Where We Stand

First, the good news. People who work in DC tell me that teabaggers have been screaming into their phones since Obama took office. They yelled about the stimulus before HCR came up. When HCR passes or dies they will yell about something else. For those of you who worried about it (I didn’t) that means the real added impact of Jane and her firebaggers most likely adds up to very little. Unless the FDL guys use some special identifier I doubt most staffers know that anything new is going on.

The bad news, of course, is that teabaggers are kicking our ass. Whatever their numbers (I would peg it as higher than you think and well below what Glenn Beck thinks) they have leaders who get activists to use the phone. Take that as a recrimination if you want. It simply is. Before January almost nobody called their Reps to support health care, least of all that stinker passed by the Senate*. I honestly don’t know how much you can blame Representatives for acting skittish when, at least to the people who answer their phones, the world sounds a lot like a sub-par diary at RedState.

If you belong to any sort of civic group, spend the weekend getting organized. Put together a phone bank and give your Representatives some support. Everyone I have contacted tells me that your calls have an impact.

First-time callers should use the guide here.

New poll.



(*) I would rather choose some other hillock to die on as much as the rest of you, honest, and I would if I had a choice about it. Sadly, no. Either the House passes the Senate bill and then we fix its problems in reconciliation, or nothing happens and Evan Bayh will effectively run the Democratic party until he gratefully hands Congress off to Republicans in 2011. Your call.






112 replies
  1. 1
    Robin G. says:

    I’ve called and will continue to do so, but I have to say, I’m alarmed. If it’s true that our Representatives are determining public opinion (and from that shaping politics and policy) on the very unscientific basis of who’s riled up enough to call their office that day… I mean, aren’t there research polls for a reason? Do they really not understand the difference between “most” and “loudest”?

    Maybe we SHOULD get out the literal torches.

  2. 2
    Keith G says:

    Thanks for you efforts, Tim. You are putting thought into action and making it easy for others to follow through.

    Brilliant!

  3. 3
    Tim F. says:

    @Robin G.: Maybe we should. The teabaggers did. Repeatedly. It obviously helps to have the biggest news channel acting like your official media representative, but I bet that enough people care at this point to make a decent mob. Too bad we don’t have four months to mobilize and get permits. Use the phone.

    People in Congress obviously don’t base everything they do on people who call their offices, but it does shape their perspective.

  4. 4
    Cat Lady says:

    Isn’t it time to march? The fat assed peabrained teatards did. We keep saying there’s more of us than them, we need to show up to show support FOR Obama. This can lead the way.

  5. 5
    beltane says:

    Another thing: people here with Republican reps say there is no point in calling them. While there might not be if the point is to get their vote, it is important to let them know how angry you are. Imagine if the death panel crap had initially been met with large protests featuring body bags and signs with unflattering pictures of Palin that said “Sarah lies while Americans die”.

    The right has been totally left off the hook in this debate from day one. Had the Republicans, rather than some wavering Blue Dogs, been put on the defensive from the beginning, back in the days when they were weak and divided, things might have been different.

    Activism fail.

  6. 6
    bob h says:

    Getting momentum going again on HCR will be assisted by taking the offense against the GOP on other topics, on which ALL Democrats should be on the same page:

    1. Unconstitutional Republican abuse of the filibuster.

    2.The Republican Supreme Court corruption of election finance laws.

    3.Republican coddling of bankers and resistance to financial overhaul.

    4. The immorality of leaving 47 million people out of the system when HCR is popular when broken down in basic elements (Kaiser Poll). Catholic Bishops could be helpful here.

    There are probably others. There is no reason why the gloating Republicans can’t be rocked back on their heels if the Democrats could just get a consistent message out.

  7. 7
    Mary says:

    I’m thrilled with this effort too, Tim F. and I called my rep and my Senators every day last week starting on Wednesday. It only takes me 10 minutes a day. The aide I’m talking to in Van Hollen’s office even made a daily appointment with me to talk at 10:45 a.m.! They love these calls. Who knew?

    Please put out a call if you need people to help you with any background work. You have made it so easy for us to do this and it’s obvious how much work went into it. I would be happy to help you in any way.

    Should we start calling the Progressive Caucus and the Stupak crew next week?

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    @bob h: Sadly, the Catholic bishops aren’t what they used to be. Their present stance seems to be that 47 million uninsured is a small price to pay to prevent a single potential abortion.

    But, not to worry, the fight must go on. The thing that has pissed me off the most about the FDL crowd is that they limit their attacks to Democrats, and that they have focused all their efforts into dividing the party into “progressives” and “shills”. If I were a Republican strategist, I would totally heart Jane Hamsher for her work in the field of divide and conquer.

  9. 9
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I honestly don’t know how much you can blame Representatives for acting skittish when, at least to the people who answer their phones, the world sounds a lot like a sub-par diary at RedState

    Really?

    So the actual voters, that is the vast majority, voted Barack Obama into office, but instead of considering that, these Congress Members determine their policy by who’s screaming at them over the phone?

    As scientific samplings go, that’s got to be pretty much the worst one I can think of. Tea baggers amount to a minuscule fraction of the populace.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t call. It’s a little trickier for me since I follow all of this from another continent and time zone, but those of you who can, go for it.

    However the idea of running to the right out of fear because you consider “whoever is angry enough to call and scream at us” as determining your mandate rather than who voted for you…

    Sigh.

    The real story here is to what degree the White House and Democrats in Congress lost the Left. And if you think it’s only one particular Web site then you’re simply wrong. Whether the left should or shouldn’t feel that way is a long and ongoing debate, my point is simply that it happened, like it or not.

  10. 10
    kay says:

    @bob h:

    The conservatives on the Court overturned 24 state laws, in one fell swoop.

    “A day after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal government may not ban political spending by corporations or unions in candidate elections, officials across the country were rushing to cope with the fallout, as laws in 24 states were directly or indirectly called into question by the ruling.

    “One day the Constitution of Colorado is the highest law of the state,” said Robert F. Williams, a law professor at Rutgers University. “The next day it’s wastepaper.”

    Activist judges, indeed :) It’s mind-blowing.

  11. 11
    Tim F. says:

    @Mary: Collectively we should call every member of the House caucus. You should call your own Representative. They don’t take calls very seriously unless the caller gives a local zip code.

  12. 12
    Ming says:

    @Mary: I love the fact that you’re calling every day. Thank you! I want to too, but I have a question for you. I’ve felt inhibited from doing so because I haven’t known what to say after the initial call. Do I just call and say, it’s me again, and I’m calling just to say I still feel the same way today as I did yesterday? What do you talk about? Thanks.

    And thanks, Tim, I really appreciate your helping us provide a constructive response here. It looks to me like a government of the people, by the people, and for the people may very well perish from this earth, unless we step up and take it back.

  13. 13
    mcd410x says:

    Tim, you’re doing a wonderful job.

    @Bill E Pilgrim: They deal with what they see and hear every day. They remember the cold, snowy days of winter, not the warm, fun summer (just because they’re elected doesn’t necessarily make them smart).

    And, indeed, the teabaggers have been calling. Calling Congress, calling newspapers, calling tv stations. Know why ACORN became a story? Because of teabagger phone calls.

    When you get tired of calling Congress, call your local newspaper and tell them how you feel (don’t write or email, call!!). Democracy is about the dirty work …

  14. 14
    Brian J says:

    Is the bill passed by the Senate so bad that there’s no defense of it? No, I don’t think so. So it needs to be passed and amended later. Nothing prevents improvements. To not do not only hurts a lot of people, it makes the chances of the nutcases running things that much more likely.

    It really does seem as simple as that.

  15. 15
    Stroszek says:

    @Brian J: It’s actually a little more simple. We have four years before the bill is actually implemented to work on improving it.

  16. 16
    BC says:

    I have Republican representative (Montana), but two Democratic senators – Tester and Baucus. I’m calling them and telling them to expel Senator Lieberman from the caucus. I use LBJ’s statement that “it’s better to have him inside pissing out than outside pissing in”, but then state that with Lieberman they have the worst of the worst – inside pissing in. Lieberman is not a Democrat – his party is Connecticut for Lieberman party. He can caucus with his party or with the GOP (where his heart is), but shouldn’t be a part of the Dem caucus. What’s diff between 59 and 58, particularly when the vote for 59 is as unreliable as Lieberman? I tell them this will make the Democrats appear strong – after all, American people love it when you do something that makes you strong? And Lieberman is the quintessential whiny ass titty baby, so he can go before the cameras and complain and the Dems will just look stronger every time he does. So I’m putting it to you – call your Dem senators and ask that they expel Lieberman from the caucus.

  17. 17
    RS says:

    It didn’t start with Obama, wingnuts have always been much, much more active in contacting Congressional offices. Back in ’07 I think, one of the times when the House was voting on hate crimes legislation, our office tally was – 4 constituents in favor, roughly 515 opposed. Obviously its not a scientific sample, but its also not something that is easy to ignore.

    It really is pleasant to get a sane caller every now and then, everyone keep up the good work.

  18. 18
    Mary says:

    @Ming: I know exactly how you feel Ming. I am an absolute neophyte and would ordinarily feel like a fool doing this.

    I start by calling the congressman’s office and asking the aide what his position on passing the Senate bill is today, then we discuss it and I register my strong support for passing the Senate bill.

    Then I call the Senators and ask what the Senator’s position is today on committing to making the changes necessary for the House to pass the Senate bill, then we discuss it and I register my strong support for the Senate to do whatever it has to do to make sure this legislation passes.

    Then I come over here and record what the positions of the Congressman and Senators are.

    I only told them on Friday that I felt so strongly about this that I would be calling every day. They were extremely receptive and I could absolutely sense that they needed all the support they could get.

    I’m going to call every day even if I have to do it all year. I am ready to take to the streets too.

  19. 19
    MikeJ says:

    @RS:

    It really is pleasant to get a sane caller every now and then

    I had a caller once who wanted to make sure we knew that the US should not spend half of its budget on foreign aid to France. This was in 2004 (campaign, not congressional office, but we got the calls too.)

  20. 20
    The Raven says:

    The other side has a national television propaganda channel, that’s why there are so many wingnuts out calling. They’ve got a gigaphone; we have a kilophone.

  21. 21
    MattR says:

    I would be very curious to find out what percentage of callers are at work (meaning an office) when they call and if there is any kind of correlation between where they are calling from and what their position is. My guess is that the people calling from work are a small minority, but that their opinion breaks down close to public opinion polls. It has gotten better with cell phones, but it is still difficult for the average joe to get time and privacy to make calls to congressional offices during the day.

  22. 22

    It appears the Democrats approach to passing health care is like the little kid who climbed to the top of the diving platform and now all the big kids are urging him to jump. “Well, we’re here and everybody’s watching…”

    Interesting that you don’t make any kind of argument for the merits of the legislation. It’s all about the aftermath in case the Dems don’t pass it: “won’t it look awful to climb down the ladder?” And the reason why is because the legislation IS awful: a 20% cut in Medicare reimbursements in the first year, an unconstitutional mandate to purchase insurance, taxes on medical equipment, a big tax on “Cadillac” (union) health plans, and so on.

    Well, good luck calling your Reps. They’re all wetting themselves at the thought of facing the voters in ten months and explaining why they voted for a widely unpopular reform bill. Oh, right, because it would have been “worse” if they didn’t. Brilliant.

  23. 23
    Cat Lady says:

    Too bad we don’t have four months to mobilize and get permits.

    Does it really take four months to get a permit?

  24. 24
    scandi says:

    It’s unfortunate, but people are always more willing to call when they don’t support something than when they do.

  25. 25
    nepat says:

    @beltane: Yup. I’ve been saying this for months. I don’t think the “progressive” left realizes how completely ineffective they are on a practical level.

    That said, there are encouraging signs – like the phone-calling going on here, OFA generating 2.3 million calls into MA in something like four days, and a general awakening on the left that major policy change doesn’t happen absent outside – visible – social and political pressure.

    Oh, and that all the caterwauling about Rahm, etc. inside the “progressive” blogosphere has been a tempest in a teapot in a dollhouse at the Littles.

  26. 26
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @BC: Lucky man.

    My Congressman is Nathan “Let’s make a” Deal (Republican Teabag, GA). You may have heard of my two Senators, Chambliss and Isakson.

    Deal’s running for governor down here in Georgia. He’s running on the idea that we’ve been too liberal down here, and he wants to cut all those liberal benefits (and lower taxes more, of course.) He’s a mite bit peeved that Perdue, our current governor, accepted those commie handouts at the beginning of the year.

    For what it’s worth, I called Nathan’s offices back when it was a big deal the first time. I’m supposed to be a constituent, but I got, well, let’s paraphrase what I ran into. “The only people the congressman represents is those who voted for him.”

    I’m not going through that again. I won’t be calling my congressman, or my senators. I sent a letter – don’t have to face the same crap that way. But I won’t be calling.

  27. 27
    Bill H says:

    You left off, “My representative is already viting for the bill.”

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Brian J says:

    @Stroszek:

    More to the point.

    I just don’t understand why they aren’t pulling out all the stops to get this done. He needs to lock these guys in a room and tell them that if they don’t vote for it, they will not receive ANY support from the Democratic coffers in 2010, or do whatever else it takes to get the goddamn votes.

    The cycle is such that if they pass this and crow about it with enough pomp and circumstance, things will turn in their favor. The Brown will in MA will be seen as a temporary blip.

  30. 30
    AhabTRuler says:

    Interesting that you don’t make any kind of argument for the merits of the legislation.

    Well, arguing for policy on the merits hasn’t seemed to work so far. I mean, who knew that shouting “this would reduce the number of uninsured people,” or “this plan would contain costs and reduce the deficit,” but instead we should of been out there yelling “the status quo is teh Auschwitz! ! 11 ! 1 !”

  31. 31
    Tenzil Kem says:

    I really like the idea of faxing members as well as calling — lots of faxes might get some attention where calls might not, particularly with the unicorn caucus (Kucinich, Grijalva, etc.). Is there a free and reliable way to do this from one’s computer, rather than via an actual fax?

  32. 32
    AhabTRuler says:

    My computer still has a modem, I assume that their is still fax/modem functionality built in somewhere with the flint arrowheads and knapping stones. Alas, I no longer have a land line to shove into the shriveled little slot, but I imagine that others can do so to send a fax.

  33. 33
    Wary says:

    Good morning everyone, I’m very new here, this looks like a place I need to be, other progressive blogs not fitting my needs for Democratic Party activism. Thanks for being here and remaining sane.

    Oh, I contact all my reps, even Senator ugh McConnell regularly on everything.

    Keep up excellent work!

  34. 34
    Robin G. says:

    @Brian J: Frankly, this is the first time I’ve been majorly disappointed in Rahm. I was under the impression he was there to be the muscle to Obama’s statesman. I want to know why he hasn’t left a horse’s head in Stupak’s bed yet. (And yes, I mean that literally.)

  35. 35
    Existenz says:

    I called Rep. Diane Watson’s office. They sounded pretty amicable to the idea of passing the Senate bill and doing the whole reconciliation route. I have a feeling that the Congressional Black Caucus is much more on board with getting this done, rather than quitting because it is hard or because they don’t like a few provisions.

    Before the Mass election we needed 60 out of 60 Senate votes. Now we need 50 out of 59. What’s the problem?

  36. 36
    Tenzil Kem says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of a web site or freeware program that would work regardless of whether one’s got a land line. http://faxzero.com/ lets you send two free, 3-page faxes a day, but puts an ad on your cover sheet. Is there a better option out there?

  37. 37
    Existenz says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if big corporations or right wing think tanks have simply hired 100-200 people to regularly call Congress, pretending to be constituents. Now that I think about it, the unions and fat cat Democrats should do the same thing. Find 200 well spoken unemployed folks, give them some training, and have them call every Congressperson in favor of whatever Democratic issue of the day is. Each person could call each office every day. 400 calls per day x 200 callers = 80,000 calls per day = Congress with a spine.

    Too bad the vast left wing conspiracy doesn’t exist. It would be a beautiful thing.

  38. 38
    Mary says:

    @Existenz: That’s what the lobbyists do but I doubt they fake the calls except for the really sleazy ones. From what I know, the lobbyists use sweatshop type cold call operations that mislead people into supporting their position and then they patch the calls through to Congress.

  39. 39
    Liberty60 says:

    My Senator, Barbara Boxer is having a conference call today. I am not expecting to actually get time to speak, but if I do, I will press themessage of GET SOMETHING DONE.
    In any case, I am calling my rep (Loretta Sanchez) every day, asking for her position on whatever machinations the day has in store.

    Like i have mentioned before, there has always been a “passion gap” between progressives and conservatives.

    The hard leftists like Code Pink had passion and street theater in spades, but they were too far out, too alienated from the mainstream to have effect.

    Typically the mainstream progressives assumed that with a calm well reasoned argument (with plenty of statistics and dates) they could win the day.

    And honestly, that does convince some people- but usually it only preaches to the choir.
    Does anyone think that the Erick son of Erick really, seriously, is thinking of public policy, and that he honestly believes that the private market will cover more more people, at better cost, yadda yadda?

    Hell no- this is mostly driven by tribal loyalties and culture- “The DFH’s are going to force your teenaged daughter to have an abortion and pull the plug on Grandma” might be a collossally stupid argument, but it hits hard at the underlying suspicion of what they see about progressives.
    That argument doesnt change a single mind of a progressive, but DOES sway a few undecided independents.
    Enough to tilt an election, or intimidate a wavering Senator.

    This is why I like people like Grayson and Franken so much- they are able to frame the argument in bold, morally clear terms that the middling independents can grasp- “Republican plan is- DONT GET SICK- and if you do, DIE QUICKLY”

    We need more of this passion, this Manichean sense of right and wrong. It is that passion than turns people out in the streets, turns them out to vote rain or shine, causes them to attend townhalls and shout.

    There is a time for polite debates over wonkish policy- then there is a time (as one poster put it) for horseheads in the bed.

  40. 40
    zhak says:

    I honestly don’t know how much you can blame Representatives for acting skittish when, at least to the people who answer their phones, the world sounds a lot like a sub-par diary at RedState.

    Really??

    I most certainly do blame Representatives for listening to this motivated-but-incoherent-and-oh-yeah-insane idiots.

    Representatives should be doing what is best for the country. All elected officials should be.

    Representatives should not be doing what a bunch of silly yahoos tell them to do.

    If, for instance, I called my rep daily and implored her to jump off the Zakim Bridge, would she suddenly develop a compelling need to explore the benefits of jumping off the Zakim Bridge?

    Because right now what you’re saying is, Reps have plausible deniability because they’re “listening to the people” instead of, you know, reasoning with a bunch of idiots who are forcefed inane talking points & outright lies.

    Who in their right mind would base their vote on rantings that they must know not to be true?

  41. 41
    CaseyL says:

    Let me preface by saying I will keep calling, but here are my thoughts on why we are where we are:

    Americans are unbelievably dumb.

    They mostly don’t know what “socialism” or “communism” even are; they don’t even know how bills are written and passed; they know next to nothing about quantitative analysis; they do not practice critical thinking; their awareness of cause and effect are blurry at best; they don’t know what the scientific method is.

    Moreover – and here’s the real kicker – they don’t care. They don’t care that they don’t know any of that stuff and they don’t care to remedy their lack of knowledge.

    Americans are not only dumb, they are belligerently pleased with themselves for being dumb.

    Now, dumb Americans are nothing new. There have always been dumb Americans.

    However, I don’t think there have ever been quite this many dumb Americans. I don’t think the proportion and magnitude of dumbness has ever been quite this bad – and that’s mostly due to the education system, which long ago gave up requiring students learn anything really really hard, like math or logic, because parents didn’t support their efforts.

    Also, we have never ever had a propaganda channel before that devoted itself 24/7 to disinformation that serves an extremist point of view, that reinforces dumbness, and that is better at what it does than the entire apparatus of Soviet agitprop ever was. And the “regular” mass media long ago gave up trying to actually inform anyone of anything, settling for the easier and much more lucrative task of simply repeating whatever it’s told, by sources it never subjects to critical analysis and who are therefore never abandoned for being dishonest or wrong.

    And so, because of all that, trying to convince the public of what the public doesn’t feel like acknowledging is like dropping aspirin off a skyscraper’s roof, hoping they happen to fall into the open mouth of someone to happens to have a headache. And trying to convince elected officials that they need to exert some integrity and some intelligence, and not simply do whatever the loudest lunatics or the biggest moneybags tell them, makes Sisyphus’ torment look rewarding and productive.

    In short, I resent that the task of demanding and getting and supporting policies that are not outright destructive is an increasingly uphill task, and that the forces of darkness are always better funded, more popular, and get more air time. I am increasingly of the opinion we should stop working so hard to keep the consequences of dumbness from falling on everyone’s heads. That, rather than fight so hard and so thanklessly to keep America “America,” we just let America become what most Americans seem to want it to be.

    OK, that wasn’t very short, was it?

    In shorter, then: Fuck it.

  42. 42
    Scott de B. says:

    One question: Is there any point to calling on the weekend?

    And the reason why is because the legislation IS awful

    It’s not awful. It could be better, yes, but it insures 30 million people, it prevents denial of care for preexisting conditions, it provides subsidies for people who can’t buy health insurance, it provides pilot programs for cost control, the insurance exchanges are a good thing if too restricted, but it’ll be easy to let more people into them once folks see they provide more choice.

    The parts you seem to object to are essential to the cost-control measures in the bill. What are your alternatives?

  43. 43
    Bob K says:

    Arianna Huffington may sound too shrill at times, but after this last week I find myself agreeing that our system is too broken to be fixed by politicians that run around like little old ladies clutching their pearls prior to a fainting spell. Besides, why should the tea party thugs get ALL the media coverage?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....27314.html

  44. 44
    gwangung says:

    @zhak: You do know, of course, that you’re pretty much validating every wingnut accusation of paternalism?

  45. 45
    CaseyL says:

    Is my 12:22 comment visible to anyone but me?

    It’s supposedly “in moderation,” but it also seems to have posted – I think.

  46. 46
    zhak says:

    And another thing — why don’t Congresscritters put out a direct mailing to their constituents countering all the lies, using small words and giving citations so that folks might be motivated to learn the truth on their own?

    See, my problem here is that I don’t think there are too many elected officials that want to do the right thing. First of all, you’ve got your Republicans, who fear health care reform (& every other piece of Democratic legislation) because they know that if laws are passed to actually help people, people will keep voting for the party responsible. So instead of voting for the best interests of constituents and the country, they vote for the best interests of themselves, their party, and their biggest contributors. Second, take a look at our wonderful crop of modern-day Dems. All cast from the mold that brought us Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin and Abe Lincoln and both Roosevelts. Though they talk about how they’re on the side of the people, they are proving themselves to be incredibly inept in passing legislation that would actually prove helpful. They must have shit themselves when they saw how big their majorities were, because it hasn’t been easy for them to not see to the needs of the people & the country. And why is that? Follow the money, maybe?

    It’s suddenly asking too much to actually have a representative government that represents people?

  47. 47
    The Truffle says:

    I keep saying this, but…Obama will give a State of the Union speech, outline some new goals, and everyone will love him again. The Kos Krowd (whom I’ve given up on) will stop attacking him and wuv him again. Mark my words.

  48. 48
    RS says:

    One question: Is there any point to calling on the weekend?

    Depends. One voicemail won’t make a difference. However, hearing 50 voicemails all saying the same thing on Monday morning could be effective. Basically, coordinating calls on a Saturday is a good idea, only you calling is probably a waste of time.

    From what I know, the lobbyists use sweatshop type cold call operations that mislead people into supporting their position and then they patch the calls through to Congress.

    That’s exactly what they do. I can’t tell you how many times some old person has been patched through to us that had no idea what was going on or who they were talking to, they just knew they agreed with the person that they had just been talking to that they wanted their [healthcare, cigarettes, taxes, guns] to do something.

  49. 49
    zhak says:

    @gwangung: I am? Because I would prefer that votes be based on the merits of the bill and not what a bunch of folks whose collective world-view is shaped by whatever Glenn Beck tells them?

  50. 50
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @RS:

    its also not something that is easy to ignore.

    Why isn’t it easy to ignore? Are Congressional offices also prone to buying pen1s extender pills because they get so many emails about it? Why don’t they treat it as phone spam?

  51. 51
    The Raven says:

    @Robin G.:

    Frankly, this is the first time I’ve been majorly disappointed in Rahm.

    I think Rahm’s a coward: a bully when he’s got a gang to back him up. Without his gang, he runs away.

    @CaseyL: your 12:22 comment is not visible to me.

    @Stroszek:

    We have four years before the bill is actually implemented to work on improving it.

    Really? After the most bitter Senate fight in a generation and against all the money the health insurance corps are now allowed to spend on keeping it bad?

  52. 52
    HIram Taine says:

    @MikeJ:

    I had a caller once who wanted to make sure we knew that the US should not spend half of its budget on foreign aid to France.

    I can agree with that, the US *shouldn’t* spend half its budget on foreign aid to France…;. And doesn’t.

  53. 53
    Unabogie says:

    I’m glad someone used the term “Manichean” because a few years ago, Glenn Greenwald wrote a book about how a Manichean mindset ruined George Bush’s presidency.

    Flash forward a few years, and now the President’s greatest sin is that he tries too hard to see all sides before acting, and tries too hard to find consensus.

    And the people most upset about this?

    Glenn Greenwald and his associates.

    I agreed with him then. Now? Not so much.

  54. 54
    Scott de B. says:

    Really? After the most bitter Senate fight in a generation and against all the money the health insurance corps are now allowed to spend on keeping it bad?

    The point being, after all that fighting and all that money, we nevertheless are on the cusp of a huge victory. Winning victories doesn’t make later victories harder, it makes them easier. On the other hand, losing big does make things harder down the road.

  55. 55
    CaseyL says:

    @The Raven: Crap. Thanks.

    I’m reposting it, with the Bad Word(s) bowlderized; and my apologies in advance if it winds up posting twice:

    *********************************

    Let me preface by saying I will keep calling, but here are my thoughts on why we are where we are:

    Americans are unbelievably dumb.

    They mostly don’t know what “soshalism” or “communism” or “fascism” even are; they don’t even know how bills are written and passed; they know next to nothing about quantitative analysis; they do not practice critical thinking; their awareness of cause and effect are blurry at best; they don’t know what the scientific method is.

    Moreover – and here’s the real kicker – they don’t care. They don’t care that they don’t know any of that stuff and they don’t care to remedy their lack of knowledge.

    Americans are not only dumb, they are belligerently pleased with themselves for being dumb.

    Now, dumb Americans are nothing new. There have always been dumb Americans.

    However, I don’t think there have ever been quite this many dumb Americans. I don’t think the proportion and magnitude of dumbness has ever been quite this bad – and that’s mostly due to the education system, which long ago gave up requiring students learn anything really really hard, like math or logic, because parents didn’t support their efforts.

    Also, we have never ever had a propaganda channel before that devoted itself 24/7 to disinformation that serves an extremist point of view, that reinforces dumbness, and that is better at what it does than the entire apparatus of Soviet agitprop ever was. And the “regular” mass media long ago gave up trying to actually inform anyone of anything, settling for the easier and much more lucrative task of simply repeating whatever it’s told, by sources it never subjects to critical analysis and who are therefore never abandoned for being dishonest or wrong.

    And so, because of all that, trying to convince the public of what the public doesn’t feel like acknowledging is like dropping aspirin off a skyscraper’s roof, hoping they happen to fall into the open mouth of someone to happens to have a headache. And trying to convince elected officials that they need to exert some integrity and some intelligence, and not simply do whatever the loudest lunatics or the biggest moneybags tell them, makes Sisyphus’ torment look rewarding and productive.

    In short, I resent that the task of demanding and getting and supporting policies that are not outright destructive is an increasingly uphill task, and that the forces of darkness are always better funded, more popular, and get more air time. I am increasingly of the opinion we should stop working so hard to keep the consequences of dumbness from falling on everyone’s heads. That, rather than fight so hard and so thanklessly to keep America “America,” we just let America become what most Americans seem to want it to be.

    OK, that wasn’t very short, was it?

    In shorter, then: Fuck it.

  56. 56
    Mary says:

    @The Raven: They’re spending money now to prevent its passage. Remember, the status quo is better for them.

  57. 57

    I just got a call from a very nice man asking for me to give $50/month to the DNC for their 50 state strategy. I listened to his pitch, and then said, very simply and clearly: “Until the democrats in congress pass health care reform, I am not giving any money.” He tried to say that “we have to win these midterm elections,” and I said they’ve had a whole year to pass this legislation and haven’t done so.

    I ended with “As soon as they pass health care, I will give you money.”

    He said a couple of times that he’d been getting a lot of this sentiment.

    I honestly don’t know why they think we’ll help them win the midterms if they won’t do the things we sent them there to do.

  58. 58
    mai naem says:

    I called my rep – local office and d.c. office, had 2 family members call and had a friend call his rep. I have called severa l times before through this whole process. My spiel has basically been – lifelong Dem, if you people can’t pass something decent with 60 in Senate and House and WH, do not expect me to vote for another Dem. This time around I did let them know that I am severely disappointed in the piss poor leadership of the Dems and the bill is crappy but this is the only option at this point. Also called the WH twice. First time I was on hold for 15 mins so I was pretty pissed off while holding on so I just vented on the poor guy. Then I called back and was much calmer but still p’od. BTW the WH line was busy for a good 10-12 mins and then on hold for 15 mins.

  59. 59

    @Robin G.:

    Frankly, this is the first time I’ve been majorly disappointed in Rahm. I was under the impression he was there to be the muscle to Obama’s statesman.

    Rahm is there to shift the money flow of K Street from the R’s to the D’s. (Or more precisely, the D’s that play ball with him.)
    Full stop.

  60. 60

    Right, I’m convinced. I have one liberal rep, one liberal senator and one DFH socialist commie bastard- I’m in Vermont :)

    As much as I’m convinced that my guys do not NEED me telling them what to do- if the teabaggers have organized to bug them on the phone, I see it as my civic duty to call them too, on basically everything that would get a post at BJ out of me.

    I don’t need to change their minds, they’re already good. I don’t need to make difficult arguments. I said, I understand the rightwingers have been burning up the phonelines to the house and senate, so here’s what _I_ want. Count me.

    I told ’em I want full-on public option, single payer, the whole deal- to the Rep I also said that should happen incrementally, I do not expect it all at once. And I said I’d keep talking to them, which I will. I guess the model of ‘elect representative and totally delegate government to them’ is no good, so fine, you get to listen in on my thoughts now, from NOW ON.

    The neat thing is I don’t actually have to convince anyone and don’t actually want to hear back from them, much less get mailings or goodies. Leave me the fuck alone, just HEAR me. I trust you to mostly do right things, and that is an incredible gift, but you will keep hearing me, like I was in your telephone twitter feed, and if we agree that will brighten your day. Hopefully if we don’t agree you’ll stop and think.

    I’d recommend that even to people in nutistan because it’s not only crazy but dangerous to run with ‘la la I won’t hear you’ to your constituents. Make them understand their turf is divided, even if you are outnumbered. It’s not your job to change their mind, they just have to acknowledge you’re THERE. If they don’t, that won’t play well with anybody- for instance in the deep south that could be seen as dishonorable, to refuse to politely acknowledge someone you won’t ever agree with. If anybody really stonewalls you, make them own that publically, they should at least accept you’re there. You have to keep politely checking in- ‘still here’.

  61. 61
    Tim Chambers says:

    We should also REC up this diary at Daily Kos also pushing their folks to call their Congressfolk to pass the bill with a sidecare fix…that points folks here as well…

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....sscritters

  62. 62

    You know, when my Senator Sanders IS REALLY a you-know-whatist, with my full support and encouragement, it is annoying to land in moderation for saying the word.

    How hard could it be to just turn off the damn filter and we’ll put up with whatever spammers attack? I’m sorry, but you-know-whatism is a worthy topic for discussion in its own right and it’s becoming annoying to play dodge-the-filter. As if I was saying a BAD WORD. C’mon.

  63. 63
    Shade Tail says:

    I’ve called the office of Mike Honda (CA-15) twice now. Both times I’ve been told that he’s “considering his options” because he thinks it isn’t liberal enough. While in my view that’s the best reason to be on the fence, it still isn’t a good enough reason. So I replied very clearly that we need this passed to get the consumer protections and it can be fixed later.

    I’m going to rest over the weekend; I just can’t take more of this political shit right now. If it’s still stewing on Monday, I’ll call again then.

  64. 64
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: My recollection about Rahm Emanuel becoming Chief of Staff and leaving his Congressional seat was that the “Obama as Muslim/Jew hater” myth had started to take hold before the election and therefore it was necessary to position a former IDF guy as Chief of Staff, in addition to the schlepping to Florida campaign.

    The attacks on Rahm Emanuel are a particularly unsavory left wing campaign.

  65. 65
    FoxinSocks says:

    Good point, MattR, about how hard it is to call while at work. I share an office, so I can’t even close the door and call on my cell phone. I had to take a lunch break, go off the premises (I didn’t want to be overheard), then after being put on hold and passed around, I finally reached the voicemail of a legislative aide, who wrote back to me via e-mail. The whole process took about 25 minutes.

    I’m using a two-pronged argument with them: 1. That thousands of people will die and many more will go bankrupt if this bill isn’t passed 2. That the Dems are going to get killed at the polls if they don’t get a spine and pass this bill. So an appeal to both their sense of principle (yeah, I know, the jokes write themselves) and their sense of self-preservation.

    On a funny note, I do a lot of phone work, so I’ve had it drilled into me to be polite, so this is how it goes when I leave a message. “I’m furious… appalled… ashamed… historic opportunity…finish the job…I will not support cowards… wimps… we need a party that has conviction. Thank you for your time and have a great day!”

  66. 66

    @Chris Johnson: If it makes you feel better, it’s not the word, it’s the word-within-the-word – c1alis. soc1alism isn’t the problem

  67. 67
    Tim Chambers says:

    Would Faxing over the weekend have a bigger impact than leaving a voice mail message over the weekend?

  68. 68
    sfp says:

    @BC:

    I have Republican representative (Montana), but two Democratic senators – Tester and Baucus. I’m calling them and telling them to expel Senator Lieberman from the caucus.

    It’s a beautiful sentiment, and one I wholeheartedly share, but I can’t see it happening soon enough to make a difference.

    If you call your Senators, ask them if to publically commit to fixing the bill in reconciliation. Mention the proposed letter of support that was floated in that Politico article that John linked to.

    It’s not as satisfying as telling them to kick that two-faced little shit to the curb, but it’s something concrete they actually do.

  69. 69
    Mike G says:

    They yelled about the stimulus before HCR came up.

    Yet were strangely silent back when it was Bush’s Goldman Sachs tool demanding, “Gimme $700 billion and shut up, or the economy gets it”. They suddenly became outraged by the same actions Bush was pulling, when Obama won the election. That’s the difference between a principle and a tactic, between a thinker and a dupe.

  70. 70
    Liberty60 says:

    @Unabogie:
    There is a time and a place for everything. Firm conviction is not the same as blind fanaticism, just as a willingness to see other sides is not the same as weakness.
    Greenwald was right, in my estimation, that Bush had too much blind conviction, too little regard for differing opinions; Obama seems to have a bit too much regard to consensus for my liking.

    Only 2 years ago I was willing to engage with my former comrades on the right, and try to argue reason with them.

    At some point, I realized they could not be reasoned with, could not be swayed, and could only be confronted, marginalized and defeated in the court of public opinion.

  71. 71
    Tim Chambers says:

    ALSO: Krugman also noticed the POLITICO article and talks up the plan that it said Dem leadership are considering:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....of-sanity/?

    Everyone should be pushing our Senators and Reps to support and do this!

  72. 72
    Cat Lady says:

    @Chris Johnson:

    It’s got the word dick pills in it. Soshulism is the preferred BJ work around. You also cannot say s h o e s. Why? Who knows? Footwear is that work around. You’ll get it. Also, too.

  73. 73

    Oh, I know that, I’m just saying :)

    And it’s important to remember that you want them to COUNT you, it’s not your job to get an agreement on the spot. Don’t stress about getting the rep on the phone to obey you, the point is to get an acknowledgement, and keep getting them.

    The idea is that getting guys in who agree with you so you can delegate it, is played. It now matters LESS if they say they agree, and matters MORE that they are hearing and registering your desire. Less on the argument points and more on the wishlist side of things. Say what you want as an outcome and give them room to maneuver. I told mine I wanted incremental change towards full-on single payer.

    Put it this way. The Dems act like they still want the same things, but their bosses and the people who pay them and can hire or ‘fire’ them are all demanding other things, causing the Dems to be very tentative and worried. Right? Now we know they’ve been getting constant feedback from wingers in an organized way, and nothing from the ones who AGREE with them.

    What the fuck would you do?

    Sorry but it’s obvious- non-wingers have to begin expressing their wishlist too. It’s okay to be willing to delegate the ‘how to’ but you cannot delegate hopes and dreams. We gotta be telling them what to aim for, they’re alone out there. They’ll be okay if they’re given a target. We vote them in and then wander off like reasonable people to lead reasonable lives, and they gotta stay on target with the only feedback being crap that we expect them to ignore. NO WONDER they’re wusses. It’s totally not fair to them when their job is to represent their people.

  74. 74
    gwangung says:

    @zhak: Yes, you’re validating wingnuts. You’re framing the arguments in terms of people, and not on the issue themselves.

    And frankly, it’s like wingnuts themselves, who conflate the positions people hold with the people themselves. Don’t respect their positions, mock the positions themselves, treat the positions with the disdain they deserve.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Mike G says:

    Flash forward a few years, and now the President’s greatest sin is that he tries too hard to see all sides before acting, and tries too hard to find consensus.

    There’s a difference between analyzing multiple sides, which leads to more intelligent decision-making, and caving in on major principles for people who in the end won’t vote for the bill anyway. When you negotiate you should actually get something of value.

    I don’t see the Repigs offering much of a ‘side’ to consider, just screaming about death panels and long-discredited nonsense about tax cuts and blatant corporate giveaways. They have long since left behind any pretense of proposing what’s good for the nation and have devolved (sorry Repigs, de-creationed) into blatant whores seeking maximum advantage for their voters and paymasters at the expense of everyone else.

  77. 77
    Koz says:

    Either the House passes the Senate bill and then we fix its problems in reconciliation, or nothing happens and Evan Bayh will effectively run the Democratic party until he gratefully hands Congress off to Republicans in 2011.

    At this time next year, Evan Bayh may not be a member the Senate.

  78. 78
    eemom says:

    I posted this on the next thread, but I’m posting it here too b/c it’s the first thing that’s made me smile all week.
    Balls Beer for HCR!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMlPE1lV_5Y

  79. 79

    @Mary:

    My recollection about Rahm Emanuel becoming Chief of Staff and leaving his Congressional seat was that the “Obama as Muslim/Jew hater” myth had started to take hold before the election and therefore it was necessary to position a former IDF guy as Chief of Staff, in addition to the schlepping to Florida campaign.

    The attacks on Rahm Emanuel are a particularly unsavory left wing campaign.

    Well then you should kindly ask your Dr. to increase your anti-crazy medication. Because you are off your nut.
    He is a corporatist creature through and through. To this day he not only defends NAFTA but extols its virtue! Even after the devastation it has caused, he says it like it’s a good thing.

  80. 80
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: But that’s what happened. Rahm Emanuel was brought in to be White House Chief of Staff and was announced before the election because of the success of the “Obama as Muslim/Jew Hater” myth.

  81. 81
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mary: Really? Because my 30 sec google search shows that the news of Emanuel get the job broke late on the 4th of Nov into the 5th.

  82. 82
    ominira says:

    Thanks Tim for this effort. Since it’s Saturday, I decided to send Jane Harman’s office a fax and I also left a voicemail.

    The fax ends with the following:

    “… Now it appears that Democrats are retreating from passing comprehensive healthcare reform in reaction to one special election in Massachusetts.

    I urge you to pass the Senate healthcare reform bill and fix the shortcomings of that legislation through reconciliation later.

    As a registered Democrat who has donated money and knocked on doors to get Democratic representatives elected, I would hate to see my party lose its resolve on one of the most important issues of our lifetime. It will be difficult to muster the conviction to support or vote for members of a party who give up on their own signature issues.”

    I hope that gets someone’s attention. I’ll try calling again before I leave for work on Monday.

  83. 83

    @Mary:

    But that’s what happened. Rahm Emanuel was brought in to be White House Chief of Staff and was announced before the election because of the success of the “Obama as Muslim/Jew Hater” myth.

    David Axelrod also played an important role in his wedding, according to Wiki.
    Is this the basis of your IDF claim:
    “Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that the choice indicates that Obama will not listen to the wrong people regarding the U.S.–Israel relationship.[55] Some commentators opined that Emanuel would be good for the Israeli–Palestinian peace process because if Israeli leaders make excuses for not dismantling settlements, Emanuel will be tough and pressure the Israelis to comply.”

  84. 84
    ominira says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Good on you. They need to hear this again and again.

  85. 85
    Mary says:

    @AhabTRuler: Concede. “Announced” was the wrong word. “Floated” would be better. Ask Joe Klein. Or Phil Weiss.

  86. 86
    Unabogie says:

    @Mike G:

    And yet we passed a bill in the Senate without any Republicans, which just shows that Obama was completely realistic about the situation and that even though he is open to ideas and to the opposition party, he’s still willing to act without them. Which is exactly what Greenwald was saying Bush was missing.

  87. 87
    AhabTRuler says:

    Ask Joe Klein. Or Phil Weiss.

    No.
    Better yet, why don’t you ask them. Or at least put up a link. I’m not even doubting that such a link exists, but I think it’s your turn to do a google search.

  88. 88
    realtiy-based says:

    @CaseyL:

    yes, sir.

    we blither on and on about how, what, when, and why to struggle up to passing some half-ass legislation because it’s the best we can do –

    but nobody else identifies the root cause – the country just has way too many stupid people. Proudly ignorant, profoundly dumb. The best explanation I ever heard for how the shrub ever won an election was (sorry, forget the source)

    – “People voted for him BECAUSE he was stupid – just like them. “

    And they’re chomping at the bit to vote for Palin for the same reason,

    (sigh)

  89. 89

    @Mary:

    Concede. “Announced” was the wrong word. “-Floated-” “Pulled it out of my ass again” would be better.

  90. 90
    Mary says:

    @AhabTRuler: I’m concentrating on health care but I’ll ask them and get back to you, certainly. Your reaction indicates to me that the Rahm Emanuel campaign between the left wing and Grover Norquist is just beginning to crank up. Thanks.

  91. 91

    Strikethrough fail and no edit for some reason. I’m calling Mary a liar in case it is not clear.

  92. 92
    Scott de B. says:

    To this day he not only defends NAFTA but extols its virtue!

    Oh noes! I’m a liberal too, and also a supporter of NAFTA.

  93. 93

    @Mary:

    Your reaction indicates to me that the Rahm Emanuel campaign between the left wing and Grover Norquist is just beginning to crank up. Thanks.

    Rahm is a corporatist DLC loving piece of shit and it has nothing at all to do with FDL, Grover or any other distraction you’d like to throw.
    He stands and burns on his own actions and statements, not some nefarious campaign by the all-mighty Left.
    Whatever they are paying you they are certainly getting their money’s worth.

  94. 94

    @Scott de B.:

    Oh noes! I’m a liberal too, and also a supporter of NAFTA.

    Then we will disagree sir.

  95. 95
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mary: No, it really isn’t. I have just noticed that you are very good at throwing out accusations, but somehow you always have some excuse for not backing it up. You’re just a commenter, not a blogger, or you are too busy, or something. I don’t really have a great deal of faith in anything you say, because you seem unwilling to do even a minimal amount of work to back up what you say, even though my research took literally 30 seconds. You can’t spend thirty seconds to shore up you’re credibility? Really? Then you have none.

    Your reaction indicates to me that the Rahm Emanuel campaign between the left wing and Grover Norquist is just beginning to crank up.

    Yes, surely you must be right.

  96. 96
    metricpenny says:

    My situation is the same as Kirk Spencer@26. The only difference is my Congressperson is Tom Price.

    I called Price, Chambliss and Isakson’s offices during summer, fall and winter 2009 and was told they were not going to support HCR. The reasons were their usual – leads to higher taxes, increases the deficit, yada, yada, BS other reasons that never mattered to them as Republicans when Pres. W. Bush was breaking the country.

    With respect to marching. I received an email today from a MoveOn member in Smyrna, GA. She has organized a demonstration for Tuesday, 1/26/10 outside Congressman David Scott’s office. I live nearby so I have volunteered to help and I will be attending.

    Check with MoveOn to see if there are events scheduled in your communities. Don’t stop calling. But we have got to make a PUBLIC showing of support for passing the HCR bill.

  97. 97
    AhabTRuler says:

    @AhabTRuler: And just to be clear, my position on the President’s COS is that if he can deliver the President’s agenda, great, but if he can’t, then gone he needs to be.

  98. 98
    Mary says:

    @Task Force Ripper: Settle down, lest I begin to think your campaign against Rahm Emanuel is even more unsavory than I thought before. After all, it is “blackface” Jane with her campaign against Joe Lieberman and even his wife Hadassah who really kick-started the ball by aligning with Grover Norquist to take down Rahm Emanuel, isn’t it?

    I won’t be responding in this thread any further because I’m busy unsubscribing to all the lists Hamsher sold my name to. I’ll get back to you on when and how Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff was floated before the election since the issue is of such overriding importance to you. Telling.

  99. 99
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mary: Again, don’t evade, offer proof. The way one changes opinions is by constructing an argument based on proof and evidence. The way one ossifies opinions is by casting aspersions and attacking the arguer, rather than the argument.

  100. 100

    @Mary:

    Settle down, lest I begin to think your campaign against Rahm Emanuel is even more unsavory than I thought before. After all, it is “blackface” Jane with her campaign against Joe Lieberman and even his wife Hadassah who really kick-started the ball by aligning with Grover Norquist to take down Rahm Emanuel, isn’t it?

    I won’t be responding in this thread any further because I’m busy unsubscribing to all the lists Hamsher sold my name to. I’ll get back to you on when and how Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff was floated before the election since the issue is of such overriding importance to you. Telling.

    This in its entirety is a perfect example of the kind of horseshit you toss repeatedly. Normally I would not bother unpacking such trash, as to address it only serves your purpose of moving the frame, but this is splendid.
    Who mentioned FDL or Jane? You did.
    Who continues to mention Grover? You do.
    Who cares about the “floating” of Rahm as COS? You do.

    My position is clear and is based on no one’s “campaign” or opinion but my own. I couldn’t care less when Rahm was “floated” as COS, that is your angle. And one you have failed miserably to back up with anything but a veiled reference to knowledge Joe Klein has about something.
    So stop trying to smear me with the FDL/Jane brush the way you did to Greenwald in the epic Gruber thread.
    IMO, you are a paid propagandist with an agenda. And a flat out liar.

  101. 101
    tesslibrarian says:

    (seeing what happens when I post from work on my lunchbreak…)

    My Rep. is Dr. Paul “Obama’s a Fascist Commie Dictator” Broun. Trying to call his office is futile, as is dealing with Chambliss and Isakson, though I do think Isakson’s staff actually listens to what you say to them before they start the bs; Chambliss’s does not. Even when I’ve said I don’t want a reply, I get these long (2-3 pages) letters from Chambliss’s office explaining that his position is wise and thoughtful, and by implication, mine is the opposite. Yay–my tax dollars at work!

    During the Bush Administration, I’d call those in authority positions (such as Pelosi) and say given my location, I had no one else to represent me but nationally known Democrats, and they should oppose/support/do something about X, Y, or Z. Not sure that was worth my time, though.

  102. 102
    AhabTRuler says:

    @tesslibrarian: I would say go ahead and put pressure on Pelosi, Reid, and others in leadership positions. You may not be their direct constituent, but if the Majority Leader and Speaker don’t care about the need of a supporter (read donor), then they don’t really belong in those positions, do they?

  103. 103
    Comrade Luke says:

    I understand the logic and support calling, but I have to ask: is our Congress so completely out of touch and uninformed as to the state of the country that whether health care happens or not depends on what side yells loudest?

    Don’t worry, I know the answer.

  104. 104

    I don’t think it’s a matter of who yells loudest, so much as ‘their environment cannot show ONLY those who yell’. We have organized and sometimes fraudulent efforts to put across wingnut astroturf, and on the other side a tendency to go ‘I voted and gave money, they should KNOW what I want’.

    Don’t for a second believe that you have to be more shrill than wingnuts- that behavior is actually an anti-sell. But you have to become visible as more than a pocketbook- if anything, having more coherent thoughts will help.

    If the wingnuts had a coherent plan beyond ‘waaah, noooo, commies!’ we would ALREADY be following it no matter what it was. Their hysteria is a built-in restriction that limits their ability to pursue more than the simplest of plans. If lefties actually think and form coherent ideas, and communicate them, the average of those ideas will get way more traction.

    A deluge of incoherent hysterics will only make Capitol Hill freaked out, jittery, and unwilling to do anything. HEY GUESS WHAT, that’s exactly what happened! I give them some credit simply for not doing much in the ‘WTF??’ column. These people are expected to REPRESENT and shown nothing but winger gibberish.

  105. 105
    Anfang says:

    So, like tesslibrarian, I’m represented by Republicans in both Houses of Congress. Anything I can do?

  106. 106

    @Koz

    Either the House passes the Senate bill and then we fix its problems in reconciliation, or nothing happens and Evan Bayh will effectively run the Democratic party until he gratefully hands Congress off to Republicans in 2011.

    At this time next year, Evan Bayh may not be a member the Senate.

    One can only hope. I’ve been thinking that we should have a group called the “Dead Dog Coalition” that would basically exist to stab blue dogs in the back, either by finding primary challengers against them, difficult in places like Indiana, or if that fails selecting a few blue dogs like Bayh and helping to get their Republican opponents elected.

    I know I’m going to be accused of being a purity troll here but exactly what do guys like Evan Bayh bring to the party? He’s a cowardly little backstabbing shit who’s willing to say anything he can against the party so he can get some facetime on the news. I’d like to have the group say, quite cynically, “Look, Evan Bayh is a punk and a coward and a bitch and just doesn’t have the balls to be an effective Democrat. So we’ve decided to get rid of his ass because he’s too chickenshit and because he stabs us in the back.”

    Now perhaps Bayh won’t care that much, he seems to be the Democratic party’s version of George W. Bush, winning his seat on name recognition alone, but someone needs to let the Blue Dogs know that they’re going to be the first ones to go if Republicans become more popular. If voters decide to send a message to the Blue Dog Democrats in November that it’s not Jim McDermott, Patty Murray or Barney Frank who are going to lose their seats, it’s Bayh, Landrieu and the rest of the triangulating morons in the Blue Dog coalition.

  107. 107

    @Mary

    I won’t be responding in this thread any further because I’m busy unsubscribing to all the lists Hamsher sold my name to. getting my ass handed to me because no one is responding to my repeated blowing of my Jane Hamsher dogwhistle and are instead calling me on my bullshit. I’ll get back to you on when and how Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff was floated before the election since the issue is of such overriding importance to you. Telling. I think that people might respond one of my dogwhistle arguments again.

    Fix’t

  108. 108
    Calming Influence says:

    Jane and her firebaggers

    Just Hi-larious, Tim. So dismissive and clever.

    But I guess that’s all you need to say when your mantra is that there’s no way any bill can do more harm than good.

  109. 109

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I know I’m going to be accused of being a purity troll here

    Purity troll!

    *I’m in full on wank mode today. Sorry.

  110. 110

    In Milwaukee, Citizen Action Wisconsin delivered nearly 8000 signatures urging Rep Gwen Moore to support health care reform.

    From citizen action twitter:
    at Rep. Gwen Moore’s office to present nearly 8000 signatures of supporters of Health care reform that Citizen Action collected in the 4 CD
    about 6 hours ago from Twitterrific

  111. 111
    The Truffle says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: Please, no Republicans to replace Blue Dogs, dude. Repubs would be much worse. Just primary the Bayhs, if at all possible.

  112. 112
    Brian J says:

    @Robin G.:

    Part of me hopes that he hasn’t been trying that hard, because if his reputation is as tough as we’ve heard and he has tried to crack some skulls together but failed, I am not sure what else there is left to do.

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