Friday, September 25, 2009

No, YOU Beware.

Thought of the day:
Next fall, the Dems will want to say to the voters, "Look what WE've done FOR you," and the GOP will want to say, "Look what THEY've done TO you."
That will be the 2010 midterms in a nutshell. So the Dems had better make sure they pass a bill that gives them the better end of that argument.
Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 25, 2009 at 10:50 AM
Aravosis: Dem activists aren't complacent, they're pissed
Democrats are worried that their fundraising is going down. And they should. But the reason isn't because Democratic activists have become complacent. Democratic activists are pissed, and see no reason to fund a party that doesn't have a backbone or the desire to keep its promises.
Democrats said a struggling economy is only partly to blame for the poor fundraising performance and acknowledged a more perilous problem: satisfaction among activists that the party now holds the White House, 60 votes in the Senate and 60 percent of the House.

"There was a little sense of complacency that set in despite our best efforts to warn people," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We made it very clear: Beware."
You beware.
 JedL (DK): Baucus delays public option amendments
Yesterday, Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer said they planned to push the public option during today's Finance Committee health care markup session -- but today, Max Baucus says there simply isn't enough time. It'll have to wait:
Citing time restraints, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) just announced that the controversial public option amendments being offered by Sens. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be pushed to next Tuesday, when lawmakers return to Washington after a long weekend.
Maybe Baucus really is just out of time. It's true that he's only had like eighteen kajillion months to work on his "bipartisan" bill (which doesn't have any Republican support). He could be running short on the clock.
Or maybe he's just not quite sure how to handle Rockefeller and Schumer. After all, he's spent most of his time recently with Kent Conrad, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe. He might've forgotten what it's like to deal with Democrats -- you know, the guys who actually won the last election.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll offers quite a bit of discouraging news for Republicans hoping to defeat health care reform and undermine the Obama presidency. There's just one catch.
President Obama's approval rating remains quite strong at 56%, and his handling of health care has improved seven points since August. Nearly two-thirds of the country (65%) would like to see a public option as part of health care reform, which is up five points over the last month.
While the numbers for Democrats aren't as strong as they were, Republicans haven't been able to capitalize at all. For example, most respondents maintain a favorable impression of Democrats (47% favorable, 41% unfavorable), while the GOP fares far worse (30% favorable, 57% unfavorable). Asked who can be trusted to make the right decisions, President Obama's lead over congressional Republicans is nearly two to one (53% to 27%).
More than three out of four believe Republicans have not explained what they would do to improve the system, and while a clear majority believes President Obama has tried to work with the GOP, a clear majority believes the GOP has not done the same with the White House. What's more, 64% believe Republicans are fighting against health care reform for purely political reasons, not because of principle.
So, what's the catch? Americans don't like and don't trust the GOP, but they want to see Democrats work with them anyway.
The poll finds that an overwhelming majority of 64% think Republicans are opposing Obama's health care plans mostly for political reasons. But it also finds that an equally large number, 65%, say Democrats shouldn't pass a bill without Republicans -- even if they think it's right for the country -- and should instead compromise to win over some GOPers.
This shows, I think, that Democrats have convinced the public that the GOP wants Obama and Dems to fail at all costs. But they've failed to make the case to the public that GOP obstructionism may leave them no choice but to go it alone in order to realize reform.
This is the third major national poll to find the same result on this in the last couple of weeks.
It continues to put the majority in an awkward situation. Americans don't trust GOP lawmakers on the issue, and don't think Republicans have been acting in good faith, but the public can't quite shake the impression that good bills are "bipartisan" bills, and that legislative consensus may actually be more important than legislative quality.
My only advice to the governing majority? Ignore this. Americans are, for whatever reasons, predisposed to support bipartisan lawmaking. But this is an impossible task -- Republicans don't support reform and aren't willing to make concessions. If Dems make the bill worse, on purpose, just to pick up a few GOP votes, it's likely voters will be far less satisfied with reform when it's implemented.
Pass a good bill and let the policy speak for itself.
Aravosis: Health Care reform groups circulate memo on Hill warning of public ire if Baucus bill becomes law
Someone's gonna get yelled at by Rahm....

It seems our health care reform groups just developed a spine. They're circulating a memo on the Hill that includes polling data showing that people are opposed to an individual mandate to buy health insurance (i.e., they have to by law, or they get fined), unless the mandate includes a public option as one of the possible insurers they can go to. Baucus' bill, which Obama seems to be supporting as first among equals, doesn't do that.

It's a fascinating question: whether Democrats are walking into a trap here. If they pass the Baucus bill, or any other bill, and require people, by law, to buy insurance that's from the same old crappy private insurers who already milk us dry, and provide no viable alternative, in the future, every time Blue Cross or Humana or Kaiser screws one of us over, guess whose fault it's going to be? Every Senator and Congressman who votes for Baucus' and Obama's current plan.

And Baucus and Conrad's cute little co-op idea isn't expected by anyone to work. Even CBO agreed. That means every American is going to be stuck with the same crappy insurers they current have, and they're going to blame Democrats for it, thanks to Max Baucus and Barack Obama.

Should make for some exciting elections.
Hamsher: Accountability Now Targets Jim Cooper for Primary Challenge
Jim Cooper is out of step with his district. Barack Obama won 56% of the vote in 2008 to John McCain's 43%, so the typical Blue Dog trumpet that their corporatist-friendly vote is necessary to hold office in a heavily Republican district just doesn't apply.
He thus meets Accountability Now's criteria for a primary challenge. We're launching a blog today, Cooper Uncovered, which will chronicle Cooper's exploits on a daily basis. It will explore how Cooper's activities are at odds with the interests of his Nashville district:
From the Accountability Now press release:
According to a Research 2000 poll from August 24, 2009, Cooper’s approval rating has sunk to below 50 percent (47% favorable, 41% unfavorable). Even more telling, was that just 36% of likely voters stated they would vote to re-elect Congressman Cooper.
Ranking high among Nashville voters concerns was Cooper’s perceived obstruction of the “public option” during the recent congressional debate on health care. According to the poll conducted in August, 80 percent of Democratic voters and 64 percent of independents support a public option. 77 percent of Democratic voters and 60 percent of independent voters disapprove of Congressman Cooper’s actions on the health care issue.
"Cooper has spent so many years in Congress without being accountable, that he's forgotten how to represent his constituents," said Markos Moulitsas, owner of Daily Kos and the commissioner of the poll.. "He has a choice ahead of him -- continue representing the interests of his insurance company buddies, or those of the people who elect him."
Cooper, who has collected more than $1 million dollars from health care special interests and related political action committees, has come under fire in recent weeks for failing to represent Democrats in the 5th Congressional District.
Accountability Now has been working actively in Tennessee's 5th district to recruit candidates to run against Cooper in a Democratic primary next year. Communicating with Nashville voters about his activities on Capitol Hill, exploring his political history and highlighting the coverage of local Tennessee blogs will be the focus of Cooper Uncovered.

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