Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Excellent News

Atrios: This Is Excellent News For Republicans
Unintentionally funny improper usage aside, they write this fucking article every week. Village reporters just cannot fathom a world in which Republicans aren't ascendant.

It's quite possible Dems will lose - and lose badly - in 2010. A bad economy, failure to deliver a recognizable good health care plan, and the determination that most of the people who vote for you don't deserve proper medical treatment, could all hurt Democrats at the polls. But good news for Republicans? People still hate them.
Kurtz (TPM): I Think The Word Is "Tailwind"

Today in fun word choice, from Politico: "Few political observers or elected officials doubt that an energized GOP has a headwind at its back."

Perhaps not using "tailwind" was intentional: The GOP boldly striding into the future butt first? Facing a fierce headwind, the GOP simply turned around and pretended the wind was at its back? The interpretational possibilities are endless.


This from a Kaplan political chat cracked me up too:

Silver Spring, Md.: I wonder if you could state the evidence for your premise of a “Republican resurgence”. I see a Virginia that did what it’s done since 1977 (vote against the party in the White House) in the presence of an epically bad Democratic candidate… a governor in New Jersey who was wildly unpopular since even before the “2008 debacle” (your baseline)... and – oh yes – a district in NY that went Democratic for the first time since the White House has featured a bath tub. With two unsurprising (from the vantage point of a year ago) gubernatorial results and one historical flip toward the Dems in NY, isn’t it as valid to call last Tuesday a further shift leftward?

Dan Balz: I don’t think I used the word “resurgence” in the piece that ran on Sunday.

The chat itself had been titled “The Republican Resurgence.”

Josh Marshall: I'm Genuinely Surprised

Public Policy Polling just conducted a poll in which they tested how well Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) would do in a GOP primary against an unnamed right-wing/conservative challenger. In other words, how well she'd stand up against a stiff Hoffmanization. I'd figured Snowe was pretty much invulnerable in Maine, even though Republican primary electorates can lean pretty far right. But not so. PPP had the winger candidate crushing Snowe by a 59% to 31% margin.

Not surprisingly, Snowe's approval among in-state Dems is far higher than among Republicans.

Christian power nexus in action. Rachel Maddow is joined by Harper's magazine contributing editor Jeff Sharlet, to talk about the way the lineage of the anti-abortion amendment in the House health reform bill can be traced to the infamous Christian legislator C Street house.

Greg Sargent:

* MoveOn launches an ad that will make Rahm Emanuel ecstatic: It hits Dems who voted No on the reform bill as “small” for failing to rise to the moment:

The spot could be as much about the coming vote on the final bill as it is about the one that already took place: It’s an effort to signal to Dems that there are political consequences for a No vote.

Kieschnick (HP, CREDO): How the Blue Dogs Raised My Insurance Premium by 14%

Late Saturday night, the House narrowly passed a massive health care reform package. The President called the vote courageous and historic.

And Anthem, the giant insurance company, told us that the expected premium increase for my company's health insurance (we provide insurance for everybody) will be 14%. We got no additional coverage, just higher rates.

This is profound evidence that the insurance industry won the health care debate. The public and taxpayers lost big. There is little chance that something better will come out of the Senate.

The real fight happened a week earlier as the House Democratic caucus counted votes on whether the poorly named "public option" would pay doctors and hospitals the Medicare rate plus 5% or instead would negotiate with providers. With 218 votes required to pass something in the House, the progressive advocates of "Medicare plus" only got to around 180 votes and stalled. So Speaker Pelosi only put up for a vote legislation that simply called for negotiated rates.

Negotiated is code word for higher. Much higher.

So all across the country, insurance companies are raising their rates NOW. If they are going to negotiate, why not negotiate from a higher base?

I suspect that a poll of companies and those who have to buy insurance on their own would find similar rate increases as the insurance industry once again games a system that it bought in Congress.

The mass media, as usual, did a terrible job explaining why it was that a strong public option - one that reimbursed at Medicare plus 5% - saved money and lowered the deficit when most health care reform opponents were screaming about exploding fiscal deficits. The reason is pretty simple - covering millions of people with a low cost plan is far less expensive than reimbursing private health insurance companies at rates sufficient to cover their bureaucracy, profits, and skyrocketing executive compensation.

Why is it that the supposedly fiscally conservative Blue Dogs successful fought against Medicare plus when it would save huge amounts of public money? Because that money would expose the raw deal we get from private health insurance companies, and nobody has bought the Blue Dogs more times than the insurance industry.

At this stage of the health reform battle, I feel that we won a vote but are losing the war. Opponents of reproductive choice got to leverage a pro-choice President and Speaker into allowing them to hijack health reform. Access to abortion will fall dramatically if this legislation is enacted, and we heard not a single word of opposition from Mr. Obama. The insurance industry will get literally tens of millions of new customers who will be forced to purchase their overpriced product or pay a fine, and they can raise their rates with impunity in the meantime.

Given the rules, we were counting on the House to set a progressive standard on insurance reform. If what passed is the progressive standard, the Senate will be emboldened to make change far worse.

Our notice of a 14% higher premium is just one of many canaries in this collapsing coal mine.

Bellantoni (TPM): Bill Clinton Meeting Today With Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats today are huddling for their first weekly lunch since the House passed its version of the health care plan and they have a special guest with firsthand experience of what can happen when legislation fails.

Former President Clinton will speak to the caucus about health care, a Democratic source confirmed to TPMDC.

The White House has been coy for months when reporters ask if Clinton (or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) are advising President Obama on health care.

Late update: Another source tells us that Clinton is attending the lunch at the request of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (who worked in Clinton White House) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

What's that expression? "The best defense is a good offense"? The DNC seems to understand the concept.

With the Republican National Committee targeting a list of House Democrats in relatively conservative districts whom it will go after for backing health care legislation, the Democratic National Committee is making the opposite case, and says it will use the legislation against 33 Republicans whose districts went for President Obama last fall.

"These are folks in districts that voted for the President, and where insurance reform is not only needed, but also politically popular. By not only voting against the needs of their constituents, but also their desire to reform the perverse health insurance system -- and to do it for purely political purposes -- these Republicans have put a giant target on their back. They made a disastrous choice and they will reap the consequences of that choice," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan in an email.

That's entirely the right attitude to bring to the debate. It's about showing confidence and projecting strength. For all the media speculation about vulnerable Democratic incumbents being afraid to support fixing a broken system, the majority has every reason to turn this frame around.

A DNC official told Ben Smith, "If Republicans think this is a political problem for us -- they're sorely mistaken. The American people want reform and Republicans are standing in the way for the sake of partisan politics. That is a political problem for them. We are going to cause havoc for them."

Is this bravado? Sure. Is the argument that the reform vote will be "a political problem for them" likely to be true? I have no idea. But the point is to stay on the offensive on one of the party's signature issues.

Now, it's worth noting that the DNC's efforts are, at least for now, preliminary. The party's press release talked about "targeting" these 33 House Republicans who voted against reform, despite representing districts that supported Obama last year, but there are no new broadcast ads and we don't yet know how aggressive the effort is going to be.

The press statement said the effort "will include press releases, Op-Eds and letters to the editor, local events and will leverage the energy and enthusiasm of the DNC's grassroots supporters and its email list in holding these members accountable for their vote. The effort may also include paid advertising." In other words, the party isn't spending a lot of money on this, at least not yet.

But it's a step in the right direction.

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