’re wanting a better jobs program, Get a leash on this dog.

Hell, if you want a big jobs program, tell your party to stop filibustering. I’m certain Democrats would push one through easily if your people weren’t damming up legislation in the Senate.

If you want progress, tell your party to end its policy of constant filibustering. Then we can get some actual work done.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2010 4:20 PM
Comment #296507

S.D.
Why don’t you quit worrying about the incompetent Republicans and worry more about your incompetent Democrats. Filibuster what? The only problem is in your own party. They can’t get it together. It’s pretty lame to blame someone else for your parties incompetence.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 4:57 PM
Comment #296509

Stephen:

He is simply enforcing Congress’s Paygo rules your party put into action and praised by Obama this month.

Back to your previous point. Care to refute Warren Buffet?

These bills you support do not do what you claim they do. They only effect the budget is a very limited way. Selling them as cutting costs is just not credible when the curve direction is unchanged.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 1, 2010 5:13 PM
Comment #296512

KAP-
Unless we get sixty votes, we can’t ignore their incompetence. They can impose it on everybody. The only difference with Democrats would be our making a bigger stink about it.

We currently have fifty-nine in the caucus. You do the math.

This isn’t some la-la fantasy world where we can pass anything no matter what the Republicans do. Since the Republicans have decided to break all previous records in the blocking of bills in the senate, and continue to block everything from unemployment benefits to Obama nominees, the Republicans are succeeding in making doing our jobs difficult for everybody.

You’re asking us to face historic problem with a Senate more deadlocked by the minority than any in history. If you want to spread the blame around equally, then you tell me: other than shaming a Republican Party which seems to have lost all shame about its extremism, how, precisely, are we supposed to get bills through the Senate?

Craig Holmes-
Enforcing, how? Nearly every other Senator is voting for it. Paygo requires sixty, as I recall it. As for praising things by now, could you, for the record, recall for me what exactly your party let happen to paygo?

If you want to glorify a man who tells his fellow Senators “tough ****” about blocking the bill, interrupting the unemployment benefits of millions, furloughing thousands of Federal employees, costing the states millions in restart costs for these program, flicking off reporters who asking him question, and complaining about missing his sports games while he disrupts millions of lives and costs state government millions of dollars? Well, you go ahead.

If it weren’t for the fact that your party’s callous disregard for human life and livlihood was such old news, this would be splashed across the front pages of newspapers in headlines.

You know, the trouble is, even after all this time, you folks don’t hold your people accountable for what they do. You don’t hold them to common standards of decency. That’s for the Democrats, I guess, the folks who haven’t attained that high level of moral and ideological perfection that lets them vote for a man who frequented prostitutes in a diaper remain a Senator. (That’s Senator Vitter.) For Democrats, it’s something that leads the people to resign. For Republicans, walking the appalachian trail, so to speak, doesn’t merit leaving office.

The hypocrisy drips off your party.

As for refuting Warren Buffet? Well, I would agree that it doesn’t do enough for costs, but I would tell him that you’re not going to get the Republicans to help. See, if you noted what he said, he said that Republicans and Democrats should get together on it. But if everything plays out again as it has so far, that’s not going to happen. You do not block eighty percent of legislation, and put yourself on track towards record filibuster numbers by being particular. They’re blocking just about every major piece of legislation. They block it, even if we do everything they ask, like we did for Chuck Grassley.

You vastly underestimate the callousness and cynicism of your party leaders. They have no intention of putting forward policy. They have not used that leverage to force the bills to the right. No. They’ve just flat out scorched-earthed the whole thing. This is about winning an unearned return to the majority, succeeding in supplanting the Democrats without having to solve the nasty, thorny, special interest-benefiting problems that Democrats face such dilemmas fighting.

Stop selling your party as the one what has better policy. For all intents and purposes, they have only one policy: the lack of Democratic Party policy achievements. They will prey on the disappointments of millions about the Democratic Party’s lack of progress, in order to further policies that will bring any such progress to a halt.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2010 6:00 PM
Comment #296513

Stephen:

So we agree the current bill does not do enough to contain costs.

Of course this was your main point a few posts back as to why this needs to be done.

Actually it does precious little to contain costs.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 1, 2010 6:06 PM
Comment #296514

S.D.
59 now. Before 60,when you had that you still couldn’t get it done quit blameing someone else for your parties incompetence. That’s 58 Dems and 2 Ind. that voted with the dem party. It seems to me your party did the same things when they were a minority so quit your crying that’s politics. By the way I don’t agree with blocking unemployment benefits.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 6:15 PM
Comment #296515

Stephen:

Why such angry hateful posts? On the hypocrisy theme, you live in a glass house Steve. Watch how many rocks you throw.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 1, 2010 6:16 PM
Comment #296516

Craig,

Do you know what keeps small business from hiring more than any other thing? They can’t afford to hire people who don’t have health care, and they can’t afford to provide the insurance to help the help have health care. SOLVE the HEALTH CARE conundrum and you solve the employment issue, and the economy begins to heal. Then regulate the banking and financial houses, and national recovery is around the corner…that is…as much recovery as will be possible. We’ll never return to Nirvana…the fifties are gone forever, and the middle class will be a shadow of its old self. In the best case scenario the middle class is dead by the hands of Ronnie Teflon and Sammie Wal*China.

As for the current health care plans being inadequate…we tried to compromise with Republicans by removing the ‘Public Option’ from the table…we got shat upon…big time, so you are probably right. But, starting over is not an option, because the things necessary to get a health care plan that will be adequate, will never pass Republican muster. We’ll have to take what we can get and hope the future holds a better prepared Congress. The one we have is only prepared to hold the hands of lobbyists.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 1, 2010 7:25 PM
Comment #296517

Craig,

If you woke up tomorrow and could have the political situation that you think would bring us back from the deep end of poop…would you have a plurality of conservatives in Congress and the White House?

If you did have that…what would you expect out of them that they did not provide when they had the chance (1994-2006)?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 1, 2010 7:33 PM
Comment #296518

Dude
In all actuallity NO Business has to provide Health insurance to it’s employees. Hence the term BENEFIT which is good to retain employees. But for small business’ with maybe less then 10 employees it would be a drain on that business to provide HC insurance. Most business’ now require the employees to kick in some of the cost. I do think we need reform but NOT what your party is pushing. Your party hasn’t learned from the mistakes of the Clinton era HC reform try.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 7:40 PM
Comment #296525

Craig Holmes-
I joined this blog in the interests of furthering practical policy. I joined in part because of the war, but my position wasn’t that of a stereotypical peacenik, but that of a person who thought that Bush policies were losing us the war, and who was appalled at the constant political ass-covering that was employed in place of actual policy improvements.

For years, I’ve fought that kind of BS, out of Bush, and the other Republicans. I would horrify me to see that triumph once more. But that is all your party has to offer: political apologetics for discredited policy. And you folks, it seem, will keep on doing this, on and on, and meanwhile, not let anybody do any better than you, for fear that your policies will pale on the merits next to ours, in the voters eyes.

I have had enough of it, and I’m not willingly letting my country go back to you party’s screwed-up domination of policy. It’s not fair to the American people to have to learn these lessons all over again.

We need a break from Republicans, but you folks aren’t letting us take it. We’re mad enough as it is, at what we must suffer now on your account, and yet your people continue to fight tooth and nail to re-establish your majority?

What is the ****ing point? Did you guys ever truly learn your lessons, or did you just assume it was all a mistake?

I’m asking myself here why there is any reason to remain rational with the Republicans, seeing as how they are intent on sealing themselves off hermetically from any outside viewpoints. How I can I reason with somebody who doesn’t accept even the best, most well-documented facts as evidence against their policies? Who pass on outrageous lies that they keep on repeating, disregarding any debunking that comes your way?

When are the Republicans going to humble themselves, take themselves off this pedestal, and let themselves be held accountable? They are tying these policies around their necks like millstones. If were unconcerned that their policies would not take the country with them into self-destruction, I would cheer the Republicans on.

But I’m tired here. I’m tired of waiting for Republicans to see reason, tired of reasoning with people who disregard even basic evidence, and spin even the most vile of behavior. I’m tired of the discussion always being about deficits you folks never lowered under Bush, or the folly of big government after one of the worst regulatory failures in American hisotry.

I’m tired of having to justify simple majority votes to people who think their senators behavior is normal and precedented when the evidence just shows the record-breaking, unprecedented nature of their strategy.

I’m tired of waiting for you party to recognize that there are worse problems than having the Democrats in charge, and that it’s time to let Congress do its duty for the American people and respond to the emergencies at hand!!!

I’m tired of your people following the Rove path of putting party above country, Party above good policy, party above the safety and prosperity of the Average person.

I would hope that the Republicans stop this bull**** before they pick yet another bad opportunity to be obstructionist on policy. I really don’t mind Republicans, but I mind that everything on this Country’s list of needs seems to come second to your party’s good fortunes.

Where is your party’s self-sacrifice, it’s willingness to compromise? Where is its humility and compassion?

I have long made the passion I felt the fuel for my writings, but more and more, I find what I am passionate about, government that solves problems, rather than letting them fester into bigger problems, seems to be further and further from reach, with the Republicans the ones who are encouraging this separation.

Why the anger? Why should I not be angry? My party’s being denied the chance to be judged on its merits. My country is being denied a transition away from discredited, counterproductive policies. My words are falling not mere only deaf ears, but on the ears of a party that seems to have undergone a psychotic break from reality.

I have the choice to be bitterly angry, or to resign myself to this. And since my interest is policy that works, bitter anger is what I feel, because I have too much pride, and too much love of this country to let people continue to selfishly impose their politics on it, to its ruin. Your party needs to be shown the door, needs the time and the distance to reconsider its mistakes, rather than continue them. I want real change, real improvement in this country’s fortunes, and I don’t think that as long as Republicans choose to deny it, that we’ll get what we need.

If Republicans want people like me as their bitter enemies, they have us as such. C+J nurse what I consider a naive vision that we would somehow be gentled by this denial. But as you can probably already tell, most of us were not planning on meeting the kind of errant thinking that dominates the Republican party halfway. The Reality is, Republicans are only raising the pressure on Democrat’s anger.

You know this to be out of character for me, this level of intensity. But it’s there because I have neither the willingness to back down, nor the weakness in my beliefs to be intimidated.

Don’t talk to me about rocks, with all the bruises I feel from a decade’s worth of abuse from your side. I fought to get troops what they needed, and your people called me a traitor. I fought to get Republicans to face fiscal reality, and they call me a tax-and-spend liberal. I fought to see our foreign policy be worthy of our country’s ideals, its glory, and I am called a collaborator with terrorists.

You don’t have any conception of the anger I’ve swallowed, out of my belief in rational discourse, winning arguments on merits and facts, rather than on political dogma.

But I’m just human, and I have my breaking point. You just haven’t seen me past it too much. But what can I do now? What options are people like you leaving me? Do you think it just goes away, when your people force their no? Do you think folks like me fought for what we believed was right all the way during the Bush Administration, just to accept being stonewalled NOW?

You folks have eight months to go, and I promise you, you will not get an easy fight from Democrats like me. You have no reserves of our patience to draw upon, you’ve been using them up for the last decade. If you find that offensive, or think it hypocritical, I’m sorry, but even people who believe in reasoned discourse sometimes come to the conclusion that there is no use arguing further.

You know what the irony is? I used to be a centrist. I used to think that the middle in America could moderate the Republicans. I would have voted for Hillary once upon a time, welcomed the Clintons back in, but the Centrists just proved to be too beholden to that impractical policy, to willing to side with those who were cutting down folks like me, concerned citizens, loyal to this country, simply for asking questions of our leaders.

I want a moderate government out of all this. It is a mark of how much your party has alienated people like me, that a person like me has committed so strongly to a partisan course of action. But at this point, I don’t see the point any longer, of cutting deals with Republicans who honor no deals, brook no compromises.

Understand: you folks had the chance to bring this country back together, but you picked you party over that unity, and spent the next decade throwing stones at people like me, who were just honestly concerned about policy problems.

And now, your people are in the way. Guess what? If it takes running you over to see to this country’s best interests? I’m just about ready to do so. After all the grief I’ve gotten from your side, I’m just about ready to do so.

This country doesn’t need civility, it needs change, or it will be decades before the Country I call home, the country I’m proud of, can recover from this mess.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 1, 2010 11:12 PM
Comment #296527

S.D.
Prior to Nov. you had 58 Dems and 2 Ind. who voted with dems. Yet your party couldn’t get anything done. How in the world can you say Reps obstructed? It was obstruction in your own party. You had a majority in both houses yet failed in your indevors. Your party needs to quit fighting among themselves and get real leadership that you don’t have with Pelosi and Reid. People are fed up with congress and their feuding, people are fed up with your parties exorbitant spending, people are just fed up with Washington period. Your party is going to bankrupt this country. Real clear politics poll has congress’ aproval rate at 18% something is defenitly wrong and it ain’t just Republicans.

Posted by: KAP at March 1, 2010 11:48 PM
Comment #296530

Republicans are more like birds than elephants, as they continue to poop in their own nest. Hatefully, because the nest they poop in is also the country the rest of us live in, we must all thrive in spite of the poop. It gets harder and harder to do so.

Stephen, don’t self-destruct because of a few trolls. Can’t you see that’s been their aim all along?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 2, 2010 2:19 AM
Comment #296539

Dude
This time it’s the jackass’ doing the pooping.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2010 9:17 AM
Comment #296542

KAP-
It takes sixty votes to break a filibuster. Democrats do not get votes off of that total for the sake of sweetness and light. Republicans, on a party line, have tended to vote with every one of those votes they have to maintain the filibusters, with very, very few exceptions.

So, tell me, who has more flexibility in ending the filibusters, the party that has to put everybody they got to keep them going, or the party that has to be perfectly united in order to break them, and now can’t even do that?

Stop bull*****ing our readers here. There’s no magic bullet for Democrats when faced by these cloture votes. We tried our hardest to get things passed, and it took all that wheeling and dealing you folks criticize from on high to form that perfect coalition of sixty.

It’s the Republicans who are to blame for this gridlock, because without their solid bloc voting, this wouldn’t be a problem. If you can tell me the magic method by which we get legislation past these cloture votes, please inform our readers and everybody else of it, because we’d love to know. Then those few Democrats that vote differently from their party could do so, and the bill could still pass.

Take some responsibility, damn it. You’re apologizing for that bull**** enough already, why not own up to the fact that the object of the Republican’s strategy is to deprive Democrats of the ability to fulfil their promises to the American people- the promises they were elected to fulfill?

A majority that is only honored when the politics are propers is not a majority, it’s an element of fascism. The framers did not found this country to be ruled by one hubris-cursed party that was ruthless enough to bog down any agenda besides their own.

I believe in correcting history’s mistakes, learning from them, not perpetuating them out of fear of my party’s irrelevancy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2010 10:13 AM
Comment #296543

S.D.
For the last year you had the 60 votes up until Brown got elected That’s 58 Dems and 2 Ind. The Ind voted on your side so YOU DO THE MATH. That’s 60 anyway you look at it and your party couldn’t get it done and now your mad and crying and blameing someone else for your parties incompetence.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2010 10:38 AM
Comment #296545

We are a party of people, as in “We The People”, as compared to “We Are The Obstructionists” like Republicans. In our party individuals are allowed to have individual ideas (even encouraged to do so). The Republican party has always been the party of conservatives, but at one time were allowed to do the same. It is obvious that Republicans must now march in Nazi-like lockstep or be ostresized by the rest of the party.

The primary purpose of Republicans today is to stop America in its tracks so that their party can make it over in its own image. In order to do that it must create chaos and doubt.

I see so many apologists for this crass misuse of the public trust it sickens me. Do none of you understand that the world you are creating by this mindless obsession with anti-Obamaism, is the world we must all live in? Every tactic currently used by Republicans can and will be used against them into the future. Our nation will soon resemble Italy in its political ineptitude, And, we can thank this obsessed 49% for that. You’ve played ‘gotcha’, and like with the dishonorable stupidity in Iraq, you can go aboard a flat top and declare a victory…whee!

Posted by: Marysdude at March 2, 2010 11:36 AM
Comment #296547

Dude
Your party obstructed during the Bush years. So don’t give us that We The People BS. It’s just that you don’t like it when you liberals are faced with the fact that a majority of We The People don’t want what you are trying to push.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2010 11:56 AM
Comment #296552

Stephen:

This isn’t about you and getting what you want. There are other viewpoints other than yours about the size and scope of government. Just because people disagree about how much government they want in their lives does not make either side evil.

I want less government, and you want more. That decision has nothing to do with morals or intelligence or any of those things, it has to do with preference.

Preferences have a cost.

By the way, my health care costs went down. My company changed to a new way of doing health care.
First of all I am thankful that I have health care coverage, and hope everyone does eventually.

What happened with my coverage is that I now have a high deductible plan. I had my first experience with it yesterday. Works great. I talked with the doctor not just about my issue but the cheapest way to treat it as all the money I save, I get to keep.

In addition my company offers a bonus if I meet certain health targets over the year. Extra money goes into my Health Savings Account if I jump through certain reasonable hoops. One of them is loose a reasonable amount of weight.

There are two ways in this plan that I can help myself financially. One is negotiate with doctors over type of treatment, and the second is to actually do what doctors have recommended. I now “see” the actual costs of my visit as well.

Our personal health care costs are going to go down and my health is going to go up, because of the way my company has chosen to deliver my insurance. (Same money, just different approach).


Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 2, 2010 1:49 PM
Comment #296558

KAP-
Okay then.

The FORTY Republicans who always voted against cloture and the few sympathetic Democrats who voted with them deserve to be blamed for gumming up the works.

The other people who voted with their party should not be held responsible for somebody else’s lousy vote. At worst, they should be held responsible for not confronting their political opponents for what they’re doing wrong.

But that doesn’t mean that the problem is their fault. The problem is the fault of those who cause it. Until you accept that, you’re just apologizing for a rejection of the founding principle of majority rules.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2010 2:34 PM
Comment #296559

Stephen:

The majority has ruled. There is a bill that has passed the house and the Senate. All you need to do now is have the House pass the Senate version with 50% +1 vote. Simple majority in the house and you have what you want.

So instead of aiming all your fire at the Republicans, just shift over and get your own party to pass the Senate version and the debate is over!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 2, 2010 2:41 PM
Comment #296561

When was the last time the Democrats in either house of Congress voted enbloc? Give me a break. Democrats have broken party lines on every bill that has ever gone before them. What history have you been reading…Mad Magazine?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 2, 2010 4:27 PM
Comment #296562

Craig Holmes-
Government size doesn’t strike me as a critical question until it gets in the way of something else. If it’s too small to do the job, too big to do it efficiently on its own, that’s one thing.

Look, you can get a conversation with me and the other Democrats about making sure that government doesn’t have an unnecessarily negative effect on people’s lives. You can probably start a conversation about efficiencies in government. Democrats have little interest in it being said that their liberalism does the job poorly.

But size of government? That’s not a simple thing to measure, in terms of what it does for the effectiveness of government. You have to measure whether attempts at taking government out of people’s lives are having a positive effect, or a negative effect. Folks certainly would have preferred having the SEC down Wall Street’s throat.

As for Healthcare Accounts? It might help some, and better awareness of spending might do us some good. Trouble is, your doctor might know better than your accountant what test is needed.

Also, even with your healthcare account, a major illness could break you. There’s a reason most people go with insurance: the duration and reach of an illness are not always immediately apparent. The whole point of insurance is pooling resources with others in order to handle medical emergencies and care that would otherwise break the bank because of the expense of the treatments.

But that’s not what modern healthcare companies do anymore.

Some solutions should be market based and will work well under such circumstances. But not all. We should be willing to employ different approaches, and maintain what works.

I am not too concerned about healthcare at this point. We may even get back a Public Option. Thirty-three Democrats have already signed on to it. That said, is Healthcare the only issue? No. It’s one of many. We still have many issues to deal with from this point forward. The Republicans are getting in the way of them, and in ways that don’t even make sense, or constitute principled objections.

Read up on this, and ask yourself the question: if nobody’s really objecting to the nominee when everything’s said and done, why the delay?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2010 5:21 PM
Comment #296572

S.D.
How many judges did your party hold up under the Bush admin.? I guess Republicans can play the same game your party did.
We need to work on getting JOBS and work on the economy before we can take on another TAXING burden like HC.

Posted by: KAP at March 2, 2010 7:39 PM
Comment #296603

KAP-
There were 80 vacancies in the Federal courts at the end of the Clinton Administration, and the Democrats let Republicans return rates to something more like there was in 1990. The Republicans have long been more bitterly partisan about blocking Democratic Nominees than Democrats.

The Republicans threatened the end of the filibuster over just five nominees.

As for getting to work on anything, unless we can get your people to drop the pointless, selfish obstruction, nothing will get done, because you can’t get past a cloture vote with just 59 votes, and most of the time, Republicans are going to vote their party line. But you know what? I think Democrats may have finally figured it out. Make your people have to carry out public filibusters on issues that they can’t afford to be seen opposing.

Yeah, you know when Republican are nervous when Fox News starts “mistakenly” identifying them as Democrats! Guess what they were showing after Republican Jim Bunning’s name the other day?

Your people, because they can’t pick their fights, will pick lousy ones. If the Democrats are on the ball, and evidence is they’re getting better about this, they will start making things very difficult for those who choose their fights unwisely, and the Republican’s strategy will make sure that there are plenty of those obstructions to embarrass Republicans over.

We’ll get to jobs when your party gets to governing, rather than trying to force inactivity from the government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 3, 2010 7:14 AM
Comment #296605

All recovery, including jobs, and other parts of the economy, depends on health care reform. The President knows that and Republicans know that. That is why failure to pass health care reform is the one thing Republicans think can derail this administration. Republicans have placed all their eggs in this one basket. It is a shame that some Democrats have not figured it out yet, but I have hopes. THERE CAN BE NO ECONOMIC RECOVERY, NOR CAN THERE BE SIGNIFICANT JOB GROWTH WITHOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM!

Posted by: Marysdude at March 3, 2010 8:12 AM
Comment #296644

Marysdude/Stephen:

So if/when this thing passes it’s just the next chapter. Now we know what the fall election will be about. It will be about whether or not to repeal this bad law.

Marysdude. You are right and wrong. Health care reform is about future jobs. In the near term this bill hurts job creation because it raises taxes while the economy is weak.

Real Health care reform as tied to job creation because our economy pays too much for health care.
This bill does very very little in this regard.

I would like to call you out on your last comment. Not to be nasty. I want you to quote leading economists that say that this bill must pass for our economy to recover. I want to evidence of significant job growth because this particular bill passes.

On my side I will put up Warren Buffett who says this bill should be scraped.

Now, I know there are economist who are for this thing, notably Krugman. But I don’t see where he says we have to have this bill to get a recovery.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 3, 2010 5:47 PM
Comment #296702

Craig,

Why should I need a so-called ‘expert’ to back me up? Can I not think for myself? Is that why Republicans have so much trouble with this thing? Heck, I thought it was because there was a Democrat proposing it…

When health care in America uses almost 17% of GDP, and when there are continuous inflationary spirals in Pharma, Insurance and Medical, with no end in sight. YOU tell me how the job market can open up, or the economy can recover.

This is not rocket science, and if you place fifteen economists in a room together, they won’t agree on how to change the light bulb.

Some things don’t require expertise to understand, ie., (1)packages of debt, much of it bad, when bundled together without analyzing the real monetary value of the bundle, selling it, then reselling it then insuring it without having the reserves necessary to cover losses on it, then selling it again, will likely lead to some sort of system failure. (2) When the costs of a necessary product in an economic system far outstrips all other parts of that system, and there are no indications that things will ever change without some outside constraints, growth in other sectors will suffer until such constraints are in place.

There…now…was that difficult?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 4, 2010 7:34 AM
Comment #296706

Marysdude:

No problem, I understand it is just your opinion. I hope you will forgive me if I take Warrem Buffett’s opinion into consideration as well.

I actually think there are some positives to come out of this process.

Democrats or setting a precedent. Should Health Care Reform pass using reconciliation that sets a clear precedent for the future.

For instance using this process it is likely Bush’s Social Security Reflorms would have passed. We have the huge problem if Entitlements that need to be cut. You are showing the way by using reconciliation. When things switch back to Republican rule we can follow your lead.

I addition, the next generation is coming. Boomers are at the zenith of their power in Congress. The age of those in Congress almost exactly mirrors the average age of boomers. New blood should be mostly nonboomers who will be unlikely to vote for financial suicide.

I am hopeful that in the future there will be real health care reform that truely cuts health care spending and thus keeps financial ruin away. The biggest impact in my opinion is not what this bill does or doesn’t do. It’s that you are opening the door of reconciliation wider than it has ever been. This can be used by both parties in the future to attack our fiscal mess.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 4, 2010 9:43 AM
Comment #296716

Craig,

Politics is a multi-edged sword. You concern yourself with a procedure that may be a precedent for future problems, while condoning the reason for the procedure being perhaps necessary in the first place. And the reason for the procedure being perhaps necessary is obstructionism never before witnessed in an American governing era, which may set a precedent for future Congressional gridlock. Who’d a thunk it?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 4, 2010 1:22 PM
Comment #296717

PS:

As far as the bill itself is concerned…it has been the obstructionist tactics of the right that has caused most of the watering down of some pretty good ideas. If Republicans had actually helped form the thing instead of waiting for the President to incorporate some of their ideas, and then carping about it, we might have ended up with something workable and cost saving. Now, we will likely have to wait for some serious tweaking. But, to do nothing, as you wish, would be the cardinal sin. Putting health care off until the right feels secure enough to actually help, would mean putting it off forever…not acceptable.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 4, 2010 1:28 PM
Comment #296719

PPS:

Buffett puts his pants on every morning, one leg at a time, just like you do. He has boosted billions out of investments that were sometimes wise, and sometimes lucky. His opinion on anything governmental will be tainted with his wish to amass more wealth, or win the next financial battle…or…or…or. That is not to say you should not listen to his opinions, but rather to limit the weight you place on those opinions. Looking around you and seeing reality (not watching Survival or Idol :)) might do the trick.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 4, 2010 1:35 PM
Comment #296738

Marysdude:

It’s not obstructionist when you are siding with the American people.

Where are the people in the streets marching against the republicans?

Was it obstruction when Democrats did the same thing with Social Security Reform?

On Warren Buffett: he pays himself $100,000 a year and is giving half of his wealth to the Gates Foundation. Run him down all you want.

The point is that this bill does not cut costs in a meaningful way.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 4, 2010 5:05 PM
Comment #296744

I can see we’ve carried this one too far. I hardly put Buffett down, so you are seeing an enemy in me…bye for a while. I’m practicing my ‘reconciliation’…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 4, 2010 7:34 PM
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