Why am I the designated loser?

I was talking to a local Democrat the night before last about Obama’s chances. He’s the former county chair, now retired. He said he was done with politics when he retired, said he was going to spend time with his grandchildren and follow Notre Dame football and to hell with all of us, but he didn’t mean it, because he still calls me all the time. He’s (generally) a pessimist, a dour person, although I recently borrowed his car and the one and only CD he had in there was called something like “Silly Songs for the Very Young”. Now I imagine him cruising west on I-80 towards Indiana, huge sedan full of his tiny grandkids, singing merrily along. I don’t “know” anyone, really.

Anyway, he worries about things I forget to worry about, and he’s fretting about the health care lawsuit. He told me it’s “bad for Obama”. I thought about that, and I’m not sure that’s right. I think the health care lawsuit carries risk for both sides.

Why is it assumed that 5 judges repealing the Affordable Care Act is good for conservatives, politically? The polling isn’t at all conclusive, despite what we’ve been told. This isn’t a slam-dunk. Republicans support repeal, and Democrats oppose repeal.

Conservative lawyers and donors are asking the Supreme Court to throw out the whole law, which is of course consistent with their long-held principle of judicial restraint. But, conservative lawyers and donors (and federal judges) have health insurance, and if they win this ideological battle they’ve draped in legal garb, 2.5 million young people who are now covered under the Act will get very, very nervous.

And, conservative lawyers and donors aren’t just suing on Obamacare. They’re gunning for Medicaid, which of course has huge implications for those people who are dependent on Medicaid. Conservatives mischaracterize Medicaid. Medicaid is a program for old people, children, and disabled people. And, you wouldn’t know it to listen to the pundits chatter, but Medicaid is actually very popular with Real Americans.

It’s a program for poor people without insurance, yes, but many more people fall into that category than you might realize. There are, first, the working-age Americans, along with their children, for whom Medicaid provides basic health insurance. And then, there the elderly and the disabled, for whom Medicaid provides supplemental coverage (to pay for the deductibles in Medicare, for example) or long-term care insurance (most famously, to pay for nursing homes). In many cases, these are people who were not poor until they needed long-term care, spent down their savings, and eventually became eligible for Medicaid once they ran out of money.

While 5 judges overturning Obamacare and chipping away at the legal foundation for Medicaid may be popular with the conservative base and complicate Obama’s campaign message and chance at re-election, I think it’s safe to say that 5 judges throwing 2.5 million young Americans off health insurance, knocking the pins out from under Medicaid, and destroying President Obama’s signature domestic achievement will also complicate Mitt Romney’s campaign message.

Conservatives have nothing to offer on access to health care for the uninsured. They’ve spent the last thirty years avoiding the subject altogether, hoping the uninsured would go away and quit bothering them. Mitt Romney is going to run around celebrating the fact that 2.5 million Americans just lost their health insurance, by judicial fiat? Mitt Romney is going to be cheering as all the states that are putting Obamacare into practice are ordered to STOP? Romney’s going to come out and crow that we’re now back to the status quo on health care? It’s morning in America! The Supreme Court got rid of any chance you had to get covered under Medicaid or purchase affordable health insurance, and, oh, by the way, I plan to end Medicare too? Is that Mitt Romney’s winning message?

There’s going to be political repercussions on both sides no matter what the outcome of the court case, and I don’t know that conservatives benefit, automatically and inevitably. They certainly didn’t benefit from the S-CHIP battle. They were left defending denying health care to children. They lost.

On the flip side, if the law is upheld, what is going to be the reaction of the perennially angry and vindictive Tea Party faithful? First they were told a House majority would overturn the law, and then they were told that 5 judges would overturn the law. The House majority didn’t repeal the law, because one chamber can’t repeal a law in America, despite what they were told. What if the 5 conservative judges let them down too?

Seems to me there’s political risk on all sides. Seems to me conservatives might want to have waited and repealed the law the old-fashioned way, by winning elections.






100 replies
  1. 1
    Felanius Kootea says:

    I agree that Romney crowing about young people being thrown off their parents’ insurance would be politically tone-deaf and a potential miscalculation. However, there’s enough cognitive dissonance among “Real Americans” that if unemployment is still high, I’m not so sure that they won’t cheer shooting themselves in the foot as long as it “hurts” Obama.

  2. 2
    Soonergrunt says:

    Especially with the fact that a lot of the parts of the bill are very popular with the American people, this could get ugly for the Republicans if the Democrats can manage to package the whole thing correctly for public understanding–
    No more carrying your young adult children. No more prevention of various unethical practices by the insurance industry. No more curbs on cost growth.
    Of course, this depends on Democrats getting a simple message and sticking to it. Considering that most Democratic operatives would fuck up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this is cause for concern.

  3. 3
    kindness says:

    I’m not so worried about losing that court fight. I think the Administration has done a good job of framing the debate along the lines of principles that some of the right leaning judges usually trumpet. Now this doesn’t mean they can’t go against their esteemed ‘principled’ selves and rule counter to how they’ve ruled on other issues, with this bunch of Bush v Gore losers, they certainly can.

    I’m betting a 6-3 Obama win though.

  4. 4
    Mike Goetz says:

    I’m glad the party has its pessimists. I’m also glad I am not one of them.

    I don’t think the Supremos are going to invalidate the law, I think Obama will get a bounce from the victory and I think he will win in November.

  5. 5
    Culture of Truth says:

    What if the law is upheld but the mandate is struck down? Then America will be left with all the popular parts except the Republican idea that Republicans hate.

    Meaning, we find another way to fund it, and in spite of what the GOP likes to point out, you can’t cut your way to revenue.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @efgoldman:

    I think it’s Democrats, I really do, including me. Every day, we’re just in this defensive crouch.

    “What horrible thing is going to happen next!”

    I don’t think we lose ALL THE TIME :)

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    What if the law is upheld but the mandate is struck down?

    Then we get into this whole “severability” thing, and we lose the attention of the whole country, because no one sane is sticking around for that discussion.

  8. 8
    4tehlulz says:

    Worst case scenario I see is that the mandate gets tossed, but the rest of the law is upheld.

    I see 6-3 or even 7-2 to keep the whole thing, though.

    /INTERNET LAW EXPERT

  9. 9
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    what is going to be the reaction of the perennially angry and vindictive Tea Party faithful?

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’ll scream and holler and whizz themselves in anger.

    Just like they’d do for any other outcome.

  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    Once Americans experience the sheer hell that will be Obamacare, they will realize how terribl-

    wait, what?

  11. 11
    Mike Goetz says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Is that “expert on internet law” or “law expert on the internet,” with all the oxymoronage that implies?

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have been saying 6-3 to uphold the law. Thomas, Alito, and a Justice to be named later. Scalia votes with the majority.

  14. 14
    amk says:

    the left throws up the arms in despair too often and too soon and goes home. what else is new ?

  15. 15
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I too get tired of how any and every news, gets played both by the media and also on this blog, as bad news for the Democrats in general and Obama in particular.

  16. 16
    Zifnab25 says:

    I thought for sure this would be good news for John McCain.

  17. 17
    The Moar You Know says:

    While 5 judges overturning Obamacare and chipping away at the legal foundation for Medicaid may be popular with the conservative base and complicate Obama’s campaign message and chance at re-election, I think it’s safe to say that 5 judges throwing 2.5 million young Americans off health insurance, knocking the pins out from under Medicaid, and destroying President Obama’s signature domestic achievement will also complicate Mitt Romney’s campaign message.

    They’ll do it anyway. The Republicans are not interested in winning the presidency this go-round. If they were, they damn sure wouldn’t have annointed Romney the designated chump candidate.

  18. 18
    danimal says:

    The ACA is just the new Roe v. Wade. The GOP wants an issue to rally the troops. They don’t want to actually see the ACA overturned, because then they would be responsible for the results. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the GOP would lose social conservatives by the bushel and liberals would be energized beyond belief. Likewise if ACA got overturned, people benefiting from the law would be outraged and the GOP would have nothing, literally nothing, to offer them. Overturn ACA? It’s their worst nightmare.

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    Right, but these are their “originalist” judges. Hard to tell them to get out there and vote for more original originalist judges.
    Also. All the media and conservative lies about Medicare didn’t come true.
    They’re just going to roll that tape again?
    “Death panels!” “Cut 500 billion from Medicare!” Doesn’t it lose a little zing at some point? Nothing that they said would happen DID happen.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @Culture of Truth:
    More letters to editors (and other grassroots way of getting the word out) like the one by the woman who was an Obama supporter, then decided he wasn’t living up to her expectations, then found out the new health care law meant she could get needed cancer treatment will also be helpful.

    Any time a Democrat/Obama supporter runs across someone benefiting from the new health care law, it might be a good idea to let them know who’s responsible for that nifty new benefit they’re enjoying so much.

  21. 21
    kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Oooh. Brave. I love that you’re willing to call it.

    I honestly have no idea.

  22. 22
    gaz says:

    @kay

    Why is it assumed that 5 judges repealing the Affordable Care Act is good for conservatives, politically? The polling isn’t at all conclusive, despite what we’ve been told. This isn’t a slam-dunk. Republicans support repeal, and Democrats oppose repeal.

    Because the media will say it is. And STFU, that’s why. =)

  23. 23
    Paul in KY says:

    Kay, if the SC shoots the President’s reforms down, then I think he’ll just run against them too (provided it is a typical 5-4 ruling).

    I have faith in Pres. Obama’s campaign skills.

  24. 24
    Mino says:

    Uh, 27% scream and shout. 73% wake up to find they’ve lost something they bitched about, but took for granted. Lost is the most important word. I wouldn’t want to be a Republican.

  25. 25
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    They’ve spent the last thirty years avoiding the subject altogether, hoping the uninsured would go away and quit bothering them die and decrease the surplus population.

    a Dickens of a problem, it is.

  26. 26
    SRW1 says:

    Seems to me conservatives might want to have waited and repealed the law the old-fashioned way, by winning elections.

    I sort of doubt that. If the Republicans repeal ACA via the legislative route, they have to replace it with something or they will be blamed for what is bound to be a further deterioration in the costs and accessibility of health care. And as Kay stated herself, the GOP has to offer exactly noting in this regard.

    Which suggests that it would be preferable for the GOP to have the conservative majority on the SC do the ugly deed of killing ACA. Would also have the advantage of the GOP then being able to deflect any claims of ACA having had some merits by pointing to its unconstitutional character.

  27. 27

    @Culture of Truth:

    Meaning, we find another way to fund it, and in spite of what the GOP likes to point out, you can’t cut your way to revenue.

    CLAP LOUDER

  28. 28
    kay says:

    @gaz:

    I know, but that’s my whole thing. My slender reed. “The media” were absolutely shocked that people support Medicaid when that poll came out, but there it is. They do! Yay for them.

    Unsurprisingly, to me, because so many of them of them are ON Medicaid. I wasn’t shocked.

  29. 29
    Hill Dweller says:

    Win or lose, Obama can still hammer home the fact Wingers are trying to destroy the ACA and medicaid. Couple that with their attempts to turn Medicare into a voucher program and privatize social security, and you’ve got a very good populist message. Obama could cast himself and his party as the last line of defense for these very popular programs.

    Moreover, per TPM, Obama will be centering his campaign around our third world-like income inequality. If they successfully hang the destruction of the safety net programs, income inequality and lack of upward mobility around the republicans’ necks, it has the potential to be devastating; especially with vulture capitalist Thurston Romney III as the opponent.

  30. 30
    Monkey Business says:

    @danimal: This actually makes sense. Give them something popular amongst the majority to gin up the base with the idea of repealing, even if it doesn’t make any sense to do so.

  31. 31
    General Stuck says:

    @Kay:

    The reason we are often in a defensive crouch is that dems believe government can do good works for the masses on things they can’t accomplish on their own. The coldhearted profit driven way this country has provided healthcare to its citizens is a prime example of this. So dems create programs that have to be defended from those who have other designs, mostly of hording wealth as a prism for political power. The wingers have nothing to defend, other than the nothing they stand for regarding government works in our lives.

    If the supreme court strikes down this dem signature achievement in the works for 100 years, it will mark a sizeable escalation to the class war period we are entering. The gloves come off, and I think such an act would have a similar national effect as Scott Walker and Kasich going after labor unions at the state level. What I’ve been reading, for at least Scalia to vote to overturn the ACA, would likely be the most blatant flip flopping activism as has been seen by a SCOTUS judge, based on his recent record of voting to expand or at least preserve commerce clause justified action by congress.

    The repercussions of putting a question mark on 100 years of legislative and legal precedent, that could actually send this country into political instability in a such a way we have not seen in most of our lifetimes. Well beyond the 60’s. I don’t feel comforted the right thing will be done, because I think republicans are in some kind of savior mode they’ve made up in their own heads, and are capable of anything. Even the robed masters of the universe.

  32. 32

    @danimal:

    If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the GOP would lose social conservatives by the bushel

    “Work’s done, quitting time” is it? I see no indication it would do anything to lose social conservatives except maybe those who were slightly moderate and decided the GOP had gone too far. The right wing would be pressing all that much harder for a constitutional amendment or federal laws to trump the state laws/constitutions that do protect reproductive freedom. Maybe overturning _Griswold_ while they’re at it. Certainly nothing like resting on their laurels.

  33. 33
    feebog says:

    I thought the issue before the court was the mandate, not the entire Act. Of course, that never stopped the majority in Citizens United from taking a very narrow issue and revising the issue to suit their own political agenda. In this case however, the mandate actually helps the Insurance companies, potentially letting them tap in to millions of new customers. That was the trade off, insurance companies must apply 80 or 85% (depending on size) of their income to health care costs, some or all of that requirement to be offset by additional premiums from new customers.

  34. 34
    gaz says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    When you say that they don’t want to win this cycle, or if they did, wouldn’t have nominated Romney – I’m not quite so sure – if anything, I see it as a bit of an oversimplification. Forgive me.

    I believe that a large part of the wealth wing/establishment wing of the GOP wanted to take this cycle (maybe not the last one though). Although what you say is probably true for at least some of them – they feel they don’t need it.

    If anything, I’d say they are at best, fractured right now, even on goals such as the above.

    I think that romney was a fubar. I think the tea party was a problem, too. Shades of goldwater, maybe. I think that anybody they could have hoped to run was probably going to get demolished by the rabid base. Or demolished in the general. I read some desperation into how the nomination process played out. I think Romney is the Hail Mary candidate, at least at this late stage. (And no, they’re not happy to pick him – he was what was left that still had a chance).

    What they really should have done is made it impossible for Paul Ryan to refuse to run. Offered him whatever it took. I’m even betting that some of the wingers agree.

    Nah, I think Romney was an accident. – a last ditch hail mary selection drawn from a hopeless field.

  35. 35
    bobbo says:

    Doesn’t this entirely miss the point? What if the Court upholds the law? This would will rile up the crazies in the Republican base.

  36. 36
    Raven says:

    @bobbo: Yea but we need something to gnash our teeth over.

  37. 37
    Luthe says:

    @feebog: I do believe when the Senate passed the reconciliation bill, they made sure that the mandate was inseverable from the rest of the bill. No severability clause and striking down the mandate = striking down the law. And that’s a much harder sell than just getting rid of the mandate.

  38. 38
    gaz says:

    @kay: Fair enough. Part of my response was driven by the need to take another swipe at our 4th estate.

    Adding, the drama over at NYT today was delicious. I’m actually glad that the public editor had the right combination of stupidity and courage it took to ask what the functional requirements of a reporters job entailed. Somebody had to air this “balance” crap in a mainstream channel. Might as well be him.

    =)

    In any case, cheers! Keep ’em coming. You’re stellar today. BJ is stellar today. Or maybe it’s just a good* news cycle. Either way, win! and thanks!

    Edit: *good should probably read productive

  39. 39
    Martin says:

    Overturning the mandate isn’t necessarily a loss for Obama or Dems in the long term. The mandate is one of the main ways that PPACA is paid for, after all. If it’s overturned, we’re left with all of the costs, and no way to pay for it.

    The question really becomes: “If the mandate is overturned, how do we get out of this mess?” And that gets interesting.

    There’s really two avenues:

    1) Repeal the other parts of the law that incur the costs. Nobody wants to do that. I doubt there’s enough support by Senate Republicans to do that. It’s an active step, so it needs 60 votes, and Dems will oppose every inch of it.
    2) Create a public option. Considering how close that came to being passed, my guess is that’s what would happen, or some variant of it with either federal or state exchanges. It’s not unconstitutional because we do it now with Medicare.

    Losing the option of the mandate I think makes 2) more likely. The mandate was the compromise, and taking it away inherently puts the advantage back with the Dem preferred solution. I don’t think having it overturned is the desirable outcome, as only uncertainty lies beyond, but there’s as much of a chance that we’ll get a better solution as there is we’ll get a worse one.

  40. 40
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    Honestly, Stuck, I think conservatives are after the expansion in Medicaid. I think Democrats were afraid to defend the expansion in Medicaid, because the fact is, poor people don’t vote in the numbers that middle class and rich people do. The expansion in Medicaid got very little attention in media, again, I think, because no one gives a shit about people who qualify for Medicaid. I think Democrats were relieved it got little attention, because there is no political pay-back. Chuck Schumer said it, and he’s right. It’s not POLITE to say it, but it’s true.

    This whole debate has focused on the minority of people who won’t be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and don’t have employer-provided insurance. The whole debate is skewed toward some mythical college educated self-employed person who is 30 years old. It’s sort of wacky. 9 million people who will benefit aren’t even being discussed.

  41. 41
    chopper says:

    @4tehlulz:

    now you just need to tell everyone you ‘anal’, and you’re set.

  42. 42
    Ed Drone says:

    @Felanius Kootea:

    I’m not so sure that they won’t cheer shooting themselves in the foot as long as it “hurts” Obama.

    Just a corollary to:

    Republicans:
    Putting thousands out of work just to deprive one man of his job.

    Ed

  43. 43
    gaz says:

    @kay: WRT to your most recent comment.

    This. I think you called it perfectly.

  44. 44
    Hill Dweller says:

    @gaz: Paul Ryan is a paper tiger. He has been coddled by the beltway because they need sane sounding republicans to elevate in hopes of looking ‘objective’.

    Obama destroyed him with one speech last year. Granted, the villagers, and now Sen. Wyden, have done their best to rehabilitate his image since, but put him on a big stage, with all the scrutiny that entails, and he’d be crushed.

  45. 45
    dogwood says:

    @Kay:

    I think it’s Democrats, I really do, including me. Every day, we’re just in this defensive crouch.

    Yes, and that defensive crouch makes it hard for us to assess things objectively. Rhetoric and behavior aside, Republicans have more respect for the President as a candidate than many of us do. They knew from the get go that the only way to beat him was to tank the economy and obstruct. I seriously doubt that if John Kerry were the incumbent right now they would have bothered with half of that nonsense. What will be will be. I’m just relieved we’re not going to have to work our assess off to drag some generic, pedestrian incumbent across the finish line.

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    @kay:

    I think conservatives are after the expansion in Medicaid. I think Democrats were afraid to defend the expansion in Medicaid,

    You are far more tuned into the details of this area than I. But I do think they are after all of it, to at least be privatized and the massive amounts of tax dollars directed to plutocrat coffers. They are ideological predators in a pique right now, and have long sensed the easiest prey rests with the poor for the “welfare” slackers demagouing.

  47. 47
    The Populist says:

    Maybe I am getting cynical in my old age too. Say they throw those young folks off the roles, Kay? The right has done an excellent job of making it harder to vote for this age group as well. They are truly powerless and with that kind of thinking what happens?

    I am just tired. I still care, I still advocate liberal ideals but I am just tired of being told this is a conservative country and my libby friends telling me Obama sucks. I disagree, sure he’s done infuriating things (most notably the law that allows us to detain American citizens suspected of being terrists).

    I just feel that if they win and repeal “Obamacare” (God, do I hate that title) the kids still either stay home or they camp out someplace and get called a meaningless hippie who wants what others have.

    Pull me off the ledge guys?

  48. 48
    cckids says:

    @gaz: I agree. I also think that for many, many conservatives, all they hear & listen to is the right wing echo chamber. They truly believe that most of America hates on President Obama the way they do. Their numbers are smaller, but, dear gods, they are so fu*king LOUD. They choose not to see anything that conflicts with their narrow little world view. That is why ACORN !!! Stolen elections!! Voter fraud!! & other demonstrably false memes get so much traction (our execrable media aside). That mass of people cannot see any other way that elections don’t go their way.

  49. 49
    The Populist says:

    @General Stuck: They certainly want it gone. Why is something I have never figured out because the “base” disagrees that it needs to go (see: old white folks complaining that Obama needs to take his hands of their MEDICARE).

    I hope 2012 is a change year. I also tire of the meme that says hope and change was a lie. It wasn’t. If the congress had given Obama the mandate he earned to push through his ideas, maybe the country would be better off and THIS is what scares the elitist right.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    @The Other Chuck: Ok, so the mandate is struck down, Obamacare has no source of funding, so all the benefits vanish; or that funding is not needed, so the benefits remain without the mandate; or the GOP house and Dem Senate raises taxes on the middle income and poor to pay for it; or raises taxes on the rich to pay for it; or cuts spending in other areas to pay for it. These are all wins for the GOP, I suppose.

    [ clap clap ]

  51. 51

    @Culture of Truth:

    Raising taxes? Don’t you know that never results in additional revenue? *CLAP LOUDER*

    (I’m playing Eric Cantor today, how am I doing?)

  52. 52
    kay says:

    @dogwood:

    I’ve been reading your comments on Romney and really just enjoying them.

    I’m stuck on that notion that his “place” (history, all of it) in the Mormon church is central to him, but he can’t discuss it. I’m wondering if that’s part of the reason I perceive him as “hollow” and inauthentic. He can’t discuss the central fact of his life. Is that the big ‘ol gaping hole in “Mitt Romney”?

    I keep thinking about Jimmy Carter, because I think his religion so informed everything he did and said, and that probably started in childhood. I don’t think Carter could cast it off or hide it if he wanted to. It’s what he is.

    I don’t know anything about Mormons, so I’m taken with your whole Romney theory.

  53. 53
    General Stuck says:

    @The Populist:

    Obama made his chops not from Harvard, but after, pounding the pavement at the ground level on the mean streets of Chicago. He could have written his own ticket to personal wealth, but didn’t. I laugh at folks that claim the guy is a corporatist, or centrist at his core. He is a pragmatic liberal, with a mostly healthy view of politics as the art of the possible, first and foremost, and an imperfect human like us all. He is not an ideological flamethrower. If he was, he wouldn’t be anywhere near the WH.

  54. 54
    jonas says:

    Romney’s going to come out and crow that we’re now back to the status quo on health care? It’s morning in America! The Supreme Court got rid of any chance you had to get covered under Medicaid or purchase affordable health insurance, and, oh, by the way, I plan to end Medicare too? Is that Mitt Romney’s winning message?

    That approach may work in a Republican primary or debate where calls to make anyone who makes less than $20k a year wear identifying armbands and hats is met with eager cheers. I seriously doubt it’s going to go over as well in a general election, especially when the Dems start peppering the airwaves with ads hitting Romney and the Republicans over it.

  55. 55
    Legalize says:

    The fact that the WH is supposedly lobbying Scalia tells me that they believe they’ve got a 5-4 majority in the bag. They just really REALLY would love to have Scalia given them a wider margin. I don’t think there’s any way Scalia is the 5th vote.

  56. 56
    danimal says:

    @The Other Chuck: Admittedly anecdotal, but for years I’ve talked with loyal GOP voters who vote against their own interests due to the abortion issue. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, some of them would become independents instantly, others would become less impassioned GOP voters and many would find other excuses to maintain their tribal GOP identity. But it would be a net loser for the GOP, and the GOP consultants almost certainly know this.

    If ACA were overturned in its entirety, the result would be a temporary political win for the GOP and a tremendous long-term loss. The health insurance chaos that would ensue would radicalize liberals, frustrate moderates on an issue that had been decided and call the bluff of conservatives on an issue they have “spent the last thirty years avoiding.” And single payer would likely be the eventual result.

  57. 57
    giltay says:

    … something like “Silly Songs for the Very Young”.

    Could it be “Singable Songs for the Very Young”? Because that was one of my favourite kids albums as a kid. I got that on vinyl. (I was and am an unashamed Raffi fan.)

  58. 58
    Mary says:

    He said he was done with politics when he retired, said he was going to spend time with his grandchildren and follow Notre Dame football

    Because following Notre Dame football is so much less stressful and depressing than politics?

  59. 59
    Punchy says:

    Thomas, Alito, and a Justice to be named later. Scalia votes with the majority.

    Ha ha! Thomas? Fo shiz? He’ll be voting with his wang, and his wang is currently residing inside a Obamacare opponent. The odds Thomas votes to uphold this lies somewhere between the odds of me bedding Selma Hayek and the chance the Cubs win the pennant this year.

  60. 60
    kMc says:

    A Republican pollster I know said that, should the Court uphold Obamacare, that it will be good for Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions because it will motivate even more conservatives to hold their collective noses and vote on his behalf. Take that for what you will.

  61. 61

    @Kay:

    I think it’s Democrats, I really do, including me. Every day, we’re just in this defensive crouch.

    We’re in a defensive crouch because we’re defending a lot of territory. The Republicans are attacking all the safety net programs plus a lot of civil rights/equality areas like Roe and every area of economic regulation they can think of. Meanwhile, the Democrats are only advancing in a few areas. We really are defending a lot more than we’re attacking, so it’s natural that we feel under attack.

  62. 62
    gaz says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Obama destroyed him with one speech last year. Granted, the villagers, and now Sen. Wyden, have done their best to rehabilitate his image since, but put him on a big stage, with all the scrutiny that entails, and he’d be crushed.

    I’m not arguing otherwise. Consider what they had to work with. They have a tea-party batshit base, and an uninformed electorate prone to being fleeced by smooth talkers.

    Yes Obama took him behind the woodshed. But people forget. And that kind of thing doesn’t get that much airtime in the first place.

    I’m not saying Paul Ryan is some sort of conservative prince or savior here – not at all. I’m saying he could have been a sharp tool used to claw their way to the oval office again. Maybe. Better than the clown car they had, anyway. He could talk a good game – he made killing your grandmother sound almost reasonable if you weren’t paying much attention – all the while managing to paint the democrats as doing the same. He could have raised the money. And he would have appeased the base.

    You’re not going to say, with Romney polling less than %30 of support from the base, that they would have done worse if they could have gotten Ryan to run are you?

    That’s my point. If they had any chance – it was with a guy like that. And FTR, I do not support the guy. He’s a farking sociopath, and if I saw him whilst driving I don’t think I could prevent myself from accidentally* running him down.

    *added to CMA

  63. 63
    kay says:

    @Mary:

    Because following Notre Dame football is so much less stressful and depressing than politics?

    He’s some kind of volunteer usher, so he gets entry to all the games.

    He hasn’t retired. He was dropping off yard signs for Issue Two in November. He said “how are we doing?” and I said “we’re up 30 points” and he said “going to be close”. That’s a normal conversation with us.

  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    Pretty sure I heard Mittens proclaim, “I will repeal Obamacare(tm)” in his NH victory speech.

    Once the general campaign is underway, that will be the time for the president to matter-of-factly state exactly who will be affected the minute that occurs and who won’t be added to the program when it’s fully in force, on the present schedule.

    I’ll be eager to hear Mittens’ plan on how to take care of those tens of millions, utilizing the magik free marketz.

  65. 65
    Punchy says:

    @Punchy: Whoops. I missed the period in that blockquote. My bad.

  66. 66

    @Punchy:

    Pretty sure he was naming Thomas and Alito as two “justices” (I just can’t use the term seriously with them) that will rule against ACA even if Zombie Reagan rose from the dead and ordered them to rule in favor.

  67. 67
    rikryah says:

    MEDICAID is a pet peeve of mine.

    the poster child for MEDICAID, in terms of dollars, is a picture of an elderly White Man or White Woman.

    it’s GRANDMA AND GRANDPA in the nursing home that takes up FAR more a percentage of actual Medicaid Dollars than

    Lola with her 3 Anchor Babies, or Shanequa with her 3 babies by 3 different baby daddies (can you tell my disgust at the way Medicaid is scapegoated using Black and Brown folk?)

  68. 68

    @kay:

    I’m stuck on that notion that his “place” (history, all of it) in the Mormon church is central to him, but he can’t discuss it. I’m wondering if that’s part of the reason I perceive him as “hollow” and inauthentic. He can’t discuss the central fact of his life. Is that the big ‘ol gaping hole in “Mitt Romney”?

    I think that’s a really profound observation, though I think you can extend it beyond the church. He also doesn’t want to talk much about what he did at Bain, or what he did while he was Governor. Those things may not be as central to his life as his religion, and he may be a little bit more willing to talk about them, but he still wants to be the sole arbiter of what things from his past are acceptable to talk about. How can you believe or trust somebody who treats his past as something to hide?

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ Punchy: You have managed to get hold of the wrong end of the stick. I was calling out the votes to tank the law.

  70. 70

    @The Populist:

    Pull me off the ledge guys?

    Relax. Obama goes two steps forward for every step backwards. He’s done that all of his life, I guess. Otherwise, how could he be where he is?

    What I’m trying to say is that O is not a loser and the world will not succeed in nullifying all of his victories.

  71. 71

    Hey everyone, there’s finally a primary challenger to President Obama! Yes, it’s anti-abortion nutball Randall Terry of Operation Rescue fame! Really!

    And you will not BELIEVE the reason ….. hit the link to find out. Just don’t be eating anything. It involves bloody fetuses.

  72. 72

    @Legalize:

    They just really REALLY would love to have Scalia given them a wider margin.

    Not just the wider margin; getting one of the court’s leading conservatives to uphold it would prove that the decision wasn’t a narrowly political one. I think there’s also something to be said for Scalia’s role as the leading conservative intellectual on the Court. If he is on the losing side of a 5-4 decision, you know he’s the one who’s going to write a scathing dissent that will provide the conservatives with their ammunition for why it was wrongly decided. But if you can get him to uphold it will deny them the support of their best voice on this kind of thing.

  73. 73
    Jay C says:

    Kay, I think you’ve answered your own question right in the post (vital bit bolded):

    Mitt Romney is going to run around celebrating the fact that 2.5 million Americans just lost their health insurance, by judicial fiat? Mitt Romney is going to be cheering as all the states that are putting Obamacare into practice are ordered to STOP?

    “Obamacare”. It wouldn’t be unthinkable that a Romney Administration would indeed seek to repeal the PPACA only to replace it with something nearly identical – solely because it wouldn’t have the dreaded “Obama” name attached.

  74. 74
    kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    He also doesn’t want to talk much about what he did at Bain, or what he did while he was Governor.

    I think he is talking about those things, and the campaign probably wanted to talk about those things, but it just isn’t going the way they planned. He keeps hitting these land mines of reality.
    But what is his personal narrative or story? He tells his father’s story, but he isn’t his father, and anyone who knows anything about his father’s political career knows THAT was more complicated than Mitt Romney is letting on.
    I don’t think it’s believable that his wife told him he should be president. I flat out don’t believe that. Why is he running? It isn’t his wife, so what it is?

  75. 75
    Kola Noscopy says:

    Why is it that the democratic party and a democratic president are unable to make this argument as forcefully and compellingly as do you, Kay, to the American public?

    Why ARE they always operating from a “defensive crouch,” as you say?

    By the way, I completely agree with that last statement of yours. But I believe, as I assume you do not, that Obama and the Dems operate from that crouch because that is the pose they prefer to assume. Plausible deniability and all.

  76. 76

    @Southern Beale:

    He is aware he’s running in a Democratic primary, right?

    Hey Randall, your single-issue subjugation of women party is over on the other side. Don’t tell me you actually care about a single other thing, do you? I mean shit, even Fred Phelps was a civil rights lawyer once, so I can see it for him, but not you wingnuts.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @Kola Noscopy:

    Why ARE they always operating from a “defensive crouch,” as you say?

    That isn’t really what I said, though. I said Democrats (rank and file) are doing that. Maybe Democratic leaders are doing it too, but that’s a different problem.

    Prior to the 2006 elections, Karl Rove said that the GOP was going to win. “The math”. Remember that? He has to say that. He can’t say “get out there and vote because you are going to LOSE!”

    I went to liberal blogs that day, and they were convinced that Karl Rove had a secret plan. Not all of them, but enough of them.

    That’s the best example of what I’m talking about. They discard the obvious reason (he’s a paid hack and he’s never going to say the word “lose”) and latch onto the most outlandish scaaaaary reason. He’s just a better than average hack. He’s not a super duper evil genius. Why do we always give them credit for and deference on this alleged “genius”?

  78. 78

    @The Other Chuck:

    Yeah well he’s not really “running.” He’s just “on the ballot” so he can get his disgusting ads aired.

    I really don’t know why he picked the Democratic primary over the Republican one except maybe to cast a negative light on the abortion-loving Democrats among viewers both outraged at the ads and too clueless to know who Randall Terry. I mean really, I don’t get it.

    But then again there really is no logic with these people.

  79. 79
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I agree with your assessment of the likely outcome if the Supremes reach the merits, but I wouldn’t assume that they will. The standing arguments that persuaded the Fourth and Sixth Circuits seem to me to be pretty sound. In addition, I have come around to the view that the Anti-Injunction Act argument is sound, based on Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in Seven-Sky and the extremely good amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court.

  80. 80
    burnspbesq says:

    @feebog:

    I thought the issue before the court was the mandate, not the entire Act.

    The Eleventh Circuit also ruled for plaintiffs on severability, so if the mandate goes down, it takes the whole thing with it.

  81. 81

    @kay:

    I think he is talking about those things, and the campaign probably wanted to talk about those things, but it just isn’t going the way they planned. He keeps hitting these land mines of reality.

    That’s more or less what I meant about him wanting to be the sole arbiter of what parts of his past are and aren’t allowed to be talked about. He wants to control what people are allowed to know and talk about his past, and he gets frustrated when they don’t accept his limits. It’s like the whole thing with his taxes. There is obviously something in there that he doesn’t want to talk about, and he’s trying to place that part of his life off limits by not releasing his returns.

    I suspect that this attitude is what you can expect from a former business bigwig. When he was running Bain, he was in charge. If he decided they weren’t going to talk about something, nobody was allowed to talk about it. He doesn’t get the whole idea of politics happening in the open and subject to press scrutiny because that’s not his background.

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @kay:

    That’s the best example of what I’m talking about. They discard the obvious reason (he’s a paid hack and he’s never going to say the word “lose”) and latch onto the most outlandish scaaaaary reason. He’s just a better than average hack. He’s not a super duper evil genius. Why do we always give them credit for and deference on this alleged “genius”?

    Because The Paranoid Style in American Politics (pace Richard Hofstadter) is not the sole birthright of the Right. That style of thinking can also be found on the Left, albeit we seem to have a somewhat lower grade fever lately. Some folks just tend to see hidden motives and sinister conspiracies where others see either a combination of good luck and opportunism or bad luck combined with garden variety bungling, depending on which way the result went. This sort of over-interpretation of events, aka curve-fitting run amok, is not hard to find, the comments on this very blog provide plenty of examples.

  83. 83
    Mike in NC says:

    @kay:

    I don’t think it’s believable that his wife told him he should be president. I flat out don’t believe that. Why is he running? It isn’t his wife, so what it is?

    Daddy issues. Just like Dubya had.

  84. 84
    bemused says:

    I am noticing the parts of AFCA that have gone into effect are helping people locally or people are aware of the benefits. One woman wrote to the local rightwing paper saying the donut hole change has made a big difference in her expenses and how grateful she was. Oddly, the usual wingnut commenters chose to ignore responding. A friend’s son in his mid-twenties had an accident and lost the tips of some fingers. Unfortunately, his birthdate just missed him being eligible to be included on his parent’s health care plan and he had no insurance himself. They would have definitely been happy if he could have been covered.

    When people have personal experiences, not just seeing stories on tv of other people benefiting, it changes attitudes and they, even republicans, are relieved to have the help. They won’t be so skeptical about the rest of Obamacare that hasn’t kicked in yet. Those trying to reverse Obamacare and deprive them of what they have now or will have in the future won’t be loved.

  85. 85
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Daddy issues.

    Dad foolishly said that he’d been brainwashed and lost his chance to grab the brass ring as a result, hence Mitt won’t ever admit to having been Bainwashed.

  86. 86
    BGinCHI says:

    Really late to this thread, but Jesus, Kay, great post!

    You are killing it on these issues and how they are being read/misread in the heartland and by everyday folks.

    Keep up the good work.

  87. 87
    dogwood says:

    @kay:

    Thank you, Kay. Anyone who would want to understand Mormons in terms of who they were and who they became, need only travel to Salt Lake City and visit Temple Square. There you will find the original Mormon church juxtaposed with the modern Temple. The original church is stunning in it’s simplicity. It honors not only the faith but the place by being in complete harmony with the landscape. The modern Temple is stunning for a different reason. It’s garish, but more than that it exists so far outside the landscape and sensibility of the place you can only ask yourself – WTF were they thinking?

    I keep posting about this because I’m trying to figure it out for myself. I’m a firm believer that you don’t learn to write, but you write to learn. Anyway, read Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. I guarantee it will rivet you.

  88. 88
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I’m sure I’ve noted this here before and thanks for pointing it out: attacks on Medicaid will continue only so far until it becomes evident how cutting the program affects seniors on Medicare, at which point they will die quickly (the attacks I mean)

  89. 89
    ellennelle says:

    this may have already been pointed out, but i’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the scotus decision on the healthcare bill. first, of the lower courts’ decisions, it seemed to me the rulings against it have been exceedingly weak, if not downright insulting. second, the doj has carefully crafted their arguments to refer to over half a dozen cases where scalia interpreted the commerce clause just the way the doj wants him to for the healthcare case. in other words, they’re double dog daring him to buck his own precedents. third, the conservatives on the court are in something of a double bind, in that sure, they want to stick it to obama, but gosh all the insurance companies have been salivating to cash in on the mandate as guaranteed numbers.

    and fourth, of course, all of what you said. there really is a way in which the evil out there just continually creates huge piles of poop they proceed to fall in, face first. i just keep that image of mitt’s face in his bain poop pile in mind, and i can get through any day of the week.

  90. 90
    pete says:

    @giltay: More likely my dear cousins The Battersby Duo, either their Tail of Too Sillies or the follow-up Too Sillies Two. Glorious fun for kids of all ages, as they say.

  91. 91
    ruemara says:

    I spent, up until January 2012, $15 on my two prescriptions for HBP. I’ve been a little tetchy of late, since I need to pay for a ticket (forgot to secure my parking placard) and my car registration, so knowing I was in for at least a $20 hit for my much needed meds was harshing my New Year’s mellow. When the druggist ran up both of the prescriptions, it was $5.36. I’ve seen my medical costs rise every year since 2000. My copay increased 2x last year. This year, due to the ACA and the requirement of 80% going to my actual healthcare costs, 2 prescriptions are 1/3 of what I usually spend. Thank you, Mr. President and Democrats who were not obstructionist asshats.

  92. 92
    JGabriel says:

    Anne Laurie:

    Conservatives have nothing to offer on access to health care for the uninsured.

    B-b-but, Health Savings Accounts!

    (What savings?)

    .

  93. 93
    Mary says:

    @kay:

    He’s some kind of volunteer usher, so he gets entry to all the games.

    Damn…that is one dedicated masochist. :)

  94. 94

    Anyone that has ever been a County Chair will know that it is a burn out prone position. Every volunteer organization has a few people who do most of the work and everybody expects results. Meanwhile you’ve got people pulling in several directions.

    This tendency is really bad in a political org because resutlts count in large terms. It isn’t a matter of funding a local animal shelter but you also have the local component thrown in with local elections. You’ve got a small number of people, generally at best 1%, of registered Democrats attending but you are The Democrats.

    I’ve held Vice-Chair, Chair, State Delegate, and committee chairs at County level and State positions. The people you’re dealing with are The Political Junkies. Their opinions are not what you’d call lightly held. Being a Chair is that in spades. It isn’t easy to just walk away even when “done with you people.”

    Don’t take the person’s pessimism too much to heart, I think you’d be looking at something more distressing if he were satisfied.

  95. 95
    burnspbesq says:

    The officer who presided at Manning’s Article 32 hearing has recommended that he be court-martialed on all 22 charges that have been brought against him.

    This recommendation has to be reviewed at two higher levels in the chain of command before it becomes final, but I’m guessing those reviews will approve the recommendation.

    Stand by for 400-comment freakout.

  96. 96
    kay says:

    Oh, I like him, Chuck. He’s a great person. He was once the mayor of the town that he lives in, before my time, but still.
    He ran as a Democrat and won, so he can’t be too pessimistic, because that was a long shot.
    I just wish we’d look at both sides of these things.
    There’s risk all around. Bringing this case may have looked great during Tea Party nation, but things change, fast.

  97. 97

    @kay:
    I try to leave the ACA case alone, I didn’t like it when it was being worked on and once it was obvious nothing better could be done I backed it. The Democrats then allowed themselves to be steamrolled on ACA and that really pissed me off.

    What the GOP will do regardless of court outcomes is pretty clear – the Question, is what Democrats will do with either outcome. Maybe going on three years of complete GOP bullshit will get Democrats’ backs up, maybe not. WI & OH are not everywhere and CDs are different so predicting political actions is risky as hell. Flatly, though, the Democrats cannot cede ground to the GOP and win the sensibilities of the electorate. The Middle handed out its judgement on “Not As Bad As” in ’10 so hopefully that one is out (they stayed home or went GOP).

    Sherrod Brown sure doesn’t need any advice from me, but your local guy’s challenge is how to touch your fairly rural voters without stepping on all the GOP landmines scattered around. It isn’t that the GOP points are all that valid, it is that there is an emotional context that needs handled neatly.

    During my run there was a gay marriage issue and it was in various people’s interest to paint me as “Pro” or “Anti” Gay. I didn’t want either label for first being inaccurate and second politically stupid places to be. I framed my argument around “all law abiding people having the same rights and responsibilities.” I didn’t give a damn to be in one of those camps, I wanted to be in my camp, pro-people, pro-humane. Yes, there were landmines…

  98. 98
    priscianusjr says:

    @gaz:

    What they really should have done is made it impossible for Paul Ryan to refuse to run. Offered him whatever it took.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket. Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is … why, Paul Ryan is one of the most beloved politicians in Tea Party Land. He could beat Obama in a walk — in a walk, I tell you!

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/.....07380.html

  99. 99
    Donut says:

    Kay, this is an excellent thread – thanks for your thoughts and for pulling some good commenters in.

    I think it’s a little much to predict outcomes – seems to me that Scalia is not totally tone deaf, knows what is going on as respects the DOJ framing of the case, and further, seems to be the type that would have no problem backpedaling on his own record , just to be a contrarian. I think he is totally capable of that kind of childishness, and after last night’s Corey Robind thread, I’m thinking there are a couple of interesting prisms through which the conservatives on the court could view the case. They are political animals, too, despite the pretense that they remain above the fray.

  100. 100
    mwm says:

    Seems to me there’s political risk on all sides. Seems to me conservatives might want to have waited and repealed the law the old-fashioned way, by winning elections.

    I just want to complement you on the way you brought this post home. I felt like I just watched a mob boss threaten some punk who thought he was tough.

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