Pragmatism and pre-negotiations

In comments to the post on pragmatic evolution of US health policy on Monday, The Question raised a point that I want to respond to:

on health care why do we always have to pre-negotiate with ourselves and have ourselves primed to accept half a loaf? I am so tired of being sensible when there is no gorram reward. If loudly shouting the most extreme thing we want gets us even half what the republicans have gotten out of it why the hell not??

I want to raise an empirical point and then a broader political/policy point that explains my thought process.

First, empirically, what has “shouting the most extreme thing” gotten Republicans?

It has gotten them power.

What have they done with it so far? In 2009, Democrats at this point had a smaller functional majority in the Senate and a slightly larger majority in the House than the Republicans have today. Democrats had passed and signed into law the stimulus, CHIP re-authorization, Lily Ledbetter, and the Dodd-Frank CARD ACT by now.  They were grinding their way through what would become the ACA.

What have the Republicans accomplished as of today? Read more



Open Thread: NANCY SHADE!


(h/t commentor BethanyAnne)

Speaking of “President” Trump…



XX notes

Last night was a victory for women.

86% of all calls into Congress on healthcare were from women.

Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House that could herd enough cats to get a fractious House caucus to vote for the bill that they were not thrilled about in 2010.

And the two Senators that held the line and who had formed the minimum necessary coalition to block the bill were women.

Senator McCain if he had not flown in at the start of the week would have been superflous as long as Senators Murkowski and Collins were going to vote not. A 99 vote Senate would have needed 50 Aye votes and no more than 49 Nay votes. The two women were Nay votes 49 and 50. They were enough to hold the line. Senator McCain may have been sufficient to drive at least a few garlic bulbs through reconciliation based repeal instead of repair bills.

And now the appropriate music…

Read more



Open Thread: You Come At the Queen…

Cue the Somewhat Soiled Lady, a day late and a hot-take short — “Nancy Pelosi Tells Democratic Critics, ‘I Think I’m Worth the Trouble’”:

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, strolled before the cameras on Thursday with defeat at her back once more, projecting a well-worn swagger — brash, defiant, more than a little off key — as she insisted that her moment had not passed…

With six words, Ms. Pelosi, 77, demonstrated the self-assurance that has powered her as one of the most successful congressional leaders in the modern era. Yet even as Democrats enjoy a surge of grass-roots energy that could resurrect their House majority, some members of Ms. Pelosi’s own party are impatient for her to give up her 15-year grip on power.

She is the Democrat most crucial to determining whether her party can take back the House and torpedo President Trump’s agenda — an avatar of the kind of coastal excess that Republicans abhor and that some progressives have come to view suspiciously in an age of ascendant populism.

“Everybody wants leaders,” she said in an interview in her office at the Capitol, during which she was often as dismissive of critics in her own party as she was of the Republican opposition. “Not a lot of people want to be led.”
Read more



Thursday Morning Open Thread: “Don’t Agonize – Organize”


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Apart from that, what’s on the agenda as we start another day?

I may have to add yet another category to the ever-growing list…



Friday Morning Open Thread: TGIF (While It Lasts)

The unusual fundraising haul is the latest sign that President Donald Trump is motivating Democrats in extraordinary ways as the party looks to win back the 24 seats it needs to retake the House of Representatives in next year’s midterm elections and put Rep. Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair.

The DCCC raised $20 million in online contributions since the start of the year from contributions averaging just $18, according to the group, beating the $19.7 million the committee raised during 2015, the last off-year ahead of an election year.

The campaign arm of House Democrats said more than 2.2 million people joined the committee’s grassroots email lists since the beginning of January, including 156,00 new donors.

“The DCCC is actively building the largest battleground in a decade, and that’s a testament to the grassroots energy that we’re witnessing every day, in every corner of America,” said DCCC Spokesman Tyler Law. “Our record smashing grassroots, online fundraising haul is further evidence that House Democrats are on offense while Republicans are in a full meltdown.”…

Because, well…

What’s (that we know about) on the agenda as we look forward to wrapping up the week?



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Patchworking

A longish read [warning: autoplay], but rich in entertainment value:

Advisers planning Trump’s first foreign trip, which begins Friday, canceled scheduled briefings on the matter to avoid having reporters milling about the West Wing. Vice President Mike Pence roared away in his motorcade.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior counselor who had been scheduled for an appearance on Fox News, abruptly canceled.

“It does seem a little chaotic over there, I gotta be honest with you,” said her would-be interviewer Tucker Carlson, a frank admission from a host who regularly defends the administration.

Into the night, the White House struggled to contain its frustration. Senior advisers told junior aides to focus on their work and compartmentalize the latest round of drama, which now the West Wing has even less control over.

The President and those around him saw again Wednesday night the limits of his own executive authority, a feeling presidents before him have bemoaned and he has witnessed multiple times in his four months in office.

One aide described the mood in two words: “Chaotically dark.”…

I think we can all agree with the following tweet:

What’s on the agenda as we buckle up for another day?
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Golden oldie, newly relevant: