Minority Majority Rule

The spectacle of George W. Bush’s rubber stamps running to the nearest microphone to shout “executive overreach” (Alberto Gonzales is the latest) about the executive order mini-DREAM act is clouding the real message of what happened on Friday. If we keep having a do-nothing obstructionist Congress, then we’re going to have executive orders that keep increasing the power of the Presidency at the expense of Congress.

The reason we don’t have a DREAM act is the Senate, where a 41 vote minority stopped it, because the Senate is now the place where states like Wyoming, Utah and Kentucky use the filibuster to rule the rest of us. I’ll outsource the details of the argument against the 60-vote-majority Senate to Steven L Taylor who has a good piece on just how un-democratic it has become (and don’t miss him destroying Doug Mataconis’ dumb arguments in the comments), since they’re obvious and well-accepted.

I know the reason Democrats don’t want to reform the Senate rules are a mixed bag of fear of a Republican President, slow acceptance of the current political environment, and Robert Byrd-like veneration of outmoded tradition. But we’ll have an elected King in a few years if we don’t get rid of the filibuster and win back a House majority so we can get something done.






144 replies
  1. 1
    gene108 says:

    I know the reason Democrats don’t want to reform the Senate rules

    I’m guessing any change to the rules requires more than a simple majority to enact.

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    We can all see the damage the current filibuster rules are doing when we have an intractable minority intent on destroying the country. That happened before in the 1850’s and led to a crisis that tore the country in two.

    But imagine the damage this same wingnut coalition could cause if they take the White House and/or the Senate this fall. We are going to need that road block to at least have a chance to slow the destruction as much as possible. Lets not slit our wrists simply because the current situation makes it look appealing.

  3. 3
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Why isn’t OTB on the roster of blogs we monitor and mock. David Frum is playing concern troll in his article in the Daily Beast about Obama’s reprieve for the DREAMERs. Looks like he wants to get back into the good books of his right wing masters.

  4. 4
    Mino says:

    @gene108: No. At the beginning of every Senate session, rules are voted on. That vote is a simple majority vote.

    And I think the objection that filibuster change (such as making filibuster real and not proceedural) would slow down the Senate is a little redonkculous in today’s atmosphere.

  5. 5
    Schlemizel says:

    @gene108:
    They merely call for a reorganization of the Senate and the new rules require a majority vote with no possibility of a filibuster. The problem, assuming you actually want this to happen, is it would require douchebags like Lieberman and Nelson to get their 51 votes. Those clowns are more interested in undermining the Dems that doing what right for the country on ANY issue

  6. 6
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Why should we listen to Alberto Gonzales? He’s a whore. He prostituted his ethics, intelligence, and original love of law in order to be allowed to play with the Big Boys of that era.
    Phooey.

  7. 7
    Mino says:

    @Schlemizel: I respectfully disagree. We’ve been saving voters from Republican excess for at lest 20 years. Let ’em get what they voted for.

    If we are doomed to operate in a Parlimentary system, voters must see the consequences. Right now, Republicans are free-riding on the so-called American Consensus, which they really want to set fire to.

    I’m with Cole on this. Give them what they think they want good and hard.

  8. 8
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I admit it’s OT but:

    Support for the argument that the Supremes might uphold the ACA because it’s good for insurance companies, etc.

    http://campaign2012.washington.....ies/446831

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Possible. Another argument is that it’s better for Romney to be able to campaign against Obamacare. If the Supreme Court strikes it down, it’s one less reason for the right-of-center to vote for Romney, who they aren’t really excited about anyway.

    It’s too easy to overthink this. We’ll find out for sure in a little over a week.

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mino: Believe me I get that and actually think if we had a parliamentary system the wingnuts would be dead already as they ran wild in the 90’s through 2006 when they controlled both houses.

    But we don’t have that system and the pain and suffering caused to millions of Americans (and forget for a minute that these yahoos would gladly turn our military empire into WWIII) would cause irreparable harm. Since we can’t stop it we have to try to limit it as much as humanly possible.

  11. 11
    Schlemizel says:

    @Baud: There are 2 reasons why I think the USSC may allow ACA to stand as is. One is that it is a huge windfall for the insurance industry and the big 5 are in favor of anything that will enrich our masters. Second is that without ACA to run against the GOP loses one of the great motivators for its wingnut brigade.

    It is quite a dilemma for them isn’t it?

  12. 12

    Harry Reid had a chance to move on Senate reform at the beginning of the 112th Congress, but he chose not to. Last month, he came out and said that was a mistake.

    If Dems can hold the Senate, he’ll get a second chance. Here’s hoping.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    Filibuster abuse is, IMHO, a symptom of a larger political dysfunction. Our political culture expects Democrats to accomplish the world if they have any political power whatsoever, and places almost no responsibility on Republicans. No amount of reform of the congressional rules of procedure will be able to compensate for the fact that one of our two major political parties always has one hand tied behind its back.

  14. 14
    Mino says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I guess we see just how much of a corporatist Roberts really is.

    AHIP’s model is broken along with the recovery.

  15. 15
    Mino says:

    @HelpThe99ers: I don’t think the Dems will kill the filibuster, just give it some teeth and see how hard Republicans want to work.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Schlemizel: There is also the fact that the Constitutional arguments for upholding the law are far stronger than the arguments for striking it down. Of course, no one really cares about that.

  17. 17
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Interesting. I hadn’t given thought to the political implications for the GOP if the Supremes kill the ACA.

    I do believe that most of the SC judges are intelligent enough to think about more than thing at a time and they could consider the political repercussions as well.

    Maybe. We’ll see.

  18. 18
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Don’t worry guys! If the Republicans take the Senate in November, the filibuster won’t be there to bother us any more! I realize this kind of thinking runs counter to the Very Serious Analysis of Duh Mataconis and the Very Serious People at Outside the Brainwaves (both sides do it! or would, anyway, probably!), but it’s likely accurate, which is more than you can say about anything Duh or his compatriots have ever written. Taylor excepted.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    jefft452 says:

    @Schlemizel: “would cause irreparable harm. Since we can’t stop it we have to try to limit it as much as humanly possible.”

    Please cite an example of the fullobluster being used to limit the harm

    I believe in democracy
    Yes, the majority will vote for stupid things sometimes, they will even vote for evil things sometimes
    But under the democracy model, when buyer’s remorse sets in, voters can do something about it

    Under the rotten boroughs House of Lords model, once a stupid or evil law goes in, a tiny minority can keep it in place against the wishes of the vast majority

  21. 21
    zifnab25 says:

    @fasteddie9318: Don’t forget all the times the filibuster served us in ’02-’05. We blocked the Bush tax cuts. We prevented the Iraq war. We kept Medicare Plan D and NCLB from becoming wasteful destructive boondoggles.

    Without the filibuster, where would we be today?

  22. 22
    jake the snake says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz):

    Don’t you know, all “those people” look alike.

  23. 23

    @zifnab25: ouch. well played. =)

    I’m all for making the filibuster real again, rather than eliminating it altogether. If it came down to it, there’s always Bernie Sanders. The man knows how it’s done.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Don’t worry guys! If the Republicans take the Senate in November, the filibuster won’t be there to bother us any more!

    We’ll still have our share of Manchin-esque Dems who could decline to use the filibuster against Republicans in order to “save” it. But it would be better to get rid of it rather than have it so that only one side gets to use it.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    honus says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I know this sounds quaint, but the justices aren’t supposed to think about political consequences for one party or another. And for most of our history, they din’t, at least not to the degree of this court. C.f. David Souter, Earl Warren, William Brennan (all republican appointees)
    It’s telling and sad that many serious analysts are saying the justices will consider the GOP’s electoral fate as a major factor.

  27. 27
    RaflW says:

    @Mino:
    That’s what I’d want. A filibuster rule that actually, y’know, requires a filibuster. Not the bullshit cloture votes that then get reported as “the Senate failed to pass another Democrat bill.” (yes, with the annoying grammar eye poke).

    Stand in the well of the Senate, you egoistic prick Republicans, and blather on, hour after fucking hour. Show us all, on CSPAN, how shit-ass stupid, ornery and balls-out America hating you are. K’thanks.

  28. 28
    RaflW says:

    @honus:
    It’s telling and sad that many serious analysts are saying the justices will consider the GOP’s electoral fate as a major factor.

    They’re just following precedent. Even though the opinion told them not to.

  29. 29
    buckyblue says:

    I hadn’t thought about the filibuster increasing the power of the presidency but I think that’s exactly it. The same thing, mostly, happened in Rome. An ineffective and personal power hungry Senate becomes ineffective allowing for, or requiring, rival generals to reek havoc on society. By the time JC got there, the population was glad to have some order. Octavian made them like the idea of an efficient gov’t as opposed to the chaos like we have. But then they got Caligula and Nero, er, George W and Romney.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The problem is not the filibuster, per se. The problem is that the filibuster is allowed to happen in a painless way for those pushing the filibuster.

    This is where the spineless wonder that is Harry Reid fails.

    Make the fascist fuckstick McConnell read from the telephone book on the floor of the Senate. I want these assholes to be seen on CSPAN2 making total assess of themselves. Let their intransigence, let their fucking conniption fits be seen by all. No more stealth filibusters. Make them loud and proud so everyone can see what monumental assholes every vile piece of Rethuglican shit actually is.

  31. 31

    @Villago Delenda Est: Unfortunately, Reid is a spineless asshole who I suspect secretly wants the same thing the GOP wants – Big Money from corporate donors. He’s not interested in changing the rules. He needs to be retired.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The problem is not the filibuster, per se. The problem is that the filibuster is allowed to happen in a painless way for those pushing the filibuster.

    OF course the old school talking filibuster is actually harder on the majority than on the minority. The majority have to keep a quorum present and the minority can trade off. And of course the person with the floor doesn’t really even have to talk.

  33. 33
  34. 34

    @MikeJ: Like several commenters already mentioned: It makes the obstruction visible.

  35. 35
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: The majority can also do quorum shifts. The real risk in a true filibuster is that no other business can be considered until the vote is held. So doing one for an extended period increases pressure from the House and executive.

  36. 36
    NotMax says:

    Not to nitpick, but in this case there was no executive order (in the most commonly accepted sense of that term). Rather what was announced was a shift in policy interpretation and implementation promulgated in the form of a directive from a cabinet department.

  37. 37
    EzraRulz says:

    Guess it’s not a surprise but I’ve seen this everywhere referred to as an “executive order” by the President. From the Guardian the day of the announcement who often seem to be alone in striving for accuracy:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....intcmp=239

    2.34pm: CORRECTION: Throughout the day we have mistakenly referred to the new White House policy as an “executive order.” That is wrong; the president has not and will not issue an executive order, a signed piece of paper with potential sway as precedent.

    The White House describes the change as a new policy within the Department of Homeland security.

    Rick Klein@rickklein

    may be distinction w/o difference, but GOPers keeps referencing “executive” order on immigration. None will be issued, per the WH.

    15 Jun 12 Reply
    Retweet
    Favorite

    Our apologies for the error.

    As we discussed earlier, the president last year said “for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates [laws] would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”

    But it does conform to his appropriate role as president, the White House believes, simply to have a Cabinet secretary declare new policy, even when that policy is as far-reaching as the enforcement of immigration law.

  38. 38
    Mino says:

    @Yutsano: Like I said, the current and foreseeable situation in the Senate makes this argument pointless.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Whether it was an executive order or a policy shift, the rending of garments by the fascist vermin is still bullshit.

  40. 40
    Mino says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It would be more serious if they were screaming aboout the correct thing, donchaknow.

  41. 41
    Mino says:

    I don’t have a problem with the 27% who have given up rationality in a deliberate allegiance to the Tribe.

    My problem is with the low-to-no-info voter who allows Republicans to free-ride on the expectations of that voter block that nothing much will change because our press normalizes Republicans.

  42. 42
    patrick II says:

    I assume there must be a name for the psychological syndrome by which congressional child abusers are the biggest proponents of anti-child abuse laws, where closeted gays are the most virulent gay marriage opponents, and the guiltiest executive overreach criminals now protest the “excess” of the executive branch the loudest.

    We can point to the hypocrisy and political advantage of being “outraged” by various “sins”, but it seems there is a aberrational psychological need to deny who they have become by their own actions. Or are they just that cynical?

  43. 43
    gocart mozart says:

    John Yoo also thinks that Obama’s new immigration policy is an outrageous unconstitutional abuse of executive power. I presume he would be fine with crushing the testicles of young undocumented students because National Security! but not deporting them is a bridge too far.

  44. 44

    Thinking about a “what-if” – if the GOP takes control of the Senate in November, I’d put good money on them wanting to reform the filibuster to make it harder to do what they’ve been doing for the past two years.

    So, if the Dems retain control, Reid may decide to pursue reform, but if the GOP wins, it’ll definitely happen. IOKIYAR writ large.

  45. 45

    That is EXACTLY what I said this morning. When the Republican Party decided to “go Galt” on Democracy the night of Obama’s inauguration they basically lost the right to complain about the president trying to maneuver around them.

    But Democrats filibustered a couple of Bush’s bills once so .. Both sides do it!!!

    IOKIYAR

  46. 46
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mino:

    If we are doomed to operate in a Parlimentary system, voters must see the consequences

    Finding the Philosopher’s Stone might be easier. The voter hires their dimwits because
    they are dimmer. They want someone else to make difficult decisions so whatever the outcome, they can assign accountability away from anything personal.

    Redemptive self-awareness is a bridge too far.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gocart mozart:

    John Yoo’s existence in this universe needs to be erased.

  48. 48
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Heh. I can hear him now “I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me”

  49. 49
    NotMax says:

    EzraRulz
    Another place that got it correct.

    If we must, the term executive decision is more apropos.

  50. 50

    @Baud:

    Another argument is that it’s better for Romney to be able to campaign against Obamacare.

    I completely expect him to do this, regardless of what the SCOTUS says.

    Seriously, they could strike down 100% of ACA and Romney will still promise to “Repeal Obamacare!” every single day between now and the election.

    And not one “journalist” will ever deign to correct him.

  51. 51
    Mino says:

    Rodney King has died.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/rodne.....d=16589384

    Appropriate that the New York silent march is happening today.

  52. 52
    OzoneR says:

    @Schlemizel:

    But we don’t have that system and the pain and suffering caused to millions of Americans (and forget for a minute that these yahoos would gladly turn our military empire into WWIII) would cause irreparable harm. Since we can’t stop it we have to try to limit it as much as humanly possible.

    The American people don’t show us an ounce of respect or gratitude for limiting it, instead they blame us. Fuck them, let them have it and let them come crawling back

  53. 53
    NR says:

    I know the reason Democrats don’t want to reform the Senate rules are a mixed bag of fear of a Republican President, slow acceptance of the current political environment, and Robert Byrd-like veneration of outmoded tradition

    You forgot the most important reason: They needed the filibuster so that they had an excuse not to pass progressive legislation.

  54. 54
    NR says:

    @Linda Featheringill: From that article, one of the most telling paragraphs on the ACA ever written:

    Romney and Obamacare defenders say the mandate was primarily about preventing “free riders” — people using emergency room care they can’t afford — but the insurers’ court briefs admit it was largely about “improving risk selection by bringing healthier people into the risk pool,” as Blue Cross put it. That is, the mandate was intended to force healthy people to subsidize the health care of less healthy people, but with corporations, instead of the government, as the middleman.

    And we’re all celebrating because the Democrats used their historic majorities in Congress to pass this bill. Insanity.

  55. 55
    Mino says:

    @NR: And they could burnish progressive credentials without actually doing anything.

    Remember how many votes Card Check got from Dems when there was no chance it would pass a filibuster? Guess what happened when we had 60 Senators? I don’t remember Harry Reid ever calling it up for a vote.

  56. 56

    @Mino: We haven’t had 60 democrats in the senate in decades. At most, maybe 40. The other 20 were just corporate sponsored assholes with a D next to their name. And this is the most charitable possible take on it I could muster.

    60 senate democrats. LOL.

  57. 57
    jenn says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz): Actually, he’s a pretty good guy. You can disagree with his cost/benefit ratio, as I occasionally do as well, but his calculus includes looking at everything on the docket, many of which are important and will make a positive difference in peoples’ lives, that will be put on hold, because once the filibuster starts, nothing moves forward at all. I agree that there are times that the benefit to making Republican work for it outweighs the cost of delaying progress on everything else … but I also have to admit I don’t know the full docket to know exactly when those times are. If we retain the Senate, I’m pretty sure Harry’s going to follow thru with changing the filibuster rules, as per above. And as for wanting to be beholden to corporate overlords, he damned near killed someone who tried to bribe him, and worked with law enforcement to bring the guy down.

  58. 58

    @jenn: If he’s a pretty good guy, you have lower standards WRT to that label than I do, I suppose.

    Bernie Sanders might be a “pretty good guy”.

    In general, “pretty good guys” don’t end up with senate seats. We get sociopathic power seekers. Sometimes their goals align with ours, but never mistake that for altruism. It’s opportunism.

    ETA: This is universally true of all parties and all politics throughout human history. People are a problem.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    @OzoneR:

    It’s a disturbing fact that these days, the more I read things like this, the more I agree with them.

    At this point, though, I don’t even know if they’d have the sense to come crawling back.

  60. 60
    Mino says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz): Republican RINOS are NWern Republicans in spirit, but at least Republican. Democratic DINOS (Blue Dogs) are Republican in spirit, too.

    Bart Stupak, may he rot in hell, showed Republicans how easily BD’s could be used.

    Meanwhile, these DNCers have been whining about excluding pro-life candidates from consideration. So now we’re defending BIRTH CONTROL, for FSM’s sake.

    And unity assholes are screaming about social issues being unimportant. When > half your base is women, and young ones at that, I’m sure that’s a winning take on the subject. Jeezuz.

  61. 61
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    God, yes, I’m celebrating it. What a gigantic leap forward we desperately needed in our safety net and our health care system. Two thousand pages of new regulations, cost controls, and rules to ensure that insurance companies provide actually useful coverage like free preventative care. Absofrigginlutely fantastic first step. Which is why the spiteful old conservative men on the SC are considering striking it down even though the legal argument to do so is laughable.

    Oh, and creating a system so that another 30 million people can get insurance who’ve been screwed out of health care so far? Also awesome.

  62. 62
    Yutsano says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: And fools like NR think this is all that will happen. What he refuses to acknowledge is THIS IS JUST THE FIRST STEP. No health care system in the world went to single payer overnight. Expecting ours to is a foolish dream.

    BTW the ball is already rolling. Vermont will have universal coverage in 2-3 years.

  63. 63
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: It’s a gigantic leap forward for the insurance companies, for sure. They get 50 million new customers who are required by law to give them money every month. Meanwhile, they only have to provide shit insurance with a 60% actuarial value in return.

    In Massachusetts, which has a law in place that’s basically identical to the ACA (guaranteed issue, community rating, etc.), the average insurance policy has a $5800 deductible. So yeah, we’re forcing people to buy worthless junk insurance that they won’t even be able to afford to use if they get sick. Like I said, great for the insurance companies, bad for everyone else. Which is why the Democrats passed it in the first place.

  64. 64
    RaflW says:

    @NR:
    Oh please. What you bold and think is so damning is in fact the basis of no free rides. What do you think free-riders do?
    I know what they do, they skew the risk pool to not include enough healthy people to make insurance affordable. And those healthy people in the bigger, mandated pool? They’ll become the sick people later. But they’ve got to pay in now.
    That would be true with single payer, that would be true with nationalized care. its true for people who pay car insurance for 20 years w/o an accident.
    Now, I think profit is morally troubling in the healthcare realm, but let’s argue about that directly, not reading MBA-speak and flying off without understanding the insurance business. Insurance is all about risk pools. Pools that are too small either dry up or demand unsustainable inputs. That’s all the scare quote says. And, to repeat myself so you might get it, risk pooling is fundamentally the same whether for profit, in mutual insurance, or in government insurance.

    And now, back to the real villains, the fucking Republicans who treat their plan as spawn of satan.

  65. 65
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Yutsano:
    Even if nothing else is ever done, it was a damn fabulous bill. Oh yes, it pleases me muchlike. AND we got it because of grabbing every last bit of the possible and not letting the whole thing sink demanding the impossible. It is both a great bill, and a clear proof that Obama’s negotiation strategy works, no matter how you might THINK it SHOULDN’T work. The proof is in the pudding, and he gave us a big ‘ol heaping cup. I may be straining my metaphors here, but I enjoy talking about what a gigantic success the ACA is.

  66. 66
    NR says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz): Right, I forgot. We don’t just need Democrats, we need “real” Democrats. And isn’t it funny that no matter how many Democrats we get, not enough of them are ever “real?” And isn’t it funny how the party leadership keeps letting these non-“real” Democrats screw things up for the rest of the party? It’s almost as if they have no interest in passing progressive policy. Hmm….

  67. 67
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    Revenge is for children. The ACA does wonderful things, expanding coverage wildly and taking a very large number of desperately needed steps to stop the spiraling health care costs that are the problem in the first place. I don’t really care if leeches survive under the system. I mean, they didn’t want those 30 million new customers. Those are the customers they were trying to avoid because they cost more than they make. And they’re downright miffed about the pile of new regulations. But the fact that the insurance companies hate the ACA and only might support it now because changing back to the old system would be a pain in the ass isn’t actually important. Only that the law provides fantastic services we really needed.

  68. 68
    NR says:

    @RaflW:

    And those healthy people in the bigger, mandated pool? They’ll become the sick people later. But they’ve got to pay in now.

    Problem is, under the ACA, they’re not paying for health care. They’re paying for the CEO of Aetna’s third mansion in the Caymans. A fact that everyone here praising the bill seems to want to continually tiptoe around.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    wasnt it 55-45, the vote in the Senate?

  70. 70
    Mino says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Sad that most of the negotiating was within the party. Of course, Republicans had their representives there, too.

  71. 71
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Funny, nobody said anything about revenge. Any more straw men you want to throw out there?

    It’s not about “revenge,” it’s about the fact that the ACA continues and actually strengthens the broken for-profit health insurance system that has screwed up our national health care. Once again, look at Massachusetts, which is the state-level model for the ACA. Ignorant people point to Massachusetts and say “Look at all the people who have insurance now who didn’t before!” The crucial fact that this statement ignores is that the insurance these people have is worthless junk that they won’t be able to afford to use if and when they get sick.

    The ACA does one thing very well–ensure profits for the insurance companies. But that’s it.

  72. 72
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Mino:
    If McConnell had not been an old man from Kentucky furious that he’s lived to see the day a black man became president, we wouldn’t even have had to. But hey, big win is a big win.

    @NR: @Mino:
    Interesting. So, despite that the vast majority of that money is being spent on providing necessary health care and fixing a broken system, if ANY of it is spent making a rich man richer that invalidates the rest? Is that your argument? This is not snark, except in the sense I’d disagree emphatically. It just seems to be what you’re saying.

  73. 73

    @Mino, NR: Definitely. It’s depressing.

    Too much corrupt Media and corrupt Money in politics.

    As far as the media goes, Occupy was yelling at the wrong buildings.

    As far as the money goes, this country will never get any better without campaign finance reform. And I don’t see how that will happen as long as the people that make the rules are swimming in corporate cash.

    ETA: I don’t have a solution. Judging by the arc of human history, I’ve become steadily more convinced that the pendulum will have to swing all the way to SERIOUS SUFFERING, followed by a backswing to SERIOUS POPULIST VIOLENCE, before we ever get our shit straight and centered again. Or maybe I’m paranoid. In any case, in the mean time, I’m moving to Mexico.

  74. 74
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    But it does not do that. You’re arguing a blatant falsehood. The ACA is mostly price controls and new regulations. Yes, without those it would just enrich insurance industries, but those exist, and in huge numbers. You’re arguing about a situation that does not exist.

  75. 75
    Mino says:

    @Yutsano: Taiwan http://www.citizen.org/publica.....fm?ID=7685

    Of course, we’ve also been discussing it since the Clintons’ plan was torpedoed.

  76. 76
    Mino says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: ACA resembles insurance regulation more than health care. Seen as that, it was a success.

    Hard to know if the system will actually be useable in the end. The numbers are not out there. If it’s high-deductable shit insurance, folks won’t use it to stay healthy, even if they have to pay for it. So not much health savings.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @zifnab25:

    We blocked the Bush tax cuts.

    Democrats did filibuster to block the Bush tax cuts. Republicans used the reconciliation process to go around that filibuster just like the Democrats used the same process to pass PPACA.

    I know you want to have a simple “Democrats never fought back!” narrative, but that ain’t reality.

    @Mino:

    Guess what happened when we had 60 Senators?

    Between the delayed seating of Franken, Kennedy’s illness and death, and the election of Republican Scott Brown, we had about 6 months total where there were 60 Democratic Senators, and at least two of those months were during the summer recess.

  78. 78
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    if ANY of it is spent making a rich man richer that invalidates the rest?

    Are you serious with this? You do realize that money spent making rich people richer is money that is NOT being spent providing people with health care, right?

    The ACA allows the insurance companies to take 20% of premium dollars for profit. Medicare operates with 1.5% overhead. We’re talking about billions of dollars worth of difference. Billions of dollars that are not being spent treating sick people.

  79. 79
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Mino:
    I understand the mandate is used to vastly strengthen the price controls, so removing it is pretty bad. It was a neat way of taking the central idea of Romneycare and AEI’s proposal, then turning it on its head to become something Republicans hate. Devil is always in the details, I suppose.

  80. 80
    Mino says:

    Yes, but the Unions don’t buy that excuse and neither do I. He did not have the votes for cloture at any time. For cloture!

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    It’s not about “revenge,” it’s about the fact that the ACA continues and actually strengthens the broken for-profit health insurance system that has screwed up our national health care.

    It’s not for-profit insurance that has screwed up our system — it’s for-profit providers. If every for-profit insurance company was banned tomorrow, you would still have for-profit hospital chains and for-profit pharmacy companies and for-profit home healthcare companies skimming their piece of the money off the top.

    It’s a feel-good soundbite to say the problem is the insurance companies, but that’s far from the truth. Getting rid of for-profit insurance without touching the rest of the system would do jack shit to fix what’s wrong.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    The ACA allows the insurance companies to take 20% of premium dollars for profit.

    For-profit hospitals have no limits on how much profit they’re allowed to take. What do you think is the bigger problem in our healthcare system, for-profit hospitals cutting nursing staff and treatments to put more money into Tenet executives’ pockets, or for-profit insurance companies being allowed to keep a smaller profit than before?

    Insurance companies are the least of our problem. I have a comment in moderation that goes into greater detail, but I foolishly mentioned the stores where you can buy medication in it.

  83. 83
    Yutsano says:

    @Mino:

    Taiwan’s process of health reform was characterized by leisurely planning but hasty enactment. The country devoted seven years to redesigning its health system and followed the dictum of thinking globally while acting locally.

    AKA not overnight. It’s a complex problem. And Taiwan took 18 months before they passed the bill. No country has done it.

    (This is not to say the Taiwanese weren’t speed demons in getting it done. South Korea managed in 15 years, and that was considered record time.)

  84. 84
    Mino says:

    @Mnemosyne: Did you see that listing of MRI prices with/without insurance across the states? It will lift your hair.

  85. 85
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    So, yes. You do believe that. As long as there is a more efficient system, your offense that rich people leech any money off the system (of course, the vast majority of that overhead goes to general bureaucracy and ordinary people doing clerical jobs) invalidates the good that the law does. I can’t say I agree.

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: I remain impressed with the tenacity of your view that there’s a “they” dictating to Democrats everything they must do, rather than any willingness to perceive the actual situation complete with scads of evidence, which is that any Democratic majority encompasses nominal Democrats who aren’t liberal, don’t want to be liberal, and believe that they get more votes because of it. Instead it must be that Democratic headquarters is a room full of nondescript men in suits like in the mythos of the X-Files, bent on crushing your dreams for the sake of lucre and spite.

  87. 87
    Mino says:

    @Mnemosyne: For-profit hospitals have no limits on how much profit they’re allowed to take.

    Check out how many US hospitals are being gobbled up by the Catholic church and turned into for-profits. And then wonder why they’ve launched their offense.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is also akin to arguing that since credit card companies charge perversely high interest rates, setting a limit on how high they can be is a big wet kiss to corporations and corporatists, because it guarantees profit.

  89. 89
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Having seen the system from within, for-profit hospitals ARE a big part of the problem. They’re the only part of the chain with all the pieces in place to get really, REALLY corrupt. Do not underestimate the damage done by the insurance companies, though. Rather than squeezing for insane profits, they’ve rigged the game so that they never actually lose. This has created a lot of systems that drive up costs insanely, requiring unnecessary tests and preventing cheaper early cures to health problems.

  90. 90
    Mino says:

    @Yutsano: Well, Clinton’s plan was 15 some years ago. So I guess we’re not even with South Korea yet.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mino:

    And yet, the problem isn’t really that some people have insurance and some people don’t. The problem is that the MRI centers are for-profit and see the uninsured customers as cash cows that will help them boost their profits.

    Remove the insurance companies from the picture but leave the MRI centers as for-profit and do you really think we wouldn’t all be paying the non-insured prices?

  92. 92
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    (of course, the vast majority of that overhead goes to general bureaucracy and ordinary people doing clerical jobs)

    Wrong. Once again, Medicare operates with 1.5% overhead. The vast majority of the money that insurance companies take is for profit. I think that money would be better spent providing people with essential health care, but sadly, Obama and the Democrats disagree.

  93. 93
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, the hospitals are a huge problem as well. As is the AMA.

    Doesn’t change the fact that the ACA is insurer-friendly garbage.

  94. 94
    Yutsano says:

    @Mino: Canada took 30+ years to enact their national health law. Of course they had Tommy Douglas pushing like mad for it. But at least we’re one step closer, thanks to Vermont.

  95. 95
    sparky says:

    mm–must disagree with a portion of your post, namely

    we’ll have an elected King in a few years

    because that’s here now.

  96. 96
    Mino says:

    @Mnemosyne: I see you never saw the list. They charged walk-ins $3-500, about. They charged the insurance companies $1500++++. They are pre- financing their receivables, basically.

  97. 97
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    And yet again, that any profit is made, that rich people get any money, is the ONLY thing you seem to care about. That the law does a huge amount of good is immaterial. If that is not the argument you intend, it’s the argument you’re making. You focus relentlessly on that one issue, as if the rest doesn’t exist.

    Again, I’m not into revenge. Let them make money, if we’re another step (in this, a giant friggin’ leap) towards fixing our health care system.

  98. 98
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    which is that any Democratic majority encompasses nominal Democrats who aren’t liberal, don’t want to be liberal, and believe that they get more votes because of it.

    And there is a party leadership that continually supports those “nominal” Democrats at the expense of actually making the country better. Now why do you suppose that is?

  99. 99
    sparky says:

    @NR: yes, but it is a lovely illusion, no?

  100. 100
    Mino says:

    @Yutsano: California might get there, too. And remember Hawaii has had single payer since forever. So small populations work, too.

  101. 101
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    And yet again, that any profit is made, that rich people get any money, is the ONLY thing you seem to care about. That the law does a huge amount of good is immaterial.

    Um, no. As I’ve said before, the “huge amount of good” that you claim the ACA does, is an illusion. Once again, look at Massachusetts and their $5800 deductibles. The insurance that you’re cheering about people being forced to buy, is completely worthless because people can’t afford to use it when they need it.

    Again, I’m not into revenge. Let them make money, if we’re another step (in this, a giant friggin’ leap) towards fixing our health care system.

    And again: It’s not about revenge. Drop the straw man. It’s about wanting money to be spent on health care instead of corporate profits.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Oh, insurance companie are definitely part of the problem. It’s actually pretty fascinating if you look at all of the provisions of the PPACA, because it seems to be designed to squeeze the for-profit insurance companies out of the market because of diminishing returns. Assuming PPACA is allowed to stand, don’t be surprised if in about 10 years we see a reversal and insurance companies start going back to being non-profit or not-for-profit just to survive.

    But a lot of people seem to have this naive conviction that the for-profit insurance companies are the root of the problem, and if we can just get rid of them, all of our system’s problems would be solved. And it just ain’t so. There’s far too much profit involved at all levels of our system for the simple removal of for-profit insurance to be more than a blip.

    @Mino:

    Check out how many US hospitals are being gobbled up by the Catholic church and turned into for-profits. And then wonder why they’ve launched their offense.

    Get the gentleman (or lady?) a cigar. That’s going to have to be the next regulatory step.

    Of course, if PPACA goes down, the health industry can claim that the government has no power to regulate the amount of profit they’re allowed to make, and the Supreme Court will back them up if any attempt is made. People on the left who want the PPACA to be struck down really need to be careful what they wish for.

  103. 103
    Yutsano says:

    @Mino: I am on pins and needles waiting for the California referendum. Although I don’t know why the legislature just doesn’t pass it again, it was rolling along until Arnie vetoed it.

    Hawai’i’s is an employer mandate that is near-universal. I think the rest get picked up by Medicaid. But they could go single payer easily.

  104. 104
    BBA says:

    @Mino: Hawaii has an employer mandate, not single-payer.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mino:

    So walk-ins were charged $3,500? Or are you saying they were charged $300 to $500? Your numbers aren’t clear.

    And if you think the insurance companies actually paid $1,500 to the MRI facility, you don’t know how insurance billing works.

  106. 106
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    True enough. I think a very badly regulated insurance industry is the biggest problem, because they really have twisted the system into a pretzel, but there’s much more to be addressed.

    @NR:
    Yet again, you pretend the price controls do not exist, the regulations to stop insurance companies from providing worthless services do not exist. Even before the controls have come online, they’ve drastically reduced medical cost inflation by the medical industry trying to prepare for them. Pretending that because Romneycare is a mediocre solution Obamacare is worthless does not follow – and as has been pointed out above, your argument doesn’t really even invalidate Romneycare. Pretending the mandate isn’t attached to a giant package of regulations designed to stop the major problems driving health care costs is like pretending a man isn’t riding an elephant. It doesn’t just make a big difference, the man is almost an afterthought to the elephant.

  107. 107
    Mino says:

    @Mnemosyne: $300-500. Crazy, isn’t it. Another example: http://articles.businessinside.....-companies

    And, yes, you’re right, but insurance companies are such slow pays, they do inflate the cost to cover the receivables, at 30% probably.

  108. 108
    Mino says:

    @Yutsano: If I could have my pony, I’d do away with employer mandates. You just can’t trust the enforcement of labor contracts any longer.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Just off the top of my head, maybe that’s because they want to build a majority but don’t think they can get there by running only liberals and populists. I know, wild-ass hypothesis there.

    A Democratic party that ran only liberals and populists would doubtless stand for much better policies. On the other hand, they’d top out at about 35 Senators. So there are two available options: a smaller, more ideologically unified party that articulates excellent policies but can’t govern, or a larger, less ideologically unified one that articulates tepid policies but can actually implement them when everything clicks into place after laborious and dispiriting effort. The option you want can’t happen anytime soon and won’t for the foreseeable future. You can spend a lot of time lamenting that reality, or you can set yourself a task to help change it, aware that the pace will be glacial.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mino:

    I hate to say it, but anecdotes from Steve Lopez (who’s one of our local columnists here in Los Angeles) are not always accurate. I would want to find these places where the alleged $350 MRI was done.

    In my experience when I didn’t have insurance, most doctors and facilities were willing to work with you and give a “cash discount” if you told them when you made the appointment that you didn’t have insurance and you paid up front because that was money they didn’t have to wait for reimbursement on, but that will do you zero good if you have to go to the ER or get admitted to the hospital. That hospital wants every dime out of you that they can possibly get.

    G works for a home infusion company and they have an entire chart showing what people are charged under various circumstances. Some people without insurance are charged full list price, and others aren’t, and it depends on whether or not you were once covered by insurance and if you know that you need to call in and negotiate the price.

    ETA: Advice to the uninsured — you can almost always negotiate a lower price before you see the doctor or have the procedure done, but you can almost never get a price adjustment if you request one after the visit or procedure. Plan ahead.

  111. 111
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    But it is not a straw man. Just because you did not use the word ‘revenge’ does not mean your argument isn’t founded on that exact principle. You have objected, over and over and over, that the law gives money to rich people. Medicare is indeed more efficient. So what? If you think that because this improvement gives some of its money to rich people instead of channeling all of it directly into health care it’s not an improvement, you’re making an argument of spite and revenge. The law greatly reduces health care costs – the real problem – and extends insurance vastly to the uninsured – the horrible effect of that problem. But the issue you return to, over and over and over, is that it makes rich people slightly richer and you don’t like that.

  112. 112
    General Stuck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The other delusion from those who think the insurance companies are the problem, have them some magical thinking that single payer will be like some kind of pixie dust, that all you have to do is let the government run it, and it will be free. No mandate, no nuthin’. Most of them not on medicare and SS yet, seem to not be aware that even single payer has to be paid by someone like out of benefits from SS checks, other than the big liberal money tree in DC.

    Either by raising taxes quit a lot, or charging fees just like the private based model of the ACA. And everyone is going to have to pitch in, to make it work, in some form of mandate to cover everyone. The rich need to pay more, but you can’t really expect them to cover single payer, as well as our overall budget shortfalls.

    So what it boils down to, is pure spite and hate that someone is making money in a private corporation, imagine that in a capitalist system. It doesn’t register, that citizens will not escape anteing up their fair share, just like with the ACA mandate. The only difference being, cutting out the middle men siphoning off extra profit unnecessarily, as well as lower administration costs. Which the ACA does try to deal with capping the amounts taken as profit, paid in by premiums.

    It is a better more efficient system, single payer, mainly because the government can control costs, minus a profit incentive, as compared to the current private model. But not for the reasons it will end up being free.

    Then with single payer, you have to figure out how to deal with all the lost jobs when private health insurance goes down. Some will go to the government single payer administration. But most will have to find work somewheres else.

  113. 113
    NR says:

    @sparky: No kidding. I guess people here believe that now that the insurance companies are required to sell everyone a piece of paper that says “insurance policy” on it, that means that those people will be getting health care. It’s weird. But lots of people believe weird things, I guess.

  114. 114
    Mino says:

    @FlipYrWhig: But you know what, cloture should be enforced. You should lose something if you balk at cloture. That should just be a given.

  115. 115
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    A Democratic party that ran only liberals and populists would doubtless stand for much better policies. On the other hand, they’d top out at about 35 Senators.

    Assuming facts not in evidence.

  116. 116
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    @NR:
    Yet again, that the insurance policy will actually require them to deliver real health care is ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THE ACA DOES. If you pretend those new regulations don’t exist, sure it’s a giveaway, but those regulations do exist and they’re already making a difference before they even activate. You can argue that it’s night because the sun isn’t out, but if the sun is out, you’re wrong. That’s the situation here.

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: You can WANT money to be spent in a lot of ways. Many of them would be vast improvements over what happens now. The problem is that if you tell people that the insurance they currently have is going away forever because it’s bullshit and a profit stream for filthy rich people — which is largely true — THEY FREAK OUT, because as bad as the current health care regime is, blowing it up and replacing it with efficient and effective and fair universal care feels to them like a gamble that primarily helps other people, some unlucky, some lazy moochers.

    The problem is how to _get to_ a better system without alarming the very people who would benefit. The Clinton effort foundered on that. The Obama effort succeeded by building into the structure the notion that people with health insurance now could keep it largely the way it was. The reason to do it that way wasn’t ideological, it was in the interests of keeping the whole thing from falling apart.

    People hate insurance companies. But what they hate even worse is not having an insurance company to hate. And for a lot of them, they hate The Government even worse than that. A lot of those are kind of dim. But like Adlai Stevenson said, we don’t just need the votes of thinking people, we need a majority.

  118. 118
    NR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Okay, since I have explained the problem with the ACA to you multiple times now, and you continue to ignore what I’ve said in favor of a straw man argument about “revenge,” I’m forced to conclude that you have no interest in substantive discussion of the issue. Bye.

  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Oh, come on, it’s not like the PPACA mandates free coverage for certain preventive screenings. I’m sure NR would totally have heard about that already.

    After all, I’m sure he has gone to the healthcare.gov website and read the actual law, so he knows that it’s not actually just a photocopy of what they have in Massachussetts. Right, NR?

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mino: You need to convince Senators to give up perks they get for being Senators. That’s always a heavy lift.

    @NR: That’s magical thinking. Democratic senators from places like Arkansas, Nebraska, Virginia, and the Dakotas are not going to be liberal lions and class warriors. There’s not a liberal majority in those states waiting to be activated by the right candidate and the right rhetoric. The Democrats with successful careers there have a different profile. All the outsider populist energy that went into electing Jon Tester and Jim Webb resulted in the senate careers of Jon Tester and Jim Webb. It’s going to take a ton of time to get the kinds of Democrats you, we, would like better instead. Until that happens, we’re going to have to deal with Manchins and Pryors and Nelsons and McCaskills and the rest.

  121. 121
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The problem is how to get to a better system without alarming the very people who would benefit. The Clinton effort foundered on that. The Obama effort succeeded by building into the structure the notion that people with health insurance now could keep it largely the way it was.

    First, I don’t think you can say the Obama effort succeeded, because polling shows that a majority (or at least a large plurality) of Americans oppose the ACA.

    Second, the problem here is that you are assuming that just because people didn’t like the argument that Obama and the Democrats made (we’re going to force all of you to give money to private, for-profit corporations), that means they wouldn’t have liked another argument in its place. The Democrats could have made a very simple argument instead–we want to take Medicare and expand it to cover everyone. That’s it. Medicare is an extremely popular program, so there’s no reason to think people would have “freaked out” if that argument were made. And the simplicity of the argument would have gone a long way toward defusing the “death panel” bullshit that we saw.

    The reason that Obama and the Democrats didn’t do that has nothing to do with public opinion and everything to do with protecting corporate profits.

  122. 122
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    I guess people here believe that now that the insurance companies are required to sell everyone a piece of paper that says “insurance policy” on it, that means that those people will be getting health care. It’s weird.

    I know, it’s so weird that people who have actually bothered to read the law and know which things receive free coverage and what the deductible limits written into the law are think that people will be getting health care.

    You’re so much more knowledgeable about the law since you haven’t polluted your beautiful mind by actually reading it to find out what’s in it.

  123. 123
    Mino says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was googling around, trying to find that table when I came across this blog: http://outofpocket.com/Blog/default.aspx

    I knew about medical tourism–send your insured to Thailand and save!!

    But I didn’t know about Travelocity and Blue Books. Jeezus.

  124. 124
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: Or, to put it another way, we’ve had Democrats elected to the senate from states that go for the Republican for president routinely, in lopsided ways, like Alaska, Arkansas, West Virginia, and the Dakotas. It seems to me that politicians to the left of Gore, Kerry, and Obama would fare extremely badly in senate races there. But that’s where you need Democrats to win to have a majority, and where you’d need liberals to win to have a more muscular liberal caucus. And that’s not even mentioning the true swing states like Virginia, Missouri, and Florida.

    I’d love to have a senate full of Sherrod Browns. But Sherrod Brown ain’t getting elected in Arkansas or Virginia.

  125. 125
    Mino says:

    @FlipYrWhig: But you know what, we have more than enough good Senators to punish the ones who refuse party discipline on cloture.

  126. 126
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: I don’t buy that at all. The reason they never made a “Medicare for all” argument was because people with health insurance don’t want to give it up in favor of a public system. And that is VERY easy to demagogue as a “government takeover” and “government getting between you and your doctor” and all the other bullshit we heard from Republicans and insurance companies in the Clinton-era debate. That approach was tried, and it failed dramatically. Had it been tried again, the freakout would have been even worse, post-stimulus, post-auto bailout. It would have been an even worse fiasco than it was.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mino: The trouble occurs when the punished senators walk right out of the coalition. Punish Ben Nelson and not only do you lose Ben Nelson’s vote in the future, you just might get a Republican way worse than Ben Nelson when he decides he’d rather not run than deal with all the internal squabbling. There are a lot of Democrats who have a vested interest in being brakes on policies they think are too far to the left, either because they are cynics or because they are ideologically on a different plane. So, sure, the leadership could try to punish renegades, but it could well make the problem even worse.

  128. 128
    Mino says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I remember how shocking it was to see Sam Nunn going public on Clinton. It’s gotten totally out of hand with all these Republicans running as Dems.

    The DNC needs to get a prior commitment from these yahoos if they want party support. If they want to be the Senator from AHIP or from ADM, let them say so.

  129. 129
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mino: What you’d end up with then is a bunch of “nonpartisan” or “independent” senators from those places, IMHO, and you’d still need their votes to pass anything. Which is pretty much what we have now, only Manchin et al are nominally Democrats instead of independents who don’t like liberalism.

  130. 130
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know what’s in the law, kid. And there are no “deductible limits.” It requires insurance companies to provide policies with a 60% actuarial value. In most places, that translates to a $5000+ deductible.

    Looks to me like you’re the one who needs to read the law before singing its praises.

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    Ah, so you knew that the required free preventive care cannot by law be subject to a deductible and you lied about it anyway?

  132. 132
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: I didn’t say anything about “free preventive care.” Stop lying.

  133. 133
    jefft452 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: “Punish Ben Nelson and not only do you lose Ben Nelson’s vote in the future, you just might get a Republican way worse than Ben Nelson”

    I don’t buy that argument
    When Halter challenged Lincoln, all we heard was that nobody to the left of Blanche Lincoln could win, and we were risking getting a worse R in that seat. Well Lincoln lost to a worse R anyway
    People say they vote the person, but they really vote the brand

    “Better inside the tent pissing out then outside the tent pissing in”, yeah maybe
    But inside the tent pissing in is far worse
    more so, because you look like a wuss for not doing anything about it, and swing voters don’t vote for wimps

  134. 134
    NR says:

    @jefft452:

    When Halter challenged Lincoln, all we heard was that nobody to the left of Blanche Lincoln could win, and we were risking getting a worse R in that seat. Well Lincoln lost to a worse R anyway

    Not only that, Halter polled better against the Republican than Lincoln did. But that didn’t matter to the White House.

  135. 135
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Good post, mistermix, although this king-like presidency stuff didn’t start with Obama. Nor is it the most frightening aspect of the power glom in Washington. This national security shit–Dulles, Hoover, black budgets, etc which nobody has ever, ever been called to account for? That shit’s scary. And the sad thing is there is no president powerful enough to stand up to that shit. Maybe FDR but that was before presidents were term limited. Although prez term limits are probably a good thing on balance. The top dogs at those national security agencies need to be elected and term limited. Fuck.

    Also, no more secrets. There’s only a very limited amount of stuff that really needs to be secret. Everything else is bullshit.

  136. 136
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR: More importantly, it didn’t matter to the Democrats of Arkansas, who voted for Lincoln anyway. Maybe that’s because they liked her better. No, that can’t be it, it’s probably because of a cabal that decides these things just to frustrate liberals by dangling things just out of their reach, like Tantalus.

    If you were Blanche Lincoln, and you knew that the president and his agenda were unpopular in your state, and you were worried that going along with it might cost you your job, what would you do to protect yourself? Seems like you have two options: either refuse to go along with what your party wants, or grudgingly toe the line on the condition that you get plenty of support in your reelection bid.

    Again, you seem to think that the number of people who think Democrats are too far _right_ these days is very high. You’re not alone in that view. But there’s little to back it up. And the number that thinks they’re too far _left_ is bigger than that in the Sun Belt, the Mountain West, and the industrial Midwest.

  137. 137
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Why would presidents stand up for reduced presidential power? If anyone is going to reduce it, it’s going to have to be the legislative branch. It’s kind of their job.

  138. 138
    jefft452 says:

    @NR: “Not only that, Halter polled better against the Republican than Lincoln did”
    But not better then the Republican, Halter probably would have lost too

    @FlipYrWhig:” More importantly, it didn’t matter to the Democrats of Arkansas, who voted for Lincoln anyway. Maybe that’s because they liked her better”
    The fact that the Democrats of CT liked Lemont better then Liberman didn’t seem to matter to the DSCC much either

    “If you were Blanche Lincoln, and you knew that the president and his agenda were unpopular in your state, and you were worried that going along with it might cost you your job, what would you do to protect yourself?”

    I don’t blame Blanche Lincoln for being Blanche Lincoln (although I dispute the fact that incumbents are by default perfectly in tune with what their constituents want, after all, Lincoln lost)

    I do object to trimming the national brand of the party to protect weak incumbents who are likely to lose anyway
    Ive seen 30 years of the DSCC picking the “the only D who can be completive in state X”, having said perfect candidate dither until the DSCC bigfoots the primary to clear the field, Bills tabled because they would hurt the great D hope, then the perfect conservadem loses to a wingnut anyway

  139. 139
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    More importantly, it didn’t matter to the Democrats of Arkansas, who voted for Lincoln anyway. Maybe that’s because they liked her better. No, that can’t be it, it’s probably because of a cabal that decides these things just to frustrate liberals by dangling things just out of their reach, like Tantalus.

    You think the president’s endorsement meant nothing in the Democratic primary? You think the logistical support that the White House and the Democratic leadership lent to Lincoln meant nothing? That’s ridiculous.

  140. 140
    OzoneR says:

    @NR: Halter only polled better against the GOP than Lincoln in Research 2000 polls that were debunked later causing kos to fire them. He actually polled worse than her in other polls

  141. 141
    jefft452 says:

    @OzoneR: “debunked later causing kos to fire them”

    Is there more to that story? Every polling org has outlier polls now and then, being fired for it seems harsh, were they caught cooking the numbers or something?

  142. 142
    OzoneR says:

    @jefft452:

    Is there more to that story? Every polling org has outlier polls now and then, being fired for it seems harsh, were they caught cooking the numbers or something?

    they were cooking the numbers. kos fired them and then sued them. it was settled last May.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....lain-sight

  143. 143
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    You think the president’s endorsement meant nothing in the Democratic primary? You think the logistical support that the White House and the Democratic leadership lent to Lincoln meant nothing? That’s ridiculous.

    in Arkansas? Of course it meant nothing. Obama only got 58% of the DEMOCRATIC vote in this year’s primary.

  144. 144

    […] This is a good point: The reason we don’t have a DREAM act is the Senate, where a 41 vote minority stopped it, because the Senate is now the place where states like Wyoming, Utah and Kentucky use the filibuster to rule the rest of us. I’ll outsource the details of the argument against the 60-vote-majority Senate to Steven L Taylor who has a good piece on just how un-democratic it has become (and don’t miss him destroying Doug Mataconis’ dumb arguments in the comments), since they’re obvious and well-accepted. […]

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  1. […] This is a good point: The reason we don’t have a DREAM act is the Senate, where a 41 vote minority stopped it, because the Senate is now the place where states like Wyoming, Utah and Kentucky use the filibuster to rule the rest of us. I’ll outsource the details of the argument against the 60-vote-majority Senate to Steven L Taylor who has a good piece on just how un-democratic it has become (and don’t miss him destroying Doug Mataconis’ dumb arguments in the comments), since they’re obvious and well-accepted. […]

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