The DNC is putting out a helpful guide for pushing back against all that Obummer-hating BS Uncle Bob rambles on about at Thanksgiving. A nice public service.
The Democratic National Committee is launched a Thanksgiving-themed website Wednesday called YourRepublicanUncle.com that purports to help people deal with “lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics” that occur during the holiday season.
YourRepublicanUncle.com features talking points Democrats can use during hypothetical political conversations with their family members.
“This time of year, the only thing more annoying than holiday traffic is an awkward conversation with family about politics,” DNC Digital Director Matt Compton wrote in an email announcing the site. “We designed YourRepublicanUncle.com so that it look greats and loads quickly on your phone — no getting ambushed when you go back for seconds on stuffing.”
For some reason, Howard Dean is quoted in an article about Nebraska Tea Party Senate hopeful Ben Sasse’s record on healthcare relative to other Republicans:
An unlikely voice has come to Sasse’s defense. Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential candidate and ex-governor of Vermont, said he knows better than most that Sasse has long opposed the health care law and the mandate.
Dean and Sasse have known each other for several years and debated the health care law on the lecture circuit, for a fee, about six times in 2011 and 2012.
In the debates, Dean supported the law and Sasse opposed it.
Although Dean said he would never vote for Sasse, he respects him and calls him an old-style conservative who relies on facts rather than demagoguery to argue his case.
“His conservatism is not manufactured, the way some of the Tea Party is. He’s a very solid, constructed conservative,” said Dean. “I find the Tea Party to be inflammatory. And I often find that Ted Cruz makes claims that are not so. Ben and my disagreements are based on facts.”
Dean said Sasse’s biggest concerns — as conveyed in many of his articles and speeches — is the growth of entitlement spending without any thought given on how to pay for those programs in the future.
“He believes that deficit spending is a huge problem and Obamacare will make it worse,” Dean said.
Admittedly, this is much less damaging than his criticism of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, one of Obamacare’s key cost-control components and thus one of the scourges of the health industry’s profits. Dean’s sudden opposition to the board was scored by this blogger as achieving a 6.5 out of 10 Dick Gephardts on the “Democratic Ex-Officeholder Soulless Sellout” scale, and this by comparison is not that. But it’s damn peculiar all the same. Politically, it’s odd that Dean would see fit to characterize someone as a true conservative or not, or that he’d even wade into an internal Republican conflict. There’s nothing to be gained with that politically for a Democrat, and there’s the strong likelihood that Dean would say something that would get him in trouble, especially considering that Dean has dropped hints about another presidential run in 2016. This mostly just shows that Dean doesn’t pick his fights or media appearances wisely and is prone to improvising, which he isn’t very good at.
As for the substance…Dean seems to subscribe to the odd notion that the Tea Party is a fake or astroturfed phenomenon. It was at first to be sure. However, at this point it is strange to argue that it’s less legitimate than the mainstream GOP considering that it’s hard to tell most of the time where one ends and the other begins. The implication Dean makes here seems to be that large chunks of the Tea Party are insincere, which is undoubtedly true of many Tea Party leaders, but grifters abound throughout the Republican Party so the distinction Dean is drawing seems lost on me. Admittedly, if Dean is right that Sasse is a relatively fact-based conservative, it would probably be better to have him in office than to have a fabulist, Michelle Bachmann type. But it is relative–one highly doubts that Sasse is much more fact-based than your average Tea Partier on, say, climate change, the track record of Keynesian economics, or the Theory of Evolution than most. And if he is, then he really is doomed.
Reading this passage again, it does seem as though Dean is trying to say favorable things about Sasse without giving the appearance of endorsing him, but he has to realize that Republican politics, especially the factionalist variety of the Tea Party primary in dark red states, is going to mean that his association would hurt Sasse. Is that the goal? It doesn’t seem to be. The only conclusion to be drawn here is that Dean is showing once again, albeit in a small way, that he should absolutely not head any 2016 ticket. Any politician that I’d want to be president ought to think every time before speaking. Frankly, I’d be happy if Dean stopped talking at all about healthcare, as it’s not been his best subject at all. I get that he has an M.D. and thinks this entitles his thoughts on the subject to being taken super-seriously, but so does Phil Gingrey. Being a CPA wouldn’t be accepted as specially granting anyone insight into tax reform, would it? Dean’s history of not being fully informed on the issues, especially during the Affordable Care Act fight, of his conflicts of interest, and of unwisely speaking off the cuff leads me to believe everyone (especially Dean himself) would be better off if he avoided the subject altogether. Though I don’t think it’s likely.
- Interesting post by Ed Kilgore rounding up some of the possible side effects of filibuster reform. Also worth noting: the Administration will finally be able to do something on housing with a full-time FHFA Director. A lack of work on this front was a big reason for the C+ recovery we’ve had, but in this case the problem was with an interim director who rejected everything the Administration had to offer. Different story now.
- The Chris Christie Hubris has begun: after an attempt to launch a coup among NJ Senate Republicans and failing, with the further effect of creating brand new tensions within the state GOP. Now he’s toying with interfering with New York politics, which is something I entirely welcome. Nothing like a couple of backfired political maneuvers is just the thing to take the bloom off of that rose, as FDR discovered in his largely wasted second term. (Not that it prevented him from getting a third, however.) It seems entirely obvious that the ridiculously good press Christie has gotten recently has gone to his head, and now the guy is throwing his weight around (pun semi-intended), under the impression that he is some kind of superpolitician rather than a guy who got a second term entirely due to Sandy and Democrats ceding the race. Relatedly, Chris Christie’s landslide re-election managed to have absolutely no coattails.
- It’s official: Virginia politics come 2014 will (very likely) not feature any statewide elected Republicans. This is unprecedented in the post-Dixiecrat era, and provides a data point for people interested in arguing that the Obama coalition is likely to outlast the current president.
- This TPM interview got me thinking about what I’ve considered the most tempting counterfactual of the Obama Era: Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle both ran into similar issues with tax forms, what if Geithner is the one who gets dropped instead of Daschle? I think it’s likely you have a very different last five years: on the one hand, a Senate expert with that kind of access to the president could only have led to a better legislative process, while on the other, a Treasury Secretary with different priorities would have led to better economic and regulatory policy. America really got screwed there, I do believe.
This is a BFD, of course. Even my own state’s senators–often frustrating on this issue–got on board. Great news.
My cynical nature suspects that Republicans will retaliate by refusing to turn in the so-called “blue slips” for judicial nominees in their states, and thus prevent judicial nominees from even getting hearings. This is essentially what Ted Cruz has been doing over the past few months, and why Texas has not had any new judges this year. My guess is that this would be an even less-sustainable stand than recent filibusters–it’s essentially screwing up the legal system in their states by their own choices–but given the Republicans’ addiction to maximalist obstruction I would be surprised if they didn’t give it a try.
There are a number of ways to look at this, but I think the best one is that the Tea Party ethos of maximum obstruction at all times is simply counterproductive. It’s counterproductive electorally, and it’s counterproductive politically. I understand the value in politics of appealing to fear and anger, but it’s gotten to the point where every slight becomes an open grievance, every loophole has to be exploited, every fight is for the soul of the republic. It’s easy enough to see how this ends: eventually everyone just gets tired of your drama and just says enough. That’s what happened here, and it will continue to happen in various permutations as long as the Tea Party continues to wag the mangy dog that is today’s Republican Party.
My friend’s initial post:
I don’t post my opinion on here very often unless I am really annoyed. I just spent three days on the phone trying to transfer prescriptions from Express Scripts to CVS… Both require the other to send the prescription transfer and neither one will lift a finger to transfer your prescription.
I wouldn’t have had to deal with any of this if it hadn’t been for Obama Care. I first felt that this was a great idea and that providing healthcare to the masses was good. Now I realize that Obama Care was written by people who have no idea what they are doing. They should leave laws that affect peoples health to doctors not to lifetime politicians who are only concerned about the next election.
First world problems.
Tell that to the thousands of working poor who die or lose limbs because they put off urgent medical treatment because they “can’t afford it right now”.
No disrespect intended.
Just getting tired of hearing about minor inconveniences that blind people to the enormous positive impact the Affordable Care Act is already having on the lives of millions.
One of his friends posted:
One thing to consider is that you now have real insurance that can’t be canceled by the provider. Under the old system, you had insurance until you really needed it – then you would never be able to buy insurance again in the private market. As someone who has had cancer, I am grateful that the old fiction of insurance has been replaced with a system where everyone can buy coverage.
Finally, later on, here’s the health insurance company CEO:
Most of the confusion, cancellations, and difficulties in the market right now are a carefully planned effort by insurance companies and health providers to make individuals blame Obamacare. Insurers deliberately timed their notices to coincide with the rollout of the exchanges. Those notices deliberately did not notify recipients that their policy changes were due to the removal of abusive clauses and exclusions that the law made illegal, and did not tell policy holders that they could probably find better and cheaper coverage from insurers on the exchanges. PS, I am the CEO of a health insurance company. I like the direction we are headed under the law.
Regarding that last bit, I’m really surprised that I haven’t been thinking about all of the overblown media fooferaw through that lens. It makes perfect sense. The Affordable Care Act outlaws some inhuman and abusive insurance company practices and then the insurance companies get together to strategically lard the blame onto ACA. And the media follows the pied piper wherever he goes. As always.
Things like this always make me think of analogies involving commercial polluters astroturfing local populations into opposing EPA crackdowns because they would “kill jobs”. … with nary a thought to the fact that the pollution is “killing people“, which is (call me crazy) kinda a bigger deal.
Harry Reid is reportedly moving toward an elimination of judicial filibusters, which is good news indeed. Might I suggest, Mr. Leader, the following strategy:
- Nuke the filibuster for executive appointments
- Dare the GOP to filibuster another judge
My guess is that they fold after step one, or even before. I’d be happy if they didn’t though. My overall prediction is that if any portion of the filibuster is nuked, the entirety of it will be gone within a year or two, just like how the passage of the first, limited Civil Rights Act ensured that the major one would come just a few years later. The thing is, while I would favor that outcome heartily, it wouldn’t be necessary except that Republicans are simply addicted to filibustering. They simply cannot allow anything of significance to go through sans filibuster even though they control the House too, so there’s really very little need to filibuster ENDA or gun background checks or what have you. And there’s very little indication that the occasional filibuster of a Goodwin Liu or a Caitlin Halligan would have doomed it either. A tiny bit of moderation would probably have kept it around for the long haul, but Republicans are so obsessed with thwarting Obama that they can’t rule out any tactic and thus continually overreach. This is a pattern that keeps helping Democrats (see also: Tea Party primaries).
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