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.
Republicans need to seek a kind of integration, which embraces the positive aspects of the new populism…, its relative openness to policy innovation [ed: LOL], its desire to speak on behalf of Middle America and the middle class — while tempering
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One speaker … urged the crowd of hundreds: “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president … put the Quran down … and to figuratively come out with his hands up.”
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Offered without comment:
Jim DeMint’s outfit is now going to work to primary Mitch McConnell.
Look, I appreciate them doing what they can to make a Democratic victory more likely here. But all you right-wingers out there: what’s wrong with you? You know this is insane, right? McConnell is ultra-conservative and a seriously talented legislative leader. With say a Jon Kyl or a Bill Frist someone in there instead, do you really think the Obama record would be actually any thinner? More likely, he would have gotten more done, possibly much more. McConnell has always struck me as in the mold of LBJ and Nixon, personally toxic but politically brilliant. Blaming him for not stopping That Man In The White House from doing anything would be akin to what lefty fools like Drew Westen and Aaron Sorkin say about Obama, which is basically that if he just says the right words conservatism will crumble. Obama is an easy focal point and he has made many mistakes, some utterly inexcusable. But the causes of the political situation are a little more complicated than that glib diagnosis. Obama is probably the best public speaker to hold the presidency since FDR, after all. If it were a matter of words, everything would be okay.
But, then again, if you’re inclined to get rid of the guy, don’t let me stop you. Cornyn would be a great Senate Minority Leader from my perspective. He was the mastermind behind the 2012 Senate campaign for Republicans, where they had half as many seats to defend as Democrats and still somehow lost two. Sounds like an able man to me!
“I’m going to be real honest with you, the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they’re going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.” – Texas Tea Party JackwadAlso too, remember the past:
At the close of the Civil War … some three-quarters of a million of Negroes, the mass of them densely ignorant
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One of the big elections this year is going to be for the Virginia Governorship, which is a race that I’ve been fairly confident that Democrats will win. But the odds will be measurably improved of that if spurned non-wingnut Republican Bill Bolling decides to mount an indy bid against Ken Cuccinelli, and news that his people might be gathering signatures and recruiting ticketmates is a clear indication this is no mere thought-experiment for him. If it happens, it will be yet another example of the Tea Party pissing away a winnable seat, though then again, if the GOP had gone with Bolling, it’s not impossible to imagine Tea Party types being enraged at having one of their guys getting taken down, leading to a perhaps identical result.
One of my longstanding beliefs is that the conservative coalition is in a state of unstable equilibrium. On the surface, it looks coherent and unified enough. But that’s only because of how much effort is being expended to keep the whole thing from falling apart. In a stable system, all these primaries and recriminations and propaganda would simply not be necessary. I’m not in denial that the stable equilibrium point in this country is a bit right of center for the most part, at least at the moment, but it is movable. Just not through sheer willpower alone.
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