Monday Morning Open Thread: The End of the Beginning

A BFD win, if we can keep it — and for once, it looks like we just might. Per the NYTimes, “Democrats, Buoyed by G.O.P. Health Defeat, See No Need to Offer Hand”:

Invigorated by the Republican dysfunction that led to a stunningly swift collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and relieved that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains intact, Democrats are in their best position since their embarrassing loss in the November election.

While it is far too soon to suggest that the House Republican majority may be imperiled, Democrats are newly optimistic about picking up seats in 2018, hoping to ride a backlash against Mr. Trump. Seeing an opportunity, they say they will not throw Mr. Trump a political life preserver at what they sense could be the first turns of a downward spiral.

The president’s approval rating was already mired below 40 percent in some surveys, and is likely to remain low after the health bill’s failure. He has no prospects for legislative victories on the immediate horizon, given how complicated and time-consuming his next priority, an overhaul of the tax code, would be even for a more unified party.

And while his electoral success in states represented by Democrats in Congress had been thought to put such lawmakers in a vise between their party and their president, Mr. Trump demonstrated no ability to pick off centrist Democrats in his first significant legislative push. Democrats — red-state moderates and blue-state liberals alike — formed an unbroken front of opposition to the repeal-and-replace campaign…

Though the ability of Democrats to do much more than say no remains limited, their success in helping to thwart Mr. Trump will not only embolden them to confront him again — it will also inspire activists to push them to do whatever it takes to block his path.

“Having tasted victory, the resistance forces will feel even more empowered to insist that Democrats continue withholding any cooperation and not granting Trump any victories when he is so wounded,” said Brian Fallon, a Democratic strategist…

Cult-of-the-Savvy high priest and Politico founder Mike Allen, at his new brand Axios:

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the Day 64 defeat. President Trump, who made repeal-and-replace a central theme of his campaign, and House Republicans, who made it the central theme of every campaign since 2010, lost in a publicly humiliating way despite controlling every branch of government and enjoying margins in the House rarely seen in the past century.

This virtually guarantees no substantive legislative achievements in the first 100 days. And it creates rifts and suspicions and second-guessing that make governing much harder.

What’s on the agenda as we start the new week?



Saturday Night Open Thread: Old Man Yells At Crowds



Excellent Read: “How Obamacare Became a Preexisting Condition”

Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

You knew things had gone sideways when they locked up the House. The corridors that lead through the heart of the Capitol, from Senate chamber to House chamber, were still an unnavigable mass of tourists and staffers and journalists, all clustered by the walls and in unruly knots below the various graven images in Statuary Hall. The echoes were an impossible gabble of crying children, overmatched tour guides, angry parents, and television stand-ups from many lands. At about 3:30, when the voting was supposed to start, a small, tough-looking woman from the Capitol Police turned out the lights in one of the small foyers leading to the chamber. She swung the big doors shut and slammed the locks down into the floor. And that was pretty much it. Until, of course, Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, took to a podium in the bowels of the Capitol and said the following.

“Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.”

That statement should have come with a sword for Ryan to hand over to Nancy Pelosi who, let it be said, is one legislative badass. She somehow kept her caucus united. There wasn’t even a hint of blue-doggery from her caucus as it sat back and let the Republicans rip each other to shreds, let the president* get exposed as a rookie who should be sent back to A-ball, and let the conservative movement expose itself as graphically as it ever has as the soulless creature of the money power that it’s been for 40 years. Usually, there are some Democrats who either want to make a deal so that Fred Hiatt will send them a Christmas card, or simply because Democrats occasionally can’t help themselves from trying to make the government, you know, actually work…

“We were a 10-year opposition party where being against things was easy to do,” Ryan said. “And now, in three months’ time, we’ve tried to go to a governing party, where we have to actually get … people to agree with each other in how we do things.” Of course, since 2010, the House has had a Republican majority and a Republican speaker. There have been two of them—John Boehner and Ryan. The crazy caucus ran Boehner out of office and now, they’ve handed Ryan his head. Pro Tip: it’s not you, boys. It’s your party…

To be fair, the president* took the defeat rather better than I thought he would, which is to say he blamed the Democrats, repeated claim that the Affordable Care Act is gasping its last breath, and was so fulsome in his sympathy for Paul Ryan that, were I Ryan, I’d hire a food taster. Somebody’s going to pay for this. You can be sure of that. Meanwhile, as Paul Ryan said, Obamacare remains the law of the land. The Rotunda was still packed with tourists when the news came down and you wondered how many people there had somehow been helped by the Affordable Care Act. Maybe it’s that elderly gent looking up at the statue of Huey Long, or that kid in the wheelchair paused beneath Norman Borlaug. Obamacare is now a pre-existing condition, and a damned stubborn one at that.

Also too, Scott Lemieux at LGM on a “B.F.D.”:

It is ever more remarkable, in retrospect, that much of the discussion on the left following the passage of the ACA consisted of complaints about how Obama/Pelosi/Reid could “only” pass the ACA. This is, on one level, understandable, given that the ACA is unmistakably inferior to the baseline established by other liberal democracies… The coalition that passed the ACA included three senators from the Dakotas, one each from Indiana and Arkansas, and two each from Montana and West Virginia. Glib “BE MORE LIBERAL!” exhortations don’t really help you to get liberal governing majorities in an institution that heavily favors conservative rural interests.

Comprehensive health care reform is brutally hard, as Truman and Johnson and Clinton can tell you. In addition getting the list of legislators above, the Democrats also needed to keep in the fold every liberal who was well aware that the ACA was substantially suboptimal. Senators like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown deserve enormous credit for working to make the bill as it could be and then supporting it. The Republicans just completely failed with a more homogeneous coalition in the more top-down chamber. What the Democratic leadership pulled off in 2009 is remarkable, and we now know that it is an enduring accomplishment.



Saturday Morning Clowns Open Thread: Not Gonna Get Easier, Repubs


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Aaaand now… Onwards, to the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver’s Ayn Rand wet dream…



Something Strange in the Greater DC Area: There Appears to be a Cluster of Missing African American and Latina Teen Girls

There is concern that there is a cluster or, perhaps, a spike in missing persons cases in the DC area where the missing person is either an African American or Latina teen girl.

The figure is startling — more than a dozen black and Latina teens have been reported missing in D.C. since March 1.

The apparent jump in the number of missing young people in the District has raised concern in neighborhoods and on social media.

Actually, what’s happening is D.C. police are now acknowledging a continuing problem.

https://twitter.com/DCPoliceDept/status/839886925632835584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwtop.com%2Fdc%2F2017%2F03%2Fdc-police-address-concerns-over-missing-teens%2F

As indicated by the social media response, DC authorities are taking the issue seriously.

Chanel Dickerson, who recently became commander of the D.C. police’s Youth and Family Services Division, said she was shocked by the number of missing children in the District. She said many of the cases involved runaways and she has pledged to publicize each case and provide equal service to all.

The 211 people who went missing in January did not reflect an increase in cases, Dickerson said, just better reporting by the families. While that may be true, it is far from reassuring. Few believe that the children are being snatched off the street in mass, but they do think that the children are endangered.

Sharece Crawford, a member of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Southeast Washington, said she believed that more black girls were getting involved with gangs and also being forced into prostitution.

“What we need is a citywide alert about the dangers out here and how parents can protect their children,” Crawford said. “Residents are very worried. They are wondering if the city is taking this seriously. They say things like, ‘If white girls were disappearing uptown, there would be a state of emergency.’ ”

The good news is that some of the missing teens are being found.

Amongst the teens missing, it’s been reported that 13-year-old Taylor Innis has been found in “good health.” Missing teen Antwan Jordan has been found safe.

Here’s the picture arrays with the pertinent information from one of the Essence authors/reporters.

As much as we are paying attention to a lot of important, fast moving things, it is equally important to pay attention to other equally important issues that impact people in different, but still important ways. It is important to remember that there are people at risk not because of anything the Federal, state, or local government may or may not be doing – though they may be at risk for things that should have long been done, but weren’t. Rather, people can be at risk just because of the reality of day to day life. It is important to keep in mind that as we focus on the big issues that we don’t lose sight of equally important things closer to home.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Some Well-Earned Schadenfreude

Anything is possible in this fallen world, so there’s still a chance that Ryan and Trump between them can bribe, charm, or bully enough Repub holdouts into voting for their “health care” “plan” (Trump air quotes). But the betting odds are against it, at least for today… and it’s always sweet to see such a bunch of grifters and cravens suffer.

Apart from cheering for more GOP defectors, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?
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Open Thread: Pay Attention to Senator Warren, People!