Jonathan Chait: “Consider how the world looked eight years ago. The Republicans lost power amid having let Osama bin Laden and his followers escape in Afghanistan, launched a failed war on the basis of misleading intelligence, managed a scandal-ridden administration stuffed with hacks, handed off an economy plunging into the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and had its outgoing president’s approval ratings bottoming out in the 20s. Barack Obama leaves office with a growing economy throwing off wage gains up and down the income ladder, and with a president whose approval rating has risen into the upper 50s. Some conservative intellectuals tried to grapple with their party’s governing failure in the Bush years, but their mental exertions wound up having no bearing at all on the circumstances that brought their party back to power. Sometimes there is no moral, just a bunch of stuff that happens.”
“The party that needs to search its soul about whether it has the capacity to govern competently is not the one out of power. And what should concern Democrats is not whether they’ll get back in power but what will be left of the country when they do.”
If you want to get past the hackey “purisists” vs. “pragmatists” arguments, this is a pretty good read.
…from the desk of R.E. Vanella.
Like a Woodpecker With a Headache
The house at 1410 Quotidian Street was not the nicest on the block. It was in a category neighborhood people referred to as run-down. Not dilapidated or unoccupied, but in some manner of general disrepair and lazy upkeep that usually suggests one of two situations; an elderly or infirmed homeowner who lacked the resources or ability to manage proper maintenance, or occupied by a renter. In this case it was the latter.
It looks like a few Republican Senators are trying to clip Paul Ryan’s wings when it comes to his plan to move forward on privatizing Medicare.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was blunt about the outlook for a major Medicare overhaul. “I think we should leave Medicare for another day,” he said. “Medicare has solvency problems. We need to address those, but trying to do that at the same time we deal with Obamacare falls in the category of biting off more than we can chew.”…
Most Senate Republicans agreed that there was still a lot of work to do on Obamacare before the topic of Medicare changes could even come up in the Senate. “I’m all for a kind of step-by-step approach, so let’s do one thing at a time,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told TPM. “A step-by-step approach makes a whole lot more sense as opposed to something big and comprehensive. We don’t do big, comprehensive very well here in Washington, D.C.”…
“It’s just too much to bite off,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told TPM. He added that he thought Ryan’s plan was “worthy of consideration,” but that ultimately any changes to Medicare should be considered in a bipartisan manner.
While the Senator resist going on the record as being for or against the Trump/Ryan plan (which technically isn’t a fleshed out plan but an expressed desire to end Medicare) a Carper aide has provided me with this:
Right now, Other is tied with Bryan Townsend with 22% and trailing Eugene Young in our nonscientific nonrandom purely for fun internet poll of who would be the best young upstart progressive candidate to actually defeat Senator Tom Carper in a primary, or who should replace him should the Senator realize reality and retire at long last. Senator Carper will be 71 years old on Election Day 2018, and has been in elected office in one form or another for over 40 years. He has been in Congress, either as a Senator or a Congressman, for 25 years. His Third Way brand of right wing Democratic politics has been discredited time and again. He yearns for bipartisanship as a goal in an of itself in a time when partisanship warfare is not only desired but required. His time is past, and we need a new Senator.
So who is the other candidates voters are thinking of? Or are you all just not satisfied with Townsend, Williams, Meyer or Young?
Politico: “Congressional Republicans are setting up their own, self-imposed deadline to make good on their vow to replace the Affordable Care Act. With buy-in from Donald Trump’s transition team, GOP leaders on both sides of the Capitol are coalescing around a plan to vote to repeal the law in early 2017 — but delay the effective date for that repeal for as long as three years.”
“They’re crossing their fingers that the delay will help them get their own house in order, as well as pressure a handful of Senate Democrats — who would likely be needed to pass replacement legislation — to come onboard before the clock runs out and 20 million Americans lose their health insurance. The idea is to satisfy conservative critics who want President Obama’s signature initiative gone now, but reassure Americans that Republicans won’t upend the entire health care system without a viable alternative that preserves the law’s popular provisions.”
LOL. So they will repeal it, but then keep the law in place. Uh huh. And when those three years are up they will have no replacement and have to either pass another delay, or pass some minor change and call it Trump Care.
Meanwhile, a timely new Kaiser Health poll finds just a quarter of Americans say they wanted to scrap the Affordable Care Act, down from nearly a third in October. By contrast, nearly half say they want the law expanded or implemented as it is. Another 17% say they want the law scaled back.
The GOP has no replacement, probably because the Conservative idea for Health Insurance Reform was Obamacare. So if they repeal and do not replace, it will be a political disaster for them.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
(Steve Mnuchin) is the Forrest Gump of the financial crisis…His selection as Treasury secretary should send shivers down the spine of every American who got hit hard by the financial crisis, and is the latest sign that Donald Trump has no intention of draining the swamp and every intention of running Washington to benefit himself and his rich buddies,”
Nov 30th, 3:20 pm UPDATE: I just called Carper’s DC office at (202) 224-2441, and Senator Tom Carper “has no position” on Paul Ryan’s plans to phase out Medicare next year and replace it with a voucher program which will force seniors to attempt to buy private insurance. I asked this time if there was […]
The Republicans want a big bipartisan vote on banking de-regulation to gauge how cowed Democrats are by the election results. If past results give any future guidance, I’d bet that they are very cowed indeed. Congressional Democrats do not require election results to be cowed. That is their natural state. A bright spot could be a “No” vote from Lisa Blunt Rochester, but I’m not holding my breath.
As early as Wednesday, the House will take up H.R. 6392, the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act. This bill would lift mandatory Dodd-Frank regulatory supervision for all banks with more than $50 billion in assets, meaning those financial giants would no longer be subject to blanket requirements regarding capital and leverage, public disclosures and the production of “living wills” to map out how to unwind during a crisis….
You can see with this bill’s framework how financial regulation in the Trump era will be relaxed, not by outright repeal but through deliberate atrophy. Republicans want to replace any mandatory rules for regulation with discretionary ones. That way they can claim that they’re merely improving the system by putting the decisions in the hands of the experts instead of members of Congress.
President-elect Donald Trump says he intends to set aside his business interests to focus on “running the country,” Bloomberg reports.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the President-elect wrote: “I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again!”
That’s insufficient if his children will be running the businesses and also acting as paid or unpaid, official or unofficial advisers. He must liquidate all his businesses and all his real estate holdings across the planet at once or face unconstitutional conflicts of interest that will require his immediate removal of office upon his inauguration.
I was gonna release these at a more leisurely pace, but this one sticks in my craw. Well, they all do, but I couldn’t let this one slide any longer. When it comes to grandstanding, Tom Carper is right there with the best. With support for the military (and braggadocio about his own service) near the top of the list. When the rubber meets the road, though, that’s a different story. This one is about how Tom Carper screws the grunts in the military…
I have a horrid wish that I recoil from as it rises in my heart. I wish that Tom Carper would go ahead, as he as he seems willing to do, and vote for the Trump/Ryan plan to phase out Medicare.
Then he would be beatable in a primary and it he survived the primary he would certainly lose in the general.
I think a lot of people view Tom Carper as an essentially well-meaning, if occasionally eccentric, public servant. That includes a lot of Democrats and plenty of liberals who I know. They are wrong.
His votes and stated positions, all a matter of public record, and easily discovered via a simple Google search, reveal that he largely ignores the needs of those who routinely vote for him. He does, however, pay fealty to those who finance his campaigns, and he also gives away votes on behalf of his search for bipartisanship. That search, like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football held by Lucy, never comes to fruition.
Carper’s desire to ‘reach across the aisle’ becomes even more dangerous in the era of Trump and Republican-controlled government. He could well end up as the key D who enables the gutting of Medicare and Social Security.
So, while it will take several pieces to flesh out his many sins of commission and omission, let’s get started.
Tom Carper and the Keystone Pipeline…..
Nate Silver: “Let’s not call it a ‘recount,’ because that’s not really what it is. It’s not as though merely counting the ballots a second or third time is likely to change the results enough to overturn the outcome in three states. An apparent win by a few dozen or a few hundred votes might be reversed by an ordinary recount. But Donald Trump’s margins, as of this writing, are roughly 11,000 votes in Michigan, 23,000 votes in Wisconsin and 68,000 votes in Pennsylvania. There’s no precedent for a recount overturning margins like those or anything close to them. Instead, the question is whether there was a massive, systematic effort to manipulate the results of the election.”
“So what we’re talking about is more like an audit or an investigation. An investigation that would look for signs of deliberate and widespread fraud, such as voting machines’ having been hacked, whole batches of ballots’ intentionally having been disregarded, illegal coordination between elections officials and the campaigns, and so on. Such findings would probably depend on physical evidence as much or more than they do statistical evidence. In that sense, there’s no particular reason to confine the investigation to Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, the states that Hillary Clinton lost (somewhat) narrowly. If the idea is to identify some sort of smoking gun indicating massive fraud perpetrated by the Trump campaign — or by the Clinton campaign, or by the Russian government — it might be in a state Clinton won, such as New Hampshire or Minnesota. Or for that matter, it might be in a state Trump won fairly easily, like Ohio or Iowa.”
I just can’t get my head around how binary our choices as Democrats are right now. It is all so stupid and reductive. There are Democrats here who were flat out wrong and have been wrong for years about how to fight Republicans, but they can’t budge. It would reveal that they were wrong. That Clinton was the wrong choice, who made poor campaign choices… whatever. That’s yesterday’s news.
I don’t mind revealing when I’m wrong, and I’ve tried to think through what I’ve been wrong about on this blog. So much… where to start? I made a game out of the Republican primary race. I thought Trump was a joke. Wrong and wronger still. As much as I know that it is naive I still thought that “the truth” would matter. Wrong.
I’m still searching for something productive to do or say to get beyond how wrong I’ve been. Hopefully what I come up with will be something to “do” and not something to “say” as I think the old adage from fiction writing is fitting – show, don’t tell.
Donald Trump tweeted without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in November’s presidential election, Politico reports. Said Trump: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” This is a lie taken directly from InfoWars. But if Trump does believe that there are millions of frauduelent votes out there, it would seem that he just endorsed a nationwide recount. Thanks Donald.
Ezra Klein: “This tweet is an example of one of Trump’s other dangerous qualities: his tendency to believe what he wants to believe about the world, facts be damned. Trump lost the popular vote, and he lost it by a wide margin — more than 2 million votes and counting. A wise man would take that information seriously and think about how to staff his White House, set priorities, and moderate his message to win over a majority of the public. Instead, Trump appears to have told himself the vote count was riddled with fraud and that he really did win a majority of the legitimate vote — and thus he doesn’t need to consider what it means that most voters didn’t want him to win the presidency.”