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Why Dems were right to do health care, ctd

Paul Krugman offers his contribution to the grand debate over whether Dems were right or wrong to pursue health care reform:

If there's one piece of conventional pundit wisdom that annoys me most, it's the constant refrain that Obama was wrong to pursue health care, that he should have focused on the economy instead.

For the question people saying this never answer is, what would that focus have consisted of?

Yes, Democrats would be in better shape if the economy were in better shape. Duh.

So when you say Obama should have focused more, what policies are you talking about? A bigger stimulus? As far as I can tell, almost no pundits are saying that...

Look, it might have been slightly better if Obama had acknowledged the economy's problems more forthrightly, rather than continuing to insist that the ARRA was doing just fine. But that's not about focus -- and not at all opposed to doing health reform too.

The other thing we need to ask those arguing Dems punted away their majorities by pursing health reform is this: When, exactly, would Dems have had their next bite at the health care apple? When would they next have had a chance to do reform with such big majorities?

Look: As all these seasoned Beltway commentators know very well, history shows that the party that wins the presidential race sustains losses in the midterms two years later. In fact, many of these same commentators were making precisely this point after Obama's victory in order to predict that his win wouldn't prove transformative. Now this is being conveniently forgotten.

The point is that even if you can conclusively prove Dem travails today are partly caused by health reform, they still did the right thing by seizing the historical moment and getting it done in the full knowledge that it could make things marginally worse for them in 2010. As Krugman notes, you can't even be certain how much better the Dems' lot would be if they had punted on reform and "focused" on the economy.

What's more, Dems had won two big victories in 2006 and 2008, raising the high-water mark of their majorities to a point where it was bound to subside in a big way two years later. There was no way of knowing for sure that another opportunity to do reform would come along soon.

By Greg Sargent  | November 2, 2010; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, House Dems, Senate Dems  
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Next: Palin palling around with Tancredo's extremism

Comments

Paul Krugman got up this morning and drank 20 gallons of Kool-Aid.


.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

History shows that GWB gained seats his first midterm election.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Starting this January (or earlier if Reid and/or Pelosi abdicate), the GOP will be passing spending cut bills, so Obama can either veto those (proving once and for all that he's not for reducing the deficit) or HE can go along for the ride and sit in the back of the bus ...

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Disagree. But we've been through that.

There is no health care reform without a reform of its business and operational models. This is not about a bite at an apple. Apart from perhaps the WWII MIC, this is our greatest public private collaboration as a percentage of gdp.

The public demand for a fundamental change in how the system operates was not there. That demand has to be developed.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 2, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

LOL I'm looking forward to these laughable spending cuts. They will be in the nature of paper cuts on an elephant.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

You seem to be buying what Rachel Maddow was selling yesterday: that the Dems will be punished for their "liberal overreach." I recognize that both you are Maddow are -- at least indirectly -- praising the Dems but I disagree with the premise completely. Perhaps more importantly, adopting that premise almost guarantees a rightward turn for Obama and the Dems. And that, IMHO, will spell complete disaster in 2012.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

It was also the WAY Obama did health care.

Complete lack of bipartisanship.

NBC is recounting a story that Obama did not meet McConnell for 18 months after Obama took office. No meetings over health care. Nothing. Obama didn't even try.

Honestly, everyone who reads this blog, ask themselves if they were in Obama's position, would they refuse to meet with the Senate leader for 18 months upon coming into office.

Obama is the one who said for years that he could bring everyone together. And McConnell was in the Senate with Obama.

It was the 2,000 page bill

Obama had to make significant compromises to make health care work.

At this point, we have an UNWORKABLE health care plan - one that does not have the support of the people.


Krugman fails to recognize that health care is going to get defunded and then repealed.

If Obama had worked with the Republicans leadership, the resulting less expensive and slimmer health care bill would probably stand a better chance of surviving going forward and would have more support from the public. Right now many democrats don't even want it.


On explanation, Obama never really explained what was in the bill. All we heard was a bunch of bogus talking points and responses to the Republican arguments. But the American People still are not sure how the massive thing will affect them - Obama preferred to be vague in order to blunt opposition - and Obama only ended up blunting support for his health care bill.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

You gotta love Krugman. Even though he's never held any kind of political office or run any business whatsoever HIMSELF; he's quite certain about what he's quite certain about . . . which is everything!

The end of the column has a lot of unintentional irony:

"What’s crucial to remember here is that economic policy is about actually doing things, not about saying “Message: I care.” A bigger stimulus — and, importantly, one that wouldn’t fade out just in time for the midterms — would have mattered. “Focus”, not so much."

Yes Paul actually doing things matters, but
it comes with amazing difficulties that ivory tower professors never have to face, and sweep away using generalizations and statistics.

A smaller stimulus didn't work to improve the GDP much, but of course when you're a college professor you can just say that's because the stimulus was too small, or mistimed, or poorly targeted.

It could never be that the concept itself was flawed. Christina Romer was right about everything too. It was the economy that was wrong; just ask her. You can be sure that's exactly what these pompous a*s professors tell all their students everyday!
.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

They were right to get done what they got done.

Rather than cap-n-trade though they should have gone with a huge public-private partnership to fuel this nation off of renewable's.

The CO2 emissions would have taken care of themselves at that point.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 2, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

When are you going to dedicate some space and time to providing a reality check for liberals who think that they should have gotten more, because it is their party?

The internals on the recent New York Times poll showed that 19% of voters consider their selves to be Liberals. 37% Moderates, and 38% Progressives. I am a liberal, but I realize that we were lucky to get passed what we did, because over 60% or more of our voters came from those 37% that are Moderates. In other words. Democrats only win when the get the votes of almost all the moderates. Contrast that with the 38% of voters who say they are Conservatives. That is double the number of Liberals, so all the Republicans ever have to do, is pick up 12% of the voters from the center, where as the Liberal Democrats have to pick up at least 31% of the voters from the center.

No wonder Republicans have won the White House so many times, in the past forty years.

Liberals better wake up and smell the coffee. We are less than forty percent of those who vote for Democrats, when we win nation wide, and moderate voters far out number us.

President Obama has to win the votes of almost all moderates, in order to win. His opponent will only have to win a far lesser amount of moderates, in order to win.

Liberals we are the Donkey's tail. The Moderates are The Donkey's body.

President Obama has to win almost all the center or he will get trounced in 2012.

If Liberals do not grant him space to run to the middle, they will doom him in 2012

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

One man's "complete disaster in 2012" is another woman's electoral victory!

PALIN-RUBIO 2012

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

mike:

A noble idea but what would such a thing look like? Solar and wind are not feasible for overall power generation and nuclear is not allowed, or killed with inattention.

In my opinion, just like trying to cure cancer, the spark or genius or whatever you call the missing thought process, is not here in society at this time yet.

Maybe cold fusion or hydrogen in our lifetimes?

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

At least the FIRST WOMAN AND HISPANIC nominees from a major political party for President and Vice President can prove that they were BORN in the USA ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- I'm not sure what "run to the center" would mean in practice. The health reform law was if anything a centrist or moderate solution to the health crisis.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Palin/Rubio 2013-15

Rubio/Ryan 2015-17


Quitter says that she can give us half a term, if no one else will do it.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Palin is still more qualified to be President than Obama IS two years into the job!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

A couple of quick things before I go vote and get some of my older (Republican) friends to the polls; there are reports that voter turnout is higher than expected, even in heavy Dem districts, and the "professional left" isn't sitting the election out as many predicted. They worked GOTV efforts along with the more "moderate" members of the party.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 2, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Why Dems were right to do health care"

Ya right. I once took a tour of a max security prison as part of a project. I actually spoke to a number of hardcore crims.
They sounded off in a similar fashion. They were convinced that their actions, that landed them in prison were "correct".

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 2, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Liar-still:

Senator Obama QUIT half way through his term too.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

How soon will Obama begin doing his Clinton to avoid becoming a Carter??

I think it depends on how complete the Democrat defeat is.

If there are a few Obamacrats left standing, Obama may try to huff and bluff his way into early 2011.

If he tolerates any lame-duck, dirty tricks his lot will be all the sorrier.

Also, how far to the right can Obama go without his head exploding??

Another good question, I must say.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Tim Kaine had a great point today which he unintentionally made

He said that Obama was elected with 53% of the vote - but the democrats ended up with 59% of the seats in the Congress and Senate.

So Obama pulling out of the campaign finance system was the POISON APPLE, all that extra money led to additional seats in the Congress and in the Senate - by 11% margin greater than Obama's 53% support.

This led to the democrats FOOLING themselves that they could push through legislation that never had the support of the American People.

Obama would have been far better off with 53% of the seats in Congress and in the Senate - and compromising from there.

The entire quest for 60 seats was horrible for Obama and for the American People.

It was wrong for Obama to sidestep the filibuster and to go back on his campaign pledges.


It is amazing that Obama had it right during the campaign, but failed so horribly once he strayed from his OWN campaign pledges.

The arrogance - his entire campaign in 2008 must have been an elaborate deception to Obama - he must have never, ever been serious about anything he was saying.


The American People did not move in their positions from 2008 - Obama is the one who moved and he moved way to the left by 2010.

AND every public statement out of Obama over the past two years has been tinged with arrogance and an attitude of DISRESPECT for what the American People actually wanted.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

Are you working on your "in spite of the results, campaign donor money was the right issue" column yet?

Remember you can choose one of two options:

1) the voters were too stupid to know what was good for them (not really your style, you're a nice person) or

2) the issue was the right one, we just ran out of time.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Tonight will be glorious! I'll be back.

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- I'm not sure what "run to the center" would mean in practice. The health reform law was if anything a centrist or moderate solution to the health crisis.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:11 AM

.....................

No it was not. It was a left of center solution. If it was seen as something that moderates would favor, Blue Dog incumbents would have been able to defend it.

Keep in mind that 48 Democrats won seats in the House, in 2008, in Districts that Obama lost. Those 48 seats were our majority.

Liberals; all 19% of the voters, and less that forty percent of those who voted for Obama, better get their heads out of their arses, and face reality. Without those Blue Dogs winning in all those districts that went for McCain/Palin we would not have won the House. Do those Liberals who keep whining that Obama did not pursue a liberal enough agenda have any clue as to what sort of voters those Blue Dogs had to persuade to vote for them, in those 48 Districts who went for McCain/Palin right when the Bush/Cheney economic disaster was unfolding.

We liberals are going to have to stop pretending that we provide Democratic majorities. We do not. Moderates do, when they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. All Republicans have to do is win one third of Moderates, and they are home free.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@Krugman: "Yes, Democrats would be in better shape if the economy were in better shape. Duh."

Wow. No wonder he won the Nobel Price in Economics.

Sheesh.

@544654646456466464: "It could never be that the concept itself was flawed."

Indeed. Also, Krugman rarely talks about the mechanics. How, exactly, does the government spending a trillion dollars automagically fix the economy? If you hire government workers, then don't you just end up spending that money in perpetuity, or firing them at the end of the money? If you spend on projects, which projects offer the best return? Some folks have argued that food stamps have the greatest economic stimulus, but if we quadrupled the number of foodstamps we distributed, could we really expect the same overall impact on the economy? Assuming the models used to determine the economic stimulus of food stamps are actually correct.

Is spending money on new election machines as valuable as computers for the schools or new Interstate routes? What about new train lines?

I've recently witnessed something fabulous in Memphis. A large chunk of a defunct train line (that, for practical reason, had most roads and expressways, etc, bridged over it instead of running across it) has been turned into a "greenway"--a bike and walking path. Freaking brilliant. Hugely popular. The city council ought to have set a small segment every mile or so for commercial vendors. Someone could make a killing selling bottled water and fruit snacks. Wouldn't save the economy, but . . . there are things that government can do (and only government can really do) that can change and incentivize behavior in certain ways.

At the same time, if they don't do anything to incentivize economic activity around the infrastructure, it can take years or decades for the full economic benefit to manifest. It could well be that the stimulus isn't too small, but that we're far too impatient. Much of the economic benefit of the Interstate system didn't happen within the first two years. Or rural electrification. Etc.

I think people would feel better about the stimulus if there was more "here's what we're going to spend and why". As it is, it looks kind of like a slush fund. "Shovel ready jobs" doesn't strike me as a stimulus. Accelerating the construction of I-69--that sounds like stimulus to me. Grants for converting abandoned railroad tracks to bike paths, with specialized commercial licenses being used to raise revenue--that could be stimulus. If you're going to tell me, "No, we're going to put more money into foodstamps", I want to understand better how that's really going to provided some kind of long term stimulus to the economy.

Just ramblin'. It's election day! I voted. Did you? ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I looked it up and then almost forgot:

In addition to 2002 when the GOP gained seats in Congress, the other such mid-term elections were in 1902, 1934 and 1998.

See you all later tonight, especially all you libs!

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Liam, no one is pretending anything. Some of the ideas in HCR were Republican solutions. This is a matter of demonstrable fact. If moderates didn't think they could defend the law, it was because they were spooked in advance by GOP talking points.

For instance: Perriello, who aggressively defended HCR as the right thing to do, may lose today, but he was supposed to be toast early one, and he managed to keep it much closer than anyone expected.

Also see National Journal today, which finds that Dems who bucked the party line are not any better off than those who didn't.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Jake

Obama never really started his Senate term.

Obama got to Washington and went to a few cocktail parties.

Obama immediately then went on a book tour.

The he spent years getting ready for and running for President.

Not much time actually being a Senator - and it showed. Obama clearly didn't understand the inner workings of the Senate committee process during the health care debacle.

Anyway.


Krugman is out of his mind. Rachel Maddow lost her mind a long, long time ago. The night of the Scott Brown victory, Rachel Maddow was on television demanding that Obama double-down and push through health care anyway.


They ALL knew what was going to happen - and Obama and the liberals wanted to take the election losses in order to FORCE their version of health care on the American People.

There was NO inclination toward a moderate compromise health care bill.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

if Republicans win anything less than 80 seats in the House, they will hold fewer seats in the next Congress than the Democrats hold now.

Kind of hard to argue we're a "center right" nation in that light. Not that this will stop pundits from doing so. Which suggests this is less about what voters wanted, and more about what DC insiders wanted...

Posted by: theorajones1 | November 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it boys, the Pelosicrats and their Obamacrat lap dogs did just about everything, in the book, WRONG.

They have set the standard for "what not to do when you get a large, elected majority". The Obamaniacs have written a whole new chapter in that book.

Their bizarro world, bass-ackwards blunders remind me of the Keystone Kops trying to control a stampede of kangaroos.

I hope the Republicans studied this debacle in detail so they do not fall into the same booby trap.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

Thanks for the reply.

Yes Krugman is a magician. The money can simply appear, It doesn't have to be borrowed or printed. The world will be happy to buy another 750 billion or one trillion worth of Treasuries to stimulate our economy. It won't have any foreign policy or currency consequences whatsoever. Treasury rates won't be forced up because the world has an infinite demand for US obligations, in spite of the fact that a weaker dollar hurts their currencies.

It's all quite magical really.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The problem, Liam, is not with the percentage of people self-indetifying as "Liberals." Considering that the Cons have been in complete power for 40 years and have demonized Liberals every day of every year the fact that even 19% call themselves Liberals is impressive. However, the real problem is what the term "Liberal" has been redefined to mean. The Cons have successfully attached the Liberal label to everything other than pure free market brutality. And since the Dems cower in fear at being called Liberal they also run like banshees from any policy position that the GOP declares Liberal. The public option, of course, is the perfect example. The overwhelming majority of Americans wanted a public health plan but because the GOP and Repubicrats called the public option "Liberal" it was DOA politically. So was the public option "liberal"? No, it wasn't; it was entirely mainstream but the Dems lacked the courage to stand up to the Cons' noise machine. The Dems' terror of being called "liberal" cripples them politically. Until the Dems realize that Liberalism is the only reason the party exists they will continue to self-destruct. GOP-lite will spell doom for the Dems because the activist base won't stand for it and average Americans are repulsed by cowardice. Unless the Dems once again embrace Liberalism they have no reason for existence.

In my opinion, the country is quite "liberal" when it comes to actual policy preferences, though they don;t generally call themselves Liberals. The Dems have ceded to the GOP the power to affix the Liberal label whenever it suits them. That is a disastrous tactical error. The Dems are just too chicken-hearted to stand up for the American people against the Cons and the American people won't abide cowardice.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

All, new Adam Serwer post roasting Sarah Palin for endorsing Tom Tancredo:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/palin_palling_around_with_terr.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The health reform law was if anything a centrist or moderate solution to the health crisis.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:11 AM

.....................

Liam:

No it was not. It was a left of center solution.

That is self-evidently wrong unless you adopt the present GOP's labeling system, in which anything the government does is, by definition, Liberal and bad. In fact, the HCR finally enacted would have been considered TOO CONSERVATIVE by the 1970s Republican Party. Democrats must fight to regain control of the national narrative. The only way to do that is with a full-throated defense of Liberalism, even if there is a short-term political cost.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@jd2: PALIN-RUBIO 2012

Oh please!!!!!

Seeing Palin as a presidential candidate would be really both hard and exciting to watch (like a multicar pileup...you shouldn't look but you do)

JD2: Gov. Palin is still more qualified to be President than Obama IS two years into the job!

Where are her superior qualifications?

Foreign policy?
Economics (tax cuts do not lower the deficit or debt)
Social policy? (this remains a pro-choice, gay friendly, progressive taxation country)

This should be interesting....

@MyHairLooksFantastic

MyHairLooksFantastic =savetherainforest?

both are 4 word handles...
Your constant whining about Obama and your nonsensical "arguments" give you away every time..

"The American People did not move in their positions from 2008 - Obama is the one who moved and he moved way to the left by 2010."

Here is a prime example...How could an administration with Summers, Geitner, etc. be considered "way left"?

How can a health care reform plan that was patterned after and keeps the main features of the plan created socialist/communist/Nazi trio of Dole, Baker, and Daschle be considered a descent into collectivism? This plan is less ambitious than the REPUBLICAN PLAN put forth as an alternative to Hillarycare.

Crazed ranting does not make a cogent argument.

@5465456456 (or whatever)

the voters were too stupid to know what was good for them

Unfortunately, this is the truth.

Most people can't name their representative, senators, more than 2 supreme court justices, don't understand marginal taxation, don't understand the roles of the different branches of govt, don't know how the senate works (or doesn't) (filibuster, cloture, unanimous consent, holds, etc.)don't understand basic macroeconomics (countercyclical spending), etc...

Moreover, the much of the american population has a collective memory of about 20 minutes and an emotional age of about 6.

Often they don't distinguish between:

Tarp - bush adminstration
ARRA - Obama

and blame the former on Obama.


Only 40% of people are voting today. That is the biggest indictment of the lack of understanding, engagement, and/or conviction of the american population...

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- I'm not sure what "run to the center" would mean in practice. The health reform law was if anything a centrist or moderate solution to the health crisis.

Posted by: Greg Sargent at 11:11 AM


___________________________________


There are many, many versions of a moderate health care bill - and that is precisely what was wrong with the health care debate - the options were not out there under discussion as they were during the Hillary health care debates in 1993-94.


First, a far less expensive bill is possible - on all three levels Federal, State and the Business Premium level.

2) Obama is requiring everyone in the country to buy a health insurance policy PACKED AND JAMMED with benefits - there are no less expensive options

3) The business community has no idea what its costs will be during the phase-in and at the end of this disaster. The additional benefits cause EVERY health insurance in the country to be far more expensive - and the uncertainly makes it even more expensive


4) The subsidies for individuals are going to be really, really expensive - Obama does not need a plan with subsidies at the center. The total costs of this part are going to skyrocket. AND this only encourages a black-market economy to develop. The IRS should have never, ever been involved

5) The bill should focus on the Regulation of the health care insurance companies as if they were utilities - instead of this bureaucracy-driven command model. Clearly, this creates a need for additional lobbying of administrative agencies in Washington - not a good result.


The worst abuses of the health insurance companies could have been addressed through regulation - however Obama and the left preferred to use those abuses as JUSTIFICATION for a massive government program, instead of working to focus on those abuses.


The country needs a far LESS expensive health insurance bill. And I didn't even talk about the costs forced on the States as a result of Obama's bill.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

Are you working on your "in spite of the results, campaign donor money was the right issue" column yet?

Remember you can choose one of two options:

1) the voters were too stupid to know what was good for them (not really your style, you're a nice person) or

2) the issue was the right one, we just ran out of time.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There is a third option, which happens to be the actual explanation: the Dems could not coalesce behind anything other than campaign donor money mad even that was tenuous. The real problem is that the Democratic Party is dysfunctional and utterly lacks party discipline. What happens to a political party with no philosophical core (because they run from Liberalism) and an absence of party discipline? We'll find out today.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Some of the ideas in HCR were Republican solutions. This is a matter of demonstrable fact."

But didn't HCR also torpedo Health Savings Accounts? Which was more of a "screw you, 1994 Republicans and the voters you rode in on" than remotely necessary to the success of HCR? Or am I mistaken?

It's may not just be the centeredness of the legislation (much more centrist than Clintoncare) but how it's presented, and who gets feted and who gets slighted, that caused much of the trouble.

Biggest problem with Democrats? Irrespective of what Krugman says: economy is in bad shape, and the Democrats appeared to be preoccupied with pet projects. Bottom line, IMHO.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@wb:It was a left of center solution.

It was patterned after the republican response to hillarycare. It is a right of center (given the range of left and right around the world not in the US) or at best dead center solution. Remember it follows the outline of the dole, baker, daschle commission. How can a left of center proposal come from those folks?

Any left of center solution would have a much larger single payer component or insurance as a heavily regulated non profit utility not profit making companies.

Even the most rightwing European countries have more "left" (ie rational, cover everyone, price controlled) solutions to health care than the US has.

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

srw3:

I agree with you 100%. I was disagreeing with Liam who asserted HCR was Center Left. The real problem for the Dems -- perfectly exemplified by HCR -- is that they managed to find the perfect sour spot, being labeled too Liberal by the Cons and too Conservative by the Libs. That is really really really bad politicking. Absolutely egregious political malpractice. The Dems folded with a straight flush.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Democrats didn't do health care, health care did them. Health care is bigger than one party, health care will require a national consensus on what has to happen or the same thing will just get bigger - which is what happened this time around. The whole thing, the same system just got much bigger. This will benefit many people, but it was not reform.

Lets put it this way. Was the Iraq war worth it because the result was good for the Kurds and some of the persecuted Shia clans? No is the correct answer. This health care bill has put real reform out of reach for many years. It purports to buy off most of the problems while solving a few. To say it was the best we could do begs the question.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 2, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@srw3: "the voters were too stupid to know what was good for them . . . Unfortunately, this is the truth."

And as long as that's the orientation of liberals/Democrats and the fundamental belief of what explains why people disagree with them about anything, I predict they will continue to have a hard time winning and, when they do, they will continue to find it very difficult to govern. "The people are stupid" is just not the right starting point for leading them. Keeping the "you're stupid" implicit doesn't make it any better.

It's not so much that the people are stupid, or even ignorant. I suspect it has more to do with how you approach campaigning and governing (and persuading friends and family) when you find the only plausible explanation for why people disagree with you, or vote differently from you, is that they're stupid.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Also see National Journal today, which finds that Dems who bucked the party line are not any better off than those who didn't.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 2, 2010 11:32 AM

..............

Greg,

You are trying to cling to the notion that Liberals are the deciders. They are not.

KISS.

Liberals. 19% Moderates. 37% Conservatives 38%

38% is double the Liberals numbers. That is reality. You keep avoiding the reality. 48 Democrats won House Seats in Districts that went for McCain/Palin even after the Bush Neo-Depression had unfolded. Of course they were going to have a hard time winning again, regardless of what position they took on health care.

Do the math, for cripes sake. Democrats have to win almost all centrist voters in order to remain a majority. The Conservatives never have to do the same.

I can not put it more starkly than to remind you to compare the numbers. 19% Liberals. 38% Conservatives. Double our numbers. How hard can it be for Liberals to grasp that reality and accept it. I do.

Those numbers also explain why Fox Cable pulls much higher viewer ratings than MSNBC and CNN.

The Democrats better devote all their efforts to finding out where the vast majority of Moderates(37% of all voters) stand on the major issues, and cater almost exclusively to them, rather than catering almost exclusively to we liberals.(all 19% of the voters, that we are.)

The moderates are the only ones who can keep Conservatives from taking over. We Democrats have to win the vast majority of Moderates, to stand any chance in any national elections.

It is lies that makes truth seem hard. We liberals have to stop deceiving ourselves with the big lie, that we are the deciders. We are not. Moderate voters are, because they are double our numbers, and Conservatives, which are also double our numbers, are never going to vote for Democrats.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, Kevin. When you actually do some reading on what the Con Propaganda Machine has been doing for 40 years then you can talk. Until then, stick with Johnny Cash -- about whom you know even less.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

I know you will never believe this but health care wasn't really the number one issue to most Americans, not at least until the Dems took 18 months feuding about it every single day.

Need proof, how about this:

CNN/Money poll from July 2008.

"The slumping U.S. economy has become the top issue on voters' minds, according to a new poll and that concern is likely to carry on up through election day."

Iraq was number two, and


"Accordingly, 77% of those polled felt gas prices were "extremely" or "very" important to their vote, making fuel costs the third most important issue for American voters"

Health Care isn't mentioned even once in the article.

Need more? How about this:

"Rock the Vote's latest poll of 18-29 year olds shows young voters are increasingly engaged in the upcoming presidential election, driven by concerns over the faltering economy and a sense that our country needs a new direction. Concern over the economy, while a top issue for young people since 2006, has intensified and is now the number one issue this election for nearly half (41%) of 18-29 year olds."

Need more?

How about a a USA Tday Gallup poll two weeks before the election among young voters (remember, these are the people LEAST likely to have health insurance, and so the ones who should worry more about it)

"A USA TODAY/MTV/Gallup Poll explores the attitudes of Americans18 to 29 toward the 2008 campaign:

A LOOK AT THE ISSUES

What are the most important issues in determining your vote?

Economy 46%

Iraq war 29%

Health care 16%

International issues 11%

Energy/gas prices 9%

Taxes 8%

Education 7%

Abortion 7%

Defense/Homeland Security 5%"


Hey, but what do I know? I only back up my arguments with facts!

Let's round it out with a last one. The is the first exit polling data from the Huffington Post, on election night (keep in mind that I'm using Dem leaning sources for my info, so as not to get involved in partisan thinking):


"The first exit polls for the 2008 election have been released -- not candidate poll numbers yet, but rather perceptions on particular issues -- and, as much as they can offer insight, the numbers look generally good for Obama.

On a national level, the key concern to most voters, far and away, was the economy, which 62 percent of respondents said was foremost on their mind. This is considered to be Obama's strength.

Iraq, once thought to be the chief issue of the election, was chosen by only 10 percent of voters are their primary concern. And among that subset of voters, Obama had a 2-1 lead.

Meanwhile, nine percent of voters said terrorism was the top issue -- one of McCain's few strong-suits -- the same number who listed health care."

See what I mean? It was beyond HUGE to say what a mistake the health care legislation was in the way it was done and the lack of a sound financial footing.

where are your facts?

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Cash's Orange Blossom Blossom Special should be John Boehner's campaign song.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@STRF/MHLF:
Obama is requiring everyone in the country to buy a health insurance policy PACKED AND JAMMED with benefits - there are no less expensive options

Hey we didn't need HCR to be able to buy insurance policies written in insurance-ese, that don't cover cost effective things like preventative checkups and tests. Totally irrational, as catching things early often makes total treatment costs far less. But if insurance companies figure they could do rescissions on people who actually started to use the insurance.

I guess you don't understand why universal coverage is needed to expand the risk pool and make the "no refusal for preexisting conditions" actually work. I am not surprised, you haven't demonstrated much understanding of anything health care, the economy, foreign policy, social policy...

What is the point of cheap insurance that doesn't cover most medical expenses?

And the final question, how is this worse than the status quo, where rescissions were common, the insurance industry basically wrote its own rules, and coverage sucked--yearly and total caps of liability, reams of paperwork choke doctor's offices, quality of care deteriorates, and costs going up 7 -15% + every year...

How is this worse? The cost curve before HCR was higher than it is now, considering similar coverage...

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"I can not put it more starkly than to remind you to compare the numbers. 19% Liberals. 38% Conservatives. Double our numbers. How hard can it be for Liberals to grasp that reality and accept it. I do."

I know you are talking to Greg but I already answered this and explained why it is erroneous.

"Those numbers also explain why Fox Cable pulls much higher viewer ratings than MSNBC and CNN."

You must be kidding. CNN is a FOX wannabe and MSNBC is a part-time outfit without hard news.

"The Democrats better devote all their efforts to finding out where the vast majority of Moderates(37% of all voters) stand on the major issues, and cater almost exclusively to them, rather than catering almost exclusively to we liberals.(all 19% of the voters, that we are.)"

For a self-professed liberal you sure don't think much of Liberals. Perhaps self-loathing and Uriah Heep cringing isn't the best political strategy. Just sayin'. But that IS the Dem approach so we'll see today just how effective it is.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

srw:

"Only 40% of people are voting today. That is the biggest indictment of the lack of understanding, engagement, and/or conviction of the american population..."

I don't think I will ever understand the mind of a liberal You go on and on about how most people are too "stupid" to know wht is good or themselves, and in the next breath you are lamenting the fact that only 40% of eligible voters bother to vote.

Seems to me that if the American population is as contemptible as you seem to think, you ought to be doing cartwheels over how few of them impose their stupidity on the nation.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 2, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

One other thing: this particular Liberal has no intention of accepting a further move to the Right by the Dems. Should they do this --as I greatly fear they will -- I will do everything in my power (not much, admittedly) to undermine that move. Count on it.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

srw3

You proved my point - that the abuses of the health insurance companies have been used as justification for massive government spending - and the creation of massive government agencies.


It is just simply not the case - the two things are separate.


You mention "risk pool" as if there is only one "risk pool" available to the model - that makes no sense.


The benefits factor into the equation, the number of people in the pool - and the price of the insurance comes out.


The "risk pool" does not have to be any particular size - it is adjustable.


However, one thing the insurance companies try to do is isolate "risk pools" in order to increase their own profit.

One potential point of regulation is requiring the insurance companies to have one overall "risk pool" - or to create a "shared risk pool" in which all the health insurance companies share the risk of a comprehensive pool which is averaged over all the health insurance companies.

This approach has worked with car insurance.

The approach you are talking about is not the only approach - and it leads to exactly the flaw in reasoning which you make.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Scott political propaganda doesn't work. That explains why the Cons spend billions of dollars doing it. Sheesh, you really think people are dopes, don't you.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@srw3: "Only 40% of people are voting today. That is the biggest indictment of the lack of understanding, engagement, and/or conviction of the american population..."

As compared to 200, when the Democrats took over, and turn out was 37.1%?

Last midterm where 40% of eligible voters turned out was in 1982. If a full 40% turn out to vote today, that'll actually be pretty impressive.

@Liam-still: "Liberals. 19% Moderates. 37%"

Half those moderates are liberals, they just prefer to call themselves moderate because they think it sounds more erudite and reflective. ;)

"How hard can it be for Liberals to grasp that reality and accept it. I do."

When you look in the mirror, you can only see one side. ;)

It usually doesn't occur to us, when we're talking about how crazy and extreme those liberal moonbats or rightwing whackos are, that they don't see themselves that way, and the people around them don't see them that way, and the people the interact with in everyday life don't see them that way, etc. And that the reverse is true: that, though we consider ourselves perfectly reasonable and entirely right about a whole slew of things, we might actually look kind of crazy to people with a different perspective.

Also, as any reasonably well-paid employee of a crazy boss will tell you, it's easy to overlook a lot when the paychecks keep coming. When the paychecks stop, it's much easier to see that person for the lunatic he/she is (and has always been), and act accordingly.

Which is to make the point, Liam-still, that you may accept that further-left liberalism is not going to win the day in a single glorious battle, but it's hard for folks who really believe they are fundamentally and morally right on the issues to understand why they should compromise, or where they could possibly compromise, between right and wrong.

Rush Limbaugh has always argued that conservatism wins, wherever it's tried. Of course, that's not true, but it stems from a belief that a full-throated expression of your convictions (which all happen to be unambiguously true) must naturally be flocked to and supported by all right-thinking people. And while it's not the best example (Christine O'Donnell is not a "conservative" any more than an apple is a lampshade), it will still likely be a race that proves the almost guaranteed to win moderate would have been a better party choice than the "more conservative" whackadoodle.

But the party purists spoke in this election cycle--what wbgonne and others are arguing the Democrats should be doing. Given that there are more moderates and conservatives than liberals, probably, think about how Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell look to you, and ask yourself if your problem with them is that they don't express a full-throated defense of conservatism. And, if only they were more enthusiastic in supporting their beliefs, you might come on over to the dark side and vote for them.

Anyhoo, out of room. Just rambling. Go vote!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

"Sheesh, you really think people are dopes, don't you."

Uh, no. I thought that was your (and srw's) point.

So please clarify...are people stupid or not?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama and the democrats gambled that ARRA would be enough to turn the economy around and they could pivot to other priorities. It was a high risk / high reward bet. If the economy turned around, Obama would have been popular enough to get the Democratic Wish List (Health Care, Card Check, Cap and Trade).

That bet didn't pay off, and it made Obama and the Democrats look like they didn't share the priorities of the American People which was jobs, jobs, jobs.

IMO, if the administration and congress had focused solely on jobs, talking about nothing else, they would have gotten the benefit of the doubt and wouldn't be in this position.

I wouldn't call this a timid bet - it was an aggressive bet.

Posted by: sold2u | November 2, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It is now much too late for recriminations about the passage of Obamacare. The American people have concluded that the bill was bad policy and we were appalled by the manner in which it was passed.

the Democrats own the bill. They own the policy. They own the legislative shenanigans that got it passed into law.

And they own the backlash.

Yes, the Democrats' political opposition did a wonderful job of portraying the bill as basically bad for the country. But that job was made easier by the fact that the bill actually is bad for the country.

this chart is symbolic of what's wrong with Obamacare and what's wrong with America:
http://jec.senate.gov/republicans/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=5ee16e0f-6ee6-4643-980e-b4d5f1d7759a

This makes the sultan's palace in constantinople look simple and straightforward. It is appalling and should be repealed immediately.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Wobegone,

I am a liberal who can deal with reality. You are the exact opposite. You think that just because you believe you know what is best for the country, that means ever one else must follow your lead.

19% of the voters say they are liberals. One fifth of the voters are never going to convince the remaining 81% of the voters, that they should let we liberals call almost all the shots.

Conservatives start out with double our numbers, so the fight is always going to be for who can persuade the 37% of the voters who are moderates to side with them.

Let us engage in a thought experiment; If 37% are moderates; their is a reasonable chance that half of them are slightly left of center, and the other half right of center.

Do the math; 19% liberal, plus the left of center moderates, only adds up to 38% of the voters. Where are we going to get the other 12% of the voters from. Conservatives are never going to be available to us, so we have to win all the left of center moderates, and two thirds of the slightly right of center moderates, in order to barely reach 50% of votes cast.

That explains why Republicans have dominated the Presidency since 1968, and might just have won two or three other terms, if it were not for Watergate and Ross Perot, and of course the October 2008 economic collapse. Go back and check the polls, from just before the Wall St. meltdown news broke. McCain/Palin had taken the lead in most polls.

Now go ahead and throw another one of your self indulgent petulent hissy fits, and I would wager that Song Writer Kevin, based in Music Town USA just might know a thing or two about Johnny Cash, or My name is Sue.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

"Sheesh, you really think people are dopes, don't you."

Uh, no. I thought that was your (and srw's) point.

So please clarify...are people stupid or not?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Some are. Some aren't. Hope that helps.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

srw3

Also, the "risk pool" you are talking about was so jammed packed with benefits that Obama and the democrats (in secret because they really weren't telling anyone) realized that the whole package was WAY too expensive.

So the search began to reduce the costs of the overall Obama program by adding revenues -

The "risk pool" justification was simply a cover story for a program which they knew was way too expensive to begin with.


__________________


Please note that Obama then went out and LIED to the American people in saying that his health care plan would bring DOWN health insurance costs.


Seriously, they were running the numbers for over a year at that point, they had to know that costs were going up, dude.


Their search for additional revenue sources PROVES that the plan was viewed as too expensive. I think some of this came out of the committee discussions - all we heard from Obama's people was "Don't worry about that, it's not the final bill"

That attitude really blunted discussions about the health care options


It was designed to blunt opposition to the bill, but what it did was blunt support for Obama's bill.

So - I would like to point out that you are the one who really does "not understand" these issues - so please do not take an attitude with me.


.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

srw3

Also, the "risk pool" you are talking about was so jammed packed with benefits that Obama and the democrats (in secret because they really weren't telling anyone) realized that the whole package was WAY too expensive.

So the search began to reduce the costs of the overall Obama program by adding revenues -

The "risk pool" justification was simply a cover story for a program which they knew was way too expensive to begin with.


__________________


Please note that Obama then went out and LIED to the American people in saying that his health care plan would bring DOWN health insurance costs.


Seriously, they were running the numbers for over a year at that point, they had to know that costs were going up, dude.


Their search for additional revenue sources PROVES that the plan was viewed as too expensive. I think some of this came out of the committee discussions - all we heard from Obama's people was "Don't worry about that, it's not the final bill"

That attitude really blunted discussions about the health care options


It was designed to blunt opposition to the bill, but what it did was blunt support for Obama's bill.

So - I would like to point out that you are the one who really does "not understand" these issues - so please do not take an attitude with me.


.

Posted by: MyHairLooksFantastic | November 2, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "You must be kidding. CNN is a FOX wannabe and MSNBC is a part-time outfit without hard news."

And Air America collapsed because of it's excessive conservatism? And FOX is full-time and brimming with hard news?

The AM radio market supports dozens of conservative talk show hosts. Dozens of big-money market-leaders, and dozens upon dozens more in local markets. Big money went into creating a liberal alternative, which was very liberal, and full-throated, and it struggled and flopped.

What about CurrentTV, the Al Gore channel? It was meant to be leftward-leaning politics, environmental activism, and citizen journalism? That didn't exactly happen.

Liam has a point. Either this country is less liberal than it is right-of-center to far-right-wing-nut, or the liberals in this country are too busy to vote regularly, listen to the radio, or watch issue-oriented television. I can't speak for anybody else, but I don't find the argument that the problem is that there isn't a television channel ideologically pure enough yet a compelling one.

If the litmus test for American liberals for liberal television, radio, and politicians is perfection, then this will be a Fox News/Rush Limbaugh nation. At least, for as long as that ideological purity standard holds.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"But the party purists spoke in this election cycle--what wbgonne and others are arguing the Democrats should be doing."

Dead wrong. I voted. I donated money to Dems. Nearly all the Liberals I know did so too (what happens in 2012 may be different). Liberals complain but generally stick with the Dems (which is precisely why the Dems take Libs for granted). Dems are losing because they've lost the enthusiastic support of Young People, Independents and Hispanics. Why? See my previous posts.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama passed Bob Dole's health care bill from 93/94 i.e. Dole/Chaffee. I hate to get all Broder like here but it's a centerist bill that in any other time when the parties were a little more collegeial. But to Teabaggers the the 1903 Pure Food and Drug Act or Salk Polio vaccine are radical socialist ideas.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | November 2, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"I am a liberal who can deal with reality."

You are a phony. And I really doubt that your Good Ol' Pal Kevin knows more about Johnny Cash than his daughter Rosanne (or even me, for that matter). The Dems have followed your political advice: they have marginalized and vilified Liberals and they faint at the notion of Liberalism. We'll see today what your strategy has brought them.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and one more thing Liam: you are an asshat.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

One of the catch phrases of the liberals these days is that the conservatives are in thrall to some nebulous "corporate masters". I think that is exactly the phrase that RUK used this morning.

It isn't true. Businesses will act in their own (sometimes admittedly short term) interest. That doesn't mean strict adherence to conservative principles or even constant support of Republicans.

Today I offer proof that corporations will do whatever they percieve to be in their best interest:
"Executives at the casino giant Harrah’s pushed company employees to vote early in an all-out effort to help the Harry Reid campaign, according to internal emails obtained by Battle ‘10.

The stepped-up effort began Wednesday when a Reid staffer sent an email pleading for help to Harrah’s top lobbyist, Jan Jones. Soon after, Marybel Batjer, Harrah’s vice president of public policy and communications, distributed that plea via email to executives throughout the company.

The Reid campaign staffer, whose name was removed in the email Batjer sent to Harrah’s executives, said “ANYTHING” would be done to help with the company’s get out the vote effort. The staffer cited the fact that 1,100 MGM employees had already voted and indicated dissatisfaction with the turnout from Harrah’s."

"In her email to management, Harrah’s Batjer requested of her colleagues to “PLEASE do whatever we need” to communicate to company supervisors that there is “NOTHING more important than to get employees out to vote.”

She even issued an express endorsement. “Waking up to the defeat of Harry Reid Nov. 3 will be devastating for our industry’s future,” Batjer wrote."

Harrahs even produced a spread sheet of all employees and demanded that supervisors tell why each of them had not voted. Amazing. All of this to keep Mr Reid in office.

What was that about corporate masters?


Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis: Hey Kevin, I am not saying that people are ignorant because they disagree with me (although that is undoubtedly the case...;-) ) .
I am saying that they understand less about the mechanics of governing than they do about the rules of their favorite spectator sport, for example, most people can't tell you:
-how laws are made (ie who originates tax and spending legislation, what reconciliation is, what the roles of committees are in the legislative process, what is the conference report, etc)
-what are the powers and responsibilities of the legislature, executive, and judicial branches
-why the senate is an unworkable mess of supermajority and "comity" rules that allow a small minority to stop all action in the senate, etc.
-the fact that the US is a secular, non-religious state and not a Christian beachhead against the scary Mooslems.
-The implications of peak oil and how it will impact their lives
-the basics of macroeconomics (countercyclical spending, deficits and debt, etc.)
-what agencies regulate what industries
-who funds the candidates they (republicans and democrats) support
-income distribution statistics in the US
-how much of the national budget goes toward different priorities (defense, social programs, foreign aid, etc.)
-what the long term situation of social security really is (not the rightwing spin/hype that it is crashing and burning next year)

I could go on...

Most people don't even know who represents them in congress unless an election is a few weeks away, but they can name the starting lineup of their favorite sports team, explain the infield fly rule (hey, understand baseball at all), explain who is eligible to be a receiver at what times in football, etc.

non voters generally fall into 3 groups, all mostly uninformed:
Either people think that voting won't make a difference (ignorance) or people don't care (indifference) or people are unmotivated to vote (indolence)

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the health care reform effort, from a purely political point of view, is that it was and is largely unpopular with the public. Regardless of whatever else Congress could have been doing with its time, if it passed an unpopular bill, it shouldn't come as any surprise that voters may not reward them for that.

Posted by: tomtildrum | November 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you try to tell voters, "no you don't care about those things, what you REALLY care about is this!"

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

And when all is said and done, the fact still remains that if every liberal votes for Obama in 2012, that will still only give him 19% of the votes cast. Of course all 19% will not vote for him. Some of them will be off on another one of their Mission Impossible quests, voting for the latest incarnation of Nader or...

However even if all 19% of us vote for Obama, he still will have to find another 31% of the vote from non-liberals, just to get to 50%.

Where will he have a chance to find those votes. Why of course he will have to get them from the 37% of the voters who say they are moderates. That is a tall order; winning at least two thirds of all moderates, just to eek out a win.

I would rather win as moderate party, than go down in flames as liberal party only. As a moderate party, we can keep the barbarians out of power, but as a liberals alone, we stand no chance, so let us make the party welcoming to all moderates, or we will all end up out in the cold again, as we have so often in the past forty years.

Posted by: Liam-still | November 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Oh, please, Kevin. When you actually do some reading on what the Con Propaganda Machine has been doing for 40 years then you can talk."

I have. But, no doubt, you're right. I'll just console myself with my side's massive electoral victories this year. ;)

"Until then, stick with Johnny Cash -- about whom you know even less."

And apparently I never will know any more than I do now, or what area my ignorance is in. Perhaps part of the problem is that you lefties like being smarter than everybody else, so, instead of educating folks on the shortcomings of their knowledge, you just berate them as being stupid.

Hoarding your wisdom. For shame. If you hoarded money similarly, you'd be a Republican!

An awesome strategy. No doubt, the coming Democratic wave is a testament to it. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@srw3: "Hey Kevin, I am not saying that people are ignorant because they disagree with me (although that is undoubtedly the case...;-) )"

Hey! I like that. A man who thinks the same way I do. ;)

And yes, you're right, I think most people are more ignorant of the mechanics of politics (and, perhaps, they should be of the more sausage-making parts) than they are entrainment trivia or song lyrics. However, I don't think you have to know how a car is fixed to find someone to fix your car. You just need to know enough to understand that the "replacing the toadfloaters, which regulate the crumnopulence levels" is not actually something that ever has to be done to your car. That may be the area where a little more voter education could be useful. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2 said:

History shows that GWB gained seats his first midterm election.
******************************************************************
Those were very special circumstances. First, post-911, Bush was extremely popular. Second, Democrats were demonized by the Republicans over support for the upcoming Iraq war, and for not being strong enough in their support of whatever Bush wanted to do. That makes 2002 an anomaly.

Plus, Clinton gained seats in 1998, while he was being impeached. Another anomaly, brought about by Republicans over-reaching.

Posted by: dfritzin | November 2, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "And I really doubt that your Good Ol' Pal Kevin knows more about Johnny Cash than his daughter Rosanne (or even me, for that matter). "

Just because you can't find anything to indicate that Cash was a hard-line liberal partisan, or that he ever said he "despised" someone and "everything they stood for", especially John Boenher, doesn't mean you have to be all touchy.

It'll be okay. Who knows? The Republicans may even lose a few seats.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 2, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Kevin:

Every song Johnny Cash wrote and sung was in support of the common man against the rich and powerful. That's why his daughter was appalled at Agent Orange. But AO was just pulling a St. Ronnie trick by trying to commandeer a great American artist (like St Ronnie did with Bruce Springsteen) in order to pretend they're for the working man instead of the SuperRich. It's disgustingly shameless but as we know being a Con means never feeling shame about anything.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"An awesome strategy. No doubt, the coming Democratic wave is a testament to it."

No. The "coming Democratic wave" is based on the strategy the Dems employed not the one I've urged. My advice was to stand and fight proudly for Liberalism. The Dems did NOT follow my advice. Instead, the Dems followed cringed and cowered and disparaged Liberals and Liberalism. That was the adivce they followed not mine. And we're about to see that the Dems followed that idiotic advice right over the cliff. Next time, maybe they should try something different. Like my way, for example.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 2, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

dfritzin:

I mentioned other midterm elections where the party controlling the White House picked up seats in Congress too. They are ALL anamolies? How about we elect another Republican in 2012 and test out your theory vs. mine?

MerrillFrank:

Did you happen to read the Fact Check debunking your claim that Sarah Palin charged rape victims for rape kits?

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/10/mccain-palin-and-rape-kits/

Posted by: JakeD2 | November 2, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@kw: I don't think the fixing your car analogy is particularly applicable to this situation. everybody has their own car and maintains them. WE all have to live under 1 govt. (or 3 depending on your view of federalism). So one person may be willing to drive a junker that dies every 10 minutes and another only drives new cars. But we all have to ride in the govt van, so it should work for all of us (or at least a majority of us). Again, the car analogy is not the best.

Speaking of not understanding how govt works:

No one is attending to the massive problem of Obama's nominees not getting votes, even though this hamstrings govt because the president's policies will not be enacted without leadership from the appointed officials in the agency...The judiciary remains about 20% below the level it needs to be to ensure a speedy trial...no one cares unless you are trying to get something done through the courts...

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@td: HCR is largely unpopular with the public.

This is false in that when individual provisions are polled they are popular. It is a testament to the power of the republican messaging machine and the conservative media machine amplifying their mostly unfounded criticisms. It is also a testament to the weakness of the dem messaging machine and the compromises that made HCR lose much of its liberal support and the fact that the most popular provisions happen a couple of years from now.

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@jd2:Did you happen to read the Fact Check debunking your claim that Sarah Palin charged rape victims for rape kits?

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/10/mccain-palin-and-rape-kits/

Did you read the link you provided? It absolves McCain, but puts Palin smack dab in the middle of the practice...

"A few weeks ago, we wrote about the pervasive rumor that Sarah Palin, when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, made women pay for their own forensic testing when reporting a rape. The verdict: This policy was enforced for at least some reported rapes in Wasilla, and in 2000, complaints about rape kit charges in Wasilla and other rural areas drove then-Gov. Tony Knowles to pass legislation requiring police departments to pay for the testing."

Palin was mayor at this time, right? Her police chief supported the plan. If she didn't she was mighty quiet about her opinion.

Posted by: srw3 | November 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

srw wrote:

"This is false in that when individual provisions are polled they are popular. It is a testament to the power of the republican messaging machine and the conservative media machine amplifying their mostly unfounded criticisms"

The provisions may be popular if they were free, but even the general public can see that there is no way to pay for what was passed.

There is no financial expert who is outside the administration or a university who believes these numbers as stated by the CBO. Not the CBO's fault of course. They work with what they are given.

Medicare payments will have to substantially INCREASE, not decrease as projected by the legislation.

I was speaking this weekend with a Dem candidate for County Council who is also a physician. I mentioned the SGR to her, and she couldn't believe I knew what is was. She told me quite definitely that the SGR would have to be eliminated and Medicare payments increased. Never once did I get a sense of irony or incongruity that her position was the exact opposite of the that of the national party and the health care reform legislation.

BUT of course if we all close our eyes and chant "waste fraud and abuse" of course that will magically trim 140 billion.

Oh and for the results of creating "competitive insurance markets" please see "competitve energy markets" or "mortgage backed securities markets" to see how this will all turn out.

Please allow me to be as elitist on IQ and intelligence as all the Palin haters are on here.

Why on earth would you think that people who are making $100,000 a year can successfully regulate an industry making billions of dollars a year where individual people make MILLIONS of dollars a year?

If they are any good at their job, they will be taken into the industry for much more money. If they are not, they will be ignored or worked around.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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