Archive for August, 2009
According to Martiga Lohn’s article, Al Franken supports a “nonprofit, government-run plan.” Franken re-iterated his support for this “during a meeting with a dozen advocates, staff and media.”
Sen. Al Franken promised Wednesday to fight for public health insurance, telling advocates he favors a nonprofit, government-run plan.
Franken spoke during a meeting with a dozen advocates, staff and media. There was little but agreement as the first-term Democrat listened to faith leaders, heads of health and welfare groups, union representatives and advocates for people with disabilities and seniors.
They left no doubt of their support for a government-administered insurance program, which Franken also favors. A nonprofit public program would give private insurers needed competition, Franken said, adding that fears the government would ration health care were unfounded.
Minnesota’s junior senator didn’t have the fortitude to hold a real townhall meeting. Instead, he filled the meeting with like-minded anti-capitalists. Now that’s a profile in courage. NOT. Then again, Sen. Franken isn’t capable of explaining why he believes what he believes beyond the talking points he was sent home with. Harry Reid said that he should support it so he’s supporting it.
That’s what happens when people send a buffoon to do an adult’s job.
It’s more than a little ironic that Sen. Franken is advocating a public option at a meeting that’s closed to the public. Some might even say that it’s hypocritical. I wouldn’t say that. Instead, I’d say that he’s the opposite of a profile in courage.
Minnesota GOP Chairman Tony Sutton criticized Franken for not holding open meetings on health care. “By holding only private events, Franken gets exactly the feedback he wants,” Sutton said in a statement.
I said during the campaign that Sen. Franken would represent only those people who share his ideology.
He’s less than three months into being Minnesota’s junior senator and he’s already an embarassment. I’d love to hear Sen. Franken explain why we can’t have competition without a government-run entity. I’d love hearing Sen. Franken explain what provision in either of the Senate bills guarantees people the right to keep their current health care plan.
PS- Repeating the Democrats’ mantra isn’t highlighting the specific provision.
Last night, Jim Moran held a townhall meeting on health care reform in Reston, VA. Officially, his invited guest was former DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Unofficially, his invited guests were Organizing for America:
President Obama’s own campaign spinoff organization on Tuesday descended on a town-hall meeting in Northern Virginia, handing out hundreds of hand-painted signs that said “reform now” and “vote yes on HR 3200,” the massive health care bill tabled in the House before its summer recess.
Several workers passed out the homemade signs at the back of a high school gym shortly before a town hall featuring former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. “The signs are from Organizing for America,” said one woman handing them out, but she would not give her name, saying, “I don’t feel comfortable doing that.”
What a stand-up bunch. They’re attending these meetings. They’re handing out signs. They’re making their voices heard. When it comes time to identify themselves, however, these cowardly Democrats won’t identify themselves by name, signifying that they know their priorities aren’t popular.
Mr. Moran sought to explain the legislation now under consideration, but was booed repeatedly. “No one will lose their health care,” he said before being drowned out by boos. “No one will be required to join the public option,” he said, breaking off as the crowd’s booing reached a crescendo.
“Liar!” someone shouted. “Shut up!” others yelled.
When he tried to explain the cost, at least $100 billion a year, some estimates say twice that, Mr. Moran declared “that cost is fully paid for.” The crowd burst out into loud laughter, again drowning out the congressman.
It’ll be interesting to see whether pushing this health care reform will prevent Rep. Moran’s re-election. I don’t have the answer to that but I’m guessing that it isn’t helping.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Gov. Tim Pawlenty struck the right message during his appearance on Hannity Tuesday night. He said that the raucus townhall meeting Rep. Jim Moran held showed America “the sights and sounds of American democracy in action. I think that that should be applauded and we should say thank you to the people who are standing up to a bad idea.”
By contrast, Rep. Moran behaved like a child. When protesters got upset with Howard Dean’s comments, Rep. Moran said that he would ask them to leave. This isn’t surprising to anyone who knows Rep. Moran. He’s one of the most anti-semitic bigots in DC. But I digress.
Gov. Pawlenty also said that it’s troubling that elected officials don’t want to hear from their bosses on this deeply personal issue. Frankly, I’d add that it isn’t just troubling but cowardly to not listen to dissenters.
What I found impressive with Gov. Pawlenty was that he stayed focused on what’s at stake with this debate. He didn’t stray into whether the public option was the pre-cursor to single-payer. He didn’t stray into whether co-ops were the same stepping stone to single-payer that the public option is.
He’s clearly throwing alot of red meat to conservatives, saying that having Democrats watch over health care “is like trusting Michael Vick to take care of your dog for the weekend.” He also said that reform should “be fixed with consumers in charge, not the government.”
With each impressive interview, Gov. Pawlenty is raising his visibility should he run for president. With each impressive interview, he wins over people for his ability to connect with people in a way that only he and Sarah Palin can. (President Obama once had the ability to connect with people but that’s disappeared.)
For the liberals who will yap about Gov. Pawlenty’s interest in national politics, I’d just suggest that putting pro-growth economic policies in place, something that President Obama hasn’t done, would help Minnesota. I’d further suggest that gov. Pawlenty’s guiding principles for health care are much closer to the American people’s principles.
Sarah Palin and Gov. Pawlenty have been the most effective opponents of the Democrats’ health care reform legislation. They’ve focused their criticisms on policies, not personalities. They’ve both done a good job not getting involved in a tit-for-tat fight. Those fights don’t serve a useful purpose. In fact, they’re a distraction at a time when we need to keep focused on our principles and priorities.
The Liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, died tonight. He was 77. Controversy seemingly followed Kennedy throughout his life, starting with the mysterious death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
For years, many Democrats considered Kennedy’s own presidency a virtual inevitability. In 1968, a “Draft Ted” campaign emerged only a few months after Robert Kennedy’s death, but he demurred, realizing he was not prepared to be president.
Political observers considered him the candidate to beat in 1972, but that possibility came to an end on a night in July 1969, when the senator drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., and a young woman passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.
The tragedy had a corrosive effect on Kennedy’s image and eroded his national standing. He made a dismal showing when he challenged President Jimmy Carter for reelection in 1980. But the moment of his exit from the presidential stage marked an oratorical highlight when, speaking at the Democratic convention, he invoked his brothers and promised: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on. The cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”
Sen. Kennedy will be remembered for his many legislative victories and for his endorsement of a young upstart from Chicago named Barack Obama.
Ironically, he died before seeing universal health care being signed into law.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
The title to Rep. Raul Grijalva’s USA Today op-ed speaks for itself. It’s also what Speaker Pelosi’s strategy has been all along. Here’s the title:
Opposing view: Forget bipartisanship
Rep. Gijalva then opens his op-ed with this diatribe:
Reforming health care in this country is an urgent matter. For decades, we have endured a broken system that restricts and denies coverage when individuals need it most, leaving many of us one illness away from bankruptcy.
I am open to bipartisanship on legislation when it yields action and solutions. However, I am not in favor of bipartisanship when the other side’s principal intention is to delay progress and undermine a bill.
Let’s agree on these things from the outset:
1. People in frail health and who don’t have health insurance are facing a crisis.
2. Niney-one percent of all Americans have health insurance, of which eighty-four percent are totally satisfied with their insurance. That means seventy-five percent of all Americans are satisfied with the current health insurance situation.
3. Universal coverage doesn’t mean everyone will get cared for. In Canada, everyone is insured but 5,000,000 people don’t have a primary care physician.
From that opening, Rep. Grijalva, a liberal backbencher from the Democratic Party, quickly jumps to this:
Let’s call it like it is. Most of what the Republicans want in the health care reform bill represents a victory for well-financed, private-interest greed. It’s a gift to corporations, not consumers.
Moreover, introducing ideas that do not improve health care for the American people holds up the reform process. This, too, is an underhanded tactic. Delaying the process is not about making a better bill; it is about killing health care reform.
In my best George Will voice: Well.
Yes, Republicans are intent on killing H.R. 3200. That’s because it’s lousy legislation that’s designed to push people into a government-run health insurance plan. Taking a giant step backwards isn’t reform; it’s foolish policymaking.
Let’s highlight this sentence:
Most of what the Republicans want in the health care reform bill represents a victory for well-financed, private-interest greed.
Let’s ask Rep. Gijalva his definition of greed. I suspect it’s different than Dictionary.com’s definition:
excessive or rapacious desire, esp. for wealth or possessions.
I’d argue that few people would characterize companies operating on a 2.2 percent profit margin as greedy. Rep. Grijalva’s statement speaks volumes about his, and his Democratic colleagues’, view of capitalism. It says that they’re hostile towards capitalism. From there, Rep. Grijalva’s op-ed starts hurdling downhill, starting with this outright fabrication:
For example, this month the Republican attacks on the public option have been rife with doublespeak. In one breath, we hear that “the government can’t do anything right” while, in the next breath, we hear that “the government would run a public option so well and so inexpensively that it would knock out competition.” Which is it?
Rep. Grijalva, which Republican said that government would run the “public option so well and so inexpensively that it would knock out competition”? Certainly, Republicans have said that the government option will drive out private health insurance companies. That’s because government can set the rules of the game in such a way that government is the only entity that’s allowed to compete.
I’ve also said that government can run insurance companies out of business by temporarily offering small co-pays and cheap premiums, then raising taxes to keep from going bankrupt. That certainly isn’t many people’s definition of running something well, as Rep. Grijalva suggests.
Simply put, he’s lying in saying Republicans think government can run things better. What they’ve been saying is that government can run insurances out of business because government have more ‘revenue streams’ it can tap into. The problem with this type of socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend.
The public option that so many of my colleagues and I support is not the downfall of health care, as Republicans would have you believe. Rather, it is what will end the insurance companies’ monopoly and control over our individual health.
That’s BS. The so-called public option is really the pathway to a government monopoly. This Democratic congress is already writing the legislation in such a way that insurance companies can’t compete. I don’t recall a single time when a monopoly enhanced competition. I can’t not recall a time when monopolies haven’t eliminated competition.
Rep. Gijalva’s op-ed is littered with the type of misinformation that the left accuses conservatives of spreading. Frankly, op-eds like Rep. Grijalva’s are destroying the Democrats’ credibility, which is leading to the Democrats’ and President Obama’s dropping poll ratings.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
MyFox9 has posted an article that supposedly debunks the myths that supposedly dot the health care landscape. I’m being charitable in calling it an article because it’s actually a list of ‘myths’ that President Obama is debunking. Here’s the first ‘myth’ that they debunk:
Myth One: If you have insurance now, you’ll lose it.
The 1,000-page house bill creates a public insurance option for the 46 million Americans who are uninsured. It won’t even be available until 2013, after the next presidential election.
This is beyond pathetic. Had MyFox9 wanted to be accurate, they would’ve said that President Obama has promised that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Conservatives have debunked that by referring to Section 122 of H.R. 3200, which sets up the minimum benefits package that will be deemed fit to qualify.
Conservatives have also noted that employers can dump their health care coverage in lieu of a fine. The fine is cheaper than what most employers pay for health insurance. Why would an employer pay for health insurance when he/she can dump that responsibility onto the government and save money?
Myth Two: â€œDeath panels,” that endorse euthanasia.
That myth arose out of a proposal to have end of life consultations for patients and their families. It is all voluntary. President Obama said there is a legitimate concern over rationing healthcare, but he says it’s already happening when insurance companies deny care.
Let’s apply some truth-in-advertising laws to this statement:
That myth arose out of a proposal to have end of life consultations for patients and their families. It is all voluntary.
Again, according to the language in H.R. 3200, the end-of-life counselling is mandatory. It’s even scheduled once every five years.There’s nothing voluntary about it unless you think that mandating something qualifies as voluntary.
SIDENOTE: It’s interesting that President Obama calls the death panels a myth when President Obama ordered VHA physicians to direct patients to Your Life, Your Choices. Here’s a heated exchange between FNS host Chris Wallace and Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary at the VA:
DUCKWORTH: It will be out in 2010. It’s not yet out. So Mr. Towey was not correct.
WALLACE: That’s a â€” Secretary Duckworth…
WALLACE: … that’s just not true. The VHA put out a directive on July 2nd, 2009, and I want to put up two pages from that directive. The first one, page 8, “Primary care practitioners are responsible for giving patients pertinent educational materials, e.g. refer patients to the ‘Your Life, Your Choices’ module.”
And on page 9 it says, “If they request more information, patients may be directed to the exercises in ‘Your Life, Your Choices.’”
So as of July 2nd, 2009, last month, more than a month ago, V.A. health practitioners were told to refer all veterans, not just end-of-life veterans but all 24 million veterans, to this document, “Your Life, Your Choices.”
DUCKWORTH: Let me make a correction there, Chris. What our practitioners were told is to refer patients to any type of a tool. They can use Mr. Towey’s if they want to spend the $5 apiece.
V.A. simply was not willing to buy his booklet at $5 per veteran at the time. This is a decision that was made…
WALLACE: But â€” but how do you explain…
DUCKWORTH: … by the previous administration.
WALLACE: It doesn’t…it doesn’t say give them…give them access to anything. I mean, in the specific V.A. booklet. It’s only 15 pages long. It specifically refers to this booklet twice.
This administration has lost credibility because they’ve sent people out to talk about things that are total myths. Chris Wallace had the memo from the VA mandating physicians to tell VA patients to this pamphlet. Every time that the Democrats send someone out to sell their talking points, they lose credibility.
Here’s the third myth:
Myth Three: The plan is a budget buster.
The congressional budget office says the houseâ€™s plan would increase the deficit by $240 billion. President Obama says there will be other savings.
â€œInsurance companies get $177 billion in services that Medicare already provides,” said President Obama.
The CBO has scored H.R. 3200. Their forecast is that it will add $239,000,000,000 to the deficit during the next ten years. That’s in addition to the $9,000,000,000,000 in deficits that the Obama budget will create. That’s in addition to the $787,000,000,000 in deficits that the stimulus bill is creating. The CBO’s numbers are right. Combining the $239,000,000,000 with all the other deficits, I’ll bet that most sane people would agree that it’s a budget buster. I’ll grant that the person who wrote this wouldn’t consider it a budget buster because they think $239,000,000,000 is kinda tiny compared with the $9,000,000,000,000 in deficits produced by President Obama’s budget.
Here’s the fun part of the article:
Obama is encouraging people to submit their concerns to their local congressional office. Both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken’s office are welcoming people to voice their health care concerns.
That’s awfully gracious of Sens. Klobuchar and Franken. What I find offensive about this article, apart from the fact that it could pass for the Democrats’ talking points, is that they don’t mention the fact that Sen. Franken isn’t interested in your opinion. He’s already rubberstamped the so-called public option:
Amid news that the Obama administration might be willing to drop a public option to reach a deal on health care reform, Sen. Al Franken reiterated his support on Monday for the public plan after a tour of Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“I’m favorable to the public option, a strong public option which will provide competition for private insurance companies. This is something I think there has been a lot of misinformation about,” he said.
In other words, if you don’t agree with Sen. Franken, his receptionists will record your opinion for the sake of keeping track of the ratio of for and against opinions. Those totals will theoretically be forwarded to Sen. Franken, who will ignore the people that he doesn’t agrees with.
Just once, I’d love Sen. Franken explain in detail how the public option works and what it’ll cost vs. what the expected savings would be. I’d love hearing Sen. Klobuchar explain (a) how co-ops work, (b) how they differ from the public option, (c) why co-ops are better health care policy than the public option and (d) what the costs vs. cost savings are expected to be. Then I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Klobuchar explain why co-ops and public options are superior to reformed private health care plans.
If they can explain those things, then I’ll listen to them. If they can’t explain those things, then they’ve lost me.
Technorati: Al Franken, Public Option, Amy Klobuchar, Co-Ops, Health Care, Death Panels, Tammy Duckworth, Rationing, Price Controls, Mayo Clinic, Insurance Companies, Reforms, CBO, Deficits, Stimulus, Democrats
Earlier this morning, I wrote about the difficulties John Conyers finds himself in. It turns out that Conyers isn’t the only Democrat facing an uphill fight for re-election:
It’s the highest stakes ever for a Nevada election, and former boxer Sen. Harry Reid is on the ropes early. Either Republican Danny Tarkanian or Sue Lowden would knock out Reid in a general election, according to a recent poll of Nevada voters.
The results suggest the Democratic Senate majority leader will have to punch hard and often in order to retain his position as the most accomplished politician in state history, in terms of job status.
Nevadans favored Tarkanian over Reid 49 percent to 38 percent and Lowden over Reid 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll.
Sen. Reid’s approval ratings have been in the crapper for over 2 years. I said then that Reid wouldn’t just have an uphill fight on his hands but that he’d be the most likely Democrat to lose his seat. I stand by that opinion. In fact, considering that he’s running in a decidedly anti-Democrat year, I’ll suggest that Sen. Reid won’t be the only prominent Democrat to lose. (I still think that Rob Simmons will defeat Christopher Dodd.)
I pity Reid’s campaign spokespeople. Here’s what they’re forced to do:
“He fights for Nevada on those issues and others every day and he’ll continue that battle to get our economy back on track,” Reid spokesman Jon Summers said. Reid also will remind voters, and influential fundraisers, that his in-state connections and national clout can pay dividends for all of Nevada.
“Senator Reid’s leadership for Nevada has earned him broad support, including from nearly 150 Republican leaders in Nevada who recognize that he is a powerful voice for Nevada,” Summers said.
QUESTION FOR MR. SUMMERS: If Sen. Reid’s support is so broad, why is he garnering only 40 percent against two unknowns?
Anytime that an incumbent is having difficulty reaching the mid-forties, he’s history. The only way an incumbent wins in that environment is if he got an ACORN-driven wave of support. That or if he overwhelmingly wins the cemetery vote and if the cemetery vote has a particularly high turnout.
Short of that, it’s time to get out the jelly because Reid’s toast.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Salon.com’s Thomas Schaller isn’t sure what derailed Obamacare. That’s evidenced by his string of questions in his latest column. Here’s the list of questions:
Was the White House’s public relations rollout insufficient to counter the stronger-than-anticipated resistance from healthcare opponents? Was the public option always just a bargaining chip to give away in exchange for what the president really wants? What happened to the vaunted Obama campaign apparatus, which was supposed to morph into a machine delivering support for Obama’s agenda? Did Obama simply lack the political will or political capital? Or should he have been less of a consensus seeker and more of a Rove-ian steamroller?
the simple explanation is that it’s none of the above. Obamacare failed because the American people found out what’s in H.R. 3200. The minute they did is the minute they turned on Obamacare. It didn’t have anything to do with packaging. It isn’t that President Obama didn’t have the political will.
When objective people look back at this, they’ll agree that CBO Director Elmendorf’s testimony torpedoed any chance of passing the wide-ranging reforms that President Obama wanted. Here’s what Director Elmendorf said during testimony:
Under questioning from Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee that the congressional proposals released so far do not meet that second test.
â€œIn the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs,â€ he said.
Another thing that hurt the Democrats’ chances for passing this bill was President Obama’s increasing unpopularity. He portrayed himself as a moderate, a post-racial, post-partisan healer who believed in transparency, accountability and puppies. Now he’s seen as just another liberal with a better than average speaking ability.
When it comes to selling transformational changes to the most personal of all domestic policies, salesmanship isn’t what matters. Substance is what matters. Still, Democrats can’t resist blaming the people who couldn’t block anything mathematically:
Apparently, Obama is no LBJ (presidential version), either. Given the reflexive Republican biting of Obama’s extended hand, perhaps the president should have dispensed from the start with any serious effort to find accommodation with the GOP. The White House could have spoken otherwise for public consumption, but it should have assumed all along that this would be a Democratic-led proposal. Instead of wasting energy on trying to persuade Republicans, it could have worked over dissenting Democrats in the Senate, and had a better shot at jamming the public option through.
The notion that President Obama reached out to Republicans in anything more than a token way is laughable. Having them up to the White House, saying a few flowery words about bipartisanship, then restarting the partisanship the minute the GOP leadership has left the building isn’t bipartisanship. It’s an empty photo-op.
2. Obama misplayed his hand by failing to properly explain what the public option is, how it works, who will have to pay for it, and, most of all, to show that he’s prepared to fight for it.
A president has to be educator in chief as well as commander in chief. But the White House lost control of the public option narrative very early on because, as Salon’s own Joan Walsh wrote on July 21, Obama hesitated from the start to lay down clear markers and defend them publicly. “I’m clear about why this is a tough fight for Obama. But I think he may be making it harder than it needs to be. I realize it’s difficult to define when still playing politics, necessarily, but I really want to know his bottom line,” Walsh pleaded, noting that on a range of disputed elements, including the public option, Obama was curiously vague and uncommitted about his intentions. That he has been only slightly more clear and committed in the ensuing month hasn’t helped.
First off, President Obama’s agenda is audacious but he isn’t. He’s the most risk-averse president in recent history.
More importantly, it’s becoming apparent that President Obama lacks Bill Clinton’s wonkishness. Conservatives said throughout the campaign that he lacked the experience to be competent. Now we’ve been proven right.
The other thing that’s happening is that conservatives are winning battles by being conservative:
Inside Washington, they were urged to reduce the influence of pro-lifers in the party and distance themselves from conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. They were told to warm up to Mr. Obama, the new master of American politics, and they were told to fret about all those voting blocs that were drifting away from the GOPâ€”Hispanics, young people, gays, urbanites, blacks, voters in Northeastern states and independents. To survive, in short, they needed to move the party to the center. Conservatism was dead.
In hindsight, it’s fortunate that they ignored the Beltway wisdom. But it was a gambleâ€”it wasn’t clear at the time that a strategy of pure opposition would do anything other than marginalize Republicans.
Anything that’s considered conventional wisdom isn’t worthy of respect. Outside-the-box thinking is what changes minority parties into majority status. It also helps return the White House to its rightful place.
It took awhile but Republicans started taking the advice I gave the day after the 2006 disaster:
3. We need to pick some fights on the most important issues of the day.
The first fight Iâ€™d pick is on national security. Iâ€™m hearing that the Democrats are thinking of ways of gutting the Patriot Act. Itâ€™s important that President Bush knows that â€˜We the Activistsâ€™ will fight with him if the Pelosi puppets attempt to gut the Patriot Act.
Simply put, it was important that we stopped walking on eggshells and started responding to the Democrats’ radical policies with confidence. Thanks to the leadership of House Republicans like Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter, John Boehner, Tom Price, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and John Kline, we’re on offense.
Gone from the House GOP Conference are the people who just went along. They’ve been replaced by people who believe in conservatism. More importantly, these new leaders know how to explain the main tenets of conservatism in plain-spoken language.
On health care, it’s nice that Republicans have offered several alternatives to Mr. Obama’s government-heavy plan. But these alternatives have played no role in turning America against the president’s ideas. Opposition to ObamaCare in all its parts (not only its cost) has been the chief factor in flipping public opinion.
And that opposition has validated the noisy protests at Democratic town-hall meetings. Absent Republican opposition in Washington, the protests could be dismissed as insignificant. Together, congressional Republicans and their grassroots allies have become an influential force.
Simply put, Paul Ryan and Mike Pence have more credibility on health care than does President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats. That’s before we factor in people like Dr. Phil Gingrey, Dr. Tom Price, Dr. Charles Boustany, Dr. John Fleming and Dr. Tom Coburn. These gentlemen can talk from firsthand experience about what it’s like to fight with the Medicare bureaucracy to get procedures approved.
Because they’re able to talk from experience, those that hear the ‘doctor’s caucus’ message determine that they’re credible and worth listening to. Best of all, these gentlemen know what’s in H.R. 3200. They’ve pointed out with specificity and authority H.R. 3200′s shortcomings.
That, more than anything else, is what sunk Obamacare. It didn’t help that Henry Waxman wrote a bill that’s considerably to the left of the American people. The Democrats viewed this as the perfect opportunity to ram through highly ideological legislation.
On that, they guessed wrong.
Technorati: Reform, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Health Care, Democrats, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, Thad McCotter, Tom Price, John Kline, Kevin McCarthy, Conservatism, Loyal Opposition, Gravitas
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Though we’re still fifteen months away from the 2010 midterms, I’m already looking for indicators of how much trouble the Democrats are in. I’d say I found an indicator in this post. Here’s what I read that left me a little astonished:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) could face a tough reelection race in 2010, according to a new, independent poll released this weekend.
40 percent of Conyers’s constituents said he deserved reelection, according to a poll conducted earlier this month by the Lansing, Mich.-based Deno Noor Polling, in conjunction with the Rossman Group and Perricone Group. 44 percent of Detroiters represented by Conyers said they would prefer to elect someone else. 15 percent were unsure or didn’t know.
These are difficult numbers for an incumbent. Anytime the incumbent is that far below 40 percent, re-election is difficult, assuming Republicans can find a competent candidate to run against him.
I’m not guaranteeing this will be a GOP pickup. In fact, I could easily picture Conyers retiring in favor of a younger man that isn’t carrying Monica Conyers’ baggage on his back.
Whatever happens with Conyers, Democrats shouldn’t expect much help from President Obama. Though his supporters try to put a positive face on things in this article, there’s no way to take them seriously:
Democratic activists said that Mr. Obama’s election last fall provides ample proof that he is capable of overcoming gaffes and bad poll numbers. Whether he will do that this fall, though, remains clouded by a health care debate that is staggering in its complexity.
Deputy press secretary Bill Burton said the administration has long recognized that it could see dents in the widespread support the president garnered when he first took office if it undertook an initiative as potentially divisive as health care reform.
“If getting health care reform done were a matter of making easy decisions and doing politically popular things, it probably would have gotten done a long time ago,” Mr. Burton said.
What these spinners aren’t mentioning, though, is that then-Sen. Obama made his comeback while people still trusted him and before they saw his extremist agenda. President Obama was touted as a political healer with all the right policies to cure what ailed the United States.
Independents are abandoning him like he was radioactive. That’s because President Obama isn’t trusted like he was last year. After the election, I said that President Obama should be frightened because prior to his election, he was seen as successful because of his speaking ability. I said in January that he’d be judged on whether he got things done that have improve Americans’ lives.
Thus far, he’s failed that test miserably.
Rasmussen has tracked President Obama’s slippage since President Obama’s inauguration. Yesterday, Rasmussen’s polling showed President Obama with a -14 rating:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 27% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. These figures mark the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President. The previous low of -12 was reached on July 30.
By comparison, President Obama’s Approval Index was +30 on January 22.
Democrats smiled with confidence when they ran against President Bush in 2006. Now the tide has turned. Now they get to find out what it’s like to run with an unpopular president tied around their necks.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Keith Ellison hasn’t hidden his support for a single-payer health care system. By contrast, Sen. Klobuchar tried sounding like a free market capitalist during tonight’s tele-townhall conference call. Though she tried sounding like a capitalist, she momentarily lapsed into showing her liberal side. One instance came when she was asked whether she’d vote for a bill with the public option.
Her response was that she’d rather vote for a “competitive option”, saying that “you need to put pressure on insurance companies to get a better deal for consumers.” That sounded like HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week when she said that the public option wasn’t essential to health care reform.
By contrast, Rep. Ellison’s participation in a townhall meeting left no doubt what he believes in. Rep. Ellison’s insistance on a public option was unflinching:
Hacker added that health insurance cooperatives, a new private option likely to come out of the Senate Finance Committee, are a “political solution to a political problem,” in sharp contrast to a public health insurance option, which is a policy solution to a real-world problem.”
Congressman Grijalva, co-chair of the progressive caucus, emphasized that health insurance cooperatives are “a way to silence a pretty strong drumbeat for a public option in the country.” To hand the same private insurance industry a trillion more dollars “is not worth the votes.”
Congressman Ellison stressed that the Progressive Caucus will not allow the House to pass a bill without a strong public plan. “We’ve got 60 members who will not vote for a plan without a public option. People opposed to the public option are siding with big insurance industry bosses against the American people.”
The Progressive Caucus has been vocal and steadfast in their support for the government option. They can afford to be because they live in the safest of safe districts. They don’t have to hide their beliefs because the people in their district believe as they do. Sen. Klobuchar can’t sound that steadfast in support for the public option because she has to appeal to more than just the fringe voters of Rep. Ellison’s district.
The thing that’ll trip up Sen. Klobuchar is a little exchange between Dr. Denis Cortese and a caller from Duluth. The caller talked about eliminating doctors and patients on Lasik has brought costs down. Dr. Cortese enthusiastically agreed that that’s the type of model we should be looking towards to reduce costs. That type of provision isn’t in any of the Democrats’ legislation.
It certainly doesn’t square with Sen. Klobuchar’s statement that the government has to regulate health insurance more. Had I been picked to ask a question, I was going to ask why we shouldn’t eliminate many of the governments’ mandate, especially considering many of the regulations don’t serve a useful purpose except for driving up the price of health insurance premiums.
At the end of the day, I’m betting that there aren’t as many differences between Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Ellison as their words suggest. The biggest difference is in how they can talk about President Obama’s radical agenda. Still, watching the dance is fun.