Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Open Thread: That Election Yesterday

So the Republican candidate won Teddy's Senate seat yesterday. What does that election say about the mood of the nation? How does it affect health care reform and other policies? Is the election a judgment of the President? What can the Democrats accomplish without the ability to prevent a filibuster?


Anonymous morning in America said...

health care?

back to the drawing board

reducing unemployment and finding ways to lower the costs of health care, like litigation reform, will help more people than the current disaster of a health care proposal:

"After jittery members of the House Democratic caucus huddled in Washington to talk about health care, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured reporters, "We're right on course." Regardless of what happens in Massachusetts, she said, "We will have a health care reform bill, and it will be soon."

Steny Hoyer, the majority leader, told reporters that "moving ahead on health care is essential," and that passing a bill before Brown is sworn in would be essential.

But Democrats in the House and Senate threw that notion into grave doubt.

Sen. Webb (D-Va.) suggested stopping action on health care entirely. "It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders," Webb said in a statement. "I believe it would only be fair that we suspend further votes on health care until Senator-elect Brown is seated."

Rep. Weiner (D-N.Y.), a liberal member of the caucus, echoed that. "We've got to recognize we have an entirely different scenario now," Weiner told reporters. "When you have large numbers of citizens in the United States who believe this is the wrong direction, there's a limit to which you can keep saying, 'OK, they just don't get it. If we pass a bill they'll get it.' No. I think that maybe we should internalize that we are not doing things correctly."

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Democrats wouldn't seat Brown until results are official. "When there is a certified winner in Massachusetts and the Senate has received appropriate papers, and the vice president is available, the successor to Senators Kennedy and Kirk will be sworn in.""


they may accomplish more without it

they will try harder now to find bipartisan ideas

the president?

yes, he's lost the good will he came into office with

the mood of the country?

they want to own their government

all incumbents are toast and, unfortunately for Democrats, they are most of the incumbents

we don't like secret negotiations and lower taxes for unions and Nebraska and Louisiana

we don't like when someone campaigns against deficits and then adds more in one year than the previous admnistration did in eight

we don't like it when the White House exploits a crisis rather working to solve it

we don't like big government and high taxes and excessive regulation

the old Republicans are as vulnerable as the Democrats

America wants change

across the country, New Republicans have been recruited like Scott Brown: handsome, honest, straightforward, unpretentious, unbeholden

they may not head up the local Mensa chapter but we know we can trust them

the leading light of this movement:

Sarah Palin

you think Obama was a new politician?

Palin won by fighting the establishment in Alaskan politics

Obama rose by working with the Chicago machine

the final "he just doesn't get it" moment was on Sunday when Obama flew Air Force One to Boston and ridiculed Brown for driving a pick-up with 200K miles

Brown obviously didn't take advantage of the cash-for-clunkers program but Obama became America's version of Marie Antionette

January 20, 2010 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

A lot can be done with a simple majority in the Senate:

-The 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act

-The Patriot Act (introduced and signed into law within 3 days after House rules were suspended)

-2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq

-The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Act of 2003

-the unfunded Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, Modernization Act, which created the prescription drug donut hole

-Theresa Marie Schiavo's law

Each of these bills became law with no more than 55 GOP Senators.

January 20, 2010 10:05 AM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

Even with the seating of Senator-elect Brown, Republicans in the Senate will represent 36% of the population of the United States.

What sensible system of representative sdemocratic government allows 36% to trump 64% on matters that do not deal with Constitutional rights?

The Senate Health bill has flaws. But for yesterday's election, those could have been worked out with the House. Now, because the Republicans in lockstep will invoke an archaic Senate rule, that is impossible. Going back to the drawing board is not an option, because the Republicans have made it clear that they will block anything that the majority wants.

I do not know what kind of assessement the Congressional Democrats and the White House will make regarding whether the House should just accept the Senate bill and move on, or work through the Conference Committee process and then force the Republicans to filibuster (with the inevitable result that 31 million people who otherwise would get health insurance would continue to flood our emergency rooms, and that people with pre-existing conditions will be unable to get coverage at all, unless they happen to work for a big institution with a group policy).

I think that the best thing to do would be for the House to simply pass the Senate bill. It would be the harder thing to do politically in the short run, but the better thing to do for the well-being of the country in the long run. If, on the other hand, the Democrats choose to force a Senate filibuster, they had better have a decent chance of getting back to 60 in the Senate this fall (something very difficult to do in an off-year election and in the current climate).

In my view, the discontent in the country is not over the health care bills, but over the continuing sluggishness of the economy. This is a problem the Republcans largely caused, and (except one time by 2 Maine Republicans) they have done nothing to help solve. And they have exacerbated the problem by creating uncertainties for businesses, not knowing what their obligations will be; Republicans have done this by dragging out the health care legislative process by their insistence that no Republican Senator would even allow an up or down vote.

The Republicans generally do not care about what will happen in Congress if the tables are turned and they have a majority, which can be blocked by filibusters (which, after this year, is assuredly what would happen). Why? Because, as we saw starkly during the Bush II Administration, they do not care about governance. They do not care about paralysis. They simply do not want government to work, because they see government as a nuisance, not as the vehicle by which our national community can work together improve people's lives.

I strongly believe that it is in the interest of the country for the Democratic leadership to focus its political message on the Republican refusal to allow any serious consideration of how to deal with our nation's economic (which include health care) problems -- problems which were largely created on the Republicans' watch. Harry Truman ran successfully in 1948 against the "Republican Do-Nothing Congress." In 2010, Democrats should be prepared to run against the "Block Everything Republican Minority in Congress."

January 20, 2010 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These election results mean that Republicans will be even more emboldened to obstruct progress and distort the truth in their quest to protect the status quo. We must be aggressive in defining our opponents and framing the choice voters face. We cannot be timid about staking out our ground, and we must be strong in reminding voters what the Republicans did to our country and what they will do again if given the chance.

January 20, 2010 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




January 20, 2010 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Associated Press/GfK Roper poll conducted Jan. 12-17 says 49 percent of those surveyed want the Democrats to keep control of Congress while 37 percent support the Republicans. Ten percent don't care and 3 percent are undecided.

Fifty-six percent approve of President Obama's job performance while 42 percent do not, the same as December. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of the performance of congressional Democrats while 40 percent give them positive marks. Sixty-five percent disapprove of congressional Republicans, while 32 percent endorse their performance.

January 20, 2010 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

January 20, 2010 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What sensible system of representative democratic government allows 36% to trump 64% on matters that do not deal with Constitutional rights?"

that would be one where the 36% has the people on their side

Democrat leaders have made their case that they are wiser than the public who elected them and that public is now rejecting them

you say, David, that when Repubs return to power that Dems will use the same filibuster tactic but they never do and they never will and the reason is simple:

the causes being pushed by Dems are invariably opposed to the will of the people

Dems are generally elected using "con men" strategies that lull the electorate into voting for them by misrepresenting their positions

if they filibuster they will be exposed as opposing their constituents

lots of talk about the economy and health care is being made but Scott Brown also pushed one other issue:

"I want our tax money to be used for weapons to destroy our enemies not for lawyers to protect them"

the Christmas Day bomber will be part of the campaign in the fall

pray he doesn't get set free like OJ did

but I digress

bottom line:

Scott Brown stated his views clearly and will do what he says

Dems are hucksters

January 20, 2010 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Nice video ALL CAPS ANON! But that hearing was in 2004 when the GOP held both houses of Congress. If the GOP was so hell bent on reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, why didn't they?


Watch this video, where we can all see and hear (or read its transcript here):

RICHARD CHENEY, FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I think some of the best financial minds in the country DIDN'T SEE IT COMING.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R, ARIZONA: But I DON'T REALLY KNOW OF HARDLY ANYBODY who with the exception of a handful had said, “Wait a minute, this thing is getting completely out of hand.”

January 21, 2010 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you might want to hop in your time machine and return to the present, anon-B

we've got real problems and our gamble on inexperienced Barry O has not paid off

January 21, 2010 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....Nice video ALL CAPS ANON! But that hearing was in 2004 when the GOP held both houses of Congress. If the GOP was so hell bent on reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, why didn't they?

From wikipedia, not exactly a right wing source :

In 2003, the Bush Administration sought to create a new agency, replacing the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 1992 in the wake of the Savings and Loan crisis, and over concern similar lending problems would develop, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight was created as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.[16] While Senate and House leaders voiced their intention to bring about the needed legislation, no reform bills materialized. A Senate reform bill introduced by Senator John Corzine (D-NJ) (S.1656) never made it out of the 21-member (10D/11R) Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.[17]. At the time members of the 108th congress expressed faith in the solvency of Fannie and Freddie. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), for example, described them as "not facing any kind of financial crisis." [18]

In 2005, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act, sponsored by Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), John McCain (R-AZ) and John Sununu (R-NH)[2], would have increased government oversight of loans given by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Like the 2003 bill, it also died in the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, this time in the 109th Congress. A full and accurate record of the congressional attempts to regulate the housing GSEs is given in the Congressional record prepared in 2005. [19][20]

what they don't say, is the reason it died in committee was it failed to get out of committee on a party line vote.

Guess which party wouldn't let these bills out of committee... yes that would be the democrats...

why in the world the republicans didn't have a majority in these committees during those years I don't understand. maybe they had to have more then a simple majority to get the bills out of committee.

But every single democrat voted to stall these bills in committee and every single republican voted for more regulation. Had the bills passed, would they have avoided the financial meltdown ?

maybe. Maybe if we had gotten fannie and freddie under control the housing industry would not have imploded... would that have avoided the entire financial meltdown ? who knows.

but I love how the dems just blindly say the economic crisis is the republicans fault when the facts seem to say differently.

January 21, 2010 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Guess which party wouldn't let these bills out of committee... yes that would be the democrats...

From 2000-2006, it would have been the GOP that refused to "let these bill out of committee."

Here's an excerpt from one of Treasury Secretary Paulson's press conferences in 2008, when the Bush Administration finally decided it was time to act to reign in the market slides THEY DIDN'T SEE COMING after they carelessly spent the Clinton surpluses into oblivion:

September 7, 2008

Statement by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency Action to Protect Financial Markets and Taxpayers

Washington, DC-- Good morning. I'm joined here by Jim Lockhart, Director of the new independent regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, FHFA.

In July, Congress granted the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and FHFA new authorities with respect to the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since that time, we have closely monitored financial market and business conditions and have analyzed in great detail the current financial condition of the GSEs – including the ability of the GSEs to weather a variety of market conditions going forward. As a result of this work, we have determined that it is necessary to take action.

Since this difficult period for the GSEs began, I have clearly stated three critical objectives: providing stability to financial markets, supporting the availability of mortgage finance, and protecting taxpayers – both by minimizing the near term costs to the taxpayer and by setting policymakers on a course to resolve the systemic risk created by the inherent conflict in the GSE structure.

Based on what we have learned about these institutions over the last four weeks – including what we learned about their capital requirements – and given the condition of financial markets today, I concluded that it would not have been in the best interest of the taxpayers for Treasury to simply make an equity investment in these enterprises in their current form.

The four steps we are announcing today [September 7, 2008]....

January 21, 2010 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, September 16, 2008, John McCain said the "fundamentals of the economy are strong."

In July 2008, Bush said, "I think the system is basically sound, I truly do...I understand there's a lot of nervousness. The economy is growing. Productivity is high. Trade's up. People are working _ it's not as good as we'd like...I'm not an economist, but I do believe we're growing. I'm an optimist. I believe there's a lot of positive things for the economy."


January 21, 2010 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


you sad creature

flopping around on the deck, gasping about how incompetent the Bush administration was

don't you see that after about a year of this healthcare reform by the Keystone Cops method, getting nowhere while the unattended American economy goes to the penguins, that the American people have now made a decisive judgment on the competence of a Democratic Party which no longer has any excuse

other than outlaw the Republican Party altogether, exactly how could we have given more power to the Dems?

they were give every chance to prove they can govern and they've failed

you cling to the completely unjustified notion that Nancy & Harry & Barney & Steny & Al-nyuck-nyuck & the rest of gang have a clue what they are doing

meantime, life outside goes on around you

did you hear that?


there goes the Obama agenda

January 21, 2010 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

We see who suddenly thinks the residents of the state of Massachusetts speak for "the American people." Massachusetts, the state that elected the first openly gay member of Congress and more, including Anone's favorite Representative Barney Frank. Massachusetts, the state that has only 4 times in its history elected a woman to statewide office. This is the state whose special election vote Anone says means "the American people have now made a decisive judgment".

And we see who suddenly admits how incompetent the Bush administration was.

ALL CAPS ANONE is the one who claimed the GOP during Bush's term in office had tried to avert the economic meltdown their leaders DIDN'T SEE COMING, in an effort to rewrite history. ALL CAPS ANONE is apparently part of that old Rovian "Let's Magically Rewrite Bush's Legacy Tour."

The truth is that there was much wrong with this country the day Bush left office and one year is nowhere nearly enough time to fix all the problems he and his GOP Congress left us to deal with.

For some insights into why Massachusetts voted the way they did this week, an election night poll of Massachusetts voters found:

"voters were not worried about Democratic “overreach”—47 percent said their bigger concern about Democrats is that they haven’t succeeded in making needed change rather than tried to make too many changes too quickly (32 percent). Even voters for Scott Brown were more concerned about a lack of change (50 percent) than about trying to make too many changes too quickly (43 percent).

These results puts a lie to the corporate media spin that Democrats have gone “too far” in pushing a reform agenda.

Nor was the election result about health care reform. Brown actually lost among the 59 percent of voters who picked health care as one of their top two voting issues (50 percent for Coakley and 46 percent for Brown). Voters for Brown (55 percent ) were less likely to cite health care as a top issue than were voters for Coakley (66 percent).

The election also should be a wake-up call for those in Washington who support taxing working families’ health care. Voters who thought their health care would be taxed voted by 64 percent for Brown, while those who did not think their health care would be taxed voted by 54 percent to 40 percent for Coakley.

Our polling results show the election was not an endorsement of a Republican agenda or a call to abandon health care reform. Voters strongly disapprove of the job being done by congressional Republicans (26 percent approve and 58 percent disapprove), a much lower rating than they give to congressional Democrats (37 percent approve and 51 percent disapprove)."

January 22, 2010 9:17 AM  
Anonymous morning in America said...

spin any way you want, Anon-B, but the truth is still there regardless of how dizzy you are

Scott made his positions clear

he opposed the healthcare bill, he opposed large new government expenditures,he opposed large new deficits, he favored tax cuts, he favored treating terrorists as enemies not citizens

he hammered on these issues and the voters agreed

there no subtle nuance here, it's all straightforward

the same happened in New Jersey and Virginia and polls show the same will happen across America

the "change" people wanted was responsive government not the liberal view that we vote wiser people to make our decisions for us

we want our lawmakers to consult us and listen to us

how about this?:

"Air America has announced it will end all broadcast operations and file for bankruptcy protection.

Air America was founded in 2004 and filed for bankruptcy protection two years later. It managed to remain on the air but continued to struggle to find an audience and advertisers.

Two liberal MSNBC commentators, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz, once hosted programs on Air America. Minnesota Sen. Al "nyuck-nyuck" Franken had his own show on the network from 2004 to 2007.

Live programming ended Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Recorded shows will air until Monday, when the network will shut down for good."

that is good!

meanwhile, last week FOXNEWS cable network was the number two cable channel in the land, behind only USA Network

MSNBC, the Obama PR outlet, was number 28

considering their low ratings and the troubles of their parent company, perhaps Chris, Keith and Rachel will have some free time on their hands soon

honestly, America doesn't like them

the last time Democrats controlled the government, the result was the same: they tried to control the rest of us with their regulations and social programs

at the end of the LBJ era, the whole socialist thing came crashing down for the world to see in Obama's hometown of Chicago, where the same machine ran the place then that gave us Barack now

they roughed up protestors like Coakley's boys roughed up that reporter

singer-songwriter Graham Nash witnessed it and wrote a song that would reasonate with the Tea Party movement today:

"Somehow people must be free

I hope the day comes soon

Won't you please come to chicago

show your face

From the bottom of the ocean

to the mountains of the moon

Won't you please come to chicago

no one else can take your place

We can change the world

rearrange the world

It's dying - if you believe in justice

It's dying - and if you believe in freedom

It's dying - let a man live his own life

It's dying - rules and regulations, who needs them

open up the door"

January 22, 2010 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen, brother!

January 22, 2010 12:17 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

I have a process question for the Republican Anons:

Would it have been wrong for the Republicans to threaten filibuster if the polls showed majority support for the type of health care reform proposed by the Democrats?

January 22, 2010 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, it wouldn't David

they can take their chances with the electrorate

I'm just saying that our system would probably result in their replacement at the next election unless they had public support

surely you see that Congress is ignoring its constituents with this bill

January 22, 2010 1:22 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

So they would "take their chances with the electorate." Interesting. The problem, institutionally, with this approach is that if you can't convince the electorate, you can still have your way by keeping 41 Senators, representing 36% of the electorate. It is so much easier when you are the party of "no government."

If, after the mid-term elections, the Senate lineup is still 59-41 Democratic, do you think the Republicans will now say, ok, now we won't filibuster?

January 22, 2010 5:57 PM  

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