So now what?

So now what?

That is a hell of a question but I think the right way to start probing towards some of boundaries of the possibility space is to ask what happened.

As I see it, the winning coalition that blocked the bill was a combination of unanimous Democratic opposition plus state level Republicans who actually have to balance a state budget and deal with real issues plus Republicans in districts that make them inherently vulnerable during a mid-term swing against the incumbent party plus the reactionaries of the House Freedom Caucus. We were also aided by the ineptitude of the wank “wonk” Paul Ryan and his coterie of enablers.

We told our stories. We mobilized. We stiffened the spine of Democrats whose spines probably did not need much stiffening. We put the fear of god into vulnerable Republicans. We scared the people who have to balance a state budget. We had on our side almost all of the interest groups that had bought into the ACA — doctors, insurers, hospitals, big drug makers and everyone else that gave a bit to get a bit. The only people who were not aghast at the AHCA were high income tax cut fanatics and policy illiterate decision makers.

We had a huge and unusual coalition pushing back against a bum’s rush. Most of this coalition was assembled in 2009 and 2010 to push the ACA through. And it was re-activated days after the election as everyone recovered from their shock, dismay and hangovers. Any time something changed, wonks were ripping through the documenation and making fast, rough and directionally right analysis with maps, figures, graphs and other hooks to allow advocates to tell personal, powerful stories that landed. And we kept on iterating powerful and emotionally connecting truth on every iteration of the bill.

We won. And our win helps our community:

Does it mean I finally can breathe again? That my health care won’t be pulled in a matter of weeks or months, on the eve of my starting biologic therapy for my Crohn’s?

This is why we fight. We’re not going to win every time. But we have to fight for conceding defeat and defeatism without making an effort means throwing ArchTeryx and others to the dogs. We’re not going to win every time, but we need to fight for both the chance to win as we did this week and to be able to look at our friends, our countrymen and ourselves with honesty as we say that we are doing everything that we can. We will need that for immigration. We will need that for global warming. We need that for our LBG and especially T allies. We might not win every time, but we can mitigate some damage, impose some delay, inflict some cost, and build effective coalitions for future action and progress every time that we hold to our values and our ideals.

So what does this mean for policy? The fear is that the ACA is here, but that the Trump Administration will sabotage it. This is a real fear, and it is one that the coalition that won this week will need to be engaged on to protect the implementation of the ACA.

Read more

If I slip, then I’m slipping

I knew Trump’s approval rating was low, but I didn’t realize this.

I’ve come to believe that what will hurt Trump most with voters is not that he’s a pussy-grabbing crook who’s being blackmailed by Putin with tapes of him peeing on prostitutes, but that he’s something much worse: a typical Republican. He’s a sucker for letting Ryancare become Trumpcare, and reg’lar Murkins like Meals On Wheels and PBS, no matter that the American Enterprise Institute thinks.

Vote him out

From Pete Sessions’ most recent town hall.

Fuck yeah

Shout at the devil

I went to a town hall meeting yesterday for local Congressman Tom Reed. The audience was moderately hostile but Reed handled himself well. Some Congressional representatives get rattled by heckling, and if they do, you should heckle. Getting in your opponents’ head is half the battle. For others, like Reed, it’s better to be polite but persistent. You might think a Congressional representative like Reed “wins” in this case, but that’s not necessarily the right way to look at it, because reps who handle town hall crowds well also tend to say the kinds of reasonable, honest things that can be used against their caucus when their caucus is trying to pass truly horrible legislation like TrumpCare. Maybe you could argue that the rep still “wins” this way if the legislation fails, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s in the service of killing terrible legislation.

Reed was less than enthusiastic about TrumpCare. He said he wouldn’t vote for it before there was a a CBO score, and that he might conceivably vote against it if he didn’t like the CBO score. He also implied that he didn’t see the current bill as a final product but just a starting point.

In fact, a lot of Republican members of Congress are expressing reservations about TrumpCare at town hall meetings. Dean Heller’s comments were somewhat similar to Reed’s though more pointed and more supportive of ACA.

Issa calls for special prosecutor

I hope more Republicans come out in favor of this, though I doubt they will:

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said on Friday that a special prosecutor needs to lead an investigation into the alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Come on, come on down, you’ve got it in ya

This is great news:

Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Is anyone going to the Not My President’s Day rally today?

My wife and I wrote post-cards to our Senators and Reps telling them to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

Consider this an IRL activism open thread.

Federal agents mad cuz I’m flagrant

The Deep State’s slow motion coup continues:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, according to five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation.


This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.