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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:04 am 
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I'm not sure how much this spells doom in the bigger picture but it is not a good sign.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:12 am 
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Jon Stewart can speak for me on this one:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-j ... -backwards

FWIW, the notion that this is a referendum on health care reform is a bit silly, since Coakley was leading by 30 points a few weeks ago and nothing substantive has changed about health care reform in the interim. Coakley was a terrible candidate and Brown's campaign was excellent at exploiting that and throwing some economy-based voter rage in the mix. (Plus the fact that MA already essentially has the Senate version of HCR, so they didn't stand to lose anything.)

The Dems had a mandate for HCR and they fucked it up. The best that can be done now is to pass the Senate bill in the House. That may be better than nothing, I guess, but it's far short of what could/should have been done.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:05 pm 
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No one is giving the Senate bill any chance of passing the House. And of course the Senate won't even pass the Senate bill at this point. See Talking Points Memo for some accounts of what Barney Frank is telling constituents. (Short version: HCR in its current form is dead, dead, dead. Hey, maybe we can get Olympia Snowe on board!)

Now we have Obama aiming low:

Quote:
I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on. We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people. We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don't, then our budgets are going to blow up and we know that small businesses are going to need help so that they can provide health insurance to their families. Those are the core, some of the core elements of, to this bill.


So we've gone from universal coverage to "insurance reform" and "cost containment." Nice work!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:18 pm 
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It is so depressing ain't it. Has this country really been sold out to big business corporations, and now there is no returning. Is the health care idea really just too much of a hill to climb for US? Can one Rep in Mass make that much of a difference. I like to be optimistic, but have the voters forgotten who got us into this economic mess. I've already heard some Reps calling it "Obama's economy" as if he drove us to this point.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:28 pm 
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Rspaight wrote:
Jon Stewart can speak for me on this one:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-j ... -backwards

FWIW, the notion that this is a referendum on health care reform is a bit silly, since Coakley was leading by 30 points a few weeks ago and nothing substantive has changed about health care reform in the interim. Coakley was a terrible candidate and Brown's campaign was excellent at exploiting that and throwing some economy-based voter rage in the mix. (Plus the fact that MA already essentially has the Senate version of HCR, so they didn't stand to lose anything.)

The Dems had a mandate for HCR and they fucked it up. The best that can be done now is to pass the Senate bill in the House. That may be better than nothing, I guess, but it's far short of what could/should have been done.



With all due respect, the Dems may have "fucked" up health care, but this notion of a mandate is only as strong as the bricks in the building. On that front, I'll admit that I was disappointed (and naive) as anyone that the super majority turned out to be in name only. Yet, there were 219 Dem members of the House and 53-54 Dem Senators who *were* committed to true reform. That still means something to me. We've already gone 'round the block on my feelings on the turncoats, so I won't burden folks with that again. However, I am starting to get tired of the griping, blame-laying and self-defeating foot-stomping that has infected the Left in this country (and that includes the Progressive media and commentators). In my opinion, it is *partially* to do with what happened yesterday (more on that later). For the record, Ryan, I'm speaking in general terms - not at all toward you. Our differing opinions on the particulars of this subject will probably stay just that. :)

(I'll just add that before anyone brings up the name of Reagan and his 55, or so, senatorial seat makeup, coupled with his ability to "get things done," the political landscape in this country -- namely how the opposition works -- has changed greatly over the last 30 years. Ditto for the ideological divide that Reagan himself so aptly seeded)


But, I digress...


While yesterday depresses me, I can't say that it surprises me. Brown had the square-jaw, "he drives a pickup" matinee idol looks, a heap of well-oiled funding from outside sources, the complete absence of a minority factor, bundled with MA being a (sadly) mostly *male* dominated state at the political level. Throw in a fairly bland Democratic candidate, a **horribly** run campaign (and that *does* include the national Party's input), more wedge issue madness and those silly, meaningless gaffes that people seem to put so much stock in these days, and it's a recipe for defeat. Like Ryan, I don't really believe this is some kind of health care watershed moment - in that regard, it's just a bunch of factions fighting as to whether or not government is "too liberal" or "not liberal enough." It has more to do with the above elements and a little of what I write in a couple of paragraphs (IMHO of course). After all this, that pretty much leaves the wishy-washy "middle"...and they usually can't even spell a candidate's name. Cue the square jaw and the final outcome. And while the Republicans have historically benefited most from the "he's/she's one of us" ruse, I'll also concede that we've snagged some flies that way, along the way, too.

On a voter level, I guess I just don't understand how another corporate shill somehow represents the will of the commoner or the we're "mad at government, but have no real answers" folks? Nor, do I understand how staying home and not voting, or worse yet, voting for that said corporate Republican shill protects the interests of the disgruntled left? In reality, Brown's really just a good looking Joe Lieberman - not Ralph Nader.

Just as importantly, while Dems are busy feasting on their own and squabbling within their ranks, Republicans -- unapologetically hell bent on opposition as they may be -- are the lockstep masters of going in for the kill when they smell blood. Give them credit though...we're proving to be the masters of snatching defeat from victory and punishing ourselves. Ditto for progressive media outlets too. Of the latter, they've done an absolutely "gangbuster" job of whipping their base into a cynical, self-loathing frenzy. Where's Dr. Freud when you need him? Maybe, somewhere in between their petulant chants of "Wall Street sell-out and Big Pharma sweetheart deal," they'll learn shooting one's self in the foot is just another form of self-inflicted punishment. Tempering legislative expectations in light of the new reality would be nice too. In that regard, considering some of the inane stuff I've read at various political sites, I think I'm angrier with the voting Left than with the tea-bagging nutbars. I expected better from my own. A poll before the election showed that 98%(!) of Republican voters would be voting for Brown, while only 65%, or so, Dem voters would be voting for Coakley. That *may* have been a game-changer right there. Lousy candidate or not, it speaks volumes on how the two sides function. No matter what, the Right still stay in formation. We don't. In the end, who do we punish? Going back to the points of my original paragraph, if one wants to enact true change in this country, getting another liberal in there is a good start. For all her weaknesses, Coakley was pretty much that. As I've said previously, there's plenty of conservative Democrat voters in this country. There's little or no such thing as a liberal Republican. Even more so at the Washington level.


Yet, the effects are devastating and astounding. Obviously, the irony of the state involved as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:12 pm 
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David R. Modny wrote:
On a voter level, I guess I just don't understand how another corporate shill somehow represents the will of the commoner or the we're "mad at government, but have no real answers" folks? Nor, do I understand how staying home and not voting, or worse yet, voting for that said corporate Republican shill protects the interests of the disgruntled left? In reality, Brown's really just a good looking Joe Lieberman - not Ralph Nader.


I don't know either. I keep hearing from some of my friends about big business having bought out government politics, and that everything is about money. So they will do whatever they can to stop health care reform, and keep big business' interests in mind.

btw, Morgan Stanley is handing out record raises and bonuses after a bad year for profits.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Jeff T. wrote:

I don't know either. I keep hearing from some of my friends about big business having bought out government politics, and that everything is about money. So they will do whatever they can to stop health care reform, and keep big business' interests in mind.



Jeff, the "we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it" crowd never cease to amaze me. While *some* of their points may be valid in base theory, their means to an end (and hypocrisy) often confounds me. It's one of the reasons the Republicans have been so successful over the years at convincing the middle class to be against things that would actually benefit them. That is, folks want...but they also don't want. For example, the long-term benefits of a healthier, more solvent work base enrich everybody. We'd be fortifying the system, not draining it.

Yet, all it seems to take is a few "isms," and we're off to the races. I'm surprised the Right haven't found a way to demonize public libraries yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:04 pm 
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Jeff T. wrote: I don't know either. I keep hearing from some of my friends about big business having bought out government politics, and that everything is about money. So they will do whatever they can to stop health care reform, and keep big business' interests in mind.

David R. Modny wrote:
Jeff T. wrote:

I don't know either. I keep hearing from some of my friends about big business having bought out government politics, and that everything is about money. So they will do whatever they can to stop health care reform, and keep big business' interests in mind.



Jeff, the "we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it" crowd never cease to amaze me. While *some* of their points may be valid in base theory, their means to an end (and hypocrisy) often confounds me. It's one of the reasons the Republicans have been so successful over the years at convincing the middle class to be against things that would actually benefit them. That is, folks want...but they also don't want. For example, the long-term benefits of a healthier, more solvent work base enrich everybody. We'd be fortifying the system, not draining it.

Yet, all it seems to take is a few "isms," and we're off to the races. I'm surprised the Right haven't found a way to demonize public libraries yet.


I'm not sure my writing was succinct and to the point. I was stating that in politics, they are trying to keep HCR off the table and keep corp "big business" in mind, not the voters who want changes made doing it in. Not self sabotage. I think my writing left out who "they" was. Sorry about that.

But at the same time, I can't hang with folks who complain that the system is now broken beyond being fixed, and life sucks and there's nothing we can do about it. I have to live with hope that things get better in enough ways to make live worth living because the alternative is not so hot.

I have a friend who is 74 years old and really irked about what shape the country is in. I have to constantly reel him in because I can't live without hope, and can't walk around in a rage. He is a record collector that worked in LA area stores for 40 years. So I find his stories interesting about the LA record scene over the decades. But I am always of the mid set that good things are possible.

But yesterdays news is bad. And a sign that the Reps might just make that big comeback somehow. But it is depressing to even think about.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:13 am 
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Jeff T. wrote:
I'm not sure my writing was succinct and to the point. I was stating that in politics, they are trying to keep HCR off the table and keep corp "big business" in mind, not the voters who want changes made doing it in. Not self sabotage. I think my writing left out who "they" was. Sorry about that.


Gotcha.

But, I'm not sure what you mean by "they"? We were probably one stinking vote away from having some sort of public option. Thus, there were still 220 House members and 59 Senators who were very much prepared to keep health care reform *on* the table before the "Joe factor." Was the bill perfect? Hardly. Were deals cut and concessions made? As always in politics...yes. But, it still was a step in the right direction IMHO - with a base for future tweaking. After yesterday, those steps and any remaining post-Joe morsels of value have, in effect, all but been trampled on. And that was done by voters - whether inadvertently or with intent.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:12 am 
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Quote:
I'm surprised the Right haven't found a way to demonize public libraries yet.


They have down my way. A couple of busybody library workers (not MLAs) decided to take it upon themselves to decide what minors were allowed to check out in direct violation of library policy. They were fired, and now they are being turned into some sort of folk heroes of the culture wars.

Anyway. I've never (seriously) suggested that voting for Republicans was a logical response to the Democrats' failure to pursue (let alone enact) a progressive agenda. I'm hip to the political reality that we are a center-right nation. A center-left candidate like Obama would never have been elected had it not been for the devastating ineptitude of the Bush administration combined with the collapse of the economy. I'm not disappointed that Obama failed to pass single-payer. That would have been a freaking miracle. I'm disappointed that he made no attempt to educate the country about alternatives to the current for-profit model. If you *assume* from the get-go that true reform is impossible, the chances that you will achieve even watered-down reform are slim indeed.

So my opinion that the Dems "fucked up" health care is not an announcement that I will never vote for them again. I'm not threatening any sort of punishment apart from harsh language, and I'm certainly not important enough to demoralize anyone. I consider myself a stockholder in Democrats, Inc., and I am expressing my opinion at the stockholder's meeting as to how the company has performed over the last year. I think it's a legitimate criticism that the insurance and pharmaceutical industries were courted too ardently in this process. The health insurance industry is widely despised in this country, and I think everyone's aware of the problems with drug prices vs. other countries. I'll let the Rude Pundit illustrate my thinking:

Quote:
If Republicans had wanted universal health care, you would have seen commercials with heartless insurance agents stabbing babies and drinking their blood. You would have seen ads with desperate, laid-off old men offering to blow people for quarters so they could afford their insulin. You would have seen ads about how sad it is that a depressed middle-aged woman with a dream of a scrapbooking store is now suicidal over not being able to follow her small business dream because if she left her shitty office job, she'd lose her health care. The ad would have ended with a gunshot in darkness. People would have been begging for health care reform because Republicans would have made it seem like the world would fall apart without it.


That's how things get done these days, for better or worse.

In any case, we're both fighting for the same things. You're just a better team player than I am.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:06 pm 
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A couple of things:

Regarding the above "Rude Pundit" quote:

As I've previously stated, my feeling is that the hard push on HC from the Dems wouldn't have changed the outcome one iota. They most likely felt that the American public has seen enough bully pulpit tactics the previous 8 years. Thus, instead, they tried to back themselves in by appearing to be bi-partisan (yet, they were STILL accused by the Right of trying to "bully" and "control the dialogue" - as they probably knew they would be). In the end, pre-Massachusetts, they fell ONE VOTE short of pulling off some form of a public option (single payer was never going to be on the table). Even then, I don't think they truly anticipated just how diabolical Lieberman was going to be in his actions by not even allowing procedure to go forward. It was a calculated risk, but probably the only one they had, and one that they liked the odds on given their numbers. Going the hard-sell route, and failing to deliver, would have doomed them with 80% of the country (i.e. unfortunately, only 20% of Americans identify themselves as "liberal"). A good deal of those folks aren't even paying attention to the HC debate. Not a good way to start a new administration - especially in light of what we had just come off of. One can see examples of this all the time. This last year, I saw our President accused of moving too fast and "overexposing" himself, and then moving to "slow" all within a one week period! It's a balancing act that hindsight has no right, IMHO, to now judge. Had the public option vote worked, it may have been *just* enough to turn Tuesday's outcome using our own base. It didn't. But.......that's politics. Maybe...they will indeed change their strategy from here on in. We'll see.

On that note, as I also stated in my earlier post, I truly don't believe that what happened in Massachusetts was *primarily* the result of the HCR. It just had the unfortunate end result of gutting it. It does sicken me however to think that, somehow, by totally obstructing HCR, the 'Pubs will manage to be seen as the "saviors and the reformers." They've done absolutely *nothing* in advancing the cause of health care reform in this country over the course of history, and yet *they* get to regain control of that dialogue. Ultimately, we put forth a drip of a candidate in Mass.(coupled with the laundry list of already stated variables), and they put forth a golden boy. Game over. I will say that no Hollywood script writer could have envisioned the sheer irony of how all this played out. Teddy *is* truly rolling in his grave.

On a final note, again, I do believe that the self-defeating actions of the Left voting base, fueled by the Progressive media is also what helped create this mess.That said media chose to view the Dems nearly every action as "glass half-full" from the get-go. The Republicans would never feast on their own like this. Places like Huffington and Buzzflash, as well as the individual punditry, were hell-bent on putting forth every sensationalist, hyper-critical headline that they could. I'm not sure if this is some kind of oversensitive method of proving that one is "fair and balanced," but it failed miserably. Criticism is good and necessary - all this gloom and doom wasn't. It totally poisoned the voting base. Furthermore, the timetable completely went out the window about five minutes into this latest political cycle. It was unrealistic and foolish. No party can turn water into wine in one year. And while some of that criticism and cynicism was warranted, the self-defeating finger pointing, foot stomping and, at times, know-it-all attitude *wasn't*. The fact that these same media outlets now want to play the blame game makes me want to hurl. Like I said, The Right would *never* feast on their own like this. Thus, they sat back, smelled blood, and went in for the kill. Shame on us.


PS - Here's a polling article on just *why* voters in Mass. apparently voted the way they did. As one can see, the fractured logic has more holes (and hypocrisy) in it than a doughnut. Further proof that one reaps what they sow.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/2 ... 29673.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:45 pm 
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David R. Modny wrote:
That said media chose to view the Dems nearly every action as "glass half-full" from the get-go.


Correction - That should actually read "glass half-empty." But, you folks probably figured that one out already...lol. :)


Last edited by David R. Modny on Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:48 pm 
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Well, the good news is that Obama is FINALLY getting tough on banks (reestablishing the separation between commercial and investment banks, regulating size to prevent "too big to fail"). Whether it's too little too late remains to be seen, but judging from your HuffPo link just the attempt will be a popular move.

The bad news is that it's apparently now legal for corporations to pour unlimited dough into campaigns. Gee, I wonder who will benefit from that?

In any case, my problem with the HCR mess isn't so much that the Dems didn't hard-sell (though they certainly could have done a lot better in that area) but that they couldn't control the narrative. Obama was a popular President in his honeymoon period with big majorities in both houses. If that isn't the time to be bold, then when? But instead of saying, "We want to do this, this, this, and this and here's how that will benefit you, " we got the message of, "We're sort of thinking of doing something like (but not exactly) this, if the insurance companies and pharma say we can and it doesn't ruffle the minority party too much. If we can't do that, we'll try something else. Would that be OK?" By NOT clearly defining what they wanted to do, they left the door wide open for the GOP to build their own strawman and have THAT be HCR in the minds of the country. So instead of the GOP having to explain why they're against mandated coverage and a public option (which even RICHARD M. NIXON proposed at one point), we get treated to the ridiculous sight of Democrats insisting they aren't planning to kill your grandmother. Once you're reduced to denying you plan mass euthanasia, you have no chance of reforming health care.

Geez. Imagine if Bush had treated his initiatives (Patriot Act, FISA, habeas corpus, telecom immunity) that way. We might still have a Constitution left.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Rspaight wrote:
Well, the good news is that Obama is FINALLY getting tough on banks (reestablishing the separation between commercial and investment banks, regulating size to prevent "too big to fail"). Whether it's too little too late remains to be seen, but judging from your HuffPo link just the attempt will be a popular move.


The only thing that ticks me off though is that outlets *like* HuffPo -- without missing a beat -- may use stuff like this to imply that, as bastions of the progressive movement, *they're* "critical eye" is partly responsible for helping to "right the ship" after the disaster in Mass. Obviously, judging by today's headline there, they're wasting no time in changing the narrative. In truth, there were a lot more positive stories that they chose to ignore or cynically thumb their noses at this past year. I really hate when media gets self-aggrandizing, so hopefully they're sincere in their actions.

DISCLAIMER - As you may have noticed, I'm not a fan of Arianna Huffington. Sometimes, I wish she was still shilling for the Right. Molly Ivins she isn't.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Rspaight wrote:
In any case, my problem with the HCR mess isn't so much that the Dems didn't hard-sell (though they certainly could have done a lot better in that area) but that they couldn't control the narrative. Obama was a popular President in his honeymoon period with big majorities in both houses. If that isn't the time to be bold, then when? But instead of saying, "We want to do this, this, this, and this and here's how that will benefit you, " we got the message of, "We're sort of thinking of doing something like (but not exactly) this, if the insurance companies and pharma say we can and it doesn't ruffle the minority party too much. If we can't do that, we'll try something else. Would that be OK?" By NOT clearly defining what they wanted to do, they left the door wide open for the GOP to build their own strawman and have THAT be HCR in the minds of the country. So instead of the GOP having to explain why they're against mandated coverage and a public option (which even RICHARD M. NIXON proposed at one point), we get treated to the ridiculous sight of Democrats insisting they aren't planning to kill your grandmother. Once you're reduced to denying you plan mass euthanasia, you have no chance of reforming health care.



One more thing that I wanted to touch upon, and then I'm out:


As much as I would like to see a narrative that we control, I don't think it's that easy. That is, we sometimes have a very insulated view from the Left. For example, I distinctly remember right after one of Obama's HCR speeches for the country, he made an appearance on Letterman. Next thing you know, CNN has a poll stating that "a majority of Americans feel Obama risks overexposure on health care." That's the crux of it. It's almost as if it's not our "birthright" to be as forceful as the Right. For every "sick child" commercial that we might run on HCR, the cries of "Socialism" and "quit trying to ram this down our throat" would be part of the national dialogue. In that regard, I'm convinced that the 24 news cycle, the never-ending polls and punditry, and the internet in general are as much responsible for why we can't get anything done in this country. It's the cart leading the horse, and it's what now shapes public opinion. Information is good, but oversaturation is insufferable. If all this had been around during FDR, I shudder to think what *wouldn't* have been accomplished.

Furthermore, I guess I'm just starting to get jaded enough to believe that the corporate media would never *let* us control the narrative. The machine on the Right would probably be given just as large a counter-attack platform and, more importantly, a platform that would be propped up by that same media. In that regard, if the Dems idea of health care reform was simply trying to give a sick child an extra, government subsidized lollipop at the doctor's office, *it* might be labeled Obamacare and Socialism [exaggeration mode off].


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