Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category
This morning, Torrey Westrom announced that he’s running to unseat Collin Peterson. Here’s Westrom’s statement accompanying his announcement:
TORREY WESTROM ANNOUNCES 7TH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL BID
Elbow Lake, MN – Today, State Senator Torrey Westrom will announce his plans to run for Congress in Minnesota’s 7th district.
“As Minnesota families are crushed by burdensome regulations and overreaching government policies like ObamaCare, it’s time Minnesotans had someone they could count on to be part of the solution in Washington, DC,” said Westrom. “Washington politicians are out of step with the priorities of Minnesotans and I’m running for Congress because I understand how that disconnect is bankrupting our future.”
Torrey Westrom was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1997. Westrom is a conservative with a record of creating rural jobs and ensuring that the government operates within its means. Westrom is a strong supporter of smaller government and supports the need for a balanced budget amendment.
After losing his sight at the age of 14 in a farm-related accident, Westrom is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and eliminating barriers to help them become more independent in their living and employment opportunities. As a child, Westrom’s family dairy farmed in Wilmer, Minnesota, and later on the family farm in Elbow Lake. Now, Torrey and his wife, Anna, are small business owners, have three children and reside in Elbow Lake, Minnesota.
To learn more about Torrey Westrom, or to contribute, please visit: www.TorreyWestrom2014.com.
Each election cycle brings out the rumors that Rep. Peterson is thinking about retiring. Each time, those rumors turn out not to be true. This year, Torrey Westrom didn’t wait for Peterson to retire. That’s why he jumped in. Westrom represents a strong candidate who will get substantial financial backing from the NRCC in addition to his own fundraising abilities.
Though I don’t have a read on whether Peterson is perceived to be vulnerable, there’s no doubt that Sen. Westrom is a candidate they’ll have to take seriously.
In 2008, Peterson won overwhelmingly. In 2010, Peterson’s share of the vote dropped from 72.2% to 55.2%. Last year, Peterson won by 26 points. The bad news for him is that his percentage of the vote only rose 5 points. Without an Obama wave to ride, Peterson has shown he’s vulnerable. In the past, he’s faced underwhelming opponents. That won’t be the case this year.
Whether this is the year that Peterson retires or the people fire him is still in doubt. What isn’t in doubt is that he’ll face an appealing, well-funded opponent. Also, there’s no doubt that Democrats will be running into strong headwinds like the economy and the Affordable Care Act.
Last week, I spotted a headline that said the Obama administration didn’t want to make a Bush-like “Mission Accomplished” statement. I wish I would’ve copied that link because the Obama administration appears to have made their own “Mission Accomplished” statement:
HealthCare.gov team claims victory: ‘We have met the goal’
That’s a self-serving statement if ever I heard one. What goal was met? Was the goal a political goal? If yes, was it also a policy goal? More importantly, who set that goal? Most importantly, is it a goal that the American people are satisfied with?
Based on this document, I suspect that the answer to that last question will be an emphatic no:
The most telling statement is on the last page:
As the metrics detailed in this report reveal, dramatic progress has been made on improving HealthCare.gov. There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead. The new management system and instrumentation have helped improve site stability, lower the error rating below 1%, increase capacity to allow 50,000 concurrent users to simultaneously use the site and will help drive continuous improvement on the site. While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.
This sentence says everything about what a mess HealthCare.gov is:
There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead.
In other words, HealthCare.gov has improved but it’s still a gigantic mess. That isn’t what patients who’ve lost their insurance want to hear. Again, we return to question whose goals were met.
Having the administration say that HealthCare.gov has significantly improved in the first sentence, then admitting there’s months of of work still ahead on the last page of a document, won’t build the American people’s confidence.
This morning on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume talked about visiting HealthCare.gov in Virginia where he lives. He said that there weren’t any platinum plans available through HealthCare.gov, though he later said that there was a platinum plan available through e-Surance.com. Mr. Hume later noted that HealthCare.gov was nothing like the experience one expects from Amazon.com or other similar sites. Mr. Hume finished by declaring that “this website is still a mess.”
The Obama administration might be satisfied with the progress made on HealthCare.gov but they don’t get to cast the deciding vote on what’s successful. The American people cast that vote and, based on recent polling, they aren’t impressed.
Technorati: HealthCare.gov, Obama Administration, Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Exchanges, Platinum Plan, Mission Accomplished Moment, Progress Report, President Obama, Democrats, Brit Hume, We The People, Amazon.com
Greg Gutfeld’s column offers the perfect explanation why the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, is destined for failure. Mr. Gutfeld starts by highlighting what iTunes would look like if it was a government invention:
Now imagine if iTunes had been run by the government. This is how I see it:
To enjoy my recently repurchased Marshall Crenshaw’s song “What Do You Dream Of”, I’d have to pay for an additional 19 songs I do not want, in order to help pay for someone else’s desire to listen to Ke$ha. Or worse, Enya. The iPod would come with a mandated airbag, and it would be the size of a baby’s head, and weigh 45 lbs. It would require that 34 percent of the music I purchase be polka. It would probably start overheating after an hour of use, break down, and give you thyroid cancer.
But as a reasonably compensated guy, the government believes that my desires for my music would require purchasing other music I don’t want, and I’d have to subsidize the musical choices belonging to some old guy I don’t even know.
And chances are all the music would suck (think Dave Matthews and Maroon 5). It would all cost more and satisfy less, which is what happens when choice is replaced by coercion.
That’s essentially what the ACA requires. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky. Those are the principles behind the ACA. Young healthies are essential to the equation because their overpaying pays for older, less healthy enrollees. Then Gutfeld explains why it’s destined for failure:
My point: just as civilization is moving toward an endless fragmentation allowing for options beyond our wildest expectations, President Obama believes the opposite course is “the right thing to do.” It is his warped version of progress. It’s no different than a young man staring at the advances in medicine and thinking, “No thanks, I’ll take the newt’s tail and onion powder for my cancer.” Ancient Chinese secrets no longer are acceptable medicine, except with Obamacare, what’s retro is now progress.
It’s like choosing to eat raw meat even when you know fire’s been invented and works reasonably well under certain circumstances. That’s what Obama is doing. He’s staring at a Ferrari V4i, and thinking, “No thanks, I’ll take this penny-farthing.”
There’s no questioning that world is going megachoice. President Obama’s ‘reform’ relies on limiting choice. By definition, the ACA is a dead man walking. The choice movement is the irresistible force. For all of this administration’s efforts to fix HealthCare.gov, the ACA’s biggest flaw is that it limits appealing choices.
So, you can be depressed over Obamacare, because it’s worth being depressed about. But it can’t win. Not against the human, creative mind and its desire for options. Sooner or later it will collapse, and then people will have the freedom to choose — the way health care should have been from the start.
It isn’t a question of whether the ACA will collapse. The only questions still to be answered are when will it collaps and how much destruction will it cause before it collapses. Charles Krauthammer wisely stated that anything that can’t be sustained won’t be.
Technorati: Greg Gutfeld, Free Market Capitalism, iPods, Affordable Care Act, Command and Control Economy, Individual Mandate, Employer Mandate, Minimum Required Benefits, HealthCare.gov, President Obama, Democrats
It isn’t surprising that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, put together a deceitful collection of myths about the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA.
Saying that Minnesota has the lowest rates in the nation doesn’t mean that insurance premiums didn’t go up with the ACA. It simply means they’re the cheapest premiums in the nation. It’s quite possible to have health insurance premiums go up. In fact, it’s inevitable because the required minimum benefits drive health insurance premiums up. That they’re the cheapest in the nation just means that other states’ health insurance premiums just went up more than Minnesota’s.
I read tons of articles a day and I don’t recall any conservative accuse Gov. Dayton of lying about people who like their plans could keep their plans. I’ve heard tons of people from across the political spectrum accuse President Obama of lying about keeping the policies people liked.
ABM is right, though, that Gov. Dayton told people who had their health insurance canceled that he wouldn’t let those insurance companies sell the old policies that people liked.
This sentence simply isn’t credible:
I know you’re going to say that 140,000 Minnesotans got cancellation notices, Aunt Phyllis, but the truth is it’s illegal in Minnesota to cancel health coverage.
I’d love hearing the explanation for that, especially since the ACA requires companies to cancel insurance that doesn’t meet the ACA’s minimum required coverages. If ABM isn’t lying, then it means that Minnesota health insurance companies aren’t complying with the ACA. In other words, ABM is accusing Minnesota health insurance companies of breaking federal law.
Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s ‘leadership’, MnSure is a national laughingstock. It’s the only website I’ve seen that gets weekends and holidays off. We’re the only state with Paul Bunyan ads and Mickey Mouse service.
While it’s true that MnSure is working better than HealthCare.gov, that isn’t exactly a high bar to clear. It simply means it’s outperforming a total political and policy disaster.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Health Insurance Exchanges, MnSure, HealthCare.gov, Strawman Arguments, Non Sequiturs, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Affordable Care Act, Insurance Cancellations, President Obama, Broken Promises, Democrats
This post on the Hill’s health care blog is laughable in terms of the Democrats’ strategy:
The White House and congressional leadership are urging Democratic lawmakers to highlight ObamaCare success stories in an effort to take the offensive on the healthcare rollout after two months of backpedaling, according to two memos obtained by The Hill.
The memos, one from the Democrats’ messaging arm and one from the White House, advise members on how to establish the narrative that the Affordable Care Act is already working.
“There are actions Democrats can take to address the Republican attacks and go on offense,” reads the memo from the Democratic Policy and Communications Center (DPCC). The memo outlines a compilation of “messaging ideas to highlight the benefits of the ACA and generate positive press and social media coverage.”
The Democratic Caucus is being told that the most effective strategy is to highlight the stories of consumers who obtained coverage despite having pre-existing conditions, of those who no longer have to worry about the financial threat of lifetime caps, and of young adults who have been able to stay on their parent’s coverage.
“Their stories will provide us with the ammunition we need to rebut Republican claims that the law isn’t working,” the DPCC says.
I’m wondering whether Republicans have infiltrated the DPCC. Seriously, highlighting things that people like won’t cut it. Republicans have agreed for years that people shouldn’t get denied coverage because a person has a pre-existing condition. Had there been an up-or-down vote on that issue alone, it would’ve passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. After that, it’s difficult to picture what’s popular in the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA.
For every story of a person getting insurance for the first time, there will 5 stories of people who have life-threatening diseases who lost the insurance that was getting them the treatment they needed.
A couple weeks ago, Democrats’ favorite refrain was that Republicans shouldn’t “throw the baby out with the bath water.” They didn’t explain what they meant but it sounded reasonable. I’ve done their thinking for them. Obviously, babies represent the things people like; bath water represents things to be gotten rid of.
I think it’s reasonable to think that ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance represents the ‘baby’ in this metaphor. The only other provision worth keeping is young people being able to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26. After that, it’s tough thinking of another provision worth keeping.
As for things that should be thrown out, the list is substantially bigger. Let’s start with dumping the employer and individual mandates, the 21-tax salute thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance exchanges, the websites, whether state- or fed-run and the higher premiums and higher deductibles.
If we got rid of that second list, there’d be much rejoicing on Main Street and with small businesses. How do Democrats go on offense with these realities?
Technorati: Employer Mandate, Individual Mandate, Health Insurance Exchanges, Pre-existing Conditions, Insurance Premiums, Insurance Deductibles, Democratic Policy and Communications Center, Democratic Leadership, Election 2014
Yesterday, HHS announced that another part of the Affordable Care Act is getting delayed:
The White House is delaying the launch of its online small-business exchange by one year, a Health and Human Services (HHS) official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.
The delay is another setback for the troubled enrollment process of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online ObamaCare exchange, this month. The exchange’s delay means small businesses will instead have to seek out coverage through an agent or broker.
The ACA’s tax increases started on time. Anything that included a penalty has been implemented on time, with the exception of big corporations and big labor.
The health care law, President Obama’s latest name for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a dead man walking. Democrats are panicking bigtime. If President Obama hadn’t held his ‘mea culpa press conference’ 2 weeks ago, Democrats might’ve already abandoned him for all intents and purposes. He headed off a full-fledged stampede with that press conference. Temporarily.
HealthCare.gov is a disaster. State-run exchanges aren’t working well either. Millions of people have gotten cancellation notices saying that the health insurance they liked will expire at midnight New Year’s Eve. The new policies come with higher premiums, higher deductibles and tinier networks of coverage.
In other words, the new policies replacing the policies they’d originally bought are substandard policies. (So much for President Obama’s promise that the new policies would be better and cheaper.)
The healthcare law allows small businesses to either offer a single plan to all of their workers or pick a certain benefit level and let workers choose among plans at that level. The HHS delayed the latter option earlier this year, saying it’s too complicated for insurers to implement right away. Workers will still not be able to choose from an employer-approved benefit level of plans during the one-year delay.
It finally dawned on the administration that administering health insurance is complicated. What a revelation. It isn’t surprising that the Obama administration has looked like the latest iteration of the Keystone Cops.
World famous explorer Will Steger has joined forces with the Sierra Club and local environmental extremists in their attempt to shut down the Becker power plant, aka Sherco 1-2:
Regulators want to hear what citizens think about Xcel Energy’s giant coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minn.
As long as they keep it to three minutes.
As a courtesy to prominent climate activists, the state Public Utilities Commission has set aside time at its Dec. 5 meeting to hear their views on a procedural matter with implications for the future of coal-based electricity in Minnesota.
Polar explorer Will Steger and St. Paul attorney Barbara Freese, author of “Coal: A Human History,” are among the activists who want regulators to consider shutting down the two oldest coal units at Xcel’s Sherco power plant by the end of the decade.
What these militant environmentalists want, though they won’t admit it, are high-priced electricity. They’re also pushing for Minnesota to rely on unreliable energy sources:
Minnesota is on the road to a clean energy future. Our state is on track to get 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025, and this year Minnesota established solar policies that will mean 34 times more solar in 2020 than today.
That’s just part of the Sierra Club’s agenda. They also want to eliminate natural gas:
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.
That’s an important part of the Sierra Club’s agenda but there’s more to it:
Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear.
That’s right. The Sierra Club, which is the driving force behind shutting down Sherco, essentially wants to eliminate the most reliable forms of energy. Their goal is to replace these reliable energy sources with unreliable energy sources.
There’s nothing centrist about these activists. Solar and other forms of renewable energy aren’t just unreliable. They’re expensive, too. That’s what President Obama meant when he said that, under his cap & trade plan, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” If cap & trade were implemented, the only types of electricity-producing energy would be solar and wind, which are extremely expensive and unreliable.
Simply put, the Next Generation Energy Act should be repealed and Beyond Coal’s petition be ignored. The Sierra Club isn’t a centrist organization. It’s a militant environmentalist organization that’s skilled at putting on a centrist show to promote their extremist agenda.
Technorati: Will Steger, Sierra Club, Next Generation Energy Act, Beyond Coal, Beyond Natural Gas, Beyond Nuclear, Solar Energy, Wind, Cap And Trade, President Obama, Environmental Extremists, Becker Power Plant, Public Utilities Commission
This CNN/ORC polling contains some disturbing news for the Obama administration, starting with this:
November 18-20, 2013 44% applies, 56% doesn’t apply
According to the report, that’s a huge drop. In 2010 and 2011, 57-58% of people said that President Obama inspired confidence. That’s a 25% drop. The bad news doesn’t stop there:
Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think it applies or doesn’t apply to Barack Obama.
Is honest and trustworthy
November 18-20, 2013 46% applies, 53% doesn’t apply
As recently as May, 2013, 58% said that President Obama was honest and trustworthy. That’s a 20% drop in 6 months. As a result, people aren’t giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt anymore. That’s why President Obama’s worst days still haven’t arrived. Another ‘casualty’ of President Obama’s drop on the trust issue is that it’ll hurt Democrats in the generic ballot polling.
Michael Barone notes that President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 209 districts across America. There’s no way of knowing how many of those districts would still vote for President Obama if they got a do-over. In a recent poll, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama by a 49-45% margin. It’s reasonable to think that some of those 209 congressional districts would flip in a do-over race.
The effects of this polling is spilling over into other things:
Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation, a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls.
Some party strategists say they’re in denial.
And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren’t taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue and they can’t afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.
Democratic strategists don’t need to worry about the party doing more to help Democrats. They’re inextricably tied to the Affordable Care Act. The American people won’t distinguish between Democrats who didn’t defend the Affordable Care Act and Democrats who stuck to the party line. They won’t make that fine of a distinction.
It’s too early to predict a wave election. It isn’t too early to notice that the electorate is mad as hell. That isn’t good news for President Obama.
God bless George Will for his insightfulness and brevity. Mr. Will nailed it again yesterday with this summarization:
Here’s what Mr. Will accurately stated:
MR. WILL: Tip O’Neill once famously stated that “all politics are local.” In 2014, no politics will be local. This has already nationalized the 2014 elections, which will be about the chaos Nina described.
While Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz insist that they’ll “run on Obamacare and win”, the rank-and-file Democrats are running away from the Affordable Care Act faster than their feet will take them.
That wasn’t Mr. Will’s only witticism. This video is an instant classic, too:
Democrats will undoubtedly attempt to avoid talking about the Affordable Care Act during the campaign. Without a doubt, they’ll attempt to change subjects. They’ll attempt to say that things are fantastic at a time when new cancellations and higher insurance premiums will be getting people’s attention.
It’s premature to talk about a possible wave election but discontent with Democrats is building. That doesn’t guarantee a landslide victory for Republicans but it’s predicting that Democrats won’t retake the House. It’s indicating that it’s quite possible for Democrats to lose their Senate majority, too.
It isn’t far-fetched to think that Democrats will attempt to talk about everything other than the Affordable Care Act disaster. This election won’t be determined by what Democrats want to talk about or what they want to avoid discussing. The 2014 elections will be determined by people insisting on talking about the Affordable Care Act.
People want to vent about this disaster. There’s an old axiom that says “When the people want something badly enough and scream loudly enough for a long time, the leaders will follow.” The Democrat leadership insists that everything’s fine, that Democrats will win by talking about the Affordable Care Act.
The Democrat leadership team is either stupid beyond belief or they’re lying through their teeth. Though it’s difficult to tell at times, I don’t think they’re stupid.
Another Fortune 500 company announced it’s leaving Minnesota. It’s explanation is starting to sound familiar:
“SpartanNash chose Western Michigan as its headquarters due to it being centrally located to the merged entities operations, the positive business climate taking hold in Michigan, including a more favorable tax environment, and the quality of life Michigan provides for its associates,” the company said in a statement.
That sounds familiar. Here’s what Cargill said when it moved:
Dan Dye, Horizon’s president and Ardent’s CEO-to-be, said in a statement that the decision “will allow us to offer great quality of life for employees, provide excellent service to our customers and position the business for long-term growth.”
If Gov. Dayton and the DFL are given 4 more years to implement their leftist vision for the state, Minnesota will be in worse shape than California and Illinois are in right now. Cargill cited their desire to “position the business for long-term growth.” Nash Finch, aka SpartanNash, talkd about “a more favorable tax environment.”
Implicit in both statements is their belief that the Dayton administration’s and the DFL’s anti-prosperity policies would hurt their companies’ ability to make profits and continue employing people. The leftists’ belief that profits are despicable is utterly wrong-headed.
I cited a single-payer health activist’s quote in this post:
There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.
This isn’t just a glimpse into the mind of hardline leftists. It’s who they are. That statement explicitly says that they think things would improve if profit-motives were removed from health care. The opposite is actually true.
Companies pursuing their own self interests are what make the economy stronger. The great inventions of the last 150 years came when there was an incentive, aka profit, to create and innovate. Milton Friedman once told Phil Donahue that the only economic system where “the masses escaped the grinding poverty you talked about” were in societies that appreciated capitalism and “largely free trade.”
SpartanNash and Cargill are exercising their right to enhance their profits by moving their operations. They’re moving their operations because Gov. Dayton and the DFL drove up the cost of doing business in Minnesota this last session. If Minnesota doesn’t reverse Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s policies, Minnesota will soon look like a ghost town.
Cargill and SpartanNash just implicitly said that Minnesota is that special that they wouldn’t leave. Will it be that much longer before other companies leave?