Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Nelson

Official 2010 Prediction Thread

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As usually is the case with these things I’m taking a much more optimistic tack than is properly reasonable, but here goes:

* Democrats take at least 5/7 of PA, CO, IL, WA, WV, AK, and NV. This is basically running the table of what’s left to them, but I think they can do it due to GOTV advantage, cell phone effect, under-the-radar surges, etc. (Deep down I really think they take all 7, but I want to hedge the optimism at least a little.)

* Republicans take WI, KY, and of course my beloved NC (sigh).

If I’m reading the FiveThirtyEight average right that puts the Dems at -6 in the Senate, 53 Senators, safely outside the Lieberman/Nelson betrayal threshold.

I think the House is probably lost, but not by as much as the worst polls suggest: call it Republicans +40. Bring on the shutdown, bring on impeachment, bring on the end of all good things.

Just Ridiculous

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Robert Gibbs has already inartfully walked back his Kinsley gaffe that left critics of the Obama administration “ought to be drug-tested,” but he ought to be drug-tested should probably resign / be fired anyway. He’s the press secretary; his whole freaking job is to stay on-message. Screwing up like this is not okay.

More importantly, this White House needs to remember who its friends are. By my count the Left has fallen into line every time it has been asked, often against its better judgment. It’s the Joe Liebermans and Ben Nelsons of the party who have repeatedly and gleefully betrayed the White House when it mattered, not the dirty hippies…

* Nate Silver: “I don’t know whether Gibbs was going “off-message” out of frustration, or whether the White House has become so jaded that they actually think this was a good strategy. Either way, it speaks to the need for some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in the White House. The famously unflappable Obama is losing his cool.”

* Glenn Greenwald: “The Democrats have been concerned about a lack of enthusiasm on the part of their base headed into the midterm elections. These sorts of rabid, caricatured, Fox-News-copying attacks on the Left will undoubtedly help generate more enthusiasm — more loud clapping — for the Democrats. I know I’m eager to go canvass and clap for Democrats after reading Gibbs’ noble, inspiring vision. If it were Gibbs’ goal to be as petulant and self-pitying as possible, what could he have done differently?”

* Chris Bowers: “Secondly, and more sadly, reaching out to the left by hating on it has a long, established tradition in Democratic politics. Many Democratic elected officials feel that reaching out to moderates and conservatives means bending over backward to show those voters that they share their views. However, many of those same elected officials consider left-wing outreach to be telling progressives to shut the fuck up and get in line. With outreach like that, it is probably no wonder that President Obama’s main problem with his approval rating right now is among self-identified liberals.”

* David Frum: “More proof of my longtime thesis, Repub pols fear the GOP base; Dem pols hate the Dem base.”

* John Cole: “Way to help the GOTV efforts, Gibbs. Asshole.”

Playing Catchup

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Tuesday Miscellany

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* Lots of talk today about Arizona and its new “papers, please” immigration law, which James Doty, Andrew Napolitano, Erwin Chemerinsky and Karl Manheim all agree is almost certainly unconstitutional. Even Tom Tancredo and Joe Scarborough thinks this goes too far—though douchebag of liberty Bill Kristol thinks it’s fine. The city of San Francisco will join a national boycott. Perhaps Major League Baseball will too. There’s more commentary on this from Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, Seth Meyer, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

* Colbert’s segment on Sue Lowden’s chickens-for-medical-care scheme was pretty great too.

* Alas, poor Durham: not one of America’s highest cities.

* Britain and China have your videos of the day.

* You can stop laughing, lawyers—now your degree is worthless too.

The Louisiana oil spill, as seen from space.

* And some breaking news: Ben Nelson is still really terrible.

Wednesday Night Pre-SotU Links

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* The State of the Union address Obama would give in a more honest world. Honestly not looking forward to the speech tonight; the policies have mostly all already been announced, so I imagine the new stuff will just be pointless rhetorical digs at progressives and the Left. Even the good stuff isn’t much; State of the Union promises are often just that. Bonus points at least to Bob McDonnell for finally realizing the opposition response needs an audience.

* This is a link to a typical incendiary blog post. Via @drbluman.

* Barbara Herrnstein Smith vs. Stanley Fish in the New York Times.

* Pessimism watch: Cap and trade is not looking good. Lieberman and Nelson positively gleeful about upcoming opportunities to stab the Democratic caucus in the back. Republicans once again reject their own ideas in their efforts to screw over Obama. But this time Lucy won’t kick the football. iPad questionable at best. And Howard Zinn has died. He’s memorialized at The Nation.

Deal Made

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With Nelson placated and on board, it looks as if the Democrats in the Senate will be able to pass health care reform by Christmas after all. Talking points:

The manager’s amendment builds upon the strong bill we already have.

Protects our good coverage, cost, and affordability number

* Reduces Deficits — estimated to save over $130 billion first ten and roughly $650 billion second ten

* Expands Coverage — over 94 percent of Americans under 65 years of age, including over 31 million uninsured

* Reduces Costs — most Americans will see their health care costs reduced relative to projected levels

Makes health care more affordable for Americans by expanding small business tax credits

* $12 billion increase

* Begins in 2010

* Expands wage thresholds for tax credits

Demands greater accountability from insurance companies/ creates more choice and competition

* Medical Loss Ratio 85/80 percent — Insurance companies will be forced to spend more money on care and less money padding their bottom line.

* Starting immediately children cannot be denied health coverage due to pre-existing conditions

* Insurance companies who jack up their rates will be barred from competing in the exchange.

* Give patients the right to appeal to an independent board if an insurance company denies a coverage claim

* Health insurers will offer national plans to Americans under the supervision of the Office of Personnel Management, the same entity that oversees health plans for Members of Congress.

* Provides significant resources for Community Health Centers

Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2009 at 10:52 am

Senator of the Day

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Oregon’s Jeff Merkley.

Merkley: There’s no question that the Senate has become dysfunctional, and it’s not good for democracy. I think there are a lot of reasons for that. First, not a lot of folks know each other. We’re here three days a week and then back in our districts. Sometimes you need personal bonds to overcome that partisanship. I got to know people at the state legislature level just by sitting next to them in committees. And we could work together on issues and move things forward. There’s a lot of isolation in the Senate. I think there are a lot of reinforcing factors to the partisanship as well.

But there’s no question that the procedure itself is dysfunctional. I’m working with a colleague to come up with some ideas to improve that. It’s going to be a long-term project, because to change the rules around here takes 67 votes. But we’ve come up with some ideas.

John McCain, naturally, is your worst senator of the day. Second place: Ben “Ugh” Nelson, who knows the true meaning of Christmas is no health care for anyone.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm