Patterico's Pontifications

12/20/2009

ObamaCare: How the Senate GOP blew its chance

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:03 pm



[Posted by Karl]

As I write this, the Senate is on track to pass its version of ObamaCare in the dead of night.  That is something the Dems failed to do in 1994, when George Mitchell ended up having to pull ClintonCare off the floor.  What was different this time?

First and foremost, the Dems have a larger caucus today.  Absent Arlen Specter’s party-switch, or Al Franken’s 312 vote election victory, the story may have been different.

Second, the Obama administration bought off the special interests (or “stakeholders”) involved, following in a progressive tradition stretching back to Teddy Roosevelt.  Some of today’s progressives are disgruntled over the current limits it puts on their ambition, but they would be just as unhappy if the bill(s) had sunk under the weight tens of millions of negative ads, as happened in 1994.  They would just be unhappy at different people.

Third, the Senate GOP took the bad hand it was dealt and played it badly.  Could the GOP have sunk ReidCare by being more obstructionist?  Possibly.  Had they been successful in dragging the debate into 2010, some Dems might have become more skittish.  The leadership might have been tempted to try reconciliation, which would have looked terrible politicially and likely would have cranked public opposition to toxic levels.

But that is not the whole story.  The other part (or another part) was the substance of the GOP amendments:

[I]t is not clear to me that the GOP is proposing amendments that would make it more difficult to pass the bill. *** For example, none of the amendments looks to be the “doc fix” that would force Dems to admit that they have not accounted for hundreds of billions of dollars they plan to spend. None of the amendments appear to address the “pay or play” employer mandate that is hated by both Right and Left.

As far as I know, those types of amendments were never proposed (and if they were, the fact that someone following the debate as closely as I am would be unaware of them would suggest that using the strategy of using amendments for “messaging” was an abject failure).  Harry Reid expected a GOP “doc fix” amendment, which would have either eliminated the Dems’ false claims of deficit reduction, or aggravated the AMA (one of the bought “stakeholders”) and doctors generally.  In 1994, a GOP amendment gutting the employer mandate passed unanimously, which was key to the ClintonCare’s demise.  The opposition to ReidCare’s “pay or play” from Left and Right should have made it a similarly inviting target.  Without effective mandates, the bill’s math would have fallen apart.  These are just my two favorite examples. I am sure others have their own candidates.

Some point to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s track record of losing almost every major legislative battle he has managed.  But the problem may be more systemic.  The Senate GOP began almost entirely focused on the “public option,” and did not start turning against the mandates that drive ObamaCare until weeks after the summer recess.  The Republican caucus may not be much less corporatist than their Democrat counterparts.  The differences between today’s Senate GOP and 1994 may be: (1) Big Insurance is largely onboard with ReidCare; and (2) McConnell is not planning on running for president, as Bob Dole was in ’94.

–Karl

74 Responses to “ObamaCare: How the Senate GOP blew its chance”

  1. Excellent, per usual, Karl. Thanks for the yeoman’s work you have done all along the way.

    The basic flaw in the Republican strategy was by dealing from fear that they would be branded “obstructionist” very much as they were in 1996. The GOP smart guys’ political calculus was that such an accusation, which would undoubtedly bounce around the media establishment echo chambers forever, would cost them any chance at regaining control of either house. Now, they are reasonably confident they can achieve this.

    The price, of course, is a near-impossible chance at reversing the most leftist lurch in U.S. history. Even a Reagan won’t be able to walk this one back.

    Ed from SFV (1333b1)

  2. I thought this was going to be more about how the GOP could have signed on some moderate dems and passed a much weaker bipartisan bill.

    imdw (c3b5a9)

  3. This thing will be litigated to death. Nebraska gets a pass forever from the state financed portion? 49 states will sue to get equal treatment or find a way to impound the taxes collected from their states for this monstrosity. There are so many things wrong with thus bill that the courts will have this enjoined for years.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  4. In defense of the Senate’s GOP leaders (not that they really deserve it, but I might as well play Devil’s Advocate), the unspoken factor in all of this is the personal popularity of Barack Obama and his ability to get the media to parrot his every argument. McConnell and Co. might have figured that if they tried to block Obamacare, the President would use his charm and influence to get every major network (save Fox) and every big editorial page (save the Wall Street Journal) to lambaste Republicans as obstructionist which they must have figured would be a net loss. Perhaps too McConnell calculated that playing bare-knuckle politics with this bill would drive Sens. Snowe, Collins, and maybe even Graham into the Dems camp and would give Obamacare the veneer of bipartisanship. McConnell’s prime directive was to hold his own troops (and in that he was hugely successful), and hope that the Democrats would kill the bill squabbling amongst themselves. I know it is unlikely, but there is a chance that it may yet happen that way.

    JVW (0fe413)

  5. “McConnell and Co. might have figured that if they tried to block Obamacare, the President would use his charm and influence to get every major network (save Fox) and every big editorial page (save the Wall Street Journal) to lambaste Republicans as obstructionist which they must have figured would be a net loss.”

    Even more reason why they should have gone with bipartisan weak tea. Baucus tried and tried and tried to get one of them on board. No avail.

    imdw (017d51)

  6. Karl – What is your evidence that big insurance is onboard with Reidcare? I know the individual mandate was a critical tradeoff, but with the weak penalties, the government control over prices and options that are now evident in the bill, are they really still on board?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  7. “Even more reason why they should have gone with bipartisan weak tea. Baucus tried and tried and tried to get one of them on board. No avail.”

    imdw – Ever consider stand up comedy? I wouldn’t advise it.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  8. “I know the individual mandate was a critical tradeoff, but with the weak penalties, the government control over prices and options that are now evident in the bill, are they really still on board?”

    Don’t forget the subsidies. There’s a cost to this bill. Where do you think the money goes?

    imdw (5f60be)

  9. The Democrats are corrupt. The Republicans are incompetent. The backlash against both parties will be something to behold.

    navyvet (c99bbf)

  10. First and foremost, the Dems have a larger caucus today.

    The Republican caucus may not be much less corporatist than their Democrat counterparts.

    The Democrats won 60 seats in the Senate, a working majority in the House, and the Presidency. The left has been yammering for government controlled medicine for 50 years. Unless the Democratic leadership was totally incompetent, they were going to enact some version of Obamacare.

    This first step was the hardest; the next steps will be easier. In part because Congressional Republicans are only slightly less socialist than the Democrats.

    Stu707 (0981d5)

  11. First and foremost, the Dems have a larger caucus today.

    You can almost stop there, really. I think McConnell delayed this as much as possible, considering the Dems’ original deadlines.

    But I think you’re basically right on special interests (AMA, Big Pharma, Big Insurance). They cut their deals early and mostly stayed on the sidelines. That was key. But I also think they were more willing to deal b/c of the size of the Democratic majority. If they were certain they could kill the bill with the old tactics, they’d have gone that rout. But they were not certain, so took the safest second bet. Overall, I think they all did exceedingly well, except for the AMA. Insurance stocks are skyrocketing.

    As for the list of odd circumstances, such as the Specter defection, that helped lead to the 60-40 split, please don’t leave out the Bush Administration’s effed-up prosecution of Ted Stevens, which basically cost him that seat in Alaska.

    Holder straightened it out later, but it was too late.

    Lastly, I remain of the belief that if the GOP had offered up even five senators to support the bill, they could have written it nearly any way they want (portability, medical malpractice curbs, etc.) But once they revealed all they wanted was “waterloo,” it became pointless for the Dems to negotiate.

    Myron (998393)

  12. Correction: Those in the Bush DofJ that pursued the Stevens case all had a long record of donating to Dem politicians and causes. It was a case of career lawyers given their head by the upper AG levels afraid of any criticism of political favor.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1217bb)

  13. What’s wrong, Myron? No clever and sophisticated name calling, like “teabaggers,” tonight?

    I believe that you have an interesting definition of “bipartisan.” And strangely, it is doing things your way.

    But please, continue with your analysis. You have amply demonstrated your wit and deep knowledge of geopolitics.

    Partisan hack.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  14. This is my favorite part of Myron’s post:

    “…Lastly, I remain of the belief that if the GOP had offered up even five senators to support the bill, they could have written it nearly any way they want (portability, medical malpractice curbs, etc.) But once they revealed all they wanted was “waterloo,” it became pointless for the Dems to negotiate…”

    Please, show us where Reid’s actions suggested any of that? After all, did not the head of your party announce “I won” as a justification for wanting his way?

    I also wonder what you opinion would have been when the Republicans had a majority? That the Democrats should go along with the situation? Right.

    As I say: partisan hack.

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  15. Hey EB, some of my best friends are “Partisan Hacks”, and they would thoroughly resent your insinuation that they are anything like our resident Maroon.
    I think you owe an appology to partisan hacks everywhere?

    AD - RtR/OS! (1217bb)

  16. I also wonder what you opinion would have been when the Republicans had a majority? That the Democrats should go along with the situation? Right.

    Eric, I am trying to remember whether it was the LA Times or the NY Times (back when I read both rags), but during the Bush Administration I recall reading a harrumphing editorial asserting that our very history as a republic dictated that any large-scale initiative should only pass if it was bipartisan in support. As I recall, the issue in question at the time was Social Security reform, and this was the editorial board’s way of admitting that Social Security’s long-term financial prospect was screwed, but at the same time opposing any attempt at allowing private accounts. As Congress moves closer to taking over 1/6 of the economy on a strict party-line vote, I have been patiently waiting for that editorial board to declare this an injustice. Patiently waiting, I tell you.

    JVW (0fe413)

  17. daleyrocks asks:

    What is your evidence that big insurance is onboard with Reidcare?

    This, from 12/7:

    “We WIN,” some insurance industry insider crowed to Ben Smith. “Administered by private insurance companies. No government funding. No government insurance competitor.”

    Their priority was keeping out the public option. Everything else is details they can squeeze through Congress later. For example, Reid inserted the medical loss limits. That’s been beaten back by the Left temporarily, but they’ll get it. The weakened subsidies and mandate penalties are problematic for them, but the feds are essentially guaranteeing their future existence, now that the p.o. is out.

    Indeed, AHIP’s last statement on ReidCare doesn’t oppose it, choosing instead to highlight “issues need to be resolved.” And those issues do not include direct complaints about the size of the subsidies or mandate penalties. And before that statement from 12/19, AHIP hadn’t issued an official statement in a month. The silence was deafening.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  18. AD, I have been thinking about that. There are many highly partisan people with whom I agree, and a number with whom I disagree.

    But partisan hacks don’t have to be dishonest and insulting. So you have a good point, and I apologize.

    Thus, I need a new term for people like Myron. Any ideas?

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  19. On a more cynical note, you know Big Insurance is on board because if they weren’t, Lieberman and Nelson would still be raising objections to it.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  20. The Dems’ bipartisan outreach was demonstrated by the fact that Obama didn’t meet w/ GOP leadership on this issue after April. Which might lead people to suspect the Dems really just wanted a figleaf so that they wouldn’t have to take all the heat for this unpopular bill.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  21. EB, there is always JD’s favorite: Douchenozzle, or some variation of that.
    Maroon does tend to just spout the same tired, less-than-appealing pap that one would find at the rank partisan sites such as KOS/TPM/Puffington/etc.
    He is just a fixed dispenser of their poison.

    AD - RtR/OS! (1217bb)

  22. Karl, once the weather clears (you don’t have too many political rally’s in 24″ blizzards), and the details of this bill become widely disseminated, the Tea Party events are going to make a lot of people on the Left, and not a few GOP stalwarts too, very uncomfortable.
    It is going to be a long, hot, political season this year (notwithstanding Global Warming).

    AD - RtR/OS! (1217bb)

  23. Karl @17 and 19 – I’m not really persuaded by an anonymous insider’s comments regurgitated in an Ezra Klein post. The 12/19 AHIP press release you linked I would term as not particularly supportive of the bill, but as you said, not actively oppositional. I would not term it as being on board. Nelson got bought off. Lieberman has always been liberal domestically, so I would not view his support as an aberration.

    The fact the Obama specifically took time to attack the insurers in his Saturday radio address for opposing the bill is I think a more accurate picture of where things stand.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  24. My suspicion is that this bit of legislation will impact a big part of our economy in a way not too different from what the Internet has done to the media, particularly the print part of it. IOW, when a sea change in either technology, or public policy, or culture occurs, it can wipe out a certain amount of an industry’s original profitability. So just as various newspapers, magazines, entertainment companies, etc, are now having to really scramble in the face of the influence of cyberspace — not to mention the corresponding decline in advertising — various parts of the healthcare industry probably will need to start scrambling in the face of socialized medicine.

    The nation’s economy in the next few years due to all this upheaval? The effect of the falling dominoes. It may not be a pretty sight.

    Mark (411533)

  25. you missed the upside: the demonrats own the whole foul mess, lock, stock and two stinking cesspools.

    every lawsuit, every glitch, every problem? they all belong to Ear Leader, and the jackasses who support him. paint them with it, coat after coat after stinking coat of failure. no excuses: this is what they wanted, make them own it forever.

    no quarter, no support, no slack. not an inch, and every time they try to turn away, wrap another length of this whole cloth they wove on their own around their scrawny necks until it kills them politically, once and for all.

    and then strangle the RINOs with the left overs. the are the ones who helped get us here.

    its time to pick a side.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  26. “We WIN,” some insurance industry insider crowed to Ben Smith. “Administered by private insurance companies. No government funding. No government insurance competitor.”

    I think they would have administered the public option, too. The only thing that might have hurt them was the expanded Medicare but take a look at who administers Medicare.

    Another aspect not much discussed is the fact that primary care, and a lot of other ambulatory care, is going to cash. This might cut Medicare expenses but may generate complaints about coverage.

    I expect the legislation, if it gets through the House and is signed, will have significant effect on medical manpower. Idealistic students may be happy about it until they have to earn a living. Then we’ll see.

    I’m not sure the GOP could have done better, Karl. I do think there will be a big election next fall.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  27. So now every doc works for Uncle Sam. Welcome to the plantation.

    Insurance companies may think they’ve somehow “won”, but the truth is that for most companies their loss ratios are set by Congress now, the terms of offered coverage are also set, business terms are set and the companies essentially have no choice as to who they do business with. Some win.

    Today I tried to take an Amtrak train but the government workers who run it failed to show up at work. Sleeping in, I guess, while the rest of us try to be productive. That’s going to be the story of DemocratCare too.

    MTF (6e6f07)

  28. “The Dems’ bipartisan outreach was demonstrated by the fact that Obama didn’t meet w/ GOP leadership on this issue after April.”

    April. It is now December. Good thing they didn’t rush to bipartisanship.. Naahm They missed their chance to write some weak sauce and put it in front of obama and take the steam out. But that’s not teabaggy enough.

    imdw (e66d8d)

  29. imd-dummy,

    Be careful what you demand from the left, come the civil war, jerks like you will be among the first targets.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  30. “Well, an Ivy edumacation ain’t what it used to be.
    Our fearless leader is a double Ivy!”

    Private schools and double Ivy — it’s been that way since 2000.

    imdw (b6a6d9)

  31. “Be careful what you demand from the left, come the civil war, jerks like you will be among the first targets.”

    Yeah I’ve skimmed the turner diaries.

    imdw (b6a6d9)

  32. daleyrocks,

    Fair enough if you think “on board” is an overstatement, as opposed to “not opposed.” But I don’t put much weight on Obama’s weekly address. Obama has rhetorically beat up on the “stakeholders” throughout, even as he cut deals with them. Greedy insurers and PharmaCos, foot-rustling doctors, etc. With his Left flank griping, it’s no surprise that Obama served up some red meat.

    But when Dorgan brought up drug re-importation, Obama sided with the PharmaCos to drop the matter (for now). Reid trying to dial back lifetime limits is another example. What pols do is more important than what they say. And the fact that AHIP couldn’t be bothered to even issue a press release between 11/19 and 12/19 reads to me like the Senate libs staying quiet after Nelson flipped. It tells you who is happy.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  33. “But when Dorgan brought up drug re-importation, Obama sided with the PharmaCos to drop the matter (for now). ”

    How did the GOP go on this?

    imdw (b6a6d9)

  34. imdw,

    Your insistence that the GOP still run things from the minority is charming, but transparently hack-ish. The Dems’ desire for bipartisanship was about the same as the GOP’s. Keeping with the theme of my last comment, everyone likes to talk about being bipartisan — and the Dems certainly had an interest in sharing the blame for this piece of crap. But there was nothing preventing the Dems from offering tort reform, or interstate competition and daring the GOP to reject it. They just had no real interest in doing so.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  35. imdw,

    Pretty sure the GOP opposes drug re-importation, but the fight this time was pretty much an intra-Dem struggle.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  36. “Your insistence that the GOP still run things from the minority is charming, but transparently hack-ish. ”

    I don’t insist they run things. I insist they missed their chance to make a weaker bill that some of them would they actually sign on to. Imagine a bill that one GOP’er voted for but one lefty didn’t. Make something toxic to bernie sanders, but that Snowe supports, for instance. That’s the chance they missed.

    “The Dems’ desire for bipartisanship was about the same as the GOP’s.”

    What do you remember about Max Baucus’ Negotiations ?

    “interstate competition ”

    This is one of my favorites of the GOP wishlists — destroying state laws == interstate competition.

    imdw (9af31a)

  37. This is one of my favorites of the GOP wishlists — destroying state laws == interstate competition.

    What is wrong with interstate competition?

    We already have int erstate competition in a wide variety of goods and services, from wheat to video games.

    Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

  38. That’s because imadoofus hates capitalism at it’s core and wishes desperately for a wholesale dismantling of our economy in favor of a gov’t command and control socialistic system. Just ask our little Maoist again what’s really so awful about forcing state – protected private insurance industry cartels to actually compete in the free – market.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  39. imd-doofus,

    So, are you a Bill Ayers-wannabe, but too soggy in the bottom to do so?

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  40. “What is wrong with interstate competition?”

    Nothing. We have it. Several insurance companies operate across state lines. They just have to meet each state’s rules. This “interstate competition” bit is about changing that and forcing states to allow out of state insurance companies to operate in a state without meeting that state’s law.

    imdw (6eb217)

  41. This “interstate competition” bit is about changing that and forcing states to allow out of state insurance companies to operate in a state without meeting that state’s law.

    These bills override existing state laws in various ways. You must be opposed to them then, since you’re so interested in the right of states to have their own health insurance laws.

    Gerald A (a66d02)

  42. “These bills override existing state laws in various ways. You must be opposed to them then, since you’re so interested in the right of states to have their own health insurance laws.”

    If it’s the same thing, then you’d think the GOP would be on board. But they’re not. Can you figure out the difference?

    imdw (c660ef)

  43. As for amendments offered by the GOP I was under the impression that Senate rules allow the majority leader almost unfettered control over what comes to the floor. If this is true and with only needing to keep his own 60 on board somehow it should be no surprise that bill killing amendments weren’t allowed to reach the floor.

    Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b)

  44. If it’s the same thing, then you’d think the GOP would be on board.

    If what’s the same thing?

    Gerald A (a66d02)

  45. Private schools and double Ivy — it’s been that way since 2000.
    Comment by imdw — 12/21/2009 @ 6:56 am

    With one great exception:
    We know what GWB’s grades were, what classes he took, and who were his professors!

    We know nothing of the “Manchurian President”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  46. McConnell is lame, of course. But lets not write any elegy’s yet. Save for for if/when the bill is passed. Pehaps this time the Dems could go to the trouble of writing it before voting on it.

    If there is no requirement at present that bills be read (and written!) before being voted on, then making that the case should be on the GOP’s next “Contract With America”.

    The Republican caucus may not be much less corporatist than their Democrat counterparts.

    That really came to light during the shamnesty debacle. I’ve been cynical about the GOP ever since. The Dems have always been a wannbe Politburo.

    Subotai (2fac73)

  47. Subotai, this is off-topic but is that your article at Misha’s?

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  48. “We know nothing of the “Manchurian President”.”

    Not even his citizenship. ZOMG!

    imdw (00bfab)

  49. O/T Alert…….
    CA Appeals Court denies Polanski request to dismiss charges due to prosecutorial misconduct.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  50. Karl, you are fearless and peerless at investigating and expounding on the nuts and bolts of this humongous monstrosity (and past complex issues, too). Enough to make my head swim at times. And that’s when I equally appreciate a larger lens, as in this excerpt I saw in today’s 5 Minute Forecast.

    “So in all likelihood, a health bill of some sort will become law early next year. At that point, three things will happen — none of which the politicians on any side of the issue want to talk about…

    * For the first time in U.S. history, you’ll be required to buy a product or service from a private party as a condition of your residency in the country

    * The costs are sure to far outstrip the Senate projection of $871 billion over 10 years or the House projection of $894 billion. We remind you that when Congress brought Medicare into existence in 1965, the cost was $3 billion, and Congress projected it would reach $12 billion (adjusting for inflation) by 1990. That was off only by — oh, about an order of magnitude. The actual 1990 cost was $107 billion

    * What the Federal Reserve has done to monetary policy over the last century, a new Independent Medicare Advisory Council will do to health care. The IMAC would set the fees that Medicare pays doctors, hospitals and other providers — a job now performed by Congress. Like the Fed, the president would choose its members and the Senate would confirm them.”

    I just call it Rolling Plunder. Which is part and parcel of the piece by piece demolition of “American Empire.” That is, if one is inclined to compare this apparent demise to empires past. Not I, for I cannot presume anything near that level of knowledge or foresight. I just try to keep my oar in the water and the canoe in the middle of the river.

    political agnostic (0e03dd)

  51. No, Stash, I’m not that Subotai. I had not read Misha’s blog in several years until your question sent me there. Good post though.

    Once the Dems have decided that they don’t care about public opinion and future election results, as they clearly have done, then we’re in new territory for America. They may decide to go for broke and pass every last piece of the lefts fantasy list, turning America into something much like the Soviet Union in the process.

    Subotai (2fac73)

  52. Thanks, I was going to ask you before and got distracted by something… a shiny marble I think. 😉

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  53. “… they don’t care about public opinion and future election results…”
    Comment by Subotai — 12/21/2009 @ 11:13 am

    They don’t care, for they know, through the “good” auspices of ACORN/Move-On/etc, that they should have any reasonable expectation of losing a future election.

    “Let them eat cake.”

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  54. BTW, when considering whether Big Insurance is on board, consider:

    Shares of health insurance providers leaped Monday after a key Senate vote on the country’s health care overhaul put legislation on track for passage before Christmas.

    ***

    Shares of Aetna rose $1.81, or 5.6 percent, to $34.32; Cigna gained $2.15, or 6 percent, to $37.95; Humana added $1.71, or 3.9 percent, to $45.24; UnitedHealth traded up $1.35, or 4.3 percent, to $32.89; Wellpoint Inc. jumped $2.19, or 3.8 percent, to $60.51. All hit 52-week highs, except for Humana, which was a little more than a dime short of its 12-month high.

    Wellcare also rose $1.47, or 4 percent, to $38.41; Health Net rose 73 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $24.28; Molina rose 61 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $23.02; and Amerigroup rose 49 cents to $26.28. Wellcare and Health Net hit 52-week highs as well.

    Karl (f07e38)

  55. Shares of health insurance providers leaped Monday

    I guess they are all assuming they’ll get the Goldman-Sach’s treatment. And they may be right, though I’m darned if I can see what it has to do with any sort of “health care reform” beyond the Dems making their rich friends richer.

    Subotai (2fac73)

  56. “..they should shouldn’t have…”

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  57. Shares of health insurance providers leaped Monday

    It’s the incadescent light-bulb effect:
    The bulb burns brightest just before extinction.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  58. …incandescent…

    Can’t type worth …. today.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  59. “I guess they are all assuming they’ll get the Goldman-Sach’s treatment”

    Most everyone now buys what they sell and are subsidized to do it. Yeah they’re on board dude. This wasn’t going to happen without big business wining out. This is America.

    imdw (688568)

  60. This wasn’t going to happen without big business wining out. This is America.

    Funny, but it sure looks like it is only going to happen if people like you get their way and defy the American people in the process.

    I see that Byran Dorgan is trailing his Republican challenger by 22 points in the polls. But the so-called “party of the people” turns out to be the “party of the rich people”, so the wishes of the American people count for nothing.

    Subotai (2fac73)

  61. Senate rules allow the majority leader almost unfettered control over what comes to the floor. If this is true and with only needing to keep his own 60 on board somehow it should be no surprise that bill killing amendments weren’t allowed to reach the floor.

    Comment by Soronel Haetir

    Reid “filled the amendment tree” to block any GOP attempts. I’m seeing a lot of second guessing and have a post on my blog about what I think.

    There is a school of thought that a lot of this is subject to a constitutional challenge. Richard Epstein is no slouch so there may be something to it. If nothing else, it might block implementation for a couple of years.

    This does nothing to solve the basic problem but it does create a lot of jobs for Democrats.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  62. Absent Arlen Specter’s party-switch, or Al Franken’s 312 vote election victory

    or Lautenberg’s coup – being placed on the ballot against state law after the Torricelli scandal

    or Kennedy’s replacement – in MA only Democratic governors can make Senate appointments

    or Burris – nuff said

    or I would have a hard time voting for it Lieberman

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  63. Will someone be able to communicate to the American public the corruptness and irrationality of this bill?

    And if so, will enough people care to vote in people that will undo it?

    Is there anything that resembles a democrat with integrity these days? I would have hoped that there would have been at least one person of integrity who would need the Godfather’s bribe.

    So you vote for a bill that will save Medicare dollars for your state, while it will cut Medicare for other states? Where is the modicum of reason in that?

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  64. What does it take for the electorate to unseat a senator, if they can? Where would we start, as a shot across the bow? Could enough heat be truned up fast enough to effect the vote on the bill in it’s final form?

    (I know I could find this if I looked it up, but just raising the issue.)

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  65. It’s simple:
    We, the taxpayers, get fucked so that the Senior Whore from Omaha can feel good about itself – and he never even had to work up a sweat.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  66. To unseat a Senator…
    Well, since there is no recall for Federal Elected Officers/Legislators, there are only a few possibilities:
    1-Dig up some real bad scandle that could have him thrown out on his ear from the Senate…
    Unlikely;
    2-Vote him out at his next attempt at re-election…
    He has to stand for re-election in 2012;
    3-You can shoot him…
    Doesn’t play well with the L&O types.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  67. Absent Arlen Specter’s party-switch

    What’s with Arlen? He switched parties in an effort to stay in office. You’d think he’d oppose this bill for the same reason.

    Subotai (f29ffa)

  68. Must be trying to line up a Federal Judgeship after the voters boot his ass into the street.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ade0a9)

  69. Subotai,

    Specter is facing a Democratic primary challenge from Joe Sestak, so he’s had to go full Lefty.

    Karl (f07e38)

  70. The bill is unpopular, so he’d be better off opposing it and running as an independent. It’s not like he has any party loyalty anyway.

    Subotai (f29ffa)

  71. Must be trying to line up a Federal Judgeship after the voters boot his ass into the street.

    Comment by AD – RtR/OS!

    I think there is a lot of this going on. However, Obama has to win a second term to do right by all these losers.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  72. Well, I wasn’t talking about Specter or Casey in particular, but about any of them. FWIW, Specter was Philly DA in the last century, so a federal judgeship may not be the worst place for him to be.

    1-Dig up some real bad scandle that could have him thrown out on his ear from the Senate…
    Unlikely
    – AD-RtR/OS

    Indeed, these folk have forgotten how to blush.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  73. “Shares of health insurance providers leaped Monday after a key Senate vote on the country’s health care overhaul put legislation on track for passage before Christmas.”

    Karl – Wellpoint has been so on board with it they had their actuaries cranking out those studies estimating what the cost of insurance would be under the various bills, even as recently as last week. Those studies made them a public enemy to the Administration and the Democrats they were so on board.

    If you look at the frequency of press releases by the AHIP, your point there is essentially meaningless. They publicly state in a release they prefer to do their work through lobbying rather than in the press to avoid making themselves a target for the administration.

    Removal of some uncertainty may be good for the stocks, but having the industry turned into a publicly regulated utility is not something any management would welcome unless it was as a less worse outcome.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  74. Karl – Robert Zirkelbach from AHIP was on CNN this morning talking about the Senate bill. He focused on why it did not address the country’s problems. He did not sound very on board to me, but your mileage may vary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZTkz7Tgc4w&feature=player_embedded

    daleyrocks (718861)


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