One fact says it all: 80 votes in the Senate for cloture to move this bill forward.
What does that tell you?
It tells you that for all the screaming and whining and name calling, the fact is that the Ds in the Senate wanted this bill and they wanted Obama to take the bullet for it. The fact is that he's a big enough man that he did.
The Senate could have fashioned their own bill YEARS ago. They passed on that. They knew something had to be done, and they did nothing. They knew that the only way a bill on the bush tax cuts was going to be passed in the Senate was if the upper-income cuts were extended in some form.
But they didn't have the guts to do it because there was an election afoot.
So Obama - bless his heart - has actually come to the rescue of the Ds and the progressive wing of the Party by making the same deal the Senate Ds would have had to have made in the end. But by doing it himself, by taking the onus of holding his nose and making extending the bush tax cuts HIS decision, rather than that of the Reid and the other Senate Ds, he allows himself to be the target of liberal scorn while providing them with, 1. the basic legislation they would have done themselves and, 2. cover for their own inaction and cowardice.
This is a measure of the greatness of this man. That most DUers don't get this is sad, but it doesn't make it any less true.
Stewart and Colbert are hitting everything that the media holds dear, from misunderestimating crowd sizes to the presentation of awards.
I thought the Mythbusters "Wave" count was brilliant. They will be able to go back to the video and do a scientific analysis of the amount of people who were there that will give an accurate estimation of the crowd, which will - of course - be at least twice as large as the estimate given in the MSM.
The crowd - while largely white - is also predominantly YOUNG, putting the lie to the idea that the young don't care. Or maybe the crowd isn't younger. Maybe it's just healthier than what one sees at the typical tea bag rally.
The "Greatest Country" song was brilliant.
The MSM hasn't a clue as to what Stewart is about. They hadn't a clue as to what he would do with this rally. Well, the joke is on them, because as Stewart is proving, they are the joke.
People are pissed that the oil spill hasn't been capped because people in this country believe in fucking MAGIC and FICTION and the SUPERNATURAL to offer solutions to real life problems. Religion, "alternative medicines," astrology, Deepak Choprah-inspired New Age Wackadoodleisms, Republican ideologies and a whole lot of other shit that has NO BASIS IN REALITY are treated as normal, VIABLE responses to the real shit that happens in this world, at least if we look at what the average American believes.
Well, guess what, campers? This oil spill problem is going to have a SCIENTIFIC SOLUTION, a reality based solution devise solely by the brains of men. No amount of praying or tarot card reading or UFO abduction testimonials or anti-vaccine protests or supply-side economic theories or rewrites of American history textbooks or alternative endings to Lost or expecting Obama to fly in like Superman and plug the pipe with his amazin' heat vision are going to mean a hill of beans when it comes to solving this very real problem.
There's a teachable moment here, a moment that will (sadly) come and go without a whimper, at least if our history repeats itself. What we WILL hear when all is said and done will be, "thank GOD the leak got plugged. Our prayers have been answered!"
We had that in place until Reagan threw it out.
Re-enact it. Make it apply to all political free speech, including commercials.
If a corporation wants to run $1B of negative TV ads, then the network running them must offer the opposing side $1B worth of free time to respond.
Assuming the FD could be re-enacted, what are the drawbacks to this as a strategy?
I've been on the fence about this, but I've come around to supporting it. A little background:
We are currently without health insurance because I'm unemployed and our coverage ended when my job ended on 10/1. I couldn't afford the $1,200+-a-month COBRA payments, so I passed on it. Next month, we will be going on "part time employee" benefits that are offered through my wife's company. The benefits suck, but it will only cost us around $400 a month for the four of us (not that we can afford that with me out of work).
I'm 55 years old, and looking for work in this economy when you're not a 30-something with a full head of hair is challenging. Between being over-qualified for most positions available and the job contraction in my industry, things do not look promising. I have had three different jobs in the past 5 years and lost all of them when budgets got tight and staff cuts became necessary (doesn't help to be the newest hire). We have been on four different, shitty health plans in that time. Because I have been working for non-profits with small staffs, our health insurance has been incredibly expensive, because the non-profits have no bargaining power. My last job paid my premium, which was $600 a month. Adding my wife to that policy cost $600 a month. Adding two kids cost $300 more. Run the numbers: the total cost for my family's health insurance was $18,000 per year, of which I had to pay $10,800. To go on the COBRA would have cost me $14,400 out of pocket for the year at a time I don't have a job. My wife is a 5-year cancer survivor, and we have to have insurance for her, even if the rest of us roll the dice, forgo insurance and hope for the best.
On the face of it, there's not much in this bill that would really benefit me. Single-payer would be the best for me, especially as I change jobs a lot and portability would be nice. Lowering Medicare eligibility to 55 would have maybe helped both me and my wife, maybe not.
So why support it?
Simple: because as Tom Harkin said today, this is a START. This is the first battle in a war that will take decades to win, and it is a battle that has been won by the Democrats and by Obama. This is the initial salvo that puts the insurance companies on notice that their days are numbered. Is it even close to being a great bill? Of course not. Maybe it's not even a good bill, but it is a start, and it is a victory over the do-nothing Rs. It is doing something as opposed to doing nothing for the past century.
You may call me naive, and that's fine. But let me say that the people who are really naive are the ones who fail to accept the reality that this is just the way legislation gets done in DC ALL THE FUCKING TIME. The only difference this time around was, 1) the high profile of the debate, and, 2) the fact that health care legislation - ANY health care legislation whatsoever - might actually have a chance of getting through the fucking Senate of the USA.
Look, I don't necessarily believe all the platitudes that Reid and his boys trotted out at their presser today. But the reason I don't believe them is that I haven't had a chance to read what is actually in the bill. I'm taking their word on it, just like I've taken the word of progressive Ds like Tom Harkin and Rep Wiener in the past, and I don't see any reason to doubt their sincerity on this one. They're on the inside looking out, and if two liberal stalwarts like them say that they'll vote for this bill, then I trust them. I am one DUer who refuses to throw out the baby AND the bathwater AND the soap when it comes to cleaning up the health care system. I refuse to believe that every single liberal D whose voice I trust has suddenly up and sold out to the insurance industry. You may call me naive to believe that. I call myself a staunch Democrat who has learned that I don't know everything and that once in a while those guys in the hallowed halls not only know better than me, they know what the hell they're doing.
To win a war, you must first win a few battles. This battle isn't Waterloo, but it is Gettysburg for the Rs and the health insurance industry, and they are the South in this battle, not the North. The war is not over, but the end of the war has begun.
I'll take this as a victory, and not a Pyrrhic victory in any sense of the word. Will this bill help my situation immediately? Probably not. Finding a job with benefits is much more realistic short-term help than anything in this bill. But I'm thinking of my kids and what this START means to them and their future. For the first time in American history, the Feds are stepping in and putting the health insurance industry on notice. If that's not a huge thing, then why are the Rs all out there bitching like crazy?
Politically, this bill is a HUGE win for Obama and the Ds. I can't stress just how huge it is. DUers will be the last ones to realize this, but believe me, the Rs realize it right now. All of their carping and delaying and teabagging and townhalls and bitching have amounted to absolutely nothing. NOTHING! They get nothing out of this except a huge DEFEAT in a battle whose coming they have delayed for decade after decade. And they will for the first time in history have to deal with the same obstructionism they put up against Medicare and SS in the past, only THIS time, they've made the mistake of doing it in the era of You Tube and the 24/7 news cycle. The country will be reminded over and over again that the Rs opposed everything and anything to reform health care, and the public WILL remember that fact when they enter the voting booths in 2010 and 2012.
There are more battles to be fought and won, but this is the big one. This is the one that changes the direction of the fight and the grounds upon which the battle will be waged.
That's my feeling. Flame away if you must.
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