Re: MA'D

1

Actually, my chair isn't that comfortable. I need to reĆ¼pholster it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:47 PM
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You're just going to get unfriendly stories about how, during the Cold War, many people believed we were all going to die.

Then someone will get advice on how to sharpen steel knives in order to cut oats.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:47 PM
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2: Well, that'll be sad. But then there will be oats, so, you know. Yay.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:51 PM
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The modern emphasis on nuclear weapons has had a generally deleterious effect on society. However, clear-eyed thinkers must recognize that it's impossible, in areas that have already made the shift, to return to a system of extended weapons, and those societies in which extended weapons do still prevail are likely on an inexorable path toward nuclear weapons.

(I know that some theorists—not to mention science-fiction writers—believe that the ever-increasing powers of the internet might enable the creation of virtual weapons, or what one might call elective weapons, which are not bound either by consanguinity or by contiguity, but what the significance of these weapons might be, if indeed they ever come about, is really unclear.)

If we should be worried about what will happen as the nuclear paradigm takes hold in ever more countries, it is more with regard to the internal effects on those countries, than on the way the relations of those countries to others might change as a result.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 10:52 PM
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I wonder whether a virtual weapon isn't what Iran has been building all along.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:05 PM
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The only undefeatable weapon is virtuosity.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:07 PM
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Saddam Hussein had imaginary weapons which nonetheless did him in.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:08 PM
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Saddam Hussein had imaginary weapons which nonetheless did him in

Saddam was bluffing Iran about his MWD, but he was so good at his bluff that he fooled people who not only had the ability to do something about it, but a pre-standing grievance. Be careful with whom you play poker.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:21 PM
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When do we get to the knife-sharpening part? Just kidding. Cutting oats with a knife seems pretty time-consuming.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:24 PM
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2: Well, that'll be sad. But then there will be oats, so, you know. Yay.

Trade butterfly-knives for adderal and that's not all -- there will be snacks, there will! There will be snacks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:29 PM
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+l


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:29 PM
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In the post-nuclear world, after your glasses break and you become effectively illiterate, cutting oats will be the only way to pass the time.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:30 PM
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cutting oats will be the only way to pass the time.

But... there'll be pony rides and dancing bears!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:31 PM
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Saddam was bluffing Iran about his MWD

Molecular weight distribution?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:41 PM
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I'm partial to the missing, wrong, damaged option.

In fact, that describes most of my exboyfriends! (rim shot)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:48 PM
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There is also the sowing of oats.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:49 PM
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Or so the mullahs would have you believe.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:51 PM
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To-day we have sowing of oats. Yesterday,
We had care of the sickles. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have how to make hay. But to-day,
To-day we have sowing of oats. The daughters
Work the fields in the neighboring farms,
And to-day we have sowing of oats.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-19-10 11:58 PM
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We shall have how to make hay.

Is "how" really what you want there? Nice effort, overall!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:09 AM
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Yes, it is. I'm not sure what prompts your question, actually. It should (at that part in the stanza) refer to literal hay-making, which is not something you'd just know how to do. And if you're asking about grammaticality, it mirrors the beginning of the third line exactly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:14 AM
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I was going to do something with "Preludes" but modifying that for nuclear winter was too somber just to be able to say "and then the cutting of the oats."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:16 AM
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We shall have hos to make hay.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:17 AM
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I was certainly not referring to any funny-business kind of hay-making! Really, nosflow.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:17 AM
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I know you are a lady, Jack.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:19 AM
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Il faut cultiver nos avoine.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:53 AM
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||

I had a terrible dream that one of my coworkers loved unfogged and that she was going to figure out who I was by my pseud. I was trying to figure out a knew one that would be more anonymous a la fake accent.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:36 AM
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Meanwhile, she is having exactly the same dream about you...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:38 AM
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one of the best momories from high school debate was losing to the st. edwards team that ran "nuke war good" counterplan. my dfh coach was pissed about it and wrote up a big brief on it, but i thought is was so smarmy and great


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:41 AM
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it mirrors the beginning of the third line exactly.

Uncanny!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:16 AM
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||
Oh man. Being a sick parent in week two really blows. Please! Learn to sleep at night! Quick!
|>


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:21 AM
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Oh, TJ. So sorry.

Have your babies in summer, people.

On a separate note, I see from the OP that my mild worry that if I didn't RTFA from this past weekend (when I was away) then I would miss some noteworthy thread has proven to be valid. Off to skim*.

* Actually not; I have 3 meetings today with potential clients, only one of which is likely to be at all interesting. Oh well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:21 AM
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31: Good luck to you. Go out there and feign interest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:33 AM
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Incidentally, to hearken back to an ancient post, I'm totally sitting out this MA nonsense. I can only pull for one team of pathetic losers, and I'm liking the Pirates' prospects better than the Dems' right now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:39 AM
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Go out there and feign being non-delusional.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:44 AM
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Speaking of nuclear war, did anyone else read this book review?

When I was a kid, my mother told me that a nuclear bomb could do terrible things, things so terrible that she wasn't going to tell me what they were. I guess she wasn't exaggerating.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:47 AM
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Or not. I don't know much about architecture or baseball.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:47 AM
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35: Everyone at my school had to read Hersey's Hiroshima in 9th grade. The DFHs really seemed to be in charge of the curriculum at that time.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:53 AM
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37: When I was in school, we learned about the dangers of nuclear war by watching that movie where Jan-Michael Vincent and George Peppard drive across a post-nuclear U.S. in a militarized RV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:34 AM
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That would be "Damnation Alley". (Great wikifact: it was meant to be Fox's 1977 sci-fi blockbuster, and Fox only planned on releasing one other sci-fi film that year, which was viewed as a bit of a gamble. Due to delays, the other film was released first. It was "Star Wars".)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:54 AM
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39: I saw "Star Wars" in it's first theatrical release, but did not see "Damnation Alley" until it was on VHS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:58 AM
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I'll say this for Shearer, at least he has plans. mcmanus tends to pop up and say "this is a terrible compromise, it's a sellout, it won't work, you are all fools or traitors to support it" and if you ask him "well, what would you do under these circumstances?" he goes all quiet.

Shearer, on the other hand, is quite ready to answer the question "what would you do under these circumstances?" with something clear, coherent and well-phrased, like "INVADE FRANCE".

I think this means that I actually prefer mcmanus. As the Patrician said, it's characteristic of evil tyrants that they at least have a plan to rule the world. The good don't seem to have the knack.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:25 AM
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I think this means that I actually prefer mcmanus.

If nothing else, Bob probably has better weed.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:57 AM
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So where are the headlines screaming "REPUBLICAN ELECTED IN MA - STOCK MARKETS PLUMMET" ?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:07 AM
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43: Cramer said that a Brown win would boost the market, so everybody just assumed it would drop today.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:14 AM
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As the Patrician said

To the Biship?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:05 AM
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uh, "Bishop"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:05 AM
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Wow, to follow up 33, I see from Josh that Barney Frank, of all people, is throwing in the towel on HCR, that the Dems are completely cowed, and that we'll probably lose at least one house of Congress this November*. Good god, these people are craven cowards. Fuck them all.

* Only that first one is from JMM


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:51 PM
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Barney Frank, of all people, is throwing in the towel on HCR

I think what Barney Frank is doing is throwing down the gauntlet to the Senate and telling them, "Look, we have our shit in order. You guys are the problem here. So just leave us alone until you fix your rules so that you can actually negotiate with us, rather than imperiously demand we pass whatever crap bill survived the Lieberman/Nelson tantrums."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:56 PM
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Which is to say, I agree with Barney Frank (if that is indeed what he is doing).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:02 PM
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I wish I agreed with you that was a good idea. I hate it when the issue of the day depends on understanding Congressional procedure and what's likely to happen, because I know I don't have a good sense of it. But I'm pretty much convinced that it's pass the Senate bill or we get to keep the status quo until I'm eligible for Medicare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:11 PM
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I don't see the Senate switching its procedure anytime soon. For one thing, if you started now, the vote for switching procedure would become a healthcare vote and line-up exactly the same way.

I take Frank's comments as blame avoidance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:27 PM
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Though I suppose the Senate has done reform before. The magic number used to be 67.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:30 PM
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I take it that the House might really not have the votes for the Senate bill, between the Stupakites and the anti-excise-tax crowd. Frank just might be stating what's going on, with some spinelessness thrown in.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:31 PM
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The status quo isn't sustainable for another 25 years. But look, the voters gave the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, and elected a president who ran on a package way, way more progressive than the Senate bill and won easily. And the bill that came out of the Senate restricts abortion rights, taxes union-negotiated benefit plans, and forces people to buy a flawed product from a deeply unpopular private industry.

So unless we piss on unions, the abortion lobby, the netroots, and progressives in order to placate Joe Lieberman, then we just have to settle for the current situation? The GOP won't admit it publicly, but they'd be A-OK with seeing this bill become law on a policy level, as long as they don't have to take any heat for the unpopular parts (which they won't). If that's the impasse we're at, then what's the point of electing Democrats at all?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:33 PM
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This Massachusetts nonsense could have been avoided if people had just paid attention to my suggestion that no one who's been elected prosecutor should thereafter be eligible for any other public office.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:35 PM
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This Massachusetts nonsense could have been avoided if people had just paid attention to my suggestion that no one who's been elected prosecutor should thereafter be eligible for any other public office the goddamned situation for fifteen minutes a month ago.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:37 PM
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The Senate can change its rules with a simple majority, as was established in US v. Ballin. One of the rules of the current Congress is that changing the rules *during the Congress* would take 67 votes, but there's nothing stopping them from doing it with 50 votes at the beginning of the next Congress. Constitutionally, there's nothing stopping them from doing it right now, but I can't see them crossing that rubicon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:38 PM
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Constitutionally, there's nothing stopping them from doing it right now, but I can't see them crossing that rubicon.

Republicans would, in a heartbeat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:39 PM
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I've been extremely forgiving of the administration so far, but if the bill doesn't get passed in something like the Senate form before Brown is seated, I am officially off the Obama train. We know that a deal can get done, and it is time for the White House to put it together. If it can't, we'll have definite proof that we aren't dealing with a strong President.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:39 PM
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Here's your definitive proof, halford.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:43 PM
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It really is pretty absurd to concede that a 59 seat majority (or 58, or however you want to score it) is unable to get anything done. It's not like there have never been obstructionist Congressional minorities before, and yet somehow some shit has occasionally gotten done.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:44 PM
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59. Start getting your bags together then, Robert - station coming up.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:44 PM
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the voters gave the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority meet in order to placate Joe Lieberman


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:44 PM
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It's obvious he isn't a strong president. Who's afraid of crossing him? Joe Lieberman was a prime-time speaker at the GOP convention and not only kept his committee assignments, but was given veto power over the administrations #1 legislative priority. How much laughter do you think the bank CEOs were suppressing when he told them "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks"? All the way back to their banks for the multi-billion dollar bonus signings, is how much.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:46 PM
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58: During the Bush years, the Republicans stared at the Rubicon and did not cross. They made some hay by threatening, but that was only on judged. Of course, they were at a bare majority, not 59.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:47 PM
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65 was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:48 PM
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Well, there you have it. Inexcusable, and unbearably stupid and arrogant (arrogant in the sense that I think he really believes in his ability to be some kind of post-partisan, conciliatory creature). I should have voted for Hillary.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:49 PM
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57: Ballin concerned the House, not the Senate, didn't it? And one issue is that while there's a new House every two years, the Senate is the ship of Theseus, replaced piece by piece but never all at once, so the 'beginning of next Congress' doesn't (I think, and I'm very unsure) mean anything applied to the Senate.

This is really not an area where I'm competent to do more than raise difficulties, but I'm pretty sure the difficulties are there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:51 PM
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The media seemed to think that a majority being obstructed by a minority was unfair back in 2004 or 2005. I seem to recall the phrase "up or down vote" being used by roughly 125,000 propagandists for 25 hours a day for a several-month-long period when the Democrats threatened to occasionally invoke their technically possible but uncouth and never-before-invoked power to block legislation with 45 votes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:52 PM
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They made some hay by threatening

They do whatever it takes, and that was all they needed to do.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:52 PM
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Obama still has a decent chance at 2012. And many of his advisers and staff are doing fine with the economy, and they all have jobs and health care and homes themselves. Why the sense of urgency?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:52 PM
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Obama knows they don't have 60 votes, right now, to push the thing, anything, through. What he's taking off the table is a nothing. Whether the House has the votes to ping-pong, I don't know. It was pretty close on the House bill, so I doubt they can do it. (I'm sure it's being whipped to a froth right now).

The idea of breaking it into pieces has some appeal -- especially if you can have some of the more popular pieces go first. Let them filibuster, and then start attaching them to must pass legislation.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:53 PM
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68: Congresses run on two year sessions, I think, no matter how slow the Senate changes feet. Schedule.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:56 PM
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68: No, both houses. "The constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. [...] The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the house, and, within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."

doesn't (I think, and I'm very unsure) mean anything applied to the Senate

That is incorrect. This is the 111th Congress, composed of 100 Senators and 435 Representatives. Both houses vote on the rules at the beginning of each session, every two years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:57 PM
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Balin was one of the dwarfs in "The Hobbit." Don't know about Ballin.

I don't think it matters whether you need 50 or 60 or 67 votes to change the Senate rules on the filibuster as I don't think you could get even 50 votes*. Senators are not known for doing anything that could cut the Senate's power relative to the House or their individual power relative to the Senate and their party. This would do both.

*Unless you could somehow limit it to a specific piece of legislation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:57 PM
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Joe Lieberman was a prime-time speaker at the GOP convention and not only kept his committee assignments, but was given veto power over the administrations #1 legislative priority.

I keep on getting stuck on how fucked up that is. Forget the substance, assume that every Democrat is a corporate sellout. Normal people get pissed off when they're insulted and jerked around, the way Lieberman has insulted and jerked around every other elected Democrat in the federal government.

What on earth keeps them from hitting back, even if only for petty personal reasons?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:57 PM
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68: Justice Brewer:

The constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the house, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the house, and, within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal.

Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:57 PM
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Dammit, apo.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:58 PM
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Just as the Senate "didn't have the votes" to pass a public option, the House "doesn't have the votes" to pass the Senate bill. But somehow, the former is facing up to reality and the latter is refusal to face reality.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:00 PM
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What on earth keeps them from hitting back, even if only for petty personal reasons?

The president told them to give Lieberman what he wanted.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:02 PM
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74: But one of the rules of the Senate is that it takes a supermajority to change the rules of the Senate. That's a rule. The House starts from scratch every two years, and does a majority vote on its rules, but the Senate doesn't -- it's a continuous body, like I said (I was, of course, wrong to say that the Senate doesn't get a new Congress number every two years, you're right, it does. But it doesn't get new rules).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:02 PM
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We know that there's a way to get this done -- make the House pass the Senate bill, and then fix what you can in reconciliation. And, unless you take Obama's statement in 60 hyper-literally, it looks like he's taking that option off the table. Unforgivable, IMO (unless there's some alternate super-secret plan of which I am unaware, but odds are very low).

Are there really not enough votes in the House to push the thing through? If so, the right response is not a sigh of knowing resignation to political reality, but to criticize the President for political misfeasance. We're at a close enough point to a bill so that arm twisting should suffice, and if Obama lacks the will or ability to do so, he should be roundly crtiticized as a failure.

Of course, I'll vote for Obama in 2012. But just because I would have voted for Carter in 1980 doesn't mean that Carter wasn't a weak, politically unskilled President, and the same looks like it could apply to Obama. I would be very happy to eat these words and let him prove me wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:05 PM
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81 also to 77. You can't properly change the rules of the Senate with a simple majority, unless you first change the rule that calls for a supermajority to change the rules. And that takes a supermajority.

(The "nuclear option" requires lying -- not that I'm saying it wouldn't be worth it, but that's how it works. Someone in the Senate calls for a ruling from the parliamentarian about how many votes are necessary to change the rules, and he lies about the content of the rules.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:05 PM
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I don't understand the last quarter of 79.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:07 PM
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82: We know that there's a way to get this done -- make the House pass the Senate bill, and then fix what you can in reconciliation

If the House passes the Senate bill, than what is there to reconcile? We just get the Senate bill, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:07 PM
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85:Then not than.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:07 PM
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85: You fix the parts of the Senate bill that affect the budget and that you've got a majority in the house and senate for in reconciliation, rather than leaving it in the form needed to get those last ten Senate votes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:09 PM
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85 -- Yes but the idea is that you could make additional changes through the reconciliation process, avoiding the supermajority requirement.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:09 PM
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Reconciliation is a separate process from conference.

And I think what apo was getting at is that the House already had the votes for something like the Senate bill, if you take passing something stronger than the Senate bill as an indication of that. But now they appear to no longer have the votes for something weaker than the Senate bill. The problem with this, though, is that votes are being lost on the right and the left, so it's not quite the same as just conservatives backing out of a compromise that was supposed to have mollified them already.

I know it's all very cynical, but I do suspect some of the former Clinton admin people think one of the lessons of 1994 was that Clinton could still win in 1996.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:12 PM
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The rules of the Senate have been amended many times, most recently in 2000 and 2006. I yield the floor to the honorable senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd.

"The Constitution in article I, section 5, says that each House shall determine the rules of its proceedings. Now we are at the beginning of Congress. This Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past. [...] The first Senate, which met in 1789, approved 19 rules by a majority vote. Those rules have been changed from time to time [...] So the Members of the Senate who met in 1789 and approved that first body of rules did not for one moment think, or believe, or pretend, that all succeeding Senates would be bound by that Senate. It would be just as reasonable to say that one Congress can pass a law providing that all future laws have to be passed by two-thirds vote. Any Member of this body knows that the next Congress would not heed that law and would proceed to change it and would vote repeal of it by majority vote. [...] It is my belief--which has been supported by rulings of Vice Presidents of both parties and by votes of the Senate--in essence upholding the power and right of a majority of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate at the beginning of a new Congress."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:14 PM
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90: Seriously, this isn't stuff I know, I'm just looking at the Senate Rules page. You're saying the rules of the Senate were amended by majority vote of the Senate in 2000 and 2006, rather than supermajority? If so, you're right and I'm wrong, but I'm not clear that that's exactly what you're saying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:16 PM
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And of course I mean to win a cloture vote before changing the rules -- the vote itself is majority.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:20 PM
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No, I think they were amended by supermajority (though I'd need to check). But when it comes to the ins and outs of Senate rules, I'm going with Bobby Byrd.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:24 PM
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Yeah, I think a rule change is a vote with a higher threshold than a normal bill or resolution. You could suspend those rules on changing the rules, probably, but only by meeting the same higher threshold on the suspension vote instead.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:28 PM
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Upon further reading, the answer is halfway been you and me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:28 PM
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been s/b between

Rule changes have been made by simple majority on several occasions by threatening the constitutional option. IMO, the time for that has arrived. Charley says there's no way the Senate will go there, and he knows way more about this than me. But if that's where we are, then there really isn't a bill that can be passed by both houses.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:30 PM
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He's speaking normatively, rather than descriptively, saying that the rules shouldn't continue from one Congress to the next, not that they don't. Rule 22 says you need two thirds of the Senators present and voting to invoke cloture on a motion to amend the rules of the Senate, and that rule, like the rest of the Senate's rules, doesn't change unless the Senate affirmatively changes it.

Talking about what the rules are is weird, because no court is going to second-guess 51 Senators if they do the nuclear option thing I described in 83, so the Democrats could do it. But it really does require either a supermajority, or breaking the rules of the Senate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:30 PM
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threatening the constitutional option.

By the constitutional option, you mean the nuclear option? Much as I love Geoghegan, I think his constitutional argument on this one doesn't stand up.

96: Sure, you can make the change by simple majority if the minority doesn't filibuster.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:33 PM
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Wiki cites Senator John J. Walsh in 1917 arguing that U.S. v. Ballin means the Senate only needs a majority vote to revise any rule at any time. It's a colorable argument.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:37 PM
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75: Senators are not known for doing anything that could cut the Senate's power relative to the House or their individual power relative to the Senate and their party. This would do both.

Wouldn't it be nice if the thing that made Senators feel powerful was actually passing legislation that has a real impact? Then they could be power-hungry and useful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:39 PM
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How does such a rule change weaken their collective power vs. the House? I can see how it weakens them as individuals or small groups. But the inter-cameral relations wouldn't change, would they? They'd just pass things more easily. To the extent that the Senate looks more powerful now, its the work of the individuals and small groups holding things up.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:42 PM
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100: Blocking stuff is much easier. I have no specific citation in support of this, but I would bet that if you could scan peoples' brains, inside most senators' heads* you would see the filibuster scene from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington but with that senator's face on Mr. Smith.

*Outside of the standard intern-related dreams.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:44 PM
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When Smith goes to his desk the first time before being sworn in, the page mentions that it had been Daniel Webster's (I think), if he's planning on doing any talking. Smith says he's going to keep quiet, to which the page replies: "That's the way to get re-elected!"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:48 PM
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99: Still, that, and the quote from Byrd above, are about how they would like the Senate to work, not about how the Senate does work. In practice, the Senate has made rules that impede its ability to amend those rules, and in practice it abides by them. Byrd and Walsh might be right in some abstract sense, but they're flying in the face of Senate precedent.

If 51 Senators amended the rules in the face of 49 trying to filibuster, I'm not sure what would happen. The 49 would probably sue, and I'd expect the courts to abstain because it's a political question (which means it might be a good idea -- I'm pushing back against the idea that the rules of the Senate allow it in any straightforward sense, not against the idea that it would be a good thing to do). If the Supreme Court heard it? I'd expect it to be decided on a straightforwardly corrupt/political basis, not anything that had much relation to the abstract Constitutionality of it all.

If the question were submitted to a court that was actually impartial? Man. I can't read either the Constitution or Ballin as saying that neither house may make a rule for itself that effectively requires a supermajority to do something. That's the outcome I'd like, but I can't do the reasoning.

(Just FYI, 'colorable' usually means 'I can make the argument without giggling, but I don't buy it myself'. I don't think that's what you wanted.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:49 PM
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This seems like a pretty good piece of writing.

I don't know why people disputed that thing written on TPM yesterday, saying "If the Democrats suddenly back away from something after spending all those months supporting it, what message will that send?". It seems to me like a lot of Democrats especially in the Senate don't believe their own policies will work. Otherwise, why would they act this way? The search for corporate money to buy votes can't completely outweight one's belief that improving people's lives will make people want to keep one in power.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:53 PM
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I go back to the fact that rules have been overturned and filibusters broken by merely threatening the nuclear option. But, for argument's sake (because this is interesting), let's take your impartial court scenario. Would a federal court even have jurisdiction over Senate rules? They aren't federal law.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:55 PM
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I DEMAND AN UP OR DOWN VOTE


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:58 PM
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"Colorable' is indeed what I wanted. As long as the Senate has a colorable argument, 50 votes, and a compliant Vice President, they can change the rule without resorting to "lying." (Without a colorable argument, they've got to lie, and we'll all be shocked, shocked.)

Further from wiki:

In 1957, Vice President Richard Nixon issued an advisory opinion stating that no Senate may constitutionally enact a rule that deprives a future Senate of the right to approve its own rules by the vote of a simple majority.[4] Nixon's advisory opinion, along with similar opinions by Hubert Humphrey and Nelson Rockefeller, has been cited as precedent to support the view that the Senate may amend its rules at the beginning of the session with a simple majority vote.

Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 2:58 PM
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I don't know why people disputed that thing written on TPM yesterday, saying "If the Democrats suddenly back away from something after spending all those months supporting it, what message will that send?".

If you're talking about this, the issue being disputed was not the point being made, but the use of reticent in that context. Cf. Some Recent Thread on the topic.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:03 PM
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I go back to the fact that rules have been overturned and filibusters broken by merely threatening the nuclear option.

Because you can make people go along with you by threatening to take an action doesn't establish whether or not you're bluffing -- whether you could, or would, or would be legally entitled to, actually do what you threaten.

Would a federal court even have jurisdiction over Senate rules? They aren't federal law.

I'm working off the top of my head here, but sure. The Senate's power to make rules is set forth in the Constitution, and that's federal law. The argument that the Senate doesn't have to abide by Rule 22 in order to change Rule 22 is an argument that the Constitution bars the Senate from enacting a rule that binds itself in a way that requires more than a majority to change its rules, and that's a Constitutional, or federal law, argument. This isn't my area, like I keep saying, so if someone points out the well known fact that the courts don't have jurisdiction here for some specific reason, I'm wrong. But at a first gasp I think they would.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:08 PM
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he knows way more about this than me

Absolutely false!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:11 PM
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108: Fair enough on colorable.

And seriously, I'm not pushing back against the idea that the Senate should do this -- I just got taken by surprise by what I understood to be Apo's implied claim that the Senate Rules straightforwardly allow their amendment by a majority without worrying about cloture. It may or may not be a good idea, and it probably is. But it really is a big weird freaky stunt, not something that's always and obviously been okay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:18 PM
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I have a hard time imagining a Supreme Court that rule one way or another on the constitutionality of the Senate requiring a two-thirds majority to change its own rules. But who really knows.

And yeah, particularly because the filibuster is so tremendously contested and so important to (not) passing crucial bills, it would be big and freaky to change it. But there seems to be a substantial tradition of argument within the Senate itself that it would not be a stunt.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:23 PM
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(And the really depressing question is whether the Democrats would have a majority to get rid of the filibuster even if there were no procedural issue about whether a majority was enough.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:23 PM
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You know, I'm a little bit angry with Barney Frank right now for not running. I realize that he would have lost a lot of power, but the choices we had really sucked--a basketball team owner who gave money to Bush and the founder of city year, plus Capuano who votes the right way but is not exciting.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:28 PM
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But there seems to be a substantial tradition of argument within the Senate itself that it would not be a stunt.

Well, a substantial tradition of argument that's stayed generally theoretical, rather than convincing enough Senators to carry it out in practice. I'm not sure what weight you're putting on 'stunt', but it would certainly be a big freaky deal.

(I wish I was an expert on this stuff -- something happened during the 1975 change of the cloture rule that may have been an overriding of an attempted filibuster by a simple majority, but I can't find a clear and explicit description of what actually happened.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:28 PM
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Actually, this article makes it look as if the nuclear option did get used in '75. Something else I read made it look as though the 1975 events were more complicated than that -- that the Senate somehow took it back afterwards, but I can't find it again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:40 PM
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Not remotely my area either, but my off-the-top-of-my-head belief is that the Federal Courts would consider a challenge based on conflicting interpretations of the Senate's rules (e.g., how to apply Senate Rule 22) to be a nonjusticiable political question, and would refuse to hear such a case.

Or, I could be totally wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:46 PM
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NYT headline: Obama Weighs Shift in Health Plan, Seeking G.O.P. Backing.

I'm sure they are all high-fiving over at Firedog Lake.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:47 PM
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118: Yeah, as I said in 104, that'd be my guess too. In practice, there wouldn't be any higher authority than the Senate to go to.

119: I'm living in a fantasy world here. But wouldn't it be spiffy if they managed to pass guaranteed issue and community rating without a mandate? Bring on the death spiral!

But this is heightening-the-contradictions, which generally turns out to be a bad idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 3:52 PM
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*Not attributing this argument to LB; rather, noting that she makes statements like this, which often clarify arguments for me.

LB is totally awesome and should please to resume lacerating the Bush Republicans Democrats as often and early as possible.

112: And seriously, I'm not pushing back against the idea that the Senate should do this -- I just got taken by surprise by what I understood to be Apo's implied claim that the Senate Rules straightforwardly allow their amendment by a majority without worrying about cloture. It may or may not be a good idea, and it probably is. But it really is a big weird freaky stunt, not something that's always and obviously been okay.

I think they can do this and make it stick, since the leadership controls the sargeant-at-arms. But it is absolutely a stunt, would force a constitutional crisis (not that we're not in one) and would be risky. But I am pretty sure, to go all originalist, that the founders intended the Veeper to be President of the Senate and they didn't mean that as no honorary title, regardless of what common practice has become. (Which means I agree with Dick Cheney that the Veep is separate from the executive branch, I just disagree that the office of Veep is a fourth branch - the Veep properly belongs to the Senate and was supposed to boss the Senate.)

41: I think this means that I actually prefer mcmanus. As the Patrician said, it's characteristic of evil tyrants that they at least have a plan to rule the world. The good don't seem to have the knack.

To defend bob: bob tends to the hyperbolic, but I think he has been and is rightly afraid that the next Republican candidate of 2012 is a Nazi and if they win, we're in much worse trouble than we are in now. I may be projecting on him, but I don't think I am.

Thus did I read bob on Yggles as basically saying that Obama needed to be whacked and made to stick to the party. Unfortunately, today, it appears that the party in Congress needs to be whacked and made to follow Obama... Except Obama has apparently decided to get down on his knees and start sucking Republican dick: 'M3 TOO!' (I hadn't see that before this thread.)

I am suddenly getting the impression that there's a very good reason Obama is a big pal with Lieberman - apparently they share a political philosophy. ('Whatever John McCain thinks is good! He's my daddy!')

71: Obama still has a decent chance at 2012. And many of his advisers and staff are doing fine with the economy, and they all have jobs and health care and homes themselves. Why the sense of urgency?

Timmy Geithner is an idiot. Larry Summers is not an idiot, but he shouldn't be in charge of anything. I'm past wanting to strangle them though, because I know quite well that that's like smacking a clueless five-year-old.

Back in 2005-06 B and I had a discussion about Hillary's prospects. I told her I was afraid that if Hill won, we'd get a lovely display of Democrats turning into Clintonites while the economy was destroying itself, and it might be better to stick McCain with the blame and let the system burn itself out, since the then leadership seemed to consist entirely of spineless weasels. Welp, apparently Hillary would've been an improvement, and the leadership consists of spineless jellyfish instead. Therefore: mea cupla.

I am thinking we are waiting for doom, or for someone within the Democrats to conduct a palace coup, de facto or de jure or we'd better put the third party option on the table and get ready to move lest the teabaggers catch all the lightening.

max
['Joe Biden for Vice-President and Party boss in 2010!']

Addendum: It occurs to me that the D's just might do the whole bow down to the majority thing and will then lose the House minimum in November. With control of one or both houses, the R will try and revert to Bush Republicanism. Then we will have a second R base revolt on hand, in the middle of a wholesale D base revolt. Boy, won't that be exciting? How many different political parties will that spawn?


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:06 PM
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The method advocated by some on the Left, Victory through Defeat, isn't about preventing Republican rule in 2012. It's about preventing Corpocrat victory in 2010 and 2012.

I'm pretty disappointed in O today. Maybe he'll find his stride in the next few days.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:00 PM
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Isn't this thread supposed to be about real nuclear options, not metaphorical ones? If the Dems prove their spineliness by nuking France can they then use the nuclear option in the Senate and pass New Deal II? Discuss.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:08 PM
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Let's start by nuking Joe Lieberman. If we're feeling pissy we can do it on a day when the wind is from the south.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:12 PM
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And 122.2 gets it exactly right. As does 122.1, for that matter.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:18 PM
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My bet is that Pakistan nukes India well before Iran nukes Israel. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:20 PM
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122.1:Some of us think they are connected, that good progressive policy is also good politics.

Whatever Obama and the Senate have been doing is neither of those.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:20 PM
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As the Patrician said, it's characteristic of evil tyrants that they at least have a plan to rule the world.

.. say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least its an ethos.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:23 PM
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it's


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:24 PM
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CC, you asked me to build a real American Left. What did you think it would look like?

I don't remember a left that spent much time on the neanderthals and troglodytes. Robespierre attacked Danton, not the monarchists. Lenin and Trotsky went after the Mensheviks. Lefts attack their immediate right, and maybe the center.

I visit the British Socialist sites, maybe a dozen, and they spend no time at all on the Tories. Zero.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:26 PM
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Because when I think "successful leftist leadership", I think Robespierre.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:28 PM
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And that is because the center and liberals will always try to make deals to their right. That's where the money is.

The only job of progressives is to save liberals from their worst instincts, because they can't compete with conservatives, and they will lose if they try.

As we are finding out once again.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:32 PM
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131. How many months after The Terror would the replacement Washington elite revert to status quo ante? I say about two.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:32 PM
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I give in, bob, you win. You have been right about everything, or close enough. I'm not even kidding.

I'm seriously serious. I know I'm usually sarcastic, but not right now.


Tell me what to do next.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:34 PM
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I guess it all depends on what you mean by 'successful'. If your measure is amount of bloodshed, and reams of excellent historical research fodder, you may be right. However, if we're talking reforming the existing system into a far more egalitarian one that provides democracy and skyrocketing living standards, you couldn't be more wrong. The social democrats of Cold War Europe spent quite a bit of time attacking folks to their left. You could even argue that the less they did, the less successful they were (France during the Fifth Republic). Not that this is of much use for the Dems. There is no powerful deeply authoritarian left wing current these days, whether at home or even abroad, a very good thing I'd add. To the extent that we have populist authoritarianism it's on the right - rather soft here, not so much if you consider the Islamists and other religious fundamentalisms abroad.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:38 PM
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Bob, you have to have a big enough movement to be able to actually replace the centrists (voters and office holders) you kill off. If you don't, all you're doing is empowering the right.

I personally think that 'that's a good start, but maybe try this' is better politics within a coalition than 'blood (yours) must run in the streets.' And I think your movement has a better chance of getting somewhere by being in a coalition, rather than by killing the guys immediately to the right. Then again, I think Defeat is Defeat, not Victory.

I'd ask the 'bob is right' crowd to describe the leftward shift in the general public that they experienced today. I missed it (but then I've been at work and all . . .)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:44 PM
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120

I'm living in a fantasy world here. But wouldn't it be spiffy if they managed to pass guaranteed issue and community rating without a mandate? Bring on the death spiral!

So basically you want to make individual polices unaffordable?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:45 PM
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Is 135 to 131? I'm the only one who used the word "successful", and 131 should be read as if enclosed in <sarcasm> </sarcasm>.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:48 PM
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Or is that we need yet more Defeat to bring about Victory? Good -- the leadership seems to be playing for it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:49 PM
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135 to 130.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:54 PM
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This anonymous message from a Senate staffer explains why we are where we are.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:56 PM
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134:Better Democrats? Smarter people than me are confused and discouraged.

136:Charley, do you have any doubt that today's rightward shift is going to lose in November?

I am not trying to replace or kill off the centrists, voters and politicians. I am trying to move them left.

Coakley ain't my fault. Nor is the failure of the House to pass the Senate Bill my or Hamsher's fault.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:02 PM
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You know when HCR fails apart, you know who'll be happy? Historians. Someday they'll get to write monograph after monograph about the whole thing. They'll get to shake their heads about how a party was granted a commanding majority, and tried to pass their signature issue, but were too timid to get it done.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:03 PM
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What's the rule on standard issue government documents in the US? In Poland and Germany it's thirty years before they're accessible.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:07 PM
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I mean, Christ, they're in a tailspin because they're down to a 18 seat majority in the Senate? WTF?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:07 PM
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142.2 -- No doubt at all. Which, you'll recall, is why I wasn't cheerleading a Coakley loss or the defeat of any of the HCR bills.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:08 PM
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It really does make things difficult when you commit yourself to not making the other guy mad and the other guy commits himself to under no circumstances doing anything but getting mad.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:08 PM
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141

This anonymous message from a Senate staffer explains why we are where we are.

In other words lots of Democratic legislators wanted the process to fail but they didn't want to be the ones seen as killing it so they stalled and negotiated and stalled some more in hopes something would come up so the process would die without it being their fault. And now something has. If they all wanted to pass a bill they would have long ago.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:15 PM
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147

It really does make things difficult when you commit yourself to ...

Accomplish impossible things.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:17 PM
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Prediction: recognizing that the economy is now the most important bipartisan issue, Obama and the DLC will support another stimulus bill. This bill will create a new tax bracket for people making over $250,000 a year, and this new bracket will have a lower marginal rate. Republicans will support it because it'll reduce the deficit. Democrts will support it because it will help ordinary americans pay for health care.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:26 PM
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Since when do Republicans care about reducing the deficit?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:28 PM
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121: max! I was just thinking today that I hadn't seen you around here lately.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:29 PM
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The bill is going to pass. Shearer will cry and Bob will be secretly happy, and we'll all be a little better off. Mass has elected a douchebag. It's not the end of the world.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:29 PM
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144: For the Senate, some stuff is 20 years, things that fall under privacy rules is 50, classified is until it's unclassified. There are probably various things that FOIA could get, but you'd have to have a reasonable idea of what you're asking for. I think the House rules are basically the same.

Personal papers of public officeholders can have other rules, subject to what the donor and archive negotiate. So that could add (or less likely reduce) the waiting time. But generally, you'd probably need about 50 years to reach the point where you could access everything archivally relevant. Although you might be digging it out from the rubble caused by France's attempt to force us to accept unpasteurized cheese by nuclear force.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:30 PM
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The message linked in 141 says more than one thing: my takeaway from it is that the writer is bewildered that "Democrats negotiated against themselves at the outset," and seems to attribute that to a sense that "Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas."

I'm not entirely sure I buy it.

Leave aside the stuff about how, well yeah, a majority became meaningless, it's a supermajority that's needed, and what we lost last night was a supermajority, which might as well be a majority. So yeah.

But it is indeed the case that the Democratic party has come to include more members (Blue Dogs, let's say) who might otherwise seem more naturally allied with the Republican party. That makes it inevitable that the Dem party will fight against itself, within itself: bills which might in the past have found some Republican votes, so that an all-Dem supermajority wasn't essential, now need every single Dem vote to reach supermajority.

The Republican party has become narrower, the Dem party broader, so the battle becomes intraparty, among the Democrats.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:30 PM
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If you are upset, the most immediate thing you can do is call your representative and say that he/she will lose your vote if he/she does not vote for the bill. Then do it again from your neighbor's house.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:33 PM
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Reading a little more closely, the 20 year access appears to cover most Senate records. Unfortunately, you can't estimate historical value by weight.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:33 PM
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157: Unfortunately, you can't estimate historical value by weight.

You're thinking of President Taft?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:35 PM
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155: Among the many things Emerson has been right about was his comment along the lines of: the Democrats are the liberal party, the centrist party, and the conservative party, with the Republicans being to the right of all that, of course.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:35 PM
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And voles. He's right about the voles.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:37 PM
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What did he say about the voles?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:37 PM
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I guess I haven't read all that much supreme court history, but one of the things that has stood out to me is how interpretations of big cases seem to rest almost entirely on public documents. Do justices not keep personal papers where they talk about why they ruled however it was they ruled (without, perhaps explaining it)? Or have I just read so little I've never come across more detailed explanations. I'm thinking of stuff old enough that open records shouldn't be an issue (i.e. before the mid-20th century).

I remember trying to track down personal papers for Justice Fields, but dropped out of grad school before I could really do a serious search. Quick searches weren't turning up anything major, though there was a dissertation I never got a chance to see (for its bibliography).

Oh, were we talking about politics?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:39 PM
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If they all wanted to pass a bill they would have long ago.

Right. Can you think of a bill this big that has moved this fast? We're not talking about stools here (though I'd venture to say that some of yours have taken longer). This thing has been moving exceptionally fast, and after one vote, will be signed.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:41 PM
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161 -- I'll never tell.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:44 PM
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Can you think of a bill this big that has moved this fast?

And yet Axelrod on All Things Considered just now is talking about how slow this bill has moved. Too fast! Too slow! It's moving too fast in too slow of a manner!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:45 PM
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For a contentious bill, it's probably moving just about the speed contentious bills move. But it hasn't been fast. I seem to remember the whole Franken thing meaning they got to a late start, too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:47 PM
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Text, what are you on about? We've gotten fairly clear signals from the White House that the bill won't be passed. Maybe that will be taken back. Or maybe th House will do it anyway. But there's not much cause for blind optimism about the bill's fate.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:48 PM
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But it is indeed the case that the Democratic party has come to include more members (Blue Dogs, let's say) who might otherwise seem more naturally allied with the Republican party.

Nonsense. Congressional Democrats may be a little more diverse now than when there were fewer of them in the recent past, but compared to the pre-realignment party they're far more homogenous.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:50 PM
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What would really be useful would be to have independent, liberal-allied groups running ads saying "pass health care reform now" and "up or down vote on health care reform" and so on. Like those groups running ads on FISA for the Republicans (before the Democrats caved). But the only candidates for that seem to have either been co-opted by or at least waited for cues from the admin, or alternatively gone the kill the bill route.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:52 PM
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159: Exactly. Which is why, to press my point, I'm not buying a straightforward assessment that Dems are constitutionally weak-kneed and lily-livered, and that the events of the past year only prove that.

Yes, I'm deeply irritated at all the intraparty compromise which seems geared to some sort of obligatory nod to the status quo, but I try to remind myself that some members of the conservative branch of the Democratic party actually do feel the need to represent their constituencies, which really are skittish as hell about anything that might unnerve our corporate overlords authoritays.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:52 PM
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but compared to the pre-realignment party they're far more homogenous.

True, but the pre-realignment party does not have a record that you want to use as a standard of reference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:57 PM
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167:Not so clear. Last I read the President's people are saying he has been misinterpreted.

Another thing I read described the meeting between House liberals and Pelosi. Grijalva(?) told her they can't flat out vote for the Senate Bill

Ok. This may still be negotiation. The House Liberals want a "sidecar reconciliation" to fix the Senate Bill, and they want it before they vote for the Senate Bill.

Kent Conrad, Senate Rules, says he is open to a sidecar reconcilation.

But, in general, the "Club" would rather not do a reconciliation at all. Hurts Lieberman's feelings.

We may still be in play.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 6:57 PM
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166

For a contentious bill, it's probably moving just about the speed contentious bills move. But it hasn't been fast. I seem to remember the whole Franken thing meaning they got to a late start, too.

The Reagan tax cuts (ERTA) were signed in August 1981. The Clinton tax hikes (OBRA) were signed in August 1993.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:00 PM
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167: Unless I'm mistaken, the Obama quote was simply that the House didn't need to rush to vote purely on account of Massachusetts electing a douchebag, not "hey, let's forget this whole thing."

He may be wrong -- maybe they should rush -- but I don't think he meant to signal defeat, or that the quote can plausibly be read that way.

I'm just saying, this thing is far from over. If you're pissed off about it, make a call or something. It's like you've got two teachers - one is a real asshole, and the other one is kind of a push-over, but wants to do the right thing. The push-over said something really sweet after class and you decided, why not, I'll try this semester. Then the asshole jumped all over you, and the push-over just stood there and did nothing. Nobody wins when you lump them together and decide fuck it all, I'll go sniff some glue.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:00 PM
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173: right, and tax bills are equivalent to national health reform. Good work.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:01 PM
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Was that too wonkish? You don't want to know, I read too many blogs.

Pelosi is still working, without public despair.

But I think there are too many Blue Dogs and forced-birthers and scared centrists in the House to pass the Senate Bill, leaving aside the Progressive Caucus.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:01 PM
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some members of the conservative branch of the Democratic party actually do feel the need to represent their constituencies

I know it's easy to be all legarmchair adviser about things, but for the members from conservative districts who agree with their constituents, sure voting against makes sense. But for the members from conservative districts who do, individually, believe that health care reform will do some good, well, those people are probably going down already at this point. I'd like to think they'd be willing to go down fighting for - and at this point, actually achieving with a vote - something they believe in than clinging to the hope that maybe they'll slink on into the next Congress. The mirror of representation has always been balanced by the fact that we election people who can make independent decisions, not just collections of positions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:03 PM
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I want 153 to be right. And I just can't imagine that Congress will piss away the chance to pass health care reform. But then again, I've often underestimated the fecklessness of Democratic Congressional caucuses. For now, though, don't people think it's too soon to know anything meaningful? Barney Frank was angry and went off half-cocked. Now he's walked back his remarks. That sort of thing will happen a lot over the next few days, I'm guessing. And by some time next week, we might have a better sense of the lay of the land.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:03 PM
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171: What in my comment suggests that? All I'm saying is that it's bullshit to suggest that this particular, rather large Democratic majority has an unusual amount of internal disagreement to deal with. There's some internal disagreement, but the bigger problem is just hacks being hacks, and when hacks are being hacks you're likely to accomplish more by changing their incentives than by appealing to their better natures.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:03 PM
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168: but compared to the pre-realignment party they're far more homogenous.

The pre-realignment party? The realignment was in 2008, with Democratic takeover, so to speak, of both houses of Congress plus Executive?

I'm not sure what metric you'd use to demonstrate that Congressional Dems are more homogeneous now than they had been.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:04 PM
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173: It depends on when you take the starting point. They didn't seriously start on the health care until a while after inauguration. (That may be true of the bills you cite, but I'm not looking them up.) Also, this is bigger than both those bills.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:05 PM
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The pre-realignment party? The realignment was in 2008, with Democratic takeover, so to speak, of both houses of Congress plus Executive?

No, the realignment when all the Southern Democrats became Republicans. It was big news at the time.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:08 PM
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180: Maybe we're talking past each other. I took pre-realignment to mean back when all of the white southerners were Democrats. I'm using realignment in the sense of realigning who is in what party, not realigning which party has the majority.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:08 PM
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179: the pre-realignment party could get pre-alignment Republican votes. Assuming you're talking 20th century realignment, not 21st.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:08 PM
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Shearer, can you go find out how long it took congress the pass its resolution congratulating the New England Patriots on their victory in Super Bowl XXXIX?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:08 PM
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pwned on poli sci.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:08 PM
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The social democrats of Cold War Europe spent quite a bit of time attacking folks to their left

This is sort of true but basically meaningless because, pretty much, of the whole `Cold War' thing & the existence of Communist Parties parroting the Moscow, Beijing, and occasionally Tirana, lines. And in fact I haven't a clue who Teraz means by `social democrats'; the Germans are the only ones I can think of.

Certainly the UKLP went downhill the more it worried about fighting with the left.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:10 PM
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I love when those congratulation resolutions pass like 433-2. Those 2 must have really hated the BCS champs (or whomever).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:10 PM
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179: But, to my point, the pre-realignment Democratic party had two things to provide some unity. First, the cold war consensus was there on foreign policy. Second, they pretty much stayed away from race. Once those splits appeared, it fell apart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:14 PM
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188: I was flipping through some roll call votes last month and it seemed like Ron Paul is often the sole Nay on such resolutions; presumably he's trying to make some point about what he thinks is the proper scope of the federal government's actions.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:18 PM
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Though to argue the other side, it took 20 years to lose control of the House.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:19 PM
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191 is me re-thinking 189.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:21 PM
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187 The Labour party government at the start of the Cold War was quite anti-communist, so were the sixties ones. The seventies-eighties period of neutralist dominance in the LP didn't see a lot of progress on domestic left wing issues. As for other European parties - the Scandinavians, and at times during the Fourth Republic, the French SFIO. Not sure about the Belgians and the Dutch. As for the rest, well yes - like I said this is meaningless since we don't have a authoritarian left anymore. I just was noting it since Bob referenced the Bolsheviks attacking the more moderate left wing parties.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:21 PM
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Howard Dean vs Chris Matthews on protest vote in MA

People get hungry and angry enough they will vote for a mad housepainter.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:22 PM
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190: the other nay's district is in Boise.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:22 PM
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187 The Labour party government at the start of the Cold War was quite anti-communist, so were the sixties ones.

But this doesn't tell you much, because anti-communism is very different from `hating on the left'. Nye Bevan was probably further left than most of the CP at the time; certainly the divisions weren't a simple left/not-so-left thing.

(And Labour were proper socialists then, as was the French Section, so I wouldn't call them social democrats.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:32 PM
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The Bolsheviks attacked everyone, so I don't know what that proves about anything.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:34 PM
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197: Tell me about it.


Posted by: Opinionated Trotsky | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:37 PM
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So were the SPD in that sense. It was also the official name of the Bolsheviks until well after the Revolution. However, none of the parties genuinely wanted to completely abolish capitalism as opposed to taking over certain key sectors and very large companies (mandatory collectivization and shutting down small retail business really wouldn't have gone over well in the France of the early fifties). Here I'm using it as short hand for the democratic Marxist left vs the authoritarian Marxists.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:39 PM
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Here I'm using it as short hand for the democratic Marxist left vs the authoritarian Marxists.

Well yes, but it isn't very good shorthand. In the UK, social democracy generally mean post-Foot Third Way-ism, and isn't a very good word to use about the Labour Party prior to then. (And again with what would become the PS.)

And it's hopelessly confusing, given the Socialist International and all.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:43 PM
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182, 183: Yes, thanks. See 184.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:47 PM
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201: On the other hand, looking at the Clinton tax vote in 1993, it was 50-50 in the Senate, with Gore voting yes. No Republicans voted yes.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:50 PM
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For some reason, I thought there were still a few Republican votes to be gotten (occasionally) into the late 80s, early 90s.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:50 PM
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The way it's generally used in the US these days is to refer to the postwar European model of a heavily regulated, progressively taxed, soft capitalist society with very extensive government benefits and powerful unions. What the Germans refer to as a Sozialmarktwirtschaft. For the historical movement in Europe, the terms Socialists and Social Democrats are both as they were by the contemporary organizations. Definitely no 'Third Way' connotations.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:52 PM
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But you aren't using it in the US; you're using it about Europe, where, you know, it has a slightly more complicated meaning than that.

(In particular in the UK where there's the SDP & so-on to consider.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:59 PM
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I'm using it in the US about Europe according to standard US usage when discussing Europe. You are saying that modern British usage has a different meaning. Though I'll note that British historians discussing continental Europe seem to use it the way I do.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:06 PM
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203: Then all I can make of the Senate staffer's letter linked in 141 is that while a plain majority used to be mostly suitable, and considered a godsend, it is not now because ... of robust use of the filibuster. Full circle.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:08 PM
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But it's an unwieldy usage when discussing the intricacies of left in-fighting; what you really mean is almost always `Bevanite', `Militant', `CP', `Gaitskellite' or whatever, and using social democrat just obscures the issue, because it makes it seem like there was a social democratic consensus arguing against a socialist consensus, which really isn't true.

The Labour Party (for instance) is neither socialist nor social democratic; it is a labour party and a broad church. The SFIO was socialist, and then it became social democratic, but there are still socialist strains. Likewise the SPD. The Swedish Social Democrats sometimes call themselves `democratic socialists'.

So just saying `European social democrats' isn't very handy, because what's at stake here is not the broad sweep of policy where you can get away with using `social democrat' but rather nasty little squabbles where `socialism' is sometimes different from `social democrat' and sometimes the same and so-on.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:26 PM
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Leaving aside any remarks about Barney Frank's reversal of course regarding House passage of the Senate bill.

We'd do well to notice the extraordinary effect the so-called astroturf organizations have had on these events. FreedomWorks, headed by Dick Armey, funding Scott Brown's campaign to some significant degree. I'm reminded of the way in which Prop 8 in CA was influenced by out-of-state groups funding anti-gay-marriage advertising -- the same group helped defeat passage in Maine.

We say again and again that the nation is not changed through electoral politics, but through grassroots change. Yes. No. But it strikes me that the same 30-years-long campaign to put conservative and/or Republican ideas in the public's forebrain, with such great success in the form of neoconservativism, is continuing. How are progressives, or even just liberals, doing in countering that?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:27 PM
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They are making common cause with Grover Norquist. What's that I smell on the winds of change? Victory!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:42 PM
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210: I think very few members of the public at large have heard of FireDogLake.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:47 PM
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What in the fucking hell is a "sidecar reconciliation"? God, this sort of congressional arcana makes me crazy. A "sidecar reconciliation" sounds like a twee fucking cocktail.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:48 PM
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201: see 155, which is still nonsense.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:55 PM
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Further to 211: In case that's unclear, if and when FDL gathers together and deploys millions of dollars for establishment of think tanks and magazines, funding of journalists, PACs to produce ads and host fundraisers for deeply progressive candidates, and so on, then I'll think they're changing the landscape of American political thought.

That's what conservatives have done. We were all talking about this not too many years ago. Have liberals managed to set up anything parallel? I feel like it's fallen by the wayside. There was a hell of a lot of online activity, starting with Howard Dean, up through Obama, the founding of MoveOn and such, but I don't think it's filtered through to the public at large.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:55 PM
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But I was making a broad generalization about the behaviour of the democratic left wing parties in European democracies in the first decades of the Cold War. I'm aware that there's a lot of detail I'm skipping over, but it's a blog comment, not a monograph.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:56 PM
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Parsi, there has been some movement. The growth of the blogosphere has pushed unabashed liberals into positions of moderate media influence. Folks like Klein or Yggles or JMM. Plus there's the creation of the Center for American Progress which has quickly grown into a major think tank player on the DC scene. But we still have a long, long ways to go.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:00 PM
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214: I was kidding, parsimon. But no, the left has nothing comparable to Fox News. The left used to have unions. But organized labor's message probably doesn't filter through to the public at large any more.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:02 PM
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I meant to say "Fox News/talk radio". Oh well.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:02 PM
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They are making common cause with Grover Norquist. What's that I smell on the winds of change? Victory!

I'm more with Parsi in 209. I think the left needs to rework itself ideologically. The shared ideological core is a key source of Republican strength. It does make sense that the left would draw on libertarian currents in rethinking things. Libertarianism is sort of an American ideological lingua franca, at least post-WII, the '60s left was profoundly libertarian. The clear linkage between Big Finance and Big Government leaves real space for those kind of alliances.

The problem with the left base isn't new ideological currents, it's the childish impatience with the imperfections and compromises of actual politics. Although seeing the disgusting display of cowardice by the DC insiders today, I'm thinking that the worst of the base and some of the establishment pols deserve each other.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:10 PM
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But the details are what makes it interesting: if you have a substantial Communist Party following the Moscow line to the left (and famously those parties weren't left but east) of you, it may be worth being rude to them.

But that's not true of social democratic parties talking to socialists at all, which is the much much more relevant point.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:12 PM
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216: Yeah, Center for American Progress, true. It's going to take us 30 years to get through to the people who voted for Scott Brown, though, if we're to wait for Klein or Yglesias to have any impact. Sorry. Nobody's ever heard of them. TPM is doing a bit better. More people have heard of or might read Huffington Post.

Still, though, pull aside your random person on the street and you're just going to hear the same old "expansion of government by liberals" crap that's been around for a while now. This really is a problem.

So yes, some movement, not nearly enough. We need to put more money and resources into media outreach. This is really what I'm taking from the MA election: people were far too ready to adopt the line they've heard all their lives, that government spending is bad, the status quo is pretty much fine, the welfare state is bad, socialism socialism.

Actually. Large swaths of the country probably just want to be libertarian by some definition. I think neither Republican nor Democratic party knows what to say to that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:14 PM
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shared ideological core

I'm not sure what you mean. The shared ideals of the fundies, the no-taxes crew, and the all-war-all-the-time faction? I tend to think that the shared ideological core of the Republican Party is an unstinting thirst for power and a willingness to subsume all other issues in service of that one paramount goal. Plus, they love kicking Democrats in the teeth, and that brings them together at the holidays.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:16 PM
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Plus there's the creation of the Center for American Progress which has quickly grown into a major think tank player on the DC scene.

CAP is John Podesta, they are pretty Clinton-ite/establishment. (For a sense, here's a list of who John's brother works for). Of course the corporate establishment, will be a part of any successful political movement in the U.S. But it's tricky.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:19 PM
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Norquism isn't about libertarianism so much as it's about tax cuts.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:19 PM
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222: You forgot getting and keeping a lot of money at the expense of others' fair treatment.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:20 PM
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I'm also pretty confused by this:

the '60s left was profoundly libertarian.

I suppose it depends on which part of the left you're talking about, but the various movements for civil rights all worked through federal courts and sought greater government intervention in every region of the United States. That said, I suppose the anti-war movement was anti-government, as you'd expect, but I'm not sure it was actually libertarian in any meaningful sense. It's possible I just don't know what you mean.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:21 PM
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225: I'm not sure the fundies or the all-war-all-the-time folks care much about increasing socio-economic stratification. I think it's just that they're willing to put aside their deeper convictions in service of maintaining power and kicking liberals in the teeth.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:23 PM
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What the left/liberals don't have is a bunch of loons like casino moguls willing to drop millions on issue ads.

Other left thinkish tanks: Campaign for America's Future. Rick Perlstein was there (or at least blogging there) for a while, but I bet most people haven't heard of them. Common Cause is fairly liberal at this point, but their roots are in the process/campaign finance/good government tradition. You only come across them really if those are issues you pay attention to. New America Foundation is kind of liberal, but seems more centrist even-The New Republic-liberal than the kind of liberalism we're talking about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:24 PM
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Keir, we agree on the substance. My original comment was more in the genre of point out absurdity of Bob's comment which was specifically citing the Bolsheviks and Robespierre as 'the left'. As for terminology flat/apartment, truck/lorry, etc.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:24 PM
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226: I took it to mean, like, freedom to, like, do whatever, man. It's the '60s. Free your mind from the man and—hey! It's puff-puff-pass, man.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:25 PM
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"Libertine"?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:26 PM
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Isn't there a libertarian undercurrent to some of the Kolko-like New Left history? The critiques of "corporate liberalism" and the advocacy of more community/regional autonomy on somewhat anarchist lines and the like?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:27 PM
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Only a tiny minority of the very rich are liberal on economic issues. Even the Dem moguls tend to be economic 'moderates' and social liberals. There are a few exceptions, but anything that depends on our rich keeping up with theirs is an uphill fight.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:29 PM
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231: No, I think of myself as quite a prude, I'm afraid.

232: Yeah, that's a good point. But I tend to think of that as more of the exception rather than the rule.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:30 PM
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229: yeah, you're quite right & I'm just being bitchy for the sake of it. The N/Z/L/P is currently having a bit of an internal squabble about this stuff so I'm a bit hair-triggerish.


Posted by: rieK | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:31 PM
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222: they subsume their differences in a hatred of liberalism, but I think that hatred has a certain ideological coherency. It makes more sense when you think about authoritarian personalities, and the way that the free market enforces certain kinds of social discipline through economic coercion.

226: the left's cultural agenda was liberatory and seen as such -- "acid, amnesty, and abortion". Your opposition of government vs. libertarianism is not one I really accept, although I know it's standard, but a lot of the characteristic political initiatives of the '60s left were explicitly anti-bureaucratic, localist, and rooted in spontaneous popular movements. (E.g. the community action agencies, the welfare rights movement).

A big win for the reactionary right in the 80s was the idenitifcation of liberty with economic liberty and coercion with constraints on economic liberty.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:37 PM
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Said more pithily above, as usual. Obviously libertarianism is opposed to the centralized state, but I think you can usefully see a lot of the far left in the 60s as a variant of libertarian socialism . The fact that most libertarians today would see those two terms as unthinkably contradictory is a big ideological win for the right.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:44 PM
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It makes more sense when you think about authoritarian personalities

I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you. Kidding aside, I hear this point made a lot -- along with arguments about "tribalism" in politics -- and while I find the sound of the words sort of compelling, I'm not a psychologist and so feel a bit out of my depth in such discussions. I also can identify plenty of Democrats/liberals who I view as authoritarian, so I'm not sure what to make of that.

the left's cultural agenda was liberatory and seen as such -- "acid, amnesty, and abortion"

Is that Reagan's rhetoric? Or is it another right-wing frame? And anyway, I'm not sure I see much relationship between "liberartory" and "libertarian" -- other than a root, I suppose. I think this just might be a case where we mean very different things when we use the same word. Because, when it comes down to it, I do think that libertarians are people who want to minimize government intervention/the size and reach of the state.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:47 PM
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228: What the left/liberals don't have is a bunch of loons like casino moguls willing to drop millions on issue ads.

What we have is George Soros and a few others. They do excellent and appreciated things, but it's not in the direction of media infiltration, or electoral politics, as far as I've seen.

What ever happened to Air America and such things?

What's George Lakoff, linguist, he of the cognitive/metaphorical framing discussions of just a couple of years ago, up to? I see from his wikipedia page that the think tank he was involved in dissolved in 2008.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:49 PM
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I should have been clearer above. My mention of right-wing frames was by way of suggesting that lots of people of the left in the 60s wouldn't have accepted such characterizations. They weren't libertines, and they wanted a far more robust and activist state.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:50 PM
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Yes to 232. I am pretty sure the original usage of "libertarian" as a political modifier was for strains of leftism with those traits. It's still used that way in much of Latin America, as well as by current anarchists, e.g., these guys.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:51 PM
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236 I've always thought that on economic issues the way to think of it is how much value someone places on economic justice vs. economic liberty.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:54 PM
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George Soros is spending all his drug money on various nefarious plots. How does that help liberals?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:57 PM
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234 From the Petit Robert
Libertin 1 qui ne sui pas les lois de la religion, soit pour la croyance, soit pour la pratique V. Impie, incredule, irreligieux "Je devins polisson, mais non libertin (Rouss)

Libertinage: 1. License de l'esprit en matiere de foi, de discipline de morale religieuse. V. Incredulite.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:03 PM
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What ever happened to Air America and such things?

Huh? They're still around.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:03 PM
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"acid, amnesty, and abortion" was the charge against McGovern, I think.

I don't know much about them really, but the left-anarchists/libertarians in the 60s were probably less likely to be in politics than the left supporters of a more liberal federal government. The conservative-libertarians haven't really been against being in the federal government, they've just been against it doing anything helpful to more than a small proportion of society.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:04 PM
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245: Well, you never hear about them, do you? DO YOU? George Soros has probably been laundering money through them or something, so they've gone on the Q.T., just like Acorn.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:11 PM
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I had no idea Air America was still around. I'm shocked.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:23 PM
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Here is a good memoir by the great right-wing libertarian Murray Rothbard discussing his experiences with the New Left, and here is his 1965 essay on the New Left as an important libertarian movement.

left-anarchists/libertarians in the 60s were probably less likely to be in politics

what does it mean to be "in politics"? The personal is political, etc. The sexual revolution, drugs, homosexual liberation, were profoundly political movements.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:26 PM
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248: They're on at least one of the satellite radio services, right next to a conservative version of something similar. I think it may have saved them from what I recall as initial commercial failure.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:26 PM
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That 1965 Rothbard essay is fantastic (if badly formatted). His discussion of "parallel institutions" is great. It's really amazing how mainstream right libertarianism today is completely missing an analysis of collective action as a possible alternative to the state.

A lot of the political interventions of the New Left were all about spontaneous collective action as an alternative to the bureaucratic state. Lumping them all together under "government" misses something.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:33 PM
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249: Institutional politics (legislatures, executive administrations). I'm not a fan of the tendency to collapse "personal is political" sense of politics with the "institutional" politics sense into one category of just politics. Lots of stuff once called personal only has political implications, and lots of political stuff have personal implications, but people who think they're being politically active without going into the institutions seem to find themselves being ground down by the institutions later in life, sometimes without quite knowing why.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:43 PM
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Large swaths of the country probably just want to be libertarian by some definition all of the services they are accustomed to having and none of the taxes or government.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:15 AM
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253. Wasn't that the principle on which the country was founded?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:23 AM
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194: I think Matthews more-or-less gets the best of Dean in that conversation. While Dean convincingly makes the case that many Brown voters favored a public option, Matthews points out the obvious: Coakley favored the public option, Brown was against it, and those voters favored Brown.

For a politician, the only available lesson is that if you want those voters on your side, you need to oppose their interests. Republicans know who is on their side, and vote accordingly. That's one reason they win.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:17 AM
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255:Dean didn't make the case well, but Digby helped.

Coakley said she was for the public option, but would vote for Obamacare without it. Coakley said she would never vote to restrict abortion access, but would vote for the Senate Bill with the Nelson-Stupak amendment.

Voters said:"Fuck this bullshit."

Digby said process liberals who love sausage would certainly never understand.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:29 AM
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Why is this so hard?

Voters:"We are going broke and dying. We need healthcare"
Pol:"I'll get you healthcare"
...
Pol:"I got you this nice playground. Politics is hard, I had to negotiate, I am not all-powerful. And it's a really nice playground."

Now I suppose reasonable people can disagree on how good the Senate Bill is, although those who say it wasn't good enough, includimg ordinary voters, don't like to be called crazy cruel monsters, but the voters wanted a way to say it wasn't good enough.

Before it got locked in for decades.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:37 AM
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Before it got locked in for decades.

What makes you think it would be locked in for decades? Specifically, your big issue that made it intolerable was the tax on high value employer health care plans. That's not a structural component of the reform, just a source of funding, and could be changed at will anytime there were the votes for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:41 AM
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Meet the New Boss same as the Old Boss, but Much Bigger

Expected.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:42 AM
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258:LB, that is exactly why I didn't want to duscuss wonky details. If I mentioned one, it would be used as my only objection. If I listed ten, it would be ignored. I probably have twenty objections.

And you wanted "a" difference between House and Senate Bills. It wasn't the only one.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:45 AM
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wasn't good enough. Before it got locked in for decades.

Right. The House is completely correct to insist that before they just toss the product of all their work in the garbage and pass the Nelson/Lieberman bill (which is crammed full of poison pills), they get an actual, detailed in writing sidecar bill detailing what amendments are going to be offered through reconciliation.

Because the "we can fix it" promise is really looking threadbare right now. The House shouldn't have to just accept whatever the Senate hands them just because the utterly dysfunctional Senate spent so long dicking around that they ended up fumbling the ball on the goal line.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:46 AM
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258:And what makes you think, once a bill is passed, the Senate would want to revisit healthcare any time soon, especially with the aim of changing funding to tax the rich?

Look at them now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:48 AM
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If I listed ten, it would be ignored. I probably have twenty objections.

I wouldn't press you if you said both the House and the Senate bill sucked, start fresh -- that would be a perfectly comprehensible position. I'm picking at you because you thought passing the Senate bill would be intolerable, and not passing the House bill was a tragedy.

If two bills that share the same basic Rube Goldberg structure are that different to you, I figure there has to be some fairly short list of dealbreakers, and I'm not clear on what they are other than the tax thing. What else really needs to be changed to turn the Senate bill from a very bad thing to a very good thing in your view?

If the answer is "No, you're wrong, I hate the House bill too, and I don't want any HRC until it's structured completely differently," I've misunderstood you and I'll drop it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:55 AM
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(which is crammed full of poison pills)

Same question to you as to bob, except that I figure you're likelier to respond in a way I can follow. I've lost track of the detailed differences between the bills -- what are the 'poison pills' that need immediate fixing.

(I get hating the overall structure, and the lack of a public option. But I've lost track of the finegrained stuff, and it sounds as if some of it's really important.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:57 AM
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But it strikes me that the same 30-years-long campaign to put conservative and/or Republican ideas in the public's forebrain, with such great success in the form of neoconservativism, is continuing.

This is the key thing that has empowered the right. The network of wingnut welfare institutions has shifted the public discourse in their favor. Also these institutions create off the shelf policies that are ready to go on the very first day of a GOP administration or takeover of the House or Senate. If there had been a well thought out shovel ready health care plan accompanied by an appropriate political strategy available to Obama we would not be where we are today.

I'd like to see left wing think tanks spreading the simple message that the US is not now and has never been at any point in its history a free market of the sort advocated by Milton Friedman and his acolytes. Intervention in the market has been present since day one, and the right wing agenda is to ensure that those interventions only ever favor the powerful. The left's vision is simply to level the playing field, ensuring that intervention by government in the marketplace serves the interests of all the people. The owners get limited liability and corporate personhood, and as a price for these extraordinary benefits they pay higher taxes which are used to benefit everyone.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:57 AM
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The House bill has a public option that, while currently weak, can (and almost certainly will) be expanded in the future. That's one really huge difference.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:00 AM
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Wasn't that the principle on which the country was founded?

On that and a love of whiskey.

(I'd forgotten that "Joe the Plumber" had a post-Revolutionary era counterpart in "Tom the Tinker.")


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:02 AM
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263:Well, yeah, Medicare-for-all. Of course.

But you know, believe it or not, I do have many of the feelings and reactions of everybody else. Some people will be helped that are desperate, I am worn down and exhausted, no bill is politically awful.

I read the comments of people with pre-existing conditions all over the blogosphere. You want ideological, tactical, strategic certitude? Sorry.

One factor is the Senate, Obama, and Lieberman just telling the House to suck it up. Pelosi has passed about ten pretty good bills that are getting mutilated in the Senate. Dodd is removing consumer protection from Financial Reform.

Barney's point was that the House is sweating bullets, and the Senate needs to act like a majority. Do it on the Big One.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:09 AM
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264: Honestly, the House bill is only somewhat better than the Senate bill for most of what I don't like. But it will be easier to improve down the road.

Still, aside from actually establishing a public plan, there's the excise tax (which is going to end up royally pissing off teachers, public employees, and other unions), the Senate bill prevents the gov't from negotiating drug prices for Medicare, and the House bill raises Medicaid payments to doctors. The last is a bigger deal than most people who haven't had to use Medicaid realize. It's often difficult to find doctors who will take Medicaid, and both bills expand the number of people eligible for it (predictably, more in the House version than the Senate).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:13 AM
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On just the excise tax, I have to say that while it may be bad politics, I think it's good policy. That employer-provided health insurance is deductable at all is a bad thing, and moving away from that is a good thing. If it gets through Congress, I don't care if it's bad policy.

The other stuff, while I agree with you generally about, all seems like the sort of thing that can be tweaked after the fact. That is, it's all the sort of thing that's less difficult to pass than sweeping health care reform is - if we can get it through now, we can get it through next year. The main bill, I don't think it works that way -- holding the main bill hostage for things like this, on the hope that there are some holdouts who, e.g., don't like the raise in reimbursement to Medicaid providers, but are willing to bend on that point because otherwise HCR won't pass, doesn't seem like it will work.

But this sort of calculation of the political possibilities isn't the kind of thing I'm good at at all. I think the best thing to do is pass the Senate bill, and fix the details later, but I don't know and I certainly can't tell anyone with different ideas about the tactics that they're wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:22 AM
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"If it gets through Congress, I don't care if it's bad policy politics."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:25 AM
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and fix the details later

That would be okay, if I had any confidence that it would happen. Which is why I think the House is right to insist on some solid guarantees of that up front, in writing, in bill form. Because at this point, I don't trust the Senate or Obama at all on HCR.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:28 AM
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Which is why I think the House is right to insist on some solid guarantees of that up front, in writing, in bill form. Because at this point, I don't trust the Senate or Obama at all on HCR.

Man, I want to keep on arguing about this. But the last paragraph of my 270 is the truth. Anyway, if the House does what you want, and it works, that'd be wonderful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:35 AM
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Public Option Resurrected ...Jon Walker at FDL

272:The House is wary of "written guarantees". I am pretty sure they will demand the reconciliation bill before or simultaneously passing the Senate Bill. This is the meaning of "sidecar reconciliation."

Obama really isn't helping.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:38 AM
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264

Same question to you as to bob, except that I figure you're likelier to respond in a way I can follow. I've lost track of the detailed differences between the bills -- what are the 'poison pills' that need immediate fixing.

The biggest poison pill is the special provision for Nebraska that was put in to win Nelson's vote. This has become so politically toxic (even if arguably insignificant from some big picture point of view) that I believe even Nelson wants it out at this point. It is difficult for any Congressman to vote for a bill containing it (particularly if they have already rashly promised not to as I believe some have). And it provides a very good excuse for a no vote if a Congressman is looking for such an excuse.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:39 AM
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Also, just from a raw power perspective, I want the House of Representatives to hold its ground and smack the House of Lords right in its imperious face.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:41 AM
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the special provision for Nebraska

There's that, but I didn't include it because I don't care one way or the other about it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:45 AM
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"sidecar reconciliation."

Yeah, that's what I meant by written guarantees in bill form.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:46 AM
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Mike Lux the most moderate at Open Left, on the "Plan B"

I just don't trust the Senate with passing their bill, and then reconciliation. I fon't know what, if Reid & Obama say "sorry," what Grijalva, the House, and voters could possibly do except stay home.

Yglesias this morning says Grijalva should punch a Senator in the nose if betrayed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:50 AM
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The Nebraska thing is cripplingly stupid, of course, but I doubt it's a dealbreaker for anyone not using it as an excuse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:50 AM
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Major differences between the House and Senate bills are--

-- Financing -- Senate bill includes excise tax on "cadillac" plans and also flat fee on health insurer revenues, House bill does not include these two taxes but has surtax on high income households ($500,000 for individuals, $1 million for families) that the Senate bill does not have.

--Enforcement and administration -- Senate bill sticks with state-based regulation of insurers, House bill moves to much stronger Federal-level enforcement. House has national-level Exchange, Senate has state level.

--Affordability -- House provides greater subsidies for lower and middle-income families, also gives a somewhat more generous insurance package.

--Abortion -- House has Stupak provision that would effectively eliminate abortion coverage from the Exchanges, Senate has state opt-in to Stupak and other differences that make it better from a pro-choice standpoint.

--Medicaid match for expansion populations after first three years -- Senate is at 80-83 percent, House is I think 91-93 percent (or around there).

There are other detail differences I can't remember.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:50 AM
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House has national-level Exchange, Senate has state level.

This difference, now that I'm reminded of it, seems very significant in the House's favor to me.

Abortion -- House has Stupak provision that would effectively eliminate abortion coverage from the Exchanges, Senate has state opt-in to Stupak and other differences that make it better from a pro-choice standpoint.

Yeah, I remembered the Senate being better than the House on abortion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:53 AM
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Whoops, totally pwned by Apo. Should have looked up before I posted. The Medicaid reimbursement thing is important too.

The House/Senate bills are conceptually very close even though they differ in significant details.

The biggest poison pill is the special provision for Nebraska that was put in to win Nelson's vote. This has become so politically toxic (even if arguably insignificant from some big picture point of view)

it's not even close to the biggest issue -- the excise tax is the biggest difference from the left perspective, the abortion difference from the right perspective. It's also totally -- not arguably -- insignificant from a big-picture point of view, it's just a Republican propaganda victory.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:54 AM
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I am pretty sure they will demand the reconciliation bill before or simultaneously passing the Senate Bill.

How do you have a reconciliation bill amending another bill that hasn't been passed yet? An almost metaphysical question.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:56 AM
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276: I don't see what that would possibly accomplish. The Senate is already a contemptible institution, but Senators themselves seem to be utterly immune to understanding this fact.

The Senate will remain a 60 vote body right up until the moment that the 51st Rep takes his seat; then it will return to majority rule. And not a single Democratic Senator will be given pause.

I've just finished a book on Cicero, and its eerie how utterly complicit in its own destruction the Roman Senate was. Completely different set of issues, same exact combination of fecklessness, adherence to meaningless and counterproductive tradition, and refusal to grapple meaningfully with the major issues of the day. When Brutus and Cassius killed Caesar, they had literally no plan for what to do next - they just assumed that, with the dictator dead, everything would go back to how it was, and things would be fine. I leave today's parallels up to the reader.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:09 AM
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its eerie how utterly complicit in its own destruction the Roman Senate was.

And yet, by surrendering power and principle, they retained their privileges for another five hundred years. It's a matter of what you think is important.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:17 AM
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The other stuff, while I agree with you generally about, all seems like the sort of thing that can be tweaked after the fact.

The guys I play poker with call this "betting on the come," and generally consider it a bad idea. I think the bill has to be considered on its current merits without giving much weight to how it might be fixed. After all, there's a perfectly plausible scenario where legislators, after passing this inadequate bill, later amend it to screw it up even further. You can bet that a prominent part of the liberal constituency is going to be opposed to any improvements, on the grounds that they (whatever "they" are) don't go far enough.

Of course, liberal opponents of the reform package are also betting on the come, but seem reluctant to admit it. The calculation seems to be: 1.) Force the House to choose between the Senate version and nothing 2.) get the House to kill the Senate version 3.) ??????? 4.) profit!

We're through step one and step two looks like it's on the way, but nobody has explained how we get to step 4.

Now that the House has had its bargaining position ruined, the question is: Is the Senate bill - or whatever the House can still do to modify it - better than nothing? I still don't really comprehend why there is any disagreement among liberals about this issue.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:18 AM
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Can we wait and see what happens before we launch the all-out jeering extravaganza?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:19 AM
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I feel compelled to defend the Senate a bit. Unlike the House, districts are not gerrymandered. Also, the Senate tradition of debate can work if there's a strong center that can reach consensus -- the Senate rules are really designed to break up party discipline and empower individual Senators to make their case. When they intersect with a disciplined party or ideological bloc they can turn disastrous, but one can understand their origins.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:26 AM
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Is the Senate bill [...] better than nothing?

Depends on what your top goal is: achieving (sorta-but-not-really) universal coverage over the next several years, or breaking Big Insurance's cartel control of the health insurance system.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:29 AM
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I remember tristero remarking over at Digby's place that no politician should get our support if that politician supports escalation in Afghanistan. tristero, of course, enthusiastically supported Obama in 2008 despite Obama's support for Afghanistan escalation. (A reasonable, though to me unpersuasive, response would be: Well, Obama didn't promise an escalation in Afghanistan of this scale.)

With healthcare, nobody has, to my satisfaction, articulated Obama's betrayal. Both the House and Senate versions are, in a rough sort of way, along the lines of what Obama promised, taking into account that Congress has considerable influence in these matters and was bound to screw things up at the margins.

I think people have forgotten how grim things looked a few years ago, and are ignoring whom they are empowering by weakening the Democrats.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:32 AM
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Depends on what your top goal is: achieving (sorta-but-not-really) universal coverage over the next several years, or breaking Big Insurance's cartel control of the health insurance system.

A reasonable point.

Me, I think that making enormous regulatory demands on insurers does significant damage to that cartel, while doing nothing does ... nothing. But I am compelled to admit that fucking the insurers is a secondary concern to me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:34 AM
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Of course, liberal opponents of the reform package are also betting on the come, but seem reluctant to admit it.

Well, yeah. The immediate outcome is Senate bill or nothing, unless the House can manage to pass the Senate bill with simultaneous reconciliation fix, which would be great. Someone rooting for the Senate bill is hoping for fixes in the future, and someone rooting for nothing is hoping for a much better bill in the future, but both sides are relying on pie in the sky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:37 AM
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along the lines of what Obama promised

That just isn't so.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:41 AM
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I still don't really comprehend why there is any disagreement among liberals about this issue.

That's your problem. I doubt you are really trying. When I read stuff like that I lose my motivation for trying to convince you that Congresspersons who won't vote for the Senate Bill aren't History's Greatest Monsters.

Barney Frank says he is iffy, Kucinich will not vote for the Senate Bill. Are these people evil? Ignorant?

"Any disagreement"

We have a bill that has Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieux, the insurance companies, the drug companies on board and you simply can't imagine that it might be a bad bill?

Like I said, your problem.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:49 AM
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Well, it's definitely "along the lines" of what Obama promised. I do agree that Obama consistently cut deals that weakened the progressive elements of this bill, even when there was the political room to do it differently (there wasn't on the public option, I think there really was on a number of other issues). But he did stay faithful to the basic outline of what he promised, and in the end the bill is a new $150 billion entitlement program for low-income people and the uninsured. That's nothing to sneeze at.

It's an irony that the various compromises in the bill which were supposedly so politically necessary are now what might sink it.

I am compelled to admit that fucking the insurers is a secondary concern to me.

it does sometimes seem to be Apo's major priority. We could perhaps do a one-page bill calling for the public flogging of insurance company executives?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:49 AM
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I endorse 292.2.1. Point being that achieving (sorta-but-not-really) universal coverage over the next several years, or breaking Big Insurance's cartel control of the health insurance system are not mutually exclusive options.

I don't endorse the killing of the public option, but given that it appears to be entirely off the table, the regulatory inroads at hand are an improvement over the status quo.

And if you want to talk about things just from a raw power perspective (276), I want the government to smack the insurance industry right in its imperious face by at least, in this case, not folding altogether because we couldn't get exactly what we wanted.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:50 AM
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it does sometimes seem to be Apo's major priority. We could perhaps do a one-page bill calling for the public flogging of insurance company executives?

Well, given that torture has been regularized now, it could hardly be considered cruel or unusual punishment. It might violate due process though.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:51 AM
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294: In any conceivable circumstance, the healthcare bill was going to carry a loooong list of itemizable changes from what Obama (or any candidate) proposed. I simply refuse to believe that Jon Walker didn't understand this in real-time.

The Senate and House bills were "along the lines of" what Obama proposed in that they more-or-less universalized healthcare (in fact, taking universalization further than Obama promised). Both bills also took a lot of concrete steps to make the system more fair, as Obama promised.

But yes, you can make the case that the Senate bill isn't even "along the lines of" the House bill, if you want to, and you'd have a long list of itemized differences to back that view. I'd argue that if you did that, you'd be missing the forest for the trees.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:54 AM
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It is my major priority. People have been uninsured for the entire history of the country. If this bill passes and is fully implemented, there will *still* be people who are uninsured. Some number of people will be better off, a greater number of people (particularly people in my cohort) will be worse off. And the employer-based system will continue unraveling, so that a few years down the road, we'll have to do this whole damn thing all over again because private health insurance remains a bad idea that will eventually cease to exist for lots of the country. A big-ass government bailout of the industry (which is what this is) without laying the groundwork for the system that will replace it (which is what the public option is) is actively bad policy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:00 PM
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there's the excise tax (which is going to end up royally pissing off teachers, public employees, and other unions)

At what level does the excise tax kick in? The number I remember seeing was $26K, which is close to twice what our fairly good (FEHBP) family PPO plan costs. Either I've got the numbers wrong or the fuss over the excise tax is overblown.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:02 PM
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If private health insurance is such a bad idea, why does it work in Switzerland and The Netherlands? It's certainly not how I'd design health care financing, but I don't see why it's inherently bad.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:03 PM
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And yet, by surrendering power and principle, they retained their privileges for another five hundred years. It's a matter of what you think is important.

No doubt, but some of them - most obviously Cato - cared very much about the principles that they were utterly undermining through pigheadedness.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:06 PM
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a greater number of people (particularly people in my cohort) will be worse off.

I'm really not getting who's worse off other than the people who want to be uninsured. That's a category of people -- if they can't find insurance they think is affordable after the subsidies kick in -- but is it really going to be that big a group?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:06 PM
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At what level does the excise tax kick in? The number I remember seeing was $26K, which is close to twice what our fairly good (FEHBP) family PPO plan costs. Either I've got the numbers wrong or the fuss over the excise tax is overblown.

I think the price of a plan has more to do with whether it covers lots of old people than whether it is good.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:07 PM
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301: I think the worry is that premiums will go up and the excise tax trigger won't change.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:07 PM
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I read somewhere today that Congress can pass the amendments before they pass the bill.

If the sidecar reconciliation bill doesn't work out, I think that strategically, the House needs to pass the Senate bill. The Senate may not pass another bill of significance this term, so this it it. If some form of health care reform doesn't pass, then Republicans take the House in 2010, health care reform is discredited forever, and complete paralysis sets in.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:12 PM
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304

I'm really not getting who's worse off other than the people who want to be uninsured. That's a category of people -- if they can't find insurance they think is affordable after the subsidies kick in -- but is it really going to be that big a group?

People whose insurance rates go up. People whose taxes go up. People whose employer raises copays, restricts coverage, limits wages or otherwise passes on increased costs. People whose waiting times increase.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:12 PM
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weakening the Democrats.

I really think too many people are focusing on the mcmanuses and (I guess) the Jane Hamshers, as if they had anything to do with either the MA outcome or the subsequent giving up* by elected Dems. Surely we don't think that the MA Heighten The Contradictions block held the necessary votes to bring Coakley home, do we? And while there are some few liberal House members who are unwilling to do the deed based on (arguably) misplaced principle, I don't get ANY sense from the discussion that they are, in fact, holding the whip hand. The Stupaks are refusing to vote for the Senate bill. The Senate Dems are unwilling to do anything proactive. Obama is unwilling to take a stand. I don't think any of those represent bob - do you?

More of the desperate need to kiss right, kick left. IMO.

* I need a stronger term here


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:12 PM
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300: And the employer-based system will continue unraveling, so that a few years down the road, we'll have to do this whole damn thing all over again because private health insurance remains a bad idea that will eventually cease to exist for lots of the country.

When you say 'do this whole damn thing over again', you mean 'create a public health insurance option at that time rather than now'? I'd rather do it now as well, but I don't see how this bill makes anything harder in the future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:13 PM
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Just called my Congressman (Ed Towns) and strongly urged him to just vote for the Senate bill. He's faced stiff primary challenges recently and I'd voted for him, but said that would change if he doesn't vote for the Senate bill. (he's mediocre, the challengers sucked) The staffer said that they'd been getting a lot of calls with the same message and that he would be supporting just passing the Senate HCR.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:14 PM
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305: Which changes with community rating, no? What Hawaii has is closer to what the current bills would establish than most of what exists nationally, and premiums here are painful but not $25,000-plus painful.

306: Which is a bridge we can cross when we come to it, and having the excise tax ought to reduce the chance that we'll come to it. And what you said about its being good policy to change the tax treatment of employer-provided health insurance.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:15 PM
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309 On Coakely, agreed. On the House, I don't think so. A dozen or so progressive head in ass holdouts matter a lot.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:16 PM
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Like I said in an earlier comment, under the Swiss system the average cost for the basic (mandatory) plan for a family of four is a little over $12,000 a year. There are also deductibles - typically on the order of $500-$1000/yr person, plus co-pays. Then there is the cost of the supplementary insurance which a lot of people get.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:20 PM
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I'd meant to look this up previously, but the excise tax trigger is based on premiums? Not on premium plus deductible? That is, one has a choice when shopping around for insurance plans, to the extent that one is able to, between a higher-premium/lower deductible plan, and a lower-premium/higher deductible plan.

If the excise tax is based just on premium, the effect will be to steer people to the latter sort of plan in order to avoid the tax. And the latter sort of plan is the kind you normally choose if you don't actually expect to use your insurance.

All this is to an extent moot for union members with employer-provided insurance, who aren't really shopping around to the extent that those with individual insurance are. I can't quite tell from Apo's 300 whether he feels that the unraveling of the employer-based system is a good or a bad thing. Obviously we'd prefer a full-fledged (robust!) single-payer system, no employer-based insurance at all.

On preview, what LB said in 310 regarding that last point.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:23 PM
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311: I just called Rangel. The staffer didn't know where he stood on passing the Senate bill unchanged, but was very clear that they intended to pass HCR somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:23 PM
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As regards the "Cadillac" tax, my SO's individual workplace coverage would be hit by it, but mine wouldn't - the numbers are something like $6500/year for me and $11,000/year for her, and my coverage seems to be better. I assume it's because her employer has both more older people and probably more unhealthy lower-income-bracket people. Of course, under the Senate version she'd get the union delay in that, and god only knows what the system would do between now and then.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:24 PM
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299: No taxing of health care benefits, no mandate, a public option, national exchange, reimportation of drugs, negotiation of drug costs for Medicare. Those five are really big differences from what he campaigned on. Any bill passed by anybody from either party was going to insure more people than the status quo and impose some fairness stuff, so saying that a plan that achieves those is along the same lines as Obama's campaign plan isn't saying much.

why does it work in Switzerland and The Netherlands

I don't know anything about the Dutch model, so can't say anything about it, and only cursory stuff about Switzerland. What little I've read about the Swiss system includes the fact that the companies are not allowed to make any profit on the basic compulsory plan and that they are currently running into fairly severe cost containment issues even despite the first point.

But, the bigger difference between the US and those countries is the relative size of the populations and the percentage of those populations living below the poverty line (~15% here vs <5% there).

I'm really not getting who's worse off

The people whose health plans are getting taxed, but maybe NPH's 301 addresses that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:28 PM
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313:I have just about had it with a narrative that paints Kucinich and Grijalva as the bad guys and Nelson, Landrieux, and Lieberman as the good guys.

The problem is the 59 votes. And that is not the House's problem. Boxer and Franken and every Democrat who won't go nuclear to save tens of thousands of lives is the fucking problem, and everybody here knows it is the problem.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:32 PM
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319.2: Letting the Republicans get away with routine filibusters is a big problem, but it's not the only problem, and focusing on that one makes sense if and only if you think you have a realistic shot at fixing it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:40 PM
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The problem in the Senate was Nelson et. al. The progressives there did what was necessary to get a bill that will help tens of millions of people. In the House with its large Dem majority any progressive who votes against it will be demonstrating that on substance they're happy to be even worse than Nelson and Lieberman. I will volunteer for primary challengers to anyone within reasonable distance that says they're against voting for the damn bill. I get the impression that a lot of these folks are fine talking about how much they want to help the poor, but when push comes to shove they're happier to do nothing but posture.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:42 PM
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Btw, it's sort of funny, but the effect of the Coakely loss has been to get the pragmatic progressives in the same blow shit up mood that the Hamshers have been for the past couple months. Except that we're saying we'll do it if they don't pass a flawed HCR and are just as intent on killing off progressive hold outs as we are Blue Dogs.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:46 PM
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Those of you who've spoken to your representatives today -- you see that Josh Marshall at TPM has put out a call for updates from you on where your rep. says he or she stands on passage of the Senate bill?

Perhaps information on NY reps is already in place.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:49 PM
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Any bill passed by anybody from either party was going to insure more people than the status quo and impose some fairness stuff

Yeah, right. The Republican plan was to end all health care deductions while loosening regulation by imposing the credit card model. Plus more HSA's for the upper middle class. (The poor could deduct stuff as well - the law in its majesty - bridges - etc.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:49 PM
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pragmatic progressives in the same blow shit up mood

Nauseated despair here, actually.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:54 PM
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324: Sorry, my earlier language was poor. What I meant was any bill with a chance of passing. I'm certain Ron Paul's ideal HC plan wouldn't insure more people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:56 PM
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LB, I just sent you an e-mail at your unfogged address. I don't how often you check the account is why I'm mentioning it.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:56 PM
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It's all weird -- I don't actually know how to check it, but it bounces to my realname work email. That process may take a while, and the email hasn't gotten here yet. Resend to ElizardB@hotmail.com if you want a quick answer?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:58 PM
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According to TPM, Yvette Clarke, whose district starts about one hundred yards from me is waffling. I could call and lie, I guess.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:00 PM
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Don't bother, I just got it.

I was thinking about putting up a 'Call your reps' post, as you suggest, but I feel a little weird doing it given that we've got disagreement among the bloggers.

Apo, would you be opposed to a front page post saying "If you think passing the Senate bill is better than nothing, call your rep?" If you don't mind, I'll put it up tonight when I get home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:01 PM
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Teraz, Ed Towns is your congressdude? We must be neighbors!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:02 PM
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Surely we don't think that the MA Heighten The Contradictions block held the necessary votes to bring Coakley home, do we?

Dean argues in the 194 link that they were decisive.

Those five are really big differences from what he campaigned on.

a.) No, they're not, not when you look at that list in the context of what it does accomplish. Yes, when you promise 1,000 things and only deliver 700, there are a lot of differences - and some of those differences are going to be big if taken out of context.
b.) Some of these - the mandate being the most important and obvious example - were done as concessions to liberals. It's a big mistake for liberals to punish politicians for agreeing with them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:03 PM
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322:Yeah, it's hilarious. Except I can't call y'all "progressive"

There really isn't much leverage against the Blue Dogs, so centrist rage, which i pretty funny, will have to against the people who want single payer while leaving the Blue Dogs in office. Have your fun.

Hilarious how it all worked out, that the leftmost wing of the Democratic Party is taking all the heat while Lieberman, Obama, and Rahm are smiling.

I know what Jane Hamsher wants. I know what Joe Lieberman wants. I have taken a side, and so have you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:03 PM
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That's sweet, LB, but you don't need my approval to put your opinion in a post. I assume we all take responsibility for our own posts, rather than worrying that we're reflecting a unanimous sentiment. I encourage people to call their representatives just as a matter of principle, regardless of where you stand on the Senate bill.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:04 PM
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From what I remember you live right on the western edge of the neighbourhood immediately east of me.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:04 PM
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Not exactly, Bob, the Blue Dogs are still going to be the ones who get thrown out of office if Democrats prove that they will stand up for nothing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:07 PM
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There's not even a tiny part of me that blames Jane Hamsher for this situation, bob. Just to be clear. Honestly, I find it hard to believe that she, or anyone else of the far left, had much of an impact on the vote in MA. Now, will Hamsherites have an impact on left-leaning representatives who are waffling about accepting the Senate bill? Maybe. I could say that we'll see, but we'll probably never really know.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:07 PM
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334: Yeah, I wouldn't get weird about a disagreeable opinion -- a call for action that you, or any of the other frontpagers, think is a terrible idea felt different. But given that it's cool, I'll put it up tonight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:08 PM
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It's a big mistake for liberals to punish politicians for agreeing with them.

The mandate and the public option are linked. A public option without a mandate is ineffective and a mandate without a public option is malicious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:08 PM
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I have just about had it with a narrative that paints Kucinich and Grijalva as the bad guys and Nelson, Landrieux, and Lieberman as the good guys.

And where do you find this narrative, outside of Nebraska and your own fevered dreams? It's certainly not in the comment you cite.

Me, I'm sick of the narrative that people like Boxer and Franken are the key villains, such that we must oppose them without any thought to whom we are empowering by doing so.

And where does that narrative come from?

Boxer and Franken and every Democrat who won't go nuclear to save tens of thousands of lives is the fucking problem, and everybody here knows it is the problem.

Get it straight: The Republicans are the problem. The best Senate Republican is worse than Joe Lieberman. Making common cause with Republicans - even against a pig like Nelson - is nuts.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:09 PM
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"The Republicans are the problem"

59 Democrats in the Senate and the Republicans (and the most progressive House members) are the problems.

You, you are the one who is enabling Republicans by supporting the filibuster.

Republicans have no power in the Senate. Zero.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:14 PM
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Making common cause with Republicans - even against a pig like Nelson - is nuts.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't agree with your math. In 2010, the Republicans simply oppose everything proposed by a Democrat. Unless you're willing to support anything the Democrats do, no matter what that anything is, eventually you're going to find yourself on the same side as the Republicans in the same way that a stopped clock is right twice a day.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:15 PM
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At this point, I'm not sure how much the badness of the bill makes a difference. If Congress does not pass a health care bill, the Democrats lose the House in 2010. And then, future Democratic politicians will think, "Health care cost us the House in 1994 and 2010. This issue is toxic."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:22 PM
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Gah, how unsatisfying. Just called my Rep's office, and was told by a very wary-sounding staff member that he was not permitted to say what the Representative's position on the matter was -- office policy. I wound up repeating myself a few times in various ways before he (sounding very much like he was humoring me) took my name. No way was I going to get any information out of him at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:22 PM
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A public option without a mandate is ineffective and a mandate without a public option is malicious.

Only if your key concern is damaging insurance companies - which, to your credit, you've made clear is your key concern.

But my concern - and that of the liberals like Krugman who pressured Obama about a mandate - was designing a viable system that would deliver insurance to people. A mandate without a public option doesn't have a big impact on that. A mandate without subsidies would be a gross nightmare. A mandate without community rating - disastrous. A mandate that permits current recission policies to continue, or allows denial for pre-existing conditions - these would be evidence of Obama reneging on his promises. A mandate without a public option? Not so important, at least not in the context of what would be accomplished by either of these bills.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:25 PM
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It feels like people are getting angry with one another here, much like during the election. Probably worth repeating that the debate here has precisely no influence over the outcome of the bill. We're all just engaging in highly speculative armchair quarterbacking.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:26 PM
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346 sounds like a guilty conscience. Who doomed health care? Now we know -- it was apo.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:28 PM
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Krugman told me he's going to write a column devoted to the question: "Apo: History's Greatest Monster?"


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:32 PM
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338

Yeah, I wouldn't get weird about a disagreeable opinion -- a call for action that you, or any of the other frontpagers, think is a terrible idea felt different. But given that it's cool, I'll put it up tonight.

Kind of pointless since Pelosi says no way:

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, said on Thursday that Democrats remained committed to passing far-reaching health care legislation, but she said that the House would not simply adopt the Senate version of the bill and send it to President Obama in part because of problematic provisions that she said contributed to the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election on Tuesday.

And note:

She singled out a provision for the federal government to pay the entire cost of a proposed expansion of Medicaid, even though other states will eventually have to share the expense, which was added to the Senate bill by the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, to win the vote of Senator Ben Nelson, the Nebraska Democrat.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:33 PM
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Fuck off, Walt. I'll take the blame for Guantanamo still being open and the bombing raids into Pakistan. Sure, they look regrettable in hindsight, but I was on a such a roll! If health care fails, it's the guy dropping cock jokes over at Lawyers, Guns, & Money that's at fault.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:33 PM
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Yglesias

"But in the world that exists, the only "wing" that matters is the Mary Landrieu wing."

I would change that to "the only wing that should get blamed" but it's a little better.

Those who want the Senate Bill passed unchanged are in that wing, doing Mary's bidding.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:34 PM
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349:I am in the Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:35 PM
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Kind of pointless since Pelosi says no way:

She says the House doesn't have the votes to just pass the Senate bill as is. That does leave open the reconciliation process. I suspect there's a lot of posturing going on right now anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:36 PM
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349: "I don't think it's possible" in the day after the game changed, isn't no way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:36 PM
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Unless you're willing to support anything the Democrats do, no matter what that anything is, eventually you're going to find yourself on the same side as the Republicans in the same way that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

You overlook the one key area where I maintain Democrats must be opposed - which is odd for you to overlook, because it's the same area where I disagree with you.

Democrats must be opposed when they support Republicans. On anything. Whether there are two alternatives or 10, the one that is least like the Republican view is the best.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:37 PM
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See also this :

"Health care was also part of the debate, and the people of Massachusetts were right to be upset about provisions in the Senate bill like the Nebraska purchase and other special deals," Mr. Van Hollen said, referring to elements included in the bill to win the votes of Democratic senators and round up 60 votes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:42 PM
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Taxing Health Insurance Very Unpopular ...MA Poll

The election also should be a wake-up call for those in Washington who support taxing working families' health care. Voters who thought their health care would be taxed voted by 64 percent for Brown, while those who did not think their health care would be taxed voted by 54 percent to 40 percent for Coakley.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:42 PM
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Democrats must be opposed when they support Republicans

I think Democrats should be opposed when they propose legislation I disagree with. Anyhow, it isn't the left wing of the party that supports Republicans.

http://rawstory.com/2010/01/exclusive-kucinich-shreds-democrats/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:45 PM
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Probably worth repeating that the debate here has precisely no influence over the outcome of the bill.

No doubt I'm confirming my status as an unpleasant bore here, but I reject this argument on principal.

Individual votes are something that likewise have no impact on policy outcomes, but I reserve the right to tediously explain why you ought to adopt my voting preferences.

People who excuse Jane Hamsher's behavior on the grounds that she is ineffectual are missing the point - and are forfeiting the right to praise her in this or other contexts.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:49 PM
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354

"I don't think it's possible" in the day after the game changed, isn't no way.

Josh Marshall disagrees :

Speaker Pelosi just said "I don't see the votes for [passing the Senate bill] at this time."

In other words, plug pulled. Health care reform over.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:51 PM
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Don't reject it on principal, pf. Reject it on interest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:51 PM
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Josh Marshall has been more than a little histrionic the past few days.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:52 PM
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Dean argues in the 194 link that they were decisive.

I certainly agree that people who've been turned off by the utter pusillanimity of the Dems made a difference; that's not exactly the same as being Trotskyite.

Put it this way: a million or two African-Americans voted for Obama in November 2008 but didn't vote for Coakley on Tuesday; do you think that the parsimonious explanation for this is that they agree with bob mcmanus?

IOW, I'm not looking at the motives of the people who showed up; I'm looking at the ones who didn't - they held the decisive power. And they didn't show up (IMO) because no one gave them a reason to do so. "Get disappointed by someone new" is a joke, not an actual winning slogan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:54 PM
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That's totally Josh's MO. He's very high-strung.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:55 PM
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I think Democrats should be opposed when they propose legislation I disagree with.

Same thing for me. I'm not aware, however, of a single instance where the Republican position on a key national issue was superior to that of the Democrats. On any occasion where I thought a Democratic initiative should be opposed, it was because another Democratic initiative was on the table.

If the choice is between Kucinich and Lieberman on healthcare, it's an easy choice by the metric I've explained. Look at Republicans, measure distance, pick the furthest. That's Kucinich.

It's possible, however, that for Kucinich the important thing is to oppose Lieberman, not to come up with the best policy answer. So, in opposing Lieberman, he might choose the Republican policy position against Lieberman's position. In which case, I support Lieberman's side. Easy-peasy.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:01 PM
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Okay, but the proposals on the table are the House bill and the Senate bill. Which do you think is closer to the Republican ideal?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:03 PM
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do you think that the parsimonious explanation for this is that they agree with bob mcmanus?

Well, yeah.

Polls have shown, there is one linked above, that MA Democrats wanted a public option, did not want their insurance taxed, did not want choice restricted, want the banks smashed, want jobs initiatives, etc etc.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:05 PM
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The House bill isn't on the table in the same way as the Senate bill. And it's closer to the Republican ideal on abortion -- I'm willing to deal with that, but it isn't better in all respects.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:06 PM
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I am with Bob to the extent of believing that it would be a very good thing for Democratic Senators to get the message that they're accountable for getting something passed and we really don't want to hear excuses about how the poor dears just can't get anything done because those 41 mean Republicans won't let them.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:15 PM
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The House bill isn't on the table in the same way as the Senate bill.

But that is the Senate's fault. The House passed their bill months ago, with the understanding that differences with the Senate bill would get addressed in conference. Now they're being told, "No, we can't conference so it's Joe Lieberman's bill or you guys are murderers."

The head-up-our-asses-progressives here (which I guess means bob and me) have said that sidecar reconciliation is the best remaining option, while the pragmatic progressives are claiming that because the Democrats only have a 59-41 majority in the Senate, it's either approve Joe Lieberman's bill and trust that Lucy won't pull away the football the Senate will fix it some day in some unspecified way, or never get health insurance reform evar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:15 PM
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In other words, plug pulled. Health care reform over.

Shearer has taken yet another quote out of context. Pelosi is saying there aren't votes for the senate bill in order to push for reconciliation, not to give up. This is a new low in disingenuousness. Are you a drug rep or something?

The best thing about the passage of universal health care will be determining whether James Shearer has been equipped with tear producing instruments.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:15 PM
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Sidecar reconciliation is the best remaining option, but if it doesn't work, then what? The shitty Senate bill and a vague chance of fixing it later is better than foreclosing the possibility of health care reform.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:17 PM
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While I've been arguing with you about this, I'm all for sidecar reconciliation -- I've been thinking about that as a subset of 'passing the Senate bill'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:18 PM
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Shearer has taken yet another quote out of context.

That would be Josh Marshall taking the quote out of context, not JBS.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:19 PM
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Okay, but the proposals on the table are the House bill and the Senate bill. Which do you think is closer to the Republican ideal?

Yay! Finally a framework that I agree with. "The proposals on the table" is the key issue. We can only work with the available alternatives (while working, as Kucinich does, to expand those alternatives.)

The House bill, by my reckoning, is further from the Republican ideal and therefore better. Alas, liberals and conservatives who oppose the House bill had a big success in Massachusetts, and the House's bargaining position is considerably weakened.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:20 PM
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372: I don't buy that not passing the Senate bill immediately forecloses the possibility of health care reform.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:20 PM
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The shitty Senate bill is better than nothing. Health insurers suck, but they really do suck less when they have to take all comers.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:20 PM
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liberals and conservatives who oppose the House bill had a big success in Massachusetts

The polls I'm reading (eg, the link in 357) contradict your interpretation of the MA result.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:22 PM
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371

Shearer has taken yet another quote out of context. ...

I gave the link. Here is the full post which is titled "Pelosi Pulls the Plug":

Speaker Pelosi just said "I don't see the votes for [passing the Senate bill] at this time."

In other words, plug pulled. Health care reform over.

Pelosi followed with a bunch of muddying caveats that seemed to make the statement more ambiguous. So I strongly recommend reading her whole statement word for word so you can interpret it yourself. But the other 'options' she mentions seem to be clearly impossible. So I don't think there's any way to read her comments other than to say she's ready to sweep health care reform into the dustbin for good.

She says she lacks the votes now but hopes at some point in the future she might.

Would have been nice to know back in January they didn't have the fortitude for this.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:23 PM
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372: Wait, you think we're arguing that we need to immediately pass the Senate bill? I'd be surprised if anyone is arguing that. If they can improve it through sidecar reconciliation, then great.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:23 PM
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I should clarify my own position in light of 370: sidecar reconciliation is most desirable under the circumstances. I didn't think that the choice was between passing the Senate bill with an advance reconciliation bill spelled out, and passing it without such a thing; I'd thought that Apo, bob et al. were arguing for dropping HCR altogether.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:24 PM
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376: Only in practice. In theory the Senate could change its rules, and we could get a public option.
Hurrah for theoretical possibilities!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:25 PM
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376: So what's your alternative that still delivers hcr -- along with, of course, a big kick in the teeth for the insurance industry? This is another version of my who's the 60th vote? question.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:25 PM
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I see 381 is multiply pwned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:26 PM
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This is substantively irrelevant, but I do love the way this place works to develop quick (albeit superficial) sophistication on an issue. "Sidecar reconciliation" makes sense now, but it would have meant nothing to me four hours ago.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:29 PM
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380: This being an election year, I think I'd rather seem them move quickly on the Senate bill than risk getting bogged down on sidecar reconciliation. If they can work out the details quickly, great, but get something done now before it gets even weirder.

Maybe we should start a campaign to send these to the White House and all Democratic members of Congress. We could write the address labels in orange.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:29 PM
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So what's your alternative that still delivers hcr

Ideally? Senate Democrats sack up, nuke the filibuster, and tell Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to go fuck themselves. Realistically? The reconciliation amendments need to be written now, because I don't trust the Senate to do it later. Then you only need 49 Democratic senators, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden.

I know Big Insurance isn't getting a kick in the teeth from this Congress, but really, there has to be some kind of public option that can be built upon. Even one that's weak in its current form.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:31 PM
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385: I still don't get it.

Also 382 was me. I use sarcasm to hide my ignorance.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:32 PM
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Ideally? Senate Democrats sack up, nuke the filibuster, and tell Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to go fuck themselves.

Oh man, look at all the colors! And the smells! And is that... is that you, grandma?!? Is that you, Jim Henson?!? Where am I?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:33 PM
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The reconciliation amendments need to be written now

I'd be willing to bet that something very like this will happen. In fact, I think that's what Pelosi's negotiating position is all about. Or it'll all amount to shit, and then, coupled with today's SC ruling, we're well and truly screwed.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:34 PM
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I think that's what Pelosi's negotiating position is all about

Me too, which is why the anger directed at the left, instead of at the nominally Democratic conservative senators that got us here, is particularly frustrating.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:37 PM
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the nominally Democratic conservative senators that got us here

Or the Democratic administration that enabled them at every step of the way, declined to use its bully pulpit, and continues to wash its hands of the situation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:42 PM
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391: Again, I'm not angry at the left. Heck, I'm not even angry at bob (I haven't been in many months), who has been pretty consistent, in my view, and has argued in mostly good faith throughout this whole debate. I'm actually not angry at all, come to think of it. I just want to do what I can to see to it that hcr passes and that Democrats don't lose control of either house of Congress. Because I think even the Senate bill is better than no bill at all -- by a longshot -- and the alternative to the Democratic Congressional caucus is much, much worse.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:47 PM
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The polls I'm reading (eg, the link in 357) contradict your interpretation of the MA result.

I made no interpretation of the Massachusetts result. I merely noted that those who opposed the House bill got a win in Massachusetts.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:50 PM
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392: Yeah, I'm a little angry at Obama, whose latest gambit makes very little sense to me. But then again, I don't think anyone, including most members of Congress, have any idea what's going on right now. As I said earlier, I think the smart money is on waiting until some time next week before taking a strong position on any of the "options" that are currently being discussed, because I'm guessing those "options" are mostly nonsense or political theater.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:50 PM
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Anyone have any extra scare quotes? I'm fresh out.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:51 PM
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Oh, sure, "ari".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:52 PM
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391: the anger directed at the left

I'm actually getting lost now: whose anger directed at which left? The blogosphere's anger directed at, say, Jane Hamsher and Chris Bowers? Or directed at recalcitrant members of the House (i.e. Barney Frank before he changed positions) who flatly refuse(d) to pass the Senate bill, sidecar reconciliation or no?

I mean, I've reserved the majority of my anger for DINO senators and their enablers.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:52 PM
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pwned by 392! goddammit. Down to word choice, even.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:53 PM
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378: The polls I'm reading (eg, the link in 357) contradict your interpretation of the MA result.

I really don't know what to make of exit poll reports like that: white working class voters supported Obama in central Mass. overwhelmingly, but voted for Brown, who rejects HCR, because the Obama administration hasn't worked sufficiently well to pass HCR.

??

The white working class has been a fickle demographic for both Dem and Republican party for decades now. It really doesn't know its own mind from year to year. It thinks with its pocketbook, among other things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:02 PM
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Ideally? Senate Democrats sack up, nuke the filibuster, and tell Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to go fuck themselves.

Agreed. I'd support you in email, but I'm too lazy. Or, at least, make 'em actually stand up and talk until their breath gives out and/or the oldest Senator dies.

On a related note, I just got this email:

"You're invited to the grand opening of Organizing for America New Mexico's Albuquerque office this Saturday afternoon.

Join us to celebrate our new office with OFA staff and volunteers, recognize what we've accomplished together, and learn about how you can get more involved."

I'm tempted to go to help celebrate the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, the closing of Guantanamo, the prosecution of the torturers, the end of signing statements and claims of broad executive privilege, the passage of cap and trade on carbon, and HCR.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:07 PM
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I think you killed Air America, parsimon.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:08 PM
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those who opposed the House bill got a win

You could just as easily say those who opposed the Senate bill got a win. Anyhow, Massachusetts is an example with multiple asterisks, the biggest one being that they already have a state system similar to the House bill that Scott Brown supported.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:11 PM
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239: What ever happened to Air America and such things?
245: Huh? They're still around.

Not as of today right this minute.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:12 PM
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Damnit, Ari.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:13 PM
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and/or the oldest Senator dies

SCHREW YOU SCHNEIDER!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ROBERT BYRD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:13 PM
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Oh. That sucks, re: Air America.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:18 PM
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I am once again wondering about the job situation down under for over-educated people with no useful skills. I'm sure it will pass, but if we're still losing with the White House and big majorities in both houses of Congress, what on earth is going to happen after the next election or two?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:19 PM
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"Sidecar reconciliation" makes sense now, but it would have meant nothing to me four hours ago.

I'm still with Jackmormon in thinking it has something to do with cocktails. (How about an Old Fashioned reconciliation?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:21 PM
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what on earth is going to happen after the next election or two?

Eventually, you'll just stay drunk and watch TV. It won't be that bad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:25 PM
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410: I've tried that. It didn't work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:26 PM
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If at first you don't succeed...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:28 PM
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385: I still don't get it.

A sidecar is a drink with Cognac, triple sec and lemon juice. In this case, therefore, sidecar reconciliation is where both houses of Congress get all drunk and agree to pass a bill that will provide access to basic healthcare to everyone.

Sidecar reconciliations are often accompanied by slurred declarations of "comity."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:28 PM
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Pragmatically, the sidecar reconciliation might be the best hope, but I still wish the Senate had the spine to just go with the nuclear option and end the supermajority requirement for good. Unless we're going to get cap and trade passed by reconciliation, I'm not sure there's any other option in the long run.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:29 PM
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I was very happy when I realized that a sidecar is a brandy Margarita (well, lemon instead of lime, but a very similar drink). And there's a bourbon member of the family with a funny name that I'm not coming up with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:30 PM
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Me too, which is why the anger directed at the left, instead of at the nominally Democratic conservative senators that got us here, is particularly frustrating.

Um, actually it was the Republicans who got us here. But I understand why you don't find them worthy of mention in this context - in fact, it's the same reason that people don't mention the asshole Dems in this context.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:31 PM
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414 gets it right. I'll buy the idea that half a loaf is better than none on health care, but the Senate Democrats are letting their obstructionist colleagues get away with turning an extraordinary procedural gambit into a routine thing. They need to say "look, assholes, that's not what that's there for, and either you start playing nice or we take it away completely, and by the way your new office is in a strip mall in Arlington."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:33 PM
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A sidecar reconciliation is a form of make up sex for flexible motorcyclists


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:33 PM
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And there's a bourbon member of the family with a funny name that I'm not coming up with.

Is that what a Louisville Slugger is, maybe?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:36 PM
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(I think I've just heard "bourbon sidecar".)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:37 PM
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414: Yeah -- the filibuster has to go. If there were any way to threaten or bully the Republicans into doing it pursuant to the current rules of the Senate, I'd be happier. The nuclear option offends my sense of procedural tidiness. But my sense of procedural tidiness is about the least important thing I can imagine here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:37 PM
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And there's a bourbon member of the family with a funny name that I'm not coming up with.

Google turns up recipes calling this a "Chapel Hill" or a "Basin Street", or, with grenadine, a "Red Raider".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:38 PM
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419: Yes, that's it -- a friend was just feeding them to me. You have to love someone who shows up at your house with her kid for a playdate and a bottle of pre-mixed cocktails. (Google suggests that it's also called a Basin Street, but I knew that wasn't what she was calling them.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:39 PM
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Is that what a Louisville Slugger is, maybe?

Yes. Probably. But Louisville Slugger's have some nasty-ass liqueur in them. Raspberry? Blueberry? Double yuck. Life got better when I got a job at a bar where nobody ordered crap like that. And where I could say, in all honesty, that we didn't make blended drinks.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:40 PM
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424: The ones I was drinking didn't have any funny business with berry liqueur. Just a sidecar with bourbon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:41 PM
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422: A Basin Street kicks a Louisville Slugger's ass. Which is to say, it's possible to keep a Basin Street down if you try.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:41 PM
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Actually, the Blue Dogs have to go. As well. I'm not sure we can manage that, and it does seem contrary to the spirit of things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:42 PM
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425 see 422. You were drinking what in New Orleans is known as a Basin Street.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:42 PM
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Polls have shown, there is one linked above, that MA Democrats wanted...the banks smashed, want jobs initiatives, etc etc.

Except that Obama campaigned there on the bank tax, pointing out Brown's strong opposition to the bank tax, and didn't get anywhere.

The masses are numbers and emotion. They don't know what they want.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:42 PM
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421: Where's Byrd on this? What the Republicans are doing ought to be offensive to him, and his blessing ought to give some sort of cover to a fix. Not that that will prevent the Palinheads from yelling "KKK", but who gives a shit about them?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:44 PM
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But Louisville Slugger's have some nasty-ass liqueur in them. Raspberry? Blueberry?

LMGTFY. Blackberry.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:45 PM
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Actually, the Blue Dogs have to go.

No, they really don't. Better a Blue Dog than a Republican. They just can't be allowed to dictate to the rest of the caucus.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:46 PM
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Nobody who says that Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan is going to get elected to office in Mass.

Brown also stated that he would vote against the current bill because it would deliver less to the citizens of Mass than they currently had, but at a higher cost. Don't know if that is true, but certainly one can understand why it would appeal to a voter.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:51 PM
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432: They just can't be allowed to dictate to the rest of the caucus.

Understood. I just don't know how to accomplish that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:55 PM
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Not that it's important at all, but can anybody find what question Coakley was answering when she said that about Schilling? I've had trouble finding it, and it just seems like such a screwy thing to say out of the blue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:57 PM
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OT:

Fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck your fucking policy against paying out more than 20 days' accrued vacation, you fucking fucks.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:59 PM
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A radio talk show host was saying how her opponenet was supported by Schiiling, and she interjected "another Yankee fan". Most charitable explanation is that she was conusing the Red Sox great with A. Gary Schilling, Economist.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:01 PM
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436: First they make you too scared to take your vacation, and then they steal it. Nice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:01 PM
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For you, LB. Because I'm a giver.
http://wbztv.com/local/coakley.schilling.yankees.2.1430657.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:05 PM
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Oh, man. That's an unforced error, isn't it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:11 PM
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The Supreme Court ruling is very bad. How long before voting by citizens is rendered utterly irrelevant, as civic engagement is redefined as the sacred duty of every consumer to respond to X number of corporate surveys per calendar year (Coke or Pepsi? Sprint or Verizon? Nominally Republican Candidate A or Nominally Democratic Candidate B?)?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:14 PM
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The idea of corporate speech rights just boggles my mind, full stop.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:18 PM
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Um, actually it was the Republicans who got us here.

The Republicans, with their smallest-in-decades numbers, didn't write one line of the Senate bill. Maybe you can put a sliver of responsibility on Olympia Snowe, who managed to wring some concessions before not supporting the bill, but it was Democratic caucus votes 55-60 who dragged out the process so long that they dropped to an 18-vote majority.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:21 PM
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438: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck fuck.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:21 PM
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I certainly agree that people who've been turned off by the utter pusillanimity of the Dems made a difference; that's not exactly the same as being Trotskyite.

This is way way way late, but ffs, could people please please stop using Trotskyite like this? (a) `Trotskyite' is the language of the Moscow Show Trials, and generally speaking a Bad Thing, (b) you know, there are actual Trots out there who have an opinion on this stuff, and Trots aren't just a vague generalised ultra-left group. (Yet another blow in the crusade for the language of the sectarian left! Soon the etc etc. Yeah, I know it's petty and boring and all but.)

IOW, I'm not looking at the motives of the people who showed up; I'm looking at the ones who didn't - they held the decisive power. And they didn't show up (IMO) because no one gave them a reason to do so. "Get disappointed by someone new" is a joke, not an actual winning slogan.

Isn't that basically McManus' position? Why bother with Democrats who are fucking useless?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:21 PM
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442: Do corporations have the right to bear arms? How about "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people corporations"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:22 PM
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446: I'd have to do actual research and shit to remember exactly how the analysis works, but as I recall it's basically that corporations are juridical persons and therefore have the rights of persons to the extent that makes sense (to five Justices). And the 9th Amendment is pretty much a nullity as far as the Supreme Court is concerned (which, IMO, makes sense; there's nothing judicially enforceable there unless you want to throw out much of what the Supremes have done for the last 200+ years).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:29 PM
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Do corporations have the right to bear arms?

YEP.


Posted by: OPININATED BLACKWATER | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:30 PM
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436 -- I've litigated this issue -- in another state -- and there are statutes and cases you'll want to look at. And treble damages and attorneys fees.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:34 PM
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449: Duh, that's right! Vacation is deferred wages, isn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:35 PM
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Under the typical statute, accrued vacation isn't "deferred wages" -- it's wages. Obviously, one has to look at NY . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:46 PM
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451: I think in NYS the employer is bound by what is "agreed" (i.e., their "policy").


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:48 PM
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And the NY Dept of Labor says:

Q: When an employee resigns -- or is discharged -- from a job, is the employer required to pay the employee for any accrued, unused vacation time?

A: Whether an employer is obligated to pay for unused time depends upon the terms of the vacation and/or resignation policy. New York courts have held [in Glenville Gage Company, Inc. v. Industrial Board of Appeals of the State of New York, Department of Labor, 70 AD2d 283 (3d Dept 1979) affd, 52 NY2d 777 (1980)] that an agreement to furnish benefits or wage supplements, such as vacation, can specify that employees forfeit accrued benefits under certain conditions. To be valid, the employer must have notified employees, in writing, of the conditions that nullify the benefit.
If an employee has earned vacation time -- and there is no written forfeit policy, the employer must pay the employee for the accrued vacation.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:50 PM
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452: Yep. If they've got a written policy saying they're not going to pay you for your vacation, that covers them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:50 PM
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453: Heh. That's the text at my link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:51 PM
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I've played by big-boy rules for years. The vague intimations that an exception would be made weren't worth the vapor they were made of.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:53 PM
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My case, by the way, was from Maryland. I represented the employer, and we had both the employee handbook and an opinion from the state DOL. Nope. 'Conditions that nullify the benefit' doesn't sound exactly like 'we have a cap.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:53 PM
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NY is more employer friendly than I'd expected. Oh well. After I lost my case, the Maryland legislature changed the law, which is now more like NY.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:07 PM
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Ok, let's go thru some things.

1) I love Nancy.

2) If it was really over, Pelosi would bring the Senate Bill to the floor, and let it lose, but let the votes be counted. Every Congressperson is up for election, and at least 150 Democrats want their vote public. That she has not means it is not over, even for the Senate Bill.

3) They have been working on the Conference Bill, remember that? for weeks now. They are very tired, and now the Senate has told them "Forget all that work, 3 meetings of Obama and Union Trumka, just forget Conference, we only have 59 votes.

I don't know, maybe Pelosi could bring a Conference Bill to the floor and pass it, sending it back to the Senate, where it dies 59-41. MY and Ezra say, oh noes, evil evil house for thinking they get any say whatsoever on Health Care.

Remember, the Senate did not work off the House Bill, but off an empty shell. The Senate Bill had zero House input.

4) Reconciliation will take some time, and maybe need a few more terrified Senators. Bowers says the Senate is going to flip at least 5 seats, down to 53 not counting Lieberman. It may be December.

5) Because realize how ugly reconciliation will be. When Kent Conrad says they are shooting for 51 votes, Landrieux, Lieberman, Nelson, Bayh will be on the outside screaming like banshees. You will not believe how ugly the media and the Senate will get when Pelosi, Reid, & Conrad tell Joe to go fuck himself.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:14 PM
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459

If it was really over, Pelosi would bring the Senate Bill to the floor, and let it lose, but let the votes be counted. Every Congressperson is up for election, and at least 150 Democrats want their vote public. That she has not means it is not over, even for the Senate Bill.

The last thing in the world lots of Democrats want is to be forced to vote on this. Party leaders don't bring bills to the floor that aren't going to pass particularly when they unite the opposition while splitting your caucus.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:20 PM
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Some non-political anthropology: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/2010/01/20/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:23 PM
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"Sidecar reconciliation" makes sense now, but it would have meant nothing to me four hours ago.
...
I'm still with Jackmormon in thinking it has something to do with cocktails. (How about an Old Fashioned reconciliation?)

No, no - it's what you rename your emo band
when it has gone through the process of being riven by a mutual enmity that is eventually healed after you and the bassist are moved (by your common passion for klezmer) to form an offshoot project to document the trauma.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:32 PM
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Pelosi brought the bank bailout to the floor to lose.

5) The House is really really fucking pissed. Start working They have been bleeding over Conference. Start working on reconciliation, and they will send an impeachment of four Senators to Conrad. A long cooling off peroid is a great idea.

6) Kent Conrad is talking about reconciliation, and says there are 51 votes in the Senate for a public option. This is a big deal that Conrad is saying this.

7) Watch who is talking, saying it's over, and who is quiet. AFAICT, it is the Conservadems saying it is over. Watch the progressive Senators...

8) Because the ball is in the House's court. They can send expansions of Medicare and Medicaid to reconciliation. Public option. Drug price negotiation. The Senate doesn't want to deal with, but they want a bill passed too. The ball is in the House's court. Nancy has the advantage.

9) Who else really really doesn't want progressive healthcare in reconciliation? Who doesn't want to deal with a public option, passed by 51?

Well, libdem Senators are quiet, but the President for Goldman-Sachs jumped right out and said "break the bill up" And his bloggerboys, Matt, Ezra, and Josh are fighting the good fight for him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:47 PM
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463

Pelosi brought the bank bailout to the floor to lose.

I think that was unintentional. And in a crisis situation which this is not.

There are occasional exceptions. A couple of gay marriage bills have recently been brought to a vote and lost in state legislatures including NY. But it is unusual, NY had been avoiding a vote for years.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:01 PM
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Not to intrude on your rant, bob, but JMM has been clear that he thinks breaking the bill up is a shitty idea, that he thinks that Team Obama has really screwed up the endgame here, and that he's generally terribly pissed at the entire Democratic caucus. Which is to say, he's not blaming the left in the party. Oh, and he loves Nancy Pelosi, as do Yglesias and Klein. In fact, I think every top-tier Democratic blogger would happily grant her the job of Senate Majority Leader, on top of Speaker of the House, if they could. Seriously, very few people are actually pissed at the left. People just want health care reform, even if it means eating some shit with their sandwich. That said, if you want to feel persecuted, I'm certainly not going to stand in your way.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:04 PM
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463

Well, libdem Senators are quiet, but the President for Goldman-Sachs jumped right out and said "break the bill up" And his bloggerboys, Matt, Ezra, and Josh are fighting the good fight for him.

Marshall has been rather critical of Obama. See this for example:

I've been very hard on the House in this Health Care train wreck. But what we're learning now is that the White House does not seem to be lifting a finger to move things. From what we can tell, nothing. Robert Gibbs' statement at the briefing today seems to embody the White House's stance at a much deeper level than I'd imagined. They just don't seem to even want to hear about it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:05 PM
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Also, I don't think JMM, or any other pundit/blogger/elected official has the first clue what's going on right now. I think everything is in flux, and people's opinions vary from moment to moment accordingly.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:06 PM
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441: The Supreme Court ruling is very bad.

I've been avoiding the details throughout the day. Too much, just too much at this time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:07 PM
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468: Particularly in the context of your concerns about the right's stranglehold on the highest-profile elements of the public sphere, it's just devastating news.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:11 PM
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I think that was unintentional.

convincing, Shearer. But try this one on for size: I think it was intentional. Counterpoint!


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:12 PM
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As always, I'm with text. And so, after analyzing the data (2:1), it turns out that our side is right.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:16 PM
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465:Way to hone right in on the most important point.

The narrative "The House killed Healthcare" has to die.

But I don't think Pelosi cares much about that, or is really worried.

The House will send ten items to reconciliation, and promise to pass the Senate Bill unchanged if the ten are passed by 51 votes.

This will be fun.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:20 PM
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Shearer was so quick to announce that millions of uninsured people will likely remain so, you'd almost guess that was the outcome he desperately preferred.

Shearer, I thought you were the robot who could love.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:22 PM
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471

As always, I'm with text. And so, after analyzing the data (2:1), it turns out that our side is right.

You think it is normal for party leaders to bring up doomed bills in order to force their caucus members to cast difficult votes that will be used against them at the next election?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:22 PM
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469: Okay. I've read more about it. Jesus christ. We need to --

Oh, nevermind. We need to think; the only way to combat this kind of crap is --

Actually, getting drunk seems great.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:26 PM
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Yayyyyyy drunkles


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:27 PM
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473

Shearer was so quick to announce that millions of uninsured people will likely remain so, you'd almost guess that was the outcome he desperately preferred.

I don't think I have made any secret of the fact that I don't like the current health care proposals and would prefer to see them defeated.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:29 PM
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You think it is normal for party leaders to bring up doomed bills in order to force their caucus members to cast difficult votes that will be used against them at the next election?

Let's play count the unsupported assertions! I count four in this one. Can anyone tell me where they are?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:30 PM
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472: If you're taunting me, bob, you're more subtle than I'd realized.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:32 PM
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477: Sweet. But you have kept secret the extent of your loathesomeness until just recently.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:33 PM
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That douchebag represents me now.

Coakley says that she's running for AG again; it will be hard to vote for her again.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:33 PM
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479:Neither subtle, nor malicious


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:37 PM
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Truffles are delicious.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:40 PM
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480

Sweet. But you have kept secret the extent of your loathesomeness until just recently.

Perhaps you just haven't been paying attention.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:41 PM
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481: Me too! Jesus, I picked the wrong congressional session to quit drinking.

Is there any word on Capuano's position on the Senate bill?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:43 PM
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That douchebag represents me now.

Ah, quitcher whining. I had Jesse Helms for 30 years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:45 PM
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You know who I hate? Mitch McConnell. It would be good to do something about that guy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:48 PM
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It would be good to do something about that guy.

Funny you should say. I am just now perfecting a strain of plague that specifically targets jowls.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:56 PM
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487: Careful, parsimon, his people are everywhere.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:56 PM
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You know what would be great? If Scott Brown sees the writing on the wall, recognizes that he won't be re-elected to the Senate and doesn't have the chops or background to win a presidential race, and so switches parties. In related news, I'm told unicorn breath has healing properties.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:00 PM
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I'm told unicorn breath has healing properties

Smells like death wrapped in rancid bacon, tho.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:03 PM
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Oh but Standpipe. What of the rest of humanity possessed of jowls? Your strain of plague might not be targeted enough.

In any case, I just hoped we might dislodge the man from his position of power. Can he be defeated electorally? No idea. (He really is somewhat stunning to listen to. He really believes. Really hates liberal policy. There's not much of the usual sense with politicians that he's just mouthing the words. I think he might be a maniac.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:07 PM
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death wrapped in rancid bacon

I knew there was still one more horcrux left.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:08 PM
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What of the rest of humanity possessed of jowls?

What can I say. To make an omelette you have to kill some people with jowls.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:09 PM
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GOVERNMENT AGENTS: I AM NOT SERIOUS PLEASE PUT ME DOWN


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:10 PM
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"Please put me down" turns out not to be the phrase I was looking for.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:11 PM
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but it was Democratic caucus votes 55-60 who dragged out the process so long that they dropped to an 18-vote majority.

To ignore the Republican role in this makes sense on one level because they ain't on our side. Those who fail to always mention the clear culpability of Blue Dogs do so for that same reason.

But it is incoherent to say that the Blue Dogs are more culpable than the Republicans - and then offer as your only reason the fact that they abetted the Republicans.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:12 PM
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IZZA OKAY MR GOVERMENT EUTHANIZE TO ME ALL THE TIME


Posted by: OPINIONATED BROAD ITALIAN STEREOTYPE WHO MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE MADE VAGUE THREATS AGAINST PEOPLE ALSO | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:13 PM
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There is, however, almost nothing you can do to the Republicans that isn;'t being done already, whereas there's a lot the Democratic Party could do against the Blue Dogs.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:14 PM
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499: Besides nuking the filibuster, you mean.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:16 PM
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The accrued leave thing interests me, greatly. How can an employer say that you cannot accrue more than X hours in a year and that any thing above that is lost? I am thinking of the use or lose set up in the federal government and in many government contractors.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:20 PM
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"Please put me down" turns out not to be the phrase I was looking for.

Irresistibly cute, however.

Oh, and government agents: I have not been suggesting digging up scandalous dirt about Mitch McConnell, have nothing against his jowls, and don't know why Bridgeplate does.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:21 PM
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463.7 Conservadems like Barney Frank and Raul Grijalva? Look, I love these guys, but the hysterical outflippery on this is appalling. If it weren't for long, long years of experience, I genuinely wouldn't believe that nobody had a plan B. I trust Pelosi; I trust Sherrod Brown. That's pretty much it; minor props for Wyden, Franken, Donna Edwards. If Pelosi or Sherrod Brown says that they tried everything they could, but they couldn't get things done, I'll believe them. Everyone else should go do the job we sent them to Congress to do (or the White House AHEM AHEM) or go fuck off and accept their jobs with the Kennedy School of Government or PhRMA or whatever.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:21 PM
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Well, yeah, but that's apparently Off The Table, so.

(Personally if it were up to me it'd be damn the torpedoes full speed ahead, and at least I'd get into the history books, but surprisingly few politicians seem to like the idea of pioneering constitutional improvements.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:22 PM
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I didn't even know that nuking filibertses would work, but apparently it does.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:23 PM
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There is, however, almost nothing you can do to the Republicans that isn;'t being done already, whereas there's a lot the Democratic Party could do against the Blue Dogs.

I certainly agree that the Dems have dropped the ball regarding the Blue Dogs. But they've done worse as regards the Republicans - and the only reason the wimpiness vs. the Blue Dogs matters is because it plays into the hands of the Republicans.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:33 PM
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504: You don't necessarily have to go all the way to nuking it, but you do have to be willing to point out that you have the power to nuke it and that you're not going to tolerate the R's repudiation of the institutional norms governing the filibuster indefinitely.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:12 PM
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They all work for the KGB. It's part of the grand plan formulated by Andropov in the sixties. He and his cronies at the KGB realized that the Soviet Union was doomed, and that Western communists had no future. So they implemented a dastardly plan to undermine Western society by pushing notions like 'tolerance', 'freedom', and 'justice'. THe first step was to undermine the traditional social order (feminism, gay rights, sexual liberation, civil rights) and the faith of the intellectual elites in the moral superiority of their Christian societies. The next step was to undermine the capitalist system itself by pushing parasitical anti-Christian industries like finance and entertainment, over good capitalist ones.

This theory is pushed by the mainstream wingnuts in Poland and typically sourced to US wingnut sites, from the semi-mainstream (Worldnet) to more fringe like MNnews, plus memoirs by various ex KGB types or those claiming to be. In the Polish version the Jews and Freemasons play a major role, and the chief bulwark is the Church and of course its most favored nation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:44 PM
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How about this for filibuster reform? The intellectual justification for the filibuster is that it stops "precipitous" majorities from forming and passing bills in a rush. The point of the filibuster is to encourage deliberation. So keep the filibuster but put a time limit on it. You can filibuster a bill the first time it comes up. And maybe even a couple more times after that. But then it expires after a set time limit and you get to a vote.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:42 PM
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509: Tom Harkin is introducing the bill next month.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:48 PM
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As long as Trotsky keeps coming up, what do people think of the Deutscher biography?

It's become a general rule that if I use a blog post or comment to express an intent to read a book I probably will not read it, but I picked up an old used copy of the first volume and periodically look at current politics and think, I should read it. (Along with stuff about other Russian exiles of various periods and political persuasions.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:51 PM
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510: Thanks, I missed that. It figures that someone else has been thinking on those lines. But he's had the idea since the mid-90s - why don't we hear about it more often?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:54 PM
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God I hate the way the HuffPo runs the non-political-reporting aspects of the site. Isn't there a way to turn off the scandal-sheet sidebar? Even the ads are better than that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:59 PM
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I am once again wondering about the job situation down under for over-educated people with no useful skills. ... what on earth is going to happen after the next election or two?

What has happened in other countries? Not a rhetorical question, I don't know what becomes of the over-educated, some of whom are out-of-work and very few others who are independently wealthy, and, presumably, pretty politically disaffected.

I second 513. It makes me feel gross, so I don't usually go there.

OT, but somewhat in connection with the discussion about leftisms in another thread: after reading about the RAF, the JRA, et al., I'm basically embarrassed for the American Left. Along nearly any dimension, it seems almost too pitiful. Obviously its mainstream non-presence isn't surprising, but even along the front of "direct action" ... snooze. That surprised me. In a country of this size, of this great wealth, with access to this amount of information, and that's this well-armed? Really? I had hoped for a strain of socio-economic egalitarianism as vital and obstinate as, say, Puritanism has been wrt sexuality and gender roles, if not in practice than in theory or yearning. (I think I misread Tocqueville.) I'm eying ALF and ELF, but when the enviros seem more serious and darkly committed than the economic leftists it makes me shudder and want to say what I never would, at least not irl in any real company: "fucking pussies." Or maybe I just need to read more about the American labor and Civil Rights movements, etc. Buck me right up.


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 12:27 AM
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511. You should certainly read it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 1:00 AM
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312 and 305: MA has community rating in the individual market, but it's by age and zip code, since medical care costs more in the Eastern part of the state than in western Mass. That means that older individuals still have to pay a lot more than younger people.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 5:25 AM
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