Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do You Hear Us Now? **Updated x 2**

Well, it's official: Scott Brown won the US Senate seat in Massachusetts, easily one of the most liberal states in the Union. Brown's win is the first by a Republican in that state since 1972. Holy moley. Time and time again, people claimed the Healthcare Bill the Democrats are trying to ram through as the reason they voted for Scott Brown. If this isn't a wake up call to the Democrats, I don't know what is.

And yet, there are people like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who seems completely oblivious to the massive alarm bells ringing throughout the country. One would think this would filter into her, but apparently no:
"The reports of its death, as Mark Twain would say, have been exaggerated," Larson added. "We're going to move forward, and we're going to pass health care reform."

This afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said much the same. "Whatever happens in Massachusetts, we have to do that," she said. "And whatever happens in Massachusetts we will have quality affordable health care for all Americans, and it will be soon."

Oh, boy. Add to that the ramped up call for the "Reconciliation Option," including by the organization, Credo, which sent out an email immediately following the declaration of Brown's win asking people to sign this petition:
Your message to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

"The loss of Ted Kennedy's seat — due to a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats and Independents — sends a clear message to Congress. The Senate health care bill is not the change we were promised in 2008, and it must be improved. The Senate must use 'reconciliation' to pass a better bill with a strong public option."

In case you don't know what "reconciliation" means, they are suggesting the Democrats use a 51 majority vote to shove through this bill with its payoffs, bribes, and strong-arming. I might add, this tactic was designed for use with BUDGET bills. Clearly, Credo didn't like the message Massachusetts sent, and believes it is a better idea for the Democrats to inflame passions against this bill even MORE by using a filibuster-proof tactic. Nice.

Make no mistake, the Democrats are trying mighty hard to figure out how to get this bill through regardless of what the people say. I mean, really - it's not like it's their JOB or anything to care, right? Ahem.

On the other side, though, one of my favorite Democratic senators (and one I have supported), is Sen. Jim Webb of VA. This was his immediate response to Scott Brown's win:
Less than 15 minutes after the race was called for Republican Scott Brown, the first of what could be many conservative Democrats asks for leadership to put the brakes on health care reform.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) congratulated Brown on his win and delivered a zinger:

"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 more like it. He is hearing the message the people are sending, and wants to take a step back here, and look again at this bill.

But Senator Webb is not the only one. You may be a bit surprised by this, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), of all people, warns against changing horses in mid-stream (of course, my cynical side says he is a bit worried about his seat in the future, too):
“I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican Senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform because I do not think that the country would be well-served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of the process.”

Gee, ya think?? You know, it is amazing what it takes to actually get through to these people. Maybe if this doesn't hammer it home, this great piece by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild will:
The problem for the Democrats in Massachusetts was not Martha Coakley; it was the Obama agenda. In 2008, voters believed that they were electing a person who would focus on the economy with laser intensity and lead in a bipartisan and principled matter. What they have gotten is a deeply divisive President committed to transforming America into a European-style social democracy. In this first year, he forced a health care bill at the expense of vitally needed focus on job creation. He has scared hard-working American voters with his hard-left rhetoric and his signature policies.

The Obama approach to health care reform is the most egregious example of breaking trust with the American people. He brokered no Republican compromise; he demonized the other side for being captive to vested interests as he made private deals with Democratic special interest groups like the unions, the insurance companies and "hold-out" Senators like Ben Nelson (who was just looking for his pound of flesh at the expense of the rest of the American people); he outsourced the bill to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid behind closed doors as he focused only on taking the victory lap for pathetic, piecemeal legislation that does not deal with our exorbitant health care costs. Have no doubt, the speech trumpeting "his" historic achievement, where other less talented Presidents than himself have failed, is already loaded on the teleprompter.

These are major negative factors for the independent voters who believed that Barack Obama was a principled and moderate Democrat. This is particularly true in Massachusetts where the nation's only universal health care plan is bankrupting the state because of politicians' congenital inability to deal with spiraling costs. In Massachusetts, a full 47% of voters are Independents, with 33% Democrat and only 11% Republican. For many of these voters, Barack Obama is now a busted flush; he was full of promise but has neither delivered on that promise nor exhibited the capability to deliver. He has broken the trust of the people, and voters are taking the only action available to them: Electing a candidate who can stop the Obama agenda and help restore balance to a broken political system. The voters in the Bay State are resorting to the principle that our Founding Fathers made famous: checks and balances. It is unlikely that all voters overwhelmingly support Republican State Senator Scott Brown, but it is certain that they see him as a vital player in forcing Barack Obama to come back to the center.

Preach it, Sister Lynn! Bring it on home:
This is important to keep in mind in reviewing Tuesday's results. Equally important is to reject the demonization of Coakley that is being perpetrated by the Obama White House and the Pelosi/Reid Congress. Coakley's troubles were never about her as a candidate; she has won state-wide elections before and few would argue she is more removed than John Kerry. Her problem was simply about the President and the radical course being charted by Democrats in Congress. A year after his inauguration -- and three years since Democrats regained Congress -- voters were holding Obama accountable. This simple fact makes scapegoating Coakley unconscionable, and yet this week all knives are out from the Obama White House. Coakley was insufficiently charismatic, leading Democrats are saying; she did not have an emotional connection to the voters. She did not work hard enough. She was more a "nun" than a political candidate!

This is all nonsense of course, but not surprising. After all, it's not the first time the current crop of Democratic party leaders have torn down a talented woman in their midst.

That Hillary Clinton won Massachusetts by a resounding sixteen points in 2008 is not unrelated. While Massachusetts may be bluest of the blue, it's a state where working class liberalism still runs deep, where an honest day's work is still held in higher esteem than entitlement handouts. When Hillary ran on these principles, Massachusetts voters embraced her. And for this same reason, on Tuesday they embraced Scott Brown.

Obama's team may want to make the election about Martha Coakley, but it's not about her. As rank-and-file Democrats try to make Martha Coakley the issue and engage in her assassination, they miss the fact that they are in a circular firing squad. Their problem is that they are out of touch, and their boosters in the media cannot save them.

Voters this week stood up and said 'enough is enough.' It's high time Obama and the Democrats in Congress got the message.

Amen to that. And if they don't get it after this, there is always November...

UPDATE: Ohmygosh - now Barney Frank has done a COMPLETE 180, saying he could vote for the Senate bill now. WTH is wrong with this guy? And who got to him? Wow, he is a piece of work. Way to stick to your guns there, Barney! Yeah. Right.

Second Update: well, Nancy must have heard an earful from the other representatives. Now she says the House has to make changes to the Senate's bill:
Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been struggling for days to sell the Senate legislation to reluctant Democrats in order to get a health-care bill to the president's desk quickly. But House liberals strongly dislike the Senate version, while moderate Democrats in both the House and Senate have raised doubts about forging ahead with the ambitious legislation without bipartisan support.

The only way to keep the Senate bill alive, Pelosi said, would be for senators to initiate a package of fixes that would address House concerns about the bill. In particular, Pelosi described her members as vehemently opposed to a provision that benefits only Nebraska's Medicaid system. Also problematic are the level of federal subsidies the Senate would offer to uninsured individuals and its new excise tax on high-value policies, which could hit union households.

"There are certain things the members simply cannot support," Pelosi said.

Like I said, I guess the representatives let her have it. It will sure be interesting to see what happens next.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Scott Brown! You'd think the Dems would get it, wouldn't you? Nah.

Love what Pelosi said: "...we will have quality affordable health care for all Americans, and it will be soon." Since the current piece of trash does nothing to limit premiums or allow consumers to competitively purchase insurance across state lines, nor does it limit drug costs or allow consumers to purchase drugs from out of the country, and since it does tax small businesses and organizations that offer their employees cadillac insurance benefits (except unions), and since it does add more layers of bureaucracy between the doctor and patient, the only way Pelosi can back her "affordable, quality health care" statement is by going back to the drawing board. LOL at that ever happening!

I'm really upset with Credo, since I have my wireless service with them. Saw their email posted on Facebook by a cousin, and proceeded to comment pretty much as I did above (way more lengthy, though). Can hardly wait to see the response I get from family and friends.

Jim Webb seems to get it, though! And Barney Frank?? Yeah, I think he's just paying lip service. But hey, maybe they can change the Senate rules to fit their agenda. Too bad they just don't get that changing the rules to suit them in the moment means they also have to abide by those new rules when they're no longer in power. Idiots.

Feels like the shoot-out at OK Corral, only the Dems are shooting each other!

Gotta love Lady Lynn.

It's going to be a very interesting couple of weeks!

Mary Ellen said...

Great post, Rev.Amy! and respect should be restored. But what does Obama do with this moment? He comes out and says that they will pass this health care bill and his agenda will not change because of Brown's election. Axelrod is saying the same thing. Unbelievable! The arrogance of those on the Hill who believe that they can pass that bill and then try to "sell" it to us (which I heard from some pundit on MSNBC).

I was definitely supporting Brown, he said he wouldn't be a rubber stamp for Obama and he was not going to vote for that piece of crap health-care bill. I hope we can trust him. But at least he didn't outright say that he would vote for it, like Coakley did. How could she have been so stupid as to say that in front of the people of her State who overwhelmingly reject that bill? I know she was willing to vote for that bill because she needed the White House to support her campaign, but was she that naive to think that they wouldn't throw her under the bus if she lost?

P.S. How's your dog feeling today? Better I hope!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, SF - yes, I was disappointed, too, to see that Working Assets was promoting taking this route - a bare minimum majority to push through this HORRIBLE bill.

This morning, Gov. Rendell was on, and said that it was the Dems fault for not breaking this down and making it simpler. That's the problem, you know - not everything you listed, or the bribes, payoffs, pork, and arm-twisting - that it wasn't "simple" enough for us mo-rons out here. Wow. Thanks, Gov. Rendell. Pfft...

I do like Jim Webb - and Russ Feingold has been really good on a number of issues, too. I really, really hope that SOME Dems actually grow a spine. What a concept.

Frank - no doubt he is being an opportunist. He doesn't want to lose his seat, for sure, so he figures if all of a sudden, he starts acting like he cares what his constituents think, they won't vote him out next time he's up for re-election. I cannot think of a more deserving fate for Mr. Fannie/Freddie, though, can you?

Great comment, SF!!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks so much, ME! I appreciate that!

It is staggering the amt of flat out lies regarding Brown, especially that he is anti-choice. But here's the thing - the same people who are LIVID abt that have said NOTHING abt Obama picking a very politically conservative man to run the DNC in Tim Kaine. Nary a word have I seen. Oh, they are saying all KINDS of crap to me for pointing out some of Martha's foibles, and that Brown has the same stance on same sex marriage as Obama does, yet he's homophobic (though he's said it's a moot point in MA anyway). All of a sudden, that makes me some raging right-winger to actually point out her RECORD, and HIS! WTH is wrong with people? Goddess, I hope I wasn't this blind before, though I suspect I was, I am ashamed to admit. (I may write more abt this tomorrow, but holy smokes, how incredibly intolerant these people are who demand tolerance!)

YES - that was a huge misstep by Coakley, especially since she had said just two months ago that she would NOT vote for it. These Dems are so, so tone deaf! They patronize, no, condescend to the very people who gave them their jobs, as if now that they have the job, their voters are a bunch of redneck uneducated hicks who don't understand the complexities of a democracy. Well, I tell you what, I know stealing elections and voting in bills that the vast majority of the country does not want is not the least bit Democratic - it is more dictatorial, seems to me...

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Oh, and Sasha is doing a little better today, too, thank heavens. I am guessing that, not unlike general aging issues, it will be an up/down, forward/backward, zig/zag, kind of thing, you know? Yeah, like that...Of course, as I say that, she is standing in front of the closed bedroom door wanting to go in (we just did some carpet stuff and are letting it dry). Sigh.

Becky said...

wow, I really like what Lady Lynn said. thanks for sharing that RRR Amy, I hadn't read that anywhere before this

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, Becky! I was amazed it was at HuffPo, to tell you the truth. And HuffPo had a piece by Peter Daou today, too (he worked with the Clinton campaign), saying we told them so. Two in one day - it must be a record!!

Anonymous said...

Well, Barney just showed his true colors. He can be bought. Now, isn't that a revelation? I think he meant, though, not that he'd need assurances the bill would be fixed, but he'd get the fix he wants. I wonder what the payoff was?

Here's a question, rhetorical though I know it is. If the bill needs to be fixed down the road, why not take the time to fix it now? Do you suppose Barney would buy a broken down car with assurances from the seller that it would be fixed later? If so, have I got a bridge to sell him!

On a different note, I wonder if dogs can be affected by "sundowners" the same way people can? My mom was really affected by it. Once the sun went down, her behavior was much more erratic and she became confused much more easily. Sounds like maybe Sasha has a bit of that? Poor girl, give her a hug from "auntie" in SF....and hugs to Sasha's mommies, too!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

EXACTLY, SF - why in the hell are they pushing a bill they KNOW is flawed, with plans to fix it later? Fix the damn thing NOW, before it becomes law and they can shrug their shoulders, claiming there is nothing to be done now because, well, it's a law now...It's just ridiculous! Your analogy is perfect, SF.

And no doubt, Barney can be bought. He has more than demonstrated that willingness, hasn't he? What a piece of work. But to do such a huge turnaround in less than 24 hrs? That takes some special hubris, doesn't it? Holy smokes.

Funny you mention the "sundowners," SF. My vet said that the symptoms typically increase at night. That's when the dogs start their pacing and stuff.

Thank you - so sweet! Hugs back to you and your boy, too!