Re: Thank You, William Saletan.

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Saletan is what is wrong with America.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:34 AM
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I really hate that amendment and hope that it gets dropped in conference. Supposedly the Senate bill doesn't include it.

I wouldn't want to totally block expanded insurance over this. I'd keep fighting to change the law --starting with coverage for late-term ones for serious health, dead fetus, defect stuff. And in the meantime, I'd set up organizations to help fund abortions for poor women that would pay any provider--not just giving money to Planned Parenthood.

I'm thinking of something like the Jewish organizations that paid to get some Jews out of Austria. You could have a really cheap premium (though maybe that would be too much like insurance and require a lot of State oversight) and accept donations. It's really far from ideal, but I think that mutual societies ought to rise up as we fight for better coverage.

I hate to compromise on this, but I want to reduce the number of people going bankrupt from lack of medical care, so I really want to pass something decent. Abortion is a relatively cheap procedure, one that I think charities might be able to help with in a way that they can't do with open heart surgery.

I was listening to a radio show yesterday where some pro-choice guy called in to complain about the Stupak amendment. It was really annoying, because he went on about how women hadn't done enough to advocate for the pro-choice position.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:35 AM
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That is true. I truly hate that motherfucker.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:35 AM
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Alternative post title: "Fuck You, Amy Sullivan".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:35 AM
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I'm thinking of something like the Jewish organizations that paid to get some Jews out of Austria.

This analogy made me laugh out loud. Get the fetuses out of Uteria! Or...wait! Or...um...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:36 AM
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I know the Lucy-holding-the-football metaphor is overused, but it really works so well: "If you'll just acknowledge and respect our deep moral qualms, we won't take away your rights. Oh, hey, now that you've been so respectful and nonjudgmental about our disagreement, we feel safe acting on it politically. Psych!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:40 AM
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I find it disheartening and upsetting that Saletan continues to get so much mainstream support and kudos for his positions.

The fact that he continually gets published is just like a slap in the face, over and over, reminding you that the people who make decisions about which opinions to air have decided that hatefulness cloaked in reasonability is just fine with them.

I wish people would go back to harping on the 1-in-3-American-women-will-get-an-abortion statistic. The extremists will never find that convincing, but some in the middle will.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:56 AM
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Not what I intended, heebie. Just meant -- mutual support organizations. They also helped with education some.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:05 PM
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I disagree with the last statement. What is the alternative to a guy like Stupak? Presumably a pro-life Republican. Overall, bluedogs in red and redish districts are a positive. Sure they often vote against you, but overall they're much more likely to vote the right way than Republicans, even 'moderate ones.' Look at how Blue Dogs voted on health care or cap& trade or the stimulus, compare the percentages with Repub members of the 'Main Street' caucus (the supposed Repub counterpart to the Blue Dogs). We need to be selective - primary blue dog/anti-choice legilators in districts where we can keep the seat, but leave the Nelsons and Stupaks alone.

On the public discourse of abortion, and PR tactics I completely agree.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:17 PM
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I also get pissed that politicians who are crappy on other issues get a pass for being pro-choice. Liberman's still a good Dem, because his environmental record is good, and he's pro-choice. Except, well.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:25 PM
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I'm with you in that tolerating bluedogs where the alternative is a Republican is okay. But on abortion specifically, I think the Democrats have signaled that there's not going to be any pressure to toe the party line, and I think that's a mistake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:26 PM
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10: Well, no one really thinks Lieberman's a good Dem anymore, do they?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:30 PM
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Supposedly the Senate bill doesn't include it.

As I understand it, and I could be wrong, the 60th vote for cloture (there are several of these, each demanding one or more things), which is in this case is Bill Nelson, wants Stupak language to go to conference or he (supposedly) won't vote cloture. A Stupak amendment would need 60 votes on the floor, so Nelson wants Reid to add it to the original bill. There are of course many Senators who say they would vote against the bill if Stupak is in it.

Last I heard, Reid is going to tighten up the original language limiting Fed Funds for abortion a little, and hope Nelson is bluffing. Then it would go to conference where I suppose something between Stupak and the Senate is agreed on, so the net effect would be a worse clause than the Senate, and worse for choice than if Nancy had not let Stupak in. Then we will see if the choicers can handle it on the final vote.

All is still very much in play.

Conventional wisdom is 75-25 on HCR passing, I'll say 60-40.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:33 PM
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And if we want to raise a generation of adults who actually understand how their bodies work, thus making them biologically literate enough to understand some of the many reasons that abortion might be a good option to have, Scarleteen is having a fund drive. If you think the world needs responsible sex education, please give.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:37 PM
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9-12:Nelson is probably the best we can do in his state, but we can do better than Lieberman.

IOW, what we need is more progressive representation in those seats where it is possible. It will be rough and mean, because it means running primary opposition to those Democrats who are the most loyal and have the best records. But if we can do ten per cent better tan Pelosi or Barney Frank or Chuck Schumer, that is where the gains come. More progressive progressives.

Then the caucuses have to get tough on bills. The House Progressive Caucus had to kill health care dead over Stupak. If they don't do it, no one will listen or negotiate with them, and the Blue Dogs win. I don't understand how people think progressives can compete with the Blue Dogs if all they ever do is threaten and cave.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:41 PM
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No, LB, but it hasn't been that long other than on the internet. The media still referred to him as A Democrat after he quit to form his own party.

Diane Feinstein gets to do all kinds of awful things, but she's pro-choice, so that makes it okay.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:42 PM
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I don't read people like Saletan, but did he really suggest that 'tolerance' would beget compromise by politicians who've publicly staked out a pro-life position? I mean, wouldn't it really have been incumbent on the politicians themselves to make that deal? And if they didn't, or weren't willing to, why would anyone pay attention to a journalist's announcement of some kind of Grand Bargain?

Actually, did anyone on either side think there was a deal?

Or was it really just 'Bob Casey is better than Rick Santorum'?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:48 PM
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To 17: Scott Lemieux at LGM does yeoman's work on this stuff. When I can stand to read about it, he's generally what I read. Some recent examples.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:51 PM
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4:I hate to compromise on this

Stupak is in because we compromised on the Hyde Amendment whatever years ago, and now rhe Hyde amendment is the baseline. The trendline is slow but inexorable.

No more concessions. Reversals and pushbacks instead.

how women hadn't done enough to advocate for the pro-choice position.

Pre-emption?

I'll let Jane Hamsher take on the NARAL leadership etc. She's furious.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:56 PM
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Sure, to the extent that some journalist is arguing that the Dem leadership could have made this deal, and didn't, that journalist is a moron. But the deal was never made. Bob Casey is better than Rick Santorum, even if he ends up voting against funding abortion with public money.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 12:57 PM
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18 What I also like about Scott's writing is his emphasis that this is to a large extent a class issue. Upper income women will always be able to get safe and legal abortions, no matter what the laws are in the US. Middle income ones will be able to get safe but not legal ones. The poor will be fucked. Or as a good friend of mine in Poland said to a screaming female counterprotester during the debate over making abortion illegal (it now is): "When this law passes, you'll be the one using the hanger, I'll be going to Prague or Amsterdam". These days that's what the upper middle class and rich do. Middle income folks use the quite professional private health clinics that, to use the classifieds code phrase "offer a full range of gynecological services". And the poor use fly by night operations with high risks of complications. Since the only time anyone is ever prosecuted is when a women ends up dead or in the emergency room, guess who goes to jail. And the debate is dead. The rich and middle class no longer care, the poor, well, the half or so of them that are pro-choice aren't going to get anything done.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:01 PM
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Charley, the issue is not public funding of abortion (which the Dems caved on forever ago). It's whether the effect of Stupak will be to cause insurance companies to stop funding abortions altogether.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:03 PM
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18: I am so pwned. I haven't been reading LGM much lately (no reason, I've just been reading blogs less), but the first couple of posts there are very much what I wanted to say in this one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:04 PM
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19 -- Bob, I don't think "we" had the votes to defeat Hyde in 1976, and I don't think "we" have had the votes to repeal it since. Or the various similar provisions (like not paying for abortions of service-women). It's not a compromise when you lose because the other side has the more popular position.

Are there the votes to get HRC without Stupak in 2009? If so, I think it's pretty close.

Replacing Frank or Pelosi with someone more progressive isn't going to make any difference on the issues where they already vote with you. It probably would narrow the group of voters, and prevent Dem betrayal of progressives by having Republicans in those seats.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:05 PM
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24: This is just defeatism -- the Democrats we have now in Congress are the most progressive we could possibly have, and pressure for better ones can only be counterproductive. I don't buy it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:07 PM
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11: I'm with you in that tolerating bluedogs where the alternative is a Republican is okay.

Really depends on the Blue Dogs. Honestly, this election, the D's should be consolidating in blue areas and states and let the Blue Dogs go hand. But RE (like alot of other idiots) is dedicated to returning the D's to being the party of the South, so they won't and there we go.

I'm perfectly happy to concede that there are many otherwise personally decent people out there who want abortion to be illegal, and I can respect that belief just as much as I respect any other religious belief I don't share.

I can understand why someone would come to that conclusion based on their beliefs. I can respect peaceful basically pacifist Catholics. I don't have any respect for the rest of it though. Even though I am personally tilted against abortion generally. (Sorry.) Fuck 'em.

But if someone's going to legislate on that basis, I don't want them in Congress as a Democrat.

In practice, as far as I've seen, none of the people supporting this stuff are actual Democrats. They just seem to have D labels after their name for some stupid reason.

max
['Someday actual Democrats will have a party and it will be called something else.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:07 PM
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22 -- I understand that. Rep Stupak (and the people who voted for his provision) would tell you that it's really just an extension of the same principle.

On the subject of Saletan and Sullivan, I'll shorten my prior comments by paraphrasing Stalin on the Pope: how many culturally conservative voters/politicians do these journalists have? Answer: None.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:10 PM
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25 -- LB, explain the mechanism. Could you have gotten a pro-choice replacement of Bob Casey in 2006? I don't see any basis at all for that. Does replacing Barney Frank with someone more progressive get you another vote against Stupak? How? You think a more progressive Frank might have talked Stupak out of it?

There are districts represented by Dems that are more conservative than their districts, I suppose. No one has ever shown me that they outnumber, or even approach, the number of Dem politicians who are more liberal than their constituents.

We don't live in a progressive country. It's not defeatism to admit that I'm never going to be taller or younger than I am right now.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:15 PM
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On the subject of Saletan and Sullivan, I'll shorten my prior comments by paraphrasing Stalin on the Pope: how many culturally conservative voters/politicians do these journalists have? Answer: None.

What does this mean?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:15 PM
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25:the Democrats we have now in Congress are the most progressive we could possibly have

No, this is defeatism.

What, it is unimaginable that Barney's district is a little to the left of Barney? Pelosi's district could be to her right)

The best Congresses in my lifetime, 68-74, involved in part the defeat of the very liberal Democrats who had been elected in the 64 landslide and passed Civil Rights and the Great Society, by Democrats even more to the left who ran on the issue of Vietnam.

You don't get progressive policy by replacing Republicans with Blue Dogs or Blue Dogs with moderates. You get progressive policies by replacing liberals with radicals, by electing Dornan and Abzug.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:18 PM
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To the extent that "solicitous respect" of pro-life views is understood as a strategy for defusing political conflicts over abortion, it seems to me obviously misguided, but that isn't the only reason why a Democrat would want to engage in it.

The idea would be that someone who is, for example, wholeheartedly committed to combating the imperialism of U.S. foreign policy or corporate control of the political process won't be forced out of the party because they have dissenting views on the moral status of a fetus.


Posted by: Criminally Bugur | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:19 PM
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Charley, the question isn't whether there are more Dems who are generally more progressive than their districts than the reverse, it's whether there are more pro-life Democrats who couldn't have been elected without pro-choice votes than the reverse. Abortion rights aren't unpopular in this country, and pro-choice voters tend to be Democrats -- if every Stupak got a primary challenge, we'd be better off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:19 PM
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30 -- They are irrelevant to the policy or politics of the United States.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:20 PM
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dissenting views on the moral status of a fetus

People can have all the dissenting views about the moral status of a fetus they like -- I just don't want them elected as Democrats if they intend to inflict those views on women who disagree with them. The problem isn't views, it's votes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:22 PM
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if every Stupak got a primary challenge, we'd be better off

You don't get a progressive Congress by replacing Blue Dogs with Republicans. As you've already said. Are Stupak's constituents leaning on him right now? Or is it more or less the case that his position commands a majority in his district?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:24 PM
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I don't know -- have you got some polls to look at? But it's not just Stupak, it's all sixty-four Aye votes. I don't believe there are sixty-four districts willing to elect a Democrat where trying to elect a pro-choice Democrat would flip them to Republican.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:28 PM
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I think people should go back and look at that era around 1970 for ideas.

"We" ...why the scare quotes CC...

had less Democrats in 1971 than in 1965, but they were, for example, willing to cut off funding for Vietnam. Eventually, they, with the help of Republicans, did cut the funding. The threat helped end the war.

Are Pelosi and Frank willing to do that? If not, let's try to replace them.

There should be no loyalty in politics. Leave that to the politicians.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:28 PM
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You don't get a progressive Congress by replacing Blue Dogs with Republicans.

And you know, maybe you do. I don't particularly care about party labels -- a 'Democratic' Congress doesn't do jack for me if it's not passing progressive legislation. If a couple of Blue Dog incumbents lose their seats after a primary challenge, even if those seats turn Republican, it's still a win if it puts the fear of God in the rest of the Blue Dogs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:31 PM
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36 -- Look at the map. None of those districts jump out at me as places where a Dem is actually vulnerable on this issue, although maybe two or three of them could be beaten with huge effort.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:35 PM
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38.1 -- A Congress that is not enacting Palinism is doing jack, even if it's not accomplishing all you want.

38.2 -- No one will be afraid.

Look, I think it'd be great if the country moved in a progressive direction. It's not going to be accomplished by circular firing squads, or putting the Palinists in power.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:40 PM
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30:Not following.

38:You are not going to scare a Blue Dog into voting way to the left of his constituency.

What you need to look for are congresspersons that are to the right of their constituencies, that got elected with the help of corporate money (or incumbency, etc).

Since with current conditions we need them to be Democrats, that means targeting moderate or liberal Democrats.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:41 PM
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It's not going to be accomplished by circular firing squads, or putting the Palinists in power.

Right. It's going to accomplished by admitting that certain progressive fundamental principles aren't really all that important, and can be bargained away, even for wholly illusory nonmagic beans. Especially when these principles involve protecting women and their rights and freedoms.

Boy am I over-the-top tendentious today. I'm just cranky because I've been hating America a lot recently. Never mind.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:46 PM
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41.2 -- I agree with this, to the extent that you don't already have the reps votes on most issues. Bob, do you think any of the 3 Dems in Texas who voted for Stupak are significantly to the right of their districts?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:48 PM
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No one will be afraid.

Whoops, if I'd only known that, I wouldn't have dreamed of making such a pointless suggestion.

How do you know?

None of those districts jump out at me as places where a Dem is actually vulnerable on this issue,

You know, while I don't have the polling figures for the whole country in my head, I see a lot of the Yes Democrats bordering on No Democrats. Which suggests that indeed, some of them might be vulnerable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:54 PM
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40.last: It's not going to be accomplished by circular firing squads

Indeed. Surely there's an alternative to incumbent Dems who voted in favor of Stupak being unseated in favor of Republicans. Namely being unseated in favor of other Dems who wouldn't have voted in favor of Stupak. (I am just catching up to this thread.)

But I've heard that the passing of the Stupak amendment was part of a larger strategy designed to see to it that HRC passed in the House *at all*.

I haven't researched this, but heard recently that an approach was taken by House Republicans to vote "present" (rather than yea or nay) so that there wouldn't be enough votes to pass HRC at all. I admit I don't understand this. What I heard -- this is second-hand and was entirely news to me -- was that Pelosi adopted in response a strategy that required Dems to actually vote in favor of Stupak, just so that there would be enough votes to pass the bill at all.

Honestly, this is a bit obscure to me; the idea, though, was that final hour arm-twisting had little to nothing to do with whether one actually supported the Stupak amendment, and more to do with a response to tactics Republicans intended to adopt.

?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:55 PM
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30 I doubt that's the case for Frank. Yes it's a pretty liberal district made up of a mix of wealthy liberal professional type suburbs and poor Catholic working class areas, but Frank is already on the left of the Democratic caucus. And if you want a primary challenge you need the differences to be clear enough for people to choose to vote against an incumbent they've by and large rather liked. Slightly to the left doesn't do it, not that I'm even sure that's true.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 1:56 PM
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43:Not sure, but the Delay mid-cycle redistricting had the goal of making all districts marginal, except those they needed to keep SCOTUS happy, and counting in part on turnout to keep representation conservative.

Example:30% black, 30% Hispanic, 40% Republican

Actual turnout in a midterm:10, 10, 25. Then use incumbency.

But shorter, I doubt Steny Hoyer is vulnerable. IIRC, they carved Austin into at least three pieces.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:00 PM
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Actually, to sound a less defeatist note, I think there are still Republican seats -- outside the South and Appalachia -- that can be had. Rep Minnick voted against Stupak. I think there are probably more seats to be had from the kind of turnover that district saw in 2008. This is a strongly Republican district, and I don't know if it can be held in 2010, but I'd think money and effort are better spent on that, and other Republican targets of opportunity than trying to unseat Reps Skelton or Obey.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:02 PM
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46:Obviously there was a key issue in 68-70-72 to differentiate between an ordinary liberal and a radical that benefited the radical in very liberal districts. A sitting Congressperson often had a hard time promising to end the war.

I would like to have such an issue in 2010:single-payer.
Defeat this PoS insurance bailout, and run radicals in liberal districts.

Or, ya know, maybe they could run against this 9-yr-old war? Nah, that's silly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:06 PM
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Isn't this strongly affected by the shifting tensions and priorities among voters themselves? People can feel very strongly about an issue (e.g., it is WRONG to burn the flag) and yet put it about #35 on their priorities in picking a candidate.

I would willingly believe there are Democratic representatives living in districts where the voting public is to the left of them on reproductive rights. I would find it much harder to believe that -- absent a focused campaign to raise the profile of the issue and a semi-miracle involving educating voters in a non-inflammatory way* -- incumbents who are generally doing an OK job otherwise are going to lose elections over this.

*I am at a complete loss on how to do this, because the cognitive gap between "I think it's really really really wronngggggg" and "I don't think it should be illegal," is so huge. I've come to assume that I'm unrepresentatively pragmatic (or maybe something less flattering) on this topic.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:07 PM
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45: I don't know anything about that, but I can't quite see how it would work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:08 PM
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But we are still not getting it.

Pelosi & Frank both voted for Stupak, as part of the final bill. Do we need to give them a break on it?

Pelosi and Frank and most of the caucus voted for Stupak, just as most Congresspersons in 1968 funded Vietnam.

That is how progressives create and use Wedge issues, that is how Republicans do it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:11 PM
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51: Yeah. I'll try to find out more; really don't know where this explanation was coming from. And frankly, I didn't know there was such a thing as voting merely "present", i.e. abstaining while present, such that ... what? in the first place. Sobering news, if true.

Perhaps someone like PGD could enlighten us.

In any case, it does seem like a mistake to assume that those who voted for or against Stupak were doing so on the basis of pro- and anti-choice beliefs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:18 PM
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In any case, it does seem like a mistake to assume that those who voted for or against Stupak were doing so on the basis of pro- and anti-choice beliefs.

I don't think so, unless I see some convincing explanation otherwise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:24 PM
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54: Really? I assume they're all doing it because they're jockeying for position against future smear ads. I truly don't think most of them wouldn't flip with the wind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:31 PM
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I'm not talking about sincerity, I just don't believe without a convincing explanation that there was some procedural reason, as parsimon suggests, why someone actually opposed to the amendment would have voted for it. (I'm not a hardliner like Bob -- I'm not talking about yes votes on the final bill, just on the amendment.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:37 PM
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And of course there are often procedural reasons why people cast votes that sound like stuff they don't believe in -- it's not inherently implausible, I just think that if that were what was going on here, I would have heard about it before.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:41 PM
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Here's theory.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:46 PM
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+a


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:47 PM
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LB, explain the mechanism. Could you have gotten a pro-choice replacement of Bob Casey in 2006? I don't see any basis at all for that. ...

Seems simple enough to me, beat Casey with a pro-abortion Democrat in the primary. Santorum was going to lose anyway.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 2:58 PM
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58: But that's a theory that someone who voted for Stupak actually wanted to vote against the whole bill but was afraid of being punished by their constituents. So a yes vote on Stupak would imply opposition to health care reform in its entirety, which is as punishment-worthy as being anti-choice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:01 PM
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35

... Or is it more or less the case that his position commands a majority in his district?

It doesn't matter what the majority of his district thinks, it matters what a majority of the Democratic primary voters think. If you never nominate anti-abortion Democrats (except in those few districts where a majority of Democrats are anti-abortion) you would have lot few anti-abortion Democrats in office.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:02 PM
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62: That's mostly what I'm thinking. The possible flaw in it is whether pro-life Democrats are pro-lifers first, or Democrats first: if they'll vote pro-life in the primary, but Democratic in the general, it works. If they vote Democratic only if a pro-life Democrat is an option, but Republican otherwise, Democrats lose the seat when all the pro-life Dems flip in the general.

I think it's worth taking that gamble, but there is a gamble there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:06 PM
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63

I think it's worth taking that gamble, but there is a gamble there.

Not much of a gamble if the only thing you care about is abortion. If you care about other things also than you should sometimes be willing to trade abortion rights for them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:14 PM
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Sure. If you genuinely are a single issue voter, all your decisions are easy. If, like most people, you're not, you have to weigh priorities.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:20 PM
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65

... If, like most people, you're not, you have to weigh priorities.

But wasn't the point of your post that Democrats should give more priority to being pro-abortion even if that results in not passing health care reform?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:41 PM
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Nope. My point was that (a) we've been hearing a lot about 'respect' for pro-life views as if it didn't involve actually placing a lower priority on protecting abortion rights. As it turns out, it appears to me that it does. And (b) I want a higher priority on protecting abortion rights than the Democrats appear to be placing on them now -- they're selling us out on a hair trigger. I'm not convinced that it would have been impossible to pass the House bill without Stupak, and certainly not convinced that it would have been impossible in a climate where we'd been prioritizing making Democratic legislators pro-choice for the past couple of elections.

If I'm convinced that it's a choice between a good health care bill and protecting abortion rights, I'd probably go for the good health care bill. But it's going to take more than I've heard yet to convince me that I have to take that tradeoff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 3:52 PM
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67

... I want a higher priority on protecting abortion rights than the Democrats appear to be placing on them now -- they're selling us out on a hair trigger. I'm not convinced that it would have been impossible to pass the House bill without Stupak, and certainly not convinced that it would have been impossible in a climate where we'd been prioritizing making Democratic legislators pro-choice for the past couple of elections.

They sold you out when they selected anti-abortion candidates in the last couple of elections. The Stupak amendment vote is just revealing this.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 4:42 PM
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They sold you out when they selected anti-abortion candidates

They = Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, Whip of Obama

This Post

If the Democratic Party faces voters in 2010 with unemployment over 10%, it is likely to lose the House, seats in the Senate, and many key governorships*. Nor do they have much time to act since any changes will take time to kick in. So,the scheduling of a summit a month from now while the President dallies with photo ops with the Emperor and Empress of Japan looks especially foolish.

*Not mentioned is that the 2010s will be the state legislatures that do the redistricting for a decade

...and similar posts at Open Left, Krugman about Obama plans to switch deficit reduction in his SOTU, which could help destroy the Democratic Party for a decade....wait, it gets fun...

..inspired me to speculation that Obama was chosen to be a mole at the University of Chicago 20 years ago.

Only a Democrat could destroy the New Deal, Great Society, and Democratic Party.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 5:41 PM
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49 You see, the problem is I don't want to defeat this health care bill. In fact I'd be just as happy to primary a leftier than thou nay vote on health care as I would a yes vote on Stupak. A progressive who consistently votes against tangible improvements because they're flawed is just as bad from a practical point of view as a Blue Dog who does the same because they hurt his donors.

I don't think single payer is a realistic possibility in the near future, and I also believe that getting there would be easier with incremental steps rather than through a UK style sudden reform. With the exception of Britain that's what happened with all the big European states. From a consumer perspective the end result isn't that different, though the mechanics of administration and payment within the system are.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 5:43 PM
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You're not wrong about that, but there's room for pressure to be applied between elections, and I'd like to see that happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 5:44 PM
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Sorry, that should have been "destroy the Democratic Party for generations" not decade. Lasting as long as the FDR re-alignment Make the demographic changes irrelevant.

Republicans (the old money ones, Kochs, Waltons etc) do strategy, and think in decades and trillions. I have seen few current Democrats with a clue.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 5:49 PM
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The Dem Whip said that the actual net gain from the Stupak amendment was ten Dem votes; Cao, an ex priest, would also have probably voted no. I've read that there were almost certainly a few No votes that were available if necessary, i.e. the Dem leadership gave their blessing to a few pro-HCR reps from anti-HCR districts to vote no. The question is were there enough.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 5:54 PM
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California Comptroller seriously studies the Constitution to find a way for California to secede.

These are extraordinary times and call for extraordinary policies and politics.

We are at a culmination. Those who try to keep it sane will end up as admired irrelevancies, like Mirabeau and Kerensky.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 6:19 PM
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So the Democrats are in power and planning to reduce access to abortions . . . What's going to happen when Republicans are in power? That's when you'll be glad for the private option, if we still have it . . .


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 6:26 PM
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74 So all of us here should run for our lives since we're soon for the guillotine or the bullet in the back of the head?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 6:26 PM
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Has anyone suggested giving Stupak's district to Canada? It's right next door, and, while it doesn't actually help anything, it would be funny.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 6:52 PM
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75: So the Democrats are in power and planning to reduce access to abortions . . .

I think the idea is supposed to be that only the House agreed to the Stupak amendment, but the Senate will not. The idea is further supposed to be that the House *had* to agree to the amendment in order to pass the bill at all, and pass it on to the Senate. Who are supposed to reject it.

Are we clear? I thought that was the idea.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:07 PM
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Why is TKM always bringing up violence?

This very bad healthcare bill needs to go down, or 2010 will show us a Conservative Democratic Congress that will break your heart. Progressives must be feared.

Democrats need to run against this President in the midterms:against Obama on the banks;against Obama on the war;against the Obama sellout to insurance and Big Pharma.

With 10+ unemployment, many more unemployed work for two years, this will not be a midterm that rewards the careful & compromised.

The only insanity around belongs to those who believe capitulation will inspire the desperate and angry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:08 PM
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Clarification: I mean the Senate is supposed to reject any version of the bill that includes the Stupak amendment. They are not to reject any bill whatsoever.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:10 PM
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78:As of today at FDL, Nelson still says he won't vote for cloture without Stupak.

As I said above, they will probably change the language in the Senate (but not all the way to Stupak) to get Nelson, and the Senate choicers will cave like the progressives in the house.

Then something between Stupak and the Senate will come out of conference, something pretty bad.

And everyone will say we must have this shitty insurance give away, and women will lose just a little bit more choice, and progressives will be disheartened.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:14 PM
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79 The Mirabeau and Kerensky mentions seemed to me to be pretty clear references to a following sea of blood, no?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:15 PM
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What do you think, do you think Obama wants to sadly but necessarily sign away just a little more choice, the President of all the people, not just Democrats?

Would Rahm want him to do that?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:18 PM
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Do we really want a handful of Senators deciding what's in our health insurance? Or we could have real health insurance competition and Senators would have nothing to do with it. This isn't a sideshow, this is the core of government run health care . . . every single care decision will be made by elected officials, not by consumers.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:40 PM
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every single care decision will be made by elected officials, not by consumers

Oh, please.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:44 PM
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Only the important ones then.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:45 PM
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84 Don't worry about yourself, the very rich will continue to be able to have a great deal of discretion in making their health care choices.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:54 PM
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Nobody's ever confused me for the very rich.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 7:58 PM
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Then the only difference will be that the power of execs looking to the greatest profit will be reduced, and that of politicians looking for the greatest number of votes and large campaign donations will be increased.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:01 PM
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every single care decision will be made by elected officials, not by consumers unelected insurance company officials.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:09 PM
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bjk has weak trolling fu.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:18 PM
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I like how he only tries like once every three months, and then slinks off for a while.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:25 PM
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Any fool knows that the mullahs already make all the decisions and will continue to do so no matter what happens with health care reform.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:29 PM
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Or maybe it's the Jews. I forget.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:30 PM
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As a consumer I certainly don't have much input into what health care I receive. That's determined mostly by God and partially by insurance companies.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:30 PM
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93, 94: The Jullahs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:31 PM
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94 Same thing, or so some of the wackier parts of the Arab press (or so I hear) and Polish press say.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:31 PM
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96: or so the Mews would have you believe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:36 PM
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If the opponents of Obamacare are all racists, bigots, and religious crazies (and why shouldn't they be, they disagree with you), then why would you want these people running your health care?


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:48 PM
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And getting weaker by the comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:54 PM
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It's cool. Once socialized medicine kicks in, he'll take some time, get healthy, train up, and be a serious troll.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 8:57 PM
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I do sometimes wonder what the results would be a of a poll that was the reverse of the classic one on government. (What do you think of the federal government? A lot of people say Oh, terrible, they're a bunch of incompent or corrupt fools. What was your last dealing with a government agency, and what was the outcome? and then those same people say, Oh, the Social Security Administration, and my check came right on time, thanks very much.)

So I'd like to see a survey asking people: What do you think of U.S. health insurance? and then of all the people who immediately say "The greatest system in the world!", how they would answer the question: What was your last dealing with an insurance company, and what was the outcome?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:01 PM
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102: I'm going to guess (and I'm willing to be told I'm wrong) that people without any health insurance vote less often than people with at least some coverage, so you'd have to tweak the results thusly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:06 PM
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Do people like free money? Yes they do.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:08 PM
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You know, it's a shame how standards slip. Once upon a time, it was customary around here for trolls to bring baked goods.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:13 PM
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I wouldn't actually disagree with your points, Stanley, but I'm confused what they have to do with my poll. Are you saying I'd get even more overwhelming evidence if we assumed that the group saying "The greatest healthcare in the world!" was disproportionately more likely to be insured, and also disproportionately more likely to vote?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:15 PM
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Are you saying I'd get even more overwhelming evidence if we assumed that the group saying "The greatest healthcare in the world!" was disproportionately more likely to be insured, and also disproportionately more likely to vote?

Yes, I think, but I was stating it with the have-nots rather than the haves. I assume (but don't know without numbers) that the opponents of healthcare reform are disproportionately both insured and likely to vote.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:55 PM
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I also demand baked goods.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 9:56 PM
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disproportionately both insured and likely to vote.

I'd also assume disproportionately male and white, too, now that I think about it. Anyone got numbers on this?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:07 PM
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I dunno. A lot of the people who are on the anti-health-care bandwagon are not necessarily comfortable, safe, and well insured. There are a lot of people like my parents who have every reason to fear losing their health insurance and live on the brink of financial disaster who have nevertheless adopted this weird attitude that (a) it is patriotic to say that, no matter what, the US has the best health care in the world, and that (b) the government is full of shitheads who will only destroy our precious freedom to be fucked over by health insurance.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:14 PM
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My mom, for example, will go on for ages about how government screws everything up, doctors are crooks and charlatans, patients are hypochondriac losers, and the people who are really losing out are the poor private health insurance companies, who are being screwed by everyone. Stockholm syndrome or what?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:18 PM
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95

As a consumer I certainly don't have much input into what health care I receive. That's determined mostly by God and partially by insurance companies.

This isn't true. You actually have lots of control although it may be tempting to just go along with whatever is recommended. I don't understand the reference to God and the insurance companies aren't that important either.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:26 PM
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102

... What was your last dealing with an insurance company, and what was the outcome?

My medical insurance has been pretty easy to deal with although I had one problem with a mail order perscription. So has the government for that matter (at least after the DMV starting allowing everything to be done by mail).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:30 PM
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111 This sounds like either a Jon Stewart routine or the inebriated rant a few years ago of an old college friend who went from hardcore Randian/Libertarian to professional propagandist for Pharma and the insurance industry. Even from him it was hard to believe. I've met Republican doctors who hate HCR, but they hate the insurance companies almost as much.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:41 PM
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My medical insurance has been pretty easy to deal with

Did you miss something? There are other people. They walk around and everything, presumably sometimes right near you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:42 PM
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115

Did you miss something? There are other people. They walk around and everything, presumably sometimes right near you.

The question didn't ask about them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:47 PM
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Okay, healthcare-wisdom dude, Shearer, show me the country where the private market delivered the best healthcare outcomes.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:52 PM
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117

Okay, healthcare-wisdom dude, Shearer, show me the country where the private market delivered the best healthcare outcomes.

Why should I defend a claim I haven't made?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 10:56 PM
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Fair enough. What would healthcare reform look like for James B. Shearer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:02 PM
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?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:02 PM
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Lasers! 8 o'clock, day one!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:04 PM
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Lasers only? I'd expect a unicorn and a spider-leprechaun if he meant business. Hm. Weak.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:12 PM
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122: I am freakishly tired, and yet very strung out, and thus self-medicating and so that is making my brain hurt.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:18 PM
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119

Fair enough. What would healthcare reform look like for James B. Shearer.

I must confess heath care is kind of a MEGO subject for me, complicated and boring. As I understand it there are two main issues. Universal access which (you will probably not be surprised to learn) I don't care all that much about. And cost (which of course increases access concerns). My understanding is cost is higher in the US primarily because we pay medical professionals more than in other countries. Clearly the present insurance based system contributes to this. But I don't really see a politically feasible way of switching to a more parsimonious system. I doubt the present proposals are going to reduce costs.

So I guess I would just go for marginal improvements and give more priority to other things like financial system reforms.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:49 PM
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The idea would be that someone who is, for example, wholeheartedly committed to combating the imperialism of U.S. foreign policy or corporate control of the political process won't be forced out of the party because they have dissenting views on the moral status of a fetus.

Funnily enough, the number of people who are both anti-imperialist and anti-abortion is small. Usually anybody who is anti-abortion is an asshole in other matters as well.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11-15-09 11:56 PM
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Universal access which (you will probably not be surprised to learn) I don't care all that much about.

Why not?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 12:07 AM
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125: One holds out hope for starry-eyed hippie Jesuits, but their numbers dwindle, I fear.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 12:26 AM
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126

Why not?

Not much of an equalitarian I guess.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 1:22 AM
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60 -- I don't think that's true at all. It would have depended on who exactly the pro-choice Dem would have been. Hardly someone with Casey's connections and record, since that's a very small set to start with.

If the next census gives Montana back it's second House seat, we in the west will send you a blue rep. And for the first several years of having a single seat after the 1990 census, we went blue. There is virtually no hope of going blue in 2010, though, given the particular individuals who've thrown their hats in the ring. Are there better? Some pro-choice Dem who's misjudging his or her own chances of beating our very unimpressive Republican incumbent? Not that I know of.

(The last Dem nominee for the seat refused to campaign, and ended up endorsing and voting for the Republican. Thanks a bunch for running in the primary.)

I just think the circular firing squad strategy presents way more risk than LB does. Politics is just too personal and too local to bet against the bird in the hand. Instead of picking 2 or 3 of the 64 Dems you might get, how about 6 or 7 of the 194 Reps?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 2:38 AM
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I also think it's a huge strategic mistake to write off working class Catholics, which is what pushing choice too hard as a national litmus issue amounts to. Especially given the country's changing demographics. Look again at the map.

"Reagan Democrats" had a strong Catholic contingent, in addition to the Southern bigots, and we're-number-one jingoes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 2:54 AM
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I wish that I lived in a country where unicorns run free 'we can do better than Barney Frank' was not delusional. Truly I do.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 3:03 AM
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re: 125

As CharleyCarp says, there are Catholic movements that are both of the socio-economic left, and (nonetheless) anti-abortion.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 3:48 AM
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i'm not sure why catholics get brought up more often with this than protestants. i'd be surprised if the majority of non-'bible church' clergy was pro-choice, and other than (some) anglican are any not scared of Gay?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 4:35 AM
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re: 133

As mentioned previously [a few days ago] the Church of Scotland voted in favour of the appointment of an openly gay Minister earlier this year. There was a sizable dissenting faction [about 20%] but that still means at least 80% of the voters weren't opposed to the idea of gay clergy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 4:48 AM
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i'm not sure why catholics get brought up more often with this than protestants

There are more of them and they have a central organization that sets policy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 5:58 AM
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I was kind of depressed to learn that while health care reform is very popular in Massachusetts, it's less popular among those actually affected by it as opposed to those who just continue to get their insurance through their employers.

People who qualify for the subsidized coverage are happy, but people who are just over a bit are not. People were hoping that there would be more affordable coverage options in the exchange, but older people are still struggling, and, of course, in the individual market even with community rating older people pay more. So, a family of 2 with $63,000 in income in the western part of the state is determined to be able to afford $352/month. Cheapest is $800. One family in Pittsfield (in the Western part of the state) chose "a policy costing around $1100, nearly twice the family's mortgage and three times its food budget. Eventually Alison got a job with benefits."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 6:31 AM
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I supported the Massachusetts reform, because we needed to do something, but it isn't a good model for national reform. Ugh.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 6:32 AM
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Another: "On the subject of Saletan and Sullivan, I'll shorten my prior comments by paraphrasing Stalin on the Pope: how many culturally conservative voters/politicians do these journalists have? Answer: None."

heebie-geebie : "What does this mean?"

IMHO, the first poster is pointing out that these f*ckheads urged compromise, but when we do, we don't get anything for it. The idea is that we are compromising our ideals, but even getting the promised (or rather, hinted at) reward.


Posted by: Barry | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 6:59 AM
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133: Part of what's going on is that abortion views are much more correlated with politics among Protestants than Catholics. There are actually lots of Protestant sects with no particular problem with abortion or gay people -- most mainline and the vast majority of liberal churches. Protestants with a problem with abortion tend to be conservative politically across the board.

Catholics, on the other hand, opposition to abortion has much more to do with how devout/engaged with the church hierarchy they are (not that all devout Catholics are anti-abortion, but the two things are connected), but devoutness doesn't have much to do with being generally left or right-wing. (This is oversimplified, there are some Catholics for whom devoutness has a lot to do with their politics generally, but it can go either left wing or the reverse.)

So the paradigmatic pro-lifer that a Democrat wants to engage is a devout Catholic -- the Protestant pro-lifer probably hates us on too many fronts for abortion alone to make a difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 7:15 AM
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139: Probably also has to do with geography. The Catholic pro-lifers aren't usually in the South and thus are more likely to be in competitive states.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 7:19 AM
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Canvassing in a prosperous NH neighbourhood during the primaries I ran into an unhappy Catholic engineer who was trying to figure out what to do as a fervently pro-life, anti-gay marriage, pro-single payer, anti-war, pro sharp top marginal rate tax hike voter. He said his wife whose social conservatism was weaker had a much easier time.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 7:51 AM
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141: I think those views would lead to a vote for last millenium's Dennis Kucinich.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:06 AM
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I mentioned that to him which got a smile, though he said he found Kucinich to flaky. He told me he was probably going to flip a coin and either vote Romney (least economically conservative Repub in his view) or Edwards.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:20 AM
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143: I used to find Kucinich flaky, but tall red-heads are hardly a dime a dozen. He must know something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:22 AM
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143: Funny, I thought Huckabee was the more socially conservative, less corporatist Republican. Also, of course, probably culturally kind of alien to your NH engineer, but of the Republicans, I think the closest to his stated positions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:25 AM
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145: I've been thinking lately that GOP ticket with the best shot for 2012 is Romney-Huckabee or Huckabee-Romney.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:28 AM
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Uh, the GOP ticket, I mean.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:28 AM
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146 would also make a plausible sitcom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:32 AM
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Romney? I think the take away lesson from the last go round is that people hate him.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:32 AM
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You're Polish, it's ok to skip your articles.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:32 AM
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146: I don't think any of the familiar GOP names can win in 2012.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:33 AM
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145 Yeah, I imagine that a full blown Arkansas fundie preacher weirded out his Quebecois-American sensibilities.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:34 AM
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151: The familiar names can probably win the GOP primary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:35 AM
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You're Polish, it's ok to skip your articles.

Thank you for advice!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:36 AM
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There's a lot of time for weird stuff to happen between now and then, but right now I expect the GOP primary to be a bloody, fratricidal affair that produces a damaged compromise nominee.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:38 AM
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fratricidal

Sexist.

['you betcha!']


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:46 AM
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One of the most damaging instincts liberals have is knee-jerk preemptive compromise. Liberals by their nature tend to try to see the other sides' point of view, simultaneously playing the roles of combatant and referee. This gives a huge advantage to conservatives who tend to simply fight for what they believe, and compromise within their own coalition but rarely across party lines unless absolutely necessary.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 8:52 AM
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129

I don't think that's true at all. It would have depended on who exactly the pro-choice Dem would have been. Hardly someone with Casey's connections and record, since that's a very small set to start with.

Casey won 59-41, in the same election the Democratic pro-abortion Governor, Rendell, won 60-40. Gore, Kerry and Obama all carried Pennsylvania. It was a Democratic year and Santorum had worn out his welcome. Hard to believe there was no pro-abortion Democrat who would have beat him. Maybe not by 18 but you don't get a bonus for a big win.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 9:24 AM
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158: Rendell was an incumbent running against a wide receiver with no political experience.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 10:03 AM
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158: More important than 159 is that the state party cleared the decks for Casey in '06 (and sooner) when it still looked like Santorum was formidable. I've always said that he was a bad fit for PA and that a decent Dem should be able to beat him, but I don't especially blame the state Dems for wanting that seat.

In general, PA has an extremely weak Dem bench - I'm not sure why. One theory is that Philly dismisses Pgh as irrelevant, while the rest of the state dismisses Philly as a corrupt city full of, well, you know. So you end up without Dems who have statewide constituencies. But I don't know.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 10:09 AM
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160.last: I have no idea on its intra-party effects, but I'd always assumed that "Philly dismisses Pgh as irrelevant" is why they have trains and we have (mostly) buses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 10:20 AM
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160

More important than 159 is that the state party cleared the decks for Casey in '06 (and sooner) ...

The state party supported Casey for Governor in 2002 but Rendell beat him in the primary by 13 and went on to win the general by 9.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 10:42 AM
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160 -- The PA Dem party has a bunch of pro-lifers. I'll say again, look at the map.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 11:30 AM
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So it's a state where pro-life and pro-choice candidates are both viable. Under those circumstances, I'd like the Democrats to focus their efforts on electing the pro-choice candidates.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 11:43 AM
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162: I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at, but if Ed had wanted to run against Santorum nobody could or would have stopped him. But he made clear that he had no interest.

The idea that PA candidates need to be anti-choice runs up against the perpetual Senatorship of (ostensibly) pro-choice Specter.

Casey was viewed as a slam-dunk win regardless of the larger political picture. Some of this related to abortion politics, but most of it derived from his family's popularity (and a credible job as state Auditor General, which is just about the only independent, statewide elected office).

By contrast, the Dems ran a nobody named Joe Hoeffel against Specter in '04, because there were no heavy hitters available (Casey wasn't really ready yet). For awhile, the late, lamented Jim Capozzola of Rittenhouse Review was threatening to run against Specter because no one in the Dem establishment was willing to do it (and, indeed, Hoeffel wasn't really part of the establishment, but he was a bit more established than Capozzola).

I might add that Casey got Dems on board by emphasizing his labor-liberal bona fides and downplaying his anti-choice stance (granted, an easier thing when your opponent is Santorum). As with Ben Nelson and Tim Johnson and Tom Harkin, peculiar local politics tell you more about who ends up where than simple glances at polling in a given state. And, in turn, party ID tells you more about how a pol will vote than his ostensible positions - which is why leadership needs to lead. Show me the vote where Tom DeLay allowed a few dozen Republicans to side with Dems to expand environmental protections as part of a bill (this is not to impugn Pelosi on this vote - I don't know if she specifically screwed up on Stupak - but Dem leadership in general).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 2:28 PM
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"pro-abortion"?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-16-09 2:33 PM
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rfs, Jackmormon has described herself as pro-abortion.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 4:50 AM
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I'm totally psyched about this abortion!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 4:54 AM
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"I'm having an abortion and I can't wait!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 5:46 AM
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(And looking for that clip I discover that my bedroom curtains in the 70s were the same as Lu-lu's!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 5:48 AM
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its hard to 'respect' people who say you are murdering/abetting murder, especially when you aren't.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 6:25 AM
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||

Anybody in MA want to give me your perspective on the Massachusetts Senate race? I'm having a hard time choosing between Capuano and Coakley.

I really wish that Barney Frank were running. I know that he was planning on it if Kerry had won the presidency, but now that Dems have the majority he is in a much more powerful position.

Capuano just talks about how much money he's brought back to the state in a traditional pork fashion and how you can use the filibuster in the Senate. Meh. I didn't love him as my rep, but I'm not enthusiastic about Coakley either.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 7:35 AM
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165

I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at ...

Pro-abortion Democrats didn't have to go along with the leadership and accept Casey without a fight.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 9:20 AM
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173: They made some noise but, in the absence of a viable standard-bearer (I honestly couldn't name for you another Dem who would have been clearly competitive against Santorum, at least before it became clear that '06 was going to be a tidal wave), they had no chance. And, as I said, his labor-liberal bona fides took the wind out of the sails of his pro-choice skeptics - it would have been essentially single-issue opposition to a guy who otherwise had the support of Catholics (iirc biggest religion in PA), labor, and economic liberals. Plus, I'm almost certain that he promised not to join any filibusters against pro-choice judges - if he hadn't done that, there would have been trouble.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 2:58 PM
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174

They made some noise but, in the absence of a viable standard-bearer (I honestly couldn't name for you another Dem who would have been clearly competitive against Santorum, at least before it became clear that '06 was going to be a tidal wave), they had no chance. ...

No self-financing rich egomaniacs available?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 10:32 PM
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172: I'm for Capuano. Much more of a record on war & peace/civil liberties issues & it's a pretty good one. Not crazy about the campaign he's running though (though it is kind of refreshing to see someone whose pitch is that he's a really liberal Washington insider.)

I think Charley is being defeatist, and totally overlooking incumbency advantage.

There are fewer genuine liberals in Congress in the country. Positions that have support of a substantial minority--say, 20-30% of voters--routinely get maybe 5% of the votes in Congress.

I think Frank & Pelosi are pretty decent, but New York could sure as hell elect better liberals than Gillenbrand & Schumer. Cal. could elect better liberals than Feinstein, and all three of the above could vote more liberal without putting their seats in any jeopardy at all. Rahm Emanuel was always much less liberal than his district--he was less liberal than Illinois' Senators, who easily won *statewide* races. And I bet you a more liberal Senator than Ben Nelson could get elected in Nebraska, too, because there are significantly better Senators in North Dakota and South Dakota.

(This doesn't make a primary challenge against Nelson a very smart idea. Incumbency, name recognition & favorable impressions from the public, etc. are major advantages. But because they are such major advantages Nelson, if he were so inclined, could almost certainly get away with a more liberal voting record without seriously jeopardizing his re-election. You can be more liberal than your state & still do pretty well for yourself--Ted Kennedy was more liberal than his state. Russ Feingold is more liberal than his state. Etc. Very common to have two Senators with very different politics get elected by comfortable margins.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 10:33 PM
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Capuano's gonna lose, and Coakley'll proably be fine, but she's pissing me off with her ads, so he's got my vote. It'd be nice if MA of all places could elect a liberal loudmouth. Shame it won't happen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-17-09 10:38 PM
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I'm not sure, Katherine, what it is you think I'm missing. I think that going after sitting Blue Dogs is a less advisable use of funds, energy, and time than trying to pick up Republican seats.

Of course is possible to have representatives who are either more conservative or more liberal than their districts. But the mismatch has to be huge to offset the advantages of incumbency. If DiFi were to retire, it's entirely likely that a more liberal politician could take her place. Or it could be Arnold. It would be a whole lot easier, though, for a more liberal candidate to win if that person doesn't have to spend the entire primary spending money to combat the idea that he or she is a wild-eyed radical, which is why it's risky absent retirement. You end up with a bunch of people (eg DiFi supporters) who get invested in the notion that their candidate is in the right place, and deserves reelection, and, if the Republicans have gone closer to the center, a portion of those people are going to jump. The 2008 PUMA thing didn't really pan out -- I'm glad it didn't -- but that's a combination of (a) HRC's generosity after defeat; (b) McCain's advisors choosing Palin to woo them, rather than someone from a more centrist place; and (c) Obama's talents as a campaigner. The other scenario happens all the time, though: if Connecticut Republicans had nominated a popular centrist (and they have them) for the Senate in 2006, they might well have won the seat.

There are pro-life Dems. There should be pro-life Dems, because if we drive them out, we miss a lot of opportunities in heavily Catholic areas. You think this is defeatist?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-18-09 6:25 AM
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178

... But the mismatch has to be huge to offset the advantages of incumbency. ...

That's why it is important to keep anti-abortion Democrats from being nominated for winnable seats in the first place. Once Casey is in it is very hard to replace him with a pro-abortion Democrat. It would have been easier to defeat him in the primary before he got elected. Which is why I said the pro-abortion Democrats were betrayed when the party actively recruited a bunch of anti-abortion Democrats to run for marginal seats in 2006 and 2008. Now that they are in it is hard to get rid of them. I expect pro-abortion Democrats could have picked up almost as many seats.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-18-09 9:26 AM
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Weird though this is, what Shearer said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-18-09 9:31 AM
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