Tag: Democrats

The Weiner Tweet Story Was DOA

This has gone on way longer than it should have been allowed to continue.

NY Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner has repeatedly and clearly denied he sent a supposedly lewd photo (that apparently no one has actually seen?) to a Twitter follower he doesn't know and who has clearly said she doesn't know him. Because of the technical and legal issues involved in tracking down the prank or hoax or downright attack on his character, Weiner has seen fit not to make a definitive statement about who might or might not have sent the photo, who is in the photo, or what motivated the incident. For that, he is being excoriated in the conservative press. They can hardly contain their glee at maybe, possibly, just perhaps having caught one Democrat in an objectionable act after a decade of their side being slimed in so many actual, provable, admitted sexual peccadilloes and scandals that their Family Values shield is full of rust and holes.

This story was DOA, people. It had no substance. It had no legs. Only the right-wing media — aided and abetted by the once-and-no-longer-honorable CNN — has kept it alive in a desperate attempt to draw attention away from the GOP's struggles with its "kill Medicare" budget and its bloc opposition to any legislation that would fix the economy or help anyone but the nation's richest.

Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

“Less Spocky, More Rocky”

My buddy Tony Seton's daily SetoNotes today bemoans the lack of guts and courage among Democratic leaders, not just today but in the recent past as well. He views President Obama as someone who is "not a warrior," and quotes Maureen Dowd as saying we need someone at the helm who is "less Spocky, more Rocky." Clever turn of phrase but perhaps not too far from a real truth.

Tony says that if Al Gore had gotten mad and really fought for the stolen election he "lost" or if John Kerry had not let the lying Swift Boaters do him in, we'd have been spared the Bush-Cheney debacle. And he's right. "What we need," he concludes, "are more warriors…for peace and justice." I'm not sure you can go to war for peace, but certainly we need leaders who can ignite passions in their team members and in their followers to pursue important goals like health insurance reform with more vigor and perhaps a willingness to become righteously indignant at the scurrilous lies and ad hominen attacks so freely indulged in by their unprincipled, win-at-any-cost opponents.

Has it actually become true that in a public debate he who is willing to tell the bigger lie with the loudest voice wins? Or has it always been that way and I've been to naive to see?

Stop Joe Lieberman? Fat Chance.

I got about 10 emails this morning from various political groups to which I belong, all with the same theme: send us money to help us stop Joe Lieberman from killing health insurance reform.

Right.

Lieberman is a monumental ego and a jackass of the first rank. The Democrats made a colossal mistake when he ran as an independent after being defeated in his own party's primary in the last election. They welcomed him into the party fold despite his despicably disloyal behavior in backing McCain-Palin and several down-ticket GOP candidates. They let him caucus with them. They even gave him a plum chairmanship, that of the Homeland Security Committee.

He repaid them by "mavericky" behavior and now by threatening to blow up his (supposedly) party's leader's primary domestic agenda item.

There's no way to stop him but the Democrats should punish him to the maximum extent. Strip him of his chairmanship.  Bar him from the caucus. Rip away the Groton Submarine depot funding in his home state of Connecticut and any other earmarked funds he's wangled. He wants to be an independent? Make him function like one. The man's a disgrace to his party and, in this case at least, to his country and his constituents (68% of whom favor the public option he opposes). He is so deeply in the insurance companies' pockets, he'll be there after the lint has been vacuumed out.

Time to go, Joe!

Dems Move to Yank Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption But is it a Tactic?

Congressional Democrats are moving toward including a provision in the upcoming health care reform bill that would eliminate a horrible public policy that allows insurance companies to escape federal regulation. But I predict it's a clever tactic that will not succeed on its own yet.

Since 1946, life insurance companies in the U.S. have been regulated not at the federal level where they ought to be but at the state level where they play divide-and-conquer and divvy-up-the-spoils with one another. As a result, a huge proportion of the states are dominated by one or two insurance carriers who can use their often laughable state regulations to effectively squash competition. Health insurance has fallen under this antitrust exemption umbrella and that has inured primarily to the benefit of the mega-insurers.

Now Democrats, who have tried to have this rule changed before, are in a good position to make it happen. But I think they see the public option on health care as being far more important. So here's my prediction. During negotiations, Dems will agree to take the antitrust exemption off the table in return for GOP promises not to filibuster the public option or something stronger. The insurance companies will almost certainly lobby harder to prevent the antitrust exemption's disappearance than about any provision of the current bills and may provide Republicans cover for switching their vocal opposition to the public option.

Or maybe that's too subtle a strategy. But it seems like it would be an interesting and potentially viable approach.

If President Obama Has a BLT, GOP Will Try to Ban Bacon

This is a great YouTube video of Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson on the floor of the House last night talking about health care reform. (Thanks to my long-time friend Steve Michel for the pointage over on FaceBook.)

His closing is classic:

"If Barack Obama were to go out and solve world hunger, the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. If the President were to bring about world peace, the Republicans would complain that he destroyed the defense establishment. In fact, if Barack Obama goes out and has a BLT tomorrow, the Republicans will try to ban bacon."

The GOP is not just the Party of No; they are the Party of Nobama. But I'll give them one thing. They're finally on message. They want President Obama — and every single thing he stands for, tries to do or accomplishes — to fail, regardless of the interests of the nation or even of their constituents. How pathetic.

Hey, Mr. President! When Do You Start Leading?

We sent President Obama to the White House with a clear mandate for change but he won't use that power where it's most needed. Instead, he prefers to allow the Know-Nothing, No-Everything Party to have far too much influence on public policy in a sadly misguided effort to be bipartisan.

The latest casualty: the public option in health care reform. That loss would be totally unacceptable, Mr. President, to your "base". Trust me. Your base already feels betrayed by your early decision to take a single-payer plan off the table without a single second of debate. If you allow this provision to be gutted from the bill as well, you might as well just do like your predecessors and let the health care insurance industry write the legislation. Nobody who's been paying attention the last 30+ years believes we will ever reform health insurance without a public option. It's the only real lever in the current legislation that has a hope of getting the health insurance industry to curb its greed and act responsibly.

Please, Mr. President, stop the ridiculous posturing on bipartisanship. Notice that word begins with the prefix "bi" meaning "two". You can't achieve bipartisan governance when the opposition is only interested in being the opposition.

Your job now should be to use your bully pulpit and convince those independents who have been influenced into changing their views on health-care reform by the screaming madness of the un-American opposition to return to their previous understanding of what's good and necessary and then to get back to D.C. and impose some party discipline to get this job done.

I don't want to see you be a one-term President but if you keep up this lack of real leadership from strength, I fear that will be the result.