Sunday, March 21, 2010

Speaker Pelosi's bill 

I have not been a big admirer of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, but if the Politico piece ("Nancy Pelosi steeled White House for health push") is accurate, the health care reform bill that is about to become the law of the land is very much her bill.
In the jittery days following Scott Brown’s Senate victory, Nancy Pelosi was eager to resurrect comprehensive health reform. But first, she had to get past longtime ally Rahm Emanuel, who was counseling President Barack Obama to consider a smaller, piecemeal approach.

During a mid-February conference call with top House Democrats, Pelosi made it clear she would accept nothing short of a big-bang health care push — dismissing the White House chief of staff as an “incrementalist.”
Though I predicted last August that the Progressive Caucus would go for a cramdown (but it did not happen during calendar 2009, as I stated), I confess that there have been many moments since then when I thought that the cramdown would not occur. The cramdown is now happening, and it is happening because of the overwhelming success that the Democratic Party enjoyed during the 2008 election cycle. It is now trite to say, but elections matter.

I believe that there was a better bill that could have been stitched together -- one that would at least have some small amount of bi-partisan support, had it included tort reform and other measures that Republicans such as Paul Ryan have advocated. Whether or not Democrats on the Hill suffer at the polls this November (or in 2012) because voters don't like the bill or the way it was passed, it will be quite difficult to overturn this new law in the foreseeable future. Make no mistake, this is a significant political victory for President Obama, and perhaps an even bigger one for Speaker Pelosi.

For a woman who seemed to be in the middle of a standing eight count during her bizarre press conference last year, about whether she had been briefed about waterboarding by the CIA, the Speaker now has the wind in her sails. It will be interesting to see what other legislative matters she may want to prioritize during the balance of the calendar year. What other cramdowns can be engineered in the next nine months? My sense is that there is a good part of the United States that does not want to become more like the district in San Francisco that Speaker Pelosi represents. What is truly remarkable is that the Speaker has some voters in her district who think that she is too conservative -- these are the folks who were supporting Cindy Sheehan in her 2008 run against Speaker Pelosi.

Exit question: Had George W. Bush been just a little bit better at communicating why he took certain actions while in office, it is possible that the rout that the Republicans suffered in 2008 might not have been as bad, and that the margin of victory today for Democrats on the health care bill vote might not be there?


By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Sun Mar 21, 07:30:00 PM:

Speaking as a Democrat, she's my favorite politician. She gets the most progressive possible outcome out of her caucus, every time. She became the House Democratic leader back in late 2004 after Bush won re-election. Since then things have only gotten better for us.

I bought the Intrade contract on health care reform passing at 34 back in the wake of the Scott Brown victory, because I knew the big action would be in the House, and Nancy would be able to get it through.  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Sun Mar 21, 07:55:00 PM:

Keep telling yourself that, Neil. And keep on saying it as the bills come due.

We have a Federal Government (& many State Governments & many County/Municipal Governments) that are out of cash & up to their eyeballs in debt. Instead of dealing with that reality, San Fran Nan & the Kamikazes are pushing through another unaffordable entitlement, over the opposition of the majority of the American people.

This is the straw that breaks the camel's back. "Progressives" will live to regret it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 21, 08:05:00 PM:

Dear Nancy:

What are going to do when they come for you


By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Mar 21, 08:18:00 PM:

I'm pleased as punch that Nancy was able to cram this thing through, for many reasons:

1. As a physician, I will join many of my colleagues and retire a bit early.

2. As a 60 year old guy, I now have another very good reason to stay healthy. The new generation of physicians will be custom tailored for low salaries and punch clocks. Don't depend on them to carry the day.

3. This bill is an enormous sledge hammer in the face of the independent voters who strongly opposed it. Their taxes will go up, their insurance rates will rise and 80 million Catholics will see abortion federally funded. The Democratic Party will be hogtied for a generation.

4. Their hubris will lead to additional idiotic and unpopular legislation initiatives between now and November that will further cement their fate.

5. The Democrats will OWN healtcare. They will not have the media to act as powerful syncophants in skewing the story. Every missed diagnosis, bad result, premature death, stillborn child and unavailable medicine will be THEIRS!

6. The Republicans can now simplify their successful election strategy. "WE WILL FIX THIS MESS".

So...yeah, Nancy...RIGHT ON!  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Sun Mar 21, 08:19:00 PM:

Difficult to correct yes. Depends on savvy strategy by Republicans who periodically look foolish, yes.

There is a window of opportunity to beat this back. It's about three years and runs through the next Presidential election.

This is a unique situation. Not since Prohibition has the government gotten so out of step with the public. And for the first time in a long while, Republicans are on the side of the majority of the public and they have some very impressive talent on their bench.

When the Democrats see their political power pruned in the next two elections, they will send more centrist politicians to DC. Each election some of the old guard, who have the most invested in this health legislation, will step aside or be pushed aside. There will come a consensus that the country made a wrong turn with Obama and Pelosi.

Even Pelosi, who is feeling a moment of triumph, will soon be reminded that her approval rating stinks and that she is a liability to the party beyond this point as will be the case when Republicans run ad after ad in the coming election with Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West. She is after all easily portrayed as barely connected to reality. A good whip she is though.

Sleep well and marshall your strength. Tomorrow is another day and there is a lot of work to do.


By Blogger John, at Sun Mar 21, 08:44:00 PM:

This actually makes me hate the Republicans even more. Only a short eight years ago, they walked the Bi-partisan plank, always getting pounded in the press for not "compromising" enough with the Democrats.

Why the hell couldn't they have done this for our issues? Republicans didn't lose so much in November because they lost the center, so much as they lost the base.

I fear that they are going to win again, not because they are better, but because the Democrats are worse.  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell, at Sun Mar 21, 08:48:00 PM:

So much to say. Here's salvo #1.
What happens next on Healthcare? I used to worry that if passed, we'd all forget Healthcare because so much of it is delayed. No longer. I expect a shit storm by November because of the following:

1) Oct-Dec 2009 tax revenues came in $100 billion less than budget -- that's a $400 billion annualized shortfall from Obama's budget. Expect three quarters of such shortfalls before November. This is truly an alarming trend. Much of this shortfall is because high earners aren't earning as much as government assumed -- the official plan assumes a rebound to 2008 income levels. Because of tax progressivity there's a lot of leverage in tax collections. This will be painfully obvious by November. It means that our trillion dollar annual structural deficit will look even worse.

2) Congress will have to act on the "Doc Fix" again before November [credit Dick Morris on this insight]. Normally, they'd just kick the can down the road. But if they do that again, it'll expose the CBO process as a complete fraud and make the budget deficit look that much worse. If they don't delay the Doc Fix, expect huge numbers of providers to give up on Medicare patients and Seniors to go ballistic.

3) New Healthcare taxes will kick in soon. Bush tax cuts get phased out. So we'll see higher marginal rates. This can't help our supposed recovery. It's not the fear of 50% top marginal rates -- it's the fear of 90% all-in top marginal rates and lowered brackets.

4) Unemployment is issue #1. Obama Drama has driven this off MSM front pages -- but only people who live in a bubble aren't aware. How could Democrats be so oblivious?

5) Independents are really pissed. Don't underestimate this as a force. They're one-third of potential voters. This is bigger than the Tea Party movement, with which it overlaps. Independents will turn out in November and will go at least two to one against incumbent Democrats. Independents could even turn on some incumbent Republicans. If you play with the math you can see what a force this could be -- think of a small boat when a lot of people move to one side real fast.

6) The Stupak compromise is a sham, and will be exposed as a legal nullity. Nancy just lost the Democrats the moderate Catholic voter.

Republicans should retake the House and maybe the Senate -- I used to think they'd pick up 50 seats in the House -- now I think it could be a 100. I'm not kidding.  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell, at Sun Mar 21, 08:55:00 PM:

Reply to John at 8:44

Why are we pissed about today? A President -- and his mostly compliant party in Congress -- created a trillion dollar unfunded healthcare entitlement.

But Bush did it with the Prescription Drug Benefit !!!! ... Because Karl Rove told Bush he needed to boost his numbers with Seniors to win in 2004 .... because Bush fucked up by invading Iraq.

Electing Republicans is a short-term necessity in 2010 -- but it's not necessarily a long-term answer either.  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell, at Sun Mar 21, 09:03:00 PM:

Nancy is the real power behind the throne. She wrote Stimulus more than Obama did. Bailing out California for two years was part of it.
We can't vote Nancy out of her seat, but we can elect enough Republicans to throw here out of her Chair.
To add to the list of fiscal woes that will hit by November -- looming state bankruptcies.

Nancy will want to bailout California and other blue states again -- this was part of what Stimulus turned into. This is a wedge issue that can split Democrats ... and should. California needs to fail so we can start to see the error of where we're heading.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 21, 09:35:00 PM:

"What other cramdowns can be engineered in the next nine months?"

Don't know, but if Nancy could knock off Obama and Biden and authorize an enabling act then there's no limit.

As for the exit question, political-cultural bias in the media also deserves blame for intentionally misunderestimating our former President's actions.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Sun Mar 21, 10:02:00 PM:

Looking way out to 2013(?) when this thing is supposed to kick in, could a Republican Congress refuse to fund this program if it can't be repealed? Is that a viable strategy?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 21, 10:10:00 PM:

"Could a Republican Congress refuse to fund this program...?"

As easily as you can say, "Tax revolt."  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun Mar 21, 10:56:00 PM:

Democratic pollster Pat Caddell is calling the health bill ‘political Jonestown’ for Democrats.

Jonestown -- for those who don't know -- was where about 1,000 people drank poisoned Kool-Aid on the orders of their cult leader Jim Jones. Jonestown was in Guyana but Jones and his followers were mostly from San Francisco. San Fran Congressman Leo Ryan went down to Guyana to investigate Jonestown but got shot for his trouble, which told Jim Jones the jig was up. Whence "drinking the Kool-Aid."

Soon after Rugby teams started singing Jonestown to the tune of Petula Clark's Downtown

I thought Jonestown could be updated for today:

When you're down on your luck and your religion's a joke,
You can go and see -- Nancy!
When life's incomplete, there's only one gal to meet.
Why don't you go and see -- Nancy!

Watch her as he stirs the Kool-Aid vat so lethal.
Listen to the anguished cries of all the dying people.
Everyone dies!
The Nance's the most gracious host
So, lift up your glasses, the ultimate toast
You're in Jonestown !
Drink with Pel-o-si
Jonestown !
Chances are mighty slim
Jonestown !
People are dropping like flies.

Congressman Ryan was on a mission of spyin'
But he would not drink with - Nancy.
Such a public disgrace they had to blow off his face.
'Cause he would not drink with - Nancy.


First you wheeze, then you drop to your knees
From drinking Kool-Aid with - Nancy
You'll end up decomposed in a crate
From drinking Kool-Aid with - Nancy


Jonestown, Jonestown (repeat in diminuendo)  

By Blogger Kurt, at Mon Mar 22, 12:08:00 AM:

As I wrote in response to this post at GayPatriot, I’m afraid that the scenario of enormous debts and an unaccountable political class is all too likely. As this article in The American Thinker points out, even if the Republicans win all of the Senate seats up for re-election this year (including all of the Democrats’ Senate seats), they still wouldn’t have a filibuster-proof majority, nor would they have the 2/3 majority needed to overcome a presidential veto. In more common terms, what that means is that unless this hideous piece of legislation is thrown out by the courts, even a Republican House and Senate will be limited in how much they can roll back this monstrosity. I’m afraid we may be headed for the American version of the Weimar Republic, as soaring debts will lead to economic stagnation and dramatic inflation.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 12:59:00 AM:

"Exit question: Had George W. Bush been just a little bit better at communicating why he took certain actions while in office, it is possible that the rout that the Republicans suffered in 2008 might not have been as bad, and that the margin of victory today for Democrats on the health care bill vote might not be there?"


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 01:39:00 AM:

Take the house, and you can control the IRS budget by freezing it at current levels. The president either signs the bill before him or gets blamed for "shutting down the IRS"

Lacking additional IRS enforcement staff, it will be effectively nullified.

There are many ways to skin a cat  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 02:42:00 AM:

I doubt the law will get through the constitutional challenges.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Mar 22, 07:55:00 AM:

Exit question: Had George W. Bush been just a little bit better at communicating why he took certain actions while in office, it is possible that the rout that the Republicans suffered in 2008 might not have been as bad, and that the margin of victory today for Democrats on the health care bill vote might not be there?

Geez. From the conservatives, now, the Geraldine routine: "The Bush made me do it. The Bush made me do it."

It's time to set about correcting and recovering from this disaster, not looking into the past to cast blame and thereby duck responsibility for saving the future.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 08:12:00 AM:


1. As a physician, I will join many of my colleagues and retire a bit early.

Perhaps that's a good idea, Doc. Clearly, you're out of step with the majority of your brethren since the AMA, the Assoc. of Hospital Administrators, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Business Roundtable all SUPPORT passage of the bill?  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Mon Mar 22, 11:03:00 AM:

BAWAHA, Waaaaaaaa. As Kurt said:

"I’m afraid we may be headed for the American version of the Weimar Republic,"

Hey, guess what you Americans-----The Weimar Republic WAS BASED on the American psuedo-faux-republic as well! A Socialist Jew destroyed the 800 year old Bavarian Monarchy and the rest of the socialists/marxists set up "Raterrepublics" in many cities of the "Weimar".

Following exactly the eventline of the Kyklos as envisioned by Socrates and Plato in the Republic---All Democracies devolve into Tyranny!

Ever study the Roman Republic's demise? And guess what happened as the Weimar devolved into Zimbabwe?

The saying is "Japan today: Zimbabwe tomorrow!!"

Welcome to YOUR Novus Ordo! How are you enjoying it now?!?

From a Loyalist. The chickens are coming home to roost and the s**t is getting deep. You made your bed---Now lie in it. Lie in your filth! Welcome to Weimar Zimbabwe America!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 12:17:00 PM:

You may have noted that W.'s dad counseled him around 2007 to pay more attention to the polls. I think because he knew, as you point out, that elections do matter.

I agree with your sentiment completely. I doubt the cramdown would be possible if we just had 45 Senate seats and 195 House seats.

And healthcare reform wasn't even debated during the 2008 election cycle. Not a peep.

That's a cramdown.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 22, 12:59:00 PM:

And healthcare reform wasn't even debated during the 2008 election cycle.

Huh??? Health reform was one of the primary issues throughtoput the '08election. What do you think was at the center of the whole brouhaha over Joe the Plumber? Jezus, don't you ignoramases ever read a newspaper?  

By Anonymous tyree, at Mon Mar 22, 04:12:00 PM:

"Exit question: Had George W. Bush been just a little bit better at communicating why he took certain actions while in office, it is possible that the rout that the Republicans suffered in 2008 might not have been as bad, and that the margin of victory today for Democrats on the health care bill vote might not be there?"


Of course, having an independent press corps who did not hate conservatives might have helped.

And Anon, my father was a doctor who was also "out of step" with the AMA. There are hundreds of thousands of doctors who are "out of step" with radical politics. Are you prepared to do without them? President Obama is.  

By Anonymous Robinsolana, at Mon Mar 22, 09:11:00 PM:

Just another way to blame Bush.
This is a question worth only a passing irony.
Bush won in Iraq almost alone.
The Bush/Rice strategy seems to have won the war on terror too. Trends are good, but look like a long drawn out mop up, as Muslim's come to hate Al Qaeda.
Corrupt and unprincipled Republicans in Congress were another matter. We will pay for that for decades.  

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