December 24, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
Here is what I think. Fight like hell to change this health care bill, but start now to put the blame where it belongs - on the obstructionist Republicans.
This year we can realistically expect only one gain - kill the mandates.
Then, at the beginning of next year's legislative session change the rules of the Senate so that raw obstructionism no longer works, and pass something better for the public. One suggestion I read somewhere is keep the same 60 vote requirement on the first vote to end a filibuster, wait 2 days and require only 57 on the next, two more days and make it 55. And maybe go a bit lower, like 53 after a few more days. The objecting Senators get to make their point and get some time rally the public if they can. If they can't rally the public the bill has a chance to pass.
So next year bring in free Medicare-for-All paid for by taxing the rich, and maybe settle for a strong, strong public option.
And kick Lieberman out of the Democratic caucus.
Posted by Dave Johnson at December 24, 2009 1:51 PM
This could complicate the plans
By William M. Daley
Thursday, December 24, 2009; A15
The announcement by Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith that he is switching to the Republican Party is just the latest warning sign that the Democratic Party -- my lifelong political home -- has a critical decision to make: Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.
Rep. Griffith's decision makes him the fifth centrist Democrat to either switch parties or announce plans to retire rather than stand for reelection in 2010. These announcements are a sharp reversal from the progress the Democratic Party made starting in 2006 and continuing in 2008, when it reestablished itself as the nation's majority party for the first time in more than a decade. That success happened for one major reason: Democrats made inroads in geographies and constituencies that had trended Republican since the 1960s. In these two elections, a majority of independents and a sizable number of moderate Republicans joined the traditional Democratic base to sweep Democrats to commanding majorities in Congress and to bring Barack Obama to the White House.
These independents and Republicans supported Democrats based on a message indicating that the party would be a true Big Tent -- that we would welcome a diversity of views even on tough issues such as abortion, gun rights and the role of government in the economy.
This call was answered not just by voters but by a surge of smart, talented candidates who came forward to run and win under the Democratic banner in districts dominated by Republicans for a generation. These centrists swelled the party's ranks in Congress and contributed to Obama's victories in states such as Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado and other Republican bastions.
But now they face a grim political fate. On the one hand, centrist Democrats are being vilified by left-wing bloggers, pundits and partisan news outlets for not being sufficiently liberal, "true" Democrats. On the other, Republicans are pounding them for their association with a party that seems to be advancing an agenda far to the left of most voters.
The political dangers of this situation could not be clearer.
Witness the losses in New Jersey and Virginia in this year's off-year elections. In those gubernatorial contests, the margin of victory was provided to Republicans by independents -- many of whom had voted for Obama. Just one year later, they had crossed back to the Republicans by 2-to-1 margins.
My how things keep changing. we'll see a bill, but it won't look anything like it was imagined 6-9 months ago.
I am in the health care field and see merits to both sides. Personally, I think we need to increase utilization of HSAs and offer tax incentives for healthy living. Simple? Yes. But the concept works.
Posted by: Ed Harris at December 28, 2009 4:53 PM
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