Patterico's Pontifications

1/19/2010

The Spin Begins: Big Media Tells Us This Wasn’t About Health Care; UPDATED with Proof That It Was; UPDATED with Evidence of L.A. Times’s Unacknowledged Rewrite

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

In a stunning blow to Democrats, Republican Scott Brown ended the party’s half-century grip on the Senate seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy, coming from nowhere to give the GOP the crucial 41st vote that could thwart President Obama and his agenda, starting with healthcare.

Actually, we don’t need a 41st vote. Democrats need a 60th vote to invoke cloture. But anyway.

Also, Mr. L.A. Times reporter: it’s stunning to you — and no doubt to your readers, whom you have not prepared for this shock. But many of us have seen this coming for days. Because . . . well, let’s see what you think the reason is.

The candidate herself owns much of the responsibility. She was complacent to the point of arrogance — taking extensive time off after the primary and disdaining the notion of standing outside in the cold, shaking hands — and committed a series of gaffes, including an assertion during a debate last week that Afghanistan was free of terrorists.

What about health care?

[UPDATE: Rasmussen tells us: “Health care has been a huge issue in this election. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Brown voters say it was the most important issue in determining their vote. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Coakley voters say health care was the top issue. 78% of Brown voters Strongly Oppose the health care legislation before Congress.” Thanks to JVW. Now look at Frank Luntz’s focus group talking about how important heath care was to their vote:

. . . and now back to what the L.A. Times thought was important . . .]

But there were larger forces at work.

Right. Like health care.

Gov. Deval Patrick is extremely unpopular, and a series of corruption scandals have tainted Democrats on Beacon Hill, home to the Massachusetts statehouse. Brown repeatedly tied Coakley to the state’s Democratic rulers, effectively turning her into the incumbent in the Senate race.

Also, health care.

There was also a presumptuousness to Coakley’s campaign. Democrats habitually referred to “Ted Kennedy’s seat” — after all, except for a two-year period after John F. Kennedy won the White House, the U.S. Senate seat had been in the Kennedy family since 1953. Edward Kennedy died in August of brain cancer. After Democrats changed state law, Patrick appointed a longtime friend of the Kennedy family, Paul G. Kirk Jr., to fill the job while awaiting Tuesday’s vote.

Brown offered a resonant rejoinder: He called it “the people’s seat,” and that became one of the rallying cries of his campaign, slapping back at Democrats who seemed to take their power for granted.

Also, health care.

Obama remains personally popular in Massachusetts. But the state was no more immune than the rest of the country to frustrations over the economy and concerns about the exploding deficit and sweeping expansion of the federal government, embodied by the massive healthcare reform bill awaiting final passage on Capitol Hill.

There you go!

Brown, abetted by national Republican allies, turned the vote into a referendum on healthcare and the power of Democrats on Capitol Hill, promising to kill the legislation upon arrival in Washington. (Massachusetts offers far-reaching healthcare coverage, leading some voters to question why they should have to pay for other states to expand their benefits.)

So if he turned the vote into a referendum on healthcare, why did it take you so long to get around to discussing that?

Hmmmm?

RELATED BIG MEDIA COMPACENCY UPDATE: Steven Pearlstein at the Washington Post: Massachusetts race wasn’t a referendum on health-care reform.

Yuh-huh.

Pearlstein says:

The first thing to say is that while those of us who are Washington insiders may be focused on health reform, the country has its mind on lots of other things. First and foremost is a lousy economy that has resulted in lots of lost jobs and lost wealth, a big spike in the federal deficit and big budget shortfalls for state and local governments. Combine that with lousy weather, another terrorist attack, a never-ending war in Afghanistan and an earthquake that may have just killed 200,000 people and you don’t have to be George Gallup to figure out that Americans might be in a grumpy mood and might want to take it out on the politicians and parties in power.

Lousy weather? This vote is because Americans are “grumpy” due in part to “lousy weather”???

Why you son of a bitch. You have no idea what just happened, do you?

The third and most important point to make is that the Senate contest there was not a referendum on health-care reform, despite the best efforts of the national media and the national parties to make it so. . . . .[A]t the moment, the voters are rather fed up with the whole statehouse crowd. The House speaker and a number of others have recently been ensnared in a long-running corruption investigation, while the Democratic governor has turned out to be a huge disappointment to those who thought he could clean up the political process and bring stability to the state’s troubled finances.

What does this remind me of? Let’s return to the language of that L.A. Times story:

Gov. Deval Patrick is extremely unpopular, and a series of corruption scandals have tainted Democrats on Beacon Hill, home to the Massachusetts statehouse. Brown repeatedly tied Coakley to the state’s Democratic rulers, effectively turning her into the incumbent in the Senate race.

This has to be part of a set of distributed talking points. If it didn’t come from Obama, it must have come from those JournoList people.

Thanks to Bradley J. Fikes.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times has rewritten the story I criticized and replaced the old version with a new one at the same Web address.

I saved the evidence.

Earlier version:

LAT Story Before Airbrushing
Click to embiggen

Later version:

LAT Story After Airbrushing
Click to embiggen

Note the identical Web address.

They do this all the time.

All the time.

107 Responses to “The Spin Begins: Big Media Tells Us This Wasn’t About Health Care; UPDATED with Proof That It Was; UPDATED with Evidence of L.A. Times’s Unacknowledged Rewrite”

  1. the stock market sure thought this was a referendum on health care

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  2. Brown is giving a terrific victory speech. He will be a force and a bellwether. The ball is now up for grabs.

    His wife and daughters are gorgeous. The truck gets a lot of credit and so does Mitt Romney.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Actually, we don’t need a 41st vote. Democrats need a 60th vote to invoke cloture.

    That complicated stuff is above the pay grade of LA Times political reporters. They have more important tasks, such as informing their remaining readers of how Reich-wing Republicans are scheming to “thwart President Obama and his agenda, starting with healthcare.”

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  4. “The Spin Begins: Big Media Tells Us This Wasn’t About Health Care”

    Maybe they read blogs focused on coakley and the dem’s ineptitude.

    imdw (bb8086)

  5. Did you guys hear Larry King smear Massachusetts voters with his slimy comment, “They have health care there, why don’t they want the rest of the country to have it?”

    Wow, I didn’t know the whole country didn’t have health care! This is why liberal Democrats are losing — they are condescendingly numb to the average voter’s concerns with spending and big government.

    Richard Romano (5cff42)

  6. Know what? In listening to Senator Brown’s victory speech, I’m thinking he is more conservative than he let on. Maybe it’s just a fleeting hope, but he is now going on about the Obama Administration’s misguided approach to the War on Terror.

    JVW (48cbba)

  7. Uh-oh, though: he is kind of droning on. He’ll have to learn to give a succinct speech.

    JVW (48cbba)

  8. I’d wager Massachusettes voters don’t want the rest of the country to have government-run health care precisely because of their experience with it. They know the promise of lower costs is a lie.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  9. Newsflash—Maddow, Matthews and Olbermann still don’t get it! But who’s surprised?

    Rovin (363536)

  10. I would say that most of the coverage I’ve read has put health care front and center. Brown ran against reform, after all.

    Don’t you worry. You’ll get plenty of “Obama agenda is dead” fodder to feast upon in the next couple of weeks. I wouldn’t count on this killing reform, however, though I’d be lying if I said I was as sure as I used to be. I know how weak-kneed the donkeys can get.

    But the following cannot be ignored, either:

    The candidate herself owns much of the responsibility. She was complacent to the point of arrogance — taking extensive time off after the primary and disdaining the notion of standing outside in the cold, shaking hands — and committed a series of gaffes, including an assertion during a debate last week that Afghanistan was free of terrorists.

    Choke-ly ran a piss-poor campaign. My only hope is that someone will mail her a DVD of the 2004 World Series, so she can start to learn a little bit about the “serfs” she wished to rule.

    It should also be noted that Mass. residents have universal health care. So any bill would just be a straight tax for them, with no benefit.

    A larger issue: Democrats seemed to have learned nothing from the Obama campaign. He was a fresh-faced senator with very little Washington baggage, and they take that as a sign that the public has a powerful taste for hacks like Jon Corzine and Martha Choke-ly. Somewhere along the way Americans reached the conclusion that nobody in office really knows what they’re doing, and thus “experience” — when the experience is in the field of being crappy — is not very valuable. Almost anybody new who runs a good campaign can beat almost anybody old.

    All that said, congratulations, Repubs, on the big win. And it truly was a stunner. Rejoice.

    We’ll be back.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  11. Larry King sounds like he agrees it was a referendum on health care.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  12. Priceless from Insty:

    A question for Keith Olbermann. “How do those teabags taste?”

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  13. Martha and the Dems behaved with an arrogance and sense of entitlement that was immensely off putting. And that’s why Brown’s reminder of exactly whose seat it was, was so incredibly effective. It’s as if he clearly articulated exactly what the voters were thinking but just couldn’t quite find the words for.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  14. Let the Dems continue to think that it was all about a crappy candidate. That will serve them very well (snork) in the rest of this year’s elections.

    I was a very bad, morally degenerate person. I watched the coverage on MSNBC and enjoyed every single minute of it. Far too much pleasure taken in other people’s anguish. I hope to re-sin in November.

    John Burgess (921036)

  15. The people of Massachusetts are the winners, Moron.

    nk (df76d4)

  16. Well, this election victory ought to improve my investments now that the economy-killing agenda of Democrats is wounded.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. Nora O’Donnell (MSNBCrap) just said that the votes in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts show the power of independents. Not Republicans or Conservatives, of course, but independents. I sense that her underlying assumption is that these voters will “come to their senses” and go back to the Obama fold in time for 2012 if not 2010.

    JVW (48cbba)

  18. Familiar thoughts from JournoList member Ezra Klein posted election night at 9:01 PM EST:

    [T]he big question now is how the race reverberates in Washington. There’s nothing about Scott Brown’s victory that needs to derail health-care reform in particular, or the rest of Obama’s 2010 agenda in general. But if Democrats decide to cower and hide, they can end Obama’s presidency on Brown’s behalf.

    That said, I really wonder what the Democratic Caucus thinks will happen if they let health-care reform slip away and walk into 2010 having wasted a year of the country’s time amidst a terrible recession. It won’t be pretty, I imagine. If health-care reform passes, the two sides can argue over whether it was a success. If it fails, there’s no argument.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  19. And another lefty spin job, from our paleolefty friends at The American Prospect, “Why Massachusetts Doesn’t Matter”.

    Actually, the article, written before the result was known, says Massachusetts doesn’t matter only if Coakley loses.

    But even if Brown should prevail, there is a path — more than one, actually — for Democrats to lunge across the finish line and pass health-care reform. It might not be pretty, but after the last year of legislative ugliness, it won’t much matter.

    The first path would be for the House — where they have this strange tradition in which the majority rules — to simply pass, as is, the bill that already passed the Senate. Obama would sign it, and the infrastructure of reform would be in place. Then they could attempt to correct some of the Senate bill’s weaknesses in the reconciliation process, which only requires 51 votes (though it does limit which parts of the bill can be addressed).

    The other path — and the preferable one, from a policy perspective — would be to get the bill done before Brown is sworn in. Keep in mind that the White House and congressional leaders are nearly done hammering out the differences between the two chambers’ bills. Though reports about what is in this version are sketchy, it looks to be a considerable improvement on the Senate bill. They have to get a score from the Congressional Budget Office, which takes a few days. Then depending on how the bill is offered in the Senate, a vote could come within a few days after that. In other words, no matter what happens in Massachusetts, if Democrats decide to move things through quickly, we could get a vote on health care within 10 days.

    Unfortunately for the paleolibs, this fantasy of Democratic unity and efficiency has been overtaken by events.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  20. OOOOH, Does this mean that the Dems in Illinois probably should not refer to the one up for grabs here as “Barack Obama’s senate seat”? Cuz, like, it’s sorta the People’s seat, too.

    elissa (3a18af)

  21. Well, Martha Coakley’s political career just ended. It’s one thing to lose a race; that can happen to anyone. But she lost Ted Kennedy’s seat running as a Democrat just fourteen months after Barack Obama captured 62% of the vote there. No way she ever gets a do-over in Massachusetts.

    JVW (48cbba)

  22. Harry Reid: Not Giving In

    While Senator-elect Brown’s victory changes the political math in the Senate, we remain committed to strengthening our economy, creating good paying jobs and ensuring all Americans can access affordable health care. We hope that Scott Brown will join us in these efforts. There is much work to do to address the problems Democrats inherited last year, and we plan to move full speed ahead.

    Regardless of the size of their minority caucus, Senate Republicans have always had an obligation to join us in governing our nation through these difficult times. Today’s election doesn’t change that; In fact it is now more important than before for Republicans to work with us rather than against us if we are to find common ground that improves Americans’ lives.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  23. There’s no way to spin this. It is a clean win. It was an avoidable loss. Take it, learn and move on. A message has been sent to the Obama Administration now for the third time. If they refuse to interpret it for what it is, they’ll continue to reap the consequences in November.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  24. Another JournoList member weighs in — Matthew Yglesias on “Why Coakley Losing Won’t Matter That Much:”

    But a number of “centrist” Democrats have been making it clear for a while now that they don’t want to make big progress on the big issues facing the country. That’s too bad, and Brown winning will only make things worse. We’re much more likely looking at a situation where Brown’s victory becomes an excuse for people not to do things they didn’t want to do anyway than a situation where Brown’s victory is the actual reason those things can’t be done.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  25. Martha and the Dems behaved with an arrogance and sense of entitlement that was immensely off putting.

    Dana: I agree. Nobody is owed a seat. She didn’t want to campaign. She went on a long vacay in the heat of the race. She scoffed at standing outside of Fenway Park in the cold and shaking hands, like Brown was doing. That statement was wrong on so many levels.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  26. Great quote from Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) who heads the Dems Congressional Campaign Committee. I don’t have it verbatim, but it is along the lines of “this [Coakley's] campaign is guilty of malpractice. . . [three seconds later]. . . we aren’t going to assemble a firing squad or point fingers.” Oh-kay.

    JVW (48cbba)

  27. Myron-

    I suggest the Dems learn this message- the public liked what Obama said, and a majority that voted believed him (debate live on C-Span, live on C-Span, live on C-Span…). They liked what he said better than what he has done, and they told the one so, though I expect their tone-deafness will continue.

    From the victory speech:

    I didn’t mind when President Obama came here and criticized me – that happens in campaigns. But when he criticized my truck, that’s where I draw the line.

    Winning with a humorous jab that is not mean spirited. Way to go!

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  28. Mr. Yglesias must have one of those medical marijuana cards.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  29. Lets look at the timeline for a few significant data points to see if we can figure out why this happened:

    December 19 — Coakley up by 20 in the polls

    January 4 — Coakley up by 10 in the polls and sinking fast.

    What happened in between?

    Senate bribes Ben Nelson with $100 million in Medicaid funds and he votes in favor of health care reform bill — date??

    December 24.

    Coincidence?

    WLS Shipwrecked (3d3fb8)

  30. I like Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She’s one of my faves. But this defeat was so total, so catastrophic, there will be plenty of blame to spread around to everybody. Ultimately, the Dem leadershipo will push the narrative that it was all Choke-ly. And goodness knows, they’ll have any number of gaffes to choose from.

    But the election was nationalized and health care was a factor. There’s no way around that “elephant” in the room.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  31. I think the spin that Massachusetts was voting against Obamacare because they already had universal health coverage has to be the most hilarious line I’ve heard today.

    Massachusetts’ “universal” health care is a laughing stock among the Massachusetts residents I know. The idea that Massachusetts voters are happy with what they have and just don’t want to be taxed for other states is comical.

    It will be amusing to see how many Democrats in the House and Senate will be stupid enough to buy this lame attempt at denying reality.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. I think it just hasn’t hit them yet that there’s a teabagger in dead Ted’s seat.

    They broked the fail scale.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  33. Great find, DRJ, that is oddly probably the most honest analysis I’ve seen from Yglesias in some time.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  34. Rep Anthony Weiner D of NY:

    “If there isn’t any recognition that we got the message and we are trying to recalibrate and do things differently, we are not only going to risk looking ignorant, but arrogant”

    (POLITICO)

    elissa (3a18af)

  35. DRJ,
    Ezra Klein is so entrenched in left-think that he can glance at the truth and not recognize it.

    That said, I really wonder what the Democratic Caucus thinks will happen if they let health-care reform slip away and walk into 2010 having wasted a year of the country’s time amidst a terrible recession.

    Only average Americans aren’t demanding the Democrats’ health care legislation. It’s that “terrible recession” that they’re worried about. Why should people trust Obama with health care when his economic ideas haven’t worked?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  36. OpenLeft is a progressive website founded by Chris Bowers, Mike Lux, and Matt Stoller. Stoller was/is a JournoList member who previously blogged at OpenLeft and is now the senior policy adviser for Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida. Bowers at OpenLeft says the Democrats’ next step should be obvious … Double Down:

    In order to pass legislation that will start to make the situation in the country better, and thus make themselves more popular, Democrats are going to have to get rid of the filibuster. With the 60-vote Senate, there was never much of a chance to pass the legislation necessary to start the country in the right direction. Now, there is even less of a chance–virtually none, really.

    All Democratic leaders are going to have to ask themselves a question: do they want to make the country better, or are concerns over obscure arguments about the need for a “deliberative body” more important to them? Would they rather be able to govern for the next three years, or are they afraid of a few news cycles where Republicans accuse them of not being bipartisan enough?

    That is the choice that leading Democrats face right now. Even though we can help organize and apply pressure, this is still fundamentally a choice the Democratic Senate caucus faces, not us.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  37. Brother Bradley, Klein apparently believes that once you have dug yourself into a hole, you need to keep digging deeper on the assumption that you will get out.

    JVW (48cbba)

  38. SPQR I think the Yglesias fascist is missing missing missing that what happened was a rebellion and the people what he criticizes are only to be faulted for their willingness to show some small respect for democracy.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  39. There there is this passage from the NY Times, which typifies state-run media cluelessness:

    Although the race has riveted the attention of the nation largely because it was seen as contributing to the success or defeat of the health care bill, the potency of the issue for voters here was difficult to gauge. That is because Massachusetts already has near-universal health coverage, thanks to a law passed when Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor.

    Perhaps they don’t LIKE Romneycare all that much? Or at least not all of them? Consider the possibility that mandatory government-specified medical coverage is not something everyone wants.

    Thus Massachusetts is one of the few states where the benefits promised by the national bill were expected to have little effect on how many of its citizens got coverage, making it an unlikely place for a referendum on the health care bill.

    But maybe there’s things in there that aren’t benefits. Maybe they didn’t like the last churn of their personal finances and security and they’re not looking forward to another. About as much fun as changing banks. Or breaking up AT&T all over again.

    Although Mr. Brown vowed to scuttle the current bill, he voted for the Massachusetts health care bill, which was a model for it. He argued that the national bill would be costly and result in Medicare cuts for the elderly — in effect that some residents of Massachusetts stood to lose more than they would gain.

    Assuming there IS a gain.

    I’m reminded of the poll that asked “If insurance reform fails, who should get the blame?” which proves its bias when you change “blamed” to “thanked.”

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  40. This is as good as it gets. I feel like I have been transported back to 1980 election night. This guy is a future President of the United States. He should be the nominee in 2012 – he will have two years in the Senate by then, and that’s all the experience one needs according to the clowns who elected the FOOL who now is disgracing our once-great country.

    William Wilson (40bc94)

  41. I’m hoping that the lame duck Senate does get rid of the filibuster. Preferably in October.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  42. Bradley,

    I think it’s interesting how similar the liberal responses are. Part of it is almost certainly because they share the same world view, but I think Patterico is right that some journalists — by chance or design — share a common theme.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  43. “Did you guys hear Larry King smear Massachusetts voters with his slimy comment, “They have health care there, why don’t they want the rest of the country to have it?” ”

    Brown actually made this argument. It’s only a little slimy. MA’s health care is aided by a national plan.

    imdw (842182)

  44. oh. remember what I linked in the previous thread?

    7 Things At Stake In Massachusetts Senate Race

    It’s gone.

    It’s re-written now… Six Radioactive Elements From Coakley Collapse In Massachusetts … but you can see from the url it’s on the same page…

    they dropped #7…

    7) The reputations of polls and prognosticators…

    but here’s a nice compare and contrast what the NPR whores worked really hard on…

    Laughed at for his youthful foray into nude modeling, Brown persevered and became a telegenic challenger.

    vs.

    Having spent her career positioning herself to break through on just such a historic occasion, Coakley was exposed as an utterly hapless street campaigner.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  45. If you look at the Cook Report on the 2010 Senate races as of today (they need to update one), if the Republicans will all the toss-ups (as the Dems did in 2008), they are back to 50-50. If they can get Boxer, too, it’s 51 Republicans. So, yeah, let’s dump that filibuster, but let’s do so in October, and as crookedly as possible Dems.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  46. Over at Real Clear Politics:

    9:59pm — More from Rasmussen’s election day poll: 52% of Brown voters say health care was the most important issue in determining their vote. 63% of Coakley voters say the same. – Mike Memoli

    Yeah, it’s not about healthcare.

    JVW (48cbba)

  47. MA’s health care is aided by a national plan.

    imdw, consider that they already have crap and they don’t want more crap.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  48. When is Larry King’s day? Alluh Ahkbar.

    HeavenSent (ae267e)

  49. The twenty and thirty-something Stollers, Bowers, Kleins and Yglesiases are not the ones who will be voted out of office if they “double down”. So I wouldn’t pay too much attention to what these guys have to say tonight and I doubt that large numbers of moderate dems in congress will give a hoot what they say, either.

    elissa (3a18af)

  50. Am Spec’s Philip Klein is tweeting Barney Frank’s appearance on MSNBC:

    MSNBC: Barney Frank statement says Dems “must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results.”

    Barney Frank: Now that GOP has 41 votes, it’s “no longer appropriate” to try to merge current House and Senate bills.

    Barney Frank: “I am hopeful that some Republican Senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of HC reform.”

    Barney Frank: “Our respect for Democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a HC as if Mass elec hadn’t happened.”

    In case you missed my prior tweets, Barney Frank may may have just delivered the death blow to Obamacare.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  51. So will the Dems use the “nuclear option” now to end filibustering? Or are they too much in fear for their political survival to dare?

    ras (88eebb)

  52. Will liberals sacrifice blue dogs and moderate dems in the Senate by going through budget reconciliation to pass a MORE liberal version of health care reform with just 50 votes in the Senate (VP breaks the tie.

    The thinking is that Pelosi has few extra votes than what she got the first time around — she released some vulnerable Dems to vote “NO” since they had 218 to pass. So, while some Blue Dogs might get nervous and switch to “NO”, she probably has enough switchers on her side to still get 218.

    If that is true, then the Senate Dems will go for a much more liberal bill in reconciliation rather than fight to win a GOP vote. No reason to get 59 now if it means watering down the bill. This will also give those wavering Dems a pass and they can vote No.

    They understand this will be in the face of significant public opposition, and the loss in three consecutive state wide races in states Obama won. But this has been something liberal Dems have worked towards for 40 years, and it is within their grasp if they simply push forward.

    And, when they do — and I predict they will — those wavering Dem Senators who voted “No’ won’t be saved, and some of the liberals who voted “Yes” but have tough contests in 2010 will lose.

    They will also lose 50 seats in the House, including probably 35-40 of the members in their first or second term that defeated Republicans or won open seats previously held by Republicans.

    Obama will enter his final two years of his first term with minority support in each chamber of Congress.

    WLS Shipwrecked (3d3fb8)

  53. [...] the media’s spin, this vote was largely about health care: “Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters in the state say [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » The Stunning Brown Win (e4ab32)

  54. Watch this Frank Luntz focus group. Frank shows why he gets paid the big bucks, as his MA voter panel goes through the election like Occam’s Razor.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  55. “imdw, consider that they already have crap and they don’t want more crap.”

    To be fair to brown, he probably only made that argument about the national plan because he had voted for the MA plan. So he couldn’t call it crap.

    imdw (017d51)

  56. ras,

    I would recommend Keith Hennessey’s blog for an in-depth look at the various possibilities. But unless this was a temporary moment of despair, Barney’s comments suggest that there is little appetite for ramming something through now.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  57. Ha ha ha ha ha…

    The incompetence of the Democratic Party is hilarious. I must say that I am enjoying their self-destruction immensely – and I’m liberal as all get-out. Guess the Senate Dems get to be little Frowny Clowns for the rest of their terms – until a third of them get their asses kicked to the curb just like Coakley in November. And I’ll enjoy the hell out of that too.

    They fucked around way too much – cut everything substantial out of the healthcare bill and then tried to tell people it was the best thing since sliced bread. The people of Massachusetts probably figured that if the two candidates were exactly the same politically, they might as well vote for the one who demonstrated more than one iota of respect for them. Fine with me.

    But the fact remains that both parties are shit. That’s something you guys (and gals) should keep in mind. You’re acting like A) the Republicans are so very different from the Democrats, and B) that there was anything of substance left in whatever sorry carcass of a bill the Senate Dems were trying to shove down the country’s throat.

    I’m glad this happened. I’d rather pass nothing then pass something with nothing of substance (if that makes any sense). If this bill passes, the Democrats will puff themselves up and pretend that they just saved the world, and we’ll have to wait another fifteen years before discussing substantial healthcare reform again.

    Also, something you all should consider: this might not be a bad thing for the Democrats. As unpopular as the healthcare bill was becoming, this might give the Senate Democrats an opportunity to abandon it (for the time being), blame their contemptible failure to do their jobs on Republican obstructionism (a la their newfound numerical advantage), and win enough seats in November to pass whatever the hell they want while Brown sits around smiling a vacant little smile in the back row. They might take this as their opportunity to change the subject for the next ten months or so.

    Just something to think about.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  58. “It should also be noted that Mass. residents have universal health care. So any bill would just be a straight tax for them, with no benefit.”

    Myron – Sort of like 80% of the country except for a few features, right?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  59. Leviticus has turned his cynicism meter up to 11.

    JVW (48cbba)

  60. What other reaction is one supposed to have when watching something so corrupt as the US Congress?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  61. Karl,

    Thx for the tip. I went to his site and read Hennessy’s comments, but he didn’t deal much, if at all substantially, w/the nuclear option, which to me has gotta be the elephant in the room, given that all other options look untenable for the Dems.

    ras (88eebb)

  62. A lot of people don’t like Jim Webb much. But he is spot on:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/health-care-comes-to-screeching-halt-sen-webb-no-hcr-votes-until-brown-seated.php

    In fact, here is the quote:

    “…In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated…”

    That is something for BOTH parties to think about. Voters are starting to wake up, it seems.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  63. DRJ,
    The default left-wing journo worldview is the product of decades of indoctrination and socialization with same-thinkers. It’s transmitted like a virus. You can work against being assimilated, but first you have to be aware of what groupthink is doing to you.

    There is certainly deliberate ideological co-ordination among some left journalists. Lots of journalism teachers provide more indoctrination than instruction. And the students are not aware they’re the target of brainwashing.

    Columbia Journalism Review is a good example of a deliberate promotion of a political agenda. Its far-left chairman is Victor Navasky from The Nation, and CJR regularly features writers who have appeared in The Nation, like Dean Starkman and Michael Massing, along with Brent Cunningham, CJR’s managing editor for print, and Julia M. Klein, a contributing editor. Of course, writers with conservative or Libertarian pedigrees are not so well represented.

    In short, CRJ is more of an outlet for left-wing propaganda than a magazine about traditional journalism. However, I’m heartened by comments to some of the stories where journos point out this agenda in disgust.

    I

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  64. Leviticus,

    You might wish to read The Fox And The Grapes. The Dems are sour to you, now.

    ras (88eebb)

  65. Also, your comment reminds me of that scene from Spinal Tap.

    “What do most amps go to?”

    “They go to 10.”

    “But these amps… they go to 11, in case you need that… extra little push.”

    “Well, why don’t you just increase the maximum volume of the amps, and make that 10?”

    “But these go to 11. Its…”

    “One louder?”

    “One louder, right.”

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  66. What other reaction is one supposed to have when watching something so corrupt as the US Congress?

    I don’t know, right now I’m really into Hope & Change.

    JVW (48cbba)

  67. Leviticus, you make some thoughtful points, but I think you are underestimating how this is going to wound Obama. A self-inflicted wound IMHO.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  68. Leviticus, you caught my allusion. Well done, sir.

    JVW (48cbba)

  69. “The Dems are sour to you, now.”

    - ras

    The Dems are sour to me always.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  70. [...] media says this election was not about health care . . . and yet, this election appears to have had quite an impact on health care. Barney Frank: I [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Health Care = Dead (e4ab32)

  71. DRJ,
    Finally: MSNBC host says it’s time for journalists to admit they are Democrats.

    A good start, but you’ve got to be aware of a dodge many lefty journo use — they say they’re not Democrats, but this is because they’re further to the left than Democrats, who they view as corporate sell-outs.

    A full disclosure of voting and political views among all journalists would be tremendously healthy. Of course, editors would be hard-pressed to explain how their 90% left-wing staff (whose friends are also 90% left-wing) can produce fair and balanced reporting. What about a little ideological diversity? For that reason, I don’t expect such disclosure to happen, at least with the legacy media.

    Most MSM outlets will go to their graves pretending (and even believing) that they’re being unfairly attacked by the right for telling the truth, which of course has a left-wing bias.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  72. “Klein has now transcribed Barney.”

    Blogged. With a reminder of the Webb comment.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  73. He called it “the people’s seat,” and that became one of the rallying cries of his campaign, slapping back at Democrats who seemed to take their power for granted.

    Look up the definition of “hubris” and “arrogance” in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo of all the legislators of Massachusetts state government who did back flips and contortionist routines to make it either impossible for a governor (who happened to be a non-liberal) to choose a US senator or, in turn, quite easy for a governor (who happened to be a liberal) to choose a US senator.

    Mark (411533)

  74. I just want to make a small point, that may not fit into the big picture.

    When you go to the doctor, you want someone who will listen to your problem. You want the doctor to tell you when something is wrong and provide you with options to return to health. It is a very intimate relationship.

    When you go to the the Veterans Administration or the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Agriculture or Medicare or Medicaid, et al, you expect to be treated exactly as what you are: just another sorry sod interrupting the day until lunch or five o’clock.

    I can’t put it more simply and I can’t understand why the party of the people does not understand this simple notion.

    I’m well aware that medical care is important and too many people have no doctor. But trying to ram a 2,000-page “health care” bill through Congress to create another uncaring bureaucracy is not the solution.

    Some people in Massachusetts apparently agree with me.

    Ag80 (76c798)

  75. “You can work against being assimilated, but first you have to be aware of what groupthink is doing to you.”

    Leviticus – Bradley’s comment above is well taken with respect to your comment #59. To call the nationalization of the health insurance industry and raising of health insurance costs for consumers contained in the House and Senate bills “nothing of substance” is really an example of groupthink at its finest.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  76. Also, something you all should consider: this might not be a bad thing for the Democrats. As unpopular as the healthcare bill was becoming, this might give the Senate Democrats an opportunity to abandon it (for the time being), blame their contemptible failure to do their jobs on Republican obstructionism (a la their newfound numerical advantage), and win enough seats in November to pass whatever the hell they want while Brown sits around smiling a vacant little smile in the back row.

    I think you might be giving the Democrats too much credit. Political parties with the kind of majorities that the Dems currently enjoy shouldn’t struggle to get the people behind their agenda the way we’ve seen the last few months. And when those conditions exist, you have to look at the leader of the party.

    Consider that Bush II was able to get legislation passed with smaller majorities and similar national polarization. Clinton triangulated with a Republican Congress; Reagan and Bush I had to deal with at least one house of Congress that was Democratic throughout their time in office.

    The fact that Obama and the Democrats are trying to recast themselves as underdogs in the face of relentless Republican “obstructionism” is a complete farce given the current political realities. The opposing party has been, and will ALWAYS, try to “obstruct” the political agenda of the party in power. The real measure of a leader is whether or not they can manage to enact policy that the public will support (and that is key) in the face of that opposition.

    Dennis the Peasant laid it out plainly here:

    No, the fact of the matter is this: When you become President of the United States, you own the country’s problems. Period. Voters vote for those they think can lead. Leaders lead by taking responsibility (ownership) for problems and providing solutions. Times are tough right now, and the last thing anyone wants to hear is a president making excuses about how everything is either (a) really hard, or (b) somebody else’s fault. Nobody gives a f*ck about that.

    Voters are not interested in excuses. Period. They are interested in results.

    http://dennisthepeasant.typepad.com/dennis_the_peasant/2010/01/oh-the-real-problem-is-that-conservatives-are-both-nihilistic-and-have-a-more-attractive-ideology.html

    Obama and the Democrats can try to play the “obstructionism” card, but to do so merely demonstrates that neither the President nor the Dems are ready to put on the Big Boy Pants and lead. At some point, “It’s Bush’s fault” will have to be dropped as a line of policy or Obama will find himself a one-term President.

    Another Chris (d72a0d)

  77. Rep Anthony Weiner D of NY:

    “If there isn’t any recognition that we got the message and we are trying to recalibrate and do things differently, we are not only going to risk looking ignorant, but arrogant”

    elissa – I think Weiner could have left out the “not only” part. They already look arrogant for pushing an unpopular crap sandwich of a bill on a single party basis, while ignoring the economy by passing a back end loaded pork barrel stimulus bill. They’ll just look ignorant if they ignore the message.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  78. Dennis the Peasant is a great blogger and great to meet in person. I met him for drinks when I was in Columbus this summer. In the same league as Iowahawk, and that is very high praise indeed.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  79. “…Brit Hume… [then] anchor of the Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Brit Hume… one of the most conservative political reporters on the air…” – source, pg. 250, ‘Herding Cats’ by Former Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott, HarperCollins, 2005.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  80. “To call the nationalization of the health insurance industry and raising of health insurance costs for consumers contained in the House and Senate bills “nothing of substance” is really an example of groupthink at its finest.”

    - daleyrocks

    Please. To claim that this pathetic little whimper of a bill would’ve done either of those things is groupthink at its finest.

    Glenn Beck called – he wants his excessive anxiety back. And a bottle of No More Tears.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  81. “Please. To claim that this pathetic little whimper of a bill would’ve done either of those things is groupthink at its finest.”

    Leviticus – When the feds specify what features your policies must have at a minimum to be able to be put on sale, the maximum you can take away from a dollar of premium not spent on lesses, and basically regulate your prices going forward, what part of nationalization am I missing except the formality?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  82. Leviticus – If you can point to studies showing the bills lowering costs for consumers, I’d love to see those studies.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  83. Leviticus,

    Also, if it’s such a, “pathetic little whimper of a bill,” then why were Obama and the Democratic leadership so fixated on passing it?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  84. To claim that this pathetic little whimper of a bill would’ve done either of those things is groupthink at its finest.

    Is it groupthink if you just think it?

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  85. Really?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  86. They wanted to pass it so they could claim they’d passed something. I don’t think they really cared that much about what it actually was.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  87. Brother Bradley – …why were Obama and the Democratic leadership so fixated on passing it?

    I feel that Leviticus is consistent on this one. He believes in actual health care reform, and (rightly, IMO) also believes that Obamacare has nothing to do with reform, and everything to do with strengthening Democratic Party voter affiliation and funneling money to connected interests in back room deals.

    I most likely don’t agree with Leviticus as to what good health care reform would look like, but I still think he’s being consistent in his views.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  88. #35 — Comment by elissa — 1/19/2010 @ 8:22 pm

    Rep Anthony Weiner D of NY:

    “If there isn’t any recognition that we got the message and we are trying to recalibrate and do things differently, we are not only going to risk looking ignorant, but arrogant”

    (POLITICO)

    Too late.

    Pons Asinorum (1f16cc)

  89. Leviticus said:

    They wanted to pass it so they could claim they’d passed something. I don’t think they really cared that much about what it actually was.

    You are exactly right. That’s why we should all cry tonight.

    Ag80 (76c798)

  90. Not because Brown won, but because we are all responsible for those who will push this nonsense through.

    Ag80 (76c798)

  91. “They wanted to pass it so they could claim they’d passed something. I don’t think they really cared that much about what it actually was.”

    Leviticus – That’s Myron’s line, which he gets off TPM or Media Matters, which means it’s progressive CW or groupthink.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  92. Yeah, okay. It’s also the conclusion which the evidence points toward. But that’s inconvenient, right? Better to trick yourself into thinking their a bunch of committed Communists out to steal your stuff and force you to wait a month to get your colonoscopy.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  93. “we are all responsible for those who will push this nonsense through.”

    - Ag80

    The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  94. In other words, I certainly agree.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  95. They wanted to pass it so they could claim they’d passed something. I don’t think they really cared that much about what it actually was.

    I think it goes beyond that. Much of this “Heath Care Reform” work was done in secret (often at the same hours cockroaches do their best work). Who knows what corruption and rackets would have been spawned by this legislation; the stuff that was known was bad enough.

    The current administration has done nothing in the slightest to indicate any degree of integrity, which is a necessary ingredient for trust.

    Perhaps this election will make integrity a key issue for the immediate future elections.

    Pons Asinorum (1f16cc)

  96. “It’s also the conclusion which the evidence points toward.”

    Leviticus – Yeah, but don’t lose sight of the minor little accomplishments like nationalizing the health insurance industry and raising the cost of health insurance for 80% of Americans – There’s substance for you!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  97. @99 — daleyrocks, here a few more…

    and seniors worried about decreasing Medicare benefits,
    and high-end insurance consumers worried about a net decrease in take-home pay,
    and college students being fined if they do not have health insurance,
    and the Great Nebraska Bribe,
    and the Louisiana Purchase II,
    and the Broken Pledge of Transparency,
    and the Broken Pledge of Bipartisanship,
    and Death Panels (which we were told not to worry about),
    and forced abortion payments (which we were told not to worry about),
    and partial-birth abortion payments (which we were told not to worry about),
    and abortion payments (which we were told not to worry about),
    and illegal immigrant Health-care benefits (which we were told not to worry about),
    and deficit concerns (which we were told “all is well, nothing to worry about”) …

    Thank You Massachusetts!

    Pons Asinorum (1f16cc)

  98. [...] Patterico’s Pontifications:  The Stunning Brown Win The Spin Begins: Big Media Tells Us This Wasn’t About Health Care; UPDATED with Proof That It Was [...]

    ~ Massachusetts Voters Demonstrate To Forty-Nine Other States: IT CAN BE DONE – (P.S. All Sitting Senators Strongly Advised To Take Note) « Critical Political Thinking (adf6a1)

  99. Pons – 41 is the new 60.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  100. Pons @100 – A lot of substance Leviticus seems to have forgotten about, presumably because he didn’t get his BS government option or something.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  101. What a great election, daleyrocks. It’s getting late so please forgive my long comment before I hit the sack.

    Leviticus is okay, he’s just looking for a better way; and who knows, he just may find it someday.

    For myself, based on my perceptions of human nature and 5,000 years of civilization — I think what the Founding Fathers did is about as good as it is going to get.

    Any human institution or enterprise will fall short of perfection — there is no perfect system, but we can build large-scale social and national structures that tend to balance negative extremes (like tyranny/anarchy) and highlight positive values (like Freedom and Liberty).

    I believe the Founding Fathers struck an optimum chord based on their collective understanding of history, science, and philosophy. This is confirmed when viewing what the United States has accomplished in just over the two centuries versus the previous thousands of years of civilization.

    I see this election as a confirmation of the genius of the Founders: an optimum system reasserting its equilibrium.

    To me, it is an amazing thing to watch and vindicates the democratic roots of our Republic. In short, (common, ordinary) people are smart enough and virtuous enough to govern themselves in a way that puts future generations before themselves. At the time of our Revolution, such a proposition was in serious doubt in Europe and debated hotly by our Founding Fathers.

    Not perfect to be sure, our nation has often come out of balance, sometimes to the point of extinction. Where other civilizations failed, we survived and typically became stronger (ie a better optimized system, more stable equilibrium). As an example, I offer the Presidency of Lincoln.

    I love our Democratic Experiment and believe there is nothing currently (or even on the drawing boards) that comes close to enabling such prosperity, health, and freedom to so many – and yet keeping the promise to future generations intact, as we ourselves are proof.

    It’s not magic, or perfect, or even beautiful at times. It requires sacrifice, courage, faith and all the other Great Ideals that humanity admires and likes to define itself. It does not thrive in the hours of the cockroach, but rather the glare of the sun.

    With this election, I am once again amazed to witness the Founding Fathers’ centuries-old genius in action and at its best.

    It still works.

    Pons Asinorum (1f16cc)

  102. IIRC, the Senate can get rid of the filibuster, legitimately, when they adopt the rules they operate under. Which is when a new Senate first convenes after an election. Not until next January.

    Otherwise they have to violate their own rules, which I don’t put past them, but doing so to pass an unpopular piece of legislation is extremely stupid. Extreme stupidity isn’t past them either, but I don’t think they’ll be able to pass it.

    I think Democratic party discipline is going to start disintegrating.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  103. I think Leviticus is quite right, except he is crediting the GOP with this. The GOP wishes…

    jodetoad (059c35)

  104. How sweet it is!

    AD - RtR/OS! (6c3ec3)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4151 secs.