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Morning Fix: Coakley, Brown win in Mass. special election

1. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley cruised to a victory in the special election Democratic primary to replace the late Ted Kennedy, a win that virtually ensures she will be the next senator from the Bay State. Coakley, who had begun laying the groundwork for the race even before Kennedy passed away in August, took nearly 47 percent of the vote -- roughly 20 points better than Rep. Michael Capuano. City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, perhaps bolstered by the endorsement of the Boston Globe, narrowly edged Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca for third place. Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the ledger, state Sen. Scott Brown took more than 90 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Jack E. Robinson. Coakley and Brown will face off on Jan. 19 for the chance to fill the unexpired term of Kennedy who was reelected to an eighth term in 2006. The strongly Democratic nature of Massachusetts coupled with Coakley's name identification and fundraising edges over Brown make her a heavy favorite to win the seat next month. WHAT WE'LL MISS MOST: A terrific Twitter feed --@kennedyseat -- that kept us well informed about the goings-on in the race.

2. Looking for a one-word summation of President Obama's economic speech on Tuesday? Try "necessary." The address was front-loaded with a series of explanations for why he and his administration took the series of large-scale actions they did on the economy almost immediately upon taking office. That explanation -- put simply -- was that desperate times call for desperate measures. "These were not decisions that were popular or satisfying," said Obama early in the address. "These were decisions that were necessary." Then later, Obama argued that "even as we have had to spend our way out of this recession in the near term, we've begun to make the hard choices necessary to get our country on a more stable fiscal footing in the long run." He even used the word when talking about the Troubled Asset Relief Program saying: "There has rarely been a less loved or more necessary emergency program than TARP." Sending that message stood at the heart of this speech; the actual policy proposals -- further infrastructure investments, tax breaks for small business, rewards for retrofitting your home -- were, by Obama's own admission, "broad."

3. The rumors of Sen. Chris Dodd's imminent retirement are (apparently) greatly exaggerated, according to sources familiar with the Connecticut Democrat's thinking. Chatter about Dodd stepping aside has reached fever pitch in Washington this week and at a campaign stop in East Hartford Dodd was asked directly whether he had been asked to step aside in favor of popular state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Dodd said he had not and joked that party leaders "can't be more anxious about it than I am." Dodd, who faces a very uphill climb to reelection next fall, has, in fact, been raising money at a blistering pace argue Democratic insiders -- perhaps to make up for what was widely seen as a disappointing third quarter in the money chase. We continue to struggle to see how Dodd can win given the blow his personal and job numbers have taken in recent years. But, at the moment, Dodd appears resolute. ALSO CHECK OUT: New Rasmussen polling showing Dodd losing by 13 points to former representative Rob Simmons (R).

4. Senate Democrats appear to have settled on a deal to round up the needed 60 votes to bring the president's health care bill to the floor that does not include the so-called "public option" provision, report the Post's Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery. Write the duo: "Under the deal, the government plan preferred by liberals would be replaced with a program that would create several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees health policies for federal workers. If private firms were unable to deliver acceptable national policies, a government plan would be created." If the public option is indeed a goner, it will be interesting to see how liberals -- both in the House and Senate as well as outside groups that have formed around the issue -- react. Many high-profile Democrats -- including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean -- have said that a health care bill without a public option is not real reform. The White House has been much less forceful on the inclusion of the public option perhaps in a recognition that such a proposal could not garner the votes needed to pass the legislation through the Senate.

5. Fix 2012 darkhorse Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) continues to work to distinguish himself as a leading opponent of TARP. Thune, in a statement released in advance of Obama's speech, called TARP a "de facto slush fund" and argued that the money remaining in the program should be immediately refunded to taxpayers. Last month, Thune introduced legislation that would force TARP to be shuttered at the end of year. There is no bill in recent memory that has sparked the outrage of the right like TARP -- a vote for it is widely seen as apostasy by fiscal conservatives. (Texas Gov. Rick Perry is currently using Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's TARP vote to bash her in their primary fight.) If Thune can stake out ground as the point person fighting TARP -- and its effects -- in the Senate, it would provide a pretty good launch pad for a national bid. Thune and his people won't even speculate about his interest in a national race until the South Dakota filing deadline passes on March 30, 2010. If, as expected, Thune draws no serious Democratic challenge, expect his allies to begin chattering about a potential presidential run.

6. Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has hired Jonathan Allen, a longtime political reporter for Congressional Quarterly, to run her leadership PAC, according to the St. Pete Times' Alex Leary. The PAC -- bad acronym alert! -- is known as Democrats Win Seats (DWS . . . her initials, get it?) and, as of the end of November, had raised $243,000 this year. Wasserman Schultz, who is heading up the incumbent protection program at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this cycle, has made no secret of her desire to rise up the ranks of Democratic leadership. She along with DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and a few others are seen as potential House speakers if and when Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) decides to give up the gavel.

7. Former president Ronald Reagan passed away more than five years ago but for South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster (R), the Gipper is still a potent political force. McMaster, who is seeking the Palmetto State governorship in 2010, released a Web video Tuesday featuring (old) footage of him and Reagan at the White House. "To give you some idea of how much I value Henry, he was my appointee for U.S. attorney here in South Carolina," Reagan says in the video. McMaster served in that post from 1981 to 1985 and went on to get elected as the state's top cop in 2002 and re-elected four years later. All four Republican candidates -- McMaster, Rep. Gresham Barrett, state Sen. Nikki Haley and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer -- are doing their darnedest to tout their conservative bona fides, a smart move in a Republican primary. This, then, will be the first of many times Reagan's name is invoked in this race. We wonder -- not really -- whether any of the quartet of Republican candidates will mention either former president George W. Bush or outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford. ALSO READ: Lou Cannon's amazing obituary of the Gipper.

8. Newsweek's Daniel Gross argues in a piece this week that the November jobs report released last Friday is even better news for the state of the economy than it might seem at first glance. His four reasons: 1) the recent track record of the government shows that they overestimate job losses 2) the service industries are growing again 3) the rise in temps (like Ryan Howard from "The Office") 4) antidisestablishmentarianism (not kidding). The better the economy gets -- and the faster that recovery happens -- the sooner the American people will begin to feel better about their fiscal futures and the brighter the political outlook for President Obama and congressional Democrats in 2010.

9. "Politics and Pints", the Fix's political trivia night, was such a big hit that planning is already underway for several more similar events. Want to be alerted to when and where the next "Politics and Pints" is going down? We are building an e-mail list to do just that. So, if you want to be in the know, send us an email at with "Politics and Pints" in the subject line. We'll make sure to alert you to future events.

10. First "Guiding Light" was canceled. Now comes word that "As the World Turns" is headed the way of the dodo next September. Writes the Associated Press: "Daytime dramas have been fading as a genre for years with more women joining the work force and the increased number of channels offering alternatives like news, talk, reality and game shows."

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 9, 2009; 6:16 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: Evan Bayh's political crossroads


Gator-ron (Dec 9 2:21)registered a few comments regarding the Automated Payment transaction Tax or APT Tax originally published in a peer-reviewed academic economic journal by Dr. Edgar Feige of Univ of Wisconsin. It is a fabulous idea. In short (and unfortunately blogs are a poor place to roll out a whole tax plan)it uses the largest possible tax base thereby creating the lowest tax rate. No exemptions or deductions - there goes that IRS code - gone. About 0.25to 0.3% per side of every transaction to replace ALL federal taxes and SS/medicare. That is the design - a total replacement NOT a securities transaction tax that is on top of everything else as is being tossed around. In fact one concern is to ameliorate the effects on day trading and hyper-trading that goes on today by selecting and taxing only the two largest transactions per day in each investment account so market liquidity is maintained.

If you do the math quickly, a family grossing $100k, spending $100K and turning over $100k in invest in a year will pay $900 in total Federal tax ($300K times 0.003 or 0.3%). Even if all business passed through their side of the tax in each category the total would be $1800. The secret is the tax base is expanded to include many sources not now taxed. Sure Business will pay a greater share but they will save 15 to 20% in current compliance costs/employer ss share etc. so they should absorb the 0.3% making saving of 19.7% instead of 20%. I cannot go into the entire concept in this blog. Suffice it to say I have been debating this plan for four years and have honestly not found a reasonable or serious fault. please go to to learn all the details and especially checkout the "frequently Asked Questions" then join in the "Discussion Group" on the site and any further questions.

Lastly, you ask, why haven't I heard of this? Honestly, we are a very small group and the Fair Taxers, with their unworkable idea from the '80's, quash us when and whereever APT gains any attention, including Congressmen simply seeking cover under a tax reform banner without the serious intention of reform. APT, IN THE FORM PROPOSED, is a fabulous idea worthy of your time to study it.

Posted by: Directorwwwapttaxcom | December 10, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) decides to give up the gavel."

That will be right after the 2010 elections when the House shifts to Republican. The sooner we can get rid of the Great Mother of All Wing-Nuts the better. Everyone does realize the vaporous old hag would be President if something happened to Obama and Biden?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | December 10, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

SC-Gov race:
You make this mistake every time on Nikki Haley! She is a state rep, not senator.

Posted by: goprevolution | December 9, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

But then I remembered it is try to be nice to Republicans season.


Like hell.

Next Gomer walking past a puddle of water is gonna get drenched.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 9, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

What a moron. I was going to come back at this person with a bunch of snarky remarks like,

"Was last year's election important for your kids?"

"Aren't they all?"

"Were you thinking of your children first when you voted Bush/Cheney, both times?"

But then I remembered it is try to be nice to Republicans season.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The ever-louder cries of nostalgia for Ronnie Diaperhead are music to liberals' ears, underscoring as they do that conservatives are aware (at some level below candid acknowlegement) that present times are nothing for a conservative to be proud of.

And the myths keep piling up like the floor beneath the steer's tail.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 9, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Per President Obama it is more important to spend money on Democratic ideas rather than address the deficit.

This is why next year's election is important to my children and grandchildren.


If you don't have enough courage of your own convictions that you need to hide behind "the childrun" then how about you just don't post at all.

Funny how you guys are alla sudden concerned about deficits, I'd bet a month's pay you were part of the sing-along with "deficits don't matter" and "Iraq is more important than the budget."

Going a little into debt to stave off another Great Depression sounds like a pretty good trade to me. If you have a better idea then let's hear it, and oh, by the way, tax cuts aren't it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 9, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line though is that the people who own this country will never go for it."

Absolutely right.

Our Byzantine tax code is a fundamental part of pay-to-play; the crony capitalist system would be laid bare without it. But it is not just a fig leaf, it is the bag man.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The APT tax is a wonderful way of shifting the tax burden to the other guy. For a business that has a 1% margin the tax would represent 60% of profits. I can also see the .3% tax for money going into investments and the same tax coming out being a discouragement for conservative investing. That said, I think a smaller version of that tax with a smaller income tax and state tax would be workable.

Bottom line though is that the people who own this country will never go for it.

Posted by: Gator-ron | December 9, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"But this idea that this is being done as benevolence to bankers is just inane."

What is benevolent to bankers is the GOP meeting with their lobbyists to thwart regulating the financial indsutry, so that we can pay for yet another bailout after the next crash caused by deregulation.

Posted by: drindl | December 9, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the link.

I actually share the sentiments that you quoted. Now obviously I don't have nearly enough economics knowledge to have an informed opinion, but that doesn't stop me from forming one.

I really dislike the prevailing sentiment that TARP was passed out of some desire to mollify Wall St. That it was done out of love for the banks. That's the emotional and political argument, but has nothing to do with the real rationale.

People need credit to buy houses. They need credit to buy cars. They need credit to start businesses and create jobs. Put a stop to all this and the recession will just be prolonged.

Will the TARP be beneficial? I don't know. Are there better ways to accomplish the goal of restoring credit? I don't know. But this idea that this is being done as benevolence to bankers is just inane.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 9, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1: Brownback will only have been governor of Kansas for two years in 2012. He may test the waters then, but jumping into a presidential race after only two years in office might open him to charges of just opportunistically using the governorship as a stepping stone instead of having the interests of Kansans at heart. Also, the prospect of taking on an incumbent and that he's young enough to wait another cycle lead me to believe he'll wait unless he clearly sees potentially mortal wounds appear on Obama in 2011. Brownback will appeal to all three legs of the Republican party: social conservatives, defense hawks, and business conservatives. With six years as governor and his experience in the Senate, Brownback will be more formidable in 2016.

Jindal is an interesting guy, but I don't see either the Republican establishment or base getting excited enough about him to put him on the ticket. If Republicans manage to re-take the White House at some point, though, look for him in a Cabinet job.

Posted by: Gallenod | December 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

...the the moonbats call the kettle black.

but no one is listening.

Posted by: drindl | December 9, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Spoke too soon, snowbama.

Posted by: JakeD | December 9, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"The House GOP leadership “met with more than 100 lobbyists at the Capitol Visitors Center” yesterday to strategize about how to kill financial reform legislation. "

What a surprise.

Posted by: drindl | December 9, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

So intelligent today. What's different.

Oh wait. I see it now. No drivl, no loud and dumb and no sign of the flamer yet.

Posted by: snowbama | December 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

A recovery that leaves out millions of people as "unemployable" (who also don't vote) will cost the 20% of Americans who do the 50% of consuming in many ways.

We all understand why the dollar rises when the stock market tanks, right? Further, I hope Republicans betting against America keep buying more and more Gold.

Long time ago (after the Clinton lost the D primary) I said Republicans would be irrelevant on the national scene through 2012 and that 2016 will be well contested by people winning local elections in 2010. Still believe that. Jindal? No way. Palin sucked all the air out of his room.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

AndyR3 writes
"Dan Gross is right that the employment numbers are looking better and better, and the more the GOP poo-poos the recovery the more they will have to answer for when the economy is looking good in July."

While predicting the economy is an inexact science, some of us here have been predicting exactly that for some time.

If you want to predict the 2010 elections, find out what the economy will look like. The pundits today seem to look no further than today's polls.


Posted by: bsimon1 | December 9, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Is anyone else kinda creeped out by the Republican party's outright fetishism of Ronald Regan?"

I think one very important element in the idolatry is that, other than Reagan, who have they got?

Posted by: nodebris | December 9, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Gallenod writes
"[I]n 2016 [Republicans] will have some much more attractive candidates available: Brownback, McDonnell, Daniels, and Thune. ... Some combination of those four will likely make up the Republican ticket against Mark Warner and whoever he selects as his running mate."

Bold prediction. I like it.

You think Brownback will not get into the race in 2012?

No Jindal in 2016?

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 9, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone talking about how the death of the public option will fly in the House? Sure, 60 is locked up in the Senate. But what about Pelosi?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

knjincvc, thanx for a fascinating link. I will try to put a pencil to it at some point, but it looks promising for starters!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 9, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else kinda creeped out by the Republican party's outright fetishism of Ronald Regan? I realize he was the brightest light of the party's modern age, but it's really creepy how every single one of them seems to want to glom on to his legacy. oddly enough, he wouldn't be a great conservative by most of the standards of conservatism today.

Oh, and John Thune is a grandstanding, lying gasbag. Not exactly news, but he's worse than most right now.

Posted by: EricS2 | December 9, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin wrote @ Dec 9, 2009 9:10 AM
“I want Congress to address solvency issues for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security within the next three years. These are the most critical issues for dealing with the national debt over time and they will require higher taxation or reduced services, the hard choice that should be farmed out to a "base-closing" type commission.”

IMO congress should dump the current tangle of taxes and switch to a Transaction Tax. Eliminate 95% of the IRS in the process.
“The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) tax”

The system, developed by University of Wisconsin Professor of Economics Edgar L. Feige, is known as the APT or Automated Payments/Transaction Tax.

Professor Feige details how the replacement of our current tax system with an (0.3%) APT tax could save the government and its citizens as much as $500 billion annually by eliminating the compliance, collection, enforcement and inefficiency costs of our current tax system. Yes, eliminate 95% of the IRS!!

A transaction would tax speculative stock transaction which a fair tax, flat tax or national sales tax would not do. The APT would eliminate state sales and income taxes.

The APT would tax cash transfers by illegal aliens to their dependents in foreign countries.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 9, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


After Thune voted for EESA (establishing TARP), he had this to say:

"It would have been easy to do the `politically popular' thing and vote against this bill, but for me it would not have been the responsible thing to do. I'm sure those who voted against this package have their reasons, but the sober facts are that without intervention, our credit markets will freeze, our economy will grind to a halt, and the impact will be severe and felt by every South Dakotan.

To be clear, this legislation is not intended to bail out Wall Street, but rather insulate main streets across South Dakota and the country. I am frustrated that the government is being forced into this position, but the authority this bill provides is temporary. It also ensures strong oversight and strong taxpayer protections and it prevents Wall Street executives from walking away from their failed companies with golden parachutes.

This is not money we are just throwing away, we are investing this money in assets that will later be sold, which means the government potentially stands to make a good portion, if not all of it back in the long run, while calming the uncertain financial waters we are now battling."

Posted by: mnteng | December 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

A bold leader who threw his generals under the proverbial bus when those illegal arms sales came to light. Yay! Go ronnie!

Posted by: elijah24 | December 9, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

McMaster could bolster his credentials with liberals and some moderates by endorsing Pres. Obama's proposals to engage the Iranian leaders in dialogue. Ronald Reagan went much further than Obama has proposed-- actually selling guns to Iran in order to woo supposedly moderate mullahs and to raise money for the Contras-- but Reagan was, after all, a bold leader.

Posted by: Sutter | December 9, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I listened to news of the deal and it sounds a lot like FEHB. Incidentally, that's the same basked of plans on offer to Congress and its staff. I'd be happy to combine this with insurance companies selling across state lines--provided that the plans on offer in each state meet that state's regulations.


Quote of the day: "There should be a Mechanism put in place that Senators can be Recalled by the people in the states they are supposed to represent."

They're called elections.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 9, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse


Politically speaking, the new Democratic go-it-alone strategy on health care reform seems clever and cunning. Instead of creating unwieldy, costly new bureaucracies, Dems now are going incremental -- advocating the expansion of existing, proven programs to cover more uninsured and under-insured Americans. Those left behind will find support among moderate, liberal and progressive politicians to meet their needs as well, and so it will be done -- if not all in this year, perhaps by the close of 2010. Call it "Medicare for All Lite." With no public option to rail against, the opposition is left flat-footed, at least for the moment.


But hopes of health care reform remain a cruel joke when secretive elements of the federal government are doing this:


• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system, employing cell towers and satellites, to silently, invisibly torture, impair, physiologically and neurologically subjugate unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

• Federally-funded "community watch" vigilantes infiltrate health care system, compromising treatment of unjustly targeted citizens.

For the rest of the story:
OR (if link is corrupted): re: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Many high-profile Democrats -- including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean -- have said that a health care bill without a public option is not real reform."

Well that is pretty obvious.
But everyone understands this for what it is. It is the first step toward real reform.

And this is also why Republicans are against it, public option or not.
Once you mandate (near) universal coverage, portability, eliminate rescission, pre-existing condition exclusions and other forms of risk pool manipulation... profiteering becomes difficult.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

elijah: Our current economic distress wasn't solely the cause of the previous administration. It's roots lie in decisions that began in the Nixon administration and continued through Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2.

However, the driving force behind much of the rot was Republican-sponsored economic dogma, including deregulation, supply-side and trickle-down ideas that promised something for nothing, were the foundation of Republican administrations, and were used to cow invertebrate Democrats.

Though the last Bush administration's wanton abandonment of truly conservative economic principles and anti-regulation attitude did accelerate the economic decline quite a bit. It only took them 8 years to match the deficit growth of the previous 30 and let the financial sector gorge itself into greed-obsessed toxemia.

Posted by: Gallenod | December 9, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Thune will be on everyone's short list for VP in 2012. While 2012 would be a better year for him to run than 2016, when he'd have to make a choice between staying in the Senate and running for president or vice president, he may not want to get tangled up with the current crop of candidates or take on Obama if the economy recovers.

Unless the Republicans pull themselves together and find better candidates, they will not unseat Obama in 2012. However, in 2016 they will have some much more attractive candidates available: Brownback, McDonnell, Daniels, and Thune. (Though Daniels may just be sensible and stay out of the national mess.) Some combination of those four will likely make up the Republican ticket against Mark Warner and whoever he selects as his running mate.

Posted by: Gallenod | December 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Margaret, I think you have nailed the impact of #4, but it also includes Sen. Snowe's formulation.

Andy, hats off to you for predicting this exact outcome [especially if it becomes this exact outcome in the law].

I have always favored the essentially heavily competitive private program administered by the FEHBP to a new public plan modeled on the soon to be insolvent Medicare or the already insolvent Medicaid. It was what BHO campaigned for and it builds on a fiscal success, not a fiscal failure.

I love my medicare advantage program and wonder what will replace it when the plug is pulled on it. I am assuming that seniors like me will have the option to pay more for a similar program when the fed subsidy is withdrawn.

I want Congress to address solvency issues for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security within the next three years. These are the most critical issues for dealing with the national debt over time and they will require higher taxation or reduced services, the hard choice that should be farmed out to a "base-closing" type commission.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 9, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I am not worried that Barry is fooling anyone anymore. His approval rating is the record lowest of any president at this point in his term. For someone so in love with himself, that has to hurt.

Posted by: snowbama | December 9, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Obimbo is now trying to hide from his own failures. Why did we elect an executive with the experience of a sophomore?

Posted by: snowbama | December 9, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

It's not about Democratic ideas. its about getting us out of the biggest recession since the great depression. One that was caused by his Republican predecessor, by the way. Any economist with any credibility says that you dont worry about the deficit during a recession. you have to start the money flow before you start paying debt.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 9, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Per President Obama it is more important to spend money on Democratic ideas rather than address the deficit.

This is why next year's election is important to my children and grandchildren.

Posted by: mwhoke | December 9, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"There should be a Mechanism put in place that Senators can be Recalled by the people in the states they are supposed to represent"
I want to be very clear: if Traitor Joe Lieberman is ever at the losing end of a political catastrophy, I'll call it a merry christmas, but we have a mechanism for recalling senators. They'er called elections. they happen every 6 years. For every Traitor Joe, there are 2 Sherrod Browns, or Dick Lugars, and i dont want them to have to waste time campaigning, when they should be working on the issues we elected them to handle. In our highly polarized times, any senator who has the spine to make a stand would inevitably face a movement to recall before their stand has time to pay off, and show them to have been right. I want my senators (Durbin and Burris) to be held accountable, but i don't want them to have to worry about the short-term politics of every decision. That will only lead to short-sighted decisions that hurt us in the long term.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 9, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Did Thune ever weigh in on the bailout when it was a Bush program? He did vote for EESA...

Posted by: DDAWD | December 9, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

What I want to ask Thune and all the other senators that have a problem with TARP is what was there alternative? Answer: they didn't have one. Not to mention that alot of the banks that tapped into the TARP funds have started paying them back early. TARP will be one more part of the president's plan that will be seen as a genius move 8 months from now.

And Dan Gross is right that the employment numbers are looking better and better, and the more the GOP poo-poos the recovery the more they will have to answer for when the economy is looking good in July.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 9, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

There should be a Mechanism put in place that Senators can be Recalled by the people in the states they are supposed to represent.... It is very disappointing to see the Power the Insurance Companies have on many senators in the Senate. There is not much we can do at this time but cut our losses and remember Who those Senators are who care more for the Insurance Cos., than the people they represent, and Vote them out come their turn to run again. There must be retrubition for their failure to do what is right for the people. However, I do believe Sen Reid had the power to do a Reconciliation and I am disappointed that he did not have the Courage to take that road! They had a chance to do something right and meaningful and because of a Few bad apples, the dream cannot be materialized. If we let them, the GOP and the Conserva-Dems will not only destroy the United States (guns and outsourcing jobs), they will destroy the world (climate change and love of wars).

Posted by: wdsoulplane | December 9, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

If I am reading #4 correctly, it sounds like model of the Federal Emloyee Health Benefits Program will be extended to the public, which has been a concept on the table all along.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 9, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

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