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The Plum Line: January 30, 2011 - February 5, 2011

Open Thread

Enjoy....

By Greg Sargent  | February 5, 2011; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (292)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Obama says he's "encouraged" by the restraint shown today in Egypt, but urges Mubarak to continue on a path towards change "that is orderly but that is meaningful and serious." * And the administration is privately pushing opposition groups...

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, debt ceiling  
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The flawed conservative case against the mandate

Charles Lane summarizes the conservative argument for the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate as follows: [T]he threat to liberty, if any, comes not so much from the individual mandate itself, but from the other things Congress might do if it...

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  Health reform  
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John Thune cheerfully creates an alternate reality

In recent days, Jon Chait and I have been howling at the moon about the fact that Senate Republicans continue asserting that there's majority support for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, in defiance of reams of polling evidence....

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Health reform, Senate Republicans  
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Is the GOP's health repeal push creating "uncertainty" for businesses?

Expect Democrats to start pushing that case more forcefully in the days ahead. By way of illustration, one Dem points me to this Associated Press interview with David Brown, a Philadelphia-based owner of an advertising and marketing agency that pays...

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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Sorry: Scalia is not going to save the Affordable Care Act

Sam Stein reports today that some legal observers believe that Justice Antonin Scalia may vote to uphold the individual mandate, based on his concurring opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, which was premised on a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause....

By Adam Serwer  | February 4, 2011; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  Health reform, Supreme Court  
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The Morning Plum

* Monthly jobs report on tap: It's expected to show a modest gain of 146,000 jobs, with unemployment at 9.5 percent, though some analysts are more optimistic. * Obama administration in talks with Egypt on how to begin that "orderly...

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House Dems, Morning Plum, Political media, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, budget, debt ceiling  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* At least two dozen reporters have now been detained in Egypt, and gangs are hunting down others in what appears to be an overt intimidation campaign. * White House advisers frustratedly acknowledge they can't dictate what's going to happen,...

By Greg Sargent  | February 3, 2011; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (166)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Tea Party, budget  
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Gibbs: Targeting of journalists in Egypt "totally unacceptable"

With the news spreading today that a group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them, Robert Gibbs, during a press gaggle on Air Force One, used some of his toughest language yet: I...

By Greg Sargent  | February 3, 2011; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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What would conservatives do for Hillary St. Pierre?

Ezra Klein points us to the difficult dilemma of one Hillary St. Pierre, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma but says she might be forced to drop her treatment if the Affordable Care Act is repealed: The legislation put an end to...

By Greg Sargent  | February 3, 2011; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (120)
Categories:  Health reform  
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For the GOP, there's no putting the `repeal' genie back in the bottle

Yesterday I noted here that Mitch McConnell has taken to claiming that a majority of Americans support full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, even though this assertion simply isn't supported by the polling evidence. Today, Jonathan Chait points us...

By Greg Sargent  | February 3, 2011; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers, Senate Republicans  
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What's next for Senate reform?

Is Senate reform really dead? Filibuster expert Greg Koger had an important post over at the Monkey Cage yesterday arguing that, far from being a disaster for reformers, the demise of New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall's "constitutional option" at...

By Jonathan Bernstein  | February 3, 2011; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Senate Dems, filibuster  
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What should Obama do next on Egypt?

The scenes of government-backed goons attacking protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square yesterday have lead to a moment of convergence between hawks like Robert Kagan and more moderate experts like Marc Lynch that the Obama administration needs to act more forcefully...

By Adam Serwer  | February 3, 2011; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Obama eschews "aggressive, overbearing role" in Egypt: This will enrage conservatives who are criticizing Obama's handling of the Egypt crisis as insufficiently heavy-handed, but do check out Fareed Zakaria's positive contrast of Obama's approach with that of Bush: After...

By Greg Sargent  | February 3, 2011; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Supreme Court, Tea Party, gay rights  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Great read from Matt Miller, who imagines President Hillary Clinton signing universal health care into law in 2017, as a consequence of Republicans successfully repealing "Obamacare" right now. * Some on the right have been banking heavily on Senator...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (186)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, Senate Dems  
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Wisconsin AG clarifies claim that health law is "dead"

Yesterday Wisconsin's Republican attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, got lots of national attention after he released a swaggering, toughly-worded statement proclaiming that Judge Vinson's decision meant that the health law is "dead" for his state. Van Hollen said that henceforth,...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health reform  
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House GOPer to Dems: Please stop saying I want to cut spending

Rep. Robert Hurt, a freshman Republican from Virginia, is one of 19 House GOPers who are being targeted by DCCC ads that accuse Republicans of wanting to cut spending on education by 40 percent. According to a local Virgina news...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  2012, House Dems  
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Vinson fallout: Florida returns $1 million in health care money to feds

As I noted here yesterday, the risk in the wake of Judge Vinson's ruling is that state governments hostile to the Affordable Care Act might seize on the ruling in order to stop implementing the law. The question is whether...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Health reform  
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Conservative legal scholar: We already regulate inactivity

In an interview with me just now, a conservative law professor made an interesting case for the individual mandate: In multiple cases, he said, the federal government has already regulated "inactivity," and it has passed muster with the Constitution. The...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (107)
Categories:  Health reform  
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Please inform your readers

Today Senate Republicans will get the vote they want on whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The New York Times quotes Mitch McConnell discussing the repeal vote as follows: "For all those who supported the health care law, it's...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Health reform, Senate Republicans  
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Egyptian protesters clash

While Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak promised not to seek reelection, the protests are continuing, and seem to have taken a turn for the worse since pro-Mubarak demonstrators came on the scene. with pro- and anti-Mubarak sides clashing. There are some...

By Adam Serwer  | February 2, 2011; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* States grapple with whether to stop implementing health law: An important story: As I noted here yesterday, Wisconsin is threatening in the wake of Judge Vinson's ruling to stop implementing the health reform law. Now many other states are...

By Greg Sargent  | February 2, 2011; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Climate change, Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Supreme Court  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Mubarak won't run for reelection, and Obama administration sources are now leaking that the President sent him a direct and blunt message letting him know that the party's over. * By choosing Charlotte, North Carolina, as the site for...

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (136)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Wisconsin attorney general: "Health care law is dead"

Okay, so here's the next frontier in the war over the Affordable Care Act: Republican state officials around the country who are hostile to the law may now seize on Judge Vinson's decision yesterday to threaten to stop implementing it...

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
Categories:  Health reform  
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Yet another gaping hole in Vinson's ruling?

NYU law professor Rick Hills finds what looks like another gaping hole in Judge Vinson's ruling yesterday that the individual mandate -- and by extension the entire Affordable Care Act -- is unconstitutional. Judge Vinson writes on page 62 of...

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Health reform, Supreme Court  
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Media playing up rulings against health reform?

Steve Benen takes a look at some of the media coverage of the four key rulings on the Affordable Care Act, and finds that the two rulings pronouncing the law unconstitutional received far more attention than the two upholding it....

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers, Political media  
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David Shuster launching new investigative Web site

Is there a space on the internet for a political Web site focused on long-term, manpower-heavy investigative projects at a time when Web-based news orgs are racing faster and faster in the battle to maximize clicks with attention-grabbing but perishable...

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Political media  
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The fight over health-care reform is more political than legal

If there's one thing that's clear from Florida Judge Roger Vinson's polemical ruling against health-care reform, it's that the fight over the Affordable Care Act is more a political battle than a legal one. Judge Vinson adopted Judge Henry Hudson's...

By Adam Serwer  | February 1, 2011; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  Health reform  
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The Morning Plum

* Today's political/media narrative: That White House aides are worried that the Egypt crisis is a distraction from the narrative of the turnaround in Obama's political fortunes. * Obama administration pushing for change behind scenes: While publicly calling for an...

By Greg Sargent  | February 1, 2011; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (123)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Political media  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The White House strikes back hard at the ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, arguing that similar challenges to many other hstoric American legislative accomplishments have all been struck down. * Ian Millhiser has the rundown of...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 6:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (172)
Categories:  2012, Health reform, deficit  
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Yes, but what will Anthony Kennedy say?

As you've heard, a Florida judge has ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, meaning that two GOP-appointed judges have reached that conclusion, versus two Dem-appointed judges who have concluded the opposite. Only in this case, the judge, Roger Vinson,...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
Categories:  Health reform  
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Do Americans really hate government?

Via Jonathan Bernstein, Brendan Nyhan has a very good post this morning puncturing the myth that Ronald Reagan achieved some kind of grand paradigm shift that decisively turned Americans against government: While Reagan scored some important legislative successes early...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  budget, deficit  
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Dems adopting aggressive posture in fight over government spending

Don't look now, but there are increasing signs that Democrats are adopting a surprisingly aggressive and unapologetic posture in the looming political battle with Republicans over government spending. Rather than running from the issue -- which has obvious perils for...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers  
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Nonstop idiocy about Obama and `American exceptionalism'

A lot of people have already jumped on Kathleen Parker for her column yesterday faulting Obama for not using the actual phrase "American exceptionalism" in his State of the Union speech. But to me the funniest part of her column...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Conservatives keep hogging credit for Mideast protests

The Republican leadership in Congress has been oddly deferential to the president in his handling of the political upheaval in Egypt. It's one of the few recent moments in which the Republican political leadership seems to be out of sync...

By Adam Serwer  | January 31, 2011; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Obama administration allies itself with Egypt protestors: Good read from Karen DeYoung, who talks to senior White House officials about their delicate balancing act on the Egypt crisis. Calls for an "orderly transition" represent language carefully chosen to signal...

By Greg Sargent  | January 31, 2011; 8:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, debt ceiling  
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Sunday Open Thread

That was quite a dust-up you guys had yesterday! Got any more?...

By Greg Sargent  | January 30, 2011; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (444)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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